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0. Introduction: The Goal Of Knowledge
Part 1 Striving For Individuality

TOPIC
Cultivating The Attitude Of An Ethical Individualist
Advance from Collectivism to Ethical Individualism

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Rudolf Steiner’s Philosophy Of Freedom is a science of freedom. It is a step by step guide of psychological observations that will awaken free thinking and action. It is the hero's path of truth to reach our full potential as an ethical individualist, Steiner’s ideal human being.

One way to identify an ethical individualist is by their attitude. Ethical individualists carry an attitude of respect for the sovereignty of the individual. When they encounter disrespect for the sovereignty of the individual it is upsetting to them.

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The first 12 steps to becoming an ethical individualist is about cultivating a respectful attitude or mood for this sovereignty. The original edition of The Philosophy Of Freedom begins with a description of these 12 steps in the leading paragraph. In the opening sentence Steiner tells us why ethical individualism is best suited for our age.

 "I believe one of the fundamental characteristics of our age is that human interest centers in the cult of individuality." TPOF 0.0

In our age there is a strong fundamental urge for individuality. But the cult of individuality is fairly new in human history. Throughout most of history the collective determined the thought and action of the selfless person from the outside. It wasn’t until the development of clear thinking in the modern age that the autonomous individual ‘self’ arose capable of self-determination from within. Autonomous individual ‘selves’ are capable of thinking and acting independently of other selves.

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The group consciousness of “we” evolved into the “I” consciousness of the individual. Each individual then bears the responsibility to form their own independent judgments. Collectivists prefer more central authority because they do not trust individual judgment. This authoritarianism can stunt human development.

Advance from Ethnic Collectivism to the Hero's Journey

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Ethnic Collectivism
Ethnic collectivism centers around group identity. It values groupthink, collective goals and group achievement.

Collectivist cultures are the opposite of individualistic cultures. They favor the group over the individual. A proverb of a collectivist culture is "The Nail That Sticks Up Gets Hammered Down". This is in opposition to fundamental principles of The Philosophy Of Freedom such as "Live And Let Live" and "Be true To Yourself".

  

Hero's Journey
Overcoming the authoritarian oppression of collectivists is just one of the many challenges faced on the hero’s journey. It is each one’s destiny to leave the collective of ethnic identity and set out on the hero’s journey to be transformed, empowered and enlightened.

The United States is a great place to develop ethical individualism because it is the most individualistic country. American values support many of the principles of ethical individualism.

     

STEP #1 Authority
Advance from Submission To Authority TO Shake Off Authority

“An energetic effort is being made to shake off every kind of authority.”

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Submission To Authority
Collectivists have no problem submitting to authority. They conform to the group for security and guidance.

  

Shake Off Authority
To shake off authority is to remove it or get rid of it. Ethical individualists question every kind of authority, from an inner voice to an outer boss. One by one the strings of authority are cut to allow greater freedom.

     
STEP #2 Validation
Advance from Expert Validation TO Inner Validation

“Nothing is accepted as valid, unless it springs from the roots of individuality.”
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Expert Validation
Collectivists have no problem submitting to authority. They conform to the group for security and guidance.

 

Individual Validation
The individualist accepts nothing as valid, unless it springs from the inner source of individuality. He does his own research and thinking to verify truth.

     
STEP #3 Empowerment
Advance from Distracted By World TO Commitment To Self-Development

“Everything that hinders the individual in the full development of his powers is thrust aside.”

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Distracted From Self-Development
Collectivists view success as dependent on external factors such as the surrounding environment and culture, so self-development and personal responsibility is less important. What is important is to be a member of a powerful group that will force others to change in ways that will benefit the special interests of the collective.

  

Commitment To Self-Development
In contrast, Ethical Individualists depend on their own powers to achieve success so they are willing to set aside distractions and prioritize self-development. This is why it is important to reward merit. Rewarding excellence encourages self-development.

     
STEP #4 Hero
Advance from Follow Your Hero TO Follow Yourself

“The saying ‘Each one of us must choose his hero in whose footsteps he toils up to Mount Olympus’ no longer holds true for us.”

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Follow Your Hero
The collectivist chooses a hero to follow. By obeying the leader they hope to become wise and powerful like the leader. Unfortunately they soon learn that the leader is just another weak human being like themselves.

 

Leaderless Striving
The hero’s journey up the mountain is a solo climb. Ethical Individualists must focus on reaching the top before they can helps others find their way.

     
STEP #5 Ideals
Advance from Forced Ideals TO Select Your Ideals

“We allow no ideals to be forced upon us.”

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Forced Ideals
Each member is required to accept the ideals and beliefs of the narrow-minded collective. Dissenting views are considered a threat as they could undermine group beliefs.

 

Select Ideals
Ethical individualists are broad-minded. They see a certain value in all ethical principles and viewpoints. Thought is given to each life situation to see whether one or another principle is more important.

     
STEP #6 Human Worth
Advance from Some Are Worthy TO Inner Worthiness Of Each

“We are convinced that in each of us, if only we probe deep enough into the very heart of our being, there dwells something noble, something worthy of development.”

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Some Are Worthy
The collective believes that at the heart of every human being is something that is bad. Only if you are indoctrinated into the moral code and rules of the collective, can you be redeemed and become ‘good’. Those in the out-group, who have not awoken, are considered of less value.

 

All Are Worthy
A deeper look into the core of the human being reveals the ‘free spirit’ as the purest expression of human nature. It is this free spirit that is worthy of development and needs to be cultivated.

     
STEP #7 Social Norm
Advance from Strive To Conform TO Strive To Be Yourself

“We no longer believe there is a norm of human life to which we must all strive to conform.”

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Strive To Conform
Wanting to fit in, collectivists strives to conform to the group. Members can gain status by signaling their virtue to each other without actually having to do anything by displaying moral outrage or by expressing the correct opinion.

 

Strive To Be Yourself
Ethical individualists are self-motivated without the need of approval from others so they can just be themselves.

     
STEP #8 Social Perfection
Advance from Perfection Of The Group TO Unique Perfection Of Each

“We regard the perfection of the whole as depending on the unique perfection of each single individual.”

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Perfection Of The Group
In a collective each individual exists to serve the group. Each person is assigned a role as a cog in the machine in an effort to perfect the group.

  Perfection Of Each
But a system is most likely to fail at its weakest link. Ethical individualists are more concerned with the develop-mental needs of each person. The group only exists to serve the individual.
     
STEP #9 Contribution To Society
 Advance from Collective Action TO Unique Individual Contribution

“We do not want to do what anyone else can do equally well. No, our contribution to the development of the world, however trifling, must be something that, by reason of the uniqueness of our nature, we alone can offer.”

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Collective Action
To bring change collectives organize large groups of people to take common action. Members are encouraged to sacrifice their happiness for the sake of the community.

  Individual Action
Ethical individualists encourage the pursuit of happiness. The human beings greatest pleasure is to realize its highest ideals in life. Each of us has a unique talent and destiny. When individuals are encouraged to fulfill their unique destiny the whole of humanity benefits. The ones who are actually creating a better world are individuals who develop their special talents as artists, entrepreneurs, inventors and thought leaders.
     
STEP #10 Creativity
Advance from Rules Of Expression TO Free Creative Expression

“Never have artists been less concerned about rules and norms in art than today. Each one asserts the right to express in the creations of his art what is unique in him, just as there are playwrights who write in dialect rather than conform to the standard diction grammar demands.”

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Rules Of Expression
The creativity of the collectivist is limited to what is acceptable according to the established group rules and norms. It is important not to offend anyone as the harmony of the group is more important than creativity and diversity of thought. The collective mob demands censorship and cancellation of anyone expressing views outside the approved narrative.

  Free Expression
You will find ethical individualists standing up for free expression and diversity of viewpoints. Truth can only be reached by looking at things from all sides.
     
STEP #11 Freedom
Advance from Striving For Collective Bondage TO Striving For Freedom

“No better expression for these phenomena can be found than this, they result from the individual’s striving for freedom, developed to its highest pitch.”

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Striving For Bondage
Striving for the conformity of collectivism is actually striving for bondage. Collectivists live in bondage to the group leadership. A group doesn’t have ideas and intentions. The common goal of the group is set by a few leaders who the others follow. The leaders may even be unknown, hidden behind the money trails or ideology that is driving the group.

  Striving For Freedom
Striving for individuality is striving for freedom. Ethical individualists are self-motivated by the drive to be free. They are the ones that are fighting for the dignity of individual rights, equal opportunity, and rewarding excellence at every turn.
     

Step #12 Independence
Advance from Dependent On Others TO Independent Of Others
“We do not want to be dependent in any respect, and where dependence must be, we tolerate it only on condition it coincides with a vital interest of our individuality.”

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Dependent On Others
All of us enter the world completely dependent on others. A collectivist who remains dependent is not making progress toward becoming a fully developed responsible human being.

  Independent Of Others

The collective will forever be dependent on ethical individualists to provide the new thinking and innovation needed for social progress. To censor and cancel free thinkers is to threaten the life of the collective itself.

Ethical individualists live within your midst. You will know them by their attitude on these issues.
BOOK TEXT
Chapter 0. THE GOAL OF KNOWLEDGE
Part One 
0.0 Striving For Individuality

[1] I BELIEVE one of the fundamental characteristics of our age is that human interest centers in the cult of individuality. An energetic effort is being made to shake off every kind of authority. Nothing is accepted as valid, unless it springs from the roots of individuality. Everything that hinders the individual from fully developing his powers is thrust aside. The saying “Each one of us must choose his hero in whose footsteps he toils up to Mount Olympus” no longer holds true for us. We allow no ideals to be forced upon us. We are convinced that in each of us, if only we probe deep enough into the very heart of our being, there dwells something noble, something worthy of development. We no longer believe there is a norm of human life to which we must all strive to conform. We regard the perfection of the whole as depending on the unique perfection of each single individual. We do not want to do what anyone else can do equally well. No, our contribution to the development of the world, however trifling, must be something that, by reason of the uniqueness of our nature, we alone can offer. Never have artists been less concerned about rules and norms in art than today. Each one asserts the right to express, in the creations of his art, what is unique in him. Just as there are playwrights who write in slang rather than conform to the standard diction grammar demands.

[2] No better expression for these phenomena can be found than this, they result from the individual’s striving towards freedom, developed to its highest pitch. We do not want to be dependent in any respect, and where dependence must be, we tolerate it only on condition it coincides with a vital interest of our individuality.

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