Rudolf Steiner

1861 - 1925

photo credits: Wikimedia Commons

Rudolf Joseph Lorenz Steiner (27 or 25 February 1861 – 30 March 1925) was an Austrian occultist, social reformer, architect, esotericist, and claimed clairvoyant. Steiner gained initial recognition at the end of the nineteenth century as a literary critic and published works including The Philosophy of Freedom. At the beginning of the twentieth century he founded an esoteric spiritual movement, anthroposophy, with roots in German idealist philosophy and theosophy. His teachings have been described as similar to Christian Gnosticism (for heresiologists it is little doubt that these are neognosticism). Many of his ideas are pseudoscientific. He was also prone to pseudohistory.In the first, more philosophically oriented phase of this movement, Steiner attempted to find a synthesis between science and spirituality. His philosophical work of these years, which he termed "spiritual science", sought to apply what he saw as the clarity of thinking characteristic of Western philosophy to spiritual questions,: 291  differentiating this approach from what he considered to be vaguer approaches to mysticism. In a second phase, beginning around 1907, he began working collaboratively in a variety of artistic media, including drama, dance and architecture, culminating in the building of the Goetheanum, a cultural centre to house all the arts. In the third phase of his work, beginning after World War I, Steiner worked on various ostensibly applied projects, including Waldorf education, biodynamic agriculture, and anthroposophical medicine.Steiner advocated a form of ethical individualism, to which he later brought a more explicitly spiritual approach. 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 through his work is the goal of demonstrating that there are no limits to human knowledge. Source: Wikipedia (en)

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