I Went FishingOct. 2010
I am forwarding some posts that I made a couple of weeks ago to the Yahoo "Anthroposophical Methodology" e-group. This is a private e-group, but since all these posts are mine, I feel free to put them into the public domain. You see, I went fishing for some criticism, but I didn't catch any. Two weeks have now passed without even a nibble, so I am casting a wider net. Perhaps from this larger readership I can get some responses, but I must double and redouble the *caveat* that I gave to the smaller e-group: I might take a long time to answer any responses, if I answer at all. But I do hope that some discussion will ensue, even if only very slowly.
(I don't have much time for online anthroposophizing; I haven't even read all the posts to these e-groups that I wanted to. That's just part of my big backlog of unread writings, which I will likely never catch up with. I do wish to read the Scaligero book sometime, among others, but I don't know when or if I will get around to it, or them.)
The subject of these following posts is the concept of the "7fold dialectic" [my coinage]. This concept was introduced (as far as I know) by Gennady Bondarev, in writings very little of which are publicly available in English. So here I cannot make assume that people here will know what I am talking about, and I will try to explain this concept a little.
(For those who read German [most of?] these
writings of Bondarev are online. Perhaps the
most succinct is
-- There is a small group of volunteers who are working to make more of Bondarev's works [including much of the *PoF* book] available in English; hopefully these translations will be online in the not-too-distant future.)
According to my limited understanding, Bondarev asserts that real, developed thinking is naturally sevenfolded. The first three stages of this thinking comprise the familiar Hegelian triad of thesis-antithesis-synthesis, but then the fourth stage takes a leap into another realm; Bondarev calls this stage *beholding* (*anschauen*). And then follow the three further, higher stages. Bondarev pictures this 7foldedness thus, in his diagram of the "Erkenntnistheoretische Lemniskate":
[See page 2 of "Rhythmisches Denken".]
Bondarev names these stages:
. . . or, alternatively:
These first three terms are practically the same in English; *Anschauung* is *beholding*; *Wahrnehmung* is *perceiving*; *Einheit* is *unity* (*Alleinheit* is, roughly *unity of the whole*); *Allgemeinen* is, roughly, *commonality of the whole*; and thus *Einheit des Individuelien und des Allgemeinen* is, again roughly, *unification of the individual and the general*.
Here is my summary of Bondarev's ideas on this subject (the quotations are directly from him, rendered into English):
The first three stages of thought, recognized by Hegel, are characteristic of "reflective" thinking.
The fourth marks the transition to higher consciousness.
This fourth cancels and preserves, supersedes (aufheben) the first three.
"In his transition from reflection to beholding, the human being eliminates the processes in the brain and begins to experience his thoughts in the etheric body."
This fourth "is achieved on the basis of love for the object of cognition".
In this fourth "we do not think, but we still remain within the thought-element. We renounce all thoughts, judgments, logical conclusions."
To reach this fourth "We must do the same when we are considering a thought-content. We remain intellectually passive, dispassionate, and wait to see what can come towards us from a certain 'other' side."
"The process [of thinking] gone through on the fourth level is identical with the experience of observation. It consists in the act of ideal perception, to which the ideal, essential core of the object under examination must reveal itself on a higher level than its manifestation as concept in the element of synthesis."
"At the fourth stage we refrain from bringing into movement the will which we have developed in the three previous stages. . . . the will begins to transform the organ of thinking into an organ of ideal perception."
" . . .. think in 'beholding' - i.e. in perception, not reflecting, but receiving the ideas from the objects of perception - whether they be of a sensory or an ideal nature."
". . . . when the idea appears, this is already the fifth stage . . . . It represents a holistic, though not complete, manifestation of the ur-phenomenon . . . ."
"This is the sixth element of the seven-membered cycle of morphological thinking, or of the logic of thinking in beholding: the individualizing of the idea."
"The cycle is completed with the return of the idea with which it began, to all-unity. . . . This is the concluding, seventh element, or the seventh stage"
"Of this thinking one can say that . . . within it ideal perception first has the character of universality, then becomes individualized, and finally the individual element finds itself again in the universal (element 7)."
". . . . to remain fully and entirely in the . . . conceptual and logical element and merely to extend the limits of the latter. In this case the thesis, which has passed through negation and has been resurrected in the synthesis, undergoes cancellation and preservation (Aufhebung) once more, after which it shows itself in its ur-phenomenon form in the fifth stage of the cycle."
"In order to be able to move on further, from reflection to beholding, it is absolutely necessary to develop, in addition to the sense of thought, the sense of the higher 'I'. This is what preserves the subject of thinking when it carries out yet another negation: the negation of itself as an 'I' that thinks in concepts. Then, in pure sense activity, the higher 'I' appears."
"When he thinks according to the laws of imaginative logic (of 'beholding' thinking), the human being attains in its sevenfoldness an intermediate stage of Being, in which he can grasp everything in consciousness, but does not yet realize within himself the stages of supersensible consciousness."
". . . . from the element of All-unity the movement of thinking advances to a new cycle, whose first element leads the preceding cycle to an octave and is at the same time the beginning of a new cycle."
Again, that is only my feeble, brief summary of a tremendous idea. I fear that the readers, to get more understanding, must read Bondarev directly. I have not yet read all that Bondarev has written on this theme, not even all that is available to me in English. But I will say for now that Bondarev makes a very strong, lengthy, profound case for his view -- and further, that he maintians that Steiner himself naturally thought and wrote according to this sevenfold pattern, that he (RS) did not set out to make his writing fit a 7folded mold. Bondarev says:
". . . .Rudolf Steiner . . . . just thought, and as he did so he proceeded from his spiritual nature, which in him was different from our own. It was characteristic of him to identify with the process of metamorphosis in thinking, just as it is quite normal for us to think in opposites."
Indeed, the main objective of Bondarev's huge *PoF* book is to show in detail that the whole of *PoF* flows in this 7folded rhythm. (This is not to say that Bondarev holds that the whole of *PoF* falls simply, neatly into 7-segmented "cycles"; he analyzes some parts of that book as being much more complicated than that.)
-- I hope now that I have reached the point where my following posts will be self- explanatory. Naturally, one who has assimilated Bondarev's own writings will likely get more out of my posts than one who has only read this short summary. And hopefully, in any case, some in this wider readership will get enough "out" to be able to make "constructive criticisms". I do hereby invite such, but I would ask that the critic would make clear whether his criticism applies to the whole concept of the 7fold dialectic or only to my applications of it.
I believe that this idea of the 7fold dialectic might be the most important Anthroposophical discovery since Steiner was alive. Is anyone interested?
Robert Mason>> Back to Top