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Here are names for the kinds of thinking discussed in the first 7 chapters in Rudolf Steiner's Philosophy Of Freedom. With every shift in the level of consciousness, what we call thinking undergoes a change. In chapter 1 a rational debate occurs about whether we are free or not. In chapter 7 various theories of cognition are discussed, then Monism is show to remove all the limitations of cognition making wholistic thinking possible.
Chapter 1 Conscious Human Action
RATIONAL THINKING Level of consciousness - will
Rational debate is a discussion about what we should believe. Both sides give arguments for some belief and defend that belief from objections.
Chapter 2 Desire For Knowledge
SPECULATIVE THINKING Level of consciousness - feel
Speculative thinking expresses human curiosity about the world. It transcends experience, but the chapters one-sided views lack experience of the world or the inner connection.
Chapter 3 Thinking in Understanding The World
REFLECTIVE THINKING -Level of consciousness - thought
Reflective thinking is reflection on thinking itself, on the mind and its activities. It is based on contemplation and introspection.
Chapter 4 The World As Perception
REACTIVE THINKING Level of consciousness - perception
Thinking immediately reacts to our observation by adding a preconception, and we consider the object and the preconception as belonging together forming our world of first appearance.
Chapter 5 Knowing The World
CRITICAL THINKING Level of consciousness - concept
We refute our initial impression of the world with critical thinking to discover the concept that corresponds to our perception.
Chapter 6 Individuality
INDEPENDENT THINKING Level of consciousness - mental picture
Independent thinking individualizes the universal concept by forming mental pictures.
Chapter 7 Are There Limits To Cognition?
WHOLISTIC THINKING Level of consciousness - cognition
Wholistic thinking endeavors to remove the limits of cognition in order to integrate all the parts into a whole.
How is Rudolf Steiner trending on the web? The Google trend chart below shows him sinking from year to year faster than the Anthroposophical Society. I came to the conclusion in 1989 that unless Steiner's Philosophy Of Freedom was presented to the world in a contemporary way it would disappear, but I didn't go as far as predicting the disappearance of Rudolf Steiner. Steiner's work needs a rebirth from outside the Anthroposophical Society as this graph has disqualified them as the rightful heirs of Steiner.* If The Philosophy Of Freedom can be renewed all of his work has a chance, as freedom is the core understanding of his work.
Movements like Waldorf education may continue but they will become merely another institutionalization of the original living impulse as long as freedom is not understood. A few Waldorf self-appointed authorities already have seized the name "Waldorf" and made themselves its owner to enforce Waldorf dogma.
I have an important message for you if you are waiting for someone else to stand up for freedom. Not enough people are involved at this time to make much difference. Most anthroposophists are better at driving people away with narrow-minded Steiner doctrine than broadening his work. And his work hasn't been presented in a way to make it relevant to daily life.
The good news is that a few dedicated people could make a difference. Dedicated means that the first time you get your feelings hurt you don't quit. It means that the first time you realize how ignorant you are to think you can explain Steiner's principles you have enough courage to keep trying. It means that when you realize nobody else seems to give a damn and you yourself are no guru who can enlighten anybody you keep going. I suppose you have to be the kind of fool who says give me and others freedom or give me nothing.
*The Anthroposophical Society in America has appointed a new position of Director of Development to move the society forward.
This is from an 1898 letter from Rudolf Steiner to John Henry Mackay
Hitherto I have always avoided using even the term “individualist anarchism” or “theoretical anarchism” for my world view. For I put very little stock in such designations. If one speaks one’s views clearly and positively in one’s writings: what is then the need of also designating these views with a convenient word? After all, everyone connects quite definite traditional notions with such a word, which reproduce only imprecisely what the particular personality has to say. I utter my thoughts; I characterize my goals. I myself have no need to name my way of thinking with a customary word.
If, however, I were to say, in the sense in which such things can be decided, whether the term “individualist anarchist” is applicable to me, I would have to answer with an unconditional “Yes.”
The state believes people can only get along if one tells them: you must be like this. And if you are not like that, then you’ll just have to — be like that anyway. The individualist anarchist, on the other hand, holds that the best situation would result if one would give people free way. He has the trust that they would find their direction themselves. Naturally he does not believe that the day after tomorrow there would be no more pickpockets if one would abolish the state tomorrow. But he knows that one cannot by authority and force educate people to freeness. He knows this one thing: one clears the way for the most independent people by doing away with all force and authority.
Normally pure thinking is recognized in fields such as mathematics and philosophy. Michael Muschalle makes the point in his "Goethe, Kant and Intuitive Thinking in Rudolf Steiner's Philosophy of Spiritual Activity" that we use pure thinking in every single act of knowledge on a daily basis. Pure thinking is thinking in universal concepts. So the concept "door" that does not refer to a specific door but to all doors in a universal concept.
I examined a recent experience in thinking wondering how I had arrived at a practical idea. I entered a room and a child was seated at a table with crayons who had started a crayon drawing, but the child's attention was being diverted to a pile of small plastic eyes used for gluing onto craft projects. I felt a discomfort as I wanted the child to continue with the art project and not have their attention split between two things.
My attention focused on the drawing and the pile of eyes next to it. My thinking had in mind the pure concept "drawing" next to the pure concept "eyes". Thinking intuition then discovered a relationship between the two, a common element between them which was the pure concept "animal". Animal relates to the drawing because you can draw an animal. Animal relates to eyes because an animal has eyes. This universal link found on the level of pure concepts was particularized in the concrete imagination-picture of drawing an animal and then using glue to attach the plastic eyes to the drawn animal. In this way the child could combine the two separate activities into one craft project.
After making this suggestion a person in the room said, "What a good idea!" By learning about how we get ideas through the study of The Philosophy Of Freedom and observing our thought processes we can experience more useful practical ideas in our everyday life. The ideas may not be that profound but they can improve a day.
Throughout the religious world, including anthroposophy, you hear the words, “Not my will, but thy will be done.” The religious leaders encourage us to submit our own will to obey a higher authority. Many people accept this as sensible considering we all make many bad decisions and the general desire to avoid taking responsibility for choices. After having difficulty reaching the “Divine will”, most then look to some wise human to bestow the Divine wisdom upon them.
POF 10.0 Eventually the conviction dawns on you that your authorities are, at bottom, human beings just as weak as yourself.
Of course the key factor is the “thy will” that should guide us, who or what is it? Anthroposophy will explain it with lofty spiritual theory that will confuse you until you fall back to your innocent childhood faith in higher authority or you won't bother trying to understand it but just accept that it confirms your childhood faith.
How can we mature enough to make our own decisions and take full responsibility for our choices? This begins with clear thinking so we can do our best to act out of our own highest knowing, which is our own highest authority.
The Philosophy Of Freedom has no need for the comfort food of religion, but just describes what it is to be a fully mature human being. Beginning with our particular life situation, we can discover the universal principles at work in it, and then reach our thinking and feeling into the realm of universal ideas to reflect. At this level intuitive insight works better. Its not about obeying “voices” as the lunatic, or gut feelings originating in pizza, but comprehending our insights. These new ideas become ideals when it motivates our action. We take what we have learned in our unbiased refection and imaginatively translate these ideals into specific action.
Because they are "our" insights we will be empowered. If we follow the ideas of another authority (Divine or human) we will lack power and will have to continually fall limply to our knees whining for help.
When you are ready to remove the extra fluff, you find everything right here, as a responsible human being, what The Philosophy Of Freedom calls an ethical individualist. That's just my opinion.
POF 10.8 The moral laws which the Metaphysician is bound to regard as issuing from a higher power have, according to the upholder of Monism, been conceived by men themselves.
I found the transcript for the Crossroads: Labor Pains of a New Worldview. It is located here. The video calls for a new worldview to solve the many world problems. I want to examine their solution and relate it to the solution presented in the Philosophy Of Freedom. The film maker wants to start a conversation and is even suggesting remixing of this video to produce your own video.
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