Technology: Belly of the Beast

Technology is will, and in a materialistic society there is a particular perception of will that is attached to the idea of expectation. And what I'd like to do tonight is share with you some alternate views of looking at will, so that when you experience technology, you begin to perceive the various dimensions of will. It's kind of like when you work with this or you learn to do this, it's kind of a switch in your soul that you can look at the different will levels that are operating within one thing. Rudolf Steiner in The Study of Man gave seven levels of will. The level of will of instinct is the level of will that the human consciousness has in the physical body. Instinct is automatic patterning that we are not in contract with consciously in any way.

The second level of will he calls drive, as the forces in life body or the endocrine system in the human that are also automatic, but are kind of reflexive. They are responsive, reflexive forces that create patterns of behavior that are codified activities. We call them hormones. So a hormone is will. Parts per million of adrenaline and suddenly you're doing things that you're not in contact with, but you are active in your quote will.

Rudolf Steiner gave a picture that that level of the will, level of drive in life is a level of consciousness that a person has when they enter into their own life body as part of initiation. They experience the nature of their own drives. The third level of will, according to Rudolf Steiner, is in the astral body or the soul, and that is desire. Drive is codified and organized instinct, and desire is personalized drive. So, I take what are appetites and they become desires. So appetite, like hunger, becomes a desire that later becomes problematic when it becomes personalized.

As hunger, it's there to maintain the biologically integrity of my organism. As obesity, it becomes problematic in my soul because it's personalized. So the level of desire in the soul is a level of consciousness of a particular kind of will that is connected to objects and things, and even people. The fourth level of will is a level in the I being or the true self, and that level of will Steiner designates as motive because it's in the I being of the human that initiation takes place to transform desire in the soul into imagination, which is the level of will in the transformed I being, of what Rudolf Steiner calls manas.

So the level of will in the I being, the true self, sees the motives for the desire. Level of desire in the soul. In the true self, I learn to look at my desires as pictures of what I will be when I overcome my desire. The problem with desire is that there's always an expectation and the will of the creator is without expectation because the will of the creator has given to humans freedom. The philosophy of freedom.

So we, as humans, have to learn to free our will impulses from expectation in order to become like the divine. That's sort of the philosophy of freedom sort of extended a little bit. And when that happens, the organ of perception in the will and the manas body is imagination. Imagination is the ability to work with inner pictures in freedom without expectation because I can see my true self monitors how the desires are operating in my soul and transforms those desires into imaginative cognition for how will operates in the world. And the particular task of this age, this is a manasic age, not monastic, but manasic. It's an age designated to develop imagination. The ability to consciously transform images in my own soul. The will images, desire images.

Now I'd like to give you an imagination so you can see how you can kind of play with this. Perceiving the states of will in a being requires what St. Thomas Aquinas called second intention, and I'll explain that in a moment. The will, esoterically, is known as intent and there is intent that is free of expectation and intent that is only designated to have an outcome. They both represent intent and it's a critical faculty to be able to develop an imagination that can perceive intent. We could say it's a future social organ and it really exists in the heart as an organ of will. The perception of will. The perception of intent. The perception of motive.

So, I'll give you an imagination to give you a feeling of how you could build such an organ. So imagine that there's a field and in the field there are field stones, and men and women are out picking field stones off the field. There is a certain intent in that. There's a will in that. But then they gather the field stones and build a fieldstone wall, as there are a gazillion of them in this area. But some time as you're going through town, look at all the field stone walls and imagine people placing those stones. It's staggering. Imagine people, stone after stone, after stone, and then they get the wheelbarrow, and they bring it over, and then somebody designates it to dress the stones, and then lay them up, and then surveying, and that there is this will activity. The wall is the product of will activity, but the will activity, once the wall is there, is apparently unavailable to us, and the inability of us to see it as a will object makes it fall into just becoming a thing.

And we could say their creation falling into becoming a thing is the separating of people from each other because the ability to imagine all the people building a wall, that's called empathy. When we just see the wall as an object, we lose empathy. And I'll get back to empathy at the end of the talk because there's an epidemic of a lack of empathy in the world today. It is epidemic, it is universal. Empathy just means I can awaken to your motive. I don't have to believe it, but I have to awaken to it and recognize it. And many, many people, even young people, are coming back in that don't have the capacity to be empathic.

So if we imagine that stone wall being built, just go through town and look at one, and then imagine all the workers there putting it together, you're actually transforming the intent from being just an object to having a connection to the intent of beings. And this is very critical in the work of understanding technology today is to make a distinction between the will in objects and the will in beings. It's a critical function.

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