Owen Barfield

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Arthur Owen Barfield (9 November 1898–14 December 1997) was a British philosopher, author, poet, critic, and member of The Inklings.


  • When man, in the exercise of his mechanical function, puts together a structure, he does it by adding one part to another, so that they lie side-by-side in space, and the whole is made up of all the parts added together. But when nature constructs, she follows a different principle – one which man also, when he is functioning not as mechanic but as artist or poet, must strive to follow. In an organic structure it will be found that the parts interpenetrate and, as it were, express each other in a characteristic way, and that often a single part will seem at the same time to be the whole, or to be potentially the whole. And this is the structural principle which, at all levels from the highest to the lowest, Anthroposophy reveals to us as present in the universe itself.

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