Chapter 8 Philosophy of Freedom Steiner

Revised 05/11/2009
Copyright © Tom Last 2009

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Philosophy of Freedom Self-Study Course
 Thinking Cognition Ethics
 Chapter 07   reality-based thinking
self  Chapter 08   ethics of self-knowledge  
 Chapter 06   independent thinking  
 mental picture 
 Chapter 09   ethical individualism
 Chapter 05   critical thinking concept  Chapter 10   ethics of authority
 Chapter 04   reactive thinking perception  Chapter 11   ethical naturalism
 Chapter 03   reflective thinking 
thought  Chapter 12   ethical norms
 Chapter 02   one-sided thinking desire  Chapter 13   ethics of self-gratification 
 Chapter 01   compelled thinking will  Chapter 14   group ethics



The Philosophy of Freedom

Chapter 8
The Factors Of Life


Ethics Of Intuitive Thinking:   If we turn towards thinking in its essence, we find in it both feeling and will, and these in the depths of their reality; if we turn away from thinking towards “mere” feeling and will, we lose from these their true reality. If we are ready to experience thinking intuitively, we can also do justice to the experience of feeling and of will; but the mysticism of feeling and the metaphysics of will are not able to do justice to the penetration of reality by intuitive thinking

If we once succeed in really finding life in thinking, we shall know that swimming in mere feelings, or being intuitively aware of the will element, cannot even be compared with the inner wealth and the self-sustaining yet ever moving experience of this life of thinking, let alone be ranked above it. -author's addition

Question: Is reason usually lifeless and abstract while willing and feeling fill the soul with warmth?

Other reading:
The Conflict between Intellect and Heart

Comments - Questions:
Chapter 8 Discussion Forum
Rita Stebbing
Summary 1
Summary 2
Content
Textbook
Author's Addition

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Chapter 8 Summary 1

Reviewing our steps and taking one further step, we find that the factors of the individual life consist of the following entities: the multitudinous percepts which enter consciousness; the activity of thinking, which links these percepts with concepts, which weaves a network of concepts, and which also links the individual with the universe; and two other attributes: feeling, which relates the percptual world to the individual self; and volition, through which the individual acts upon the world. But it is only as percepts that feeling and volition enter consciousness.

It is thinking alone that gives any knowledge of their real nature, as likewise of the nature of any other item in the perceptual world. The attributes of feeling and volition are subjective, limited to the subject, the self; but thinking, although appearing in connection with the self, determines the concepts of both subject and object, and is above their level, linking the human being with the universe. (next summary Chapter 9 The Idea of Spiritual Activity)
  
 


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8.0 Cognitive Being
If we call the establishment of such a thought connection an "act of cognition", and the resulting condition of ourself "knowledge", then, assuming the above supposition to be true, we should have to consider ourselves as beings who merely cognize or know.

8.1 Life Of Feeling
The Naïve Realist holds that the personality actually lives more genuinely in the life of feeling than in the purely ideal element of knowledge.

8.2 Perception of Feeling
To begin with, feeling is exactly the same, on the subjective side, as the perception is on the objective side.

8.3 Incomplete Feeling
Feeling is an incomplete reality, which, in the form in which it first appears to us, does not yet contain its second factor, the concept or idea.

8.4 Feeling Of Existence
The concept of self emerges from within the dim feeling of our own existence.

8.5 Cultivation Of Feeling
The cultivation of the life of feeling appears more important than anything else.

8.6 Feeling Knowledge
Attempts to make feeling, rather than knowing, the instrument of knowledge.

8.7 Philosopher Of Feeling
Makes a universal principle out of something that has significance only within one's own personality.

8.8 Mysticism Of Feeling
Wants to raise feeling, which is individual, into a universal principle.

8.9 Willing
The individual relation of our self to what is objective.

8.10 Philosophy Of Will
The will becomes the world-principle of reality.

8.11
Real Experience Of Feeling and Willing
Besides the ideal principle which is accessible to knowledge, there is said to be a real principle which cannot be apprehended by thinking but can yet be experienced in feeling and willing.

8.12 Universal Will
The will as a universal world-process.


Textbook
The Factors Of Life


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8.0 Cognitive Being
[1] Let us recapitulate what we have achieved in the previous chapters. The world faces man as a multiplicity, as a mass of separate details. One of these separate things, one entity among others, is man himself. This aspect of the world we simply call the given, and inasmuch as we do not evolve it by conscious activity, but just find it, we call it percept. Within this world of percepts we perceive ourselves. This percept of self would remain merely one among many other percepts, if something did not arise from the midst of this percept of self which proves capable of connecting all percepts with one another and, therefore, the sum of all other percepts with the percept of our own self. This something which emerges is no longer merely percept; neither is it, like percepts, simply given. It is produced by our activity. To begin with, it appears to be bound up with what we perceive as our own self. In its inner significance, however, it transcends the self. To the separate percepts it adds ideally determined elements, which, however, are related to one another, and are rooted in a totality. What is obtained by perception of self is ideally determined by this something in the same way as are all other percepts, and is placed as subject, or "I", over against the objects.

This something is thinking, and the ideally determined elements are the concepts and ideas. Thinking, therefore, first reveals itself in the percept of the self. But it is not merely subjective, for the self characterizes itself as subject only with the help of thinking. This relationship in thought of the self to itself is what, in life, determines our personality.

Through it we lead a purely ideal existence. Through it we feel ourselves to be thinking beings. This determination of our life would remain a purely conceptual (logical) one, if no other determinations of our self were added to it. We should then be creatures whose life was expended in establishing purely ideal relationships between percepts among themselves and between them and ourselves. If we call the establishment of such a thought connection an "act of cognition", and the resulting condition of ourself "knowledge", then, assuming the above supposition to be true, we should have to consider ourselves as beings who merely cognize or know.


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8.1 Life Of Feeling

[2] The supposition is, however, untrue. We relate percepts to ourselves not merely ideally, through concepts, but also, as we have already seen, through feeling. We are, therefore, not beings with a merely conceptual content.

The Naïve Realist holds that the personality actually lives more genuinely in the life of feeling than in the purely ideal element of knowledge. From his point of view he is quite right in interpreting the matter in this way.

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8.2 Perception of Feeling
To begin with, feeling is exactly the same, on the subjective side, as the perception is on the objective side. From the basic principle of naïve realism --that everything that can be perceived is real –it follows that feeling must be the guarantee of the reality of one's own personality.

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8.3 Incomplete Feeling
Monism, however, as here understood, must grant the same addition to feeling that it considers necessary for percepts, if these are to stand before us as full reality. Thus, for monism, feeling is an incomplete reality, which, in the form in which it first appears to us, does not yet contain its second factor, the concept or idea. This is why, in actual life, feelings appear prior to knowledge.

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8.4 Feeling Of Existence
At first, we have merely a feeling of existence; and it is only in the course of our gradual development that we attain to the point at which the concept of self emerges from within the dim feeling of our own existence. However, what for us appears only later, is from the first indissolubly bound up with our feeling.

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8.5 Cultivation of Feeling

This is why the naïve come to believe that in feeling they are presented with existence immediately, in knowledge only mediately.

The cultivation of the life of feeling, therefore, appears to them as more important than anything else.

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8.6 Feeling Knowledge
He will not believe that he has grasped the nexus of the world until he has received it into his feeling. He attempts to make feeling, rather than knowing, the instrument of knowledge.

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8.7 Philosopher Of Feeling
Since a feeling is something entirely individual, something equivalent to a percept, the philosopher of feeling is making a universal principle out of something that has significance only within his own personality. He attempts to permeate the whole world with his own Self.

What the monist, in the sense we have described, strives to grasp through concepts, the philosopher of feeling tries to attain through feelings, and he regards this kind of connection with the objects as the more direct.

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8.8 Mysticism Of Feeling
[3] The tendency just described, the philosophy of feeling, is often called mysticism. The error in a mystical outlook based upon mere feeling is that it wants to experience directly what it ought to gain through knowledge; that it wants to raise feeling, which is individual, into a universal principle.

[4] Feeling is a purely individual affair; it is the relation of the external world to our self as subject, in so far as this relation finds expression in a merely subjective experience.

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8.9 Willing
[5] There is yet another expression of human personality. The Self, through its thinking, shares the life of the world in general. In this manner, in a purely ideal way (that is, conceptually), it relates the percepts to itself, and itself to the percepts. In feeling, it has direct experience of a relation of the objects to itself as subject. In the will, the case is reversed. In willing, we are concerned once more with a percept, namely, that of the individual relation of our self to what is objective. Whatever there is in willing that is not a purely ideal factor, is just as much mere object of perception as is any object in the external world.

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8.10 Philosophy Of Will
[6] Nevertheless, the Naïve Realist believes here again that he has before him something far more real than can be attained by thinking. He sees in the will an element in which he is immediately aware of an occurrence, a causation, in contrast with thinking which only grasps the event afterwards in conceptual form.

According to such a view, what the I achieves through its will is a process which is experienced immediately. The adherent of this philosophy believes that in the will he has really got hold of the machinery of the world by one corner. Whereas he can follow other occurrences only from the outside by means of perception, he is confident that in his will he experiences a real process quite immediately.

The mode of existence in which the will appears within the Self becomes for him a concrete principle of reality. His own will appears to him as a special case of the general world-process; hence the latter appears as universal will. The will becomes the world-principle of reality just as, in Mysticism, feeling becomes the principle of knowledge. This kind of theory is called the philosophy of will (thelism). It makes something that can be experienced only individually into the fundamental factor of the world.


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8.11 Real Experience Of Feeling and Willing
[7] The Philosophy of Will can as little be called scientific as can the Mysticism based on feeling. For both assert that the conceptual understanding of the world is inadequate.
"The Philosophy of Will can as little be called scientific as can the Mysticism based on feeling."
Both demand a principle of existence which is real, in addition to a principle which is ideal. To a certain extent this is justified. But since perceiving is our only means of apprehending these so-called real principles, the assertion of both the Mysticism of feeling and the Philosophy of Will comes to the same thing as saying that we have two sources of knowledge, thinking and perceiving, the latter presenting itself as an individual experience in feeling and will.

Since the results that flow from the one source, the experiences, cannot on this view be taken up directly into those that flow from the other source, thinking, the two modes of knowledge, perceiving and thinking, remain side by side without any higher form of mediation between them. Besides the ideal principle which is accessible to knowledge, there is said to be a real principle which cannot be apprehended by thinking but can yet be experienced. In other words, the Mysticism of feeling and the Philosophy of Will are both forms of naïve realism, because they subscribe to the doctrine that what is directly perceived is real.

Compared with Naïve Realism in its primitive form, they are guilty of the yet further inconsistency of accepting one particular form of perceiving (feeling or will, respectively) as the one and only means of knowing reality, whereas they can only do this at all if they hold in general to the fundamental principle that what is perceived is real. But in that case they ought to attach equal value, for the purposes of knowledge, also to external perception.

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8.12 Universal Will
[8] The philosophy of will turns into Metaphysical Realism when it places the element of will even into those spheres of existence where it cannot be experienced directly, as it can in the individual subject. It assumes, outside the subject, a hypothetical principle for whose real existence the sole criterion is subjective experience.

As a form of Metaphysical Realism, the Philosophy of Will is subject to the criticism made in the preceding chapter, in that it has to get over the contradictory stage inherent in every form of Metaphysical Realism, and must acknowledge that the will is a universal world-process only in so far as it is ideally related to the rest of the world.


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Chapter 8 author's 1918 addition

[1] The difficulty of grasping the essential nature of thinking by observation lies in this, that it has all too easily eluded the introspecting soul by the time the soul tries to bring it into the focus of attention. Nothing then remains to be inspected but the lifeless abstraction, the corpse of the living thinking. If we look only at this abstraction, we may easily find ourselves compelled to enter into the mysticism of feeling or perhaps the metaphysics of will, which by contrast appear so “full of life”. We should then find it strange that anyone should expect to grasp the essence of reality in “mere thoughts”. But if we once succeed in really finding life in thinking, we shall know that swimming in mere feelings, or being intuitively aware of the will element, cannot even be compared with the inner wealth and the self-sustaining yet ever moving experience of this life of thinking, let alone be ranked above it.

It is owing precisely to this wealth, to this inward abundance of experience, that the counter-image of thinking which presents itself to our ordinary attitude of soul should appear lifeless and abstract. No other activity of the human soul is so easily misunderstood as thinking. Will and feeling still fill the soul with warmth even when we live through the original event again in retrospect. Thinking all too readily leaves us cold in recollection; it is as if the life of the soul had dried out. Yet this is really nothing but the strongly marked shadow of its real nature — warm, luminous, and penetrating deeply into the phenomena of the world. This penetration is brought about by a power flowing through the activity of thinking itself — the power of love in its spiritual form. There are no grounds here for the objection that to discern love in the activity of thinking is to project into thinking a feeling, namely, love. For in truth this objection is but a confirmation of what we have been saying.

If we turn towards thinking in its essence, we find in it both feeling and will, and these in the depths of their reality; if we turn away from thinking towards “mere” feeling and will, we lose from these their true reality. If we are ready to experience thinking intuitively, we can also do justice to the experience of feeling and of will; but the mysticism of feeling and the metaphysics of will are not able to do justice to the penetration of reality by intuitive thinking — they conclude all too readily that they themselves are rooted in reality, but that the intuitive thinker, devoid of feeling and a stranger to reality, forms out of “abstract thoughts” a shadowy, chilly picture of the world.

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Chapter 8 Summary 2

Feeling
Part II of The Philosophy of Freedom is called "The Reality of Spiritual Activity," and in this section, Steiner proceeds (from the basis of the elaborate critiques of subject-object thinking he laid out in Part I) to discusses the phenomenology of spiritual activity.

Chapter eight begins by reviewing this basis.

1) Human beings perceive a richly varied object world

2) Human beings perceive among these objects, their own selves

3) Something (which we call thinking) allows us to connect all of these perceptions to our selves.

Thinking is not merely subjective--thinking itself is objective enough of a thing to be the agent by which we actually know ourselves--and it seems there exists the possibility that through our thinking we might lead a purely ideal (as in idea-based) life. What keeps this from happening is "feeling" which is a re-subjectifying of the perception transaction. "Feeling, from the subjective side," Steiner writes, "is at first exactly the same as what perception is from the objective side (127)."

According to Steiner, feeling actually arises before knowing. To the perceiver, feeling is more immediate than knowing this leads the naive realist to believe that feeling is more important than knowing. This kind of feeling-based definition of reality leads the perceiver to try to universalize the world on the basis of individual experience--to turn the personal into the universal. Steiner asserts that mysticism is one species of this feeling-based definition of reality.

So when we begin to get our heads around Steiner's anthroposophy, the first thing we need to realize perhaps, is that it really isn't a form of mysticism.

Willing
Feeling and willing, according to Steiner, are two modes by which the ego/subject takes part in experiencing the outer world.

Feeling occurs when the subject experiences the object directly in relation to itself--willing occurs when the subject experiences itself directly in relation to the object. The focus is still the subject, but in the former case (feeling), the emphasis is on the impression the object makes upon the soul of the subject, in the latter case (willing), the emphasis is on the response the subject makes toward the object.

For philosophers of the will, or "thelists," (Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, etc.), the dominant importance on the subject's active response to the world constitutes the core of reality. Just as feeling becomes, for the mystic, the basis of all knowledge, so does willing, for the will-philosopher, become the basis of the entire world.

Steiner argues that neither mysticism nor philosophy of the will are valid as autonomous philosophical positions. The reason for this is that they share with naive realism the property of a sense-based definition of the world that seeks a transcendent supersensible ideal.

Once, again, thinking is held up as the primary means of properly apprehending the world. Although thinking can seem like a dry, abstract husk for which either the richness of mysticism or the power of will-philosophy might seem like a desirable alternative, Steiner maintains that authentic, life-imbued thinking is not only superior to feeling and willing, but ultimately includes feeling and willing too. Thinking, according to Steiner, "delves down warmly" into the things of the world. "This delving down occurs through a power that flows within the thinking activity itself, which is the power of love in spiritual form (131)."

"Whoever turns...to thinking in its essential being, will find in it both feeling and will, and these also in the depths of realit; whoever turns away from thinking and toward 'mere' feeling and willing only, will lose their true reality (132)." (next summary Chapter 9 The Idea of Spiritual Activity)
 

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