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
Humanist denied right to study
Ruling favors rights of Humanist
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
“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
Reference: Rachel Ford
Intelligence continues to decline
Now we finally know why we struggle so much to comprehend The Philosophy Of Freedom. Since the time of its writing in 1894 Western IQ's have dropped a staggering 14 points. Researchers looked at intelligence studies going back to the late Victorian Era (1884) and find that the Victorians were substantially more intelligent than modern Western populations.
The Victorian era, measured on a per capita basis, was the height of innovations in science and technology with the highest number of scientific geniuses (Rudolf Steiner).
Our brains are actually becoming smaller. IQ studies show people in the UK, Denmark and Australia have become less intelligent in the past decade. You don't need science to verify that Americans are becoming stupider.
What is the cause? Modern life has become easy without the need to ever think. Casual entertainment like video games and television impede our development by keeping us away from skill-building activities.
True? Science disagrees about the video games. (video)
Video games for cognitive development
While television is passive entertainment, video games are not. Good video gamers require intense concentration, keen perception, brilliant strategy and quick reactions. Scientific studies have shown that the challenge posed by action video games improves cognitive functions, motor control, overall perception, increases grey matter and our ability to learn new things. (I enjoy rattling the cage of Waldorf dogmatists)
Multitasking and cognitive development
Does modern multitasking develop cognitive skills? A neuroscientist and expert on attention at MIT says: “When people think they’re multitasking, they’re actually just switching from one task to another very rapidly.” Multitasking prevents deep, creative thought as we switch back and forth. As a result, thoughts are more superficial.
Just spotting an email is enough distraction to reduce your IQ by 10 points as your mind wanders from your task.
Exercise body and mind
We all have recognized that modern life requires regular exercise for a healthy body. People are only beginning to realize life also requires regular thinking exercise for a healthy mind.
Knowledge of cognitive processes and thought training
For a healthy body we learn about how our body works by studying its processes like nutrition, digestion etc. and we exercise. It is the same with thinking, we learn how it works by studying the cognitive processes like perception, knowing etc. and exercise with thought training. We can increase our intelligence these two ways: thought training and learning about the cognitive processes. This is what Rudolf Steiner's path to freedom is about, as described in The Philosophy Of Freedom. By studying the cognitive processes and applying what is learned along with disciplining thinking we can improve our ability to know.
The Philosophy Of Freedom is the result of "independent" thinking meaning we do not have the comfort of immediately relating familiar terms to what is being discussed. After we struggle to the meaning of the terms we find it all makes perfect sense. This is because the terms used point to experience rather than merely abstract philosophy.
We discipline our thinking with thought training which deepens our knowing. This is practiced by “withdrawing awhile to enter into the conceptual realm of pure thought.” POF 0.7 The study of The Philosophy Of Freedom is to enter the "conceptual world of pure thought". Keeping our thinking sharp is a requirement for a healthy mind and is achieved with the challenging study of this book.
“The primary purpose of my book is to serve as thought training, training in the sense that the special way of both thinking and entertaining these thoughts is such as to bring the soul life of the reader into motion in somewhat the way that gymnasts exercise their limbs.” Rudolf Steiner
Study Of The Philosophy Of Freedom
Both of theses practices of learning about thinking and deepening it can be done at the same time by studying the book! You learn what it means to "know" and discipline your thinking at the same time when you study The Philosophy Of Freedom (without multitasking). It will require effort just like physical exercise does, but you will soon notice you are getting more “insights” into things than before.
See New Study Guide.
By understanding the thought-structure of The Philosophy Of Freedom the book makes more sense. This discovery of the thought structure of The Philosophy Of Freedom has been verified by those qualified to do so and it can be verified by you if you work with the book and the worldviews. The thought-structure consists of 12 worldviews that Steiner is writing out of at that point in the book. If you know the worldview being expressed at that point in the text and you know when he shifts from one view to the next the book makes more sense, otherwise it gets very confusing. The numbered topic headings that appear in the translations (Hoernle) on this website tell you what the viewpoint being expressed is and when it shifts to the next view. (Video)
7 World Outlook Moods
Each chapter begins with an introduction (0). This opening introduction is 1 of 7 world-outlook moods (described below). It begins with Occultism in chapter 1, then Transcendentalism in chapter 2, then Mysticism 3, Empiricism 4, Volunteerism 5, Logicism 6, and Gnosis 7. Part II of the book beginning with chapter 8 is Gnosis again as the order reverses itself to chapter 14 Occultism.
12 World Outlooks
After the introduction, 12 views are presented of the introduction. They follow the same order in each chapter and are numbered in the translations that appear on this website as topic headings. They begin with the view of Materialism (1), then Spiritism 2, Realism 3, Idealism 4, Mathematism 5, Rationalism 6, Psychism 7, Pneumatism 8, Monadism 9, Dynamism 10, Phenomenalism 11, and Sensationalism 12.
The above diagram shows the thought structure of The Philosophy Of Freedom. It is not based on planetary astrology or have anything to do with one's sign. It is a science of the mind that describes the relationship between worldviews that is using Zodiac symbols because they likely have some meaning in understanding 12 perspectives. Within this diagram is every possible world view. So you see the book integrates every possible viewpoint into one wholistic philosophy. What it means is that every view has value within its particular domain of application.
Boycott Israel march in France
Pro-Israel billionaires combat anti-apartheid boycott of Israel
Human rights organizations condemned Sheldon Adelson's anti-BDS meeting of pro-Israel billionaires to combat the growing anti-apartheid boycott of the Jewish state of Israel. The boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement is a nonviolent method to promote the Palestinian struggle for independence modeled after the successful boycott of apartheid South Africa.
Anti-aparteid movement gaining momentum
The BDS movement is gaining momentum each day. Norwegian and Dutch corporations sold off shares from companies involved in the Palestinian Territories, student groups in Britain, the United States and Canada have thrown their support behind it, scientists like Stephen Hawking are refusing to attend academic conferences in Israel and South Africa’s Bishop Desmond Tutu called on churches to turn their backs on companies that profit from the occupation.
The membership of the Association for Humanist Sociology, an organization dedicated to scholarship and action in the service of justice and peace, voted to support the boycott of Israel.
For nearly half a century, Palestinians have lived under a form of apartheid in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza, denied the most basic freedoms and rights. They have been ethnically cleansed, imprisoned en masse, walled up in ghettoes, and had their lands stolen and their homes and agricultural crops destroyed. Palestinian citizens of Israel, who comprise approximately 20% of Israel’s population, have endured systematic discrimination in a state that explicitly privileges Jewish citizens over all others.
Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson seeks a permanent Jewish apartheid state
Adelson is a vocal supporter of a single state in which Israel annexes the occupied territories and denies equal rights to Palestinians who he has derided as “an invented people”.
The Forward, which first reported the summit, said that the billionaire Jewish mega-donors include the Hollywood entertainment mogul Haim Saban and an Israeli-born property developer, Adam Milstein.
US Presidential candidates for sale
Republican presidential candidate, Ted Cruz, denounced the boycott movement at a dinner with Adelson. Cruz, like other Republican candidates, is seeking financial backing from Adelson.
In a letter written to billionaire Haim Saban, Hillary Clinton pledges to not put pressure on Israel. Her condemnation of the anti-apartheid movement sounded like it came from the Netanyahu government itself. Haim Saban is a mega-donor to the Clinton presidential campaign.
"The social order is formed, so that it can react favorably on the individual." (all individuals) POF 9.12
How do you overcome your own culturally conditioned bias of ethnic tribalism or nationalism? It is possible to free your self from being determined by “characteristics that are conditioned by the nature of one's ethnic group” and “develop qualities and functions of one's own, whose source can only be sought within one self.” POF 14.2
We can rise above personal bias and prejudice and make ethical decisions that places a value on each human being with the development of what Steiner calls "pure thinking" or "practical reason". POF 9.5
If you are interested in Rudolf Steiner but don't really fit in with the Anthroposophist crowd you may be an Ethical Individualist. Lets compare an Anthroposophist with an Ethical Individualist.
First lets give a little background of the two phases of Steiner's life. Rudolf Steiner was a respected scholar and Humanist before he turned to spiritual science, known today as Anthroposophy. In 1894 Steiner presented a humanist philosophy of life called Ethical Individualism. As late as 1918 Steiner affirmed, "The purpose of The Philosophy Of Freedom is to lay the foundations of ethical individualism and of a social and political life."
Throughout his life Steiner continued to recommend The Philosophy Of Freedom, and said it would outlive all his other work and be the book for which he will be remembered.
Who is an Anthroposophist?
This article is not a satire of Anthroposophists but is real. A highly respected and widely referenced site about Anthroposophy asks the question, “Who, exactly, qualifies for the label 'Anthroposophist'?” The article presents several possible definitions of an Anthroposophist and then tells you if it will suffice.
Broad definition: Anyone who finds value in Steiner's work.
No: This is an overly broad definition because it might include people who “disagree” with Steiner.
Consumer definition: Anyone who consumes the practical results from Steiner's insights such as Weleda beauty products, biodynamics or Waldorf education.
No: Such consumers can hardly be called “followers” of Rudolf Steiner.
Student definition: Someone who studies Steiner's works.
No: A number of hostile critics study Steiner's works.
Warm enthusiasm definition: Someone who feels a warm enthusiasm as they study Steiner's work.
Yes, almost: If they feel a warm enthusiasm, then they are part of the way to being an Anthroposophist.
The anthroposophy site poses another question in the effort to define an Anthroposophist by asking, “Who would Anthroposophists recognize as their own?”
Who would Anthroposophists recognize as their own?
Qualified: A true Anthroposophist accepts the whole of Steiner's teaching and not just portions of it. (over 30 books and 6000 lectures)
Disqualified: Those who pick and choose bits and pieces of Steiner's work to make a part of their own philosophy. (like only the principles of Waldorf education)
Qualified: A true Anthroposophist has a continuing life long enthusiastic support for Anthroposophy.
Disqualified: Those whose enthusiastic support was merely an anthroposophy phase of their life.
The anthroposophy site now comes to their concluding definition as to who an Anthroposophist is.
The True Anthroposophist
Definition of the True Anthroposophist: Those who have a continuing life long enthusiastic acceptance of the whole of Anthroposophy.
From my experience of Anthroposophists, I would have to agree that this is a very fair and honest definition of who a true Anthroposophist is.
Now I will pose a question. Under this definition of who an Anthroposophist is, does the True Anthroposophist qualify to be an Ethical Individualist?
Does the True Anthroposophist qualify to be an Ethical Individualist?
Qualified: Ethical Individualists do not follow a leader as they know one must make their own way on the final ascent to freedom. POF 0.0
Disqualified: True Anthroposophists are “followers” of Rudolf Steiner.
Qualified: Ethical Individualists do not accept a truth until they fully comprehend it. They no longer want to believe; they want to know. POF 0.3
Disqualified: True Anthroposophists must accept the whole of Steiner's mostly incomprehensible teachings (over 30 books and 6000 lectures).
Qualified: Ethical Individualists start with their own personal experience and from there ascend to a knowledge of the whole universe each in his or her own way. POF 0.4
Disqualified: True Anthroposophists have categorized and preserved Steiner's work to be continuously studied and uncritically revered as valid for all time.
Are you an Anthroposophist or an Ethical Individualist?
"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.”
|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
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
The Great Dictator's Speech
I’m sorry, but I don’t want to be an emperor. That’s not my business. I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone - if possible - Jew, Gentile - black man - white. We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each other’s happiness - not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone. And the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way.
Greed has poisoned men’s souls, has barricaded the world with hate, has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical. Our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery we need humanity. More than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost....
The aeroplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men - cries out for universal brotherhood - for the unity of us all. Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world - millions of despairing men, women, and little children - victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people.
To those who can hear me, I say - do not despair. The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed - the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress. The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish. .....
Soldiers! don’t give yourselves to brutes - men who despise you - enslave you - who regiment your lives - tell you what to do - what to think and what to feel! Who drill you - diet you - treat you like cattle, use you as cannon fodder. Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men - machine men with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines! You are not cattle! You are men! You have the love of humanity in your hearts! You don’t hate! Only the unloved hate - the unloved and the unnatural! Soldiers! Don’t fight for slavery! Fight for liberty!
In the 17th Chapter of St Luke it is written: “the Kingdom of God is within man” - not one man nor a group of men, but in all men! In you! You, the people have the power - the power to create machines. The power to create happiness! You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure.
Then - in the name of democracy - let us use that power - let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world - a decent world that will give men a chance to work - that will give youth a future and old age a security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power. But they lie! They do not fulfil that promise. They never will!
Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people! Now let us fight to fulfil that promise! Let us fight to free the world - to do away with national barriers - to do away with greed, with hate and intolerance. Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness. Soldiers! in the name of democracy, let us all unite!
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."
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
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
Both Scientology and the Philosophy Of Freedom claim to offer paths to freedom. On what scientific principle do they base this claim?
For Scientology the barrier to freedom is the Reactive Mind. It is defined in Scientology as that part of the mind that works on a totally stimulus-response basis. It is not under a persons control and exerts force and the power of command over our awareness, purposes, thoughts, and actions.
In the Philosophy Of Freedom (POF) we find something similar at the lowest level of individual life called simply “drive” when our will is immediately triggered by the senses without intervening reflection or having a special feeling for what is perceived. This immediacy originally belonged to the lower instinctive life necessary for survival. POF 9.4
Scientology and POF speak of mental images that can insert themselves between us and the outer world resulting in cognitive bias distorting our grasp of reality and creating unreasonable fears, upsets and insecurities. POF Chp5 Addition to the revised edition (1918)
How do we free ourselves from compulsions, obsessions, and neuroses that spring from what Scientology calls the Reactive Mind and what POF calls in a broader term our Psyche-Physical Organization?
The level of Clear in Scientology
The scientific principle used in Scientology is that you can weaken the Reactive Mind by bringing unwanted motives into consciousness where they lose their power, so the ill effects they cause end. POF 1.3 A state of clear is reached through a long period of auditing therapy until the Reactive Mind is eliminated.
Once the Reactive Mind is eliminated we will be happier and return to a more childlike simplicity having removed the pain of past traumatic experiences.
The level of Clear in The Philosophy Of Freedom
The Philosophy Of Freedom takes the other approach by strengthening thinking, then the power of thinking suspends the control over us by the organization of our body and mind, the Psyche-Physical Organization. This state of clear is called pure thinking or reason. It takes place in the sphere of universal concepts. It is developed by learning how the mind works (study of the Philosophy Of Freedom) and then applying this knowledge to unfold free thinking. It is also necessary to practice the kind of thought discipline that is necessary in the fields of science.
When we enter the pure conceptual sphere the Psyche-Physical Organization which holds our past experiences, natural urges, and biases “suspends its own activity—it makes room—and, in the space that has been made free, thinking appears. First, thinking represses the human organization’s own activity and, second, it replaces that activity with itself.” POF 9.1 found only in revised 1918 edition
With empowered thinking we become fully mature human beings, and fulfill our human potential.
Pure thinking is the most important part of The Philosophy Of Freedom. That there is a power within thinking that can suspend our Psyche-Physical Organization is the scientific principle that can be used to free ourselves of the habitual ruts and cognitive biases that enslaves us.
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.
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
We are studying the Philosophy of Freedom by Rudolf Steiner.
Each week we do artistic exercises in relation to the text.
Here are a few samples from our first session on the prefaces.
Hillsdale, New York
see Start A Study Group
click on image
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.
This short video is based on the first paragraph in Rudolf Steiner's Philosophy Of Freedom. It describes the early drive toward freedom as it expresses itself in the forming of a unique individuality.
In order to survive the animal is driven by natural instincts for food, water, and shelter. Social learning gives an evolutionary advantage to those who join and conform to the group.
Yet, if society is to continue evolving it needs something more than social conformity, it needs the innovation and creativity of free individuals.
The social order is only formed so it can react in favor of the individual, but society cannot produce even one free individual.
Only the individual himself can complete the final stage of evolution and realize freedom.
The pursuit of individuality is the modern struggle for survival.
To be true to yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something less, requires great effort.
There is a natural conflict between individualism and authority.
When challenged by authority, typically individualism cannot be sustained without paying a harsh price.
No matter what anyone else asserts, an individualist will think for himself.
Nothing is accepted as valid until he fits it into his own context of knowledge.
Knowing that human perfection cannot be found by following in the footsteps of another, the individualist finds his own way in the difficult ascent to freedom.
Why adoringly serve leaders who will turn out to be just as weak as yourself?
No ideals will be forced upon him.
He will select his own ideals and strive for their realization, which is his highest pleasure.
We no longer believe that there is a norm of human life to which we must all strive to conform.
We are convinced that in each of us, if only we probe deep enough into the very heart of our being, there dwells something noble, something worthy of development.
We regard the perfection of the whole as depending on the unique perfection of each single individual.
We do not want to do what anyone else can do equally well.
No, our contribution to the development of the world, however trifling, must be something which, by reason of the uniqueness of our nature, we alone can offer.
Never have artists been less concerned about rules and norms in art than today. Each of them asserts his right to express what is unique in him.
The structure of a language can affect how we conceptualize the world, our world-view, so there are writers who do not conform to the standard selection of words and arrangement that grammar demands.
We do not want to be dependent in any respect, and where dependence must be, we tolerate it only on condition that it coincides with a vital interest of our individuality.
Individuality is one of the fundamental characteristics of our age.
There is no better expression of this phenomena than striving towards freedom with the greatest intensity.
THE PHILOSOPHY OF FREEDOM
0. THE GOAL OF KNOWLEDGE (Preface)
0.0 Impulse Of Freedom
 I BELIEVE I am indicating correctly one of the fundamental characteristics of our age when I say that, at the present day, all human interests tend to center in the culture of human individuality. An energetic effort is being made to shake off every kind of authority. Nothing is accepted as valid, unless it springs from the roots of individuality. Everything which hinders the individual in the full development of his powers is thrust aside. The saying “Each one of us must choose his hero in whose footsteps he toils up to Olympus” no longer holds for us. We allow no ideals to be forced upon us. We are convinced that in each of us, if only we probe deep enough into the very heart of our being, there dwells something noble, something worthy of development. We no longer believe that there is a norm of human life to which we must all strive to conform. We regard the perfection of the whole as depending on the unique perfection of each single individual. We do not want to do what anyone else can do equally well. No, our contribution to the development of the world, however trifling, must be something that, by reason of the uniqueness of our nature, we alone can offer. Never have artists been less concerned about rules and norms in art than today. Each of them asserts their right to express, in the creations of their art, what is unique in them. There are dramatists who write in dialect rather than conform to the standard diction which grammar demands.
 No better expression for these phenomena can be found than this, that they result from the individual’s striving towards freedom, developed to its highest pitch. We do not want to be dependent in any respect, and where dependence must be, we tolerate it only on condition that it coincides with a vital interest of our individuality.
Picture of homeless boy goes viral
A picture of a 9 year old homeless boy forced to do his homework on a pavement in the Philippines has gone viral with many saying he has inspired them. The boy is often seen begging with his mother in the same area, but shows a determination to get an education.
A medical student said it gave her inspiration to work harder. “I'm fortunate my parents were able to send me to school,” she told a reporter. “You really don't need much, you just have to be determined and focused on the things that you want to achieve."
All you need is a can-do attitude
The conclusion many draw from these stories is that all you need for success is determination, willpower and the right can-do attitude. One newspaper has recommended parents show the picture of the hardworking boy to their children next time they are moaning. Someone has turned the picture into an inspirational postcard with the caption: “If it is important to you, you will find a way. If not, you’ll find an excuse.”
The picture is used to suggest that there are no excuses for failure or poverty. Even if you are poor and live in a makeshift home, you have the choice to work yourself out of that predicament.
All you need is government services and a life coach
US Republican politician Paul Ryan's idea is that we can all rise above our circumstances – however difficult – through a program of government services and self-improvement. Inspired by the writer Ayn Rand, he recently presented an anti-poverty plan in which he proposed poor people should sit down with a life coach and develop an “opportunity plan”.
Sweden tried a similar plan spending $550 million on job coaches with modest results. The methods used by these coaches, including healing and therapeutic touching, have been called into question.
A life coach needs a philosophy of life
A life coach helps you create your own individual life. To do this you need a program based on some sort of philosophy of life. You would want a philosophy of life developed using scientific methods. The program would require a knowledge of what human freedom is as you can't just tell someone how to live. It would also need a practical understanding of how a human being works; what does it mean to think, how do I become self-empowered, and how do I set my own goals to strive for. It would need self-improvement exercises to practice applying the program to life.
The Philosophy Of Freedom is a philosophy of life
Rudolf Steiner's Philosophy Of Freedom is a philosophy of life that can provide the core of a life coaching program. The video produced here “How To Make Better Decisions” was created from The Philosophy Of Freedom and is an example of presenting this book in a life coaching manner. Success depends on knowing the world around you (concept of knowing) and knowing who you are (concept of the free human being). Its all in The Philosophy Of Freedom.
“Once we know what to make of the world, it will be an easy task to adapt ourselves to it. We can only put our full strength into our actions when we know what it is we are devoting our activity to.” POF 5.12
“Our life is made up of free and unfree actions. We cannot, however, form a final and adequate concept of human nature without coming upon the free spirit as its purest expression. After all, we are human beings in the fullest sense only in so far as we are free.” POF 9-11
This video presents 4 steps to make better decisions using the skills of scientific inquiry, idealistic inspiration, creative imagination and technical research. They are based on Rudolf Steiner's Philosophy Of Freedom which describes his philosophy of life: Ethical Individualism.
Homeless boy reference: Carl Cederström, The guardian
Two 1895 Reviews Of Rudolf Steiner's Die Philosophie der Freiheit
p. 150 Die Philosophie der Freiheit. By Dr. Rudolf Steiner
DIE PHILOSOPHIE DER FREIHEIT. Grundzuge einer modernen Weltanschauung.
The essential characteristic of the present age the author finds in the evident striving of individual culture to make itself the centre of all the interests of life. To bear the stamp of validity, a thing must have its origin deep in the roots of individuality. This, in a certain form, is the gospel of the development from within outwards which Goethe championed. Between heredity, tradition, iron-clad custom, and the independent mind filled with new ideas, a constant battle is fought the battle of knowledge against belief. Man, however, must not bow to the new idea lest he be what he was before, but must make himself master of it. The ground or reason for the translation of an idea into actual reality by the agency of the individual man can be found only in the man himself. For an idea to become an act, a man must will its transformation. But such a volition can spring solely from man himself. Man is the ultimate mover of his acts; he is free. /IK/IK.
Source: The Philosophical Review, Vol. 4, No. 5 (Sep., 1895) pp. 573-574
Die Philosophie der Freiheit. Von DR. RUDOLF STEINER.
Freedom, the author asserts, is a fact that stares us in the face, and those who deny it do so through misunderstanding. It is obvious that an action is not free if the agent does not know why he does it, but how does the matter stand with reference to an action which is performed after the reasons for and against it have been considered? This involves an inquiry into the nature of Thought, for only when we know what Thought is can we tell what part it plays in human action. Thought is a principle which exists for itself, and from it arise Notions which are applied to the given element of experience. The latter element is the necessary consequence of individuality, and the function of Thought is to restore the unity of the Ego with the world which particularity has broken. Freedom can be understood by means of this analysis. In action, as in knowledge, there is a given element to which the mind adds conceptions of its own. Only, in this case, the given does not determine in any way the conceptions which the mind applies, and, as these conceptions constitute our motives to action, this means that our motives are not determined.
Monism is the doctrine that the world is given as a duality of subject and object, but becomes a unity through knowledge. Thought unites what sensation has separated. The distinction between subject and object is therefore not absolute and there is no thing-in-itself. Further, Monism means that experience cannot be transcended at all, and it therefore excludes the notions of End, World-Ruler, etc. All that exists is a multitude of particular persons and things forming somehow a unity. It is not made very clear why "Monism " should involve this, and no attempt is made to show how one can get at the notion of a multitude of individuals, if one is to keep entirely to experience on its phenomenal side. Yet the views thus assumed determine to a large extent the author's results. Since Monism excludes everything beyond experience, man's being is not dependent on any first principle or ground of all existence. He is therefore thrown upon himself; makes his own ends; and determines his own actions. " Monism," in short, necessarily involves freedom.
It is difficult to find out exactly what Dr. Steiner understands by ' freedom.' He defines it differently in different places, and involves himself in contradictions in attempting to answer objections. The best part of the book is the chapter on " The Worth of Life," which contains a thorough and suggestive criticism of Pessimism. It is a remarkable piece of writing, and Hartmann refers to it in his noteworthy article1 in the Zeitschrift fur Philosophie und Philosophische Kritik (Band 106, Heft. I). In other parts of the work there are passages of value, but the book is too uncritical and dogmatic to be satisfactory as a whole. There is throughout a lack of thoroughness and cohesion.
The Philosophy Of Freedom is the result of applying the methods of science to introspection observation. For us Rudolf Steiner is not some mystical clairvoyant master with psychic powers authoritatively handing down deep truths we can only accept on faith. For us who study The Philosophy Of Freedom he is a fellow scientist of the mind who describes inner experiences that are within our capacity to recognize. The Philosophy Of Freedom is written for us, normal people with normal abilities. It is not even really a philosophy book, philosophy is merely used by Steiner to describe human experience.
We have the level of competence to evaluate what he called a science of freedom as peers when we turn within to observe our thoughts, feelings and willing. A "science" of freedom requires peer review. That is something we can do. You can see how you are qualified to be a peer of Rudolf Steiner by going to the "Thought Exercises" page where you will find over 70 exercises related to the descriptions found in The Philosophy Of Freedom.
Here is a new exercise that has been added called "An Exploration Of Motives" by Tim Nadelle. You can see it is not hard to create your own exercises if you want to fully experience what is being discussed in the book.
An Exploration of Motives
The following exercise and its sequel were inspired by the content of the first chapter of the Philosophy of Freedom. Pertinent quotes from chapter one are as follows:
“If there is a difference between a conscious motive of action and an unconscious urge, then the conscious motive will result in an action which must be judged differently from one that springs from blind impulse. Hence our first question will concern this difference, and on the result of this enquiry will depend what attitude we shall have to take towards the question of freedom proper.” POF 1.5
“The question is not whether I can carry out a decision once made, but how the decision comes about within me.” POF 1.7
An Exploration of Motives
1. Look into your recent past and identify two different actions which you took…
- one which resulted more from impulse
- one in which you were, to a greater extent, conscious of the motive for your action
2. In each case, how did the decision to act unfold within you?
3. How did the character of the motive behind the two actions differ?
Over the course of the day, make an effort to become aware at times when you are about to take action arising from an unexamined motive. Pause before acting and recognize the motive. Consider whether a different motive might more appropriately meet the needs of the situation.
By Tim Nadelle
"The first thing that my contemporaries found unpalatable in my book The Philosophy of Freedom was this: they would have to be prepared first of all to fight their way through to a knowledge of freedom by self-disciplined thinking." If you don't know what freedom is you will be unable to realize freedom because freedom is not an inborn idea, the idea of freedom must first be gained and understood before it can be realized by incorporating it into your life. Since this is a science of freedom it applies to everyone just like global warming does whether you believe in it or not. Steiner's concept of freedom can be found in other sources, a piece discussed here and another part there. All the ideas in POF are discussed elsewhere, separately. After finding the pieces you will still need to fit them together properly. Within POF you find the full concept of freedom with all the parts organized into a whole, but you still have to fight to understand it. You have a good chance if you know nothing of anthroposophy.
The greatest barrier to understanding POF are the revisions, omissions and explanations of anthroposophists. It really is a scandal. If you began with the original version and had no other reference than Steiner's pre-theosophy work (pre-1900) most wouldn't have a problem. Every truth I get is a correction of an anthroposophy misunderstanding about POF. There misleading translations and misdirecting summaries have set me back a decade. The book can be won through simple reading comprehension if you work with the original 1916 Hoernle edition. That translation still needs basic translation cleaning up and will be done some day.
Anthroposophists distort POF to fit their theory of clairvoyance that for some reason none of them seem to ever achieve (except Steiner, but he was born with it). The science of freedom is not compatible with the vague mysticism of spiritual clairvoyance. A great example of the clarity of the original version is the beginning of Chapter 9 in the original Hoernle edition that explains the relation between ones Conceptual System and Knowledge & Action. Most of this was deleted in the other editions.
9. THE IDEA OF FREEDOM
 THE concept "tree" is conditioned for our knowledge by the percept "tree." There is only one determinate concept which I can select from the general system of concepts and apply to a given percept. The connection of concept and percept is mediately and objectively determined by thought in conformity with the percept. The connection between a percept and its concept is recognized after the act of perception, but the relevance of the one to the other is determined by the character of each.
 In willing the situation is different. The percept is here the content of my existence as an individual, whereas the concept is the universal element in me. What is brought into ideal relation to the external world by means of the concept, is an immediate experience of my own, a percept of my Self. More precisely, it is a percept of my Self as active, as producing effects on the external world. In apprehending my own acts of will, I connect a concept with a corresponding percept, viz., with the particular volition. In other words, by an act of thought I link up my individual faculty (my will) with the universal world-process. The content of a concept corresponding to an external percept appearing within the field of my experience, is given through intuition. Intuition is the source for the content of my whole conceptual system. The percept shows me only which concept I have to apply, in any given instance, out of the aggregate of my intuitions. The content of a concept is, indeed, conditioned by the percept, but it is not produced by it. On the contrary, it is intuitively given and connected with the percept by an act of thought. The same is true of the conceptual content of an act of will which is just as little capable of being deduced from this act. It is got by intuition.
 If now the conceptual intuition (ideal content) of my act of will occurs before the corresponding percept, then the content of what I do is determined by my ideas. The reason why I select from the number of possible intuitions just this special one, cannot be sought in an object of perception, but is to be found rather in the purely ideal interdependence of the members of my system of concepts. In other words, the determining factors for my will are to be found, not in the perceptual, but only in the conceptual world. My will is determined by my idea.
The conceptual system which corresponds to the external world is conditioned by this external world. We must determine from the percept itself what concept corresponds to it; and how, in turn, this concept will fit in with the rest of my system of ideas, depends on its intuitive content. The percept thus conditions directly its concept and, thereby, indirectly also its place in the conceptual system of my world. But the ideal content of an act of will, which is drawn from the conceptual system and which precedes the act of will, is determined only by the conceptual system itself.
An act of will which depends on nothing but this ideal content must itself be regarded as ideal, that is, as determined by an idea. This does not imply, of course, that all acts of will are determined only by ideas. All factors which determine the human individual have an influence on his will.
This is the script of a video to be posted later today. It is an old video that was given a new audio track.
What is Rudolf Steiner’s Path to Freedom?
“My purpose was to write a biographical account, of how one human soul made the difficult ascent to freedom.”
“I found my own way as best I could, and then later on, described the route that I had taken.”
In a letter to Rosa Mayreder, “If you had rejected my book, it would have been incomparably painful for me… I don’t teach. I relate what I have inwardly experienced. I relate it as I have experienced it.”
He was once asked for which of his books would he be remembered as writer, Rudolf Steiner answered, “For my Philosophy of Freedom.”
The Philosophy of Freedom is a Path of Science
The Philosophy of Freedom is the result of introspective observation, following the methods of natural science.
“I was not setting forth a doctrine, but simply recording inner experiences through which I had actually passed. And I reported them just as I experienced them.”
“What I was really trying to do in The Philosophy of Freedom, was to locate freedom empirically, and thus put it on a solidly scientific basis.”
Galileo took a seminal role in launching the first revolution in the physical sciences, and a key element in this revolution was the rigorous, sophisticated observation of physical phenomena.
Darwin likewise launched a revolution in the life sciences on the basis of decades of meticulous observation of biological phenomena.
By using the Philosophy of Freedom as a map for making introspective observations of inner life, an opportunity exists for a 21st century revolution in our understanding of the mind sciences.
“For one of the things most centrally needed is clarity on the path of inner striving, a clarity of inner striving comparable to the clarity of external striving. Not vague mysticism, but brightest clarity.”
In a conversation with Rudolf Steiner in 1922 Walter Johannes Stein asked,
The pure thinking of science (rightly understood) is the sole avenue leading to the spirituality of the future.
Rudolf Steiner, while writing The Philosophy of Freedom was not concerned with philosophy as such, but with working out for himself the means of expression which, in its very thought-formation could bring about the transformation of those forces which had been brought to highest possible peak in pure scientific thinking and now could become the spring board for a final leap into new realms.
The Philosophy of Freedom is a Path of Cosmic Logic
"In 1894 I made the attempt with my Philosophy of Freedom to provide a philosophic basis on which to approach spiritual science. It presents the wide range of human standpoints, often masquerading under such strange philosophical names, in a way that leaves the reader free of attachment to any particular approach and able to let the various concepts speak for themselves, as though each were a photograph of one and the same object taken from many different angles."
The Philosophy of Freedom is a thought organism whose structure is depicted in Steiner’s World-Outlook diagram found in his Human and Cosmic Thought lectures.
“For in the case of a book like this, the important thing is so to organize the thoughts it contains that they take effect. With many other books it doesn’t make a great deal of difference if one shifts the sequence, putting this thing first and that later. But in the case of The Philosophy of Freedom that is impossible. It would be just as unthinkable to put page 150 fifty pages earlier as it would be to put a dog’s hind legs, where the front ones belong.”
“Catharsis is an ancient term for the purification of the astral body by means of meditation and concentration exercises.
“Within this book thinking is experienced in a way that makes it impossible for a person involved in it to have any other impression, when he is living in thought, he is living in the cosmos. This relatedness to cosmic mysteries is the red thread running through the book.”
One can’t bend and twist pure thinking to one’s subjective will. Thinking itself thinks.
The Philosophy of Freedom is a Path of Anthroposophy
“It takes no great effort of will to observe and then think about one's observations. It takes energy to engage in the activity of sense-free thinking.”
“People have to be shown how to get beyond merely poetical, artistic imagination to creative moral imagination.”
The content of The Philosophy of Freedom is not contrived or the results of mystical superstition, but rather in the strictest sense the result of introspective observation verifiable by others.
“You will find nothing at all in The Philosophy of Freedom that is derived from clairvoyant communications of spiritual science. It is written for the express purpose of disciplining thinking without any mention of theosophy.”
In the first decade of the 20th century, August Ewerbeck got word that there were intimate circles in which Rudolf Steiner gave special esoteric training to those admitted to them. So he asked his teacher whether he too might be allowed to attend, and received the astonishing reply: “You don’t need to! You have understood my Philosophy of Freedom!”
"Those who had no desire to undertake the uncomfortable and demanding pursuit of clear thinking, were little attracted to the direction taken by The Philosophy of Freedom."
"Too many seeking experience in all sorts of unclear paths, nebulous mystical approaches, attached themselves to what anthroposophy was trying to achieve in clarity. This group of people attracted the attention of a lot of ill-disposed persons who now attack, what people with whom I have no connection whatsoever, have been saying. But in these attacks they attribute to 'me' what these vague mystics have produced as their own twisted version of something intended to meet the urgent needs of our modern culture.
“The proper study of this book gives the reader an inner attitude that enables him to stand entirely on his own feet in relating to anthroposophy.”
The Philosophy of Freedom is a Path of Freedom
Steiner initially divides the problem of free will into freedom of thought and freedom of action. He argues that inner freedom is achieved when we bridge the gap between our perception, which reflects the outer appearance of the world, and our cognition, which give us access to the inner structure of the world. Outer freedom arises when we bridge the gap between our ideals and the constraints of external reality, letting our deeds be inspired by what he terms moral imagination. Steiner considers inner and outer freedom as integral to one another, and that true freedom is only achieved when they are united.
“My book addresses itself mainly to the question of how philosophy, as an art, deals with the subject of human freedom, what the nature of freedom really is, and whether we already possess it or can develop it.”
The Philosophy of Freedom is a Path of Pure Thinking
When is an action free? Only when it has its origin in pure thinking.
The Philosophy of Freedom is a path, a method leading to the actual experience of a thinking detached from the body-soul makeup.
“Freedom dawns when we enable the will to become an ever mightier and mightier force in our thinking.”
“Out of pure thinking there can flow powerful impulses to moral action that are no longer determined by anything but pure spirit.”
“The intention in my Philosophy of Freedom is that the reader must lay hold with his own thinking activity page by page, that the book itself is only a sort of musical score, and that one must read this score through inner thinking activity in order to progress continually out of his own resources from thought to thought. Who does not sense that he was in a manner been lifted above his ordinary way of thinking into a thinking free of the sense perceptible and that he moves altogether in this so that he feels that he has become ‘free’ in his thinking from the limitations of the corporeal nature, –such a person has not really read in the true sense of the word this Philosophy of Freedom.
The Philosophy of Freedom is a Path of Study
Incomprehensible!…. Baffles the experts!….. You’ll never finish it!….. It’s a tangle of thought!….
“Back in the 1890’s when the book was published, people hadn’t the least idea what to do with it. It was as though Europeans had been given a book in Chinese, and couldn’t understand a thing it said.”
“Readers often stop reading the book soon after they begin it, for the simple reason they would like to read it as they do any other book.”
“In The Philosophy of Freedom, readers have to keep shaking themselves to avoid being put to sleep by the thoughts they encounter. One has to try with all of one’s human strength to activate one’s inner being, to bring one’s whole thinking into motion.”
“The least honest, are those who read The Philosophy of Freedom as they would any other book, and then flatter themselves that they have really taken in the thoughts it contains. They’ve kept on reading strings of words without anything coming out of it that might be likened to the striking of steel on flint.”
Now what kind of reader approach did The Philosophy of Freedom count on? It had to assume a special way of reading. It expected the reader, as they read, to undergo the sort of inner experience that, in an external sense, is really like waking up out of sleep in the morning.
“The primary purpose of my book is to serve as thought training, training in the sense that the special way of both thinking and entertaining these thoughts is such as to bring the soul life of the reader into motion in somewhat the way that gymnasts exercise their limbs.”
The reading of the Philosophy of Freedom should not be a mere reading, it should be an experiencing with inner shocks, tensions and resolutions.
The Philosophy of Freedom is a Path of Ethical Individualism
We hear calls for an improvement of public morality, but this overlooks the fact that moral action is a characteristic only of the free individual. Actions motivated by instincts, reflexes, dispositions, maxims, commandments, social and religious customs and even laws are not truly moral. A deed can only be described as moral in the truest sense when the individual has intuited the moral principle for the particular situation and brought into play the imagination needed to realize that principle in the deed.
Free moral action involves moral intuition, moral imagination, and moral technique.
Moral Intuition: The capacity to intuitively experience the particular moral principle for each single situation.
Moral Imagination: The ability of imagination to translate a general moral principle into a concrete mental picture of the action to be carried out.
Moral Technique: The ability to transform the world according to moral imaginations without violating the natural laws by which things are connected.
The Philosophy of Freedom is a Path of Clairvoyance
When a man in the eighteenth century said, “Embolden yourself, O man, to make use of your powers of reason,” these were considered the words of a great enlightener. Today a still greater challenge must ring out, that is, “Embolden yourself, O man, to recognize your concepts and ideas as the first stage of clairvoyance! The reader of The Philosophy of Freedom should be able to say to oneself: “Now I know, through this effort of my mind in thinking, what pure thinking really is.” Then what I should like to call modern clairvoyance ceases to be anything miraculous. That this clairvoyance should still appear as something particularly miraculous comes from people not wishing to develop the energy to bring activity into their thinking.
The Philosophy of Freedom is a Path of Philosophy
The Philosophy of Freedom is a Path of Anthroposophical Community
What appears as the common goal of a community is usually determined by the top down authority of a few leaders who are followed by the others.
The Philosophy of Freedom bases the independence of the human being upon the awakening of pure thinking as the origin of freedom and impulse to moral action.
How can we work together in freedom? Can pure thinking be applied to a group?
Taking life's ordinary concerns as a starting point, group discussion can rise to the level of pure conversation, or rather pure thinking as a group experience that results in group insight, real relationship between person and person, and a powerful impulse to joint activism.
Most of us are so habituated to what has always been done that we find it impossible to conceive of a leaderless society. In a true anthroposophical community, the leader –if there may be said to be one– are impulses to action arising out of pure conversation that is no longer determined by anything but pure spirit.
If we turn toward thinking in its essence, we find in it the power of love in the depths of its reality.
No leaders or external measures can bring about anthroposophical community building. It has to be called forth from the profoundest depths of each one’s consciousness.
"The trouble is The Philosophy of Freedom has not been read in the different way I have been describing. That is the point, and a point that must be sharply stressed if the development of the Anthroposophical Society is not to fall far behind anthroposophy itself. If it does fall behind, anthroposophy's conveyance through the society will result in its being completely misunderstood, and its only fruit will be endless conflict!"
“The members read it, but reading is not the same as understanding. They took what I offered, not as something issuing from my mouth or written in my books, but rather as what this one thought ‘mystical,’ that one ‘theosophical,’ another something else again”
“Anthroposophy is independent of anthroposophical societies and can be found independently of them. It can be found in a special way when one human being learns to wake up in the encounter with another and out of such awakening the forming of communities occurs.”
The Philosophy of Freedom is a Path of Individual Initiative
Many ethical individualists today are applying their idealism in re-imagining our relationship to the environment and one another. They are actively forming civil society organizations to forward: ecological sustainability, economic justice, human rights protection, political accountability and peace. Using the tools of modern communication technology to organize –texting, cell phones, the internet– a bottom up rising of ethical individualists is taking place.
An awakened human spirit working collectively with others can change the world. The possibilities are extraordinary.
The Philosophy of Freedom is a Path of a New Social Order
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