from Macrocosm and Microcosm Vol.1
by G.A. Bondarev
Introduction: Consciousness and Civilization
1. The meaning, the significance and the task of Anthroposophy in the world today reveal themselves to us with particular clarity when we attempt to understand in depth the outer and the inner nature of this world. We are referring to the world of culture and civilization which influence the human being in so varied and many-sided ways and which he himself is continually striving to change.
With our first step on the path to such knowledge we confront immediately the fundamental question of man’s being and his consciousness, which can be expressed as follows: Which influences which in a decisive and far-reaching way? – Is it the human being who is shaped by the totality of the factors of civilization and culture that surround him, or are these shaped by the human being?
Within the sphere of established views on life and the world there exist three answers to this question. One of them, the Marxist answer, says: The human being in his consciousness is the product of social conditions. The second answer is diametrically opposed to this. It has its roots in antiquity and affirms the following: Man is the measure of all things (Protagoras). The third answer can be summarized briefly with the statement that the human being is God’s creation; thus everything in his nature comes from God, though some things come from the powers that oppose Him.
For some centuries now, the question as to human freedom has been shimmering through these views of the nature of man that have prevailed in the world. Confronted with huge obstacles in its path, it has inclined continually to one-sidednesses of this kind or that. In any case, there is another question that precedes it, namely, that concerning the mutual determination (Ger. Bedingtheit, “conditionedness”) of subject and object. With this, however, the problem as a whole is projected onto the level of evolutionary theory, whose arguments bear the stamp of the world-view one is speaking from.
Anthroposophy has a quite direct relation to this problem, since it is the doctrine of the forms and the being of consciousness and their coming into being. From the standpoint of Anthroposophy, civilization and the consciousness of the human beings living in it are immanent to one another. Every civilization has its own corresponding form of consciousness. This should be borne in mind in any discussion about the primacy of being or consciousness.
It is the object-oriented form of consciousness that is characteristic of our modern civilization; it requires a definite focus on a given object – whether it be in sense-perception or the ideal object in the inner life of a human subject. This consciousness thinks in conceptual reflection. Any criticism of this civilization or rejection of it, the attempt to escape from it, lacks all foundation so long as the human being remains within such a form of consciousness. It is immanent to civilization and civilization is immanent to it; they determine one another.
At the same time, the oppressive weight of this civilization and the hopelessness of its condition is perceived by a growing number of human beings, since it has, to an unprecedented degree, contributed to the impoverishment of all that constitutes the true value of man’s existence. Think how many hopes people cherish, how many projects they conceive in the attempt to lighten this burden! But now knowledge is powerless, and not even wisdom and faith are able to alter anything radically and bring qualitative change to the character of our civilization, so long as they spring from an abstractly thinking intellect.
Failure to grasp this decisive fact is the cause of an unending chain of disasters now befalling humanity. And there will be no end to them unless, in a group of human beings that may be small to begin with, a new form of consciousness emerges which corresponds to the civilization that is to succeed the present one. A new form of consciousness – we would stress yet again – because attempts of any kind to take refuge in the forms of consciousness of times past or even of antiquity can bring nothing creative into our materialistic civilization.
Civilization embraces all factors of human life on Earth: social, economic, technological, scientific etc. The central core of a civilization is its culture. The relation between civilization and culture can be compared to that between body and soul. It is the human being who draws them together to a unity. He is their spirit.
The crisis of our civilization consists, first and foremost, in the fact that it has lost its soul. In the course of the 20th century, civilization has reduced to a stunted remnant the preceding culture without giving birth to a new one. What we see before us today can be described as sub or anti-culture. This statement might be countered with the objection that the term ‘culture’ embraces every conscious activity of man and comprises all the striving of human community to meet its need for clothing, living accommodation, shelter from the environment etc. (see the Brockhaus Encyclopaedia); and that the first attempts to hew stones for use as axes or as scrapers for the preparation of animal skins are already signs of the emergence of a culture. According to this theory Mozart is a cultural human being in the same sense as the primeval man who is capable of eating another human being – both are men who live within a culture, although in different forms. The difference between them – the explanation goes on to say – lies in the fact that the one is civilized and the other not. But this way of thinking leads us, quite obviously, to an exchange of the concepts of civilization and culture. Accordingly, the Red Khmer, who used to feed on the liver of their enemies, and, let us say, the composer Anton Bruckner, were civilized human beings who, however, lived in different forms of culture. And the thousands of teenagers one can observe in rock concerts, stupefied with marijuana, shrieking and howling and making the most unnatural jerks and distorted movements, and the audiences at the Bayreuth Music Festival are, therefore, people of civilization and culture. Thus it would also follow that if you only use a mobile phone and drive a car, you can do whatever you like and take any liberties (“Do as you will” – the principle proclaimed by A. Crowley), and still remain a civilized or at any rate a cultural human being; for what is, compared with all this, the man of the Neanderthal culture fashioning his stone axe?
These are the sort of conclusions arrived at by the abstract understanding. And it becomes very obvious where the responsibility lies for all human suffering – with civilization, or consciousness. We will therefore leave this special concept of culture with the anthropologists and try to formulate it anew on the basis of the experience and the needs of life in historical times.
The cultural life of man and of human communities constitutes everything that furthers the soul-spiritual, individual development of every single (human) subject belonging to them. A relation to culture arises solely on the basis of growing consciousness on the part of the individual. That which appeals to the non-individual, the sub-conscious of human beings, is not yet culture. Cultural life – synonymous with the spiritual life – is formed by the system of upbringing and education, by language, aesthetic education and living with the fine arts and, finally, as the highest expression of the cultural life, through individual creativity.
If we understand culture in this way (and an understanding that differs from this implies a manipulation of the concept, as in the case where information is assigned to the category of spirit), we are forced to concede that our civilization has, indeed, lost its cultural life. The life of civilization has become anti-spiritual. Lower and higher education, artistic creativity have taken on a destructive character. They serve to weaken the personality, to destroy it, to narrow down or even extinguish its self-consciousness. Civilization is thereby making a movement backwards and in this it has gained the upper hand over the personality. A contradiction has arisen which is, at first sight, almost impossible to understand. In our materialistic civilization there is nothing that does not arise from abstract thinking. It is the fruit, exclusively, of the faculty of reflective understanding. And yet we can see that, from a certain point in time, it begins, like a metaphysical being, to manipulate this understanding faculty.
2. In order to grasp the essence of any civilization we must pay attention to the fact that it possesses its own methodology, which is, to speak in the language of modern science, a system of “principles and methods regarding the organization and orientation of man’s theoretical and practical activity”. It also embraces the doctrine of this system itself, the doctrine of method – i.e. that of the techniques and procedures of practical and theoretical activity in the various spheres of life. The quintessence of methodology, its central nerve, is theory of knowledge.
Expressed in simple terms, methodology embodies a kind of strategy for the acquisition and use of methods relating to knowledge and (practical) life, and the ability to set them in a non-contradictory and mutually fructifying relation to one another – which depends, without doubt, upon the form of human consciousness and the character of human thinking. For this reason the central core of methodology in every historical epoch is constituted by its Organon (organum – tool, instrument, pertaining to knowledge).
Traditionally, what is meant by ‘organon’ is Aristotle’s collection of essays on logic. The Organon of Aristotle comprises: his teaching of the categories; hermeneutics – the art of understanding thought with its allegories, its symbolism, its multiple meanings; the theory of proof – syllogistics; the elucidation of some of the Sophists’ techniques for the constructing of false syllogisms with the aim of gaining the upper hand in an intellectual argument.
In the 17th century Francis Bacon expanded the content of the ‘Organon’ concept. He incorporated into it the materialistic-empirical methodology of science, above all, of natural science. The logical instrument applied by Bacon was the inductive method of analysis of the objects of perception.
In the 18th century Kant set forth his understanding of the Organon. He regarded it as a guideline or teaching whose aim was to show how any act of knowing must be carried out or effected. In today’s science the Kantian definition of the Organon has been applied to the way methodology is defined – it is the method whereby knowledge is built up and acquired.
Thus we see that the concepts of Organon and methodology are very closely related, and yet at the same time quite distinct from one another. The world stands over against human consciousness. In the act of knowing the world, the human being organizes and brings to realization on this basis the complex sphere of his activity. He not only thinks, but also has a life of will and feeling. He brings himself to realization in the unity of his thoughts, feelings and expressions of will. And this requires new methods to be developed for his activity – on both the material and spiritual level in their inseparable unity. These methods can be more perfect, or less so, they can be combined together, or maybe not – but in order to gain mastery of them the human being needs a certain universal method, as we may call it, which is able to provide a single, unified foundation for all individual methods of cognition and of practical activity. Such a universal method, which is given in the form of a special teaching, is methodology. It is the doctrine of all sciences (the doctrine of knowledge – Wissenschaftslehre – in the Fichtean sense), of all methods of cognition and of the ways in which the entire multiplicity of the spheres of human activity is organized.
As methodology is a teaching, its foundation is theory of knowledge – the study of the various forms (or methods) of human cognition and of human consciousness. None of these things are indisputably given facts for the human being. Consequently, there are different ways of viewing methodology, and these too undergo change. They depend upon the character of the world-view of the cognizing subject. Thus the Marxist dialectician, for example, is a proponent of what he terms the universal dialectical-materialistic methodology. For the religious person methodology has its foundation in the Holy Scriptures. A great number of scientists reject the idea that a universal methodology can be created at all.
If, therefore, he wishes to live in accordance with his fundamental definition as ‘homo sapiens’, every modern human being is confronted by an all-embracing complex of problems, whose component parts are: civilization, culture, consciousness, modes of thinking, methodology, development. It goes without saying that any attempt to resolve this complex, to untie this tangled knot of problems, can only begin in thinking. Thinking, however, depends upon the form of consciousness. All that the human being of today knows about consciousness can be described in terms of its definition as a certain constant within which only the methods of thinking can change. One method can be inductive, another deductive, a third dialectical; there exists the method of “the logic of probability” (Carnap), and of intuitive logic (Descartes) etc. Despite the great differences between these methods, there is a form of consciousness corresponding to them, which uses the reflective form of thinking.
It was Aristotle who first described this in his Organon. He discovered a number of rules, of methods, used by this thinking in order to realize itself. Theory of knowledge in the later period carried further the Organon of Aristotle. Thus Bacon insisted on the primacy of the inductive method, Fichte on that of the deductive etc.
The views of the creators of the Organon determined the character of the civilization taking shape in their time. In the present epoch it was, as we know, the Organon of Bacon of Verulam which played the dominant role. It forms the basis of today’s materialistic civilization. It is on these principles that it builds up its methodology. And characteristic of all this is the abstracting form of consciousness.
But was it the only one in the whole of human history? If not, what was the relation between civilization and consciousness in ancient times?
For, after all, even in Aristotle’s day a form of consciousness prevailed which was semi-clairvoyant and non-individualized, and quite unlike our own. Do we have the right, therefore, even to judge the civilization of the Greco-Latin historical epoch by the criteria which apply to our own? Modern science says we have. It assumes that homo sapiens has reflected since time immemorial and that the mirror image arising within his conceptually thinking consciousness grew in complexity the more he engaged in production, exchange, trade. It is, therefore, the product of social conditions and of the human environment. By bringing about changes in conditions and in the environment one can manipulate consciousness. But however much it may change, it will always remain a reflective consciousness.
We will refrain from entering into a polemical argument with this doctrine, if only because our present task is the writing of the introduction to our book. Instead, we should rather present the views of Rudolf Steiner’s spiritual science with regard to the above-mentioned ‘tangled knot’ of problems.
3. Every form of culture and civilization is the fruit of evolution. It is, above all, consciousness which undergoes an evolution within the edifice of the cosmos. The evolution of human consciousness at its most recent stage is very closely bound up with physical-sensory reality. Here it was that the human being first attained individuality, and this makes it possible for him to participate consciously in the realizing of his existence, on the basis of knowledge of the laws of his development here on Earth. It was thus that the cultural-historical phase of human evolution emerged, which, of course, not all human beings entered at the same time. It is characteristic of this phase that the human being – in contrast to the evolutionary phases preceding it, where he is the object of the activity of other beings who are ahead of him in development – now enters a predominantly soul-spiritual development and thus takes control of his own destiny. In this process he does, of course, change himself on an evolutionary level as the being that belongs to the fourth kingdom of nature; however, this biological evolution of man as a species is, today, also dependent upon his individual evolution.
Formerly the beings of the Divine hierarchies, the mighty cosmic Intelligences who are in direct possession of the creative power of consciousness (when they think, worlds come into being), created the stages of evolution with the corresponding forms of higher consciousness, which manifest the phenomenology of the spirit corresponding to them. When, however, evolution assumed a cultural-historical character the higher spirituality began to create its phenomenology through the mediation of the spirituality of earthly man, and this too brought forth its own phenomenology. Culture and civilization represent the lower stage of the higher phenomenology of spirit.
The historical phase of evolution arose a relatively short time ago. It is no more than six thousand years old. In another six thousand years’ time it will attain its completion. Then, within the sphere of the human kingdom on Earth the kingdom of the human being of higher individual development will have established itself.
The cultural-historical process of development has a cosmic origin. Its stages, its rhythms are determined by the processes in the world of the planets and stars. And the human being has the right, proceeding from his earthly ‘I’-consciousness, to enter into these processes. It is even his duty to do so. How this duty is to be fulfilled, of this he receives knowledge from the messengers of the spirit. In the temporal succession of these messengers, Rudolf Steiner is the latest to have appeared. The message which he brought is the Organon and the methodology of that culture and civilization into which our civilization must be transformed if it is not to come into crass contradiction with the tasks of the culture-epoch.
According to this methodology the cultural-historical development of humanity unfolds within the limits of the cosmically determined seven-membered unity. Its seven elements are called the ‘culture-epochs’. This unity (a root-race) is a sub-system of an evolutionary unity (a globe) standing above it.
The seven-membered system of the cultures arises on the one hand from the natural earthly development (and is therefore a higher continuation of the evolution of nature), and, on the other, from the world of supersensible evolution. Thus the cultural-historical process represents in reality the totality of three parallel streams of development. One of them takes on a spatio-temporal character. Above it flows, providing it with impulse and inspiration, the stream of metahistory. Working within it are the beings of the Divine hierarchies. Below the earthly current of history flows a stream for which there is no name. Let us call it the sub-historical stream. In it work those being of the third Hierarchy who remained behind in their development. Within the earthly cultural-historical process they pursue exclusively their own aims and thus represent an immense danger for the human being. However, from the more comprehensive, macrocosmic standpoint their presence in human history and culture is an objective necessity. They play a role there that is also positive, although for the human being it is always bound up with dangers. For they are the spirits of one-sidednesses.
Thus the human being as the subject of the cultural-historical process is placed in the centre of the activity of higher and lower forces. And it is his task to bring these into a right interaction. This activity is necessary, above all for the human being himself. It is an instrument for his individualization and bears the character of a permanent metamorphosis of the lower ‘I’ to the higher ‘I’. In this process the human being stands at the crossing-points of the lemniscates which unite within themselves metahistory, history and sub-history.
In metahistory the closest to the human being are the beings of the third Hierarchy: Angels, Archangels, Archai (spirits of Personality). Working in sub-history are their negative counterparts: the retarded Angels (Luciferic beings), the retarded Archangels (Ahrimanic beings) and the retarded spirits of Personality (Asuric beings).
The stream of history and culture flowing on three levels unfolds in such a way that, at first, certain human communities, the Mystery Centres, mediate the connection between metahistory and sub-history. However, when the human being acquires the individual ‘I’, he is placed as a single individual into the crossing-points of the lemniscates shown in Fig. A.
With the advance of the individualization of the human being the role of metahistory in relation to earthly history recedes. But as this happens, the beings of sub-history draw ever closer to man. Previously, he had been to a significant degree shielded from them by the higher Beings. However, the fact that he is becoming an ‘I’-being means that he must, himself, acquire the capacity to withstand them. The role in history of man as an ‘I’-being grows, the higher world gradually hands over to him the right to form the process of history and culture on Earth – naturally in accordance with the laws of higher development. This is the reason for the growth of interest in man, on the part of the beings of sub-history. And they will always strive to make him into an instrument for the achievement of their goals, which are in many respects opposed to the aims of the development of world and man.
It would be wrong to say that the beings of metahistory abandon man to his fate. Already with the attainment of the lower ‘I’ the human being reaches adulthood, from the standpoint of earthly, social and also of the heavenly laws. The Hierarchies have, for a long time, been leading man to this “grown-up” stage; so why should they continue to lead him by the hand as though he were a child? They want from now on to build up relations with him, in which he is active with his ‘I’-consciousness as a basis. Today one must be able to call upon God from the vantage point of one’s own ‘I’. Only then does God listen to the questions and requests of human beings, and, taking into account their earthly experiences and their deeds, He enriches them with ideas of the future.
Within the process of cultural-historical creative activity it is given to the human being to attain his higher ‘I’. Then he frees himself from history, moves out of spatio-temporal development and participates in it, serving the interests of other human beings from the spheres of metahistory. But he can also, so to speak, “sink” into the world of sub-history and serve its beings in their battle with the Gods. Whoever possesses the higher ‘I’ is a free human being. But freedom is not possible if the choice is not given between good and evil.
4. The human being who is endowed with reason in the modern sense of the word, meaning that he thinks abstractly in concepts, emerged at a relatively late period in history, in the 6th – 5th centuries B.C. This finds its expression in ancient Greek philosophy. Up to that point in time man thought in pictures, mythologically, and he had a group consciousness, whereby he experienced himself only as a personality bound to a given human community. He experienced his consciousness as a kind of stage upon which the working of the beings of metahistory came to manifestation as the presence of their consciousness within him. At the beginning of our cycle of cultures – i.e. in the Old Indian pre-historic culture-epoch – the presence of that higher element in man was so strong, that he always lived in the beholding of it and felt no need to objectify this consciousness in sense-reality. Thus, no cultural monuments have been handed down from that epoch (7th -5th millennia B.C.). These only arose in India when the Old Egyptian culture had already appeared on the stage of history.
In the second, the Old Persian culture-epoch (5th-3rd millennia B.C.; it stood under the influence of the constellation of the Twins, while the first had stood under the Crab constellation) man’s interest was directed towards the material world by human beings who were far in advance of the general development of humanity (the great Initiates). He began to construct the simplest tools, to till the soil and work stones and metals. This stimulated the individualization of the human being, furthered the development of his sense-organs and individualized his sense-perceptions. This turning to the interests of the sense-world led, however, to an extinction of man’s supersensible experience.
It was at this time that the first actual civilizations arose on the Earth. One of them was founded by peoples who had settled in the regions of present-day Iran and Iraq; another was founded further to the north by nomads – those who were not prepared to connect with the soil. Rudolf Steiner speaks in this connection of the civilizations of Iran and Turan. The leader and teacher of the first was the great initiate Zarathustra. For centuries, his civilization had to defend itself against the attacks of the nomads of Turan, who preferred, not to create, but to pillage and destroy what had been created by the peoples of Iran who had settled in one place.
Turan can hardly be described as a civilization in the true sense. Everywhere in the world the nomadic peoples have, throughout their existence, created nothing that bears the mark of a true civilization. At the end of the fourth culture-epoch they tried repeatedly to destroy the burgeoning European civilization (Attila, Genghis Khan). Russian civilization was, for a long time, exposed to their attacks from the south (from the Polovets, Khazar, Petcheneg tribes etc.).
Civilizations in the full sense of the word arise in the third, the Old Egyptian culture-epoch (the age of the Bull: 3rd – 1st millennia B.C.). Here the human being is seeking, in close collaboration with the beings of metahistory, to take all his earthly affairs consciously into his own hands. In this epoch there arise parallel to the Egyptian, the Babylonian, Chaldean and Ancient Hebrew civilizations; on the American continent there emerge at that time the civilizations of the Maya, the Aztecs and the Incas.
In the fourth culture-epoch (the epoch of the Ram, which lasted from 747 B.C. to 1413 A.D.) there takes place an intensive handing over of the guiding role in history from the Gods to human beings. This process is especially evident during the civilization of the Roman Empire. Here, the faculty of understanding and the egoism inseparably bound up with it manifest for the first time in a powerful way. This civilization was full of tragedy. The human being, possessing already thoughts, feelings, passions of his own, was for a long time unable to believe this to be so; he thought that the Gods were continuing to manifest in him – both the good and the bad. This is most graphically described in the biographies of the Caesars. Finally, when human beings had nothing more than their lower ‘I’, the arbitrariness of egocentricity and the inability to hold it within bounds led civilization to a terrible end.
5. In the edifice of the cosmos the only thing that is entirely real is what the ‘I’ bears within itself. The same is true of earthly humanity. In its history what is most important is the coming into being of man as an individual: first through the forming of the lower ‘I’, which is no more than an image of the higher ‘I’, and later through the unfolding of the higher ‘I’ itself. Everything else in history and culture is, as it were, a ‘scaffolding’ for this process. Thus, above all, we have to do in history with culture-epochs, and each of these epochs has its own corresponding form of consciousness which is given shape by the human being in the course of his soul-spiritual development. He develops the threefold soul (sentient, intellectual and consciousness-soul) and the threefold spirit (spirit-self, life-spirit, spirit-man), and this comes to expression in the forms of ‘I’-consciousness, whose central core is the manifestation of the higher ‘I’ in the earthly consciousness of the human being.
The ‘I’-consciousness is built up on the basis of the experiences of sense-perception, sensations, feelings, thinking and expressions of will. To develop the ‘I’, the human being must therefore enter into relations of many kinds with the world around him, the world of nature and of man; he must experience the way they work upon him and, for his part, work back upon them. Civilization arises out of this activity of human beings. The impulse that gives rise to its germination and growth comes from the world of metahistory. Small groups of more highly developed human beings adapt this to the conditions of sense-reality. In ancient times these were the Mystery initiates, the priests. For this reason the emergence of civilizations has a religious character. A particularly impressive description of this is found in the Old Testament.
With the individualization of the human being, the earthly realm grows more and more important in his activity. It severs itself from the working of the Divine, and even opposes it. To draw them into a unity becomes a problem that needs solution. In religion, art and science the attempt is made to resolve this contradiction. In economic, legal and scientific activity the lower ‘I’, resting on the support of logical thinking and unable to experience the inspiration of the higher beings, plays an ever greater role. In this way the human being becomes a personality by falling away from God. And the emergence of what we call material culture, the materialistic civilization, shows itself in the end to be a necessary, objectively determined phase of human evolution. At the present stage of historical development we should speak of culture in the narrower sense – as an element of civilization that can play a more or less important role in it, but can also be excluded from it entirely.
The concept of culture in the wider sense – relating to the general task of the development of the one or the other element of man’s soul and spirit – remains unaffected. In the modern culture-epoch the human being has the task of developing the highest soul-member, the consciousness-soul, and this entails the metamorphosis of the form of his consciousness, whereby it acquires the capacity to think in ‘beholding’, while this leads in turn to a setting aside of the lower, reflective ‘I’, a metamorphosis of the ‘apparatus’ of thinking to an organ of ideal perception. This complex process of soul-spiritual transformation finally changes the human being as a species. Only few people are inclined to take upon themselves this task of individual development. And yet it is the central task of the epoch. The overwhelming majority of human beings live in it with the inheritance of the past – in the sentient or intellectual soul; while all are interested in the expansion of the sphere of the intellect. There, however, where the phenomenon of the consciousness-soul comes to expression (among the Anglo-Saxon peoples) it is drowned in the element of group egoism. The inheritance of the past is exhausted at some point, however; it is in need of a fundamental metamorphosis, which would allow it to undergo a Goethean process of ‘dying and becoming’ – a dying in the old forms and a becoming in the new.
In historical, cultural, social life this can only be achieved by a human being who creates within the individually permeated triune soul a vessel for his higher ‘I’. With its help he can think in ‘beholding’ – i.e. in perception – not reflecting, but receiving the ideas from the objects of perception, whether they be of a sensory or an ideal nature.
This is the most pressing task of the human beings of the modern civilized world. If they face up to this task, they will save themselves and their civilization; if not, chaos, the downfall of culture, the destruction of all factors of civilization awaits them. But it will not be possible to accomplish this task through the reanimation of group-consciousness by means of ideological suggestion and with the help of the most up-to-date technologies.
6. Every civilization resembles an organic being. It goes through the stages of birth, maturity and passing way. When civilization is at its flowering stage, the beings of the Hierarchies stand in a process of interaction with human beings. And in the lemniscatory flow of activity, as shown in Fig. A, human beings create for themselves a new form of consciousness, or at least an essentially new quality of the form of consciousness they already have. All that takes place in their consciousness determines whatever they bring about as phenomena of civilization. These, in their turn, work back upon the consciousness of man, but they do not determine its coming into being. In one of his lectures Rudolf Steiner remarks: a European farmer of today thinks more than Plato did; – meaning that in the course of a day this farmer spends more time in reflection than Plato, who found the act of reflecting no less difficult than a modern person finds meditation. A Greek philosopher had to prepare himself in a particular way to begin conceptual thinking at a given moment. By contrast, the capacity of reflection is inborn in the European farm-worker today.
Once the task of a civilization has been fulfilled, the spirits of metahistory begin, as it were, to withdraw from it. They transfer their activity to a level on which, behind the phenomenal veil of civilization, the ur-phenomenology of the coming civilization is germinating and ripening. The term ‘ur-phenomenology’ refers in this case to the positions and the relations which the hierarchical beings of metahistory who create by means of thinking are in the process of adopting, in the light of the experiences of the existing civilization, in order to be active in the civilization to follow. They prepare the laws of its development.
The existing civilization thereby passes over into the phase of decline, of dying away. And in this condition it is, to a special degree, subject to the attacks of the beings of sub-history. One part of them are the spirits of death. They inevitably pervade whatever is condemned to extinction. But since we are speaking here, not of organic objects, but of human beings, and their relations, their spiritual development, they must meet the challenge, in conditions where everything that they have created – institutions, social relations, culture – is in decay, not to succumb to downfall and decay in their own ‘I’.
However, it is the human ‘I’ that attracts the special interest of the beings of sub-history. Their striving is to make the ‘I’ into a tool of their interests, to fill it out with their own being, to replace its substance, and this causes the human being to sink back into group-consciousness. For the attainment of their goal, they employ virtually all factors of civilization and use these in their endeavour to determine human consciousness. All these factors belong to the world of what ‘has become’ and are thus doomed to extinction if they are not made subject to a metamorphosis. However, they can only be metamorphosed out of the power of the ‘I’, while the ‘I’ declines in strength if it does not change. Thus, being that ‘has become’ begins to determine consciousness. In this way, crisis enters civilization. That which, in its flowering, constituted its essential component, its central core – namely, culture – undergoes in its declining phase either extreme decay, or it dies out completely, or it becomes an anti-culture – a means for destruction of the personality. In the civilizations of antiquity this found its expression in the decline of the Mysteries, the cultic element. It manifests in our time in the destruction of the criteria of aesthetics and ethics inherited from the past.
When civilization enters the stage of decline, even the spirits of sub-history know that it must be transformed in some way. They are interested not so much in its death as in a perpetuation of its existence – an existence, however, entirely as they would have it.
Within the positive aspect of development, when the law of metamorphosis is at work, civilization passes through its “dying and becoming” and thus resurrects in a new form on a new spiritual level. The spirits of obstruction, however, – generally known as the adversaries – find such a principle of development intolerable. It is their endeavour to prolong the existence of civilization solely on the basis of its quantitative and material factors. This is the striving of the Ahrimanic spirits. By contrast, the Luciferic spirits hope to preserve civilization by endowing it with a spiritually immobile character. The first urge civilization forwards continually, though on a material path. The second direct it backwards in the striving to revive the spirituality of the distant past, when the human being was not an individuality. The two powers enter into conflict with one another, each striving to gain control of the dying civilization, and prepare for it, as a rule, a terrible end. Such was the downfall of the civilization of ancient Rome. A similar end awaits our civilization.
But whatever may be the fate of civilizations, they are all guided by the same principle: the fundamental idea of the culture-epoch. This comes to realization in a creative way, in the interaction of many developmental tendencies. Here we see working the conservatism of the past and also the forces of renewal or the impatient anticipation of future events, and much more. Through their complex interaction there arise civilizations of what we may call a central orientation, or civilizations whose role it is only to fulfil individual, specific tasks of development. In this sense the Russian civilization, for example, will best do justice to its task in the present culture-epoch if it lets itself be fructified by the spiritual impulse of Middle European culture and, while participating intensively in the life of European civilization, renounces the wish to play a dominant role in it and avoids entering too deeply into materialism, thus fostering within itself the impulse of the future (Slavic-Germanic) culture-epoch; in other words, if the culture of the Russian civilization becomes an awaiting culture.
The culture-epoch forms the higher unity of all the civilizations arising within it, and of their cultures. The goal of this unity is to enable the human being to develop individual consciousness, which is bound up in many ways with the many-membered being of man. Thus the cultural-historical process is a form of the general evolution of the world and man. The central significance of this form is that, only in it does the human being acquire ‘I’-consciousness and the possibility of learning how to master the individual higher ‘I’.
The development of the ‘I’ and of ‘I’-consciousness cannot take place in a linear fashion, in the form of a continually ascending movement. The human being, participating in the phylogenesis of the culture-epoch, undergoes metamorphoses which involve his entire threefold being: body, soul and spirit. This process takes place by means of the destruction of one kind of harmony and the setting up of another.
The working of the surrounding world (natural, social, cultural) upon the human being and of the human being upon the sphere of his ‘becoming’ are interwoven in the most intimate way. Thus, when civilization is engaged in an upward-striving process the human being constitutes its driving force. He develops the factors of culture which awaken to life the factors of civilization. When, however, the civilization has fulfilled its task it has the inevitable tendency toward decline, and in this phase it develops the tendency to determine the human being. But it remains up to the human being to decide whether he will allow the surrounding world to determine him in the central core of his being, or whether he will not allow it. If he will not, he must open up within himself new sources of creativity.
Marxism with its dogma of the human being as a product of social conditions (all socio-political activity in the world today is based upon this dogma) reflects precisely the dying phase of civilization and encourages the total capitulation of individual consciousness to the forces of sub-history. It is the ideology of a declining culture.
7. Today we hear from the most varied quarters that our civilization is in a state of total decline. This means that it has fulfilled its principal task. This task was to unfold the potential of the lower human ‘I’, of reflective consciousness, of intellectualism, of abstract thinking. This process was accompanied by most far-reaching changes in all the structures of the human being. Civilization, however, grew increasingly material, more and more materialistic. And this was an objective necessity of development.
In the figures of the leading representatives of German philosophical idealism, humanity attained the summit of pure thinking. In the realm of natural science the most meticulous methods of observation were contrived. Humanity has passed through a number of scientific-technological revolutions and is prepared to proceed further on this path. However, on the plane of metahistory fundamental changes took place in 1899, which created on an ur-phenomenal level the need for transformation of the entire reality of civilization. In that year humanity entered a new phase of cultural-historical development, a ‘new age’, which succeeded that age which in the esotericism of the East bears the name ‘Kali-Yuga’.
Rudolf Steiner describes how, in 1879, the leadership of human development in metahistory passed over to the Archangel Michael. The epoch of his leadership will last about four hundred years. During this period human consciousness must undergo a far-reaching metamorphosis. It must strive upwards from reflection to the ‘beholding’ power of thinking, which ultimately brings about a metamorphosis of the human being as a species. This is the reason why a radical metamorphosis of our present civilization must take place, a metamorphosis such has never yet occurred in our ‘root race’, consisting of seven culture-epochs (four of them have already passed).
From the beginning of the first, the Old Indian culture-epoch, whose spiritual leaders were the seven holy Rishis, until the 20th century of our own age, we had to do with a cultural-historical development which forms one of the loops of the double spiral of the sevenfold cycle of the culture-epochs (cf. Fig C). The second loop is formed by the 6th and 7th culture-epochs. At the point of transition from the inwinding to the outwinding spiral is our own, the fifth culture-epoch. It is here that development must, so to speak, ‘turn inside-out’ and cross to the ‘other’ side. Such a ‘turning inside-out’ is seen in the Möbius strip or simply the lemniscate – another expression of the double spiral.
It may be of interest to note that the sevenfold sequence of the cycle of culture-epochs can be laid out spatially on the map as a double spiral extending from the Indian peninsula to Central Europe and thence further eastwards.
On the whole spiral of development extending from the first to the fifth culture-epoch we have to do with the coming into being of rationally-endowed man. This includes the development of the three-membered soul (sentient, intellectual, consciousness-soul) and of the lower ‘I’. Such is the way we define homo sapiens, and this definition is in a certain sense narrower than the accepted one given by anthropology, while in another respect it reaches beyond this and comes in closer proximity to the tasks of spiritual-scientific research into the evolution of man. In the fifth culture-epoch the mighty stream of culture-epochs extending over a period of around nine thousand years comes to an end. Our civilization is therefore the civilization of radical reorientation. As an inheritance from the past its downfall is certain. But in its innermost core there is germinating the beginning of a new developmental stream of culture and civilization which will only reach its culmination at the end of our root-race (cf. Line III in Fig. C). This will be the great epoch of the emergence of the free human being (homo liber), who will think in ‘beholding’ – independently of his physical brain – receiving the idea from within the things by means of a new organ of thought and perception, which has to be developed.
It is now, in our own time, that this process is due to begin. But the first glimmer of its dawning appeared already in the 18th century, when Goethe, guided by his intuitive genius, called forth within himself the above-mentioned metamorphosis of consciousness and attained the ‘power of judgment in beholding’ which enabled him to make his scientific discoveries. In them, thanks to his perception of the central idea that moves the phenomena of nature, he laid the foundation of a new natural science.
Rudolf Steiner made the Goethean method of knowledge universally applicable. He evolved a special methodology to show how the existing form of consciousness must change, metamorphose. This is also the methodology of the coming civilization, the transition to which must be found by us today; our present civilization, left to its own resources, can only expect destruction, chaos, downfall.
The impulse of cultural-historical development contained in Anthroposophical methodology, which is attempting to establish itself above all in Middle Europe, has the mission to prepare the coming – the 6th – culture-epoch, the seed for which is germinating in Russia. The form of consciousness whereby the human being thinks through the act of perceiving the ideas of things, will then be very widespread.
8. It is above all characteristic of our present-day materialistic civilization, that it is undergoing a crisis on the ‘system’ level. This means that its system-forming principle itself – the form of consciousness prevailing in it – is in a state of decline. As we mentioned earlier, this principle emerged in the 5th – 4th century B.C., when a number of Greeks began to make the transition from picture consciousness to conceptual thinking. The consciousness based on thinking of this kind is called by Rudolf Steiner object-oriented (gegenständlich). He says, the picture is only similar to, but not the same as, its object. Object-oriented consciousness brings forth inner representations which are in a certain sense “the same as” the objects to which they belong. We therefore call object-oriented (gegenständlich) the waking, everyday consciousness of the human being (cf. GA 262, p.81).
This consciousness has, for the first time in evolution, made man into a truly individual being, but only within the framework of the physical-sensory world. Here he experiences his consciousness as self-consciousness. Its system-forming principle has the form of the lower ‘I’. Why is it the lower? – Above all, because there is given to it only a part of its own sensible-supersensible reality, which is descended from the higher, spiritual part.
Object-oriented consciousness came into being through the fact that the world of spirit objectified itself in the form of sense-perceptible reality, thereby becoming an object of human perception. On the other hand, the world of spirit appeared, as the ideal aspect of the perceptions, to the human being in the form of the world of concepts. Thus, the human ‘I’ seems to unite within itself the two parts of the single reality.
However the peculiar character of the lower ‘I’ consists in the fact that it receives from the one, single reality its image only and does not participate in its life. And it is precisely this task – to reach through to this life, i.e. to endow consciousness with real being – that confronts the human being today. The cultural-historical process has led him to this task, because in his passage through it man has developed the system of the three stages of soul-life with a system-forming principle of its own, the ‘I’. This ‘I’ – the centre of consciousness – is also the system-forming principle of our present civilization. And now both – the ‘I’ and civilization – have reached the limits of their possibility. Everything that the human being was able to develop out of his lower ‘I’ for the progress of civilization, he has now developed. He will not be able to create in this way anything qualitatively new on a higher spiritual level. The evolutionary process, however, does not allow one to linger at the same spot.
It is also naive to imagine that, by manipulating the factors of civilization, one could radically metamorphose the ‘I’ or the form of consciousness. No, this activity can only be initiated and realized by the ‘I’ itself. Only a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of the ‘system-object’ could lead one to assume that its system-forming principle can be changed or created anew with the help of its elements and their interrelations.
The autonomous development of the lower ‘I’ follows a path from analytical, natural-scientific to pure philosophical thinking. For this reason it is the culture of Middle Europe with the phenomenology of its spirit which forms the centre of the fifth culture-epoch. (Political, national or other interests have no part to play in this.)
During the last centuries Middle Europe has given rise to cultural phenomena which, while clothed in the garb of the lower ‘I’, reveal the higher ‘I’ as their creator. But at the same time modern civilization has another centre of its culture – among the Anglo-Saxon peoples where, to a special degree, the highest member of the threefold soul comes to expression: the consciousness-soul.
Each of these two cultural spheres has the task of fructifying the spiritual development of the other and, together, they determine the character of the culture and civilization of humanity. The task of the spiritual life of Middle Europe is, on the basis of its employment of the forces of all three souls (sentient, intellectual and consciousness-soul), to learn to control the lower ‘I’ in such a way that its setting-aside and rebirth in the higher ‘I’ become possible. For in this lies the development of the ‘power of judgment in beholding’, as it was attained by Goethe. It is towards the fulfilment of this task that the entire spiritual potential of Middle European culture must be directed. But as far as single human beings are concerned, they are determined in this activity by nothing but their own individual spirit.
9. In his theory of knowledge Rudolf Steiner laid the foundations of a new logic, which can be called the logic of ‘beholding thinking’. Here, the thought-process passes through seven stages (in dialectics it is three) and describes a lemniscatory form. The thinking subject has the task, above all, of experiencing the qualities of the elements of thought which, after they have completed the dialectical triad, turn themselves, as it were, “inside-out” onto the other side, where the idea is received in ideal perception.
The lemniscate of this kind of thinking (it can be called ‘gnoseological’) is merely another expression of the double inwinding and outwinding spiral. In our concrete case the spiral expresses the unity of the cycle of seven culture-epochs, the unity of civilization, and the gnoseological lemniscate is the means for the uniting of the two parts, the difference between which is ontological in character (cf. Fig. D). It should be noted here that there is no other method of uniting them. Another method is simply unnecessary, because reality in the world is the possession of the ‘I’ alone.
The gnoseological lemniscate consists of three triads of thinking activity. The first of these is the dialectical, the second forms the transition from reflection to ‘beholding’. It connects the dialectical triad with the third – the triad of ‘beholding thinking’. The total structure of this lemniscate has been described in detail in our books. For the purposes of our present study we will merely sketch out in brief the main qualities of its elements (cf. Fig. E).
The fourth element of the gnoseological lemniscate corresponds to the ‘space’ of transition from one branch of the spiral of development to the other. In concrete terms they are connected by the elements 2 and 6 (cf. Figs. D and E). All these (elements 2, 4, 6) lie on the vertical axis of the lemniscate, where the ‘I’ of the thinking subject is active. These elements are the stages of metamorphoses of the ‘I’ in the transition from reflective to ‘beholding thinking’. Therefore the human being, through the power of the higher ‘I’, which manifests in the lower ‘I’ when in pure thinking it becomes an expression of the activity of pure will, must metamorphose his consciousness and thereby create the necessary preconditions for the metamorphoses of civilization.
10. Through the power of the higher ‘I’ as manifested in the ‘power of judgement in beholding’ the ideas for the creative transformation of all factors of modern civilization must be engendered. This kind of thinking is a living thinking. It dives down into the world of intelligible thought-beings, the world of moral intuitions, and finds the solution to purely earthly problems in deep connection with the world of metahistory, with the spiritual cosmos.
Today’s civilization is founded on the methodology created by the shadowy, lifeless intellect. Its organon is solely the fruit of reflection and of the abstracting activity of the intellectual faculty.
Those who seek a solution to the crisis of our epoch ignore, in general, the path to its understanding offered by theory of knowledge. They take no account whatever of the fact that civilization is built upon a methodology of its own, and that the two form an inseparable unity. The general conviction is that epistemology is a matter for the philosophers, while the rest of us have the task of thinking about the ‘important’ problems of ‘real life’. However, the methodology of civilization is by no means the codex of an entirely theoretical wisdom which can only be of interest to a particular group of scientists, of born theoreticians etc. Methodology penetrates civilization through and through, down to its tiniest elements. The infant absorbs it already with its mother’s milk. For, when the child takes in heavy metals and poisonous substances with the milk, the methodology of the civilization is coming to expression, not just theoretically, but in action. It determines the entire system of upbringing and education. It manifests in all clarity in the media, in advertising, in fashion etc. In short: there is nothing in civilization that is not an expression of its methodology. And even the rejection of it is often called forth by the methodology itself. However, the methodology of materialistic civilization only tolerates its own rejection, so long as this does not represent a threat to its existence. For this reason, all the talk about the overcoming of materialism in our time is nothing more than phantasy. And one can be sure that civilization, as its downfall approaches, will oppose with increasing intolerance the manifestations of a spiritual world-view.
In materialistic civilization the Ahrimanic and other retarded spirits of sub-history have seized the reins of power. They, too, recognize that this civilization has exhausted its potential. Its downfall is due to the entropy of spirit, which has its roots in the form of consciousness. Thus it is not difficult to see that the main challenge in the world today is connected with the problem of how to change the form of consciousness and effect its transition to another level. This is being researched by psychology, biology (eugenics), political science, natural science (electronics, psychotronics), ideology. And they are all striving towards a single goal: to alter consciousness on a material basis, within the bounds of the material world – i.e. in accordance with the Ahrimanic principle.
It is for the sake of this task that, in international politics, the gigantic project has been developed, and is being single-mindedly pursued – namely, to alter the essential nature of the cultural-historical process. In the occult-political centres of world power the truth is known of the developmental law of the cycle of culture-epochs, of the objective necessity of its ethnic-geographical movement across the Earth, which, in turn, is connected with the soul-spiritual ontogenesis of the human personality. And the aim, led by the intentions of group egoism, is to subject this law to radical changes. The present, fifth, European culture-epoch occupies a key position in the sevenfold constellation of the epochs. In it the living unity of the seven-membered system must undergo an especially far-reaching metamorphosis, which has its roots in human consciousness. This must therefore overcome its abstractness and find its support in the etheric and astral bodies. Since the Earth as a planet also has an etheric and an astral body, it is not a matter of indifference in which direction the cultural-historical process moves: from east to west, from west to east etc.
By virtue of these individual-human and earthly-cosmic interrelations, the sixth and the seventh culture-epochs must move eastwards: to Russia and thence to America. But the Ahrimanic and Asuric powers are striving to prevent a new metamorphosis of human consciousness, enabling the human being to become free in the motivation of his activity, from taking place in the system of seven culture-epochs. They are trying, therefore, to turn the progression of the culture-epochs from Europe to America. This intention lies at the heart of the world-wide project of globalization (cf. Fig. F). If this were to succeed, the stream of the evolutionary movement of the culture-epochs, the ‘Gulf-stream’, as it were, of the ocean of human life and its development, would be brought to an end and dissolved in the general element of humanity as a whole.
But this would be the spiritual death of humanity. A type of human being would then prevail, which one could call the “new nomad”, “liberated” from all the relationships that are necessary for an individual and supra-individual development.
11. A terrible danger threatens humanity in our civilization, which one could call the most crisis-filled in the entire cultural-historical process. It can only be understood if one familiarizes oneself with the spiritual-scientific laws of development. Anyone who does this will have opened up to himself the ur-phenomenon of the whole of the political, economic, financial, occult etc. life in our time. And he comes to understand the exact reason why the American model of anti-culture became the dominant one in the world and why the U.S.A. is striving to achieve world supremacy. The globalization project and its entire structure have their source in the principles and tendencies of earlier development, were everything was directed towards the unfolding in man of object-oriented consciousness, his learning to master conceptual thinking and the intellectual power of abstraction. Globalization, in its not wishing to recognize the fact that civilized humanity has already achieved what is most important on this path, is striving to individualize the abstract human being still further. It wants, therefore, to sever him from all his relationships: those of the blood-tie, the historical, the ethnic, the cultural etc. The ideal of globalization is, indeed, the “new nomad” – rooted nowhere, either in the natural, the social or the spiritual. The credo of this sort of nomad was summed up right at the beginning of the 20th century by A. Crowley, a very dark occultist, in the words: “Do as you will!” – excluding, of course, the higher development and true individualization.
There is a veritable flood of literature unmasking in a comprehensive way the evils of globalization, its means and methods of operation. The manifold forms of consciousness manipulation, the diffusion of drugs, the permeation of pop-culture with dark occult practices – all these and much more are means to effect such a ‘preparation’, an ‘atomizing’ of the thinking human subject, to lead it back into group-consciousness in which the illusion of individual consciousness is no more than a focal point for the global consciousness of Ahriman and, later, also of the Asuric spirits. In short, we have to do here with a gigantic manoeuvre of deception, of falsification.
European humanity as the avant-garde of cultural-historical development is made the chief target of the destructive working of globalism. Therefore its representatives, above all, must lay aside all sentimentality, all humanistic phrase-mongering, they must not allow themselves to be scared by spectral apparitions of any kind and they must face up to the fact that the centre of world power, which has taken root in European-American humanity, is working actively for this humanity’s destruction. White man has become enemy number one of white man. To convince oneself of the truth of this statement it is enough to attend carefully to what is said and written by such people as Kissinger, Brzezinski, Jacques Attali, Coudenhove-Kalergi etc.
The danger of globalism is actually greater than its critics imagine. Because, in addition to the left-wing globalism already referred to, there is also right-wing globalism. And things are guided in such a way that, when one of them loses, the other immediately gains the upper hand.
In the past, at the beginning of the 20th century, Lenin and Trotsky were the exponents of left-wing globalism, while Stalin and Hitler represented the right. Today the U.S.A. is the representative of right-wing globalism – from the moment Bush jr. became President. This is why united Europe – the present-day champion of left-wing globalism – has come into conflict with the U.S.A. The biologist K.S. Mereshkovsky has given the best account of the nature of right-wing globalism in his anti-Utopia ‘The Earthly Paradise’.
Right-wing globalism uses the same set of instruments as that of the Left, but from an opposite direction, so to speak. Let us try to clarify this with the help of an example. In 2006 a book appeared in Moscow with the title ‘The Globalist Order’. The authors, I. Medvedeva and T. Shishkova, are psychiatrists. They explain, very cleverly, factually and yet in simple and straightforward terms, the nature of left-wing globalism. The (lady) authors throw light on the subject, taking into account the fact that there is not only a material, but also a spiritual side to life. They write: “But why, so we would ask again, do the globalists need a crazy, distorted world in which the ugly take the place of the beautiful, while vice is declared the new virtue? The answer to this question leads us unavoidably beyond the limits of the pragmatic. Globalism cannot be understood without its spiritual component. Only when we admit to ourselves that, before our very eyes, not just a New, but an anti-Christian World Order is being set up, will we stop at last shrugging our shoulders in puzzlement, and begin to press forward to an understanding of the true nature of many destructive tendencies” (p. 236-237).
One can only agree totally with this conclusion – adding to it the one comment, that globalism has a metaphysical patron: namely, Ahriman – a real supersensible being, the “true nature of many destructive tendencies”.
But let us move on, and see how the authors quoted here assess the practice of globalism in the realm of psychiatry. They speak of a book by the American author E. Fuller Torrey entitled ‘Schizophrenia’, which appeared in Russian in 1997. Here, Fuller describes how in the U.S.A. responsibility for the provision of psychiatric care is being shifted away from the State. This shows itself in a drastic decline in the number of patients in State psychiatric institutions. Whereas in 1955 there were 559,000, the number today is fewer than 90,000. However, taking into account the increase in the population from 1955 to 1993, the figure ought to have risen to around 780,000 people [….] who, in the year 1955, would have been in psychiatric institutions.”
The release of mentally disturbed patients from professional care is the responsibility of many people, including American lawyers. The same process, so the authors say, can also be observed in Russia. But why do the globalists need it? – they ask. Answer: “in opening wide the doors of the psychiatric institutions they are trying to turn the whole world into a madhouse. In declaring the sick healthy, they are doing their utmost to drive the healthy insane” (p. 217).
This argument, too, cannot be questioned. It is fully justified, the figures quoted are probably correct, and precisely these are the globalists’ intentions. However the two women go on to say that they agree with Fuller Torrey when he blames Ken Kesey, who wrote the screenplay for the famous film “One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest”, for the “de-institutionalization” of psychiatric care in the U.S.A. I. Medvedeva and T. Shishkova also claim that the “uproar about ‘punitive psychiatry’, which arose in Russia during Perestroika was likewise an echo from another continent” – in other words, here too the “accursed” film was to blame.
And now we find ourselves, as we follow the shrewd arguments of our authors who rightly criticize left-wing globalism, and as we agree with their statements because they correspond to the facts, again in the deep and grimy pit of a further deception. Because there is scarcely anyone from the older generation in our country who does not know that the “uproar” about “punitive psychiatry” arose already in the days of the U.S.S.R. At that time the psychiatrist Snezhnevsky, at the behest of the KGB, hastily improvised the “theory” of so-called “slowly advancing schizophrenia”. And this diagnosis was tagged to anyone who said they disagreed with the methods used by the State for the dumbing-down of its citizens. It became possible to make such people vanish into psychiatric hospitals, to torture them there with impunity, and to subject them to inhuman experiments. Our authors make no mention whatever of Snezhnevsky, although he was a criminal of the highest-order.
This is right-wing globalism. It is not one iota better than the left-wing; it acts, we would stress yet again, in exactly the same way as left-wing globalism, only from the opposite direction. So, if left-wing globalism is indeed trying to “drive the healthy insane”, the right-wing attempts to use any pretext to declare the healthy mentally ill, so that they can put away in a psychiatric institution anyone who disagrees with the doctrine of right-wing globalism. Those who disagree include, in this case, all who seek for the spiritual, for the path to God, in ways that differ from those prescribed by the Church that is subservient to the state, and by the State itself.
This is only one example. There are countless others. They could fill entire volumes, which would expose the danger threatening humanity from the Right; and it is a monster of exactly the same kind as the one that lurks behind the globalism of the Left. The final truth of the matter, however, is that the doctrine of a third globalism is already emerging and raising its horned head: that globalism whose striving it is to unite within itself and bring to a synthesis all the horrors prepared for us by the globalism of both the Left and the Right.
The aim is, at all costs, to make the human being into an instrument of the Spirits of Darkness, a servant of their private interests in the course of evolution. And the bottomless abyss of the human striving for power cannot be understood if one does not know of the metaphysical beings who inspire it.
12. In metahistory seven Archangels take upon themselves, successively, the guidance of the cultural-historical process of humanity. In the past the working of their impulses extended not only to man’s life of spirit and soul, but also to his evolution as a species. Gradually, however, their interaction with the earthly human being began to play an ever greater role.
In 1879 the Archangel Michael took over the leadership of the new epoch. The beginning of his period as Regent coincided roughly with the end of Kali Yuga, which had lasted for 5,000 years. In the course of this age an increasing descent of man into the material world took place, with the result that he lost experience of the supersensible world and acquired the forces of the intellect.
The ‘dark’ age gave way to the age of ‘light’, in the course of which (it will last for a period of 2,500 years) the human being will enter again into relation with the Divine worlds; and he will do this entirely on an individual basis, through the attainment of super-consciousness.
Thus a radical reorientation of our civilization is taking place, and this requires a metamorphosis of man as a species. And it is of precisely this phase of the general transition of humanity from descent into matter to an upward striving to the spirit, that Michael has taken on the leadership
This is an Archangel of a very special kind. By virtue of his development he would be able already to be active on the level of a Spirit of Personality (of the Age). However, as a deed of sacrifice he is remaining on a lower level of consciousness, in order to have a more immediate relation to the cultural-historical process and guide the human being to attainment of his higher ‘I’. In Old Testament times he was a mediator of the working of the Spirit of Form, Jahve, upon the early Israelite people, ‘toning down’ this activity; he was the ‘countenance of Jahve’. In New Testament times he is the Countenance of Christ. And he leads the human being to the higher ‘I’ in accordance with the principle expressed by the Apostle Paul: “Not I, but Christ in me.”
This principle must, to a special degree, determine the character of culture and civilization in the epoch of Michael. It will come to expression in the fact that the Archangel Michael, as distinct from his predecessors, the other Archangels of metahistory, alters the way cause and effect relationships work in historical development. He weakens the quality of predetermination which they receive from the world of the Divine hierarchies, and works more strongly with the consequences of human deeds, creating out of these the causes for the further development of culture and civilization. He is the Regent of the age of freedom.
If freedom is to be possible, the human being must come into contact, on the basis of conscious, individual experience, with his higher ‘I’. And the first step on this path is, learning how to master the power of judgment in beholding. In this way the human being reaches through to the moral intuitions which are the motives of his actions, gained on an individual basis in the world of supersensible reality. The fundamentals of this question have been explained by Rudolf Steiner in the ‘Philosophie der Freiheit’ and in numerous spiritual-scientific lectures.
Thinking in ‘beholding’ – i.e. with the help of ideal perception – alters the form of human consciousness. As a consequence of this, the character of civilization must also change. In its habitual materialism, in the phenomena arising from the descent of the spirit into matter through a period of five millennia, it must die, to be reborn as the civilization of the light-filled epoch of freedom, of the spiritualization of matter.
Rudolf Steiner, the messenger and servant of the Archangel Michael, assumed the task of conveying to humanity the knowledge as to how and why the individual human being must subject his consciousness and, in consequence of this, also civilization as a whole, to a metamorphosis. Rudolf Steiner was well aware of the fact that the present civilization is based on the principles of the ‘New Organon’ of Bacon – that Bacon had created its methodology. And it was essential to replace this methodology with another, with one based on knowledge of the single sensible-supersensible reality. For this reason Rudolf Steiner’s field of activity was immensely wide in its scope, embracing both theory and practice. He created his own epistemology, which absorbed within it organically both the theory of consciousness and the principle of evolutionism. It included psychosophy and pneumatosophy and, on its highest level, became a science of initiation: a teaching which shows how the human being can change the form of his consciousness and strive upwards into the spheres of the supersensible world. And this is the Organon of a new civilization, which comes to view ever more distinctly amid the ruins of the old civilization.
Rudolf Steiner developed the teaching of evolution which always was and is evolution of a sensible-supersensible kind. On the basis of the monism of ideal-realism he gave mighty impulses for the development of the arts, the sciences, for the renewal of the religious cult and the practical activity of human beings in every field: pedagogy, medicine, agriculture, social relations, politics, the world of finance etc. Practically all factors of civilization can be renewed on the basis of the Anthroposophical general methodology of knowledge. And this is, ultimately, humanity’s only way into the future, insofar as we are speaking of the path of creativity, of light, of the spirit, of the higher culture. And the longer humanity refuses to tread this path, the more terribly will the forces of sub-history try to drag this humanity downwards. The suffering of human beings will in this case only grow greater. But it would be wrong to conclude from this that a ‘stern’ god is punishing mankind. God is love. God has lovingly accompanied the human being to that stage where He places his destiny in his own hands. He bestows upon him the priceless gifts of freedom and self-consciousness. But in order to be able to receive this gift the human being must make an effort. Indeed, it is a considerable effort that he must take upon himself. But it begins with small steps, with things that can be accomplished by any civilized person. Rudolf Steiner says in this connection: “We can achieve a great deal if we only have the will in a serious way to gain insight, to begin with. [….] What is bad is not so much that, today, many people can still not do anything; what is infinitely bad is when people cannot make the decision [….] to study the social laws on the basis of spiritual science [….] the other will come if they are studied” (GA 186, 12.12.1918). And: “The first thing you can do is to try to understand, to penetrate things with your thinking. Then the thoughts are there, which are forces, and they will have their effect in practice” (GA 174, 15.01.1917). But something can only be understood if we proceed from the standpoint that reality has two mutually connected sides: the sensory and the super sensory. Therefore Rudolf Steiner says in another lecture: “Death must be the fate of everything that is not fructified by the supersensible world. If in this age of the consciousness-soul you introduce democracy, parliamentarianism, technology, modern finance, modern industry, if you introduce the national principle world-wide [a reference to the right of nations to self-determination, as proclaimed by Woodrow Wilson – G. A. B.] [….] – it only brings death upon humanity if we do not know how to fructify it with the impulses of the supersensible” (GA 185, 20.10.1918). All the things mentioned are not good in themselves. Civilization needs, not abstract, but living and concrete ideals. Such ideals, however, are only found by the human being if his thinking strives upwards into the supersensible world.
It is from the standpoint of these requirements that the present three-volume work has been written.
N.B. The top part of the diagram is taken from G. Bondarev’s book ‘Das Mysterium Anthroposophie’, Moskau-Basel-Verlag 1997. It has been extended by the translator to include the Root-races and Culture-epochs.
 His principal work on this theme, ‘Novum organum, sive indicia vera de interpretatione naturae’ (The new Organon, or true indications regarding the interpretation of nature) was published by Bacon in 1620.
 In the physical body they had the character of subtle changes; but their significance for the thinking spirit was gigantic. Rudolf Steiner tells how the Archangel Gabriel who, for a period of around 300 years, until the year 1879, played the leading role in metahistory, brought about the greatest possible adaptation of the structure of the brain to reflective thinking. He worked in the forces of heredity.