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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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Review of Rudolf Steiner's Philosophy Of Freedom Chapter 11 
WORLD PURPOSE AND LIFE PURPOSE (The Destiny Of Man)

Purposeless Universe
The universe is ruled by a harmony of laws that we can discover. But there is no purpose to the universe because cause and effect is neutral and without purpose. Purpose is only possible when we have an idea and envision the action before we act.

Only human action is purposeful
Everything is formed causally and lawfully, including the stars, plants, animals and machines. Because something is formed according to law does not make it purposeful. Only human action is purposeful when the human being sets the laws of operation, the idea, the motive, of the action. We envision the result, as an idea (law), before we act. Only we can determine the law of our action, while everything else is merely determined by law.

How Do You Find Meaning In A Purposeless Universe?

13.1 Believe in a God
You can believe in a wise God who knows what is best, then all you need to do is find out what God intends for the world and act accordingly. Or you can give up childish superstitions that supernatural beings are looking over you and will take care of you, deal with reality as it is, find meaning and live a purposeful life.

11.4 Avoid Imagining Purpose In Nature
It is very easy to invent imaginary purposes in nature. The naive mind knows how we bring about an event, and from this he concludes that nature must do it in the same way.

11.5 Laws Of Nature
Purpose is only found in human action. Look for laws of nature, but not for purposes of nature.

11.6 Purposes Of Life
Life purposes which are not set by humans for themselves, are not legitimate. Nothing is purposeful except what the human being has first made so, for there is purposefulness only through the realization of an idea.

11.7 Human Destiny
Human life has only the purpose and the destination that the human being gives it. To the question: What is my task in life? The only answer is: the task we set for ourselves. My mission in the world is not predetermined, but at every moment is the one I choose. I do not enter upon life's voyage with a fixed route mapped out for me.

11.8 Only Human Beings Realize Purposeful Ideas
Ideas are realized only by human agents. Consequently, it is illegitimate to speak of the embodiment of ideas by history. All such statements as "History is the evolution of human beings towards freedom," or "the realization of the moral world-order," etc., and so forth, are untenable.

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Hot Social Media Trend: Be Authentic

Presenting the raw unfiltered self
Authenticity is in short supply online, says video maker Casey Neistat. His answer is a new social media network named Beme. This is a tool that allows social media users to access—and exhibit—our “real selves.” According to Neistat the app works like this: instead of the “highly sculpted, calculated, calibrated” forms of self-presentation fostered by Facebook, Instagram, and the like, Beme allows users to show themselves as they “really” are—unsculpted, unfiltered selfies. It’s about being “raw.”


Experience what that other person is experiencing

Beme lets people share four-second video clips with no option to edit, delete, or even watch onscreen as they film. By placing the phone on your chest, it automatically records and immediately posts online whatever you are seeing without the distraction of having to look through the phone. This allows you to keep your eyes on a sunset while still being able to share.

The premise is that the more purely we communicate the raw, unproduced and unpolished content of what we are experiencing the more authentically we are sharing experience.

A fan said, “It’s almost living vicariously through someone else. Not like you want to be that person, but being able to experience what that other person is experiencing, it’s fascinating, I guess.”

What is raw unthinking experience?
This is saying that if we merely observe the same thing that someone else is observing, we are sharing the same experience. How is this authentic? If we observed truly raw experience without our mind adding any meaning we wouldn't be able to even recognize a tree or any other object. The raw content of unthinking perception is described in Rudolf Steiner's Philosophy Of Freedom as a chaotic aggregate of sense-data, colors, sounds and feelings of pleasure and pain. POF 4.3

Authentic individuality thinks and feels
By removing the thoughts and feelings of the observer we know nothing of how they experience the event. It is what we add to the event that reveals our authentic individuality. This is like saying we should consider paint samples on a canvas to be authentic art.

source: Kyle Vanhemert, Alex Kantrowitz

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Call to ban autonomous killer robots
A few weeks ago the Future of Life Institute released a letter signed by more than 1,500 artificial intelligence, robotics and technology researchers calling for a ban on 'killer robots' which are only a few years away from becoming a reality. Among them were physicist Stephen Hawking, technologist Elon Musk, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and philosopher Noam Chomsky.

Autonomous weapons target and fire weapons without human intervention. They might include, for example, armed quadcopters that can search for and eliminate people meeting certain pre-defined criteria. They do not include cruise missiles or remotely piloted drones for which humans make all targeting decisions.

Global killer robot arms race
The concern is that unless these autonomous weapons are banned now a global killer robot arms race is virtually inevitable, or may already have begone. The United States is a leader in this technological development. Several other countries – including China, Germany, Israel, South Korea, Russia, and the United Kingdom – have also been involved.

Brings up ethical questions
What value are we putting on human life if we delegate the responsibility for deciding who lives and who dies to machines? Do we want to give robots the means and authority to inflict violent force on us? Yikes!


Ban killer humans and killing humans

I can't imagine the US agreeing to give up a technological advantage it has in developing killer robots. Why not encourage the development of killer robots and instead ban killer humans? Then ban the killing of humans. Let the robots battle it out. Sport has done well to divert the male primitive survival need for fighting to games.

There are currently robotic competitions held around the world where robots have to defeat other robots in order to win.

Value the human above all else
Rudolf Steiner's The Philosophy Of Freedom is humanistic and places the human individual at the “center of all life”. POF 9.12  We go to war and kill humans because we place something else above humans, whether it be God, nation, politics, ideology, and now technology. By valuing humans more than technology an ethical solution is possible.

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Top story is the death of Cecil the Lion
Last week a hunter illegally killed a protected lion in Zimbabwe. The global media universe blew up with an outpouring of emotions, ranging from sympathy to outrage over the killing of a prized African Lion named Cecil. The amount of rage, distress, and sadness on social media and in the news over Cecil the Lion the past few days is almost unparalleled.

Do we love animals more than humans?
Recent research suggests that people are twice as likely to give money to save a dog than help a dying child. Why does the outpouring of emotion over the killing of a lion far surpass the series of killings of human beings over the past month? The outrage over Cecil's killing has trumped the black victims of violence, starving Syrian refugees and the shooting of children in Gaza.

Why do we love?
A characteristic of romantic love is over idealizing the loved one to the point of becoming blind to any faults. "Love depends on the thoughts we form of the loved one. The more we idealize the loved one in our thoughts, the more blissful is our love." POF 1.11

Why do we love lions? A lion is a very idealized figure. The lion is the "king of the jungle" or "king of the beasts", hence lions are popular symbols of royalty, stateliness, bravery and power. Imposing statues of lions were placed at the gates of imperial palaces, official residences, temples and tombs.

Lions call up ideals of courage, dignity and strength in overcoming difficulties. One of the best examples of this symbolism is C. S. Lewis's Aslan, the beloved lion of Narnia, a lion who expresses the highest of human ideals.

This also explains why we love celebrities and "lionize" people as heroes when we tag them with ideal characteristics even though they may not be accurate representations.

Forming negative image
If we are Islamophobic we think terrorism when we see a Muslim. If we are racist we think ghetto when we see a Black person. These are not “ideal” images that we are forming so we lack the love.

Noticing good qualities
"There dwells something noble within each human being." POF 0.0 If you cannot see that each human being has value and are plagued by the negative images you have formed of other people you can change your self by making an effort to notice their good qualities,

“Many pass by the good qualities without notice. One, however, perceives them, and just because he does, love awakens. What else has he done except perceive what hundreds have failed to see?” POF 1.12

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Its Time For Leaderless Community

A community consists of followers and a few leaders
Communities do not have ideas, only human individuals have ideas. As free individuals, we each carry out our own decisions and intentions, not those of someone else. In a community, what emerges as the common goal is usually the intentions of a few select individuals whom the others obey as authorities. POF 10.8 The followers put their faith in the leaders, but the leaders are pursuing their own individual freedom to carry out their intentions now with the help of others.

To gain support leaders make promises
A leader can grow a community by drawing like-minded people. This growth is limited to those who share their ideals and intentions. If you want to expand your group for more power as politicians do, you have to promise freedom to the people by saying you share their intentions even though you never will.

A classic example today is the Koch brothers.

Koch brothers lead massive political machine
Even though the billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch fund and control a massive political network that is so powerful and influential it rivals the two main political parties, it is not enough to win control of the presidency. To expand support Charles Koch called the efforts of his political network a “freedom movement”.

Freedom from taxes and regulations to increase profits
The true “injustice” for the Kochs is taxes and government regulations that are restricting the profits of Koch Industries. Koch Industries is the second-largest private company in the United States with over $100 billion in sales. Their numerous companies have produced a long list of environmental crimes, violations, and contamination.

The common thread of all their political efforts is to promote a right-wing ant-itax, anti-regulatory ideology that's good for profits. They even are trying to undermine the science behind climate change.

Time to rebrand
Last week at a Koch conference of 450 network officials, politicians and like-minded wealthy donors they said they are going to rebrand the movement for wider appeal. Charles Koch announced that just like Frederick Douglass and Rosa Parks and other "freedom movements" before them, the noble Koch Brothers and their followers are "seeking to right injustices" to create "a truly free society" that will no longer "enrich the haves at the expense of the have nots”.

Ha ha, good one Koch brothers. It reminds me of Charlie Chaplins' Great Dictator Speech:

"Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people! By promising a better life for the people, “brutes have risen to power. But they lie! They do not fulfil there promises. They never will!”


Only solution is leaderless communities

At some point it always dawns on the followers that the leaders are liers or merely humans just as weak as themselves. POF 10.0

We will never free ourselves from the control of leaders until leaderless communities of free individuals begin to form. The social structure as to how such a community will work is still in the experimental stage.

The Philosophy Of Freedom and Group Conversation techniques give us the tools but practical experience is needed. If it is obvious who the leaders are in a group, which is usually the case, it is not a free community.

reference: Abby Zimet

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“The primary purpose of my book is to serve as thought training, training in the sense that the special way of both thinking and entertaining these thoughts is such as to bring the soul life of the reader into motion in somewhat the way that gymnasts exercise their limbs.” Rudolf Steiner

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

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The Thought Structure Of The Philosophy Of Freedom

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

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

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

12 World-Outlooks

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

Human and Cosmic Thought by Rudolf Steiner
Twelve World-Outlooks

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

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Boycott Israel march in France

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


Anti-aparteid movement gaining momentum

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

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


Apartheid Israel

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

 

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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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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Time To Shelve The Ten Commandments

The Ten Commandments monument at the state Capitol in Oklahoma City.

Earlier this month, with the support of many others, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin announced her intention to defy her state Supreme Court's decision to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the state capitol grounds.

Have you read the ten commandments?
In the fervor to impose their religious beliefs on others, it's as if they forgot what the Ten Commandments actually say. They may want to re-read it. Four demand love and respect for a jealous God of a single religion, if you do not comply, that God will harm you. Three more deal with coveting other people's stuff (the wife is included among your stuff after the house and before the servants/slaves and ox), and the others are obvious like forbidding murder and theft.

Few, if any, of the Ten Commandments would make it on any modern person's own top ten list of rules for living. I'm sure most people can do a better job writing such a list than the biblical version. It wouldn't be hard to pick ten better, more universal, more relevant principles to live by.


Your top 10?
What would your top 10 life principles be? For example, one might include useful recommendations like being a critical thinker, caring for the environment, acting on our concern for others, or seeking peace and social justice.

I decided to look for some principles that are relevant for today and worth striving for in my favorite part of The Philosophy Of Freedom, the original preface. Here is what I came up with for my list.

.
  My Top 10

  1. Shake off every kind of authority.
  2. Accept nothing as valid, unless it springs from within yourself.
  3. The saying that “when the student is ready the teacher will appear” no longer holds for you.
  4. Probe deep into the heart of your being, where dwells something noble and worthy of development. 
  5. Allow no ideals to be forced upon you.
  6. No longer believe that there is a norm of human life to which you must all strive to conform. 
  7. Assert your right to express what is unique in you.
  8. No longer be satisfied merely to believe; instead want to know.
  9. Find in the separate sciences those principles that lead to a wholistic science.
 10. Value science only when it shows its results are important for human development.
  POF preface
.

Source of morality is human beings
Just as Monism has no use for supernatural creative ideas in explaining living organisms, so it is equally impossible for it to derive the moral world-order from causes which do not lie within the world. Monism cannot admit any continuous supernatural influence upon moral life (divine government of the world from the outside), or to a particular revelation at a moment in history (giving of the ten commandments), or to the appearance of God on the earth (divinity of Christ). For monism moral processes are products of the world like everything else that exists, and their causes must be sought in the world—that is to say, in human beings, because humans are the bearers of morality.
 POF 12.8

Adaptation of a Roy Speckhardt article

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

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

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

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

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


Rudolf Steiner is an Individualist Anarchist

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

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

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


Individualist anarchism in Europe

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

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


Steiner enjoyed hobnobbing with artists and political activists

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

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

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

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

Pope reference material: Lauren McCauley

 

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

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

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


Mental images

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

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


The battle between stimulus-response and deliberate reflection

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

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

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

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


The level of Clear in The Philosophy Of Freedom

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

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

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

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

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