Freedom Professor's journal

How does Anthroposophy differ from Buddhism and other Eastern paths?

Submitted by Freedom Professor on Thu, 07/23/2009 - 10:16am.

How does Anthroposophy differ from Buddhism and other Eastern paths?

The central premise of Buddhism is that emptying of one’s desires is the key to personal salvation. This emptying involves the voiding of one’s personal will.

POF 13-11 Those who hold that moral ideals are attainable only if man destroys his own personal will, are not aware that these ideals are wanted by the human being just as he wants the satisfaction of the so-called animal instincts.

Moral ideals spring from the moral imagination of the human being. They are his intuitions, the driving forces which his spirit harnesses; he wants them, because their realization is his highest pleasure. He needs no ethics to forbid him to strive for pleasure and then to tell him what he shall strive for.

Thinking is a spiritual activity

Submitted by Freedom Professor on Tue, 07/21/2009 - 11:07pm.

POF 9-1 Psyche-Physical Organization

The human organization contributes nothing to the essential nature of thinking, but recedes whenever the activity of thinking makes its appearance; it suspends its own activity, it yields ground; and on the ground thus left empty, the thinking appears.

The essence which is active in thinking has a twofold function: first, it represses the activity of the human organization; secondly, it steps into its place.

For even the former, the repression of the physical organization, is a consequence of the activity of thinking, and more particularly of that part of this activity which prepares the manifestation of thinking.

It's Your Duty

Submitted by Freedom Professor on Fri, 07/17/2009 - 11:51am.

POF 9-10
Why should my action be of less service to the public good when I have done it out of love than when I have done it only because I consider serving the public good to be my duty?

The mere concept of duty excludes freedom because it does not acknowledge the individual element but demands that this be subject to a general standard. Freedom of action is conceivable only from the standpoint of ethical individualism.

Who is your god?

Submitted by Freedom Professor on Thu, 07/16/2009 - 10:32pm.

POF 10-8 The moral laws which the metaphysician who works by mere inference must regard as issuing from a higher power, are, for the adherent of monism, thoughts of men; for him the moral world order is neither the imprint of a purely mechanical natural order, nor that of an extra-human world order, but through and through the free creation of men.

It is not the will of some being outside him in the world that man has to carry out, but his own; he puts into effect his own resolves and intentions, not those of another being.

Monism does not see, behind man's actions, the purposes of a supreme directorate, foreign to him and determining him according to its will, but rather sees that men, in so far as they realize their intuitive ideas, pursue only their own human ends.

Moreover, each individual pursues his own particular ends.

For the world of ideas comes to expression, not in a community of men, but only in human individuals. What appears as the common goal of a whole group of people is only the result of the separate acts of will of its individual members, and in fact, usually of a few outstanding ones who, as their authorities, are followed by the others.

Each one of us has it in him to be a free spirit, just as every rose bud has in it a rose.

Pope's Message to the World

Submitted by Freedom Professor on Thu, 07/16/2009 - 2:20pm.

Charity is at the heart of the Church's social doctrine," writes Pope Benedict XVI at the beginning of his new encyclical, Caritas in Veritate -- a sort of "long essay" to the faithful that deals with the matter of man's relationship to Mammon.

The Pontiff's emphasis on charity is consistent for the worldwide religious body whose adherents believe in divine love and the necessity to treat one's neighbors and even one's enemies as one wishes to be treated--Christianity's golden rule. In his new proclamation to Catholics, and to "all people of good will," the Pope calls on mankind to recall that "profit is useful if it serves as a means towards an end . . ." However, he warns against profit as an exclusive goal.

The Pope examined globalization and the harm caused by rich countries exploiting poor countries and selected the ethical principle of charity to be the most important.

As the moral authority of millions his followers are encouraged to adopt this ethical principle of charity to economics. Then he supplies them with a moral imagination that applies this general principle of charity to specifically mean contributing a part of your business profits to charity.

POF 9-5 gives 4 levels of motives: 1. egotism, 2. moral authority, 3. moral insight, and the highest as 4. conceptual intuition. Those who accept the Pope's message as a command that must be followed because he is their authority operate at the second level of morality; moral authority. If you assume the Pope arrived at this leading moral principle by understanding that charity would do the greatest good for all humankind would put it at the third level: moral insight. It becomes a fixed principle to be applied to better the ethics of business. The Pope then puts his idea of "good" into a specific picture, a moral imagination of donating profits to charities.

The highest moral level is conceptual intuition which sees a certain value in all moral principles and always asks whether in the given case this or that principle is the more important. An ethical individualist would not be held to a fixed principle such as "doing the greatest good for humanity" but may select the principle of "the greatest good for myself". The particular moral principle would be selected for each single situation.

Anthroposophy Lecture 2

Submitted by Freedom Professor on Wed, 07/15/2009 - 1:51pm.

Lecturer the Sun pole while the audience is the Moon
What role does the lecture have in a Free Community? The lecture format makes the lecturer the sun pole, his audience the Moon which makes for an old fashioned top down form of spiritual authority. Didn’t Rudolf Steiner lecture? That was the beginning stage of anthroposophy. Have we advanced since then?

Conversation As Shared Contemplation
The Philosophy of Freedom encourages and celebrates each person’s unique spiritual being and unique treasure which can enrichen community life. A balance is sought between the sun / moon polarity of speaking and listening. Group discussion, with effort by the participants, can rise to the level of contemplative conversation, or rather pure thinking as a group experience that results in group insight, real relationship between person and person, and a powerful impulse to joint activism. Community, then, will more likely be an awakening experience.

striking of steel on flint

Submitted by Freedom Professor on Tue, 07/14/2009 - 5:26pm.

The least honest are those who read The Philosophy of Freedom as they would any other book and then flatter themselves that they have really taken in the thoughts it contains. They’ve kept on reading strings of words without anything coming out of it that might be likened to the striking of steel on flint.  -Rudolf Steiner


Rudolf Steiner Skeptics Welcomed

Submitted by Freedom Professor on Sun, 07/12/2009 - 12:49pm.

Skepticism is an honest search for knowledge. It is used to search for the truth in matters based on sound reasoning, logic, and evidence. The idea is to neither initially accept claims nor dismiss them; it’s about questioning them and testing them for validity. In his Philosophy of Freedom, Rudolf Steiner presents various views and leaves it up to us to form our own opinion. Other times he seeks to convince us with sound logic and a description of inner processes of the mind that we can verify ourselves.

No thought or scrutiny needs to be used if accepting or denying the book’s content depends on how well it fits in with your current understanding, belief system or world-view. But honest scientific skepticism requires the effort of objective thinking and accurate observation.

Here is an example: In chapter 2 the theory of Materialism is compared to Spiritualism. Materialists seek to explain everything as matter and material process while Spiritualists seek to explain everything with spiritual theory. To do this the Materialists turn away from the spiritual nature of their own “I” while the Spiritualist turns away from the material world.

We can observe this shift of attention toward or away from the “I” while researching physical or spiritual phenomena and discover if what Steiner is saying is true or not. Chapter 2 continues on describing other one-sided world-views and how they result from where we are fixating our attention.

Turn to any page in the Philosophy of Freedom and you can find descriptions of the cognitive or ethical process connected together with objective thinking that with some work in your own reasoning and self-observation skills, you can determine yourself whether they are valid or not.

When is an action free?

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