1st paragraph from "The Human Individuality"

Submitted by AndreiP on Tue, 12/11/2012 - 12:15pm.

Exterior objects

"Philosophers can't explain what mental pictures are because we're not exterior objects - and our mental images have to be similar to those objects."

How come the fact the we're not exterior objects makes philosophers unable to tell what mental images are?

What does it mean we can't be an exterior object?

Does it means that we can't see our mind from outside - we're not exterior objects to ourselves (something that I can't imagine how could happen)?

In which case we could observe how the mental image in object A (our conscience) would be born: through the interaction of object A1 (our spiritual-soul-physical organism) with the other object (a red table).


2nd question:

Through the part of the world that I perceive as my own subject the current of the general processes of the world passes.

What I perceive as my own subject?

A bunch of sensations, feelings, warmth/coldness, thoughts, that-who-weaves-thoughts, a feeling that I am a permanent person.

What processes R.S had in mind?

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Often the meaning is not as

Often the meaning is not as difficult as Steiner's wording, which is the result of independent thinking. “We are not identical to external objects” could be compared to thought. When we observe our thought you could say we are identical to the observed object, as the thought is observed by us but it is also part of our internal being, we are one with it. That is not the case with a tree. We are not identical to it in this sense but our inner mental picture is supposed to be.

Steiner doesn't consider it of much value to just make an inner mental picture copy of a tree. He would rather have thinking add more to what we observe of the tree:

There outside stands a tree. I take it into my mind. I throw my inner light upon what I have apprehended. Within me the tree becomes more than it is outside. That part of it which enters through the portal of the senses is received into my inner content. An ideal counterpart to the tree is in me. This says infinitely much about the tree, which the tree outside cannot tell me. Now the tree is no longer the isolated being which it is in external space. It becomes a part of the whole inner world living within me. It combines its content with other ideas which exist in me. It becomes a part of the whole world of ideas, which embraces the vegetable kingdom; it is further integrated into the evolutionary scale of every living thing. -Rudolf Steiner, Mysticism at the Dawn of the Modern Age, Introduction

Question 2

Things can be external to our subject, which means they are an object independent of us like a tree; or they can be a result of the subject, such as the thoughts we produce about nature such as its laws. We observe a tree as something independent of us, but we also produce out of us as thinking subject another part of the world, its laws. (world processes “that I perceive as my own subject” can be the laws of nature that are produced by thinking)

Thank you for your answers.

Thank you for your answers.

You're right with the wording problem.

I like your example of world-processes that I can perceive as my own subject. At least in now-a-days science, scientists believe more-or-less that the laws they discover are the algorithms nature functions by.

That we can't see our mind

That we can't see our mind from outside - we're not exterior objects to ourselves something that I can't imagine how could happen.