Given his energetic involvement in practical initiatives and extensive lecturing, Rudolf Steiner had little time to write books. Of those he did write - belonging almost entirely to the earlier years of his work - four titles form an indispensable introduction to his later teaching: Knowledge of the Higher Worlds, Occult Science, The Philosophy of Freedom and Theosophy. Theosophy focuses on a psychology based not on the usual duality of body and mind, but on the more ancient division of body, soul and spirit.
Steiner describes in detail the functions and organs of these three aspects of the human being, and the objective realms to which they belong. Just as the body derives from and belongs to the material world, so do the human soul and spirit belong to their own specific realms. These are the dimensions through which all human beings travel in the life after death, and in which - after passing the 'midnight hour' - we prepare to seek our destiny, or karma, in a new life.
Theosophy features one of the most comprehensive and condensed of all Steiner's accounts of these realms, and of the experiences which our immortal being undergoes in passing through them. The book ends with a chapter on the modern 'path of knowledge', in which Steiner describes the exercises through which every person may develop the latent powers of perception which are necessary for a knowledge of metaphysical worlds.
Are we free, whether we know it or not? Or is our sense of freedom merely an illusion? Rudolf Steiner tackles this age-old problem in a new way. He shows that by taking account of our own activity of thinking, we can know the reasons for our actions. And if these reasons are taken from our world of ideals, then our actions are free, because we alone determine them.
But this freedom cannot be settled for us by philosophical argument. It is not simply granted to us. If we want to become free, we have to strive through our own inner activity to overcome our unconscious urges and habits of thought.
In order to do this we must reach a point of view that recognises no limits to knowledge, sees through all illusions, and opens the door to an experience of the reality of the spiritual world. Then we can achieve the highest level of evolution. We can recognise ourselves as free spirits.
This special reprint, featuring the acclaimed translation by Michael Wilson, is being made available in response to public demand.