Study - Barrier To Learning


Philosophy Of Freedom Study

Barrier To Learning
In the study of The Philosophy Of Freedom there are barriers to learning. One of them is reading a revised edition. The original 1894 edition of Die Philosophie der Freiheit has gone through many revisions and translations over the years that have distanced it from the author's original intention and mood. To understand why this has happened it is necessary to know the two periods of Steiner's life; the scholar period and the occult period. Begining with the publication of the revised 1918 German edition there has been an ongoing effort to revise the book in order to connect it with the spiritual science of the occult period.

"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." Rudolf Steiner, Berlin Oct. 20, 1906

Spiritual science is based on the mystic's clairvoyant perception of the spiritual worlds. The Philosophy Of Freedom is based on verifiable observations of human nature. There is a distinct difference between these two methods of research. One is based on the methods of natural science: observation and analysis. The other, in Rudolf Steiner's case, was based on birth? As a youth he was already having clairvoyant experiences. Attempts by others to develop this clairvoyant ability through exercises has not been fruitful.

All translations based on the revised 1918 German edition are a barrier to learning Steiner's philosophy of life because of the ongoing effort to steer the book in another direction. Currently there is only one edition that is based on the original 1894 Die Philosophie der Freiheit and that is the 1916 English translation by Prof. and Mrs. R. F. A. Hoernle.

Another barrier to learning is bringing in terms and ideas Steiner later used in Anthroposophy. At the writing of The Philosophy Of Freedom the Anthroposophical Society didn't exist. It was formed 20 years later. The nomenclature of The Philosophy Of Freedom is completely different than the nomenclature of Anthroposophy. For example, such terms as “imagination” and “intuition” have completely different meanings.

Michael Wilson explains how the terms have different meanings in his "Notes on the translation" in his translation of the book:

IMAGINATION
In later writings Steiner describes how this ordinary faculty of imagining, or making mental pictures, can be developed to the point where it becomes the faculty of perceiving the creative ideas behind the phenomena of nature. In these later writings “Imagination” becomes a special term to indicate this level of perception, but in The Philosophy Of Freedom the meaning remains near to the ordinary usage.

INTUITION
Intuition is again the same as the German word, and means the faculty and process of grasping concepts, in particular the immediate apprehension of a thought without reasoning. This is the normal English usage, though Steiner uses the term in an exact way, as follows (see Chapter 5, Knowing The World):

In contrast to the content of perception given to us from outside, the content of thought appears within our minds. The form in which thought first appears in consciousness we will call "intuition." Intuition is to thoughts what observation is to percepts. Intuition and observation are the sources of our knowledge.

In later (occult) writings, Steiner describes a clairvoyant stage of perception still higher than that called “Imagination”, the stage of “Intuition” in which one immediately apprehends the reality of other spiritual beings.

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© Tom Last 2017