Act I Scene 2 Philosophy of Freedom

This is part 2 of chapter 1 video. To see part 1 go here.


Act 1 Conscious Human Action
Scene 2 Why Do I Act The Way I Do?
Scene 2 Dr. Steiner and friends discuss why we act from rational thinking to action springing from the heart.

Student: Mathematist, what is your view on the question of free will?

Mathematist: It is not a question of whether we are all free or not free.
Free will is the result of something. Is the action a result of a conscious motive or the result of an unconscious urge?

Mathematist: The conscious motive will result in an action that must be judged differently than one out of blind urge. (2 slides)

Student: That would mean freedom is an Action That Is The Result Of A Conscious Motive.
In other words, it is important to know the reasons for one’s action.

Dr. Steiner: Unfortunately, we have always torn in two what is an inseparable whole: the human being.
We differentiate between the knower and the doer, and the one who matters the most has been left out: the one who acts out of knowledge.

Rationalist Lawyer: Human beings are free when they stand under the rule of reason alone, and are not subject to animal passions.

Student: You say we are Free When Controlled By Reason?

Rationalist Lawyer: Yes, freedom means being able to determine one’s life and action according to purposes and deliberate decisions.

Dr. Steiner: Consider this: Do reason, purposes, and decisions exercise compulsion over a person in the same way as animal passions do?

Dr. Steiner: If, without my involvement, a rational decision emerges in me with the same need as hunger and thirst, then I can only unavoidably follow it, and my freedom is an illusion.

Student: Freedom, then, would mean we are not controlled by biased rationality or the obsessive pursuit of goals.
Should we just not set goals and instead focus instead on whether we have the opportunity or Ability To do What We Want?

Psychologist: You are saying, Student, that free will is being able to want something without having a reason, without a motive?
But what does wanting mean other than having a reason for preferring to do, or trying to do, this rather than that?

Psychologist: It is entirely correct that the human will is not ‘free’ inasmuch as its direction is always determined by the strongest motive.

Dr. Steiner: Let me point out that only motives in general are being discussed again, without taking into consideration the difference between unconscious and conscious motives.
The main point is not whether I am able to carry out a decision once made, but how the decision comes about within me.

Spirit Psychic: A donkey lives spontaneously without the need of rational thinking.
The will is indeed the cause of the donkey’s turning around, but the willing itself is unconditioned; it is an absolute beginning: Freedom Is Unconditioned Will.

Materialistic Scientist: An assumption of that kind is contradicted by experience and the universal validity of the law of causality.
Just because we do not perceive the causes that determine our impulsive action doesn’t mean it is not causally determined at all.

Dr. Steiner: Enough of examples that fight against the existence of freedom without knowing at all what freedom is.
It is entirely obvious that my action cannot be free if I, as the doer, carry it out without knowing why I do it.

Student: But what about the kind of action for which we have Knowledge Of The Reason?

Metaphysician: This brings up the question of knowledge, what is meant by “knowing” a motive?
To answer this we need to examine the minds activity of thinking, since thinking is the means by which we gain knowledge of anything.

Dr. Steiner: Exactly, when we understand what thinking in general means, it will be easy to become clear about the role that thought plays in human action.

Dynamic Artist: Excuse me Dr. Steiner, you don’t mean to imply that all our actions flow only from the sober deliberations of our intellect.

Dr. Steiner: I am far from calling human, in the highest sense, only those actions which proceed from abstract judgment.
But the moment our conduct lifts itself above the area of the satisfying of purely animal desires, our motives are always permeated with thoughts.

Dynamic Artist: Love and compassion are driving forces for actions that cannot be reduced into cold intellectual concepts.
It is the heart, the sensibility that comes into its own here.

Dr. Steiner: You see, the heart does not create the motives of action.
The motive already exists, the feeling of love then flows into the motive.
Compassion appears in my heart when the mental image of a person who arouses compassion occurs in my consciousness.
The way to the heart is through the head.

Student: Our thoughts determine whether we have Love For Another?

Phenomena Researcher:
My research has shown that if love is not merely the expression of the sexual drive, then it is based on the thoughts we form of the loved one.
The feeling of love arises from the mental pictures we form of the other person.
The more idealistic these mental pictures are, the more blissful is our love.

Dr. Steiner: Here again, thought is the father of feeling.

Student: Doesn’t love make us blind to the flaws of the loved one?

Sense Perceptible: We can turn this around and say: Love opens the eyes to the good qualities of the loved one.
Many will pass someone by without noticing their good qualities.

One person notices their good qualities, and just because of this, love awakens in the soul.

Student: I see, love opens our eyes to the Perception Of Good Qualities.

Student: From whatever point of view we approach the matter, it only becomes more clear that if we are to know why we act we must ask: What is the origin of our thoughts?

Dr. Steiner: I will turn to this question next.

END