Held at the Anthroposophical Society in the Western Cape, Sophia House, 18 Firfield Rd, Plumstead, Cape Town Sunday Single Lectures 9.30 – 21.00 Sunday
There is no charge Philosophy of Freedom: Preface and Chapters 1 & 2 Led by Charles Hugo on 12 July 2009
‘Rudolf Steiner regarded his Philosophy of Freedom as a culmination of the first 30 years of his life. About 115 years later we ask: What does it have to offer, with respect to Anthroposophy being able to play its intended role in the world? – Charles Hugo. A talk and discussion about a part of a Singular book.
Submitted by Tom Last on Fri, 07/10/2009 - 10:29am.
POF 9-4 The driving force here involved is simply called instinct. The satisfaction of our lower, purely animal needs (hunger, sexual intercourse, etc.) comes about in this way.
Steiner doesn’t consider sexual drive love, but rather animal instinct. Behavior compelled by sexual drive is not free.
POF 9-11 Whether his unfreedom is forced on him by physical means or by moral laws, whether man is unfree because he follows his unlimited sexual desire or because he is bound by the fetters of conventional morality, is quite immaterial from a certain point of view.
Reports of teachers making sexual advances toward their students are becoming more common. It can even happen at a Waldorf school. The Brisbane Times from Australia reports today the story of Roger Graham, in No Class Act.
As an English teacher with a penchant for romantic poetry, Roger Graham knows how to write a love letter. Married and in his fifties, Graham began writing to one of his 16-year-old female students in 2001 at the Newcastle Waldorf School, a school he helped establish in the early 1980s.
"Dearest heart! Most beloved, heart of my heart!" he wrote to the girl, then in the same class as his daughter. "I yearn for your lips and arms … " Graham wrote to "my luminous goddess" some 20 times over the next six months, during which they began a physical relationship, hugging and kissing before, during and after school.
"He touched my chest a few times and often squeezed my bottom," she wrote in a 2006 report to the NSW Ombudsman.
The relationship was discovered in May 2001, and Graham was stood down on full pay. Even then, he continued to write to the girl, his letters passed on by the school's co-founder and senior teacher, Keitha Montefiore.
In 2003 Graham was re-employed as a consultant to the school, but the position was terminated in 2006. "Now, slowly but surely, Roger has started to appear around the school again," says Deb Wood, a parent of a former student. "There has been a push to get him back into the school, because they regard him as a guru. Staff members even approached the girl and her mother to see if they would not kick up a stink about Roger coming back."
The headmaster, Phillip Ewers, confirmed Graham has been allowed to "help in the school's garden, so long as there are no kids around. He has not been re-employed by the school, as that would be totally inappropriate". But Ewers also confirmed Graham has been lecturing in Steiner philosophy to the school's teachers.
Parents, former students and former staff allege a culture of secrecy, denial and cover-up at the school, which they claim is run as a private fiefdom of Montefiore and Graham, until the latter's dismissal. Montefiore - whose four children have taught at the school - "is a power unto herself", says a former member of the school board. "And they all idolise Roger. When the board dismissed him, two female teachers came to me, weeping, and begged me not to do it."
Human beings make mistakes. But the issue often turns to the responsibility of administrators to protect the children and schools reputation. Bad judgments in communities are often traced back to a single person (guru) having too much power. POF 10-0 "A person who is very narrow minded still puts their faith in some one person", until they realize, "that basically these powers are human beings as weak as themselves".
Submitted by Feeling Mystic on Thu, 07/09/2009 - 10:40am.
A pioneer of abstract art, Russian painter Vassily Kandinsky (1866-1944) was a believer that art in its many forms could help an individual escape the bonds of everyday reality and through abstraction could achieve a higher spiritual reality. His writings drew heavily on the fields of theosophy and anthroposophy, reflecting Kandinsky’s belief that his paintings were manifestations of a new spirituality. He did this primarily through color. Each color represented something specific for Kandinsky, and through his painting career, he worked away from representations of forms in reality toward shapes and colors meant to be emblematic or suggestive of other things.
In this painting, Murnau-Staffelsee (1905), the rich purples and greens exemplify this heightened sense of color, and showcase how Kandinsky began to construct paintings around particular experiences of color.
Colors were endowed with unique and specific properties. A particularly noticeable example was the deep blue frequently used by Kandinsky.
“Blue is the truly celestial color. It creates an atmosphere of calmness - not like green, which represents an earthly self-satisfied stillness; it creates a solemn, supernatural depth.”
“The deeper the blue becomes, the more strongly it calls man toward the infinite, awakening in him a desire for the pure and, finally, for the supernatural. It is the color of the heavens, the same color we picture to ourselves when we hear the sound of the word ‘heaven.’”
By leaving behind the need to recognizably depict the known world, Kandinsky approached the freedom discussed in anthroposophy. “There is no must in art because art is free.” Kandinsky believed that the purity of his geometric compositions expressed a personal form of mystic salvation, delivering him from the depersonalizing industrialization of European society.
Critics consider the most important of Kandinsky’s Weimar period is Yellow-Red-Blue (1925), above. Its underlying structure is determined by the three primary colors, which are shaded from light (left) to dark (red), just as on a color chart. However, the diversity of forms present in the painting create a complex structure of color relationships.
My Philosophy of Freedom is based upon an experience which consists in the understanding of human consciousness within itself. In willing, freedom is practised; in feeling, it is experienced; in thinking, it is known. Only, in order to attain this last, one must not lose the life of thinking.
While I was working at my Philosophy of Freedom, it was my constant endeavour in the statement of my thoughts to keep my inner experience fully awake within the very thoughts. This gives to thoughts the mystical character of inner perception, but makes the perception like the perception of the outer physical world. If one forces oneself through to such an inner experience, then one no longer finds any contradiction between the knowledge of nature and the knowledge of spirit.
It became clear to one that the second is only a metamorphosed continuation of the first. Since this appeared thus to me, I could later place on the title-page the motto: "Some results of introspective observation following the methods of Natural Science". For, when natural-scientific methods are followed in the spiritual sphere, they lead one to knowledge of this sphere.
RS, The Story of My Life, chap. 12
Submitted by Tom Last on Thu, 07/09/2009 - 12:13am.
"Into this mood of the age, my dear friends, I sent my Philosophy of Freedom, which culminates in the view, with the end of the nineteenth century, the time has come when it is eminently necessary that human beings contemplate how they will be able to find moral impulses more and more by going back to the being of the human soul itself.
Even for the moral impulses of everyday life, they must resort more and more to moral intuitions found in the soul, all other impulses will become gradually less decisive.
This was the situation I faced. I was obliged to say that the future of human ethics depends upon the power of moral intuition becoming stronger with every passing day. Advances in moral education can only be made when we strengthen the force of moral intuition within the soul; when individuals become more and more aware of the moral intuitions which arise in their souls." -RS, Becoming the Archangel Michael's Companions p38
How can we become more aware of the moral intuitions that arise in our souls? After I began studying The Philosophy of Freedom I became more aware of the feelings, emotions, thoughts, instincts, desires, etc. so I could begin making distinctions. Am I dealing with a fixed ethical principle that happens to be my favorite? I notice the difference between thinking a past thought and experiencing a new thought or renewed realization of a past thought in the moment it occurs. When the intuitions stop coming I have to stop and look at what is wrong; too little sleep, to many mundane thoughts, too busy with duties, and try to change things.
If I take the time to think about a life situation, raising it into the conceptual and ideal realm, it usually ends with an intuitive impulse, or I continue working it as I am not satisfied or energized until then. (it cures depression and fatigue at least for awhile until you need another boost of inspiration)
Submitted by Feeling Mystic on Wed, 07/08/2009 - 4:45pm.
From Croatia, the birthplace of Rudolf Steiner, a new unexplainable phenomenon of miraculous healing has come in the form of a gaze called Braco. His gaze is his tool of transformation and healing, and over 200,000 people traveled to experience this man's silent gaze in 2008 alone.
Everyone is asking how only five minutes of this guru's gaze over can transform lives and influence spontaneous healing from severe, chronic and even untreatable illnesses?
Submitted by Tom Last on Wed, 07/08/2009 - 8:34am.
In an interesting essay by Hugo Bergman found in a Rita Stebbing translation of The Philosophy of Freedom he comes to a conclusion about the book which seems to be ingrained in the dogma of traditional anthroposophy. He shows how Steiner's Philosophy of Freedom resolves the philosophical limitations put on knowledge if a person develops deeper capacities, but then we must look to other anthroposophical books to develop these capacities. He even goes so far as to imply we "are not -- or are not yet -- in the position to come to spiritual experiences".
The training indicated by Steiner in his various anthroposophical books seeks to stimulate man's soul development to the point where he is able to experience this spiritual world consciously; and this training consists of laborious spiritual exercises which require, above all, a great deal of patience and perseverance.
For those of us who are not — or are not yet — in the position to come to spiritual experiences, Rudolf Steiner's philosophy will still be a highly important contribution toward man's understanding of himself and of the world in which he lives — even though this philosophy can be used only to guide the student on his own right way.
This completely discredits The Philosophy of Freedom as a spiritual path in itself without the need of Steiner's other books and exercises and defines it merely as philosophy that will convince us to take up the other paths he gave.
What does he mean we don't have spiritual experience? Is spiritual experience the ability to read the akashic record? We certainly can deepen intuitive thinking through the practice of studying POF and we can recognize an ethical intuition by increasing self-awareness from the descriptions in POF.
Bergman removes Kant's limitation to knowledge but then adds a mystical limitation by theorizing about lofty levels of spiritual experience beyond our reach rather than recognizing that our thinking is a spiritual experience and that The Philosophy of Freedom is a path that will develop the capacity for ethical intuition that Steiner's philosophy establishes as essential.
Submitted by Divine Submissive on Tue, 07/07/2009 - 12:46pm.
In the past Sara Palin has distributed flyers calling for voters to "finally elect a Christian mayor". Now she says she has a "higher calling" that required her to resign 17 months before her term ended as governor of Alaska, and not to seek a second term.
I don't know what God said to Sarah Palin, but I suspect it might have been something like this:
"Sarah. I am a patient God. But, you have tried my patience. You are an embarrassment to my ideals, to yourself, to the people of your state, and to your country. Me, and my wolves and moose, would like you to please resign and devote the rest of your life in spiritual embrace of a better life."
"What's especially sad is that most people of a certain generation only know Michael Jackson as a crazy guy who had a lot of plastic surgery -- whereas the truth is, he was not only an unbelievably talented, groundbreaking performer, he also helped break down the racial prejudice in this country. He was an extremely powerful symbol -- a black performer who whites could relate to and then later in life, a white performer who blacks could relate to." -JK
"Only in America can someone be born a poor black kid, and die a rich white woman." CH
Submitted by Tom Last on Mon, 07/06/2009 - 12:22pm.
I have been coming to a shocking conclusion that the real spiritual people of our age are the scientists, engineers and computer programmers. They are the ones trained in pure thinking that could take the next step into The Philosophy of Freedom by broadening and deepening what they have already achieved. The traditional spiritual paths are filled with feeling mystics and spiritual speculators who have been left behind pursuing outdated paths. They tend to lack the training in thinking achieved by engineers.
Todays world is being led and determined by these thinkers as shown how it was the computer tech people who put Obama in power. If you get to know the younger generation of computer tech people you will be surprised how advanced their views are on free thinking and free community. But they have rejected the nonsense of todays spirituality. This puts The Philosophy of Freedom in a position of being known but rejected by spiritual types because of the effort required to think; but unknown by engineering types who aren't going to be interested in speculative anthroposophy. It was meant to be in the middle of science and spirit but by being in the middle it is rejected by both the scientists and the spiritualists. The question becomes, How do you present POF to engineers?
Submitted by Freedom Professor on Mon, 07/06/2009 - 11:36am.
When is an action free? Steiner answers this question by stating that it is free when it has its origin in pure thinking. At first glance, Steiner's philosophy of ethics may appear intellectualistic. In ethics we have to differentiate between motives which originate in the perception and those having their origin in pure thinking. In the first instance we cannot call the deed a free one, since this kind of action is prompted by our surroundings, by our feelings and our will, as well as by our personal nature. None of these is truly free. Only the action motivated by our thinking is truly free. For this kind of action is objective; it is not in the least connected with our I; the world of thinking is common to all of us.
Spinoza, the great Dutch philosopher of the 17th century, objected to the doctrine that man's actions are free by saying that if a stone thrown by someone were endowed with consciousness, it would also make the statement that it flies “freely.” To this Steiner replied that it is not the consciousness as such that builds up in people's minds the belief that they are free; rather it is the fact that man is capable of comprehending the rationality of his motives — provided they are rational. Only that action can be called free which has been determined by the rationality of its ideas.
But how does man materialize his rational motives? The answer is, by means of his moral imagination, which enables him to obtain his motives from the world of ideas. The unfree man is determined passively by the motives of his surroundings which also include his innate nature. The free man, on the other hand, acts according to his moral intuition which, though his own, nevertheless lifts him from the level of his limited ‘I’ to the objective world of thinking. -Hugo Bergman
Submitted by Society Minder on Sun, 07/05/2009 - 10:38am.
When a student of Rudolf Steiner’s Philosophy of Freedom learns the principles of freedom they will naturally look for people and places where these principles are expressed. They may become interested in the Anthroposophical Society because it was founded by Rudolf Steiner and expect to find these principles living there.
Some are disappointed by what they find. They say that members sound like they have all memorized the same dogma, in many society groups members have little say in the selection of Society officers, and criticism and non-traditional views are censored from its websites and publications; overall it hasn’t changed much from its formation over 75 years ago, still continuing the authoritative lecture format. The result has been a decline in membership and donations raising doubts to its ability to interest younger generations. Historically, those who have called for change have been shunned or expelled.
One is better able today to find striving toward Steiner’s freedom philosophy in new groups springing up today than the Society which some say is an indication the Society may have fallen behind anthroposophy itself, speaking an insider theosophical language not understood by the rest of the world. All the principles of anthroposophy are in the Philosophy of Freedom using more familiar terms, so it is possible to present anthroposophy and be understood.
Steiner warned that if the Society would fall behind, “anthroposophy's conveyance through the Society will result in its being completely misunderstood, and its only fruit will be endless conflict”.
Two common approaches to this problem is the harsh criticism of the Dualist who points out the contradiction between the Society and Steiner’s freedom principles and the superficial Monist who tries to deny this contradiction, blind themselves to it, or even worse have not studied The Philosophy of Freedom so don't even know what these principles are. Society criticism is even assumed to be an attack from some theorized demonic force the defender had read about in some lecture. None of these approaches have lead to any progress.
Does the world need an Anthroposophical Society that embraces the principles of The Philosophy of Freedom and the 21st century or is maintaining long standing traditions more important?
Submitted by Freedom Professor on Sat, 07/04/2009 - 10:20am.
Could it be that consciousness is the latest evolutionary innovation that, when applied to conversation, catalyzes a new form of social system, the conscious co-creative collective, the radiant network of deep community? I believe that conscious conversation is the path to what Thich Nhat Hanh imagined when he said: “It is possible that the next Buddha will not take the form of an individual. The next Buddha may take the form of a community, a community practicing understanding and lovingkindness, a community practicing mindful living.”
The practice of conscious conversation has the potential to help us creatively engage with the overwhelming natural and human-generated crises we face today. In fact, it may be the only thing that can.
Become conscious of the power of conversation to change the world. Learn how the dynamics of conversation matter and use them. By learning to converse well and helping others converse well, you become a conscious agent of evolution.
Submitted by Freedom Professor on Fri, 07/03/2009 - 10:30pm.
The reading of The Philosophy of Freedom should not be a mere reading, "it should be an experiencing with inner shocks, tensions and resolutions".
“In writing I subdue to a dry mathematical style what has come out of warm and profound feeling. But only such a style can be an awakener, for the reader must cause warmth and feeling to awaken in himself. He cannot simply allow these to flow into him from the one setting forth the truth, while he remains passively composed.”
Shock: I have often experienced shock when recognizing the truths in POF in my own life as they awaken me to my one-sidedness or various false idols. It is difficult to read chapter 1 without your illusions of freedom being exposed. In chapter 2 I realized I remain fixed within the world of ideas "as if spellbound". In chapter 10 I was warned that my gurus were"human beings as weak as myself".
Tension: Reading with a desire to understand the book leads to many moments of tension as the connecting thoughts between views seem missing. Why is he now talking about this? What does this term mean? Each sentence becomes so rich with meaning that it becomes a strain to hold the various thoughts within a continuous thought process.
Resolution: Stopping and working with that difficult passage until it is resolved by an insight is very exciting and energizing. It becomes even more exciting when you return to the same passage over and over again with a fresh look and over and over new insights are harvested. The experience is as Steiner describes, "the striking of steel on flint" making me want to get up and walk around the room as the intuition continues to make connections within my knowledge like the expanding sparks from a fireworks explosion. You have to want to know, to insist on resolving the building tension from the reading, and be willing to work for it. And of course follow your own questions that you are excited about pursuing.
Submitted by Freedom Professor on Fri, 07/03/2009 - 1:42pm.
In one reference to his book The Philosophy of Freedom, Steiner stresses that, among other things, he had been concerned to clarify the experience of freedom in thought, in pure thinking emancipated from the senses.
“In thoughts which consciously arise in the human soul as an ethical, moral ideal, in thoughts which have the strength to influence the human will and to lead it to action, in such thoughts there is freedom.
We can speak of freedom when we speak of actions shaped by the human being’s own free thinking, when he reaches the point, through a moral self-training, of not allowing his actions to be influenced by instincts, passions, emotions, or by his temperament, but only by the devoted love for an action. Out of the ideal strength of pure ethical thinking --the devoted love of an action-- something can develop. This is really free action.”
Submitted by Society Minder on Fri, 07/03/2009 - 10:59am.
Fair Oaks, Ca—Craig Anderson, 32, a Sacramento-area engineering consultant, has earned the pity of friends and acquaintances for his tragic reluctance to embrace many of Rudolf Steiner’s lectures, sources reported Monday.
"I honestly feel sorry for Craig," said long time Anthroposophical Society member Brunhilde Heilbronn, 96, who knew Steiner. "To live in this world not believing in clairvoyant visions of Lemuria from the akashic record, doubting that Christ is a sun god—that's such a sad, cynical way to live. I don't know how he gets through his day."
Branch Supreme Council member Klaus Heinrich, who spends roughly 30 percent of his annual income at SteinerBooks, similarly extended his compassion for Anderson. "Craig is a real gentleman," Heinrich said. "It's just too bad he's chosen to cut himself off from the world of the supersensible, restricting his beliefs to the limited universe of what can be verified through his own personal experience."
Also feeling pity for Anderson is his former girlfriend Aimee Svenson, a holistic and homeopathic healer who earns a living selling tonics and medicines diluted to one molecule per gallon. "Don't get me wrong—logic and reason have their place," Svenson said. "But Craig fails to recognize the danger of going too far with common sense to the exclusion of alternative New Age remedies like chakra cleansing and energy-field realignment."
"I admit, science might be great for curing diseases, exploring space, cataloging the natural phenomena of our world, saving endangered species, extending the human lifespan, and enriching the quality of that life," Aimee said. "But at the end of the day, only gurus can tell us about the human soul, and that's a critical thing Craig is missing.
Gina Hitchens, a lifelong astrology devotee, blamed Anderson’s lack of faith on an accident of birth.
"Craig can't entirely help himself, being a Gemini," Hitchens said. "Geminis are always very skeptical and destined to feel pain throughout life as a result of their closed-mindedness. If you try to introduce Craig to anything even remotely hard to believe, he starts going off about 'evidence this' and 'proof that.' If only the poor man were open-minded enough to stop attacking everything with his brain and just once look into his heart, he'd find all the proof he needed. But, sadly, he's unable to let even a little bit of blind faith drive his core beliefs."
Submitted by Society Minder on Thu, 07/02/2009 - 8:44pm.
Indian Valley by Jennifer Thomson, Crestone Colorado. For 33 years, Jennifer has honed her artistic talent and teaching abilities. She spent 4 years in Beppe Assenza’s studio in Dornach Switzerland where she studied Goethe’s color theory and Rudolf Steiner’s color indications and spiritual science.
Submitted by Freedom Professor on Thu, 07/02/2009 - 3:34pm.
Does conscious thinking always lead to good decisions and satisfactory choices?
According to consumer research, participants who chose their favorite poster among a set of five after thorough contemplation showed less post choice satisfaction than participants who only looked at them briefly. This research was then used to attack the overall belief in the value of conscious deliberation.
The consumer choice of your favorite poster to hang on your wall is a choice to experience the greatest amount of pleasure with the least amount of pain, in other words, amusement. This example is really only a study of choices made for the purpose of amusement and doesn’t reveal much beyond that.
Our characterological disposition (POF 9-3) gives us an immediate feeling reaction of pleasure or pain based on our past experiences. If we live out of our established character in the pursuit of pleasure then it makes sense that our immediate choice determined by an unthinking pleasure reaction would result in post choice satisfaction.
Our characterological disposition is the more permanent part of our decision making process. The research merely indicates that if our established character finds immediate pleasure from a wall poster it will likely continue to find pleasure in it later. The pure conceptual thinking advocated in The Philosophy of Freedom is free from the influences of our established character.
(POF 13-10) If it is only a question whether, after the day's work, I am to amuse myself by a game or by light conversation, and if I am totally indifferent to what I do as long as it serves that purpose, then I simply ask myself: What gives me the greatest surplus of pleasure? And I shall most certainly abandon the activity if the scales incline towards the side of displeasure. If we are buying a toy for a child we consider, in selecting, what will give him the greatest happiness. In all other cases we do not base our decision exclusively on the balance of pleasure.
Submitted by Freedom Fighter on Wed, 07/01/2009 - 12:27pm.
Finally, some honest Christian fundamentalists who aren’t going to pretend they believe in all that Sermon on the Mount crap like blessed are the gentle, the merciful, the peacemakers….
Gun-toting Kentucky Pastor Ken Pagano invited his flock to bring their guns to church. Approximately 200 people answered Pastor Pagano's call to celebrate American gun culture and the Second Amendment Saturday at New Bethel Church in Louisville, Kentucky. The gun-toting Pastor made the extraordinary request of his flock to bring their handguns, in holsters, to send a message.
During the 90-minute event, Pagano said "If it were not for a deep-seated belief in the right to bear arms, this country would not be here today," he told the crowd, drawing hearty applause and exclamations of "Amen!"
The "Open Carry Celebration" included a handgun raffle, patriotic music and screening of gun safety videos. Some gun owners carried old-fashioned six-shooters in leather holsters, while others packed modern police-style firearms. Kentucky allows residents to openly carry guns in public with some restrictions.
Submitted by Freedom Professor on Wed, 07/01/2009 - 10:43am.
There is an important difference between self-perception and self-definition.
POF 5-7 Self Perception, Self Definition
The perception of myself reveals to me a number of qualities which I combine into my personality as a whole, just as I combine the qualities yellow, metallic, hard, etc., in the unity "gold." The perception of myself does not take me beyond the sphere of what belongs to me.
This perceiving of myself must be distinguished from determining myself by means of thinking. Just as, by means of thinking, I fit any single external perception into the whole world context, so by means of thinking I integrate into the world process the percepts I have made of myself.
My self-perception confines me within certain limits, but my thinking is not concerned with these limits. In this sense I am a two-sided being. I am enclosed within the sphere which I perceive as that of my personality, but I am also the bearer of an activity which, from a higher sphere, defines my limited existence.
How do you perceive and define yourself? How do you perceive and define others?