Technology is will, and in a materialistic society there is a particular perception of will that is attached to the idea of expectation. And what I’d like to do tonight is share with you some alternate views of looking at will, so that when you experience technology, you begin to perceive the various dimensions of will. It’s kind of like when you work with this or you learn to do this, it’s kind of a switch in your soul that you can look at the different will levels that are operating within one thing. Rudolf Steiner in The Study of Man gave seven levels of will. The level of will of instinct is the level of will that the human consciousness has in the physical body. Instinct is automatic patterning that we are not in contract with consciously in any way.
The second level of will he calls drive, as the forces in life body or the endocrine system in the human that are also automatic, but are kind of reflexive. They are responsive, reflexive forces that create patterns of behavior that are codified activities. We call them hormones. So a hormone is will. Parts per million of adrenaline and suddenly you’re doing things that you’re not in contact with, but you are active in your quote will.
Rudolf Steiner gave a picture that that level of the will, level of drive in life is a level of consciousness that a person has when they enter into their own life body as part of initiation. They experience the nature of their own drives. The third level of will, according to Rudolf Steiner, is in the astral body or the soul, and that is desire. Drive is codified and organized instinct, and desire is personalized drive. So, I take what are appetites and they become desires. So appetite, like hunger, becomes a desire that later becomes problematic when it becomes personalized.
As hunger, it’s there to maintain the biologically integrity of my organism. As obesity, it becomes problematic in my soul because it’s personalized. So the level of desire in the soul is a level of consciousness of a particular kind of will that is connected to objects and things, and even people. The fourth level of will is a level in the I being or the true self, and that level of will Steiner designates as motive because it’s in the I being of the human that initiation takes place to transform desire in the soul into imagination, which is the level of will in the transformed I being, of what Rudolf Steiner calls manas.
So the level of will in the I being, the true self, sees the motives for the desire. Level of desire in the soul. In the true self, I learn to look at my desires as pictures of what I will be when I overcome my desire. The problem with desire is that there’s always an expectation and the will of the creator is without expectation because the will of the creator has given to humans freedom. The philosophy of freedom.
So we, as humans, have to learn to free our will impulses from expectation in order to become like the divine. That’s sort of the philosophy of freedom sort of extended a little bit. And when that happens, the organ of perception in the will and the manas body is imagination. Imagination is the ability to work with inner pictures in freedom without expectation because I can see my true self monitors how the desires are operating in my soul and transforms those desires into imaginative cognition for how will operates in the world. And the particular task of this age, this is a manasic age, not monastic, but manasic. It’s an age designated to develop imagination. The ability to consciously transform images in my own soul. The will images, desire images.
Now I’d like to give you an imagination so you can see how you can kind of play with this. Perceiving the states of will in a being requires what St. Thomas Aquinas called second intention, and I’ll explain that in a moment. The will, esoterically, is known as intent and there is intent that is free of expectation and intent that is only designated to have an outcome. They both represent intent and it’s a critical faculty to be able to develop an imagination that can perceive intent. We could say it’s a future social organ and it really exists in the heart as an organ of will. The perception of will. The perception of intent. The perception of motive.
So, I’ll give you an imagination to give you a feeling of how you could build such an organ. So imagine that there’s a field and in the field there are field stones, and men and women are out picking field stones off the field. There is a certain intent in that. There’s a will in that. But then they gather the field stones and build a fieldstone wall, as there are a gazillion of them in this area. But some time as you’re going through town, look at all the field stone walls and imagine people placing those stones. It’s staggering. Imagine people, stone after stone, after stone, and then they get the wheelbarrow, and they bring it over, and then somebody designates it to dress the stones, and then lay them up, and then surveying, and that there is this will activity. The wall is the product of will activity, but the will activity, once the wall is there, is apparently unavailable to us, and the inability of us to see it as a will object makes it fall into just becoming a thing.
And we could say their creation falling into becoming a thing is the separating of people from each other because the ability to imagine all the people building a wall, that’s called empathy. When we just see the wall as an object, we lose empathy. And I’ll get back to empathy at the end of the talk because there’s an epidemic of a lack of empathy in the world today. It is epidemic, it is universal. Empathy just means I can awaken to your motive. I don’t have to believe it, but I have to awaken to it and recognize it. And many, many people, even young people, are coming back in that don’t have the capacity to be empathic.
So if we imagine that stone wall being built, just go through town and look at one, and then imagine all the workers there putting it together, you’re actually transforming the intent from being just an object to having a connection to the intent of beings. And this is very critical in the work of understanding technology today is to make a distinction between the will in objects and the will in beings. It’s a critical function.
So we could take that field stone wall a little further. Let’s imagine you’re going through town and instead of looking at fieldstone walls, you’re looking at brick houses. So suddenly the field stone just becomes burnt as a resource, and then the clay has to be gathered, and forms have to be made. And why are we doing that? Well, so that the field stone wall doesn’t have to be refurbished every couple of years because the rains is causing things for it to collapse. Now we make brick and mortar, we fire it so that it lasts longer, and we have a much longer expected outcome in our will, which requires much more input of will to have it happen. There, suddenly, you have technology.
So the technology means that I have a higher expectation from that same kind of activity. So now, I’ll go through town and imagine the kiln, the miners who mine the clay, to make the bricks, the put it in the kiln, to build the wall, to be the house that Jack built. And suddenly, there is an amplification of will, but the intent is at another level because technology has amplified the power over the natural materials. And I’ll amplify that into the making of a city. And just go down into London and look at all the row houses, and all the bricks, and make your head spin. And then go look at all the railway tracks, and think of all of the forging of the metal, and the mining of the metal, and the building of the rails, and then the making of the sweepers, and then the crushing of the rock to fill the space between the sweepers, and … and imagine people doing that, and suddenly you have a perception of an immense, immense, immense will through technology.
So it’s a little imagination. So instead of just cruising around London, bring it in a little bit and say, “I’m going to turn my will and I’m going to put my will glasses on and look at those.” So now let’s go back and go from the city, we’ll go back through the brick house, we’ll go back to the field stone. And Angus, yesterday, we had a lovely dinner and each other, and Sabrina, and we went out to a place to eat, and there was a building that was built in the 1300s, which was like, “Whoa. Okay.” And where I come from, that just doesn’t happen, and it was made by a conscious choosing of field stones that was also meant to take the field stones out of the field, so that more sheep could be built. Where sheep could be raised.
The building then was built in order to house a holy group of Cistercian monks. They enabled that the pasture could support many, many more sheep, and because they did that wool got better, and the food for the sheep got better, and then the Templars came and took that wool, and took it to Florence, and started an empire, and started to build then the basis of a cathedral. So there’s the fact that the wool ended up being a cathedral changed the intent instead of just being a Roman archway, so the train could go over a road. This is an interesting question and it puts its finger on the role of technology and occult … Well today at the end of the talk, I’ll talk about occult devices. What is an occult device and what is the will in an occult device.
I’ve spent a couple of years on a submarine and I can tell you, submarines are occult devices. So that quality of will, when we take the field stone and then move it out into the cathedral, it serves as a mystery center, we take it out and we make it just into a … You go into the train station and you see all the bricks laid up there, think about all the people that worked there to make that, and had to make the forms, and all the lumber. Where this stuff makes a difference is if you try to build a little shed out back … When you try to build a little shed out back and you start looking around at the buildings that are around, you get a really good hit of will, of what will it takes to build a building, because you’re struggling with your little circular saw, and a hammer, and a drill to make a building happen, and then suddenly you see something like this.
And, and, and, and those types of imaginations are a training in the beginning of a new culture to be able to appreciate the will that provides for us our life. So let’s go back now. We’re at maybe in a cathedral, we come back, we ask the will to get back to the field stone. Now let’s go back the other way to the forming of the field stone, which is also will because it’s not human will. Rudolf Steiner calls that will ruling will. R-U-L-I-N-G. Ruling will. It is the original will to make a creation, and if we start imagining the forming of the field stone with the seas coming in and going out, and we add that to the work of the Cistercian monks, then suddenly, “Whoa, where does the human picking up stones off the ground, and then burning them, and then forming them, and then having machines that sort them into little tiny pieces that are bigger than this room to make a building that serves a mystery function, where in this is this intent? How do we measure intent? How do we work with it? What does it mean?”
“Can we live in this culture and understand the immense disparities of will that are present today?” If you have a plastic card that has a couple of numbers on it, you can get to Tijuana. But if you don’t have that plastic card that has some numbers on it, forget it. That’s will. So let there be light. That’s will, but it’s in an occult device. So hopefully you get the flavor of where I’m going with this, and if we even want to understand Rudolf Steiner’s levels of will, it’s useful to look at the work of Thomas Aquinas.
So Thomas Aquinas really was focused on the idea of intent or intention, and he had what he called first intention. And the first intention is when a human being interacts with a sense object, and then extracts from the sense object qualities, and can form an inner picture of those qualities inside. There’s a kind of intent in that that he called adequatio. A-D-E-Q-U-A-T-I-O. Adequatio, in Latin, refers to equating, and it’s the equating of the thing and the mind. That’s Aquinas’ famous quote about intent. It’s necessary to equate the thing and the mind.
But the operating thing there is thing. So for Aquinas, first intention always involved some type of object that I encountered with my sense, and then could abstract from the object qualities that allowed me to say, “That object exists out there in reality.” When I had the experience that that object exists in reality, it allows me to say, “I exist in reality, but I am not that object.” I experience it myself a kind of intent, and the object has its intent, and I have to work to equate my intent with its intent by thinking about it.
I have to say it’s red, it’s round, it’s hard, it’s soft, it’s whatever. I take the qualities from the object, I perceive that somehow those qualities have come together in a configuration that has intent, it has meaning, it has will, and then I have to put my will of intention to that and extract from it those qualities. When I can equate the qualities that I have in my mind with that out there, I have adequatio because I have extracted from the object through intent. I’ve matched my intent to think about the object with the intent of the object. And the intent of the object comes from another dimension, but it exists in the object as a sense percept. He called it first intention.
But then he said there’s another intention that the human being has. He called it second intention, and the second intention is the ability of the human being to monitor the process of first intention. A human being can actually think about the process of organizing, “Oh here’s this thing, and here’s the image I have of it, and check the validity of the adequatio.” Pretty cool. So in second intention, I am monitoring my intention to intend to monitor the intention of the object. And there we get to philosophy of freedom again.
However, and if you go on websites or in philosophy books and read about Aquinas today, the Aquinas scholars kind of stop there and they say, “Well maybe there’s kind of a variety of second intention and that is second intention allows me to tell whether my adequatio is true or not in the realm of an object.” But I can also tell whether or not my adequatio is true in the realm of a being. I can say, “I have a true friend.” And my qualities of assessing whether I have a true friend are very different from saying, “I have an ice cube in my hand.” But I’m still using that kind of second intention to do it.
When I say I have a true friend, my intent is to have adequatio with the qualities of them that I recognize to be true, and I equate their trueness to me with thoughts, with patterns of thought that I get meaning from their being. When I have second intention with an object, I don’t sense being. What I sense is utility. There we’re getting near technology again.
In second intention, in the ancient world or at the time of Thomas Aquinas, it was just taken for granted that the source of the object and the source of my true friend were both god. It was just a given. Today, if you look with this, you’ll find it’s the rare philosopher that includes that dimension of the divine when they were discussing the second intention of Aquinas. They just drop it off. The whole god thing is like, “Well, that’s the Middle Ages. We’re way beyond that stuff now.” But therein hangs the tale.
So the divine realm has been relegated to an antiquated notion of intent when it was the sum of Aquinas. It was the fundament. Of course, my friend and my pen come from god. And coming from god, they have aligned to me of intent that I can learn to have adequatio for, and all things will lead me back to the divine, benign presence that gives me the things that I use for my life and my technology. So within the perception of the intention was a kind of mood of gratitude. Not a mood of, “This is my land, and I can bring in bulldozers, and sell it to Afghanistan if I want, and you don’t have anything to say about it because I have a lawyer that’s more powerful than you are.”
These are my trees here, and if I want to chop them down and send them to a pulp mill, that’s not your problem. This is my deed here because those trees are just a resource. And behind a resource there’s no being. This is a very deep issue when we want to understand technological will. If there is no being, I don’t owe it anything. If by law, the law of first intention of objects, I have laid claim to that through inheritance, then I can do what I will.
In the old days, the only way you could get firewood around here was with a windfall. They caught you cutting, like out here cutting these trees, there’s a lot of trees being cut out here. If you cut down a tree, the lord of the manor could hang you, and draw and quarter you because you were poaching. But if the lord broke the land law, you could go out, and grab it, and drag it home, and use it because it was an act of god. This is a curious world and we’ve forgotten all about that because we have chainsaws.
So we can go in Brazil and chop down all of Brazil in order to grow corn for ethanol. Hey, it’s just the market value. So this is a will power that is making beings into commodities. And when they become commodities, they lose their beinghood and this is The Belly of the Beast to give humans the impression that the world is simply a series of commodities rather than behind nature is a whole realm of being.
So here, I have a little list here and second intention we have being and object. In second intention, I have the ability to reflect. If I reflect about a being, my will is moving into the realm of imagination, transforming desire into imagination because my I being that does this flip is finding being. So that’s what I was looking for in the world. My true self wants to find in the world other true selves, so that we can will together for a better world. This is just a higher nature of community.
But when my second intention is focused just on objects, that quality of imagination becomes a search for innovation. And imagination is the discovery of what is new within what appears to be old, and innovation is the clever manipulation of what is already known to appear new. I’ll say that again. Imagination is the finding of what is new in what appears to be old, and you’ll only find that with beings because each being is a separate universe. Look at the people. Just look to your left, look at the person to your left and look at the person to your right.
It’s that traveler’s guide to the universe. You’re just traveling through other universes there. You call it talking to your friend. So when you encounter being, being always incites imagination. Imagination is linked to manas. The transformation of desire through the perception of motives. How can we understand that? Your wife will tell you, “You need to stop putting your socks in the sink.” It’s the will impulse that needs to be transformed.
So when you contact another person that way, you get a reflection back to you that’s kind of, “Here’s a new imagination for you, Dennis.” So that’s what happens when you contact beings is because they’re not mute. They have their own imagination going on inside. They have to own level of transformation of desire into insight of imagination through a higher will functioning, because they are on a process, like we all are, of initiation, which is learning to see your motives.
When you perceive the being nature, which is the exercise of when you perceive people making the wall, it stops being an object and it becomes an event. If you learn how to see a painting in a museum as an event of a becoming of the soul of an artist, I can guarantee you, you will give your soul a sleigh ride the next time you go into a museum. You begin to enter in. And then if you study the biography of the artist, one time I remember in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, I was not feeling well. I was on the lecture thing, and I was standing in a strange place, and I walked from one room to another, and one room is filled with light, and there was this huge Rembrandt on the wall of a commission for Berger, and it was very official.
And then there was another room on the other side where there were a few more Rembrandts, kind of official, and in the doorway, right next to the doorway where the lights weren’t on focus was a little painting. And I was walking from one room where it was all the Bergers who are all lit up to the other room where the Bergers were all lit up, and I was saying, “Well where’s Rembrandt?” And I kept kind of wandering back and forth, and every time I go through the doorway there was like a little, “Psst, hey.” And then I was involved.
And I went through the doorway in the dark, and I turned, and there was about a two foot by two foot of Saskia, his wife. And I just didn’t kind of think about it, and I just kind of walked up, and I’m looking with my painter’s eye into … I was trained as a painter. I walked up, I look into her eye, and her down was done with just these kind of brush strokes, but it was just the sexiest thing you ever saw on a woman. It was just like, “Ooh. Come here.”
And I just remember I felt this wave, like sometimes when I was younger, I used to feel in certain [inaudible] . It was pure will I can tell you. In an image, it was just brilliant. Two foot by two foot. Why? Because he was in that being. I’m feeling it even now. So he was in that being in such a way that his spirit was divining with a high level of imagination. And the material, the technology, followed the movement of his soul and then left a footprint, as Angus says, of that movement for us to either walk by in the dark or stop and enter into.
So being creates imagination, but in second intention, seeing objects creates innovation. Innovation, the clever manipulation of what is already known to appear new. Imagination, the exploring what is old to find a new come out of it. To be surprised. Now people who do research even with innovation, their process can be imaginative. That’s the R in R&D. In research and development. But the pressure is on the D, meaning have you not come up with an imagination yet? As I saw that movie about Michelangelo and the Pope about the Sistine Chapel, and the Pope would be walking day by day, and there’s Michelangelo up on the thing, and the Pope would say, “When will it be finished?”
And Michelangelo looked down and said, “When it is done.” This is research and development. That the expectation that this research is going to lead to an output and an outcome that we can apply, and we’ll develop it, and it moves on down the road. It’s part of our product line for the new … So how do we somehow understand the difference? Because in today’s language, innovation and imagination are used in advertising synonymously, but they’re really not. One has a very different intent than the other.
So, I think it could best be said with an old alchemical saying that the ancients sought to reveal the mystery, and the contemporaries seek to solve the mystery. And it was considered in the ancient world the height of egoity to try to solve the mystery because it was understood. If you solve the mystery, the mystery died. So the ancients wanted to keep the mystery alive because they understood that was what was informing society. That’s what was informing nature. That was providing sustenance. It was the mystery.
So the solving of the mystery leads to innovation and the revealing of the mystery leads to imagination. So everyone could now look at Goethe’s idea of phenomenology as a kind of science. At the time of Goethe, science was going in the direction of innovation through the development of the experimental method in the 1500s by Francis Bacon, who Goethe was inheriting a scientific method, which was based on object recognition at the expense of being. That’s what he was inheriting as a science and he concluded, it was through Newton, but if you know the work, three quarters of Newton’s work was theological and alchemical.
It was only the principia, and calculus and things like that that has been taken over because that’s where science was going. But Newton’s, by far, the large output was about the divine relationship to human beings. But it was considered to be the wonderings of a strange mind, and it’s been lost because scholars known it was extent because of his writings. So Goethe inherited a science that was already going in a direction of a very strong abstraction and he said, “The abstraction works in the physical realm because it’s in the physical realm that the objects have fallen out of the life.”
So we could afford to have physics and chemistry be abstract, pull them away from the kind of mystical, metaphysical ideas of the alchemists. Okay. That’s okay. We can do that. But if we study life, that method of studying life in an abstract way is going to lead us to making errors against life. So he sought to develop a methodology in science called phenomenology where the phenomena could reveal to him the life activity of the thing he was observing. And in order to do that, he talked about harmonizing his mind with the experiment. Not creating a hypothesis to lay on top of it and then try to prove it.
He was trying to get expectation out of the equation by doing phenomenology, hence bringing his intent through second intent into the beings or what he called archetypes that stand behind the life phenomena. So that approach that he brought, phenomenological approach, was recognized by Rudolf Steiner as a basis for new kinds of sciences, especially life sciences. So when we start studying life sciences with an eye towards adequatio, that’s then ecology. That the process my mind is going through with the actual thing that’s happening in oikos, in the natural spheres. I have to equate my mind with that so when I arrive at a conclusion, I’m not violating a fundamental principle that is not yet apparent to me.
And what we have in our laps today is called climate change, which is just really a good example of why we should be doing that. We’re entering into life forces without having adequatio, and then we wonder what’s happening. Without having adequatio that there is a kind of beinghood in the natural world that already is extent as a pattern of forces that are intelligent. That is considered to be such an antiquated point of view today by science, but it is a fundamental point of view of a future science that can recognize the spiritual beinghood of life. That behind life, there is spiritual beinghood that has intent.
So phenomenology was brought by Goethe as a kind of saying, “Oh, I think the trains are going in the wrong direction in life sciences.” And he was involved with teachers, people, who were teaching him alchemy and what we could call mystery wisdom. Faust is just a document of mystery wisdom. And the teaching of mystery wisdom was an undercurrent in the beginnings of Goethe’s, what, 1850. The beginning of the Industrial Revolution. So the founding of the Industrial Revolution and the technological advances of the Industrial Revolution have really an occult root.
So, I forget. Was it in the first period that I mentioned that virtual … Yeah. So during the Olympics, there was that kind of unusual opening, in the UK, put on show, and the hammering of the metal, and I’m sitting there watching it with my wife, and I think it was significant that the name of the ceremony was pandemonium. Well pandemonium means all the demons. It’s a picture and it was about the rise of industrialism. And if you knew a little bit about the masonic practices and esoteric lore, you saw that whoever instructed the dancers to do this was instructing them in the grips and signs of the masonic lodge.
So on worldwide TV, there was an occult ritual being enacted in the UK at the beginning of the Olympics. This was being incarnated here for everyone. So what used to be called “occult” is now not. It has now become technology. Your cellphone is clair-audience. Your iPhone with the screen, to make it bigger or smaller, that’s clairvoyance. “What do you want to see?” “I want to have a view from the satellite of the dark side of the earth.” “Oh look. Oh, there it is. I want it bigger.” “Okay. There you go.”
“I want split screen, so on top of that I can watch the soccer game while I’m watching it.” “Oh, you want that? Yeah, we can do that.” So the realm of what used to be the occult is now in the world as technological advance. It’s just kind of in the marketplace because our task as humans is to go into the path of imagination. So the beings who are interested in occult devices will provide images for you, so that you don’t have to make them yourself because if you make them yourself, you’re going to start having imaginations of the beings that are standing behind the images, and it’s like a Wizard of Oz.
Don’t look at the guy behind the curtain because he’s a little businessman, round businessman from the Midwest in a business suit. He’s not the great wizard. However, there is a mystery in that because Rudolf Steiner said the initiates today will be in industry. And the reason why is because that’s where the power is. Will to change the world. To change the shape of the world, to change the way in which people interact in the world, to change nature. To make things happen on such a scale because now, we have the capacity with our innovative consciousness in second intention to even get into the very core of objects and pull from them power. This is The Belly of the Beast.
And the question is, not that it’s bad, but can we also have imagination? Can we also develop a sensitivity to life? In order to do that, we have to develop empathy through something called theory of mind. Now if you Google theory of mind … I’m not a luddite. I work on a computer all the time. My son is an art director at Pixar, my oldest son is a high tech consultant and advisor in a firm at San Francisco for software applications for HMO. So, I’m not saying, “Oh throw your computer out and get it an abacus.” It just doesn’t [inaudible] . It’s not the same.
The question is does the fact that all the people that on the bus are looking at … Are texting somebody else say something to you about culture? So here you are, you sit next to them, I go on the plane, I sat down, I looked at the guy next to me and I go, “Hi, how are you doing?” He went, “Mm-hmm [affirmative].” He was there for three hours until he had a couple … And then went to sleep. And then in the morning, when we were coming in across the sea, we’re just coming in, he started talking a little bit, but we had been hanging out for eight hours, and he spent half the time looking at his cellphone.
So that’s okay. I was doing other things, but that’s kind of where we are. So what’s at stake is the ability of empathy, which requires that I sort of engage you as a being rather than just a body bag that kind of looks like an old guy sitting in the seat next to me. Can I somehow just say, “Hi. How are you?” “Fine. How are you?” That would have been great. I know you’re busy, you’re a businessman, you’re doing your thing. But there was none of that. It was like … So when you Google theory of mind, you are led to websites on two subjects. One is autism because the issue of autism, and Asperger’s, and learning difficulties centers around the idea of theory of mind. Theory of mind means that my mind is not based on literalness, but on the ability to absorb symbols and metaphors.
I can think metaphorically, which I need to do in order to deal with you. If I think literally with you, then we end up calling the police because pretty soon, we’re over some kind of boundary. But if I think metaphorically with you, we have what we call conversation. Conversare. We make poetry with each other. Otherwise, we don’t make poetry at all. We have what we call discussion, which is Dis, the name of the ancient god, Pluto, which is the god of hell, and cus, coming from cuterie, to chop into little pieces. So discussion literally means I take what you say, I chop it into little pieces, and send it to hell. Literally.
So if I want to make verses with you, I have to understand that we’re both speaking in this language of theory of mind, that I have to wait a bit before what you’re saying kind of makes sense to me. You have to kind of massage this a little bit. And if I don’t have the time or energy or even the will to care what you mean, then I just hit delete for you, and you’re off somewhere else. I unfriend you. I delete you from my database.
So that quality of theory of mind, if you Google theory of mind, you get led to autism and learning disabilities having to do with the people who have the affliction can’t tolerate other people’s minds. They can’t. It’s like, “I don’t go there. I don’t do that.” Now curiously, the other kind of websites you’re led to, if you Google theory of mind, is cybernetic websites. Websites about cybernetic consciousness because the holy grail of computer consciousness is theory of mind. To make a computer function as irrationally as a human.
When it does, we are in deep trouble. So that’s the pro of great price for programmers is to make computers have the flexibility of mind to understand nuance rather than being literal. And now we have humans who are literal that don’t understand nuance. Is that a hoot or what? So that’s kind of where we are today in The Belly of the Beast. We have people who are thinking more like machines while a whole bunch of other people that are trying to make machines think more like people.
The inner work of cultivating imagination comes under Rudolf Steiner’s indications to people out of the work of Christian Rosenkreuz, the great western initiate. And he calls it learning to give nature back to the gods. So in order to give nature back to the gods, I have to have first intention where I study science in a way that allows me to correct my inner pictures based on my sense experience with rigor. I have to have my sense experience of a phenomenon that I correct with reality. If I don’t do that, I’m on a metaphysical path and I run the risk of eventually becoming prey to my own illusion.
So Rudolf Steiner has said that when Christian Rosenkreuz came back to teach this, the first requirement for the people was assimilate the scientific knowledge of the day. As anthroposophists, we go over the hill and say, “It’s all fallen,” then our other mind is going, “Yeah. Go over there. Don’t even look at what I’m doing.” So the first intention requires that I take my sensing and my sense experience, my thinking based on sense experience, and rectify it. That’s just the path of science.
However, if I stop there, then I’m just starting to move towards innovation because I lose contact with the being that stands behind the sense object. So in the first imagination we did, we went back through the monks picking up the field stone back to the sea that used to be there that formed it. I have to try to look for what Goethe called original causes. I have to try to once again have, what Carl Jung called for, a sense of the divine in my life. A sense that there is a transcendent dimension even within the things that I’m studying as a scientist that somewhere in them is a being that has an intelligence.
So my first is rectifying my thought patterns based on my sense experience. The second is that I have to learn how to form inner pictures that move rather than that are snapshots. The autistic consciousness is a picture consciousness, but it’s a snapshot consciousness. Not a movie consciousness. This is lost in the public domain because all the people who are advocating that autism is the coming wave of consciousness, are using that pictorial consciousness and calling it imagination, and I would beg to differ. It’s literal and it’s exact, but it can’t be worked with. It tends to be very literal and fixed.
This is the snapshot. If you read the book, Thinking in Pictures, by Temple Grandin, I brought it because I thought it was going to be about imaginative cognition and it’s all about how she had a former Rolodex of pictures in her mind. And literally, if she wanted to remember something, she had to make the Rolodex, and make it … This is R-O-L, and put the picture in there so that she could remember it in some type of sequence because in her mind, she had a photographic memory. So when she looked at something, it was a snapshot, and she could recall that in detail, but she couldn’t morph it.
So the morphing of one picture into another is a critical skill. That’s very useful to learn how to draw. So when I do that, then the third component of giving things back to the gods is I have to take the movies that I’m making of this stuff into sleep meaning I have to think the pictures before I go to bed, the symbolic pictures of the things of the world that I think are interesting to me. And when I do, I’m placing into the spiritual world a question to them, “Can you endow this with imaginative cognition?” I take my science and I make it spiritual science.
My science is the core that gives me rigor, and then I have to move that into metaphor and symbol through working with the pictures into sleep. As I start to do that, I start to become aware of a realm where pictures arise that are beginning to speak to me about deeper mysteries of the natural world. I am actually being drawn into the realm of the beings that stand behind the natural world. Rudolf Steiner calls that the realm of the elementals. However, in the realm of the elementals, I have to make sure that I hold onto my day week in consciousness and for that, I need to hone my rigor in my scientific research. So, I get a kind of tick tock going back and forth, and checking for facts, and then giving them away, and then checking for facts, and giving them away.
And in the interim, I find some type of artistic practice that allows me to see how I’m doing. This, in a nutshell, is the curriculum here at the mill. Thank you.
Thank you, Dennis. And we’re all looking forward to tomorrow. Thank you. Thank you everybody.
Dennis Klocek, MFA, is Co-founder of the Coros Institute and founder of Consciousness Studies at Rudolf Steiner College. He is the author of many books including the newly released, Esoteric Physiology and also Sacred Agriculture: The Alchemy of Biodynamics. Dennis is known as an international lecturer.