My problems with Chapter 2

Submitted by Slowthinker on Thu, 05/19/2011 - 4:56am.

Hi, folks!  I'm new here, so please give me a chance! I got some problems with Steiner's text.

I met a Anthroposophical VIP and he told me he conducts a course for Steiner's Esoteric School or First Class. I asked him to explain and he said it's about the >Ohnmacht< of thinking. He asked me what I imagine would be a good translation for the German word. I was pretty unsure and could only say <powerlessness<. He suggested >impotence<.  I told him I don't remember seeing this word (<Ohnmacht<) in Steiner's philosophical writings, but I admit I don't remember things well. >Macht< means power or might. >ohne< means without.  Now I ran across just this word >ohnmacht< in chapter 2 - right in front of my nose. But it's the adjective >ohnmächtig<. I checked to see what English word has been recommended here on this website, but until now i just found <ineffectual<. Can you help me out?

At the same comment exchange about chapter 2 where I saw <ineffectual<, I read that that sentence about the Dualist who subsumes <I< or Self to the side of Spirit is a big problem in English translation. But the conmmentator doesn't say why. I think the reason is easy to recognize: English ain't got no conjunction like the German <indem<!

Now I'm busy trying to understand what Steiner means in that second chapter by >Ich<, but I just don't get it! Please don't quote those remarks at the end of the chapter because I'm not interested in what philosophy and psychology define as >Ich< - I want to understand what Steiner means! Furthermore, Steiner doesn't present any definition of >Ich< when he says he doesn't want to proceed their way anyway, so we can forget them!