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Twelve Ways of seeing the World
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About the Author

Mario Betti is a former philosophy professor. The burning question which led to writing this book was, "How to develop ways of understanding every person, towards a 'Whitsun' of humanity where all languages will be understood in a community of inquirers." He says "This book is needed because humanity is getting more and more one-sided."

Reviews

Subtitled 'philosophies and archetypal worldviews for understanding human consciousness', this significant book makes an important contribution to the debate around the topic. It stems from the work of Goethe and Steiner while including a galaxy of other thinkers during the course of its very helpful analysis. Steiner was the first to delimit this twelvefold character consisting of phenomenalism, sensualism, materialism, mathematism, rationalism, idealism, psychism, pneumatism, 'spiritualism', monadism, dynamism and realism. Readers will note the invention of new terms, and each is discussed in detail in separate chapters that nevertheless make connections between the various approaches. The picture that emerges is one of harmony and complementarity problems arise when one approach claims to be complete in itself as many scientists strive to reduce everything to the principle of matter through materialism. The author explains that the first three emerge from the senses, the next three from thought, while psychism, pneumatism and spiritualism' (in quotes with a redefined meaning) emerge from the depths of the soul. If psychism focuses on sense of I, pneumatism, corresponding to gnosis, asserts that I Am the Universe. These paths are illustrated with quotations from Marcus Aurelius, Hildegard von Bingen, Kierkegaard, Goethe, Husserl and Jung, where the smaller I becomes one with the greater I. Pneumatism brings in an understanding of love, with quotations from Al-Ghazzali, Jacques Lusseyran and, inspiringly, the autobiography of Anwar Sadat, the president of Egypt who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1978 and was subsequently assassinated. The author sees these phases as part of our current revolutionary development. The final chapter brings things together in the image of Humanus, the new human being envisaged by Goethe but now under threat from developments in biotechnology reducing consciousness and cognition to information processing. If culture is based on freedom and the self creation of human modes of being, then we need to take this task very seriously in prioritising conscious inner development and widening our view to recognise the harmonious interplay between the 12 world views set out in this book. As Schweitzer once said, our task is to become more finely and deeply human by developing truth, freedom and love.

* Paradigm Explorer Reviews *

This work is a development of Steiner's twelve philosophical world views as outlined in Human and Cosmic Thought, lecture 2. Mario Betti, a former philosophy teacher at the Alanus University is attempting to clarify each of these standpoints by discussing thinkers whom he feels represent them. It is impressive to find further clarification of these outlooks, the subtleties of which are not always easy to grasp, although some of the extracts quoted are overly long and not always to the point, but I am not in a position to claim that any are inaccurate. Reading Steiner's lecture first may be recommended, especially for readers less well versed in studying philosophy, as Betti's work is not an easy read. Mention is made of the connections to the zodiac though the author does not enlarge on this aspect, and instead stresses the importance of not looking one-sidedly at things. If you have an interest in these twelve views the book certainly repays studying - some views will perhaps become clearer than others owing to our own standpoints - which of course may change and evolve during our lifetimes, and as this aspect of Steiner's work has been so little dealt with - at least in English - it is to be welcomed.

* The Anthroposophical Society GB *

This work is a development of Steiner's twelve philosophical world views as outlined in Human and Cosmic Thought, lecture 2. Mario Betti, a former philosophy teacher at the Alanus University is attempting to clarify each of these standpoints by discussing thinkers whom he feels represent them. It is impressive to find further clarification of these outlooks, the subtleties of which are not always easy to grasp, although some of the extracts quoted are overly long and not always to the point, but I am not in a position to claim that any are inaccurate. Reading Steiner's lecture first may be recommended, especially for readers less well versed in studying philosophy, as Betti's work is not an easy read. Mention is made of the connections to the zodiac though the author does not enlarge on this aspect, and instead stresses the importance of not looking one-sidedly at things. If you have an interest in these twelve views the book certainly repays studying - some views will perhaps become clearer than others owing to our own standpoints - which of course may change and evolve during our lifetimes, and as this aspect of Steiner's work has been so little dealt with - at least in English - it is to be welcomed.

* The Anthroposophical Society in Great Britain *

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