Page 7 - The Philosophy of Freedom By Rudolf Steiner
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spiritual world, the Philosophy of Freedom does not exist mainly to provide a philosophical 

justification for their belief; its main value lies in the sound basis it can give to those who cannot bring 

themselves to accept anything that is not clearly scientific -- a basis for knowledge, for self- 

knowledge, for moral action, for life itself. It does not "tell us what to do", but it opens a way to the 

spirit for all those for whom the scientific path to truth, rather than the mystical, is the only possibility.

Today we hear about the "free world" and the "value of the individual", and yet the current scientific 

view of man seems to lend little support to these concepts, but seems rather to lead to a kind of 

morality in which every type of behavior is excused on the plea that "I cannot help being what I am!" 

If we would really value the individual, and support our feeling of freedom with knowledge, we must 

find a point of view which will lead the ego to help itself become what it wants to be -- a free being.

This cannot mean that we must abandon the scientific path; only that the scope of science must be 

widened to take into account the ego that experiences itself as spirit, which it does in the act of 

thinking. Thus the Philosophy of Freedom takes its start by examining the process of thinking, and 

shows that there need be no fear of unknown causes in unknown worlds forever beyond the reach of 
our knowledge, since limits to knowledge exist only in so far as we fail to awaken our thinking to the 

point where it becomes an organ of direct perception.

Having established the possibility of knowing, the book goes on to show that we can also know the 

causes of our actions, and if our motive for acting comes from pure intuition, from thinking alone, 

without any promptings from the appearances and illusions of the sense-world, then we can indeed act 

in freedom, out of pure love for the deed.

Man ultimately has his fate in his own hands, though the path to this condition of freedom is a long 

and a hard one, in the course of which he must develop merciless knowledge of himself and selfless 

understanding of others. He must, through his own labors, give birth to what St. Paul called "the 

second Adam that was made a quickening spirit". Indeed Steiner himself has referred to his philosophy 

of freedom as a Pauline theory of knowledge.

Notes On The Translation

This book was first translated into English by Professor and Mrs. R. F. Alfred Hoernle, in 1916, and 

was edited by Mr. Harry Collison, who wrote that he was fortunate to have been able to secure them as 

translators, "their thorough knowledge of philosophy and their complete command of the German and 

English languages enabling them to overcome the difficulty of finding adequate English equivalents 

for the terms of German Philosophy."

Following the publication of the revised German edition in 1918, Professor Hoernle translated the new 

passages and other incidental changes that Dr. Steiner had made. For this 1922 edition the title was 
changed, at the author's request, to The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity, with the added remark that 

"throughout the entire work 'freedom' should be taken to mean 'spiritual activity'." The reasons for this 

change and also for the present decision to change back to the original title are given below (see 

Freedom, below).

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