Turning the human being into the human thing

When the anthropopper was a small boy of 3 or 4 years of age, I lived with my family just a few doors down from the house of my Uncle Perce and Auntie Joan. I can still remember how one day Uncle Perce took me to see the chickens in his back garden and offered to shut me up in the hen-coop with the birds. My reply has gone down in family history. Apparently what I said was: “You can’t put me in there, I’m a human bean.”

Evidently, even at that young age, I had a sense that there were certain indignities to which human beings should not be subjected. Perhaps this is why to this day I still have strong feelings about how humans should and should not be treated.

human bean red bubble.com

Photo via redbubble.com

But why are we humans special and worthy of respect? One of the attributes that marks us out is that we are divided beings, carrying the potential for both good and evil within ourselves. In reminding us of this, Rudolf Steiner said: “one does not usually notice that a human being is a duality.”1 And yet it is so; our dual nature symbolises our connection with the dualistic universe we inhabit: spirit and matter, night and day, life and death, hot and cold, young and old etc. Each one of us carries both a light side and a shadow side within us, which reveal themselves in all kinds of ways.

In this, we are different from the angelic realms. Angels are beings with a unified state of consciousness (whether for good or, like the fallen angels, for evil), but they cannot hold both good and evil thoughts within themselves at the same time, as can humans, who are able to live with many different and contrary thoughts and emotions jumbled up together. In this difference lies the reason for all our struggles between the promptings of our higher and lower natures. “Freedom and evil have the same original source”, says Steiner2. This source was the “adversely commanded” angel, Lucifer, who at the event known in the Bible as the Fall, provided for our astral bodies to be permeated by selfishness and egotism. Paradoxically, this also gave us the potential, over many incarnations, to become free through learning to choose wisely between our highest and lowest urges. (For those who are unfamiliar with Steiner’s use of the terms ‘Lucifer’ and ‘Ahriman’ as names for the polarities of evil, please see my earlier posting here.)

Although we are currently at the beck and call of our own lower selves and to the karmic knots we have tied ourselves in as a result, this division between our lower and higher natures allows us countless opportunities (slowly, over many lifetimes), to evolve from our dualistic state into a more unified plane of consciousness that is motivated and permeated by love. This is the goal of human evolution, a transformation that will be achieved through the slow accumulation of wisdom learnt during our many incarnations. It is this that Ahriman is seeking to prevent, by putting us in blinkers so that we cannot see who we really are or where we should be headed.

In all his work, by making us aware of our true nature and destiny as human beings, Steiner was trying to prepare us to withstand the onslaught that the world is currently experiencing as the incarnation of Ahriman comes closer and closer. Steiner’s last verse, which I quoted in my previous post to this one, contains the following:

O joy, when human being’s flame

Is blazing, even when at rest.

O bitter pain, when the human thing

Is put in bonds, when it wants to stir.

Evidence of this onslaught, the attempt to reduce us all to “the human thing”, is all around us. I try to observe as many examples of these attacks as I can, because the more of us who can see and acknowledge what the oppositional forces are up to, the less likely it is that they will be effective. What are they trying to achieve? In a lecture given in 1919, Steiner has told us the following:

“Just as there was an incarnation of Lucifer in the flesh and an incarnation of Christ in the flesh, so, before only a part of the third millennium of the post-Christian era has elapsed, there will be, in the West, an actual incarnation of Ahriman: Ahriman in the flesh. Humanity on earth cannot escape this incarnation of Ahriman. It will come inevitably. But what matters is that people shall find the right vantage point from which to confront it.

Whenever preparation is being made for incarnations of this character, we must be alert to certain indicative trends in evolution. A being like Ahriman, who will incarnate in the West in time to come, prepares for this incarnation in advance. With a view to his incarnation on the earth, Ahriman guides certain forces in evolution in such a way that they may be of the greatest possible advantage to him. And evil would result were people to live on in a state of drowsy unawareness, unable to recognise certain phenomena in life as preparations for Ahriman’s incarnation in the flesh. The right stand can be taken only by recognising in one or another series of events the preparation that is being made by Ahriman for his earthly existence. And the time has now come for individual human beings to know what tendencies and events around them are machinations of Ahriman, helping him to prepare for his approaching incarnation.

It would undoubtedly be of the greatest benefit to Ahriman if he could succeed in preventing the vast majority of people from perceiving what would make for their true well-being, if the vast majority of people were to regard these preparations for the Ahriman incarnation as progressive and good for evolution. If Ahriman were able to slink into a humanity unaware of his coming, that would gladden him most of all. It is for this reason that the occurrences and trends in which Ahriman is working for his future incarnation must be brought to light.”

Of course, it’s quite easy for Ahriman. Money, power, lust and violence enthrall human beings. Perhaps I’m just a Grumpy Old Man but I can’t be the only one who’s noticed that what was culturally unacceptable thirty or forty years ago has now become the new normal. But alongside this ratchet effect of continuing cultural and social degradation, Ahriman is also slowly but surely working to make us forget what it is that makes us truly human. Here are a few of the more egregious examples of ahrimanic phenomena that I’ve recently noticed:

Virtual Reality

In 1965, computer scientist Ivan Sutherland wrote a paper suggesting that a computer-generated visual “display” might one day become so believable it could “literally be the Wonderland into which Alice walked”. Half a century on, virtual reality (VR) devices are entering the mass market. Goldman Sachs analysts predict that gaming will be the most lucrative kind of VR software over the next decade, generating $11.6bn in annual revenues by 2025. Facebook has recently bought VR company Oculus and FB founder Mark Zuckerberg has made it clear that his ambitions for VR go far beyond games, calling it “a new communication platform.” Quite how VR can be a social enabler when the technology completely isolates users from the people around them, by covering their eyes and ears to replace the real world with a digital one, at the moment escapes me – but Zuckerberg is the one with the money, not me, so I’m sure he knows what he is doing. Nevertheless, I found the photo below utterly chilling.

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Mark Zuckerberg and some VR zombies (photo via phonearena.com)

 

Microchip implants

If you’ve got a dog, it’s possible that it already has a microchip embedded between its shoulders, as a kind of invisible key to owner identity verification. From April 2016, this becomes a legal requirement in England and Wales – yes, that’s right – it will be illegal to keep a dog without having it microchipped. Human microchip implants are not yet widely available but they’re coming – a chip, encased in borosilicate biocompatible glass, will be pushed through your skin near your wrist and will sit there, waiting to engage in all sorts of transactions between you and all sorts of computers and smart devices. The chip will enable you to be located anywhere in the world through a tiny electronic system known as RFID or Radio Frequency Identification. It could contain information such as who you are, how much credit you have, your work ID, whether you’re a criminal out on licence or a migrant who needs to be tracked. I’ve no doubt that Transport for London will already be drawing up plans to replace their Oyster card (which enables you to make journeys by public transport around London) with chip implants (so much more efficient and user-friendly and will never get lost) and at some point they will become compulsory rather than voluntary. Before long, passports and ID cards will be replaced by these chip implants, and you won’t be able to use an airport without having one. It will, of course, be sold to us on the basis that it will improve security, will speed up queues, will make our lives easier, and if we’ve done nothing wrong, we’ll have nothing to fear.

 

Microchipping a West Highland terrier

Injecting a microchip into a white West Highland terrier (photo via RSPCA)

 

Security checks at airports

Talking of airports, if there is one situation designed to humiliate and strip you of your dignity as a human being, it is the modern experience of air travel. In the words of Frances Stonor Saunders: “At the airport, we advance with the miniature steps of geisha girls, towards the apparatus that sees, sees into, scans and filters us. We yield to verbal instructions issued in what Auden described as the ‘peremptory tone reserved for … children one cannot trust/Who might be tempted by ponds or learn some disgusting/Trick from a ragamuffin’. We remove our jacket, shoes, belt, and hold aloft our cosmetic secrets in a see-through plastic bag. Without protest, we shuffle in our socks towards the pat-down, or into the machine that sees through our clothes without us having to take them off (they’re known as ‘porno scanners’ in the security industry).”

 

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Airport security checks in Denver (photo via globalmediacompanies.com)

Advanced Western democracy

To observe the progress of plutocratic dynasts such as Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton through the American electoral system is to realise that the days when it was theoretically possible for an ordinary citizen to make the journey from log cabin to White House are long gone. Today’s political system, run for the benefit of corporates and financed by them through kickbacks and lobbying, relies on the compliance of a people lobotomised by an ahrimanic media through a focus on bread and circuses and celebrity tittle-tattle. It makes one realise that Clinton and Trump are no better than the arse-cheeks of Ahriman, operating out of lust for power and utter indifference to the real needs of the American people or the wider world. Of course, although the forms of corruption and deceit may vary, it’s a similar story in the UK and in most other countries today.

 

GTY_hillary_clinton_donald_trump_split_jt_150912_16x9_992

Could these two be the arse-cheeks of Ahriman?

 

TTIP – the Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership

The mention of how corporate interests always come first reminds me of TTIP. Under this new deal between the US and the EU, multinational corporations will be able to sue elected governments that introduce any policies that can be shown to reduce their profits – even if those policies are to protect public health or the environment. I haven’t got room here to say any more but there’s a beginner’s guide to TTIP here:

 

ttip-lobby-groups_0

 

Each of these examples of what is happening, and many, many more, are designed to turn us into the “human thing” and more forgetful of the true dignity and worth of human beings. For me, Rudolf Steiner’s work is an invaluable corrective to Ahriman’s apparently unstoppable progress, because he has identified what will happen and what we need to do to avert the worst effects of it. “Know thyself “or perhaps better, “Know thy Self”, should be our watchword, because as long as we lack self-knowledge, we are prey to the delusions of our lower nature – and hence easy meat for Ahriman. In the same lecture I’ve quoted above, Steiner said:

“To the extent to which people can be roused into conducting their affairs not for material ends alone and into regarding a free and independent spiritual life, equally with economic life, as an integral part of the social organism — to that same extent Ahriman’s incarnation will be awaited with an attitude worthy of humanity.”

So in that spirit of preparation for what is to come, how many other indications of ahrimanic phenomena in modern life have you noticed? Please list them in the Comments and by doing so, let’s see if we can avoid that state of drowsy unawareness of which Steiner warned.

1 In the 4th lecture of the first Course for Doctors.

2 Lecture November 22nd 1906 – The Origin of Suffering: the Origin of Evil, Illness and Death

22 Comments

Filed under Ahriman, Anthroposophy, Rudolf Steiner

22 responses to “Turning the human being into the human thing

  1. Tom H Shea

    Think of how difficult it is for our governments to do anything efficiently. The government might be able to impose TTIP but the things that depend on a well-functioning technology will never be 100% efficient. This is part of the Ahrimanic illusion – that these computer based technologies are super- efficient. They aren’t.

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  2. Sophia Smith

    Thank you for this panoramic and detailed feat of an overview.
    Another example of Ahrimanic powers making mischief, unless we wake up in time, is in the field of human embryology and genetics.
    Net result is driving a wedge between spirit and matter, thus hijacking the human soul.
    The ethical codes are lagging behind the actual experiments taking place, disguised sometimes as “in the name of medical science”, “for the good of all”.

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  3. Dear Jeremy,

    Your essay has some harrowing implications which are true today, and becoming more ‘real’ in the virtual sense, every day. Just today, finally, the Republican leadership here in the U.S. is starting to come out in condemnation of the inanity of a Donald Trump presidency. The man is unelectable, they say, although his appeal as the “mad prophet of the political airwaves”, ala Howard Beal in the movie, “Network’, has millions of supporters in the voting public, as we speak. Only time will tell.

    It is not without importance that Rudolf Steiner, who was a true prophet, wrote of the eventual consequences of technology, which was once our future, and is now inexorably here in every-increasing measure. He warned of the time in which nature would sink into sub-nature, and humanity would suffer the very real threat of “going under”, i.e., sinking below the horizontal line of objective being that was duly prepared for the Christ at the midpoint of earth evolution. In fact, it was the Hebrew prophet Isaiah, who first proclaimed this preparation for the coming Christ around the very time that the fourth cultural epoch began in 747 BC; the Book of Isaiah, chapter 40, in which he states:

    “Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. The voice of one calling in solitude. Make straight the way of the Lord, make His planes level.”

    This was the clarion call of the Greek epoch to begin to deduce, by way of the faculty of reason, a horizontal plane of objective being for the incarnation of the Christ. Prior to this, humanity had always stood above the horizontal plane, still bearing the old clairvoyance. In the Greek epoch, the faculty of thinking was about to replace this dwindling (atavistic) clairvoyance with what was appropriate for earth evolution, i.e., thinking and reasoning.

    Jumping ahead to Rudolf Steiner’s final written words for his “Leading Thoughts”, just before his death on 30 March 1925, he spoke thus:

    “In the age of Natural Science, since about the middle of the nineteenth century, the civilised activities of mankind are gradually sliding downward, not only into the lowest regions of Nature, but even beneath Nature. Technical Science and Industry become Sub-Nature. This makes it urgent for man to find in conscious experience a knowledge of the Spirit, wherein he will rise as high above Nature as in his sub-natural technical activities he sinks beneath her. He will thus create within him the inner strength not to go under. A past conception of Nature still bore within it the Spirit with which the source of all human evolution is connected. By degrees, this Spirit vanished altogether from man’s theory of Nature. The purely Ahrimanic spirit has entered in its place, and passed from theory of Nature into the technical civilisation of mankind.”

    http://wn.rsarchive.org/Books/GA026/English/RSP1973/GA026_c29.html

    Steve

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  4. Jeremy wrote:

    “So in that spirit of preparation for what is to come, how many other indications of ahrimanic phenomena in modern life have you noticed? Please list them in the Comments and by doing so, let’s see if we can avoid that state of drowsy unawareness of which Steiner warned.”

    The history of materialism is the one element of life that we can trace in practical reality, whether on an academic or personal level. The playing field is equal because we are all in the grip of it, whether studying in the classroom of humanistic scholarship, or “toiling by the sweat of thy face to make bread”.

    Thus, the materialistic apprehension of the world has gone through several stages since the story of the Garden of Eden awakening of Adam and Eve. Rudolf Steiner wrote a sketch of his own life in relation to the advent of the materialism we know today, which has its onset in the 19th century, wherein so-called “theoretical materialism” began. Here is what he said in the second biographical sketch given to Edouard Schure in September 1907:

    “In the early part of the fifteenth century, Christian Rosenkreutz
    went to the east to find a balance between the initiations of the
    East and West. One consequence of this, following his return, was
    the definitive establishment of the Rosicrucian stream in the West.
    In this form Rosicrucianism was intended to be a strictly secret
    school for the preparation of those things which would become the
    public task of esotericism at the turn of the 20th century, when
    material science would have found a provisional solution to certain
    problems.
    These problems were described by Christian Rosenkreutz as:
    1) The discovery of spectral analysis, which revealed the
    material constitution of the cosmos.
    2) The introduction of material evolution into organic science.
    3) The recognition of a differing state of consciousness from
    our normal one through the acceptance of hypnotism and suggestion.
    Only when this material knowledge had reached fruition in science
    were certain Rosicrucian principles from esoteric science to be made
    public property.
    Until that time Christian-mystical initiation was given to the
    Occident in the form in which it passed through its founder,
    the `Unknown One from the Oberland’, to St. Victor, Meister Echkart,
    Tauler, etc.
    Within this whole stream, the initiation of Mani, who also
    initiated Christian Rosenkreutz in 1459, is considered to be of
    a `higher degree’; it consists of the true understanding of the
    nature of evil. This initiation and all that it entails will have
    to remain completely hidden from the majority for a long time to
    come. For where even only a tiny ray of its light has flowed into
    literature it has caused harm, as happened with the irreproachable
    Guyau, of whom Friedrich Nietzsche became a pupil.”

    Of course, this theoretical materialism at the midpoint of the nineteenth century would easily lead to the practical materialism of the second half, and its continuance throughout the 20th century, and having exhausted all of its practical limits therein, has now gone into the technological domain in this 21st century. This means sub-earthly, and wherein the Luciferic, Ahrimanic, and Asuric levels of electricity, magnetism, and negative third-force destructive forces reside. This represents their sub-earthly ground.

    To know it is to be aware of it. And that is why the very real power of wielding the Sword of Meteoric Iron proves to be the resolve in defeating Ahriman over many years of battle in which “turning stones into bread” is Ahriman’s only saving grace. Michael’s Impulse in support of the Christ Spirit is what is right and true, and needs to be made known with this younger generation today.

    How that can be made possible is the real challenge in today’s growing techno-consumer-apps environment, in which having the latest platform of 4GL or likely soon 5GL service will make it. Yet, is humanity overcoming the anti-socialism that Steiner said was our affliction today because of the individualism inherent in the early days of the advent of the Ego?

    In my experience on a daily basis today, nobody looks at anybody. They are all spending their time looking down at their ‘palm reader’, android, mobile device, smart phone; and interacting with that alone. To me, this only serves to increase isolationism and the anti-social human being today, who is now interacting largely with a ‘virtual reality’ illusion.

    Does anyone else see this dilemma in the post-modern era, where anthroposophy is about as dead as it can get as a possible initiative with these forces of technological materialism, and their intended audience?

    Steve

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    • Gemma

      Anthroposophy didn’t start with the Society, and it didn’t die with it. Rudolf Steiner founded his ideas on truths that are only visible to those who strive to unveil them. Yet hey are there for all to see, irrespective of whether they’ve read Rudolf Steiner’s lectures, or not.

      I meet many who speak of the truths Rudolf Steiner did, yet have never heard his name – albeit that in coming to know his broader scope of insights has broadened theirs.

      It was in speaking to a conductor on a Dutch train that he spoke of the iPhone revolution you mentioned, and he had perceived its rise in the last ten years or so. But such people want the escapism the devices allow them, just as I indulge in internet communication. But it is nothing in comparison to meeting people whose perceptions give me insights into dimensions previously unknown – and who, almost by definition, are not only generous in conversation, but are eager to engage in it as I.

      Indeed, anybody who lacks that eagerness is someone I question as to why they would refrain. If, that is, they’re not glued to their iPhone, newspaper or book…

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  5. Gemma

    Today’s political system, run for the benefit of corporates and financed by them through kickbacks and lobbying, relies on the compliance of a people lobotomised by an ahrimanic media through a focus on bread and circuses and celebrity tittle-tattle.

    The kickbacks and compliance began well over 150 years ago in the US, and further back in history in the UK.

    Please remember that Ahriman works through our willingness to be idle, to wish for the comforts of artificial warmth and artificial light in the winter – and the relief of artificial coldness in the summer. We have the comforts of high speed travel that relieves us of having to think about how to communicate, or if it’s actuallyeven necessary.

    More to the point, it is we who have willingly allowed Ahriman into our broader society, without any thought for the consequences. And remember this is the age of the consciousness soul.

    ahnen mög es Dich in Allumfassen
    Awareness of thee in all that is around us

    Be aware that the metals of our fridges and motorcars should be in the ground; the fuels, plastics and pesticides, should be in the ground. These are part of the earth, should remain so, yet we as humanity abuses them for our own short-sighted and selfish ends.

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  6. Gemma

    It is not unremarkable that Jeremy’s post has received so little attention via the comment section; when I was still a member of the Society, an eerie silence would fall should anybody start speaking of things other than the terminology by way of reading the lectures.

    However, if there is one thing that is true today, most people are quite happy in their lives and need nothing more. If they are happy reading the lectures of Rudolf Steiner and doing no more than that, persuading them otherwise is more than an uphill struggle.

    My own take on the ‘human thing’ is that such people are extremely happy living their lives in this way, if for the only reason that it’s not very demanding. Anybody who wishes to understand this fully will have to have shaken themselves free from their own comforts – and the number of people I know who are willing to do this are extremely small.

    After all, to ask this of someone engrossed in their comfortable life is tantramount to a slap in the face!

    After all, they work hard for these small pleasures. Why should they give them up??

    So it’s a hard task for anybody wishing to become anything more than a ‘human thing’. After all, how could making their life uncomfortable be good for them?

    My own experiences have shown me that the first signs of a person willing to work beyond their comfort zone* is a willingness to converse openly. That is to say, engage in listening as much as speaking.

    https://gemmasponderings.wordpress.com/2014/12/08/conversation-in-goethes-time-and-ours/

    Further to this, it is a rhythmical process. At one moment one is comfortable speaking of what one knows, and the next, listening to someone else’s ideas. For those with a large comfort zone, such things are easy to accept; for the person with a narrow comfort zone (the so-called ‘narrow mind’) it is less so. Such people are less willing to listen, more willing to speak: breathing out the whole time and only rarely breathing in. If one has limited perception – a limited comfort zone – an engaging conversation will be filled with speaking of little nothings. As I say, it’s enough for them… meaninglessness becomes the order of the day, because it’s not challenging, is it?

    The closest of the hierarchies to us, the angels, have their lives in the etheric realm, the realm of pulsations. Inspiration literally means “breathing in” – and if a person is bent on breathing out, where is their connection to the worlds beyond? Quite as importantly, where is their voice in the world of the Angels?

    The problem is that most people are happy to read and speak. To listen, however, is for them “simply beyond me” as Temple Grandin spoke of her own inability to comprehend relationships (which are also a ‘breathing’ process of give and take).

    In short, look for those who are willing to converse, and then see if they are willing to take the next step. Everybody else is happy just as they are, irrespective of the fact that they are unconsciously divorcing themselves from the deeds of the hierarchies.

    (*there is an Anthroposophical term for this, too.)

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    • Thank you for your comment, Gemma, which reflects my own sense of frustration at anthroposophists’ unwillingness to engage with the real issues. Anthroposophy as we have known it for years is dying; many anthroposophical institutions are in slow and steady decline; fewer and fewer people are engaging with anthroposophy. Last night I heard that there are only 130 anthro members in the whole of New York! If this is correct, then we are in a crisis that, say, arguing with the likes of Tom Mellett, is not going to do anything to solve. And yet, for example, there are so many young people in crisis who can really benefit from what anthroposophy has to bring, if we can find a way to present it – so what should be our priorities in this situation? And what are you and I, personally, going to do?

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      • Gemma

        What are we to do? What is there that WE as individuals CAN do?

        Firstly, and most importantly: establish some kind of communication to the higher worlds. You are a BD farmer (amongst other things, I’m sure); the regular demands of a farm as it passes through the seasons means one has to put oneself out. That in itself is striving. A stirring of horn-silica at dawn on a summer’s day is no mean undertaking, just getting myself out of bed would be striving in my sedentary book. An hour’s stirring is quite another; four in a month (not unknown) really has one on one’s toes. It’s also a good time to practice and remember the various verses one is studying.

        There are many other activities that one can engage in, wherever one is, whatever one is doing. The point is to engage in them, for that will allow the hierarchies to sense our presence and thus act as a guide. Not to do so is to become remote from them.

        Most people know nothing of the higher worlds, leave alone have any inclination to seek them, which is to say, the situation is extremely dire. The crisis in the society that you speak of ended decades ago. The only thing the society is good for in our day and age is to attract the occasional neophyte, and given luck, they won’t be put down by one of the anthro authorities who see it as their duty to show knowlegeable they are. I am deeply grateful that I met such people only after I knew the truth of the experieces I had as a youngster.

        However, engaging with the hierarchies will allow them to bring others to you – including those greater than we. An online friend asked me “when do I get to meet these people?” – all I could tell him was the truth: continue practicing as you do, and they will find you in one way or another. It also means talking with anybody and everybody who shows the least inclination to converse. In our day and age those who are able to converse will be more than willing to spare a few moments to share thoughts.

        A young lady of 19 is one such and a chance remark demonstrated to me a perceptive facility that had me wondering for weeks, if only that she looks up at me! I certainly didn’t have her abilities at that age… although, to be truthful, I was in possession of others. What I will say is that I am deeply grateful for her friendship.

        Your job, sir, like mine, is to meet people in the marketplace, on the street or wherever. Especially face to face, as this will give one the ability to sense untruths online. Meetings of this kind are how the hermetic societies operated, for it is possible to share the subtlest secrets and the other’s lack of perception will deny them understanding. The higher worlds are nothing if not subtle, too subtle for the average iPhone-centred mind. These subtleties are beyond the power of terminology, and the verses are the only door to them, for this knowledge can only be shared, not taught.

        Now, if a person has a problem of any kind, the answer always lies outside them: the test is to see if they have the courage to accept the answer. If they do – and this implies they’ve already been ready to converse – then you have someone who has the capacity to strive. My own experience of such meetings is that youngsters of this kind take to the ideas readily and need little by way of further encouragement. Usually I have between five and fifteen minutes to achieve something meaningful to us both. As to their further development, I can only trust in the hierarchies.

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      • Gemma

        I want to add something to my comment by way of personal experience. Because you stated that Anthroposophy is dying; my take is that it didn’t survive the burning of the Goetheanum: the Christmas Conference in 1923 ended on New Year’s Day. To any Christian person – and Anthroposophy is Christ centered – why did the conference end on a day that was established by Roman administrators? This was a clear signal by Rudolf Steiner to look elsewhere; the very shape of the new Goetheanum speaks of a society that is inward looking and unwilling to engage with the world, leave alone the heavens. (Compare the nature of the dome, the bones of the skull and the crunkled form of the backbones and their nature. Then look to the crunkled form of the concrete building.)

        My point is that there are very few spiritually gifted people, and what with the pressures of today’s society, they are the only ones who have a chance. The Waldorf schools were set up with the clear intent of allowing ‘borderline spiritual’ children to flower; in a mainstream school, only those who have the inner strength will survive the onslaught.

        Imagine now if the insurance money for the Goetheanum had been donated as gift money to the nascent Waldorf schools, imagine the effect this would have had on humanity. Instead, the Society turned away from humanity, and have no interest in sharing what anthroposophy can bring to the world.

        That leaves you and me, along with half a dozen others who I know personally. There are more, but if they are anything like the people I meet, they can fend for themselves. Like me, the hierarchies will bring me to people who knowingly or unknowingly showed me the way. Half a dozen meetings of that kind will set anybody straight – if, that is, they are aware of the choices to be taken. Oh, and mistakes will be made of course, but we’d not be human without making the odd mistake or two. Learning from them is the point, not the mistake itself. That we can learn through meeting others, and the things they do right can show us where we went wrong. That’s why we have three score years and ten: so that we can get it right if we so choose.

        Only with so many people wanting to be wrong, wanting the comforts of fast cars and wine, the comforts of their living room and a lecture series by Rudolf Steiner… all this means trying to be right is the hardest job imaginable. Imagine now, a world populated with ten – a hundred times as many Waldorf children? That was the gift the Society could have given us, had it acted honestly in 1924. Instead, we live in times where seekers are the rarest of exceptions, and they are assailed by loneliness just as you are. Just as I was. This is the challenge humanity has chosen for itself, to take the easy way out – and make it a hundred thousand times harder for those who strive. And a million times lonelier.

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      • Thank you very much for this comment, Gemma, and thank you also for sending me separately your article. I will be writing more on this theme in my next post.

        Best wishes,

        Jeremy

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      • Steve Hale

        Jeremy,

        I think it is important to understand that whatever disappointment and frustration you feel is also felt by others who engage this process of communicating here and in other domains related to the furtherance of spiritual science, seen as a cultural-educational imperative for our time and into the future. Anthroposophy began at the very outset of a new Age of Light, having directly followed the end of the Kali Yuga in 1899.

        As such, Kali Yuga was a dark age, having a five thousand year span, c. 3101 BC to 1899 AD. Thus, its ending meant the very real first entry into a new age, where copper replaces bronze as the great insulator of electrical conductivity. In terms of the old Indian evolutionary theory of Samkhya, it would be called, Ascending Dwapara Yuga, or the modern advent of light based on capturing the power of electricity, or sub-earthly Lucifer.

        Thus, we are coming out of the Darkness into the Light, as seen with this advent of a new age, c. 1900, and wherein Rudolf Steiner was given his mission for the first quarter of the 20th century. Now it is 116 years later, and the power of magnetism is being exploited as we entry a ‘Silver Age’,
        wherein the planet Mercury is beginning to work quite effectively. But, now we see a further descent of humanity into the second sub-earthly realm, inhabited by Ahriman, and his more insidiously technological hold on present-day values and priorities, which have become rather totally surface-level, and utterly materialistic.

        So, indeed, the descent is on, and not difficult for the discerning eye and ear to realize that the human being is being driven down in order to become a mere “thing”, or ‘lump’ of malleable matter for the adversary of Christ. He lifts Lucifer and Ahriman up in the same way that Christ brought Lucifer and Ahriman down with Love and Compassion.

        Only a Science of the Spirit, capable of lifting the ordinary intelligence of humanity into a higher level of awareness and recognition, will ever be able to understand what is going on today. As such, these means of communication, given with the “fire and enthusiasm” warranted by Rudolf Steiner’s final verse, attempt to be a demonstration of that resolve to lift humanity up for its higher evolutionary purpose.

        Thus, we must all work together as a collaborative effort, wherein each has a purposeful intent and a creative cause. The future will be met, and we can certainly help it with these serious discussions here.

        Steve

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      • “Now, if a person has a problem of any kind, the answer always lies outside them: the test is to see if they have the courage to accept the answer.”

        That’s a puzzling statement, both in an ordinary sense and in an anthroposophical. I might even say it’s a tad bit disturbing.

        Like

      • Gemma

        Alicia,
        let me explain my thoughts on the following:

        if a person has a problem of any kind, the answer always lies outside them

        A long time ago now, my son wanted to drive, he was also well under the legal age to even start learning.

        That for him was a problem: to which, legally, there was no solution.

        For him, at age thirteen, driving as a concept existed, the realities of driving did not. In his consciousness, in his abilities as a human, driving did not exist. That is to say, the physical realities of driving lay outside himself.

        Are you with me so far in my thinking?

        What I had to do was to square this circle, and I did it by breaking the law. You see, there was a car park near us, and in the mornings it was empty. So I had my thirteen year old on my knees and he put his hands to the wheel.

        Then I asked him to press down on the accelerator, and we crept forwards at a snails pace. Which was all the reality he was happy with.

        Now, before my son could drive, his ability to perceive driving was necessarily limited, that didn’t stop him being able to imagine driving at 200mph…

        … because he was in the safety of his ‘comfort zone’. Nothing could happen that he couldn’t imagine! After all, as a driver, he’d never been involved in a real accident that was his fault. All was safe…

        Now the imagination is always bounded by our own abilities to perceive (that is to say, it is dependent on Ahriman and the memories he guards for us that we have stored in the organs below our diaphragm).

        Back to the point: you can’t solve a problem unless your comfort zone encompasses the solution to that problem. Only this is rather paradoxical in that if one has the solution already, the problem isn’t a real problem, is it? It’s just part of a day’s work.

        A problem is only a problem if there is no solution. Ergo: the solution to a problem always lies outside one’s comfort zone, outside what Rudolf Steiner terms “the shadow”.

        So there is my son, induced by Lucifer to imagine fantastical things, but as a human, my son wanted the reality. So, he had to bite the bullet: he had to press the accelerator and experience the world in a way that he’d never experienced before. And we crept forward in first gear, and my suggesting I change into second had him turning pale, even if I couldn’t see it! His reaction was enough to tell me he didn’t like the idea.

        In short, he engaged with the outside world in a way that slowly brought the scary experiences inside himself. I’ll add that now, he owns his own car, but that’s another story.

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      • Gemma,

        “Ergo: the solution to a problem always lies outside one’s comfort zone, outside what Rudolf Steiner terms “the shadow”.”

        Yes, probably, something like that at least. I think it’s a different thing to say that a solution to a person’s problem lie’s outside his/her comfort zone and that it lies outside him/her. Maybe I read too much into your first statement.
        -alicia

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  7. Steve Hale

    Alicia wrote in response to Gemma’s assertion here::

    “Now, if a person has a problem of any kind, the answer always lies outside them: the test is to see if they have the courage to accept the answer.”

    That’s a puzzling statement, both in an ordinary sense and in an anthroposophical. I might even say it’s a tad bit disturbing.

    In the truly anthroposophical sense, it is indeed a function of the human being dwelling within their own interior nature to look out upon the world as an objective fact, and seek to find the reality. Since, for an anthroposophist, the kingdoms of heaven are within thee, then no outside answer is needed or warranted. It is simply a matter of looking at the facts. Thus, any problems that could arise are met with the answers as a self-contained discipline, and which some might call a ‘dogma’ of objectionable opinions.

    So, for me, it warrants the best explanation possible from a spiritual-scientific perspective. And therein, the answers are given without exception.

    Like

    • Gemma

      Steve Hale,

      Since, for an anthroposophist, the kingdoms of heaven are within thee, then no outside answer is needed or warranted. It is simply a matter of looking at the facts.

      It is not just for anthros that ‘the kingdoms of heaven are within thee’ – that is true for all human beings. This isn’t the point, however, because this statement overlooks one or two important details, such as whether one is aware of these kingdoms.

      This is more than somebody saying “I am an anthroposophist, therefore the kingdoms of heaven are open to me”. Rudolf Steiner didn’t write “Knowledge of the Higher Worlds” because the gates of heaven open for anthroposophists in the way Catholics believe Saint Peter will open the pearly gates for them. Rudolf Steiner wrote Knowledge of the Higher Worlds because it’s rather harder to discern the realities of the heavens working within our own selves and of our being aware of them.

      And yes, they happen of course, they must! The point is, how would one consciously recognize the way in which (for example) the planet Mercury works within us? What would one be on the lookout for if one were to start looking for its effects?

      This is no small challenge, which cannot be dismissed with words – if for the only reason that there are few words to describe the effects of the planet Mercury in this world. Not only that, but the manner in which Mercury behaves in our physical bodies will correspond directly to the manner of its manifestation around us on Earth, and in heaven itself, of course.

      How then can one link the Mercury organ that dwells within us to the Chamomile growing by the railway tracks at Koberwitz in Schlesien that Rudolf Steiner mentioned in 1924? When one is able to discern the behaviour of the Mercury flower from those acting under Jupiter’s forces – that is the time when one can truly say that “heaven lies within me, because I am conscious of its subtleties”.

      Like

      • Steve Hale

        Gemma Laming,

        “It is not just for anthros that ‘the kingdoms of heaven are within thee’ – that is true for all human beings. This isn’t the point, however, because this statement overlooks one or two important details, such as whether one is aware of these kingdoms.”

        I am sorry I did not go into further detail, but wanted to indicate only that one can find one’s own answers from the inside. Indeed, the Kingdoms of Heaven are within all of us, but when anthroposophy becomes a way of life then access to these realms becomes one of conscious awareness. I’m sure I left out any number of important details, but that was not my point in making this remark:

        “In the truly anthroposophical sense, it is indeed a function of the human being dwelling within their own interior nature to look out upon the world as an objective fact, and seek to find the reality. Since, for an anthroposophist, the kingdoms of heaven are within thee, then no outside answer is needed or warranted. It is simply a matter of looking at the facts. Thus, any problems that could arise are met with the answers as a self-contained discipline”.

        I could certainly write long accounts of personal experiences to go along with, but prefer these rather more external expressions.

        Like

      • Gemma

        Steve Hale,

        when you made your remark, you said (and I believe it is a quote?)

        to look out upon the world as an objective fact, and seek to find the reality

        Why then do you suggest that an anthroposophist should seek the reality within themselves? Quite as importantly, if one is looking at the world as an objective fact – albeit without measuring or counting it – how can one come to realize it as a fact in the way Rudolf Steiner saw it if one is looking inside oneself and not outside? What is more, for the word ‘world’ I would prefer the term ‘creation’ for in today’s world, there is little left of what the hierarchies created, and too much of what man has created under Ahriman’s influence.

        One cannot accept the fact of the world’s objective reality without considering events that occur outside of one – in coming to understand such events, one must assimilate them with one’s own current view of the world – and thereby determine if what one imagines is correct or not.

        The reality stands outside us just as Rudolf Steiner said. Anything we imagine – that is to say, that which lives inside us – needs to accord with what lies outside us in the reality of Creation. For if what lives within us does not, one has to ask “why not?”

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  8. Gemma,

    In looking at this all again I must say that while I quoted nothing from Steiner in my response, it seems obvious to you that there is a kind of anthroposophical position in your rendering. If so, then that is true. In other words, what the subjective self experiences can meet the objective fact of spiritual truths. It is possible through education. Does that help?

    Steve

    Like

    • Steve Hale

      Furthermore, when you write in a very out-of-context way:

      “to look out upon the world as an objective fact, and seek to find the reality”

      when this is actually what I wrote:

      “In the truly anthroposophical sense, it is indeed a function of the human being dwelling within their own interior nature to look out upon the world as an objective fact, and seek to find the reality. Since, for an anthroposophist, the kingdoms of heaven are within thee, then no outside answer is needed or warranted. It is simply a matter of looking at the facts. Thus, any problems that could arise are met with the answers as a self-contained discipline”.

      And then ask:

      “Why then do you suggest that an anthroposophist should seek the reality within themselves?”

      This is all very disingenuous, and only affords your own intellectual antics.

      Nuff said,

      Steve

      Like

    • Gemma

      If so, then that is true. In other words, what the subjective self experiences can meet the objective fact of spiritual truths. It is possible through education. Does that help?

      If this is possible through education, then you agree that problems are solved from outside oneself – if at least, one is prepared to learn from one’s experiences or those around one who are kind enough to take the time to converse.

      Like

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