The fourth view of thinking presented in Chapter 3 is Idealism. The Idealist likes to produce ideas and think about them. So this topic is the Observation Of Thinking. First we produce thought, then we direct our attention to contemplate these thoughts.
“Our task is to act as peacemaker among the various world-outlooks. The way to peace is to realize that the world-outlooks can be explained, but that they cannot lead to truth if they remain one-sided.” Rudolf Steiner H&CT
THE IDEALIST (World Of Ideas)
By listing the thinking and acting characteristics of the Idealist worldview found in The Philosophy Of Freedom, a personality type unfolds.
Idealism: Interested in the world of ideas and ideals. This world of physical phenomena has no meaning unless there is within it a progressive tendency. The Idealist seeks progress. It looks for a process of development that gives life meaning and purpose.
Idealism worldview in Rudolf Steiner's Philosophy Of Freedom
1.4 Idealist action: Determined by Character
“Men adopt an idea as the motive of their conduct, only if their character is such that this idea arouses a desire in them, then men appear as determined from within and not from without.”
2.4 Idealist pursuit of knowledge: Idealism
Seeks a magnificent elaboration of the world of ideas; without any experience. “The Idealist Fichte attempts to deduce the whole edifice of the world from the "Ego." What he has actually accomplished is a magnificent thought-picture of the world, without any empirical content.”
3.4 Idealist thinking: Contemplation Of Thought
We enter the “exceptional state” and think about our own thoughts. “I can never observe my present thought, I can only make my past experiences of thought-processes subsequently the objects of fresh thoughts.”
4.4 Idealist perception: Correct Picture Of World
“Every extension of the circle of my percepts compels me to correct my picture of the world.”
5.4 Idealist knowing: Process Of Becoming
Seeks a continuous process of becoming. “If I watch the rosebud without interruption, I shall see today's state gradually change into tomorrow's through an infinite number of intermediate stages.”
6.4 Idealist individual representation of reality: Gaining Experience
“The sum of my ideas may be called my experience. The man who has the greater number of individualized concepts (ideas) will be the man of richer experience. The unthinking traveler and the student absorbed in abstract conceptual systems are alike incapable of acquiring a rich experience.”
7.4 Idealist cognition: Ideal Reference
Conceptual Representation Of Objective Reality. “The object has an objective (independent of the subject) reality, the percept a subjective reality. This subjective reality is referred by the subject to the object. This reference is an ideal one.”
8.4 Idealist personality: Concept Of Self
“The concept of self emerges from within the dim feeling of our own existence.”
9.4 Idealist idea to act: Levels of morality
Four springs of action: instinct, feeling, practical experience and conceptual thinking.
Four motives: egotism, moral authority, moral insight and conceptual intuition.
10.4 Idealist moral authority: Moral Principles
“Naive and metaphysical realism both see in human beings merely executors of principles that have been necessarily imposed upon them.”
11.4 Idealist purpose: Ideal factor In Purpose
“The naive consciousness attempts to introduce perceptible factors where only ideal factors can actually be found. In sequences of perceptible events it looks for perceptible connections, or, failing to find them, it imports them by imagination.”
12.4 Idealist moral idea: History Of Moral Ideas
“Moral imagination can become objects of knowledge only after they have been produced by the individual. The study of them is, as it were, the Natural Science of moral ideas.”
13.4 Idealist value of life: Pleasure Of Striving (future goal)
“Striving (desiring) in itself gives pleasure. Who does not know the enjoyment given by the hope of a remote but intensely desired goal?”
14.4 Idealist individuality: Social Progress
“So long as men debate whether woman, from her "natural disposition," is fitted for this, that, or the other profession, the so-called Woman's Question will never advance beyond the most elementary stage. What it lies in woman's nature to strive for had better be left to woman herself to decide.”
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.
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