Talk:FMC schemas

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Steiner and diagrammatic language

Abaris (talkcontribs)

I was having some thoughts and was wondering what you would think about them.

Here is my point of departure : on the one hand I feel that everything Rudolf Steiner did as art is somehow perfect : his mantras, his seals, his theory of eurythmy, his sculptural group, etc... but on the other hand I feel that his lectures and even his books are less than perfect, even though their content is (most often) unquestionably deep and more penetrating than everything else.

Obviously making this kind of judgement is tricky — but let's dare it.

To be honest, I think that Anthroposophy will not endure one century more, if its material stays in the present state of affair.

In front of this feeling, one cannot escape the question : why is this ? One could certainly evoke arguments related to the person of Rudolf Steiner himself, but I don't feel qualified for this, so I can only pronounce a partial answer given from a more objective side.

Here it is : there is a discrepancy between the content of spiritual science and the formal ou linguistic container it uses. This discrepancy vanishes when Rudolf Steiner uses an artistic form. But it exists when he uses prose, the consequence being that the content may be expressed in a somewhat chaotic fashion. As if the content were too heavy for the form, and started to twist it, resulting in a kind of deforming mirror : it is as if everything was living in a kind of "dream", which is a very paradoxical statement, insofar as Rudolf Steiner insisted a lot on overwhelming the indefiniteness of the dream.

One may say that it is done on purpose, but this argument has its limits. One has already enough to think when things are presented in a more linear fashion. And what's more the contents were given for listeners, for whom it was even less possible to understand the core of the lecture (of course they could bring back some parts but not a clear overall view).

Nevertheless, the subject is sometimes treated mathematically throughout, and there is no chaos, and I think this should be a model for exposing spiritual science.

But what does it mean to treat the subject mathematically ? It means that you have already moved away from prose. Since the Renaissance, the mathematical language has been formalized, we use efficient symbols instead of lengthy phrases. Of course Steiner still uses phrases, but I mean that these phrases can function as symbols ; the scholastics called "terms" that kind of phrases which can be reduced to a single word or symbol. One could say that writing with terms is already an art form. That's why some lectures don't contain the discrepancy mentioned.

And we may continue questioning : why is this mathematical treatment scarcely approached ?

And my answer would be : because this mathematical treatment has an affinity with a branch of mathematics that was just emerging at that time (with Riemann and Poincaré) and is called topology. This statement of mine should obviously be justified but let's admit it for now. This branch has started to fertilize culture from 1950 on, approximately, with the "french philosophers" (Deleuze, Foucault, Lacan) but also in physics with Richard Feynman. When they want to understand complexity, they start to orient themselves diagrammatically in the space of thinking (this expression is borrowed from Kant's : "What Does it Mean to Orient Oneself in Thinking ?") A diagram is actually more than a schema, because it contains something like "virtual movements", which transform the schema into a sense-productive machinery. The diagram (or related forms of expression) would thus be the natural container for the highly complex contents of spiritual science, the containers flexible enough to support spiritual science without being twisted.

Maybe — and here I am being very speculative — something must be wrested from Ahriman in order to transform the chaos into a cosmos. This something has to do with "space", how to pour knowledge into space, which can be compared to a kind of "writing" in a sense.

In the end, what I mean is that "communications" about spiritual science must be SEALED as every other occult medium, in order to become effective. Otherwise, they will just flow by, individually and historically.

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