About Dr Rudolf Steiner
Dr Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925) was an Austrian philosopher, scientist, artist and educationalist whose humanitarian vision has inﬂuenced many ﬁelds of human endeavour. All over the world, but particularly in Western Europe, there are schools, communities for people with special needs, biodynamic farms, hospitals, clinics and medical practices, artists and architects, banks and businesses –whose work acknowledges a special debt to Rudolf Steiner.
Educated at the College for Science and later at the Technical College in Vienna,Rudolf Steiner also studied philosophy, literature, medicine and psychology, and in 1891 submitted his PhD. thesis at Rostock University. The content of this later appeared in his book,‘The Philosophy of Freedom’. As a scientist, artist and philosopher, looking at the problems facing the 20th century, Steiner saw that science, religion and art had taken separate paths. Science was becoming coldly factual, art too personal and religion too often academic.
He realised that if a new and positive culture was to arise, then science, art and spiritual experience must be renewed and brought together again. Where their special qualities affect and help each other positively, science becomes morally creative, art universal, and spiritual experience more real. In such a way, social life, based on the individual’s concern for the welfare of others would develop in a beneﬁcial manner.
Mathematics Habitually, man establishes an ordered relationship with the world and himself through thought. He sees, muses, experiments (formally or through everyday experience) and draws conclusions relevant to his needs. But his thoughts are completely conditioned by his senses and his senses are completely conditioned by his anatomy and physiology, and therefore even his thoughts about anatomy and physiology are conditioned by this circuitous route. In this sense, thinking is chained to our physical-sensory make-up and can never convey a true or objective reality about the world or ourselves. At most it can convey definable relationships between our various sensory experiences and out of this grows science and technology.
But thought can follow another course. Steiner became acutely aware that in the study of pure mathematics, something is being undertaken which is not conditioned by an unascertainable physiology and anatomy. In mathematics we are directly observing the laws of quantitative relationship, which we can then apply to our sensory world and find that they also hold good for that world. These laws exist, and though we have to have a functioning brain, nervous system, etc. to apprehend them, they themselves are not the result of any physiological process. They exist within their own right and apply as soundly in the phenomenal world as they do within the realm of thought. This opened the door for him to what he later called "sense-free thinking".
Young Steiner was deeply introverted; as he admits in his Autobiography (1925), he had great difficulty relating to the outer world. He also had an inquisitive mind and was obsessed with many questions the adults he knew seemed unable to answer. This subjectivity might have taken a morbid turn were it not for his discovery of mathematics. When Steiner came upon a book of geometry, it was a revelation. "That one can work out forms which are seen purely inwardly, independent of the outer senses, gave me a feeling of deep contentment. I found consolation for the loneliness caused by the many unanswered questions. To be able to grasp something purely spiritual brought me an inner joy. I know that through geometry I first experienced happiness."
Steiner's joy upon discovering geometry may strike us as odd, yet the experience was essential in getting him through an early crisis. What impressed Steiner so greatly about geometry was that it seemed to offer proof that within the mind there existed a kind of "soul-space," an inner equivalent of the external space of the natural world.
Submitted by Tom Last on Tue, 09/13/2011 - 9:53pm.
When the Hoernle translation was republished a few months ago it was ranked #36 on Amazon books when you searched "Rudolf Steiner Philosophy Of Freedom". Today it was ranked #2. Because we published it at cost without profit it is available at a lower cost ($9.80) then the other translations. It can be purchased here.
Submitted by Tom Last on Mon, 08/29/2011 - 11:57am.
It is said that Rudolf Steiner hoped someone would update his 1894 Philosophy of Freedom in 100 years, as it is culturally dated. Times have changed dramatically since then, but the science of the human being within the book remains just as relevant. What if, rather than one person, hundreds or thousands of people collaborated to renew the book with a variety of unique individual contributions?
This may be possible with Project Based Study.
Project based study is simply to study, produce a project, and then present it. By 1. selecting a principle from the Philosophy of Freedom, 2. producing a project that expresses this principle in your own way, and 3. sharing it as part of a collaborative project, the Philosophy of Freedom would be re-expressed piece by piece, perhaps renewed indefinitely.
Submitted by Tom Last on Tue, 08/23/2011 - 9:12am.
We have plenty of knowers.
And we have plenty of doers.
But the one who matters the most is the knowing doer, the one who acts out of knowledge. This is the Ethical Individualist.
The Ethical Individualist feels a part of each life situation he meets.
But does not allow himself to be determined by it.
He acquires knowledge of a situation by using the method of science —observational analysis— to discover the laws at work. The Ethical Individualist knows how to think scientifically.
He also uses thinking in ethics.
The Ethical Individualist sees a certain value in all ethical principles.
And always asks in each case whether this or that principle is the more important.
To select an ethical principle he uses the method of philosophy —conceptual analysis.
The philosophical method works with universalized or generalized concepts of things rather than the specific details, since the specifics of a situation can be a distraction.
As the philosophical method deals with pure concepts, the way it acquires knowledge is with pure reasoning.
Pure reasoning intuitively selects the ethical principle to be applied. The Ethical Individualist is capable of pure reasoning.
To realize a universal ethical principle, it first needs to be imaginatively translated into a picture of specific action.
This requires having imagination.
By creating idealistic imaginations he envisions a goal to strive for.
People who merely preach ethical codes without being able to turn them into a plan of action are morally unproductive. The Ethical Individualist is imaginative and innovative.
The world the Ethical Individualist wishes to transform is already living according to certain principles and laws.
Such as the laws found in ecology, sociology, and psychology.
Violating these existing laws that hold things together may cause unnecessary disruption.
To avoid this, the Ethical Individualist studies the general scientific knowledge of his field.
With this knowledge he arrives at the best way to skillfully implement his idealistic imaginations without disrupting the natural laws already in place. The Ethical Individualist has the technical skills to be successful.
The Ethical Individualist strives for sublimely great ideals because they have become the content of his own being.
They are his intuitions and are the driving forces that empower his will against all obstacles.
He wants them, because their translation into reality is his highest pleasure.
He does not regard his ethical task as a matter of duty, but rather to follow his love for the deed. The Ethical Individualist is completely self-empowered.
Ethical Individualism was described by Rudolf Steiner in 1894, in his Philosophy of Freedom.
Rudolf Steiner may have been born a clairvoyant, but he was not born an Ethical Individualist.
He had to earn it.
It is not a norm that can be fully put to use without the need of human development.
The Ethical Individualist is trained in scientific thinking, pure reasoning, creative imagination and technical skill.
Steiner had to develop scientific thinking and pure reasoning with an education in mathematics, science and philosophy.
He was trained in his field by earning a doctorate of philosophy.
In "The Philosophy of Freedom" Steiner describes the three essential capabilities he calls ethical intuition, ethical imagination, and ethical technique.
--Ethical Intuition is the capacity to intuitively select an ethical principle for a particular life situation.
--Ethical Imagination is the capacity to imaginatively translate a general ethical principle into a specific picture of the action to be carried out.
--Ethical Technique is the capacity to transform the world according to one's ethical imaginations without violating the natural laws by which things are connected.
At this level of ethics, conduct is not predetermined by one's own character or by an external authority.
The action is not a stereotyped one that merely follows rules, nor is it one that is automatically performed in response to an external stimulus.
Instead, it is an action determined purely and simply by its own ideal content. The Ethical Individualist carries out a deed that originates within himself, it is a free deed!
To reach your full human potential, learn more by studying Rudolf Steiner's “The Philosophy Of Freedom”.
Free download of the book at www dot philosophy of freedom dot com.
Submitted by WaverlyAspen on Tue, 08/09/2011 - 4:26pm.
I have used technology for many reasons since the birth of Windows... Twitter is a scary place, yet I have finally used it for intuitive purpose.... I tweeted freely how much I appreciate my own personal judgement and I had a heartfelt feeling of Freedom just at that.
"Within me I find the strength to face challenge that is unethical. My mind guides my actions, not others' perception of truth #anthroposophy"....
With this I say that I'm a continuous learner of self. I make no sense to you, yet I understand myself, which enables me to participate in society as a whole. I have been a part of the Anthroposophical community for ages of existence, yet hold no membership because my being comprehends freethinking I have yet to learn from that being and work arduously to do so!
As a first Journal entry, I'm very proud of myself, as understanding develops, thoughts may seem more comprehensible to the external human eye.... & we shall learn from one another, hence the purpose of Community!
Piero Cammerinesi renders contemporary students of Anthroposophy great service with his essay “Preconceptions and Free Thought: Reflections on Judith von Halle.” I appreciated hearing about his meeting with Judith von Halle and the content of her lecture on the Karma of the Anthroposophical Society. I assume she is the woman in the photo by the blackboard. More important to me, however, was that Cammerinesi brought a new voice that invigorated me to keep on grappling with the spiritual scientific juggernaut of overcoming ones’ habitual sensing and thinking
He recounts personal observations of pre-conceptions and prejudices in the Anthroposophical circles he has known. He is not the first to note that this “pre-packaged” habit of thinking contradicts the intrinsic tenets of free thought. In short, The Philosophy of Freedom has not been put into practice. And time is running out for this to happen. The success or failure of the Michaelic mission is at stake. Rudolf Steiner stated in London on August 27, 1924 (GA 240):
‘I am preparing for the new Age leading from the 20th into the 21st century!’…it is thus that a true Anthroposophist speaks. Many forces of destruction are at work upon the earth! All culture, all civilized life shall fall into decadence if the Michael Impulse’s spirituality does not take hold of men that they are capable of elevating civilisation, which is hurrying downhill…
His careful rhetoric and clear language evidence Cammerinesi’s scholarly background in philosophy. This alone is refreshing today, when “the social network” vitiates against making the necessary time and effort. However, he has none of that overbearing aura many scholars convey. He presents three essentials for those of us seeking spiritual wisdom and the power to act in accordance with it.
First, humans must learn how to live with the necessity of endlessly restructuring their conceptions as they seek truth. “Truth will never be conclusive or fixed, and this can only lead us towards a profound respect for the other’s truth (p 2).”
Second, the Golgotha event “must be central in our lives” with the Resurrection as “the climax of Christ’s mission (p 5).” Although Cammerinesi says this in the context of Judith von Halle’s works and experience, I note his use of the plural pronoun. I also happen to believe this. But he adds that “we must be able to overcome and set aside dogmatism of all kinds.”
Third, vigilant exactitude is required in discerning what is going on in the world and the [General Anthroposophical] Society (p 9).
“The solution is not a ‘general caring for each other’ but an acute awareness of the opposing forces, given that they do not sleep. We must remain acutely aware as we view things, both in the world and in Society, adopting a standard. This is in fact the motto of tripartite division.” Judith von Halle: “We must wonder what forces are showing themselves in the initiatives undertaken within Society. We must wonder if they are forces acting towards the Threefolding, i.e. freedom on the spiritual level, equality under the law and brotherhood in economic life. If this is the case, we are talking about Christian initiatives. If not, then certainly not. We have the means to discriminate, although this is certainly difficult (p 9).”
The difficulties in achieving discrimination, perseverance, equanimity as we engage in truth-seeking and truth-finding are intrinsic to the process. The effort is essential, as Steiner and others have pointed out, including Massimo Scaligero, revered mentor of Piero Cammerinesi.
“The spiritual path is not the number of books we have read, the ‘revelations’ that inflame our hearts, or wise discussions with friends, but the impervious and lonely transformation of our thinking, feeling and will. In other words, of our whole earthly being (p 2).” Cammerinesi does not point out in this essay what Judith von Halle does tell readers: one’s relationship with the Christ increasingly brings joy, light and strength to bear the difficulties. This gradual transformation and the growing relationship with the Christ have also been my experience.
Thank you, Piero Cammerinesi, another clear, present, personable and illuminating Italian Michaelite.
Submitted by Tom Last on Sat, 07/23/2011 - 2:14pm.
theosophy: divine wisdom (God) anthroposophy: human wisdom (Guru) anthrophilosophy: human love of wisdom (Individual)
Anthroposophy is powered by the intuitive insight of Rudolf Steiner as a Guru who answers the questions of others.
Anthrophilosophy is powered by the intuitive insight of the individual, individualistic knowledge that answers the questions the individual poses to himself. The Philosophy of Freedom explains that this individual question and answer process is how we overcome our separation and integrate ourselves into the world. (2-0, 7-10)
Rudolf Steiner's work appears in two phases; as a free spirited philosopher he struggled to answer the questions that arose within himself on his path to freedom, and later as a mystic and guru he was to guide others. This website is focused on Steiner's path to free himself (18-39 age, up to 1899), before he converted to theosophy to lead others. (1900-1925).
Nature, society and of course the individual himself contribute to human development. Nature makes us a natural being, society makes us a law-abiding being, but it is up to each one of us to make ourselves a free being (9-11). Rudolf Steiner's Anthroposophy is more concerned with the first two, working with nature and social institutions. Using his gift of clairvoyance as an instrument for science, Steiner was able to discover fundamental lawfulness applicable to many established fields. These laws of nature and spirit fill the vast anthroposophical library ready to renew the institutions of society: agriculture, art, education, medicine, science, religion, government etc.
Anthrophilosophy is focused on free individuality, the pursuit of freedom leading to the self-determined individual who creates his own laws. Nothing in nature or society can give us freedom. This is something we can only give to ourselves. The brief outline within The Philosophy Of Freedom presents a philosophy of life empowered by ones own intuitive insight.
For example, the anthroposophist Waldorf teacher will strictly apply Rudolf Steiner's principles of education. The anthrophilosophist educator is not limited to these principles, but will select, according to his own intuitive insight, from all the principles of education he is aware of and may even develop his own principles.
At first glance, a sense of “belonging” may appear to be a very positive thing, but the more strongly you feel the bond of belonging to your own group, the more hostile or even violent your feelings may become toward Outsiders.
Submitted by Tom Last on Mon, 07/18/2011 - 12:13pm.
I may be an "anthrophilosophist" rather than an anthroposophist. Inspirediam (new registration) mentioned in her profile she was interested in "anthrophilosophy". I looked it up on the internet and I found two obscure blogs mentioning it --not in reference to Steiner-- and college students who majored in anthropology and philosophy. Otherwise it is an unused term.
I saw one reference to the Anthrophilosophical Society of Great Britain but I'm sure that was a misspelling.
I have been looking for a term that distinguished Steiner's pre-1900 work in science and philosophy from his post 1900 work after he converted to theosophy and lectured on his clairvoyant perceptions of the spiritual world. His body of work after 1900 is referred to as "anthroposophy", a term he used to distinguish his work from mainstream theosophy.
His earlier work needs to be distinguished from his later because of the vast difference between a rational philosophy and belief in clairvoyant research. While many are interested in both, many more are and will become interested in his Philosophy of Freedom without having a desire for speculative theosophy. A new and important Steiner movement such as this should have a name, as it is misleading and incorrect to include it in a category of theosophy, as anthroposophy is.
I will have to think about it for awhile, but I may be an anthrophilosophist.
“this book occupies a position completely independent of my writings on actual spiritual scientific matters... What I have said in this book may be acceptable even to some who, for reasons of their own, refuse to have anything to do with the results of my researches into the spiritual realm.” Rudolf Steiner, The Philosophy of Freedom, 1918 Preface to the Revised Edition
Submitted by Tom Last on Fri, 07/08/2011 - 4:18pm.
The peoples of the world today appear to possess equal biological potential for assimilating any human culture. Racist political doctrines find no foundation in scientific knowledge concerning modern or past human populations.