In order to survive the animal is driven by natural instincts for food, water, and shelter. Social learning gives an evolutionary advantage to those who join and conform to the group.
Yet, if society is to continue evolving it needs something more than social conformity, it needs the innovation and creativity of free individuals.
The social order is only formed so it can react in favor of the individual, but society cannot produce even one free individual. Only the individual himself can complete the final stage of evolution and realize freedom.
The pursuit of individuality is the modern struggle for survival. To be true to yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something less, requires great effort.
There is a natural conflict between individualism and authority. When challenged by authority, typically individualism cannot be sustained without paying a harsh price.
No matter what anyone else asserts, an individualist will think for himself. Nothing is accepted as valid until he fits it into his own context of knowledge.
Knowing that human perfection cannot be found by following in the footsteps of another, the individualist finds his own way in the difficult ascent to freedom.
Why adoringly serve leaders who will turn out to be just as weak as yourself?
No ideals will be forced upon him. He will select his own ideals and strive for their realization, which is his highest pleasure.
We no longer believe that there is a norm of human life to which we must all strive to conform.
We are convinced that in each of us, if only we probe deep enough into the very heart of our being, there dwells something noble, something worthy of development.
We regard the perfection of the whole as depending on the unique perfection of each single individual.
We do not want to do what anyone else can do equally well. No, our contribution to the development of the world, however trifling, must be something which, by reason of the uniqueness of our nature, we alone can offer.
Never have artists been less concerned about rules and norms in art than today. Each of them asserts his right to express what is unique in him.
The structure of a language can affect how we conceptualize the world, our world-view, so there are writers who do not conform to the standard selection of words and arrangement that grammar demands.
We do not want to be dependent in any respect, and where dependence must be, we tolerate it only on condition that it coincides with a vital interest of our individuality.
Individuality is one of the fundamental characteristics of our age. There is no better expression of this phenomena than striving towards freedom with the greatest intensity.
In our age of individualism, truth is sought in the depths of human nature. There are two well known paths to truth, seeking truth in outer life, and seeking truth within.
Empiricism gains knowledge by observing the outer world, and Reason gains knowledge by thinking the inner world of concepts. Reason raises knowledge from the sense perceptible level to the conceptual level.
The inner path of Reason is more suited to our present age of individualism. Today, if I am to be convinced of something, I must recognize it to be true in my own inner life.
A truth that comes from the outside will always bring skepticism. Only inner truth can give the individual the power of conviction.
One's talents are weakened when tormented by doubts. If baffled by a world of riddles, an individual can find no direction for his creative action.
It is no longer enough to merely believe; we want to know. Faith demands the acceptance of truths that we do not fully understand. The only knowledge that satisfies does not submit to an external norm, but springs from the inner life as insight.
We do not want a knowledge bound in academic rules and preserved in reference books valid for all time. As individuals, we have a right to start from our own personal experience, and from there advance to knowledge of the whole universe. We strive after certainty in knowledge, but each in his own way.
Facts of knowledge should not be crammed into students, rather, the student's capacities should be developed so understanding arises from within.
We do not expect agreement or acceptance from anyone who is not moved to a certain view by his own insight.
I know there is a widespread tendency to flaunt a life style that strives for status and lacks any individuality. But I also know that many try to conduct their life in the direction described here.
Rudolf Steiner dedicated his book the "Philosophy OF Freedom" to those who strive to live according to the principles of individualism presented here.
It is not the "only possible" path to truth, but the "Philosophy Of Freedom" describes the path taken by one for whom Truth is central.
At first the reader is lead into abstract regions where thought must draw sharp outlines to reach secure conclusions. The reader is then led from arid concepts that some may not find very interesting into more exciting concrete life.
The scientific age no longer requires pious exercises or asceticism to attain knowledge, but it does require withdrawing oneself into the realm of pure thought. If one is to experience the sweetest enjoyments of life, one must be willing to lift oneself into the realm of concepts.
Life is a unity. The more the various sciences become specialized and divide life into smaller parts, the farther they move away from seeing the world as a living whole. The separate sciences are stages on the way to the holistic science aimed for in the Philosophy Of Freedom.
The philosopher composes thought as a musician composes music. All genuine philosophers have been artists in the realm of concepts. Their artistic material is human ideas. When scientific method becomes their artistic technique, abstract thinking attains concrete, individual life. Then ideas become powerful forces in one's life.
The main questions discussed in the Philosophy of Freedom are how philosophy as an art relates to human freedom, what freedom is, and whether we do, or can, participate in it.
All science would be nothing but the satisfaction of idle curiosity if it did not raise the value of existence for the human personality. Knowledge has value only to the extent that it contributes to the all-around development of human nature.
We must not bow down and serve the ideas of science, but rather use them for our human goals, which extend beyond those of mere science.