"A School Of The Will About Man’s Origin From An Existing World And Orientation About The Judgmental Principles Concerning The Integration Of A Newly Emerging World Into An Existing One"
Herbert Witzenmann in the newly translated chapter about the twofold nature of The Philosophy of Freedom
Elon Musk from Tesla cars fame in a recent comment at MIT under the title “Summoning the devil” has declared that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the most serious threat to the survival of thehuman race and needs to be much more rigidly controlled by our lawmakers.
Dan Brown, on the other hand, in his latest novel Origin is much more optimistic about the coming of the “Seventh Kingdom of Technium” as the future habitat for our proposed generic successor: the Technoid. In the epilogue to his best-seller he has a priest declare: “There is only one way Christianity will survive the coming age of science. We must stop denouncing the discoveries of science. We must stop denouncing provable facts. We must become a spiritual partner of science, using our vast experience – millennia of philosophy, personal inquiry, meditation, soul-searching – to help humanity build a moral framework and ensure that the coming technologies will unify, illuminate, and raise us up… rather than destroy us.” Whereupon the hero of the story, Robert Langdon, replies, “I could not agree more, I only hope science accepts your help (italics from Brown).
“Ay, there is the rub!”, one could exclaim with William Shakespeare, for it is after all completely out of the question that hard-core proponents of present-day materialistic (sub)natural science will in any shape or form lend a help to the well-meant words of the priest, rather resolutely reject them out of hand. For, this particular science, and the social sciences derived from it, still regard all psycho-spiritual phenomena as mere illusory epiphenomena of physical forces related to matter or antimatter. Therefore, there is only any hope on the horizon, if this science liberates itself from its bondage to the dogma of experience and opens its eyes to matters beyond physical phenomena. However, apparently still unknown or unrecognized by both Musk and Brown and many, many others, this vista is no idle wish or fancy dream, but a true reality, and not since yesterday either. For since Rudolf Steiner founded his anthroposophy or science of the spirit as it is also called, on the epistemic basis of his thesis Truth and Science, with which he gained his PhD in philosophy, and his Philosophy of Freedom, this “spiritual partner to [materialistic] science” that the priest called for, has been in existence since the end of the 19th century! And many of its fairly well-known practical and artistic fruits such as bio-dynamic agriculture, anthroposophic medicine and the Camphill Communities for Children in Need of Special Care, Waldorf school education, (curative) eurhythmy and speech formation attest to its efficacy and usefulness. Yet the spiritual-scientific source thereof, has not (yet) made any real inroad in the scientific and academic community at large.
Despite many proselytes in the past, anthroposophy has remained a scientific outsider and it is here that the above-mentioned contribution to the AI controversy enters the picture. For what really lies at the basis of this controversy is the real nature of the human being, his true origin and destiny, the theme of Dan Brown’s recent novel. For it is obvious that if Man is really no more than a machine, something which was already scientifically propounded in the 19th century, than it is merely a matter of time before this image of the human being will technically come into existence. If, on the other hand, man is an evolving threefold being of body, soul and spirit of which he himself on the basis of his God given abilities has to develop and erect his spiritual nature in freedom, then it is only his human intelligence and action that can help him evolve towards his true destiny, and as such remain the master instead of the slave of any further advances in artificial intelligence.
This threefold image of Man, begotten from the Divine and from that a re-divinization of our de-devinized world, is articulated in The Philosophy of Freedom as a Basis for Artistic Creation by Herbert Witzenmann, the first edition of which he dedicated to his friends on the occasion of his 75th birthday in 1980, and from the 2nd edition in 1986 of which chapter V can now be read here on this blog of the translation in progress, including the text from which the above title of this press release about “The School of the Will...” has been taken. As was already noted in the previous press release entitled “A Declaration of Human Dignity" on the occasion of the pre-publication of chapter IV, in this book is exemplified what Rudolf Steiner has said, namely that his Philosophy of Freedom contains in a seminal form all that what later evolved into anthroposophy as such. This is also the case in this 5th chapter with its schema below illustrating the design principle of the two main parts of The Philosophy of Freedom based on the nature of the human being. In the next chapter, which deals with the third main part of The Philosophy of Freedom entitled “The Final Questions – The Consequences of Monism”, this will be further elaborated on
Post Script: This is an updated and corrected version of a press release sent out yesterday, November 29, 2017.