The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity: Basic Features of a Modern World View : Results of Soul Observation by the Scientific Method

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Anthroposophic Press, 1986 - Philosophy - 262 pages

Written in 1894 (CW 4)

Of all of his works, The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity is the one that Steiner himself believed would have the longest life and the greatest spiritual and cultural consequences. It was written as a phenomenological account of the "results of observing the human soul according to the methods of natural science.

This seminal work asserts that free spiritual activity--understood as the human ability to think and act independently of physical nature--is the suitable path for human beings today to gain true knowledge of themselves and of the universe. This is not merely a philosophical volume, but rather a warm, heart-oriented guide to the practice and experience of living thinking.

Readers will not find abstract philosophy here, but a step-by-step account of how a person may come to experience living, intuitive thinking--"the conscious experience of a purely spiritual content."

During the past hundred years since it was written, many have tried to discover this "new thinking" that could help us understand the various spiritual, ecological, social, political, and philosophical issues facing us. But only Rudolf Steiner laid out a path that leads from ordinary thinking to the level of pure spiritual activity--intuitive thinking--in which we become co-creators and co-redeemers of the world.

This volume is arguably the most essential of Steiner's works. The thoughts in this book establish the foundation for all of Anthroposophy.

C O N T E N T S

Preface by Rudolf Steiner

Science of Spiritual Activity (Freiheit)
1. Conscious Human Action
2. The Fundamental Desire for Knowledge
3. Thinking in the Service of Apprehending the World
4. The World as Perception
5. The Activity of Knowing the World
6. The Human Individuality
7. Are There Limits to Knowing?

The Reality of Spiritual Activity (Freiheit)
8. The Factors of Life
9. The Idea of Spiritual Activity (Freiheit)
10. Philosophy of Spiritual Activity and Monism
11. World Purpose and Life Purpose (the Vocation of Man)
12. Moral Imagination (Darwinism and Morality)
13. The Value of Life (Pessimism and Optimism)
14. Individuality and Genus

Final Questions
The Consequenses of Monism

Appendices

The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity is a translation from German of Die Philosophie der Freiheit (GA 4).

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About the author (1986)

Austrian-born Rudolf Steiner was a noted Goethe (see Vol. 2) scholar and private student of the occult who became involved with Theosophy in Germany in 1902, when he met Annie Besant (1847--1933), a devoted follower of Madame Helena P. Blavatsky (1831--1891). In 1912 he broke with the Theosophists because of what he regarded as their oriental bias and established a system of his own, which he called Anthroposophy (anthro meaning "man"; sophia sophia meaning "wisdom"), a "spiritual science" he hoped would restore humanism to a materialistic world. In 1923 he set up headquarters for the Society of Anthroposophy in New York City. Steiner believed that human beings had evolved to the point where material existence had obscured spiritual capacities and that Christ had come to reverse that trend and to inaugurate an age of spiritual reintegration. He advocated that education, art, agriculture, and science be based on spiritual principles and infused with the psychic powers he believed were latent in everyone. The world center of the Anhthroposophical Society today is in Dornach, Switzerland, in a building designed by Steiner. The nonproselytizing society is noted for its schools.

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