Introduction to The Philosophy Of Freedom
G. A. Bondarev
The free human being is the one who has conquered the flesh and has become a species in himself, the progenitor and the heir of his own individual spirit. His autonomy is such, that he is able to prescribe his own moral law, since he has freed himself from the subjection to the flesh. But a state such as this must first be won through strenuous effort. The path to its attainment is long and arduous. And it begins where homo sapiens acquires in pure thinking the capacity to stand on his own ground.
The Philosophy of Freedom can be a particularly effective method to apply in this work upon oneself. It is not an esoteric book in the accepted sense of the word. It represents an ‘open secret’. Everything in it seems, at first glance, comprehensible, but access to it is nevertheless extraordinarily difficult. This is the characteristic of the esotericism that is new and right for our time – i.e. at the stage of development at which we stand today: it begins in the realm of the intellectual and moves on from there into the far reaches of the supersensible.
The task underlying a pedagogy of this kind consists in the education of a spiritually autonomous and harmonious personality who has the capacity to transform today’s social structures, breaking through their fixation on reproducing themselves and overcoming the prevailing stereotypes of behaviour. And as the new in culture only arises through creative deeds, the pedagogy of Rudolf Steiner is not a normative system, but consists in bringing to fruition those seeds which the human being bears within himself as a microcosm – a lesser image of the great cosmos. It is an art form.
The metamorphosis of the human race that is now due, the birth of a new species of human being, homo liber, could become a widespread phenomenon with the help of such a pedagogy. In a few generations mankind could be radically changed, barbarity and the chaotic indulgence in raw egoism would cease, and a culture would emerge in which the free, creative individual spirit would dominate. But if the Philosophy of Freedom encounters lack of understanding on the part of individuals, the new pedagogy is met with opposition from the various centers of group egoism. Civilization as a whole now prefers to practice the dubious art of eclecticism, contenting itself with ingeniously thought-out combinations of elements of the old, while it ‘earths’ and neutralizes, so to speak, the gigantic intellectual potential of humanity. But for this reason it is all the more urgent for individuals to take on the task of solving the problem that is of central importance in our time. If they start to work with the Philosophy of Freedom they can, as mature human beings, grapple in and for themselves with those problems faced by the pedagogue in the work with his pupils. Their task would be to regard the content of the book as a kind of musical score, and, as they work on it, to ‘play it within themselves creatively’: to ‘play’ the 'Philosophy', bringing into the most perfect harmony the sound of all the instruments and groups of instruments – in this case the soul-qualities.
In the Philosophy Of Freedom, a formal element should not be overlooked. It arises from the way the thoughts are developed in the ‘Philosophy’. In the course of their presentation they repeatedly depart from the dialectical framework, and move according to the laws of ‘power of judgment in beholding’. For this reason it is essential to live through its thought-cycles for a very long time; then its laws of development will in some measure be ‘induced’ into the soul organism of the reader. These laws are related to those of creative activity which we habitually apply without becoming aware of them.
If one perseveres, one will – we hope – discover after a while that the book as a whole is characterized by a mutual logical interrelation of its parts, whereby the one element and concept continually develops and emphasizes the significance of the other. All that is needed is the patience to read the book through to the end, and then the effort will be rewarded on a cognitive and also a practical level: the reader will feel that it has become easier for him to grasp the central core of Rudolf Steiner’s spiritual-scientific system, and this will enable him to experience to a greater or lesser degree the reality of the new form of thinking.
Our aim is to pursue our research within the limits of that unity, of which Rudolf Steiner has said: “…as a human being he will be understood through a science of freedom".
Paul Marshall Allen
Gertrude Reif Hughes
Evelyn Francis Capel
Olin D. Wannamaker
Hugo S. Bergman
G. A. Bondarev
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