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ethical individualism (23)

Rudolf Steiner 1919
Cosmogony, Freedom, Altruism - GA191 Lecture 4 of 15

The man of modern times cannot live instinctively; he must live consciously. He needs a freedom that is real. He needs more than vague talk about freedom; more than the mere verbiage of freedom. He needs that freedom should actually grow into his immediate life and surroundings. This is only possible along roads that lead to ethical individualism.

At the time when my book The Philosophy of Freedom appeared, Eduard von Hartmann wrote to me: “The book ought not to be called ‘The Philosophy of Freedom’ but ‘A Study in Phenomena connected with the Theory of Cognition, and an Ethical Individualism.’ ” For a title of course that would have been rather long-winded; but it would not have been bad to have called it “Ethical Individualism,” for ethical individualism is nothing but the personal realization of freedom. The best people were totally unable to perceive how the actual impulses of the age were calling for the thing that is discussed in that book.

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Universal Patriotism In A Borderless World

Borderless World
A world without borders is one in which people should be able to live anywhere, work anywhere and contribute anywhere ─for the world is one. All thinking people have a beautiful dream, that of living in a world without borders. But for all these people, this remains a dream, as no one has ever been able to actualize it. For my part, however, I can say that I have made it a reality. I always actually live in a world without borders. According to my experience, the concept of a world without borders is quite an achievable target.

I can say that a world without physical borders may not be achievable, but a world without psychological borders is quite attainable for anyone who so desires it. There is no need for external permission for this purpose: every individual can enter into this state ­ by his own decision.

Universal Thinking
If you have developed universal thinking in yourself, that is, you consider entire humankind as your brothers and sisters and take the entire world as your own, then you have already achieved the goal of living in a world without borders.

Universal Patriotism
In the modern world, nationhood is linked to the homeland. This leads to the concept of patriotism. But if a person lives by the concept of universal patriotism, he will take the whole world as his own. A world without borders might currently seem unachievable at the physical level, but, at the psychological level, it is quite achievable for everyone.

By Maulana Wahiduddin Khan

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The Values We All Stand For

Society consists of a wide variety of individuals. How can we get along if each is asserting their own individual aims? Moralists believe unity is possible only if we are held together by a common moral code. This leads to the belief in a higher authority, a God, to bestow upon us a moral code that will unite us. (such as Moses and the 10 commandments)

The moralist does not understand that we all share a common world of ideals. The ideals that inspire me are the same that inspire others. We differ because we select different ideals from our common world of ideals. We each desire to live out our chosen ideals. POF 9.10

The America we love welcomes a diversity of individuals striving to express their highest ideals. During the cold war a fearful America retreated more to the Moralist authoritarian view “In God We Trust” as the source of morality, leaving out many humanists --ethical individualists who have a deeper understanding that the human being is the source of morality. This video explains:

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Human drive to be free

The fundamental characteristic of our times is the growing interest around the world to express one's unique individuality. This need for individual expression is the result of an intense striving towards freedom, for we are only human to the extent that we are free.

Rudolf Steiner's Philosophy Of Freedom describes what freedom is so we can determine whether we are free or not, and if not, how to acquire it.


What is freedom?
The question of “What is freedom?” has been debated since the times of the Greeks by the greatest minds. Many offer the key to freedom which may end up leading to deeper enslavement or may be a step forward.

Technology, social and political ideologies, and spiritual theories promise various forms of inner and outer freedom. How do we know what to trust?


Science of freedom
What is needed to end the speculation is an empirical science of freedom. Through introspective research into how the mind works and its relation to the world, Rudolf Steiner located freedom empirically.

With thought training anyone of good will can enter the realm of universal concepts where unbiased free thinking is possible. In this place “pure” reasoning proceeds only on the basis of its own ideal universal content.


Intuitive insight
Pure reasoning is intuitive and leads to intuitive insight free from the determinants of one's characterological make-up or the demands of authority.

Intuitive thinking uncovers the lawful order of things making science possible and when applied to ethics makes free morality possible.


Concept of the free spirit
Through the determined study of The Philosophy Of Freedom the concept of the free spirit is won. Now you know what freedom is; freely forming ideas to be realized in free ethical action.

Not all of our actions are free. The task of self-development is to transform the actions that are unfree into actions that are free. This is possible when you know what freedom is. It requires the emancipation of the cognitive processes, and to obey only yourself.


Proper study
The book was written to be a thought training exercise to awaken the readers intellectual intuition, a requirement for freedom. Steiner wrote it intentionally out of independent thinking so the terms and phrasing are not familiar and not easily understood. To work your way through it takes great effort. Everything in the book must be won. The study should not be a mere reading, it should be an experiencing with inner shocks, tensions and resolutions.

Global humanism
We learn in The Philosophy Of Freedom a personal God will never unite the world because we will have different experiences of it. POF 5.9 The universal ideal content which thinking supplies is the only common element in the separate things of the world.

A free spirit thinks universally and acts individually. She is described in The Philosophy Of Freedom as an ethical individualist and a humanist who “affirms the worth, dignity and autonomy of the individual and the right of every human being to the greatest possible freedom.” 2002 World Humanist Congress

Science and ethics
An ethics informed by a science of human well-being is possible with a shared objective knowledge of human freedom as the basis of collaborative support for its unfoldment. A science of freedom lays the foundation of ethical individualism and of a social and political life.

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Comparing Feminism And Humanism

Humanists oppose sexism on principle
As an ethical individualist and humanist I “affirm the worth, dignity and autonomy of the individual and the right of every human being to the greatest possible freedom.” 2002 Amsterdam Declaration of the World Humanist Congress

So certainly I oppose sexism since it is another form of prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination, only this time based on ones gender. Both men and women can be victims of sexism. Men are expected to be the aggressive, rational, and dominant provider while women are the passive, intuitive, supportive nurturer.

It is impossible to really understand a human being if we judge them according to gender. But men see in woman, woman in men, too much of the others gender characteristics, and too little of what is individual. Gender stereotyping is a barrier to getting to know a unique individual. POF 14.3

Feminists oppose sexism on practical grounds
In practical life sexism does less harm to men than to women. Empirical studies have found widely shared cultural beliefs that men are more socially valued and more competent than women in a number of activities.

Feminists advocate for the rights of the underprivileged gender. The feminist movement fights for more opportunities for women because they are considered to be in the inferior position and need to be raised up to equality. Gender equality will be achieved in practical life by demanding change that improves the life of women.

Comparing feminism and humanism
A humanist will oppose all sexism on principle while a feminist opposes female inequality on practical grounds. Both sides would surely agree in principle that they support eliminating all forms of male or female gender bias. Each person, male or female, has the right to freely determine their activity in life according to their own individual abilities and inclinations. 

On the practical side of gender rights, more social changes need to be made for woman, but this shouldn't prevent supporting the rights of men in areas where men face gender discrimination. Otherwise feminism would contradict itself by seeming to be a gender biased movement.


Gender identity

While there are real biological differences between the sexes, gender is generally considered to be a social construction. Gender socialization begins at birth and occurs through family, education, peer groups, and mass media. Repeated socialization over time leads men and women into a false sense that they are acting "naturally", rather than following a socially constructed role.

Each human nature is unique. Human beings must be allowed to decide for themselves what social roles are suited to their particular nature, and not be judged if these roles do not fit what others consider appropriate gender behavior. POF 14.4

Only an individual knows what lies within their own "natural disposition". Nonconforming gender people face discrimination, oppression, and violence for not adhering to society's traditional gender roles. That is why LGBT rights is a human rights issue.

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Global Footprint
Since the dawn of civilization, the planet replenished its resources faster than humans consumed them. Starting around 1970 that changed, we began to take more from the planet each year than it could restore. Since then, the gap between our rate of consumption and the planet's rate of regeneration has widened.

Its only mid-August but we have already used an entire year’s worth of the Earth’s natural resources according to the Global Footprint Network. For the rest of the year we will consume more than the Earth can replenish. This natural resource debt is not sustainable, how can we change?

Individual versus collective action
There is a continuing debate within the environmental movement about the relative merits of individual versus collective action. We are autonomous individuals as well as members of a local and global collective. I thought I would compare various possibilities of collective and individual action.

To act we need an “idea” of what to do and a “desire” to do it.

1. Collective idea and collective desire
Example: A democratic collective (State) agrees on an idea (environmental law) and the collective (citizens) desire to obey to avoid penalties (fines, jail).
Result: The planet is saved but individual freedom is lost due to threat of force.

2. Collective idea and individual desire
Example: A collective (NGO) agrees on an idea (recycling) and individuals who desire to act do so on a voluntary basis.
Result: Individual freedom is saved but the planet is lost due to lack of participation.

3. Individual idea and collective desire
Example: Individual eco-friendly inventions and marketing (solar powered toothbrush) and the collective desires it because of mass marketing.
Result: The planet is saved but individual freedom is lost due to mind control.

4. Individual idea and individual desire
Example: Individual accepts eco-friendly ideas that she desires to act upon. Taking the global and her individual situation into consideration the necessary changes are made.
Result: Individual freedom empowers diverse individual action and the planet is saved.

Mature free individuals
To meet the challenges of our time will take fully functioning mature individuals we are capable of unbiased scientific understanding of life situations (free thinking) and have a desire to live a life that expresses their highest ideals (free action). Nothing can stop you if you think universally and act individually.

Impossible dream?
Is their really any other solution than the need for human development? Is this an impossible dream? Not if we start with ourselves. The global footprint is the total of individual footprints.

Ethical individualism
Rudolf Steiner's Philosophy Of Freedom presents a way of life called Ethical Individualism. It is about being inspired by your ideals, setting real goals, and realizing them without doing harm.

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Be The Change

Action that has ethical value
The part of our nature that is still unfree remains a member of the organism of nature and of spirit. This part of our nature lives by imitating others or in obedience to their command. Only the part of our action that springs from our insight has ethical value in a true sense. POF 14.11

Be the change
Your life has ethical value when you live a life as an example of your ideals, then you are the change. This is Ethical Individualism. Gandhi rightly said "Be the change you want to see in the world" some years ago. Barrack Obama put it this way in Chicago, “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change we seek”.

We all face our own individual life situations and each day have an opportunity to “be the change” by 
originating out of our imaginations creative actions, even actions that until now never existed.

Add to the ethical life of humanity
All the ethical ideas of humanity originated at one time in single individuals. The ethical life of humanity is the sum-total of the imaginative ideas of free individuals. A collective cannot produce a single new idea. The innovative solutions to realize our ideals in life is our contribution to the already existing total of ethical ideas in the world.

“The history of moral life is not as the education of the human race by a transcendent God, but the gradual living out in practice of all concepts and ideas which spring from the moral imagination.” POF 14.12

Share your success
There are many social media opportunities, including this website, to share your success and inspire others. Your success can raise the aspirations of others towards a higher ideal, for what they feel strongly about.

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Next stop after Waldorf graduation –the military
“We were born in war and we will probably die in war” – words which have not left me since I heard them in November 2014 from a Waldorf pupil in the Harduf kibbutz in Israel.

The conversation took place on occasion of a meeting of the international forum for Steiner/Waldorf education, the “Hague Circle” with class 11 pupils from the oldest of the 18 Israeli Waldorf schools. As all Israeli pupils, they knew that they would soon be called for military service which directly follows school. --Henning Kullak-Ublick

After graduation the aspiring Waldorf students will be forced to join the Israeli military and carry out the governments policy of “collective punishment” upon Palestinian women and children. In the 2014 Israeli military bombing of the Gaze Strip twenty-two schools were completely destroyed and 118 schools damaged.This Israeli policy of revenge is condemned by the United Nations as a serious war crime. 

Suppose they gave a war and nobody came 
In Israel, about 50% of Israeli males have found ways to avoid military service. In Charlie Chaplins “Greatest Speech Ever Made” he encourages men to avoid the military. 

“Soldiers – don’t give yourselves to brutes, men who despise you and enslave you – who regiment your lives, tell you what to do, what to think and what to feel.”

“Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men, machine men, with machine minds and machine hearts. You are not machines. You are not cattle. You are men. You have the love of humanity in your hearts. You don’t hate – only the unloved hate. Only the unloved and the unnatural. Soldiers – don’t fight for slavery, fight for liberty.” Charlie Chaplin speech, The Great Dictator (1940)


Refuseniks unwilling to serve in the occupation army 

“If necessary, I will go to jail.” These are the words of 17-year-old refusenik Dafna Landman, one of over 60 Israeli high school 12th graders who signed an open letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declaring their refusal of compulsory service in the Israeli military as an act of protest against Israel’s 47-year old military occupation of the Palestinian Territories.

Moral courage
The student's letter spoke in the voice of Ethical Individualism by declaring, “We refuse to forsake our principles as a condition to being accepted in our society.”

The meaning of Ethical Individualism is not only to have ideals, but to act on ideals. POF 9.7 This means having the moral courage to speak out and break the code of silence demanded by a social collective.

An Ethical Individualist takes a stand on social and political issues
How a person views social issues says so much about who they are as a person. An Ethical Individualist is thoughtful enough, and confident enough, to take a stand on social and political issues according to what one considers to be right. POF 12.11 The essence of what it means to be human and not "machine men" is individual freedom, not social conformity. This knowledge informs our views concerning human well-being and what we should stand up for.

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Ethical Individualists have no ethical obligation to obey the laws of the State, though they usually do. POF 9.12  If they were to end up in prison, to pass the time they would likely want to start a Philosophy Of Freedom study group. Would they have that right?

Religious right to study
Inmates of a prison approved “religion” have special rights such as the right to have weekly classroom/study time, access to study materials and the right to congregate with other members of their group. Simply put, if you said you were religious, you got a number of perks not afforded to non-religious groups.

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Humanist denied right to study
Prisoner Jason Holden was prohibited from starting a Humanist study group because Humanism was not on the list of accepted religions, so he sued the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Ruling favors rights of Humanist
The Federal Bureau of Prisons agreed to give inmates who identify as Humanists the same type of accommodations it provides to those who practice a religion. A settlement was reached and Humanism was added to the prison manual broadening the meaning of religion to include other inmate beliefs and practices.

In his 2014 ruling the judge wrote, “the Supreme Court said that the government must not aid those religions based on a belief in the existence of God as against those religions founded on different beliefs…Therefore, the court finds that Secular Humanism is a religion for Establishment Clause purposes.”

While it is unfortunate that the only manner in which these rights can be protected is under the umbrella of “religion,” this is nonetheless a significant victory for science, reason, and non-religious ethics.

Ethical Individualism is a humanist philosophy of life
The ruling was a victory for Ethical Individualism since it is a philosophy of life that fits in the Humanist designation. The source of its ethics is human thought, not the supernatural or God,

“A moral act is never explained by tracing it back to some continuous supernatural influence (a divine government), or to historical revelation (the giving of the ten commandments) or to the appearance of God (Christ) on earth. Moral causes must be looked for in the human being, who is the bearer of morality.” POF 12.8

"The ethical laws which the Metaphysician regards as issuing from a higher power are human thoughts; the ethical world order is the free creation of human beings.” POF 10.8

Christians Decline Sharply as Share of Population
An extensive 2015 survey by the Pew Research Center shows the Christian share of the US population is sharply declining while the number of U.S. adults who do not identify with any organized religion is growing. As theistic religion is replaced by an ethics whose source is the free human being, society will need to recognize the rights of a broader range of worldviews and philosophies.

Reference: Rachel Ford

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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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Who is an Anthroposophist?


If you are interested in Rudolf Steiner but don't really fit in with the Anthroposophist crowd you may be an Ethical Individualist. Lets compare an Anthroposophist with an Ethical Individualist.

First lets give a little background of the two phases of Steiner's life. Rudolf Steiner was a respected scholar and Humanist before he turned to spiritual science, known today as Anthroposophy. In 1894 Steiner presented a humanist philosophy of life called Ethical Individualism. As late as 1918 Steiner affirmed"The purpose of The Philosophy Of Freedom is to lay the foundations of ethical individualism and of a social and political life."

Throughout his life Steiner continued to recommend The Philosophy Of Freedom, and said it would outlive all his other work and be the book for which he will be remembered.


Who is an Anthroposophist?
This article is not a satire of Anthroposophists but is real. A highly respected and widely referenced site about Anthroposophy asks the question, “Who, exactly, qualifies for the label 'Anthroposophist'?” The article presents several possible definitions of an Anthroposophist and then tells you if it will suffice.

Broad definition: Anyone who finds value in Steiner's work.
No: This is an overly broad definition because it might include people who “disagree” with Steiner.

Consumer definition: Anyone who consumes the practical results from Steiner's insights such as Weleda beauty products, biodynamics or Waldorf education.
No: Such consumers can hardly be called “followers” of Rudolf Steiner.

Student definition: Someone who studies Steiner's works.
No: A number of hostile critics study Steiner's works.

Warm enthusiasm definition: Someone who feels a warm enthusiasm as they study Steiner's work.
Yes, almost: If they feel a warm enthusiasm, then they are part of the way to being an Anthroposophist.

 

The anthroposophy site poses another question in the effort to define an Anthroposophist by asking, “Who would Anthroposophists recognize as their own?”

Who would Anthroposophists recognize as their own?

Qualified: A true Anthroposophist accepts the whole of Steiner's teaching and not just portions of it. (over 30 books and 6000 lectures)
Disqualified: Those who pick and choose bits and pieces of Steiner's work to make a part of their own philosophy. (like only the principles of Waldorf education)

Qualified: A true Anthroposophist has a continuing life long enthusiastic support for Anthroposophy.
Disqualified: Those whose enthusiastic support was merely an anthroposophy phase of their life.

The anthroposophy site now comes to their concluding definition as to who an Anthroposophist is.

The True Anthroposophist

Definition of the True Anthroposophist: Those who have a continuing life long enthusiastic acceptance of the whole of Anthroposophy.

From my experience of Anthroposophists, I would have to agree that this is a very fair and honest definition of who a true Anthroposophist is.

 

Now I will pose a question. Under this definition of who an Anthroposophist is, does the True Anthroposophist qualify to be an Ethical Individualist?

Does the True Anthroposophist qualify to be an Ethical Individualist?

Qualified: Ethical Individualists do not follow a leader as they know one must make their own way on the final ascent to freedom. POF 0.0
Disqualified: True Anthroposophists are “followers” of Rudolf Steiner.

Qualified: Ethical Individualists do not accept a truth until they fully comprehend it. They no longer want to believe; they want to know. POF 0.3
Disqualified: True Anthroposophists must accept the whole of Steiner's mostly incomprehensible teachings (over 30 books and 6000 lectures).

Qualified: Ethical Individualists start with their own personal experience and from there ascend to a knowledge of the whole universe each in his or her own way. POF 0.4
Disqualified: True Anthroposophists have categorized and preserved Steiner's work to be continuously studied and uncritically revered as valid for all time.

Are you an Anthroposophist or an Ethical Individualist?

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What Is The Ideal Human?


The ideal human
What makes an ideal human being? Does the ideal human have a rightly proportioned athletic body and a disciplined mind? Or are they compassionate and kind, good and decent, showing unconditional love for others?

Do we know someone who we consider to represent the human ideal?

Friends call young mother “Ideal Human”
A small town community in Michigan mourned the tragic death of a 21-year-old college student and mother of a young child. “She’d hang out with everyone. She brought groups of kids together,” said a friend. “There wasn’t anyone that she didn’t make feel wonderful, said a former teacher. “She’s the 'ideal' of a what a human being should be.”


Super heroes

Since the dawn of civilization, human beings have striven to perfect themselves, emulating those who have achieved greatness. Every culture has their celebrities and super heroes of people everyone wishes to be like.

There are historical superhumans such as the enlightened Buddha looked to as an ideal human being. The prophet Moses possessed supernatural powers to part the Red Sea. Islamic tradition is full of written descriptions of Mohammed and his qualities — describing him as the ideal human being. Ayn Rand's modern hero is a self-serving individualist, in contrast to the superhuman Christian ideal of the gospels Jesus. Jesus Christ, according to legend, lives to use his super powers to selflessly serve others.

We learn from our heroes only up to a point where we must then continue on the journey without them.


To be human is to be free

An ideal is an idea of something in its perfect form or essence. The essence of being human is found without the “need to discard our human nature” and become superhuman. Inner development removes the barriers that prevent our human nature from expressing its essence. The purest expression of human nature is freedom. We are only fully human when we are free.

“Our life is made up of free and unfree actions. We cannot, however, form a final and adequate concept of human nature without coming upon the free spirit as its purest expression. After all, we are human in the fullest sense only in so far as we are free.” POF 9.11


What is human freedom?

Philosophers have debated the question of freedom for over two millennia, and just about every great thinker has a different opinion. This is a problem as we can only strive for freedom if we know what it is. POF 9.11  In science everyone is not entitled to their own opinion. Science is based on facts, not opinion or preferences. What is needed is a science of freedom.


Science of freedom

Rudolf Steiner understood the need for a science of freedom. The Philosophy Of Freedom is the "result of introspective observation following the methods of science".

“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.”

The evolution of the free ethical human
Nature makes us merely natural creatures, social community develops us further, but only the human individual can finish the process and make themselves free ethical human beings. The human evolves from his ancestors into an ethical individual without the need of some sort of supernatural intervention. Rudolf Steiner's ethical human follows directly from the theory of evolution.

“The same ethical individualism that I have developed on the basis of the preceding principles could also be derived from the theory of evolution.” POF 12.7


A science of freedom informs our ethical decisions concerned with human well-being

A science of freedom contributes to human evolution by providing a map to freedom. Having knowledge of what freedom is will inform our ethical decisions concerned with human well-being. The more this science is clarified and presented to the world the greater influence it will have throughout social and political life.

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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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It is easy to build community with submissives unwilling to think for themselves, who prefer not to rock the boat by doing or saying something, who dutifully obey the rules, and conform.

But how is it possible for free individuals to join together if everyone is striving to express his or her own individual ideals?

Common ethical order
The Moralist believes that a social community is possible only if the group is held together by a common ethical order. POF 9-10 What makes you a Christian, Jew, or Muslim is which book of ethical principles you selflessly submit to.

Betul Ulusoy is denied a job
Here is a story of how social organization is built around a common ethical principle. It begins when Betul, a Muslim law school graduate, was recently denied a trainee job at a law office in Berlin because she wore a headscarf. Without the addition of an ideal principle the incident would likely only be of interest to Betul, who is disappointed she didn't get the job. She posted a complaint on Facebook about being denied the job solely for the reason she chose to wear a headscarf. This incident then grew into a rally that unified many diverse groups. How did this happen?

1. Specific situation: Betul Ulusoy is denied a job because she wore a headscarf.
Interest: Betul Ulusoy

Common ethical principle
The situation drew the attention of others with the addition of an ethical principle. By universalizing the incident the interest in it broadens. The scarf becomes a “head covering” while Betul Ulusoy becomes a “religious person” who wears a head covering. This inspires a Muslim-Jewish organization to get involved whose members wear head coverings. They hold a rally and make it clear,

"We emphasize that we didn't demonstrate for Betül only, but for all with head coverings who are discriminated against based on their religious practices."

2. Ideal principle added: Equal rights for all religious people who wear head coverings
Interest: Muslim-Jewish organization

Further purifying the ethical principle by removing “religious” and “head covering” more people are inspired and join the rally. It becomes a social justice issue by adding the ideals of “democracy” and “equality”. The rally now gains support from a wide range of religious and secular organizations who say,

"We are working for a pluralistic democracy that respects all equally even if they are different."

3. Ideal principle further purified: Democratic principle of “equality”
Interest: Wide range of religious and secular organizations

The group has grown but is still held together by a single ethical principle of "social justice". Free individuals, at any one moment, are working to realize their own lofty ideals that they have chosen, whether it be saving the planet, world peace, fiscal responsibility, ethical business, raising an educated child etc. How is it possible to form a community of individuals if there is no common ethical principle to rally around?

Common world of ideas
A diverse social compatibility is possible when we understand that the universal world of ideas that inspires me is none other than the one that inspires other individuals. I differ from other individuals not because we are living in two entirely different mental worlds, but because from our common world of ideas we each receive different insights. My neighbors want to live out their ideas, I mine.

Unity of the world of ideas
Pure ideas are not found isolated from each other, they connect to other ideas to form an ordered and systematic whole. The Moralist demands that others accept his ethical code because he does not understand that all universal ideals are joined together in a comprehensible unity in the world of ideas.

Harmony of intentions
An ethical individualist knows that a community of individuals can harmoniously work together “if we really draw from the Idea (unity of ideas) and do not obey external impulses (physical or spiritual). Then we cannot but meet in the same striving, the same intentions. An ethical misunderstanding, a clash, is impossible among ethically free human beings.” POF 9.10

Reference article by Antonia Blumberg

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Israeli Security Forces Arresting A Child

Ethical ideals

According to Israeli security forces they operate under an ethical principle to "respect children's rights".

Yet, Human Rights Watch has slammed Israel over “abusive arrests” of Palestinian children as young as 11. In a report released on Monday, "Israeli security forces have choked children, thrown stun grenades at them, beaten them in custody, forced confessions without the presence of parents or lawyers, and failed to let their parents know their whereabouts."


Situational ethics

What allowed the Israeli forces to morally justify carrying out acts that they normally find abhorrent? Situational ethics. Situational ethics proponents argue that high ethical ideals are vague and unrealistic. They have little to do with having to deal with tough real life situations. Sometimes the situation, not principles, should dictate action.

“Sometimes you gotta put your principles aside and do the right thing”.

Conflict between principles and situation
A St. Louis cab driver once said, “Sometimes you gotta put your principles aside and do the right thing”.

Are we required to choose between adhering to rigid principles or going down the slippery slope of giving up those principles in certain situations?

President Obama has been reluctant to use military force and said, “Where force is necessary, we have a moral and strategic interest in binding ourselves to certain rules of conduct.” This is opposed by situational realists who support torture believing that the ends justifies the means.

An Ethical Individualist always stands on principles
The deed of an ethical individualist is never determined by the external situation. If that was the case the deed would not be determined by the individual, meaning it would not be ethical or free. Of course she is aware of the situation but “does not allow herself to be determined by it”POF 9.6

The situation is conceptualized to understand the context and circumstances of the event. Within the conceptual sphere, free from personal or ethnic bias, an ideal principle is selected (Moral Intuition). The principle is universal so imagination needs to translate it into a specific situational goal that fits the event (Moral Imagination). In this way you are able to stand on your principles while your action is suited to the specifics of the situation.

What about flexibility? The principles and goals of the ethical individualist are not set in stone. If changing conditions or new knowledge calls for a different approach the ethical individualist can adjust from moment to moment, without compromising an ethical life.

“My mission, at any one moment, is that which I choose for myself. I do not enter upon life's journey with fixed marching orders.” POF 11.7

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Lofty Ideals Are Not Enough


Another historic chance for change
After an idealistic campaign calling for justice and sovereignty, Greek newspapers carried dramatic headlines of the Syriza parties stunning victory last January. The anti-austerity Syriza party is defined by their youthful idealism and determination to smash the mold of practical politics and business as usual.

Many pro-leftist newspapers hailed the win as a historic chance for the people of Greece to take charge of their own future with the emergence of these young, anti-establishment members of government.

Can they make their ideals a reality, which is the objective of what The Philosophy Of Freedom calls “Ethical Individualism”?


Youthful idealism without a plan of action

It doesn't look like the Syriza government will realize any ideals. Now a historic betrayal has consumed Greece as the new government has agreed to many repressive, impoverishing measures in return for a “bailout” that means sinister foreign control and a warning to the rest of the world.

It turned out the Syriza government had no plan. The day after the January election a truly democratic and radical government would have begone taking action, but there was no plan.

Preaching ideals is not enough
In order to change anything you need more than the oratory skills to preach idealism, as we learned with Obama. Ideals can inspire and unite people but these ideals have little value if they are never realized. To realize ideals and change the world, imagination and technique is needed.

The Syriza party has ideals but appear to lack imagination and technique. Or they could even have been phony idealists from the start.

Bernie Sanders is a US presidential candidate who has ideas, but what are the chances he could implement any of them if elected? He is 73 years old, yet he can still sound like an innocent idealist. In my view Gov. Jerry Brown of Ca. has the right balance of idealism and realism --he gets things done and has returned California to being a great state again. 

Freedom and imagination
Lofty ideals such as social justice are universal and are applicable to all cultures. To apply social justice to a particular situation like Greece, you need imagination. The ideal principle needs to be imaginatively translated into a specific plan of action that meets the Greek situation directly.

Our creative and imaginative capacity depends on how free we are as individuals. The biases we receive from our family, nation, ethnic group and religion and all that we inherit from the past restrict our creativity. Imagination is a characteristic of free individuality. Free individuality is attained through an inner striving for freedom.


Science and technique

The Greece crisis is highly complex. The idealist has to work with an already existing set of conditions, to which he wants to give a new form. In order to transform the situation one has to have knowledge of the rules and laws of how it works. This is the kind of knowledge taught at universities in the different branches of general scientific knowledge. By acquiring this knowledge or surrounding your self with experts in the fields needed the world can be transformed without major disruptions and you are more likely to gain the support of others.

Changing the world, according to The Philosophy Of Freedom, involves three abilities. We select ideal principles with Moral Intuition, we imagine creative goals with Moral Imagination and we implement those goals with the knowledge of science or Moral Technique. POF 12.2

Greece reference: John Pilger, Andrew Flood

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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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Picture of homeless boy goes viral
A picture of a 9 year old homeless boy forced to do his homework on a pavement in the Philippines has gone viral with many saying he has inspired them. The boy is often seen begging with his mother in the same area, but shows a determination to get an education.

A medical student said it gave her inspiration to work harder. “I'm fortunate my parents were able to send me to school,” she told a reporter. “You really don't need much, you just have to be determined and focused on the things that you want to achieve."

All you need is a can-do attitude
The conclusion many draw from these stories is that all you need for success is determination, willpower and the right can-do attitude. One newspaper has recommended parents show the picture of the hardworking boy to their children next time they are moaning. Someone has turned the picture into an inspirational postcard with the caption: “If it is important to you, you will find a way. If not, you’ll find an excuse.”



The picture is used to suggest that there are no excuses for failure or poverty. Even if you are poor and live in a makeshift home, you have the choice to work yourself out of that predicament.

All you need is government services and a life coach
US Republican politician Paul Ryan's idea is that we can all rise above our circumstances – however difficult – through a program of government services and self-improvement. Inspired by the writer Ayn Rand, he recently presented an anti-poverty plan in which he proposed poor people should sit down with a life coach and develop an “opportunity plan”.

Sweden tried a similar plan spending $550 million on job coaches with modest results. The methods used by these coaches, including healing and therapeutic touching, have been called into question.

A life coach needs a philosophy of life
A life coach helps you create your own individual life. To do this you need a program based on some sort of philosophy of life. You would want a philosophy of life developed using scientific methods. The program would require a knowledge of what human freedom is as you can't just tell someone how to live. It would also need a practical understanding of how a human being works; what does it mean to think, how do I become self-empowered, and how do I set my own goals to strive for. It would need self-improvement exercises to practice applying the program to life.


The Philosophy Of Freedom is a philosophy of life

Rudolf Steiner's Philosophy Of Freedom is a philosophy of life that can provide the core of a life coaching program. The video produced here “How To Make Better Decisions” was created from The Philosophy Of Freedom and is an example of presenting this book in a life coaching manner. Success depends on knowing the world around you (concept of knowing) and knowing who you are (concept of the free human being). Its all in The Philosophy Of Freedom.

“Once we know what to make of the world, it will be an easy task to adapt ourselves to it. We can only put our full strength into our actions when we know what it is we are devoting our activity to.” POF 5.12

“Our life is made up of free and unfree actions. We cannot, however, form a final and adequate concept of human nature without coming upon the free spirit as its purest expression. After all, we are human beings in the fullest sense only in so far as we are free.” POF 9-11


This video presents 4 steps to make better decisions using the skills of scientific inquiry, idealistic inspiration, creative imagination and technical research. They are based on Rudolf Steiner's Philosophy Of Freedom which describes his philosophy of life: Ethical Individualism.

Homeless boy reference: Carl Cederström, The guardian

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