In 1900, the Austrian philosopher and scientist, Rudolf Steiner, published his first book, exploring the basis for free will. His analysis of consciousness found thinking to be the root of the human psyche. In Steiner's view, intuitive thinking, the kind of reflective thinking through which we acquire new concepts, is a fundamental activity of the human spirit. Because such thinking can be sense-free and self-aware, it provides the basis for true freedom of choice if we learn to exercise it well. Steiner went on to found numerous movements that are still active today, including Waldorf Education, Camphill communities that serve people with developmental disabilities, biodynamic agriculture, a branch of holistic medicine, and schools of art, artistic movement, architecture, and speech. Although he published many more books, he always urged people to read this one, if they wanted to truly enrich their lives. In this course we will follow Steiner's detailed reasoning to develop an understanding of intuitive thinking and free will. Each week's homework will involve reading and summarizing a chapter of the book in preparation for our discussions. We will also explore a series of mental and meditative exercises that he recommended for developing deeper capacities for intuitive thinking.
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