Steiner's two examples: "reason of this similiarity" and "conditions of this experience"

Submitted by Beginner on Fri, 10/02/2009 - 9:44am.

There are two sentences in the second chapter of Steiner's book which I do not understand and ask for help:

1.

Wir sehen aus dem Ei

ein dem Muttertiere ähnliches Wesen

hervorgehen:

wir fragen nach dem Grunde dieser Aehnlichkeit.

 

We see a being similar to the mother animal go forth out of the egg

we ask for the reason of this similarity.

 

2.

Wir beobachten an einem Lebewesen

Wachstum und Entwicklung

bis zu einem bestimmten Grade der Vollkommenheit:

wir suchen nach den Bedingungen dieser Erfahrung.

 

We observe on a living being

growth and evolution

until a definite degree of perfection:

we seek for the conditions of this experience.

 

What do "reason of this similarity" and "conditions of this experience"  mean?

 

An Attempt

Hi Beginner,

Just my own attempt at rephrasing what I understand Steiner is getting at.  I've also corrected your English a little, hope you don't mind:

We see a being similar to the mother animal go forth out of the egg[;]

we ask the reason [for] this similarity.

Michael Wilson (see http://wn.rsarchive.org/Books/GA004/English/RSP1964/GA004_c02.html) translates this "we ask the reason for this likeness." 

That is, to put it in terms that Steiner develops later in the book, we seek to connect appropriate concepts with our observations through thinking to come to what we call an understanding of the observed similarity between the mother and its offspring.

Or another way of saying it, a question arises in our minds as to why the offspring is similar in appearance to its mother.  The important point is that we are not satisfied with the simple observation of the similarity; something in us urges us to add something to what is observed.

We observe a living being['s]

growth and evolution

[to] a definite degree of perfection:

we seek for the underlying conditions of this experience.

Wilson has: "We observe a living being grow and develop to a certain degree of perfection, and we seek the underlying conditions for this experience." 

Lindemann http://wn.rsarchive.org/Books/GA004/English/AP1986/GA004_c02.html has: "We observe in a living being growth and development to a particular level of perfection; we seek the determining factors of this experience. "

Poppelbaum http://wn.rsarchive.org/Books/GA004/English/RSPC1949/PPSA_c02.html has: "We observe a living being grow and develop to a determinate degree of perfection, and we seek the conditions of this experience."

Stebbing http://wn.rsarchive.org/Books/GA004/English/RSPI1963/GA004_c02.html has: "We notice that living beings grow and develop to a certain degree of perfection and we investigate the conditions for this experience."

In English personally I believe a better rendition of Steiner's intended meaning is something like "...we seek the determining factors that underly this."  That is purely personal preference, because I think "underlying conditions of this experience" etc. create unnecessary confusion.

All of that aside, I think Steiner's actual meaning is clear: again Steiner is saying that we are not satisfied with our observation that a living being grows and develops - a question arises in us as to the underlying causes of this development.

Regards,

                  Tim