Dear Friends and Colleagues,
Please permit me to add this personal note: While translating the last sentence of this Section 6 entitled "The Compositional Arrangement of both Main Parts of the Work", which is a congenial commentary on Rudolf Steiners main (philosophical) work and coming across the words "Man and the world", I was reminded of the time that as a 28 year old pamphleteer, activist, McGill University graduate in Music and Philosophy and rabble-rouser of sorts I organized with fellow activist, the writer Dan Daniels, a protest demonstration, against the war in Vietnam under the flag of the Montreal Living Theater at the opening of the World Expo 1967 "Man and His World" in Montreal, Canada, where I was at that time living and working. The demonstration was a solemn procession headed by two drummers and four persons all dressed in black carrying a large black coffin plastered with large photos of victims of Napalm bombs, some of which were manufactured by Dow Chemical in Canada. All in all some 70 persons took part carrying signs and handing out leaflets. We started in the center of Montreal and proceeded to the entrance of the World Expo on an island in the St. Lawrence river, where we intended to place what we called the Vietnam Pavilion, which was lacking in the choir of nations presented at the Expo, in between the US and USSR Pavilion. As expected, we were stopped by the police before the entrance of the Expo grounds, but we managed to make some headlines and were even described in an article in the London Times as the “Conscience of Canada”.
Now, exactly 50 years later and a little wiser, I am again making a (bold) statement in the form of this newly translated section 6 of the book mentioned above that concerns the same theme of Man and His World, but my goodness what a difference! It will probably not make the London Times so easily, but I will leave it up to the reader to decide if it does not deserve, once completed, a rightful place in the review section of the Literary Times and other such publications. I include the first three paragraphs, after which those who want to continue reading or, better, start from the beginning, can turn to the blog of a (working) translation in progress of this book. I stress the word “working” plus the fact that it has not been checked by a lector. Any candidates?
Let us now put “The Philosophy of Freedom” to the test with regard to the conceptional art feature of the arrangement. For this purpose we turn to the two main parts “The Science of Freedom ” and “The Reality of Freedom”. The third part “The Final Questions”, which summarizes the work, shall later on become the object of this examination.
Both main parts are divided into seven chapters. The method of arrangement, which in the fore-going was already demonstrated for the later added parts of the text, can also be demonstrated to be the case for both main parts. In the fore-going, attention was drawn to the correspondence between the contents of both parts in the form of an inversion of the objective references in their relation to the human being. A conceptional art procedure would cause the content related correspondences to appear as formal attributes in the lay-out of the text. That this is indeed the case shall now be explicated.
Chapter I, the first chapter of the first part, corresponds in the sense indicated to chapter XIV. The titles of the two chapters read: “Conscious Human Action” and “Individuality and Species”. Though his conscious action, the human being raises himself above the instincts and drives that are generically active within him and above the collective desires and aspirations of the social groups that he belongs to. The line of gaze thereby turns, starting from the natural and social conditions in which the individual human being lives, to the latter itself. This corresponds to the questioning central to the first part of the text as to the bedding of the human being in the general reality and his emergence therefrom. In his conscious action the human being releases himself, however, not only from the reality surrounding him that forms a part of his own nature, thereby determining his position within its realm. He also reacts to his environment and above all to the social sphere which envelops him and in which he himself is an active producer of reality. This is the leading point of view of the second part and comes to expression in chapter XIV. As may be recognized, the formal arrangement of the first and last chapter of both main parts correspond to the content related correspondence in the polarity of what they express. Form and content mutually determine one another, the formal representational decisions are derived from the essential nature of the contents, and the formal arrangement reacts at the same time to the latter itself, in that they are displayed in a certain progression – from which, on their part, certain compositionally determined suggestions arise as a result for the participatory understanding of the reader.
The same correspondences can be demonstrated for the following chapters.