"We have entered the third millennium through a gate of fire."
 Kofi A. Annuan, from his speech on accepting the Noble Peace Prize, 2001

Everyday we dance in the Fire of Existence - sometimes in pain, sometimes for joy.  Our movements are driven by rhythms, sometimes natural, sometimes imposed.
The outer Fires of Existence can also support an inner Baptism of Spirit - we can change while we dance.  Inwardly the Source of Life can lend us additional
power to endure and to change and create, by the Grace of His Holy Breath.  Together in this way we make the Baptism of Spirit a Second Eucharist,
an Act of Grace to go with what we ourselves contribute to the Dance of Existence.  We do not Dance alone.  Our will can unite with another's.
We have Dance Partners, not only each other, but as we are ourselves Spirit, so the Breath of Spirit also moves with us.
Yet the great mystery is that we lead the Dance.  We lead, and the Spirit surrenders to that lead and follows.

Speaking Truth to Power:
in the realm of mind, also known as: soul and spirit***

Whatever you do, don't laugh ... this is all very very serious, and, For folks who would like simple questions and simple answers, here are The Rules

The philosopher-seer Rudolf Steiner's idea of Freedom, in his book The Philosophy of Freedom, otherwise in English: The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity, was not meant to refer to political or social freedom.  The chief clue was this last sentence of the original preface:  "One must be able to confront an idea, and experience it, otherwise one will fall into its bondage".

We only directly experience the Idea in the spiritual (inner) realm/temple of Thought.  If all we do is "feel", as in all manner of kinds of mysticism whether Christian or otherwise, we are asleep and only dreaming.  Only consciously willed thinking shines the light of precise and elegant clarity on Ideas.

When we experience an Idea in the sense world it already is clothed in its material being.  Whatever the Idea of a squirrel is for example, we only know it in the sense world as the actual squirrel we perceive - what Steiner called: the Percept.  When we experience the Idea in the social world it is already clothed in those processes which govern the social world, such as we begin to examine when we ask: what is a family history or story?   In the concrete a family is a collection of specific indivduals, but in the social world, collectively, "family" is only known via the mental pictures created by consciously evolved abstract thinking.  We can know both sense world and social world objects, as their Idea, only through thinking.  To distinguish the Idea from the Percept, he spoke also of the Concept, for to naive consciousness the first pure thinking experience of the Idea is as an individual concept, or as Steiner advised in A Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe's World Conception: An Idea is a complex of concepts.

For example, we have in Ron Brady's wonderful essay: Dogma and Doubt, the reference to the Theories of natural science as always containing many individual concepts, even though the Idea, for example of natural selection, can be simply stated.   If we actually examine that Idea we will see it has many conceptual parts, and each part must individually be subjected to the logical processes by which we evaluate the usefulness of any theory.

Human Beings also are psychological beings - beings with a profound and complicated (and invisible to the senses) interior life.  We have thoughts, and feelings and impulses of the will.  These three soul powers have complicated inter-relationships.  In The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity Steiner speaks of this inner complex nature of the human being as our: characterlogical disposition.  If, for example, our characterlogical disposition is that we like a particular complex of concepts, we may have difficulty not falling into bondage to the related Idea. This condition of bondage, or belief, is also explored in Brady's essay, where he examines how it is that the belief in dogmas has become the general common ground of a great deal of thinking in evolutionary biology.  Scientific empiricism, as observed by Brady, was set aside, and answers to deep questions were assumed (believed) to be already known - thus becoming dogma.

We could also observe that this is true just about everywhere in human civilization: this power of belief.  If we want to understand the world we need to understand this "condition" or characterlogical disposition common to all of us: the capacity to believe in non-empirical and unproven dogma.  For certain details as to the meaning of this condition, see my book: The Art of God: an actual theory of Everything.

Another way to look at this is to understand that we have a personal relationship to that which lives in that particular aspect of the Thought-World to which we have access, and which we sometimes refer to as: our point of view, or world-view.  The nature of this personal relationship is an aspect of our characterlogical disposition, which itself is an aspect of our karma, fate and destiny.  Here is a link to a long essay on the nature of this: The IDEA of the Thought-World. 

The existential question posed by Steiner's works on the "theory of knowledge" is: Are we inwardly free?  Do we create and "possess" knowledge or does knowledge (in the form of beliefs) possess us?  A third way to perceive this is to ask: Before what inner authority do we bow?  Each of us can only know the answer to that question through a process of an empirical study of our own mind.  For each it is individual.  As a consequence, the process of achieving inner freedom before the concept is for each of us also individual.  Rudolf Steiner,   in GA 2 (“The Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe’s World Conception- 1886); GA 3 (“Truth and Knowledge- Steiner’s dissertation - 1892); and, GA 4 (“The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity- 1894), gives us maps, but we have to empirically traverse the actual territory to know it directly and scientifically.

One way to begin is to ask yourself: Who are you?  What are the names you use to describe yourself?  How do you define those "names"?  What makes you, as individual, fit into that name and that description?  How did you become that name and description?  There is no right answer, by the way - just your answer.  Its your path.  If you find yourself having fallen into bondage in some inward fashion, you are the only one that can create for yourself the freedom with respect to this, for which Steiner drew maps with words.

Suppose you say: I am an anthroposophist, or a spiritual scientist, or a Waldorf teacher, or a Catholic, or a Republican, or a mother and so forth.  Several of these would mean some acquaintance with the ideas/concepts of Rudolf Steiner.  A question you could ask: Am I in bondage to any Ideas I have acquired from Rudolf Steiner, or Ideas from my Church, or Ideas from my Political Party?  How would I know that, and so forth.

This world of point of view, or of world-view, is a real world.  It is not just a weird accidental product of the material brain.  The brain scientist leaves out studying his own mind, and therefore uses a tool he does not understand at all, which then severely limits his ability to realize what he sees in his studies.  To then deal with, and have knowledg of this Thought-World, what do we do?  How do we come to knowledge of our inner world of mind, - or soul and spirit? 

In a way, it is by ruling without ruling (intention), and seeing without looking (attention).  Ruling without ruling concerns the influence of our moral heart on thinking, while seeing without looking concerns the effects of our choices of objects of thought-activity.  Details can be found here: Living Thinking in Action.

In the Cultural East one is encouraged to give up mind for being, which is an ancient tradition and point of view that is no longer valid.  Both mind and being have evolved over the  millenia since the time of the creation of these  great and ancient Eastern traditions.   At the same time the West is more modern, in a certain way, by thousands of years, so in the deep spiritual processes of the modern and scientific Cultural West we have learned to give up being for mind.  Rudolf Steiner put it this way in: West and East: contrasting worlds (Vienna, 1-12 June, 1922) “The will of the West must give power to the thought of the East; the thought of the West must release the will of the East.

How do we do this?

Instead of the intention of the will resting on breath, as in the East is mostly taught these days, the will in the West finds its reality in thinking: - in intention and attention, or why and what.  We eventually find ourselves embracing living thinking, which in the Acts of the Apostles is called, interestingly enough: Holy Breath.  We wake up in thinking, so that why we think - that is, what is our intention - is entirely clear to us.  And, as well, what we think about, or is our object of thought-creation process - that also is consciously willed.  So the thought of the East can become the questions we in the West ask.  Rather than accept Eastern thought as doctrine and truth, we turn it into questions, and by that act our  scientific cognition gives that thought-creation process new power or life. (c.f. the early attempts to do this: The Tao of Physics by F. Capra, and The Dancing Wu Li Masters, by G. Zukav; as well as a more sophistcated attempt by E. Lehrs - a student of Steiner's - in Man or Matter.)

Yet, in the thought-culture of the West lies science, which ought to be neither doctrine and tradition (but being young and human, too often is).  Science is a method, a how.  What the East gives to its traditional inclinations, as in its love of its great and cosmic Ideas, then through the  imitation of the West, via the need for scientific scrutiny, the will of the East is freed.  If there ever was a culture in bondage to Ideas it is the East.  Religion there must become science.  (For more details here: West and East: or Wendt’s “critique” of Osho’s critique of Rudolf Steiner - Osho's critique was recently reprinted in the Southern Cross Review)

And in the West the reverse is true.  In the West Science must become religious, by our taking up the great ideas of the East as valid questions.  In the West an overly intellectual scientific materialism (all is matter, there is no spirit) has replaced the search for truth with a set of unquestioned dogmas (such as in evolutionary biology, and big-bang physics).  Only when Science is religious in its higher sense, can the dogmatic nature of present day science, as pointed out by Brady above, be overcome.  The bridge between Science and Religion is Art.  The self-conscious thinker that desires to bridge the two needs to work out of his aesthetic feelings - his sense of Beauty.  Science gives us Truth, and Religion gives us Goodness, but only Art gives us Beauty.

From my essay: The Idea of Mind:

Here is what Roger Penrose, a major thinker on the problem of mind and science, had to say in his The Emperor's New Mind, pp. 421, Oxford University Press, 1989: "It seems clear to me that the importance of aesthetic criteria applies not only to the instantaneous judgments of inspiration, but also to the much more frequent judgments we make all the time in mathematical (or scientific work) Rigorous argument is usually the last step! Before that, one has to make many guesses, and for these, aesthetic convictions are enormously important..." And here is Karl Popper, whose work on scientific method sets the standard (for many at least), in his Realism and the Aim of Science, pp. 8, Rowan and Littlefield, 1956: "...I think that there is only one way to science - or to philosophy, for that matter: to meet a problem, to see its beauty and to fall in love with it;...".  Or as we might add to Mr. Popper's thought: "...to meet a problem (reason), to see its beauty (imagination) and to fall in love with it (devotion);...".  

Reason, Imagination, and Devotion; or, Truth, Beauty, and Goodness.

How we work with these realities, ... that is how do we speak truth inwardly to the already established power of our personal beliefs, points of view or world-views - how do we become free in relationship to our collection of Ideas, rather than in bondage - for each this is individual.  Next below will be some places where I have traveled for decades in seeking inner freedom - others will go other Ways.  Whether the links below lead to something useful for the reader, only time and inner effort will tell.

some pathways and features in the Thought-World, well known to me from direct experience

Keep in mind that while these elements of the Thought-World can be distinguished from each other, with a certain effort,
they in fact cannot be unmade from their natural unity, the same way a complex ecology contains many parts but remains one whole,
for the whole influences the parts just as the parts influence the whole.

Freely Thought Anthroposophy

Freely Thought Christianity

Freely Thought American Politics

writings that do not fit in the above categories, including some fiction ...

***By the term soul I mean the almost infinite and remarkable field of ordinary consciousness and its ancillary unconscious or semi-conscious aspects as involved in all acts of thinking, feeling and willing, which includes all sense experiences as well.  By the term spirit I mean self-consciousness, - the spark of self awareness which swims in the seas of the soul and of the sense world.

As I have been retired now for over 10 years, and am living on social security, I have decided to ask of those that visit these pages that they consider making a small contribution to my support.  There is a great deal of work offered on these pages, that has so far been available for free.  This will remain the case.  The books at my bookstore - http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/joelwendt - are also offered at  the cost it takes to have them printed, and there are also ebooks there for free.  However, it would help the future of this work if "small contributions" could occasionally appear in my mail box:
Joel A. Wendt 6 Monticello Drive, MA 01612.  The "small contribution" is not really meant as financial support - I live with a very dear friend who has an independent income - rather it is the acknowledgement that the work means something to you that is important.  Another way to acknowledge the work is to write me at hermit@tiac.net or joel232001@gmail.com  As to the problem of copyright and so forth, my heart is with open source and free use, or the kind of thinking involved in the work found on Creative CommonsBasically I trust people to use my work with an appropriate reference to its source, but about the real nature of source you should perhaps read the following, which is very radical when it comes to the idea of intellectual property: The Source


 this and that - some thoughts on the Four Noble Truths        the Songs of a True White Brother of the Hopi Prophecy