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Truth and Science
GA 3

VIII. Practical Final Remarks

The preceding discussion aimed to throw light on the relationship between knowing one’s essential being and knowing the objective nature of the world. What does it mean for us to become familiar with concepts (Erkenntnis) and to develop and practice science (Wissenschaft)? This was the question to which we sought the answer.

We have seen that the innermost core of the world plays out in our knowing. The lawful harmony, by which the world-all will be governed, comes into human awareness through appearance. It is therefore part of man's job to transfer the basic laws of the world, which otherwise govern all existence, but would never come into existence themselves, into the arena of apparent reality. This is the nature of knowing, that it represents the foundation of the world that can never be found in objective reality. Our familiarity with concepts, figuratively speaking, is a constant living into the foundation of the world.

Such a conviction must also shed light on our practical view of life. The entire character of one’s lifestyle is determined by moral ideals. These are the ideas we have about our tasks in life, or in other words, what we are supposed to accomplish through our actions.

Our actions are part of general world events. It is therefore also subject to the general laws of these events. If an event occurs somewhere in the universe, two things must be distinguished about it: its external course in space and time and its inner lawfulness.

Awareness of this lawfulness for human activity is only a special case of awareness. The views we have derived about the nature of knowing must therefore also be applicable here. Recognizing oneself as an active personal entity, therefore, means maintaining familiarity (for our actions) with the corresponding laws, namely with moral concepts and ideals. If we have recognized this lawfulness, then our behavior is also our work. Lawfulness is then not something given, lying outside of the object, onto which happenings appear, but as the content of the activity of the object itself. The object in this case is our own self, our “I”, our ego. If our ego has thoroughly infused its essential behavior with real awareness, then it feels at once the master of its behavior. So long as this does not take place, the laws of action appear to us as something alien, they dominate us. What we accomplish is under the pressure they exert on us. Once they have been transformed from such a foreign entity into our very own activity, then this compulsion ceases. The compulsion has become our own nature. The law no longer rules over us, but rather within us over the events emanating from our ego. The realization of an event by means of a law that is external to the person who realizes it is an act of bondage, while the realization of an event by the person who realizes it is an act of freedom. Recognizing the laws of one's actions means being aware of one's freedom. According to our explanations, the process of knowing is the developmental process towards freedom.

Not all human actions have this character. In many cases we do not have any knowledge of the laws that govern our actions. That part of our activity is the unfree part of our work. Opposite that is the activity in which we fully accept these laws. That is the free arena. Insofar as our life belongs to the free arena, it can only be described as moral. The transformation of the first area into one with the character of the second is the task of every individual’s development, as well as that of whole of mankind.

The most important problem of all human thinking is this: to understand a person as a self-grounded, free personality.