When True Simplicity Is Gained: Finding Spiritual Clarity in a Complex World

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Cultura Sparebank dates from when a group of Norwegian anthroposophists began an initiative for ethical banking but only began to operate as a savings bank in Norway in the late 90s. Harvard Business School historian Geoffrey Jones traced the considerable impact both Steiner and later anthroposophical entrepreneurs had on the creation of many businesses in organic food, ecological architecture and sustainable finance. Bernard Lievegoed , a psychiatrist, founded a new method of individual and institutional development oriented towards humanizing organizations and linked with Steiner's ideas of the threefold social order.

This work is represented by the NPI Institute for Organizational Development in the Netherlands and sister organizations in many other countries. There are also anthroposophical movements to renew speech and drama, the most important of which are based in the work of Marie Steiner-von Sivers speech formation , also known as Creative Speech and the Chekhov Method originated by Michael Chekhov nephew of Anton Chekhov.

Anthroposophic painting, a style inspired by Rudolf Steiner , featured prominently in the first Goetheanum 's cupola. The technique frequently begins by filling the surface to be painted with color, out of which forms are gradually developed, often images with symbolic-spiritual significance. Paints that allow for many transparent layers are preferred, and often these are derived from plant materials. For a period after World War I, Steiner was extremely active and well known in Germany, in part because he lectured widely proposing social reforms.

Steiner was a sharp critic of nationalism , which he saw as outdated, and a proponent of achieving social solidarity through individual freedom. His main book on social reform is Toward Social Renewal. Anthroposophy continues to aim at reforming society through maintaining and strengthening the independence of the spheres of cultural life , human rights and the economy.

It emphasizes a particular ideal in each of these three realms of society: [1]. According to Steiner, a real spiritual world exists, evolving along with the material one. Steiner held that the spiritual world can be researched in the right circumstances through direct experience, by persons practicing rigorous forms of ethical and cognitive self-discipline. Steiner described many exercises he said were suited to strengthening such self-discipline; the most complete exposition of these is found in his book How To Know Higher Worlds. The aim of these exercises is to develop higher levels of consciousness through meditation and observation.

Details about the spiritual world, Steiner suggested, could on such a basis be discovered and reported, though no more infallibly than the results of natural science. Anthroposophy is a path of knowledge, to guide the spiritual in the human being to the spiritual in the universe…. Anthroposophists are those who experience, as an essential need of life, certain questions on the nature of the human being and the universe, just as one experiences hunger and thirst.

Steiner regarded his research reports as being important aids to others seeking to enter into spiritual experience. He suggested that a combination of spiritual exercises for example, concentrating on an object such as a seed , moral development control of thought, feelings and will combined with openness, tolerance and flexibility and familiarity with other spiritual researchers' results would best further an individual's spiritual development.

He consistently emphasised that any inner, spiritual practice should be undertaken in such a way as not to interfere with one's responsibilities in outer life. In anthroposophy, artistic expression is also treated as a potentially valuable bridge between spiritual and material reality. A person seeking inner development must first of all make the attempt to give up certain formerly held inclinations.

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Then, new inclinations must be acquired by constantly holding the thought of such inclinations, virtues or characteristics in one's mind. They must be so incorporated into one's being that a person becomes enabled to alter his soul by his own will-power. This must be tried as objectively as a chemical might be tested in an experiment. A person who has never endeavored to change his soul, who has never made the initial decision to develop the qualities of endurance, steadfastness and calm logical thinking, or a person who has such decisions but has given up because he did not succeed in a week, a month, a year or a decade, will never conclude anything inwardly about these truths.

Steiner's stated prerequisites to beginning on a spiritual path include a willingness to take up serious cognitive studies, a respect for factual evidence, and a responsible attitude. Central to progress on the path itself is a harmonious cultivation of the following qualities: [99]. Steiner sees meditation as a concentration and enhancement of the power of thought.

When True Simplicity Is Gained: Finding Spiritual Clarity in a Complex World

By focusing consciously on an idea, feeling or intention the meditant seeks to arrive at pure thinking, a state exemplified by but not confined to pure mathematics. In Steiner's view, conventional sensory-material knowledge is achieved through relating perception and concepts. The anthroposophic path of esoteric training articulates three further stages of supersensory knowledge, which do not necessarily follow strictly sequentially in any single individual's spiritual progress. Steiner described numerous exercises he believed would bring spiritual development; other anthroposophists have added many others.

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A central principle is that "for every step in spiritual perception, three steps are to be taken in moral development. It also guarantees the capacity to distinguish between false perceptions or illusions which are possible in perceptions of both the outer world and the inner world and true perceptions: i. Steiner built upon Goethe 's conception of an imaginative power capable of synthesizing the sense-perceptible form of a thing an image of its outer appearance and the concept we have of that thing an image of its inner structure or nature.

Steiner added to this the conception that a further step in the development of thinking is possible when the thinker observes his or her own thought processes. Thus, in Steiner's view, we can overcome the subject-object divide through inner activity, even though all human experience begins by being conditioned by it.

In this connection, Steiner examines the step from thinking determined by outer impressions to what he calls sense-free thinking. He characterizes thoughts he considers without sensory content, such as mathematical or logical thoughts, as free deeds. Steiner believed he had thus located the origin of free will in our thinking, and in particular in sense-free thinking.

Some of the epistemic basis for Steiner's later anthroposophical work is contained in the seminal work, Philosophy of Freedom. Tolkien and C. Christian and Jewish mystical thought have also influenced the development of anthroposophy.

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Steiner believed in the possibility of applying the clarity of scientific thinking to spiritual experience, which he saw as deriving from an objectively existing spiritual world. Steiner's writing, though appreciative of all religions and cultural developments, emphasizes Western tradition as having evolved to meet contemporary needs. Spiritual science does not want to usurp the place of Christianity; on the contrary it would like to be instrumental in making Christianity understood. Thus it becomes clear to us through spiritual science that the being whom we call Christ is to be recognized as the center of life on earth, that the Christian religion is the ultimate religion for the earth's whole future.

Spiritual science shows us particularly that the pre-Christian religions outgrow their one-sidedness and come together in the Christian faith. It is not the desire of spiritual science to set something else in the place of Christianity; rather it wants to contribute to a deeper, more heartfelt understanding of Christianity. Thus, anthroposophy considers there to be a being who unifies all religions, and who is not represented by any particular religious faith.

This being is, according to Steiner, not only the Redeemer of the Fall from Paradise , but also the unique pivot and meaning of earth's evolutionary processes and of human history. Steiner's views of Christianity diverge from conventional Christian thought in key places, and include gnostic elements:. Rudolf Steiner wrote and lectured on Judaism and Jewish issues over much of his adult life.

He was a fierce opponent of popular antisemitism, but asserted that there was no justification for the existence of Judaism and Jewish culture in the modern world, a radical assimilationist perspective which saw the Jews completely integrating into the larger society. In his later life, Steiner was accused by the Nazis of being a Jew, and Adolf Hitler called anthroposophy "Jewish methods". The anthroposophical institutions in Germany were banned during Nazi rule and several anthroposophists sent to concentration camps.

There are numerous anthroposophical organisations in Israel , including the anthroposophical kibbutz Harduf , founded by Jesaiah Ben-Aharon , forty Waldorf kindergartens and seventeen Waldorf schools stand as of Towards the end of Steiner's life, a group of theology students primarily Lutheran, with some Roman Catholic members approached Steiner for help in reviving Christianity, in particular "to bridge the widening gulf between modern science and the world of spirit".

Out of their co-operative endeavor, the Movement for Religious Renewal , now generally known as The Christian Community , was born.

Steiner emphasized that he considered this movement, and his role in creating it, to be independent of his anthroposophical work, [1] as he wished anthroposophy to be independent of any particular religion or religious denomination. The historian of religion Olav Hammer has termed anthroposophy "the most important esoteric society in European history.

Though Rudolf Steiner studied natural science at the Vienna Technical University at the undergraduate level, his doctorate was in epistemology and very little of his work is directly concerned with the empirical sciences. In his mature work, when he did refer to science it was often to present phenomenological or Goethean science as an alternative to what he considered the materialistic science of his contemporaries. Whether this is a sufficient basis for anthroposophy to be considered a spiritual science has been a matter of controversy. Sven Ove Hansson has disputed anthroposophy's claim to a scientific basis, stating that its ideas are not empirically derived and neither reproducible nor testable.

Olav Hammer suggests that anthroposophy carries scientism "to lengths unparalleled in any other Esoteric position" due to its dependence upon claims of clairvoyant experience, its subsuming natural science under "spiritual science. Though Steiner saw that spiritual vision itself is difficult for others to achieve, he recommended open-mindedly exploring and rationally testing the results of such research; he also urged others to follow a spiritual training that would allow them directly to apply his methods to achieve comparable results.

Anthony Storr stated about Rudolf Steiner's Anthroposophy: "His belief system is so eccentric, so unsupported by evidence, so manifestly bizarre, that rational skeptics are bound to consider it delusional But, whereas Einstein's way of perceiving the world by thought became confirmed by experiment and mathematical proof, Steiner's remained intensely subjective and insusceptible of objective confirmation.

As an explicitly spiritual movement, anthroposophy has sometimes been called a religious philosophy.

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In response to such critiques, the Anthroposophical Society in America published a statement clarifying its stance:. We explicitly reject any racial theory that may be construed to be part of Rudolf Steiner's writings. The Anthroposophical Society in America is an open, public society and it rejects any purported spiritual or scientific theory on the basis of which the alleged superiority of one race is justified at the expense of another race.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. Main article: Waldorf education. Main article: Biodynamic agriculture. Main article: Anthroposophical medicine. Main article: Camphill Movement. Main article: Eurythmy. See also: Social finance. Main article: Social Threefolding. Main article: Rudolf Steiner's exercises for spiritual development.

Main article: Christian Community. Philosophy portal. Frommann-holzboog Verlag, Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt, XXIV, no. Rudolf Steiner: Leben und Lehre. Munich: C. Books and Writers kirjasto. Finland: Kuusankoski Public Library. Archived from the original on The Russian Review.

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