Dear Colleagues and Friends, 

If I remember correctly, Rudolf Steiner has said that his "Philosophy of Freedom" contains all of what he later brought as his anthroposophy proper. That this is in any case true may be gleaned in part from Ch. 3 entitled “The Nature of Man” from the translation in progress “"The Philosophy of Freedom as Basis of Artistic Creation" by Herbert Witzenmann, of which I include below the last section and which can be read completely on this blog. I have added the word “Holistic” to the title of this chapter to indicate that this work is also a profound contribution to not only epistemology and spiritual anthropology, but also to the philosophy of Holism.  I hope that the reader in exerting the necessary effort in understanding this difficult, almost Heidegger-like text is rewarded by its powerful expressive and inspiring content. (RJK)

From the psychic observation of the cognitional process pursued according to the method of "The Philosophy of Freedom"  and based on its contents, now results the following anthropological finding (that could also be proven philologically with passages from epistemological works of Rudolf Steiner):

The human sevenfold structure of his being corresponds with that of cognition and the objects. For also the classification of the creatures of nature in the general context of the world proceeds through formative forces that are on their part determined out of the spiritual holistic context. The latter, however, is identical to the true nature of the human being, for the latter apprehends himself in the psychic observation of the cognitional process  as the being that becomes aware of himself in the active exchange-of-being with the spirit and world phenomena.

The sevenfold human nature can be characterized through the following concepts that in the fore-going were developed:

         1. Physical body     - Inherence of the concept: individualization

         2. Etheric body      - Metamorphosis of the concept

         3. Astral body        - Intentionalization of the concept

         4. I (Self)                 - Actualization of the concept

         5. Spirit self           - Exchange-of-being with the spirit

         6. Life spirit            - Construction-of-being from the spirit

         7. Spirit man           - Total existence in the universe: universalization

All levels of the reality-structure, thus of the essential nature of Man have a share in each being; the world everywhere is thus holistic, but embraced by the individual being only to the extent of its own ability, yet the latter (i.e. the being) embraced by it (i.e. the world).  This follows from the fact that also the inherences giving shape to the mineral structures are part of the uniform spiritual world, from which they emerge and in which they are embedded in reverse connections.

From the preceding sketch might emerge in which way human nature is the supporting basis for all cognition, to what extent, according to the remarks by Rudolf Steiner with regard to the two “basic questions of human soul life”, there is “a view about human nature that can support all remaining knowledge.” Human nature forms this basis, because, as already mentioned at the beginning of this chapter, it is the basic substance of the world, because the creation of the world is the creation of Man, for Man only emerges from the world to the extent that this is the universal human basis of his individual human nature and the latter is therefore the basis for a new creation of the world.

The view of Man of the anthropology of the science of freedom is at the same time a world view. For psychic observation of the cognitional process apprehends the primordial source of reality in its moment of origin from the self-creative spirit. This is in the element of thinking the human being’s own activity and therein the originality per se in its emergence from the self-induced begin. The psychic observation of the cognitional process, however, does not only apprehend the origin, but also the basis-of-being in the universal, individualizing and from the individualization in a new form remerging human being. Psychic observation leads to the sources of thinking and the grounds of existence in the human being itself. For he is the conception and destination of the world, the archetype that attains, permeates and eclipses all dimensions of being.  [The German philosopher] Schelling said it in this way: “Nature is visible spirit, spirit is invisible nature.” Psychic observation culminates in the experiential knowledge expressed by Rudolf Steiner in one of his “Truth Wrought Words”:

                            If Man knows himself,

                            His self becomes the world.

                            If Man knows the world,

                            The world becomes his self.


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© Tom Last 2017