Rudolf Steiner's Philosophy of Freehood

If you need more proof, then let me challenge you to rethink your current method of reading Steiner texts. Steiner said many things about the Philosophy of Freedom:




1.       If a person holds the same relation to this book that a virtuoso, in playing a selection on the piano holds to the composer of that piece, that is, if he reproduces the whole within himself - naturally according to his ability to do so - then through the strictly built up sequence of thought of this book - for it is written in this manner - katharsis will be developed to a high degree.




2.       This was not in fact my intention in writing the Philosophy of Spiritual Activity. Thus, it will not be popular with those who read books only to acquire information. The purpose of this book is to make the reader directly engage his thinking activity on every page. In a sense, the book is only a kind of musical score that one must read with inner thought activity in order to progress, as the result of one’s own efforts, from one thought to the next.






3.       Study then means for one desiring to make a somewhat elementary approach means acquiring a certain knowledge of the elementary facts of spiritual science itself; whereas for one who wishes to go further it means an inner meditation in a thought-structure which lets one thought grow of the another




4.       The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity called forth many misunderstandings because people cannot penetrate into the method of thinking employed in this book... the kind of thinking ... is one which I might call morphological thinking, one in which we think in forms. ... This thinking does not link one thought with the other, but it sets before the mind a kind of thought-organism.




5.       He who writes with style, must, when he begins to write an essay, keep in mind when writing the first sentence, also the last sentence. Yes, he must in fact direct his attention to the last sentence as well as the first, and if he is writing the second sentence, he must have the second to last sentence in his consciousness. To have one sentence in mind would only be allowed, if one is in the mid-point of the essay. One writes therefore his essay from the whole (to the parts) if one has a true feeling for prose style.




6.       In what I have named Anthroposophy, in fact in the Preface to my Philosophy of Spiritual Activity, you will meet with something which you not be able to comprehend if you only give yourself up to that passive thinking so specially loved today, to that popular god-forsaken thinking of even a previous incarnation




Let us summarize all six points: reproduce the chapter like a musical score, paragraph for paragraph, then meditate on its thought-sequence and structure, understand that the individual sentences and paragraph stand in polarity to each other with a midpoint sentence/paragraph and don’t think that the Preface to the Philosophy of Freedom is below you, since if you have not studied the form of the Preface using organic thinking, you are still thinking passively.


The Philosophy of Freehood is a great read. When I first got through the book I was so excited that I wrote summaries of each chapter and sent them to my dad. As a student at Frank Teichmann's Anthroposophical 'Studien Seminar' in Stuttgart Germany, I had the honor of working with a first-rate Steiner scholar who also happened to be an aeronautical engineer, Egyptologist, and an excellent historian of the history of consciousness thru art. There wasn't single aspect of history, science, spirituality, art, philosophy, and Christology that he wasn't expert in. He made learning alive and anthroposophy applicable.  Teichmann put Steiner on the map of world events. 


Under Teichmann's guidance I learned tons about the Philosophy of Freedom, its countless applications to science and moral issues. I just wanted to tell the world about this great book. I felt I had found a spiritual home.


While at the Teichmann seminar, a man living in the basement of the Christian Community showed me that the Philosophy of Freehood had special musical thought-forms. This basement dweller, Florin Lowndes, never showed me all that he knew, but did show me the skeleton that George O'Neil had discovered. I was so impressed that my favorite book had a secret form. I felt like I had found gold.


Lowndes told me that O'Neil was active in America, and had tried for decades to teach this heart-thinking to Anthroposophists. I was dumbfounded to find out that George O'Neil had taught in NYC and that all the branch leaders I had studied with, knew of this work, but had practically laughed O'Neil right out of town. I thought to myself: how could these Anthroposophists reject what is so clearly evident in all of Steiner's work? Well, I guessed, that must have been the Ahrimanic side of America, their inability to digest Steiner's pure artistic forms.


Most of what is written on the Philosophy of Freehood was done in German. People ask me about various translations and I always answer: read Lindeman and Wilson, but always have a German copy handy. Lindeman is very close in sentence and paragraph structure. I posted a numbered translation based on Lindeman and Wilson's translations. Tom Last, the most helpful Philosophy of Freedom researcher, has made numerous translations available on his website.


There is a long list of scholars on the Philosophy of Freehood: Teichmann, Prokofiev, Archiati, Kuhlewind, Witzemann, Last, and Bondarev.  Some see form, some don't. Some see seven-forms, some see twelve. As far as I can gather, most of these methods using thought-forms, were copied from O'Neil without credit given. To understand O'Neil and Steiner, one does not need all of the theoretical chatter that one finds in most of the researchers' books.



This translation corresponds to the German 1921 edition in every detail. Rudolf Steiner had an unorthodox use of DASHES!  Many English translations disregard them because to the untrained eye the dashes are meaningless. In this translation all of the sentences and paragraphs are numbered according to O'Neil's and Lowndes' exact reading of the German Text. Dashes used in the original 1894 text are parenthetical remarks - thus the chapters which were composed for the original edition use dashes as parenthesis. Dashes used in the Philosophy of Freedom for sections which were written in 1918 or after, such as the Preface to the revised 1918 edition, are to be considered markers of new paragraphs!  There are other  tricky places but if you follow the numbering system, some of your questions may be answered after a little study.


lectures on the heart logik of the Philosophy of Freedom

Download     Chapter One of the Philosophy of Freehood NUMBERED

 Adobe Acrobat Document [188.5 KB]
Chapter Two of the Philosophy of Freehood NUMBERED
Adobe Acrobat Document 141.5 KB
 Chapter Three of the Philosophy of Freehood NUMBERED
Adobe Acrobat Document 182.8 KB