Introduction to The Philosophy Of Freedom
It is a rare experience to come across a book that claims to solve the riddle of life and succeeds in doing so. Rudolf Steiner's Philosophy of Freedom first written in German in 1894, provides a key to the understanding of life and the world.
While I cannot (yet) claim to understand every single one of Steiner's ideas, I now have sufficient grasp of it to lead me to the firm conviction that this is the book of the new millennium. It just happens to have been written about one hundred years before its time!
I have come across many people who know about this book, who have even tried to read it, but who have pulled away because of the effort involved in breaking through the philosophical approach and somewhat formal language Steiner uses. Yet, those who do persevere invariably find that there comes a point when confusion begins to dissolve, clarity emerges and real treasures are revealed. Once this point is reached, it seems to become progressively easier to assimilate Steiner's meaning with subsequent readings, each of which is likely to lay bare further layers of understanding.
However, the fact remains that though written for the general public, The Philosophy of Freedom is not an easy read. This is partly for the reasons outlined above, and partly because Steiner explores his two main questions from a fairly exhaustive range of different perspectives, causing us often to lose sight of the key ideas he develops.
The Philosophy of Freedom it is not easy, and Steiner knew this. He remarks more than once that insight into what he is teaching us comes through internal struggle and perseverance, just like insight into any branch of human knowledge comes only after sacrificing time and effort.
To come to understand The Philosophy of Freedom is indeed a struggle. But it well worth it. This struggle involves in-depth reading and reflection and if possible, discussion with others. And even though progress may be small, the fruits of every small step towards understanding are sweet indeed! That is not just my own experience, but also of many others I have met over the years and with whom I have shared many hours discussing the content of The Philosophy of Freedom.
The Philosophy of Freedom, though written in the 19th Century, is a guide to the development of an independent thinking that goes beyond most current modes of thinking. It is a guide to a living, feeling, loving thinking that can form the very foundations of human life in the 21st Century and beyond.
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