Stebbing Summary - Chapter 8

Chapter Summary Of The Philosophy Of Freedom
Rita Stebbing

Chapter 8 The Factors of Life
The transition from Chapters 1 and 2 to Chapter 3 was compared earlier with the pupil's admittance in ancient times from the forecourt into the temple itself. For him this meant a first trial: treasured possessions had to be left behind---perhaps already a hard test for many. If, when he eventually reached the innermost sanctuary he was still in bondage to what had been left behind, his further progress would be hindered.

The tests which the modern aspirant to self-knowledge must undergo are different, but every bit as difficult; for the prejudices which we all accumulate through upbringing and education and through being born into this epoch are often like cherished possessions, difficult to discard. When the reader of The Philosophy of Freedom reaches the end of the first part, that is, comes to the end of Chapter 7, in Chapter 8 he confronts another threshold, and if prejudices still cloud his judgment, much in the second part of the book will remain obscure. However, unlike the pupil in former epochs, he can retrace his steps. The book can become his daily companion. Inevitably this study leads to a deeper self-knowledge, which at times may be hard to bear, but sense and meaning become ever more apparent in the perhaps formerly-incomprehensible chaos of life. The reader cannot but come to feel in his heart a kind of echo of the words of a prayer by Thomas Aquinas: “Grant me penetration to understand.”

As in the case of all true works of art, it becomes apparent that there are many levels on which one may understand the book, and as time goes on one discovers ever wider and deeper aspects. The approach to the second half, The Reality of Freedom, will depend upon the extent to which the reader has made the first part,The Knowledge of Freedom, his own. Many things are only indicated and may pass by unnoticed unless every point is considered. A friend once wrote to Rudolf Steiner saying that each chapter in The Philosophy of Freedom ought to be developed into a book. Steiner agreed that this might be done and added that the reason he did not do it was that at the time of writing he had not been concerned to teach, but simply to “describe the biography of a soul in its struggle toward freedom.”

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The Knowledge of Freedom

Chapter 1   Conscious Human Action
Chapter 2   The Fundamental Urge for Knowledge
Chapter 3   Thinking in the Service of Comprehending the World
Chapter 4   The World as Percept
Chapter 5   Attaining Knowledge of the World
Chapter 6   The Human Individuality
Chapter 7   Are There Limits to Knowledge?


The Reality of Freedom
Chapter 8   The Factors of Life
Chapter 9   The Idea of Freedom
Chapter 10  Philosophy of Freedom and Monism
Chapter 11  World Purpose and Life Purpose (Mankind's Destination)
Chapter 12   Moral Imagination (Darwinism and Morality)
Chapter 13  The Value of Life (Pessimism and Optimism)
Chapter 14  Individuality and Type
The Consequences of Monism