Are we free, whether we know it or not? Or is our sense of freedom merely an illusion? Rudolf Steiner tackles this age-old problem in a new way. He shows that by taking account of our own activity of thinking, we can know the reasons for our actions. And if these reasons are taken from our world of ideals, then our actions are free, because we alone determine them. But this freedom cannot be settled for us by philosophical argument. It is not simply granted to us. If we want to become free, we have to strive through inner activity to overcome our unconscious urges and habits of thought. In order to do this we must reach a point of view that recognizes no limits to knowledge, sees through all illusions, and opens the door to an experience of the reality of the spiritual world. Then we can achieve the highest level of evolution, and recognize ourselves as free spirits.
Given his energetic involvement in practical initiatives and extensive lecturing, Rudolf Steiner had little time to write books. Of those he did write - belonging almost entirely to the earlier years of his work - four titles form an indispensable introduction to his later teaching: Knowledge of the Higher Worlds, Occult Science, The Philosophy of Freedom and Theosophy.
Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925), was born in the small village of Kraljevec, Austro-Hungarian Empire (now in Croatia), where he grew up. As a young man, he lived in Weimar and Berlin, where he became a well-published scientific, literary, and philosophical scholar, known especially for his work with Goethe's scientific writings.
At the beginning of the twentieth century, he began to develop his early philosophical principles into an approach to systematic research into psychological and spiritual phenomena. Formally beginning his spiritual teaching career under the auspices of the Theosophical Society, Steiner came to use the term Anthroposophy (and spiritual science) for his philosophy, spiritual research, and findings.
The influence of Steiner's multifaceted genius has led to innovative and holistic approaches in medicine, various therapies, philosophy, religious renewal, Waldorf education, education for special needs, threefold economics, biodynamic agriculture, Goethean science, architecture, and the arts of drama, speech, and eurythmy. In 1924, Rudolf Steiner founded the General Anthroposophical Society, which today has branches throughout the world. He died in Dornach, Switzerland.