Awareness - Life - Form  -  Rudolf Steiner

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Awareness - Life - Form - by Rudolf SteinerAwareness - Life - Form
Basic principles of spiritual-scientific cosmology
Rudolf Steiner
Written texts, notes and lectures from 1903 - 1906

Awareness – Life – Form comprises a collection of Rudolf Steiner’s early writings, lectures, and letters, as well as private tuition notes on spiritual cosmology from the time when Steiner was working and speaking from within the Theosophical framework. These follow the publication of Theosophy and precede his monumental cosmological work: Occult Science – An Outline (now titled: An Outline of Esoteric Science)

What distinguishes the style of these writings and lectures from his later work is the use of theosophical terminology on the one hand, and the abstract and diagrammatical approach to communication of sublime cosmological principles on the other. Though he could ascertain through direct experience the subject matter he was communicating about, at this time he sometimes used schematic representations to convey these to his theosophical audience. This has the advantage of conveying ideas in a way that others can understand of the patterns and relationships of cosmological evolution, but doesn’t convey the more dynamic experience of these in imaginative pictures, as he felt able to do a few years later in the writing of Occult Science. Occult Science, on the other hand, carries the reader by way of spiritual Imaginations through the myriad activities of the Cosmic Beings, through whose interactions cosmic evolution unfolded. However, owing to the complexity of these interactions, it is not easy for the intellect to grasp the overall structures and patterns of development, which a more schematic view allows us. The reading of both, in this writer’s opinion, offers the reader a complementary approach to the understanding of cosmological development.

Steiner resorted to the use of schematic representations and descriptions as a temporary device for intellectual access to complex spiritual subjects but cautioned against their being mistaken for actual spiritual knowledge. The following is taken from a 1908 lecture in the lecture series, The Apocalypse of St. John:

“If you conceive of it in this way (schematically) it is approximately as if you were to erect the scaffolding for a house, the most external part that is intended to be used by the masons. It has as yet nothing to do with the actual subject; they are only thoughts about the subject, so to speak. We must rise from this purely intellectual scheme, which assists us indeed to understand, to the living structure, by using the pictures which are to be seen in the astral for the various conditions; then only have we what is called occult wisdom.... This (schematic view) is related to the full reality not even like the inner framework of a house to the complete building, but only like the outer scaffolding upon which the builders stand. This has to be taken down again when the building is completed. In the same way the scaffolding of thought has to be taken down again if one wishes to have the truth before one as it really is. If one considers this abstraction as the reality, then one is not by any means speaking of true occultism.... The way in which spiritual facts are presented abstractly at the present time may be seen in such a scheme, which in itself is unfruitful. I had to put it before you because we also need such a scheme, but fundamentally it is of no use to one who wishes to progress upon the truly occult path.”

The book takes its title from the three fundamental states of Being (Consciousness awareness, Life activity and outer manifestation or Form) which the cosmos undergoes in its evolutionary development. A large portion of these lectures and notes is devoted to these phases of cosmic and human evolution in terms of the seven planetary states of Consciousness (Saturn – Sun – Moon – Earth – Jupiter – Venus – Vulcan). Within each of these, Steiner characterises seven states of Life (Rounds in Theosophical terms) and within each of these, seven Form states (Globes). We are currently in the fourth Consciousness state (Earth – waking object consciousness), within this, the fourth Life state (Physical) and within this, the fourth Form state (Mineral). Within this fourth Form state there are seven Root Races and within each, seven cultural periods. We are in the fifth Root Race (post-Atlantean) and within this, the fifth cultural period (Germanic/Anglo-Saxon 1413AD – 3573AD).

This description gives the schematic outline for the vast pattern of development of world evolution, to which Steiner gives detailed qualitative content in these lectures and writings. The extent of time and the intricacies of evolutionary development is awesome to contemplate; yet through glimpsing the various phases and gathering a sense of the nature of their place and purpose, we are that much better oriented in our own phase of development, both culturally and personally.

A glossary of theosophical terms is included.

Completion Press
Trans. A. R. Meuss
302pp; paperback; b/w illustrations
ISBN: 0-9578189-3-9

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