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The Philosophy Of Freedom

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"The purpose of The Philosophy Of Freedom is to lay the foundations of ethical individualism and of a social and political life." Rudolf Steiner

Ethical individualism is a humanist world-view that recognizes that the most cherished human dignity is to live according to one's own freely chosen values.


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We are improving the readability of Rudolf Steiner's Philosophy Of Freedom from the current College reading level to a High School reading level. This is an ongoing project with new additions posted daily. You can participate by posting your suggestions to improve the readability. Links to past translations are here for reference.

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PART I : THEORY
The Theory of Freedom

Comparative Study Exercises

COMPARATIVE STUDY EXERCISES
The Philosophy Of Freedom

Striving For Inner Truth

Link to book text.

Introduction
The Goal Of Knowledge
Striving for inner truth.

0.0 Compare a life of conformity that believes there is a norm of human life that we must all strive to conform, with a life of individuality that accepts nothing as valid unless it springs from the roots of individuality.
0.1 Compare the uncertainty of truth that comes from outside, with the conviction of truth that comes from within.
0.2 Compare having your powers weakened by being tormented by doubt, with the confidence and empowerment that comes with truth.
0.3 Compare belief’s acceptance of truth that is not wholly understood, with the satisfaction of a knowing that springs from the inner life of the personality.
0.4 Compare advancing in knowledge with the kind that has been encased in rigid academic rules, with advancing in knowledge by starting from the facts we know and our own personal experience.
0.5 Compare the student that is compelled to understand, with the student driven to understand by his own particular need.
0.6 Compare a stereotypical life that follows cultural trends, with an individualistic life that follows the path of inner truth by applying the principles in this book.
0.7 Compare the pious exercises and ascetic practices necessary to receive the knowledge of a sage, with the practice of entering the realm of pure thinking necessary to attain scientific knowledge.
0.8 Compare the aim of the scientific specialist's research to gain knowledge of the world and how it works, with wholistic knowing that seeks in the separate sciences the principles for leading man back to the fullness of life.
0.9 Compare answering the questions of human freedom without science, with answering these questions which are the most intimate that concern humanity with science.
0.10 Compare the value of science that satisfies idle curiosity, with the value of science that elevates the existential value of human personality.
0.11 Compare serving the ideas of science, with the ideas of science serving human aims that go beyond science.
0.12 Compare being controlled by ideas, with being master of ideas.

Chapter 1
Conscious Human Action
Action determined by inner truth.

1.0 Compare the scientific view that our thinking and action are compelled by the necessity of natural law, with the moral view that free thinking and action are an obvious fact.
1.1 Compare a choice determined by a reason, with the freedom of an indifferent choice made arbitrarily, without a reason.
1.2 Compare a choice compelled by desire, with a free choice made according to one’s own preferences.
1.3 Compare action compelled by the necessity of human nature, with action that expresses the free necessity of one’s “own” nature.
1.4 Compare an action compelled by the necessity of an outside situation, with an action that expresses our inner character free of outside motivation.
1.5 Compare an action that springs from blind urge, with a free action that is the result of a conscious motive.
1.6 Compare an action controlled by animal cravings, with an action freely determined by purpose and deliberate decision.
1.7 Compare being able to will what you wish, with being able to freely do what you wish.
1.8 Compare a spontaneous act of a donkey, with a spontaneous free act of a human.
1.9 Compare an action carried out without knowing why, with a free action where the reason is known.
1.10 Compare an action that results from the calm deliberation of reason, with an action driven by the heart.
1.11 Compare an action compelled by love that expresses the sexual drive, with a free action motivated by thoughts idealizing the loved one.
1.12 Compare an action compelled by seeing flaws, with a free action motivated by seeing good qualities.

Chapter 2
The Fundamental Drive For Science
Only inner truth satisfies.

2.0 Compare feeling a wall of separation with the world that results from the outer world-content opposing our inner thought-content, with feeling a bond of connection with the world that results from making the outer world-content into our inner thought-content.
2.1 Compare the one side that explains the world and thought as a product of matter and physical-processes, with the other side that is dissatisfied with shifting the attention away from the identifiable subject, the self.
2.2 Compare the one side that explains the world with pure spiritual theory, with the other side that is dissatisfied with its lack of practical knowledge that helps it to take action and get things done.
2.3 Compare the one side that looks outward to acquire experience that provides content for the Mind, with the other side that is dissatisfied unless it uses this experience to realize its intentions on the real, practical level.
2.4 Compare the one side that derives a thought-structure of the world from the “Ego”, with the other side that is dissatisfied with a thought-structure that lacks any content of experience.
2.5 Compare the one side that explains how the senses give us sense-effects, with the other side that is not satisfied until it explains how the sense-effects give us senses.
2.6 Compare the one side that finds even at the simple level of the atom Matter and Mind already indivisibly united, with the other side that is not satisfied until it can explain how the simple entity manifests itself to us in two different ways.
2.7 Compare the one side that feels we are strangers to Nature even though we live in the midst of her, with the other side that is not satisfied until it finds Nature within.
2.8 Compare the one side that feels we are within Nature and belong to her, with the other side that is not satisfied until it feels the outer workings of Nature living in us too.
2.9 Compare the one side that considers the human Mind a spiritual entity entirely foreign to Nature and attempts somehow to attach it on to Nature, with the other side that is not satisfied until it finds what corresponds to nature within.
2.10 Compare the one side that says within our own being we are merely ‘I’, with the other side that is not satisfied until it reaches a point where it can say here is something more than ‘I’.
2.11 Compare the academic side that uses terms in the precise way that is usual in Psychology and Philosophy, with the other side that is not satisfied unless the terms and descriptions express what we all experience in our own consciousness.
2.12 Compare the one side whose purpose is to quickly interpret events, with the other side that is not satisfied until it records the facts of how we experience everyday life.

Chapter 3
Thinking As A Means Of Forming A View Of The World
Observation of inner truth.

3.0 Compare (1) being a mere observer that can follow the parts of an event as they occur, with (2) being a thinker who has discovered the corresponding concepts and can predict what will happen next.
3.1 Compare (1) the everyday state of observing and having thoughts about things of the world, with (2) the exceptional state of being able to observe and study your inner thought-processes.
3.2 Compare how we are (1) passive when a feeling of pleasure is kindled by an object, with how we are (2) active in forming concepts when thinking is kindled by an object.
3.3A Compare (1) confronting (noticing) an object placed before you prior to contemplation, with (2) placing your full attention on the object in thinking contemplation and becoming absorbed in it.
3.3B Compare these two expressions of our personality; feeling and in an act of will (1) “I am pleased with the table” and (2) “I am thinking of a table”, with the expression of thinking (3) “This is a table”, which recognizes the object as a table without expressing any relationship with it.
3.4 Compare (1) directing your thinking contemplation to an object in the world, with (2) directing your thinking contemplation to a thought in your Mind.
3.5 Compare (1) observing the phenomena of thunder and lightning (pictures or video) in order to explain why thunder follows lightning, with (2) observing the concepts of thunder and lightning in your Mind in order to explain why thunder follows lightning.
3.6 Compare (1) the observation of physical-processes in the brain to explain why you linked one thought with another, with (2) the introspective observation of the thought-process to explain why you linked one thought with another.
3.7A Compare (1) your level of certainty in knowing something given to you from the outside, with (2) your level of certainty in knowing a thought you produced in your Mind.
3.7B Place an object before you. Compare three things: (1) Recognize that it exists. (2) Compare its existence to the way other things exist. (3) Compare its existence to your existence.
3.8 Compare your right to (1) weave a web of thoughts around an object in the world that goes beyond your observation, with your right to (2) weave a web of thoughts around a thought in your Mind that goes beyond the observed thought.
3.9 Compare the sequence of knowing and creating in Part 1, with the opposite sequence of creating and knowing in Part 2.
Part 1: Know Nature, Then Create Nature
Recall a time you grew a plant by applying your knowledge of the principles of gardening such as water, soil, and sunlight.
Part 2: Create Thought, Then Know Thought
Answer this yes or no question: Would you like to take a walk in the woods?
In making a choice you have created a thought-process. Recall this thought-process and contemplate it to gain knowledge of your reason for choosing yes or no.
3.10 (1) Observe a concept of an object and write down the thoughts that are within that concept of knowledge. (2) Observe the same concept a second time and see if any of the previous thoughts have been altered by the observation process.
3.11 Compare the knowledge gained by (1) observing an object you wish to understand, with the knowledge gained by (2) thinking about your thoughts of the object.
3.12A Compare whether (1) a tree in itself is right or wrong, with whether (2) a thought is right or wrong (when it is considered by itself).
3.12B Compare whether (1) a thought is right or wrong (when it is considered by itself), with whether (2) a thought is right or wrong after it has been applied to the world.

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Chapter 3 - Comparative Study Guide

Last revised 1/18/2017


COMPARATIVE STUDY GUIDE
The Philosophy Of Freedom

Chapter 3
Thinking As A Means Of Forming A View Of The World

Compare the Experience of Outer Truth with that of Inner Truth

Topic
Heading

Observed state of things
(compare difference)

Link to
Chapter Three

Case 1
EXPERIENCE OF
OUTER
TRUTH

Case 2
EXPERIENCE OF
INNER
TRUTH

3.0 Reflective Thinking

Compare (1) being a mere observer that can follow the parts of an event as they occur, with (2) being a thinker who has discovered the corresponding concepts and can predict what will happen next.

Observed Event
When I observe how a billiard ball, when struck, transfers its motion to another ball, I remain completely without influence over the course of this observed event. As long as I remain a mere spectator, I can say nothing about the motion of the second ball until after it has happened.

Reflective Thinking
The situation is different when I begin to reflect on the content of my observation. The purpose of my reflection is to establish the concepts of the event.

Predict What Will Happen
The question is: "What do we gain by finding a conceptual counterpart to an event?"

As a mere spectator, I will know nothing of what happens next. The situation is very different if, before my view is obstructed, I have already discovered the concepts corresponding to the details of the event. In that case I can predict what will happen, even when I am no longer able to observe it. There is nothing in a merely observed object or event that reveals anything about its connection to other objects and events. This connection only becomes evident when observation is combined with thought.

3.1 Observation Of Thought

Compare (1) the everyday state of observing and having thoughts about things of the world, with (2) the exceptional state of being able to observe and study your inner thought-processes. 

The Everyday State
The observation of a table or a tree occurs as soon as these objects enter the horizon of my experience. Yet I do not, at the same time, observe my thought about these things. I observe the table, and I carry on a process of thought about the table, but I do not at the same moment observe this thought-process. If I want to observe the table while at the same time observe my thoughts about it, I have to remain in a place outside any activity of my own.

 

The Exceptional State
While the observation of things and events, and thinking about them, is the everyday state that occupies my normal life, the observation of the thoughts themselves require entering an exceptional state.

It is important to understand the exceptional state, because we are going to compare thought, as an object of observation, to all other observed things.

When observing our thought-process, we must be sure to apply the same method we use to study any other object in the world. But in the normal course of our study of other things, we do not usually reflect upon our thought-processes as well.

3.2 Concept Formed Through My Activity

Compare how we are (1) passive when a feeling of pleasure is kindled by an object, with how we are (2) active in forming concepts when thinking is kindled by an object. 

Feeling Is Given To Me Like Any Other Observed Object
Pleasure just happens to me. Pleasure is aroused by an object in the same way as a change is caused in an object by a stone falling on it. To observation, a pleasure is given, in exactly the same way as the event that causes it.

I learn a great deal about my personality when I know the feeling that an event arouses in me.

Forming Concept Requires My Attentive Activity
A concept formed by thinking is related to what is observed in a completely different way than a pleasure is. I am definitely aware that a concept of a thing is built up by my own activity.

When I am reflecting about an event, I am not concerned with how it affects me. I learn nothing at all about myself by knowing the concepts corresponding to the observed change in a pane of glass caused by a stone thrown against it.

3.3 Thinking Contemplation Of Object

Exercise A: Compare (1) confronting (noticing) an object placed before you prior to contemplation, with (2) placing your full attention on the object in thinking contemplation and becoming absorbed in it.
Exercise B: Compare these two expressions of our personality; feeling and in an act of will (1) “I am pleased with the table” and (2) “I am thinking of a table”, with the expression of thinking (3) “This is a table”, which recognizes the object as a table without expressing any relationship with it.

Thought Is Not In Same Category As Other Observed Objects
There can be no question, then, that thought and feeling are not on the same level when compared as objects of observation. The same could easily be shown for all other activities of the human mind. Unlike thought, they belong in the same category as other observed objects and events.

Feeling And Our Acts Of Will Express Personality, Not Thinking
It is part of the unique nature of thinking that it is an activity directed solely on the observed object, and not on the personality who is engaged in the thinking. This is evident even in the way we express our thoughts about an object, in contrast to the way we express our feelings or acts of will. If I see an object and recognize it as a table, I do not normally say, “I am thinking of a table”, but rather, “This is a table.” Yet I could certainly say “I am pleased with the table.” In the first case I am not interested in expressing my relationship with the table, but in the second case it is just this relationship that I am drawing attention to.

Personality Expresses An Act Of Will When It Enters The Exceptional State
If I say, “I am thinking of a table,” I have already entered into the exceptional state described above. From this position something always present in our mental activity is observed, although normally it is not noticed.

Full Attention On Object, Not Thought
The unique nature of thought is that the thinker forgets thinking when actually doing it. What occupies his attention is not thought, but rather the object he is observing while he is thinking. The first thing we notice about thought is that it is the unobserved element in our normal mental life.

Thinking Is My Own Activity
The reason why we do not notice the thinking that goes on in our everyday mental life is none other than this: thinking is our own activity.

Thinking Contemplation
What I do not originate appears as something ‘objectively there’ in my field of observation. I see myself before something that is not of my doing. It confronts me. I must accept it before I begin my thinking-process. While I am reflecting on the object, I am absorbed in it, my attention is focused on it. To focus the attention on the object is, in fact, to contemplate it by thought. This is thinking contemplation. My attention is not directed toward my activity, but rather toward the object of this activity. In other words, when I think, I do not see the thinking I am producing. I only see the object I am thinking about, which I did not produce.

3.4 Thinking Contemplation Of Thought

Compare (1) directing your thinking contemplation to an object in the world, with (2) directing your thinking contemplation to a thought in your mind.

Cannot Contemplate (put full attention on) Present Thinking While It Is Happening
I am in exactly the same position when I enter the exceptional state and reflect on my own thinking. I can never observe my present thought. Only afterward can the past experience of my thought-process be made into the object of fresh thoughts.

If I want to observe my present thought-process, I would have to split myself into two persons: one to think, and the other to observe this thinking. This I cannot do. I can only accomplish it in two separate acts. The thought to be observed is never the current one actively being produced, but another one.

Contemplation Of Thought
For this purpose, it makes no difference whether I observe my own earlier thoughts, or follow the thought-process of another person or, as in the above example of the motion of billiard balls, set up an imaginary thought-process.

Create Thought, Then Contemplate Thought
There are two things that do not go together: productive activity and confronting this activity in contemplation. It is not possible to create and contemplate at the same time.

In the first six days God is represented as creating the world, and only after the world is there is it possible to contemplation it: "And God saw everything that he had made and, behold, it was very good." The same applies to our thinking. It must first be there before we can observe it.

3.5 Know Thought Directly And Intimately

Compare (1) observing the phenomena of thunder and lightning (pictures or video) in order to explain why thunder follows lightning, with (2) observing the concepts of thunder and lightning in your mind order to explain why thunder follows lightning.

Cannot Observe Thought When We Are Creating Thought
There is a reason why it is impossible to observe the thought-process while it is presently taking place. It is the same reason that makes it possible for us to know it more directly, and more intimately than any other process in the world. It is just because we produce the thought-process through our own creative activity.

Observation Of Thunder And Lightning
Without going beyond the observed phenomena, I cannot know why thunder follows lightning.

 

Creating A Thought-Process
It is just because we produce the thought-process through our own creative activity, that we know the characteristic features of its course, and the details of how the process has taken place. What can be discovered only indirectly in all other fields of observation,— the factually corresponding context and the connection between the single objects—in the case of thought is known to us in an absolutely direct way.

Reason For Connecting Concepts Found In Concepts
Without going beyond the observed phenomena, I cannot know why thunder follows lightning. But I know immediately, from the content of the two concepts, why my thought connects the concept of thunder with the concept of lightning.

Working With Correct Concepts?
The point being made here does not depend on whether I have the correct concepts of lightning and thunder. The connection between those concepts that I do have is clear to me, and is so through the concepts themselves.

3.6 Thinking Guided By Content Of Thought

Compare (1) the observation of physical-processes in the brain to explain why you linked one thought with another, with (2) the introspective observation of the thought-process to explain why you linked one thought with another.

Finding Thought In The Brain
This transparent clarity of the thought-process is completely independent of our knowledge of the physiological basis of thought. I am speaking here of thought when we make our own mental activity the object of observation. For this purpose I am not concerned with how one physical process in my brain causes or influences another while I carry on a line of thought.

Difficult To Grasp Pure Thinking
In a less materialistic age this remark would of course be entirely unnecessary. But today—when there are people who believe that once we know what matter is, we will know how matter thinks—it is necessary to point out that we can discuss thought without entering the field of brain physiology. Most people find it difficult to grasp the concept of pure thinking. Anyone who counters the idea of thinking I have developed here with the assertion of Cabanis' that "the brain secretes thoughts as the liver does gall or the salivary ducts saliva . . .", simply does not know what I am talking about. Such a person is trying to find thought in the brain by the normal method of observation, in the same way we approach other objects in the world. But, as I have shown, thought cannot be found in this way because it eludes normal observation.

I Have A Reason For Connecting Thoughts
What I observe in studying a thought-process is not what process in my brain connects the concept lightning with the concept thunder. I observe my reason for bringing these two concepts into a certain relationship. Introspection shows that in linking thought with thought I am guided by the content of my thoughts. I am not guided by physical processes in the brain.

Willingness To Enter The Exceptional State
Whoever is unable to enter the exceptional state I have described cannot transcend Materialism and become conscious of what in all other mental activity remains unconscious. If someone lacks the willingness to look at thought from this position, then one can no more discuss thought with him than one can discuss color with someone born blind. But he should certainly not imagine that we consider physiological processes to be thinking. He fails to explain thought because he simply does not see it.

3.7 Know Thought With Absolute Certainty

Exercise A: Compare (1) your level of certainty in knowing something given to you from the outside, with (2) your level of certainty in knowing a thought you produced in your mind.
Exercise B: Place an object before you. Compare three things: (1) Recognize that it exists. (2) Compare its existence to the way other things exist. (3) Compare its existence to your existence.

We Know Our Thought, Other Things Are Unfamiliar
For everyone who has the ability to observe thought—and with the willingness, every normal person has this ability—this observation is the most important that can be made. What he observes is his own creation. He is not facing something that is, at first, unfamiliar to him. He faces his own activity. He knows how it comes about. He clearly sees into its conditions and relationships. He gains a secure point of reference from which he can seek, with a reasonable hope of success, the explanation for all other world phenomena.

Truth, Illusion, Or Dream?
The feeling of having found such a firm foundation caused the founder of modern philosophy, Rene Descartes, to base the whole of human knowledge on the principle, "I think, therefore I am." All other things, all other events, are there independent of me. I do not know whether they are truth, or illusion, or dream.

Know My Thought With Absolute Certainty, Because I Produce It
There is only one thing I know with absolute certainty, for I myself bring it to its sure and undisputed existence: my thought. Perhaps it has another ultimate source. Perhaps it comes from God or from somewhere else, I cannot be sure. I am sure of one thing, it exists because I produced it myself. Descartes had no justification for giving his principle any other meaning than this. All he had a right to assert was that it is only in thinking that I grasp myself, standing within the world-whole, in the activity that is the most my own.

It Exists
What the added words "therefore I am" is intended to mean has often been debated. It only makes sense on one condition. The simplest statement I can make about a thing is that it is, that it exists. What kind of existence it has cannot be more closely defined at first sight, in the first moment it appears within the range of my experience.

Its Relationship To Other Things
Each object must first be studied in its relationship to other things, before we can determine the way it exists. An experienced event may be a series of perceptions, but it could also be a dream, a hallucination, and so on. Within only a brief moment, I am unable to say in what way it exists. I cannot read the kind of existence from the event itself, but I can learn this when I consider the event in relation to other things. But even then, I learn nothing more than how it relates to these other things.

Its Relationship To My Existence
My search reaches firm ground only when I find an object, from which I can derive the reason of its existence from the object itself. This I am, as a thinker; for I give to my existence the defining, self-supporting content of my thought activity. From here I can go on to ask: "Do other things exist in the same, or in some other way?"

3.8 Remaining Within Realm Of Thought

Compare your right to (1) weave a web of thoughts around an object in the world that goes beyond your observation, with your right to (2) weave a web of thoughts around a thought in your mind that goes beyond the observed thought.

The Same Method To Observe Other Things Is Used To Observe Thought
When we make thought an object of observation, we add something to the rest of the world's observed content that normally escapes our notice. But we do not change the method of observation, which is the same as we use for other things. We increase the number of observed objects, but not the number of methods.

When Thinking About An Object Two Processes Intermix: Observation And Thought
A process is overlooked when we observe other things. This process mingles with world-events and intermixes with the observation process itself. Something is present that is different from every other kind of process, and is not taken into account.

When Thinking About Thinking We Remain Within The Realm Of Thought
But when I observe my thinking, there ceases to be an unnoticed element present. For what hovers in the background is, again, nothing but thought. The observed object is qualitatively the same as the activity directed upon it. This is another special characteristic of thought. When we observe thought, we are not compelled to do so with the help of something qualitatively different. We can remain within the same element; the realm of thought.

Do I have A Right To Have Thoughts That Go Beyond The Object?
When I weave a web of thoughts around an object given independently of me, I go beyond my observation. Then the question becomes: What right do I have to do this? Why don’t I just passively let the object make its impression on me? How is it possible for my thought to be related to the object? These are questions everyone who reflects on his own thought-processes must ask.

All these questions vanish when we think about thinking itself. We then add nothing unfamiliar to our thought, and so there is no need to justify such an addition.

3.9 Create Thought Before Knowing It

Compare the sequence of knowing and creating in Part 1, with the opposite sequence of creating and knowing in Part 2.
Part 1: Know Nature, Then Create Nature
Recall a time you grew a plant by applying your knowledge of the principles of gardening such as water, soil, and sunlight.
Part 2: Create Thought, Then Know Thought
Answer this yes or no question: Would you like to take a walk in the woods?
In making a choice you have created a thought-process. Recall this thought-process and contemplate it to gain knowledge of your reason for choosing yes or no.

Know The Principles Of Nature, Then Create Nature Again
Schelling says: "To know Nature is to create Nature." Anyone who takes these words of the daring Nature philosopher literally, must renounce forever all hope of gaining knowledge of Nature because, after all, Nature already exists. To re-create it over again, one must know the principles according to how it originated. From the Nature that already exists, one would have to copy the conditions of existence, and apply them to the Nature one wished to re-create. But this copying, which has to precede the re-creating, is to already have a knowledge of Nature, and remains this even if no re-creation follows. To create a Nature different from what already exists, one would have to create it without applying prior knowledge of existing Nature.

Create A Thought, Then Gain Knowledge Of It
What is impossible with Nature—creation prior to knowledge—we achieve in the act of thought. If we wait to think until we already know it, we would never think at all. We must resolutely dive straight into thinking and only afterward, by introspective analysis, gain knowledge of what we have done. We ourselves first create the thought-process, which we then make the object of observation. All other objects are there without any activity on our part.

3.10 Thought Is Self-Supporting And Self-Subsisting

(1) Observe a concept of an object and write down the thoughts that are within that concept of knowledge. (2) Observe the same concept a second time and see if any of the previous thoughts have been altered by the observation process.

The Unconscious Thought-Process
Here I will mention a widespread error concerning thought. It is often said that, "We never experience thought as it truly is, in its real nature. Thought-processes connect our observations with one another, and weave them together with a network of concepts." But they say, "These thoughts are not at all the same as what our analysis later extracts from the objects we observe, and make into the object of study. What we first unconsciously weave into things", so we are told, "is something entirely different from what we then consciously draw back out."

Recalling A Thought-Process Does Not Alter It
Those who hold this view do not realize it is impossible to escape from thought. I cannot get outside thought when I want to contemplate it. If one makes a distinction between thought before and after becoming conscious of it, one should not forget this distinction is purely external and irrelevant to our discussion. I do not in any way alter a thing by thinking about it. I can imagine that a being with different sense organs and a differently functioning intelligence would have a very different idea of a horse than mine. But I cannot imagine that my own thought becomes something else because I observe it. I myself observe what I myself produce.

Thought Principle Of Self-Subsistence
With this, I think I have sufficiently justified making thought the starting-point in my approach to understanding the world. When Archimedes invented the lever, he thought he could use it to lift the whole cosmos out of its hinges, if he could only find a secure point of support to set his instrument. He needed something that was self-supporting, not dependent on anything else. In thought we have a principle of self-subsistence, it is composed by means of itself. From this principle let us attempt to understand the world. Thought can be grasped by thought. The only question is whether we can grasp anything else by means of thought.

3.11 Impartial Consideration Of Thinking

Compare the knowledge gained by (1) observing an object you wish to understand, with the knowledge gained by (2) thinking about your thoughts of the object.

Start With Conscious Object And Think About It
I find it odd that a philosopher is criticized for being concerned first and foremost with the correctness of his principles. They expect him to turn immediately to the objects he wishes to understand. The world-creator, before everything else, had to know how to find a vehicle for thought. But the philosopher has to find a secure foundation for understanding what already exists. What good does it do to start with consciousness and subject it to our thinking, without first knowing whether thoughtful contemplation can offer insight into things?

Start With Examination Of Thinking
We must first examine thinking in a completely impartial way, without reference to a thinking subject or a thought object. For in subject and object we already have concepts formed by thinking. There is no denying that thinking must be understood before anything else can be understood. Anyone who denies this overlooks the fact that he, as a human being, does not belong to the beginning of creation, but to its end.

Reason Backward
To explain the world by means of concepts, we cannot start from the earliest elements of existence. We must begin with the nearest element given to us, what is most intimately ours. We cannot, with a leap, take ourselves back to the beginning of the world, and begin our analysis there. Instead, we must start from the present moment and see whether we can advance from the later to the earlier.

3.12 Rightness Of Thought

Exercise A: Compare whether (1) a tree in itself is right or wrong, with whether (2) a thought is right or wrong (when it is considered by itself).
Exercise B: Compare whether (1) a thought is right or wrong (when it is considered by itself), with whether (2) a thought is right or wrong after it has been applied to the world.

Is Our Thought Right Or Wrong?
There are people who say we cannot know for certain whether our thought is right or wrong. So our starting-point remains a doubtful one. This is as sensible as saying it is doubtful whether a tree in itself is right or wrong. Thought is a fact and it is meaningless to speak of a fact as being right or wrong.

Rightness Of Thought
I can understand someone doubting whether we can know the world by means of thought. But I find it incomprehensible how anyone can doubt the rightness of thought, when it is considered by itself.

Application Of Thought
At most I can have doubts about whether thought is rightly applied. In the same way I can have doubts whether a certain tree will provide the right wood suitable for the intended purpose of a tool being made. It is the task of this book to show how far the application of thought to the world is a right application or a wrong one.

Transition To Next Chapter

 In Chapter 3 we compare thought, as an object of observation, to all other observed things.

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Chapter 2 - Comparative Study Guide

Last revised 1/18/2017


COMPARATIVE STUDY GUIDE
The Philosophy Of Freedom

Chapter 2
The Fundamental Drive For Science

Compare the Experience of Outer Truth with that of Inner Truth

Topic
Heading

Observed state of things
(compare difference)

Link to
Chapter Two

Case 1
EXPERIENCE OF
OUTER
TRUTH

Case 2
EXPERIENCE OF
INNER
TRUTH

2.0 Striving For Knowledge

Compare feeling a wall of separation with the world that results from the outer world-content opposing our inner thought-content, with feeling a bond of connection with the world that results from making the outer world-content into our inner thought-content.

Need To Survive
Nature gives us needs, among them are some left to our own activity to satisfy. Abundant are the gifts we have received, yet more abundant are our desires.

PROBLEM: World-Content Opposes Our Thought-Content
The something more we seek in things, exceeds what is given to us in immediate observation. What we add splits our entire existence into two parts. We place ourselves over against the world as an independent being. The universe appears to us as two opposing sides: Self and World.

The mental process splits our world into two halves: the outer perceived-world and our inner thought-world.

Wall Of Separation
We erect this wall of separation between ourselves and the world as soon as consciousness lights up within us.

Need To Know
We seem born to be dissatisfied. A special case of this dissatisfaction is our desire to know. We look everywhere for what we call an explanation of the facts.

Feeling A Bond Of Connection Makes Us Strive For Unity
We never lose the feeling we belong to the world, that a bond connects us to it, and that we are beings whose place is not outside, but within the universe. This feeling makes us strive to bridge the opposition. And in the final analysis the entire spiritual striving of humankind consists in bridging this antithesis. Religion, art and science all pursue this same goal.

SOLUTION: Make The World-Content Into Our Thought-Content
Only when we have made the world-content into our thought-content, do we find again the unity from which we have separated ourselves. We will see later this goal can only be reached when the task of scientific research is understood on a deeper level than is usually the case.

2.1 Materialism

Compare the one side that explains the world and thought as a product of matter and physical-processes, with the other side that is dissatisfied with shifting the attention away from the identifiable subject, the self.

Material World And Thoughts
Materialism starts with thoughts about Matter and material processes. In doing so, it already has two different kinds of facts before it: the material (physical) world and the thoughts about it.

Materialist Denies Mind
The Materialist tries to understand thought by regarding it as a purely material process. Just as he attributes mechanical, chemical, and organic processes to Matter, so he credits it in certain circumstances with the ability to think. The Materialist attributes the power of thinking to Matter, instead of to himself.

Shifts Problem Away From Self
The Materialist has turned his attention away from the identifiable subject, from his own Self, and instead occupies himself with the nebulous and indeterminate nature of Matter. The materialistic viewpoint cannot solve the problem, it can only shift it to another place.

2.2 Spiritualism

Compare the one side that explains the world with pure spiritual theory, with the other side that is dissatisfied with its lack of practical knowledge that helps it to take action and get things done.

Spiritualism Denies Matter
What of the Spiritualistic view? The Spiritualist denies Matter (the World) any independent existence and conceives it as merely a product of Mind (the Self). He considers the whole phenomenal world to be nothing more than a fabric woven by Mind out of itself. From all that it achieves by its own spiritual effort, the physical world is never found.

The World Is A Closed Book To The Spiritualist
This conception of the world finds itself in difficulties as soon as it attempts to produce from Mind any single concrete phenomenon. It cannot do this either in knowledge or in action, as long as it regards its own nature as exclusively spiritual. It seems as if the Ego had to concede that the world would be a closed book to it, unless it could establish a non-spiritual relation to the world.

2.3 Realism

Compare the one side that looks outward to acquire experience providing content for the Mind, with the other side that is dissatisfied unless it uses this experience to realize its intentions on the real, practical level.

Experience Of External World Provides Content For Mind
If one would really know the external world, one must turn one's eye outwards and acquire experience. Without experience Mind can have no content.

Realize Our Intentions By Acting In External World
When we carry out actions, we have to realize our intentions on the real, practical level with the help of material things and forces. In other words, we are dependent on the external world.

2.4 Idealism

Compare the one side that derives a thought-structure of the world from the “Ego”, with the other side that is dissatisfied with a thought-structure that lacks any content of experience.

Thought-Structure Of World Without Experience Of World
The most extreme Spiritualist or, better said, Idealist, is Johann Gottlieb Fichte. He attempts to derive the whole edifice of the world from the “Ego.” What Fichte accomplished is a magnificent thought-structure of the world without any content of actual experience.

Idealist Does Away With External World
As little as it is possible for the Materialist to do away with the Mind, just as little is it possible for the Idealist to do away with the external world.

2.5 Paradox Of Materialistic Idealism

Compare the one side that explains how the senses give us sense-effects, with the other side that is not satisfied until it explains how the sense-effects give us senses.

Thought Is Produced By Matter, Matter Is Produced By Thought
Lang accepts that the Materialists are right in declaring all phenomena in the world, including our thought, to be the product of purely material processes. Conversely, he also accepts that Matter and its processes are the product of thinking.

The Senses Give Us Sense-Effects, And The Sense-Effects Give Us Senses
"The senses give us only sense-effects... the effects that things have on them, not true copies, and certainly not the things themselves. But among these mere effects we must include the senses themselves together with the brain and the molecular movements within it.”

Conceptual Paradox
This would mean our thinking is produced by material processes, and material processes are produced by our thinking. When translated into concepts, Lange’s philosophy is a conceptual paradox.

This makes it an equivalent to the tale of the bold Baron Münchhausen, who holds himself up in the air by his own pigtail.

2.6 Indivisible Unity

Compare the one side that finds even at the simple level of the atom Matter and Mind already indivisibly united, with the other side that is not satisfied until it can explain how the simple entity manifests itself to us in two different ways.

Mind And Matter Are Inseparably United 
The third form of Monism is the one that finds, even at the simple level of the atom, Matter and Mind already united.

Mind And Matter Manifest To Us In Two Different Ways
But nothing is gained by this either, for here again the question that actually originates in our consciousness is shifted to another place. How does the simple entity come to manifest itself in two different ways when it is an indivisible unity?

2.7 Polarity Of Consciousness

Compare the one side that feels we are strangers to Nature even though we live in the midst of her, with the other side that is not satisfied until it finds Nature within.

Polarity Of Consciousness
Contrary to all these points of view is a fact that must be emphasized. It is in our own consciousness that we first encounter the basic and primal polarity. It is we, ourselves, who break away from the mother ground of Nature and contrast ourselves as “Self” in opposition to the “World.”

Strangers To Nature
Goethe has given classical expression to this in his essay “Nature”, even though his way of speaking may sound at first completely unscientific. “Living in the midst of her (nature), yet are we strangers to her. Ceaselessly she speaks to us, yet betrays not her secrets.”

Nature Without And Within
But Goethe also knows the other side: “Human beings are all within her, and she in each of them.”

2.8 Feeling Nature

Compare the one side that feels we are within Nature and belong to her, with the other side that is not satisfied until it feels the outer workings of Nature living in us too. 

Observing Nature Without (estranged)
It is true we have estranged ourselves from Nature, yet at the same time we feel we are within Nature and belong to her.

Feeling Nature Within (belong)
It can only be that the outer workings of Nature live in us too.

The feeling that we belong must indicate something within us that is also a part of nature. While I am seeing nature outside of me, it can only be something more of nature within me that is itself pressing toward manifestation.

2.9 Knowing Nature Within

Compare the one side that considers the human mind a spiritual entity entirely foreign to Nature and attempts somehow to attach it on to Nature, with the other side that is not satisfied until it finds what corresponds to nature within.

First Know Nature Within, Then Find Nature Outside
Dualism considers the human mind a spiritual entity entirely foreign to Nature and attempts somehow to attach it on to Nature. No wonder it cannot find the connecting link. We can find nature outside us only if we have first learned to know her within us. What corresponds to nature within us will be our guide.

Essence Of Nature In Us
We must seek out this essence of Nature in us, and then we will discover our connection with her once more.

Path Of Inner Truth
This marks out our path of inquiry. We will not speculate about how Nature and Mind interact. Instead, we will probe into the depths of our own being, to find there the elements we retained in our flight from Nature.

2.10 Something More Than ‘I’

Compare the one side that says within our own being we are merely ‘I’, with the other side that is not satisfied until it reaches a point where it can say here is something more than ‘I’. 

Inner Investigation
The investigation of our own being must bring us the solution to the problem.

Something More Than ‘I’
We must reach a point where we can say, “Here we are no longer merely ‘I’, here is something more than ‘I’.

Element Belonging To Both Self And World
By penetrating to the depth of our own being an element is discovered which reveals itself to us as belonging not only to the Self, but also to the World.

2.11 Description Of Conscious Experience

Compare the academic side that uses terms in the precise way that is usual in Psychology and Philosophy, with the other side that is not satisfied unless the terms and descriptions express what we all experience in our own consciousness.

Simple Descriptions Of Experience
I expect some who have read this far will not find my presentation to be in accordance with "the present standing of scholarship." I can only reply that so far I have not been concerned with scientific results of any kind, but rather with simple descriptions of what we all experience in our own consciousness.

Terms Meant To Represent Actual Facts
The inclusion of a few statements about attempts to reconcile Mind and the World have been used only to clarify the actual facts. For this reason, I have not found it necessary to use terms such as 'Self', 'Mind', 'World', 'Nature' etc. in the precise way that is usual in Psychology and Philosophy.

2.12 Facts Of Everyday Life Without Interpretation

Compare the one side whose purpose is to quickly interpret events, with the other side that is not satisfied until it records the facts of how we experience everyday life. 

Record Facts Of Everyday Life
Ordinary consciousness does not know the sharp distinctions of scholarship. So far my purpose has been solely to record the facts of how we experience everyday life.

Concerned With Experience Of Consciousness, Not Interpretation
I am not concerned with how scholarship has interpreted consciousness, but with how we experience it from moment to moment.

Summary

Transition To Next Chapter

Unity Of Childhood Lost, And Then Found Again
Why are we always searching for what we call the explanation of the facts?
What drives us to search for knowledge?
As children we saw only the sense perceptible aspects of the whole.
We easily and naturally absorbed the surrounding environment through our senses.
We felt ourselves to be one with Nature.
Thought, however, is an integral part of the full reality.
So we can say the child has access to only half of what the world consists of.
Only later, when we have grown up sufficiently to develop thoughts, do we have access to the thought aspect of reality.
But then the mental process splits our world into two halves: the outer perceived-world and our inner thought-world.
We become conscious of contrasting with the world.
Now the universe appears to us as two opposing sides: Self and World.
Our childhood unity is lost and we experience a gulf between us and the world.
We now confront the world as individuals separate from the world.
But we never lose the feeling that we belong to the world, that the universe is a unity embracing both self and world.
The feeling that we belong must indicate something within us that is also a part of Nature.
This feeling makes us strive to bridge the separation.
The history of our spiritual life is a continuing search for the unity between ourselves and the world.
Religion, art and science all pursue this same goal.
While I am seeing Nature outside of me, it can only be something more of Nature within me that is itself pressing toward manifestation.
By penetrating to the depth of our own being an element is discovered which reveals itself to us as belonging not only to the Self, but also to the World.
Only when we have made the world-content into our thought-content do we restore the unity to the world lost for us during childhood.

In the next chapter, 3 Thinking As A Means Of Forming A View Of The World, we investigate our inner world of thought to discover the part of Nature that appears within.

Read more…

Chapter 1 - Comparative Study Guide

Last revised 1/18/2017


COMPARATIVE STUDY GUIDE
The Philosophy Of Freedom

Chapter 1
The Conscious Human Deed

Compare the Experience of Outer Truth with that of Inner Truth

Topic
Heading

Observed state of things
(compare difference)

Link to
Chapter One

Case 1
EXPERIENCE OF
OUTER
TRUTH

Case 2
EXPERIENCE OF
INNER
TRUTH

1.0 The Question Of Freedom

Compare the scientific view that our thinking and action are compelled by the necessity of natural law, with the moral view that free thinking and action are an obvious fact.

Natural Law
Is a human being compelled by the unyielding necessity of natural law? Its just ignorance for anyone to believe the universality of natural law suspends itself in the field of human action and thought.

Freedom
Is a human being free in his thinking and acting? Distinctions are made to explain how freedom can be compatible with the laws working in nature.

1.1 Freedom Of Indifferent Choice

Compare a choice determined by a reason, with the freedom of an indifferent choice made arbitrarily, without a reason.

Action Determined By A Reason
We are not concerned with the question of free will. The supposedly “indifferent” freedom of choice has always been recognized as an empty illusion by every reputable philosophy. An indifferent choice is not a factor in determining the moral value of human conduct and character.

Freedom Of Indifferent Choice
The freedom of indifferent choice is to arbitrary choose, entirely at will, between two courses of action. An indifferent choice is made without being aware of the reason why we act.

Always A Reason
It is superficial to dismiss the possibility of freedom based on the scientific fact that there is always a specific reason why a person carries out one action from among several possibilities.

1.2 Freedom Of Choice

Compare a choice compelled by desire, with a free choice made according to one’s own preferences.

Action Determined By Desire
That everyone is at liberty to desire or not to desire, as he pleases, is the essential principle concealed in the dogma of free will. This freedom is refuted by the analysis of consciousness.

Free Choice
Opponents of freedom direct their main attacks against freedom of choice. Free choice is the freedom to make a choice according to one’s own preferences.

1.3 Free Necessity Of One's Nature

Compare action determined by the necessity of human nature, with action that expresses the free necessity of one’s “own” nature.

Action Determined By External Causes
A person’s nature is created by external causes. All created things are determined by these external causes to exist and to act in a fixed and exact way.

Because a person is only conscious of his action, he falsely looks upon himself as the free originator of it.

Free Expression Of One’s Nature
I locate freedom, not in free decision, but in free necessity. If we know our self, existing and acting solely out of the necessity of our “own” nature, we are free, even though we exist in a necessary way.

Known Motive Is Different
With the same necessity, a person is supposed to carry out an action when driven by any reason. It is overlooked that a person is not just conscious of his action. He can also become conscious of the causes that guide his action. There is a profound difference between knowing and not knowing why I act. A motive of action fully known to me, compels me in a different way than an organic process does.

1.4 Conduct According To Character

Compare an action compelled by the necessity of an outside situation, with an action that expresses our inner character free of outside motivation.

Action Determined By Character
Even though we first adopt an idea as a motive, this is not done arbitrarily. An idea is turned into a motive according to the necessity of the disposition of our character. We are anything but free.

Free Of Outside Motivation
A person is free, independent of outside motivation, because he must first make the idea imposed on him from outside into a motive, according to his character.

Known Motive
There are motives I allow to influence me only after I have consciously made them my own, and others I follow without a clear knowledge of them.

1.5 Action Resulting From Conscious Motive

Compare an action that springs from blind urge, with a free action that is the result of a conscious motive.

Action Resulting From A Conscious Motive
If there is a difference between a conscious and an unconscious motive of action, then the conscious motive will result in an action that must be judged differently than one that springs from blind urge.

Action Resulting From A Known Motive
What is the significance of knowing the reasons for one's action?

Too little attention has been given to this question because we split in two what is an inseparable whole: the human being.

Knowing Doer
The doer may not know what to do, but acts anyway. The knower may know what to do, but does not act. The one that matters most is the knowing doer, the one who acts out of knowledge.

1.6 Free When Controlled By Reason

Compare an action controlled by animal cravings, with an action freely determined by purpose and deliberate decision.

Action Determined By Necessity Of Rationality
The real issue is whether reason, purpose, and decision exercise the same compulsion over a human being as his animal cravings. If, without my involvement, a rational decision occurs in me with the same necessity as hunger or thirst, then I must obey it. My freedom is an illusion.

Power Of Reason Over Animal Craving
It is said that man is free when his reason rather than his animal cravings control his action. Or freedom means to determine one’s life and action according to purpose and deliberate decision.

1.7 Freedom To Do What One Wishes

Compare being able to will what you wish, with being able to freely do what you wish.

Will Determined By The Strongest Motive
The human will is not free to the extent its direction is always determined by the strongest motive. If I am forced to will something, then I may be completely indifferent as to whether I can also do it.

Freedom Is Being Able To Do What One Wishes
A person can do what he wishes, but he cannot will as he wishes, because his will is determined by motives.

How Decision Arises
To will something means to have a reason for doing this rather than that. The primary question is how the motive influences me. Do all motives work with inescapable necessity? It is a question of how the decision comes about within me.

1.8 Freedom Of A Spontaneous Unconditioned Will

Compare a spontaneous act of a donkey, with a spontaneous free act of a human.

Will Determined By Invisible Cause
The causes that determine the donkey's acts of will are internal and invisible. We cannot see the determining cause, and so believe it does not exist. It is the same for humans. The human is not free.

We do not perceive the causes that determine our will and so believe it is not causally determined at all.

Spontaneous Unconditioned Will
Seeking analogies for human action in the animal kingdom does not help to clarify the concept of freedom. It leads to misunderstandings such as this:

“The will is indeed the cause of the donkey’s turning around, but is itself unconditioned; it is an absolute beginning.” The donkey is free. It is the same for humans.

Conscious Motive
There are actions, not of the donkey, but of the human being, where between us and the deed lies the motive that has become conscious.

1.9 The Self-Determined Reason For Action

Compare an action carried out without knowing why, with a free action where the reason is known.

Act Without Knowing Why
An action cannot be free if the doer carries it out without knowing why.

Know The Reason For Action
What are we to say of the freedom of an action, if we know the reasons for carrying it out?

Self-Determined Reason
This leads us to the question: What is the origin of our thoughts and what does it mean to think? For without knowledge of the thinking activity of the mind, it is impossible to form a concept of what it means to know something, including what it means to know the reason for an action.

1.10 Driving Force Of The Heart

Compare an action that results from the calm deliberation of reason, with a free action driven by the heart.

Action Determined By The Heart
Love, compassion, and patriotism are driving forces for deeds that cannot be dissipated into cold intellectual concepts. It is said that here the heart-felt sensibility prevails.

Motives Are Shaped By Thoughts
By no means should it be said that all our actions proceed only from the calm deliberations of our reason. I am not suggesting that only actions resulting from abstract judgment alone, are human in the highest sense. But the moment our conduct rises above the satisfying of purely animal desires, our motives are always shaped by thoughts.

Heart Does Not Create Motives
The heart and its sensibility do not create the motives of action. Motives are given prior to being received into the hearts domain. Compassion appears in my heart after the thought of a person who arouses compassion occurs in my mind. The way to the heart is through the head.

1.11 Idealizing The Loved One

Compare an action compelled by love that expresses the sexual drive, with a free action motivated by thoughts idealizing the loved one.

Action Determined By Sexual Drive
Action motivated by love is merely the expression of the sexual drive.

Love Depends On Thoughts We Form
Whenever love is not merely the expression of the sexual drive, it depends on the thoughts we form of the loved one.

Idealizing Thoughts
The more idealistic these thoughts are, the more blissful is our love. Here, too, thought is the father of feeling.

1.12 Seeing The Good

Compare an action compelled by seeing flaws, with a free action motivated by seeing good qualities.

Seeing Good Qualities
It is said that love makes us blind to the flaws of the loved one. But we can turn this around and say love opens our eyes to the good qualities of the loved one. Many pass by these good qualities without noticing them. One, however, sees them, and just because he does, love awakens in his heart.

Forming A Perceptual Thought Picture That Recognizes Good Qualities
What else has he done but formed a thought picture of something that a hundred other people have ignored and formed none. Others do not experience love because they lack the thought picture.

Transition To Next Chapter

From whatever point we approach this subject, one thing becomes more and more clear. An investigation into the origin of our thoughts must come before we can answer the question concerning the nature of human action. So I will turn to this next.

Self-Determined Action
Human action is determined by thought. Is our action self-determined by thoughts that we have either originated or made our own? To find out we need to study the thought process.

What Does It Mean To Know?
To be free we need to know why we act. What does it means to know something, including what does it means to know the reason for an action?  The next chapter is 2 The Fundamental Drive For Science. The pursuit of knowledge begins with questioning and seeking the kind of inner truth that will satisfy our individual need to know.

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Introduction - Comparative Study Guide

This is a comparative study guide to the The Goal Of Knowledge, an introduction to Rudolf Steiner's The Philosophy Of Freedom. The first column has the topic headings that will appear in the new revised edition. The other two columns highlight an experience of Outer Truth next to an experience of Inner Truth described in the particular text section so they can be compared. Steiner uses a comparative approach to the book. The book is a philosophy of life based on knowing and ethically acting on inner truth, which results in being empowered to live to your full human potential. To understand what inner truth is, it is compared to outer truth throughout the book.

The study guide will point out this comparative approach to the book for each chapter. The revised edition is complete up to chapter 7 and the study guide so far includes the preface and chp. 1.

Last revised 1/17/2017

 
COMPARATIVE STUDY GUIDE
The Philosophy Of Freedom

Introduction: The Goal Of Knowledge

Compare the Experience of Outer Truth with that of Inner Truth

Topic
Heading

Observed state of things
(compare difference)


Link to
Introduction

Case 1
EXPERIENCE OF
OUTER
TRUTH

Case 2
EXPERIENCE OF
INNER
TRUTH

0.0 Striving For Individuality

Compare a life of conformity that believes there is a norm of human life that we must all strive to conform, with a life of individuality that accepts nothing as valid unless it springs from the roots of individuality.

Conformity
There is a norm of human life to which we must all strive to conform.

Individuality
Nothing is accepted as valid, unless it springs from the roots of individuality.

Striving For Freedom
No better expression for the phenomena of individuality can be found than this, they result from the individual’s striving towards freedom, developed to its highest pitch.

0.1 Conviction Of Inner Truth

Compare the uncertainty of truth that comes from outside, with the conviction of truth that comes from within.

Uncertainty
Truth that comes to us from outside always bears the stamp of uncertainty.

Conviction
Each one of us is only convinced of truth when he recognizes it within his own inner life.

0.2 Empowered By Truth

Compare having your powers weakened by being tormented by doubt, with the confidence and empowerment that comes with truth.

Doubt Weakens
Whoever is tormented by doubts finds his powers weakened. If baffled by a world full of riddles, he can find no goal for his creative activity.

Confidence Empowers
Only truth can give us confidence in developing our individual powers.

0.3 Understood Truth

Compare belief’s acceptance of truth that is not wholly understood, with the satisfaction of a knowing that springs from the inner life of the personality. 

Belief
Belief demands the acceptance of truths that we do not wholly understand. We no longer want to believe; we want to know.

Knowing
What is not clearly understood goes against our individuality, that wants to experience everything in the depths of its inner core. The only knowing that satisfies us is the kind that submits to no external norm, but springs from the inner life of the personality.

0.4 Advancing In Knowledge From Experience

Compare advancing in knowledge with the kind that has been encased in rigid academic rules, with advancing in knowledge by starting from the facts we know and our own personal experience.

Academic Knowledge
We do not want the kind of knowledge that has been encased in rigid academic rules, and stored away as valid for all time.

Personal Experience
Each of us claims the right to start from the facts we know, from our own personal experience, and from there advance to knowledge of the whole universe. We strive for certainty in knowledge, but each in his own way.

0.5 Driven By Individual Need To Understand

Compare the student that is compelled to understand, with the student driven to understand by his own particular need.

Compelled To Understand
The teachings of science should not be presented in a way that implies its acceptance is compulsory. No one should be compelled to understand.

Driven By Need To Understand
We expect neither recognition nor agreement from anyone who is not driven to a certain view by his own particular, individual needs.

Develop Desire For Knowledge
We do not want to cram facts of knowledge into even an immature person, a child. We try to develop the child's capacities in such a way that he no longer needs to be compelled to understand, but wants to understand.

0.6 Living The Principles Of Individual Truth 

Compare a stereotypical life that follows cultural trends, with an individualistic life that follows the path of inner truth by applying the principles in this book. 

A Life Flaunting Cultural Trends
I know how much a stereotypical attitude, lacking all individuality, is prevalent everywhere. Many flaunt a way of life that follows only the current cultural trends.

Living The Principles Of Individual Truth
I also know that many of my contemporaries strive to conduct their lives in the direction of the principles I have suggested. 

Path To Inner Truth
To them I dedicate this book. It is not meant to offer the "only possible" way to Truth, but to describe the path taken by one for whom truth is central.

0.7 Practicing Pure Thinking

Compare the pious exercises and ascetic practices necessary to receive the knowledge of a sage, with the practice of entering the realm of pure thinking necessary to attain scientific knowledge.

Preparation To Receive Wisdom Of Sage
The oriental sage requires his disciples to live a life of resignation and asceticism for years before he shares with them what he knows.

Preparation For Science
The West no longer demands pious exercises and ascetic practices to attain knowledge. It does require, however, a sincere willingness to prepare for science by withdrawing oneself awhile from the immediate impressions of life, and entering the realm of pure thought.

Soar Into The Realm Of Concepts
I am fully convinced that to experience life in all its aspects, one must soar into the realm of concepts. Whoever is limited to the pleasures of the senses misses the sweetest joys of life.

0.8 A Wholistic Science

Compare the aim of the scientific specialist's research to gain knowledge of the world and how it works, with wholistic knowing that seeks in the separate sciences the principles for leading man back to the fullness of life.

Separate Sciences
The aim of the scientific specialist's research is to gain knowledge of the world and how it works. But life itself is a unity, and the more the sciences immerse themselves in separate fields, the more they move away from seeing the world as a living whole.

Wholistic Science
The world as a living whole. It is essential to have a wholistic knowing that seeks in the separate sciences the principles for leading man back to the fullness of life. The various branches of science are preparatory stages on the way to the wholistic science intended here.

Wholistic Art
A composer works on the basis of the theory of composition. This theory is an accumulation of principles of what one needs to know in order to compose music. In composing, the rules of theory serve life, that is, theory serves actual reality.

Wholistic Philosophy
For philosophers, abstract thinking takes on an individual life of its own. Ideas become powerful forces in life. We no longer merely know about things, but have made knowing into a real self-governing organism, ruled by its own laws. Our actual working consciousness has lifted itself above a mere passive reception of truths.

0.9 A Science Of Freedom

Compare answering the questions of human freedom without science, with answering these questions which are the most intimate that concern humanity with science.

Questions Of Freedom
The main theme of my book concerns these questions: How philosophy, as an art, relates to freedom; what freedom is; and whether we do, or can, participate in it.

A Science Of Freedom
Scientific discussions are included because it is science, at long last, that will throw light on these questions which are the most intimate that concern humanity. These pages offer a "Philosophy of Freedom."

0.10 A Science Of Humanism

Compare the value of science that satisfies idle curiosity, with the value of science that elevates the existential value of human personality.

Idle Curiosity
All science would be nothing but the satisfaction of idle curiosity, if it does not elevate the existential value of human personality.

Value Of Science
The true value of the sciences is seen only when we are shown the importance of their results for humanity.

Aim Of Individuality
The ultimate aim of an individuality cannot be the cultivation of only a single capacity. Rather, it must be the development of all the potential that slumbers within us. Knowledge has value only by contributing to the all-around development of the whole of human nature.

0.11 A Science Of Ethics

Compare serving the ideas of science, with the ideas of science serving human aims that go beyond science.

Serving Ideas Of Science
This book does not regard the relationship of science to life in such a way that the human being must bow down before the world of Ideas and devote his powers to its service.

Using Ideas For Human Aims Beyond Science
The book shows that we should take possession of the world of ideas in order to use them for our human aims. These extend beyond those of mere science.

0.12 Master Of Ideas

Compare being controlled by ideas, with being master of ideas.

Slave Of Ideas
Fall into the bondage of an idea.

Confront Idea As Master
One must confront an idea as master, experiencing it; otherwise one falls into its bondage.

Transition To Next Chapter

On To Freedom
We conclude with the need to confront ideas, otherwise ideas will control us. The next chapter, The Conscious Human Deed, is about freedom. It discusses the need to become aware of the unconscious motives that compel our action. These ideas lose power over us when we confront them and gain full knowledge of them.

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Original Unrevised Edition

ONLY original, unrevised edition of "The Philosophy Of Freedom" available on Amazon, ($9.80). Trans. HOERNLE 1916.
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Warning: The Kindle edition sold on Amazon is not Hoernle.

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Translations

NEW GREEK translation PDF.
ITALIAN translation (bottom of the English translations page)

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  • I'm going to continue making comparative exercises up to chapter 6, and then go back to chapter 7 to finish a revised translation. Then I will have completed Part 1 of The Philosophy Of Freedom, with a revised translation and comparative study guide.

  • I am working on a comparative study guide for comparing Outer Truth with Inner Truth. If the whole book is studied in this way the reader would learn the difference. Everyday life is full of choices between choosing Outer Truth or Inner Truth. By choosing Inner Truth you are on the Path Rudolf Steiner took that is described in The Philosophy Of Freedom.   

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Tom Last posted a blog post
COMPARATIVE STUDY EXERCISES
The Philosophy Of Freedom
Striving For Inner Truth
Link to book text.
I…
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Last revised 1/18/2017












COMPARATIVE STUDY GUIDE The Philosophy Of Freedom
Chapter 3 Thin…
Sunday
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COMPARATIVE STUDY GUIDE The Philosophy Of Freedom
Chapter 2 The…
Jan 8
Tom Last posted a blog post
Last revised 1/18/2017












COMPARATIVE STUDY GUIDE The Philosophy Of Freedom
Chapter 1 The…
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