Connection of freedom with pure thinking and moral impulses

I laid stress in my Philosophie der Freiheit which was written in the early nineties, on the connection of the experience of freedom with what I called “pure thinking”. […] When we permeate pure thinking with moral ideas and impulses — that is, with ideas and impulses that are not associated with desires, or with sympathies and antipathies, but solely with pure, loving devotion to the deed that is to be done — when we do this and allow the impulse to quicken in our soul to action, then the action we perform is truly free.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA number unknown – The Threshold in Nature and in Man – Basle, February 1, 1921

Translated by Mary Adams

Previously posted on December 23, 2019



Free choice between good and evil

Freedom is inseparably connected with the idea of love. It would be impossible for man to develop either love or freedom without the possibility of sailing down into the abyss. A man unable, of his own free decision, to choose good or evil, would be a being who would only be led on a leading-string to a good which must be attained of necessity and who had no power to choose the good of his own fully purified will, by the love which springs from freedom. […]

The possibility of freedom could be given on no other condition than that man himself has to make the free choice between good and evil.


Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 104 – The Apocalypse of John: Lecture XII – Nuremberg – 30th June 1908

Translated by M. Cotterell

Previously posted on November 23, 2016

The age of intellectualism

We can say that it is one of the peculiarities of the present day that, above all, thinking, intellectualism has advanced since the middle of the fifteenth century. It is necessary that as part of the immense schooling it must undergo throughout earthly development, humanity must undergo the experience of being educated through intellectualism. In this sense, humanity must experience life with intellectuality as its core principle. The human being could never acquire true freedom without assimilating the intellectual principle in his being.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 197 – Gegensätze in der Menschheitsentwickelung  / West und Ost, Materialismus und Mystik, Wissen und Glauben – Stuttgart, March 5, 1920 (page 9-10)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Great ideals / Commonplace desires

If a man strives for sublimely great ideals, it is because they are the content of his own being, and their realization will bring him a joy compared to which the pleasure that a limited outlook gets from the gratification of commonplace desires is a mere triviality. Idealists revel, spiritually, in the translation of their ideals into reality.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 4 – The Philosophy of Freedom: Chapter Thirteen: The Value of Life (Optimism and Pessimism)

This is the seventh English edition, translated from the German, and with an Introduction by Michael Wilson.

Without materialism man could not have become free

At the primeval time of his development man had not only the two states he now has, of sleeping and waking and between these a chaotic dreamy state; there was then a, third state, in which reality was present. This was not merely a state of dreaming, for in it man was able, although his consciousness was damped down, to see pictures and to learn by them, for these pictures were true to spiritual reality. 

Now, as we know, in order that man should develop the full Earth-consciousness, this method of perception had to be withdrawn. If it had persisted, man would never have gained his freedom, he could not have become free if he had not been subjected to all the dangers, arguments and temptations of materialism; but he has to find his way back again to the Spiritual world, and must now be able to grasp it in full Earth consciousness.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 175 – Cosmic and Human Metamorphoses – Lecture 2 – The Metamorphoses of the Soul-Forces – Berlin, 13th February 1917

Translated by Harry Collison

Previously posted on April 19,  2017