Tom Last's journal

Suggested Research Project - Reorganize and Expand Palmer's Work

Submitted by Tom Last on Sun, 08/09/2009 - 9:08am.

Research Project Suggestion: Otto Palmer looked through books and lectures by Steiner to collect his comments on The Philosophy of Freedom. This was published as Rudolf Steiner on His Book The Philosophy of Freedom and is helpful for students of the book. A start was made with this group. Volunteer researchers are needed to:

  • Type the quotes found by Palmer so they can be put online with a search engine for students.
  • Search the Steiner online archive to find more quotes to expand the material.
  • Reorganize the quotes. (Palmer's comments may not be needed)

Sample quote:
"Freedom lives in human thinking. The will itself is not directly free; what is free is the thought that energizes will. That is why I had to lay such stress on freedom as an attribute of thought when I discussed the moral nature of the will in my Philosophy of Freedom."
RS, The Course of my Life

Barack's World 3

Submitted by Tom Last on Sat, 08/01/2009 - 9:44pm.

 I am experimenting with presenting the Philosophy of Freedom in cartoon form with Barack Obama as the guide. I believe Obama's philosophy is very close to POF so I think the cartoon would also explain Obama. This strip is the opening of chapter 13, The Value of Life.

Interest in logical thought sequence rather than feelings for spiritual

Submitted by Tom Last on Sat, 08/01/2009 - 2:33pm.

"It is important that we at least have the good will and make the effort to advance to the kind of thinking that is free of emotion—to begin with, free of the emotions we know so well in ordinary life. If the content of The Philosophy of Freedom appeals to people because their feelings incline them to a more spiritual way of looking at things, they have not yet achieved pure thinking. Only those people who take it in because of the thoughts logical sequence and the way they support each other are relating to the book in the right way."

"When you have come so far as to be able to gradually rid your emotion-filled thinking of its subjective content so that it contains only pure concepts, then divine content, the content that comes from above, can flow in.

Community life, inner development, sexuality, and the spiritual teacher ...p.75
By Rudolf Steiner

Is The Language of Theosophy Outdated?

Submitted by Tom Last on Tue, 07/28/2009 - 9:13am.

Today all opinions pass through the internet. It is todays vehicle for communication. Each day I am on the internet listening to what people are saying. Waldorf schools are increasing coming under attack for its association with the "wacky" spiritual science of Rudolf Steiner. If you want to scare people with Steiner quotes about Lemuria, two devils, two Jesus children etc. it is easy to do. The opponents point to the religious cult of the Anthroposophical Society and the foolish faith-based belief system called anthroposophy to attack the public funding of Waldorf schools in the USA, UK, and Australia.

I advocate emphasizing that the core of anthroposophy and Waldorf is The Philosophy of Freedom which is independent of any group, dogma, or faith-based belief system. While Steiner's far out sounding clairvoyant readings are the focal point of a world wide attack on Steiner and Waldorf education the Philosophy of Freedom remains untouched by public criticism and instead finds even respect in the general public discussion.

When I warn anthroposophists of these growing attacks they are first usually surprised because they don't spend much time online so are uninformed. Then they say, "who cares". It is a smugness that implies that in the future the public will be turning back to the language of theosophy and ancient Eastern spiritual theory with its astral and etheric bodies and realize the anthroposophists were right all along.

Why would history move backward into the past? The medium of theosophy and its language was an appropriate vehicle in Germany 100 years ago. Steiner's work will be confirmed in the future, but likely using a new language appropriate for the culture. In contrast, the language of The Philosophy of Freedom is accepted today and should be for a long time.

Steiner recognized the limited life of his other books and lectures while he said the Philosophy of Freedom, which is about the fundamentals of knowing intended to make us all spiritual scientists rather than merely Steiner devotees, would endure.

Steve Sagarin of Barrington Waldorf high school in Massachusetts posted  these thoughts on his blog about understanding a term like "spiritual science".

We may swoon with delight or crinkle our noses in disgust at the term "spiritual science," but we should know its origins before we embrace or discount it.

If your daughter told you she was studying humanities in college could you imagine having the same reactions? "Geisteswissenschaft," literally, "spiritual science," refers in German universities to what we call the humanities. It's that simple.

Some claim that Husserl and Steiner, among others, use the term in a "new way," but I would argue that, if anything, they're actually reclaiming its older sense. That is, they aim to understand literature, philosophy, history--the humanities--as clearly and objectively as natural scientists aim to understand the natural world.

Whether or not they succeed, whether or not we agree with their method or findings, this was their project. Owen Barfield sometimes described his work in history and philosophy as aiming at a "science of meaning." I believe this is exactly what Steiner meant by spiritual science, and what we (used to) mean when we studied the humanities.

What are the alternatives to a science of meaning ("science" derives from Latin for "knowledge")? Accept the universe as meaningless? Teach that we each "create our own meaning"? I know it's wimpy not to accept these hard "truths," but, of course, they're not truths, they're assumptions. And I will hold them as such--possibilities not demonstrated--while I pursue the humanities.

Lowcost Steiner Books

Submitted by Tom Last on Mon, 07/27/2009 - 1:59pm.

I got a reprint of a rare copy of the 1922 edition of Rudolf Steiner's Philosophy of Spiritual Activity (Philosophy of Freedom) bound with Truth and Knowledge at Kessinger Books (buy book here). It is the early Hoernle English translation before the later translators started messing with it replacing words like "mind" with "spirit" making the book more confusing.

Kessinger Publishing utilizes advanced technology to publish and preserve thousands of rare, scarce, and out-of-print books. They search worldwide for hard-to-find books and publish them in affordable editions. Located near Glacier National Park in Montana, Kessinger Publishing is dedicated toward publishing and digitally preserving important literature for future generations.

They sell 200 Steiner titles at a low cost as the copyright has expired on these books.

Moral Technique

Submitted by Tom Last on Mon, 07/27/2009 - 10:07am.


POF 12-3 Moral Technique
Moral imagination, in order to realize its mental picture, must set to work in a definite sphere of percepts. Human action does not create percepts, but transforms already existing percepts and gives them a new form. In order to be able to transform a definite object of perception, or a sum of such objects, in accordance with a moral mental picture, one must have grasped the principle at work within the percept picture, that is, the way it has hitherto worked, to which one wants to give a new form or a new direction.

Further, it is necessary to discover the procedure by which it is possible to change the given principle into a new one. This part of effective moral activity depends on knowledge of the particular world of phenomena with which one is concerned. We shall, therefore, look for it in some branch of learning in general.

Moral action, then, presupposes, in addition to the faculty of having moral ideas (moral intuition) and moral imagination, the ability to transform the world of percepts without violating the natural laws by which these are connected. This ability is moral technique. It can be learnt in the same sense in which any kind of knowledge can be learnt.

Free Zone Situational Ethics

Submitted by Tom Last on Sun, 07/26/2009 - 2:50pm.



Free Zone Conversation

Submitted by Tom Last on Sun, 07/26/2009 - 12:09am.



Free Zone Ethical Individualist

Submitted by Tom Last on Sat, 07/25/2009 - 2:21pm.