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The new YouTube algorithm that determines who sees your videos is repressing the views on this noncontroversial Rudolf Steiner video. You won't likely find the videos unless you are subscribed to the YouTube channel. The topic of freedom is not just being shut down in China and North Korea, now it is shut down globally by the tech giants.

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revised 9/8/15

INTRODUCTION

What the religions call God, we call the idea – Rudolf Steiner
“When we speak of the essential being of a thing or of the world altogether, we cannot therefore mean anything else at all than the grasping of reality as thought, as idea. In the idea we recognize that from which we must derive everything else: the principle of things. What philosophers call the absolute, the eternal being, the ground of the world, what the religions call God, this we call, on the basis of our epistemological studies: the idea.” (Rudolf Steiner, 1883 Goethean Science IX Goethe's Epistemology)

Science is to awaken religious feeling - Albert Einstein
“It is very difficult to elucidate this [cosmic religious] feeling to anyone who is entirely without it... The religious geniuses of all ages have been distinguished by this kind of religious feeling, which knows no dogma and no God conceived in man's image; so that there can be no church whose central teachings are based on it... In my view, it is the most important function of art and science to awaken this feeling and keep it alive in those who are receptive to it.” (Albert Einstein, The Expanded Quotable Einstein)

Credo
In 1944 a document written by Rudolf Steiner in his early years was found. He had titled it “Credo” which in this context means, “What I believe”. It was written in 1888 when he was 27 years old. This was after he wrote Goethean Science (1883) and Science of Knowing (1886) and a few years before he wrote Truth and Science (1892) and The Philosophy Of Freedom (1894).

The Creed expresses Steiner's humanist worldview in a devotion to science and in the divinity of the universal “idea” realized in thinking. Universal ideas exist as “divine ideals” in that they cannot be perfectly represented in the world. For example, there is only one inclusive idea of triangle that contains all possible triangles. This “ideal triangle” that my mind grasps is the same as that which my neighbor’s mind grasps. But only particular triangles can be represented in the world of varying 3 sided shapes.

Albert Einstein's cosmic religion
Based on what humanist Albert Einstein has written, I'm sure he could relate to the religious experience of science described in Steiner's Creed. Einstein referred to his belief system as a "cosmic religion" that recognized a "miraculous order which manifests itself in all of nature as well as in the world of ideas."

The thoughts in the Creed are very profound for a one time reading. They are a fountainhead for inspiring insights with further deep reflection.

CREED

1. The world of ideas is the primary source
The world of ideas is the primary source and sustaining principle of all existence. Within it is never-ending harmony and joyous tranquility. Existence not enlightened by it, would be dead and lifeless, and would have no part in the wholeness of the world. Only that which stems from the idea has meaning as part of the universal tree of creation.

2. The idea is the spirit
The idea is the spirit, which is clear and lucid in itself and independently sufficient in itself. The individual must have the spirit within, otherwise he will drop from the tree like a withered leaf, and would have existed for no good reason, and without purpose.

3. Longing for the idea
The human being feels and recognizes himself as an individual when he becomes fully conscious. In the individualization process there is implanted within him a longing for the idea. This longing drives him to overcome his separateness and to let the spirit come to life within him, and to be in accord with it.

4. The divine voice of the idea
Everything that is selfish, that makes him a separated being, this he must shed and cast away, for it is this that darkens the light of the spirit. The egotistic self desires only to follow his sensual lust, instinctive drives, greed, and passions. He must root out this selfish will, and instead, as an individual, seek what the idea wants, the spirit within. Let the individuality move there, and follow the voice of the idea within, because only the idea is divine.

5. Eternal deeds
What one wills as a separate-being, is an insignificant point in the circumference of the universe as a whole. It is without value, and therefore worthless, fast disappearing within the flow of time. Whatever one wills in the spirit is in the center, because the central light of the universe lights up within us. Such a deed is independent of time.

6. Living in world harmony
When we act selfishly in isolation, we lock ourselves out from the closed chain of creation, and separate ourselves off. When a human being acts in the spirit, he lives ever more into the universal working of the world. The banning from oneself of all self-centeredness is the foundation for the higher life.

7. Immortality in this life
Whoever deadens the egotistical within himself, lives in eternal existence. To the extent to which we can let the selfishness within us die, to that extent we are immortal. That which is mortal in us is selfishness. This is the true meaning of the saying: “he who does not die before he dies finds extinction when he dies.” This means, whoever does not end egotism during his lifetime, plays no part in the universal life, which is immortal. A person who has never existed within this greater life, has never experienced true existence.

8. The search for knowledge is devotion to the universal in thought
There are four fields of human activity in which the human being devotes himself to the spirit, while giving up selfish activity: science, art, religion and the loving devotion, spiritually, to a personality. Whoever does not live within one of these four activities, does not live at all. The search for knowledge is devotion to the universal in thought, art is devotion to the universe in beholding, religion in the depths and breadths of the soul, and dedicated love is devotion with all ones’ spiritual forces directed to something, someone that appears to us as a treasured member of the universal whole.

9. Spiritual love; love of knowledge, ennobles our being
Knowledge is the most spiritual form of selfless devotion, love is the most beautiful form. For love is truly a heavenly radiance shining into ordinary daily life. Sacred, truly spiritual love ennobles our being to its inmost core; it uplifts all that lives within us. This pure and holy love transforms our whole being into something that is in touch with the world spirit.

10. Spiritual love carries the breath of divine life to the most repulsive regions
To love, in this most exalted sense means to carry the breath of divine life into regions where only the most repulsive egotism and the most disrespectful passions are found. One has to know something of the holiness of love before one can speak of spirituality.

11. Freedom is to enter the divine life of the ideal
If a human being has made his way out of the separated condition, through one of these four fields, and entered into the divine life of the ideal, then he has reached that for which the seed of longing was placed in his heart; the union with the spirit. This is the true destination of the human being. Whoever lives in the spirit lives freely, for they have removed themselves from subordination. Nothing can compel him or her to act, other than what he wishes to be freely compelled by because he recognizes it as the highest calling.

12. Let truth be lived
Let truth be lived: lose yourself to find yourself once again in the spirit of the world!

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Misrepresentation of the Philosophy Of Freedom

I found this image on a blog. I see the above quote being repeated everywhere on the Internet. It tells us that freedom “is the sense of being capable of actions motivated solely by love.” It claims to quote Rudolf Steiner's Philosophy Of Freedom (POF). This simplistic feel good conclusion has done much harm by misrepresenting Steiner's meaning of freedom. It is being repeated by leaders in Anthroposophy, Waldorf, and by personal bloggers who have never read the book.

The Unification Church of Sun Myung Moon, the guy who claimed to be the return of Christ, quoted “actions motivated solely by love” to show how close Steiner was to their views. I found it in a university dissertation about Camphill, in book reviews of Steiner books, in religious articles equating this love with doing God's will, equating it with anything we love to do like kayaking, and using it to describe Steiner study groups.


All You Need Is Love
If you want a large audience of followers, tell people what they want to hear. All you need is love!

After all, if love solves everything, then why bother with all the other hard stuff, especially disciplined thinking.


What is the source of the quote?
Why is this simplistic misrepresentation being promoted with such certainty? I decided to investigate and tracked it back to the Rudolf Steiner page on Wikipedia that is closely monitored by authoritarian anthroposophists. It is found under the heading Spiritual Research and directly after another often repeated misunderstanding of POF, that “The Philosophy Of Freedom forms the philosophical basis for Steiner's later writings”. Anthroposophy's talking point is incorrect when, as is often the case, it is taken to mean it validates Steiner's later writings. It does not at all. It would be more accurate to say POF brings these writings into question. While there are anthroposophists who are also ethical individualists that gain knowledge and then act on it, many anthroposophists are merely believers in spiritualistic theory, not knowers. Ethical individualists say, "We no longer want to believe; we want to know." POF 0.3 To keep repeating that POF is merely a philosophical basis for anthroposophy hides its true purpose which is to lay the foundations of ethical individualism and of a social and political life”. (1918 lecture)

The alleged POF quote that “freedom is the sense of being capable of actions motivated solely by love.” was found in this Rudolf Steiner Wiki paragraph:

“Steiner aimed to apply his training in mathematics, science, and philosophy to produce rigorous, verifiable presentations of those (spiritual) experiences. He believed that through freely chosen ethical disciplines and meditative training, anyone could develop the ability to experience the spiritual world, including the higher nature of oneself and others. Steiner believed that such discipline and training would help a person to become a more moral, creative and free individual – free in the sense of being capable of actions motivated solely by love.[46] His philosophical ideas were affected by Franz Brentano, with whom he had studied, as well as by Fichte, Hegel, Schelling, and Goethe's phenomenological approach to science.” -Rudolf Steiner Wikipedia

It is surrounded by philosophy statements giving the impression that it is from POF. The Wiki reference for this statement [46] is Peter Schneider, Einführung in die Waldorfpädagogik. I could not find an English translation of this book or any further information to support Schneider's statement. Shouldn't there be a POF or other Steiner source for this grand conclusion?


Levels of morality

There is no such POF quote because an action that is “motivated solely by love” is not considered freedom. Chapter 9 (POF 9.4) lists the levels of morality. There are 4 levels of individual motivation, with the motive “love” listed at level 2. Freedom occurs at level 4.

Level 1 Instinctive reaction
Level 2 Feelings which include love (examples given: modesty, pride, sense of honor, humility, remorse, pity, revenge, gratitude, piety, loyalty, love, and duty)
Level 3 Practical experience (remembered thoughts and ideas of how to act)
Level 4 Conceptual thinking (free thinking or reason)

Freedom occurs in the conceptual sphere where free thinking is possible. “Human” motives will always contain thought. This thought will originate within the individual for there to be a free action. An ethical individualist tries to become more conscious of the whole free will process that certainly includes love.


The heart can be a motive, but it can not create a motive

The heart, though, is not capable of creating ideas of action. The heart accepts or rejects thinking’s ideas for action before allowing it to enter its sphere of passion. This is explained here,

“Love, pity, and patriotism are driving forces of action that cannot be reduced to cold rational concepts. It is said that here the heart, the life of feeling comes into its own. No doubt; but the heart and the life of feeling do not create the motives for action. They presuppose them and receive them into their own sphere.” POF 1.10

Of course we can not be thinking about principles while we are energetically acting. But still the action is not free if the motive is love alone, that is a Level 2 motivation. At Level 2 we do not know the origin of our love. It could be from cult brainwashing! The confusion likely occurs from the following POF quotes that are referring to a specific moment in the free deed process --while we are engaged in the action itself.


Love for the idealistic objective (goal)

Reading POF will not show freedom to mean “motivated solely by love” but it will find “motivated solely by love of the objective (goal)” or “my love of the action”.

“When I, or another, subsequently review my action we may discover what moral principles came into play in it. But so long as I am acting, I am influenced not by these moral principles but by my love for the objective, that I want to realize through my action.”

“It is only when I follow solely my love for the objective, that it is I, myself, who act. At this level of morality, I acknowledge no lord over me, neither an external authority, nor the so-called voice of my conscience. I acknowledge no external principle of my action, because I have found in myself the ground for my action, viz., my love of the action.” POF 9.8

So yes, free action is motivated by love, but to clarify, it is our love for the goal that originated in free thinking as an ethical principle (moral intuition) and was then translated into a specific goal of action (moral imagination). We love it because our greatest joy is to bring our highest ideals into reality. The ethical individualism video, How To Make Better Decisions shows the whole conscious process. Love enters at the 4:15 mark. 


Two paths: The Philosophy Of Freedom and How To Know Higher Worlds

Another major point is that a closer look at the definition of freedom found in Wiki clearly proves it is not from The Philosophy Of Freedom. Again, the complete sentence we are discussing is,

“Steiner believed that such discipline and training would help a person to become a more moral, creative and free individual – free in the sense of being capable of actions motivated solely by love.”

The “discipline and training” here is mentioned earlier in the wiki paragraph as being “ethical disciplines and meditative training”. This has nothing to do with the path of the Philosophy Of Freedom. This refers to the renewal of the old Eastern path described in How To Know Higher Worlds (HTKHW).

The How To Know Higher Worlds path begins with assurance that when you are ready your master will appear. The next step is developing devout feelings of reverence and devotion. Ethical disciplines are a requirement for this path "for every step in spiritual perception, three steps are to be taken in moral development." This is not necessary for the POF path because a free act will always be an ethical act. The Philosophy Of Freedom distinguishes itself from Eastern influences here,

The Oriental sages make their disciples live for years a life of resignation and asceticism before they impart to them their own wisdom. The Western world no longer demands pious exercises and ascetic practices as a preparation for science, but it does require a sincere willingness to withdraw oneself awhile from the immediate impressions of life, and to betake oneself into the realm of pure thought. POF 0.7 original Chp1 or Preface.

Steiner clarified the difference between the two paths; The Philosophy Of Freedom path for our modern age of science, the path that Steiner himself took, and the Eastern path Steiner attempted to renew that is commonly recommended by Anthroposophists as described in How To Know Higher Worlds

The Philosophy Of Freedom path is for those interested in science.         

The How To Know Higher Worlds path
is for those without much interest in science.
(see The Boundaries of Natural Science VIII)

If you go to an Anthroposophy book publisher like SteinerBooks it will be a walk into the past of old spiritual paths and ideas.

Best thought training is the study of The Philosophy Of Freedom
The recommended practice to become an ethical individualist is to apply the principles of freedom to your life and set aside time for pure conceptual thinking. POF 0.6 - 0.7 The demanding university programs in mathematics, computer science, engineering, and philosophy do an excellent job to discipline thinking. Though the best thought training to fulfill this requirement is the rigorous study of the Philosophy Of Freedom.

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© Tom Last 2017