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The belief among the religious is that morality is derived from religion; that the religious are the light of the world while the nonreligious lack any basis for ethics or morality. Human morality is a revelation from God who dictates how we should live. Our task is to obey God and establish His divine world order, which concludes with our salvation.

Nonbelievers fall behind
The righteous superiority of the believers supports the view that if they were to be swept away to heaven as in the Rapture, those left behind would descend into an orgy of sex, violence and anarchy without the enlightened ones to lead us. Only the religious and spiritual believers can hold back the modern worlds slide into the darkness of lying, cheating, and stealing anything the nonbelievers can get their hands on. It is the belief that humanity is “utterly depraved” without spiritual guidance.

Spiritual traditionalists fall behind
The morality of the religious and Eastern spiritualists has its origin from another time and culture dating back several millennium. The long past ideas are kept alive through the study of ancient texts and the practice of outdated rituals and meditations. These moral laws were at one time relevant, but have become entrenched in traditions and handed down for centuries, with few even knowing the origin of most modern day morality.

As culture continues to evolve and moral consciousness deepens it is the moral traditionalists that are the ones who fall behind, morally stunted by ancient beliefs and practices. Over time scriptural views become more out of touch. Young people, who are motivated by an honest search for truth and compassion, find the spiritual paths of the past less and less appealing.

“While it is true that the ethical ideas of an individual have grown out of the past, it is also true that the individual is morally barren, unless he has moral ideas of his own.” Philosophy Of Freedom (POF) 12.7

Individual moral ideas
Individuals are turning to their own imagination to create inspiring moral ideals suited for their life situation. We are motivated to be ethical. Human beings strive toward sublimely great ideals because they want to. The realization of ones own ideals is the highest pleasure. POF 13.11

reference: Valerie Tarico

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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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© Tom Last 2017