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The Human Ideal

Wise ones throughout history have given humanity a picture of the Human Ideal to strive for, such as religious saints like Jesus in the Gospels or Ayn Rand's selfish individualist. Rudolf Steiner presents to the world a new Human Ideal for our age. Part I of the book describes THE FREE THINKER while Part II describes THE FREE SPIRIT. The Human Ideal is when they are united.

Update 1


presented in


The Knower


elements of

The Doer


1. Conscious Human Action




14. The Individual
And The Genus

2. Why The Desire For
Knowledge Is Fundamental




13. The Value Of Life

3. Thought As The
Instrument Of Knowledge




12. Moral Imagination

4. The World As Percept




11. World Purpose And Life Purpose

5. Our Knowledge Of The World




10. Monism And The Philosophy Of Freedom

6. Human Individuality




9. The Idea Of Freedom

7. Are There Any Limits To Knowledge?




8. The Factors Of Life

How can we get along?  HARMONY OF INTENTIONS A moral misunderstanding, a clash of aims, is impossible between those who are free.

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Creator Collaboration

I recently posted some videos on YouTube on current social and political topics. It was suggested I get more people involved in this for feedback, topic ideas, and participation such as a co-host and guests. With more participation the YouTube videos could generate more interest. This post is for discussion about this. If needed I can set up a creator group within the website for this purpose.

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Philosophy Influences Politics

Maybe I will spend my time taking on Ayn Rand and her influence in politics by offering an alternative philosophy.

Ayn Rand’s philosophy of “selfish individualism” now dominates the thinking of the leadership of the conservative movement and the Republican Party. She claims to know the human being. Maybe I will contrast her selfish individualism with another philosophy of “ethical individualism”. Political platforms are an expression of values. The Republican platform is strongly influenced by Ayn Rand’s values. Are progressive values rooted in a different understanding of the human being?

“Man — every man — is an end in himself, not the means to the ends of others. He must exist for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself. The pursuit of his own rational self-interest and of his own happiness is the highest moral purpose of his life.”
–Ayn Rand, 1962

“If a man strives towards sublimely great ideals, it is because such ideals are the content of his being, and to realize them brings an enjoyment compared with which the pleasure that is drawn from the satisfaction of commonplace needs is a mere nothing. Idealists delight in translating their ideals into reality.” –Rudolf Steiner, 1894

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Script Draft For Chapter 1 Introduction Video

The Philosophy Of Freedom, Chapter One Conscious Human Action

This video is an introduction to Chapter One of The Philosophy Of Freedom; Conscious Human Action.
It begins with the question, Are we free in our thought and action, or inescapably controlled by necessity?

The common belief among people is that we are free.
Freedom is implied in many of the things we say, and many of the attitudes we take.
Suppose tomorrow is a holiday.
You are considering what to do.
You can hike up a mountain or stay home and read a book.
You can fix your bike or go visit the zoo.
I appears obvious to us that we are free to determine our action, at least some of the time.

You also believe in freedom if you believe in morality.
Morality is based on free choice, the ability to choose between right and wrong.

We cannot hold people morally responsible for their actions if they are not free to make choices.
How can we justify the judgment of others unless we believe in free will.
Without free will we would be automatons who simply did whatever we were pre-programmed by nature or society to do.

Religion teaches that the Divine Creator gave free will to everyone.
Its as simple as that!
The downside of such a belief is that it is not based on knowledge.
It is faith.

Science demands more than belief.
Scientists deny free will by the fact that we are physical creatures in a physical world subject to well established natural laws.
Why would the uniformity of natural law be broken in the field of human action?
Since our action is a part of the world it is subject to the laws of cause and effect just as everything else is.
It is hard to deny that we are directed by laws of conduct when our behavior is caused by motivations, temperament, physiological processes, environmental conditions, and so on.
Religion accepts free will on faith while science rejects free will on the evidence provided by research.

But what exactly do we mean by free will?
The discussion of free will is rich and remarkable with 100's of different meanings given to freedom.
Whether freedom is even possible depends on what you mean by the word ‘free’.
Are we free when we can do whatever we wish or is freedom somehow related to quantum chance?

We can narrow down the question of freedom by asking, What is a freedom worth having?
A freedom worth having would not be vague or questionable but scientifically verifiable.
It would need to be a science of freedom that could be clearly explained and experienced.
It would be a freedom that described the advance of evolution up to the ethical individual without the need of some kind of supernatural intervention.

The purpose of The Philosophy Of Freedom is to establish a science of freedom that guides the unfoldment of free ethical individuals.
A knowledge of freedom can be used to create social and political forms that support human development and well-being.
The Philosophy Of Freedom Study Course will attempt to describe the gradual step by step development toward human freedom.

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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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Analytics shows that the majority of people who visit this website,, 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. 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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© Tom Last 2017