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The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity

(CW 4)

Rudolf Steiner Translated by William Lindeman

276 pp.  
5 1/2" x 8 1/2"



Published:  December 2015


Written work, 1894 (CW 4)

This seminal work asserts that free spiritual activity—understood as the human ability to think and act independently of one’s physical nature—is the most appropriate path today for inner development and true self-knowledge. This is not simply a volume of philosophy, but also a friendly guide to practice and the experience of living thinking. Rudolf Steiner provides a step-by-step account of how we can come to experience living, intuitive thinking, the conscious experience of pure spirit.

Since this book was written more than a century ago, many have tried to discover the kind of new thinking that can help us better understand the spiritual, ecological, social, political, and philosophical issues that face us. Steiner showed a path that leads from ordinary thinking to the level of pure spiritual activity—true inner freedom.

How to read this book:

  • “What kind of approach by the reader did The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity count on? It had to assume a special way of reading. It expected the reader, while reading, to go through the kind of inner experience that is, in an outward sense, really like waking up in the morning from sleep. It should invoke a feeling as though one could say: My relationship to the world in passive thinking was, at a higher level, one of being asleep, but now I am awaking. It is like knowing, at the very moment of awakening, that you have been lying passively in bed, allowing nature to have her way with your body. Then, however, you begin to be more active inwardly. You actively relate your senses to activities in the world of sounds and colors around you. You connect your bodily activity to your intentions.

    “The experience of reading The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity should be very much like the waking moment of transition from passivity to activity, though at a higher level, of course. You should be able to say: Yes, I have certainly thought thoughts before, but my thinking took the form of allowing thoughts to flow and merely carry me along. Now I am beginning gradually to become inwardly active in my thoughts.” —Rudolf Steiner, Awakening to Community

The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity is a translation from German of Die Philosophie der Freiheit (GA 4). First German edition, Berlin, 1894; second German edition, revised and enlarged by the author, Berlin, 1918; latest, 12th German edition, Dornach, 1962.

Related Titles

  • Truth and Knowledge : Introduction to the Philosophy of Spiritual Activity (CW 3)
  • Rudolf Steiner on His Book "The Philosophy of Freedom"
  • Intuitive Thinking as a Spiritual Path : A Philosophy of Freedom (CW 4)
  • The Guardian of the Threshold and The Philosophy of Freedom : On the Relationship of The Philosophy of Freedom to The Fifth Gospel
  • The Philosophy of Freedom : The Basis for a Modern World Conception (CW 4)

    Related Titles by Subject:

    Anthroposophy ; Anthroposophy: Esoteric Studies ; Anthroposophy: Foundation Books by Rudolf Steiner and Anthroposophy: General