Friday, 12 January 2018

"Strengthened" thinking and Steiner

The path of attaining to Rudolf Steiner's objective of Pure Thinking, or alert and aware clairvoyance (what Barfield terms Final Participation and I have dubbed Primary Thinking) is something I have often seen described as a practice of 'strengthening' our thinking.

This is usually approached by a series of exercises devised and prescribed by Steiner - which amount to exercises aimed at single-mindedness, concentration and broadening of subject matter.

But, the history of Anthroposophy - including its failure to build on Steiner's clairvoyant ability, the tendency to regard his pronouncements as-if a vast infallible scripture, and to treat the man himself as wholly-well-motivated and wise - suggests that these exercises are a failure. At the very least; the results are slow and modest - and they seem not to lead to a transformation of thinking.

This is because any kind of strengthening can only strengthen what is already-dominant; and the essence of Primary Thinking is to allow the dominance of the thinking of the Real Self. The Real Self may be, perhaps usually is, utterly buried under the thinking ('cognitive processing') multitude of superficial and false selves; inculcated and entrained by modern culture including the need for efficiency and expediency in context of a positivist-materialist society.

I would advocate discarding the language of strengthening, and indeed any 'effortful' attempts at deepening thinking; because the effort is almost-inevitably coming-from and directed-at the wrong thing/s.

There is no need for strength, there is no need for concentration; Primary Thinking is quite natural, it is always going-on - we 'merely' need to attend to it... That 'merely' is in fact usually very difficult to do, but this is not the kind of difficulty that can be overcome by conscious-striving; more by 'allowing'...

Allowing the Real Self's thinking to come to awareness and deciding that its natural and spontaneous thinking is valid. Is - indeed - direct knowledge of reality.

For this there is (sadly?) no 'method' - although motivation is clearly crucial. One who is motivated to attain Primary Thinking for the right reasons, with the right aims, will be able to do so.

It seems to me that emphasis on strengthening, striving, focusing, concentrating etc. almost-always encourages the wrong motives, or perhaps it arises-from the wrong motives in the first place: motives of power and gratification especially.

Direct knowing is available only to one who loves creation and wishes to participate in loving-creation.