Introduction - Paul Marshall Allen

Introduction to The Philosophy Of Freedom

Paul Marshall Allen
Not long before the conclusion of his full and active life, Rudolf Steiner was asked which of his writings, in his opinion, would last the longest. Without a moment's hesitation he replied, “The Philosophy of Freedom will outlive all my other works.”

The significance of this statement becomes apparent when the extent of Rudolf Steiner's literary estate is realized.

The Complete Edition in German of the Works of Rudolf Steiner, published in Switzerland, is composed of approximately three hundred thirty volumes. These include some fifty volumes of his written works, and the balance will be made up of the transcripts of his nearly six thousand lectures, most of them delivered during the first quarter of the 20th century.

Therefore, in selecting The Philosophy of Freedom as the most enduring of all his literary work, Rudolf Steiner was not limited in the range of his possible choice.

Beyond this, however, as its author once wrote, “This book is based on an experience consisting in the fact that man's consciousness comes to an understanding with itself.” Therefore The Philosophy of Freedom is designed to meet one of the most far-reaching and decisive problems confronting each human being today.

If one reads this book simply for information, one will miss its main point. For the work is intended— as Steiner intended all his writings— to awaken in the reader a new experience of the world of ideas, to arouse in him an inner activity, enabling him to come to grips with some of the most fundamental questions anyone can ask. Therefore this book does not offer ready-made answers to the queries it places before the reader. More important, it points the way whereby the reader can build up these answers within himself, for only then will they acquire that deep significance which the reader instinctively seeks.

The architecture, the form of this book in contrast to its content, was carefully worked out by its author, who once wrote, “In writing I subdue to a dry mathematical style what has come out of warm and profound feeling. But only such a style can be an awakener, for the reader must cause warmth and feeling to awaken within himself. He cannot simply allow these to flow into him from the one setting forth the truth, while he remains passively composed.”

As one comes to a living experience of The Philosophy of Freedom, one discovers a new basis for his daily activities and a richer relationship with his fellow human beings. Far from estranging him from others, his enhanced experience of thinking helps him to a deeper, more profound comprehension of humanity, for he has entered the portals leading to “the true communion of man.”

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