Posts Tagged ‘love’

The elusive I

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

Is ‘I’ a pronoun, or the activity it carries out? It has two aspects: it is a spark of the divine fire (which feels like a ‘thing’) and a process of connecting with the world (which feels like an activity). Rather like light in the famous quantum experiment, which it is for us depends on how we look. Maybe there’s an inverse correlation, though. Like joy in Blake’s poem, the I will never be found as a thing; it can only be intuited as we let go of it.

One has to lose one’s earthly I if one is to perceive one’s true I. And without developing this surrender, one cannot approach this true I. One would like to say: the true I should not be sought if it is to appear and reveal itself; and it hides itself, if it is sought. For it is only found in love. And love is the surrender of one’s own being to the other being. For this reason the true I has to be found like a stranger. 
Rudolf Steiner, DIE MENSCHLICHE ERKENNTNISFÄHIGKEIT IN DER ÄTHERISCHEN WELT Dornach, 22. April 1923 untranslated  (Lit.: GA 084, S. 142)

Our need to give love

Friday, June 5th, 2015
In Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, love/belonging, self-esteem and self-actualization come as soon as the basics of food, shelter and safety are met.
For adult human beings, belonging comes from sharing a common purpose; self-esteem comes when I know that what I do is valued; even self actualization, which seems to be about me, only works if the self that I become is recognised and respected by a social world.
This gives us some primary data through which we can interpret what we meet in our world, which celebrates a spectrum of values, some in line with these needs, and some at odds with them. We will find that we are going with the grain of human nature if we open pathways for self-bestowing, self-giving creativity. We have a lens through which to understand the superficial appeal of stories about life that offer shortcuts: the self-realisation through consumerism lampooned by the Rolling Stones in Satisfaction on the one hand; the promise of ‘systems so perfect that no-one needs to be good’ on the other.
Process thought gives the best theological framework for understanding this. It sees our human journey as a response to the divine call to creativity. That this is ‘hard-wired’ into us is no surprise for process theologians, who do not locate God in an transcendent otherness, but in the processes of this world. In process thought, it is the Holy Spirit whose allure to true creaturely fulfilment is at work in the basic needs that Maslow describes.
All of this changes the task of ‘mission’. Liberal Christians feel embarrassed by this word — they think it means answering a question that hasn’t been asked, providing a finished picture of the world on the assumption that I know more than the one I am talking to. They easily shrink from the task, forgetting the reality of call and response which is at the heart of human experience of the spirit.
If the longing to creaturely fulfillment is already there in every human being I meet, even if it is covered over, I do not need to insert something that was not there before, but open a channel for my friend to experience what slumbers within him. I will not convey the sense that I know better, because all I know is that the spirit is beckoning this creature into the unique journey of its unfolding.