philosophy of freedom (115)

Who Ruined Rudolf Steiner's Good Name?

Rudolf Steiner branding
A skull, spider, and dice matched with a portrait of Rudolf Steiner on the label of an alcohol intoxicant (wine) called “The Supernatural”. A winery in New Zealand is using the image of Rudolf Steiner with other occult images as a gimmick to sell brain dulling booze. Will the Rudolf Steiner portrait next appear as a spooky icon on Halloween paraphernalia with ghosts, goblins and witches?

Alcohol will cure one of clairvoyance
What's with “biodynamic” wine anyway? Are the mystics of Anthroposophy unaware of what alcohol does to their clairvoyant perception of the spiritual worlds? Rudolf Steiner recommended wine as a "cure" for clairvoyance. Steiner told a story of a German pilot in World War I who began to know in advance which of his companions would be killed on missions. This knowledge thoroughly unnerved him. Steiner advised him to drink wine; when he followed this prescription, the clairvoyant insights vanished.

Is the "biodynamic" erection enhancement product available yet, focusing supernatural forces where its really needed? 

From respected scholar to pseudo-scientist of the occult
What happened over the last century for the name of “Rudolf Steiner” to fall from respected scholar to mocked pseudo-scientist of the occult? When he wrote the Philosophy Of Freedom at the end of the 20th century his name was highly respected as an up and coming philosopher. A few years later he turned to spiritual science. Since his death in 1925 the Anthroposophical Society has claimed to be the bearers of the Rudolf Steiner name and works.

Blame it on the outsiders
When I have talked to Anthroposophists about what has happened to Steiner's reputation they blamed it on outsiders for being unable to recognize his genius. They also believe it doesn't matter as Anthroposophy is for those of a certain destiny anyways. When I suggested a renewal of Anthroposophy to meet today's human being who is much different than a German of the 1920's I was treated as a threat to the establishment. 

Barrier to learning about The Philosophy Of Freedom
My problem is that the damage done to Rudolf Steiner's reputation has formed a barrier to presenting The Philosophy Of Freedom to the world. This has required making a distinction between Steiner the respected scholar who wrote The Philosophy Of Freedom and the Steiner of today's Anthroposophy. I believe it was not inevitable that just because Steiner turned to spiritual science that he would necessarily become known as a kook.

The science remains in the science of freedom
It could have been done differently if the “science” in spiritual science had not been replaced by “faith” bordering on religious commitment. See “Who is an Anthroposophist?”

The problem has its roots in disregarding the science principles in The Philosophy Of Freedom that confirm science as a way of knowing. The Anthroposophist tends to always be looking for Theosophy confirmation instead:

“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”. RS

The best example of misreading The Philosophy Of Freedom is Sergei O. Prokofieff's “Anthroposophy and the Philosophy of Freedom”.

Without science you have pseudo-science
Without the science in spiritual science you have pseudo-science, which results in the Anthroposophical Society dragging down the other Steiner initiatives. Steiner warned of this:

"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!" RS

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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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Top 5 Reasons To Study The Philosophy Of Freedom

Top 5 Reasons To Study The Philosophy Of Freedom

1. It is Science
Rudolf Steiner's Philosophy Of Freedom is the result of introspective observation of the human mind following the methods of science. The subtitle is “A Modern Philosophy Of Life Developed By Scientific Methods”.

The Philosophy Of Freedom is not philosophy as such, but rather a description of Rudolf Steiner's experiences on the way to freedom. It does not give a definition of freedom that we merely memorize, but points to a place where freedom originates --the conceptual realm of universal concepts-- where free thinking, pure and unbiased, can be experienced.

“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.”

2. It is Freedom
Steiner divides the question of freedom into free thinking and free morality. Intellectual freedom is achieved when we bridge the gap between our perception (the outer appearance of the world) and our conception (the inner working of the world) with knowledge.

Moral freedom is achieved when we bridge the gap between our perceptible unfree nature (built up by nature, society and religion) and the concept of free individuality (ethical individualism) through the course of one's development with the expression of our ideals in life. To become a free individuality we need to have a clear understanding of what free individuality is. POF 9-11

True freedom is only achieved when knowledge and morality are united. (morality informed by knowledge) POF 10-1918 Addition

3. It is Thought Training
Incomprehensible!…. Baffles the experts!….. You’ll never finish it!….. It’s a tangle of thought!….
These are the comments on the disappointing experience of readers when Rudolf Steiner first published The Philosophy of Freedom in 1894.

The book is intentionally composed in a certain way to broaden and deepen the readers thinking. Each chapter expresses a variety of views leaving the reader free to arrive at their own conclusions. It is independent thinking so we cannot rely on familiar terms and images but must instead make an effort to “intuitively” grasp the universal concepts pointed to by the words. This training in the realm of universal thought is the thought training required to attain freedom.

“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.”
4. It is Humanism
Rudolf Steiner's philosophy of life recognizes the "human individual as the source of all morality and the center of all life" POF 9.12 and that “if we all really draw from the world of ideas, and do not follow physical or spiritual impulses” we find that we all share the same ideals and can get along within a harmony of intentions. POF 9.10

“A personal God is nothing but a human being transplanted into a Beyond.”
POF The Consequences Of Monism

5. It is not Anthroposophy
The Philosophy Of Freedom is independent of the speculations of Anthroposophy. It is a Science Of Mind that is verifiable to any normal person who can recall their thinking processes and think about thinking. Anthroposophy is different. It is a Science Of Spirit that requires extremely rare clairvoyant thinking capacities to verify its findings.

Near the end of his life, Steiner suggested that The Philosophy of Freedom would outlive all his other works. It stands on its own completely independent of his later spiritual research and organizations,

“You will find nothing at all in The Philosophy of Freedom that is derived from clairvoyant communications of spiritual science.”

“this book occupies a position completely independent of my writings on actual spiritual scientific matters... What I have said in this book may be acceptable even to some who, for reasons of their own, refuse to have anything to do with the results of my researches into the spiritual realm.” POF, 1918 Preface to the Revised Edition

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Hot Social Media Trend: Be Authentic

Presenting the raw unfiltered self
Authenticity is in short supply online, says video maker Casey Neistat. His answer is a new social media network named Beme. This is a tool that allows social media users to access—and exhibit—our “real selves.” According to Neistat the app works like this: instead of the “highly sculpted, calculated, calibrated” forms of self-presentation fostered by Facebook, Instagram, and the like, Beme allows users to show themselves as they “really” are—unsculpted, unfiltered selfies. It’s about being “raw.”


Experience what that other person is experiencing

Beme lets people share four-second video clips with no option to edit, delete, or even watch onscreen as they film. By placing the phone on your chest, it automatically records and immediately posts online whatever you are seeing without the distraction of having to look through the phone. This allows you to keep your eyes on a sunset while still being able to share.

The premise is that the more purely we communicate the raw, unproduced and unpolished content of what we are experiencing the more authentically we are sharing experience.

A fan said, “It’s almost living vicariously through someone else. Not like you want to be that person, but being able to experience what that other person is experiencing, it’s fascinating, I guess.”

What is raw unthinking experience?
This is saying that if we merely observe the same thing that someone else is observing, we are sharing the same experience. How is this authentic? If we observed truly raw experience without our mind adding any meaning we wouldn't be able to even recognize a tree or any other object. The raw content of unthinking perception is described in Rudolf Steiner's Philosophy Of Freedom as a chaotic aggregate of sense-data, colors, sounds and feelings of pleasure and pain. POF 4.3

Authentic individuality thinks and feels
By removing the thoughts and feelings of the observer we know nothing of how they experience the event. It is what we add to the event that reveals our authentic individuality. This is like saying we should consider paint samples on a canvas to be authentic art.

source: Kyle Vanhemert, Alex Kantrowitz

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Donald Trump's winning message of bigotry
Donald Trump has soared in the Republican Party polls since it was discovered he is a bigot. The more bigoted his comments about Mexican immigrants, the higher he rises. When it comes to the defamation of 54 million Latinos in the United States we are dealing with hate speech.

Trump: “When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. They're sending people that have lots of problems. They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists, and some, I assume, are good people.”

The Republican Party stands for individualism
The Republican Party claims to be built around the principle of “individualism”. Its political positions are supposedly derived from their adherence to individualism. But there is a contradiction in being a party that tolerates bigots and a party of individualism. Bigotry denies individuality.

Bigotry Is Incompatible With Individuality
Bigotry is only possible from a collective viewpoint that sees people as thinking and acting all alike. It sees people as merely stereotypical members of a group based on race, ethnicity, gender, nationality, religion, etc. Intolerance and prejudice of a group and each member of that group is narrow-minded and simplistic lacking any sense of unique individuality.

Individualists are interested in diversity, not conformity
Someone who values individualism knows that no one person completely fits any stereotypical label. True individualists are more interested in what distinguishes someone as a unique individual, not the characteristics held in common with others, and certainly not the criminal actions of a few.

The only way to understand a single individual is to ask them how they view the world and to observe how they act. The point where free individuality begins, group conformity ends. POF 14.8

Emancipation Of Knowing
To know someone as an individual we cannot define them according to our own preconceptions. Instead, we have to grasp the ideas by which the individuality determines itself. Those who always mix their own ideas into their judgment of another person can never understand an individuality. It requires that we emancipate our knowing from the simplistic generalizations we use to characterize groups. POF 14.9

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Its Time For Leaderless Community

A community consists of followers and a few leaders
Communities do not have ideas, only human individuals have ideas. As free individuals, we each carry out our own decisions and intentions, not those of someone else. In a community, what emerges as the common goal is usually the intentions of a few select individuals whom the others obey as authorities. POF 10.8 The followers put their faith in the leaders, but the leaders are pursuing their own individual freedom to carry out their intentions now with the help of others.

To gain support leaders make promises
A leader can grow a community by drawing like-minded people. This growth is limited to those who share their ideals and intentions. If you want to expand your group for more power as politicians do, you have to promise freedom to the people by saying you share their intentions even though you never will.

A classic example today is the Koch brothers.

Koch brothers lead massive political machine
Even though the billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch fund and control a massive political network that is so powerful and influential it rivals the two main political parties, it is not enough to win control of the presidency. To expand support Charles Koch called the efforts of his political network a “freedom movement”.

Freedom from taxes and regulations to increase profits
The true “injustice” for the Kochs is taxes and government regulations that are restricting the profits of Koch Industries. Koch Industries is the second-largest private company in the United States with over $100 billion in sales. Their numerous companies have produced a long list of environmental crimes, violations, and contamination.

The common thread of all their political efforts is to promote a right-wing ant-itax, anti-regulatory ideology that's good for profits. They even are trying to undermine the science behind climate change.

Time to rebrand
Last week at a Koch conference of 450 network officials, politicians and like-minded wealthy donors they said they are going to rebrand the movement for wider appeal. Charles Koch announced that just like Frederick Douglass and Rosa Parks and other "freedom movements" before them, the noble Koch Brothers and their followers are "seeking to right injustices" to create "a truly free society" that will no longer "enrich the haves at the expense of the have nots”.

Ha ha, good one Koch brothers. It reminds me of Charlie Chaplins' Great Dictator Speech:

"Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people! By promising a better life for the people, “brutes have risen to power. But they lie! They do not fulfil there promises. They never will!”


Only solution is leaderless communities

At some point it always dawns on the followers that the leaders are liers or merely humans just as weak as themselves. POF 10.0

We will never free ourselves from the control of leaders until leaderless communities of free individuals begin to form. The social structure as to how such a community will work is still in the experimental stage.

The Philosophy Of Freedom and Group Conversation techniques give us the tools but practical experience is needed. If it is obvious who the leaders are in a group, which is usually the case, it is not a free community.

reference: Abby Zimet

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Next stop after Waldorf graduation –the military
“We were born in war and we will probably die in war” – words which have not left me since I heard them in November 2014 from a Waldorf pupil in the Harduf kibbutz in Israel.

The conversation took place on occasion of a meeting of the international forum for Steiner/Waldorf education, the “Hague Circle” with class 11 pupils from the oldest of the 18 Israeli Waldorf schools. As all Israeli pupils, they knew that they would soon be called for military service which directly follows school. --Henning Kullak-Ublick

After graduation the aspiring Waldorf students will be forced to join the Israeli military and carry out the governments policy of “collective punishment” upon Palestinian women and children. In the 2014 Israeli military bombing of the Gaze Strip twenty-two schools were completely destroyed and 118 schools damaged.This Israeli policy of revenge is condemned by the United Nations as a serious war crime. 

Suppose they gave a war and nobody came 
In Israel, about 50% of Israeli males have found ways to avoid military service. In Charlie Chaplins “Greatest Speech Ever Made” he encourages men to avoid the military. 

“Soldiers – don’t give yourselves to brutes, men who despise you and enslave you – who regiment your lives, tell you what to do, what to think and what to feel.”

“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. Only the unloved and the unnatural. Soldiers – don’t fight for slavery, fight for liberty.” Charlie Chaplin speech, The Great Dictator (1940)


Refuseniks unwilling to serve in the occupation army 

“If necessary, I will go to jail.” These are the words of 17-year-old refusenik Dafna Landman, one of over 60 Israeli high school 12th graders who signed an open letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declaring their refusal of compulsory service in the Israeli military as an act of protest against Israel’s 47-year old military occupation of the Palestinian Territories.

Moral courage
The student's letter spoke in the voice of Ethical Individualism by declaring, “We refuse to forsake our principles as a condition to being accepted in our society.”

The meaning of Ethical Individualism is not only to have ideals, but to act on ideals. POF 9.7 This means having the moral courage to speak out and break the code of silence demanded by a social collective.

An Ethical Individualist takes a stand on social and political issues
How a person views social issues says so much about who they are as a person. An Ethical Individualist is thoughtful enough, and confident enough, to take a stand on social and political issues according to what one considers to be right. POF 12.11 The essence of what it means to be human and not "machine men" is individual freedom, not social conformity. This knowledge informs our views concerning human well-being and what we should stand up for.

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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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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.

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Thought Structure
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.

12 World-Outlooks

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.

Human and Cosmic Thought by Rudolf Steiner
Twelve World-Outlooks

For further descriptions of the 12 outooks and 7 moods go here to the permanent link in the Study Guide.

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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.


Apartheid 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.


Anti-boycott billionaire Haim Saban mega-donor to Hillary campaign

US Presidential candidates for sale
Adelson spent a staggering 150 million to influence the 2012 US elections and may spend more in 2016. He declared, “We can use our influence with anybody we know in the administration and in Congress.”

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.


Rudolf Steiner criticized any ethnically determined state
A Jewish state is required to be an apartheid state otherwise it risks being taken over by the "other". Ethnicity is certainly an outmoded basis for social life and civic identity. This is why Rudolf Steiner was a critic of his contemporary Theodor Herzl's goal of a Zionist state, as well as of any other ethnically determined state.

"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

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Who is an Anthroposophist?


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?

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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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The Greatest Speech Ever Made

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!

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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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Both Scientology and the Philosophy Of Freedom claim to offer paths to freedom. On what scientific principle do they base this claim?

Reactive mind
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


Mental images

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 battle between stimulus-response and deliberate reflection

There are two sides that fight for control of the human being, the immediate stimulus-response Reactive Mind and the Analytical Mind that one consciously uses and is aware of. This is the portion of the mind that observes, thinks, and resolves problems.

There are two ways that this battle can be tilted in the favor of reason. One way is to weaken the stimulus-response reactions while the other way is to strengthen thinking.

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.

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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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