the many-sided view

Submitted by Joel on Wed, 05/18/2011 - 7:09am.

Friends (perhaps),

Rudolf Steiner tried to teach us that knowing something from just one point of view doesn't result in actually knowing it.   Why?

In part this is because Reality itself, of any kind, is multi-sided.  Everyone who encounters the Divine, in any of its aspects (Father, Son, Spirit, Mother, Daughter, Soul etc.) meets something that is essentially so complex in its Reality, that we can only take in what we can take in - that is, our encounter wiith the not-limited is limited by our own limits.  So when Steiner writes or speaks of a certain spiritual Reality, he is only expressing a limited point of view.  Lecture cycles tried to come at a subject from multiple points of view, but even that failed because Reality, in its sublime spiritual aspects, is transrational - that is it can't be reduced to rational language.

The Poet and the Madman do better, because they never try to be rational.

We, who live in a age in love (to a degree) with rationality, and who are taught by our systems of education to take up concepts from reading in a kind of fixed way, as if what is on the page and then translated by our mind into images and thoughts, is THE TRUTH, - we impose upon Reality something that It does not Itself contain: a fixed nature.  A Cosmic Being by its nature can't be reduced to words on a page, even words produced by Rudolf Steiner.   He told us this, and we still ignore the advice, believing that we can read a Steiner text, and because Steiner was so great an initiate, we can know something through reading.

Not possible.

At best Steiner can point a finger in a certain direction, and if we really want to know something, we'd best approach this knowledge with the right degree of humility as regards its real nature.   To take the words of Steiner and turn them into fixed principles  is to murder them.  This is true even of PoF, which is why I call it a map and not the territory.   Doesn't make much difference whether we get just the right translation or whatever - PoF remains a finger pointing and to actually benefit from that book we have to look at what that finger was pointing at: our own inwardness.

joel