Rudolf Steiner

Biografie şi Bibliografie

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Rudolf Joseph Lorenz Steiner (25 or 27 February 1861 – 30 March 1925) was an Austrian philosopher, social thinker, architect and esotericist. He gained initial recognition as a literary critic and cultural philosopher. At the beginning of the 20th century, he founded a new spiritual movement, Anthroposophy, as an esoteric philosophy growing out of European transcendentalism and with links to Theosophy.

Steiner led this movement through several phases. In the first, more philosophically oriented phase, Steiner attempted to find a synthesis between science and mysticism; his philosophical work of these years, which he termed spiritual science, sought to provide a connection between the cognitive path of Western philosophy and the inner and spiritual needs of the human being. In a second phase, beginning around 1907, he began working collaboratively in a variety of artistic media, including drama, the movement arts (developing a new artistic form, eurythmy) and architecture, culminating in the building of a cultural center to house all the arts, the Goetheanum. After the First World War, Steiner worked with educators, farmers, doctors, and other professionals to develop Waldorf education, biodynamic agriculture, anthroposophical medicine as well as new directions in numerous other areas. Steiner advocated a form of ethical individualism, to which he later brought a more explicitly spiritual component. He based his epistemology on Johann Wolfgang Goethe's world view, in which “Thinking … is no more and no less an organ of perception than the eye or ear. Just as the eye perceives colours and the ear sounds, so thinking perceives ideas.” A consistent thread that runs from his earliest philosophical phase through his later spiritual orientation is the goal of demonstrating that there are no essential limits to human knowledge.

Biography

Writer and philosopher

In 1888, as a result of his work for the Kürschner edition of Goethe's works, Steiner was invited to work as an editor at the Goethe archives in Weimar. Steiner remained with the archive until 1896. As well as the introductions for and commentaries to four volumes of Goethe's scientific writings, Steiner wrote two books about Goethe's philosophy: The Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe's World-Conception (1886) and Goethe's Conception of the World (1897). During this time he also collaborated in complete editions of Arthur Schopenhauer's work and that of the writer Jean Paul and wrote numerous articles for various journals.

During his time at the archives, Steiner wrote what he considered from that time forward to be his most important philosophical work, Die Philosophie der Freiheit (The Philosophy of Freedom or The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity - Steiner's preferred English title) (1894), an exploration of epistemology and ethics that suggested a path upon which humans can become spiritually free beings (see below).

In 1896, Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche asked Steiner to set the Nietzsche archive in Naumburg in order. Her brother by that time was non compos mentis. Förster-Nietzsche introduced Steiner into the presence of the catatonic philosopher and Steiner, deeply moved, subsequently wrote the book Friedrich Nietzsche, Fighter for Freedom. Of Nietzsche, Steiner says in his autobiography, "Nietzsche's ideas of the 'eternal recurrence' and of 'Übermensch' remained long in my mind. For in these was reflected that which a personality must feel concerning the evolution and essential being of humanity when this personality is kept back from grasping the spiritual world by the restricted thought in the philosophy of nature characterizing the end of the 19th century. "What attracted me particularly was that one could read Nietzsche without coming upon anything which strove to make the reader a 'dependent' of Nietzsche's."

In 1897, Steiner left the Weimar archives and moved to Berlin. He became owner, chief editor, and active contributor to the literary journal Magazin für Literatur, where he hoped to find a readership sympathetic to his philosophy. His work in the magazine was not well received by its readership, including the alienation of subscribers following Steiner's unpopular support of Émile Zola in the Dreyfus Affair. The journal lost more subscribers when Steiner published extracts from his correspondence with anarchist writer John Henry Mackay. Dissatisfaction with his editorial style eventually led to his departure from the magazine.

In 1899, Steiner married Anna Eunicke; they were later separated. Anna died in 1911.

Steiner and the Theosophical Society

In 1899, Steiner published an article in his Magazin für Literatur, titled “Goethe's Secret Revelation”, on the esoteric nature of Goethe's fairy tale, The Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily. This article led to an invitation by the Count and Countess Brockdorff to speak to a gathering of Theosophists on the subject of Nietzsche. Steiner continued speaking regularly to the members of the Theosophical Society, becoming the head of its newly constituted German section in 1902 without ever formally joining the society. It was within this society that Steiner met and worked with Marie von Sivers, who became his second wife in 1914. By 1904, Steiner was appointed by Annie Besant to be leader of the Theosophical Esoteric Society for Germany and Austria.

The German Section of the Theosophical Society grew rapidly under Steiner's leadership as he lectured throughout much of Europe on his spiritual science. During this period, Steiner maintained an original approach, replacing Madame Blavatsky's terminology with his own, and basing his spiritual research and teachings upon the Western esoteric and philosophical tradition. This and other differences, in particular Steiner's vocal rejection of C. W. Leadbeater and Annie Besant's pronouncement that Jiddu Krishnamurti was the vehicle of a new world teacher and the reincarnation of Christ, led to a formal split in 1912/13, when Steiner and the majority of members of the German section of the Theosophical Society broke off to form a new group, the Anthroposophical Society.

Writings

    * Goethean Science (1883–1897)
    * Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe's World-Conception (1886)
    * Truth and Knowledge doctoral thesis, (1892)
    * Intuitive thinking as a spiritual path, also published as the Philosophy of Freedom (1894)
    * Mysticism at the Dawn of Modern Age (1901/1925)
    * Christianity as Mystical Fact (1902)
    * Cosmic Memory: Prehistory of Earth and Man (1904)
    * Theosophy: An Introduction to the Spiritual Processes in Human Life and in the Cosmos (1904)
    * How to Know Higher Worlds: A Modern Path of Initiation (1904-5)
    * The Education of the Child, (1907)
    * An Outline of Esoteric Science (1910)
    * Four Mystery Dramas (1913)
    * The Renewal of the Social Organism (1919)
    * Reordering of Society: The Fundamental Social Law (1919) (article)
    * Fundamentals of Therapy: An Extension of the Art of Healing Through Spiritual Knowledge (1925)
    * The Story of my Life (1924-5) (autobiography)

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