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The Philosophy Of Freedom

Is your typical middle class suburbanite who conforms to standard social norms and is driven by corporate consumerism as insane as someone who imagines himself to be Jesus?

Jesus is back
Australian Alan John Miller (also known as AJ) claims to be the reincarnation of Jesus Christ and that he recalls his life in the first century. Miller has admitted his mother had him examined by a psychologist but he says that he was found to be sane. It is reported that his mother was so disturbed by his claims to be Jesus that she contacted authorities and requested he be committed to a mental health facility.

AJ holds "Divine Truth" seminars where he teaches what he calls the "Divine Love Path" which focuses on "Emotional Clearing." Due to the cult like activity and claims of being Jesus, Miller and his followers are commonly referred to as The Jesus Cult.

AJ's met his partner Mary Suzanne Luck in 2007. Eventually, AJ Miller revealed to her that she was not Mary Luck but in fact Mary Magdalene.

Held captive in orthodoxy
In writing about Friedrich Nietzsche Rudolf Steiner implied that those who imagine the American dream to be their destiny consisting of a middle class suburban home with a white picket fence filled with the latest gadgets, or someone who imagines himself to be a good Christian because he submits to church doctrine, or a righteous Republican caught up in whatever right wing ideology appears on Fox News that night, are all crazy, as crazy as someone who imagines himself to be the “Emperor of China”.

It is all the same for Stirner if a human being imagines himself to be “Emperor of China” or if a comfortable bourgeois imagines it is his destiny to be a good Christian, a faithful Protestant, or a virtuous human being, and so on, or is caught and held captive in orthodoxy, virtuousness, etc. Friedrich Nietzsche, Fighter for Freedom by Rudolf Steiner

Delusional wing of the Republican Party
Republican Congressman Peter King said in February that he’s incredibly frustrated with the “self-righteous, delusional” wing of his party. He recalled when Republicans “enthusiastically followed Ted Cruz over the cliff” for last year’s shutdown, and lamented how many members of his party “live in an echo chamber” where everything is always “anti-Obama.”

Free thinking individuals
Free thinking individuals emancipate their cognition from religious doctrine, political ideology and any other ideas accepted on authority. The ideas of free thinkers are arrived at by thinking, of course, and are determined solely by their ideal content. The only knowledge that satisfies free thinkers springs from their inner life without needing the approval of any external norm. POF 0.0

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Shake Off Every Kind Of Authority

*The first chapter in the original Philosophy Of Freedom was entitled The Goal Of Knowledge. In 1918, in later editions it was removed as the first chapter and placed at the back of the book as an appendix.

Shake off every kind of authority
Chapter 1, The Goal Of Knowledge (in the original 1894 edition* of Rudolf Steiner's The Philosophy Of Freedom) begins with these two sentences:

“I BELIEVE I am indicating correctly one of the fundamental characteristics of our age when I say that all human interests tend to center in the culture of human individuality. An energetic effort is being made to shake off every kind of authority." POF 0.0

The path to freedom begins with a struggle to be free of oppression, an energetic effort to shake off every kind of authority. While the Philosophy Of Freedom is considered a path to "inner" freedom, the long journey to inner freedom begins in the second sentence of Steiner's freedom philosophy, with the struggle for "outer" freedom. From the earliest age when a toddler first shouts “No!” to authority, the human being strives to be free.

The violent outer suppression of people disrupts the long path to inner freedom, that at a later stage of development can no longer be suppressed. The support of inner freedom of the mind involves also the support of the outer freedom of action to allow the space for personal development and individual expression. It is interesting to see that mainstream churches are joining in the struggle to end the oppression of the Palestinian people.

Will the churches end the oppression of the Palestinian people?
This week the United Church of Christ (UCC) voted by an overwhelming 80% majority to divest from companies profiting from the illegal occupation of Palestinian territory and to boycott all Israeli settlement goods. Joining the UCC in showing support to end Palestinian oppression are the Presbyterian Church, World Council of Churches United Methodist Church, the Church of England synod. Other churches are considering joining the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

“In approving this resolution, the UCC has demonstrated its commitment to justice and equality,” said Rev. Mitri Raheb, a Christian Palestinian. “For Palestinians living under occupation or facing systematic discrimination as citizens of Israel, enduring the destruction of their homes and businesses, the theft of their land for settlements, and living under blockade and siege in Gaza, this action sends a strong signal that they are not alone, and that there are churches who still dare to speak truth to power and stand with the oppressed.”

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The Ethical Principle Of Dignity

Equal dignity in the eyes of the law
The U.S. Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision ruled that same-sex couples who want to be married have a constitutional right to "equal dignity in the eyes of the law."

But Justice Clarence Thomas, one of four dissenting judges who each wrote separate opinions in the case, took issue with the majority's use of the word "dignity."

"The majority goes to great lengths to assert that its decision will advance the 'dignity' of same-sex couples," Thomas wrote. "The flaw in that reasoning, of course, is that the Constitution contains no 'dignity' Clause, and even if it did, the government would be incapable of bestowing dignity. Human dignity has long been understood in this country to be innate."

Government cannot bestow dignity
Justice Thomas took issue with the notion that marriage equality restores dignity to gay people, and insisted that enslaved people kept their dignity. “Slaves did not lose their dignity because the government allowed them to be enslaved. The government cannot bestow dignity, and it cannot take it away,” Thomas wrote in his dissent.

Dignity Is An Ideal That Is Applied
As an ethical individualist I agree that the government cannot bestow “inherent” dignity and it cannot take it away. The inherent worth and dignity of every person is an ideal principle that we can affirm. But for an ethical principle to matter it needs to be applied to life. When an ethical principle lives in the core of our being it becomes a call to action to apply it. We become empowered and motivated to support and protect the dignity of our self and of others. A proper reading of the U.S. Constitution would suggest that it is the state’s obligation to protect and affirm the dignity of every citizen.

Attitude Toward Others
Human dignity is expressed daily in the attitude we have for others. This is why we are outraged when those on top demonize poor people with less social advantage by unjustly calling them “parasites”, “spongers”, and “loafers”.

"...the attitude, the state of the soul, with which a human being, experiencing himself or herself amidst esteemed fellow human beings, can best do justice to human dignity." POF 9.10 (1918 addition)

"We are convinced that in each of us, if only we probe deep enough into the very heart of our being, there dwells something noble, something worthy of development." POF 0.0

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"To let our moral substance (our moral ideas) express itself in our life is the moral principle of the human being who regards all other moral principles as subordinate. We may call this point of view Ethical Individualism." POF 9-7

The highest principle of an Ethical Individualist is to express one's moral ideas in life. That is, to take ethical action. We were all grieved over the Israeli bombing of the Gaze Strip in 2014 which killed 1473 civilians, but how many of us did anything about it?

Over 500 children were killed, 3374 injured with 1500 orphaned, twenty-two schools were completely destroyed and 118 schools damaged.

You can be sure that the widespread Israeli campaign of violence to weaken and terrorize the Palestinian people has successfully left the soul of every surviving Palestinian child with deep wounds and traumatizing memories. Even after years have passed, such unresolved trauma can trigger symptoms that profoundly disturb the development of children and adolescents.

We all know that what is being done to the Palestinian children is not right. Thankfully, there are some who are taking direct action. The Friends of Waldorf Education sent a crisis intervention team to Gaza to help the traumatized children.

By providing stabilizing actions on the basis of Waldorf education emergency pedagogy, they are aiding the traumatized Palestinian children by providing ways to process the traumatizing experiences. These emergency pedagogic interventions help prevent potential long-term post-traumatic stress disorders. The Ethical Individualist is an ethical activist.

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String theory is progress, but it is far from the theory of "everything". It is limited to force and matter in the external world. String theory implies that the particles that comprise all the matter that you see in the universe—and all the forces that allow matter to interact—are made of tiny vibrating strands of energy. These vibrating strings are the fundamental building blocks of nature.

The theory of everything does not include everything, it just finds a common unifying element --tiny vibrating strings-- in force and matter.

To meet our human need for knowledge we must find the common element of truly “everything”. By everything I mean all that we experience in life, what we experience within and without. This includes everything that we observe; all sensations, all perceptions, contemplations, feelings, acts of will, dreams and fantasy images, memories, concepts, ideas, all illusions and hallucinations. Inner and outer observation gives us a multiplicity of separate objects. We are not satisfied until we place each thing within a harmonious whole.

What is the common element in all the separate things we experience? What is the common element in literally everything? Everything has an ideal content, or pure concept that is the principle or rule that governs the object. This conceptual content becomes connected with all other conceptual content within a unified system of concepts within our mind.

“It is futile to seek for any other common element in the separate things of the world, than the ideal content which thinking supplies. All attempts to discover any other principle of unity in the world than this internally coherent ideal content, which we gain for ourselves by the conceptual analysis of our perceptions, are bound to fail.” POF 5.9

The mere appearance of a snail and a lion does not tell me why the lion is a higher developed creature than the snail. Thinking contributes the ideal content to the snail and lion from the world of concepts and ideas to make them intelligible and place them within the whole. All the separate objects that we observe gradually become unified into one whole by adding this ideal content. POF 5.10

All progress in knowledge depends upon incorporating all observed phenomena into the harmony of the conceptual world.

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Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee says, "The Supreme Court is not the Supreme Being."

The evangelical right strives to establish a Christian State in America as Isis wants a Muslim State and religious Zionists in Israel a Jewish State. Not too long ago Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee said that Americans shouldn’t have to follow laws they felt were “ungodly.” While our Supreme Court just ruled that same-sex marriage is constitutional, Huckabee says its okay for Americans to ignore the courts rulings – because the Bible says so.

Moral Laws cannot be fixed once and for all and bound in dusty old scrolls and then held to be valid for all time. The error in a scripture based morality is that Moral Laws are handed down by tradition rather than being newly created in each life situation by the individual. POF 12.5

I agree with Mike Huckabee that free human beings shouldn’t necessarily follow social laws they feel are not right, but Huckabee doesn't care about freedom, he is arguing over who should enslave human beings, the State or God.

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What Does It Mean To Think?

In chapter 3 we use a method of science --introspective observation-- to analyze the thinking process, which “everyone” may not necessarily experience unless they make the effort.
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We will make better decisions using the skills of scientific inquiry, idealistic inspiration, creative imagination and technical research.

What religion calls God, we call the Idea.

Ethical Individualism Diagram

New Translation

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  • Added an 1898 Rudolf Steiner letter in the translation page to John Henry Mackay where Steiner declares himself an Individualist Anarchist.

  • I will try a daily blog approach on the website for awhile to see if that works. You are welcome to make a blog post. 

  • I added to the bottom of the translations page Goethe, Kant and Intuitive Thinking in Rudolf Steiner's Philosophy Of Freedom by Michael Muschalle

  • Added a page "Path To Freedom" with short videos of Rudolf Steiner's path.

  • Hey Tom, 

    Have you thought about doing something like this with the Philosophy Of Freedom ? I know studying PoF implies a lot of thinking by your own, but maybe the student would have some homework (eg. reading the first 10 paragraphs of a chapter) and then disscuss it in a larger group (via skype or what other platform is there), in a thoughtfull manner (eg not monopolize the conversation). I'm sure you'd be a great teacher

  • FREE Download of over 100 Rudolf Steiner Ethical Humanist Quotes from the Philosophy Of Freedom.

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Is your typical middle class suburbanite who conforms to standard social norms and is driven by cor…
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*The first chapter in the original Philosophy Of Freedom was entitled The Goal Of Knowledge. In 191…
Tom Last posted a blog post
Equal dignity in the eyes of the law
The U.S. Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision ruled that same-sex c…
Tom Last posted a blog post
"To let our moral substance (our moral ideas) express itself in our life is the moral principle of…
The Ethical Individualist posted a blog post
String theory is progress, but it is far from the theory of "everything". It is limited to force an…
The Ethical Humanist posted a blog post
Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee says, "The Supreme Court is not the Supreme Being."
The evange…
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