Chapter 2 second draft with notes

Submitted by John Ralph on Tue, 11/24/2009 - 4:30pm.

This draft incorporates work on the 1894 source text and Tom's latest draft.

Chapter 2 second draft JR Work-in-Progress 20100418
[This version avoids the use of the word self after concerns were raised about that approach. After reading through Tom’s latest version, I decided to try individual and I as options.]
Colour code: Tom’s commentsTom’s comments on this draft [John’s comments] unresolved options preferred options
 

 
Chapter 2 is the Goethean "feeling" science chapter -- before clear thinking occurs in Chapter 3.
 
[All men by nature desire to know. – Aristotle]
[Capitalisation: there were different practices in the early 1900s and many translations of Steiner’s works continued the German capitalization of significant words. This is no longer current acceptable practice. If we add capitalizations to the English text now, it constitutes editorial emphasis, which must be distinguished as such. If the text is clear, a peppering of idiosyncratic capitalization is not justifiable. If editorial emphasis is needed – and I am not convinced of a real need – then it must be done in a manner that distinguishes it as such for the reader.]
Goethe verse: I want to have a clear version and avoid "arty" for the first edition.
[We could include a literal prose version of Goethe. I note that Steiner is on record as considering the artistic element of PoF to be highly significant. I am slowly able to perceive this element in the development of the images in relation to the examples from other authors. I consider that – as far as possible – we must preserve the distinctive stages of the development of Steiner’s argument. This is a critical factor in this chapter, such as moving from the plant to the animal kingdom and not implying that one observation of the tree is dependent on an earlier one.
The opening Goethe verse is translated by John. Dust (which does not exist in German) is assumed – in collaboration with several native German speakers – to be a poetic contraction of Duster: adj. dismal, gloomy, cheerless, depressing, sad, dour, dreary, dull, somber, dusky, dim, hostile, frightening, threatening, gruesome, grim]
 
Chapter 2 Glossary
 
Science
Similarity (likeness)
Phenomenon/Fact
Dualism
Monism
 




[1918 Chapter 2] 1894 Chapter 3: The Desire for Scientific Knowledge

[Wissentrieb - thirst for knowledge. Wissenshaftlich – scholarly, scientific, learned.
Thus: The Basic Urge to Learn, which manifests as our inner demand for satisfactory scientific explanations.] The Basic Need to Know Why/for Explanations


Two souls, alas, are in my breast;
They pull apart at every turn.
One clasps with passionate embrace
The world, for which its organs yearn;
The other, from gloom, arises chaste             
To a heritage of high concern.

(Goethe, Faust I, 1112-1117)


2.0 Seeking an Explanation of World Phenomena
[1] With these words Goethe characterizes a trait that is deeply established in human nature. [The human being is not inherently a unified [einheitlich] organism.]The organization of the human being is inherently contradictory.We always demand more than the world offers.Nature has given us basic needs, and left us the work of satisfying some of them. Our share of nature's bounty abounds, but our desires are even more abundant. We appear to be born dissatisfied. Our craving for knowledge is only one instance of this dissatisfaction.
We look at a tree twice. At first we see its branches motionless, and the next time they are moving. We are not satisfied with these observations. Why is the tree motionless at one time and in motion at another? We want to know why. Every glance at nature stirs up a number of questions in us. Every phenomenon we encounter presents us with a task. Every experience is an enigma/mysterious. When we observe a creature emerging from an egg, we want to know why it is similar to its mother. When we observe a growing organism develop some degree of perfection, we enquire into the factors that determine this experience. Nowhere are we satisfied with what nature spreads out before our senses. We search everywhere for what we call an explanation of the facts.

[begründeten: has a complex meaning of establish, found, ground and substantiate, evidence or give reasons ]
He/We always demand/s… What is our policy on gender specific language?
Gender neutral is best but then everything becomes "we" which is very difficult in all cases with a book on individuality. Lipson did a good job but I think we will need to make some exceptions. [agreed]
[We should not disrupt the chain of thought with different words alike/similarity/resemblance. One word – similar or likeness – has to be consistent throughout. Similar seems preferable to likeness.
Vollkommenheit: perfection, completion totality
I have not adopted some of Tom’s suggestions for reasons of grammar and ambiguity. E.g. … an egg similar to its mother…  
Aufgabe: task - not problem! Problem (in the sense of something to be solved) makes a tautology with riddle. Not what Steiner intended!
Every phenomenon we encounter offers us a task/work to do.
You are right in regards to a literal translation, but it is confusing, what is the work we must do?
Hoernle clarifies both sentences and gives it clear meaning
[IMHO, in this instance Hoernle misses Steiner’s real point. The ‘problem’ is not in itself a question but a feeling of dissatisfaction that generates a question. Tom, the task that nature sets us is to ask questions, not to answer questions we have not asked. Steiner may have oversimplified this nuance himself. He has to show that we cannot become free in our questioning if we do not become conscious of our inner experience of dissatisfaction with phenomena.
What Nature inserts in us as dissatisfaction is the basis for asking questions, and we often don’t do this but just accept what we see before us. Too many of us get used to the dripping tap of inner dissatisfaction and stop asking questions. How many of us still wonder at every glance at nature in adulthood? Look how long it took science to discover buckminsterfullerene, which occurs in candle soot. (
Nobel Prize in 1996: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fullerene) Did you ever ask about candle soot? I assumed as a child that its slipperiness was just candle wax – the wrong assumption as it turns out because I did not properly observe that it is slippery itself.  Thus ended my questioning!  
Questions can only arise in human beings, which form the basis of scientific endeavour. Nature gives us, not the question itself, but the basis of questions. If we do not do the work of asking those questions that lie within our experience then science wilts. All speculative theory is implicitly an unanswered question. Such questions are thoughts that require further thinking to a conclusive standpoint.  Even a clever answer can become a dead end, but a good question is always full of life.
Note: IMHO phenomena are not facts. Facts have to be established from the presentation of phenomena.]

2.1 Transcending the World of Phenomena
[2] We seek to add more to what we are given at first glance, and the search for this additional supplement splits our whole being into two; we become conscious of standing oppositethe world. We confront the world as an independent being. The universe appears to be divided into two: I and the world.

[We are talking about this: "Thinking connects us with the thought aspect of the world. But at the same time it separates us as the mental process splits the world into two halves: our objective outer perception and our subjective inner thought-world."]
[We seek something more in things that exceeds what is immediately given to us. This addition splits our whole being into two parts;]
When a person becomes independent the experience is more one of opposition than exclusivity. [I cannot confirm this from introspection. I don’t oppose the world that I feel I am intrinsically part of, as Chapter ‘1’ describes. I feel excluded and isolated. I face the world that stands opposite me and we are developing a deeper relationship to one another.]

 [3] We set up this dividing wall between ourselves and the world as soon as consciousness dawns within us. But we never lose the certainty of feeling that we belong to the world, and that an enduring bond connects us to it; we are not outsiders, we are within the universe.

In the preface to Riddles of Philosophy Steiner speaks of that book in terms of the intellectual work of mankind.

Hoernle uses Self, Ego (2.2) and brings in "I' (2.10), drops "I" in 2.5. Others used only "I". There is the "I" of psychology as subject (Self?) and the "I" within thinking ("I"). We won't be sure about the use of Self and "I" until later in book.
[The I/world dichotomy is clearly distinct from the mind/matter dichotomy so we are in deep waters here. This is a real test for the integrity of the decision to use mind and not spirit for Geist. I see why we need to preserve Steiner’s own use of selbst and Ich.]
[the feeling we belong… Steiner substantiates this feeling later in the chapter with …we will probe the depths of our own being in order to find those elements that we took with us in our flight from nature.
outsiders/inside – one might expect the contradistinction of noun to noun outsiders/members (insiders) rather than the noun/positional relationship distinction in the German. Position/position also possible: outside/inside. Why does Steiner choose noun/positional relationship? Is it because he will later show that this is an illusory position and not a real distinction? ]

[4] This feeling arouses the desire/makes us strive [distinction of original feeling, desire and action – clearly ‘this feeling’ is the contradictory dissatisfaction just described which is not yet a desire. streben can mean ambition (motive) or the effort. For example, Google gives: This feeling creates the desire….] to bridge the difference/separation/division between us and the world. Ultimately the entire spiritual [mental] striving of humanity is the bridging of this division. The history of intellectual life is a continuing search for this reconciliation. Religion, art and science all pursue a similar goal. [I don’t want to omit this similarity reference. It may be a significant reason for the introduction of the concept of analogy/similarity.] The religious believer searches within the revelation from God for the solution to the mysteries of the world presentedby her individual experience of dissatisfaction with the world of mere phenomena. The artist seeks to express her individual ideas in a physical medium in order to reconcile what lives within her with the outer world. She also feels dissatisfied with the world as it appears, and seeks to imprint into it what lives within her individuality that transcends the world of phenomena. The thinker seeks for the laws of the phenomena, endeavouring to penetrate her observations with thinking.
Only when we have made the world-content into our own thought content will we rediscover the unity from which we have separated ourselves. We will see later why this goal will only be reached from a more profound understanding of scientific research than usual. ><
We meet all that I have portrayed as the relationship between I and the world in the historical phenomena of the conflict between the[einheitlichen Weltauffassung] undivided world outlook of Monism, and the [Zweiweltentheorie] two-world theory of Dualism. Dualism concentrates exclusively on the separation brought about by human consciousness between I and the world. All its efforts are poured into an ineffectual struggle to reconcile these opposing sides, which it may call mind and matter, or subject and object, or thought and phenomenon. The Dualist feels that there must be a bridge between the two worlds, but is incapable of finding it. The Monist concentrates exclusively on the unity, and tries to deny or obscure the very real disparities. Both points of view are unsatisfactory because neither does justice to the facts. Dualism sees mind (I) and matter (world) as essentially exclusive, so it cannot understand how they interact. How can mind know what is going on in matter if the essential nature of matter is entirely alien to mind? How can mind affect matter in such a way that its intentions manifest as deeds under these mutually exclusive conditions? The most absurd hypotheses have been proposed to resolve these questions.
Monism has not yet achieved a better position. Three different solutions to this problem have been tried: some Monists deny mind and become Materialists; others deny matter and seek for a cure in Spiritualism; yet others declare that mind and matter are essentially indivisible in the world, even within the simplest of substances, so the appearance of both within the human being is not surprising because nowhere are they separated.

"Material" world or "material" process is not used today and may not even be understood, so I used "physical" whenever the German allowed that option.
[M/F gender issues. The plural path blurs the message of the individual response from self to world. Could believer, artist and thinker all be female?]

2.2 Materialism
[5] Materialism can never provide a satisfactory explanation of the world. This is because every attempt to explain must begin by forming thoughts about the world’s phenomena. So Materialism starts with thoughts about matter or physical processes.
But in doing so it is already dealing with two different sets of facts: the physical world and the thoughts about it. A Materialist tries to understand thoughts by regarding them as purely physical processes. He believes that thinking happens in the brain much like the digestive process in an animal’s organs. He credits matter with the capacity to think under certain conditions just as he attributes mechanical, chemical and organic processes to it. He forgets that all he has done is to defer the problem to another place.
A Materialist attributes thinking activity to matter rather than self. This brings him back to his starting point. How is matter able to reflect upon its own nature? Why does it not simply accept its existence with satisfaction? The Materialist has turned his attention away from the clearly defined subject of his own I/individuality, and becomes occupied with vague and complex attributes of matter instead. And the very same problem reappears/is rediscovered there. The materialistic view cannot solve the problem, only shift it elsewhere.

(ego that we observe through self-perception as subject can be defined --psychology "I"--, different than "I" lifted into pure thinking)

2.3 Spiritualism
[6] What about Spiritualist theory? Essentially the Spiritualist denies that matter has any independent existence and regards [fasst … auf] the world as merely a product of the ‘I’. He regards the whole phenomenal world as nothing more than a fabric woven by the mind.The problem with this view of the world is foundas soon as it attempts to derive any single concrete phenomenon from the mind. It cannot derive either knowledge or action.
2.4 Realism
If we want to know the reality of the external world, we must look outwards and draw on our store of experience. Without such experiences the mind can derive no content. Similarly, when we go into action, our intentions require the support of physical substances and forces to become realities. Therefore we are dependent on the external world.
2.5 Idealism
The most extreme Spiritualist, who might rather be called an Idealist, is Johann Gottlieb Fichte. He attempts to derive the whole world structure from the ‘I’. What he has accomplished is actually a magnificent thought-picture of the world without empirical content. Idealists can no more discard the outer physical world than Materialists can argue away the mind.

p.130 of Riddles Steiner talks of Fichte moving from ego to experience of "I", essence of ego.

2.6 Materialistic Idealism
[7] A special variant of Idealism is presented by Friedrich Albert Lange in his widely read History of Materialism. In his view Materialists are right to declare that all phenomena, including our thoughts, are the product of purely material processes, yet conversely, matter and its processes are themselves merely a product of our thinking.

“The senses only present to us… the effects of things, not even proper//accuratecopies, let alone the things themselves. But these mere effects include the senses themselves, along with the brain and the molecules that are assumed to oscillate within it.”

In other words, our thinking is produced by the physical processes that we produce ourselves by thinking. Lange's philosophy conveys nothing more than the concepts found in/ is nothing more than a conceptual elaboration of the tale of bold Baron von Münchhausen, who holds himself up freely into the air by his own pigtail.

The thinking of 2.5 would be the unconscious thinking that produces our first appearance of things. (not ego or "I") Hoernle has either removed "I" from here or it was not in the original POF. Too bad we don't have a German language copy of the 1894 original POF to be sure about what was revised in 1918.
[When we get the original German this can all be resolved.]

2.7 Indivisible Unity
[8] The third form of Monism sees the indivisible unity of matter and mind in even the simplest physical atom/thing (the atom). But nothing is achieved here, for the question that actually originates in our consciousness is once more shifted elsewhere. How can a simple substance manifest itself in two different ways if it is indivisible?

2.8 Contrast of Self with the World
[9] In considering all these points of view, we must emphasize the fundamental fact that we first encounter the original division in our own consciousness. We are the ones who detach/separate ourselves from the mother soil of nature and face the world as ‘I’. Goethe’s classic expression of this is in his essay ‘Nature’:

“Living in the midst of her (Nature) we are strangers to her. She speaks to us ceaselessly, yet tells us none of her secrets.”

But Goethe also knew the other side:

“Human beings are all within her and she is within all [human beings].”
2.9 Nature's Influence
[10] It is true that we have estranged/exiled ourselves from nature, but it is equally true that we feel we are within and belong to nature. This can only be due to nature's own influence that also lives within us.

2.10 Knowing Nature Within

[11] We must find the way back to nature again. A simple reflection can show us how. The truth is that we have torn ourselves away from nature, but we must have retained something of it in our own being. We must look for nature inside ourselves, and then we will also discover our connection with it.
Dualism fails to do this. Starting from the conviction that the human mind is entirely spiritual and incompatible with nature, Dualism then tries to hitch it up to nature. No wonder that a connecting link cannot be found. We can only find nature outside us after we know it within us.
Our guide will be the correspondence to nature within us. This defines our path of inquiry. We will not speculate here about the interaction between mind and matter. Instead we will probe the depths of our own being in order to find those elements that we have retained in our flight from nature.
2.11 Something More than ‘I’
[12] The investigation of our own being must bring us the solution to the mystery. We must reach a point where we can say: Here we are no longer merely ‘I’; here is something more than ‘I’.

2.12 The Experience of Consciousness
[13] I am aware that some readers will find that my remarks do not conform to ‘the current scientific view’. I can only reply that so far I have not been concerned with any kind of scientific conclusions, but rather with a straightforward description of what we all experience in our own consciousness. Even the above attempts to reconcile mind with the world have only been included to clarify the actual facts. This is why I have attached no value to using terms like ‘self’, ‘mind’, ‘world’ or ‘nature’ with the customary precision of psychology and philosophy.

2.13 Facts without Interpretation
Ordinary consciousness is unaware of the sharp distinctions made by the sciences and up to this point it has only been a matter of recording the facts of everyday experience. Any objection that the discussions above have been unscientific would be like criticizing someone who recites a poem for failing to follow every line immediately with aesthetic analysis. My concern here is not how far science has managed to interpret consciousness, but rather how we experience it hour by hour.
 
======== end of Chapter 2 =========
 
 
Original 1894 version by Tom Last
German text? by John Ralph
Fingers crossed by John Ralph
Also in the post by John Ralph
Debate by John Ralph
modest goals by Tom Last
reaching tech people by Tom Last
Online Course by John Ralph
paid mentors needed? by Tom Last
Marketing by John Ralph
empirical freedom by Tom Last
Truth and Science by Bishop Berkeley
Ph.D. by Beginner
Layers of meaning by John Ralph
Mr. Ralph's jargon by Beginner