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Atheism United Posts Link To Our Blog Article

Rudolf Steiner's The Philosophy Of Freedom, published in 1894, is a humanist philosophy of knowledge and ethics based on the empirical observation of the mind. So it has value to anyone interested in science more so than blind belief, whether conservative or progressive, spiritualist or atheist, idealist or realist. This includes the secular, agnostic and atheist community, which has a strong interest in science. We have been using twitter, "Ethical Humanism" to reach this community. 

A new atheist online magazine called Atheism United posted a link to our recent blog post "First Impression Judgments Are An Error In Thinking". It is exciting to have attracted interest from the atheist community.

A recent poll shows a 13% decline in the U.S. in those who say they are "Religious" while Atheism is rising around the world. This decline would be expected in our age of science as "We no longer want to believe; we want to know." Philosophy Of Freedom 0.3

Well known atheists/agnostics include Stephen Hawking, Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Wozaniak, John Lennon and Mark Twain.

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Top 5 Reasons To Study The Philosophy Of Freedom

Top 5 Reasons To Study The Philosophy Of Freedom

1. It is Science
Rudolf Steiner's Philosophy Of Freedom is the result of introspective observation of the human mind following the methods of science. The subtitle is “A Modern Philosophy Of Life Developed By Scientific Methods”.

The Philosophy Of Freedom is not philosophy as such, but rather a description of Rudolf Steiner's experiences on the way to freedom. It does not give a definition of freedom that we merely memorize, but points to a place where freedom originates --the conceptual realm of universal concepts-- where free thinking, pure and unbiased, can be experienced.

“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.”

2. It is Freedom
Steiner divides the question of freedom into free thinking and free morality. Intellectual freedom is achieved when we bridge the gap between our perception (the outer appearance of the world) and our conception (the inner working of the world) with knowledge.

Moral freedom is achieved when we bridge the gap between our perceptible unfree nature (built up by nature, society and religion) and the concept of free individuality (ethical individualism) through the course of one's development with the expression of our ideals in life. To become a free individuality we need to have a clear understanding of what free individuality is. POF 9-11

True freedom is only achieved when knowledge and morality are united. (morality informed by knowledge) POF 10-1918 Addition

3. It is Thought Training
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.

The book is intentionally composed in a certain way to broaden and deepen the readers thinking. Each chapter expresses a variety of views leaving the reader free to arrive at their own conclusions. It is independent thinking so we cannot rely on familiar terms and images but must instead make an effort to “intuitively” grasp the universal concepts pointed to by the words. This training in the realm of universal thought is the thought training required to attain freedom.

“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.”
4. It is Humanism
Rudolf Steiner's philosophy of life recognizes the "human individual as the source of all morality and the center of all life" POF 9.12 and that “if we all really draw from the world of ideas, and do not follow physical or spiritual impulses” we find that we all share the same ideals and can get along within a harmony of intentions. POF 9.10

“A personal God is nothing but a human being transplanted into a Beyond.”
POF The Consequences Of Monism

5. It is not Anthroposophy
The Philosophy Of Freedom is independent of the speculations of Anthroposophy. It is a Science Of Mind that is verifiable to any normal person who can recall their thinking processes and think about thinking. Anthroposophy is different. It is a Science Of Spirit that requires extremely rare clairvoyant thinking capacities to verify its findings.

Near the end of his life, Steiner suggested that The Philosophy of Freedom would outlive all his other works. It stands on its own completely independent of his later spiritual research and organizations,

“You will find nothing at all in The Philosophy of Freedom that is derived from clairvoyant communications of spiritual science.”

“this book occupies a position completely independent of my writings on actual spiritual scientific matters... What I have said in this book may be acceptable even to some who, for reasons of their own, refuse to have anything to do with the results of my researches into the spiritual realm.” POF, 1918 Preface to the Revised Edition

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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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© Tom Last 2017