1. It is Science
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
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
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.”
“A personal God is nothing but a human being transplanted into a Beyond.”
5. It is not Anthroposophy
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
Presenting the raw unfiltered self
What is raw unthinking experience?
Authentic individuality thinks and feels
source: Kyle Vanhemert, Alex Kantrowitz
A community consists of followers and a few leaders
To gain support leaders make promises
A classic example today is the Koch brothers.
Koch brothers lead massive political machine
Freedom from taxes and regulations to increase profits
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
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!”
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
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.
See New Study Guide.
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.
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.
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.
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.
US Presidential candidates for sale
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.
"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
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?
"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.”
|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
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
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.”
“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
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
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."
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
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
Both Scientology and the Philosophy Of Freedom claim to offer paths to freedom. On what scientific principle do they base this claim?
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
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 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.
We are studying the Philosophy of Freedom by Rudolf Steiner.
Each week we do artistic exercises in relation to the text.
Here are a few samples from our first session on the prefaces.
Hillsdale, New York
see Start A Study Group
click on image
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.
This short video is based on the first paragraph in Rudolf Steiner's Philosophy Of Freedom. It describes the early drive toward freedom as it expresses itself in the forming of a unique individuality.
In order to survive the animal is driven by natural instincts for food, water, and shelter. Social learning gives an evolutionary advantage to those who join and conform to the group.
Yet, if society is to continue evolving it needs something more than social conformity, it needs the innovation and creativity of free individuals.
The social order is only formed so it can react in favor of the individual, but society cannot produce even one free individual.
Only the individual himself can complete the final stage of evolution and realize freedom.
The pursuit of individuality is the modern struggle for survival.
To be true to yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something less, requires great effort.
There is a natural conflict between individualism and authority.
When challenged by authority, typically individualism cannot be sustained without paying a harsh price.
No matter what anyone else asserts, an individualist will think for himself.
Nothing is accepted as valid until he fits it into his own context of knowledge.
Knowing that human perfection cannot be found by following in the footsteps of another, the individualist finds his own way in the difficult ascent to freedom.
Why adoringly serve leaders who will turn out to be just as weak as yourself?
No ideals will be forced upon him.
He will select his own ideals and strive for their realization, which is his highest pleasure.
We no longer believe that there is a norm of human life to which we must all strive to conform.
We are convinced that in each of us, if only we probe deep enough into the very heart of our being, there dwells something noble, something worthy of development.
We regard the perfection of the whole as depending on the unique perfection of each single individual.
We do not want to do what anyone else can do equally well.
No, our contribution to the development of the world, however trifling, must be something which, by reason of the uniqueness of our nature, we alone can offer.
Never have artists been less concerned about rules and norms in art than today. Each of them asserts his right to express what is unique in him.
The structure of a language can affect how we conceptualize the world, our world-view, so there are writers who do not conform to the standard selection of words and arrangement that grammar demands.
We do not want to be dependent in any respect, and where dependence must be, we tolerate it only on condition that it coincides with a vital interest of our individuality.
Individuality is one of the fundamental characteristics of our age.
There is no better expression of this phenomena than striving towards freedom with the greatest intensity.
THE PHILOSOPHY OF FREEDOM
0. THE GOAL OF KNOWLEDGE (Preface)
0.0 Impulse Of Freedom
 I BELIEVE I am indicating correctly one of the fundamental characteristics of our age when I say that, at the present day, all human interests tend to center in the culture of human individuality. An energetic effort is being made to shake off every kind of authority. Nothing is accepted as valid, unless it springs from the roots of individuality. Everything which hinders the individual in the full development of his powers is thrust aside. The saying “Each one of us must choose his hero in whose footsteps he toils up to Olympus” no longer holds for us. We allow no ideals to be forced upon us. We are convinced that in each of us, if only we probe deep enough into the very heart of our being, there dwells something noble, something worthy of development. We no longer believe that there is a norm of human life to which we must all strive to conform. We regard the perfection of the whole as depending on the unique perfection of each single individual. We do not want to do what anyone else can do equally well. No, our contribution to the development of the world, however trifling, must be something that, by reason of the uniqueness of our nature, we alone can offer. Never have artists been less concerned about rules and norms in art than today. Each of them asserts their right to express, in the creations of their art, what is unique in them. There are dramatists who write in dialect rather than conform to the standard diction which grammar demands.
 No better expression for these phenomena can be found than this, that they result from the individual’s striving towards freedom, developed to its highest pitch. We do not want to be dependent in any respect, and where dependence must be, we tolerate it only on condition that it coincides with a vital interest of our individuality.
Misrepresentation of the Philosophy Of Freedom
I found this image on a blog. I see the above quote being repeated everywhere on the Internet. It tells us that freedom “is the sense of being capable of actions motivated solely by love.” It claims to quote Rudolf Steiner's Philosophy Of Freedom (POF). This simplistic feel good conclusion has done much harm by misrepresenting Steiner's meaning of freedom. It is being repeated by leaders in Anthroposophy, Waldorf, and by personal bloggers who have never read the book.
The Unification Church of Sun Myung Moon, the guy who claimed to be the return of Christ, quoted “actions motivated solely by love” to show how close Steiner was to their views. I found it in a university dissertation about Camphill, in book reviews of Steiner books, in religious articles equating this love with doing God's will, equating it with anything we love to do like kayaking, and using it to describe Steiner study groups.
After all, if love solves everything, then why bother with all the other hard stuff, especially disciplined thinking.
What is the source of the quote?
Why is this simplistic misrepresentation being promoted with such certainty? I decided to investigate and tracked it back to the Rudolf Steiner page on Wikipedia that is closely monitored by authoritarian anthroposophists. It is found under the heading Spiritual Research and directly after another often repeated misunderstanding of POF, that “The Philosophy Of Freedom forms the philosophical basis for Steiner's later writings”. Anthroposophy's talking point is incorrect when, as is often the case, it is taken to mean it validates Steiner's later writings. It does not at all. It would be more accurate to say POF brings these writings into question. While there are anthroposophists who are also ethical individualists that gain knowledge and then act on it, many anthroposophists are merely believers in spiritualistic theory, not knowers. Ethical individualists say, "We no longer want to believe; we want to know." POF 0.3 To keep repeating that POF is merely a philosophical basis for anthroposophy hides its true purpose which is to “lay the foundations of ethical individualism and of a social and political life”. (1918 lecture)
The alleged POF quote that “freedom is the sense of being capable of actions motivated solely by love.” was found in this Rudolf Steiner Wiki paragraph:
“Steiner aimed to apply his training in mathematics, science, and philosophy to produce rigorous, verifiable presentations of those (spiritual) experiences. He believed that through freely chosen ethical disciplines and meditative training, anyone could develop the ability to experience the spiritual world, including the higher nature of oneself and others. Steiner believed that such discipline and training would help a person to become a more moral, creative and free individual – free in the sense of being capable of actions motivated solely by love. His philosophical ideas were affected by Franz Brentano, with whom he had studied, as well as by Fichte, Hegel, Schelling, and Goethe's phenomenological approach to science.” -Rudolf Steiner Wikipedia
It is surrounded by philosophy statements giving the impression that it is from POF. The Wiki reference for this statement  is Peter Schneider, Einführung in die Waldorfpädagogik. I could not find an English translation of this book or any further information to support Schneider's statement. Shouldn't there be a POF or other Steiner source for this grand conclusion?
Levels of morality
There is no such POF quote because an action that is “motivated solely by love” is not considered freedom. Chapter 9 (POF 9.4) lists the levels of morality. There are 4 levels of individual motivation, with the motive “love” listed at level 2. Freedom occurs at level 4.
Level 1 Instinctive reaction
Level 2 Feelings which include love (examples given: modesty, pride, sense of honor, humility, remorse, pity, revenge, gratitude, piety, loyalty, love, and duty)
Level 3 Practical experience (remembered thoughts and ideas of how to act)
Level 4 Conceptual thinking (free thinking or reason)
Freedom occurs in the conceptual sphere where free thinking is possible. “Human” motives will always contain thought. This thought will originate within the individual for there to be a free action. An ethical individualist tries to become more conscious of the whole free will process that certainly includes love.
The heart can be a motive, but it can not create a motive
The heart, though, is not capable of creating ideas of action. The heart accepts or rejects thinking’s ideas for action before allowing it to enter its sphere of passion. This is explained here,
“Love, pity, and patriotism are driving forces of action that cannot be reduced to cold rational concepts. It is said that here the heart, the life of feeling comes into its own. No doubt; but the heart and the life of feeling do not create the motives for action. They presuppose them and receive them into their own sphere.” POF 1.10
Of course we can not be thinking about principles while we are energetically acting. But still the action is not free if the motive is love alone, that is a Level 2 motivation. At Level 2 we do not know the origin of our love. It could be from cult brainwashing! The confusion likely occurs from the following POF quotes that are referring to a specific moment in the free deed process --while we are engaged in the action itself.
Love for the idealistic objective (goal)
Reading POF will not show freedom to mean “motivated solely by love” but it will find “motivated solely by love of the objective (goal)” or “my love of the action”.
“When I, or another, subsequently review my action we may discover what moral principles came into play in it. But so long as I am acting, I am influenced not by these moral principles but by my love for the objective, that I want to realize through my action.”
“It is only when I follow solely my love for the objective, that it is I, myself, who act. At this level of morality, I acknowledge no lord over me, neither an external authority, nor the so-called voice of my conscience. I acknowledge no external principle of my action, because I have found in myself the ground for my action, viz., my love of the action.” POF 9.8
So yes, free action is motivated by love, but to clarify, it is our love for the goal that originated in free thinking as an ethical principle (moral intuition) and was then translated into a specific goal of action (moral imagination). We love it because our greatest joy is to bring our highest ideals into reality. The ethical individualism video, How To Make Better Decisions shows the whole conscious process. Love enters at the 4:15 mark.
Two paths: The Philosophy Of Freedom and How To Know Higher Worlds
Another major point is that a closer look at the definition of freedom found in Wiki clearly proves it is not from The Philosophy Of Freedom. Again, the complete sentence we are discussing is,
“Steiner believed that such discipline and training would help a person to become a more moral, creative and free individual – free in the sense of being capable of actions motivated solely by love.”
The “discipline and training” here is mentioned earlier in the wiki paragraph as being “ethical disciplines and meditative training”. This has nothing to do with the path of the Philosophy Of Freedom. This refers to the renewal of the old Eastern path described in How To Know Higher Worlds (HTKHW).
The How To Know Higher Worlds path begins with assurance that when you are ready your master will appear. The next step is developing devout feelings of reverence and devotion. Ethical disciplines are a requirement for this path "for every step in spiritual perception, three steps are to be taken in moral development." This is not necessary for the POF path because a free act will always be an ethical act. The Philosophy Of Freedom distinguishes itself from Eastern influences here,
The Oriental sages make their disciples live for years a life of resignation and asceticism before they impart to them their own wisdom. The Western world no longer demands pious exercises and ascetic practices as a preparation for science, but it does require a sincere willingness to withdraw oneself awhile from the immediate impressions of life, and to betake oneself into the realm of pure thought. POF 0.7 original Chp1 or Preface.
Steiner clarified the difference between the two paths; The Philosophy Of Freedom path for our modern age of science, the path that Steiner himself took, and the Eastern path Steiner attempted to renew that is commonly recommended by Anthroposophists as described in How To Know Higher Worlds.
The Philosophy Of Freedom path is for those interested in science.
The How To Know Higher Worlds path
If you go to an Anthroposophy book publisher like SteinerBooks it will be a walk into the past of old spiritual paths and ideas.
Best thought training is the study of The Philosophy Of Freedom
The recommended practice to become an ethical individualist is to apply the principles of freedom to your life and set aside time for pure conceptual thinking. POF 0.6 - 0.7 The demanding university programs in mathematics, computer science, engineering, and philosophy do an excellent job to discipline thinking. Though the best thought training to fulfill this requirement is the rigorous study of the Philosophy Of Freedom.
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
Two 1895 Reviews Of Rudolf Steiner's Die Philosophie der Freiheit
p. 150 Die Philosophie der Freiheit. By Dr. Rudolf Steiner
DIE PHILOSOPHIE DER FREIHEIT. Grundzuge einer modernen Weltanschauung.
The essential characteristic of the present age the author finds in the evident striving of individual culture to make itself the centre of all the interests of life. To bear the stamp of validity, a thing must have its origin deep in the roots of individuality. This, in a certain form, is the gospel of the development from within outwards which Goethe championed. Between heredity, tradition, iron-clad custom, and the independent mind filled with new ideas, a constant battle is fought the battle of knowledge against belief. Man, however, must not bow to the new idea lest he be what he was before, but must make himself master of it. The ground or reason for the translation of an idea into actual reality by the agency of the individual man can be found only in the man himself. For an idea to become an act, a man must will its transformation. But such a volition can spring solely from man himself. Man is the ultimate mover of his acts; he is free. /IK/IK.
Source: The Philosophical Review, Vol. 4, No. 5 (Sep., 1895) pp. 573-574
Die Philosophie der Freiheit. Von DR. RUDOLF STEINER.
Freedom, the author asserts, is a fact that stares us in the face, and those who deny it do so through misunderstanding. It is obvious that an action is not free if the agent does not know why he does it, but how does the matter stand with reference to an action which is performed after the reasons for and against it have been considered? This involves an inquiry into the nature of Thought, for only when we know what Thought is can we tell what part it plays in human action. Thought is a principle which exists for itself, and from it arise Notions which are applied to the given element of experience. The latter element is the necessary consequence of individuality, and the function of Thought is to restore the unity of the Ego with the world which particularity has broken. Freedom can be understood by means of this analysis. In action, as in knowledge, there is a given element to which the mind adds conceptions of its own. Only, in this case, the given does not determine in any way the conceptions which the mind applies, and, as these conceptions constitute our motives to action, this means that our motives are not determined.
Monism is the doctrine that the world is given as a duality of subject and object, but becomes a unity through knowledge. Thought unites what sensation has separated. The distinction between subject and object is therefore not absolute and there is no thing-in-itself. Further, Monism means that experience cannot be transcended at all, and it therefore excludes the notions of End, World-Ruler, etc. All that exists is a multitude of particular persons and things forming somehow a unity. It is not made very clear why "Monism " should involve this, and no attempt is made to show how one can get at the notion of a multitude of individuals, if one is to keep entirely to experience on its phenomenal side. Yet the views thus assumed determine to a large extent the author's results. Since Monism excludes everything beyond experience, man's being is not dependent on any first principle or ground of all existence. He is therefore thrown upon himself; makes his own ends; and determines his own actions. " Monism," in short, necessarily involves freedom.
It is difficult to find out exactly what Dr. Steiner understands by ' freedom.' He defines it differently in different places, and involves himself in contradictions in attempting to answer objections. The best part of the book is the chapter on " The Worth of Life," which contains a thorough and suggestive criticism of Pessimism. It is a remarkable piece of writing, and Hartmann refers to it in his noteworthy article1 in the Zeitschrift fur Philosophie und Philosophische Kritik (Band 106, Heft. I). In other parts of the work there are passages of value, but the book is too uncritical and dogmatic to be satisfactory as a whole. There is throughout a lack of thoroughness and cohesion.
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