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By Tarjei Straume


The definition of anarchosophy that I have posted on my website, namely that it is a philosophy that ideally views PoF as the Bible of anarchism, has been subject to criticism arising from misunderstandings.

In this article I will endeavor to demonstrate how one is led to this conclusion by focusing on one particular chapter from the book. It is Chapter Ten, entitled Philosophy and Monism:

"The naïve man, who acknowledges as real only what he can see with his eyes and grasp with his hands, requires for his moral life, also, a basis for action that shall be perceptible to the senses. He requires someone or something to impart the basis for his action to him in a way that his senses can understand. He is ready to allow this basis for action to be dictated to him as commandments by any man whom he considers wiser or more powerful than himself, or whom he acknowledges for some other reason to be a power over him. In this way there arise, as moral principles, the authority of family, state, society, church and God, as previously described. A man who is very narrow minded still puts his faith in some one person; the more advanced man allows his moral conduct to be dictated by a majority (state, society). It is always on perceptible powers that he builds."

At this stage, Steiner is pointing to authority arising from sense-perceptible illusion. Now he proceeds to grab the fundamentalist by the tail, tearing down the authority of the church and the tyranny of "the Lord" or "Almighty God":

"The man who awakens at last to the conviction that basically these powers are human beings as weak as himself, seeks guidance from a higher power, from a Divine Being, whom he endows, however, with sense perceptible features. He conceives this Being as communicating to him the conceptual content of his moral life, again in a perceptible way -- whether it be, for example, that God appears in the burning bush, or that He moves about among men in manifest human shape, and that their ears can hear Him telling them what to do and what not to do."

What Rudolf Steiner is telling us is that the more a man matures spiritually, the more will he detect hidden tyrants and conquer them. There is another factor involved here of course, described by Erich Fromm in Fear of Freedom. The will to freedom must be the driving power.

Steiner continues:

"The highest stage of development of naïve realism in the sphere of morality is that where the moral commandment (moral idea) is separated from every being other than oneself and is thought of, hypothetically, as being an absolute power in one's own inner life. What man first took to be the external voice of God, he now takes as an independent power within him, and speaks of this inner voice in such a way as to identify it with conscience."

Yes, fasten your seatbelts. Conscience is one of the hidden tyrants that have to be conquered! When the mature man who has truly liberated himself performs a moral act, he is not motivated by the compulsion of conscience, or the police, or his employer, or by any law whatsoever. He is only motivated by love of the action. This is something extremely difficult to grasp for a lot of people, because they are convinced that unfettered freedom leads to license and selfishness. A conviction of this kind inevitably hinders a true grasp or cognition of the very nature of spiritual freedom.

Steiner continues where we left off, namely discussing the man who obeys his conscience as authority:

"But in doing this he has already gone beyond the stage of naïve consciousness into the sphere where the moral laws have become independently existing standards. There they are no longer carried by real bearers, but have become metaphysical entities existing in their own right. They are analogous to the invisible 'visible forces' of metaphysical realism, which does not seek reality through the part of it that man has in his thinking, but hypothetically adds it on to actual experience. These extra-human moral standards always occur as accompanying features of metaphysical realism. For metaphysical realism is bound to seek the origin of morality in the sphere of extra-human reality."

Exactly. When we are no longer primitive materialists, or "naïve realists," conscience is recognized as an external authority, imposed from outside, just like the Department of Justice or the International Monetary Fund, or the church pastor in suit and tie or the robed priest.

So much for the fundies and the metaphysical philosophers. Steiner moves on to take the atheists, or secular humanists, to task:

"Here there are several possibilities. If the hypothetically assumed entity is conceived as in itself unthinking, acting according to purely mechanical laws, as materialism would have it, then it must also produce out of itself, by purely mechanical necessity, the human individual with all his characteristic features. The consciousness of freedom can then be nothing more than an illusion. For though I consider myself the author of my action, it is the matter of which I am composed and the movements going on in it that are working in me. I believe myself free; but in fact all my actions are nothing but the result of the material processes which underlie my physical and mental organization. It is said that we have the feeling of freedom only because we do not know the motives compelling us."

Mercilessly, Rudolf Steiner eradicates the final metaphysical vestiges of obedience and subservience in the pious bourgeois soul. It is worth memorizing for next time someone is trying to drag you into their church:

"'We must emphasize that the feeling of freedom is due to the absence of external compelling motives, , . . Our action is necessitated as is our thinking.' (Ziehen, Leitfaden der physiologischen Psychologie, 1st edition, pp. 207 ff.)

"Another possibility is that a man may picture the extra-human Absolute that lies behind the world of appearances as a spiritual being. In this case he will also seek the impulse for his actions in a corresponding spiritual force. He will see the moral principles to be found in his own reason as the expression of this being itself, which has its own special intentions with regard to man. To this kind of dualist the moral laws appear to be dictated by the Absolute, and all that man has to do is to use his intelligence to find out the decisions of the absolute being and then carry them out. The moral world order appears to the dualist as the perceptible reflection of a higher order standing behind it. Earthly morality is the manifestation of the extra-human world order. It is not man that matters in this moral order, but the being itself, that is, the extra-human entity. Man shall do as this being wills. Eduard von Hartmann, who imagines this being itself as a Godhead whose very existence is a life of suffering, believes that this Divine Being has created the world in order thereby to gain release from His infinite suffering, Hence this philosopher regards the moral evolution of humanity as a process which is there for the redemption of God."

The most important battle is against dualism. You know, the extraterrestials out there, God out there, all that something out there, including the external Christ:

"'Only through the building up of a moral world order by intelligent self-conscious individuals can the world process be led towards its goal. . . , True existence is the incarnation of the Godhead; the world process is the Passion of the incarnated Godhead and at the same time the way of redemption for Him who was crucified in the flesh; morality, however, is the collaboration in the shortening of this path of suffering and redemption.' (Hartmann, Phaenomenologie des sittlichen Bewusstseins, p. 871.)

"Here man does not act because he wants to, but he shall act, because it is God's will to be redeemed. Whereas the materialistic dualist makes man an automaton whose actions are only the result of a purely mechanical system, the spiritualistic dualist (that is, one who sees the Absolute, the Being-in-itself, as something spiritual in which man has no share in his conscious experience) makes him a slave to the will of the Absolute. As in materialism, so also in one-sided spiritualism, in fact in any kind of metaphysical realism inferring but not experiencing something extra-human as the true reality, freedom is out of the question."

Pay careful attention to this:

"Metaphysical as well as naïve realism, consistently followed out, must deny freedom for one and the same reason: they both see man as doing no more than putting into effect, or carrying out, principles forced upon him by necessity."

It is quite obvious that a liberation from hidden inner tyrants of the soul and spirit, and what Steiner specifically refers to elsewhere as "the tyranny of the senses," will entail a corresponding liberation from obedience to external authority of every conceivable kind.

We are getting closer and closer to the anarchist manifesto:

"Naive realism destroys freedom by subjecting man to the authority of a perceptible being or of one conceived on the analogy of a perceptible being, or eventually to the authority of the abstract inner voice which it interprets as 'conscience'; the metaphysician, who merely infers the extra-human reality, cannot acknowledge freedom because he sees man as being determined, mechanically or morally, by a 'Being-in-itself'."

At this point I have to say that I do not understand objections to, or criticism of, the statement that PoF is the Anarchist Bible. I would challenge anyone to disprove it in view of this very text.

"Monism will have to recognize that naïve realism is partially justified because it recognizes the justification of the world of percepts. Whoever is incapable of producing moral ideas through intuition must accept them from others. In so far as a man receives his moral principles from without, he is in fact unfree. But monism attaches as much significance to the idea as to the percept. The idea, however, can come to manifestation in the human individual. In so far as man follows the impulses coming from this side, he feels himself to be free. But monism denies all justification to metaphysics, which merely draws inferences, and consequently also to the impulses of action which are derived from so-called 'Beings-in-themselves'. According to the monistic view, man may act unfreely-when he obeys some perceptible external compulsion; he can act freely, when he obeys none but himself. Monism cannot recognize any unconscious compulsion hidden behind percept and concept. If anyone asserts that the action of a fellow man is done unfreely, then he must identify the thing or the person or the institution within the perceptible world, that has caused the person to act; and if he bases his assertion upon causes of action lying outside the world that is real to the senses and the spirit, then monism can take no notice of it."

Again, I dare you to deny that this is pure anarchism though and through. This is where we arrive:

"According to the monistic view, then, man's action is partly unfree, partly free. He finds himself to be unfree in the world of percepts, and he realizes within himself the free spirit."

Compare this to the title of Harry Brown's exoteric anarchist book, How I found freedom in an unfree world.

And here it is folks - Rudolf Steiner's Declaration of the Sovereign, Inviolable Human Individual, obeying neither gods nor men:

"The moral laws which the metaphysician who works by mere inference must regard as issuing from a higher power, are, for the adherent of monism, thoughts of menfor him the moral world order is neither the imprint of a purely mechanical natural order, nor that of an extra-human world order, but through and through the free creation of men. It is not the will of some being outside him in the world that man has to carry out, but his own; he puts into effect his own resolves and intentions, not those of another being. Monism does not see, behind man's actions, the purposes of a supreme directorate, foreign to him and determining him according to its will, but rather sees that men, in so far as they realize their intuitive ideas, pursue only their own human ends. Moreover, each individual pursues his own particular ends. For the world of ideas comes to expression, not in a community of men, but only in human individuals. What appears as the common goal of a whole group of people is only the result of the separate acts of will of its individual members, and in fact, usually of a few outstanding ones who, as their authorities, are followed by the others. Each one of us has it in him to be a free spirit, just as every rose bud has in it a rose."

"Jeder von uns ist berufen zum freien Geiste, wie jeder Rosenkeim berufen ist, Rose zu werden."
(Each of us has the calling {potential} to become a free spirit, just as each rosebud has the calling to become a rose.)

This last sentence deserves to be repeated in capital letters. For a more lyrical translation, we would write:

"Each one of us is destined to be a free spirit, just like every rosebud is destined to be a rose,"

but that would remove the element of freedom and voluntarism in the given translation:


The key to true freedom, and to anarchism in its pristine form, is monism. What is monism?

"Monism, then, in the sphere of true moral action, is a freedom philosophy. Since it is a philosophy of reality, it rejects the metaphysical, unreal restrictions of the free spirit as completely as it accepts the physical and historical (naïvely real) restrictions of the naïve man. Since it does not consider man as a finished product, disclosing his full nature in every moment of his life, it regards the dispute as to whether man as such is free or not, to be of no consequence. It sees in man a developing being, and asks whether, in the course of this development, the stage of the free spirit can be reached."

In my article in Norwegian about Anthroposophy and anarchism (, I stated my own conclusions from all of this: The Gods are anarchists, and the crown of creation, the goal of evolution on Earth, is the divine anarchist, the free human being. That is why the Gods have withdrawn their authority so that man can stand self-dependently on his own feet and make his own decisions.

Rudolf Steiner concludes this extraordinary chapter:

"Monism knows that Nature does not send man forth from her arms ready made as a free spirit, but that she leads him up to a certain stage from which he continues to develop still as an unfree being until he comes to the point where he finds his own self.

"Monism is quite clear that a being acting under physical or moral compulsion cannot be a truly moral being. It regards the phases of automatic behavior (following natural urges and instincts) and of obedient behavior (following moral standards) as necessary preparatory stages of morality, but it also sees that both these transitory stages can be overcome by the free spirit. Monism frees the truly moral world conception both from the mundane fetters of naïve moral maxims and from the transcendental moral maxims of the speculative metaphysician. Monism can no more eliminate the former from the world than it can eliminate percepts; it rejects the latter because it seeks all the principles for the elucidation of the world phenomena within that world, and none outside it.

"Just as monism refuses even to think of principles of knowledge other than those that apply to men (see Chapter 7), so it emphatically rejects even the thought of moral maxims other than those that apply to men. Human morality, like human knowledge, is conditioned by human nature. And just as beings of a different order will understand knowledge to mean something very different from what it means to us, so will other beings have a different morality from ours. Morality is for the monist a specifically human quality, and spiritual freedom the human way of being moral."

Tarjei Straume

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