Anthroposophy, meaning “wisdom of the human being,” is a spiritual philosophy founded in the late 19th and early 20th centuries primarily by the Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925). At its core is the concept of individual freedom and self-realization. Steiner drew upon idealistic European philosophies, including those of Aristotle, Plato, and Thomas Aquinas, to develop anthroposophy as a method of spiritual inquiry and inner development.
By cultivating uniquely human traits like clear thinking and an expansive worldview, Steiner believed individuals could foster moral and spiritual growth. With dedicated practice, anthroposophy enables comprehension of the workings of the spiritual realm and the interconnectedness of the physical and spiritual worlds. It ultimately guides people to live more ethically and purposefully in the material world.
Over his prolific career, Steiner outlined a path of inner transformation relevant to the 20th century and beyond. He delivered over 6,000 recorded lectures and authored over two dozen publications elaborating his philosophy. Steiner emphasized integrating societal progress and personal growth. He spearheaded several social movements and initiatives that remain impactful today in diverse fields including education, agriculture, medicine, and the arts. Major anthroposophical developments include biodynamic farming methods, Camphill Villages for the disabled, anthroposophic medicine, and the Waldorf school system.
At its heart, anthroposophy provides a framework for individuals to cultivate moral character, spiritual insight, and purpose. By developing human potential and comprehending the interconnectedness of all existence, Steiner believed anthroposophy could transform both inner and outer worlds. His influential philosophy and initiatives continue to have lasting impacts on modern culture and society.