The Philosophy Of Freedom by Rudolf Steiner
Introduction: The Goal Of Knowledge
Link to book text: http://philosophyoffreedom.com/2016-the-philosophy-of-freedom#c0
Why is the goal of knowledge inner truth?
Compare outer truth with inner truth.
Life Of Conformity
The life of a conformist is given from the outside. It is dependent upon others and centered on striving to conform to a common norm.
Life Of Individuality
The life of an individualist springs from deep within the heart of one’s being. It is lived independently and centered on striving for freedom.
Outer Truth And Inner Truth
Truth, too, in the current age of individualism is sought in the depths of human nature. There are two well-known paths to truth. Some look for truth in the outer world, while others look within to find truth in the inner world.
Uncertainty Of Outer Truth
Truth that comes to us from the outside always brings with it uncertainty.
Conviction Of Inner Truth
Truth that we recognize within our own inner life gives us conviction.
Outer Truth Weakens
Outer truth weakens our powers by tormenting us with doubt. If baffled by a world full of riddles, no goal can be found for our creative activity.
Inner Truth Empowers
Only inner truth can give us confidence in developing our individual powers.
Outer Truth Believes
The acceptance of outer truth demands belief in what we do not wholly understand.
Inner Truth Knows
Belief is not enough, we want to know. The only knowing that satisfies us is the kind that submits to no external norm, but springs from the inner life of the personality.
Academic knowledge is encased in rigid academic rules, and stored away as outer truth to be valid for all time.
Inner truth starts from the facts we know, from our own direct experience, and from there advances to knowledge of the whole universe. We strive for certainty in knowledge, but each in his own way.
Compelled To Understand
The teachings of science are presented in a way that implies its acceptance is compulsory. The student is compelled to understand. Outer truth is crammed into the student.
Need To Understand
We expect neither recognition nor agreement from anyone who is not driven to a certain view by his own particular, individual needs. The student’s capacity for inner truth is developed so he wants to understand.
Trends Are Central
A stereotypical attitude, lacking all individuality, is prevalent everywhere. Many flaunt a way of life that follows only the current cultural trends.
Truth Is Central
Many strive to conduct their lives in the direction of the principles of inner truth. It is a path taken by those for whom truth is central.
Preparation For Outer Truth
The outer world offers the pleasures of the senses. The oriental sage requires his disciples to live a life of resignation and asceticism for years before he shares with them his knowledge. He demands pious exercises and ascetic practices before attaining knowledge.
Preparation For Inner Truth
The inner world offers the sweetest joys of life by soaring into the realm of concepts. To attain the inner truth necessary in science requires a sincere willingness to prepare by withdrawing oneself awhile from the immediate impressions of life, and entering the realm of pure thought.
The aim of the scientific specialist's research is to gain knowledge of the outer world and how it works. But life itself is a unity, and the more the sciences immerse themselves in separate fields, the more they move away from seeing the world as a living whole.
The world is a living whole. A wholistic knowing seeks in the separate sciences the principles for leading man back to the fullness of life. By inner reflection the principles discovered in the various branches of science are integrated into a wholistic science.
Questions Of Outer Truth
Important questions of outer truth: Are we alone in the universe? How do we get more energy from the sun? Can computers keep getting faster?
Questions Of Inner Truth
The most intimate question of inner truth that concerns humanity is freedom. What is freedom? Do we, or can we participate in it? Is a science of human freedom possible?
Science Of Idle Curiosity
All science would be nothing but the satisfaction of idle curiosity, if it does not elevate the existential value of human personality.
Science Of Value
The true value of the sciences is seen only when we are shown the importance of their results for humanity. Knowledge has value only by contributing to the all-around development of the whole of human nature.
Some regard the relationship of science to outer life in such a way that the human being must bow down before the world of ideas and devote his powers to its service.
By taking possession of the world of ideas they can be used for our human aims. These extend beyond those of mere science.
Controlled By Ideas
If we are aware only of the outer world, we may be controlled by ideas implanted within us that compel our action.
Master Of Ideas
To avoid falling into the bondage of an idea, one must confront it within and experience it.
This leads us into the next chapter entitled, Conscious Human Action, where we compare free action with the necessity of compelled action.