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When asked which of his books he would most want rescued if some catastrophe should strike, Steiner always unhesitatingly named The Philosophy of Freedom.

Respected Scholar Or “Mad” Occultist
F. Rittlemeyer asked Rudolf Steiner why he never touched upon occult topics before his fortieth year? Steiner replied,"I first had to attain a certain position in the world. People could say of my present writings (occult) that they are " mad ". Then, however, there are my earlier works, (philosophy) which cannot be ignored." Rudolf Steiner, Life and Work Volume 2 (1890-1900) by Peter Selg

Rudolf Steiner is known for two periods of his life; his “Sane” Period as a respected scholar and his “Mad” Period as an occult seer. This separation is due to the abilities required to verify his work.

The Philosophy Of Freedom (science of freedom)
“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.”
Ability required: observation of thought
Realm: conceptual world
The ability required to verify or contest the content of The Philosophy Of Freedom is the observation of thought. Every normal person has this ability.

Anthroposophy (spiritual science)
Ability required: clairvoyance
Realm: spiritual world
The ability required to verify or contest the content of Anthroposophy is not normal and must be developed through many years of rigorous and demanding exercises.

Mad Man Test: You can not be accused of being mad if it is explainable or is proved to be observable.
“Whatever principle we wish to establish, we must either prove we have observed it somewhere, or we must express it in the form of clear thought that can be rethought by others. Every philosopher setting out to explain his fundamental principles must express them in conceptual form, and so use thought.” TPOF 3.0

The Philosophy Of Freedom stands on its own completely independent of his later spiritual research and independent of the Theosophical / Anthroposophical Society, “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.” Rudolf Steiner, The Philosophy of Freedom, 1918 Preface to the Revised Edition.

“You will find nothing at all in The Philosophy of Freedom that is derived from clairvoyant communications of spiritual science. It is written for the express purpose of disciplining thinking without any mention of theosophy.”

“One of the things most centrally needed is clarity on the path of inner striving, a clarity of inner striving comparable to the clarity of external striving. Not vague mysticism, but brightest clarity.” 

In the first period of his life Rudolf Steiner was immersed in his path to freedom, and then wrote a book describing his journey.

“My purpose was to write a biographical account, of how one human soul made the difficult ascent to freedom.”

“I found my own way as best I could, and then later on, described the route that I had taken.”

After The Philosophy Of Freedom was published, Steiner was disappointed readers were unable to understand it.

“Back in the 1890’s when the book was published, people hadn’t the least idea what to do with it. It was as though Europeans had been given a book in Chinese, and couldn’t understand a thing it said.”

This is why he was excited to find others striving in the direction of the principles in The Philosophy Of Freedom—the individualist anarchists.

The Individualist Anarchism Roots Of Rudolf Steiner's Philosophy Of Freedom

What Is Individualist Anarchism?
Was Rudolf Steiner An Individualist Anarchist?
Are You An Individualist Anarchist At Heart?

What Is Individualist Anarchism?

Anarchism (freedom from)
An anarchist denies authority. The anarchist wishes to live without gods or masters; without patrons or directors; without obedience to collective morals. He wants to live freely, to live his own idea of life. He is opposed to every regime, every social system, every state of things that imposes its domination over the individual and every attempt by another or a group to exploit the individual.

Individualism (freedom to)
Individualism is a view that stresses the importance and worth of each person. Individual initiative, self-reliance and the freedom of expression are important.

Stirner and the Young Hegelians discussed important questions about the nature of human freedom and social and political practice.

Individualist Anarchism
Max Stirner had a major influence in developing Individualist Anarchism. He was a radical individualist. Stirner rejected the notion of society, instead advocating for a loose union of egoists (unique individuals). Stirner advocated independent, highly personal thinking and wishing rather than thoughtless devotion to societies traditions, doctrines, political systems, or laws. Stirner held that the only limitation on the rights of the individual is that individual's power to obtain what he desires.

Ethics is based on the strong will which attains its end even when the path to it is full of thorns. TPOF 13.11

individualist anarchism: a nonviolent form of anarchism that emphasizes the individual and their will over external determinants such as groups, society, traditions, and ideological systems.

determinants: something that determines you other than yourself

If you have read Rudolf Steiner’s Philosophy Of Freedom you can already see the connections between it and Individualist Anarchism. In fact, Steiner advances it to a radical “inner” anarchism that rejects not only outer authority, but also any inner authority that would rule over the individual. The book describes many, if not all, the inner and outer determinants that compel our thinking and behavior. By becoming conscious of these external determinants they lose their power over us.

Anarchism in The Philosophy Of Freedom – Rejection of authority
“Man's action is free when he obeys none but himself.” TPOF 10.6

rejects authority of family, state, social custom, church and God
rejects authority of any group, political system, and ideology
rejects authority of a powerful person, majority rule,
rejects authority of divine revelation or the inner voice of conscience
rejects authority of materialism, the physical processes of the brain
rejects authority of a spiritual being, Divine Being and personal God
rejects the authority of the characterological disposition, preconceptions,
practical experience, implanted thoughts etc.

Individualism in the Philosophy Of Freedom
Individualism is central to The Philosophy Of Freedom.

“The human individual is the fountain of all morality and the center of all life.” TPOF 9.12

Was Rudolf Steiner An Individualist Anarchist?

Individualist Anarchism in Europe
European individualist anarchism emphasized defiance of social conformity. This philosophy was found among artists, intellectuals and the well-read. It remained largely a bohemian lifestyle enamored of innovations in art, behavior, and clothing.

The Young Rudolf Steiner Enjoys Hanging Out With The Anarchist Crowd
Steiner edited the Magazine for Literature from 1897 to 1900 in Berlin. Biographer Gary Lachman writes; "Steiner seems to have enjoyed hanging out with the bohemians; his acquaintances included poets, playwrights, novelists and political activists. In fact, his reputation among people considered to be on the fringes of respectable society caused academics to cancel their subscriptions to his magazine, and Steiner also earned the distinction of having a periodical banned in Czarist Russia because its editor was known to socialize with anarchists." The Philosophy Of Freedom was also banned.

Rudolf Steiner Declares Himself An Individualist Anarchist
John Henry Mackay was the author of a classic individualist anarchist text "The Anarchists" in 1891. Steiner corresponded with Mackay. In a letter written to Mackay in 1898 Steiner enthusiastically declared himself an individualist anarchist.
http://philosophyoffreedom.com/individualist-anarchism

Dear Herr Mackay!
“Four years ago, after the appearance of my Philosophy of Freedom, you expressed to me your agreement with my direction of ideas. I openly admit that this gave me deeply felt joy. For 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.”

“If I were to say whether the term “individualist anarchist” is applicable to me, I would have to answer with an unconditional “Yes.”

Rudolf Steiner shares Mackay’s individualist anarchistic views and was pleased that Mackay recognized The Philosophy of Freedom as an expression of this view.

Bible Of Anarchism
A long time student of The Philosophy Of Freedom went as far as declaring it the “Bible Of Anarchism.” He makes a good argument using quotes from chapter 10 entitled "Philosophy and Monism" and “dares you to deny that this is pure anarchism through and through.” http://www.uncletaz.com/steinerbomb.html

Are You An Individualist Anarchist At Heart?

Reference
John Henry Mackay letter to Rudolf Steiner
http://philosophyoffreedom.com/individualist-anarchism
Brief Reflections on the Publication of the New Edition of The Philosophy of Freedom
http://philosophyoffreedom.com/page/rudolf-steiner-reflections-on-the-publication-of-the-new-edition

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Comments

  • What this article took caused me shock. That's because I understood Ethical individuality at Steiner differently when I read the book
    And also by reading Steiner's autobiography. Steiner did not reach this form of chaos. But he gave full respect to the laws of nature and even a club with the integration of nature. I believe that the texts written in a commentary on his book philosophy of freedom and its course of work and personal was far from the bohemian.
    He has chosen a different form of moral individualism that gives a great deal of space to man's will to free himself from imaginary restraints that humans make up to control the others

    in the name of religion. by Letting  the free act stem from free will and not rejection of religion and God.

    For me now,i have to read the Original book again ,Before presenting my master's papers.

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© Tom Last 2017