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Here are names for the kinds of thinking discussed in the first 7 chapters in Rudolf Steiner's Philosophy Of Freedom. With every shift in the level of consciousness, what we call thinking undergoes a change. In chapter 1 a rational debate occurs about whether we are free or not. In chapter 7 various theories of cognition are discussed, then Monism is show to remove all the limitations of cognition making wholistic thinking possible.  

Chapter 1 Conscious Human Action
RATIONAL THINKING Level of consciousness - will
Rational debate is a discussion about what we should believe. Both sides give arguments for some belief and defend that belief from objections.

Chapter 2 Desire For Knowledge
SPECULATIVE THINKING Level of consciousness - feel
Speculative thinking expresses human curiosity about the world. It transcends experience, but the chapters one-sided views lack experience of the world or the inner connection.

Chapter 3 Thinking in Understanding The World
REFLECTIVE THINKING -Level of consciousness - thought
Reflective thinking is reflection on thinking itself, on the mind and its activities. It is based on contemplation and introspection.

Chapter 4 The World As Perception
REACTIVE THINKING Level of consciousness - perception
Thinking immediately reacts to our observation by adding a preconception, and we consider the object and the preconception as belonging together forming our world of first appearance.

Chapter 5 Knowing The World
CRITICAL THINKING Level of consciousness - concept
We refute our initial impression of the world with critical thinking to discover the concept that corresponds to our perception.

Chapter 6 Individuality
INDEPENDENT THINKING Level of consciousness - mental picture
Independent thinking individualizes the universal concept by forming mental pictures.

Chapter 7 Are There Limits To Cognition?
WHOLISTIC THINKING Level of consciousness - cognition
Wholistic thinking endeavors to remove the limits of cognition in order to integrate all the parts into a whole.

 

 

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How is Rudolf Steiner trending on the web? The Google trend chart below shows him sinking from year to year faster than the Anthroposophical Society. I came to the conclusion in 1989 that unless Steiner's Philosophy Of Freedom was presented to the world in a contemporary way it would disappear, but I didn't go as far as predicting the disappearance of Rudolf Steiner. Steiner's work needs a rebirth from outside the Anthroposophical Society as this graph has disqualified them as the rightful heirs of Steiner.* If The Philosophy Of Freedom can be renewed all of his work has a chance, as freedom is the core understanding of his work.

 Movements like Waldorf education may continue but they will become merely another institutionalization of the original living impulse as long as freedom is not understood. A few Waldorf self-appointed authorities already have seized the name "Waldorf" and made themselves its owner to enforce Waldorf dogma.

I have an important message for you if you are waiting for someone else to stand up for freedom. Not enough people are involved at this time to make much difference. Most anthroposophists are better at driving people away with narrow-minded Steiner doctrine than broadening his work. And his work hasn't been presented in a way to make it relevant to daily life.

The good news is that a few dedicated people could make a difference. Dedicated means that the first time you get your feelings hurt you don't quit. It means that the first time you realize how ignorant you are to think you can explain Steiner's principles you have enough courage to keep trying. It means that when you realize nobody else seems to give a damn and you yourself are no guru who can enlighten anybody you keep going. I suppose you have to be the kind of fool who says give me and others freedom or give me nothing.

*The Anthroposophical Society in America has appointed a new position of Director of Development to move the society forward.

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Was Rudolf Steiner An Anarchist?


This is from an 1898 letter from Rudolf Steiner to John Henry Mackay

Individualist Anarchism
Hitherto I have always avoided using even the term “individualist anarchism” or “theoretical anarchism” for my world view. For I put very little stock in such designations. If one speaks one’s views clearly and positively in one’s writings: what is then the need of also designating these views with a convenient word? After all, everyone connects quite definite traditional notions with such a word, which reproduce only imprecisely what the particular personality has to say. I utter my thoughts; I characterize my goals. I myself have no need to name my way of thinking with a customary word.

If, however, I were to say, in the sense in which such things can be decided, whether the term “individualist anarchist” is applicable to me, I would have to answer with an unconditional “Yes.”

The state believes people can only get along if one tells them: you must be like this. And if you are not like that, then you’ll just have to — be like that anyway. The individualist anarchist, on the other hand, holds that the best situation would result if one would give people free way. He has the trust that they would find their direction themselves. Naturally he does not believe that the day after tomorrow there would be no more pickpockets if one would abolish the state tomorrow. But he knows that one cannot by authority and force educate people to freeness. He knows this one thing: one clears the way for the most independent people by doing away with all force and authority.

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© Tom Last 2017