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  • One could ask the question, why Rudolf Stener did not continue then on this accepted academic scientific path. If I remember correctly he answered this question himself in his biography to the effect that, if his master had not convinced him to enter this new occult path, he would have continued on the old one. But he has also reportedly said that all those wanting to represent anthroposophy to the outside world should be familair with his early philosophic-scientific work or even do so in terms of it. Another statement of his in this regard is that he claimed that in his Philosophy of Freedom his whole later antroposophy is implicitly present, in a seminal state as it were. (Herbert Wtzenmann in the work I am translating has shown the truth of that). I will try to find the sources for these statements in the book by Otto Palmer who has collected practically everyhing Rudolf Steiner has ever said about his main work. Perhaps someone who knows them, can present them here.

    • "Anyone interested in looking for them will find the basic principles of anthroposophy already enunciated in this book."

      People like to make everything so esoteric. Steiner needed a job. Steiner tried to get a professorship. He tried to run a magazine expressing POF views. Both failed. The Philosophy Of Freedom got tied up with the anarchists who Steiner was associating with and was banned in Russia. The peaceful anarchists got swept up with the violent communist anarchists. In other words, Steiner and his friends got labeled "terrorists". The Philosophy Of Freedom had to be abandoned until things cooled down.  Steiner had no interest in theosophy. He was offered a job to lecture and run the theosophical society by some wealthy royals and after thinking about it for several weeks took it. 

      Steiner was a genius who could enter any field and renew it. Theosophy was "hot" and growing rapidly at that time. I doubt Steiner knew it would peak in 1927 and decline after that until there is no interest in it today. On the other hand, if he could have remained with the Philosophy Of Freedom it would likely have a huge impact today, as great or greater than Ayn Rand and the Libertarians. Imagine how different the world would be if most people knew of Steiner's philosophy of life.  Nobody of significance today is interested in the "occult" Steiner.

      But Steiner really completed his job by writing the TPOF. He can't do everything. Where are the others who could have further developed and spread the spirit of The Philosophy Of Freedom? That spirit cannot be found in anthroposophy which is a traditional authoritarian path. At one point Steiner encouraged the Anthroposophical Society to split in two, the free spirits move on to form free communities and the Goetheanum-ists to remain and carry out the tasks of the Goetheanum. The Society rejected Steiner's idea and the Goetheanum-ists won. What a missed opportunity.

      Another opportunity exists today but Steiner's reputation is now shattered, discouraging new people to take up the book and anthroposophists get upset when they hear what is actually in the book. So things are very difficult.

      • Good points, but did he not say that if his master had not convinced him to jump on the theosophical bandwagon, he would have continued to work philosophically? I could look it up in his biography, but I have a deadline for next Sunday when there is a symposium on the inspiration of the work of Bernard Lievegoed, the former president of the Dutch Anthroposophical Society, who died 25 years ago and whose books have also been translated into English. He is known above all for his development of the so-called Saturn path leading to the mysteries of the sun, a path that he claimed in his book on "The Rescue of the Soul" was originally laid out by Rudolf Steiner in his lecture cycle on "Consciousness of Initiates" (GA 243). For the occasion of this symposium, I plan to bring out a special edition of "The Willehalm Institute News" showing that this Saturn path cannot be found at all in this lecture cycle by Rudolf Steiner on true and false paths of spiritual research, and that this Saturn path is a personal invention of Lievegoed and as such has nothing to do with Rudolf Steiner. Something similar has been said by others, including recently by the well-known Dutch Rudolf Steiner School teacher and writer Wim Veltman in his biography "Light and Dark". In my preface to the book by Herbert Witzenmann on the POF I am translating, I delve into the role that Lievegoed played in preventing the work of this great Platonist (Witzenmann) modelled on the psychical observation technique of the POF from getting better known in the world.
        • I read some things about Steiner's "master" and see it as a theosophical view-point from Steiner and the writer. I take a POF view-point that does not bow down before masters. So I would have reviewed the facts and written this very differently from a different perspective. But I do believe Steiner accomplished his philosophy of life work in the book and it was up to others to carry it forward.  Just as with his later word in various fields, depends on others to carry it out. 

          Good to see you have formed your own independent view on the "Saturn path" rather than blindly accepting the view of another which is often done. Anthroposophy is filled with spiritual junk because it lacks critical review.

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© Tom Last 2017