Introduction To The Study Course


The Journey Toward Self-Mastery
"The Philosophy Of Freedom sees in the all-around development of the human being, a true individuality who is his own master and the assessor of his own value." — TPOF

This study course is designed as a comprehensive guide for self-discovery and personal growth, based on Rudolf Steiner's transformative work, "The Philosophy of Freedom." What sets this book apart is its holistic approach to all-around development that aims to liberate the mind, elevate the feelings, and empower the will. The book outlines Steiner's personal journey to freedom. “I found my own way as best I could, and then later on, described the route that I had taken.” It serves as a map of the territory to help others find their own way to self-mastery. 

Dedicated to Authentic Application
Beyond mere textual interpretation, this course is devoted to faithfully realizing Steiner's original vision—a commitment to applying the core principles of "The Philosophy of Freedom" in everyday life. As Steiner himself notes:

"I also know that many of my contemporaries strive to conduct their lives in the direction of the principles I have suggested. To them, I dedicate this book." — TPOF

Here, the emphasis is on integrating its guiding principles into daily life. To apply a principle to life it must first be clearly understood. Once understood, a philosophy of life must then be applied. As you traverse the path set forth in "The Philosophy Of Freedom," you can anticipate a comprehensive transformation, fulfilling Steiner's promise of attaining "what you seek to achieve by your imperfect means, and much else besides."

"If you follow the path indicated here, you will attain what you seek to achieve by your imperfect means, and much else besides (and I am convinced that, if one is imbued with The Philosophy of Freedom, one dares to say that — then light would dawn."

"Humankind must realize how the world would be transformed if the meaning of freedom were understood, freedom not in the sense of license, but freedom born of a free spirit and a firmly disciplined mind. If people understood what freedom and its establishment would signify for the world, then the light which many seek today would lighten the prevailing darkness of our time." Rudolf Steiner, 1918 From Symptom To Reality in Modern History Lecture VI: Brief Reflections on the Publication of the New Edition of 'The Philosophy of Freedom'

Responsibility Of The Learner
People learn in different ways, so the modules approach each topic in "The Philosophy Of Freedom" in various ways including a clear step to freedom, why this is important, the worldview being expressed, in-depth breakdown of the text, life examples, reflection questions, practical application exercises, a story and the benefits to the individual and the world.

A major problem with reading "The Philosophy Of Freedom" is passing over text that is not understood causing an uneasy frustration until the reader gives up and never completes the book. When help is needed the modules are there to support a basic understanding, but it is the responsibility of the reader to accept or reject the content. An in-depth study course can't avoid containing personal opinions of its author. Readers are expected to think for themselves, as they would hearing the opinions of others in a study group. As Goethe says, "To venture an opinion is like moving a piece at chess: it may be taken, but it forms the beginning of a game that is won."

A Structured Path of Self-Transformation
Self-development involves transitioning from a state of 'unfreedom' to one of genuine freedom.

"To transform the unfree realm into the realm of free activity is the task of self-development for every individual, as well as the task of humanity as a whole." Rudolf Steiner, Truth And Science

Each topic within "The Philosophy Of Freedom" describes an unfree state which is to be transformed into a free state. This is it's 'Step To Freedom'. Each module of the study course features a 'Step To Freedom' that clearly identifies and contrasts these two states with the task of advancing from one to the other. This systematic approach demystifies the often daunting journey of self-development, making it accessible and achievable for anyone willing to invest the effort.

Understanding Freedom
Freedom, according to Steiner, hinges on the difference between following external rules and adhering to one's own internalized principles. While external laws of behavior are dictated by society, culture, or physical realities, an individual's "own law" emerges from a consciously evolved set of values.

"To carry out a deed in obedience to a law external to the person who acts, is to be unfree. To carry out a deed in obedience to the person’s own law, is to be free. Thus, the process of cognition is the process for the development of freedom." Rudolf Steiner, Truth And Science

Steiner characterizes actions guided by external laws as 'unfree.' True freedom comes from actions aligned with one's authentic principles. The statement then concludes that "the process of cognition is the process for the development of freedom", indicating it is a path of cognitive development. Cognition is the process by which individuals understand, internalize, and originate ideas that determine the will.

The Cognitive Foundation of Freedom
Steiner calls it a path to truth, saying in the original preface it "describes the path taken by one for whom truth is central." In essence, free will is impossible without free thought. The cornerstone of freedom lies in deepening your cognitive capacities. Through cognition—spanning thought, experience, and sensory perception—you gain the capability to grasp the true nature of the world, be guided by a love for the goal, and act with strength and conviction.

"Once we know what to make of the world, it will be an easy task to orient ourselves within it. We can act with our full strength and conviction only when we understand the things to which we direct our activity." — TPOF

The course initially delves into cognitive functions such as willing, feeling, thinking, and perception, examined in the first seven chapters of "The Philosophy of Freedom." These explorations aim to liberate each cognitive function, enriching your understanding of the world.

Impulse Of Freedom
Freedom is experienced as an "Impulse Of Freedom." This is a real experience most have had at one time or another. It's an intuitive impulse of thought clarity and empowerment to act. The intent is to increase these moments until it becomes a guiding light in one's life. 
"I wrote The Philosophy of Freedom in order to give mankind a clear picture of the idea of freedom, of the impulse of freedom, which must be the fundamental impulse of our age (and which must be developed out of the other fragmentary impulses of various kinds.) To this end it was necessary first of all to establish the impulse of freedom on a firm scientific basis.1918 Rudolf Steiner From Symptom To Reality in Modern History Lecture VI

Cultivating the Ethical Individualist
The ultimate goal of this course, elaborated in the second half of "The Philosophy of Freedom," is to develop an Ethical Individualist. This requires a nuanced understanding of both the external world and oneself. By participating in this course and taking the 'Steps To Freedom,' you're not just studying philosophy; you are actively transforming yourself into a free spirit.