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Tom Last's Posts (177)

Intelligence continues to decline
Now we finally know why we struggle so much to comprehend The Philosophy Of Freedom. Since the time of its writing in 1894 Western IQ's have dropped a staggering 14 points. Researchers looked at intelligence studies going back to the late Victorian Era (1884) and find that the Victorians were substantially more intelligent than modern Western populations.

The Victorian era, measured on a per capita basis, was the height of innovations in science and technology with the highest number of scientific geniuses (Rudolf Steiner).

Our brains are actually becoming smaller. IQ studies show people in the UK, Denmark and Australia have become less intelligent in the past decade. You don't need science to verify that Americans are becoming stupider.

What is the cause? Modern life has become easy without the need to ever think. Casual entertainment like video games and television impede our development by keeping us away from skill-building activities.

True? Science disagrees about the video games. (video)

Video games for cognitive development
While television is passive entertainment, video games are not. Good video gamers require intense concentration, keen perception, brilliant strategy and quick reactions. Scientific studies have shown that the challenge posed by action video games improves cognitive functions, motor control, overall perception, increases grey matter and our ability to learn new things. (I enjoy rattling the cage of Waldorf dogmatists)

Multitasking and cognitive development
Does modern multitasking develop cognitive skills? A neuroscientist and expert on attention at MIT says: “When people think they’re multitasking, they’re actually just switching from one task to another very rapidly.” Multitasking prevents deep, creative thought as we switch back and forth. As a result, thoughts are more superficial.

Just spotting an email is enough distraction to reduce your IQ by 10 points as your mind wanders from your task.

Exercise body and mind
We all have recognized that modern life requires regular exercise for a healthy body. People are only beginning to realize life also requires regular thinking exercise for a healthy mind.

Knowledge of cognitive processes and thought training
For a healthy body we learn about how our body works by studying its processes like nutrition, digestion etc. and we exercise. It is the same with thinking, we learn how it works by studying the cognitive processes like perception, knowing etc. and exercise with thought training. We can increase our intelligence these two ways: thought training and learning about the cognitive processes. This is what Rudolf Steiner's path to freedom is about, as described in The Philosophy Of Freedom. By studying the cognitive processes and applying what is learned along with disciplining thinking we can improve our ability to know.

The Philosophy Of Freedom is the result of "independent" thinking meaning we do not have the comfort of immediately relating familiar terms to what is being discussed. After we struggle to the meaning of the terms we find it all makes perfect sense. This is because the terms used point to experience rather than merely abstract philosophy.

We discipline our thinking with thought training which deepens our knowing. This is practiced by “withdrawing awhile to enter into the conceptual realm of pure thought.” POF 0.7 The study of The Philosophy Of Freedom is to enter the "conceptual world of pure thought". Keeping our thinking sharp is a requirement for a healthy mind and is achieved with the challenging study of this book. 

“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

Study Of The Philosophy Of Freedom
Both of theses practices of learning about thinking and deepening it can be done at the same time by studying the book! You learn what it means to "know" and discipline your thinking at the same time when you study The Philosophy Of Freedom (without multitasking). It will require effort just like physical exercise does, but you will soon notice you are getting more “insights” into things than before.

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Thought Structure
By understanding the thought-structure of The Philosophy Of Freedom the book makes more sense. This discovery of the thought structure of The Philosophy Of Freedom has been verified by those qualified to do so and it can be verified by you if you work with the book and the worldviews. The thought-structure consists of 12 worldviews that Steiner is writing out of at that point in the book. If you know the worldview being expressed at that point in the text and you know when he shifts from one view to the next the book makes more sense, otherwise it gets very confusing. The numbered topic headings that appear in the translations (Hoernle) on this website tell you what the viewpoint being expressed is and when it shifts to the next view. (Video)

7 World Outlook Moods
Each chapter begins with an introduction (0). This opening introduction is 1 of 7 world-outlook moods (described below). It begins with Occultism in chapter 1, then Transcendentalism in chapter 2, then Mysticism 3, Empiricism 4, Volunteerism 5, Logicism 6, and Gnosis 7. Part II of the book beginning with chapter 8 is Gnosis again as the order reverses itself to chapter 14 Occultism. 

12 World Outlooks
After the introduction, 12 views are presented of the introduction. They follow the same order in each chapter and are numbered in the translations that appear on this website as topic headings. They begin with the view of Materialism (1), then Spiritism 2, Realism 3, Idealism 4, Mathematism 5, Rationalism 6, Psychism 7, Pneumatism 8, Monadism 9, Dynamism 10, Phenomenalism 11, and Sensationalism 12.

12 World-Outlooks

The above diagram shows the thought structure of The Philosophy Of Freedom. It is not based on planetary astrology or have anything to do with one's sign. It is a science of the mind that describes the relationship between worldviews that is using Zodiac symbols because they likely have some meaning in understanding 12 perspectives. Within this diagram is every possible world view. So you see the book integrates every possible viewpoint into one wholistic philosophy. What it means is that every view has value within its particular domain of application.

Human and Cosmic Thought by Rudolf Steiner
Twelve World-Outlooks

For further descriptions of the 12 outooks and 7 moods go here to the permanent link in the Study Guide.

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Boycott Israel march in France

Pro-Israel billionaires combat anti-apartheid boycott of Israel
Human rights organizations condemned Sheldon Adelson's anti-BDS meeting of pro-Israel billionaires to combat the growing anti-apartheid boycott of the Jewish state of Israel. The boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement is a nonviolent method to promote the Palestinian struggle for independence modeled after the successful boycott of apartheid South Africa.


Anti-aparteid movement gaining momentum

The BDS movement is gaining momentum each day. Norwegian and Dutch corporations sold off shares from companies involved in the Palestinian Territories, student groups in Britain, the United States and Canada have thrown their support behind it, scientists like Stephen Hawking are refusing to attend academic conferences in Israel and South Africa’s Bishop Desmond Tutu called on churches to turn their backs on companies that profit from the occupation.

The membership of the Association for Humanist Sociology, an organization dedicated to scholarship and action in the service of justice and peace, voted to support the boycott of Israel.


Apartheid Israel

For nearly half a century, Palestinians have lived under a form of apartheid in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza, denied the most basic freedoms and rights. They have been ethnically cleansed, imprisoned en masse, walled up in ghettoes, and had their lands stolen and their homes and agricultural crops destroyed. Palestinian citizens of Israel, who comprise approximately 20% of Israel’s population, have endured systematic discrimination in a state that explicitly privileges Jewish citizens over all others.

 

Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson seeks a permanent Jewish apartheid state
Adelson is a vocal supporter of a single state in which Israel annexes the occupied territories and denies equal rights to Palestinians who he has derided as “an invented people”.

The Forward, which first reported the summit, said that the billionaire Jewish mega-donors include the Hollywood entertainment mogul Haim Saban and an Israeli-born property developer, Adam Milstein.


Anti-boycott billionaire Haim Saban mega-donor to Hillary campaign

US Presidential candidates for sale
Adelson spent a staggering 150 million to influence the 2012 US elections and may spend more in 2016. He declared, “We can use our influence with anybody we know in the administration and in Congress.”

Republican presidential candidate, Ted Cruz, denounced the boycott movement at a dinner with Adelson. Cruz, like other Republican candidates, is seeking financial backing from Adelson.

In a letter written to billionaire Haim Saban, Hillary Clinton pledges to not put pressure on Israel. Her condemnation of the anti-apartheid movement sounded like it came from the Netanyahu government itself. Haim Saban is a mega-donor to the Clinton presidential campaign.


Rudolf Steiner criticized any ethnically determined state
A Jewish state is required to be an apartheid state otherwise it risks being taken over by the "other". Ethnicity is certainly an outmoded basis for social life and civic identity. This is why Rudolf Steiner was a critic of his contemporary Theodor Herzl's goal of a Zionist state, as well as of any other ethnically determined state.

"The social order is formed, so that it can react favorably on the individual." (all individuals) POF 9.12

How do you overcome your own culturally conditioned bias of ethnic tribalism or nationalism? It is possible to free your self from being determined by “characteristics that are conditioned by the nature of one's ethnic group” and “develop qualities and functions of one's own, whose source can only be sought within one self.” POF 14.2 

We can rise above personal bias and prejudice and make ethical decisions that places a value on each human being with the development of what Steiner calls "pure thinking" or "practical reason"POF 9.5

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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

Over 100 years ago Rudolf Steiner presented a Science Of Freedom that laid the foundation for Ethical Individualism and a new social and political life. His Philosophy Of Freedom is a humanist philosophy of life that integrates science, ethics and creative imagination into free ethical deeds independent of conditioned bias and the influence of authoritarian institutions.

This philosophy of life has remained largely unknown until now. If it had been vigorously presented 100 years ago I have no doubt it would be commonly known today and the world we live in would be a different place. This website, philosophyoffreedom.com, has been working very hard everyday since 2005 with minimal human and financial resources to find ways to present it and get the word out. 

What we have found is that there is an interest in Ethical Individualism once people hear about it.

International Baccalaureate 2014 conference in Rome
In 2014 the ideas of Ethical Individualism was part of an educational service learning package presented by keynote speaker Cathryn Berger Kaye M.A. at the International Baccalaureate conference held in Rome.

The International Baccalaureate (IB), founded in 1968, “is an educational foundation offering highly respected programs of international education. There are more than 1 million IB students at 3,462 schools in 143 countries around the world.”

“The prestigious pre-university IB program develops well-rounded students with character who respond to challenges with optimism and an open mind, make ethical decisions, join with others in celebrating our common humanity and are prepared to apply what they learn in real-world, complex and unpredictable situations.”


Cathryn Berger Kaye M.A.

Cathryn “travels 186 days a year globally providing professional development, keynotes, in-depth institutes, and resources on service learning, youth engagement, best teaching practices, curricular development, and 21st century competencies. Cathryn regularly visits schools to work with teachers and administrators to advance service learning and other schools priorities for 21st century learning.”

Included in her education material at the conference was this diagram (pictured below) on Ethical Individualism created here at philosophyoffreedom.com. When properly presented education professionals recognize that The Philosophy Of Freedom and Ethical Individualism offer something of value. The better job we can do to find ways to package these ideas and make them available the more they will become known.

An Ethical Individualism diagram from philosophyoffreedom.com was part of keynote speaker Cathryn Berger Kaye's Education material at 2014 International Baccalaureate conference. Improved diagram here.

Cathryn is involved in Service Learning. What is that? Could it be a way to teach Ethical Individualism?
Service-Learning is a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities.

Through service-learning, young people—from kindergarteners to college students—use what they learn in the classroom to solve real-life problems. They not only learn the practical applications of their studies, they become actively contributing citizens and community members through the service they perform.

Service-learning can be applied in a wide variety of settings, including schools, universities, and community-based and faith-based organizations. It can involve a group of students, a classroom or an entire school. Students build character and become active participants as they work with others in their school and community to create service projects in areas such as education, public safety, and the environment.

Community members, students, and educators everywhere are discovering that service-learning offers all its participants a chance to take part in the active education of youth while simultaneously addressing the concerns, needs, and hopes of communities. --National Service-Learning Clearinghouse

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Pope assails capitalist greed telling youth to rise up and “make a mess”
Pope Francis has called for a youth uprising against global capitalism. Last Sunday the Pope gave a rousing speech during which he told a crowd of young people in Paraguay that it is their time to "go make a mess." He assailed the prevailing economic system as the "dung of the devil," saying that the systemic "greed for money" is a "subtle dictatorship" that "condemns and enslaves men and women."

The Pope went off-script during the address to tens of thousands of youth and spoke from a free heart, "They wrote a speech for me to give you. But speeches are boring," Pope Francis said. "Go make a mess, but then also help to tidy it up. A mess which gives us a free heart, a mess which gives us solidarity, a mess which gives us hope."

He spoke of “the necessity of fighting for the right to lead a dignified life.” "We don't want young weaklings. We do not want young people who tire quickly, who live life worn out with faces of boredom. We want youths with hope and strength," Francis told the crowd.

Self-absorbed spiritualists should take action
On other occasions, the Pope has urged priests to leave “the stale air of closed rooms” and has characterized traditional Catholics as “self-absorbed.” "I want the Church to go out into the streets,” Pope Francis told a cheering crowd gathered for World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro in July 2013.

Is Jorge Mario Bergoglio an non-violent "Anarchist” at heart, clothed in popes clothing? In an interview later the Pope continued, perhaps disappointingly, “It is not that the Church has an option for the anarchic way.”


Rudolf Steiner is an Individualist Anarchist

Rudolf Steiner proudly declared himself an individualist anarchist in a letter to John Henry Mackay, a noted individualist anarchist and author of The Anarchists in 1891. Mackay is also an important European early activist for LGBT rights.

“I have the conviction that we agree, with respect to our views, every bit as far as two natures fully independent of one another can agree.” wrote Steiner to Mackay.

Individualist anarchism is a type of anarchism that emphasizes the individual and their will over external determinants such as groups, society, traditions, and ideological systems. Besides Mackay, Steiner was influenced by Friedrich Nietzsche and individualist anarchist Max Stirner at the time.


Individualist anarchism in Europe

European individualist anarchism in general is the emphasis on individual subjective exploration and defiance of social conventions.

Individualist anarchist philosophy was found amongst artists, intellectuals and the well-read, urban middle classes in general. As such Murray Bookchin describes a lot of individualist anarchists as people who expressed their opposition in uniquely personal forms, especially in fiery tracts, outrageous behavior, and aberrant lifestyles in the cultural ghettos of fin de siecle New York, Paris, and London. As a credo, individualist anarchism remained largely a bohemian lifestyle, most conspicuous in its demands for sexual freedom ('free love') and enamored of innovations in art, behavior, and clothing. wiki


Steiner enjoyed hobnobbing with artists and political activists

Steiner edited the Magazine for Literature from 1897 to 1900 in Berlin. Biographer Gary Lachman writes; "Steiner seems to have enjoyed hobnobbing with the bohemians; his acquaintances included poets, playwrights, novelists and political activists. In fact, his reputation among the demi-monde (people considered to be on the fringes of respectable society) caused academics to cancel their subscriptions, and Steiner also earned the distinction of having a periodical banned in Czarist Russia because its editor was known to socialize with anarchists."

The world is not governed rationally
In the letter to Mackay Steiner notes that the world is not governed rationally. The State hinders the individual "at every step in the unfolding of his abilities",

“The State hates the individual. The State says: I can only use a person who behaves thus and thus. Whoever is different, I shall force him to become the way I want.”

The Individualist Anarchist knows that people should be trusted to find their own direction, should be given “free way”. The way is then cleared “for the most independent people by doing away with all force and authority”.

Pope reference material: Lauren McCauley

 

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Both Scientology and the Philosophy Of Freedom claim to offer paths to freedom. On what scientific principle do they base this claim?

Reactive mind
For Scientology the barrier to freedom is the Reactive Mind. It is defined in Scientology as that part of the mind that works on a totally stimulus-response basis. It is not under a persons control and exerts force and the power of command over our awareness, purposes, thoughts, and actions.

In the Philosophy Of Freedom (POF) we find something similar at the lowest level of individual life called simply “drive” when our will is immediately triggered by the senses without intervening reflection or having a special feeling for what is perceived. This immediacy originally belonged to the lower instinctive life necessary for survival. POF 9.4


Mental images

Scientology and POF speak of mental images that can insert themselves between us and the outer world resulting in cognitive bias distorting our grasp of reality and creating unreasonable fears, upsets and insecurities. POF Chp5 Addition to the revised edition (1918)

How do we free ourselves from compulsions, obsessions, and neuroses that spring from what Scientology calls the Reactive Mind and what POF calls in a broader term our Psyche-Physical Organization?


The battle between stimulus-response and deliberate reflection

There are two sides that fight for control of the human being, the immediate stimulus-response Reactive Mind and the Analytical Mind that one consciously uses and is aware of. This is the portion of the mind that observes, thinks, and resolves problems.

There are two ways that this battle can be tilted in the favor of reason. One way is to weaken the stimulus-response reactions while the other way is to strengthen thinking.

The level of Clear in Scientology
The scientific principle used in Scientology is that you can weaken the Reactive Mind by bringing unwanted motives into consciousness where they lose their power, so the ill effects they cause end. POF 1.3  A state of clear is reached through a long period of auditing therapy until the Reactive Mind is eliminated.

Once the Reactive Mind is eliminated we will be happier and return to a more childlike simplicity having removed the pain of past traumatic experiences.


The level of Clear in The Philosophy Of Freedom

The Philosophy Of Freedom takes the other approach by strengthening thinking, then the power of thinking suspends the control over us by the organization of our body and mind, the Psyche-Physical Organization. This state of clear is called pure thinking or reason. It takes place in the sphere of universal concepts. It is developed by learning how the mind works (study of the Philosophy Of Freedom) and then applying this knowledge to unfold free thinking. It is also necessary to practice the kind of thought discipline that is necessary in the fields of science.

When we enter the pure conceptual sphere the Psyche-Physical Organization which holds our past experiences, natural urges, and biases  “suspends its own activity—it makes room—and, in the space that has been made free, thinking appears. First, thinking represses the human organization’s own activity and, second, it replaces that activity with itself.” POF 9.1 found only in revised 1918 edition

With empowered thinking we become fully mature human beings, and fulfill our human potential.

Pure thinking is the most important part of The Philosophy Of Freedom. That there is a power within thinking that can suspend our Psyche-Physical Organization is the scientific principle that can be used to free ourselves of the habitual ruts and cognitive biases that enslaves us.

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Steiner's most important work
The Wilson translation of The Philosophy Of Freedom is being published by Wilder Publications (SMK Books). The interesting thing is the ebook image cover, which says in bold type, “STEINER'S MOST IMPORTANT WORK”.

I think this website can take some credit for the bold text pronouncement as we have been broadcasting this message since 2005. Before that, the standard repeated message was that The Philosophy Of Freedom was one of 4 basic books of Anthroposophy that also included Theosophy, Knowledge Of The Higher Worlds, and Occult Science.

Wilder Publications is a rogue publisher that is not controlled or associated with Anthroposophy. For them to proclaim The Philosophy Of Freedom to be "Steiner's most important work" means that this has become part of main stream public knowledge established outside of the PR outlets of Anthroposophy. Mission accomplished!

 

Why is it Steiner's most important work?
The next point that needs to enter the public domain is why it is Steiner's most important work? Anthroposophy's talking points always direct the attention away from the freedom philosophy, and directs it toward Steiner's later clairvoyant spiritual science, Anthroposophy. Whenever the philosophy is mentioned the talking point is,

"The Philosophy of Freedom forms the philosophical basis for his later writings." (later writings are Anthroposophy) wiki link

This statement is the death of any interest in The Philosophy Of Freedom. Nobody wants to read an abstract philosophy that gives you nothing other than philosophical support for something else.

The title was even changed to Intuitive Thinking As A Spiritual Path to make it sound more spiritualistic.


It is about science, ethics and how to change the world

If you read the book you find that it is about science, attaining certainty in knowledge rather than belief in doctrines, groups or spiritual leaders. It is about ethical individualism and how to change the world. It is not abstract philosophy but gives descriptions of cognitive processes and life experiences that lead one to free thinking and free action. Rather than being told what to think by an organization, it shows how to stand on your own feet and think for yourself.

The Philosophy Of Freedom is written in an individualist anarchist mood that emphasizes the individual and their will over external determinants such as groups, society, traditions, and ideological systems. This is obvious in the original first chapter, "The Goal Of Knowledge" that Steiner considered the preface. Is this why any institution or leadership would surely have little interest in this book?


Its not about clairvoyance

There is nothing to be found in it to directly support the clairvoyant ability to perceive spiritual worlds, and certainly nothing to support the content of Anthroposophy. You can make a stretch by calling the intuition commonly involved in acquiring knowledge "clairvoyance".

The link that is commonly made to relate it to Anthroposophy is the recognition of a non-physical universal world of ideas that could open the possibility of some kind of higher knowledge. This is true. True, just as the discovery of quantum randomness opens the possibility of free will. My point is that its support of Anthroposophy is not why The Philosophy Of Freedom is Steiner's most important work.


It is a philosophy of life

Most people (99.999%?) will never have an interest in understanding the philosophical basis of Anthroposophy, but each of us have a life and we want a better world. In 1918, while immersed in Anthroposophy, Steiner gives the intended purpose,

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

This is the point that this website (philosophyoffreedom.com) will be declaring to the world until it becomes part of the public domain of knowledge. This is something that will bring The Philosophy Of Freedom the interest it deserves.

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Amish schools embrace education technology

It’s pretty common knowledge that the farm folk known as the Amish actively shun the modern world. Although they still use horse-drawn buggies for transportation and use gas lanterns to light their homes the Amish will adapt to a changing world when necessary. They now use the Internet to sell their products with great success and in the last few years the Amish schools have embraced computer technology.

While Amish families continue to live a traditional lifestyle without modern devices, Amish parents want their children to have computer skills to prepare for jobs and future careers. Teacher Sarah Meenan said. “Amish kids really want to learn, they catch on quick because they want to be up to speed with everybody else.”

Waldorf schools shun education technology
But not everyone thinks laptops belong in the classroom. While everyone else is findings ways to use technology to serve their purposes Waldorf Schools deliberately shun it. Educators at the Waldorf School in Seattle take a lot of pride in showing off just how handy, athletic and artistic their students are. The students Waldorf experience was 12 years of education almost entirely free of television, video games, computers and smartphones.

While other schools brag about their wired classrooms, Waldorf schools have yesterdays Amish look, — chalk blackboards, bookshelves with encyclopedias, wooden desks filled with workbooks and No. 2 pencils. Waldorf Amish education subscribes to a teaching philosophy focused on physical activity and learning through creative, hands-on tasks.

Computers aren't television
What began earlier as a justifiable Waldorf attack on the passive non-creative activity of television watching was transferred to computers. Computers are much different. They give immediate access to the worlds knowledge and new programs are being released daily to encourage creative and attentive activity. It is possible to collaborate with other people and schools on a global scale.

Is it the teachers?
The anti-technology attitude varies from school to school. Former student Pippi Groving said, “I went to a Waldorf School where the teachers were old wrinkled hippies very much against anything new. I had to write everything by hand even to the last day in 12th grade. My friends from Waldorf Schools in the other big cities in Denmark were encouraged to use computers.”

Is it the leaders of Anthroposophy?
Waldorf schools are based on the teachings of Anthroposophy. Renowned anthroposophist Sergei Prokofieff wrote a remarkable article entitled “The Being of the Internet,” in which he argued that digital media is a carrier of such darkness that it is unredeemable.

Is it Rudolf Steiner?
Rudolf Steiner followed and was educated in the most current advances in science of his day. He did not fear technology. He encouraged the type of clear thought training required in the technology field received by computer scientists, engineers, researchers, and mathematicians that discipline the mind. Education technology is a tool and introduction to the thought training that is a prerequisite to attain human freedom described in his Philosophy Of Freedom.

Waldorf answer
Waldorf considers the appropriate time for computer use in the classroom and by students is in high school. They believe the students interact with one another and with teachers better without education technology. Students can develop their knowledge, skills, abilities, and inner qualities better without it.

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1893 photo of Rudolf Steiner

Two 1895 Reviews Of Rudolf Steiner's Die Philosophie der Freiheit
(The Philosophy Of Freedom)


THE MONIST QUARTERLY MAGAZINE VOLUME V
CHICAGO
THE OPEN COURT PUBLISHING CO.
1894-95
COPYRIGHT BY THE OPEN COURT PUBLISHING Co 1895.
CONTENTS OF VOLUME V.

p. 150 Die Philosophie der Freiheit. By Dr. Rudolf Steiner

URL: http://archive.org/stream/monistquart05hegeuoft/monistquart05hegeuoft_djvu.txt

DIE PHILOSOPHIE DER FREIHEIT. Grundzuge einer modernen Weltanschauung.
By Dr. Rudolf Steiner. Berlin: Emil Felber. 1894. Pp. 242.

The essential characteristic of the present age the author finds in the evident striving of individual culture to make itself the centre of all the interests of life. To bear the stamp of validity, a thing must have its origin deep in the roots of individuality. This, in a certain form, is the gospel of the development from within outwards which Goethe championed. Between heredity, tradition, iron-clad custom, and the independent mind filled with new ideas, a constant battle is fought the battle of knowledge against belief. Man, however, must not bow to the new idea lest he be what he was before, but must make himself master of it. The ground or reason for the translation of an idea into actual reality by the agency of the individual man can be found only in the man himself. For an idea to become an act, a man must will its transformation. But such a volition can spring solely from man himself. Man is the ultimate mover of his acts; he is free. /IK/IK.



Source: The Philosophical Review, Vol. 4, No. 5 (Sep., 1895) pp. 573-574
Published by: Duke University Press on behalf of Philosophical Review
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2176164

Die Philosophie der Freiheit. Von DR. RUDOLF STEINER.
Berlin, Emil Felber, 1894.-pp. 242.

Freedom, the author asserts, is a fact that stares us in the face, and those who deny it do so through misunderstanding. It is obvious that an action is not free if the agent does not know why he does it, but how does the matter stand with reference to an action which is performed after the reasons for and against it have been considered? This involves an inquiry into the nature of Thought, for only when we know what Thought is can we tell what part it plays in human action. Thought is a principle which exists for itself, and from it arise Notions which are applied to the given element of experience. The latter element is the necessary consequence of individuality, and the function of Thought is to restore the unity of the Ego with the world which particularity has broken. Freedom can be understood by means of this analysis. In action, as in knowledge, there is a given element to which the mind adds conceptions of its own. Only, in this case, the given does not determine in any way the conceptions which the mind applies, and, as these conceptions constitute our motives to action, this means that our motives are not determined.

Monism is the doctrine that the world is given as a duality of subject and object, but becomes a unity through knowledge. Thought unites what sensation has separated. The distinction between subject and object is therefore not absolute and there is no thing-in-itself. Further, Monism means that experience cannot be transcended at all, and it therefore excludes the notions of End, World-Ruler, etc. All that exists is a multitude of particular persons and things forming somehow a unity. It is not made very clear why "Monism " should involve this, and no attempt is made to show how one can get at the notion of a multitude of individuals, if one is to keep entirely to experience on its phenomenal side. Yet the views thus assumed determine to a large extent the author's results. Since Monism excludes everything beyond experience, man's being is not dependent on any first principle or ground of all existence. He is therefore thrown upon himself; makes his own ends; and determines his own actions. " Monism," in short, necessarily involves freedom.

It is difficult to find out exactly what Dr. Steiner understands by ' freedom.' He defines it differently in different places, and involves himself in contradictions in attempting to answer objections. The best part of the book is the chapter on " The Worth of Life," which contains a thorough and suggestive criticism of Pessimism. It is a remarkable piece of writing, and Hartmann refers to it in his noteworthy article1 in the Zeitschrift fur Philosophie und Philosophische Kritik (Band 106, Heft. I). In other parts of the work there are passages of value, but the book is too uncritical and dogmatic to be satisfactory as a whole. There is throughout a lack of thoroughness and cohesion.

DAVID IRONS.

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Cognitive research by Benjamin Libet and others have shown that our brains generate decisions before we’re even aware of them, which suggests there is no free will because our decisions are made unconsciously.

Scientist locates free will in the brain
Paul Bisceglio writes about a new study with unexpected results. Free will may sneak its way into our decision making through a surprising source: brain static. This neural noise is simply that the brain is always firing even in the absence of input or responses.

Researchers at the University of California-Davis measured the brain activity of a handful of undergraduates as each made choices to look left or right when prompted by images on a screen.

The study's result: Fluctuations in brain static actually predicted the direction in which students chose to look.

These constant fluctuations exist apart from our normal unconsciously determined thought, so they seem to allow for “spontaneous” thought. “Neural noise might be how we can generate novel responses to new situational demands,” says Jesse Bengson, the study’s lead author.

Others have criticized the short time frames between action and movement used in this kind of research that were likely creating distortions in the data.

Rudolf Steiner's locates free will in the mind
Rudolf Steiner's theory of free will is dependent on finding the region of the mind where free will can originate. 1918 Preface to the revised Philosophy Of Freedom

Conceptual sphere of universal concepts
This region is the conceptual sphere of universal concepts. It is the sphere where mathematical, philosophical, logical and analytical scientific thinking takes place when one is immersed in pure universal concepts.

Universal concepts are an all inclusive ideal just as the concept triangle includes all triangles and the concept tree includes all trees. Universals do not include sense perceptible content such as a particular triangle (right triangle) or a particular tree (oak tree). Thinking in universals is non-sensory, non-empirical, and non-physical pure thinking.

Free thinking is possible in the conceptual sphere
To think in pure concepts is free thinking, free of bias, where thought is linked with thought according to the ideal content. This is also known in philosophy as reason. Pure concepts are not sense perceptible, they are perceived intuitively in the mind, making reason an intuitive process. POF 9.4

If free thinking is possible, then free will is possible
An action determined by free thinking means that our conduct is not influenced by an established character disposition, or an external moral principle accepted on authority. The action is not a stereotypical one that follows a set of norms, or is it an automatic response to external stimuli. Free action is guided by an idea consciously originating in free thinking. POF 9.5

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The Philosophy Of Freedom is the result of applying the methods of science to introspection observation. For us Rudolf Steiner is not some mystical clairvoyant master with psychic powers authoritatively handing down deep truths we can only accept on faith. For us who study The Philosophy Of Freedom he is a fellow scientist of the mind who describes inner experiences that are within our capacity to recognize. The Philosophy Of Freedom is written for us, normal people with normal abilities. It is not even really a philosophy book, philosophy is merely used by Steiner to describe human experience. 

We have the level of competence to evaluate what he called a science of freedom as peers when we turn within to observe our thoughts, feelings and willing. A "science" of freedom requires peer review. That is something we can do. You can see how you are qualified to be a peer of Rudolf Steiner by going to the "Thought Exercises" page where you will find over 70 exercises related to the descriptions found in The Philosophy Of Freedom

Here is a new exercise that has been added called "An Exploration Of Motives" by Tim Nadelle. You can see it is not hard to create your own exercises if you want to fully experience what is being discussed in the book. 

An Exploration of Motives

The following exercise and its sequel were inspired by the content of the first chapter of the Philosophy of Freedom. Pertinent quotes from chapter one are as follows:

“If there is a difference between a conscious motive of action and an unconscious urge, then the conscious motive will result in an action which must be judged differently from one that springs from blind impulse. Hence our first question will concern this difference, and on the result of this enquiry will depend what attitude we shall have to take towards the question of freedom proper.” POF 1.5

“The question is not whether I can carry out a decision once made, but how the decision comes about within me.” POF 1.7

An Exploration of Motives
1. Look into your recent past and identify two different actions which you took…
- one which resulted more from impulse
- one in which you were, to a greater extent, conscious of the motive for your action
2. In each case, how did the decision to act unfold within you?
3. How did the character of the motive behind the two actions differ?

Sequel:
Over the course of the day, make an effort to become aware at times when you are about to take action arising from an unexamined motive. Pause before acting and recognize the motive. Consider whether a different motive might more appropriately meet the needs of the situation.

By Tim Nadelle
http://www.philosophyfreedom.ca/

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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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What is the origin of thinking?

Chapter 1 concludes with this: [19] However we may care to approach the subject, it becomes more and more clear that the question concerning the nature of human action presupposes another, that of the origin of thinking. So I will turn to this question next.

So Chapter 2 can be organized to answer this question, Where do our thoughts originate, what is the source? How do we first experience thought? Each of the chapter 2 views give an answer. Which do you agree with?

2-1. Thinking originates in material processes
2-2. Thinking originates in the mind
2-3. Thinking originates in experience of the external world
2-4. Thinking originates in the ego
2-5. Thinking originates in sense perception, while sense perception is produced by thinking
2-6. Thinking originates in the indivisible unity of mind and matter
2-7. Thinking originates in our consciousness
2-8. Thinking originates in a feeling of belonging to nature
2-9. Thinking originates within as an inner quality of nature
2-10. Thinking originates as something more than “I”
2-11. Thinking originates as an experience in consciousness
2-12. Thinking originates as a fact of everyday experience

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"The first thing that my contemporaries found unpalatable in my book The Philosophy of Freedom was this: they would have to be prepared first of all to fight their way through to a knowledge of freedom by self-disciplined thinking." If you don't know what freedom is you will be unable to realize freedom because freedom is not an inborn idea, the idea of freedom must first be gained and understood before it can be realized by incorporating it into your life. Since this is a science of freedom it applies to everyone just like global warming does whether you believe in it or not. Steiner's concept of freedom can be found in other sources, a piece discussed here and another part there. All the ideas in POF are discussed elsewhere, separately. After finding the pieces you will still need to fit them together properly. Within POF you find the full concept of freedom with all the parts organized into a whole, but you still have to fight to understand it. You have a good chance if you know nothing of anthroposophy. 

The greatest barrier to understanding POF are the revisions, omissions and explanations of anthroposophists. It really is a scandal. If you began with the original version and had no other reference than Steiner's pre-theosophy work (pre-1900) most wouldn't have a problem. Every truth I get is a correction of an anthroposophy misunderstanding about POF. There misleading translations and misdirecting summaries have set me back a decade. The book can be won through simple reading comprehension if you work with the original 1916 Hoernle edition. That translation still needs basic translation cleaning up and will be done some day.

Anthroposophists distort POF to fit their theory of clairvoyance that for some reason none of them seem to ever achieve (except Steiner, but he was born with it). The science of freedom is not compatible with the vague mysticism of spiritual clairvoyance. A great example of the clarity of the original version is the beginning of Chapter 9 in the original Hoernle edition that explains the relation between ones Conceptual System and Knowledge & Action. Most of this was deleted in the other editions.

9. THE IDEA OF FREEDOM
9.0
[1] THE concept "tree" is conditioned for our knowledge by the percept "tree." There is only one determinate concept which I can select from the general system of concepts and apply to a given percept. The connection of concept and percept is mediately and objectively determined by thought in conformity with the percept. The connection between a percept and its concept is recognized after the act of perception, but the relevance of the one to the other is determined by the character of each.

[2] In willing the situation is different. The percept is here the content of my existence as an individual, whereas the concept is the universal element in me. What is brought into ideal relation to the external world by means of the concept, is an immediate experience of my own, a percept of my Self. More precisely, it is a percept of my Self as active, as producing effects on the external world. In apprehending my own acts of will, I connect a concept with a corresponding percept, viz., with the particular volition. In other words, by an act of thought I link up my individual faculty (my will) with the universal world-process. The content of a concept corresponding to an external percept appearing within the field of my experience, is given through intuition. Intuition is the source for the content of my whole conceptual system. The percept shows me only which concept I have to apply, in any given instance, out of the aggregate of my intuitions. The content of a concept is, indeed, conditioned by the percept, but it is not produced by it. On the contrary, it is intuitively given and connected with the percept by an act of thought. The same is true of the conceptual content of an act of will which is just as little capable of being deduced from this act. It is got by intuition.

9.1
[3] If now the conceptual intuition (ideal content) of my act of will occurs before the corresponding percept, then the content of what I do is determined by my ideas. The reason why I select from the number of possible intuitions just this special one, cannot be sought in an object of perception, but is to be found rather in the purely ideal interdependence of the members of my system of concepts. In other words, the determining factors for my will are to be found, not in the perceptual, but only in the conceptual world. My will is determined by my idea.

The conceptual system which corresponds to the external world is conditioned by this external world. We must determine from the percept itself what concept corresponds to it; and how, in turn, this concept will fit in with the rest of my system of ideas, depends on its intuitive content. The percept thus conditions directly its concept and, thereby, indirectly also its place in the conceptual system of my world. But the ideal content of an act of will, which is drawn from the conceptual system and which precedes the act of will, is determined only by the conceptual system itself.
An act of will which depends on nothing but this ideal content must itself be regarded as ideal, that is, as determined by an idea. This does not imply, of course, that all acts of will are determined only by ideas. All factors which determine the human individual have an influence on his will.

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The highest moral principle in the Philosophy Of Freedom is:

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

What is considered here to be a "moral idea"?

  • Free human beings act because they have a moral idea, they do not act in order to be moral.
  • They who are incapable of producing moral ideas through intuition must receive them from others. In so far as a human being receives their moral principles from without they are actually unfree.
  • It is not possible to deduce a single new moral idea from earlier ones.
  • Freedom is impossible if anything other than I myself (whether a mechanical process or God) determines my moral ideas.
  • Moral ideals have their root in the moral imagination of human beings.
  • A human being without imagination does not create moral ideas.
  • Immature youths without any moral imagination like to look upon the instincts of their half developed natures as the full substance of humanity, and reject all moral ideas which they have not themselves originated, in order that they may "live themselves out" without restriction.
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What is Rudolf Steiner’s Path to Freedom?

This is the script of a video to be posted later today. It is an old video that was given a new audio track.

What is Rudolf Steiner’s Path to Freedom?

“Each one of us has it in themselves to be a free spirit, just as every rose bud has in it a rose."

What is the path of Rudolf Steiner?

Eternal becoming in thinking 
Every step a deepening.
Overcoming the surface,
Penetrating the depths.

“My purpose was to write a biographical account, of how one human soul made the difficult ascent to freedom.”

“I found my own way as best I could, and then later on, described the route that I had taken.”

In a letter to Rosa Mayreder, “If you had rejected my book, it would have been incomparably painful for me… I don’t teach. I relate what I have inwardly experienced. I relate it as I have experienced it.”

He was once asked for which of his books would he be remembered as writer, Rudolf Steiner answered, “For my Philosophy of Freedom.”

The Philosophy of Freedom is a Path of Science

The Philosophy of Freedom is the result of introspective observation, following the methods of natural science.

“I was not setting forth a doctrine, but simply recording inner experiences through which I had actually passed. And I reported them just as I experienced them.”

“What I was really trying to do in The Philosophy of Freedom, was to locate freedom empirically, and thus put it on a solidly scientific basis.”

Galileo took a seminal role in launching the first revolution in the physical sciences, and a key element in this revolution was the rigorous, sophisticated observation of physical phenomena.

Darwin likewise launched a revolution in the life sciences on the basis of decades of meticulous observation of biological phenomena.

By using the Philosophy of Freedom as a map for making introspective observations of inner life, an opportunity exists for a 21st century revolution in our understanding of the mind sciences.

“For one of the things most centrally needed is clarity on the path of inner striving, a clarity of inner striving comparable to the clarity of external striving. Not vague mysticism, but brightest clarity.”

In a conversation with Rudolf Steiner in 1922 Walter Johannes Stein asked,
“What will remain of your work in thousands of years? 
Rudolf Steiner replied: “Nothing but the Philosophy of Freedom,” and then he added: “But everything is contained in it. If someone realizes the act of freedom described there, he finds the whole content of Anthroposophy”.

The pure thinking of science (rightly understood) is the sole avenue leading to the spirituality of the future.

Rudolf Steiner, while writing The Philosophy of Freedom was not concerned with philosophy as such, but with working out for himself the means of expression which, in its very thought-formation could bring about the transformation of those forces which had been brought to highest possible peak in pure scientific thinking and now could become the spring board for a final leap into new realms.

The Philosophy of Freedom is a Path of Cosmic Logic

"In 1894 I made the attempt with my Philosophy of Freedom to provide a philosophic basis on which to approach spiritual science. It presents the wide range of human standpoints, often masquerading under such strange philosophical names, in a way that leaves the reader free of attachment to any particular approach and able to let the various concepts speak for themselves, as though each were a photograph of one and the same object taken from many different angles."

The Philosophy of Freedom is a thought organism whose structure is depicted in Steiner’s World-Outlook diagram found in his Human and Cosmic Thought lectures. 
World-Outlook Diagram
Steiner states the World-Outlook diagram indicates the logic of the Spiritual Hierarchies of the cosmos. "..their logic was indicated in the diagram I drew for you."

“For in the case of a book like this, the important thing is so to organize the thoughts it contains that they take effect. With many other books it doesn’t make a great deal of difference if one shifts the sequence, putting this thing first and that later. But in the case of The Philosophy of Freedom that is impossible. It would be just as unthinkable to put page 150 fifty pages earlier as it would be to put a dog’s hind legs, where the front ones belong.”

“Catharsis is an ancient term for the purification of the astral body 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.”

“Within this book thinking is experienced in a way that makes it impossible for a person involved in it to have any other impression, when he is living in thought, he is living in the cosmos. This relatedness to cosmic mysteries is the red thread running through the book.”

One can’t bend and twist pure thinking to one’s subjective will. Thinking itself thinks. 
The spiritual beings of the higher hierarchies enter free thinking and then your thinking receives its content from above.

The Philosophy of Freedom is a Path of Anthroposophy 

"Anyone interested in looking for them will find the basic principles of anthroposophy already enunciated in this book."

“It takes no great effort of will to observe and then think about one's observations. It takes energy to engage in the activity of sense-free thinking.”

“People have to be shown how to get beyond merely poetical, artistic imagination to creative moral imagination.”

The content of The Philosophy of Freedom is not contrived or the results of mystical superstition, but rather in the strictest sense the result of introspective observation verifiable by others.

“You will find nothing at all in The Philosophy of Freedom that is derived from clairvoyant communications of spiritual science. It is written for the express purpose of disciplining thinking without any mention of theosophy.”

In the first decade of the 20th century, August Ewerbeck got word that there were intimate circles in which Rudolf Steiner gave special esoteric training to those admitted to them. So he asked his teacher whether he too might be allowed to attend, and received the astonishing reply: “You don’t need to! You have understood my Philosophy of Freedom!”

"Those who had no desire to undertake the uncomfortable and demanding pursuit of clear thinking, were little attracted to the direction taken by The Philosophy of Freedom."

"Too many seeking experience in all sorts of unclear paths, nebulous mystical approaches, attached themselves to what anthroposophy was trying to achieve in clarity. This group of people attracted the attention of a lot of ill-disposed persons who now attack, what people with whom I have no connection whatsoever, have been saying. But in these attacks they attribute to 'me' what these vague mystics have produced as their own twisted version of something intended to meet the urgent needs of our modern culture. 
“What is needed is the brightest clarity in everything that has to do with thinking, not vague mysticism.”

“The proper study of this book gives the reader an inner attitude that enables him to stand entirely on his own feet in relating to anthroposophy.” 
It teaches her to present it on her own authority rather than on that of someone else.

The Philosophy of Freedom is a Path of Freedom 

When in the bright circles of the spirit,
The soul calls forth 
Pure energy of thinking,
It lays hold on knowledge of what freedom is.
When entering fully in life, 
Free, conscious man 
Shapes reality from willing,
Then freedom is made living fact.

Steiner initially divides the problem of free will into freedom of thought and freedom of action. He argues that inner freedom is achieved when we bridge the gap between our perception, which reflects the outer appearance of the world, and our cognition, which give us access to the inner structure of the world. Outer freedom arises when we bridge the gap between our ideals and the constraints of external reality, letting our deeds be inspired by what he terms moral imagination. Steiner considers inner and outer freedom as integral to one another, and that true freedom is only achieved when they are united.

“My book addresses itself mainly to the question of how philosophy, as an art, deals with the subject of human freedom, what the nature of freedom really is, and whether we already possess it or can develop it.”

The Philosophy of Freedom is a Path of Pure Thinking 

“What I called pure thinking in my Philosophy of Freedom was certainly not well named when judged by outer cultural conditions. For Eduard von Hartmann said to me: 
“There is no such thing, one can only think with the aid of external observation.” And all I could say in reply was:
“It has only to be tried and people will soon learn to be able to make it a reality.”

When is an action free? Only when it has its origin in pure thinking.

The Philosophy of Freedom is a path, a method leading to the actual experience of a thinking detached from the body-soul makeup.

“Freedom dawns when we enable the will to become an ever mightier and mightier force in our thinking.”

“Out of pure thinking there can flow powerful impulses to moral action that are no longer determined by anything but pure spirit.”

“The intention in my Philosophy of Freedom is that the reader must lay hold with his own thinking activity page by page, that the book itself is only a sort of musical score, and that one must read this score through inner thinking activity in order to progress continually out of his own resources from thought to thought. Who does not sense that he was in a manner been lifted above his ordinary way of thinking into a thinking free of the sense perceptible and that he moves altogether in this so that he feels that he has become ‘free’ in his thinking from the limitations of the corporeal nature, –such a person has not really read in the true sense of the word this Philosophy of Freedom.

The Philosophy of Freedom is a Path of Study

Incomprehensible!…. Baffles the experts!….. You’ll never finish it!….. It’s a tangle of thought!…. 
These are the comments on the disappointing experience of readers when Rudolf Steiner first published The Philosophy of Freedom in 1894.

“Back in the 1890’s when the book was published, people hadn’t the least idea what to do with it. It was as though Europeans had been given a book in Chinese, and couldn’t understand a thing it said.”

“Readers often stop reading the book soon after they begin it, for the simple reason they would like to read it as they do any other book.” 
“Other popular books are read on a chaise lounge letting thought pictures pass in review before one’s mind.”

“In The Philosophy of Freedom, readers have to keep shaking themselves to avoid being put to sleep by the thoughts they encounter. One has to try with all of one’s human strength to activate one’s inner being, to bring one’s whole thinking into motion.”

“The least honest, are those who read The Philosophy of Freedom as they would any other book, and then flatter themselves that they have really taken in the thoughts it contains. They’ve kept on reading strings of words without anything coming out of it that might be likened to the striking of steel on flint.”

Now what kind of reader approach did The Philosophy of Freedom count on? It had to assume a special way of reading. It expected the reader, as they read, to undergo the sort of inner experience that, in an external sense, is really like waking up out of sleep in the morning.

“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.”

The reading of the Philosophy of Freedom should not be a mere reading, it should be an experiencing with inner shocks, tensions and resolutions.

The Philosophy of Freedom is a Path of Ethical Individualism

We hear calls for an improvement of public morality, but this overlooks the fact that moral action is a characteristic only of the free individual. Actions motivated by instincts, reflexes, dispositions, maxims, commandments, social and religious customs and even laws are not truly moral. A deed can only be described as moral in the truest sense when the individual has intuited the moral principle for the particular situation and brought into play the imagination needed to realize that principle in the deed.

Free moral action involves moral intuition, moral imagination, and moral technique.

Moral Intuition: The capacity to intuitively experience the particular moral principle for each single situation.

Moral Imagination: The ability of imagination to translate a general moral principle into a concrete mental picture of the action to be carried out.

Moral Technique: The ability to transform the world according to moral imaginations without violating the natural laws by which things are connected.
What I have outlined here is what Rudolf Steiner called ethical individualism.

The Philosophy of Freedom is a Path of Clairvoyance

When a man in the eighteenth century said, “Embolden yourself, O man, to make use of your powers of reason,” these were considered the words of a great enlightener. Today a still greater challenge must ring out, that is, “Embolden yourself, O man, to recognize your concepts and ideas as the first stage of clairvoyance! The reader of The Philosophy of Freedom should be able to say to oneself: “Now I know, through this effort of my mind in thinking, what pure thinking really is.” Then what I should like to call modern clairvoyance ceases to be anything miraculous. That this clairvoyance should still appear as something particularly miraculous comes from people not wishing to develop the energy to bring activity into their thinking.

The Philosophy of Freedom is a Path of Philosophy

The question of freedom cannot be settled by philosophical argument. Nor is it simply granted to us. If we want to be free, we must work through our own inner activity to overcome unconscious urges and habitual thinking. Today’s materialism seeks to reduce us to totally unfree creatures completely determined by heredity and other influences. The experience of pure thinking is the only possible way of refuting materialism and is attainable by anyone with the goodwill to undertake this path.

The Philosophy of Freedom is a Path of Anthroposophical Community

What appears as the common goal of a community is usually determined by the top down authority of a few leaders who are followed by the others.

The Philosophy of Freedom bases the independence of the human being upon the awakening of pure thinking as the origin of freedom and impulse to moral action.

How can we work together in freedom? Can pure thinking be applied to a group?

Taking life's ordinary concerns as a starting point, group discussion can rise to the level of pure conversation, or rather pure thinking as a group experience that results in group insight, real relationship between person and person, and a powerful impulse to joint activism.

Most of us are so habituated to what has always been done that we find it impossible to conceive of a leaderless society. In a true anthroposophical community, the leader –if there may be said to be one– are impulses to action arising out of pure conversation that is no longer determined by anything but pure spirit.

If we turn toward thinking in its essence, we find in it the power of love in the depths of its reality.

No leaders or external measures can bring about anthroposophical community building. It has to be called forth from the profoundest depths of each one’s consciousness.

"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!"

“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”

“Anthroposophy is independent of anthroposophical societies and can be found independently of them. It can be found in a special way when one human being learns to wake up in the encounter with another and out of such awakening the forming of communities occurs.”

The Philosophy of Freedom is a Path of Individual Initiative
 
Asked which of his books he would most want to see rescued if catastrophe should come upon the world, Rudolf Steiner replied without hesitation: "The Philosophy of Freedom."

Many ethical individualists today are applying their idealism in re-imagining our relationship to the environment and one another. They are actively forming civil society organizations to forward: ecological sustainability, economic justice, human rights protection, political accountability and peace. Using the tools of modern communication technology to organize –texting, cell phones, the internet– a bottom up rising of ethical individualists is taking place.

An awakened human spirit working collectively with others can change the world. The possibilities are extraordinary.

The Philosophy of Freedom is a Path of a New Social Order 

“If the ideas contained in my Philosophy of Freedom are to be further developed and applied to external social life, so that these truths may become clear to a larger circle of people, it will be necessary to build a superstructure of the truths of spiritual science on the foundation of that philosophy.”

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Andrei Pinta wrote: Have you thought about doing something like this http://www.huffingtonpost.com/otto-scharmer/mooc-40-the-next-revolu... 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.

What I find significant in this learning community experiment is finding 28,000 willing participants. I haven't been able to find 6, the minimum for a "group" discussion. Otherwise its "revolution" is the discovery of the experience of group insight that can happen in group contemplation or Goethean conversation. They have also used technology to expand the size of the group. We already have the basic knowledge of how to have life changing individual insight and group insight, the difficulty is having a lab of committed participants to further develop the process. My ultimate goal is active POF study groups conveniently available to anyone interested, in-person or online.

Right now I am trying to produce videos that will present the basic ideas in the book, copying a model produced by the dark side at Prager University.

If you have an interest in forming a lab group to experiment with learning I could set that up. We could begin a study group and see if anyone else was interested.
Tom

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© Tom Last 2017