Clairvoyance and Conceptualism Rudolf Steiner's Higher Modes of Cognition as a Higher-Order Theory of Consciousness

Loren Fetterman

Abstract


While it is widely accepted among scholars that mystical experiences are entirely culturally and/or linguistically constructed, in this article I argue that mystical experiences are distinct neuro-physiological events generated through a process of conceptual development. Rudolf Steiner's experiences of shifting into higher modes of cognition are interpreted as experiences of accessing the higher-order representations proposed by higher-order theories of consciousness. I suggest that clairvoyant perceptions and esoteric symbol systems may berepresentations of the distinctive phenomenology associated with higher-order representations, as predicted by higher-order perception theory. This article proposes that esoteric systems of spiritual development such as Steiner's are not arbitrary creations, but technical languages pertaining to the development of higher states and stages of consciousness. It is suggested that these esoteric systems may play an important role in the future if experiences of higher states and stages of consciousness become more widespread.


Keywords


Rudolf Steiner; mystical experience; clairvoyance; cognition; neuroscience; cognitive science; meditation; spiritual practice; psychedelic research; higher-order theories of consciousness; predictive coding; conceptualism; esotericism; occult

Full Text:

PDF

References


Asprem, E., Davidsen, M. A. (2017). What Cognitive Science Offers the Study of Esotericism: Editor's Introduction, Aries, 17, 1: 1-15

Aprem, E. Taves, A. (2016). Experience as Event: Event Cognition and the Study of (Religious) Experiences. Postprint publication. Retrieved from

http://www.occult-minds.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Taves-Asprem-Experience-as-Event-Postprint.pdf

Bamford, C. (1998). Introduction. In C. Bamford (ed), The Christian Mystery: Lectures by Rudolf Steiner (1-16). Hudson, NY: Anthroposophic Press

Barnard, G. W. (1997). Exploring Unseen Worlds: William James and the Philosophy of Mysticism, New York, NY: SUNY Press

Bastos, A. M., Usrey, W. M., Adams, R. A., Mangun, G. R., Fries, P., Friston, K. J. (2012). Canonical Microcircuits for Predictive Coding, Neuron, 76: 695-711

Benovsky, J. (2016) Dual-Aspect Monism, Philosophical Investigations, 39, 4: 335-352

Bernhardt, S. (1990). Are Pure Consciousness Events Unmediated? In R. K. C. Forman (ed), The Problem of Pure Consciousness: Mysticism and Philosophy (220-236). New York, NY: Oxford University Press

Block, N. (2011). The higher-order approach to consciousness is defunct, Analysis, 71, 3: 419-431

Brandt, A., Gebrian, M., Slevc, L R. (2012). Music and early language acquisition, frontiers in Psychology, 3, 327: 1-17

Carhart-Harris, R. L. (2012). Neural correlates of the psychedelic state as determined by fMRI studies with psilocybin, PNAS, 109, 6: 2138-2142

Carruthers, P. (2016). Higher-Order Theories of Consciousness. In C. Allen, R. L. Anderson, U. Nodelman &E. N. Zalta (eds), Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (1-55). Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press

Cartwright, K. B. (2001). Cognitive Developmental Theory and Spiritual Development, Journal of Adult Development, 8.4: 213-220

Cohen, M., Thomas, J. W. (2014). A Methodological Review of Meditation Research, Frontiers in Psychiatry, 5.74: 1-12

Cole-Turner, R. (2014). The Potential Religious Relevance of Entheogens, Zygon, 49.3: 642-651

Corlett, P. R., Frith, C. D., Fletcher, P. C. (2009). From drugs to deprivation: a Bayesian framework for understanding models of psychosis, Psychopharmacology, 206: 515-530

Ding, N., Melloni, L., Zhang, H., Tian, X., Poeppel, D. (2016). Cortical tracking of hierarchical linguistic structures in connected speech, Nature Neuroscience, 19: 158-164. doi:10.1038/nn.4186

Eco, U. (1997). The Search for the Perfect Language. London, UK: Fontana Press

Eskildsen, S. (2004). The Teachings and Practices of the Early Quanzhen Taoist Masters. Albany, NY: SUNY

Fletcher, P. C., Frith, C. D. (2009). Perceiving is believing: a Bayesian approach to explaining the positive symptoms of schizophrenia, Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 10: 48-58

Forman, R. K. (1990). The Problem of Pure Consciousness: Mysticism and Philosophy. New York, NY: Oxford University Press

Forman, R. K. (1999). Mysticism, Mind, Consciousness. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press

Gennaro, R. J. (2005). Are There Pure Conscious Events? In C Chakrabarti & G. Haist (eds), Revisiting Mysticism (100-120). Newcastle, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing

Gennaro, R. J. (2012). The Consciousness Paradox: Consciousness, Concepts, and Higher-Order Thoughts. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press

Griffiths, R. R., R. Jesse, U. McCann, W. A. Richards (2006). Psilocybin can occasion mystical-type experiences having substantial and sustained personal meaning and spiritual significance, Psychopharmacology, 187.3: 268-283

Grof, S., Bennett, H. Z. (2008). The Holotropic Mind: The Three Levels of Human Consciousness and How They Shape Our Lives. London, UK: Harper Collins e-books

Grof, S. (2000). Psychology of the Future: Lessons from Modern Consciousness Research. New York, NY: SUNY Press

Hammer, O. (2004). Claiming Knowledge: Strategies of Epistemology from Theosophy to the New Age. Leiden, Boston: Brill

Hashkes-Pink, S., van Rooij, I., Kwisthout, J. (2017). Perception is in the details: A predictive coding account of the psychedelic phenomenon. Accepted to the 39th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci'17), July 26-29 2017, London, UK.

Hill, S. J. (2013). Confrontation with the Unconscious: Jungian Depth Psychology and Psychedelic Experience. London, UK: Muswell Hill Press

Hohwy, J., Roepstorff, A., & Friston, K. (2008). Predictive coding explains binocular rivalry: An epistemological review, Cognition, 108. 3, 687-701

Huxley, A. (1994). The Doors of Perception and Heaven and Hell. London UK: Flamingo

Idel, M. (1992). Reification of Language in Jewish Mysticism. In S. T. Katz (ed), Mysticism and Language (42-79). New York, NY: Oxford University Press

Jones, R. (2010). Piercing the Veil: Comparing Science and Mysticism as Ways of Knowing Reality. Charlseton, SC: BookSurge Publishing

Kline, M. (1982). Mathematics: The Loss of Certainty. New York, NY: Oxford University Press

Lau, H. C. (2008). Higher order Bayesian decision theory of consciousness, Progress in Brain Research, 168: 35-48

Lurz, R. W. (2000). A Defense of First-Order Representationalist Theories of Mental State Consciousness, Psyche, 6,1. Retrieved from http://www.nmwt.org/nmwt/?r=article/download&id=28

Lycan, W. (2004). The Superiority of HOP to HOT. In R. J. Gennaro (ed), Higher-Order Theories of Consciousness: An Anthology (93-114). Philadelphia, PA: John Benjamins Publishing Company

McShane, J. (1991). Cognitive Development: An Information Processing Approach. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishers

Metzinger, T. (2009). Why are out-of-body experiences interesting for philosophers? The theoretical relevance of OBE research, Cortex, 45: 256-258

Mehler, J. Dupoux, E., Pallier, C., Dehaene-Lambertz, G. (1998). Cross-linguistic approaches to speech processing. In L. R. Squire & S. M. Kosslyn (eds), Findings and Current Opinion in Cognitive Neuroscience (365-370). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press

Moore, P. (1978). Mystical Experience, Mystical Doctrine, Mystical Technique. In S. T. Katz (ed), Mysticism and Philosophical Analysis (101-31). New York, NY: Oxford University Press

Musashi, M. (1974). The Book of Five Rings: The Classic Guide to Strategy (V. Harris, Trans.). New York, NY: The Overlook Press

Rosenthal, D. (2004). Varieties of higher-order theory. In R. J. Gennaro (ed), Higher-Order Theories of Consciousness: An Anthology (17-44). Philadelphia, PA: John Benjamins Publishing Company

Schartner, M. M., Carhart-Harris, R. L., Barrett, A. B., Seth, A. K., Muthukumaraswamy, S. D. (2017). Increased spontaneous MEG signal diversity for psychoactive doses of ketamine, LSD and psilocybin, Scientific Reports, 7. DOI:10.1038/srep46421

Seth, A. K., Suzuki, K., Critchley, H. D. (2012). An interoceptive predictive coding model of conscious presence, Frontiers in Psychology, 2: 1-16. DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2011.00395

Shushan, G. (2016). Cultural-Linguistic Constructivism and the Challenge of Near-Death and Out-of-Body Experiences. In B. E. Schmidt (Ed.), The Study of Religious Experience: Approaches and Methodologies (71-87). Sheffield, UK: Equinox

Staudenmaier, P. (2010). Anthroposophie in Deutschland: Theosophische Weltanschauung und gesellschaftliche Praxis 1884–1945, Aries, 10.1, 107-116

Staudenmaier, P. (2015). The Higher Worlds meet the Lower Criticism: New Scholarship on Rudolf Steiner, Correspondences, 3: 93-110

Steiner, R. (1894). The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity. Rudolf Steiner Archive & e.Lib. Retrieved from

http://wn.rsarchive.org/Books/GA004/English/AP1986/GA004_c04.html;mark=35,15,23#WN_mark

Steiner, R. (1905). The Riddles of the World and Anthroposophy. Rudolf Steiner Archive & e.Lib. Retrieved from

http://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/GA054/English/eLib2014/19051109p01.html;mark=660,3,18#WN_mark

Steiner, R. (1907). The Elementary Kingdoms: The Nature of the Elementary Beings, Their Activities, and Influence. Rudolf Steiner Archive & e.Lib. Retrieved from http://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/19071204p01.html

Steiner, R. (1908). Universe, Earth and Man VI. Rudolf Steiner Archive & e.Lib. Retrieved from

http://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/GA105/English/HC1931/19080810p01.html

Steiner, R. (1909). The East in the Light of the West. Rudolf Steiner Archive & e.Lib. Retrieved from

http://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/GA113/English/RSPC1940/19090827p01.html;mark=72,55,62#WN_mark

Steiner, R. (1921). The Threshold in Nature and in Man. Rudolf Steiner Archive & e.Lib. Retrieved from

http://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/ThrNat_index.html;mark=724,55,64#WN_mark

Steiner, R. (1922). Exoteric and Esoteric Christianity. Rudolf Steiner Archive & e.Lib. Retrieved from http://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/19220402p01.html;mark=609,38,47#WN_mark

Steiner, R. (1924). Karmic Relationships: Esoteric Studies – Volume 1. Rudolf Steiner Archive & e.Lib. Retrieved from

http://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/GA235/English/RSP1972/Karm01_index.html

Steiner, R. (1924). Karmic Relationships: Esoteric Studies – Volume 6 – Lecture 1. Rudolf Steiner Archive & e.Lib. Retrieved from

http://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/GA240/English/RSP1971/19240125p01.html;mark=335,36,61#WN_mark

Steiner, R. (1924). The Science of Knowing. Rudolf Steiner Archive & e.Lib. Retrieved from

http://wn.rsarchive.org/Books/GA002/English/MP1988/GA002_notes.html;mark=441,29,37#WN_mark

Steiner, R. (1930). Life Between Death and Rebirth in Relation to Cosmic Facts. USA: Anthroposophic Press

Steiner, R. (1931). The Stages of Higher Knowledge. Rudolf Steiner Archive & e.Lib. Retrieved from

http://wn.rsarchive.org/Books/GA012/English/AP1967/GA012_c02.html

Steiner, R. (1985). Cosmosophy V.1, Great Barrington, MA: Steiner Books

Steiner, R. (1924). The Evolution of the Earth and Man and the Influence of the Stars. Rudolf Steiner Archive & e.Lib. Retrieved from http://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/GA354/English/RSP1987/EvoMan_index.html

Steiner, R. (1991). Human and Cosmic Thought. Bridgend, UK: Rudolf Steiner Press

Steiner, R. (1994). How to Know Higher Worlds: A Modern Path of Initiation. Hudson, NY: Anthroposophic Press

Steiner, R. (1994). Theosophy. Saline, MI: Anthroposophic Press

Steiner, R. (1997). An Outline of Esoteric Science. Gt. Barrington, MA: Anthroposophic Press

Steiner, R. (1998). The Christian Mystery. Hudson, NY: Anthroposophic Press

Steiner, R. (2000). The Secret Stream: Christian Rosenkreutz and Rosicrucianism. USA: Anthroposophic Press

Steiner, R. (2001). Alchemy: The Evolution of the Mysteries. Forest Row, UK: Sophia Books

Steiner, R. (2001). The Fourth Dimension: Sacred Geometry, Alchemy, and Mathematics. Gt Barrington, MA: Anthroposophic Press

Steiner, R. (2004). Start Now: A Book of Soul and Spiritual Exercises. Saline, MI: Steiner Books

Steiner, R. (2008). The Spiritual Hierarchies and the Physical World: Zodiac, Planets and Cosmos. Gt. Barrington, MA: Steiner Books

Steiner, R. (2008). The Philosophy of Freedom. Forest Row, UK: Rudolf Steiner Press

Strassman, R. (2001). DMT: The Spirit Molecule: A Doctor's Revolutionary Research into the Biology of Near-Death and Mystical Experiences, Rochester, VT: Park Street Press

Tomberg, V. (1992). Inner Development. Great Barrington, MA: Anthroposophic Press

Ullrich, H. (1994). Rudolf Steiner, Prospects: the quarterly review of comparative education, 3.4, 555-572

Voros, S. (2013). Demystifying Consciousness with Mysticism? Cognitive Science and Mystical Traditions, Interdisciplinary Description of Complex Systems, 11, 4: 391-399

Watson, P. (2010). The German Genius. London, UK: Simon & Schuster

Wehr, G. (1990). Jung & Steiner: The Birth of a New Psychology. Great Barrington, MA: Anthroposophic Press

Wolters, C. (1961). The Cloud of Unknowing. Harmondsworth, UK: Penguin Books

Yates, F. (1966). The Art of Memory. London, UK: Routledge

Zajonc, A. (1994). Afterword. In How to Know Higher Worlds (217-234). Hudson, NY: Anthroposophic Press

Zander, H. (2007). Anthroposophie in Deutschland: Theosophische Weltanschauung und gesellschaftliche Praxis 1884–1945. Gottingen, DE: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht

Zentall, T. R., Wasserman, E. A., Lazareva, O. F., Thompson, R. K. R., Ratterman, M, J. (2008). Concept Learning in Animals, Comparative Cognition and Behaviour Reviews, 3: 13-45


Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.