Higher, Freer Life

Welcome to the website of David Lowe, researcher into the spiritual impulses active in cultural history.

Welcome

In their creative life some artists experience a higher, freer existence. When you look at their painting, listen to their music or read their poetry, you can yourself be lifted up yourself through empathy, to a higher, freer life.

My art historical research is a study of how spiritual impulses work through the artist’s soul into the historical development of humanity .The artist does not just reflect the growing consciousness of human beings but, through his awareness of the direction of human life, towards a higher free life, he is able to work into the formation of these historical processes.

Updates

All events below at Rudolf Steiner House, 35 Park Rd, London NW1 6XT

Looking at Art
Friday May 7th.and Friday June 4th
7.30 to 8.45pm
Facilitator: David Lowe

May 7th. John Constable and J.M.W. Turner: Contrasting Lives.
Two artists who lived in the same period but had very different approaches both in content and style. Turner was a great traveller exploring much of Western Europe. For Constable, Brighton and Salisbury were the extent of his journeys. Turner’s skyscapes often explode with light; Constable spent years studying the precise form of clouds on Hampstead Heath every day.

June 4th. Michelangelo’s Life of Soul
Michaelangelo’s first thirty years established him as the greatest sculptor of his age and perhaps of any age.The period culminates in the Pieta which can be seen now in St Peter’s in Rome and the ‘David’ which he created for his native city of Florence. We will follow the development of his work and the path of his biography to see what we can learn from them about his life of soul.

Admission charge: £7 or £5 for concessions.
Contact for further info: freerlife@gmx.com

Wednesday evenings.
Monthly Conversation group.
April 14th, May 12th, June 9th, July 14th, 7.15pm to 8.45pm
With David Lowe

An experienced and friendly leader of groups with a wide knowledge of Anthroposophy.

Each of these sessions will begin with a short contribution or contributions on the theme followed by conversation and questions
April 14th. The Path to Freedom and Love.

What are these two fundamental ideas and how do they relate to our lives? Easter is a time that raises these questions at their deepest level and shows us the power of evil but also how it may be overcome.
May 12th. Anthropsophy and Clairvoyance.

What kind of spiritual knowledge does Anthroposophy give us? Are there different kinds of clairvoyance and are they helpful to us? What is our relationship to knowledge given out by clairvoyants?

June 9th. Different stages of Life.
We recognise that each stage of life brings many challenges and the need to change our approach to how we live. What have we learned from these? What are the special challenges for those in their 26th year and how does it affect the rest of life?
July 7th. Moral Aspects of the Present.
We are individually faced with huge moral questions today which affect the way we live and our relations to others. How should we respond to them? Can Anthroposophy help us to find a balance in our lives in face of so much that threatens to overwhelm us?

Suggested contributions: £3 or £2 concessions

Reading group.
The Bridge between the Universal Spiritual and the Human Physical Constitution.
7.15pm - 8.45pm
Wednesday May 19th, 26th: June 2nd, 16th 23rd, and 30th These lectures from the end of 1920 are a response to an important question for anyone engaged in learning about the worlds of soul and spirit. Exactly what is our relationship with them?
All welcome. No need to come to every session.
Suggested contributions: £3 or £2 concessions

Summer Reading and Conversation group.
Selected Readings from ‘Materialism and the Task of Anthropsophy.'
July 14th, 21st, 28th; August 4th, 11th, 18th, and 25th; September 1st, 8th. 15th, 22nd.
Start time: 7.15
Finish time: 8.45
Facilitator: David Lowe
These lectures from 1921 are an inspiring presentation of the many aspects of materialism that has become the dominant way we experience the world today. It covers both its origins, what it will become in the future and what Anthroposophy has to offer in its place.
You are welcome to attend at any time.
Suggested contributions: £3 or £2 concessions

Contact for further info/ bookings:
Rudolf Steiner House 0207723 4400 David’s Email: freerlife@gmx.com
Tel: 07926196446

About David

David promotes, as a value when viewing art, an empathetic relationship to it. He is uninterested in relaying material information relevant to the piece to his companion; rather, mutually sharing sensory impressions received by the viewers in the presence of the work.

Read More When I looked at art with him, I began to reject the impulse to think “I like this/don’t like this” and to simply experience it. He often suggests looking at a piece for 5+ minutes to “allow it to work on you.” There is a sort of energy that can be felt when viewing paintings in which the artist effectively uses form to express his “inner necessity” (Kandinsky). Form is the interplay of line, curve, and color (in the case of painting), and it can cause a physical reaction in the viewer. This reaction does not come from the viewer accumulating facts about the work, or the artist, or the art movement it belongs to; it can only be tapped into by experiencing the work objectively. David’s aim is to encourage the viewer towards a more objective, less material, and freer understanding of art.
~ by Jaimen Perez

I first met David at a talk on Raphael at Steiner House in London. I was eager to hear what he had to say about the artist from an esoteric standpoint as I could sense a hidden depth within the paintings. I was not disappointed, even though the projector broke after just a few slides I was greatly entertained and left the room inspired. He had given me a wealth of new thoughts and ideas which have stayed with me ever since. David had begun to illuminate qualities of Imaginative perception within art, revealing a doorway which leads us into the Etheric.   

Since then we've shared many conversations about esoteric matters. I usually bring him questions and leave the conversation with plenty of answers, but also more questions than when we began. Articulate the questions well and you may strike gold, David’s rigorous methods of research have accumulated a vast store of knowledge and understanding of a wide range of subjects.   

When I first got to know David I noticed a certain knack he has with people, I observed it on many occasions. When encountering a stranger who at first appears closed up within themselves, in just a few words he opens them, there is a shift and their inner nature pours out for all who care to look. This gift is in revealing a person’s true character and the key here is that he begins every encounter by giving his genuine love. It is quite possible that he is unaware of this marvelous ability and merely assumes that this is just how people are. See he is also most admirably humble and often pretends that he is less advanced than he is, he even has himself quite convinced of this.  

Fortunately David also has a brilliant sense of humour. The first time we visited a gallery together I was chuckling to myself for days thinking about the insight he gave me into the minds of the artists. Humour hiding in the paintings which the general public or the church for that matter would never notice. Only one who has this artistic sense of humour for himself would see it in another.  David has plenty, proof of his level of insight, though he may well deny it.  

After an encounter with David, be it visiting a gallery, attending a talk or group, a phone call or a cup of tea, one is left with something real inside, a gift of ideas which work on and develop as the days go by.  

~by Silas Neptune – Musician/Composer  

Photo by Jaimen Perez

Art Lectures

My research is directed towards understanding the history of art as something that reflects the spiritual impulses working at a particular time into the soul-life of an artist .

Read More

My research is directed towards understanding the history of art as something that reflects the spiritual impulses working at a particular time into the soul-life of an artist coming to expression in the way they experience the world and also in the type of consciousness they have. I also study the way these impulses live in the soul and spirit of artists and manifest in their art. I draw on the research that others have done as well as my own experience of looking at the paintings.

I'm interested in the biological rhythms in artist lives and how this can help us to understand their development. I find that the application of an anthroposophical methodology gives insight into the lives of artists and their art which is rarely found in more abstract intellectual study.

There is too much emphasis on the material and social background and too little which concerns itself with the soul and spiritual life of artists.

I also find an anthroposophical approach to looking at art helpful in seeing what is there rather than what some writer or other has told you to look for. Used well, an intimate and loving approach can give a deeper and more intimate connection with the painting. Used badly, without an awareness of the research that has gone into studying paintings by other art historians it can degenerate from imagination and lead to all kinds of fanciful and bizarre interpretations. Often the talks are more about how we look at a particular artist's work and less about the soul and spiritual content of the paintings.


PIERO DELLA FRANCESCA AND THE GOLDEN LEGEND

Much of the hidden wisdom was therefore expressed in the Christian legends and stories of the Middle Ages. One of the most significant of these was called ‘The Golden Legend.'

Read More The artist, PIero della Francesca who died in 1492 was forgotten for centuries. Over the course of the 20th century he became regarded as one of the most significant painters in the Italian Renaissance of the 15th century. His actual birthday is unknown but sometime around 1413. Many of his works are lost or destroyed but enough survive to indicate that Piero is a major painter who developed a refined use of perspective that affects the perception and consciousness of the viewer in mysterious ways. His work on perspective was to be taken up by Leonardo da Vinci and Luca Pacioli on the theoretical side and by Raphael among many others. Raphael used it, for example, to create the illusion of the flying horse and rider in the Heliodorus fresco which he and his workshop painted in the Vatican. Piero achieved one of the greatest of painterly illusions in his own painting of the Resurrection. Evidence of esoteric knowledge regarding Christianity is never far from the surface. It gives an insight into the devotional feeling that was cultivated not only in the confraternity that many of Piero’s family were involved in but also the esoteric understanding that was hidden in them. People were not generally regarded as mature enough in their spiritual development to be worthy of receiving the deeper secrets of Christianity. Much of the hidden wisdom was therefore expressed in the Christian legends and stories of the Middle Ages. One of the most significant of these was called ‘The Golden Legend’. Piero chose this theme for a cycle of frescoes he painted in a chapel of the Church of San Francesco in Arezzo, a short distance from Florence

More information about Piero’s life and work and also some information about the frescoes is available by contacting my email freerlife@gmx.com

Travel

The website's name comes from Goethe’s account of his Italian Journey: Travel is a way we can experience that different parts of the world have different etheric forces.

Read More This website's name comes from Goethe’s account of his Italian Journey:
Implicit in this phrase is the thought
that beyond the reach of our physical senses
a world of being that is not physically embodied
although certain of the beings there
such as the elemental beings
are able to work down into the physical.
The Higher Beings
are unable to do this:
we have to reach up to them.
Even the Beings we refer to as Angels
only reach down as far as the etheric world.

In earlier times when people experienced
the etheric world more regularly,
it was more usual for them,
as the Egyptians and even the Greeks did,
to experience beings at the level of Angels
Nowadays it is necessary to experience
the etheric world through our own efforts.
The many challenges of our times
require us to consider
the etheric world adjacent to our own.
Travel is a way we can experience
that different parts of the world
have different etheric forces.

Photo by Jaimen Perez

Glencoe

An older, wiser time saw
in what we call the weather
and in nature herself
something with being.

Each place has beings special to it.
each cloud embodies something
that lives in a particular way
forming and dissolving and forming again.

Glencoe Is a place full of dark memories and an unusually powerful elemental life
in the west of Scotland, south of Inverness.

Tuition & Seminars

I currently work with a variety of groups and individuals.

Read More Most of these meetings are private or closed to newcomers and are generally informal. Most Wednesdays at Rudolf Steiner House in London there is a reading and conversation group open to all. We meet from 7:15 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. It is formed of people who already have familiarity with Anthroposophy. There is a smaller group that meets monthly and is made up of people who are relatively new to anthroposophy but not necessarily new to esoteric study. Most of them are artists, musicians, writers etc. The content of the study Is to do with the various stages of initiation, leading from sense perception, through Imagination, Inspiration and Intuition and how they are related to creative activity. I am currently forming a group of people who are interested In the methodology of anthroposophical research with a view to doing their own research. There is already a group of individuals scattered through several countries interested in the biographical crisis point which everyone goes through at the age of 26 to 27 to which particular emphasis is given by Rudolf Steiner. The developing structure for this research can be obtained from freerlife@gmx.com

Research Projects

The changes that the research brings about in the person doing the research is an important and necessary aspect of it. You need to develop different faculties.

Read More
  • • Goethe’s Italian Journey
  • • Imagination and how we develop it.
  • • Biographical study: the crisis at age 26/27, lasting to 35.
  • • The etheric body gets younger as the physical body gets older.
  • • The development of empathy through two or more people working together. The possibility through that development of bringing change not only to themselves but also to the world.
  • • The development of Art and consciousness.
  • • The mirroring of ancient Egyptian culture and our own culture.
  • • Observation of Nature in relation to Imagination
  • • Historical Processes in relation to Inspiration.

Further info on these would be available only on request. Contact freerlife@gmx.com

My main area of research is the spiritual impulses active in cultural history. At the moment the focus of my research is Raphael.

Another current area of research is the study of the crisis that occurs in everybody's life when they are 26 or 27.

I have a more general research interest in the rhythms of human biography.

This relates also to my interest in the spiritual impulses active in cultural history as part of that is understanding the rhythms in the processes of the history of culture. There are obvious interconnections. The history of culture is in part the study of individual artists. Interestingly, biographical rhythms show themselves more clearly in the lives of creative people. There are also some rhythms, noticeably the 33 year rhythm, which is prominent in historical development and also often very significant in the lives of individuals.

Sometimes following the methodology and content of Anthroposophical research you can arrive at similar results to those arrived at by conventional art historical researchers. A good example is that of the late Edgar Wind’s research into the meaning of Michaelangelo’s frescoes on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. There is an interesting relationship between the results of his research and the results of Rudolf Steiner's research regarding the same frescoes.

I have a more general interest in understanding the methodology of anthroposophical research and how that may be taught to others. The doing of the research makes you aware of the methodology and how far it differs from the methodology of conventional academic intellectual research. Goethe's Italian journey was in part research into the metamorphosis of plants. His account of his Italian journey is the record of his research. The account was written so that readers would be able to perceive the full scope of his research into the metamorphosis of plants. An aspect of this is that although he is quite objective about his research, the objectivity extends to a consciousness of the changes his research work brought about in himself. The lack of this kind of consciousness in conventional academic research, especially in scientific research, is one of the big differences between that and anthroposophical research.

In the latter the changes that the research brings about in the person doing the research is an important and necessary aspect of it. You need to develop different faculties than what comes from an abstract intellectual approach. In the section on tuition, seminars, and group work I mention that part of my teaching is concerned with how one develops in oneself the way of doing anthroposophical research.

Publications

Goethe and Palladio, by David Lowe and Simon Sharp
Goethe's study of the relationship between art and nature, leading through architecture to the discovery of the metamorphosis of plants. This is a study of the first part of Goethe’s Italian journey, covering his journey from the Brenner Pass to Venice which I followed with the co-author and artist, Simon Sharp..

Published by Lindisfarne Books: www.lindisfarne.org
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