5 September 1921, Stuttgart
The most important question in modern intellectual life, a question that casts its shadow on the whole of cultural life, is one that really everybody is aware of today in their feelings; yet it can only be solved, or attempted to be solved, by a method that leads to supersensible perception — from the ordinary perception of material things to Imagination, Inspiration and finally Intuition. This most important question is one that is bound to be raised by every wholly unprejudiced soul, anyone with inner integrity who has a genuine interest in the nature of man. On the one hand the soul has to face the moral, the ethical views that may be held today, and on the other it must consider life as it is seen from the scientific point of view today, a view that is rightly given recognition. Ethical and moral life faces us with burning questions today for the very reason that this is an age when ethical questions are at the same time also social questions, and the social question is one every human being feels to be a burning question.
Let us consider how the existing world presents itself to the mind in modern thought on the basis of scientific knowledge. Genuine science, genuine study of nature, aims to understand the things in this world as they are of necessity, in their causal origins. And these causal origins, this necessity, is to be consistently applied to everything that is to be found in the order of the universe, including man. When we want to understand man through science today, we apply to him, almost as a matter of routine, the method of gaining knowledge we habitually use for natural phenomena that are outside of man. We then establish hypotheses, with greater or lesser daring, to extend what science has discovered in relation to nature as it lies before us, for our observation, to cosmic facts and the nature of the cosmos. Hypotheses as to the beginning and the end of the earth are evolved on the basis of ideas formed in science. Using this scientific approach, we come to a point where we have to say to ourselves, if we are consistent in our methods: We must not stop when it comes to the freedom of man. I have already made some reference to the problem we are facing here.
Anyone who because of a certain desire for consistency looks for a formalized, standardized system that will explain the world will find that he has to decide between the premise of freedom as something given empirically, as an immediate human experience, and on the other hand natural necessity pertaining to everything. As a result of the habits of thinking and perception in which men and women have been trained over the last centuries, he will decide in favour of nature-given necessity. He has the experience of freedom, yet he will declare it to be an illusion. He will extend the sphere of absolute necessity to the most inward and subtle aspects of human nature, with the result that man is completely held in the cocoon spun by science-determined inevitability. And the same will be done with regard to the hypothetical ideas concerning the beginning and end of the earth. The laws discovered in physics, chemistry and so on are used to develop theories such as the nebula theory, which is the Kant-Laplace theory of the origins of the earth. The second thermodynamic law is used to develop theories about the heat death the earth is supposed to suffer in the end. 1See Rudolf Steiner's reply to a question on the subject of entropy (after a lecture given on 12 Nov. 1917 in Zurich) in Anthroposophie undakademische Wissenschaften, Europa Verlag, Zurich 1950, p. 179 ff.
In this way we can touch even on the most intimate aspects of human nature and the very limits of the universe by applying an approach that has undoubtedly proved fruitful in modern times when it comes to elucidating the phenomena of nature, phenomena that surround us in the world where we walk about between birth and death. But when we reflect on ourselves to some extent and ask ourselves where the true rank and dignity of man lies, what value there really is in man, we turn our attention also to the moral sphere, the sphere that is responsible for moral and ethical impulses in our conscious mind. We feel that a form of existence which is really worth calling human can only be achieved by following ethical ideas, ideas that we enter into and imbue with religious feeling. We cannot call ourselves human in the real sense of the word unless we think also of impulses within us that we call moral, impulses that then flow out into the social life. We see these impulses as bearing within them the pulse of what we call the divine element in the world order. Yet for anyone who today in all honesty takes up the point of view from which an overview can be gained of the order of nature based on mechanism and causality, on necessity, there can be no bridge from this natural order — and a certain honesty in our view of things compels us also to include man in this order — to that other order which is a moral one, the order man must consider connected with all of his rank and dignity, all of his value.
Very recently, however, a certain way of putting things has been evolved that aims to pretend that the gulf which has opened up between two essential elements of our human nature does not exist. It has been said that the term ‘scientific’ can be applied only to anything that aims to explain the world, inclusive of man, inclusive of the beginning and the end of the world, in terms of natural necessity. From this point of view, nothing is considered valid unless it fits without contradiction into the system of thought representing this natural order. Separately from this, however, a realm with quite a different kind of certainty is set up, a realm based on certainty of faith. We look to the moral light that shines within us and say to ourselves: No scientific knowledge can in any way affirm the significance of this moral realm; yet man has to find certainty of faith; he must come to acknowledge this realm out of the subjective element, so that he is in some way connected with the realm that bears within it the stream of moral imperatives.
Many people will no doubt feel reassured when they have neatly separated the things one is able to know from the things one is supposed to believe. Perhaps such a separation provides a certain reassurance in life, a feeling of certainty in life. Yet if we delve deeply enough — not with one-sided thinking but with everything our thinking can experience when it links up with the whole range of faculties in the human soul and spirit — we must arrive at the following. We shall then have to say to ourselves that if the realm of natural inevitability really is the way we have got in the habit of visualizing it in recent centuries, then there is no possible way of saving the moral realm. This has to be said because there is simply no evidence anywhere in this moral realm of a power to prevail against the realm of the natural order. Merely consider the idea which had to evolve, with a certain inner justification, out of the concept of entropy 2Entropy — in thermodynamics a quantitative factor used to define the thermal state of a system. (Translator) — let me state explicitly, had to evolve — that one day all other forms of energy on earth will have been converted into heat, that this heat cannot convert to other forms of energy, that this will lead to the heat death of the earth. Honest thinking, holding fast to the thought habits of modern times and therefore the principle of causation, will be unable to say anything but that this earth subject to heat death is a vast battlefield strewn with the corpses not only of all men, but also of all moral ideals. Those must disappear into a state of non-being once heat death has come upon the earth, according to a point of view that considers natural necessity to be the only valid principle.
The feeling this engenders in a person who looks at the world with an unprejudiced eye is one that takes away his certainty of a moral world order. It inevitably causes him to see the world in a dualistic way, so that really all he can say is: The moral ideal arises from the sphere of natural inevitability like froth and bubbles, and like froth and bubbles moral impulses shall vanish. You see, the inward element which has to do with the rank and dignity of man cannot be considered something which is in being and can be incorporated in a philosophy based on recognition of natural inevitability only. As I have said, it is possible to make formal distinction between scientific knowledge and faith, yet as soon as one assumes such a certainty of faith, science has to examine it rigorously, and the result will be that certainty of faith cannot provide inner assurance as to the reality of the moral sphere.
This has an effect not only on man's theoretical ideas. In anyone who is honest about life it must have an effect on his deepest feelings. In the realm of man's deepest feelings, processes that are deeply unconscious will then have a destructive effect on the foundations of man's inner certainty, on that element in man that actually enables him not only to think of his relationship to the world as one that holds firm, but also to feel and to will it to be such. Anyone who has some understanding of how these things hang together will be able to say to himself: The devastating waves thrown up so ominously from the depths of human life in the 20th century have in the final instance arisen from the accord, the unison — though we could also say the discord — of everything individual human beings experience for themselves. This disastrous time we live in has in the final instance been born out of the innermost condition and constitution of human souls and human hearts. The type of inner conflict I have described does not stay merely at the surface of soul life, as a theoretical view. It descends to the depths from which our instinctive life, the life of conscience, arises. There, the conflict is transformed into feelings that are at odds with the order existing on earth, feelings that give rise to disorder, to asocial attitudes, rather than a potential for creating social form.
What I have said today will not be appreciated to its full extent by many people; but taking a fairly unbiased look at the way the human intellect has developed over the last few hundred years and particularly in most recent times, it is possible to foresee the moral consequences, the kind of social structure which will have to result from this conflict in human souls — and within the very near future. We shall never find the answer to the burning question as to why we live in such troubled times unless we set about finding the building stones for what in the depths of human life are our own needs.
The opposite to what I have described is the cosmic insight sought through the spiritual science of Anthroposophy by progressing through Imagination and Inspiration to Intuition. We shall see how the spiritual science of Anthroposophy is able to come to terms with the most burning question of today, the question I have just been discussing, because of the insights it believes it is able to gain by following its path. I have described the path spiritual science takes through Imagination and Inspiration. I have pointed out that the exercises which I cannot describe in detail on this occasion may be found in my books, books I have mentioned several times before. Those exercises to achieve imaginative perception will make the element of spirit and soul a conscious content in the same way as our ordinary consciousness has a content within it when it lives in memory. Behind that which arises as memory, by deliberate choice or involuntarily, lies our physical and etheric organization. Processes occurring in our physical and etheric organization are coming up into conscious awareness at that point. With the exercises described in great detail in my books, it is possible to achieve purely in soul and spirit what our physical and etheric organization does in the ordinary process of remembering. As a result, ideas will arise that in a purely formal way are similar to remembered ideas, but they relate to an objective external content, not to one based on personal experience. By practising Imagination in this way we prepare ourselves for insight into a genuinely objective supersensible world.
To advance to Inspiration, it will then be necessary not only to practise the generation of such ideas in soul and spirit, ideas similar to remembered ideas, but we shall have to direct our efforts towards forgetting in soul and spirit, removing such Imaginations from the consciousness we have now achieved. We need to practise no longer to have the Imaginations, for they are unreal, but deliberately to remove them from our conscious mind, so that we then have a conscious mind, if I may put it like this, that is to some extent empty. If we achieve this, we shall have the ability, with an ego strengthened by all these exercise processes, to find our way to the revelations of the objective supersensible world. Where our Imaginations previously have been subjective, objective Imaginations will now light up in our conscious mind. The lighting up of such objective Imaginations, Imaginations not arising out of us but out of spiritual objectivity, that is Inspiration. We are in a way reaching the borders of the supersensible sphere which reveals its outer aspect to us in those Imaginations. In the sphere of our sensory perception, we can convince ourselves of the reality of the objective outside world that provides the basis for this world of the senses. We can do this by allowing the whole human being to be active within this sphere of sensory perception. In the same way, the Imaginations achieved at this point reveal to us with the fullest power of conviction the supersensible world which they bring to expression.
It is now a question of continuing on this path of knowledge to reach a further stage. We achieve this by not merely-taking the process of forgetting so far that we rid ourselves of Imaginations, but by going yet one step farther. When we attain to the imaginative world, the first thing to show itself is our own life, the course it has taken. We then live not just in the moment in our conscious awareness but within the whole river of life, gong back almost to the moment of birth. If we are then able to progress to Inspiration, the overview we have so far had over our life from the time of birth expands, and we perceive a supersensible world out of which we have come into the physical, sense-perceptible world through birth or through conception. The field of our spiritual vision will extend to the worlds we lived through before birth or conception and which we shall live through again when we have gone through the gate of death. The prospect of the supersensible world to which we belong opens up through insight gained in Inspiration.
It is possible to take our efforts beyond the point where we get rid of Imaginations containing details from within the horizon of the Imaginative world. We may forget the Imagination of our whole being as a human person, that is, discard, if we gain strength to do so, eradicate all we have experienced from birth what has become the collective content of our ego, and also what has been added as our horizon expanded to include a spiritual world. This will not weaken the ego but indeed strengthen it, through self-forgetting. And it will gradually take us into the reality of the spiritual world, the world above the one perceptible to the senses. We live into union with the reality of this spiritual world. We come to see our vision of repeated earlier lives as something showing us the ego at different stages. And once we have gained the ability to forget the ego at its present stage, that is, to shut out its imaginative content, we come to see the eternal ‘I’ or ego.
The things Anthroposophy speaks of are not derived out of any kind of blue haze of mysticism. It is possible to define every step along the way to every single insight. This way is one that is not external; it is an inner one throughout. It also is a way that leads to comprehension of a reality that is genuinely objective, though beyond sensory perception. By achieving genuine intuitive insight in this way, we come really and truly to see through our thinking, the actual process of forming ideas in everyday life, a process we apply to all our sensory perceptions. We arrive at the full, the whole reality of a process which to a certain degree can also be conceived of, empirically conceived of, in the way I have tried to describe in my Philosophy of Freedom. There I attempted to draw attention to pure thought, to the thinking processes that can also be alive within us before we have joined this particular part of our thinking with some external perception or other to make the full reality. I have drawn attention to the fact that this pure thought process as such can be perceived as an inner soul content. Its true nature, however, can only be recognised when genuine Intuition arises in the soul on its path to higher knowledge. Then we are able to see through our own thinking process, as it were. It is only through Intuition that we enter into our own thinking process, for Intuition consists in entering with our own being into something that is supersensible, in immersing ourselves in this supersensible element.
We then come to perceive something which it is again a kind of cognitive destiny to experience. We experience something quite tremendous as we enter through Intuition into the nature of cognition. We come to know how we are organized as human beings in terms of matter. We know how far our physical organization extends. And we also perceive through Intuition that it goes as far as providing a counterbase, the foundation, as it were, on which thinking can develop, and that the material processes as such need to be broken down at all points where true thinking occurs. To the same extent as material processes are broken down it is possible for something else, for thinking, the forming of ideas, to occupy the place where material elements have been subject to destruction.
I know all the objections that can be raised against the words I am now saying, but intuitive perception leads us to see, with regard to the physical sphere, that where thinking processes develop, material vision will perceive mere nothingness. It leads us to say: When I think, I am not — for as long as I regard material existence, normally considered the form of existence that counts, the only valid form of existence. Matter must withdraw first in the organism and make room for thinking, for the forming of ideas; that is when this thinking, this forming of ideas, sees a possibility of unfolding in man. At the point, therefore, where we perceive thinking in its reality, we perceive degradation, destruction of material existence. We gain insight into the way matter turns into nothing.
This is the point where we have reached the limit of the law of conservation of matter and of energy. It is necessary to recognize the limits of this law relating to matter and energy, so that we may take courage and contradict it where necessary. It will never be possible for anyone to see through the essential nature of thinking in an unbiased way, at the point where matter destroys itself, if they regard the law of conservation of matter to be absolute; if they do not know that it applies in the sphere of what we can survey externally in the field of physics, chemistry etc.. but that it does not apply at the point where thinking appears on the scene in our own human organization. If it were not necessary to present such insights to the world today, for certain underlying reasons, I would not expose myself to all the derision and objections that are bound to come from those who, conditions being as they are, consider the law of conservation of matter and of energy to be absolute, to be applicable throughout.
On the one hand therefore Intuition reveals to us the relationship of thinking to ordinary matter as it surrounds us in the physical world. On the other hand. Intuition also reveals to us the relationship of Inspiration, of the Inspiration that pertains to the spirit, to the sphere of human feelings, to the rhythmical life of man. In the sphere of nerves and senses, physical matter is destroyed. As a result the sphere of nerves and senses can provide the basis for ideation, for thinking. The second system in man is the rhythmical system. At the level of the soul, man's feeling life is connected with this in the same way as the thinking life is connected with the sphere of the nerves and senses. The relationship between the objective world outside man — which we are approaching through Inspiration — and man himself shows us that through Inspiration we become aware of a cosmic entity that extends its activities into us in the same way as the sense-perceptible world extends into us through ideation. This inspired world comes in specifically through the breathing process, the rhythms of which continue also into the processes occurring in the brain and in the rest of the organism.
We then come to know the element which lives within man as rhythm. Matter is not killed here in the same way as it is in the thinking process, but life is paralysed, so that it needs to fan itself into flame again and again. The usual, purely mechanical breathing rhythm is based on an inner rhythm which in a certain dualism splits itself into the physical process of respiration and the soul process of feeling. We perceive the unity of this feeling process, in the soul on the one hand and the physical rhythms of our respiration on the other, as something which has objective existence in Inspiration and can be penetrated by Intuition. In short, we can come to perceive the whole way in which the world of feelings and man's rhythmical element belong together, come to perceive that here the material element is not cancelled out completely as in the nerves and senses, but that the material element is partly paralysed. So we gradually come to see through man. We look at the feeling life of man and see something there that can exist only because life is partly paralysed again and again, in rhythmical sequence, and has to fan itself into flame again.
A second, important element in the nature of man is thus revealed when we perceive the way enlivening and paralysing processes act in concert. We see the significance of everything that is rhythmical in man, and how it is connected with man's essential being as a whole, in body and soul. As we come to perceive this second element in man, it will however become clear to us that man bears within himself a real force that is in rhythmical interplay with an external force that lies in the supersensible sphere. We see, as it were, an inner and an outer force swinging to and fro. In a similar way it is possible to perceive man in his metabolism and limbs.
Ascending to Inspiration, to Intuition, and Imagination, we perceive in soul and spirit the real forces that normally are unconsciously at work in man. Our usual object-bound perception only provides formal elements; we are merely looking on at a world, as it were. Anything we achieve through Imagination, Intuition and Inspiration however is first of all an independent product of our inner soul, but in supersensible perception we relate it to something that is objective in man, so that we are finally able to see how the human will acts when we act ethically. Having first of all realized that pure thought represents matter being broken down and that it altogether has to do with processes of death, processes effecting involution, we come to realize that everything that has will-like soul qualities has to do with processes of anabolism (building up) — with growth processes. The processes of growth and anabolism, the processes of organization and reproduction in us, reduce our normal conscious awareness for the depths of the human organization, and the will rises from those depths of human nature, depths our ordinary consciousness does not reach. Our thinking lives in a sphere where death enters in; the will element lives in the sphere of growth, of healthy development, of bearing fruit.
It is then possible to perceive, out of Intuition, how out of metabolism and through the will — which at this point however is motivated by pure thought — matter is pushed to the place in the human organism where it is to be broken down. Thinking activity as such breaks matter down: the will builds it up. It does it in such a way, however, that initially the building-up process remains latent in the human organization in the course of life as it moves towards death. But a building-up process is present. When we achieve truly independent moral Intuitions in our moral intentions, as described in my Philosophy of Freedom, we are living a life, on the basis of our organization, where transformed matter is, through will activity, put in a place where matter has been destroyed. Man develops inner creativity, building-up processes. In other words, within the cosmos we see nothingness getting filled with newly formed elements in the human organization, in an absolutely material sense. This means nothing else but that in consistently following the path of Anthroposophy we reach the point where purely moral ideals effect cosmic creation within man, to the point of materiality.
We have now discovered, in a way, where the moral world itself becomes creative, where something arises that ensures its own reality, out of human morality, because it bears this within itself, itself creating it. When we then come to see the outside world in the light of this Intuition, the mineral kingdom first of all shows itself to be in the process of being killed, in a process of decay. This is a process we have come to know well in the material process that corresponds to our own thinking process. We therefore come to see how this process of decay takes hold also of plant and animal life. There we are not thinking in terms of heat death — though within certain limits this does apply — but looking at the disappearance of the whole mineral-permeated world that is all around us. We see the world we realize to be based on causal necessity as one that is perishable, and we see the world we build up out of pure moral ideals arising on the basis of that other world which is dying. In other words, we now perceive how the moral world order relates to the world order of physical causality. A morally pure will is the element in human nature that overcomes causality in man himself and therefore also for the whole world.
If one takes an honest look at the explanation of nature based on causality, there is no place in the world where it is not valid within its particular sphere. And because it is valid there must be a power that destroys its validity. This power is the moral sphere. The moral sphere, recognized out of man's whole nature, holds within itself the power to break through natural causality, not by effecting miracles, however, but in a process of evolution. The element which within the individual human being thus presents itself as the destroyer of causality will only gain significance in future worlds. Yet we perceive the reality of the human will as it enters into alliance with pure thought. This provides us with the most wonderful fruit of life achieved through the scientific approach used in Anthroposophy — a glimpse of man's significance within the cosmos — and we also gain a feeling for man's rank and dignity within the cosmos.
Things are not merely connected in the world the way we often imagine them to be on the basis of the abstract concepts we use. No, they are connected as something real. One real and most important thing is the following. Not everyone is of course able today to advance to Imagination, Inspiration and Intuition. One thing, however, which we take with us through all these stages of cognition, even as spiritual scientists, is the thinking process in which one thought evolves from another with an inner necessity. This form of thinking is one every human being is able to experience if he enters into it without prejudice. And this is why all the findings of spiritual science, once they have been made, can also be verified by applying pure thought to them, because the spiritual scientist takes this pure thinking with him into all the elements of the ideas he forms.
In the context of everything I have presented to you, one very particular element evolves in the human soul in conjunction with what in the first place may be taken merely as an affirmation of anthroposophical spiritual science. Other ideas formed by man are derived from external perceptions or based on such external perceptions. The external perceptions provide the support for that life of ideas. There are however people today who on the basis of the thought and philosophical habits of very recent times absolutely refuse to accept that anything could possibly come to man that does not have the support of external perception. We shall end up with abstractions that have no relation to life if we refuse to accept that man is also able to understand matters of essence if only he will give himself up to his own pure thinking that organizes itself and concretely arises out of itself. It has to be accepted that he will then be able to take in the concepts gained through spiritual science, through Imagination, Inspiration and Intuition, concepts which the philistine will say are figments of the imagination and do not represent reality.
The philistine is too lazy to enter with his thought into the reality the spiritual scientist reveals through Imagination, Inspiration and Intuition. Yet this reality is intimately bound up with the nature of man. We need to achieve the ability to take in anthroposophical concepts, concepts that have no correlative in the outside world perceptible to the senses, concepts we have to experience in freedom in our mind. The feeling, the attitude of mind we need for this will bring a new essential nature to our whole being.
Once spiritual science enters into cultural life it will be seen that because what is perceived in Imagination, Inspiration and Intuition is a living entity within man himself — as I have indicated — the living essential being of man is taken hold of directly by spiritual science, and man is able to go through an inner metamorphosis and transformation by taking it in. He will be richer within himself. We are able to feel how he is made richer by letting an element enter into him that cannot be kindled by the outer physical reality. Full of this element, which streams through the whole human being, we then turn to our fellow men. We now gain an insight into man that we have not had before, and above all we gain love for our fellow man. Love of humanity is what the insights gained in anthroposophical spiritual science directed towards the supersensible sphere can kindle in us, a love of humanity that teaches us the value of man, that makes us aware of the rank and dignity of man.
Perception of the value of man, inner awareness of the dignity of man, will activity in love of humanity — those are the most beautiful fruits of life that can be made to grow and ripen in man when he lets the discoveries made in spiritual science enter into experience.
Spiritual science then acts on the will to the effect that the will is able to attain to what in my Philosophy of Freedom I have called moral Intuitions. And something tremendous comes into human life, for these moral ideals are Filled with what otherwise is love, and we are able to become men acting in freedom, out of the love our individual personality is capable of. With this, spiritual science is approaching an ideal that also arose in the time of Goethe, though u was Goethe's friend Schiller who put it most clearly. When Schiller really entered into Kantian philosophy he took in a great deal from Kant with regard to theoretical philosophy. When it came to Kant's moral philosophy, however, he was not able to follow Kant. In Kant's moral philosophy, Schiller found a rigid concept of duty, presented by Kant in a way that makes it appear as a force of nature, something with compelling effect on man. Schiller had an awareness of human value and the rank and dignity of man and could not accept that in order to be moral man had to be under spiritual compulsion. It was Schiller who wrote the beautiful words: ‘I am happy to serve my friends, but unfortunately do so from inclination, and it often vexes me that I am not a virtuous man.’ 3From Schiller's Xenien (Gewissensskrupel) For to Schiller's mind, Kant postulated that one really had to try first of all and suppress all partiality felt for a friend, and then do whatever one did for him out of a rigid notion of duty.
Schiller felt that man's attitude to morals had to be different from that presented by Kant. As far as it was possible to do so in his day, he defined his concept of this in his letters Über die aesthetische Erziehung des Menschen (On the Training of Man in Aesthetics), aiming to show how duty has to descend and become inclination, and how inclination has to ascend, so that we develop a liking for what is the content of duty. Duty, he said, had to descend and natural instinct to ascend in a free human being who, from inclination, does what is right for the whole of mankind. If we look for the roots of moral Intuitions in human nature, if we look for the actual impulse, the ethical motivation in those moral Intuitions, we find love, a love become most pure so that it attains to the spiritual. Where this love becomes spiritual it absorbs into itself the moral Intuitions, and we are moral human beings in so far as we love our duty, in so far as duty has become something that arises out of the human individuality itself as an immediate force.
It was this which moved me to present a definite antithesis to the moral philosophy of Kant and to do so out of Anthroposophy in my Philosophy of Freedom. Kant's thesis 4The thesis Kant presents in relation to duty in his Critique of Practical Commonsense is: ‘Duty! Great and sublime word, you have nothing in you of inclination, of flattery, but demand submission, yet you do not threaten with what would arouse natural antipathy or fear in the mind in order to stir the will, you merely establish a law which finds its own way into heart and mind and yet against our will gains reverence (though not always adherence), before which all inclination fades into silence, even though it run counter to it.’ was: ‘Duty! Great and sublime word, you have nothing in you of what is favoured, of flattery, but demand submission ... you establish a law ... before which all inclination must fade into silence, even though it run counter to it.’
If man had such a notion of duty he could never grow upwards into the spirit, to become the free originator of his moral actions within his innermost being. In such an endeavour to comprehend human nature on the basis of a genuine understanding of man in Anthroposophy, I countered this rigid concept found in Kantianism with the one you find in my Philosophy of Freedom: ‘Freedom! Gentle and truly human word, you hold within you all that is morally favoured, what does most honour to my humanity; you make me subservient to none, you do not merely establish a law, but wait to see what my moral love itself will come to recognize as law, seeing that it feels unfree in the face of any law imposed on it.’
That is what I felt I had to say in my Philosophy of Freedom, to propose that the moral element appears to the fullest degree in accord with the rank and dignity of man when it is one with man's freedom, rooted in true love of humanity. Anthroposophy is able to show how this love of duty in the wider sense becomes love of humanity and therefore the true leaven in social life, which we will be considering next. The tremendous, burning social question that today presents itself to us can only be fully understood when we make an effort to grasp the relationship between freedom, love, the nature of man, spirit and natural law.