Thursday, 7 November 2019

Limitations of Rudolf Steiner's (nonetheless essential) Philosophy of Freedom

Rudolf Steiner's The Philosophy of Freedom (PoF; 1894) played a very important role in my personal development - indeed, it was perhaps vital. Nonetheless it is ultimately wrong and can cause serious problems if not (after understanding it) one fails to discard or transcend it. .

This is because PoF explains itself in terms of an abstract, simplified, and grossly incomplete model of human thinking. It is A Model (Percept + Concept = united by Thinking).

And any model is false - because simplified compared with complex reality; and false because abstract when reality is 'animistic' (about Beings and their Relationships).

The PoF is, in fact, Ahrimanic in structure: it divides the world into categories of percepts and concepts, and suggests that these are united in thinking. Yet the world is not really divided into percepts; not is thinking objectively divisible into concepts.

Therefore if we begin in Ahrimanic materialist alienation; if we then understand PoF which tells us how it works, and how to escape it...

But if we stop at that point; assume the validity of PoF and try to live by the model of PoF - then we will be stuck in just another kind of abstract materialism: we will loop back into the demonic traps of Ahriman.

We will just create yet-another bureaucratic religion - as happened with Rudolf Steiner's Anothroposophy: which consists merely in learning stuff (studying the scriptures of The Doctor) and doing Anthroposophic stuff (education, medicine, agriculture etc) according to the usual Ahrimanic vocabulary/ lexicon, blueprints, flow charts, recipes, rules and regulations...); as defined by the usual Ahrimanic hierarchy or authority and temple structure with sacred places and rituals...

The Philosophy of Freedom does not, therefore, in itself give us freedom, not even a little bit - unless it is seen as a first step; as a ladder that is ascended then discarded. We need an alternative to Ahriman, not merely a different kind of Ahriman; nor a reaction back to seek an impossible to Luciferic unconscious instinct - or Original Participation...

We need, in other words, to move forward to what Steiner called the Intuitive Soul and Barfield called Final Participation - and this entails something qualitatively different-from the analysis, theories and methods of Steiner's Anthroposophy, and different too from the philosophical abstractions of Barfield.

They are perhaps essential - at least for some people such as myself, but they are a starting-point merely.