C1 Intentional and Informed Action
The Philosophy of Freedom By Rudolf Steiner
Chapter 1, Conscious Human Action
"To transform the unfree realm into the realm of free activity is the task of self-development."
Intentional and Informed Action
• Cultivate self-awareness and understanding of the motives and reasons behind one's actions, embracing the interconnectedness of thoughts, desires, and choices, while striving for alignment with personal values and goals.
This self-actualization principle emphasizes the importance of knowing why one acts, recognizing the influence of internal and external factors, and taking responsibility for one's choices. It encourages individuals to develop a conscious and intentional approach to their actions, grounded in self-reflection and a deeper understanding of their values, desires, and thought processes.
Summary of Chapter 1 Conscious Human Action
The debate on human freedom and free will revolves around whether humans can act freely or are driven by necessity. Key to understanding this debate is examining the role of thinking and the origin of our thoughts. Human actions, when rising above purely animal desires, are shaped by thoughts, which even influences motives such as love, compassion, and patriotism.
For example, love is influenced by thoughts; more idealistic thoughts lead to more blissful love. Love can make us blind to flaws but also help us see good qualities in others, with our perception of these qualities awakening love in our hearts.
Investigating the origin of our thoughts is essential in addressing questions about the nature of human action and the concept of free will. It helps clarify the distinctions between conscious and unconscious motivations and how they affect our actions.
Conscious Human Action and Its Role in Self-Actualization
Understanding the question of freedom and the role of thinking in shaping human actions is crucial for self-actualization. It allows individuals to gain a deeper awareness of their own motivations, choices, and actions. By reflecting on why we act, we become more aware of our motives and can make more informed decisions that align with our personal values and aspirations.
Self-actualization involves realizing one's full potential, requiring introspection and understanding of the factors influencing our behavior. By exploring the concept of free will and the distinction between conscious and unconscious motivations, individuals can increase the areas in their lives where they have control. To transform unfree activity into free activity is the task of self-development. This empowers us to make choices that facilitate personal growth, fulfillment, and a sense of purpose.
Lucas was a hardworking, ambitious young man who always seemed to be striving for the next milestone in his life. He had an excellent job as a marketing manager for a tech company, a loving family, and a close circle of friends, yet he couldn't shake the feeling that something was missing. Despite his achievements, he struggled to find a sense of fulfillment and purpose.
One rainy Saturday afternoon, while browsing through a bookstore, Lucas stumbled upon a book about self-actualization. Intrigued, he picked it up and began to read about the principle of "Intentional and Informed Action." This idea of cultivating self-awareness and understanding the motives and reasons behind one's actions resonated with him deeply. He realized that although he had been successful in various aspects of his life, he had never taken the time to seriously examine the question of freedom. What was the true motivation of his deeds and how did it arise?
Determined to make a change, Lucas decided to devote more time to self-reflection and introspection. He began journaling about his thoughts, emotions, and desires, making an effort to understand the origin of his motivations. As he did so, he discovered that many of his past actions had been driven by unconscious motives, such as seeking validation or conforming to societal expectations. For example, he realized that his decision to pursue a career in marketing was primarily influenced by his desire for financial stability and social recognition, rather than a genuine interest in the field.
Recognizing the importance of conscious human action and its role in self-actualization, Lucas started to make more informed decisions that aligned with his personal values and aspirations. He began to prioritize his own well-being, setting aside time for self-care and activities that he genuinely enjoyed, such as painting and hiking in nature. He also made an effort to strengthen his relationships with friends and family, focusing on meaningful connections rather than superficial interactions.
One practical change that Lucas made was to reassess his career goals. He realized that his passion for creativity was not being fulfilled in his current job. So, he decided to take up a part-time course in graphic design, hoping to eventually transition into a more fulfilling career in the creative industry.
As Lucas continued to apply the principle of "Intentional and Informed Action" to his life, he noticed a significant shift in his mindset and overall well-being. He felt more in control of his actions and decisions, and he began to experience a newfound sense of purpose and fulfillment. By continually reflecting on his thoughts and motivations, he made better-informed decisions that aligned with his values and contributed to his personal growth.
By applying the principle of "Intentional and Informed Action," Lucas not only transformed his own life but also inspired those around him to embark on their own journeys of self-discovery and growth. By fostering self-awareness, understanding the interconnectedness of thoughts, desires, and choices, and striving to align deeds with personal values and goals, Lucas found the fulfillment and purpose he had been searching for throughout his life.
"What are the true motivations behind my actions, and how can I align them with my personal values and goals to create a more fulfilling and purposeful life?"
Chapter 1 Conscious Human Action
1.0 The Question Of Freedom - From the illusion of freedom to the freedom of knowing why you act.
Is a human being free in thought and action, or compelled by the unyielding necessity of natural law? The debate over human freedom continues to divide opinion, with some seeing it as an obvious fact and others insisting that it is an illusion and that natural law determines human behavior. There are endless distinctions made to reconcile these opposing views. The question's significance spans various aspects of life, including religion, behavior, and science, and is deeply felt by individuals with depth of character.
Steps toward Intentional and Informed Action
Freedom Of Indifferent Choice
Freedom Of Choice
Free Necessity Of One's Nature
Conduct Of Character
Ability To Do What You Want
Unconditioned Will Impulse
Force Of Heart
Seeing The Good
□ Step 1.1 Freedom Of Indifferent Choice - From illusion of indifferent choice to awareness of the compelling reason.
Some argue that science has demonstrated freedom to be an illusion, implying that our choices do not genuinely matter. However, this perspective is overly simplistic and merely acknowledges the evident fact that our choices are influenced by particular reasons.
The view of "freedom of indifferent choice" implies that freedom cannot be about arbitrarily selecting between two paths, as specific reasons always underlie each option. Contemporary thinkers largely concur that indifferent choice does not contribute to determining the moral value of human behavior and character, as intention is crucial for moral accountability.
The critical question is whether we are conscious of these reasons. Philosophers have long understood that freedom cannot merely consist of choosing, entirely at will, between two courses of action; it must also encompass comprehending the reason behind our decisions.
Freedom of indifferent choice: This is the freedom of license to choose entirely at will between two possible courses of action. It refers to the ability to make decisions without any constraint or influence, often in situations where the alternatives appear to be of equal value or insignificance.
Illusion of freedom: We are not free because there is always an underlying reason that compels the choice of action. Scientific research shows we are likely unaware of the real reason for our action.
Act out of knowledge: An indifferent choice does not have moral value and does not express moral character.
Scenario: Choosing a shirt
1. Freedom - Indifferent choice: The materialist freely chooses a blue shirt without any specific reason, as both blue and black shirts seem equally suitable.
2. Analysis - Illusion of Freedom: They opt for the blue shirt because it unconsciously reminds them of the calming effect of the sky or ocean, influencing their decision.
Scenario: Picking a pen
1. Freedom - Indifferent choice: The materialist freely picks a pen from a cup full of identical pens at the bank without any conscious thought.
2. Analysis - Illusion of Freedom: They unconsciously pick a pen on the right side of the cup because they are right-handed and naturally reach for things on the right.
Scenario: Picking an Ice Cream Flavor
1. Freedom - Indifferent choice: The materialist freely chooses between two ice cream flavors they have never tried before, simply for the novelty of the experience.
2. Analysis - Illusion of Freedom: They select a specific ice cream flavor because it reminds them of a childhood memory or a flavor their friend recommended.
Scenario: Taking a Different Route
1. Freedom - Indifferent choice: The materialist freely decides to take a different route to work one day, just for a change of scenery.
2. Analysis - Illusion of Freedom: They unconsciously take a different route to avoid a location that brings up negative memories or feelings.
Scenario: Deciding between walking or taking the bus
1. Freedom - Indifferent choice: The materialist freely chooses whether to walk or take the bus for a short distance without any specific reason, as the weather is pleasant, and the cost of the bus ride is minimal.
2. Analysis - Illusion of Freedom: They unconsciously decide to walk because they overheard a conversation earlier in the day about the benefits of exercise, which subtly influences their choice.
Scenario: Selecting a book to read
1. Freedom - Indifferent choice: The materialist freely chooses between two equally interesting and similarly lengthy books without any particular reason.
2. Analysis - Illusion of Freedom: They unconsciously select a book because the title or book cover reminds them of a topic they are interested in or a previous enjoyable read.
□ Step 1.2 Freedom Of Choice - From illusion of free choice to awareness of the desire.
According to the belief in free choice, we have control over our decisions and can choose what we want or don't want in life. But when we look closely at how our minds work, we find that we do not control what we desire or not desire. We are not free because our choice is determined by our desire.
Freedom of choice: We are free to choose as we please.
Illusion of freedom: We are not free because our choice is compelled by our desire.
Act out of knowledge: The analysis of consciousness is necessary to explore the question of freedom.
Scenario: Engaging in Spiritual Conversations
1. Freedom - Freedom of Choice: The spiritist freely initiates conversations about spirituality with friends and acquaintances.
2. Analysis - Illusion of Freedom: The choice is driven by a desire to appear knowledgeable and wise, rather than an authentic sharing of spiritual insights.
Scenario: Picking a Spiritual Guide or Mentor
1. Freedom - Freedom of Choice: The spiritist independently selects a spiritual guide or mentor to help them on their journey.
2. Analysis - Illusion of Freedom: The choice is influenced by a desire for guidance or approval from an authority figure.
Scenario: Participating in Spiritual Workshops
1. Freedom - Freedom of Choice: The spiritist freely chooses to sign up for a spiritual workshop or retreat.
2. Analysis - Illusion of Freedom: The choice is driven by a need for a vacation or escape from daily life, rather than an earnest desire for spiritual growth.
Scenario: Attending a Spiritual Gathering
1. Freedom - Freedom of Choice: The spiritist freely selects a spiritual gathering or event to attend based on personal beliefs.
2. Analysis - Illusion of Freedom: The choice is driven by a desire for status or recognition within a specific community.
Scenario: Deciding to Join a Spiritual Community
1. Freedom - Freedom of Choice: The spiritist freely chooses to become a member of a specific spiritual community.
2. Analysis - Illusion of Freedom: The choice is influenced by a desire for social connection or a sense of belonging.
Scenario: Volunteer or Donate
1. Freedom - Freedom of Choice: A person freely considers whether to volunteer or donate to a specific cause.
2. Analysis - Illusion of Freedom: The choice to volunteer or donate is driven by a desire for social or moral validation, affecting the person's decision.
□ Step 1.3 Free Necessity Of One's Nature - From illusion of free necessity to awareness of external causes.
This argument against freedom states that everything in the world, including human actions, is determined by external factors rather than free will. It uses the analogy of a stone, which has no choice but to move when hit by an external force, suggesting that human desires are similarly influenced by factors beyond their control. The illusion of freedom arises because people are conscious of their desires but may not understand the underlying causes that determine those desires. Thus, the argument implies that just as the stone has no choice in its movement, humans too lack true freedom in their actions.
This view overlooks the fact that humans can become aware of the reasons for their actions. There is a difference between acting without knowing why and acting with full transparency of the reasons behind the action. Humans have the ability to understand and know the reasons behind their actions.
Free necessity: We are free when we exist and act out of the necessity of our nature, when we are act naturally.
Illusion of freedom: We are not free because our nature is compelled, having been conditioned by external causes to exist and to react in a fixed and exact way.
Act out of knowledge: A motive of action known in full transparency, does not compel in the same way as the compulsion of an organic process.
Scenario: Basic needs
1. Freedom - Free necessity: The realist freely expresses themselves by eating, drinking, sleeping, seeking shelter, and engaging in reproductive activities.
2. Analysis - Illusion of Freedom: Satisfying these needs is driven by the urges of nature, prompting individuals to fulfill their basic necessities.
Scenario: Social norms
1. Freedom - Free necessity: The realist freely expresses themselves as a courteous person by holding the door open for someone else at a store.
2. Analysis - Illusion of Freedom: The courteous reaction is driven by societal conditioning, which dictates that holding doors open is a polite behavior, rather than being an expression of their unique individuality.
Scenario: Watching a Disturbing News Report
1. Freedom - Free necessity: The realist freely expresses themselves as a compassionate person by reacting with concern and empathy upon seeing a news report about a tragic event.
2. Analysis - Illusion of Freedom: The compassionate reaction is conditioned by the collective emotions and expectations of their community or society, which have shaped their understanding of how one should respond to such events, rather than being a reflection of their unique individuality.
Scenario: Discussing a Book
1. Freedom - Free necessity: The realist freely expresses themselves by arguing that the book perpetuates racial stereotypes, feeling that their reaction represents their genuine commitment to racial justice.
2. Analysis - Illusion of Freedom: The reaction is influenced by ideological conditioning of critical theory, which has conditioned them to interpret literature through the lens of race and racism.
Scenario: Attending a Social Gathering
1. Freedom - Free necessity: The realist freely expresses themselves by calling out a sexist comment made by a guest, feeling that their response is an authentic expression of their commitment to gender equality.
2. Analysis - Illusion of Freedom: The reaction is shaped by ideological conditioning of radical feminism, which has conditioned them to challenge even casual remarks as manifestations of sexism.
Scenario: Consumer choices
1. Freedom - Free necessity: The realist freely expresses themselves as an environmentally responsible person by selecting an eco-friendly brand of cleaning product.
2. Analysis - Illusion of Freedom: The eco-friendly reaction is influenced by advertising campaigns and societal pressure towards environmental consciousness, swaying the person's preferences.
□ Step 1.4 Conduct Of Character - From illusion of freedom through character to awareness of the characterological disposition.
People often think that they can make decisions freely without being influenced by things around them. However, this is not entirely true. Although we can decide whether to accept or reject ideas presented to us, our decision-making is not completely random. It is actually influenced by an individual's established character, meaning that the decision to accept or reject an idea is predetermined by our personality. Therefore, our choices are not entirely free and can be influenced by both our character and external factors.
Conduct of character: We are free when we adopt an idea to act only if our character is such that this idea arouses a desire in us to act.
Illusion of freedom: We are not free because the idea is turned into a motive according to the necessity of our characterological disposition.
Act out of knowledge: Some motives we choose to follow only after we have thought about them and decided they are important to us. Other motives we follow without really knowing why.
1. Freedom - Conduct of character: The idealist's character gives them a strong sense of responsibility and ownership, they freely refuse to conform to the lack of accountability prevalent in their high-poverty neighborhood.
2. Analysis - Illusion of Freedom: Their mentor's teachings on leadership has shaped their character, leading them to embrace responsibility and accountability.
Scenario: Value of competition
1. Freedom - Conduct of character: The idealist rejects the idea of everyone getting a trophy, freely supporting the sports league's decision to value competition as it helps individuals reach their potential.
2. Analysis - Illusion of Freedom: Their coach's teachings have shaped their character, leading them to embrace the value of competition.
1. Freedom - Conduct of character: The idealist accepts their friend's suggestion to take responsibility for a mistake they made, freely expressing themselves as a person of character with values of honesty and accountability.
2. Analysis - Illusion of Freedom: Their church teachings have instilled these values, guiding their decision to accept responsibility and act with honesty.
Scenario: Opposing discrimination
1. Freedom - Conduct of character: Due to their opposition to reverse discrimination, the idealist freely rejects a company executive's suggestion to stop hiring certain people because of the color of their skin to achieve equity.
2. Analysis - Illusion of Freedom: Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech advocating for color blindness has shaped their character, leading them to oppose discrimination in all its forms.
1. Freedom - Conduct of character: The idealist rejects their classmate's idea of cheating in school, freely expressing themselves as a person of character with a strong sense of integrity.
2. Analysis - Illusion of Freedom: Their parents' emphasis on the importance of honest work has shaped their character, leading them to act with integrity.
Scenario: Delayed gratification
1. Freedom - Conduct of character: The idealist rejects the idea of instant gratification promoted by advertisements, freely expressing themselves as a person of character who values delayed gratification and hard work.
2. Analysis - Illusion of Freedom: The author of a self-development book has instilled these values, guiding their decision to prioritize hard work and delayed gratification.
□ Step 1.5 Conscious Motive - From action resulting from an unconscious motive to a conscious motive.
When we consciously make a decision to act, it is different from when we impulsively do something without thinking about it. If we think before we act, the action should be judged differently than if we just act impulsively without any thought.
We tend to separate two aspects of ourselves that should be considered as a whole: the human being. We divide ourselves into the person who does things and the person who knows things, but we forget about the most important part — the "knowing doer" who acts out of knowledge.
Conscious motive: We are free when an action is the result of a conscious motive, rather than one that springs from blind urge.
Illusion of freedom: While we may be conscious of the motive, we are not free if we do not have full knowledge of the motive.
Act out of knowledge: The knower knows what needs to be done but often does not do it. The doer acts without fully know what they are doing. The important person is the knowing doer, the one who acts based on their knowledge.
Scenario: Cooking a complex dish
Case 1 - The Knower: The mathematist meticulously calculates the precise measurements and cooking times for each ingredient in a complex recipe but doesn't actually cook the dish.
Case 2 - The Doer: Another person, eager to cook the same dish, struggles to follow the recipe due to their lack of precise measurements, resulting in a less-than-perfect meal.
Scenario: Preparing for a job interview
Case 1 - The Knower: The mathematist calculates the most effective preparation techniques and responses for a job interview but doesn't attend the interview.
Case 2 - The Doer: A job candidate attends the same interview without considering the calculated preparation techniques, leading to a less successful interview performance.
Scenario: Assembling a puzzle
Case 1 - The Knower: The mathematist calculates the most efficient method to assemble a complex jigsaw puzzle but doesn't put the pieces together.
Case 2 - The Doer: An eager puzzle enthusiast tries to assemble the same puzzle without considering the most efficient method, resulting in a slow and frustrating process.
Scenario: Building a treehouse
Case 1 - The Knower: The mathematist designs the perfect treehouse with accurate calculations for weight distribution and structural stability but never actually builds it.
Case 2 - The Doer: An eager parent tries to build the same treehouse without the necessary calculations, resulting in a structurally unsound treehouse.
Scenario: Predicting weather patterns
Case 1 - The Knower: The mathematist accurately calculates the probability of different weather patterns for the upcoming week but doesn't use the information to plan any activities.
Case 2 - The Doer: A person planning an outdoor event does not consider the calculated weather patterns and experiences unexpected weather disruptions during their event.
Scenario: Planning a home renovation
Case 1 - The Knower: The mathematist calculates the optimal materials, budget, and timeline for a home renovation project but doesn't undertake the project.
Case 2 - The Doer: A homeowner begins the same home renovation project without considering the optimal calculations, resulting in a costly and time-consuming process.
□ Step 1.6 Practical Decision - From rational life decision to awareness of rational necessity.
A person is free when they are able to make choices based on their thoughts and decisions, rather than letting instinctive cravings control them. This kind of freedom comes from being able to set goals for yourself and make decisions based on what your reasoning concludes is best.
The real question is whether the goals we set have as much control over us as our basic needs like hunger and thirst. If a rational decision happens to me without my participation and I feel like I have no choice but to obey it, then my freedom is an illusion.
Practical decision: We are free when we determine our life and action according to purpose and practical decisions.
Illusion of freedom: We are not free if the goals we set exert the same level of compulsion over a person as their animal cravings.
Act out of knowledge: If a rational decision occurs with the same compulsion as the urge of hunger or thirst, then my freedom is an illusion.
Scenario: Building a Rube Goldberg machine
1. Freedom - Practical decision: The rationalist critically evaluates various creative projects and freely decides to build a complex Rube Goldberg machine to foster creativity and problem-solving skills.
2. Analysis - Illusion of Freedom: The builder becomes fixated on perfecting the machine, letting it consume their thoughts and time, leading to a loss of freedom.
Scenario: Participating in an extreme endurance race
1. Freedom - Practical decision: The rationalist athlete weighs the pros and cons of various physical challenges, freely deciding to compete in an extreme endurance race to test their physical and mental limits.
2. Analysis - Illusion of Freedom: The athlete becomes overly consumed with training for the race, sacrificing other aspects of their life, leading to a loss of freedom.
Scenario: Collecting rare insects
1. Freedom - Practical decision: The rationalist analyzes different hobbies and freely chooses to collect and catalog rare insects to deepen their understanding of biodiversity.
2. Analysis - Illusion of Freedom: The collector becomes excessively focused on their insect collection, neglecting other responsibilities, causing a loss of freedom.
Scenario: Sales performance
1. Freedom - Practical decision: The rationalist salesperson evaluates their sales performance and freely concludes their poor sales is due to an economic downturn.
2. Analysis - Illusion of Freedom: The salesperson's outcome of thinking was compelled by self-serving bias, the tendency to attribute negative outcomes to external factors.
Scenario: Career choices
1. Freedom - Practical decision: The rationalist woman critically examines various career fields and freely decides to pursue a career in a field that is typically male-dominated.
2. Analysis - Illusion of Freedom: The woman's outcome of thinking was compelled by seeking recognition for breaking gender barriers, rather than their own values and beliefs.
1. Freedom - Practical decision: The rationalist voter analyzes different political platforms and freely decides to support policies that will raise their taxes.
2. Analysis - Illusion of Freedom: The voter's conclusion to support policies that raise their taxes was compelled due to the fear of being ostracized by their friends if they support policies that benefit the wealthy.
□ Step 1.7 Ability To Do What You Want: From ability to do what you want to awareness of the necessity of the strongest motive.
To be free is not the ability to determine what one wants, but the ability to do what one wants.
Does this make any sense? The idea of "wanting" is closely related to "motive," which is the reason behind why someone does something. Without a motive, willing is an empty capacity. This means that the human will is not completely free, since our actions are often influenced by the strongest motive.
If a motive compels me to act because it's the "strongest" among other motives, the idea of freedom becomes irrelevant. The main concern isn't whether I can or cannot do something once influenced by the motive, but if all motives work with unavoidable necessity. If I'm forced to want something, it doesn't matter if I can do it or not. If my character and surroundings push a motive on me that I find unreasonable, I'd be happy if I can't achieve it.
Ability to do what you want: Freedom is not the ability to determine what you want because our action is always determined by the strongest motive. Freedom is to have the means and skills to do what you want.
Illusion of freedom: We are not free if we are forced by the strongest motive to do it.
Act out of knowledge: The crucial inquiry is whether all motives function with an unavoidable sense of necessity. The question is not whether I can carry out a decision once made, but how the decision comes about within me.
Scenario: Musical performance
1. Freedom - Ability to do: The psycheist is driven to perform a complex piano piece in a concert and freely practices diligently. However, they fail to deliver a successful performance.
2. Analysis - Illusion of Freedom: Once a child prodigy, expectations push them to pursue this goal, even though they don't truly enjoy playing the piano anymore. This conflict causes feelings of hopelessness hindering their performance.
Scenario: Family restaurant
1. Freedom - Ability to do: The psycheist is highly motivated to take over the family restaurant and freely acquires the management skills and resources. Yet, the restaurant fails to thrive.
2. Analysis - Illusion of Freedom: They pursue this goal to make their parents' proud, but their true passion is in a different field. The relationship conflict prevents them from fully committing to the restaurant's success.
Scenario: Completing a marathon
1. Freedom - Ability to do: The psycheist sets a goal to complete a marathon and freely trains rigorously. Despite their physical readiness and commitment, they fail to finish the race.
2. Analysis - Illusion of Freedom: They feel pressured to participate in the marathon to raise funds for a cause, but they find running unenjoyable. Feelings of stress and guilt prevents them from completing the race.
Scenario: Writing a novel
1. Freedom - Ability to do: The psycheist hones their writing skills and freely isolates themselves in a secluded cabin to write a novel. Yet, they fail to complete the manuscript.
2. Analysis - Illusion of Freedom: They pursue this goal to fulfill a childhood dream, but they now find the task daunting and unappealing. Their confusion prevents them from finishing the novel.
Scenario: Getting a promotion
1. Freedom - Ability to do: The psycheist works long hours to earn a promotion at work and freely acquires the necessary skills and experience. However, they don't secure the promotion.
2. Analysis - Illusion of Freedom: They are driven by their wife's expectations, but they don't truly desire the promotion due to the increased stress and responsibility. Feelings of resentment prevents them from achieving their goal.
Scenario: Mastering public speaking
1. Freedom - Ability to do: The psycheist freely gives up their day off to join a club of public speaking in order to practice their skills and become an excellent public speaker. Despite their efforts, they fail to deliver a compelling speech.
2. Analysis - Illusion of Freedom: They feel forced to improve their public speaking due to job requirements, but they're uncomfortable with the spotlight. The stress caused by job pressure inhibits their success.
□ Step 1.8 Unconditioned Will Impulse - From illusion of unconditioned will to awareness of the invisible cause.
What makes humans unique is our ability to think and reason logically. Other animals also engage in activities, but humans have the ability to think and reason in a way that is distinct from all other animals. Comparing human actions to those of animals does not help us understand the concept of freedom. To what misunderstandings this view leads is seen here:
They tell us the will is the cause of the donkey’s turning around, and that it's will is itself unconditioned; it is an absolute spontaneous beginning. They think that human freedom works the same way as the donkey's will. But this belief in freedom is only because they can't see the internal causes inside the brain that makes us act a certain way. They can't see the determining cause, and so believe it doesn't exist.
Unconditioned will impulse: We are free when an unconditioned and spontaneous will impulse determines our action. This is a first cause, an absolute beginning.
Illusion of freedom: We are not free if we are not aware of the determining cause, and so believe it doesn't exist.
Act out of knowledge: Become aware of the reasons for action. Human actions can be the result of a conscious thought process.
Scenario: Enchanted Garden
1. Freedom - Spontaneous action: The pneumatist, while wandering through a beautiful garden, suddenly feels a strong impulse to dance. They twirl and sway, embracing the spirit and feeling an intense sense of freedom.
2. Analysis - Illusion of Freedom: Unknown to them, the impulse to dance was triggered by a childhood memory associated with the scent of the flowers in the garden.
Scenario: Sudden Creativity
1. Freedom - Spontaneous action: The pneumatist feels an unexpected urge to paint and creates a beautiful piece of art that leaves them feeling liberated and in touch with the spirit of the world.
2. Analysis - Illusion of Freedom: This urge to paint is actually triggered by a subconscious desire to express unresolved emotions from a recent event in their life.
Scenario: Unplanned Journey
1. Freedom - Spontaneous action: The pneumatist impulsively buys a one-way ticket to a foreign country, excited about the adventure and the freedom it offers.
2. Analysis - Illusion of Freedom: This desire to travel is deeply rooted in their need to escape their current reality, which they are not aware of.
Scenario: Seaside Adventure
1. Freedom - Spontaneous action: The pneumatist is strolling along a beach and feels a spontaneous urge to build a sandcastle. They happily spend hours creating an elaborate masterpiece, feeling liberated and connected to the spirit of the world.
2. Analysis - Illusion of Freedom: They don't realize that their desire to build a sandcastle stems from an unconscious need to regain a sense of control, stemming from feelings of powerlessness in other areas of their life.
Scenario: Serendipitous Encounter
1. Freedom - Spontaneous action: The pneumatist, walking through a forest, stumbles upon a small waterfall and feels an intense connection to the spirit of the world, meditating in the tranquil setting.
2. Analysis - Illusion of Freedom: The beauty of the waterfall reminds them of a scene from a favorite book, creating a false sense of spiritual connection that is rooted in nostalgia rather than true freedom.
Scenario: Philanthropic Impulse
1. Freedom - Spontaneous action: The pneumatist feels an inexplicable drive to volunteer at a local soup kitchen, enjoying the sense of freedom that comes from selfless giving.
2. Analysis - Illusion of Freedom: This desire to help others is actually the result of their unconscious need to feel appreciated and valued, stemming from a lack of validation in their life.
□ Step 1.9 Known Reason - From known reason to knowing the origin of the thought.
An action can't be considered free if we don't know why we're doing it. To understand the freedom of an action when we do know the reasons, we still need to further explore the origin of the reason and the meaning of thinking. By learning how our mind thinks, we can understand what it means to know something and the role of knowledge in shaping human actions and making them uniquely human.
Known reason: We are free when the reasons for why we act are known.
Illusion of freedom: We are not free if we don't know the origin of the reason for taking action.
Act out of knowledge: We are not free if we don't understand the important role of knowledge in making action uniquely human.
Scenario: The Nature of Thought
1. Freedom - Known Reason: The monadist freely examines the nature of thought, for the reason of comprehending the process and essence of thinking.
2. Analysis - Illusion of Freedom: They don't realize that their exploration of the nature of thought was determined by a deep reflection on the origin of ideas and intellect.
Scenario: Exploring the Limits of Knowledge
1. Freedom - Known Reason: The monadist freely investigates the limits of human knowledge, for the reason of uncovering the boundaries of understanding.
2. Analysis - Illusion of Freedom: They are unaware that their interest in the limits of knowledge was determined by a recent thought on the potential of the human mind and the unknown.
Scenario: The Nature of Happiness
1. Freedom - Known Reason: The monadist freely examines the nature of happiness, for the reason of understanding the true source of contentment and joy.
2. Analysis - Illusion of Freedom: Unbeknownst to them, their exploration of happiness comes from thinking about the role of emotions in human existence.
Scenario: The Concept of Success
1. Freedom - Known Reason: The monadist investigates the concept of success, for the reason of comprehending what constitutes achievement and accomplishment.
2. Analysis - Illusion of Freedom: They are unaware that their interest in success has its origins in a reflection on the nature of ambition and self-fulfillment.
Scenario: The Meaning of Love
1. Freedom - Known Reason: The monadist explores the meaning of love, for the reason of understanding the essence of this powerful emotion.
2. Analysis - Illusion of Freedom: Unbeknownst to them, their fascination with love comes from an abstract contemplation on the interconnectedness of human beings and the bonds that unite them.
Scenario: The Role of Memory
1. Freedom - Known Reason: The monadist examines the role of memory, for the reason of understanding the importance of past experiences in shaping one's identity.
2. Analysis - Illusion of Freedom: They are unaware that their interest in memory stems from their reflection on the connection between the past, present, and future.
□ Step 1.10 Force Of Heart - From driving force of compassionate heart to awareness that compassion is aroused by thoughts formed.
Our actions are not solely driven by rational deliberation. Emotions like love, compassion, and patriotism also influence our actions. While these emotions are associated with the heart, it is essential to understand that thoughts precede emotions. The mind generates thoughts of people or situations that evoke emotions, then the emotions drive our actions. In other words, the heart's feelings and emotions are a response to the mind's thoughts.
Force of heart: We are free when the driving force of the heart prevails over the cold intellect.
Illusion of freedom: We are not free because heartfelt emotions that compel action are a response to motives that have already been determined by thought.
Act out of knowledge: Forming empathetic thoughts will result in causing heart felt emotion.
Scenario: Community Library Project
1. Freedom - Driving force of heart: The dynamist reasoned that they should donate a few books they no longer need. Initially unenthusiastic, their passion for education ignites, inspiring them to freely lead an extensive community book drive, collecting thousands of books.
2. Analysis - Illusion of Freedom: They exceeded their initial objective only after thinking about the joy and empowerment that education and literature brings to their community, which ignited strong emotions of compassion that compelled their action.
Scenario: Overcoming Stage Fright
1. Freedom - Driving force of heart: The dynamist thought about it and then accepted a request that they deliver a speech at a friend's wedding. After experiencing stage fright, the usually shy and introverted friend, freely delivers a powerful and emotional heartfelt speech at the wedding.
2. Analysis - Illusion of Freedom: After losing their nerve, they stood up and gave the speech only after having thoughts of the bond they share with their friend and how important their support is, arousing strong heartfelt emotions of love and loyalty that compelled them to speak.
Scenario: Animal Rescue Advocate
1. Freedom - Driving force of heart: The dynamist received an animal rescue mailer and thought it would be a good idea to make a small contribution but ends up enthusiastically rallying support for a massive fundraising event to support a local animal rescue organization.
2. Analysis - Illusion of Freedom: Having established the motive to contribute to animal welfare, they then recalled the memory of a lost dog they found shivering in the cold, kindling strong heartfelt emotions of love and compassion for animals empowering them to become a fund raiser.
Scenario: Embracing a New Career Path
1. Freedom - Driving force of heart: After careful deliberation, the dynamist decided it was time for a career change. Initially nervous about changing careers, their resolve strengthens, and they boldly embark on a new, fulfilling career path that aligns with their values and passion.
2. Analysis - Illusion of Freedom: Having made the decision but faltering, they embrace the career change after contemplating the potential for personal growth and positive impact, which arouses strong emotions of ambition and courage that compel the change.
Scenario: Election Integrity
1. Freedom - Driving force of heart: The dynamist has always thought that election integrity was essential in any democracy. Having never volunteered as an election day poll watcher, they find their sense of patriotism ignited, becoming passionately involved in protecting election integrity on election day.
2. Analysis - Illusion of Freedom: While they recognized the importance of fair elections, it wasn't until they envisioned their country's values being undermined by unfair elections that strong emotions of patriotism were aroused, compelling them to become actively involved in election integrity efforts.
Scenario: Political Rally
1. Freedom - Driving force of heart: After learning about gender ideology being taught to young children, the dynamist made social media posts expressing their concern. Their compassion for affected children intensifies, leading them to organize a massive political rally on the steps of the State House demanding a ban on transgender change procedures for children.
2. Analysis - Illusion of Freedom: They were content to post their concerns online until hearing the regrets of two women who tried to transition to men, only to realize they could never be men. These tragic stories remained on their mind, arousing the compassion that compelled them to save a generation of children.
□ Step 1.11 Idolized Love - From act out of love to awareness of idolizing thought.
When love goes beyond physical desire, it is based on our thoughts of the person we cherish. The more we idealize these thoughts, the deeper our love's joy. In this sense, thought is the origin of feeling.
Idolized love: We are free when we act out of love for someone or something.
Illusion of freedom: We are not free in action compelled by love because love is determined by the idealistic thoughts that idolize the loved one.
Act out of knowledge: Forming idealistic thoughts will result in causing feelings of love.
Scenario: Loyal Defender
1. Freedom - Act of love: The phenomenalist acts out of love by passionately standing up for their loved one's ideas and beliefs during a conversation, asserting the validity of their partner's perspective and countering any opposing arguments with conviction and respect.
2. Analysis - Illusion of Freedom: They have formed idealistic thoughts about their partner's intellect and wisdom, leading them to idolize their partner's beliefs, which in turn causes feelings of love and loyalty. This love compels them to defend their loved one's ideas when challenged.
Scenario: Romantic Dinner
1. Freedom - Act of love: The phenomenalist acts out of love by meticulously organizing a special candlelit dinner at home, selecting their partner's favorite dishes, playing soft background music, and creating an intimate atmosphere to celebrate their love and connection.
2. Analysis - Illusion of Freedom: The idealized thoughts that their loved one has the power to make ordinary moments magical leads them to idolize their partner, fostering feelings of love. This love compels them to plan a romantic evening to honor and strengthen their bond.
Scenario: Supportive Spouse
1. Freedom - Act of love: The phenomenalist acts out of love by supporting their loved one's career and educational goals, offering encouragement, practical assistance, and emotional support to help them achieve success.
2. Analysis - Illusion of Freedom: The idealization of their loved one's potential for success in their chosen field drives feelings of love and admiration. This love compels them to provide unwavering support for their partner's aspirations.
Scenario: Attentive Listener
1. Freedom - Act of love: The phenomenalist acts out of love by listening carefully to their loved one's thoughts and feelings, giving their undivided attention, asking thoughtful questions, and offering empathy and understanding.
2. Analysis - Illusion of Freedom: They form idealistic thoughts cherishing their loved one's inner world as a treasure trove of wisdom and insight, leading them to idolize their partner. This idealization results in feelings of love, which in turn compels them to attentively listen to their loved one's thoughts and emotions.
Scenario: Dream Encourager
1. Freedom - Act of love: The phenomenalist acts out of love by motivating their loved one to pursue their dreams, offering unwavering belief in their potential to change the world and providing the necessary support to overcome obstacles along the way.
2. Analysis - Illusion of Freedom: They idolize their loved one's world-changing potential, resulting in feelings of love and admiration. This love fuels their encouragement for their partner's dreams and ambitions, compelling them to be a steadfast supporter.
Scenario: Political Hero
1. Freedom - Act of love: The phenomenalist acts out of love, undeterred by the rain, by standing in a long line to cast their vote for their beloved political candidate, demonstrating their unwavering support for the candidate's values and vision.
2. Analysis - Illusion of Freedom: Their idealistic thoughts of admiration for the politician's legendary stand against the fascist merger of state and corporate power leads them to idolize the candidate. This idealization results in feelings of love and respect, which in turn compels them to participate actively in the political process and support their political hero.
□ Step 1.12 Seeing The Good - From see good qualities to awareness of forming perception-picture of good qualities.
Love is often believed to blind us to the imperfections of the person we love. Yet, it can also be viewed as enabling us to recognize the positive traits in that person, which others might overlook. When someone sees these qualities, love arises within the person, due to their perception that includes these attributes. Those who don't feel love may simply lack this perception-picture of the person's good qualities.
Seeing good qualities: We are liberated by love which opens our eyes to see the good qualities.
Illusion of freedom: We are not free in loving the good because seeing the good is determined by the perception-picture we form of the loved one that includes their good qualities.
Act out of knowledge: Forming perception-pictures of a person's good qualities will result in our recognizing these qualities and cause feelings of love.
Scenario: Attentive Thoughtfulness
1. Freedom - Seeing the good: The sensationalist is liberated by the love for their boyfriend which opens their eyes to notices their boyfriend's attentive thoughtfulness, as he remembers the smallest details of their conversations and surprises her with gestures that show he truly understands her needs and desires. This good quality, which many others may not notice, makes the sensationalist's love for their boyfriend grow stronger.
2. Analysis - Illusion of Freedom: The sensationalist perceives their boyfriend's attentive thoughtfulness because their perception-picture includes this specific trait. Because they see the good qualities, their love for their boyfriend grows, unlike others who do not form perception-pictures of their boyfriend's good qualities.
Scenario: Nurturing Spirit
1. Freedom - Seeing the good: The sensationalist is liberated by the love for their daughter which opens their eyes to cherish their daughter's nurturing spirit, as she consistently provide a safe and comforting space for those around them, which is frequently overlooked by others. This good quality in their daughter strengthens their love for her and keeps it growing.
2. Analysis - Illusion of Freedom: They are not aware that the reason they see their daughter's nurturing spirit is because the perception-picture they form in the act of perception includes this specific trait. Because they see the good qualities, their love for their daughter grows, unlike others who do not form perception-pictures of their daughter's good qualities.
Scenario: Encouraging Nature
1. Freedom - Seeing the good: The sensationalist is liberated by the love for their wife which opens their eyes to recognize their wife's unique ability to encourage and uplift others by giving personalized, thoughtful advice, which many fail to see. This good quality in their partner fuels his love for her and keeps it alive.
2. Analysis - Illusion of Freedom: They are not aware that the reason they see their wife's encouraging nature is because the perception-picture they form in the act of perception includes this specific trait. Because they see the good qualities, their love for their wife grows, unlike others who do not form perception-pictures of their wife's good qualities.
Scenario: Artistic Talent
1. Freedom - Seeing the good: The sensationalist is liberated by the love for their friend which opens their eyes to their friend's exceptional artistic talent in creating lifelike portraits, which many others seem to overlook. Their love for their friend grows, unlike others who haven't formed a perception-picture with their friend's good qualities.
2. Analysis - Illusion of Freedom: They are not aware that the reason they see their friend's artistic talent is because the perception-picture they form in the act of perception includes this specific quality. Because they see the good qualities, their love for their friend grows, unlike others who do not form perception-pictures that include their friend's good qualities.
Scenario: Unwavering Optimism
1. Freedom - Seeing the good: The sensationalist is liberated by the love for their coworker which opens their eyes to the coworker's unwavering optimism, always finding the silver lining in difficult situations, which many don't seem to notice. This good quality in their coworker keeps their appreciation for them growing.
2. Analysis - Illusion of Freedom: They are not aware that the reason they see their coworker's optimism is because the perception-picture they form in the act of perception includes this specific trait. Because they see the good qualities, their appreciation for their coworker grows, unlike others who do not form perception-pictures that include their coworker's good qualities.
Scenario: Quiet Strength
1. Freedom - Seeing the good: The sensationalist is liberated by the love for their teacher which opens their eyes to admire their teacher's quiet strength, demonstrated by their ability to remain calm and composed in challenging situations, which many fail to see. This good quality in their teacher keeps their love for them alive and ever-growing.
2. Analysis - Illusion of Freedom: They are not aware that the reason they see their teacher's quiet strength is because the perception-picture they form in the act of perception includes this specific quality. Because they see the good qualities, their love for their teacher grows, unlike others who do not form perception-pictures that include the teacher's good qualities.
"The one that matters most is the knowing doer—the one who acts out of knowledge."