Intellectual Curiosity or Common Sense?

Submitted by Tom Last on Tue, 11/16/2010 - 3:28pm.
Republican U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski said Monday that she doesn't think Sarah Palin has the leadership qualities to be president, nor the "intellectual curiosity" needed to make good policy.


"I just do not think that she has those leadership qualities, that intellectual curiosity that allows for building good and great policies," explained Murkowski.

Sarah doesn’t have an Ivy League pedigree. Instead, she calls for a return to "common sense".

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is rallying conservatives, telling several hundred people at a Tea Party Express rally that common sense is an "endangered species" in Washington, D.C.

Can we do without intellectual curiosity and rely on our own common sense in life? Common sense is defined by Wikipedia as:

Common sense: consists of what people in common would agree on : that which they "sense" as their common natural understanding. Some people (such as the authors of Merriam-Webster Online) use the phrase to refer to beliefs or propositions that — in their opinion — most people would consider prudent and of sound judgment, without reliance on esoteric knowledge or study or research, but based upon what they see as knowledge held by people "in common". Thus "common sense" (in this view) equates to the knowledge and experience which most people already have, or which the person using the term believes that they do or should have.

Rudolf Steiner on common sense or practical thought from Practical Training In Thought:
"Many people who call themselves practical imagine that their actions are guided by the most practical principles. But if we inquire more closely, it is found that their so-called “practical thought” is often not thought at all but only the continuing pursuit of traditional opinions and habits. An entirely objective observation of the “practical” man's thought and an examination of what is usually termed “practical thinking” will reveal the fact that it generally contains little that can be called practical. What to them is known as practical thought or thinking consists in following the example of some authority whose ideas are accepted as a standard. Anyone who thinks differently is considered impractical because this thought does not coincide with traditional ideas.

"But the real facts of life often sweep aside the “practical,” that is to say, those who believe in their own ability to be practical. We must clearly distinguish between genuine thinking and so-called “practical thinking” that is merely reasoning in traditional ruts of thought."

If you are your brain, you are free!

Submitted by Admin on Tue, 11/16/2010 - 10:32am.

The Story Of My Life by Rudolf Steiner

excerpts from The Story Of My Life by Rudolf Steiner read by Dale Brunsvold
Part 1 (1:55)
Part 2 (4:29)
Part 3 (3:35)
Part 4 (5:38)
Part 5 (7:34)
Part 6 (3:10)
Part 7 (7:10)
Part 8 (2:06)

Right Wing Legal Group Pacific Justice Institute Attacks Waldorf Schools

Submitted by Admin on Fri, 11/12/2010 - 10:40am.

People for Legal and Non-Sectarian Schools, Inc. (PLANS),  has been battling for 12 years against public funding of Waldorf schools. A federal judge has ruled that Anthroposophy is not a religion, so public schools can continue to utilize its methodology. Pacific Justice Institute is providing PLANS legal assistance in their fight against Waldorf schools.

The Pacific Justice Institute was involved in the initiation of this lawsuit in 1998, has been providing research assistance to PLANS lead attorney D. Michael Bush, and plans to participate in an anticipated appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

What is the Pacific Justice Institute? While PJI is less well-known than many of the other right-wing legal groups, it has some rather high-profile supporters, like Karl Rove and James Dobson:

Addressing a group of roughly 600 people, a senior advisor to former president George W. Bush recently spoke on the importance of faith, family and freedom -- the "timeless values of America."

At the Pacific Justice Institute's 2010 Celebration of Justice Banquet in Anaheim, California, Karl Rove exhorted listeners to defend these values and to make an "argument" for them in all communities. He praised the family as the source that defines America and molds its individuals, saying, "It's in the family where hearts and minds of children are shaped. If society loves and cherishes life, it is because families love and cherish life."

He exhorted the audience to continue taking a stand for the values in which they believe, concluding that "if we stay in the fight, we will win the fight. If we love our country, we need to defend our country."

Other gala speakers included PJI attorney Brad Dacus, Dr. James Dobson, and Father Frank Pastore of Priests for Life.

(POF 14-0) The view that the human being is destined to become a complete, self-contained, free individuality seems to be contested by the fact that he makes his appearance as a member of a naturally given totality (race, people, nation, family, male or female sex) and also works within a totality (state, church, and so on). He bears the general characteristics of the group to which he belongs, and he gives to his actions a content that is determined by the position he occupies among many others. This being so, is individuality possible at all?

Au commencement

Submitted by Robban on Thu, 11/11/2010 - 9:38pm.

Hopefully I have understood enough of this site correctly so that I'm not infringing on any existing rules for journal entries. I think this area may be a good place for verbalizing thoughts and ideas as I read and contemplate this book.

I have read Frihetens philosophie before but as I'm sure everyone who has read it is aware, one reading doesn't necessarily mean very much. In these days when our thought processes are so overwhelmed (or underwhelmed) by every flitting electronic impulse, it just seems that a nice counteractive might be moments of separation from the common rabble and perhaps facilitate some new neuronal connections (or the spiritual equivalent).

On the other hand, I wonder if this time spent will be productive--one could be out doing socially productive deeds, n'est-ce pas?

Ah well, onwards.

Republicans Bring Bible To Congress

Submitted by Admin on Wed, 11/10/2010 - 10:09am.

(POF preface) It is no longer enough merely to believe, we want to know. Belief demands the acceptance of truths that are not quite clear to us. But the individuality that seeks to experience everything in the depths of its own being, is repelled by what it cannot understand.

The U.S. electorate has brought the Republicans back into power again and they are returning with their bible in hand to solve the nations epic problems.

House energy chair hopeful Shimkus cites God's promise to Noah to debunk global warming.

Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.), who will seek the Energy and Commerce Committee chairmanship maintains that we do not have to worry about climate change because God promised in the Bible not to destroy the world again after Noah’s flood.

The Republicans are looking to their belief in the Judeo-Christian old testament bible to solve today's problems. Some biblical solutions include: unemployment (slavery), adultery (death), and unwanted pregnancy (baby in bulrush). -DKOS

Steinerism Is A Threat To Steiner's Work

Submitted by Tom Last on Sun, 11/07/2010 - 7:04pm.
Judge tosses out suit over Waldorf method in 2 Sacramento schools
Sacrament Bee Nov. 6, 2010

Related story: Right Wing Legal Group Pacific Justice Institute Attacks Waldorf Schools

Dan Dugan, PLANS Inc.
Is this old man a threat to children?
A federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit that has kept the Sacramento City Unified School District in court for nearly 13 years fending off a challenge to the Waldorf teaching method used in two district schools.

People for Legal and Non-Sectarian Schools, or PLANS Inc., sued the district in 1998, claiming the method is inextricably linked to anthroposophy – the philosophy of Waldorf method founder Rudolf Steiner. The suit contended anthroposophy is a religion and that its use in public schools violates the First Amendment's establishment clause, which precludes mixing religion with government institutions.

The Anthroposophical Society is not representative of Anthroposophy

Thank goodness for the incompetence of PLANS Inc. otherwise Anthroposophy would have likely been declared a religion because of the Anthroposophical Society's rejection of the principles within Rudolf Steiner's Philosophy of Freedom. If the Anthroposophical Society stood on these principles accusations of being a cult or religion would be followed by fall down laughter. The court needs to make the distinction between the Anthroposophical Society, which no longer represents Steiner's philosophy, and Anthroposophy itself. -Tom

At a non-jury trial Aug. 31 before U.S. District Judge Frank C. Damrell Jr., PLANS attorney Donald Michael Bush put on a single witness – Betty Staley, founder of the Rudolf Steiner College in Fair Oaks – and presented the few exhibits Damrell allowed into evidence.

In a 20-page order issued Friday, Damrell agreed that Bush had failed to show that anthroposophy is a religion, and he dismissed the lawsuit.

"Plaintiff's apparent theory of the case was that anthroposophy, in its current manifestation, is synonymous with the beliefs of Steiner," the judge wrote. "In that regard, in large part, plaintiff attempted to elicit testimony from Staley regarding Steiner's beliefs. The court precluded such testimony as rank hearsay – Staley was not qualified as an expert and thus, could not opine as to the nature and meaning of Steiner's beliefs.

"For similar reasons," Damrell continued, "the court also precluded the admission of the majority of plaintiff's proffered exhibits, which were various writings of Steiner; these writings again were hearsay, and plaintiff had no witness to authenticate nor lay a foundation or testify to the contents of the writings."

Staley is director of the Waldorf teacher education program at Rudolf Steiner College, and has been a member of the Anthroposophical Society in America since 1963. She testified the group has certain membership requirements, holds meetings and has an identified purpose to support Steiner's work and thought.

"Significantly, the ASA admits anyone, without regard to religious affiliation, and … expressly rejects any sectarian activity and provides that no dogmatic stand whatsoever may be taken by the organization," Damrell pointed out.

Luckily the court didn't understand Steinerism
After a century of work, the Anthroposophical Society possesses not Spiritual Science, but Steinerism. Without the epistemologies there is no science, because there is no striving with the problem of knowledge. Without a scientific discipline at the heart of the social element of anthroposophical work, the unconscious tendencies in the social group will dumb down the work (homogenize it), and we end up with a blind faith in Rudolf Steiner as an authority, at the expense of trust in the spiritual reality of our own thinking. -

Steinerism is created and maintained by the self-appointed leaders of the Anthroposophical Society
The faux-philosophy of the Anthoposophical society is called Steinerism. Anybody who refuses to accept belief in this doctrine is denied a leadership role. The leaders are imposed on the membership
like you find in a religious hierarchy without the free nomination of the membership  --even at the local level (see Sacramento Faust Branch selection of officers). This is in violation of their own statutes; Statutes of the General Anthroposophical Society "Members may join together in groups on any basis of locality or subject, and these groups shall designate their own officers." This violation of Steiner's intention of a free society has led to the cult and religion accusations. The solution is not defeating PLANS Inc. in court, but in allowing the membership of the Anthroposophical Society to freely nominate and elect their own local, regional, and national officers.

The judge said, "Contrary to plaintiff's argument, neither Staley's testimony nor the four admitted exhibits (internal ASA documents) establish that anthroposophy is:
1. a system of belief and worship of a 'superhuman controlling power'
2. involves a code of ethics and philosophy requiring obedience thereto."

Steiner's view on a 'superhuman controlling power':
(POF 10-3 The spiritualistic dualist (that is, one who sees the Absolute, the Being-in-itself, as something spiritual in which man has no share in his conscious experience) makes man a slave to the will of the Absolute.  ...freedom is out of the question.

(POF 10-8) The moral laws which the metaphysician who works by mere inference must regard as issuing from a higher power, are, for the adherent of monism, thoughts of men.

Steiner's view on an obedience to a code of ethics:
(POF 9-4) There is a still a higher way that sees a certain value in ALL moral principles and always asks whether in the given case this or that principle is the more important.
(POF 12-0) The unfree spirit recalls, before coming to a decision, what someone else has done or recommended as suitable in a comparable case, or what God has commanded to be done in such a case, and so on, and he acts accordingly. The free spirit makes a completely first-hand decision. What others have done in such a case worries him as little as what they have decreed.

Staley testified that anthroposophical writings are meditative tools meant to encourage personal thought and self-reflection. She also said there are no formal or external signs of anthroposophy akin to religious symbols or manifestations.

Bush relied heavily on Staley's testimony defining anthroposophy as a "path from the human being to the realm of the spirit." She described that realm as "the unseen. … We have things we can weigh and measure and see and we have things we can't see and measure. … All that is not physical."

Betty Staley won in court by abandoning the speculative metaphysics and feeling mysticism of Steinerism and returning to the principles of Anthroposophy found in The Philosophy of Freedom. It leads you to an experience of the non-physical through pure thinking, the kind of thinking used in mathematics. It replaces faith in the clairvoyance of gurus with the removal of limitations and the absolute certainty of your own intuitive experience.

But Judge Damrell said her "reference to the 'spiritual' or non-physical world does not establish that anthroposophy, itself, is a system of belief."

"My strong sense is we are going to go ahead and appeal," Bush said Saturday in a telephone interview from his home in Orange County. Damrell "kind of brushed aside this philosophy linking the physical world with the spiritual world," and that will be the main thrust of the appeal, he said.

I hope the Anthroposophical Society has learned a lesson and will abandon the faith based Steinerism and take up the life of real Anthroposophy found in The Philosophy of Freedom. I don't believe Dan Dugan is out to harm children by closing great schools. I think he is serving Rudolf Steiner's ideals by fighting for the end of Steinerism.

The “Eureka” Moment

Submitted by Admin on Sat, 11/06/2010 - 9:50pm.
(POF 9-0) We shall see in this element that appears in our consciousness as thinking, not a shadowy copy of some reality, but a self-sustaining spiritual essence. And of this we shall be able to say that it is revealed to us in consciousness through intuition. Intuition is the conscious experience -- in pure spirit -- of a purely spiritual content. Only through an intuition can the essence of thinking be grasped.

Blog: Philosophy is not a Luxury, Post: Catherine

Recently , after having read the “Philosophy of freedom” of Steiner, I am undergoing a profound re-evaluation of my beliefs concerning knowledge. My vision of knowledge is completely shifting, with this notion that “thinking itself” is a door to the absolute.

This is extremely close to the visions of Coleridge and Kant, but in my view Steiner is bolder and wilder in a subtle way.

My view at the moment is that there is only two ways to access knowledge.
1. habits
2. pure thinking

Habits is what Kant describes as the human “experiences” on which we draw conclusions. As a scientist I would describe it as the field of methodology, or scientific method.

Pure thinking is the door of the Absolute, it is what the transcendentalists have called “Intuition” and Kant, “pure reason”

Although the visions of Steiner and Kant and the transcendentalists are very close, there are a few points of divergence. The main point is that Kant’s description of knowledge is static, it is like a very dual vision of the world, where knowledge is a “thing” that we can basically never reach.. I could probably do the same critique to the transcendentalists, but in lesser extend. With their “intuition” they are already more part of the process of knowledge, an actor of it.

With Steiner the whole structure shifts, and only the act of knowledge matters. The act of understanding, the “eureka”, is like the act of “intuition” it is pure “thinking”, it is absolute.

Thoughts on the other hand are relative, mental pictures are relative. Habit are also of the domain of action, of behavior, but I would put them as well in the domain of the relative.

In the learning process the act of pure knowing is found when one “understands” suddenly something that one didn’t understand before. The “eureka”. It can be a small one or a big one, doesn’t matter sine it is an absolute. As soon as our perspective opens, “ ah! I see now what he or she means…” then we have passed a threshold, a quantum leap, through an absolute.

So yes intuition, understood not at a “thing’ or a “mental image” but as the “ACT of pure thinking” is at the basis of all knowledge. The only distinction to be made is that the act of pure thinking leads to very clear and precise visions of the soul, while intuition is sometimes understood as just vague associations of mental images. Intuition understood as such, is again just a habit, like walking or drinking coffee. It doesn’t touch the absolute.

Understanding The Free Individualist

Submitted by Admin on Fri, 11/05/2010 - 10:09pm.

(POF 14-9) If we are to understand a free individuality we must take over into our own mind those concepts by which he determines himself, in their pure form (without mixing our own conceptual content with them). Those who immediately mix their own concepts into every judgment about another person, can never arrive at the understanding of an individuality.