The loftiest idea of God is the one which assumes that God, after His creation of the human being, withdrew and gave man completely over to himself. Rudolf Steiner, Goethean Science VI Goethe's Way of Knowledge
God led His creation only to a certain point. From there He let the human being arise, and the human being, by knowing himself and looking about him, sets himself the task of working on and completing what the primal power began. Rudolf Steiner, Goethean Science IX Goethe's Epistemology
So it is not the human beings business to realize God's will in the world, but his own. He carries out his own decisions and intentions, not those of another being.
Rudolf Steiner, Chapter 10.8 (Hoernle) Philosophy Of Freedom
The moral world order is through and through the free work of human beings. The moral laws which the Metaphysician regards as flowing from a higher power, are the thoughts of human beings. Rudolf Steiner, Chapter 10.8 (Lindeman) Philosophy Of Freedom
We reject any metaphysical influence beyond the reach of the intellect that cannot be experienced conceptually. Rudolf Steiner, Chapter 12.8 (1988 stebbing) Philosophy Of Freedom
LAWS OF NATURE
The divinity has merged with the world. In order to know God, human knowing must penetrate into the world. The laws that our mind recognizes in nature are therefore God in His very being. Rudolf Steiner, Goethean Science XI Relationship of the Goethean Way of Thinking to Other Views
Everyone, in so far as he thinks, lays hold of the universal Reality. To fill one's life with such thought-content is to live in Reality, and at the same time to live in God. The world is God. The thought of a Beyond owes its origin to the misconception of those who believe that this world does not have the ground of its existence in itself. Rudolf Steiner, The Consequences Of Monism (Hoernle) Philosophy Of Freedom
When we speak of the essential being of a thing or of the world altogether, we cannot mean anything else than the grasping of reality as thought, as idea. In the idea we recognize that from which we must derive everything else: the principle of things. What philosophers call the absolute, the eternal being, the ground of the world, what the religions call God, this we call: the idea.
Everything in the world that does not appear directly as idea will still ultimately be recognized as going forth from the idea. What seems, on superficial examination, to have no part at all in the idea is found by a deeper thinking to stem from it. No other form of existence can satisfy us except one stemming from the idea. Nothing may remain away from it; everything must become a part of the great whole that the idea encompasses. Rudolf Steiner, Goethean Science IX Goethe's Epistemology
By taking possession of the idea, thinking fuses with the primal ground of world existence; what is at work outside enters into the mind of man: he becomes one with objective reality in its highest potency. Becoming aware of the idea within reality is the true communion of man. Rudolf Steiner, Goethean Science VI Goethe's Way of Knowledge
It is futile to seek any common element in the separate things of the world other than the conceptual content gained by thinking. All attempts to find world unity, other than the coherent conceptual content gained by the conceptual analysis of our perceptions, must fail. Rudolf Steiner, Chapter 5.9 (Hoernle) Philosophy Of Freedom
No personal God can unify the world, because we experience our limited personality only in ourselves. Rudolf Steiner, Chapter 5.9 (Hoernle) Philosophy Of Freedom
A personal God is nothing but a human being transplanted into a Beyond.
Rudolf Steiner, The Consequences Of Monism (Hoernle) Philosophy Of Freedom
THE END OF RELIGION
Only this is worthy of man: that he seek truth himself, without being led by revelation. When that has been thoroughly recognized once and for all, then the religions based on revelation will be finished. The human being will then no longer want God to reveal Himself or bestow blessings upon him. He will want to know through his own thinking and to establish his happiness through his own strength. Whether some higher power or other guides our fate to the good or to the bad, this does not concern us at all; we ourselves must determine the path we have to travel. Rudolf Steiner, Goethean Science VI Goethe's Way of Knowledge
The Cosmic religion of the future - Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein claimed God can be conceived only through the “rationality or intelligibility of the world which lies behind all scientific work of a higher order.”
“The religion of the future will be a cosmic religion. It should transcend a personal God and avoid dogmas and theology. Covering both the natural and the spiritual, it should be based on a religious sense arising from the experience of all things, natural and spiritual, as a meaningful unity.”
Cosmic religious feeling
“It is very difficult to elucidate this [cosmic religious] feeling to anyone who is entirely without it... The religious geniuses of all ages have been distinguished by this kind of religious feeling, which knows no dogma and no God conceived in man's image; so that there can be no church whose central teachings are based on it.”
“I am of the opinion that all the finer speculations in the realm of science spring from a deep religious feeling, and that without such feeling they would not be fruitful. I also believe that, this kind of religiousness, which makes itself felt today in scientific investigations, is the only creative religious activity of our time.”
“I maintain that cosmic religious feeling is the strongest and noblest motive for scientific research.”
Scientific workers are the profoundly religious people
“Only one who has devoted his life to similar ends [scientific research] can have a vivid realization of what has inspired these men and given them the strength to remain true to their purpose in spite of countless failures. It is cosmic religious feeling that gives a man such strength. A contemporary has said, not unjustly, that in this materialistic age of ours the serious scientific workers are the only profoundly religious people.” (Albert Einstein, Religion and Science)
Unity attained with the deepening of scientific research - Rudolf Steiner
“The history of our spiritual life is a continuous seeking after union between ourselves and the world.”
“Only when we have made the world-content into our thought-content do we rediscover the connection from which we have detached ourselves. We will see later that this goal can only be reached when the task of the research scientist is understood much more deeply than is usually the case.” (Rudolf Steiner, The Philosophy Of Freedom ch. 2.0)
The Philosophy Of Freedom's Religious Elements
What the religions call God, we call the idea
To investigate the essential being of a thing means to begin at the center of the thought-world and to work from there until a thought-configuration appears before our soul that seems to us to be identical to the thing we are experiencing.
When we speak of the essential being of a thing or of the world altogether, we cannot therefore mean anything else at all than the grasping of reality as thought, as idea.
In the idea we recognize that from which we must derive everything else: the principle of things. What philosophers call the absolute, the eternal being, the ground of the world, what the religions call God, this we call, on the basis of our epistemological studies: the idea.
Everything in the world that does not appear directly as idea will still ultimately be recognized as going forth from the idea. What seems, on superficial examination, to have no part at all in the idea is found by a deeper thinking to stem from it. No other form of existence can satisfy us except one stemming from the idea. Nothing may remain away from it; everything must become a part of the great whole that the idea encompasses.
By taking possession of the idea, we arrive at the core of the world. What we grasp there is that from which everything goes forth. We become united with this principle; therefore the idea, which is most objective, appears to us at the same time as most subjective. (Goethean Science IX Goethe's Epistemology)
In thinking we are the All-One Being
There is only one single concept of "triangle." It is quite immaterial for the content of this concept whether it is in A's consciousness or in B's. It will however be grasped by each of the two minds in its own individual way.
This thought conflicts with a common prejudice which is very hard to overcome. The victims of this prejudice are unable to see that the concept of a triangle which my mind grasps is the same as the concept which my neighbor's mind grasps. The naive man believes himself to be the creator of his concepts. Hence he believes that each person has his private concepts. One of the first things which philosophic thought requires of us is to overcome this prejudice. The one single concept of "triangle" does not split up into many concepts because it is thought by many minds. For the thought of the many is itself a unity.
In thought we have the element which welds each man's special individuality into one whole with the cosmos. In so far as we sense and feel (perceive), we are isolated individuals; in so far as we think, we are the All-One Being which pervades everything. This is the deeper meaning of our two-sided nature. We are conscious of an absolute principle revealing itself in us, a principle which is universal. (The Philosophy Of Freedom ch. 5.8)
Becoming aware of the idea within reality
The objects of thinking are ideas. Inasmuch as thinking takes possession of the idea, thinking fuses with the primal ground of world existence; what is at work outside enters into the mind of man: he becomes one with objective reality in its highest potency. Becoming aware of the idea within reality is the true communion of man. (Goethean Science VI Goethe's Way of Knowledge)
The preceding discussion shows clearly that 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 percepts, are bound to fail. Neither a personal God, nor force, nor matter, nor the blind will (of Schopenhauer and Hartmann), can be accepted by us as the universal principle of unity in the world. These principles all belong only to a limited sphere of our experience. Personality we experience only in ourselves, force and matter only in external things. The will can be regarded only as the expression of the activity of our finite personalities. (The Philosophy Of Freedom ch. 5.9)
written by Rudolf Steiner in 1888 and titled “Credo” which means, “What I believe”.
(the idea is the spirit, immortality in this life, divine voice of the idea,
eternal deeds, devotion, spiritual love, entering the divine life)
1. The world of ideas is the primary source
The world of ideas is the primary source and sustaining principle of all existence. Within it is never-ending harmony and joyous tranquility. Existence not enlightened by it, would be dead and lifeless, and would have no part in the wholeness of the world. Only that which stems from the idea has meaning as part of the universal tree of creation.
2. The idea is the spirit
The idea is the spirit, which is clear and lucid in itself and independently sufficient in itself. The individual must have the spirit within, otherwise he will drop from the tree like a withered leaf, and would have existed for no good reason, and without purpose.
3. Longing for the idea
The human being feels and recognizes himself as an individual when he becomes fully conscious. In the individualization process there is implanted within him a longing for the idea. This longing drives him to overcome his separateness and to let the spirit come to life within him, and to be in accord with it.
4. The divine voice of the idea
Everything that is selfish, that makes him a separated being, this he must shed and cast away, for it is this that darkens the light of the spirit. The egotistic self desires only to follow his sensual lust, instinctive drives, greed, and passions. He must root out this selfish will, and instead, as an individual, seek what the idea wants, the spirit within. Let the individuality move there, and follow the voice of the idea within, because only the idea is divine.
5. Eternal deeds
What one wills as a separate-being, is an insignificant point in the circumference of the universe as a whole. It is without value, and therefore worthless, fast disappearing within the flow of time. Whatever one wills in the spirit is in the center, because the central light of the universe lights up within us. Such a deed is independent of time.
6. Living in world harmony
When we act selfishly in isolation, we lock ourselves out from the closed chain of creation, and separate ourselves off. When a human being acts in the spirit, he lives ever more into the universal working of the world. The banning from oneself of all self-centeredness is the foundation for the higher life.
7. Immortality in this life
Whoever deadens the egotistical within himself, lives in eternal existence. To the extent to which we can let the selfishness within us die, to that extent we are immortal. That which is mortal in us is selfishness. This is the true meaning of the saying: “he who does not die before he dies finds extinction when he dies.” This means, whoever does not end egotism during his lifetime, plays no part in the universal life, which is immortal. A person who has never existed within this greater life, has never experienced true existence.
8. The search for knowledge is devotion to the universal in thought
There are four fields of human activity in which the human being devotes himself to the spirit, while giving up selfish activity: science, art, religion and the loving devotion, spiritually, to a personality. Whoever does not live within one of these four activities, does not live at all. The search for knowledge is devotion to the universal in thought, art is devotion to the universe in beholding, religion in the depths and breadths of the soul, and dedicated love is devotion with all ones’ spiritual forces directed to something, someone that appears to us as a treasured member of the universal whole.
9. Spiritual love; love of knowledge, ennobles our being
Knowledge is the most spiritual form of selfless devotion, love is the most beautiful form. For love is truly a heavenly radiance shining into ordinary daily life. Sacred, truly spiritual love ennobles our being to its inmost core; it uplifts all that lives within us. This pure and holy love transforms our whole being into something that is in touch with the world spirit.
10. Spiritual love carries the breath of divine life to the most repulsive regions
To love, in this most exalted sense means to carry the breath of divine life into regions where only the most repulsive egotism and the most disrespectful passions are found. One has to know something of the holiness of love before one can speak of spirituality.
11. Freedom is to enter the divine life of the ideal
If a human being has made his way out of the separated condition, through one of these four fields, and entered into the divine life of the ideal, then he has reached that for which the seed of longing was placed in his heart; the union with the spirit. This is the true destination of the human being. Whoever lives in the spirit lives freely, for they have removed themselves from subordination. Nothing can compel him or her to act, other than what he wishes to be freely compelled by because he recognizes it as the highest calling.
12. Let truth be lived
Let truth be lived: lose yourself to find yourself once again in the spirit of the world!
Desire for knowledge
However abundant the gifts which we have received, still more abundant are our desires. We seem born to dissatisfaction. And our desire for knowledge is but a special instance of this unsatisfied striving. Suppose we look twice at a tree. The first time we see its branches at rest, the second time in motion. We are not satisfied with this observation. Why, we ask, does the tree appear to us now at rest, then in motion? Every glance at nature evokes in us a multitude of questions. Every phenomenon we meet presents a new problem to be solved. Every experience is to us a riddle. We observe that from the egg there emerges a creature like the mother animal, and we ask for the reason of the likeness. We observe a living being grow and develop to a determinate degree of perfection, and we seek the conditions of this experience. Nowhere are we satisfied with the facts which nature spreads out before our senses. Everywhere we seek what we call the explanation of these facts. (The Philosophy Of Freedom ch. 2.0)
Love of knowledge (reach feelings up to the region of the ideal)
Our life is a continual oscillation between our share in the universal world-process and our own individual existence. The farther we ascend into the universal nature of thought where the individual, at last, interests us only as an example, an instance, of the concept, the more the character of something individual, of the quite determinate, unique personality, becomes lost in us. The farther we descend into the depths of our own private life and allow the vibrations of our feelings to accompany all our experiences of the outer world, the more we cut ourselves off from the universal life. True individuality belongs to him whose feelings reach up to the farthest possible extent into the region of the ideal. There are men in whom even the most general ideas still bear that peculiar personal tinge which shows unmistakably their connection with their author. There are others whose concepts come before us as devoid of any trace of individual coloring as if they had not been produced by a being of flesh and blood at all. (The Philosophy Of Freedom ch. 6.8)
Strive to live according to the principles of human flourishing: a science of freedom
(found in The Philosophy Of Freedom and elsewhere)
 I am under no illusion concerning the characteristics of the present age. I know how many flaunt a manner of life which lacks all individuality and follows only the prevailing fashion. But I know also that many of my contemporaries strive to order their lives in the direction of the principles I have indicated. To them I would dedicate this book. It does not pretend to offer the "only possible" way to Truth, it only describes the path chosen by one whose heart is set upon Truth. (The Philosophy Of Freedom ch. 0.6)
Thought training in the realm of pure thought
The reader will be led at first into somewhat abstract regions, where thought must draw sharp outlines if it is to reach secure conclusions. But he will also be led out of these arid concepts into concrete life. I am fully convinced that one cannot do without soaring into the ethereal realm of abstraction, if one's experience is to penetrate life in all directions. He who is limited to the pleasures of the senses misses the sweetest enjoyments of life. The Oriental sages make their disciples live for years a life of resignation and asceticism before they impart to them their own wisdom. The Western world no longer demands pious exercises and ascetic practices as a preparation for science, but it does require a sincere willingness to withdraw oneself awhile from the immediate impressions of life, and to betake oneself into the realm of pure thought. (The Philosophy Of Freedom ch. 0.7)
Study of The Philosophy Of Freedom is thought training
The primary purpose of my book is to serve as thought training, training in the sense that the special way of both thinking and entertaining these thoughts is such as to bring the soul life of the reader into motion in somewhat the way that gymnasts exercise their limbs.” (Rudolf Steiner on His Book "The Philosophy of Freedom")
Catharsis of the emotions
Catharsis is an ancient term for the purification of the emotions by means of meditation and concentration exercises. If a reader takes this book as it was meant and relates to it in the way a virtuoso playing a composition on the piano relates to its composer, reproducing the whole piece out of herself, the books organically evolved thought sequence will bring about a high degree of catharsis. (Steiner's lectures on the Gospel Of St. John)
The human individual is the source of all morality and the center of all life. (The Philosophy Of Freedom ch. 9.12)
The knowing doer
The doer is distinguished from the knower, but the one that matters most is lost sight of—the knowing doer—the one who acts out of knowledge. (The Philosophy Of Freedom ch. 1.5)
Monism cannot admit any continuous supernatural influence upon moral life (divine government of the world from the outside), nor an influence through a particular act of revelation at a particular moment in history (giving of the ten commandments), or through God's appearance on the earth (divinity of Christ). Moral processes are, for Monism, natural products like everything else that exists, and their causes must be looked for in nature, i.e., in man, because man is the bearer of morality.
Ethical Individualism is the crown of the edifice that Darwin and Haeckel have erected for Natural Science. It is the theory of evolution applied to the moral life. (The Philosophy Of Freedom ch. 12.8)
There is a higher conduct that sees a value in all ethical principles and in each particular situation asks whether one or the other ethical principle is more important. (The Philosophy Of Freedom ch. 9.4)
To let our moral content express itself in 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. (The Philosophy Of Freedom ch. 9.7)
CONFESSION OF FAITH
Moral Life Of Humanity
This is his contribution to the already existing total of moral ideas. In such ethical intuitions all moral activity of men has its root. To put this differently: the moral life of humanity is the sum-total of the products of the moral imagination of free human individuals. This is Monism's confession of faith. Monism looks upon the history of the moral life, not as the education of the human race by a transcendent God, but as the gradual living out in practice of all concepts and ideas which spring from the moral imagination. (The Philosophy Of Freedom ch. 14.12)
Harmony of Intentions
But how about the possibility of social life for men, if each aims only at asserting his own individuality? This question expresses yet another objection on the part of Moralism. The Moralist believes that a social community is possible only if all men are held together by a common moral order. This shows that the Moralist does not understand the community of the world of ideas. He does not realize that the world of ideas which inspires me is no other than that which inspires my fellow-men. I differ from my neighbor, not at all because we are living in two entirely different mental worlds, but because from our common world of ideas we receive different intuitions. He desires to live out his intuitions, I mine. If we both draw our intuitions really from the world of ideas, and do not obey mere external impulses (physical or moral), then we can not but meet one another in striving for the same aims, in having the same intentions. A moral misunderstanding, a clash of aims, is impossible between men who are free. Only the morally unfree who blindly follow their natural instincts or the commands of duty, turn their backs on their neighbors, if these do not obey the same instincts and the same laws as themselves. Live and let live is the fundamental principle of the free man. He knows no "ought." How he shall will in any given case will be determined for him by his faculty of ideas. (The Philosophy Of Freedom ch. 9.10)
Human life has only the purpose and destiny that a human being gives it. If the question be asked: What is man's purpose in life? Monism has but one answer: The purpose which he gives to himself. I have no predestined mission; my mission, at any one moment, is the one I choose for myself. I do not enter upon life's voyage with a fixed route mapped out for me. (The Philosophy Of Freedom ch. 11.7)
The Philosophy Of Freedom (POF) answers the question of today's thinkers seeking evolutionary ethics that extends from the theory of evolution.
“The same Ethical Individualism which I have developed on the basis of the preceding principles, might be equally well developed on the basis of the theory of evolution.” Rudolf Steiner, Philosophy Of Freedom 12.7
Morality is human flourishing
Popular Atheist and islamophobe Sam Harris gave a Ted talk about a science of ethics based on the "facts" of human flourishing. What was missing is that Sam didn't have these facts.
Science of freedom
The highest human flourishing is freedom, unique to humans. A science of ethics must be a science of freedom.
Atheists should embrace a science of freedom (The Philosophy Of Freedom), from there a new ethics can grow to include everyone else.
Sometimes we make decisions after careful deliberation, but often we make decisions simply because it feels right. Call it a hunch, a gut feeling, or an instinct—what they all have in common is that we don’t know why we feel the way we do, yet the feeling can be so compelling, it moves us to act.
Should we listen to our gut feelings and make decisions based on feelings we don't understand or should we stop to think and make a deliberate decision?
Feeling tells us about ourselves, thinking tells us about the world
The relationship between thinking and feeling is complicated. We begin with how we react to a life event. While passively facing a life situation we are immediately hit with a feeling response of like or don't like. When we think about the situation it is different, it is not passive but requires conscious activity that takes effort. Our immediate feeling reaction tells us about ourselves. To objectively learn about the actual life situation requires that we think. Philosophy Of Freedom (POF) 3.2
Fear that something isn’t right
Our gut feeling can tell us that we don't like something, that “something isn’t right”. This sense of foreboding can irrationally warn us of something that threatens our survival like a roller-coaster ride, or it can be the unconscious bias of our cultural conditioning that warns us of gay marriage or of different races, or the fear can reflect the unconscious bias of our narrow-minded ideology.
We tend to overestimate the reliability of gut feelings. The best example is a gambler who is absolutely certain he will win based on nothing but a feeling. His selective memory quickly forgets the ninety percent of the time he loses, but vividly remembers the one time it worked.
Sometimes a gut feeling is subconsciously recognizing a conflicting pattern within our environment that we should be aware of, or sorting out a complex situation. But until we have a conscious understanding and test our assumptions we cannot be sure.
Feeling can alert us to something, but as it first appears feeling is an incomplete reality until it is understood. POF 8.3 Unless we think, or observe more closely to understand the reasons behind a feeling, it is more of a nuisance that can mislead us. There are lots of people who are constantly making wrong decisions about everything in their life because they have a gut feeling.
Education Of Feeling
The feelings of experts in a particular field are fundamentally different from ordinary gut feelings and are more reliable. As we gain knowledge in a field, we develop an immediate feeling sense for truth that reflects that knowledge. POF 6.11
Can we distinguish trustworthy intuitions from irrational feelings and biases?
Gut feeling, hunch, sixth sense, instinct, intuition—we use a number of terms to denote the fuzzy sense when we know something without being able to explicitly state how or why. Is there a way to distinguish trustworthy intuitions from irrational feelings and biases?
Old Eastern clairvoyance
By intuition we do not mean the old Eastern all-knowing clairvoyance. If you go to parts of India you will find people who will look at your face and tell you everything about yourself, what has happened to you and what will happen to you. Perhaps they have the remnants of a long lost clairvoyance from before the Age Of Reason, or perhaps they are frauds?
Rudolf Steiner's Philosophy Of Freedom defines intuition not as a feeling, but as a thought. “The form in which thought first appears in consciousness we will call 'Intuition'.” POF 5.10 This is why we call it “intellectual intuition”, it is found in the experience of thinking, but only when pure concepts are produced in that experience.
Concepts are not vague like feelings, but clear and fully comprehensible. When our intuition gives us the concept that corresponds to what we are observing, we have the essential nature of that thing in full clarity. Rather than a hunch, with intellectual intuition we act out of knowledge.
The goal of knowledge is cognitive satisfaction. POF 7.2 We pose questions based on a feeling of “dissatisfaction” with what we observe in the world. We observe that our child is upset and seek the cause by asking, “Why is the child upset?” We experience a feeling of “satisfaction” only when our questions are sufficiently answered. In this way our pursuit of knowledge is guided by our individual feelings. The feeling of disharmony, that “something isn’t right” is the beginning of the pursuit of knowledge.
Rudolf Steiner's The Philosophy Of Freedom, published in 1894, is a humanist philosophy of knowledge and ethics based on the empirical observation of the mind. So it has value to anyone interested in science more so than blind belief, whether conservative or progressive, spiritualist or atheist, idealist or realist. This includes the secular, agnostic and atheist community, which has a strong interest in science. We have been using twitter, "Ethical Humanism" to reach this community.
A new atheist online magazine called Atheism United posted a link to our recent blog post "First Impression Judgments Are An Error In Thinking". It is exciting to have attracted interest from the atheist community.
A recent poll shows a 13% decline in the U.S. in those who say they are "Religious" while Atheism is rising around the world. This decline would be expected in our age of science as "We no longer want to believe; we want to know." Philosophy Of Freedom 0.3
Well known atheists/agnostics include Stephen Hawking, Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Wozaniak, John Lennon and Mark Twain.
We're all told about the value of making a good first impression. An interviewer, or a stranger, will form an impression of you, your character, your personality all within the first 60 seconds of meeting you. Or is it 30 seconds or just a few seconds?
A series of experiments by Princeton psychologists reveal that all it takes is a tenth of a second to form an impression of a stranger from their face, and that longer exposures don’t significantly change those immediate impressions. Judgments based on appearance play a powerful role in how we treat others, and how we get treated.
A business manager interviews someone with a great business record, highly recommended by others and a good resume, but during the interview the guy seems uninspired. So the manager tells his colleagues, I don’t think we should hire this guy. Most people say that’s reasonable, but how can we say that we know the person? Typically an interview is a half hour. A lot of what goes on in the interview has little to do with future executive performance.
Limited observation is unscientific
We will carry away and retain this incomplete picture of the person unless we have further contact to get to know them better. This is an unscientific judgment based on a single encounter.
Limited thinking is unscientific
Rudolf Steiner's Philosophy Of Freedom discusses how all living things are in a "process of becoming". Everything is constantly changing and moving through an infinite number of stages. A naive unthinking person does not take the unseen possibilities into consideration. A person convicted of a crime will always remain a criminal. The truth is we are all changing. “The picture which presents itself to me at any one moment is only a chance section out of the continuous process of growth in which the object is engaged.” POF 5.4
Unfoldment of human potential
Scientific thinking is able to go beyond mere observation and look at possibilities that lay within things if given the opportunity, such as what happens to a rose when given the proper water and light. A human being will flourish given the opportunities to unfold their potential. With thinking we can see and work with the process of becoming.
“Each one of us has it in us to be a free spirit, just as every rosebud is potentially a rose.' POF 10.8
reference: Eric Wargo, Samira Shackle
Rudolf Steiner's article, "Theosophists" published in 1897 in his "Magazine for
Literature" Nr. 34, and reprinted in the collected edition "Steiner, Collected
Essays in Literature," pp. 194-96 . GA 32.
translated by Tom Mellett
A short time ago, Franz Hartmann published his translation of the profound Indian poem, the "Bhagavad Gita." This poem reveals the deepest experiences that the "chosen ones" had, those priest-like figures of a practical people living in extraordinary circumstances. As if in a dream, these priestly figures were granted solutions to whatever crucial questions might arise, and afterwards, any such answer would require their evaluation. Not by abstract thinking, which we Westerners are so dependent on now, but by means of mystical visions. It was indeed through intuition that these Eastern truth seekers sought to achieve their goals. It would be utter folly for us in the West if we wanted to imitate them. Our nature is different from theirs; and therefore we must find another way to reach the summit of knowledge, where we could enhance our style of life in freedom.
But the Theosophists don't think that way at all. They gaze upon the totality of European science and merely shrug their shoulders. They smile at the sobriety of reason and intellect, while they worship the Eastern way of seeking truth as the one and only way. Oh, it is really rich to observe the demeanor of superiority whenever you engage a Theosophist in conversation about the value of the more Western ways of knowing.
[The Theosophist says:] "All that is externality;" [or that such] "intellectuals circle round a thing, merely inspecting its surface"; or else: "we, however, live inside the object --- indeed, we even live inside God Himself; yes, we experience the divinity within us!" This is just a sampling of the expressions you get to hear. And you will hardly ever escape from them branding you as a "narrow-minded intellectual" if you, with only a few words, dare betray the fact that you might be able to think in the same way as they do by mean of [your] inferior Western science.
But, actually, it's not a good idea just to up and leave them as soon as they make such pronouncements. Rather, I advise anyone who meets with a Theosophist to stand fast, look him in the eye and with total sincerity, genuinely endeavor to glean something from the revelations of such a consummate "enlightened one" who radiates Eastern wisdom from "his inner being." You will of course hear absolutely nothing, nothing but hollow phrases lifted from the Eastern scriptures, without even a hint of content.
These "inner experiences" are nothing short of hypocrisy. After all, it's not much of a trick to pull phrases out of a profound literature and then use them to declare that the sum and substance of Western expertise is totally worthless. Yet, [in reality], how much depth, how much inwardness actually lies behind the supposedly superficial intellect, behind the external concepts of Western science, of which the Theosophists haven't the slightest idea!
But the way they speak of the highest knowledge --- which they do not possess --- the mystical way in which they assert incomprehensible foreign wisdom actually seduces a fair number of their contemporaries. Consider how the Theosophical Society has spread all over Europe, with adherents in every major city. And that the number of them who would rather indulge in abstruse gossip about their experience of the "divine within" than to acknowledge the clear, transparent conceptual knowledge of the West is not insignificant.
It also proves advantageous to the Theosophists that they are able to stay on good terms with the Spiritualists and other off-beat, like-minded seekers of the spirit. Oh, sure, they [the Theosophists] contend that these Spiritualists treat the phenomena of the spirit world as external; whereas, they themselves [the Theosophists] seek to experience such phenomena as strictly within as well as totally spiritual. But they are not above walking hand in hand with the Spiritualists when they deem such an alliance to help them wage war on the unfettered science, the straightforward science of the modern era, which is solely supported by reason and observation.
An important concept in The Philosophy Of Freedom is the existence of a universal world of ideals. Mathematics shows that there is a universal conceptual world of ideals we can perceive within and a particularized world that expresses those ideals without. Because we gain knowledge in two ways, thinking and observation, we face a duality. But thinking reconciles the separation when it adds the conceptual ideal, such as circle, to a particularized circle in the world. It is easy to see this in mathematics, but this also applies to everything else.
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From respected scholar to pseudo-scientist of the occult
Blame it on the outsiders
Barrier to learning about The Philosophy Of Freedom
The science remains in the science of freedom
The problem has its roots in disregarding the science principles in The Philosophy Of Freedom that confirm science as a way of knowing. The Anthroposophist tends to always be looking for Theosophy confirmation instead:
“The members read it, but reading is not the same as understanding. They took what I offered, not as something issuing from my mouth or written in my books, but rather as what this one thought ‘mystical,’ that one ‘theosophical,’ another something else again”. RS
The best example of misreading The Philosophy Of Freedom is Sergei O. Prokofieff's “Anthroposophy and the Philosophy of Freedom”.
Without science you have pseudo-science
"The trouble is The Philosophy of Freedom has not been read in the different way I have been describing. That is the point, and a point that must be sharply stressed if the development of the Anthroposophical Society is not to fall far behind anthroposophy itself. If it does fall behind, anthroposophy's conveyance through the society will result in its being completely misunderstood, and its only fruit will be endless conflict!" RS
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