Condensed Philosophy Of Freedom?

  I am thinking about producing a condensed version of The Philosophy Of Freedom so a reader could get the main ideas in a short readable edition. Here is an example of two chapters.


What is individual life?
The Characteristics Of Individualist Life

0.0 Age Of Individuality
[1] One of the fundamental characteristics of our age is the interest in individuality. The characteristics of an individualistic life are:

• Makes an energetic effort to shake off every kind of authority.
• Accepts nothing as valid unless it springs from the roots of individuality.
• Thrusts aside everything that hinders the full development of his powers.
• Choosing a hero and following their footsteps up to Mount Olympus is no longer true for him.
• Allows no ideals to be forced upon him.
• Convinced that deep in the heart of each person there dwells something noble, something worthy of development.
• No longer believes in conforming to a generally accepted norm.
• Regards the perfection of the whole as depending on the unique perfection of each single individual.
• Does not want to do what anyone else can do equally well. No, he contributes to the development of the world what he alone can offer due to the uniqueness of his nature.
• The artist is not concerned with conforming to the rules and norms in art.
• Asserts the right to creatively express what is unique in him.
• The writer is not concerned with conforming to the standard diction grammar demands.

[2] The expression of these individual characteristics are the result of his intense striving towards freedom. The individualist does not want to be dependent in any way. Where dependence is necessary it is only tolerated on the condition it serves a vital interest of his individuality.

What is individual truth?
The Characteristics Of Individualist Truth

The characteristics of individualistic truth are:

• The Path Of Inner Truth
• Empowered By Truth
• Truth That Is Understood
• Advancing In Knowledge Starts With Facts We Know
• Respecting The Individual Need To Understand
• Living The Principles Of Individualism
• Entering The Inner Realm Of Pure Thought
• Theory Serves Life
• Concerned With Freedom
• Knowledge Contributes To Human Development
• Ideas Serve Human Aims
• Master Of Ideas

0.1 The Path Of Inner Truth
[3] In the age of individuality truth is sought in the depths of human nature. Schiller described two well known paths to truth; the pursuit of truth in the outer world and the pursuit of truth within. It is inner truth that will today be found most useful:

We both seek truth; you in outer life,
I in the heart within. Each of us are sure to find it.
The healthy eye can track the Creator in the outer world;
The healthy heart reflects the world within.

We are uncertain of the truth that comes from the outside. We are only convinced when truth appears within.

0.2 Empowered By Truth
Only truth can give us the certainty necessary to develop our individual powers. These powers are weakened in anyone tormented by doubts. If confused by a world full of riddles he can not come up with an aim for his creative activity.

0.3 Truth That Is Understood
[5] We no longer want to believe; we want to know. Belief demands the acceptance of truths that we do not wholly understand. What is not clearly understood goes against our individuality that wants to experience everything in the depths of its inner core. The only knowing that satisfies us is the kind that springs from the inner life of the personality.

0.4 Advancing In Knowledge Begins With Personal Experience
[6] We do not want the kind of knowledge that has been formulated in rigid academic rules and stored away as valid for all time. As individuals, we claim the right to start from the facts we know, from our personal experience, and from there advance to knowledge of the whole universe. We strive for certainty in knowledge, but each in his own way.

0.5 Respecting The Individual Need To Understand
[7] No one should be compelled to understand. We expect neither acceptance or agreement from anyone who is not moved to a certain view by his own particular, individual need. We do not want to cram facts of knowledge into even an immature person. We try to develop the child's capacities in such a way that he no longer needs to be compelled to understand, but wants to understand.

0.6 Living The Principles Of Individualism
[8] I know how much a stereotypical attitude, lacking all individuality, is prevalent everywhere. But I also know that many strive to conduct their lives in the direction of the principles of individuality I have suggested. To them I dedicate this book. It describes the path taken by one whose heart is set upon truth.

0.7 Entering The inner Realm Of Pure Thought
[9] The reader is led from arid concepts into concrete life. I am fully convinced that to experience life in all its aspects one must soar into the realm of concepts. The West no longer demands pious exercises and ascetic practices to attain knowledge. Science does require withdrawing oneself awhile from the immediate impressions of life, and entering the realm of pure thought.

0.8 Theory Serves Life
[10] Life itself is a unity. The more the sciences immerse themselves in separate fields, the more they move away from seeing the world as a living whole. It is essential to have a wholistic knowing that seeks in the separate sciences the principles for leading man back to the fullness of life. The various branches of science are preparatory stages on the way to the all-inclusive science intended here. A similar relationship governs the arts. A composer works on the basis of the theory of composition. In composing, the rules of theory serve life, theory serves actual reality. All genuine philosophers have been artists in the conceptual realm. Abstract thinking takes on an individual life of its own. Ideas become powerful forces in life.

0.9 Concerned With Freedom
[10] The main theme of my book concerns these questions: How philosophy, as an art, relates to freedom; what freedom is; and whether we do, or can, participate in it. Scientific discussions are included because it is science that will throw light on these questions. In my view, the question of freedom is the most intimate concern of the human being.

0.10 Knowledge That Contributes To Human Development
[11] All science would be nothing but the satisfaction of idle curiosity, if it did not elevate the existential value of human personality. The true value of the sciences is seen only when we are shown the importance of their results for humanity. Knowledge has value only by contributing to the all-around development of the whole of human nature.

0.11 Ideas Serve Human Aims
[12] This book does not regard the relationship of science to life in such a way that the human being must bow down before the world of ideas and devote his powers to its service. On the contrary, it shows that he should take possession of the world of ideas to use them for his human aims.

0.12 Master Of Ideas
[13] One must confront an idea as master, experiencing it; otherwise one falls into its bondage.


What does it mean to know the world?
The Characteristics Of Knowing The World

(overcoming perception bias)
Featuring The “Concept”

• The Awakened State Of Thinking
• Thought That Applies To The World
• The World Causes Thoughts In The Mind
• Process Of Becoming
• Concept Indivisibly Bound Up With Object
• Isolate And Grasp Single Concepts
• Self Definition Through Thinking
• In Thinking We Are The All-One Being
• World Unity Found In Ideal Content
• The Conceptual Intuition Arises From Within
• Conceptual Connections Between Perceptions
• Formation Of A Memory-Image

5.1 The Awakened State Of Thinking
[8] If the things of our experience were only "ideas," then everyday life would be like a dream, and knowledge of the true situation would be like waking.

In contrast to the dreaming state we experience while asleep, there is the daytime waking state. The waking state enables us to see through the dreams and relate them to real events, the physiological and psychological processes that caused them.

Dreaming State --- Waking State

Within waking consciousness there is also a dreaming and waking state; perception and thinking. Thinking enables us to see through our perception bias to the real situation.

Perceiving (dreaming) --- Thinking (waking)

5.2 Thought That Applies To The World
[9] If I wish to say anything about what I perceive, I can do so only with the help of thought. What I express is the result of a thought-process. If my thought does not apply to the world, then my result is false. Between a perception and every kind of judgment about it there intervenes thinking.

5.3 The World Causes Thoughts In The Mind
[10] The naive mind treats thought as something that has nothing to do with things. Thinking stands completely apart from things and makes its theories about them. The theory that the thinker draws from the phenomena of the world is not considered as something integral to the things, but as something that exists only in the human head.

The world is not complete without thought. The world cause thoughts in human minds with the same necessity as it causes blossoms on plants. Plant a seed in the soil. It puts forth root and stem. It unfolds into leaves and blossoms. Place the plant before you. It connects itself to a specific concept in your mind. The concept of a plant only arises when a thinking person approaches the plant.

5.4 Process Of Becoming
[11] It is entirely arbitrary to regard the sum of what we experience of a thing through perception alone, as a totality, a complete whole, while regarding what results from thoughtful contemplation as something incidental, that has nothing to do with the thing itself.

If I am given a rosebud today, the picture that is there for my perception is finished, complete, but only for the present moment. If I put the bud in water, tomorrow I will get a very different picture of the object. And if I watch the rosebud without interruption, I will see today's state gradually change into tomorrow's through countless intermediate stages. The picture presented to me at any one moment is only a chance section taken from an object that is in a continuous process of becoming.

[12] To declare the appearance of a thing revealed at a chance moment; "this is the thing" would be a biased judgment that clings to external features.

5.5 Concept Indivisibly Bound Up With Object
[13] It is not justifiable to declare the sum of a thing's perceptual appearances to be its full reality. The concept is indivisibly bound up with the object.

If I throw a stone horizontally through the air, I see it at different points, one after the other. I connect these points to form a line. If I analyze the conditions under which the thrown stone moves, I find that the line of its flight is identical with the line I know as a parabola. The form of the parabola belongs to the whole of the phenomenon, just as much as any of its other features. The parabolic trajectory can only be added by thinking about the phenomenon.

5.6 Isolate And Grasp Single Concepts
[17] Man is a limited being. Due to our limitations things appear to us as separate objects, when in fact they are not separate at all. For example, the individual quality of red never exists in isolation. It is surrounded on all sides by other qualities to which it belongs, and without which it could not exist.

For us, however, it is necessary to isolate certain sections of the world, and to consider them on their own. Our eye can grasp only single colors one by one out of a multicolored whole. Our mind can grasp only single concepts out of an interconnected conceptual system.

5.7 Self Definition Through Thinking
[18] We define the relation of ourselves, as things, to all other things. This defining must be distinguished from merely becoming aware of our self. For self-awareness is based on perception, just like our awareness of any other thing.

The perception of myself shows me a number of qualities that I bring together into the whole of my personality. In the same way I bring together the qualities yellow, metallic shine, hard, etc. into the unity “gold.” Self-perception does not take me beyond the region of what belongs to my self. So self-perception must be distinguished from self-definition by means of thinking.

By means of thinking, I integrate the perceptions I have of my self into the order of the world-process. Self-perception confines me within certain limits, but my thought is not concerned with these limits. In this sense I am a two-sided being. I am enclosed within the sphere that I perceive as my own personality, but as a thinker I define my finite existence from a higher sphere.

5.8 In Thinking We Are The All-One Being
[20] In thought, we have the element that integrates our particular individuality into a unity with the whole of the cosmos. When we sense and feel (perceive) we are isolated individuals; when we think, we are the All-One Being that pervades everything. We become conscious of a purely absolute principle revealing itself within us, a principle that is universal. Thought is the universal cosmic principle manifesting itself in our minds.

[21] Those without thought do not have a desire to strive for knowledge. Whenever they encounter things, they have no questions. In the case of thinkers, the concept leaps up in response to the external thing. The concept is the part of a thing that we receive, not from outside, but from within ourselves. To match up, to unite the two elements, inner and outer, gives us knowledge.

[22] The perception is not something finished and complete. It is one side of the total reality. The other side is the concept. The act of cognition is the synthesis of the perception and the concept. Only the perception and concept together make up the whole thing.

5.9 World Unity Found In Ideal Content
[23] It is futile to seek for any common element in the separate things of the world other than the ideal content provided by thinking. All attempts to find world-unity must fail, other than this coherent ideal content which we gain by the conceptual analysis of what we perceive.

Neither a personal God, nor force, nor matter, nor the blind, idealess will (Schopenhauer), can be accepted by us as the universal world-unity. All these principles belong only to a limited field of our observation. Personality we perceive only in ourselves, force and matter only in external things. As for the will, it can only be seen as the active expression of our own limited personality.

Schopenhauer considers himself justified to see in the body the “objectivity” of the will. He is convinced that in the actions of the body he has a direct experience of reality, the thing-in-itself in the concrete. Against this analysis, we must point out that the actions of our body only come to our awareness through self-observation. The perceptions we obtain of ourselves have no advantage over other perceptions. If we wish to know their real nature, we can do so only by means of thinking, by organizing them into the ideal system of our concepts and ideas.

5.10 The Conceptual Intuition Arises From Within
[24] Let us take a look at the world of perception by itself. It appears as a mere juxtaposition of elements in space and a sequence of changing elements in time, an aggregate of unconnected details. None of these things that come and go on the perceptual stage appears to have any connection with any other. Here, the world is a multiplicity of objects of equal value. None plays a more important part in the machinery of the world than any other.

If we are to recognize that this or that fact has greater significance than another, we must consult our thought. As long as we do not think, a rudimentary organ of an animal that has no significance for its survival, appears equal in value to the most important part of its body. The meaning of single facts, both in themselves and in their relation to other parts of the world, only becomes apparent when thought weaves its threads from one thing to another.

[25] Thinking contributes this content to the perception from the world of concepts and ideas. In contrast to the content of perception given to us from outside, the content of thought appears within our minds. The form in which thought first appears in consciousness we will call "intuition." Intuition is to thoughts what observation is to perceptions. Intuition and observation are the sources of our knowledge.

Anything we observe in the world remains unintelligible to us, until the corresponding intuition arises within us which adds that part of reality missing in the perception. Full reality remains closed off to anyone without the ability to supply the relevant intuitions corresponding to things.

[26] To explain a thing and make it understandable, means nothing other than to place it into the context from which it has been torn due to the nature of our organization. What appears to us in observation as separate details, become linked, item by item, through the coherent, unified system of our intuitions. By means of thought we fit together again into one whole all that perception has separated.

[27] The puzzling nature of an object is due to the separateness of its existence. However, this separation is brought about by us and can, within the conceptual world, be dispelled and returned to unity again.

5.11 Conceptual Connections Between Perceptions
[29] Let us suppose a certain perception—red, for example—appears in my consciousness. This perception is connected to other perceptions such as a specific shape, and to certain perceptions of temperature and touch. I call this combination of perceptions “an object in the sense-perceptible world.” I can go further and study the processes that take place on the way from the object to my sense-organs and the sense-organs to the brain. There I find processes that have nothing in common with the original perceptions. In each of these inquiries I gather new perceptions, but the connecting thread that weaves through all these perceptions and binds them into one whole—is thought.

Thought alone links all these perceptions to each other, and shows them in their mutual relationships. We cannot speak of the existence of anything beyond what is directly perceived, except what is recognized as the conceptual connections between perceptions. These connections are discovered by thinking.

5.12 Formation Of A Memory-Image
[30] What, then, is a perception? A perception always appears as a very specific, concrete content. This content is directly given and is completely contained in what is given. All that can be asked about this given content is: "What is it apart from perception—that is, what is it for thought?" The question concerning the "what" of a percept can only refer to the conceptual intuition that corresponds to it.

For us, then, something is "objective" when it is seen to be located outside myself as perceiving subject. The perception of myself as subject remains perceptible to me after the table now standing before me has disappeared from my field of observation. The observation of the table has caused a change in me that persists like myself. I preserve an image of the table which now forms part of my Self. I retain a lasting ability to reproduce an image of the table again, later. Psychology calls this image a “memory-image.”

It is the only thing that can properly be called my idea of the table. For it is the perceptible change in me caused by the table when it was in my field of vision. The idea is, then, a subjective perception, in contrast to the objective perception that occurs when the object is present in the field of one’s vision. Falsely identifying the subjective perception as the objective perception leads to the misunderstanding of Idealism that “the world is my idea.”

[31] Once we know what to make of the world, it will be an easy task to orient ourselves within it. We can act with our full strength and conviction only when we understand the things to which we direct our activity.

© Tom Last 2017