Andrei Bely's Concept of the “Self-Conscious Soul”: Synthesis of his Early Reception of Kant with Steiner's Teachings and Esoteric Practice

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Abstract


This article deals with the connection between the anthroposophical practice of meditation and the concept of self-conscious soul, which is developed in the main theoretical work of Andrei Bely, “The History of the Becoming of Self-conscious Soul.” After a brief review of the esoteric practice, in which Bely was introduced by Rudolf Steiner in the years 1912-1914, it examines the topography of the meditative space, according to the descriptions given by Bely in the “Krizisy”. Relevant sources of Steiner on the higher stages of knowledge are involved, from which the concept of Bely differs in a few points. It is considered, how the inner experience of Bely is reflected in the cognitive principles of the self-conscious soul, which he understands as a reflection of the higher cognitive abilities at the lower level of the soul. It is shown, that the cognitive principles of the self-conscious soul, which Bely names “composition of space”, “theme in the variations of time” and “symbol”, are a synthesis of the esoteric practice of Bely with his early reception of the critical philosophy of Kant. He fuses them into a gradational model of multi-stage deepening of knowledge into the construction of the universe and the human cultural evolution. This process is carried out with the creative participation of the cognizing subject and culminates in his deification.


About the authors

A. Schmitt

Trier University

Author for correspondence.
Email: schmittan@uni-trier.de
Universitätsring 15, 54296 Trier

Research assistant, Centre for Advanced Studies “Russian-Language Poetry in Transition”

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