Wednesday, February 3, 2021

The Rabbit in the Moon. Or is it a Face?

 As a child my "figuration" (as Owen Barfield calls it) saw a rabbit in the moon. 

I still see a rabbit in the moon, but having been told about the smiling face, and working hard to see it instead of a rabbit, I can now see both at will.

After 10 years of studying Rudolf Steiner and Owen Barfield, something similar has happened with my basic metaphysical assumptions. Before this shift, I truly found it an impossible riddle how mind could be connected to matter - I was obsessed with the "hard problem" as its called. Now I find the whole question banal and spurious. And it is thanks to my basic metaphysical "figuration" having now fully changed.

My next task is to flip causality itself. As a materialist, I assume that behind my life events are base, material causes that are blind and purposeless. I am now using prayer to change this default setting of my "figuration" so that instead of my unconscious assumptions being of life unfolding according to blind chance, I truly see that behind my life are purposive intentions that originate in God's love. This means flipping the hierarchy of spirit and matter - from matter being the primal cause to spirit being the primal cause. 

This is no small task. Sure, it is easy to declare that spirit is primal, but harder to really believe it, especially if you have grown up in the West, as I have. And that is what prayer is for; to change the habits of fundamental belief, ie, to change my metaphysical assumptions at the level of figuration. At the end of the day, nothing is compelling me to do this exercise, just as nothing compelled me to try to see the smiling face in the Moon instead of the rabbit. And like the face, I must wait until the shift has actually happened before I can really "see" it. And for this reason I also require faith that I eventually will see it.

So there we have it, a summery of my religious practice, I suppose.


  1. I am also trying to do this. Sometimes I can - most of the time, not! But that is the aspiration.

    1. I am noticing that the world is redeemed in the process, and if one is attentive, one realises that the world is longing for us to see the truth rather than believing our own mental pictures. In this sense the media is an outward example, or symbol of what each of us is doing when we fail to see beyond our own mental pictures of reality - and the world is crying for us to step outside of our TV bubbles and walk in nature.


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