Rudolf Steiner wrote The Philosophy Of Freedom. Part I is a Hero's Journey to True Knowledge and Part II is a Hero's Journey to your True Self.
THE ORDINARY WORLD: The Hero's Journey begins in our ordinary life of group think and group identity. My group determines how I should think, how I should behave and my social position, yet I remain under the illusion that I am free.
THE CALL: Eventually, a point of maturity is reached when a person hears the call to freedom. A life of conditioned responses and group conformity is not satisfying. He asks, What is the source of my ideas and What are the real reasons for my actions? Obviously, I cannot be free if I produce no ideas and only follow others. Does my life have any real value without freedom? But is freedom even possible?
MEET THE MENTOR: Centuries of philosophical debate have not been able to conclusively answer the question of freedom. By chance, I came across Rudolf Steiner who points to an experience of freedom in his book "The Philosophy Of Freedom." Steiner is not just another speculating philosopher. He presents a science of freedom that is a map to guide the journey to free thought and free deeds. The path begins by overcoming the weakness caused by uncertainty and doubts. Steiner's path to true knowledge empowers each one of us with conviction, the conviction found only in truth that springs from within.
CROSSING THE THRESHOLD: True knowledge cannot be reached in ordinary thinking and perception. Thinking must be disciplined to cross the threshold into the realm of universal concepts. This is the place of pure thinking where thought is guided by thought. Before we can understand anything else, thinking must be understood.
LOST IN THE ABYSS: Within the world of thought I become lost in the abyss of abstract conceptual systems. How can I know anything other than my ideas? I am enclosed within my subjective world of ideas and cannot escape from it. Reactive thinking immediately inserts my ideas between myself and the perceived world blinding me to the real world.
THE TREASURE: Life is difficult for a person who is unable to grasp reality. Eventually, a person learns that if their thoughts do not apply to the world, then their judgments are wrong. The way out is to recognize that the world causes thoughts in the mind. When selflessly observing the world a conceptual intuition arises within me to make the world intelligible. True judgment is a skill that depends on developing the powers of intuition. It requires finding the thought that corresponds to my observation and placing the thing in its proper context.
TRANSFORMATION: Having grasped the conceptual essence of a thing, I can now individualize the concept by relating it to my unique individuality. Now my creative ideas are reality-based. If my feeling life is devoid of thought I will lose all connection with the world. But knowledge transforms my feeling-life. Gaining knowledge educates and develops my feelings. I become a true individuality by purifying my feelings, by reaching up with my feelings as high as possible into the region of ideals.
THE RETURN: I make my return with new powers of cognition. Now the "world of appearance" reveals its true nature to me. When I know what to make of the world, it is an easy task to orient myself within it.
By completing the Hero's Journey to True Knowledge we have become a cognizing or knowing being. Now we must enter into a new Hero's Journey to become a free being.
THE CALL: The journey to become a free spirit begins with a call to self-knowledge. I turn my developed cognitive abilities toward integrating my personality by understanding my feelings and acts of will. If I turn away from thinking and towards "mere" feeling and will, these lose for me their genuine reality. The challenge is to find both feeling and will in the intuitive experience of thinking, then I experience an outpouring of spiritual love.
MEET THE MENTOR: Only I alone can transform myself into my true self. But before this is possible I must be able to answer the question, "What is a free spirit?" How can I expect to become a free spirit if I do not know what it is? I have to find the concept of the free spirit. Again, I turn to Rudolf Steiner. He provides me with the idea of freedom in Part II of The Philosophy Of Freedom.
CROSSING THE THRESHOLD: As an unfree person I submit to the moral authority of those wiser and more powerful than myself, until I realize these authorities are just weak human beings like myself. The driving force of a free spirit is an ethical impulse to act that springs from intuition. Experiencing the impulse of freedom began a new life for me. I now obey only myself by allowing this impulse to express itself in life.
LOST IN THE ABYSS: What is my destiny? Is there a purpose to the world or to life that has predetermined my life's journey? I am told that my course in life has already been determined by others, by the laws of nature, by the course of history, by cosmic purposes. No, I set my own life purposes. My task, as a free spirit, is at every moment the one I choose.
THE TREASURE: Before making a decision, an unfree person will ask, What have others done or What has God commanded be done? A free spirit makes a completely original decision. He cares very little about what others have done. Performing a free deed is a skill that requires developing the capacity of moral intuition and moral imagination. It also requires the general scientific knowledge of moral technique. Moral intuition is the intuitive selection of an ethical principle to suit a particular situation. Moral imagination is the creative translation of the ethical principle into a concrete goal. And moral technique is the technical implementation of the goal into the world without causing harm. The ethical individualists true joy of life is achieving free deeds.
TRANSFORMATION: The Pessimist says the egotistical striving for pleasure does not lead to satisfaction. Instead, we should submit ourselves to the selfless service of cultural progress. The Pessimist does not understand the transformation a person undergoes to become a free spirit. The highest pleasure of the free spirit is the achievement of his idealistic goals. Ethics depends on a strong will empowered by ideal intuitions that achieves its goal even though the path is full of thorns. A true individuality is his own master.
THE RETURN: Having emancipated myself from the characteristic traits of my group type, I live within community as an independent free spirit. My contribution to advance the moral life of the community is conduct that springs from intuition. As an Ethical Individualist I live out in practice the ideas of my moral imagination.