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The Foundation Stone

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29-03-2017 10 comments
In 'Truth and knowledge' Rudolf Steiner said:
'The fact that the I can turn to activity in free-ness, makes it possible, through determination of itself by itself, to realise the category of cognition; in the rest of the world on the other hand, the categories show themselves to be connected to the corresponding given through objective necessity.'

This sentence can be found in the beginning of the work of Rudolf Steiner as a foundation of his work, but could also have been given as the germ of the whole of Rudolf Steiner’s work into the future, at the end of his work. For Rudolf Steiner himself, the metamorphosis of this germ into anthroposophy took place in his life on earth as Rudolf Steiner. For the pupils who want to follow him, this germ still has to be sown in fertile ground and has to be cultivated by understanding meditation.

What is this force of metamorphosis to a spiritualised intelligence exactly? Which secret lies in this sentence?

Thoughts are the elements of the etheric world; the human being thinks with the astral body in its different levels. But the I has the power to control thinking. The young Rudolf Steiner wanted to unfold his thoughts in a way that there were no unknown elements that spoke unconsciously while thinking. Every thought had to be crystal clear and fully understood. Thoughts come from the etheric world, thinking from the soul, but the I gives the power to think in this way, it is the guide of thinking. If thoughts come and go without the guidance of the I, there is no free act of thinking. It is this free initiative of the I that forms the basis of all human free-ness. This is the 'turning to activity in free-ness’ of the I.

But it can go farther still. It can realise its own free act, it can know that it is acting freely. It can burst out in joy because it can! But it can also know how it guides knowledge, and in this way it determinates itself by itself. There is no other instance that plays a role here. The I initiates thinking itself and understands what it does itself, but it understands it in another way as with other things and processes. Here the understanding is a self-determination. The I originates the notion of itself and what is this: It is the determination that the I is the knowing instance itself, that the notion of the I is knowledge. So the category of cognition emerges, in full free activity, without any other influence, as only coming from the I itself.


This is a true initiation. Just a point but, like a germ, it bears in it the full force of intelligence. But this intelligence is will and thought together, it is also contemplated and experienced intelligence. It can be thought in activity, it can be felt as the ultimate free act, it can be determined as the true being of the I by raising the category of cognition. This threefold being of the I is the origin of anthroposophy in the I, it becomes its own way of spiritualising of thinking, of intelligence. In its threefoldness it is the source of the Foundation Stone.

The Foundation Stone
The Foundation Stone 1913

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  • From @
    Das Ich ist die in Aufmerksamkeit zentrierte, wie gleicherweise dynamisierte Kraft des Denkens.

    Bernhard Albrecht
  • From Ron Breland @
    Alternate, somewhat free, translation by Ron Brady from his "How We Make Sense of the World," p. 46. "The fact that the I is freely able to become active in itself makes it possible for it to produce the category of cognition through self-determination; in the rest of the world, by objective necessity the categories are connected with the given corresponding to them. It must be the task of ethics and metaphysics to investigate the nature of this free self-determination on the basis of this theory of knowledge. These sciences will also have to investigate whether the I can objectify ideas other than those of cognition. That the objectification of the idea of cognition occurs through freedom, however, is already clear from the above discussion. For when the directly given and the thought-form belonging to it are united by the I in the process of cognition, the union of these two elements of reality — which otherwise would remain forever separated in consciousness — can only take place though a free act. (p. 85)
    • From Mieke Mosmuller @
      That is a translation by a native speaker, that is clear! I myself have to struggle a lot to say these thoughts in English, and the text you sent last week was rather difficult to understand... This one reads lightly though... Thank you.
      • From Ron Breland @
        Here are Brady's concluding comments ( see below) to his exegesis of Steiner's "Truth and Knowledge," as explicated in his "How We Make Sense of the World." Brady's remarks occur immediately prior to the paragraph cited above. A reading of Brady's entire work is well worth the trouble, but it will take much effort, well rewarded, I might add. Brady argues that without the concept of "Intentionality," there will be a serious problem with our reading of much of Steiner's epistemological writings. Brady says (see following ) "That the Erkenntnisprozess (process of cognition) can be identified with the Entwicklungsprozess zur Freiheit (process of development toward freedom) is a somewhat surprising point, and that very sense of surprise can be a guide to the insight. Upon reflection, the conclusion can only surprise due to its contrast with the effect of cognition directed at something other than the thinker. Cognitive activity, in the case of the not-self, does not alter the nature of the object of cognition but produces only the conditions under which that nature can become evident to consciousness. But the effect of cognition is different with regard to the self. Here something that would not otherwise exist — consciousness itself — is created.
        If consciousness must create itself though the invention of cognition, then the laws of this cognition actually proceed from the nature of the conscious self, and this creation is a free act. But while this is not yet known, the conscious self cannot experience any freedom in these laws, for they appear to be the result of external necessity. An observation of the nature of thinking, however, can reveal that these laws are our own. It is to this example that Steiner points in chapter six when speaking of the further tasks implied by his epistemology: and immediately after, (and immediately after the quote) "...The act of cognition makes the not-self intelligible and the self conscious. It is a free act, for to be active in this manner the I must create the category of cognition through self-determination. Yet consciousness must still grasp itself, and unless the I also grasps its own self-determination, its role as creator of the idea of cognition remains hidden from it. A conscious self who does not know his or her own freedom is no more free than a dreamer who dreams of confinement in prison. External objects are what they are whether or not we grasp them, and the unconscious self is obviously beyond our grasp, but the self-conscious self can only be what it can know of itself. The I must realize the idea of its own cognitive activity in order to realize its freedom — to grasp that the “laws of logic” are its own intentions, and knowledge its own creation." (page 46.) The Nature Institute, Brady Archive. http://natureinstitute.org/txt/rb/index.htm
  • From @
    Nice.
    Minor stylistic point: "can freely turn" would be smoother than "turn in free-ness."
  • From Jozef Van Aerschot @
    Mogelijk geldt het volgende...
    In het begin van 'Einzig mögliche Kritik der atomistischen Begriffe' beschouwt de jonge Rudolf Steiner heel sterk het 'Kennenlernen' van de zintuiglijke wereld met onze fysieke zintuigen. Zouden we dit als een denken van het fysieke beschouwen, dan kan men het samen met het denken van het etherische (gedachten) het astrale (denken) en het ik (...) als een viervoudig menselijk denken zien, waaruit zich dan via het Ik, niet gegeven maar als mogelijkheid, het geestelijk Enige zich in zijn 3-voud kan ontplooien.
    • From Mieke Mosmuller @
      Dank voor deze drie- en vierheid, Jos!
  • From G. Jauss @
    Eine Frage zum Seelenkalender: Warum gibt es bei der deutschen und englischen Seite die Seelensprüche 47 bis 52 nicht?
    • From Mieke Mosmuller @
      Liebe Gaby, das ist nur durch Zeitmangel so gegangen, und jetzt ist es noch schwieriger. Vielleicht gelingt es in der nächsten Woche... ich werde es versuchen. Danke für die Erinnerung!
  • From @
    Interessant. 'Ik en wereld' met begrippen, ideeën, gedachten, gerelateerd aan fenomenen en voorwerps- en beeldbewustzijn en denk- en waarnemingsactiviteit. Je kunt je in de context van het bovenstaande blogartikel wat mij betreft ook afvragen hoe het mysterie van de grondsteen zich verhoudt tot de mysteriën van de graal, met name met het afgevallen kroonstuk van Lucifer – dat ik-kracht bevat -, schaal, kelk, toorts, lichtdrager verbonden met de aanwezige werkzaamheid van Christus in het menselijke ik, gecentreerd in de bewustzijnsziel met het daarin ontluikende geestzelf.
    Vergelijkingsmateriaal en studiestof inzake dit punt met bijbehorende items:
    ① Lucifer – Die Kinder des Lucifer (Im Selbstverlag der Rudolf Steiner-Nachlassverwaltung, 1955); toneeltstuk van Eduard Schuré, becommentarieerd door Rudolf Steiner; internetadres:
    https://www.booklooker.de/Bücher/Rudolf-und-Schuré-Steiner+Lucifer-Die-Kinder-des-Lucifer/id/A02g57GK01ZZH
    ② de lezing Die Mission der Geist-Erkenntnis im lichte des Okzidents (eerste voordracht uit de bundel GA 113; München 23 augustus 1909); verdergaand commentaar van Steiner met betrekking tot de strekking van het toneelstuk; internetadres:
    http://fvn-archiv.net/PDF/GA/GA113.pdf#page=9
    ③ het opstel Luzifer (tijdschrift Lucifer, juni 1903) van Rudolf Steiner; onder andere over relatie en opmaat wetenschap/geesteswetenschap; internetadres:
    http://www.anthroposophie.net/steiner/lucifer/bib_steiner_lucifer.htm
    ④ lezing Das 19. Jahrhundert, ein Wendepunkt in der Entwickelung der Menschheit (zevende voordracht uit GA 188, Dornach, 24 januari 1919); tekstdelen (bladzijde 157 t/m 167) over een verband en mogelijke wisselwerking tussen a. (dagelijks) oordelen, b. levenservaringen en c. (gedachte-)ingevingen op individueel en gemeenschapsniveau, wat raakt aan het thema en probleem van levensrijpheid en het menselijk begripsvermogen ten aanzien van een wel dan niet geïnspireerd bewustzijn en sociaal of vermeend sociaal en antisociaal optreden; internetadres:
    http://fvn-archiv.net/PDF/GA/GA188.pdf#page=144
    ⑤ lezing Rhythmische Gesetzmäßigkeiten im seelisch-geistigen Bereich - Das Evangelium der Bewußtseinsseele (achtste voordracht uit GA 124, Berlijn 7 maart 1911); over wetmatigheden ten aanzien van ontwikkeling en kwaliteit van gedachtevorming en gedachte-inhoud en eventuele communicatie en interactie daaromtrent, effectief, tevergeefs of destructief; internetadres:
    http://fvn-archiv.net/PDF/GA/GA124.pdf#page=149
    ⑥ mijn commentaren in de reactieruimte onder Michel Gastkempers nieuwsbericht The Kansas City Star (Antroposofie in de pers, 27 maart 2017); betreffende zekere antroposofische ‘hete hangijzers’ aangaande een praktische kant van antroposofie, werkgebied sociaal leven; internetadres:
    https://antroposofieindepers.blogspot.nl/2017/03/the-kansas-city-star.html
    ⑦ de laatste drie alinea’s van mijn blogbericht Friend (Cahier, 24 maart 2017); over het toneelstuk en over de betekenis van zelfkennis voor menselijke ontwikkeling; internetadres:
    http://johnwervenbos.blogspot.nl/2017/03/friend.html