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Comparative Method Of Studying The Philosophy Of Freedom

COMPARATIVE METHOD OF STUDYING THE PHILOSOPHY OF FREEDOM

A. Path Of Inner Truth
The Philosophy Of Freedom is a path to inner truth, which is the basis for human freedom. Inner truth empowers creative action.
"It is not meant to offer the "only possible" way to Truth, but to describe the path taken by one for whom truth is central." Rudolf Steiner TPOF 0.6

B. Rudolf Steiner's Step By Step Path To Freedom
The Philosophy Of Freedom describes in detail the step by step path to freedom taken by Rudolf Steiner as he experienced it, giving us a clear picture of the idea of freedom.

C. Comparative Method
Inner truth is recognized by comparing it to outer truth throughout the book. Each day of our life we are constantly choosing between outer truth and inner truth. 

D. Empirical Method
The objective is not merely to learn an abstract theory of freedom. It is to link the concepts in the book with our own introspectively observed experience to actualize knowledge.

Project: This is an ongoing project to produce a new more readable edition of Rudolf Steiner's The Philosophy Of Freedom and a study guide using the comparative method. The book has been revised up to Chapter 7 and progress on the comparative study is below. New revisions and material is posted daily. 

PART I Knowledge Of Freedom Chapter 1-7
PART II Reality Of Freedom Chapter 8-14

Link to book text.

Introduction
The Goal Of Knowledge

Last revised: 1/27/2017 (chapter 5)

Why is the goal of knowledge inner truth?

0.0 Compare your experience of (1) a life of conformity that believes there is a norm of human life that we must all strive to conform, with your experience of (2) a life of individuality that accepts nothing as valid unless it springs from the roots of individuality.
0.1 Compare your experience of (1) the uncertainty of truth that comes from outside, with your experience of (2) having the conviction of truth that comes from within.
0.2 Compare your experience of (1) having your powers weakened by being tormented by doubt, with your experience of having the confidence and empowerment that comes with truth.
0.3 Compare your experience of (1) a belief that accepts truth that is not wholly understood, with your experience of (2) the satisfaction of a knowing that springs from the inner life of the personality.
0.4 Compare your experience of (1) advancing in knowledge with the kind that has been encased in rigid academic rules, with your experience of (2) advancing in knowledge by starting from the facts you know and your own personal experience.
0.5 Compare your experience of (1) being a student that is compelled to understand, with your experience of (2) being a student driven to understand by your own particular need.
0.6 Compare your experience of (1) having a stereotypical life that follows cultural trends, with your experience of (2) an individualistic life that follows the path of inner truth by applying the principles in this book.
0.7 Compare your experience of (1) the pious exercises and ascetic practices necessary to receive the knowledge of a sage, with your experience of (2) the practice of entering the realm of pure thinking necessary to attain scientific knowledge.
0.8 Compare your experience of (1) studying a specialized field of science to gain knowledge of the world and how it works, with your experience of (2) a wholistic knowing that seeks in the separate sciences the principles for leading man back to the fullness of life.
0.9 Compare your experience of (1) answering the questions of human freedom without science, with your experience of (2) answering these questions which are the most intimate that concern humanity with science.
0.10 Compare your experience of (1) valuing a science that satisfies idle curiosity, with your experience of (2) valuing a science that elevates the existential value of human personality.
0.11 Compare your experience of (1) serving the ideas of science, with your experience of (2) using the ideas of science to serve human aims that go beyond science.
0.12 Compare your experience of (1) being controlled by ideas, with your experience of (2) being master of ideas.

Chapter 1
Conscious Human Action

Why does human freedom originate in inner truth?

1.0 Compare your experience of (1) the scientific view that our thinking and action are compelled by the necessity of natural law, with your experience of (2) the moral view that free thinking and action are an obvious fact.
1.1 Compare your experience of (1) a choice compelled by a reason, with your experience of (2) the freedom of an indifferent choice made arbitrarily, without a reason.
1.2 Compare your experience of (1) a choice compelled by desire, with your experience of (2) a free choice made according to your own preferences.
1.3 Compare your experience of (1) action compelled by the necessity of human nature, with your experience of (2) an action that expresses the free necessity of your “own” nature.
1.4 Compare your experience of (1) an action compelled by the necessity of an outside situation, with your experience of (2) an action that expresses your inner character free of outside motivation.
1.5 Compare your experience of (1) an action that springs from blind urge, with your experience of (2) a free action that is the result of a conscious motive.
1.6 Compare your experience of (1) an action controlled by your animal cravings, with your experience of (2) an action freely determined by purpose and deliberate decision.
1.7 Compare your experience of (1) being able to will what you wish, with your experience of (2) being able to freely do what you wish.
1.8 Compare your experience of (1) observing a spontaneous act of an animal, with your experience of (2) a spontaneous free act of a human.
1.9 Compare your experience of (1) an action carried out without knowing why, with your experience of (2) a free action where the reason is known.
1.10 Compare your experience of (1) an action that results from the calm deliberation of reason, with your experience of (2) an action driven by the heart.
1.11 Compare your experience of (1) an action compelled by love that expresses the sexual drive, with your experience of (2) a free action motivated by thoughts idealizing the loved one.
1.12 Compare your experience of (1) an action compelled by seeing flaws, with your experience of (2) a free action motivated by seeing good qualities that are the result of the thought picture you formed.

Chapter 2
The Fundamental Drive For Science

Why is it only inner truth that will satisfy our desire for knowledge?

2.0 Compare your experience of (1) feeling a wall of separation with the world that results from the outer world-content opposing our inner thought-content, with your experience of (2) feeling a bond of connection with the world that results from making the outer world-content into our inner thought-content.
2.1 Compare your experience of (1) explaining the world and thought as a product of matter and physical-processes, with your experience of (2) being dissatisfied with Materialism for shifting the attention away from the identifiable subject, the self.
2.2 Compare your experience of (1) explaining the world with pure spiritual theory, with your experience of (2) being dissatisfied with Spiritualism for its lack of practical knowledge that enables action and getting things done.
2.3 Compare your experience of (1) looking outward to acquire experience that provides content for the mind, with your experience of (2) being dissatisfied with Realism unless it uses experience to realize its intentions on the real, practical level.
2.4 Compare your experience of (1) deriving a thought-structure of the world from the “Ego”, with your experience of (2) being dissatisfied with the thought-structures Of Idealism that lack any content of experience.
2.5 Compare your experience of (1) explaining how the senses give us sense-effects, with your experience of (2) not being satisfied until you can explain how the sense-effects give us senses.
2.6 Compare your experience of (1) finding even at the simple level of the atom matter and mind already indivisibly united, with your experience of (2) not being satisfied until you can explain how the simple entity manifests itself to us in two different ways.
2.7 Compare your experience of (1) feeling you are a stranger to Nature even though you live in the midst of her, with your experience of (2) not being satisfied until you find Nature within.
2.8 Compare your experience of (1) feeling you are within Nature and belong to her, with your experience of (2) not being satisfied until you feel the outer workings of Nature living in you too.
2.9 Compare your experience of (1) considering the human mind a spiritual entity entirely foreign to Nature and trying somehow to attach it on to Nature, with your experience of (2) not being satisfied until you find what corresponds to nature within.
2.10 Compare your experience of (1) being merely ‘I’ within your own being, with your experience of (2) not being satisfied until you reach a point where you can say here is something more than ‘I’.
2.11 Compare your experience of (1) academics that uses terms in the precise way that is usual in Psychology and Philosophy, with your experience of (2) not being satisfied unless your terms and descriptions express what we experience in our own consciousness.
2.12 Compare your experience of (1) having the purpose to quickly interpret events, with your experience of (2) not being satisfied until you record the facts of how you experience everyday life.

Chapter 3
Thinking As A Means Of Forming A View Of The World

Why is the contemplation of inner truth an exceptional state?

3.0 Compare your experience of (1) being a mere observer that can follow the parts of an event as they occur, with your experience of (2) being a thinker who has discovered the corresponding concepts and can predict what will happen next.
3.1 Compare your experience of (1) the everyday state of observing and having thoughts about things of the world, with your experience of (2) the exceptional state of being able to observe and study your inner thought-processes.
3.2 Compare your experience of (1) how we are passive when a feeling of pleasure is kindled by an object, with your experience of (2) how we are active in forming concepts when thinking is kindled by an object.
3.3A Compare your experience of (1) confronting (noticing) an object placed before you prior to contemplation, with your experience of (2) placing your full attention on the object in thinking contemplation and becoming absorbed in it.
3.3B Compare your experience of (1) these two expressions of personality (A) feeling “I am pleased with the table” and (B) an act of will “I am thinking of a table”, with your experience of (2) thinking (C) “This is a table”, which recognizes the object as a table without expressing any relationship with it.
3.4 Compare your experience of (1) directing your thinking contemplation to an object in the world, with your experience of (2) directing your thinking contemplation to a thought or thought-process in your mind.
3.5 Compare your experience of (1) observing the phenomena of thunder and lightning (pictures or video) in order to explain why thunder follows lightning, with your experience of (2) observing the concepts of thunder and lightning in your mind in order to explain why thunder follows lightning.
3.6 Compare your experience of (1) using physical-processes in the brain to explain why you linked one thought with another, with your experience of (2) the introspective observation of the thought-process to explain why you linked one thought with another.
3.7A Compare the level of certainty you experience (1) in knowing something given to you from the outside, with the level of certainty you experience (2) in knowing a thought you produced in your mind.
3.7B Place an object before you. Compare your experience of three things: (1) Recognize that it exists. (2) Compare its existence to the way other things exist. (3) Compare its existence to your existence, defined by the self-supporting content of your thought activity.
3.8 Compare your experience of justifying your right to (1) weave a web of thoughts around an object in the world that goes beyond your observation, with your right to (2) weave a web of thoughts around a thought in your mind that goes beyond the observed thought.
3.9 Compare your experience of (1) the sequence of knowing and creating in Part A, with your experience of (2) the opposite sequence of creating and knowing in Part B.
Part A: Know Nature, Then Create Nature: Recall a time you grew a plant by applying your knowledge of the principles of gardening such as water, soil, and sunlight.
Part B: Create Thought, Then Know Thought: Answer this yes or no question: Would you like to take a walk in the woods? In making a choice you have created a thought-process. Recall this thought-process and contemplate it to gain knowledge of your reason for choosing yes or no.
3.10 Compare your experience of (1) observing a concept of an object and writing down the thoughts that are within that concept of knowledge, with your experience of (2) observing the same concept a second time and see if any of the previous thoughts have been altered by the observation process.
3.11 Compare your experience of (1) gaining knowledge by observing an object you wish to understand, with your experience of (2) gaining knowledge by thinking about your thoughts of the object.
3.12A Compare your experience of (1) whether a tree in itself is right or wrong, your experience of (2) whether a thought is right or wrong (when it is considered by itself).
3.12B Compare  your experience of (1) whether a thought is right or wrong (when it is considered by itself), with your experience of (2) whether a thought that has been applied to the world is right or wrong.

Chapter 4
The World As Perception   

How is inner truth applied to form our initial observation of the world?

4.0A When we first see a tree our thinking reacts and adds the concept “tree.” We regard them as belonging together.
Compare your experience of (1) the concept “tree” together with the tree you are currently observing, with your experience of (2) the concept “tree” within your mind after the tree is no longer being observed.
4.0B Steiner differs with Hegel, who regards the concept as the primary and original element.
Compare your experience of (1) beginning with concepts as the starting-point for understanding the world, with your experience of (2) beginning with thinking as the starting-point for understanding the world to avoid preconceptions.
4.1 To explain an observation a mental process takes place.
Compare your experience of (1) explaining an observation by generalizing your own experience, with your experience of (2) searching for the concept that fits the observation.
4.2 It is through the thinker that thought is combined with observation.
Compare your experience of (1) how we become conscious of an object by directing our thinking consciousness to it, with your experience of (2) how the ‘I’, as thinker, refers a concept to an object.
4.3 How does the other element—which we have so far simply called the ‘observed object’—enter our consciousness where it comes into contact with thought?
Place an object before you. Compare your experience of (1) first removing all thought that you have added to the object, with your experience of (2) the activity of thinking then adding specific concepts to elements of this object and in this way establishing relationships between them.
4.4 The conscious subject becomes aware of the world through observation.
Compare your experience of (1) being naive by regarding your picture of the world to have an existence completely independent of you, with your experience of (2) intelligently correcting your picture of the world when it conflicts with new previously unknown perceptions.
4.5 Why are we forced to make continual corrections to our observations?
Place an object before you. Compare your experience of (1) your perception-picture’s dependence on your place of observation (mathematical), with your experience of (1) your perception-picture’s dependence on your physical and mental organization (qualitative).
4.6 The recognition of the subjective character of our percepts can easily lead us to doubt whether anything objective underlies them at all.
Place an object before you. Compare your experience of (1) how the object exists due to the act of perceiving that is dependent on your subjective organization, with your experience of (2) how the object ceases to exist at the moment you stop perceiving it.
4.7A Our attention turns from the perceived object to the perceiving subject. I do not only perceive other things; I also perceive myself.
Place an object before you. Compare your experience of (1) being absorbed in observing the object and conscious only of this object, with (2) observing the object and at the same time being conscious of your self as the observer.
4.7B Compare your experience of (1) being conscious of your self as the observer of the object before you, with your experience of (2) being conscious of your self AFTER observing the object and noticing the change that occurred within you. Self-observation reveals an after-effect of this process remains in the mind, an image of the object which we call your idea of it.
4.8 We can now make the distinction between the outer world and my inner world. A problem occurs when our inner idea of the object inserts itself in the foreground so we no longer perceive the object before us. We do not perceive the objects, but only our ideas.
Place an object before you. Compare your experience of (1) being absorbed in observing the object and conscious only of this object, with (2) being conscious of your ideas of the object while you are observing it.
4.9 Naive common sense believes that things, just as we perceive them, also exist outside our minds. Physics, physiology and psychology, however, teach us that for perception to take place our organization is necessary. Consequently, we cannot know anything about external objects other than what our organization transmits to us.
Place an object before you. Compare your experience of (1) being absorbed in what your senses give you of the object; color, sound, touch, smell and taste, with your experience of (2) how your psyche combines the separate sensations to form an idea of the object.
4.10 The theory of Critical Idealism leads me to believe that what the naive person thinks is existing outside him in space, is really a creation of my own psyche projected outwards onto an object in the external world.
Compare your experience of (1) observing an object before you, with your experience of (2) removing from the object all that has been given to it through your organization. Remove all color, sound, touch, smell and taste sensations given by the senses and remove all ideas added by your psyche.
4.11 The Critical Idealist turns his gaze toward his ideas. These ideas insert themselves between himself and the real world believed in by the naive consciousness. Because of the intervening ideas, man can no longer see such a real world. The Critical Idealist confuses two fields of observation, the outer world and the inner world of ideas.
Place an object before you. Compare your experience of (1) the method of external observation by being absorbed in observing the object and conscious only of this object, with your experience of (2) the method of internal observation, or introspection, by being absorbed in observing your ideas of the object.
4.12 Only my real eye and my real hand could have the ideas of sun and earth as their modifications—my ideas “eye” and “hand” could not.
Place an object before you. Compare your experience of Part A and Part B.
Part A: Use your “real” eyes to look at the external object and contemplate it, then look within at the result of your contemplation to notice how the perceived object has changed into an idea of the object.
Part B: Introspectively look within and contemplate your internal idea of the object, then notice the idea cannot be transformed into an idea because it is already an idea.

Chapter 5
Knowledge Of The World

How is inner truth applied to the world correctly?

5.0 ------
5.1A If the things of our experience were "ideas," then everyday life would be like a dream, and knowledge of the true situation would be like waking. Our dream-images, too, interest us only as long as we are dreaming, and so do not recognize them as dreams.
Compare your experience of (1) the nighttime dream state, with your experience of (2) the waking state where you are able to analyze the physical, physiological, and psychological causes of the dream.
5.1B Compare your experience of (1) the daytime dream state of perceiving chains of thought flowing through your mind without any direction from you, with your experience of (2) the awakened thinking state where you are able to analyze what takes place in your psyche—that exists independently of your consciousness—when a certain flow of ideas passes through your consciousness.
5.2 The naive person accepts life as it is, and considers things to be real in the form they present themselves to him in experience. However, the first step to go beyond this standpoint can only be to ask: “How does thought relate to perception?”
Compare your experience of (1) when you expressed your opinion, the result of a thought-process, but your thought was “incorrectly” applied, with your experience of (2) when you expressed your opinion, the result of a thought-process, and your thought was “correctly” applied.
5.3 The naive mind treats thought as something that has nothing to do with things. Thinking stands completely apart from things and makes its theories about them. The theory that the thinker draws from the phenomena of the world is not considered as something integral to the things, but as something that exists only in the human head.
Place an object before you. Compare your experience of (1) reproducing an exact picture of the object in your mind, with your experience of (2) the object connecting itself in your mind to a specific concept that is an essential part, integral to the object.
5.4 It is entirely arbitrary to regard the sum of what we experience of a thing through perception alone, as a totality, a complete whole, while regarding what results from thoughtful contemplation as something incidental, that has nothing to do with the thing itself.
Place a plant before you. Compare your experience of (1) the finished and complete picture of the plant as it appears to observation in the present moment, with your experience of (2) the results of thoughtful contemplation that can grasp the plant as a continuous process of becoming with a whole series of states lying within it as potential.
5.5 It is not justifiable to declare the sum of a thing's perceptual appearances to be its full reality. It is conceivable that a mind could receive the concept at the same time as, and inseparably connected with the percept. It would attribute to the concept an existence indivisibly bound up with the object.
Toss an object in the air. Compare your experience of (1) observing the sequence of visual impressions at different locations, with your experience of (1) how the objects flight is indivisibly united with your knowledge of the form of a parabola. The parabolic trajectory can only be added by thinking about the phenomenon.
5.6 Man is a limited being. His existence is in space and time. Because of this, only a limited part of the whole universe can ever be given to him. But this limited part is linked in all directions with other things, both in time and in space.
Look at your surrounding environment. Compare your experience of (1) how out of the multicolored scene before you your perception is limited to grasping single colors one by one, with your experience of (2) how your mind is limited to grasping single concepts out of an interconnected conceptual system that relates to the scene before you.
5.7A The important question now is to define the relation of ourselves, as things, to all other things. This defining must be distinguished from merely becoming aware of our self. Self-perception must be distinguished from self-definition by means of thinking.
Compare your experience of (1) the limits of self-perception; being aware of the qualities that makeup your personality, with your experience of (2) self-definition by means of thinking that is not concerned with limits. It integrate the perceptions I have of my self into the order of the world-process. Thinking defines our finite existence from a higher sphere.
5.7B Compare your experience of (1) how thought receives an individual stamp when it becomes related to our individual feeling and sensing, with your experience of (2) the universal aspect of thought where the concept of a triangle that my mind grasps is the same as the concept that my neighbor's mind grasps.
5.8A In thought, we have the element that integrates our particular individuality into a unity with the whole of the cosmos.
Compare your experience of (1) being an isolated individual when sensing and feeling (perceiving), with your experience of (2) becoming the Universal Being that pervades everything when thinking universal principles.
5.8B The desire for knowledge arises because the thought in us, reaches out beyond our separate existence and relates itself to the universal world-order.
Compare your experience of (1) the being without thought who encounters something and has no questions, with your experience of (2) the thinking being where the concept leaps up from within in response to the external thing.
5.9A It is futile to seek for any common element in the separate things of the world, other than the ideal content provided by thinking. All attempts to find world-unity must fail, other than this coherent ideal content which we gain by the conceptual analysis of what we perceive.
Compare your experience of (1) finding world-unity in a personal God perceived in your own limited personality, with your experience of (2) finding world-unity by organizing the ideal content of the separate things in the world into the coherent system of your concepts and ideas by means of thinking.
5.9B Compare your experience of (1) finding world-unity in the force and matter of the physical world perceived in the external world, with your experience of (2) finding world-unity by organizing the ideal content of the separate things in the world into the coherent system of your concepts and ideas by means of thinking.
5.9C Compare your experience of (1) finding world-unity in willed action in the world as the active expression of our own limited personality, with your experience of (2) finding world-unity by organizing the ideal content of the separate things in the world into the coherent system of your concepts and ideas by means of thinking.
5.10A Rooted very deeply in the naive mind is the opinion that thinking is abstract, without any concrete content. At best, we are told, it supplies a "conceptual" counterpart of a unified world, but never the unity itself. Whoever believes this has never clearly recognized what a percept without its concept really is.
Look about a life scene. Compare your experience of (1) observation alone by seeing objects of unconnected details, a multiplicity of objects of equal value, with your experience of (2) consulting your thinking to find objects of greater significance, the meaning of single facts and how objects relate to each other.
5.10B Thinking contributes content to the percept from the world of concepts and ideas. In contrast to the content of perception given to us from outside, the content of thought appears within our minds.
Compare your experience of (1) pure observation where the objects remain unintelligible to you, with your experience of (2) “the moment” a corresponding intuition arises in you to explain the object and make it understandable.
5.10C To explain a thing and make it understandable, means nothing other than to place it into the context from which it has been torn due to the nature of our organization. All separateness has only subjective relevance for minds organized like ours.
Compare your experience of (1) how your perception separates the things in the world according to the nature of your organization, with your experience of (2) how the separate details become linked, item by item, through the coherent, unified system of your intuitions.
5.11 We cannot speak of the existence of anything beyond what is directly perceived, except what is recognized as the conceptual connections between percepts. These connections are discovered by thinking.
Watch an event. Compare your experience of (1) observation by tracking how one perception follows another, with your experience of (2) thinking by finding the conceptual connections between the perceptions.
5.12A To establish the connection between what belongs to the subject and what belongs to the object is not the task of any process that is “real” in the naive sense, that is, a process that can be perceived taking place. It is the task of thinking.
Place an object before you. Compare your experience of (1) what is “objective” by identifying what is located outside you and seen as belonging to the object, with your experience of (2) what is “subjective” by identifying what is located within and perceived as belonging to the subject.
5.12B The observation of the table has caused a change in me that persists, my idea of the table. The idea is, then, a subjective percept, in contrast to the objective percept that occurs when the object is present in the field of one’s vision.
Place an object before you. Compare your experience of (1) the objectivity of the object while it is present in the field of vision, with your experience of (2) the subjectivity of the idea of the table you retain in your mind after the object disappears.
5.12C Falsely identifying the subjective percept as the objective percept leads to the misunderstanding of Idealism that “the world is my idea.”
Place an object before you. Compare your experience of (1) the objectivity of the object while it is present in your field of vision, with your experience of (2) projecting your previously formed subjective idea of the object, onto the object while it is present in your field of vision.

Chapter 6
Individuality

How is inner truth individualized?

Chapter 7

Are there limits to inner truth?

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