Sensory perception

From AnthroWiki

Sensory perception or sensation (from Frenchsensation "sensory impression", derived from Latinsensus "to feel, sense, perceive with the senses") is a special case of perception in general. In common speech, the word "sensation" is also used to describe a sensational, emotionally experienced event.

In his theory of the senses, Rudolf Steiner distinguished twelve physical senses through which we perceive the sensual world. However, not only processes of the sensual world, but also those of higher worlds are significantly involved in the formation of sensory perception. Accordingly, it is not only the physical body that is active in the human being, but also the higher members, as Rudolf Steiner has exemplarily shown in the process of colour perception.

Sensory perception and members of man

All four fundamental members of man, from the physical body up to the I, are involved in sensory perception. The impressions coming from the outer sensual world have a deadening effect on the soul organs of the astral body. The astral body, which is lifted out of the animate body during sleep, can therefore not convey any soul-spiritual perceptions. Consciousness is therefore completely extinguished in deep sleep. Only through the exercises of spiritual training the soul organs can be revived.

„The process of perception is like this: Throughout the day impressions of the outer world come to us. These affect the etheric body and astral body through the physical senses until they become conscious to the I. In the astral body they press upon the soul organs. In the astral body the effects of what is exerted on the physical body are expressed. When light impressions take place, the eye receives impressions. The impression of light gives an impression on the etheric and astral body, and the I becomes conscious of this impression. It is the same with the impressions on the ear and the other senses. This whole daily life therefore affects the astral body throughout the day. The astral body is always active under the influence of the outer world. Now it comes out in the evening. There it has no powers within itself to make conscious the impressions that are now in its surroundings. The old powers of perception in the distant past have been extinguished by the first perception of the present sensual world. At night he has no powers, because the whole life of the day is unsuitable to leave anything in the astral body which could have a formative effect on the astral body. All things, as you see them all around, have an effect on the astral body. But what is effected there is not capable of creating forms that could become astral organs.“ (Lit.:GA 104, p. 46f)



References to the work of Rudolf Steiner follow Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works (CW or GA), Rudolf Steiner Verlag, Dornach/Switzerland, unless otherwise stated.
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Index to the Complete Works of Rudolf Steiner - Aelzina Books
A complete list by Volume Number and a full list of known English translations you may also find at Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works
Rudolf Steiner Archive - The largest online collection of Rudolf Steiner's books, lectures and articles in English.
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Rudolf Steiner Handbook - Christian Karl's proven standard work for orientation in Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works for free download as PDF.