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The Evolution of Consciousness and the Evolution of Freedom, Love and Morality - Part 3

Here we have something which gradually leads to the Physiological concept of freedom. Here we have the physiology of what I have set forth in my Philosophy of Freedom, namely, that one can only understand freedom by grasping it in sense-free thinking – that is to say, in the process taking place in us when we direct pure thinking through our will and orientate it according to certain defined directions. Rudolf Steiner Mystery of the Universe The Human Being, Image of Creation



Part 3

Application in Science and Theology It is difficult to offer an individual interpretation of what the good out of a personal connection to the living good is without thinking that the good must be universally the same for everyone. This would create the possibility of nullifying the capacity for ethical individualism. I suggest that the path for science and theology to offer individuals is to reframe our path of knowledge, our philosophies, into an applied science and theology. What I mean by this is to shift our focus from the philosophy of science and theology to the lived experience in life, through how we stand and act in a given situation. The universal transcendent good is realized through the application of the values and principles of the individual in life, a unique expression for each ethical decision. The call for objectivity must shift to relationality. The good, or the essence of the living God, is made present in relationship.[1] An initial comparison between the Mosaic Law of the Hebrew Bible and the Law of New Testament under the revisions of Christ reflects this evolution of consciousness. Briefly expressed, we can say that the first step from being governed by natural law alone to societal codes takes place through Moses. There is a progression from being at one with the laws in nature in the Garden of Eden, followed by the endowment of the capacity to discern between good and evil and the necessary path to the laws that came through Moses and the covenant codes of Leviticus and Deuteronomy. One way that I would describe the Old Testament is as god’s journey with his People. This can be seen in the events and ongoing struggle for the Israelites to comprehend who this god is compared with the other god’s of the Ancient Near East and then finally accepting Yahweh as their god. If this is so, then each step that the people take necessitates another step in their relationship with him. Where do they find the guidelines of what God wants of them in this relationship? God communicates in various ways how he expects humanity to relate to him in each transition on the journey. Is it possible that each new age or step in consciousness in the journey of humanity needed the relationship with God to be redefined in terms of the best practice to be in community with God? Through Christ, a new covenant, or commandment, is given to describe how we best live in relationship to god: A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another! As I have loved you so should you also love one another. (Jn13:34) In the Sermon on the Mount the practical applications of the differences between Mosaic Law and Ethics based in the living Christ can be seen in the repeated comparisons between what Moses said and what Christ says we will become capable of when Christ lives in our decisions to act amongst each other. The progression is that in Mosaic Law a ‘do not’ command is still necessary, an external imperative. Whereas an applied theology of Matthew 5: 21- 26 could be that with Christ, under the guise of ‘not I, but Christ in me’, every detail of feeling and thought that forms the basis of our action already needs to be assessed as part of our ethical values and principles. Moses taught that we should not kill, but when the Christ is in our decisions even inner burning anger, arrogant disdain and hate is ‘killing’ the other. The ethical direction is for an individual to lead in action to reconcile and show goodwill and mercy to those who accuse us. The difference is the progress of the consciousness of the relationship of God with the human being. At the time of Moses God was experienced as a voice in the burning bush saying “I will be what I will be”. In Christ God has become the “I am with our I am”. The Sermon on the Mount is the institution of the schooling of ethical individualism through the connection to Christ in us, it does not replace the need for a code of behavior, it fulfills it by offering the sovereign individual capacities to be the source of ethical action, and in the sense of Steiner’s definition of freedom, to act from the pure necessity of their free nature.[2] While this theological appeal to the good as the framework for our ethical life suits Christians and Christians who are scientists, it is by no means universally accepted in science. S. Travis Waller and his colleagues have found that structural engineers signing a code of ethics when they enter the field is no longer sufficient.[3] He and his colleagues are undertaking developing an industry-wide shift through ethics training. In my understanding, he is asking what ethical values engineers need to develop in order to truly design structural models on the experience and impact of past failures. Rather than just creating technology and developing more and more detailed infrastructure based on the best scientific knowledge alone, can engineers also be led by their experiences of impact of past failures? Here I see the step to add to a code of ethics for sound scientific principles personal inner reflection of the possible impact on the people and environments that a scientifically sound design might bring. The question of what the good can be in any situation is therefore not an application of a code of things that need to be considered but must be creatively reconsidered in every design and every developmental step. This is also true for theology, religion and social sciences. We can no longer call for principles of equality and rights alone but need to develop unique frameworks of application in real life situations. What works for one situation is not an ethical formula for every situation. This requires that ethical individualism and moral imagination born of the good in Christ (or in ‘what is humane?’ if that is a better language) must of necessity require the scientist and theologian to take personal responsibility for the consequences of their design or idea. This may be something people want to avoid by creating external codes to defer to in order to protect themselves against the current mindsets of personal sovereignty and the assumption that we can protect our suffering and death through insurance. I argue that it will become more and more necessary for the world that scientists, engineers, and social practitioners make a personal ethical relationship to the impact of their work. The negative expression of this is called, mobbing, unmasking and cancelling. The positive step will be that the inner disposition and consideration of what my invention or design is going to be used for will make a difference. This will not replace the other gesture of individuals misusing technology and social practices for their own ends. However, the more that individuals have both the inner intention for the good for humanity through their work and taking it personally when the failures present themselves the more likely that the good in Christ can become a universal human capacity. The possibility of working to improve our failures under an ethical value system will build social principles where new collaborations and technology will be developed out of deep suffering. Theology will also need to revise its tenets of what it means to be ethical if social principles are to be redefined. We need a new theological narrative that places the relationship of the individual to their work firmly in the responsibility of their conscience. The consequences of ethical choices need society to further develop restorative justice methods, compassionate communication as part of design methods, and a shift in insurance claims from litigation to re-investment through loving-kindness. This edge of technological, scientific, and social engagement from individual moral imagination, which implies taking personal responsibility through communal support, is where human culture will advance into being morally developed enough to engage with technology and scientific processes which also engage with life. At present we have mostly developed technology from the material world but stand on the threshold to being able to create and design technology out of life processes. To do this we will have to have developed enough moral capacity and love for all that lives, human, animal, and plant environments if our egotism is not to destroy the earth.[4] This is the basis of a philosophy of freedom that can only come from the freedom of an individual to love. This, in all senses, is Christian ethics and can have many ways of being described without using the word Christ. It is born of the Christ principle, love of all, in the individual. Can love be the inner ethical value as the source for new principles in science, theology, religion, and social sciences? Conclusion I have identified that the emergence of ethical individualism requires both a philosophical and a spiritual understanding of the evolving nature of the human being with regard to our capacity for freedom, love, and moral choice. The philosophy of freedom requires a spiritual physiology of freedom to build our values of ethical choices in the principles of the transcendent good being available through the ethical development of the individual. This good is presented, and available for our life choices, in the living God through the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. The human being can undergo an ethical moral development through Theosis or the birth of the Christ in us through an emptying out of our selfish drives within our human nature and through love one of the other. This is the new covenant in Christ, by which we can build new ethical expectations and societal structures that enable the individual to create out of the best interest for how their technology will affect others, as well as giving societal support for the further development born of the suffering of failure. [1] Stanley J. Grenz, The Social God and the Relational Self: A Trinitarian Theology of the Imago Dei (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2001); F LeRon Shults, Reforming Theological Anthropology: After the Philosophical Turn to Relationality (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2003). [2] Rudolf Steiner, The Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount (Spring Valley, New York: The Anthroposophic Press, 1978). [3] S. Travis Waller, "Why We Need Engineers Who Study Ethics as Much as Maths," The Conversation, https://theconversation.com/why-we-need-engineers-who-study-ethics-as-much-as-maths-161356. [4] Rudolf Steiner, The Temple Legend and the Golden Legend: Freemasonry & Related Occult Movements, vol. 93 (London: Rudolf Steiner Press, 1985), 281-318.


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