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A thought selected as a basis for action, untruly

Question by JW:

I have a concern about the overall argument of the Philosophy of Freedom.

Suppose the argument goes something like this. We are free just when our actions are permeated with thinking. Thinking is what insulates our actions from the causal nexus. For if an action has a cause, then it is not free. But in thinking we can find reasons for acting, concepts. 

What should we say about our thinking itself? It too should be capable of being free or unfree. When is it free? It is free when we understand the reasons for our thoughts, or the connections between them. This happens when we select a thought on the basis of its content. Is this process of selection free? Not necessarily. It depends how it is done. What if it is done untruly? Then we have a thought that is selected as a basis for action, untruly, and this provides the appropriate condition for the action to be free.

How can this be?

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What Happens After Bernie Sanders?

Noam Chomsky sees a lot more in the Bernie Sanders campaign than just a presidential run. “Bernie Sanders is doing courageous things and organizing a lot of people,” Chomsky told Abby Martin on Telesur’s "The Empire Files."

“That campaign ought to be directed to sustaining a popular movement which will use the election as an incentive," said Chomsky. "And unfortunately, it’s not. When the election's over, the movements will die. The only thing that’ll ever bring about meaningful change is ongoing, dedicated popular movements which don’t pay attention to the election cycle. It’s an extravaganza every four years but then we go on.”

Rudolf Steiner thought that an understanding of human freedom could be the foundation to sustain a social and political movement. A movement needs core principles to understand itself. What would a list of principles from The Philosophy Of Freedom look like that could sustain a movement? 

How do you turn ETHICAL INDIVIDUALISM into a movement? Spiritual science leaps far beyond TPOF into an unsure "belief" system. Could you connect with the times better with an INDEPENDENT PROGRESSIVE movement as TPOF can be read as contrasting CONSERVATIVES (fixed, traditional) with PROGRESSIVES (change, progress, evolving)

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Majority Of philosophyoffreedom.com Viewers Under 35

Analytics shows that the majority of people who visit this website, philosophyoffreedom.com, are under the age of 35. This is significant as the organization intended to preserve Rudolf Steiner's legacy, the General Anthroposophical Society, is growing more elderly and declining in membership. Steiner's pre-theosophy message of science and Ethical Individualism was ahead of its time and is only now finding a new audience of free spirits that is unreachable by an authoritarian Society. 

philosophyoffreedom.com user age chart

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Rudolf Steiner 1919
Cosmogony, Freedom, Altruism - GA191 Lecture 4 of 15

The man of modern times cannot live instinctively; he must live consciously. He needs a freedom that is real. He needs more than vague talk about freedom; more than the mere verbiage of freedom. He needs that freedom should actually grow into his immediate life and surroundings. This is only possible along roads that lead to ethical individualism.

At the time when my book The Philosophy of Freedom appeared, Eduard von Hartmann wrote to me: “The book ought not to be called ‘The Philosophy of Freedom’ but ‘A Study in Phenomena connected with the Theory of Cognition, and an Ethical Individualism.’ ” For a title of course that would have been rather long-winded; but it would not have been bad to have called it “Ethical Individualism,” for ethical individualism is nothing but the personal realization of freedom. The best people were totally unable to perceive how the actual impulses of the age were calling for the thing that is discussed in that book.

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Study Course Sketch

The Study Course topic pages include a whiteboard where you can use text, paint and pics to create something for fun. To access the whiteboard only, use any...
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Rudolf Steiner Right Before Bed

"I"
can point my finger and wiggle it.
But WHAT is "I"?
WHAT is "WHAT?" for that matter.

When I close my eyes and recite
the words of a poem in my mind,
there is a sound to these words
that cannot be heard by anyone
except myself.
Unless I CHOOSE
to speak them out loud.

And make them real.


So,
do I know something?
Or do I know nothing?
The answer is both yes
and no.
But what does it mean
to KNOW something?


Thinking about the 
THING that thinks.

Thoughts.

I can say YES to them

Or I can say No to them.

It is my choice.

But why do we choose - what we choose?

What is choice?
A chemical release of good or bad hormones?
Is choice biological?
Is it possible that all we really need to change the world,

is a change in diet?

Maybe terror-ISM is related to constipation,

and bad diet.

In addition to

bad thoughts,

leading to bad choices.

This post is what happens when you read

Rudolf  Steiner right before bed.

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New Philosophy Of Freedom Study Course


Philosophy Of Freedom Study Course
I am putting together a new Philosophy Of freedom study course. Some features include:

  • Watch Videos: I will be producing 200 short videos of under 5 minutes that cover each of the main topics in the book. They will be posted at the rate of 1 or 2 per week.
  • Take Quiz: A short quiz of 5-10 questions will accompany each video. The quiz results will be sent in and recorded in each one's file.
  • Work at own pace
  • Cost: Course is free, but participants are encouraged to share what they learn with a study project or by starting a study group.

Tom Last
November 12, 2015

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3-0 To Think Or Not Think

The Philosophy Of Freedom Study Course
Chapter 3 How To Think, Not What To Think
Topic 3-0 To Think, Or Not Think

Chapter 3, "Thinking as A Means Of Gaining Knowledge Of The World", presents 12 topics that describe the thinking process so we can learn what it means to think and the value of thinking. Our knowledge of the world relies upon both observation and thinking, but thinking is different in that for anything to happen, we must first choose to think.

Learn about the Rudolf Steiner study course here.
Comments below.

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Alternate Titles

From understanding the structure of The Philosophy Of Freedom I think I can create a series of personal growth lessons that describe a certain state of life and then describes a higher state. For example, living life as a passive unknowing spectator or as an active doing thinker. I am working on a new test study course video. I have made many but not many that capture interest. The famous Ted Talks are an art in presenting material in a way that interests people. This begins with an interesting title. So I found these study course titles for the first 7 chapters.

1. Where Is Free Will Located? (Conscious Human Action)
2. Owning Your Duality (Why The Desire For Knowledge Is Fundamental)
3. How To Think, Not What To Think (Thought As The Instrument Of Knowledge)
4. Seeing The World As It Isn't (The World As Percept)
5. Knowing The World As It Is (Our Knowledge Of The World)
6. The Importance Of Individuality (Human Individuality)
7. Are There Limits To Knowledge? (Are There Any Limits To Knowledge?)

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Monadist Personality In TPOF

THE MONADIST

By listing the thinking and acting characteristics of the Monadism worldview found in The Philosophy Of Freedom, a personality type unfolds.

Monadism: I am a self-conscious and completely self-dependent ego. Truth is not revealed to outer observation so I do not accept anything as truth from the outside world. A being can build up existence in itself, and force concepts outward (Monads are will entities). Reflects on the spiritual element in the world.

Monadism worldview in Rudolf Steiner's Philosophy Of Freedom
1.9 Monadist action: Know The Reason For Action
Freedom is an action of which the reasons are known by reflecting on the motive before we act.

2.9 Monadist pursuit of knowledge: Know Element Of Nature Within
“Desires to know the element of nature within that corresponds to nature without. We can find Nature outside of us only if we have first learnt to know her within us. The Natural within us must be our guide to her.”

3.9 Monadist thinking: Create Before Knowing
“We must resolutely proceed with thinking, in order afterward, by means of observation of what we ourselves have done, gain knowledge of it.”

4.9 Monadist perception: Only Perceive What My Organization Transmits
“Nothing can any longer be found of what exists outside of me and originally stimulated my sense-organs. The external object, on its way to the brain, and through the brain to the soul, has been entirely lost. What we perceive is something we produce.”

5.9 Monadist knowing: Principle Of Unity Is Ideal Element
“All attempts to discover any other principle of unity in the world than this internally coherent ideal content, which we gain for ourselves by the conceptual analysis of our percepts, are bound to fail.”

6.9 Monadist individual representation of reality: Individual Point Of View
“Each one of us has his special standpoint from which he looks out on the world. His concepts link themselves to his percepts. He has his own special way of forming general concepts.”

7.9 Monadist cognition: Monism
Reality is sum of perceptions and laws of nature. “Monism replaces forces by ideal relations which are supplied by thinking. These relations are the laws of nature. A law of nature is nothing but the conceptual expression for the connection of certain percepts.”

8.9 Monadist personality: Personality Expressed In Will
“Willing Personality: The individual relation of our self to what is objective.”

9.9 monadist idea to act: Individual Element
Expression of ideals in individual way. “The individual element in me is not my organism with its instincts and feelings, but rather the unified world of ideas which reveals itself through this organism. An act the grounds for which lie in the ideal part of my individual nature is free.”

10.9 Monadist moral authority: Stage Of The Free Spirit
“Monism looks upon man as a developing being, and asks whether, in the course of this development, he can reach the stage of the free spirit.”

11.9 Monadist purpose: Formative Principle In Nature
“The structure of every natural object, be it plant, animal, or man, is not determined and conditioned by an idea of it floating in midair, but by the formative principle of the more inclusive whole of Nature which unfolds and organizes itself in a purposive manner.”

12.9 Monadist moral idea: Moral Self-determination
“The life of moral self-determination is the continuation of organic life. The characterizing of an action, whether it is a free one, he must leave to the immediate observation of the action.”

13.9 Monadist value of life: Strength Of Will
Will For Pleasure (intensity of desire) “The question is not at all whether there is a surplus of pleasure or of pain, but whether the will is strong enough to overcome the pain.”

14.9 Monadist individuality: Emancipation Of Knowing
“If we are to understand a free individuality we must take over into our own spirit those concepts by which he determines himself, in their pure form (without mixing our own conceptual content with them).”

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Spiritist Personality In TPOF

THE SPIRITIST (World Of Mind)

By listing the thinking and acting characteristics of the Spiritism worldview found in The Philosophy Of Freedom, a personality type unfolds.

Spiritism: The material world is only a manifestation of the underlying spiritual. By developing our powers, the truth that we seek is revealed through our own inner activity. The way we directly experience the spirit is in the act of thinking. The human spirit is that part of us that thinks.

Spiritism worldview in Rudolf Steiner's Philosophy Of Freedom
1.2 Spiritist action: Freedom Of Choice
Freedom is to make a free choice according to our own wants and preferences.

2.2 Spiritist pursuit of knowledge: Spiritualistic Theory
“The Spiritualist denies Matter (the World) and regards it merely as a product of Mind (the Self). He supposes the whole phenomenal word to be nothing more than a fabric woven by Mind out of itself.”

3.2 Spiritist thinking: Concept Formed Through My Activity
“I am conscious, in the most positive way, that the concept of a thing is formed through my activity.”

4.2 Spiritist perception: Thinking Refers Concept
“When, I, as thinking subject, refer a concept to an object, we must not regard this reference as something purely subjective. It is not the subject, but thinking, that makes the reference.”

5.2 Spiritist knowing: Thinking Assertion
“If I want to assert anything at all about the perception, this can happen only with the help of thinking. If my thought is not applicable to the world, then my result is false.”

6.2 Spiritist individual representation of reality: Thinking Connects An Intuition With The Percept
“The moment a percept appears in my field of consciousness, thought, too, becomes active in me. A member of my thought-system, a definite intuition connects itself with the percept. An idea is nothing but an intuition, a concept, related to a particular percept; it retains this reference to the percept.”

7.2 Spiritist cognition: Cognitive Power Of The Self
“Within ourselves we find the power to discover also the other part of reality. Only when the Self has combined for itself the two elements of reality which are indivisibly bound up with one another in the world, is our thirst for knowledge stilled.”

8.2 Spiritist personality: Perception of Feeling
“Feeling plays on the subjective side exactly the part which percepts play on the objective side. Feeling is the guarantee of the reality of one's own personality.”

9.2 Spiritist idea to act: The Motive Is The Conceptual Factor
“The conceptual factor, or motive, is the momentary determining cause of an act of will. The motive of an act of will can be only a pure concept, or else a concept with a definite relation to perception, i.e., an idea. Motives of will influence the individual make up (characterological disposition) and determine him to action in a particular direction.”

10.2 Spiritist moral authority: Spiritual Force
“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. 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.”

11.2 Spiritist purpose: Conceptual Factor Of Purpose
“If the effect is to have a real influence upon the cause, it can do so only by means of the conceptual factor.”

12.2 Spiritist moral idea: Moral Imagination
“The human being produces concrete mental pictures from the sum of his ideas chiefly by means of the imagination. Therefore what the free spirit needs in order to realize his ideas, in order to be effective, is moral imagination.”

13.2 Spiritist value of life: Pain Of Striving
Pain Of Striving (universal idleness) “Eternal striving, ceaseless craving for satisfaction which is ever beyond reach, this is the fundamental characteristic of all active will. For no sooner is one goal attained, than a fresh need springs up, and soon. Schopenhauer's pessimism leads to complete inactivity; his moral aim is universal idleness.”

14.2 Spiritist individuality: Generic Medium For Individual Expression
“A man develops qualities and activities of his own, and the basis for these we can seek only in the man himself. What is generic in him serves only as a medium in which to express his own individual being.”

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Phenomenalist Personality In TPOF

THE PHENOMENALIST

By listing the thinking and acting characteristics of the Phenomenalism worldview found in The Philosophy Of Freedom, a personality type unfolds.

Phenomenalism: An explanation of the world of phenomena. There is a world spread out around me, but I do not maintain this world is is the real one. I can only say that it 'appears' to me. I am not saying that this world of colors and sounds, which arises only because certain processes in my eyes present themselves to me as colors, while processes in my ears present themselves to me as sounds—I am not saying that this world is the true world. It is a world of phenomena.

Phenomenalism worldview in Rudolf Steiner's Philosophy Of Freedom
1.11 Phenomenalist action: Idealize A Person
“Love depends on the thoughts we form of the loved one. And the more we idealize the loved one in our thoughts, the more joyful is our love.”

2.11 Phenomenalist pursuit of knowledge: Description Of Consciousness
“I have so far not been concerned with any scientific results, but simply with the description of what every one of us experiences in his own consciousness.”

3.11 Phenomenalist thinking: Impartial Consideration Of Thinking
“We must first consider thinking quite impartially without relation to a thinking subject or to an object of thought. There is no denying that thought must be understood before anything else can be understood.”

4.11 Phenomenalist perception: External Perception Is My Idea
“I thought that the percept, just as I perceive it, had objective existence. But now I observe that it disappears with my act of perception, that it is only a modification of my mental state. For as soon as I see clearly that my sense-organs and their activity, my nerve- and soul-processes, can also be known to me only through perception, the argument which I have outlined reveals itself in its full absurdity.”

5.11 Phenomenalist knowing: Conceptual Connections Of Percepts
“Other than what is immediately perceived, we cannot speak of there being anything except what is known through the conceptual connections between the percepts—connections that are accessible to thinking.”

6.11 Phenomenalist individual representation of reality: Education Of Feelings
“Man is meant to be a whole. Knowledge of objects will go hand-in-hand with the development and education of the feeling-side of his nature.”

7.11 Phenomenalist cognition: Sum of Effects and Underlying Causes
Inductive inference “This kind of conclusion infers, from a sum of effects, the character of their underlying causes.”

8.11 Phenomenalist personality: Ideal Principle And Real Experience Of Feeling and Willing
“Besides the ideal principle which is accessible to knowledge, there is said to be a real principle which cannot be apprehended by thinking but can yet be experienced in feeling and willing.”

9.11 Phenomenalist idea to act: Free And Unfree Actions
“Our life is made up of free and unfree actions. We cannot, however, form a final and adequate concept of human nature without coming upon the free spirit as its purest expression.”

10.11 Phenomenalist moral authority: Illumine The Phenomena Of The World
“Monism regards the transition through automatic behavior (according to natural drives and instincts) and through obedient behavior (according to moral norms) as necessary preliminary stages for morality, but sees the possibility of surmounting both transitional stages through the free spirit. And it rejects the latter because monism seeks within the world all the principles of explanation which it needs to illumine the phenomena of the world, and seeks none outside it.”

11.11 Phenomenalist purpose: Coherence Within Whole
“The orderly coherence of the members of a perceptual whole is nothing more than the ideal (logical) coherence of the members of the ideal whole which is contained in this perceptual whole.”

12.11 Phenomenalist moral idea: Depends On External Circumstances
“Whether I am able to do, i.e., to make real, what I will, i.e., what I have set before myself as my idea of action, that depends on external circumstances and on my technical skill.”

13.11 Phenomenalist value of life: Highest Pleasure Is The Realization Of Moral Ideals
“Moral ideals spring from the moral imagination of man. They are his intuitions, the driving forces which his spirit harnesses; he wants them, because their realization is his highest pleasure.”

14.11 Phenomenalist individuality: Ethical Conduct
“Only that part of his conduct that springs from his intuitions can have ethical value in the true sense.”

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© Tom Last 2017