I am editing this script for a new video on how applying the scientific method of discovery to gaining knowledge of our self is today's path to freedom. It is drawn from the final chapter of Rudolf Steiner's Truth And Knowledge called viii Practical Conclusion and his Philosophy Of Freedom. Any edit suggestions?
IMPORTANCE OF SCIENCE
What does science and the knowledge that results from it mean to us?
How important is it to us?
KNOWLEDGE OF THE LAWS OF THE UNIVERSE
The innermost core of the world is clearly revealed in our scientific knowledge.
The harmony of laws ruling throughout the universe is precisely expressed through thinking (cognition).
These laws are not apparent to us in the observed world but they are present in it.
We are required to “think” if we are to recognize the unique lawfulness of whatever we observe, otherwise the part of reality that rules all existence will remain a mystery.
It is up to us to deepen our knowledge if our life and personality is to be oriented in the objective real world.
KNOWLEDGE OF OUR PRACTICAL LIFE
Having a reality-based view rather than faith, assumption, or ideology will bring understanding to our practical life.
Once we know what to make of the world, it is not that hard to deal with it.
KNOWLEDGE OF OUR SELF
Science can also help us to understand our self.
For example, our practical life is filled with continuous activity, but do we really know why we rush from here to there?
Why do I think the way I think? Why do I act the way I act?
Whether our action is freely self-determined or determined by something else is an age old question
of religion and philosophy.
Today, the question of human freedom is also a question of science.
KNOWLEDGE OF OUR LAWS OF CONDUCT
Human action is subject to universal lawfulness just as everything else is.
There is a directing principle that determines our action.
Our universal ideals determine the whole ethical character of our conduct in life.
These are the ideals we have of our task in life — in other words, the ideas we have of what we should bring about through our deeds.
All human conduct rising above our lower instincts is determined by ideas that become the laws that guide our action.
Whenever something takes place in the universe, two sides must be distinguished: the external course the event follows in time and space, and the inner law ruling it.
This applies to human action.
We use external observation to follow the course of an action.
We use inner observation to discover the law of the action since it is an idea, a thought that lies within our thought-world.
By reflecting upon what we did we can discover the relevant law within our self.
To recognize a law operating within our self is simply a special instance of cognition.
There is a profound difference between knowing why we act and not knowing it.
When we have full insight into why we act, we feel ourselves to be master of our conduct.
Laws of conduct that we do not recognize and understand rule over us. They become our master.
We falsely believe we are free simply because we are not aware of the real cause of our behavior.
CHARACTERIZATION OF AN ACTION
By gaining knowledge of the action through self observation we can characterize it.
For example, it may be an impulsive emotional reaction or a deed guided by an ethical idea.
The action is not our own if we are forced to act by instinctive animal urges or by ideas implanted in us by another person or institution.
Only when we obey our own ethical concepts and ideals can we say the deed is truly ours.
Those who strive to bring their highest ideals into reality are self-empowered and experience the greatest joy.
This does not mean that the intentions of an ideal point of view will necessarily make the deed “good”.
The action will need to be tested before it can be deemed “good or evil”.
CHANGE A LAW OF CONDUCT
Part of our activity is free and part is unfree.
Only free deeds can be called moral.
To transform the actions that are unfree into actions that are free is the task of every individual's self-development.
We can change unwanted behavior by understanding the cause and then implementing a method to transform the given law into preferred conduct originating within our ideals.
Then the laws no longer rule over us; instead they rule over the deed we choose to carry out.
How well we can do this depends on how well we know our self.
PATH TO FREEDOM
The true value of science is its contribution toward unfolding human potential.
By learning how to apply the methods of scientific discovery to ourselves we gain self-knowledge.
In our current age this is the way to freedom.