ethical individualism (24)

Woke social justice, while well-intentioned in its efforts to improve societal conditions, can be seen as a form of materialistic belief. It operates under the assumption that enhancing external circumstances will inherently lead to better living conditions. Ethical individualism, in contrast, posits that true progress does not arise from merely altering external structures, but rather from the ennoblement of the human soul.
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from being human December 2023 - Centenary Edition by Anthroposophical Society in America

By Roland Tüscher

I. The Christmas Conference and the Philosophy of Freedom

The Christmas Conference of 1923 was based on Rudolf Steiner’s spiritual research activity. The updated actualization of the Christmas Conference therefore lies in the extent to which its foundational elements can be realized autonomously today.

To teach and research autonomously and topically on the basis of spiritual science, it is not necessary to be clairvoyant. All that is necessary is the universally accessible capacity of pure thinking, which is to be acquired through the “right reading” of the Philosophy of Freedom (Spiritual Activity), as Rudolf Steiner explained on February 6, 1923,1 and October 12, 1922.2 At the Christmas Conference of 1923, Rudolf Steiner emphasized the importance of this method of thinking as an impulse that will have to issue forth from the Anthroposophical Society.

1 Awakening to Community (SteinerBooks, 1975), GA 257, p. 58 in the 1983 German ed.

2 Becoming the Archangel Michael’s Companions (SteinerBooks, 2006), GA 217, p. 148 in the 1979 German ed.

This impulse of the Christmas Conference has not been developed systematically and consistently throughout the past hundred years. We have only fragmentary and isolated contributions toward this task. On account of this, the present-day Independent School of Spiritual Science at the Goetheanum in Dornach is not grounded in the autonomous development of the above-mentioned foundational elements as an individual capability (i.e., the capacity of pure thinking as a foundation for free deeds). The latter, however, can be grasped by anyone at any time in the way indicated.

In order to promote a continuous development of this task, a working group was formed on June 6, 2023, in the context of the Member Forums at the Goetheanum. A report on this has appeared in Anthroposophy Worldwide No. 6/2023.

II. Anti-Individualism and the Fear of the Free Formation of Ideas

One of the core revelations of the Covid period was that, to a very large extent, people stopped listening to each other or being interested in the different views of others, and thus ceased trying to preserve the now essentially dismantled space for socially effective discussion. This resulted in the well-known forms of division on all levels: on the level of family and friends, in the mass media that essentially forbade controversial questions and in the suddenly stagnant scientific discussion. Since then, there has been an authoritative division into “right” and “wrong” — congruent with classical forms of religious fundamentalism. Finally, division came from the political regulations and measures, which, based on the aforementioned onesidedness, treated people as a uniform mass instead of trying to consider them as ethically capable individuals.

Therefore we actually live today, even in the West, within an anti-individualistic concept of society. Symptomatic of this is, among other things, the fact that nowhere in Western civilization has even experimental autonomy in the treatment of Covid been recommended, let alone established or permitted. So we live in an all-encompassing state of thought prohibition, socially coercive control, and increasingly police-enforced health regulations. Many in the alternative media space have noticed this with increasing alertness. Many in the traditional media space ignore it with a perplexing consistency, and this is accepted by a largely sleeping multitude. What is the reason for this?

There is an apparent fear of the power of forming sovereign judgments independently of one’s surrounding environment—that is, a fear of one’s own free formation of ideas and their open representation. And this fear is encouraged by the mass media’s suppression of the dissemination of individual scientific achievements. Furthermore, there is an increasingly prevalent reticence which lacks a strong interest in the will of the other—that is, lacks an active interest in the freedom of those who think differently.

III. The Synchronization toward the “Good” and the Necessity of Ethical Individualism

Rudolf Steiner’s Philosophy of Freedom (Spiritual Activity) is not a theory, but a real development of thought based on spiritual activity. From it can be developed the capacity of creative, pure thinking, which leads to the free formation of ideas—free from convention and predisposition. This, in turn, can lead to the formation of effective ideas and, in the ethically based act of freedom of this philosophy, to an individual power of responsibility that is potentially present in all individuals. This is obviously a much stronger and more humanly worthy force than when a nationstate or governing world-health body issues regulations for all—regulations which, in essence, must be homogeneous and which therefore not only fail to promote the individual power of responsibility but actually undermine and stifle it. Many people clearly feel that today our freedom to exercise the individual power of responsibility is under direct threat; this feeling, however, is often still expressed in a chaotic or emotionalized way. Therefore, it is of great importance that the foundations of the individually realized act of freedom —which is to say, the foundations of spiritual science, as described above—are thoroughly disseminated, comprehended, and concretely applied.

Today, every human being is faced with the decision of whether or not to promote and strengthen the individual power of responsibility in himself and in others. If this force is not promoted, then other forces—forces of a necessarily anti-individual nature—will take possession of the sphere of responsibility in social life. Accordingly, in the Covid era, we have already experienced a social synchronization toward the “good.” What is “good” was defined by the media to the exclusion of scientific discussion, and was politically imposed on all people without exception. What is “good” was thus removed from the power of responsibility of social togetherness grounded in ethical individualism. No one had a say! All were to obey the self-appointed and therefore anti-democratic authority!

This lack of encouragement of individual responsibility, however, necessarily leads to the weakening of such responsibility. What can remain in its place is only an ethically weak egoism: This is the fruit of the Covid strategies caused by this synchronization of humanity toward the “good.” Egoism will remain strong, even if this “good” is implemented in the most comprehensive way—for it will never be possible to abolish egoism, which thereby leads to the war of all against all .

The fruitful contrast is: The peace of all in support of all . This is possible only if the individual is strengthened in his power of ethical responsibility, and if this inner strengthening is encouraged by education, social structures, politics, and above all by the media that is to become free in the sense described.

Roland Tüscher was born 1961 in Switzerland and has four children. He is the editor and founder of Ein Nachrichtenblatt , which is a newsletter attempting to follow Rudolf Steiner’s perspective on modern member-correspondence. He is currently working on how to develop spiritual science individually from the very basic elements that Rudolf Steiner provided.

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The Self-Emancipated Ethical Individualist

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The generated image visually interprets themes from Rudolf Steiner's "The Philosophy of Freedom" (TPOF) by representing the concept of self-actualization and ethical individualism.

In TPOF, Steiner discusses the journey toward true freedom through the development of self-awareness, independent thinking, and moral intuition. The figure in the center symbolizes the self-actualized individual, standing confidently, which relates to Steiner's concept of "Sovereign Individuality." This individuality is achieved through a deep understanding of oneself and the world, leading to actions that are determined by personal insight and ethical principles.

The symbols of knowledge, such as books, and the light bulb, signify the pursuit of truth through cognition and the enlightenment of understanding, aligning with the "Path to Truth" in TPOF. The balanced scales of justice represent the ethical dimension of Steiner's philosophy, suggesting that self-actualization includes living in harmony with one's own ethical principles, a reference to "Ethical Individualism."

The abstract elements, like colorful auras and unfurling ribbons, can be seen as representing the creativity and freedom that come from a liberated mind, which Steiner suggests is necessary for true individual expression and moral action.

The harmonious blend of nature and abstract forms in the backdrop might illustrate the unity of the external environment with the internal state, reflecting the idea that individuals are part of a larger whole and yet distinct in their self-contained completeness.

Overall, the image captures the essence of Steiner's philosophy, which holds that through self-development and cognition, individuals can achieve freedom, understand the true reality, and contribute uniquely to the world.

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Strivings Of The Ethical Individualist - Updating

Each one of us is either evolving forward toward our True Self or falling back. To move forward it’s essential to know where you are going, otherwise we will often get lost by taking wrong turns. Rudolf Steiner’s Philosophy Of Freedom is a map that guides us to True Knowledge and our True Self. -- I went through the chapters in the book and came up with 15 strivings of the Ethical Individualist that leads to True Knowledge in Part I and our True Self as a free spirit in Part II. Upcoming videos will be on these strivings. -- DISCLAIMER: These are the strivings of mature individuals who are no longer content following their animal instincts or conforming to the rules of social tribes but are are willing to think for themselves. Human development moves through three stages. Nature makes us natural beings, society makes us law-abiding beings, only the individual alone can make himself a free being.
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Tarot Card 15 the "Devil"

The Ethical Individualist’s 15 Rules Of Life

I am thinking of producing a chapter by chapter video series summarizing The Philosophy Of Freedom so I worked up 15 rules of life. Looking up the number 15 I saw it was the Devil card in the Tarot. This card shows a man and woman enslaved by the Devil bound with large chains. But the chains are loose and you can lift them off to free yourself—if you want to.

#0. Seek Truth Within
“The only knowing that satisfies us is the kind that submits to no external norm, but springs from the inner life of the personality.”
#1 Know Why You Act
“Obviously, an action cannot be free if the doer carries it out without knowing why. But what are we to say of the freedom of an action when the reasons are known?”
#2: Seek Unity With The World
“Only when we have made the world-content into our thought-content, do we find again the unity from which we have separated ourselves.”
#3 Think About Thinking
“We must first examine thinking in a completely impartial way. There is no denying that thinking must be understood before anything else can be understood.”
#4 Be Aware Of Perception Bias
“My perception-pictures, then, are at first subjective. The recognition of the subjective character of our perceptions can easily lead us to doubt whether anything objective underlies them at all.”
#5 Know The World
“Once we know what to make of the world, it will be an easy task to orient ourselves within it.”
#6 Lift Your Feelings Into The Ideal
“A true individuality will be the one who reaches up with his feelings as high as possible into the region of ideals.”
#7 Accept No Limits To Knowledge
“It follows from the concept of knowledge, as defined by us, that there can be no talk of any limits of knowledge.”
#8 Know Yourself
“It is only in the course of our gradual development that we struggle through to the point where the concept of Self emerges from within the blind mass of feelings that fill our existence.”
#9 Actualize The Free Spirit
“The concept of man is not complete unless it includes the free spirit as the purest expression of human nature. After all, we are human in the fullest sense only to the extent that we are free.”
#10 Obey Only Yourself
“A human action is unfree when he obeys some perceptible external compulsion, it is free when he obeys none but himself.”
#11 Live A Purposeful Life
“Life has no purpose or function other than the one which the human being gives to it.”
#12 Be The Crown Upon Human Evolution
“Ethical Individualism is the crown of the edifice that Darwin and Haeckel have erected for Natural Science.”
#13 Recognize Your Achievements As The True Value Of Life
“He determines the value of his life by measuring his attainments against his aims.”
#14 Be The Source Of The Moral Life Of Humanity
“All moral activity of humanity has its source in the ethical intuitions of the individual.”

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Rudolf Steiner 1919
Cosmogony, Freedom, Altruism - GA191 Lecture 4 of 15

The man of modern times cannot live instinctively; he must live consciously. He needs a freedom that is real. He needs more than vague talk about freedom; more than the mere verbiage of freedom. He needs that freedom should actually grow into his immediate life and surroundings. This is only possible along roads that lead to ethical individualism.

At the time when my book The Philosophy of Freedom appeared, Eduard von Hartmann wrote to me: “The book ought not to be called ‘The Philosophy of Freedom’ but ‘A Study in Phenomena connected with the Theory of Cognition, and an Ethical Individualism.’ ” For a title of course that would have been rather long-winded; but it would not have been bad to have called it “Ethical Individualism,” for ethical individualism is nothing but the personal realization of freedom. The best people were totally unable to perceive how the actual impulses of the age were calling for the thing that is discussed in that book.

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Human drive to be free

The fundamental characteristic of our times is the growing interest around the world to express one's unique individuality. This need for individual expression is the result of an intense striving towards freedom, for we are only human to the extent that we are free.

Rudolf Steiner's Philosophy Of Freedom describes what freedom is so we can determine whether we are free or not, and if not, how to acquire it.


What is freedom?
The question of “What is freedom?” has been debated since the times of the Greeks by the greatest minds. Many offer the key to freedom which may end up leading to deeper enslavement or may be a step forward.

Technology, social and political ideologies, and spiritual theories promise various forms of inner and outer freedom. How do we know what to trust?


Science of freedom
What is needed to end the speculation is an empirical science of freedom. Through introspective research into how the mind works and its relation to the world, Rudolf Steiner located freedom empirically.

With thought training anyone of good will can enter the realm of universal concepts where unbiased free thinking is possible. In this place “pure” reasoning proceeds only on the basis of its own ideal universal content.


Intuitive insight
Pure reasoning is intuitive and leads to intuitive insight free from the determinants of one's characterological make-up or the demands of authority.

Intuitive thinking uncovers the lawful order of things making science possible and when applied to ethics makes free morality possible.


Concept of the free spirit
Through the determined study of The Philosophy Of Freedom the concept of the free spirit is won. Now you know what freedom is; freely forming ideas to be realized in free ethical action.

Not all of our actions are free. The task of self-development is to transform the actions that are unfree into actions that are free. This is possible when you know what freedom is. It requires the emancipation of the cognitive processes, and to obey only yourself.


Proper study
The book was written to be a thought training exercise to awaken the readers intellectual intuition, a requirement for freedom. Steiner wrote it intentionally out of independent thinking so the terms and phrasing are not familiar and not easily understood. To work your way through it takes great effort. Everything in the book must be won. The study should not be a mere reading, it should be an experiencing with inner shocks, tensions and resolutions.

Global humanism
We learn in The Philosophy Of Freedom a personal God will never unite the world because we will have different experiences of it. POF 5.9 The universal ideal content which thinking supplies is the only common element in the separate things of the world.

A free spirit thinks universally and acts individually. She is described in The Philosophy Of Freedom as an ethical individualist and a humanist who “affirms the worth, dignity and autonomy of the individual and the right of every human being to the greatest possible freedom.” 2002 World Humanist Congress

Science and ethics
An ethics informed by a science of human well-being is possible with a shared objective knowledge of human freedom as the basis of collaborative support for its unfoldment. A science of freedom lays the foundation of ethical individualism and of a social and political life.

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Global Footprint
Since the dawn of civilization, the planet replenished its resources faster than humans consumed them. Starting around 1970 that changed, we began to take more from the planet each year than it could restore. Since then, the gap between our rate of consumption and the planet's rate of regeneration has widened.

Its only mid-August but we have already used an entire year’s worth of the Earth’s natural resources according to the Global Footprint Network. For the rest of the year we will consume more than the Earth can replenish. This natural resource debt is not sustainable, how can we change?

Individual versus collective action
There is a continuing debate within the environmental movement about the relative merits of individual versus collective action. We are autonomous individuals as well as members of a local and global collective. I thought I would compare various possibilities of collective and individual action.

To act we need an “idea” of what to do and a “desire” to do it.

1. Collective idea and collective desire
Example: A democratic collective (State) agrees on an idea (environmental law) and the collective (citizens) desire to obey to avoid penalties (fines, jail).
Result: The planet is saved but individual freedom is lost due to threat of force.

2. Collective idea and individual desire
Example: A collective (NGO) agrees on an idea (recycling) and individuals who desire to act do so on a voluntary basis.
Result: Individual freedom is saved but the planet is lost due to lack of participation.

3. Individual idea and collective desire
Example: Individual eco-friendly inventions and marketing (solar powered toothbrush) and the collective desires it because of mass marketing.
Result: The planet is saved but individual freedom is lost due to mind control.

4. Individual idea and individual desire
Example: Individual accepts eco-friendly ideas that she desires to act upon. Taking the global and her individual situation into consideration the necessary changes are made.
Result: Individual freedom empowers diverse individual action and the planet is saved.

Mature free individuals
To meet the challenges of our time will take fully functioning mature individuals we are capable of unbiased scientific understanding of life situations (free thinking) and have a desire to live a life that expresses their highest ideals (free action). Nothing can stop you if you think universally and act individually.

Impossible dream?
Is their really any other solution than the need for human development? Is this an impossible dream? Not if we start with ourselves. The global footprint is the total of individual footprints.

Ethical individualism
Rudolf Steiner's Philosophy Of Freedom presents a way of life called Ethical Individualism. It is about being inspired by your ideals, setting real goals, and realizing them without doing harm.

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Ethical Individualists have no ethical obligation to obey the laws of the State, though they usually do. POF 9.12  If they were to end up in prison, to pass the time they would likely want to start a Philosophy Of Freedom study group. Would they have that right?

Religious right to study
Inmates of a prison approved “religion” have special rights such as the right to have weekly classroom/study time, access to study materials and the right to congregate with other members of their group. Simply put, if you said you were religious, you got a number of perks not afforded to non-religious groups.

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Humanist denied right to study
Prisoner Jason Holden was prohibited from starting a Humanist study group because Humanism was not on the list of accepted religions, so he sued the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Ruling favors rights of Humanist
The Federal Bureau of Prisons agreed to give inmates who identify as Humanists the same type of accommodations it provides to those who practice a religion. A settlement was reached and Humanism was added to the prison manual broadening the meaning of religion to include other inmate beliefs and practices.

In his 2014 ruling the judge wrote, “the Supreme Court said that the government must not aid those religions based on a belief in the existence of God as against those religions founded on different beliefs…Therefore, the court finds that Secular Humanism is a religion for Establishment Clause purposes.”

While it is unfortunate that the only manner in which these rights can be protected is under the umbrella of “religion,” this is nonetheless a significant victory for science, reason, and non-religious ethics.

Ethical Individualism is a humanist philosophy of life
The ruling was a victory for Ethical Individualism since it is a philosophy of life that fits in the Humanist designation. The source of its ethics is human thought, not the supernatural or God,

“A moral act is never explained by tracing it back to some continuous supernatural influence (a divine government), or to historical revelation (the giving of the ten commandments) or to the appearance of God (Christ) on earth. Moral causes must be looked for in the human being, who is the bearer of morality.” POF 12.8

"The ethical laws which the Metaphysician regards as issuing from a higher power are human thoughts; the ethical world order is the free creation of human beings.” POF 10.8

Christians Decline Sharply as Share of Population
An extensive 2015 survey by the Pew Research Center shows the Christian share of the US population is sharply declining while the number of U.S. adults who do not identify with any organized religion is growing. As theistic religion is replaced by an ethics whose source is the free human being, society will need to recognize the rights of a broader range of worldviews and philosophies.

Reference: Rachel Ford

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"The purpose of The Philosophy Of Freedom is to lay the foundations of ethical individualism and of a social and political life." Rudolf Steiner

Over 100 years ago Rudolf Steiner presented a Science Of Freedom that laid the foundation for Ethical Individualism and a new social and political life. His Philosophy Of Freedom is a humanist philosophy of life that integrates science, ethics and creative imagination into free ethical deeds independent of conditioned bias and the influence of authoritarian institutions.

This philosophy of life has remained largely unknown until now. If it had been vigorously presented 100 years ago I have no doubt it would be commonly known today and the world we live in would be a different place. This website, philosophyoffreedom.com, has been working very hard everyday since 2005 with minimal human and financial resources to find ways to present it and get the word out. 

What we have found is that there is an interest in Ethical Individualism once people hear about it.

International Baccalaureate 2014 conference in Rome
In 2014 the ideas of Ethical Individualism was part of an educational service learning package presented by keynote speaker Cathryn Berger Kaye M.A. at the International Baccalaureate conference held in Rome.

The International Baccalaureate (IB), founded in 1968, “is an educational foundation offering highly respected programs of international education. There are more than 1 million IB students at 3,462 schools in 143 countries around the world.”

“The prestigious pre-university IB program develops well-rounded students with character who respond to challenges with optimism and an open mind, make ethical decisions, join with others in celebrating our common humanity and are prepared to apply what they learn in real-world, complex and unpredictable situations.”


Cathryn Berger Kaye M.A.

Cathryn “travels 186 days a year globally providing professional development, keynotes, in-depth institutes, and resources on service learning, youth engagement, best teaching practices, curricular development, and 21st century competencies. Cathryn regularly visits schools to work with teachers and administrators to advance service learning and other schools priorities for 21st century learning.”

Included in her education material at the conference was this diagram (pictured below) on Ethical Individualism created here at philosophyoffreedom.com. When properly presented education professionals recognize that The Philosophy Of Freedom and Ethical Individualism offer something of value. The better job we can do to find ways to package these ideas and make them available the more they will become known.

An Ethical Individualism diagram from philosophyoffreedom.com was part of keynote speaker Cathryn Berger Kaye's Education material at 2014 International Baccalaureate conference. Improved diagram here.

Cathryn is involved in Service Learning. What is that? Could it be a way to teach Ethical Individualism?
Service-Learning is a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities.

Through service-learning, young people—from kindergarteners to college students—use what they learn in the classroom to solve real-life problems. They not only learn the practical applications of their studies, they become actively contributing citizens and community members through the service they perform.

Service-learning can be applied in a wide variety of settings, including schools, universities, and community-based and faith-based organizations. It can involve a group of students, a classroom or an entire school. Students build character and become active participants as they work with others in their school and community to create service projects in areas such as education, public safety, and the environment.

Community members, students, and educators everywhere are discovering that service-learning offers all its participants a chance to take part in the active education of youth while simultaneously addressing the concerns, needs, and hopes of communities. --National Service-Learning Clearinghouse

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It is easy to build community with submissives unwilling to think for themselves, who prefer not to rock the boat by doing or saying something, who dutifully obey the rules, and conform.

But how is it possible for free individuals to join together if everyone is striving to express his or her own individual ideals?

Common ethical order
The Moralist believes that a social community is possible only if the group is held together by a common ethical order. POF 9-10 What makes you a Christian, Jew, or Muslim is which book of ethical principles you selflessly submit to.

Betul Ulusoy is denied a job
Here is a story of how social organization is built around a common ethical principle. It begins when Betul, a Muslim law school graduate, was recently denied a trainee job at a law office in Berlin because she wore a headscarf. Without the addition of an ideal principle the incident would likely only be of interest to Betul, who is disappointed she didn't get the job. She posted a complaint on Facebook about being denied the job solely for the reason she chose to wear a headscarf. This incident then grew into a rally that unified many diverse groups. How did this happen?

1. Specific situation: Betul Ulusoy is denied a job because she wore a headscarf.
Interest: Betul Ulusoy

Common ethical principle
The situation drew the attention of others with the addition of an ethical principle. By universalizing the incident the interest in it broadens. The scarf becomes a “head covering” while Betul Ulusoy becomes a “religious person” who wears a head covering. This inspires a Muslim-Jewish organization to get involved whose members wear head coverings. They hold a rally and make it clear,

"We emphasize that we didn't demonstrate for Betül only, but for all with head coverings who are discriminated against based on their religious practices."

2. Ideal principle added: Equal rights for all religious people who wear head coverings
Interest: Muslim-Jewish organization

Further purifying the ethical principle by removing “religious” and “head covering” more people are inspired and join the rally. It becomes a social justice issue by adding the ideals of “democracy” and “equality”. The rally now gains support from a wide range of religious and secular organizations who say,

"We are working for a pluralistic democracy that respects all equally even if they are different."

3. Ideal principle further purified: Democratic principle of “equality”
Interest: Wide range of religious and secular organizations

The group has grown but is still held together by a single ethical principle of "social justice". Free individuals, at any one moment, are working to realize their own lofty ideals that they have chosen, whether it be saving the planet, world peace, fiscal responsibility, ethical business, raising an educated child etc. How is it possible to form a community of individuals if there is no common ethical principle to rally around?

Common world of ideas
A diverse social compatibility is possible when we understand that the universal world of ideas that inspires me is none other than the one that inspires other individuals. I differ from other individuals not because we are living in two entirely different mental worlds, but because from our common world of ideas we each receive different insights. My neighbors want to live out their ideas, I mine.

Unity of the world of ideas
Pure ideas are not found isolated from each other, they connect to other ideas to form an ordered and systematic whole. The Moralist demands that others accept his ethical code because he does not understand that all universal ideals are joined together in a comprehensible unity in the world of ideas.

Harmony of intentions
An ethical individualist knows that a community of individuals can harmoniously work together “if we really draw from the Idea (unity of ideas) and do not obey external impulses (physical or spiritual). Then we cannot but meet in the same striving, the same intentions. An ethical misunderstanding, a clash, is impossible among ethically free human beings.” POF 9.10

Reference article by Antonia Blumberg

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Israeli Security Forces Arresting A Child

Ethical ideals

According to Israeli security forces they operate under an ethical principle to "respect children's rights".

Yet, Human Rights Watch has slammed Israel over “abusive arrests” of Palestinian children as young as 11. In a report released on Monday, "Israeli security forces have choked children, thrown stun grenades at them, beaten them in custody, forced confessions without the presence of parents or lawyers, and failed to let their parents know their whereabouts."


Situational ethics

What allowed the Israeli forces to morally justify carrying out acts that they normally find abhorrent? Situational ethics. Situational ethics proponents argue that high ethical ideals are vague and unrealistic. They have little to do with having to deal with tough real life situations. Sometimes the situation, not principles, should dictate action.

“Sometimes you gotta put your principles aside and do the right thing”.

Conflict between principles and situation
A St. Louis cab driver once said, “Sometimes you gotta put your principles aside and do the right thing”.

Are we required to choose between adhering to rigid principles or going down the slippery slope of giving up those principles in certain situations?

President Obama has been reluctant to use military force and said, “Where force is necessary, we have a moral and strategic interest in binding ourselves to certain rules of conduct.” This is opposed by situational realists who support torture believing that the ends justifies the means.

An Ethical Individualist always stands on principles
The deed of an ethical individualist is never determined by the external situation. If that was the case the deed would not be determined by the individual, meaning it would not be ethical or free. Of course she is aware of the situation but “does not allow herself to be determined by it”POF 9.6

The situation is conceptualized to understand the context and circumstances of the event. Within the conceptual sphere, free from personal or ethnic bias, an ideal principle is selected (Moral Intuition). The principle is universal so imagination needs to translate it into a specific situational goal that fits the event (Moral Imagination). In this way you are able to stand on your principles while your action is suited to the specifics of the situation.

What about flexibility? The principles and goals of the ethical individualist are not set in stone. If changing conditions or new knowledge calls for a different approach the ethical individualist can adjust from moment to moment, without compromising an ethical life.

“My mission, at any one moment, is that which I choose for myself. I do not enter upon life's journey with fixed marching orders.” POF 11.7

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Lofty Ideals Are Not Enough


Another historic chance for change
After an idealistic campaign calling for justice and sovereignty, Greek newspapers carried dramatic headlines of the Syriza parties stunning victory last January. The anti-austerity Syriza party is defined by their youthful idealism and determination to smash the mold of practical politics and business as usual.

Many pro-leftist newspapers hailed the win as a historic chance for the people of Greece to take charge of their own future with the emergence of these young, anti-establishment members of government.

Can they make their ideals a reality, which is the objective of what The Philosophy Of Freedom calls “Ethical Individualism”?


Youthful idealism without a plan of action

It doesn't look like the Syriza government will realize any ideals. Now a historic betrayal has consumed Greece as the new government has agreed to many repressive, impoverishing measures in return for a “bailout” that means sinister foreign control and a warning to the rest of the world.

It turned out the Syriza government had no plan. The day after the January election a truly democratic and radical government would have begone taking action, but there was no plan.

Preaching ideals is not enough
In order to change anything you need more than the oratory skills to preach idealism, as we learned with Obama. Ideals can inspire and unite people but these ideals have little value if they are never realized. To realize ideals and change the world, imagination and technique is needed.

The Syriza party has ideals but appear to lack imagination and technique. Or they could even have been phony idealists from the start.

Bernie Sanders is a US presidential candidate who has ideas, but what are the chances he could implement any of them if elected? He is 73 years old, yet he can still sound like an innocent idealist. In my view Gov. Jerry Brown of Ca. has the right balance of idealism and realism --he gets things done and has returned California to being a great state again. 

Freedom and imagination
Lofty ideals such as social justice are universal and are applicable to all cultures. To apply social justice to a particular situation like Greece, you need imagination. The ideal principle needs to be imaginatively translated into a specific plan of action that meets the Greek situation directly.

Our creative and imaginative capacity depends on how free we are as individuals. The biases we receive from our family, nation, ethnic group and religion and all that we inherit from the past restrict our creativity. Imagination is a characteristic of free individuality. Free individuality is attained through an inner striving for freedom.


Science and technique

The Greece crisis is highly complex. The idealist has to work with an already existing set of conditions, to which he wants to give a new form. In order to transform the situation one has to have knowledge of the rules and laws of how it works. This is the kind of knowledge taught at universities in the different branches of general scientific knowledge. By acquiring this knowledge or surrounding your self with experts in the fields needed the world can be transformed without major disruptions and you are more likely to gain the support of others.

Changing the world, according to The Philosophy Of Freedom, involves three abilities. We select ideal principles with Moral Intuition, we imagine creative goals with Moral Imagination and we implement those goals with the knowledge of science or Moral Technique. POF 12.2

Greece reference: John Pilger, Andrew Flood

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Steiner's most important work
The Wilson translation of The Philosophy Of Freedom is being published by Wilder Publications (SMK Books). The interesting thing is the ebook image cover, which says in bold type, “STEINER'S MOST IMPORTANT WORK”.

I think this website can take some credit for the bold text pronouncement as we have been broadcasting this message since 2005. Before that, the standard repeated message was that The Philosophy Of Freedom was one of 4 basic books of Anthroposophy that also included Theosophy, Knowledge Of The Higher Worlds, and Occult Science.

Wilder Publications is a rogue publisher that is not controlled or associated with Anthroposophy. For them to proclaim The Philosophy Of Freedom to be "Steiner's most important work" means that this has become part of main stream public knowledge established outside of the PR outlets of Anthroposophy. Mission accomplished!

 

Why is it Steiner's most important work?
The next point that needs to enter the public domain is why it is Steiner's most important work? Anthroposophy's talking points always direct the attention away from the freedom philosophy, and directs it toward Steiner's later clairvoyant spiritual science, Anthroposophy. Whenever the philosophy is mentioned the talking point is,

"The Philosophy of Freedom forms the philosophical basis for his later writings." (later writings are Anthroposophy) wiki link

This statement is the death of any interest in The Philosophy Of Freedom. Nobody wants to read an abstract philosophy that gives you nothing other than philosophical support for something else.

The title was even changed to Intuitive Thinking As A Spiritual Path to make it sound more spiritualistic.


It is about science, ethics and how to change the world

If you read the book you find that it is about science, attaining certainty in knowledge rather than belief in doctrines, groups or spiritual leaders. It is about ethical individualism and how to change the world. It is not abstract philosophy but gives descriptions of cognitive processes and life experiences that lead one to free thinking and free action. Rather than being told what to think by an organization, it shows how to stand on your own feet and think for yourself.

The Philosophy Of Freedom is written in an individualist anarchist mood that emphasizes the individual and their will over external determinants such as groups, society, traditions, and ideological systems. This is obvious in the original first chapter, "The Goal Of Knowledge" that Steiner considered the preface. Is this why any institution or leadership would surely have little interest in this book?


Its not about clairvoyance

There is nothing to be found in it to directly support the clairvoyant ability to perceive spiritual worlds, and certainly nothing to support the content of Anthroposophy. You can make a stretch by calling the intuition commonly involved in acquiring knowledge "clairvoyance".

The link that is commonly made to relate it to Anthroposophy is the recognition of a non-physical universal world of ideas that could open the possibility of some kind of higher knowledge. This is true. True, just as the discovery of quantum randomness opens the possibility of free will. My point is that its support of Anthroposophy is not why The Philosophy Of Freedom is Steiner's most important work.


It is a philosophy of life

Most people (99.999%?) will never have an interest in understanding the philosophical basis of Anthroposophy, but each of us have a life and we want a better world. In 1918, while immersed in Anthroposophy, Steiner gives the intended purpose,

"The purpose of The Philosophy Of Freedom is to lay the foundations of ethical individualism and of a social and political life." link

This is the point that this website (philosophyoffreedom.com) will be declaring to the world until it becomes part of the public domain of knowledge. This is something that will bring The Philosophy Of Freedom the interest it deserves.

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