Tom Last's Posts (248)

translations

THE PHILOSOPHY OF FREEDOM

Thank you publishers and translators
I would like to thank all the publishers and translators who have made Rudolf Steiner's "The Philosophy Of Freedom" available to the world. Each translation adds a slightly different perspective of the book allowing the reader to check other translations for help to understand a particular passage.

Note: There are two editions of The Philosophy Of Freedom. The original edition written by Steiner in 1894 and translated to English in 1916 by Prof. and Mrs. R. F. Alfred Hoernlé and the revised edition of 1918. All the available translations, other than the 1916 Hoernlé, are not of the original edition, but rather of the 1918 revised edition.

10 English Translations Of Rudolf Steiner's "The Philosophy Of Freedom"

Translation Summary: The first English translation of The Philosophy Of Freedom was published in 1916 by Hoernle, who was a respected philosophy scholar of that time. This is the only edition sanctioned by Rudolf Steiner himself. After Steiner’s passing, a once head of the Anthroposophical Society, the Hermann Poppelbaum was published, a copy of the Hoernle, except for revising some key terms “from the strictly Steiner point of view”. Poppelbaum’s 1939 translation replaces Hoernle’s clearer philosophy terms with vague spiritual terms like changing “mind” to the vague term “spirit”. This vagueness makes it very difficult to do the inner observations described in the book. All the following translations were heavily influenced by the insertion of Poppelbaum’s “Steinerism”. Steinerism refers to the rigid, traditional beliefs and opinions held by the long time followers of Steiner.

The next 2 translations, the 1963 Stebbing and the 1964 Wilson, are based on Poppelbaum's revised Hoernle. They make minor word selection changes but without really advancing the understanding. Then in 1986 Lindeman produces the ultimate literal translation of the German. It is hard to read but gives insight into the original German. This is followed by the most liberal translation, the more readable 1988 Stebbing. But a few years later in 1992, Stebbing backtracks by removing the liberal parts and replaces them with more traditional wording in a new translation. It has been difficult to make progress through the many English translations of The Philosophy Of Freedom because when a translator produces a more readable line, it is "corrected" by reverting back to the literal rigid style that mirrors the awkward German.

Referring to the 1986 Lindeman, in 1995 Lipson’s translation, sold in bookstores today titled Intuitive Thinking As A Spiritual Path, mainly tries to be different by rephrasing and selecting alternate words to use. He also removes gender bias by always using collective terms like “we” and “us”. This seems awkward in a book about individualism. It often has more readable sentences, but by trying to always be “different” the alternative words selected by Lipson are not always the best words, they are the seconfd choice. A remarkable translation is the 2011 Graham Rickett. It is buried in another book and has only been half completed. While it is usually not much more readable than the others, it is very good in taking on the difficult sentences in the book. Rickett thinks before he translates, and makes sense of difficult parts others just copy from previous editions.

The new revised translation currently being written is based on the original Hoernle without the later insertion of Steinerism theosophy. But it also includes all of the progress made by a century of translations.

1894 Steiner Die Philosophie der Freiheit. Grundzuege einer modernen Weltanschauung. Seelische Beobachtungsrelultate nach naturwissenschaftlicher Methode, by Rudolf Steiner, German language editions: 1894, ISBN 3-7274-0040-4,
1916 Hoernle 1st English edition, The Philosophy of Freedom, G. P. Putnam's Sons, New York and London, 1916, translated from the original German edition of 1894 by Mr. and Mrs. R. F. A. Hoernle
1918 Steiner Revised, Rudolf Steiner revises and makes additions to the original Die Philosophie der Freiheit, German language editions: 1918, 1921, 1929, 1936, 1936, 1940, 1947, 1949, 1949, 1955, 1962, 1973, 1978, 1995 ISBN 3-7274-0040-4,
1922 Hoernle 2nd English edition, revised to include Steiner's changes and additions made in the revised second German edition of 1918, The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity, G. P. Putnam's Sons, New York and London, 1922, 382 pp., translated by Prof. and Mrs. R. F. A. Hoernle, 1932 edition
1939 Poppelbaum 4th edition revisions made  by Dr. H. Poppelbaum to the Hoernle translation of the revised German edition of 1918, The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity, Rudolf Steiner Press, London, and Anthroposophic Press, New York, 1939, 260 pp., 1940 5th edition, 1949 6th edition
1963 Stebbing The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity, Rudolf Steiner Publications, West Nyack, New York, 1963, 1980, 285 pp., translated from the revised German edition of 1918 by Rita Stebbing. This edition is bound together with Truth and Science.
1964 Wilson The Philosophy of Freedom, Rudolf Steiner Press, London, 1964, 1970, 1972, 1979, 230 pp., translated from the 12th German edition of 1962 by Michael Wilson
1986 Lindemann The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity, Anthroposophic Press, Spring Valley, N. Y., 1986, translated from the revised German edition of 1918 by William Lindemann ISBN 0-88010-157-1, Cloth ISBN 0-88010-156-3, Paper
1988 Stebbing The Philosophy of Freedom: A Philosophy of Spiritual Activity, Rudolf Steiner Press, London, 1988, translated from the revised German edition of 1918 by Rita Stebbing ISBN 0-85440-736-7, Cloth ISBN 0-85440-746-4, Paper ISBN 0-85584-000-6, Cloth
1992 Stebbing The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity: A Philosophy of Spiritual Activity, Rudolf Steiner Press, London, 1992, translated from the revised German edition of 1918 by Rita Stebbing ISBN 0-85440-736-7, Cloth ISBN 0-85440-746-4, Paper ISBN 0-85584-000-6, Cloth
1995 Lipson Intuitive Thinking as a Spiritual Path, A Philosophy of Freedom, Anthroposophic Press, Hudson NY, 1995,translated from the revised German edition of 1918 by M. Lipson ISBN 0-88010-385-X, Paper
2011 Rickett The Philosophy Of Freedom translated by Graham B. Rickett, (part 1 done).
Rickett's English translation of The Philosophy Of Freedom is found within his translation of G. A. Bondarev's book: Rudolf Steiner's 'Philosophie der Freiheit' as the Foundation of the Logic of Beholding Thinking. Religion of the Thinking Will. Organon of the New Cultural Epoch. (vol 1 & 2 of 3 done)

Note on the English Translations
Two 1895 Philosophy Of Freedom Book Reviews

Reference Material
Text with Reference Material
1883 Goethean Science  Online  PDF  GA1-EPUB  GA1-MOBI
1886 Science of Knowing  Online   PDF  GA2-EPUB  GA2-MOBI
1892 Truth and Science   Online   PDF  GA3-EPUB   GA3-MOBI

The Philosophy Of Freedom in other languages:

Η ΦΙΛΟΣΟΦΙΑ ΤΗΣ ΕΛΕΥΘΕΡΙΑΣ
Greek  Online  PDF

La Filosofía de La Libertad
Spanish Online  PDF

Философия свободы
Russian Online

A szabadság filozófiája
Hungarian Online

La Filosofia Della Liberta'
Italian  PDF Part 1   PDF Part 2


SCIENCE OF FREEDOM


1894
Die Philosophie der Freiheit by Rudolf Steiner
PDF-1  PDF-2  PDF

The Die Philosophie der Freiheit was written 20 years before the founding of the Anthroposophical Society. In 1918 Steiner declared, "The purpose of The Philosophy Of Freedom is to lay the foundations of ethical individualism and of a social and political life."

“this book occupies a position completely independent of my writings on actual spiritual scientific matters... What I have said in this book may be acceptable even to some who, for reasons of their own, refuse to have anything to do with the results of my researches into the spiritual realm.”  Rudolf Steiner, The Philosophy of Freedom, 1918 Preface to the Revised Edition

Translations Based On Original Edition (1894) of the Philosophy Of Freedom


1916
The Philosophy Of  Freedom translated by Prof. and Mrs. R. F. Alfred Hoernlé.
Online   PDF  PDF (with topic headings)  Mobi   EPUB  Purchase

Illustrated Edition
Online   PDF   Mobi   EPUB

Main Reference: 1894 German Die Philosophie der Freiheit
This first English translation of Rudolf Steiner's Die Philosophie der Freiheit is distinct in that it is the only translation actually sanctioned by Rudolf Steiner himself. The joint translators, Prof. and Mrs. R. F. Alfred Hoernlé, were selected for their outstanding qualifications.

“their thorough knowledge of philosophy and their complete command of the German and English languages enabling them to overcome the difficulty of finding adequate English equivalents for the terms of German Philosophy.” H. Collison, 1916 Editor’s Note, The Philosophy of Freedom

This 1916 Hoernlé translation is based on the original, unrevised German Die Philosophie der Freiheit published in 1894. The other translations, available up to now, are not based on the original Die Philosophie der Freiheit, instead they are based on the 1918 revised edition. Hoernle incorporated the revisions into his 1922 edition.

I have found no evidence in his translation or in his life that Hoernlé had any interest in theosophy or in Steiner's later anthrposophy. R. F. Alfred Hoernlé was trained in philosophy at Oxford and taught it at Harvard. He was familiar with the philosophical issues of Steiner's day. A review of Hoernlé's book Studies in Contemporary Metaphysics (1920) said he had a flexible and assimilative mind and:

“He has had quite exceptional opportunities for seeing contemporary philosophies in the making and for understanding, from personal experience, how far a set of philosophical opinions can bear transplanting from one country to another... a very staunch believer in the truth of the philosophical tradition.” 1921 Oxford University Press

Strength: Translation true to Steiner's original intention using the language of philosophy and science.



NEW 2016 Centennial Edition
          ---work in progress---

New Edition Page

Reference: 1922 Hoernlé English translation and all previous translations.
2016 will mark 100 years since the original unrevised edition of The Philosophy Of Freedom first appeared in the English language (1916 Hoernlé translation). Over the years the translations have drifted away from Steiner's original impulse from a philosophy of life to a supposed basis for research into spiritual worlds. It is time to restore it and publish a new improved edition based on the original intention:"to lay the foundations of ethical individualism and of a social and political life".

This is a philosophyoffreedom.com online project that intends to improve the readability of The Philosophy Of Freedom with a new revised edition of the 1922 Hoernle English edition.

Strength: Restoration of original mood and intention. Improve readability.

THEOSOPHY INFLUENCE BEGINS


1918 REVISIONS
Die Philosophie der Freiheit (Revised Edition) by Rudolf Steiner

1894 German (original edition)  online  PDF
1918 German (revised edition)  online  PDF
Hornle's later 1922 English trans. contains the major 1918 additions and revisions. But many small revisions that appear in the published German 1918 edition are missing, which creates a mystery. How is this possible? Hoernle would have had the 1918 revised German edition. Was this so-called 1918 German edition revised after 1918? These additional small revisions first appear in English in the 1939 Poppelbaum. The additional revisions are spiritualistic and change the meaning significantly.   
1962 German (revised edition)  online
1995 German (revised edition)  online

 

Translations Based On Revised Edition (1918) of the Philosophy Of Freedom


1922
The Philosophy Of Freedom (The Philosophy Of Spiritual Activity) translated by Prof. and Mrs. R. F. Alfred Hoernlé
Online  PDF-1 (in settings select "plain text" to copy)
 PDF-2

Main Reference: 1916 Hoernlé translation.
Hoernlé revised his earlier edition to incorporate the new Steiner additions and revisions. 


1923
The Philosophy Of Freedom (The Philosophy Of Spiritual Activity) translated by George Metaxa

There is no Metaxa translation of The Philosophy Of Freedom. There is a PDF online that claims to be such, but it is really the 1963 Rita Stebbing translation. The Index page of the mis-titled PDF is pictured here.

In 1918 George Metaxa was well known in Dornach where he fully participated in the life of the Anthroposophical Society as a eurythmy composer, contributor and leader. In 1923 he worked on the reorganization of the Society and raising funds for the rebuilding of the Goetheanum.


1939
The Philosophy Of Freedom (The Philosophy Of Spiritual Activity) translated by Hermann Poppelbaum 

Online   PDF

Main Reference: 1922 Hoernle
The influence of theosophy continued in 1939 with revisions made to the Hoernlé translation by theosophist/ anthroposophist Hermann Poppelbaum, one time Director of the Anthroposophical Society. While recognizing the excellence of the Hoernlé translation, Poppelbaum's aim was to correct it according to the Society’s developing institutionalization on Steiner thought. Poppelbaum's objective was to,   

“check certain words and phrases from the strictly Steiner point of view." 1939 The Philosophy Of Spiritual Activity, Editor's Preface to the Fourth Edition

Strength: Raises awareness to the difficulty in translating "Idee" and "Vorstellung", where Hoernlé mainly used "idea". Idea, representation or mental picture are used to translate "Vorstellung" depending on which translator you read. Hoernle revises the book to try and fit it into theosophy terminology creating confusion and leading it away from science. All following translations by anthroposophists follow his lead. 


1963

The Philosophy Of Freedom (The Philosophy Of Spiritual Activity) translated by Rita Stebbing
Online   PDF   DOC

Main Reference: 1939 Poppelbaum
There appears to be a collaboration between Stebbing and the 1964 Michael Wilson translation. Wilson thanks Stebbing for her translation suggestions in his Introduction. The Stebbing incorporates the revisions in the Wilson and then goes further with more revisions that are more liberal. It seems they worked together to produce US and UK editions. Though they mostly just copied the Hoernle as Poppelbaum did.

Strength: This Stebbing translation seems to be the American version of the Wilson UK translation, Her next try in 1988 is more liberal, where she makes a bold effort to use more plain talk. In the end, her 3rd translation of 1992, she recants these revisions for some reason and replaces them with the traditional translation lines.


1964
The Philosophy Of Freedom translated by Michael Wilson
Online   PDF


Main Reference: 1963 Stebbing (see above)
Michael Wilson clearly explains the task of the anthroposophist translator:

“Any work describing Steiner's point of view in terms of English philosophy would have to deal with the mind as a central theme, but here our task is to introduce readers to Steiner's concepts of spirit and soul.” 1964 The Philosophy of Freedom, Introduction by translator Michael Wilson

Strength: The Wilson, Stebbing and Poppelbaum translations are for the most part copies of the Hoernle with very few revisions. The popular Wilson edition adds more of UK traditional old time English style.


1986
The Philosophy Of Freedom translated by William Lindeman
Online   PDF

Main Reference: 1918 German Die Philosophie der Freiheit
This is a literal translation of text almost “word for word” from German to English, lacks any readability. The translator, as with most anthroposophists, has a strong spiritualistic and Christ centered views in regards to cognition.

"The goal of this translation is to give the reader an experience as close as possible to that presented by the original book." (meaning an experience  as close as possible to the German language in the 1918 revised edition). William Lindeman, Translator's Appendix

Strength: This is the first new translation since the Hoernle. It is the most unreadable since it is a literal translation attempting to be a word for word copy. Its a great reference as it is the closest to the literal German so you can spot where other translators add more or less than what is in the German.


1988
The Philosophy Of Freedom (A Philosophy Of Spiritual Activity) translated by Rita Stebbing
Online   PDF

Main Reference: Liberal revision of her 1963 Stebbing translation
Rita Stebbing has written that the freedom discussed in The Philosophy of Freedom has more to do with one's relationship with the Being Of Christ in her The Philosophy of Freedom As A Path To Self-Knowledge. This is the only bold liberal translation done by anybody, to put it in words the reader can understand and relate to. It likely upset the Steiner literalists so you can't find the book. Stebbing recants this edition and her next 1992 translation is more like her 1963 effort. In the 1992 she removes all the liberal lines and replaces them with the tradition translation lines.   

Strength: This is the most liberal plain talk edition and is the easiest to read. Though her boldness leads to some more controversial interpretations. Boldness and independent thinking does not fit well within the elderly circles of strict traditionalism found in anthroposophy. Rather than improving this edition she abandoned it in 1992.


1992
The Philosophy Of Freedom (The Philosophy Of Spiritual Activity) translated by Rita Stebbing
Online   PDF

Main Reference: 1963 Stebbing
This is Stebbings third translation. The 1963 has minor revisions to the Hoernle. The 1988 is the most liberal of all the translations. Her 1992 pulls back the 1988 so it again fits in as another traditional translation.

Strength: Stebbing edits out the liberal parts of her 1988 translation bringing it back to the traditional mainstream. At this time the Wilson is the most popular until heavy marketing and distribution by the publisher makes the new 1995 Lipson the dominate translation.

 


1995

The Philosophy Of Freedom (Intuitive Thinking As A Spiritual Path) translated by Michael Lipson
Online  AudioBook   PDF

Main Reference: 1986 Lindeman
Zen Buddhist and Anthroposophist Michael Lipson brings a Zen philosophy to his translation by avoiding attachment to words. Lipson's flexibility with words permits him to re-title the book Intuitive Thinking as a Spiritual Path:

“By approaching Steiner through inadequate and changing English terms, we are the more likely to face the inadequacy of all terms, and leap to his meaning.” Michael Lipson, 1995 Intuitive Thinking as a Spiritual Path, Translator's Introduction

Strength: Lipson's translation is new but seems most of all an attempt to be different. Gender neutral translation, written in more modern American English such as replacing "which" with "that" are new. Though I found it impossible to sustain a "we" plural gender neutral style in a book about individuality. When key words are compared to the Lindeman translation, Lipson appears to come up with a different key word in the sentences and he likes to rephrase. By trying to be different his terms and phrasing are a second choice and may not be best. This does make it a good reference as you will likely find he rewords it differently from your current edition. But as I say, he prefers being different more than selecting the clearest and best way, so the book is often difficult to understand.


2011
The Philosophy Of Freedom (‘Die ‘Philosophie der Freiheit) translated by Graham B. Rickett


Main Reference: 1995 Lipson, but mostly an origibal translation
Rickett's English translation of The Philosophy Of Freedom is found within his 3 volume translation of  G. A. Bondarev's book:
Rudolf Steiner's 'Philosophie der Freiheit' as the Foundation of the Logic of Beholding Thinking. Religion of the Thinking Will. Organon of the New Cultural Epoch. 

2011  Vol. 1 Chapter 1
2013  Vol. 2 Chapters 2-7
          Vol. 3 Chapters 8-14 (in progress)

Strength: A new independent translation that is uninterested in repeating past translations. Rickett understands this is a science book. Rickett takes on the difficult sentences and patiently with great insight into the meaning finds a way to translate them in a new clear way. Fantastic translation. He also has a grasp of subtle distinctions that are brought to light with the selection of the right word. Though sometimes his translation of many of the easier parts are not as readable.

Rickett has been involved in Rudolf Steiner's work for a long time. He was one of the 11 students in the first class that began Emerson College in 1962.

Note: Gennady Bondarev's 'Organon' is an introduction to Anthroposophical Methodology and a complete analysis of Rudolf Steiner's 'Philosophy of Freedom (Spiritual Activity)'. The 3 volumes, taken together, contain a completely new translation of 'Die Philosophie der Freiheit' by Graham B. Rickett.

"Bondarev demonstrates that the methodology intrinsic to Anthroposophy is fundamental and capable of unifying all modern sciences as it describes the monistic sensible-supersensible reality. Through its anthropocentric and ontological character, the methodology's actualization implies an evolutionary change of both the human subject and the process of cognition itself. Rudolf Steiner's fundamental epistemological work is thereby shown to be the foundation for the development of a new kind of 'beholding' thinking - what Goethe began to experience and called 'anschauende Urteilskraft'. "

 

Misc.
1918 Rudolf Steiner's Brief Reflections on the Publication of the New Edition of 'The Philosophy of Freedom'

What is Freedom? from Truth And Knowledge Practical Conclusion by Rudolf Steiner

Aha The Cognitive Neuroscience Of Insight PDF by John Kounios and Mark Beeman

Goethe, Kant and Intuitive Thinking in Rudolf Steiner's Philosophy of Spiritual Activity by Michael Muschalle

Conflict Between Heart And Intellect

Individualism In Philosophy 1899 Rudolf Steiner

Individualist Anarchism 1898 Rudolf Steiner

The Being Of The Internet by Sergei Prokofieff (the silliness of Sergei Prokofieff)

The Boundaries of Natural Science VIII by Rudolf Steiner

Rudolf Steiner Thoughts About Theosophists And Spiritualists by Rudolf Steiner

Read more…

Comparative - c5

4. The World As Perception

TOPIC
Compare Ideal Element with External Object

"When someone sees a tree, his thinking reacts to his observation. An ideal element is added to the object, and the observer regards the object and Ideal complement as belonging together. When the object disappears from his field of observation, only the Ideal counterpart remains. This is the concept of the object." TPOF 4.0

Concepts Added To Observation
Concepts cannot be drawn from observation. This is evident from the fact the growing human being only slowly and gradually builds up the concepts that correspond to the objects in his environment. Concepts are added to observation.

Concept

Concepts and Ideas are formed by thinking. What a concept is cannot be expressed in words. Words can only draw our attention to the fact we have concepts. When someone sees a tree, his thinking reacts to his observation. An ideal element is added to the object, and the observer regards the object and Ideal complement as belonging together. When the object disappears from his field of observation, only the Ideal counterpart remains. This is the concept of the object.

Idea
The wider the range of our experience, the larger the number of our concepts. Concepts are never found in isolation. They combine to form an ordered and systematic whole. For example, the concept “organism”  links up with others such as "development according to law" and "growth." Other concepts, formed from single objects, merge together into a unity. All concepts I form of particular lions merge in the universal concept "lion." In this way, all the single concepts unite to form an enclosed, conceptual system in which each has its special place. Ideas are not qualitatively different from concepts. They are filled with more content, are more complex and more comprehensive concepts.

Thinking
I must emphasize here that my starting-point is thinking, not concepts and Ideas, which must first be gained by thinking. Thinking precedes concepts and Ideas. Consequently, what I have said about the nature of thought, that it is self-supporting and determined by nothing but itself, cannot simply be transferred and applied to concepts.

 

STEP #61 (4.1)
Compare Generalize Relationships with Conceptualize Relationships

Phenomena
While wandering through fields in September you hear a rustle a few steps ahead, and see the grass moving by the side of the ditch. You will probably approach the spot to learn what caused the noise and the movement. As you approach, a partridge flutters in the ditch. Seeing this, your curiosity is satisfied; you have what we call an explanation of the phenomena.

Generalize Relationships
Observation: Throughout life you have learned through countless experiences that a disturbance among small stationary bodies, is accompanied by the movement of other bodies among them. Because of having generalized the relationship between disturbances and movements, you consider this particular disturbance explained as soon as you find it to be an example of just such a relationship.

  

Conceptualize Relationships
Ideal Element: A closer analysis leads to a very different description. When I hear a noise the first thing I do is search for the concept that fits this observation. My thought makes it clear that the noise is an effect of something. Only when I connect the concept of effect with the perception of the noise am I inclined to go beyond the single observation and look for its cause. The concept “effect” calls up the concept “cause.” My next step is to look for the object that acts as the cause. I can never gain the concepts “cause” and “effect” by mere observation, no matter how many cases I observe.

Strictly Objective Science
Representation Of World: If one demands a “strictly objective science” that draws its content from observation alone, then one must also demand that it renounce all thinking. Because thought, by its very nature, goes beyond what is observed..

     
STEP #62 (4.2)
Compare Thinking Consciousness with Thinking Reference

Thinking Consciousness
Observation: When thought is directed to the observed world we have consciousness of objects; when thought is directed to itself we have self-consciousness. Human consciousness must of necessity be also self-consciousness, because it is a thinking consciousness.

 

Thinking Reference
Ideal Element: When I, as thinking subject, refer a concept to an object, we must not regard this referring as a purely subjective activity. It is not the subject, but thought, that makes the reference.

Embrace And Contrast Self With World
Representation Of World: The basis for the dual nature of the human being is that he thinks. His thought embraces himself along with the rest of the world. But also, by means of thought, he defines himself as an individual in contrast with the objective world.

     
STEP #63 (4.3)
Compare Pure Observation with Establish Conceptual Relationship

Pure Observation
External Object: All we would be aware of before our thought became active is the pure content of observation. The world would appear as a chaotic aggregate of disconnected sense-data: colors, sounds, touch, warmth, taste and smell; followed by feelings of pleasure and pain. This aggregate is the content of pure, thought-free observation.

 

Establish Conceptual Relationship
Ideal Element: Thought is able to draw connecting threads from one sense-datum to another. It unites specific concepts with these elements, and in this way establishes a relationship between them.

Conceptual Relationships Not Merely Subjective
Representation Of World: We will not be tempted to believe the relationships between observations established by thought only have subjective validity, if we recall that in no circumstance can the activity of thought be considered merely subjective.

     
STEP #64 (4.4)
Compare World-Picture Contradictions with World-Picture Corrections

World-Picture Contradictions
External Object: The unreflective, naive person regards his percepts, as they first appear, to have an existence completely independent of him. When he sees a tree, he believes right away that it is standing there on the spot where his look is directed having the shape, color and details just as he sees it. He believes phenomena exists and occurs just as he observes it. He clings to this belief until further perceptions contradict the earlier ones.

Definition Of Percept
The term “percept” is the immediate conscious apprehension of objects through observation. This includes sense-data, feelings and also thought as it first appears to our consciousness. It is the observed object, not the process of observing.

 

World-Picture Corrections
Ideal Element: Every widening of the circle of my perceptions makes me correct my picture of the world. We see this in everyday life, as well as in the intellectual development of humanity. The picture which the ancients made of the relation of the earth to the sun and other celestial bodies, had to be changed by Copernicus, because the ancient picture did not agree with new, previously unknown perceptions.

Continuous Corrections
Representation Of World: The picture we form of the world needs to be continually corrected with each new perception.

     
STEP #65 (4.5)
Compare Mathematical with Qualitative Determination Of Perception-Picture

Perception-Picture Dependent On Place Of Observation
External Object: If I stand at one end of a tree-lined avenue, the trees at the far end appear smaller and closer together than those where I am standing. My perception-picture is dependent on my place of observation and changes when I change my place of observation.

 

Perception-Picture Dependent On Bodily And Mental Organization
Ideal Element: My perception-picture is dependent on my bodily and mental organization. We only perceive vibrations as sound if we have normally constructed ears. The perception-picture of the color blind only has shades of light and dark. The fact that a red surface appears to me red depends on the structure of my eye.

Mathematical And Qualitative Determination Of Perception-Picture
Representation Of World: We are forced to make continual corrections to our observations. The dependency of my perception-picture on my place of observation is "mathematical," and its dependency on my organization is "qualitative." The first determines the relative sizes of my percepts and distances between them, the second their quality. The fact that a red surface appears to me red—this qualitative determination—depends on the structure of my eye.

     
STEP #66 (4.6)
Compare Percept Exists While Perceived with Object Exists As Collection Of Percepts

Percept Only Exists While Being Perceived
External Object: "The whole choir of heaven and all things of the earth—in a word, all those bodies which compose the mighty frame of the world—have no subsistence outside the mind." From this point of view, nothing remains of the percept if we consider it apart from being perceived. There is no color when none is seen, no sound when none is heard. Outside the act of perception, categories such as extension, form, and motion exist just as little as color and sound.

 

Object Exists As Collection Of Percepts
Ideal Element: An object is nothing but a collection of percepts connected in a certain way. If I strip a table of its figure, extension, color, etc.—in other words everything that is only my percept—then nothing is left.

The objection can be made that, even if figure, color, sound, and so forth do not existence outside the act of perception, there must still be something else there. Something must exist independently of our consciousness and be similar to our conscious perception-pictures.

Percept Partly Determined By Subject’s Organization
Representation Of World: No objection is made as long as it is only meant as a general fact that the percept is partly determined by the organization of the perceiving subject.

     
STEP #67 (4.7)
Compare Myself As Observer with My Idea-Image

Myself As Observer
External Object: When I am absorbed in the perception of a given object I am, for the moment, aware only of this object. The awareness of myself can be added to this. I am then not only conscious of the object, but also of my own personality standing over against the object and observing it. I not only see a tree; I know it is I seeing it.

 

My Idea-Image
Ideal Element: When the tree disappears from my field of vision, an aftereffect of this process remains: an image of the tree. This image has become associated with my Self during my observation. My Self has become enriched; a new element has been added to its content. I call this element my idea (Vorstellung) of the tree.

Idea Within Me
Representation Of World: I would never be in a position to speak of ideas if I did not experience them by being aware of my Self. Percepts would come and go; I would simply let them pass by. By noticing the connection between the observation of the object and the changes that occur in me, I then speak of having an idea.

     
STEP #68 (4.8)
Compare Idea Inserts Itself Before Object with Object Is Unknowable

Idea Inserts Itself Before Object
External Object: The failure to recognize the relationship between idea and object has led to the greatest misunderstandings. The perception of a change in me, the modification my Self undergoes, is thrust into the foreground, while the object causing this modification is completely lost sight of. As a consequence it is said: We do not perceive the objects, but only our ideas.

 

Only Ideas Exist
Ideal Element (Berkeley): Knowledge of the world is limited to my ideas because there are no objects other than ideas. What I see as a table no longer exists, according to Berkeley, when I cease to look at it.

Object (thing-in-itself) Is Unknowable
Ideal Element (Kant): Kant also limits our knowledge of the world to our ideas. But it does not do so because of a conviction that nothing other than ideas exist. Rather, the Kantian view believes we are organized in a way that we can learn only of the changes undergone by our own Self, not the things-in-themselves that cause them.

Knowledge Of The World Limited To Mental Representations
Representation Of World: Our ideas are the only things we experience directly and learn to know directly. At the very beginning of all philosophy, it is necessary to state explicitly that all knowledge that goes beyond ideas is open to doubt. --Kantian view

     
STEP #69 (4.9)
Compare Object Is Motion with External Object Lost

Object Is Motion In External World
External Object: Physics
Outside our organism we find vibrations of physical bodies and of the air perceived by us as sound. What we call sound is nothing more than a subjective reaction of our organism to these motions in the external world. The same external stimulus applied to different senses evokes different sensations. Our sense-organs can transmit only what occurs within them, and transmit nothing from the external world.

  External Object Lost On Way To Psyche
Ideal Element: Physiology And Psychology
The external process undergoes a series of transformations through the nerves to the brain. What the subject perceives are always only modifications of his own psychical states and nothing else. The psyche constructs things out of the various sensations transmitted to it by the brain. The final stage of the process, the representational idea of the object, is the very first thing to enter my consciousness. The external object has been completely lost on the way to the brain and through the brain to the human psyche.
   

Our Organization Determines What We Perceive
Representation Of World: Physics, physiology and psychology teach us that for perception to take place our organization is necessary. Consequently, we cannot know anything about external objects other than what our organization transmits to us.

     
STEP #70 (4.10)
Compare External Object Is Colorless with Color Projected Onto Object

External Object Is Colorless
External Object: The theory begins with what is given in naive consciousness, the thing as perceived. Then it shows that none of the qualities found in it would exist for us if we had no sense organs. The object, then, is colorless.

 

Color Projected Onto Object
Ideal Element: Color is produced in our psychical nature by the brain process. But even here I am still not conscious of it. It is first projected outwards by our psyche onto a spatial body in the external world. Here, finally, I see the color, as a quality of this body.

Perceived World Created By Psyche
Representation Of World: The theory leads me to believe that what the naive person thinks is existing outside him in space, is really a creation of my own psyche.

     
STEP #71 (4.11)
Compare The External Percept Is My Idea with Ideas Cannot Act On Each Other

The External Percept Is My Idea
External Object: As a naive person, I had an entirely false view of it. I thought the percept, just as I perceive it, had objective existence. Now I realize it disappears as I represent it to myself in the act of perceiving. The external percept is no more than a modification of my mental condition. Previously I believed the table had an effect on me, and brought about an idea of itself in me. From now on I must treat the table as itself an idea.

 

Web Of Ideas Cannot Act On Each Other
Ideal Element: If I go through each step of the act of cognition once again, the cognitive act described reveals itself as a web of ideas that, as such, cannot possibly act on each other. The full impossibility of the described line of thought reveals itself. I cannot say: My idea of the object acts on my idea of the eye, and the result of this interaction is my idea of color.

Confuses External And Internal Observations
Representation Of World: There is a gap between external and internal observations. The method of external observation ends with the process in the brain. The method of internal observation, or introspection, begins with the sensations, and continues up to the construction of things out of the material of sensation.

     
STEP #72 (4.12)
Compare Objective Reality with Subjective Reality

Objective Reality
External Object: Naive Realism accepts that one's own organism has objective existence. To be consistent, the theory that “The world is my idea” would mean our organism would be a mere complex of ideas. This removes the possibility that the content of the perceived world is solely a product of our mental organization. For only my real eye and my real hand could have the ideas of sun and earth as their modifications—my ideas “eye” and “hand” could not.

  Subjective Reality
Ideal Element: The Critical Idealism says the world is my idea. "This truth applies to every cognizing being. The world around me is present only as an idea. It is there only in relation to something else, to the one who depicts it, namely, myself. My eye that sees the sun, and my hand that feels the earth, are my ideas just like the sun and the earth."

Collapse Of “The world is my idea” Theory
Representation Of World: Critical idealism can only refute Naive Realism if it accepts, in naive-realistic fashion, that one's own organism has objective existence. As soon as the Idealist realizes the percepts of his own organism are exactly the same kind as those Naive Realism assumes to have objective existence, his theory can no longer use those percepts as a secure foundation for his theory.

Next Chapter
Critical Idealism is unable to gain insight into the relationship between percepts and ideas. It cannot find what must already be present in the object before it is perceived. To do this, we must find another way to approach this question.

     

 

BOOK TEXT

4. THE WORLD AS PERCEPTION

4.0 Reactive Thinking
[1] Concepts and Ideas are formed by thinking. What a concept is cannot be expressed in words. Words can only draw our attention to the fact we have concepts. When someone sees a tree, his thinking reacts to his observation. An ideal element is added to the object, and the observer regards the object and Ideal complement as belonging together. When the object disappears from his field of observation, only the Ideal counterpart remains. This is the concept of the object.

The wider the range of our experience, the larger the number of our concepts. Concepts are never found in isolation. They combine to form an ordered and systematic whole. For example, the concept “organism”  links up with others such as "development according to law" and "growth." Other concepts, formed from single objects, merge together into a unity. All concepts I form of particular lions merge in the universal concept "lion." In this way, all the single concepts unite to form an enclosed, conceptual system in which each has its special place. Ideas are not qualitatively different from concepts. They are filled with more content, are more complex and more comprehensive concepts.

I must emphasize here that my starting-point is thinking, not concepts and Ideas, which must first be gained by thinking. Thinking precedes concepts and Ideas. Consequently, what I have said about the nature of thought, that it is self-supporting and determined by nothing but itself, cannot simply be transferred and applied to concepts. (I make special mention of this here, as this is where I differ with Hegel, who regards the concept as the primary and original element.)

[2] Concepts cannot be drawn from observation. This is evident from the fact the growing human being only slowly and gradually builds up the concepts that correspond to the objects in his environment. Concepts are added to observation.

4.1 The Response Of The Mental Process To Observation
[3] A popular contemporary philosopher, Herbert Spencer, describes the mental process that takes place in response to observation as follows:

[4] “While wandering through fields in September you hear a rustle a few steps ahead, and see the grass moving by the side of the ditch. You will probably approach the spot to learn what caused the noise and the movement. As you approach, a partridge flutters in the ditch. Seeing this, your curiosity is satisfied; you have what we call an explanation of the phenomena.

The explanation, please notice, amounts to this: Throughout life you have learned through countless experiences that a disturbance among small stationary bodies, is accompanied by the movement of other bodies among them. Because of having generalized the relationship between disturbances and movements, you consider this particular disturbance explained as soon as you find it to be an example of just such a relationship" (First Principles, Part I, par. 23).

A closer analysis leads to a very different description from what Spencer gives. When I hear a noise the first thing I do is search for the concept that fits this observation. Only when I have this concept am I led beyond the noise itself. Whoever does not reflect on the event simply hears the noise and is content to leave it at that. But my thought makes it clear to me that a sound must be the effect of something. Only when I connect the concept of effect with the perception of the noise am I inclined to go beyond the single observation and look for its cause. The concept “effect” calls up the concept “cause.”

My next step is to look for the object that acts as the cause, which I find to be a partridge. But I can never gain the concepts “cause” and “effect” by mere observation, no matter how many cases I observe. Observation calls up thought, and thought shows me how to link separate experiences together.

[5] If one demands a “strictly objective science” that draws its content from observation alone, then one must also demand that it renounce all thinking. Because thought, by its very nature, goes beyond what is observed.

4.2 The Thinker
[6] We must now pass from thought to the being who thinks. For it is through the thinker that thought is combined with observation. Human consciousness is the place where concept and observation meet, and are connected to each other. This is, in fact, what characterizes human consciousness. It mediates between thought and observation.

In observation the object appears as given, in thought the mind experiences itself as active. It regards the thing as the object and itself as the thinking subject. When thought is directed to the observed world we have consciousness of objects; when thought is directed to itself we have self-consciousness. Human consciousness must of necessity be also self-consciousness, because it is a thinking consciousness. For when thought contemplates its own activity, the subject makes its own essential nature an object of study. Subject and object are here one and the same.

[7] It is important to note here that it is only by means of thinking that I am able to define myself as subject and contrast myself with objects. For this reason, thinking should never be regarded as a merely subjective activity. Thinking is above the distinction of subject and object. It produces these two concepts just as it produces all others. When I, as thinking subject, refer a concept to an object, we must not regard this referring as a purely subjective activity. It is not the subject, but thought, that makes the reference.

The subject does not think because it is a subject; rather, it appears to itself as subject because it can think. The activity of thinking consciousness, exercised by a human being as a thinker, is therefore not merely subjective. In fact, it is an activity that is neither subjective nor objective; it transcends both concepts. I should never say that I, as an individual subject, think. The truth is that I, as subject, exist only by the grace of thought. Thought takes me out of myself and relates me to objects. But it also separates me from the objects by setting me over against them, to face them as subject.

[8] The basis for the dual nature of the human being is that he thinks. His thought embraces himself along with the rest of the world. But also, by means of thought, he defines himself as an individual in contrast with the objective world.

4.3 The Observed Object
[9] Next, we must ask ourselves: How does the other element—which we have so far simply called the ‘observed object’—enter our consciousness where it comes into contact with thought?

[10] To answer this question, we must remove from our field of observation all thought that has already been brought into it. For at any moment the content of our consciousness is always pervaded with concepts in a variety of ways.

[11] Let us imagine a being with fully developed human intelligence originates out of nothing and has the world in front of him. All this being would be aware of, before its thought became active, is the pure content of observation. The world would appear to this being as a chaotic aggregate of disconnected sense-data: colors, sounds, touch, warmth, taste and smell; followed by feelings of pleasure and pain. This aggregate is the content of pure, thought-free observation.

Facing it stands thought, ready to begin its activity as soon as it can find a point of engagement. Experience shows that it soon does. Thought is able to draw connecting threads from one sense-datum to another. It unites specific concepts with these elements, and in this way establishes a relationship between them. We have already seen how a noise we encounter is brought into relationship with another observation by characterizing the first as an effect of the second.

[12] We will not be tempted to believe these relationships established by thought only have subjective validity, if we recall that in no circumstance can the activity of thought be considered merely subjective.

4.4 The Conscious Subject
[13] Our next task is to discover, by thoughtful reflection, how the immediately given sense-data—the pure, relationless aggregate of sensory objects—is related to our conscious subject.

[14] Because of the various ways of using words, it seems necessary for me to come to an agreement with the reader on the meaning of a word that I will use from now on. The word is percept. I will use the word “percept” to refer to “the immediate objects of sensation” mentioned above, insofar as the conscious subject becomes aware of them through observation. It is the observed object, not the process of observing, that I call “percept.”

[15] I do not choose the term “sensation,” because sensation has a specific meaning in Physiology narrower than my concept of “percept.” I can call an inner feeling a percept, but not a sensation in the physiological use of the term. When I become aware of a feeling it becomes a percept for me, and I can then gain knowledge of it. And the way we gain knowledge of our thought-processes, through observation, is to first notice thought. Then thought too, may be called a percept.

[16] The unreflective, naive person regards his percepts, as they first appear, to have an existence completely independent of him. When he sees a tree, he believes right away that it is standing there on the spot where his look is directed having the shape, color and details just as he sees it. From this naive standpoint, if a person sees the sun appear in the morning as a disc on the horizon, and then follows the course of this disc, he believes the phenomenon exists and occurs just as he observes it. He clings to this belief until further perceptions contradict the earlier ones. A child, with no experience of distance, reaches for the moon, and does not correct its first impression until it conflicts with later ones.

Every widening of the circle of my perceptions makes me correct my picture of the world. We see this in everyday life, as well as in the intellectual development of humanity. The picture which the ancients made of the relation of the earth to the sun and other celestial bodies, had to be changed by Copernicus, because the ancient picture did not agree with new, previously unknown perceptions. A man who had been born blind said, after an operation performed by Dr Franz, that the picture he had formed of the size of objects before his operation was a very different one. It was formed on the basis of a blind man’s perceptions of touch. He had to correct his touch percepts with his new visual percepts.

4.5 The Perception-Picture
[17] Why are we forced to make continual corrections to our observations?

[18] A simple reflection provides the answer to this question. If I stand at one end of a tree-lined avenue, the trees at the far end appear smaller and closer together than those where I am standing. My perception-picture changes when I change my place of observation. Therefore, the way things appear to me is determined by a factor that has to do, not with the object, but with myself as the observer. It is all the same to the avenue where I stand. But the picture I have of it depends to a great extent on my standpoint. In the same way, it makes no difference to the sun and solar system that human beings happen to observe them from the earth. But the perception-picture human beings have of the sun and solar system is determined by their living on the earth.

This dependence of the perception-picture on our place of observation is the easiest to understand. It becomes more difficult when we learn how our perceptual world is dependent on our bodily and mental organization. The physicist teaches us that in the space where we hear a sound, there are vibrations of the air. And in the body where the sound is emitted there are vibrations of its parts. But we only perceive these vibrations as sound if we have normally constructed ears. Without them the whole world would remain forever silent.

The physiologist teaches us there are people who perceive nothing of the wonderful display of colors surrounding us. Their perception-picture only has shades of light and dark. Others fail to perceive just one particular color, such as red. Their picture of the world lacks this color hue, and is different from the average person. I would like to call the dependency of my perception-picture on my place of observation "mathematical," and its dependency on my organization "qualitative." The first determines the relative sizes of my percepts and distances between them, the second their quality. The fact that a red surface appears to me red—this qualitative determination—depends on the structure of my eye.

4.6 The Subjective Perception-Picture
[19] My perception-pictures, then, are at first subjective. The recognition of the subjective character of our percepts can easily lead us to doubt whether anything objective underlies them at all. We know that a percept, for example the color red or a certain musical tone, is only possible thanks to a specific structure of our organism. From this we can easily be led to believe that the percept, apart from our subjective organization, ceases to be. If not for our act of perceiving it as an object, it has no existence at all.

This view found its classic expression in George Berkeley, who was convinced that when we realize how significant the human subject is for the percept, we can no longer believe in a world that exists apart from a conscious mind. He says:

"Some truths are so near and so obvious to the mind man need only open his eyes to see them. One such truth is this important one: The whole choir of heaven and all things of the earth—in a word, all those bodies which compose the mighty frame of the world—have no subsistence outside the mind. Their sole existence is being perceived or known. Consequently, as long as they are not actually perceived by me, or exist in my mind or in that of some other created spirit, they either have no existence or subsist in the mind of some Eternal Spirit." (Berkeley, Principles of Human Knowledge, Part I, Section 6.)

From this point of view, nothing remains of the percept if we consider it apart from being perceived. There is no color when none is seen, no sound when none is heard. Outside the act of perception, categories such as extension, form, and motion exist just as little as color and sound. Nowhere do we see extension and form alone. They are always bound up with color or other qualitative elements unquestionably dependent on our subjectivity. If these disappear when we cease to perceive them, then extension and form, which are bound up with them, must disappear also. 

[20] The objection can be made that, even if figure, color, sound, and so forth do not existence outside the act of perception, there must still be something else there. Something must exist independently of our consciousness and be similar to our conscious perception-pictures. The Berkeleyan response would be to say: A color can only resemble a color and a figure can only resemble a figure. Our percepts can only resemble our percepts, and nothing else.

Even what we call an object is nothing but a collection of percepts connected in a certain way. If I strip a table of its figure, extension, color, etc.—in other words everything that is only my percept—then nothing is left. Carried to its logical conclusion, this view leads to the assertion: The objects of my perception are there through me, and only insofar and as long as I am perceiving them. They disappear with the perceiving and have no meaning without it. Other than my percepts, I know of no objects and cannot know of any.

[21] To the claim that we can know only our percepts, no objection is made as long as it is only meant as a general fact that the percept is partly determined by the organization of the perceiving subject. It would be very different if we were able to determine the exact role our perceiving plays in bringing about a percept. We would then know what happens to the percept during the act of perception. And we could also determine what properties it has before it is perceived.

4.7 Self-Perception
[22] This leads us to turn our attention from the perceived object to the perceiving subject. I do not only perceive other things; I also perceive myself.

Self-perception first reveals that I am the enduring element in a continuous coming and going of perception-pictures. The awareness of myself can come up in my consciousness at any time, while I am having other perceptions. However, when I am absorbed in the perception of a given object I am, for the moment, aware only of this object. The awareness of myself can be added to this. I am then not only conscious of the object, but also of my own personality, standing over against the object and observing it. I not only see a tree; I know it is I seeing it.

I also know something goes on in me while I am observing the tree. When the tree disappears from my field of vision, an after-effect of this process remains: an image of the tree. This image has become associated with my Self during my observation. My Self has become enriched; a new element has been added to its content. I call this element my idea (Vorstellung) of the tree.

I would never be in a position to speak of ideas if I did not experience them by being aware of my Self. Percepts would come and go; I would simply let them pass by. It is only because I perceive my Self that I notice that with each perception the content of my Self, too, is changed. By noticing the connection between the observation of the object and the changes that occur in me, I then speak of having an idea. 

4.8 Perception Of Ideas
[23] I perceive ideas in my Self in the same way I perceive colors, sounds, etc. in other objects. From this point of view, I can now make the further distinction of calling these other objects that confront me the outer world, while the content of my Self-observation I call my inner world.

The failure to recognize the relationship between idea and object has led to the greatest misunderstandings in modern philosophy. The perception of a change in me, the modification my Self undergoes, is thrust into the foreground, while the object causing this modification is completely lost sight of. As a consequence it is said: We do not perceive the objects, but only our ideas. I know nothing, so it is claimed, of the object of my observation; the table itself. I know only of the change that is going on within me while I am perceiving the table.

This view should not be confused with the Berkeleyan view mentioned previously. Berkeley upholds the subjective nature of my perceptual content, but he does not say I can know only my own ideas. He limits my knowledge to my ideas because, in his view, there are no objects other than ideas. What I see as a table no longer exists, according to Berkeley, when I cease to look at it. This is why for Berkeley my percepts are created directly by the power of God. I see a table because God calls forth this percept in me. For Berkeley nothing is real except God and human spirits. What we call the "world" is present only within spirits. What the naive person calls the outer world, or physical nature, does not exist according to Berkeley.

Berkeley’s view stands in contrast to the currently prevailing Kantian view. This also limits our knowledge of the world to our ideas. But it does not do so because of a conviction that nothing other than ideas exist. Rather, the Kantian view believes we are organized in a way that we can learn only of the changes undergone by our own Self, not the things-in-themselves that cause them. This view draws a conclusion on the fact I can know only my ideas. According to the Kantian view, the reason we know only our ideas is not that no reality exists independent of these ideas. It is because the human subject cannot receive such a reality into itself directly. The mind can only through "the medium of its subjective thoughts imagine it, think it, cognize it, or perhaps fail to cognize it" (O. Liebmann, Analysis of Reality, p. 28). Kantians believe their view expresses something absolutely certain, something immediately evident without any need of proof.

“The first fundamental principle the philosopher must clearly grasp is the recognition that our knowledge does not initially go beyond our ideas. Our ideas are the only things we experience directly and learn to know directly. The fact that we experience ideas directly means not even the most radical doubt can rob us of our knowledge of them. On the other hand, all knowledge that does go beyond my ideas—taking ideas here in the widest sense to include all psychical processes—is open to doubt. At the very beginning of all philosophy, it is necessary to state explicitly that all knowledge that goes beyond ideas is open to doubt.”

4.9 Our Organization
Volkelt's book on Immanuel Kant’s Theory of Knowledge begins with the statement given above. What is presented here as if it were an immediate and obvious truth, is really the result of the following thought process. "Naive common sense believes that things, just as we perceive them, also exist outside our minds. Physics, physiology and psychology, however, teach us that for perception to take place our organization is necessary. Consequently, we cannot know anything about external objects other than what our organization transmits to us. What we perceive as objects are modifications that occur in our organization, not the things themselves." This line of reasoning has been characterized by Eduard von Hartmann as leading inevitably to the conviction that we can have direct knowledge only of our ideas (see Hartmann’s “Basic Problem of Theory of Knowledge”, p.16-40).

Physics
Because outside our organism we find vibrations of physical bodies and of the air perceived by us as sound. This view reasons that what we call sound is nothing more than a subjective reaction of our organism to these motions in the external world. In the same way color and warmth are only modifications of our organism. Our percepts of warmth and color are the effects of processes in the external world. These external processes are entirely different from what we experience as warmth and color. When these processes stimulate the nerves in my skin, I perceive warmth. When they stimulate the optic nerve, I perceive light and color. Light, color, and warmth, then, are the way the nerves of my sense organs react to outside stimuli. Even the sense of touch does not transmit to me the objects of the outer world, but only conditions in myself.

The physicist thinks of bodies as consisting of infinitely small parts called molecules. These molecules are not in direct contact with each other, but have certain distances separating them. Between them is empty space. Across this space they act on each other by forces of attraction and repulsion. When I place my hand on an object, the molecules of my hand never touch the molecules of the object. There always remains a certain distance between object and hand. What I feel as the resistance of the object, is nothing other than the effect of the force of repulsion its molecules exert on my hand. I remain completely external to the object. All I perceive is its effect on my organism.

[24] An extension of this idea is the Specific Nerve Energies theory, proposed by J. Müller (1801- 1858). According to this theory, each sense-organ has the peculiar quality of reacting to all external stimuli in only one specific way. Stimulation of the optic nerve results in perception of light. It does not matter whether the nerve stimulation is due to what we call light, or to mechanical pressure, or to an electric current. Conversely, the same external stimulus applied to different senses evokes different sensations. This seems to indicate that our sense-organs can transmit only what occurs within them, and transmit nothing from the outer world. The senses determine the percepts, each according to its own nature.

Physiology
[25] Physiology further shows there can be no direct knowledge even of the effects objects have within our sense-organs. When the physiologist follows the processes that take place in the body, he finds the effects of external motion already transformed within the sense organs in a variety of ways. We see this most clearly in the eye and the ear. Both are very complicated organs that alter the external stimulus considerably, before conveying it to the corresponding nerve. From the peripheral nerve-ending, the already changed stimulus is transmitted further to the brain, and here the central organ is stimulated. From this, it is concluded that the external process undergoes a series of transformations before it enters consciousness.

What finally takes place in the brain is connected to the external stimuli by so many intermediate processes, any similarity between the two is out of the question. What the brain finally transmits to the human psyche is neither external processes, nor processes in the sense-organs, but only processes inside the brain. Yet even these are not perceived directly by our inner being. What we finally have in consciousness are not brain-processes at all, but sensations. My sensation of red has absolutely no similarity to the process taking place in the brain when I sense red. The redness that occurs in the mind is an effect, and the brain process is its cause. This is why Hartmann says (The Basic Problem of Epistemology), "What the subject perceives are always only modifications of his own psychical states and nothing else."

Psychology
When I have sensations, however, they are still far from being grouped into what I perceive as "things." After all, only single sensations can be transmitted to me by the brain. Sensations of “hard” and “soft” are transmitted to me by the sense of touch; color and light by the sense of sight. Yet all these are found united in one object. This unification, then, can only be brought about by our psychical nature. The psyche constructs things out of the various sensations transmitted to it by the brain. My brain conveys to me the single sensations of sight, touch and hearing by entirely different pathways. The psyche then combines the sensations to form the idea “trumpet.” This final stage of the process (the idea of the trumpet) is the very first thing to enter my consciousness. In this result nothing can any longer be found of what exists outside me and made the original impression on my senses. The external object has been completely lost on the way to the brain and through the brain to the human psyche.

4.10 The External World Is A Projection Of My Psyche
[26] It would be hard to find in the history of human intellectual life an edifice of thought built up with greater ingenuity, and yet, on closer analysis, collapses into nothing. Let us look more closely at the way it has been constructed. The theory begins with what is given in naive consciousness, the thing as perceived. Then it shows that none of the qualities found in it would exist for us if we had no sense organs. No eye—no color. So color is not yet present in what affects the eye. The color first arises through the interaction of the eye with the object. The object, then, is colorless. But the color is not present in the eye either. In the eye there is a chemical or physical process that is conducted by the nerve to the brain, where it sets off another process. The process in the brain is not yet the color. The color is produced in our psychical nature by the brain process. But even here I am still not conscious of it. It is first projected outwards by our psyche onto a spatial body in the external world. Here, finally, I see the color, as a quality of this body.

We have come full circle. We have become conscious of a colored object. That comes first. Now the thought-operation begins. If I had no eyes, the object would be colorless for me. So I cannot attribute the color to the object. I go looking for it. I look for it in the eye,—in vain; in the nerve,—also in vain; in the brain,—again in vain.

Finally, I look for it in the psyche. Here I find it, but unconnected with the spatial body. I only find the colored object again—there, at the place where I started. The circle is closed. The theory leads me to believe that what the naive person thinks is existing outside him in space, is really a creation of my own psyche.

4.11 The External Percept Is My Idea
[27] As long as one stops here, everything seems to fit perfectly. But we must go over it again from the beginning. Up to now I have been dealing with an object—the external percept. As a naive person, I had an an entirely false view of it. I thought the percept, just as I perceive it, had objective existence. Now I realize it disappears as I represent it to myself in the act of perceiving. The external percept is no more than a modification of my mental condition.

Do I still have the right to take it as a starting point for my reflections? Can I say it has an effect on my psyche? Previously I believed the table had an effect on me, and brought about an idea of itself in me. From now on I must treat the table as itself an idea. But then to be logically consistent, my sense organs and the processes going on in them must also be only subjective manifestations. I have no right to speak of a real eye, only of my idea of the eye. The same would apply to the nerve paths and the brain process. And even to the process that occurs within the psyche itself, by which things are supposedly constructed out of the chaos of various sensations.

If I go through each step of the act of cognition once again, assuming the correctness of the first circular line of thought, the cognitive act described reveals itself as a web of ideas that, as such, cannot possibly act on each other. I cannot say: My idea of the object acts on my idea of the eye, and the result of this interaction is my idea of color. But I do not need to. For as soon as it is clear to me that my sense organs and their activity, and my nerve and psychic processes, are also known to me only through perception, then the full impossibility of the described line of thought reveals itself. It is true to say: For me there is no percept without the corresponding sense organ. But it is just as true to say: There is no sense-organ without a percept of it.

From the percept of a table I can pass to the eye that sees it, to the nerves of the hand that touch it. But what takes place within these I can learn, once again, only through perception. Then I soon notice there is no trace of similarity between the process taking place in the eye and what I perceive as color. I cannot deny my color percept just because I can point out the process taking place in the eye during this perception. Nor can I find the color in the nerve and brain-processes. All I do is connect new percepts located within my organism to the first percept, which the naive person locates outside his organism. I simply pass from one percept to the next.

[28] In addition, there is a gap in the whole chain of reasoning. I can follow the processes in my organism up to those in my brain. My assumptions, though, become more and more hypothetical the closer I come to the central processes in the brain. The method of external observation ends with the process in the brain. More precisely, it ends with what I would observe if I examine the brain using the instruments and methods of Physics and Chemistry. The method of internal observation, or introspection, begins with the sensations, and continues up to the construction of things out of the material of sensation. At the point of transition from brain process to sensation, there is a break in the method of observation.

[29] The way of thinking just described, known as Critical Idealism, stands in contrast to the position of naive common sense, known as Naive Realism. The Critical Idealist makes the error of characterizing one kind of percept as an idea, while accepting the other kind in exactly the same way as the Naive Realist, whom he claims to have refuted. He sets out to prove that our percepts are representational ideas, while naively accepting the percepts belonging to his own body as objectively valid facts. What is more, he fails to see he is confusing two fields of observation, between which he can find no connecting link.

4.12 The Bodily Organism Has Objective Existence
[30] Critical idealism can only refute Naive Realism if it accepts, in naive-realistic fashion, that one's own organism has objective existence. As soon as the Idealist realizes the percepts of his own organism are exactly the same kind as those Naive Realism assumes to have objective existence, he can no longer use those percepts as a secure foundation for his theory. He would, to be consistent, have to regard his own organism also as a mere complex of ideas. But this removes the possibility of thinking that the content of the perceived world is a product of our mental organization. One would have to accept that the idea "color" was only a modification of the idea "eye." So-called Critical Idealism cannot be proved without borrowing the assumptions of Naive Realism. The apparent refutation of Naive Realism is achieved only by uncritically accepting its basic assumptions as valid in another area.

[31] This much, then, is certain: Investigation of the field of perception cannot prove the correctness of Critical Idealism, and, consequently, cannot strip percepts of their objective character.

[32] But even less can the principle, "The perceived world is my idea" be claimed as obvious in need of no proof. Schopenhauer begins his main work, The World as Will and Idea, with the words:

"The world is my idea—this truth applies to every living and cognizing being, although the human being alone can bring it into reflective, abstract consciousness. And when he really does this, he will have attained to philosophical self-knowledge. It then becomes clear and certain to him that he knows no sun and no earth, but only an eye that sees a sun, and a hand that feels the earth. The world around him is present only as an idea. It is there only in relation to something else, to the one who depicts it, namely, himself. If ever a truth could be declared a priori, it is this one; for it expresses the most general form of all possible and thinkable experience. A form that is more universal than all others, than time, space, or causality, for all these presuppose it …” (The World as Will and Idea, Book I, par. I.)

This whole theory, based on the principle “The world is my idea” collapses in the face of the fact, noted above, that the eye and hand are percepts just as much as the sun and the earth. In Schopenhauer’s terms, and using his style of expression, one could respond: My eye that sees the sun, and my hand that feels the earth, are my ideas just like the sun and the earth. Put in this way, it is immediately clear Schopenhauer’s proposition cancels itself out. For only my real eye and my real hand could have the ideas of sun and earth as their modifications—my ideas “eye” and “hand” could not. Yet it is only in terms of these ideas that Critical Idealism is entitled to speak.

[33] Critical Idealism is completely unable to gain insight into the relationship between percepts and ideas. It cannot begin to make the distinction we indicated earlier, between what happens to the percept during the act of perception, and what must already be present in it before it is perceived. To do this, we must find another way to approach this question.

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Chapter 4 Condensed Philosophy Of Freedom

The Condensed Philosophy Of Freedom
by Rudolf Steiner

The World As Perception
Chapter 4
(perception bias)
“When someone sees a tree, his thinking reacts to his observation.
An ideal element is added to the object, and the observer regards
the object and Ideal complement as belonging together.”

Content
4.0 Concepts Added To Observation
4.1 Conceptualize Relationships
4.2 Thinking Reference
4.3 Conceptual Relationships
4.4 World-Picture Corrections
4.5 Perception-Picture Dependent On My Organization
4.6 Know Only My Percepts
4.7 Speak Of Ideas
4.8 Know Only My Ideas
4.9 Psyche Forms Idea
4.10 External Object Creation Of Psyche
4.11 Confuse External With Internal Observations
4.12 Content Of Percept Before Perception

4.0 Concepts Added To Observation
1. World As Percept: Reactive Thinking
2. World Experience: Concepts Built Up From Experience
3. Intuitive Experience: Concepts Added To Observation

Reactive Thinking
[1] When someone sees a tree, his thinking reacts to his observation. An ideal element is added to the object, and the observer regards the object and Ideal complement as belonging together. When the object disappears from his field of observation, only the Ideal counterpart remains. This is the concept of the object.

Concepts Built Up From Experience
The wider the range of our experience, the larger the number of our concepts. Concepts combine to form an ordered and systematic whole. All concepts I form of particular lions merge in the universal concept "lion." In this way, all the single concepts unite to form an enclosed, conceptual system in which each has its special place. Ideas are not qualitatively different from concepts. They are filled with more content, are more complex and more comprehensive concepts.

Concepts Added To Observation
[2] Concepts cannot be drawn from observation. This is evident from the fact the growing human being only slowly and gradually builds up the concepts that correspond to the objects in his environment. Concepts are added to observation.

4.1 Conceptualize Relationships
1. World As Perception: Remain Within Observed Content
2. World Experience: Generalize Relationships
3. Intuitive Experience: Conceptualize Relationships

[3] Herbert Spencer describes the mental process that takes place in response to observation as follows:

Remain Within Observed Content
[4] “While wandering through fields in September you hear a rustle a few steps ahead, and see the grass moving by the side of the ditch. You will probably approach the spot to learn what caused the noise and the movement. As you approach, a partridge flutters in the ditch. Seeing this, your curiosity is satisfied; you have what we call an explanation of the phenomena.”

Generalize Relationships
Spencer’s explanation is this:
“Throughout life you have learned through countless experiences that a disturbance among small stationary bodies, is accompanied by the movement of other bodies among them. Because of having generalized the relationship between disturbances and movements, you consider this particular disturbance explained as soon as you find it to be an example of just such a relationship".

Conceptualize Relationships
A closer analysis leads to a very different description. When I hear a noise the first thing I do is search for the concept that fits this observation. Whoever does not reflect on the event simply hears the noise and is content to leave it at that. Only when I connect the concept of effect with the perception of the noise am I inclined to go beyond the single observation and look for its cause. The concept “effect” calls up the concept “cause.”

My next step is to look for the object that acts as the cause, which I find to be a partridge. But I can never gain the concepts “cause” and “effect” by mere observation, no matter how many cases I observe. Observation calls up thought, and thought shows me how to link separate experiences together.

[5] If one demands a “strictly objective science” that draws its content from observation alone, then one must also demand that it renounce all thinking. Because thought, by its very nature, goes beyond what is observed.

4.2 Thinking Reference
1. World As Perception: Human Consciousness
2. World Experience: Thinking Consciousness
3. Intuitive Experience: Thinking Reference

[6] We must now pass from thought to the being who thinks. For it is through the thinker that thought is combined with observation.

Human Consciousness
Human consciousness is the place where concept and observation meet, and are connected to each other. It mediates between thought and observation.

Thinking Consciousness
In observation the object appears as given, in thought the mind experiences itself as active. It regards the thing as the object and itself as the thinking subject. When thought is directed to the observed world we have consciousness of objects; when thought is directed to itself we have self-consciousness. Human consciousness must of necessity be also self-consciousness, because it is a thinking consciousness.

Thinking Reference
[7] Thinking should never be regarded as a merely subjective activity. When I, as thinking subject, refer a concept to an object, we must not regard this referring as a purely subjective activity. It is not the subject, but thought, that makes the reference. Thought takes me out of myself and relates me to objects. But it also separates me from the objects by setting me over against them, to face them as subject.

4.3 Conceptual Relationships
1. World As Perception: Thought Pervades Field Of Observation
2. World Experience: Thought-Free Observation
3. Intuitive Experience: Conceptual Relationships

[9] Next, we must ask ourselves: How does the other element—which we have so far simply called the ‘observed object’—enter our consciousness where it comes into contact with thought?

Thought Pervades Field Of Observation
[10] To answer this question, we must remove from our field of observation all thought that has already been brought into it. For at any moment the content of our consciousness is always pervaded with concepts in a variety of ways.

Thought-Free Observation
[11] Let us imagine a being with fully developed human intelligence originates out of nothing and has the world in front of him. All this being would be aware of, before its thought became active, is the pure content of observation. The world would appear to this being as a chaotic aggregate of disconnected sense-data: colors, sounds, touch, warmth, taste and smell; followed by feelings of pleasure and pain. This aggregate is the content of pure, thought-free observation.

Conceptual Relationships
Facing it stands thought, ready to begin its activity as soon as it can find a point of engagement. Thought is able to draw connecting threads from one sense-datum to another. It unites specific concepts with these elements, and in this way establishes a relationship between them. We have already seen how a noise we encounter is brought into relationship with another observation by characterizing the first as an effect of the second.

4.4 World-Picture Corrections
1. World As Perception: The Term “Percept”
2. World Experience: World-Picture Contradictions
3. Intuitive Experience: World-Picture Corrections

[13] Our next task is to discover, by thoughtful reflection, how the immediately given sense-data—the pure, relationless aggregate of sensory objects—is related to our conscious subject.

The Term “Percept”
[14] I will use the word “percept” to refer to “the immediate objects of sensation” mentioned above, insofar as the conscious subject becomes aware of them through observation. It is the observed object, not the process of observing, that I call “percept.”

[15] When I become aware of a feeling it becomes a percept for me, and I can then gain knowledge of it. And the way we gain knowledge of our thought-processes, through observation, is to first notice thought. Then thought too, may be called a percept.

World-Picture Contradictions
[16] The unreflective, naive person regards his percepts, as they first appear, to have an existence completely independent of him. When he sees a tree, he believes right away that it is standing there on the spot where his look is directed having the shape, color and details just as he sees it. From this naive standpoint, if a person sees the sun appear in the morning as a disc on the horizon, and then follows the course of this disc, he believes the phenomenon exists and occurs just as he observes it. He clings to this belief until further perceptions contradict the earlier ones.

World-Picture Corrections
Every widening of the circle of my perceptions makes me correct my picture of the world. We see this in everyday life, as well as in the intellectual development of humanity. The picture which the ancients made of the relation of the earth to the sun and other celestial bodies, had to be changed by Copernicus, because the ancient picture did not agree with new, previously unknown perceptions.

4.5 Perception-Picture Dependent On My Organization
1. World As Perception: World-Picture Corrections
2. World Experience: Picture Dependent On Place Of Observation
3. Intuitive Experience: Perception-Picture Dependent On My Organization

[17] Why are we forced to make continual corrections to our observations?

Picture Dependent On Place Of Observation
[18] A simple reflection provides the answer to this question. If I stand at one end of a tree-lined avenue, the trees at the far end appear smaller and closer together than those where I am standing. My perception-picture changes when I change my place of observation. Therefore, the way things appear to me is determined by a factor that has to do, not with the object, but with myself as the observer.

Perception-Picture Dependent On My Organization
It becomes more difficult when we learn how our perceptual world is dependent on our bodily and mental organization. The physicist teaches us that in the space where we hear a sound, there are vibrations of the air. And in the body where the sound is emitted there are vibrations of its parts. But we only perceive these vibrations as sound if we have normally constructed ears. Without them the whole world would remain forever silent.

The physiologist teaches us there are people who perceive nothing of the wonderful display of colors surrounding us. Their perception-picture only has shades of light and dark. Others fail to perceive just one particular color, such as red. Their picture of the world lacks this color hue, and is different from the average person.

I would like to call the dependency of my perception-picture on my place of observation "mathematical," and its dependency on my organization "qualitative."

4.6 Know Only My Percepts
1. World As Perception: Perception-Picture Is Subjective
2. World Experience: Percept Exists During The Act Of Perceiving
3. Intuitive Experience: Know My Percepts

Perception-Picture Is Subjective
[19] My perception-pictures, then, are at first subjective. The recognition of the subjective character of our percepts can easily lead us to doubt whether anything objective underlies them at all. We know that a percept, for example the color red or a certain musical tone, is only possible thanks to a specific structure of our organism. From this we can easily be led to believe that the percept, apart from our subjective organization, ceases to be. If not for our act of perceiving it as an object, it has no existence at all.

Percept Only Exists During The Act Of Perceiving
This view found its classic expression in George Berkeley, who was convinced that when we realize how significant the human subject is for the percept, we can no longer believe in a world that exists apart from a conscious mind. He says:

“The whole choir of heaven and all things of the earth—in a word, all those bodies which compose the mighty frame of the world—have no subsistence outside the mind.”

From this point of view, nothing remains of the percept if we consider it apart from being perceived. There is no color when none is seen, no sound when none is heard. Outside the act of perception, categories such as extension, form, and motion exist just as little as color and sound.

Know Only My Percepts
[20] Even what we call an object is nothing but a collection of percepts connected in a certain way. If I strip a table of its figure, extension, color, etc.—in other words everything that is only my percept—then nothing is left. Carried to its logical conclusion, this view leads to the assertion: The objects of my perception are there through me, and only insofar and as long as I am perceiving them. They disappear with the perceiving and have no meaning without it. Other than my percepts, I know of no objects and cannot know of any.

[21] To the claim that we can know only our percepts, no objection is made as long as it is only meant as a general fact that the percept is partly determined by the organization of the perceiving subject.

4.7 Speak Of Ideas
1. World As Perception: Aware Of Myself As The Observer
2. World Experience: After-Effect Of Observation: An Idea-Image
3. Intuitive Experience: Speak Of Ideas

[22] This leads us to turn our attention from the perceived object to the perceiving subject. I do not only perceive other things; I also perceive myself.

Aware Of Myself As The Observer
When I am absorbed in the perception of a given object I am, for the moment, aware only of this object. The awareness of myself can be added to this. I am then not only conscious of the object, but also of my own personality, standing over against the object and observing it. I not only see a tree; I know it is I seeing it.

After-Effect Of Observation: An Idea-Image
I also know something goes on in me while I am observing the tree. When the tree disappears from my field of vision, an after-effect of this process remains: an image of the tree. This image has become associated with my Self during my observation. My Self has become enriched; a new element has been added to its content. I call this element my idea (Vorstellung) of the tree.

Speak Of Ideas
I would never be in a position to speak of ideas if I did not experience them by being aware of my Self. Percepts would come and go; I would simply let them pass by. It is only because I perceive my Self that I notice that with each perception the content of my Self, too, is changed. By noticing the connection between the observation of the object and the changes that occur in me, I then speak of having an idea.

4.8 Know Only My Ideas
1. World As Perception: Outer World And Inner World
2. World Experience: Perceive Only My Ideas
3. Intuitive Experience: Know Only My Ideas

Outer World And Inner World
[23] I perceive ideas in my Self in the same way I perceive colors, sounds, etc. in other objects. From this point of view, I can now make the further distinction of calling these other objects that confront me the outer world, while the content of my Self-observation I call my inner world.

Perceive Only My Ideas
The failure to recognize the relationship between idea and object has led to the greatest misunderstandings in modern philosophy. The perception of a change in me, the modification my Self undergoes, is thrust into the foreground, while the object causing this modification is completely lost sight of. As a consequence it is said: We do not perceive the objects, but only our ideas. I know nothing, so it is claimed, of the object of my observation; the table itself. I know only of the change that is going on within me while I am perceiving the table.

Know Only My Ideas
The Kantian view limits our knowledge of the world to our ideas. But it does not do so because of a conviction that nothing other than ideas exist. The reason we know only our ideas is not that no reality exists independent of these ideas. It is because the human subject cannot receive such a reality into itself directly.

Kantians believe their view expresses something absolutely certain, something without any need of proof:
“The first fundamental principle the philosopher must clearly grasp is the recognition that our knowledge does not initially go beyond our ideas. Our ideas are the only things we experience directly and learn to know directly. On the other hand, all knowledge that does go beyond my ideas—taking ideas here in the widest sense to include all psychical processes—is open to doubt.

4.9 Psyche Forms Idea
1. World As Perception: Know Only My Ideas
2. World Experience: Organization Transmits External Object
3. Intuitive Experience: Psyche Forms Idea

Know Only My Ideas
Naive common sense believes that things, just as we perceive them, also exist outside our minds. Physics, physiology and psychology, however, teach us that for perception to take place our organization is necessary. Consequently, we cannot know anything about external objects other than what our organization transmits to us. What we perceive as objects are modifications that occur in our organization, not the things themselves. This line of reasoning has been characterized by Eduard von Hartmann as leading inevitably to the conviction that we can have direct knowledge only of our ideas.

Organization Transmits External Object
Because outside our organism we find vibrations of physical bodies and of the air perceived by us as sound. This view reasons that what we call sound is nothing more than a subjective reaction of our organism to these motions in the external world. Our percepts of warmth and color are the effects of processes in the external world. These external processes are entirely different from what we experience as warmth and color.

Physics
The physicist thinks of bodies as consisting of infinitely small parts called molecules. These molecules are not in direct contact with each other, but have certain distances separating them. Between them is empty space. When I place my hand on an object, the molecules of my hand never touch the molecules of the object. There always remains a certain distance between object and hand. What I feel as the resistance of the object, is nothing other than the effect of the force of repulsion its molecules exert on my hand. I remain completely external to the object. All I perceive is its effect on my organism.

Physiology
[25] Physiology further shows there can be no direct knowledge even of the effects objects have within our sense-organs. When the physiologist follows the processes that take place in the body, he finds the effects of external motion already transformed within the sense organs in a variety of ways. We see this most clearly in the eye and the ear. Both are very complicated organs that alter the external stimulus considerably, before conveying it to the corresponding nerve. From the peripheral nerve-ending, the already changed stimulus is transmitted further to the brain.

What finally takes place in the brain is connected to the external stimuli by so many intermediate processes, any similarity between the two is out of the question. What the brain finally transmits to the human psyche are processes inside the brain. Yet even these are not perceived directly by our inner being. What we finally have in consciousness are not brain-processes at all, but sensations. This is why Hartmann says, "What the subject perceives are always only modifications of his own psychical states and nothing else."

Psyche Forms Idea
Psychology
When I have sensations they are still far from being grouped into what I perceive as "things." The psyche constructs things out of the various sensations transmitted to it by the brain. My brain conveys to me the single sensations of sight, touch and hearing by entirely different pathways. The psyche then combines the sensations to form the idea “trumpet.” This final stage of the process (the idea of the trumpet) is the very first thing to enter my consciousness.

In this result nothing can any longer be found of what exists outside me and made the original impression on my senses. The external object has been completely lost on the way to the brain and through the brain to the human psyche.

4.10 External Object Creation Of Psyche
1. World As Perception: Projection Of Psyche
2. World Experience: Conscious Of Object
3. Intuitive Experience: External Object Creation Of Psyche

[26] It would be hard to find in the history of human intellectual life an edifice of thought built up with greater ingenuity, and yet, on closer analysis, collapses into nothing.

Projection Of Psyche
The theory begins with what is given in naive consciousness, the thing as perceived. Then it shows that none of the qualities found in it would exist for us if we had no sense organs. No eye—no color. The color first arises through the interaction of the eye with the object. The object, then, is colorless. But the color is not present in the eye either. In the eye there is a chemical or physical process that is conducted by the nerve to the brain. The process in the brain is not yet the color. The color is produced in our psychical nature by the brain process. But even here I am still not conscious of it. It is first projected outwards by our psyche onto a spatial body in the external world. Here, finally, I see the color, as a quality of this body.

Conscious Of Object
We have come full circle. We have become conscious of a colored object. That comes first. Now the thought-operation begins. If I had no eyes, the object would be colorless for me. So I cannot attribute the color to the object. I go looking for it. I look for it in the eye,—in vain; in the nerve,—also in vain; in the brain,—again in vain.

External Object Creation Of Psyche
Finally, I look for it in the psyche. Here I find it, but unconnected with the spatial body. I only find the colored object again—there, at the place where I started. The circle is closed. The theory leads me to believe that what the naive person thinks is existing outside him in space, is really a creation of my own psyche.

4.11 Confuse External With Internal Observations
1. World As Perception: External Percept Is My Idea
2. World Experience: Web Of Ideas
3. Intuitive Experience: Confuse External With Internal Observations

[27] As long as one stops here, everything seems to fit perfectly. But we must go over it again from the beginning. Up to now I have been dealing with an object—the external percept. As a naive person, I had an an entirely false view of it. I thought the percept, just as I perceive it, had objective existence. Now I realize it disappears as I represent it to myself in the act of perceiving. The external percept is no more than a modification of my mental condition.

External Percept Is My Idea
Do I still have the right to take it as a starting point for my reflections? Can I say it has an effect on my psyche? Previously I believed the table had an effect on me, and brought about an idea of itself in me. From now on I must treat the table as itself an idea. But then to be logically consistent, my sense organs and the processes going on in them must also be only subjective manifestations. I have no right to speak of a real eye, only of my idea of the eye. The same would apply to the nerve paths and the brain process. And even to the process that occurs within the psyche itself, by which things are supposedly constructed out of the chaos of various sensations.

Web Of Ideas
If I go through each step of the act of cognition once again, assuming the correctness of the first circular line of thought, the cognitive act described reveals itself as a web of ideas that cannot possibly act on each other. I cannot say: My idea of the object acts on my idea of the eye, and the result of this interaction is my idea of color. As soon as it is clear to me that my sense organs and their activity, and my nerve and psychic processes, are also known to me only through perception, then the full impossibility of the described line of thought reveals itself.

Confuse External With Internal Observations
[28] There is a gap in the whole chain of reasoning. I can follow the processes in my organism up to those in my brain. The method of external observation ends with the process in the brain. The method of internal observation, or introspection, begins with the sensations, and continues up to the construction of things out of the material of sensation. At the point of transition from brain process to sensation, there is a break in the method of observation.

[29] The Critical Idealist sets out to prove that our percepts are representational ideas, while naively accepting the percepts belonging to his own body as objectively valid facts. What is more, he fails to see he is confusing two fields of observation, between which he can find no connecting link.

4.12 Content Of Percept Before Perception
1. World As Perception: Percept Product Of Our Organism
2. World Experience: Ideas Based On Senses
3. Intuitive Experience: Content Of Percept Before Perception

Percept Product Of Our Organism
[30] Critical idealism can only refute Naive Realism if it accepts, in naive-realistic fashion, that one's own organism has objective existence. As soon as the Idealist realizes the percepts of his own organism are exactly the same kind as those Naive Realism assumes to have objective existence, he can no longer use those percepts as a secure foundation for his theory. He would, to be consistent, have to regard his own organism also as a mere complex of ideas. But this removes the possibility of thinking that the content of the perceived world is a product of our mental organization.

[31] This much, then, is certain: Investigation of the field of perception cannot prove the correctness of Critical Idealism, and, consequently, cannot strip percepts of their objective character.

Ideas Based On Senses
[32] But even less can the principle, "The perceived world is my idea" be claimed as obvious in need of no proof. Schopenhauer begins his main work, The World as Will and Idea, with the words:

"The world is my idea—this truth applies to every living and cognizing being, although the human being alone can bring it into reflective, abstract consciousness. And when he really does this, he will have attained to philosophical self-knowledge. The world around him is present only as an idea.”

This whole theory, based on the principle “The world is my idea” collapses in the face of the fact, noted above, that the eye and hand are percepts just as much as the sun and the earth. In Schopenhauer’s terms, and using his style of expression, one could respond: My eye that sees the sun, and my hand that feels the earth, are my ideas just like the sun and the earth. Put in this way, it is immediately clear Schopenhauer’s proposition cancels itself out. For only my real eye and my real hand could have the ideas of sun and earth as their modifications—my ideas “eye” and “hand” could not.

Content Of Percept Before Perception
[33] Critical Idealism is completely unable to gain insight into the relationship between percepts and ideas. It cannot begin to make the distinction we indicated earlier, between what happens to the percept during the act of perception, and what must already be present in it before it is perceived. To do this, we must find another way to approach this question.

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1894 Philosophy Of Freedom (Hoernle 1916 translation of the original unrevised German edition)

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ILLUSTRATED EDITION

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1894 Die Philosophie der Freiheit (original German edition)

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1918 Die Philosophie der Freiheit (revised German edition)

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TRANSLATIONS OF 1918 REVISED PHILOSOPHY OF FREEDOM

1922 R. F. Alfred Hoernle

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1939 Hermann Poppelbaum (Germany)

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1963 Rita Stebbing (USA)

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1964 Michael Wilson (UK)

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1986 William Lindeman (USA)

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1995 Michael Lipson (USA)

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Spanish

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Russian

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OTHER WORKS



1895 Friedrich Nietzsche, A Fighter Against His Time by Rudolf Steiner

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Study Guide With Descriptions


  THE PHILOSOPHY OF FREEDOM STUDY GUIDE

THE STUDY GUIDE WITH PAGE DESCRIPTIONS
This is a link to the Study Guide with page descriptions added.

  AUTHOR

THE CREED OF RUDOLF STEINER
The guide begins with Rudolf Steiner’s Creed. It was written in 1888 when he was 27 years old and sets down his core principles and beliefs. The Philosophy Of Freedom is published 6 years later and expresses Steiner’s belief that the “idea” is the spirit.
WHO WAS RUDOLF STEINER?
The next page asks, Who was Rudolf Steiner? He was a respected scholar, anarchist, and advocate of the scientific worldview. His most important work is The Philosophy Of Freedom. His life was devoted to finding ways to interest people in freedom, individualism, thinking and ethics. This all changed when The Philosophy Of Freedom was banned and he was accused of associating with terrorists.
SCHOLAR
This page has videos that show the significant difference between Steiner’s Scholar Period and his Occult Period. This website is focused on Rudolf Steiner’s Scholar Period because it is a valuable resource that is filled with the spirit of The Philosophy Of Freedom.
ANARCHIST
In 1898 Rudolf Steiner publicly declared himself an “Individualist Anarchist”. When you understand what Individualist Anarchism is you can see why some have called The Philosophy Of Freedom the “anarchist’s bible”.
HUMANIST
The Humanist page compares the views in The Philosophy Of Freedom with those of established Humanism. It includes over 100 quotes in The Philosophy Of Freedom that express a humanist point of view.
PUBLISHER Magazin für Literatur
In 1897 Rudolf Steiner became an owner, chief editor and essay contributor to the literary journal "Magazin für Literatur". He acquired the magazine in hopes of persuading others to accept the ideas in The Philosophy Of Freedom. The Publisher page includes a link to all his published articles including a few that have been translated to English.

  INTRODUCTION

WHAT IS FREEDOM?
Before the publication of The Philosophy Of Freedom Steiner included a plan for the book in “Truth And Science” where he briefly describes a free deed.
1895 REVIEWS OF TPOF
The Reviews page has some interesting 1895 book reviews.
RUDOLF STEINER'S PATH
Each of us will make the journey to free thinking and action in our own way. The Philosophy Of Freedom serves as a map of the territory we will pass through on the way to freedom. The short videos on this page show how the path can be described in many different ways.
BOOK INTRODUCTION
The Book Introduction page has introductions by 15 different people.
CHAPTER SUMMARY
The Summary page has several chapter summaries.
PRINCIPLES
The Principles page has a list of the principles found in each chapter and can be used to locate ideas in the book.

  THOUGHT-STRUCTURE

12 WORLD VIEWS
After reading Rudolf Steiner’s “Human And Cosmic Thought” I suspected that the thought-structure described in these lectures was used in the writing of The Philosophy Of Freedom. The thought-structure features 12 worldviews because broad-mindedness is necessary to reach the truth of the world. I discovered that each chapter in The Philosophy Of Freedom begins with an introduction that is followed by 12 points-of-view.
TOPIC HEADINGS EXPLAINED
I placed topic headings in the text to mark the shifts from one viewpoint to another. The reader may become confused if the shifting points-of-view are not noticed. These topic headings are found on the website in the online editions of the book.

  READING

THE MISSING CHAPTER
It was many years before I realized that a chapter had been removed from The Philosophy Of Freedom. This is the story of what I had to do to find it.
WHY READ THE UNREVISED PHILOSOPHY OF FREEDOM?
The Philosophy Of Freedom was written with the mood and intention of describing the free spirited radical individualist. This changed in 1918 when the book was edited and revised in an attempt to make a connection between The Philosophy Of Freedom and Steiner's later occult science. Now there were two versions of The Philosophy Of Freedom, the original written in 1894 and the 1918 revised edition. The original Philosophy Of Freedom went out of print and was forgotten. After doing some research I discovered that an English edition of the original 1894 Philosophy Of Freedom was published in 1916. The translator was Hoernle. It was out of print and no longer available so I republished it. A free copy is available on the website and it is on Amazon priced at cost.
HOERNLE EDITION
This link takes you to the 1916 Hoernle translation with topic headings added. The Hoernle is the only English translation based on Steiner’s original unrevised 1894 German edition. It is also the only translation sanctioned by Rudolf Steiner himself.
ILLUSTRATED EDITION
A free downloadable textbook edition of The Philosophy Of Freedom is also available with diagrams and pictures.
NEW READABLE EDITION
The existing translations of The Philosophy Of Freedom closely follow the form of the German language with long sentences and paragraphs, and German word order. These translations are too literal making the text unreadable. For this reason I decided to edit the Hoernle English translation to make it more readable. It is a work in progress and only available online.
ALL TRANSLATIONS
This is a link to 9 English translations on the Translation page. It is helpful to refer to other translations if you are having difficulty.

  STUDY

HOW TO STUDY
The Philosophy Of Freedom can not be studied like a normal book. As you read you will be asking yourself, What does this mean? Your thinking is disciplined by following the special organization of the thoughts and struggling for the meaning. Proper study will result in the joy of intuitive insights that reveal meaning. Proper study also develops the faculty of intellectual intuition that is required for Ethical Individualism.
PROJECT BASED STUDY
Project based study is about making the ideas in the book your own by expressing them in a project. The ideas can be expressed in art, videos, making diagrams or even cartooning. You can write chapter summaries or apply the principles in social or political commentary. Let me know about your project and I will post it on the website.
START A STUDY GROUP
Deep study is usually done in solitude. But finding a study partner or a study group can be awakening. This page describes a fun study group process I created that everyone loved.
GROUP CONVERSATION
Group conversation leads to fresh insights but it requires discipline. This page has links to articles on group contemplation.
FREE COMMUNITIES
In 1923 Steiner recommended the formation of free communities. It would be for people who were not satisfied with living a familiar traditional life, but were concerned with the great dangers facing society.

  SELF-STUDY COURSE

ASK RUDOLF STEINER
After over a century since its publication The Philosophy Of Freedom is still unknown. We need to get the word out. The “Ask Rudolf Steiner” video series poses a question about life and then looks to see what The Philosophy Of Freedom says.
COMPARATIVE STUDY
This self-study course uses the scientific method of comparative research. It is a way of learning that compares two experiences discussed in The Philosophy Of Freedom. It compares the experience of outer truth that we observe in the external world with the experience of inner truth that appears within.
12 VIEWS STUDY
This video series discusses The Philosophy Of Freedom in light of the 12 worldview thought-structure. Each chapter presents 12 views of the chapter topic. The 12 worldviews are represented by characters.
BRIAN GRAY LECTURES
Brian Gray was a teacher at Rudolf Steiner College for many years. You can watch 17 Brian Gray lectures about The Philosophy Of Freedom on this page.
COMIC BOOKS
You will find links to 3 comic books about The Philosophy Of Freedom on the Comic Book page.
LET'S PLAY JEOPARDY!
Have you ever wondered what Philosophy Of Freedom Jeopardy would be like? Watch it here.

  INTROSPECTION

OBSERVATION OF THOUGHT EXERCISES
Rudolf Steiner called the observation of thought the most important observation we can make. By practicing the exercises on this page you will train yourself in the observation of thought.

  ETHICS

THE HUMAN IDEAL
Rudolf Steiner presents to the world a new Human Ideal, the Ethical Individualist. The Ethical Individualist stands at the highest point of human evolution as one who acts according to one's own highest ethical ideals. He is reality-based and acts out of knowledge as a free thinker. He freely selects the ethical principle to apply to each life situation without regard for what others would do.
ETHICAL INDIVIDUALISM
The leading principle of the Ethical Individualist, above all others, is to express his moral content in action. To bring change the Ethical Individualist wears four hats; that of a scientist, a philosopher, an artist, and a technician.
ETHICAL ACTIVISM
A problem today is that many lack the motivation to take ethical action. The Philosophy Of Freedom is an answer to apathy by guiding the individual to their inner truth that will empower ethical action. Inner truth brings the conviction to take a stand where others may lack the courage.

  SOCIAL AND POLITICAL

SOCIETY AND POLITICS
Rudolf Steiner stated the purpose of The Philosophy Of Freedom is to “lay the foundations of ethical individualism and of a social and political life.” Our political views are rooted in our values. The political value of freedom has united many from the Left and the Right. Naturally the political compass of one who values freedom will lean toward the Libertarian axis that supports individual freedom.
CENSORSHIP
At the core of ethical individualism and building a free society is freedom of thought and expression. Today alternative views and “offensive” speech is being restricted or completely censored. This is an attack on the broad-mindedness necessary to reach truth.
COGNITIVE RIGHTS
Should we be more concerned about Cognitive Rights? There are people who use mind control, brainwashing, or marketing to control our thoughts. At what point is our human right of free thinking violated?

  VIDEOS

VIDEO PLAYER
This page has a video viewer to watch Philosophy Of Freedom videos.
SUBSCRIBE TO YOUTUBE FOR NEW VIDEOS
This link takes you to the YouTube channel. By subscribing you will know when new videos come out.

  REFERENCE

DOWNLOAD THE FOUR BASIC BOOKS
The ideas in The Philosophy Of Freedom are found in 4 books. There are 3 books that lead up to and expand on some of the ideas briefly outlined in The Philosophy Of Freedom. You can get free downloads of these basic books on science and freedom on the Download Page.
BASIC BOOKS REFERENCE QUOTES
This page inserts quotes from 3 basic books into the text of The Philosophy Of Freedom to expand on the ideas.
LEXICON
A Lexicon of Philosophy Of Freedom terms has been started.
RELATED ARTICLES And finally a list of articles that relate to the book is located here.

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The Illustrated Philosophy Of Freedom

Below are PDF links to each single Philosophy Of Freedom chapter. The chapters are in a textbook format with diagrams and images added.

File of the complete textbook in one PDF

 

The ILLUSTRATED Philosophy Of Freedom
by Rudolf Steiner

1916 Hoernle translation
(Based on the 1894 Die Philosophie der Freiheit)

PART I : THEORY
The Theory of Freedom

0. THE GOAL OF KNOWLEDGE
1. CONSCIOUS HUMAN ACTION
2. WHY THE DRIVE FOR KNOWLEDGE IS FUNDAMENTAL
3. THOUGHT AS THE INSTRUMENT OF KNOWLEDGE
4. THE WORLD AS PERCEPTION
5. OUR KNOWLEDGE OF THE WORLD
6. HUMAN INDIVIDUALITY
7. ARE THERE ANY LIMITS TO COGNITION?
PART II : PRACTICE
The Reality of Freedom

8. THE FACTORS OF LIFE
9. THE IDEA OF FREEDOM
10. MONISM AND THE PHILOSOPHY OF FREEDOM
11. WORLD PURPOSE AND LIFE PURPOSE (The Destiny Of Man)
12. MORAL IMAGINATION (Darwinism and Morality)
13. THE VALUE OF LIFE (Optimism and Pessimism)
14. THE INDIVIDUAL AND THE GENUS
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Observation Of Thought Exercises


Observation Of Thought Exercises

OBSERVATION OF THINKING EXERCISES by Jügen Strube
Philosophy Of Freedom Observation Of Thinking Exercises
(42 exercises)

PRACTICAL THOUGHT TRAINING EXERCISES by Rudolf Steiner
Practical Training in Thought
(7 exercises)

PHILOSOPHY OF FREEDOM EXERCISES by Tim Nadelle
(2 exercises)
Foundational Exercise 
An Exploration of Motives

PHILOSOPHY OF FREEDOM EXERCISES by Tim Nadelle
(12 exercises)
PDF Individual Exercises
PDF Individual And Group Exercises
The 12 exercises are broken into three groups: Thinking, Feeling and Willing. Each exercise is preceded by the quotes from the Philosophy which inspired the exercise. The first seven exercises, on Thinking, correspond to the first seven chapters of the Philosophy. The exercises on Feeling work with quotes from various chapters. The exercises on Willing derive primarily from chapter 9, but also later chapters.

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Chapter 4 Condensed Philosophy Of Freedom

Experiment with condensed edition organized as the world as percept, world experience, and intuitive experience.

Rudolf Steiner's Philosophy Of Freedom Condensed

The World As Perception
Chapter 4
(perception bias)
“When someone sees a tree, his thinking reacts to his observation.
An ideal element is added to the object, and the observer regards
the object and Ideal complement as belonging together.”

Content
4.0 Concepts Added To Observation
4.1 Conceptualize Relationships
4.2 Thinking Reference
4.3 Conceptual Relationships
4.4 World-Picture Corrections
4.5 Perception-Picture Dependent On My Organization
4.6 Know Only My Percepts
4.7 Speak Of Ideas
4.8 Know Only My Ideas
4.9 Psyche Forms Idea
4.10 External Object Creation Of Psyche
4.11 Confuse External With Internal Observations
4.12 Content Of Percept Before Perception

4.0 Concepts Added To Observation
1. World As Percept: Reactive Thinking
2. World Experience: Concepts Built Up From Experience
3. Intuitive Experience: Concepts Added To Observation

Reactive Thinking
[1] When someone sees a tree, his thinking reacts to his observation. An ideal element is added to the object, and the observer regards the object and Ideal complement as belonging together. When the object disappears from his field of observation, only the Ideal counterpart remains. This is the concept of the object.

Concepts Built Up From Experience
The wider the range of our experience, the larger the number of our concepts. Concepts combine to form an ordered and systematic whole. All concepts I form of particular lions merge in the universal concept "lion." In this way, all the single concepts unite to form an enclosed, conceptual system in which each has its special place. Ideas are not qualitatively different from concepts. They are filled with more content, are more complex and more comprehensive concepts.

Concepts Added To Observation
[2] Concepts cannot be drawn from observation. This is evident from the fact the growing human being only slowly and gradually builds up the concepts that correspond to the objects in his environment. Concepts are added to observation.

4.1 Conceptualize Relationships
1. World As Perception: Remain Within Observed Content
2. World Experience: Generalize Relationships
3. Intuitive Experience: Conceptualize Relationships

[3] Herbert Spencer describes the mental process that takes place in response to observation as follows:

Remain Within Observed Content
[4] “While wandering through fields in September you hear a rustle a few steps ahead, and see the grass moving by the side of the ditch. You will probably approach the spot to learn what caused the noise and the movement. As you approach, a partridge flutters in the ditch. Seeing this, your curiosity is satisfied; you have what we call an explanation of the phenomena.”

Generalize Relationships
Spencer’s explanation is this:
“Throughout life you have learned through countless experiences that a disturbance among small stationary bodies, is accompanied by the movement of other bodies among them. Because of having generalized the relationship between disturbances and movements, you consider this particular disturbance explained as soon as you find it to be an example of just such a relationship".

Conceptualize Relationships
A closer analysis leads to a very different description. When I hear a noise the first thing I do is search for the concept that fits this observation. Whoever does not reflect on the event simply hears the noise and is content to leave it at that. Only when I connect the concept of effect with the perception of the noise am I inclined to go beyond the single observation and look for its cause. The concept “effect” calls up the concept “cause.”

My next step is to look for the object that acts as the cause, which I find to be a partridge. But I can never gain the concepts “cause” and “effect” by mere observation, no matter how many cases I observe. Observation calls up thought, and thought shows me how to link separate experiences together.

[5] If one demands a “strictly objective science” that draws its content from observation alone, then one must also demand that it renounce all thinking. Because thought, by its very nature, goes beyond what is observed.

4.2 Thinking Reference
1. World As Perception: Human Consciousness
2. World Experience: Thinking Consciousness
3. Intuitive Experience: Thinking Reference

[6] We must now pass from thought to the being who thinks. For it is through the thinker that thought is combined with observation.

Human Consciousness
Human consciousness is the place where concept and observation meet, and are connected to each other. It mediates between thought and observation.

Thinking Consciousness
In observation the object appears as given, in thought the mind experiences itself as active. It regards the thing as the object and itself as the thinking subject. When thought is directed to the observed world we have consciousness of objects; when thought is directed to itself we have self-consciousness. Human consciousness must of necessity be also self-consciousness, because it is a thinking consciousness.

Thinking Reference
[7] Thinking should never be regarded as a merely subjective activity. When I, as thinking subject, refer a concept to an object, we must not regard this referring as a purely subjective activity. It is not the subject, but thought, that makes the reference. Thought takes me out of myself and relates me to objects. But it also separates me from the objects by setting me over against them, to face them as subject.

4.3 Conceptual Relationships
1. World As Perception: Thought Pervades Field Of Observation
2. World Experience: Thought-Free Observation
3. Intuitive Experience: Conceptual Relationships

[9] Next, we must ask ourselves: How does the other element—which we have so far simply called the ‘observed object’—enter our consciousness where it comes into contact with thought?

Thought Pervades Field Of Observation
[10] To answer this question, we must remove from our field of observation all thought that has already been brought into it. For at any moment the content of our consciousness is always pervaded with concepts in a variety of ways.

Thought-Free Observation
[11] Let us imagine a being with fully developed human intelligence originates out of nothing and has the world in front of him. All this being would be aware of, before its thought became active, is the pure content of observation. The world would appear to this being as a chaotic aggregate of disconnected sense-data: colors, sounds, touch, warmth, taste and smell; followed by feelings of pleasure and pain. This aggregate is the content of pure, thought-free observation.

Conceptual Relationships
Facing it stands thought, ready to begin its activity as soon as it can find a point of engagement. Thought is able to draw connecting threads from one sense-datum to another. It unites specific concepts with these elements, and in this way establishes a relationship between them. We have already seen how a noise we encounter is brought into relationship with another observation by characterizing the first as an effect of the second.

4.4 World-Picture Corrections
1. World As Perception: The Term “Percept”
2. World Experience: World-Picture Contradictions
3. Intuitive Experience: World-Picture Corrections

[13] Our next task is to discover, by thoughtful reflection, how the immediately given sense-data—the pure, relationless aggregate of sensory objects—is related to our conscious subject.

The Term “Percept”
[14] I will use the word “percept” to refer to “the immediate objects of sensation” mentioned above, insofar as the conscious subject becomes aware of them through observation. It is the observed object, not the process of observing, that I call “percept.”

[15] When I become aware of a feeling it becomes a percept for me, and I can then gain knowledge of it. And the way we gain knowledge of our thought-processes, through observation, is to first notice thought. Then thought too, may be called a percept.

World-Picture Contradictions
[16] The unreflective, naive person regards his percepts, as they first appear, to have an existence completely independent of him. When he sees a tree, he believes right away that it is standing there on the spot where his look is directed having the shape, color and details just as he sees it. From this naive standpoint, if a person sees the sun appear in the morning as a disc on the horizon, and then follows the course of this disc, he believes the phenomenon exists and occurs just as he observes it. He clings to this belief until further perceptions contradict the earlier ones.

World-Picture Corrections
Every widening of the circle of my perceptions makes me correct my picture of the world. We see this in everyday life, as well as in the intellectual development of humanity. The picture which the ancients made of the relation of the earth to the sun and other celestial bodies, had to be changed by Copernicus, because the ancient picture did not agree with new, previously unknown perceptions.

4.5 Perception-Picture Dependent On My Organization
1. World As Perception: World-Picture Corrections
2. World Experience: Picture Dependent On Place Of Observation
3. Intuitive Experience: Perception-Picture Dependent On My Organization

[17] Why are we forced to make continual corrections to our observations?

Picture Dependent On Place Of Observation
[18] A simple reflection provides the answer to this question. If I stand at one end of a tree-lined avenue, the trees at the far end appear smaller and closer together than those where I am standing. My perception-picture changes when I change my place of observation. Therefore, the way things appear to me is determined by a factor that has to do, not with the object, but with myself as the observer.

Perception-Picture Dependent On My Organization
It becomes more difficult when we learn how our perceptual world is dependent on our bodily and mental organization. The physicist teaches us that in the space where we hear a sound, there are vibrations of the air. And in the body where the sound is emitted there are vibrations of its parts. But we only perceive these vibrations as sound if we have normally constructed ears. Without them the whole world would remain forever silent.

The physiologist teaches us there are people who perceive nothing of the wonderful display of colors surrounding us. Their perception-picture only has shades of light and dark. Others fail to perceive just one particular color, such as red. Their picture of the world lacks this color hue, and is different from the average person.

I would like to call the dependency of my perception-picture on my place of observation "mathematical," and its dependency on my organization "qualitative."

4.6 Know Only My Percepts
1. World As Perception: Perception-Picture Is Subjective
2. World Experience: Percept Exists During The Act Of Perceiving
3. Intuitive Experience: Know Only My Percepts

Perception-Picture Is Subjective
[19] My perception-pictures, then, are at first subjective. The recognition of the subjective character of our percepts can easily lead us to doubt whether anything objective underlies them at all. We know that a percept, for example the color red or a certain musical tone, is only possible thanks to a specific structure of our organism. From this we can easily be led to believe that the percept, apart from our subjective organization, ceases to be. If not for our act of perceiving it as an object, it has no existence at all.

Percept Only Exists During The Act Of Perceiving
This view found its classic expression in George Berkeley, who was convinced that when we realize how significant the human subject is for the percept, we can no longer believe in a world that exists apart from a conscious mind. He says:

“The whole choir of heaven and all things of the earth—in a word, all those bodies which compose the mighty frame of the world—have no subsistence outside the mind.”

From this point of view, nothing remains of the percept if we consider it apart from being perceived. There is no color when none is seen, no sound when none is heard. Outside the act of perception, categories such as extension, form, and motion exist just as little as color and sound.

Know Only My Percepts
[20] Even what we call an object is nothing but a collection of percepts connected in a certain way. If I strip a table of its figure, extension, color, etc.—in other words everything that is only my percept—then nothing is left. Carried to its logical conclusion, this view leads to the assertion: The objects of my perception are there through me, and only insofar and as long as I am perceiving them. They disappear with the perceiving and have no meaning without it. Other than my percepts, I know of no objects and cannot know of any.

[21] To the claim that we can know only our percepts, no objection is made as long as it is only meant as a general fact that the percept is partly determined by the organization of the perceiving subject.

4.7 Speak Of Ideas
1. World As Perception: Aware Of Myself As The Observer
2. World Experience: After-Effect Of Observation: An Idea-Image
3. Intuitive Experience: Speak Of Ideas

[22] This leads us to turn our attention from the perceived object to the perceiving subject. I do not only perceive other things; I also perceive myself.

Aware Of Myself As The Observer
When I am absorbed in the perception of a given object I am, for the moment, aware only of this object. The awareness of myself can be added to this. I am then not only conscious of the object, but also of my own personality, standing over against the object and observing it. I not only see a tree; I know it is I seeing it.

After-Effect Of Observation: An Idea-Image
I also know something goes on in me while I am observing the tree. When the tree disappears from my field of vision, an after-effect of this process remains: an image of the tree. This image has become associated with my Self during my observation. My Self has become enriched; a new element has been added to its content. I call this element my idea (Vorstellung) of the tree.

Speak Of Ideas
I would never be in a position to speak of ideas if I did not experience them by being aware of my Self. Percepts would come and go; I would simply let them pass by. It is only because I perceive my Self that I notice that with each perception the content of my Self, too, is changed. By noticing the connection between the observation of the object and the changes that occur in me, I then speak of having an idea.

4.8 Know Only My Ideas
1. World As Perception: Outer World And Inner World
2. World Experience: Perceive Only My Ideas
3. Intuitive Experience: Know Only My Ideas

Outer World And Inner World
[23] I perceive ideas in my Self in the same way I perceive colors, sounds, etc. in other objects. From this point of view, I can now make the further distinction of calling these other objects that confront me the outer world, while the content of my Self-observation I call my inner world.

Perceive Only My Ideas
The failure to recognize the relationship between idea and object has led to the greatest misunderstandings in modern philosophy. The perception of a change in me, the modification my Self undergoes, is thrust into the foreground, while the object causing this modification is completely lost sight of. As a consequence it is said: We do not perceive the objects, but only our ideas. I know nothing, so it is claimed, of the object of my observation; the table itself. I know only of the change that is going on within me while I am perceiving the table.

Know Only My Ideas
The Kantian view limits our knowledge of the world to our ideas. But it does not do so because of a conviction that nothing other than ideas exist. The reason we know only our ideas is not that no reality exists independent of these ideas. It is because the human subject cannot receive such a reality into itself directly.

Kantians believe their view expresses something absolutely certain, something without any need of proof:
“The first fundamental principle the philosopher must clearly grasp is the recognition that our knowledge does not initially go beyond our ideas. Our ideas are the only things we experience directly and learn to know directly. On the other hand, all knowledge that does go beyond my ideas—taking ideas here in the widest sense to include all psychical processes—is open to doubt.

4.9 Psyche Forms Idea
1. World As Perception: Know Only My Ideas
2. World Experience: Organization Transmits External Object
3. Intuitive Experience: Psyche Forms Idea

Know Only My Ideas
Naive common sense believes that things, just as we perceive them, also exist outside our minds. Physics, physiology and psychology, however, teach us that for perception to take place our organization is necessary. Consequently, we cannot know anything about external objects other than what our organization transmits to us. What we perceive as objects are modifications that occur in our organization, not the things themselves. This line of reasoning has been characterized by Eduard von Hartmann as leading inevitably to the conviction that we can have direct knowledge only of our ideas.

Organization Transmits External Object
Because outside our organism we find vibrations of physical bodies and of the air perceived by us as sound. This view reasons that what we call sound is nothing more than a subjective reaction of our organism to these motions in the external world. Our percepts of warmth and color are the effects of processes in the external world. These external processes are entirely different from what we experience as warmth and color.

Physics
The physicist thinks of bodies as consisting of infinitely small parts called molecules. These molecules are not in direct contact with each other, but have certain distances separating them. Between them is empty space. When I place my hand on an object, the molecules of my hand never touch the molecules of the object. There always remains a certain distance between object and hand. What I feel as the resistance of the object, is nothing other than the effect of the force of repulsion its molecules exert on my hand. I remain completely external to the object. All I perceive is its effect on my organism.

Physiology
[25] Physiology further shows there can be no direct knowledge even of the effects objects have within our sense-organs. When the physiologist follows the processes that take place in the body, he finds the effects of external motion already transformed within the sense organs in a variety of ways. We see this most clearly in the eye and the ear. Both are very complicated organs that alter the external stimulus considerably, before conveying it to the corresponding nerve. From the peripheral nerve-ending, the already changed stimulus is transmitted further to the brain.

What finally takes place in the brain is connected to the external stimuli by so many intermediate processes, any similarity between the two is out of the question. What the brain finally transmits to the human psyche are processes inside the brain. Yet even these are not perceived directly by our inner being. What we finally have in consciousness are not brain-processes at all, but sensations. This is why Hartmann says, "What the subject perceives are always only modifications of his own psychical states and nothing else."

Psyche Forms Idea
Psychology
When I have sensations they are still far from being grouped into what I perceive as "things." The psyche constructs things out of the various sensations transmitted to it by the brain. My brain conveys to me the single sensations of sight, touch and hearing by entirely different pathways. The psyche then combines the sensations to form the idea “trumpet.” This final stage of the process (the idea of the trumpet) is the very first thing to enter my consciousness.

In this result nothing can any longer be found of what exists outside me and made the original impression on my senses. The external object has been completely lost on the way to the brain and through the brain to the human psyche.

4.10 External Object Creation Of Psyche
1. World As Perception: Projection Of Psyche
2. World Experience: Conscious Of Object
3. Intuitive Experience: External Object Creation Of Psyche

[26] It would be hard to find in the history of human intellectual life an edifice of thought built up with greater ingenuity, and yet, on closer analysis, collapses into nothing.

Projection Of Psyche
The theory begins with what is given in naive consciousness, the thing as perceived. Then it shows that none of the qualities found in it would exist for us if we had no sense organs. No eye—no color. The color first arises through the interaction of the eye with the object. The object, then, is colorless. But the color is not present in the eye either. In the eye there is a chemical or physical process that is conducted by the nerve to the brain. The process in the brain is not yet the color. The color is produced in our psychical nature by the brain process. But even here I am still not conscious of it. It is first projected outwards by our psyche onto a spatial body in the external world. Here, finally, I see the color, as a quality of this body.

Conscious Of Object
We have come full circle. We have become conscious of a colored object. That comes first. Now the thought-operation begins. If I had no eyes, the object would be colorless for me. So I cannot attribute the color to the object. I go looking for it. I look for it in the eye,—in vain; in the nerve,—also in vain; in the brain,—again in vain.

External Object Creation Of Psyche
Finally, I look for it in the psyche. Here I find it, but unconnected with the spatial body. I only find the colored object again—there, at the place where I started. The circle is closed. The theory leads me to believe that what the naive person thinks is existing outside him in space, is really a creation of my own psyche.

4.11 Confuse External With Internal Observations
1. World As Perception: External Percept Is My Idea
2. World Experience: Web Of Ideas
3. Intuitive Experience: Confuse External With Internal Observations

[27] As long as one stops here, everything seems to fit perfectly. But we must go over it again from the beginning. Up to now I have been dealing with an object—the external percept. As a naive person, I had an an entirely false view of it. I thought the percept, just as I perceive it, had objective existence. Now I realize it disappears as I represent it to myself in the act of perceiving. The external percept is no more than a modification of my mental condition.

External Percept Is My Idea
Do I still have the right to take it as a starting point for my reflections? Can I say it has an effect on my psyche? Previously I believed the table had an effect on me, and brought about an idea of itself in me. From now on I must treat the table as itself an idea. But then to be logically consistent, my sense organs and the processes going on in them must also be only subjective manifestations. I have no right to speak of a real eye, only of my idea of the eye. The same would apply to the nerve paths and the brain process. And even to the process that occurs within the psyche itself, by which things are supposedly constructed out of the chaos of various sensations.

Web Of Ideas
If I go through each step of the act of cognition once again, assuming the correctness of the first circular line of thought, the cognitive act described reveals itself as a web of ideas that cannot possibly act on each other. I cannot say: My idea of the object acts on my idea of the eye, and the result of this interaction is my idea of color. As soon as it is clear to me that my sense organs and their activity, and my nerve and psychic processes, are also known to me only through perception, then the full impossibility of the described line of thought reveals itself.

Confuse External With Internal Observations
[28] There is a gap in the whole chain of reasoning. I can follow the processes in my organism up to those in my brain. The method of external observation ends with the process in the brain. The method of internal observation, or introspection, begins with the sensations, and continues up to the construction of things out of the material of sensation. At the point of transition from brain process to sensation, there is a break in the method of observation.

[29] The Critical Idealist sets out to prove that our percepts are representational ideas, while naively accepting the percepts belonging to his own body as objectively valid facts. What is more, he fails to see he is confusing two fields of observation, between which he can find no connecting link.

4.12 Content Of Percept Before Perception
1. World As Perception: Percept Product Of Our Organism
2. World Experience: Ideas Based On Senses
3. Intuitive Experience: Content Of Percept Before Perception

Percept Product Of Our Organism
[30] Critical idealism can only refute Naive Realism if it accepts, in naive-realistic fashion, that one's own organism has objective existence. As soon as the Idealist realizes the percepts of his own organism are exactly the same kind as those Naive Realism assumes to have objective existence, he can no longer use those percepts as a secure foundation for his theory. He would, to be consistent, have to regard his own organism also as a mere complex of ideas. But this removes the possibility of thinking that the content of the perceived world is a product of our mental organization.

[31] This much, then, is certain: Investigation of the field of perception cannot prove the correctness of Critical Idealism, and, consequently, cannot strip percepts of their objective character.

Ideas Based On Senses
[32] But even less can the principle, "The perceived world is my idea" be claimed as obvious in need of no proof. Schopenhauer begins his main work, The World as Will and Idea, with the words:

"The world is my idea—this truth applies to every living and cognizing being, although the human being alone can bring it into reflective, abstract consciousness. And when he really does this, he will have attained to philosophical self-knowledge. The world around him is present only as an idea.”

This whole theory, based on the principle “The world is my idea” collapses in the face of the fact, noted above, that the eye and hand are percepts just as much as the sun and the earth. In Schopenhauer’s terms, and using his style of expression, one could respond: My eye that sees the sun, and my hand that feels the earth, are my ideas just like the sun and the earth. Put in this way, it is immediately clear Schopenhauer’s proposition cancels itself out. For only my real eye and my real hand could have the ideas of sun and earth as their modifications—my ideas “eye” and “hand” could not.

Content Of Percept Before Perception
[33] Critical Idealism is completely unable to gain insight into the relationship between percepts and ideas. It cannot begin to make the distinction we indicated earlier, between what happens to the percept during the act of perception, and what must already be present in it before it is perceived. To do this, we must find another way to approach this question.

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Cosmic Religion Of Rudolf Steiner

CREED

written by Rudolf Steiner in 1888 and titled “Credo” which means, “What I believe”.
(the idea is the spirit, immortality in this life, divine voice of the idea,
eternal deeds, selflessness, spiritual love, entering the divine life)

1. The world of ideas is the primary source
The world of ideas is the primary source and sustaining principle of all existence. Within it is never-ending harmony and joyous tranquility. Existence not enlightened by it, would be dead and lifeless, and would have no part in the wholeness of the world. Only that which stems from the idea has meaning as part of the universal tree of creation.
2. The idea is the spirit
The idea is the spirit, which is clear and lucid in itself and independently sufficient in itself. The individual must have the spirit within, otherwise he will drop from the tree like a withered leaf, and would have existed for no good reason, and without purpose.
3. Longing for the idea
The human being feels and recognizes himself as an individual when he becomes fully conscious. In the individualization process there is implanted within him a longing for the idea. This longing drives him to overcome his separateness and to let the spirit come to life within him, and to be in accord with it.
4. The divine voice of the idea
Everything that is selfish, that makes him a separated being, this he must shed and cast away, for it is this that darkens the light of the spirit. The egotistic self desires only to follow his sensual lust, instinctive drives, greed, and passions. He must root out this selfish will, and instead, as an individual, seek what the idea wants, the spirit within. Let the individuality move there, and follow the voice of the idea within, because only the idea is divine.
5. Eternal deeds
What one wills as a separate-being, is an insignificant point in the circumference of the universe as a whole. It is without value, and therefore worthless, fast disappearing within the flow of time. Whatever one wills in the spirit is in the center, because the central light of the universe lights up within us. Such a deed is independent of time.
6. Living in world harmony
When we act selfishly in isolation, we lock ourselves out from the closed chain of creation, and separate ourselves off. When a human being acts in the spirit, he lives ever more into the universal working of the world. The banning from oneself of all self-centeredness is the foundation for the higher life.
7. Immortality in this life
Whoever deadens the egotistical within himself, lives in eternal existence. To the extent to which we can let the selfishness within us die, to that extent we are immortal. That which is mortal in us is selfishness. This is the true meaning of the saying: “he who does not die before he dies finds extinction when he dies.” This means, whoever does not end egotism during his lifetime, plays no part in the universal life, which is immortal. A person who has never existed within this greater life, has never experienced true existence.
8. The search for knowledge is devotion to the universal in thought
There are four fields of human activity in which the human being devotes himself to the spirit, while giving up selfish activity: science, art, religion and the loving devotion, spiritually, to a personality. Whoever does not live within one of these four activities, does not live at all. The search for knowledge is devotion to the universal in thought, art is devotion to the universe in beholding, religion in the depths and breadths of the soul, and dedicated love is devotion with all ones’ spiritual forces directed to something, someone that appears to us as a treasured member of the universal whole.
9. Spiritual love; love of knowledge, ennobles our being
Knowledge is the most spiritual form of selfless devotion, love is the most beautiful form. For love is truly a heavenly radiance shining into ordinary daily life. Sacred, truly spiritual love ennobles our being to its inmost core; it uplifts all that lives within us. This pure and holy love transforms our whole being into something that is in touch with the world spirit.
10. Spiritual love carries the breath of divine life to the most repulsive regions
To love, in this most exalted sense means to carry the breath of divine life into regions where only the most repulsive egotism and the most disrespectful passions are found. One has to know something of the holiness of love before one can speak of spirituality.
11. Freedom is to enter the divine life of the ideal
If a human being has made his way out of the separated condition, through one of these four fields, and entered into the divine life of the ideal, then he has reached that for which the seed of longing was placed in his heart; the union with the spirit. This is the true destination of the human being. Whoever lives in the spirit lives freely, for they have removed themselves from subordination. Nothing can compel him or her to act, other than what he wishes to be freely compelled by because he recognizes it as the highest calling.
12. Let truth be lived
Let truth be lived: lose yourself to find yourself once again in the spirit of the world!


The script in this video consists of quotes from Rudolf Steiner's "Goethean Science" and "The Philosophy O Freedom".


The script in this video consists of quotes from Rudolf Steiner's "Egoism in Philosophy".

 

COSMIC RELIGION OF ALBERT EINSTEIN

The Cosmic religion of the future - Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein claimed God can be conceived only through the “rationality or intelligibility of the world which lies behind all scientific work of a higher order.”

“The religion of the future will be a cosmic religion. It should transcend a personal God and avoid dogmas and theology. Covering both the natural and the spiritual, it should be based on a religious sense arising from the experience of all things, natural and spiritual, as a meaningful unity.”

Cosmic religious feeling
“It is very difficult to elucidate this [cosmic religious] feeling to anyone who is entirely without it... The religious geniuses of all ages have been distinguished by this kind of religious feeling, which knows no dogma and no God conceived in man's image; so that there can be no church whose central teachings are based on it.”

“I am of the opinion that all the finer speculations in the realm of science spring from a deep religious feeling, and that without such feeling they would not be fruitful. I also believe that, this kind of religiousness, which makes itself felt today in scientific investigations, is the only creative religious activity of our time.”

“I maintain that cosmic religious feeling is the strongest and noblest motive for scientific research.”

Scientific workers are the profoundly religious people
“Only one who has devoted his life to similar ends [scientific research] can have a vivid realization of what has inspired these men and given them the strength to remain true to their purpose in spite of countless failures. It is cosmic religious feeling that gives a man such strength. A contemporary has said, not unjustly, that in this materialistic age of ours the serious scientific workers are the only profoundly religious people.” (Albert Einstein, Religion and Science)

COSMIC RELIGION OF RUDOLF STEINER
(the cosmic religious experience of the idea)

Rudolf Steiner - Unity attained through scientific research
“The history of the spiritual life is a continuous quest for the unity between ourselves and the world.” “Only when we have made the world-content into our thought-content, do we find again the unity from which we have separated ourselves. We will see later this goal can only be reached when the task of scientific research is understood on a deeper level than is usually the case.” (Rudolf Steiner, The Philosophy Of Freedom chapter 2.0)

GOD

Rudolf Steiner - What the religions call God, we call the idea
When we speak of the essential being of a thing or of the world altogether, we cannot therefore mean anything else at all than the grasping of reality as thought, as idea.

In the idea we recognize that from which we must derive everything else: the principle of things. What philosophers call the absolute, the eternal being, the ground of the world, what the religions call God, this we call, on the basis of our epistemological studies: the idea.

Everything in the world that does not appear directly as idea will still ultimately be recognized as going forth from the idea. What seems, on superficial examination, to have no part at all in the idea is found by a deeper thinking to stem from it. No other form of existence can satisfy us except one stemming from the idea. Nothing may remain away from it; everything must become a part of the great whole that the idea encompasses.

By taking possession of the idea, we arrive at the core of the world. What we grasp there is that from which everything goes forth. We become united with this principle; therefore the idea, which is most objective, appears to us at the same time as most subjective. (Rudolf Steiner, Goethean Science IX Goethe's Epistemology)

Rudolf Steiner - In thinking we are the All-One Being
Thought is not individual like our sensing and feeling. It is universal. There is only one single concept of "triangle." It does not matter for the content of this concept whether it is grasped in A's consciousness or in B's.

In thought, we have the element that integrates our particular individuality into a unity with the whole of the cosmos. When we sense and feel (perceive) we are isolated individuals; when we think, we are the All-One Being that pervades everything. This is the deeper meaning of our two-sided nature. We become conscious of a purely absolute principle revealing itself within us, a principle that is universal. (The Philosophy Of Freedom chapter 5.8)

 

COMMUNION

Becoming aware of the idea within reality
The objects of thinking are ideas. Inasmuch as thinking takes possession of the idea, thinking fuses with the primal ground of world existence; what is at work outside enters into the mind of man: he becomes one with objective reality in its highest potency. Becoming aware of the idea within reality is the true communion of man. (Rudolf Steiner, Goethean Science VI Goethe's Way of Knowledge)

Universal principle of world unity is the idea 
The preceding discussion shows conclusively that it is futile to seek for any common element in the separate things of the world, other than the ideal content provided by thinking. All attempts to find world-unity must fail, other than this coherent ideal content which we gain by the conceptual analysis of what we perceive. Neither a personal God, nor force, nor matter, nor the blind, idealess will (Schopenhauer), can be accepted by us as the universal world-unity. All these principles belong only to a limited field of our observation. Personality we perceive only in ourselves, force and matter only in external things. As for the will, it can only be seen as the active expression of our own limited personality.  (The Philosophy Of Freedom chapter 5.9)

SPIRITUAL FEELING

Desire for knowledge
Abundant are the gifts we have received, yet more abundant are our desires. We seem born to be dissatisfied. A special case of this dissatisfaction is our desire to know. We look twice at a tree. The first time we see its branches at rest, the second time in motion. We are not satisfied with this observation. Why, we ask, does the tree appear first at rest and then in motion? Every look at the natural world raises questions. Nowhere are we satisfied with what nature displays before our senses. We look everywhere for what we call an explanation of the facts. (The Philosophy Of Freedom chapter 2.0)

Love of knowledge (reach feelings up to the region of the ideal)
Our life is a continuous swinging back and forth between participating in the universal world process and our own individual existence. The higher we ascend into the universal nature of thought, where eventually what is individual interests us only as an example, as an instance of a concept, the more we lose our individual character—as a specific, separate personality. The farther we descend into the depths of our personal life, and let our feelings resound with every experience of the outer world, the more we cut ourselves off from universal life. A true individuality will be the one who reaches up with his feelings as high as possible into the region of ideals. (The Philosophy Of Freedom chapter 6.8)

THE PATH

Love of truth (motto of The Philosophy of Freedom) 
As a kind of motto to The Philosophy of Freedom I wrote in the original preface: "Only truth can give us assurance in developing our individual powers. Whoever is tormented by doubts finds his powers weakened. If baffled by a world full of riddles, he can find no goal for his creative activity." "This book does not claim to offer the only possible way to truth, but is meant to describe the path taken by one whose heart is set upon truth." (Rudolf Steiner, Reflections on the Publication of the New Edition of The Philosophy of Freedom)

SPIRITUAL PRACTICE

Thought training in the realm of pure thought
Whoever is limited to the pleasures of the senses misses the sweetest joys of life. The oriental sage requires his disciples to live a life of resignation and asceticism for years before he shares with them his knowledge. The West no longer demands pious exercises and ascetic practices to attain knowledge. It does require, however, a sincere willingness to prepare for science by withdrawing oneself awhile from the immediate impressions of life, and entering the realm of pure thought. (The Philosophy Of Freedom chapter  0.7)

Study of the philosophy of freedom is thought training
The primary purpose of my book is to serve as thought training, training in the sense that the special way of both thinking and entertaining these thoughts is such as to bring the soul life of the reader into motion in somewhat the way that gymnasts exercise their limbs.” (Rudolf Steiner on His Book "The Philosophy of Freedom")

Catharsis
 Catharsis is an ancient term for the purification of the emotions by means of meditation and concentration exercises. If a reader takes this book as it was meant and relates to it in the way a virtuoso playing a composition on the piano relates to its composer, reproducing the whole piece out of herself, the books organically evolved thought sequence will bring about a high degree of catharsis. (Steiner's lectures on the Gospel Of St. John)

ETHICS

Humanism
 The human individual is the source of all morality and the center of all life. (The Philosophy Of Freedom chapter 9.12)

The knowing doer
The doer is set apart from the knower, but the one that matters most is lost sight of —the knowing doer, the one who acts out of knowledge. (The Philosophy Of Freedom chapter 1.5)

Ethical individualism is the highest level of moral life
Monism cannot admit any continuous supernatural influence upon moral life (divine government of the world from the outside), nor an influence through a particular act of revelation at a particular moment in history (giving of the ten commandments), or through God's appearance on the earth (divinity of Christ). Moral processes are, for Monism, natural products like everything else that exists, and their causes must be looked for in nature, that is, in man, because man is the bearer of morality.

Ethical Individualism is the crown of the edifice that Darwin and Haeckel have erected for Natural Science. It is the theory of evolution applied to the moral life. (The Philosophy Of Freedom chapter 12.8)

Ethical choice
There is a higher conduct that sees a value in all ethical principles and in each particular situation asks whether one or the other ethical principle is more important. (The Philosophy Of Freedom chapter 9.4)

Ethical individualism
To let our moral content express itself in life is the moral principle of the human being who regards all other moral principles as subordinate. We may call this point of view Ethical Individualism. (The Philosophy Of Freedom chapter 9.7)

CONFESSION OF FAITH

Moral life of humanity is product of human individuals
The moral life of humanity is the sum-total of the products of the moral imagination of free human individuals. This is Monism's confession of faith. Monism looks upon the history of the moral life, not as the education of the human race by a transcendent God, but as the gradual living out in practice of all concepts and ideas which spring from the moral imagination. (The Philosophy Of Freedom chapter 14.12)

COMMUNITY

Harmony of idealistic intentions 
I differ from my neighbor, not at all because we are living in two entirely different mental worlds, but because from our common world of ideas we receive different intuitions. He desires to live out his intuitions, I mine. If we both draw our intuitions really from the world of ideas, and do not obey mere external impulses (physical or moral), then we can not but meet one another in striving for the same aims, in having the same intentions. A moral misunderstanding, a clash of aims, is impossible between men who are free. Only the morally unfree who blindly follow their natural instincts or the commands of duty, turn their backs on their neighbors, if these do not obey the same instincts and the same laws as themselves. Live and let live is the fundamental principle of the free man. (The Philosophy Of Freedom chapter 9.10)

DESTINY

We choose our destiny
Human life has only the purpose and destiny that a human being gives it. If the question be asked: What is man's purpose in life? Monism has but one answer: The purpose which he gives to himself. I have no predestined mission; my mission, at any one moment, is the one I choose for myself. I do not enter upon life's voyage with a fixed route mapped out for me. (The Philosophy Of Freedom chapter 11.7)

Read more…

Illustrated POF

TPOF-textbk-chp0.pdf

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TPOF-textbk-chp2.pdf

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TPOF-textbk-chp14.pdf

 

Below are PDF links to each Philosophy Of Freedom chapter. The chapters are in a textbook format with images added.

 

The ILLUSTRATED Philosophy Of Freedom
by Rudolf Steiner

1916 Hoernle translation
(Based on the 1894 Die Philosophie der Freiheit)

PART I : THEORY
The Theory of Freedom

0. THE GOAL OF KNOWLEDGE
1. CONSCIOUS HUMAN ACTION
2. WHY THE DRIVE FOR KNOWLEDGE IS FUNDAMENTAL
3. THOUGHT AS THE INSTRUMENT OF KNOWLEDGE
4. THE WORLD AS PERCEPTION
5. OUR KNOWLEDGE OF THE WORLD
6. HUMAN INDIVIDUALITY
7. ARE THERE ANY LIMITS TO COGNITION?
PART II : PRACTICE
The Reality of Freedom

8. THE FACTORS OF LIFE
9. THE IDEA OF FREEDOM
10. MONISM AND THE PHILOSOPHY OF FREEDOM
11. WORLD PURPOSE AND LIFE PURPOSE (The Destiny Of Man)
12. MORAL IMAGINATION (Darwinism and Morality)
13. THE VALUE OF LIFE (Optimism and Pessimism)
14. THE INDIVIDUAL AND THE GENUS
Read more…

mmmm

I experience myself as active. I bring forth and guide the thinking process. I observe. However, I myself do not appear as an observed object. That I can become aware of my own activity is the result of a thinking process itself, in fact one that takes as its object a previously observed thinking process. In this way thinking becomes apparent to me, it requires my ‘I’; and in order to know myself, I need thinking.



Steiner points in a general way to these feeling-like and willing-like impressions that accompany what is described as intuitively experienced thinking when he writes: "If we are ready to experience thinking intuitively, we can also do justice to the experience of feeling and of will." POF Chapter 8, 1918 addition

In our treatment of pure thinking, the interdependent relationships that concepts and ideas have to one another were already addressed. In the above example of part and whole, it is a property of the whole to determine the way the parts are incorporated. An entity becomes part of a whole, in terms of composition, in that it is integrated into the whole. This also expresses itself in its imaginatively observed gesture, which takes hold of and orders its parts. The imaginative whole demonstrates a self-proclaiming character; it forms itself.
top
END OF EXERCISES

ng to guide me but the content of my thoughts." POF 3.6


Results
 
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The Cosmic Religion Of Rudolf Steiner

The script in this video consists of quotes from Rudolf Steiner's "Goethean Science" and "The Philosophy O Freedom".

The script in this video consists of quotes from Rudolf Steiner's "Egoism in Philosophy".

COSMIC RELIGION OF ALBERT EINSTEIN

The Cosmic religion of the future - Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein claimed God can be conceived only through the “rationality or intelligibility of the world which lies behind all scientific work of a higher order.”

“The religion of the future will be a cosmic religion. It should transcend a personal God and avoid dogmas and theology. Covering both the natural and the spiritual, it should be based on a religious sense arising from the experience of all things, natural and spiritual, as a meaningful unity.”

Cosmic religious feeling
“It is very difficult to elucidate this [cosmic religious] feeling to anyone who is entirely without it... The religious geniuses of all ages have been distinguished by this kind of religious feeling, which knows no dogma and no God conceived in man's image; so that there can be no church whose central teachings are based on it.”

“I am of the opinion that all the finer speculations in the realm of science spring from a deep religious feeling, and that without such feeling they would not be fruitful. I also believe that, this kind of religiousness, which makes itself felt today in scientific investigations, is the only creative religious activity of our time.”

“I maintain that cosmic religious feeling is the strongest and noblest motive for scientific research.”

Scientific workers are the profoundly religious people
“Only one who has devoted his life to similar ends [scientific research] can have a vivid realization of what has inspired these men and given them the strength to remain true to their purpose in spite of countless failures. It is cosmic religious feeling that gives a man such strength. A contemporary has said, not unjustly, that in this materialistic age of ours the serious scientific workers are the only profoundly religious people.” (Albert Einstein, Religion and Science)

COSMIC RELIGION OF RUDOLF STEINER

Rudolf Steiner - Unity found through scientific research
“The history of the spiritual life is a continuous quest for the unity between ourselves and the world.” “Only when we have made the world-content into our thought-content, do we find again the unity from which we have separated ourselves. We will see later this goal can only be reached when the task of scientific research is understood on a deeper level than is usually the case.” (Rudolf Steiner, The Philosophy Of Freedom chapter 2.0)

GOD

Rudolf Steiner - What the religions call God, we call the idea
When we speak of the essential being of a thing or of the world altogether, we cannot therefore mean anything else at all than the grasping of reality as thought, as idea.

In the idea we recognize that from which we must derive everything else: the principle of things. What philosophers call the absolute, the eternal being, the ground of the world, what the religions call God, this we call, on the basis of our epistemological studies: the idea.

Everything in the world that does not appear directly as idea will still ultimately be recognized as going forth from the idea. What seems, on superficial examination, to have no part at all in the idea is found by a deeper thinking to stem from it. No other form of existence can satisfy us except one stemming from the idea. Nothing may remain away from it; everything must become a part of the great whole that the idea encompasses.

By taking possession of the idea, we arrive at the core of the world. What we grasp there is that from which everything goes forth. We become united with this principle; therefore the idea, which is most objective, appears to us at the same time as most subjective. (Rudolf Steiner, Goethean Science IX Goethe's Epistemology)

Rudolf Steiner - In thinking we are the All-One Being
Thought is not individual like our sensing and feeling. It is universal. There is only one single concept of "triangle." It does not matter for the content of this concept whether it is grasped in A's consciousness or in B's.

In thought, we have the element that integrates our particular individuality into a unity with the whole of the cosmos. When we sense and feel (perceive) we are isolated individuals; when we think, we are the All-One Being that pervades everything. This is the deeper meaning of our two-sided nature. We become conscious of a purely absolute principle revealing itself within us, a principle that is universal. (The Philosophy Of Freedom chapter 5.8)

CREED

written by Rudolf Steiner in 1888 at the age of 27 and titled “Credo” which means, “What I believe”.
(the idea is the spirit, immortality in this life, divine voice of the idea,
eternal deeds, devotion, spiritual love, entering the divine life)

1. The world of ideas is the primary source
The world of ideas is the primary source and sustaining principle of all existence. Within it is never-ending harmony and joyous tranquility. Existence not enlightened by it, would be dead and lifeless, and would have no part in the wholeness of the world. Only that which stems from the idea has meaning as part of the universal tree of creation.
2. The idea is the spirit
The idea is the spirit, which is clear and lucid in itself and independently sufficient in itself. The individual must have the spirit within, otherwise he will drop from the tree like a withered leaf, and would have existed for no good reason, and without purpose.
3. Longing for the idea
The human being feels and recognizes himself as an individual when he becomes fully conscious. In the individualization process there is implanted within him a longing for the idea. This longing drives him to overcome his separateness and to let the spirit come to life within him, and to be in accord with it.
4. The divine voice of the idea
Everything that is selfish, that makes him a separated being, this he must shed and cast away, for it is this that darkens the light of the spirit. The egotistic self desires only to follow his sensual lust, instinctive drives, greed, and passions. He must root out this selfish will, and instead, as an individual, seek what the idea wants, the spirit within. Let the individuality move there, and follow the voice of the idea within, because only the idea is divine.
5. Eternal deeds
What one wills as a separate-being, is an insignificant point in the circumference of the universe as a whole. It is without value, and therefore worthless, fast disappearing within the flow of time. Whatever one wills in the spirit is in the center, because the central light of the universe lights up within us. Such a deed is independent of time.
6. Living in world harmony
When we act selfishly in isolation, we lock ourselves out from the closed chain of creation, and separate ourselves off. When a human being acts in the spirit, he lives ever more into the universal working of the world. The banning from oneself of all self-centeredness is the foundation for the higher life.
7. Immortality in this life
Whoever deadens the egotistical within himself, lives in eternal existence. To the extent to which we can let the selfishness within us die, to that extent we are immortal. That which is mortal in us is selfishness. This is the true meaning of the saying: “he who does not die before he dies finds extinction when he dies.” This means, whoever does not end egotism during his lifetime, plays no part in the universal life, which is immortal. A person who has never existed within this greater life, has never experienced true existence.
8. The search for knowledge is devotion to the universal in thought
There are four fields of human activity in which the human being devotes himself to the spirit, while giving up selfish activity: science, art, religion and the loving devotion, spiritually, to a personality. Whoever does not live within one of these four activities, does not live at all. The search for knowledge is devotion to the universal in thought, art is devotion to the universe in beholding, religion in the depths and breadths of the soul, and dedicated love is devotion with all ones’ spiritual forces directed to something, someone that appears to us as a treasured member of the universal whole.
9. Spiritual love; love of knowledge, ennobles our being
Knowledge is the most spiritual form of selfless devotion, love is the most beautiful form. For love is truly a heavenly radiance shining into ordinary daily life. Sacred, truly spiritual love ennobles our being to its inmost core; it uplifts all that lives within us. This pure and holy love transforms our whole being into something that is in touch with the world spirit.
10. Spiritual love carries the breath of divine life to the most repulsive regions
To love, in this most exalted sense means to carry the breath of divine life into regions where only the most repulsive egotism and the most disrespectful passions are found. One has to know something of the holiness of love before one can speak of spirituality.
11. Freedom is to enter the divine life of the ideal
If a human being has made his way out of the separated condition, through one of these four fields, and entered into the divine life of the ideal, then he has reached that for which the seed of longing was placed in his heart; the union with the spirit. This is the true destination of the human being. Whoever lives in the spirit lives freely, for they have removed themselves from subordination. Nothing can compel him or her to act, other than what he wishes to be freely compelled by because he recognizes it as the highest calling.
12. Let truth be lived
Let truth be lived: lose yourself to find yourself once again in the spirit of the world!

COMMUNION

Becoming aware of the idea within reality
The objects of thinking are ideas. Inasmuch as thinking takes possession of the idea, thinking fuses with the primal ground of world existence; what is at work outside enters into the mind of man: he becomes one with objective reality in its highest potency. Becoming aware of the idea within reality is the true communion of man. (Rudolf Steiner, Goethean Science VI Goethe's Way of Knowledge)

Universal principle of world unity is the idea 
The preceding discussion shows conclusively that it is futile to seek for any common element in the separate things of the world, other than the ideal content provided by thinking. All attempts to find world-unity must fail, other than this coherent ideal content which we gain by the conceptual analysis of what we perceive. Neither a personal God, nor force, nor matter, nor the blind, idealess will (Schopenhauer), can be accepted by us as the universal world-unity. All these principles belong only to a limited field of our observation. Personality we perceive only in ourselves, force and matter only in external things. As for the will, it can only be seen as the active expression of our own limited personality.  (The Philosophy Of Freedom chapter 5.9)

SPIRITUAL FEELING

Desire for knowledge
 Abundant are the gifts we have received, yet more abundant are our desires. We seem born to be dissatisfied. A special case of this dissatisfaction is our desire to know. We look twice at a tree. The first time we see its branches at rest, the second time in motion. We are not satisfied with this observation. Why, we ask, does the tree appear first at rest and then in motion? Every look at the natural world raises questions. Nowhere are we satisfied with what nature displays before our senses. We look everywhere for what we call an explanation of the facts. (The Philosophy Of Freedom chapter 2.0)

Love of knowledge (reach feelings up to the region of the ideal)
Our life is a continuous swinging back and forth between participating in the universal world process and our own individual existence. The higher we ascend into the universal nature of thought, where eventually what is individual interests us only as an example, as an instance of a concept, the more we lose our individual character—as a specific, separate personality. The farther we descend into the depths of our personal life, and let our feelings resound with every experience of the outer world, the more we cut ourselves off from universal life. A true individuality will be the one who reaches up with his feelings as high as possible into the region of ideals. (The Philosophy Of Freedom chapter 6.8)

THE PATH

Path To truth (motto of The Philosophy of Freedom) 
As a kind of motto to The Philosophy of Freedom I wrote in the original preface: "Only truth can give us assurance in developing our individual powers. Whoever is tormented by doubts finds his powers weakened. If baffled by a world full of riddles, he can find no goal for his creative activity." "This book does not claim to offer the only possible way to truth, but is meant to describe the path taken by one whose heart is set upon truth." (Rudolf Steiner, Reflections on the Publication of the New Edition of The Philosophy of Freedom)

SPIRITUAL PRACTICE

Thought training in the realm of pure thought
Whoever is limited to the pleasures of the senses misses the sweetest joys of life. The oriental sage requires his disciples to live a life of resignation and asceticism for years before he shares with them his knowledge. The West no longer demands pious exercises and ascetic practices to attain knowledge. It does require, however, a sincere willingness to prepare for science by withdrawing oneself awhile from the immediate impressions of life, and entering the realm of pure thought. (The Philosophy Of Freedom chapter  0.7)

Study of the philosophy of freedom is thought training
The primary purpose of my book is to serve as thought training, training in the sense that the special way of both thinking and entertaining these thoughts is such as to bring the soul life of the reader into motion in somewhat the way that gymnasts exercise their limbs.” (Rudolf Steiner on His Book "The Philosophy of Freedom")

Catharsis
Catharsis is an ancient term for the purification of the emotions by means of meditation and concentration exercises. If a reader takes this book as it was meant and relates to it in the way a virtuoso playing a composition on the piano relates to its composer, reproducing the whole piece out of herself, the books organically evolved thought sequence will bring about a high degree of catharsis. (Steiner's lectures on the Gospel Of St. John)

ETHICS

Humanism
The human individual is the source of all morality and the center of all life. (The Philosophy Of Freedom chapter 9.12)

The knowing doer
The doer is set apart from the knower, but the one that matters most is lost sight of —the knowing doer, the one who acts out of knowledge. (The Philosophy Of Freedom chapter 1.5)

Ethical individualism is the highest level of moral life
Monism cannot admit any continuous supernatural influence upon moral life (divine government of the world from the outside), nor an influence through a particular act of revelation at a particular moment in history (giving of the ten commandments), or through God's appearance on the earth (divinity of Christ). Moral processes are, for Monism, natural products like everything else that exists, and their causes must be looked for in nature, that is, in man, because man is the bearer of morality.

Ethical Individualism is the crown of the edifice that Darwin and Haeckel have erected for Natural Science. It is the theory of evolution applied to the moral life. (The Philosophy Of Freedom chapter 12.8)

Ethical choice
There is a higher conduct that sees a value in all ethical principles and in each particular situation asks whether one or the other ethical principle is more important. (The Philosophy Of Freedom chapter 9.4)

Ethical individualism
To let our moral content express itself in life is the moral principle of the human being who regards all other moral principles as subordinate. We may call this point of view Ethical Individualism. (The Philosophy Of Freedom chapter 9.7)

CONFESSION OF FAITH

Moral life of humanity is product of human individuals
The moral life of humanity is the sum-total of the products of the moral imagination of free human individuals. This is Monism's confession of faith. Monism looks upon the history of the moral life, not as the education of the human race by a transcendent God, but as the gradual living out in practice of all concepts and ideas which spring from the moral imagination. (The Philosophy Of Freedom chapter 14.12)

COMMUNITY

Harmony of idealistic intentions 
I differ from my neighbor, not at all because we are living in two entirely different mental worlds, but because from our common world of ideas we receive different intuitions. He desires to live out his intuitions, I mine. If we both draw our intuitions really from the world of ideas, and do not obey mere external impulses (physical or moral), then we can not but meet one another in striving for the same aims, in having the same intentions. A moral misunderstanding, a clash of aims, is impossible between men who are free. Only the morally unfree who blindly follow their natural instincts or the commands of duty, turn their backs on their neighbors, if these do not obey the same instincts and the same laws as themselves. Live and let live is the fundamental principle of the free man. (The Philosophy Of Freedom chapter 9.10)

DESTINY

We choose our destiny
Human life has only the purpose and destiny that a human being gives it. If the question be asked: What is man's purpose in life? Monism has but one answer: The purpose which he gives to himself. I have no predestined mission; my mission, at any one moment, is the one I choose for myself. I do not enter upon life's voyage with a fixed route mapped out for me. (The Philosophy Of Freedom chapter 11.7)

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Condensed Philosophy Of Freedom?

  I am thinking about producing a condensed version of The Philosophy Of Freedom so a reader could get the main ideas in a short readable edition. Here is an example of two chapters.

0. THE GOAL OF KNOWLEDGE

What is individual life?
The Characteristics Of Individualist Life

0.0 Age Of Individuality
[1] One of the fundamental characteristics of our age is the interest in individuality. The characteristics of an individualistic life are:

• Makes an energetic effort to shake off every kind of authority.
• Accepts nothing as valid unless it springs from the roots of individuality.
• Thrusts aside everything that hinders the full development of his powers.
• Choosing a hero and following their footsteps up to Mount Olympus is no longer true for him.
• Allows no ideals to be forced upon him.
• Convinced that deep in the heart of each person there dwells something noble, something worthy of development.
• No longer believes in conforming to a generally accepted norm.
• Regards the perfection of the whole as depending on the unique perfection of each single individual.
• Does not want to do what anyone else can do equally well. No, he contributes to the development of the world what he alone can offer due to the uniqueness of his nature.
• The artist is not concerned with conforming to the rules and norms in art.
• Asserts the right to creatively express what is unique in him.
• The writer is not concerned with conforming to the standard diction grammar demands.

[2] The expression of these individual characteristics are the result of his intense striving towards freedom. The individualist does not want to be dependent in any way. Where dependence is necessary it is only tolerated on the condition it serves a vital interest of his individuality.

What is individual truth?
The Characteristics Of Individualist Truth

The characteristics of individualistic truth are:

• The Path Of Inner Truth
• Empowered By Truth
• Truth That Is Understood
• Advancing In Knowledge Starts With Facts We Know
• Respecting The Individual Need To Understand
• Living The Principles Of Individualism
• Entering The Inner Realm Of Pure Thought
• Theory Serves Life
• Concerned With Freedom
• Knowledge Contributes To Human Development
• Ideas Serve Human Aims
• Master Of Ideas

0.1 The Path Of Inner Truth
[3] In the age of individuality truth is sought in the depths of human nature. Schiller described two well known paths to truth; the pursuit of truth in the outer world and the pursuit of truth within. It is inner truth that will today be found most useful:

We both seek truth; you in outer life,
I in the heart within. Each of us are sure to find it.
The healthy eye can track the Creator in the outer world;
The healthy heart reflects the world within.

We are uncertain of the truth that comes from the outside. We are only convinced when truth appears within.

0.2 Empowered By Truth
Only truth can give us the certainty necessary to develop our individual powers. These powers are weakened in anyone tormented by doubts. If confused by a world full of riddles he can not come up with an aim for his creative activity.

0.3 Truth That Is Understood
[5] We no longer want to believe; we want to know. Belief demands the acceptance of truths that we do not wholly understand. What is not clearly understood goes against our individuality that wants to experience everything in the depths of its inner core. The only knowing that satisfies us is the kind that springs from the inner life of the personality.

0.4 Advancing In Knowledge Begins With Personal Experience
[6] We do not want the kind of knowledge that has been formulated in rigid academic rules and stored away as valid for all time. As individuals, we claim the right to start from the facts we know, from our personal experience, and from there advance to knowledge of the whole universe. We strive for certainty in knowledge, but each in his own way.

0.5 Respecting The Individual Need To Understand
[7] No one should be compelled to understand. We expect neither acceptance or agreement from anyone who is not moved to a certain view by his own particular, individual need. We do not want to cram facts of knowledge into even an immature person. We try to develop the child's capacities in such a way that he no longer needs to be compelled to understand, but wants to understand.

0.6 Living The Principles Of Individualism
[8] I know how much a stereotypical attitude, lacking all individuality, is prevalent everywhere. But I also know that many strive to conduct their lives in the direction of the principles of individuality I have suggested. To them I dedicate this book. It describes the path taken by one whose heart is set upon truth.

0.7 Entering The inner Realm Of Pure Thought
[9] The reader is led from arid concepts into concrete life. I am fully convinced that to experience life in all its aspects one must soar into the realm of concepts. The West no longer demands pious exercises and ascetic practices to attain knowledge. Science does require withdrawing oneself awhile from the immediate impressions of life, and entering the realm of pure thought.

0.8 Theory Serves Life
[10] Life itself is a unity. The more the sciences immerse themselves in separate fields, the more they move away from seeing the world as a living whole. It is essential to have a wholistic knowing that seeks in the separate sciences the principles for leading man back to the fullness of life. The various branches of science are preparatory stages on the way to the all-inclusive science intended here. A similar relationship governs the arts. A composer works on the basis of the theory of composition. In composing, the rules of theory serve life, theory serves actual reality. All genuine philosophers have been artists in the conceptual realm. Abstract thinking takes on an individual life of its own. Ideas become powerful forces in life.

0.9 Concerned With Freedom
[10] The main theme of my book concerns these questions: How philosophy, as an art, relates to freedom; what freedom is; and whether we do, or can, participate in it. Scientific discussions are included because it is science that will throw light on these questions. In my view, the question of freedom is the most intimate concern of the human being.

0.10 Knowledge That Contributes To Human Development
[11] All science would be nothing but the satisfaction of idle curiosity, if it did not elevate the existential value of human personality. The true value of the sciences is seen only when we are shown the importance of their results for humanity. Knowledge has value only by contributing to the all-around development of the whole of human nature.

0.11 Ideas Serve Human Aims
[12] This book does not regard the relationship of science to life in such a way that the human being must bow down before the world of ideas and devote his powers to its service. On the contrary, it shows that he should take possession of the world of ideas to use them for his human aims.

0.12 Master Of Ideas
[13] One must confront an idea as master, experiencing it; otherwise one falls into its bondage.

5. KNOWLEDGE OF THE WORLD

What does it mean to know the world?
The Characteristics Of Knowing The World

(overcoming perception bias)
Featuring The “Concept”

• The Awakened State Of Thinking
• Thought That Applies To The World
• The World Causes Thoughts In The Mind
• Process Of Becoming
• Concept Indivisibly Bound Up With Object
• Isolate And Grasp Single Concepts
• Self Definition Through Thinking
• In Thinking We Are The All-One Being
• World Unity Found In Ideal Content
• The Conceptual Intuition Arises From Within
• Conceptual Connections Between Perceptions
• Formation Of A Memory-Image

5.1 The Awakened State Of Thinking
[8] If the things of our experience were only "ideas," then everyday life would be like a dream, and knowledge of the true situation would be like waking.

In contrast to the dreaming state we experience while asleep, there is the daytime waking state. The waking state enables us to see through the dreams and relate them to real events, the physiological and psychological processes that caused them.

Dreaming State --- Waking State

Within waking consciousness there is also a dreaming and waking state; perception and thinking. Thinking enables us to see through our perception bias to the real situation.

Perceiving (dreaming) --- Thinking (waking)

5.2 Thought That Applies To The World
[9] If I wish to say anything about what I perceive, I can do so only with the help of thought. What I express is the result of a thought-process. If my thought does not apply to the world, then my result is false. Between a perception and every kind of judgment about it there intervenes thinking.

5.3 The World Causes Thoughts In The Mind
[10] The naive mind treats thought as something that has nothing to do with things. Thinking stands completely apart from things and makes its theories about them. The theory that the thinker draws from the phenomena of the world is not considered as something integral to the things, but as something that exists only in the human head.

The world is not complete without thought. The world cause thoughts in human minds with the same necessity as it causes blossoms on plants. Plant a seed in the soil. It puts forth root and stem. It unfolds into leaves and blossoms. Place the plant before you. It connects itself to a specific concept in your mind. The concept of a plant only arises when a thinking person approaches the plant.

5.4 Process Of Becoming
[11] It is entirely arbitrary to regard the sum of what we experience of a thing through perception alone, as a totality, a complete whole, while regarding what results from thoughtful contemplation as something incidental, that has nothing to do with the thing itself.

If I am given a rosebud today, the picture that is there for my perception is finished, complete, but only for the present moment. If I put the bud in water, tomorrow I will get a very different picture of the object. And if I watch the rosebud without interruption, I will see today's state gradually change into tomorrow's through countless intermediate stages. The picture presented to me at any one moment is only a chance section taken from an object that is in a continuous process of becoming.

[12] To declare the appearance of a thing revealed at a chance moment; "this is the thing" would be a biased judgment that clings to external features.

5.5 Concept Indivisibly Bound Up With Object
[13] It is not justifiable to declare the sum of a thing's perceptual appearances to be its full reality. The concept is indivisibly bound up with the object.

If I throw a stone horizontally through the air, I see it at different points, one after the other. I connect these points to form a line. If I analyze the conditions under which the thrown stone moves, I find that the line of its flight is identical with the line I know as a parabola. The form of the parabola belongs to the whole of the phenomenon, just as much as any of its other features. The parabolic trajectory can only be added by thinking about the phenomenon.

5.6 Isolate And Grasp Single Concepts
[17] Man is a limited being. Due to our limitations things appear to us as separate objects, when in fact they are not separate at all. For example, the individual quality of red never exists in isolation. It is surrounded on all sides by other qualities to which it belongs, and without which it could not exist.

For us, however, it is necessary to isolate certain sections of the world, and to consider them on their own. Our eye can grasp only single colors one by one out of a multicolored whole. Our mind can grasp only single concepts out of an interconnected conceptual system.

5.7 Self Definition Through Thinking
[18] We define the relation of ourselves, as things, to all other things. This defining must be distinguished from merely becoming aware of our self. For self-awareness is based on perception, just like our awareness of any other thing.

The perception of myself shows me a number of qualities that I bring together into the whole of my personality. In the same way I bring together the qualities yellow, metallic shine, hard, etc. into the unity “gold.” Self-perception does not take me beyond the region of what belongs to my self. So self-perception must be distinguished from self-definition by means of thinking.

By means of thinking, I integrate the perceptions I have of my self into the order of the world-process. Self-perception confines me within certain limits, but my thought is not concerned with these limits. In this sense I am a two-sided being. I am enclosed within the sphere that I perceive as my own personality, but as a thinker I define my finite existence from a higher sphere.

5.8 In Thinking We Are The All-One Being
[20] In thought, we have the element that integrates our particular individuality into a unity with the whole of the cosmos. When we sense and feel (perceive) we are isolated individuals; when we think, we are the All-One Being that pervades everything. We become conscious of a purely absolute principle revealing itself within us, a principle that is universal. Thought is the universal cosmic principle manifesting itself in our minds.

[21] Those without thought do not have a desire to strive for knowledge. Whenever they encounter things, they have no questions. In the case of thinkers, the concept leaps up in response to the external thing. The concept is the part of a thing that we receive, not from outside, but from within ourselves. To match up, to unite the two elements, inner and outer, gives us knowledge.

[22] The perception is not something finished and complete. It is one side of the total reality. The other side is the concept. The act of cognition is the synthesis of the perception and the concept. Only the perception and concept together make up the whole thing.

5.9 World Unity Found In Ideal Content
[23] It is futile to seek for any common element in the separate things of the world other than the ideal content provided by thinking. All attempts to find world-unity must fail, other than this coherent ideal content which we gain by the conceptual analysis of what we perceive.

Neither a personal God, nor force, nor matter, nor the blind, idealess will (Schopenhauer), can be accepted by us as the universal world-unity. All these principles belong only to a limited field of our observation. Personality we perceive only in ourselves, force and matter only in external things. As for the will, it can only be seen as the active expression of our own limited personality.

Schopenhauer considers himself justified to see in the body the “objectivity” of the will. He is convinced that in the actions of the body he has a direct experience of reality, the thing-in-itself in the concrete. Against this analysis, we must point out that the actions of our body only come to our awareness through self-observation. The perceptions we obtain of ourselves have no advantage over other perceptions. If we wish to know their real nature, we can do so only by means of thinking, by organizing them into the ideal system of our concepts and ideas.

5.10 The Conceptual Intuition Arises From Within
[24] Let us take a look at the world of perception by itself. It appears as a mere juxtaposition of elements in space and a sequence of changing elements in time, an aggregate of unconnected details. None of these things that come and go on the perceptual stage appears to have any connection with any other. Here, the world is a multiplicity of objects of equal value. None plays a more important part in the machinery of the world than any other.

If we are to recognize that this or that fact has greater significance than another, we must consult our thought. As long as we do not think, a rudimentary organ of an animal that has no significance for its survival, appears equal in value to the most important part of its body. The meaning of single facts, both in themselves and in their relation to other parts of the world, only becomes apparent when thought weaves its threads from one thing to another.

[25] Thinking contributes this content to the perception from the world of concepts and ideas. 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 perceptions. Intuition and observation are the sources of our knowledge.

Anything we observe in the world remains unintelligible to us, until the corresponding intuition arises within us which adds that part of reality missing in the perception. Full reality remains closed off to anyone without the ability to supply the relevant intuitions corresponding to things.

[26] To explain a thing and make it understandable, means nothing other than to place it into the context from which it has been torn due to the nature of our organization. What appears to us in observation as separate details, become linked, item by item, through the coherent, unified system of our intuitions. By means of thought we fit together again into one whole all that perception has separated.

[27] The puzzling nature of an object is due to the separateness of its existence. However, this separation is brought about by us and can, within the conceptual world, be dispelled and returned to unity again.

5.11 Conceptual Connections Between Perceptions
[29] Let us suppose a certain perception—red, for example—appears in my consciousness. This perception is connected to other perceptions such as a specific shape, and to certain perceptions of temperature and touch. I call this combination of perceptions “an object in the sense-perceptible world.” I can go further and study the processes that take place on the way from the object to my sense-organs and the sense-organs to the brain. There I find processes that have nothing in common with the original perceptions. In each of these inquiries I gather new perceptions, but the connecting thread that weaves through all these perceptions and binds them into one whole—is thought.

Thought alone links all these perceptions to each other, and shows them in their mutual relationships. We cannot speak of the existence of anything beyond what is directly perceived, except what is recognized as the conceptual connections between perceptions. These connections are discovered by thinking.

5.12 Formation Of A Memory-Image
[30] What, then, is a perception? A perception always appears as a very specific, concrete content. This content is directly given and is completely contained in what is given. All that can be asked about this given content is: "What is it apart from perception—that is, what is it for thought?" The question concerning the "what" of a percept can only refer to the conceptual intuition that corresponds to it.

For us, then, something is "objective" when it is seen to be located outside myself as perceiving subject. The perception of myself as subject remains perceptible to me after the table now standing before me has disappeared from my field of observation. The observation of the table has caused a change in me that persists like myself. I preserve an image of the table which now forms part of my Self. I retain a lasting ability to reproduce an image of the table again, later. Psychology calls this image a “memory-image.”

It is the only thing that can properly be called my idea of the table. For it is the perceptible change in me caused by the table when it was in my field of vision. The idea is, then, a subjective perception, in contrast to the objective perception that occurs when the object is present in the field of one’s vision. Falsely identifying the subjective perception as the objective perception leads to the misunderstanding of Idealism that “the world is my idea.”

[31] 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.

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Project Based Study 2


Each step of this self-directed Project Based Study program focuses on one of the abilities discussed in The Philosophy of Freedom needed to turn one's ideals into completed action. The abilities practiced are scientific inquiry, pure reasoning, imagination, technical skills and collaboration. You are also welcome to take a "just do it" approach and forget the program structure. Share your project with others by submitting it to this website. Use contact for any questions.





Objective Inquiry
The first step in the study of The Philosophy of Freedom is basic reading comprehension. This is knowing the meaning of words and grasping the main points. A dictionary is helpful even to be used for common words. The Philosophy of Freedom has its own nomenclature. It is a science of freedom, so the terms used stand for real things. The experience of these real things, such as concepts, ideas and thought processes, are not uncommon and can be recognized by anyone willing to observe their own thought. Test your understanding of the terms with your actual experience. The meanings may change as the book moves to deeper levels of experience. A barrier to study is to bring in preconceptions or the conceptual meanings of another system such as anthroposophy.

Pure Reasoning
The science-minded Ethical Individualist practices pure reason by entering the realm of pure thought. Reason brings the principles learned into harmony with each other and with our other ideas. Reason brings new insights that will inspire and guide your project. In this step you select the principle you want to express in your project.

Imaginative Thinking
The challenge in this step is to imaginatively translate your universal principle into a specific form. This requires imaginative thinking. By holding your pure thought in mind it will quickly be clothed in concrete details and take a form that expresses your ideal. It becomes an outline, sketch, script or story board of your project. It is a detailed vision of what you are going to create.

Technical Skills
In the previous step you imagined the project. The next step is to create it! To carry out your project you will need technical skills! The challenge for this step is to learn new skills! An ethical individualist acquires the technical skills necessary to successfully complete a project. The web has many simple to use online tools that support individual expression. These tools include video editors, animation, cartooning programs, diagram making, and more. Or you can write something to post or photograph a painting. Good luck!

Sharing
The Philosophy of Freedom was published in 1894. Today it is culturally dated. Rudolf Steiner hoped that in 100 years it would be newly expressed in a culturally appropriate way. Now is the time. What if hundreds or even thousands expressed a small part of the book in their own way? What if you could go to a website and see this philosophy of life expressed from many different viewpoints in new and creative ways. It can be done! Contact the website and your finished project will be posted on philosophyoffreedom.com.

Read more…

Project Based Study

Each step of this self-directed Project Based Study program focuses on one of the abilities discussed in The Philosophy of Freedom needed to turn one's ideals into completed action. The abilities practiced are objective inquiry, pure reasoning, imagination, technical skills and collaboration. You are also welcome to take a "just do it" approach and forget the program structure. Share your project with others by submitting it to this website. Use contact for any questions.





Objective Inquiry
The first step in the study of The Philosophy of Freedom is basic reading comprehension. This is knowing the meaning of words and grasping the main points. A dictionary is helpful even to be used for common words. The Philosophy of Freedom has its own nomenclature. It is a science of freedom, so the terms used stand for real things. The experience of these real things, such as concepts, ideas and thought processes, are not uncommon and can be recognized by anyone willing to observe their own thought. Test your understanding of the terms with your actual experience. The meanings may change as the book moves to deeper levels of experience. A barrier to study is to bring in preconceptions or the conceptual meanings of another system such as anthroposophy.

Pure Reasoning
The science-minded Ethical Individualist practices pure reason by entering the realm of pure thought. Reason brings the principles learned into harmony with each other and with our other ideas. Reason brings new insights that will inspire and guide your project. In this step you select the principle you want to express in your project.

Imaginative Thinking
The challenge in this step is to imaginatively translate your universal principle into a specific form. This requires imaginative thinking. By holding your pure thought in mind it will quickly be clothed in concrete details and take a form that expresses your ideal. It becomes an outline, sketch, script or story board of your project. It is a detailed vision of what you are going to create.

Technical Skills
In the previous step you imagined the project. The next step is to create it! To carry out your project you will need technical skills! The challenge for this step is to learn new skills! An ethical individualist acquires the technical skills necessary to successfully complete a project. The web has many simple to use online tools that support individual expression. These tools include video editors, animation, cartooning programs, diagram making, and more. Or you can write something to post or photograph a painting. Good luck!

Sharing
The Philosophy of Freedom was published in 1894. Today it is culturally dated. Rudolf Steiner hoped that in 100 years it would be newly expressed in a culturally appropriate way. Now is the time. What if hundreds or even thousands expressed a small part of the book in their own way? What if they worked together so you could go to a website and see The Philosophy of Freedom expressed from many different viewpoints in new and creative ways. It can be done! Contact the website and your finished project will be posted on philosophyoffreedom.com.

Read more…

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INTRODUCTION

This first English translation of Rudolf Steiner's Die Philosophie der Freiheit has only been available if you were fortunate enough to locate one of the rare 1916 books. For this reason alone its seems appropriate to republish it now, yet this edition is distinct in other ways. It is the only translation sanctioned by Rudolf Steiner himself. The joint translators, Prof. and Mrs. R. F. Alfred Hoernlé, were selected for their outstanding qualifications.

“their thorough knowledge of philosophy and their complete command of the German and English languages enabling them to overcome the difficulty of finding adequate English equivalents for the terms of German Philosophy.” H. Collison, 1916 Editor’s Note, The Philosophy of Freedom

R. F. Alfred Hoernlé was trained in philosophy at Oxford and taught it at Harvard. He was familiar with the philosophical issues of Steiner's day. A review of Hoernlé's book Studies in Contemporary Metaphysics (1920) said he had a flexible and assimilative mind and:

"He has had quite exceptional opportunities for seeing contemporary philosophies in the making and for understanding, from personal experience, how far a set of philosophical opinions can bear transplanting from one country to another... a very staunch believer in the truth of the philosophical tradition.1921 Oxford University Press

This Hoernlé translation is based on the original, unrevised German Die Philosophie der Freiheit published in 1894. The other translations, available up to now, are not based on the original Die Philosophie der Freiheit, instead they are based on the 1918 revised edition. Rudolf Steiner revised the original German text twenty-five years after it was originally published. The Hoernlé translation is also unique to the extent that later translations have been influenced by the thought and terminology of theosophy and spiritual science.

To explain why The Philosophy of freedom was revised and came under the influence of theosophy it is necessary to understand the two different periods of Rudolf Steiner's life. The first is his ascent to freedom that began with training in mathematics, science, and philosophy culminating in his philosophy of life founded upon individualistic truth and ethical individualism. The Philosophy of Freedom describes his path to freedom and contains the ideas he formed in this first period. In the second period of his life Steiner converted to theosophy and began speaking of his clairvoyant research into spiritual realms.

Steiner intended that this first period, as it is expressed in The Philosophy of Freedom, stand independent of his later work in theosophy and spiritual science. In 1906 he says:

"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

Rudolf Steiner's original aim in The Philosophy of Freedom is to justify individualistic truth. This is presented in Chapter I, The Aim of Knowledge, that was part of the original 1894 edition:

It is no longer enough merely to believe, we want to know. Belief demands the acceptance of truths that are not quite clear to us. But the individuality that seeks to experience everything in the depths of its own being, is repelled by what it cannot understand. The only knowing that satisfies us is one that does not submit to outer norms, but rather springs from the inner life of the personality.Rudolf Steiner, in the original Philosophy of Freedom, Chapter I, The Aim of Knowledge.

In 1900 Steiner entered the second period of his life and his work took a new direction. He began lecturing on his clairvoyant research into spiritual realms to the Theosophical Society (later in the Anthroposophical Society that he started with a group of theosophists). Before this, Steiner seemed willing to speak to any group on a variety of topics, but now he gave lectures regularly on spiritual science to members of the Theosophical Society. This new direction likely led to his revising Die Philosophie der Freiheit in 1918 for the benefit of his theosophy followers who he regularly encouraged to read the book, but without much success as they were having great difficulty with it.

Changes of text have been made only where it appeared to me that I had said clumsily what I meant to say a quarter of a century ago.” Rudolf Steiner, 1918 Preface to the Revised Edition

The principles of individualistic truth found in the first chapter of the original Die Philosophie der Freiheit were removed and replaced with a new preface giving the book a new aim, that of justifying his later research into the spiritual realm. Steiner explains in the new preface added in 1918:

The aim of this book is to demonstrate, prior to our entry upon spiritual experience, that knowledge of the spiritual world is justified.” Rudolf Steiner, 1918 Preface to the Revised Edition

Other 1918 revisions included the books fundamental opening “question of freedom” which was revised to include a theosophy based preconception with the addition of “spiritual being”:

1894 original: Ist der Mensch in seinem Denken und Handeln frei,...
1918 revision: Ist der Mensch in seinem Denken und Handeln [ein geistig freies Wesen]...

1894 original: Is man, in his thinking and action free,...
1918 revision: Is man, in his thinking and action [a spiritually free being],...

The circle of the Anthroposophical Society became the authority to sanction and publish future translations after Steiner's death in 1925. The encroachment of theosophy continued in 1936 with revisions made to the Hoernlé translation by theosophist/ anthroposophist Hermann Poppelbaum, Director of the Anthroposophical Society, such as always translating “Geist” as “spirit” rather than “mind”. While recognizing the excellence of the Hoernlé translation, Poppelbaum's aim was to correct it according to the Society’s developing perspective on Steiner thought. Poppelbaum's objective was to,

“check certain words and phrases from the strictly Steiner point of view." 1939 The Philosophy Of Spiritual Activity, Editor's Preface to the Fourth Edition

Theosophy enters again in 1964 with the popular Michael Wilson translation:

Any work describing Steiner's point of view in terms of English philosophy would have to deal with the mind as a central theme, but here our task is to introduce readers to Steiner's concepts of spirit and soul.” Michael Wilson, 1964 The Philosophy of Freedom, Introduction by translator Michael Wilson

In 1995 Zen Buddhist and Anthroposophist Michael Lipson brings a Zen philosophy to his translation by avoiding attachment to words. Lipson's flexibility with words permits him to re-title the book Intuitive Thinking as a Spiritual Path:

“By approaching Steiner through inadequate and changing English terms, we are the more likely to face the inadequacy of all terms, and leap to his meaning.” Michael Lipson, 1995 Intuitive Thinking as a Spiritual Path, Translator's Introduction
The unedited Die Philosophie der Freiheit and Hoernlé's first English translation remain true to the individualistic mood of thought out of which the book was originally written. This is what makes the first edition of The Philosophy of Freedom distinct from others. It was written for everyone who is striving to “live and let live” as free human beings, including those who may not have an interest in Steiner's later spiritualistic writings.
“this book occupies a position completely independent of my writings on actual spiritual scientific matters... What I have said in this book may be acceptable even to some who, for reasons of their own, refuse to have anything to do with the results of my researches into the spiritual realm.” Rudolf Steiner, The Philosophy of Freedom, 1918 Preface to the Revised Edition

TOM LAST May, 2011

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© Tom Last 2017