Tom Last's journal

Philosophy of Freedom Tee-Shirts have arrived

Submitted by Tom Last on Sat, 07/25/2009 - 9:51am.

I believe the Philosophy of Freedom captures the spirit of the new 21st century. This website has been putting out that message for five years with 30 videos attracting almost 60,000 views, 17000 search pages online (yahoo), and 170,000 website visits. And now we are starting to see the results of all this work from the many contributors to the website.

The Philosophy of Freedom T-shirt!

Hardly mentioned before, even within anthroposophy, Rudolf Steiner’s Philosophy of Freedom has now risen to the core of American culture. You haven’t arrived until your image is displayed boldly on a T-shirt that others are willing to wear.

The Philosophy of Freedom is COOL, AWESOME, and more. Increase your status by wearing it on your body!

Has your reading of the Philosophy of Freedom been a personal choice done behind closed doors? Time to come out of the closet and proudly tell the world who you are. 

A private entrepreneur selected “Philosophy of Freedom” along with some other Waldorf designs to sell online. The T-shirt company is not affiliated with this website, but we could offer a line of T-shirts if we came up with some designs.

You have a choice of several types and colors of the cotton T-shirts. You can even modify the wording. Order your T-shirt here.

If you are a real fan of the book you may also want to order some boxer shorts.

Does Freedom Lead to Anarchy?

Submitted by Tom Last on Fri, 07/24/2009 - 3:36pm.

I am searching foreign language websites looking for interesting content to post and found this on a German site.

POF 9-8 "I do not work out mentally whether my action is good or bad; I carry it out because I love it.... I do not ask myself, "How would another man act in my position?" -- but I act as I, this particular individuality, find I have occasion to do.... I feel no compulsion, neither the compulsion of nature which guides me by my instincts, nor the compulsion of the moral commandments, but I want simply to carry out what lies within me."

"There is an anecdote of Rudolf Steiner that he was very amused to find his "Philosophy of Freedom" in a library on the shelf below, "Anarchy".  The above quotations set such an arrangement that is obviously close. Steiner advocates vehemently against the idea that the human will is determined by external circumstances, but to the contrary, he says that if a person fully develops as a human being his intention (wanting) just like his thinking is free." by Andreas Meier

But don't worry, the free spirit's non-conformity may be viewed as dangerous only for a limited amount of time until you get to know him better.

POF 9-12 The philistine, who sees the embodiment of morality in an external code, may see in the free spirit even a dangerous person. But that is only because his view is narrowed down to a limited period of time. If he were able to look beyond this, he would at once find that the free spirit just as seldom needs to go beyond the laws of his state as does the philistine himself,

 

Monist Cartoon

Submitted by Tom Last on Thu, 07/23/2009 - 10:42pm.

 



POF 7-2 The conditions necessary for cognition to take place are there through the I and for the I. The I sets itself the problems of cognition; and moreover it takes them from an element that is absolutely clear and transparent in itself: the element of thinking.

If we set ourselves questions which we cannot answer, it must be because the content of the questions is not in all respects clear and distinct. It is not the world which sets us the questions, but we ourselves.

 

Author's Book Sale Cartoon

Submitted by Tom Last on Mon, 07/20/2009 - 12:54am.

What is Anthroposophy?

Submitted by Tom Last on Sat, 07/11/2009 - 12:03pm.

Beyond Mere Feeling or Mere Willing to Pure Thinking
Anthroposophy, a spiritual philosophy based on the teachings of Rudolf Steiner, postulates the existence of an objective, intellectually comprehensible spiritual world accessible to direct experience through the conscious cultivation of a form of thinking independent of sensory experience.

Beyond Goethe to the Observation of Thinking
Steiner built upon Goethe's conception of an imaginative power capable of synthesizing the sense-perceptible form of a thing and the concept we have of that thing (an image of its inner structure or nature). Steiner added to this the conception that a further step in the development of thinking is possible when the thinker observes his or her own thought processes. "The organ of observation and the observed thought process are then identical, so that the condition thus arrived at is simultaneously one of perception through thinking and one of thought through perception. " Thus, in Steiner's view, we can overcome the subject-object divide through inner activity, even though all human experience begins by being conditioned by it.

Beyond Feeling Mysticism and Speculative Metaphysics to Scientific Thinking
In this connection, Steiner examines the step from thinking which is determined by outer impressions to what he calls sense-free thinking. He characterizes thoughts which he considers to be without sensory content, such as mathematical or logical thoughts, as free deeds. Steiner believed that he had thus located the origin of free will in our thinking, and in particular in sense-free thinking. The epistemic basis for Steiner's later anthroposophical work is contained in the seminal work, Philosophy of Freedom. Steiner believed in the possibility of applying the clarity of scientific thinking to spiritual experience, which he saw as deriving from an objectively existing spiritual world.

Beyond Eastern Paths to Western Tradition
Steiner's writing, though appreciative of all religions and cultural developments, emphasizes Western tradition as having evolved to meet contemporary needs.

Beyond Theosophy’s “Divine Wisdom” to Anthroposophy’s “Human Wisdom”
The term anthroposophy is from the Greek, virtually *ανθρωποσοφία, from ἄνθρωπος "human", and σοφία "wisdom". It is listed by Nathan Bailey (1742) as meaning "the knowledge of the nature of man". Steiner began using the word to refer to his philosophy in the early 1900s as an alternative to theosophy. The term for Madame Blavatsky's movement, theosophy, is itself from the Greek θεοσοφία, with a meaning of "divine wisdom".

Anthroposophy aims to extend the clarity of the scientific method to phenomena of human soul-life and to spiritual experiences.

Beyond Spiritual Authority to the Free Individual
Steiner hoped to form a spiritual movement which would free the individual from any external authority: "The most important problem of all human thinking is this: to comprehend the human being as a personality grounded in him or herself. "

Teacher Grabs Bottom of “Most beloved” Student

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".

Fishing for Moral Intuitions

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)

How do you fish for moral intuitions?

Dogma of Traditional Anthroposophy and The Philosophy of Freedom

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.

How Do You Present POF To Engineers?

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?