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American Anthroposophy

- an introduction -

a celebration of the American Soul's unique

ability to contribute to the future of Anthroposophy,

and to the future of world culture

by Joel A. Wendt

social philosopher...and occasional fool

" can say that we in Europe develop Anthroposophy

in a spiritual way; the American develops it in a natural way..."

Rudolf Steiner, from a talk to the workmen

at the Goetheanum, Dornach, March 3, 1923

cover art bead-work by the author


This book is dedicated to you, immortal spirit, who were at one time known as Rudolf Steiner, and without whose presence on this Earth for about 64 years, the essays in this book could not have been written.  I am grateful to you for wearing that name and bearing the burden of being thought of as a great initiate.  Thank you old friend and may you continue to sail on to ever greater wonders and delights, with as little suffering as necessary.  Hopefully, the content of this book may over the years of the future, serve to break the chains by which great aspects of your spirit are currently bound to the Earth, due to your having chosen to join your karma to ours.  In all our names, I beg your forgiveness for  our many errors and numerous follies connected to our having misunderstood much of the essence of your teachings.  With greatest affection and love, your pupil, Joel A. Wendt

the Contents of this Book

introductory materials

forward by the author - what is meant by American Anthroposophy?

preface for the neophyte - for the readers to whom Anthroposophy is quite new.

an apology (of sorts) - to the more experienced anthroposophical reader


the main themes of this book

The Challenge

American Anthroposophy begins to come to maturity in the situation of a given place and a given time.  The dominant characteristic of this time, outwardly, is the Incarnation of Ahriman.  As a consequence the first essay concerns Ahriman's Incarnation:

Outrageous Genius - Discovering the in-the-Present Incarnation of Ahriman in America through the Signs of the Times (Michaelmas* 2007)  part 1: Honoring the Teacher and the Teaching; part 2) The Wise-Earth as Counter-force to Ahriman's Incarnation; part 3) Brother What Ails Thee?; and, part 4) Waking the American Anthroposophical Society and Movement for their true tasks in the 21st Century.

*[The dates of writing here and below are the time at which the original essay was produced out of the spiritual-thinking activity described in the essay: In Joyous Celebration...]


The dominant characteristic of this time, inwardly, is the True Second Coming of Christ.

"From the kingdom served by Michael himself Christ descends to the sphere of the Earth, so as to be there when the intelligence is wholly with the human individuality. For man will then feel most strongly the impulse to devote himself to the power which has made itself fully and completely into the vehicle of intellectuality. But Christ will be there; through His great sacrifice He will live in the same sphere in which Ahriman also lives. Man will be able to choose between Christ and Ahriman. The world will be able to find the Christ-way in the evolution of humanity."  R.S. Anthroposophical Leading Thoughts.

The Meaning of Earth Existence in the Age of the Consciousness Soul (winter - spring 2006)

In Joyous Celebration of the Soul Art and Music of Discipleship (late summer 2006)

The Methodology Necessary for a New Social Science - a brief introduction (written for this book during the Season of Michaelmas, 2007)

The Natural Transformation of the Anthroposophical Society in America (Michaelmas 2007)

The Mystery of Macro and Micro Evil: the relationship of the Shadow (the threefold double-complex) to the American Soul (Michaelmas 2007)

Encountering the Mystery of America

What distinguishes the now emerging natural Anthroposophy of the American Soul,
from the anthroposophical work of the Twentieth Century

Present Day American Culture - four archetypal personalities (after the Holy Nights, 2008)

Recollecting the True Roots of the American Soul - America's aboriginal Peoples and the Hopi Prophecy (after the Holy Nights, 2008)

Anthroposophy and the Russian Soul - a lesson from life: instruction for all three world-aspects of Anthroposophical activity, in the West, the Center and the East - (written over Christmas Eve and Day 2006)

The New, and profoundly human, Mysteries of the Earth (written in the remaining Holy Nights just after Christmas 2006)

Rudolf Steiner's Own Path - The Philosophy of Freedom or Spiritual Activity - a brief re-imagination (written for this book just after the Holy Nights 2007-8)

a letter to a young anthroposophist (2003)

The Redemption of Eros: - Seeking Comfort and Companionship in a time of increasing Social Chaos - or, Sex and the Individual Anthroposophist (Michaelmas 2007)

The America Soul - an evolving synthesis at its moment of birth: - much has been written above - here a small effort at a summary, with a few additional insights offered as the concluding theme. (written in the Season of Easter, Spring 2008)

End Stories

America: The Central Motif (by Patrick Dixon)*

*reprinted with permission, and with a great deal of gratitude that this exists...

Bicycles: a Children's Christmas Story for Adults

some final verse: the Gift of the Word


Ultimately, all questions of truth and goodness come down to the application of individual art and imagination - that is the creation of beauty.  It isn't so much that the Universe has or is an answer that we seek and struggle to find, but rather that the Universe is an unfinished symphony in which we are one of the creative sources.  Each individual i-AM is a song - continually knowing itself only in the moment of its becoming...


forward by the author

- what is meant by American Anthroposophy -

To place the modifier "American" in front of the noun Anthroposophy, may seem to some a rather curious, perhaps even defective, construction.  What about Anthroposophy, apparently authored by Rudolf Steiner and mostly taught in Europe, could ever be called American?  Even so, the problem comes in large part from Steiner himself, who said a great deal about America, including suggesting this very idea - that there is to come an American Anthroposophy.  Having gathered* together much of what he wrote and spoke about America, I'll just start with some of this material and basically leave it to Dr. Steiner himself to help us start to understand why there could be something quite real about an American Anthroposophy.  I'll also weave among the comments of Steiner various other materials as seems appropriate [these will be in brackets so as to not confuse anything].

*[with the help of the America Steiner library in New York, ask them for their list]

One last  introductory point...

There is an excellent question as to what is truly America and/or American, given that there is a North and South and Central America of which we routinely speak.  I would say in general that most of what is indicated by Steiner, and explored more deeply by me in this book, refers principally to the United States of America.  To look at the wider questions has not really been attempted here, although in the appendix in Patrick Dixon's essay: America: the Central Motif, an introductory perspective on some of these wider questions is given.  Hopefully - in the future - others, native to these wider regions of the Western Continents, will be inspired by what is here to add their insights and their voices, for no one should doubt that all the Peoples of the Western Continents have a great deal to offer to the world.


here now, from Dr. Steiner...

"...America is the place at which races or civilizations die."  R.S. The Mission of the Folk Souls, lecture  6.

[This phenomena is discussed more fully in an essay below.]

"The Indians then took over with them to the West all that was great in the Atlantean culture.  What was the greatest thing of all to the Indians?  It was that he was still able dimly to sense something of the ancient greatness and majesty of a period which existed in the old Atlantean epoch, in which the divisions of the races had hardly begun, in which men could look up to the Sun and perceive the Spirits of Form penetrating through a sea of mist.  Through an ocean of mist the Atlantean gazed up at that which to him was not divided into six or seven, but which acted together.  This co-operative activity of the seven Spirits of Form was called by the Atlanteans the Great Spirit...He clung firmly to the Great Spirit of the primeval past."  R.S. Lecture 6 above.

[While we might think that the Native Americans have a degenerate spirituality as a consequence of this, it would be a mistake to take this view.  A Mohawk healer (a woman friend of mine) is also a seeress, and it is clear to her vision that when she holds a healing circle it is Christ in the form of an Angel who does the actual healing.  Another Native acquaintance of mine described her first experience of a most sacred ceremonial enacted by her Chief and spoken in the Cherokee language.  In this ritual he had used the word Christ several times, and she asked him following this ceremony why he had mixed that particular word in with the Cherokee in this way.  His reply was that Indians had always known there was an Earth Spirit, but now they know His Name.

The Saturn (Native American) Mysteries still produce initiates (as it were), whose development takes a course similar in kind to the Symbol in Tarot of the Hanged Man.  Their visionary capacity comes from having given over their will (which is why the Hanged Man is pictured upside down) to the Celestial Influence.  It is a spiritual capacity based upon voluntary obedience to the Sky People (the ancestors and spirit guides of the Native Americans) before whose judgment the seers, Chiefs and healers tend to place all crucial questions of life.  It is not a blind obedience, but something more on the order of recognizing that the Sky People have a superior vision of matters, and that as a result their wisdom is to be given great weight in reference to all significant questions.

By the way, many anthroposophists treat Steiner in the same way, and with the same potential dangers to our personal and individual development of inner freedom, so it perhaps should suggest to us that we not cast stones.

The potential marriage, within the free choices of the individual American Soul of this veneration of all that was great in the primeval past of Atlantis with the New Sun Mysteries (in its initial form as Anthroposophy) is very important for the future (for details see the essay below: Recollecting the True Roots of the America Soul - America's aboriginal Peoples and the Hopi Prophecy).]

America was discovered in order to provide a counter-balance to the Asian Great Spirit (luciferic lightness).  America leads man to heaviness and materialism.  (R.S. paraphrased from Lecture 2, Inner Impulses Working in the Evolution of Mankind)

"...American civilization, on account of the special organization of its people, is particularly exposed to the temptation offered by what the eagle speaks (1)....Central particularly exposed to what is uttered by the lion (2)...Oriental civilization is preeminently exposed to what is uttered by the cow (3)."

(1) "I give thee the power to create a universe in thine own head"

(2) "I give thee the power to embody the universe in the radiance of the encircling air."

(3) "I give thee the power to wrest from the universe measure, number and weight."   R.S. Lecture 8, Man as a Being of Sense and Perception

[Not surprising then the importance of the Eagle as a symbol both to Native Americans and the United States of America.]

If European and American civilization retain their present character, a materialistic cosmogony will cover over the Christ Event.  (R.S. paraphrased from lecture 9, Man as Hieroglyph of the Universe.)

[The antidote to this is the Christ centered cosmogony presented in my book: the Way of the Fool: the conscious development of our human character and the future* of Christianity - both to be born out of the natural union of Faith and Gnosis.]

The past brings fermentation that leads "Europe to the brink of the Abyss, which will array Asia and America against each other." R.S. Lecture 3, The Mission of Archangel Michael

Emigration to America is greater than all other movements of peoples. (paraphrase, R.S. Lecture 4, Mystery Centers)

[The People of Peoples (the Beacon of Hope) continues to draw the world to itself, even during times of great distress (witness Latino movements in the present, and Asia movements following the Vietnam War).]

The Anglo-American victory over Europe in WWI will lead to a domination of European spiritual-cultural life in an external fashion. (paraphrase R.S. lecture 3, The Mysteries of Light, Space and Earth.)

The threefold social order is needed in order to overcome the influence of Anglo-American secret societies (paraphrase lecture 4 above).

"...I believe that in the future my book [The Threefold Social Order] should be read in the West and in Russia, but that it has no chance of becoming effective in Germany.  The West, for instance, can learn much from this book, for in a non-utopian manner it simply states how the three spheres co-exist and should interact. For the West the moment in time does not matter, for much is still to be done for the right interaction of the three currents, the spiritual life, the economic life, the political-legal life." R.S. Threefolding as a Social Alternative. [emphasis added]

In 1924, for a time, some in America showed that stars were hollowed out spaces (paraphrase, R.S. lecture 3, The Evolution of Earth and Man and the Influence of the Stars)

Following the American way of thinking, an attempt was made to extend the mechanical over human life itself.  It will be an American Mystery to make use of the magnetism of the Earth, its double-ness. (paraphrase, R.S. lecture 12, The Reappearance of Christ in the Etheric.)

"Europeans prove, Americans affirm" R.S. lecture to workmen 3 March 1923.

When the sun is in Aquarius: "only then will the true American Civilization come." (same lecture).

"We in Europe develop Anthroposophy out of the Spirit.  Over there they develop something that is a kind of wooden doll of Anthroposophy.  Everything becomes materialistic." (same lecture)

"But for one who is not a fanatic, there is something similar in American culture to what is anthroposophical spiritual science in Europe.  Only everything there is wooden, it is not yet alive.  We can make it alive in Europe out of the spirit, those over there take it out of instinct..." (same lecture)

"The time will one day come when this American woodenman, which actually everyone is still - when he begins to speak.  Then he will have something to say very similar to European Anthroposophy*.  One can say that we in Europe develop Anthroposophy in a spiritual way; the American develops it in a natural way." (same lecture, emphasis added)

*[here is where I told you that Steiner clearly suggested there would come to be an American Anthroposophy.]

"The American is a young materialist...So too will the American's blatant materialism sprout a spiritual element." (when the Sun rises in the sign of Aquarius). (same lecture)

[As to the Sun rising in Aquarius, its actual date is mostly anyone's guess.  I asked an astrosopher, and he suggested any where from 2376 to 3575, with lots of if ands and buts and complicated details - I tried to get an exact answer, but sorry, none could be had.  Wikipedia says 2600, and if you get on Google you can find just about anything.  As we know, popular American culture thought that this was happening in the 1960's (This is the Dawning of the Age of Aquarius... from the rock musical Hair).  If we accept the role of spiritual inspiration in the arts, then perhaps we can see that while Steiner referred to the Sun rising in Aquarius, a dawning is something that signals the coming rising of the Sun.  I would place this book in that category - the previously dark sky is gone, the stars recede from sight, and bands of light illuminate the horizon, even though the Sun has yet to fully appear.  A transition of this kind, as is also clear from Steiner's indications regarding the various epochs of the post-Atlantean Age, is a gradual development that takes place over many decades if not a few centuries.  No fixed date has any real meaning.  The present then in America is a dawning, but the Sun has not yet risen.]

"But genuine Americanism will one day unite with Europeanism, which will have taken a more spiritual path." (same lecture) [emphasis added].

[I have spent some time contemplating Steiner's use of the adjective wooden in describing the American's instinct for Anthroposophy.  Clearly he could have used an even more material metaphor, such as crystalline.  That he did not, but chose instead to us a term from the world of plants, particularly of the higher plant which is the tree, can give us something to help our understanding.  The tree, while rooted in the earth, in making its wooden pillar makes the earth itself into a living form which then raises the tree's leaves and blossoms much further in the direction of the cosmos than those plants that remain nearer the earth on the forest floor.

Our physical nature, as Americans, is of the earth, and to the extent that we remain instinctive, so is our soul life captured by this earth bound existence.   Thus our thinking is also earthly and material, unless we spiritualize it, unless we bring moral forces into it consciously.  The more our native goodness penetrates our thought life consciously (instead of instinctively), the more we do what the tree does when it spreads its leaves and blossoms (on its way to bestowing its fruit for our benefit) into the air far above the earth.  Here is what I wrote in the essay below on conscious thinking out of the American Soul (In Joyous Celebration of the Soul Art and Music of Discipleship): The purified will (an appropriately moral intention and attention) creates heart warmth in the soul-soil of feeling, out of which the light and life filled flower of thought is born. ]

Subterranean forces possess the American body - a geographical force, not a spiritual force.  They chain man to the earth.  Something from the human head streams toward magnetic and electric currents, neutralizing them - this is the human will.  What overcomes these dependencies, which are part of karma, so that our inner life (if not our outward form) can come to freedom?  The answer: the Mystery of Golgatha.  (paraphrase of R.S. long discussion lecture 1, Anthroposophical Life Gifts.


Not everything Steiner taught about human inner life applies to Americans, and here again is what Steiner said indicating the existence of something that has to be called American Anthroposophy: "The time will one day come when this American woodenman, which actually everyone is still - when he begins to speak.  Then he will have something to say very similar to European Anthroposophy.  One can say that we in Europe develop Anthroposophy in a spiritual way; the American develops it in a natural way." [emphasis added].

Steiner was a very precise and exact thinker, and as a consequence we can look carefully at his words, expecting such characteristics.  Here he has predicted a time when the American would speak, and say something very similar to European Anthroposophy - not the same, but similar.  He also points out that we develop anthroposophy in a natural way, while the European develops it in a spiritual way.  What precisely and exactly does that mean?

We should not expect to answer such a question by looking to Steiner, however.  The answer to this question is not his to give.  The American has to speak the truth and beauty and goodness of this question out of his own soul, and this book is one American's answer to that riddle.  American Anthroposophy is similar to European Anthroposophy, but different, because our basic soul gesture and relationship to the world is fundamentally different.  It will do no good to compare the two, but all manner of good to struggle to see how these two approaches to Anthroposophy fit together, for harmonize they do.  Please keep this in mind as you read the text below: to look not for the contrast with what Steiner has offered, but rather to appreciate how what is offered seeks to complement his work.

This in general can be added here.  The American is more of the Earth than any other people.  His youthful culture is also of the future, whereas the mature European culture is mostly of the past (see the images of the Elder and Younger Brother in the Hopi Prophecy essay below).  Their individual limitations may be overcome in the present by their mutual respect and cooperation.  At present, unfortunately, the spiritual potential of the American Soul is not even decently respected in the circles of the Anthroposophical Society and Movement here in America.  How then can the two work together without first raising into the light of consciousness the true soul and spiritual nature of the American?

This condition of self-ignorance, tragically fostered in anthroposophical circles, is strongly encouraged by Ahriman through our unredeemed shadow nature, for no people is more dangerous to his future plans than is the American.  Whatever my personal flaws that have influenced this work, I offer it in full knowledge that Christ wishes for the American to find his way to his own true nature, and from out of that discovery to become, as is our task: the most formidable, spiritually endowed, leader of the social healing gesture needed to counter the terrible coming consequences of Ahriman's earthly reign.

Jessiah Ben-Aharon did not write his book on America (America's Global Responsibility: individuation, initiation and the threefolding) on a lark.  Nor did Rudolf Steiner point to this place, this people and this time, in any kind of superficial way.

In the end, we come upon a second riddle to add to the one of just what it means to come to Anthroposophy in a natural way.  At its core, Anthroposophy is an act of service to others.  Who then is American Anthroposophy to serve?  Our instinct, which even Emerson would find correct had he known formally of Anthroposophy, has so far been to be devoted to Rudolf Steiner and to the cultural forces streaming from Europe.

We understand through Rudolf Steiner that in this moment in Time the cultural Center of the world is weakened, the two poles of East and West are too polarized, and as a consequence the whole is unable to find their right inter-relationships precisely because the attack on the Center in the 20th Century has been so successful.  Out of our freedom as Americans then we can continue to follow our instinct in support of the spiritual insight pouring over humanity from the Center.  At the same time, however, we need to not do this while living in a state of confusion as to our own yet unrealized soul forces and potentials.  If Americans want to truly foster Anthroposophy as a working partner in a threefold world, they have to come to far greater self knowledge than is presently the case.  This book seeks to serve that effort.]

a preface for the neophyte

- for the readers for whom Anthroposophy is quite new -

If you are new to Anthroposophy, or if this is one of the first books related to Rudolf Steiner you have picked up, then you need to realize that in certain degrees the book you hold in your hand was written mostly for serious students of Rudolf Steiner, and further that it represents a view of Anthroposophy not common among most anthroposophists.  At the same time this book might be quite useful, for it hopes to restore the essential foundational impulse to anthroposophical spiritual science from the confusion into which it fell in the 20th Century, after its founding spirit had died - had crossed over into the world of pure spirit.

As a consequence, each essay below will have its own brief introduction for the neophyte, by which words I hope to make it more accessible to those to whom most of anthroposophical thought is new.  For example, the term Anthroposophy is a kind of unnecessary affectation - given that what it refers to it could possibly be expressed using many different words.  Generally speaking if we look at the root meanings we have anthropos (man) and sophy (wisdom), thus: the wisdom of man.

Among Steiner students this itself has been poorly understood, and as many new to this discipline may have already discovered there is a certain kind of unnatural worship, among the members of the Anthroposophical Society and Movement, of all the Rudolf Steiner said and wrote.  The fact is that Steiner was not (ultimately) grounding Anthroposophy in the results of his research into spiritual reality, but instead referring to a latent capacity potential in all human beings.  We could, therefore, also speak of Anthroposophy as the new cognition, for it refers to what happens when any individual, with a more or less intact mind, seeks to transform, through their own will, their given cognitive ability.  With our will we take hold of our cognitive faculty and cause it to undergo a profound  metamorphosis, not unlike the transition from caterpillar to butterfly.  Our ordinary or given capacity for thinking, seemingly bound to the brain and to physical causes, can out of our own inner-will-activity become transformed into a capacity for direct spiritual knowledge - what at one time was called: gnosis.

This is why Rudolf Steiner, near the end of his life, wrote a summary of his work which was called: Anthroposophical Leading Thoughts.  In this work the very first Leading Thought begins (as it should have): "Anthroposophy is a path of cognition from the Spiritual in the human being to the Spiritual in the universe."  [emphasis added] Anthroposophy then is a spiritual Way, rooted in the will of the individual, yet when well understood it (the path or Way) is entirely empirical and objective (scientific).  The main text for this science of the new cognition is the book called: The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity (or Freedom), and the neophyte will find the significance of this book discussed extensively below.

Now among the various translations of the First of the Anthroposophical Leading Thoughts you will find that German word Erkenntnis often translated as knowledge, not as cognition.  This has led to great confusion, for many today in the movement mistake this indication as one connected to the requirement in Knowledge of Higher Worlds for study.  Thus the unceasing study of Steiner's writings, rather than the objective and scientific introspection of one's own mind, soul and spirit - that is: the reading of Steiner's works is erroneously assumed more necessary and significant than the thinking about thinking or the cognition about cognition.

This also means that in that Anthroposophy is also the wisdom of man, it is not a content given forever by Steiner to which everyone must owe allegiance (thus the mistaken impulse to over emphasize the study of this content), but rather a method of active and awake thinking-cognition that shows each individual how to be wise.  Would that the leaders of the Anthroposophical Society and Movement better understood this in practice, which lead us next to....

an apology (of sorts)

- to the more experienced anthroposophical reader -

It is possible that certain portions of what is in this book might be seen as potentially critical of individual efforts within the Anthroposophical Society and Movement.  Such is not really the mood in which this book's essays were written.  My principle studies and research have concerned the social world, and in support of this it became necessary to learn, from Steiner's writings on the science of objective philosophical introspection (A Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe's World Conception, and The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity or Freedom), how to properly discipline my soul and spirit in order to achieve the best results for this research goal.  At the same time, the Anthroposophical Society and Movement are systems of complicated and multiple social forms, and so it was natural for me to look at them out of the impulses connected to my social research.  In addition, it became obvious over the years of these studies that very few in the Society and Movement had penetrated deeply into true introspective life.  The absence of success in that endeavor has enormous consequences for the ability of the Society and Movement to incarnate the New Mysteries via the New Thinking.

Here is Steiner himself, from Awakening to Community (lecture three), on the consequences of failing (which has happened) to take up The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity (or Freedom):  "The way it should be read is with attention to the fact that it brings one to a wholly different way of thinking and willing and looking at things....The trouble is that The Philosophy of Freedom has not been read in the different way I have been describing.  That is the point, and a point that must be sharply stressed if the development of the Anthroposophical Society is not to fall far behind that of anthroposophy itself.  If it does fall behind, anthroposophy's conveyance through the Society will result in its being completely misunderstood, and its only fruit will be endless conflict!"

Let me make this last a bit more explicit with a little symbolism (only partially presented), based on my 35 years of introspective self observation:

sense world < soul < A/d (i-AM) L/d > soul > spiritual world

human double (or karma of wounds)

I have kept in the threefold Shadow elements (the double-complex):

< A/d        L/d >

human double (or karma of wounds) 

as it is very much an aspect of American Anthroposophy to need to face the Shadow in a fully objective fashion.  A/d above refers to the ahrimanic double and L/d to the luciferic double.  Steiner describes the reason for this in Lucifer and Ahriman, at page 21: "...the very purpose of our Fifth Post-Atlantean epoch is that man should become increasingly conscious of what takes effect through him in earthly existence. [emphasis added]

What this means is that the opposing forces enter into the social world of humanity only through the human soul, which then makes it such that the real struggles involved in the Mystery of Evil take place within our souls, and only indirectly in the outer world.  Our souls are also the doorway through which the Good enters the social world, and understanding this reality and our related freedom on the Earth, in practice, is a core necessity for the future development of Anthroposophy in the 21st Century (as to the exact manner of the entrance of the Good, see the essay in this book: The Meaning of Earth Existence in the Age of the Consciousness Soul).

Rudolf Steiner has made it clear that there is a considerable difference between his personal path (The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity, or Freedom), and the path outlined in Knowledge of Higher Worlds.  In the latter we make our passage toward the spirit through the sense world [sense world < soul < A/d (i-AM)] , and in the former we enter directly into the spiritual world [(i-AM) L/d > soul > spiritual world], through a highly disciplined introspection.  In the practice of a scientific objective philosophical introspection, we begin already in the soul/spiritual world as an active spirit.    

Both the New Thinking and the New Mysteries are extraordinary treasures much needed by humanity.  Because of this reality, it becomes necessary to ask how well the Society and Movement are doing in bringing to incarnation the New Mysteries and the New Thinking, given that only a very few are actually seriously and successfully following the path of cognition (The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity or Freedom) that Rudolf Steiner himself discovered and followed: [(i-AM) L/d > soul > spiritual world].  Does this mean something is being missed?

Here is Steiner on some of the differences between the two paths (indirectly through the sense world and directly through the soul/spiritual world), from near the end of the 5th Chapter of his book Occult Science: an outline:

The path that leads to sense-free thinking by way of the communications of spiritual science is thoroughly reliable and sure.  There is however another that is even more sure, and above all more exact [emphasis added, ed,]; at the same time, it is for many people more difficult.  The path in question is set forth in my books The Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe's World-Conception and The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity.  These books tell what man's thinking can achieve when directed not to impressions that come from the outer world of the physical sense but solely upon itself.  When this is so, we have within us no longer the kind of thinking that concerns itself merely with memories of the things of the sense; we have instead pure thinking which is like a being that has life within itself.  In the above mentioned books you will find nothing at all that is derived from the communications of spiritual  science.  They testify to the fact that pure thinking, working within itself alone, can throw light on the great questions of life - questions concerning the universe and man. The books thus occupy a significant intermediate position between knowledge of the sense-world and knowledge of the spiritual world.  What they offer is what thinking can attain when it rises above sense-observation, yet still holds back from entering upon the spiritual, supersensible research.  One who wholeheartedly pursues the train of thought indicated in these books is already in the spiritual world; only it makes itself known to him as a thought-world.  Whoever feels ready to enter upon this intermediate path of development will be taking a safe and sure road, and it will leave with him a feeling in regard to the higher world that will bear rich fruit in all time to come.

It is because of the practical understanding from experience, of this quality of surety and exactness in the thinking developed along the following of Steiner's own path, that I urge the reader (if they have not already) to renew their interest in The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity or Freedom.  Also, as a result of the practice of this discipline on the nature and quality of thinking, when I turn my attention as a spiritually oriented social scientist to the status, nature and structure of the Anthroposophical Society and Movement, certain difficulties become apparent.  Some of these observations enter into the work below.

All that said, this should be made clear.  While some of what is here can be interpreted (and will be by some) to be negative and against this or that, the fact is that what is in this book is not against anything.  It is for the truth about the history of the Society in the 20th Century.  It is for the truth about our real tasks as regards inner development.  It is for understanding the Love which surrounds us in earthly social existence.  It is for preserving Rudolf Steiner's true legacy.  It is for helping American anthroposophists find freedom of spirit in the soul.  It is for illuminating the Mystery of America.  And, mostly it is for moving the Anthroposophical Movement forward toward its real potential role as the serving-the-Thou source of the New Thinking and the New Mysteries so desperately needed by humanity.

Then, in being for and in serving, we are on our way to becoming one with the Good.

*         *         *

[those very few readers of the previous edition of this work, which bore the title "Dangerous Anthroposophy", will by now have noted that there have been substantial changes.  These changes are due in no small part to the many thoughtful comments I received during the early stages of the publication of this book, such that I reconsidered a great deal of that material and made significant changes.  Because I am self-publishing this book (which is only printed when ordered on-demand), it was then possible to update the file and make many corrections.  I here want to thank those who were so generous with their observations of various weaknesses and excesses in the original text (and I am grateful for the many kind things that were said, as well).  A new edition of Dangerous Anthroposophy, with a slightly different emphasis and edge, will be published in the next few months after this present book is released.]


I must begin by confessing that I don't like the way that Dornach and the Councils in America model Anthroposophy (for the most part, the Central Regional Council in America is an exception, but seems not properly supported by the rest).   Don't like is of course a sign of antipathy, but not all antipathy is unredeemed, some comes from discernment.  Recently, in conversation with a friend (Tom Last) concerning observations of Rudolf Steiner in the lectures collected under the title: Awakening to Community, I came to understand that Steiner had seen that significant differences existed at that time and would continue among the members and friends, which led him to providing us with a metaphor to aid our understanding.  I have interpreted it to mean today that we should think of each other as sister souls, finding it necessary to travel different but parallel paths, hopefully toward the same end: the bringing alive for the future the New Mysteries and the New Thinking.

At the same time, I am confronted by a peculiar moral dilemma, one that was faced by Irina Gordienko, when she wrote her book: Sergei O. Prokofieff: Myth and Reality.  First, after carefully presenting her version of the same argument as above, concerning the significance of Steiner's science of knowledge (objective philosophical introspection), she said next in her Author's Forward:

"When a false or non-proven assertion appears in the scientific press, this is taken as a signal for the opening of a scientific debate, which continues until the matter is resolved, even if further research has to be carried out.  It is quite a different situation in the Anthroposophical media.  There one can write whatever one likes, provided no interests are put at risk and the familiar terminology is used.  Any attempt to criticize such printed assertions is condemned out of a false ethical principle: tolerance towards a person is confused with tolerance of his mistakes.  The ideal of brotherly love comes to mean little more than the maintaining of 'diplomatic relations' with ones neighbor, while remaining indifferent to his spiritual destiny.

"This is, in our opinion, by no means a sign of irresponsibility - this is only secondary - but is rather the expression of a materialism that is deeply rooted in the unconscious [the Shadow, see above and below, ed], inclining one to experience inter-personal relations in the present as absolutely real, while the working of the counter-forces which stand behind every lie is ignored or is at best passed off as an abstract theory, about which one can hold clever discussions, but which, as soon as one returns to the reality of life, will be forgotten. ' "An incorrect result of research in the spiritual world is a living being.  It is there; it must be resisted, it must first be eradicated"[R.S., ed.] ' (22.10.1915, GA 254)" [emphasis added]

The consequence for me then is this: If I discern flaws (errors of thought) in the work of the Society and Movement, what is my obligation toward that work and toward those personalities who make such errors of thought?  This has been made all the more acute by the fact that during the period in which several people had opportunities to review the earlier version of this work, it was common to hear expressed some form of: Don't you think you need to treat in a more kind way, those who. in your opinion, have made errors of thought.

The consequence of such a "materialistic" (as suggested by Gordienko) approach is twofold: First, we collectively deny that Anthroposophy has anything to do with science - that is, there is no real meaning for us to exactness and rigor in the processes of cognition, and certainly not in holding each other to such standards.  And second, that we actually do each other a kindness by treating so politely each others statements that clash with our own understanding, particularly when such statements are publicized throughout our communities as the expression of those presumed authorities, who hold positions of trust in our institutional social forms (Dornach, the Councils in America and so forth).

When I first read this in Gordienko, I realized that she was emphasizing the Truth as the sole ideal, which is understandable given that she was a practicing mathematician.  I even wrote in that moment in the margin of my copy of her book this question: What about Beauty and Goodness?

It is my view that the latter ideals, in practice, do justify temperance with regard to how we treat each other when we find ourselves convinced of an error of thought living in the other.  In terms of The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity or Freedom, we enter here the realm of moral technique - that problem which follows after we have practiced moral imagination and moral intuition.  This comes down to: What do we actually say (or write or do - what is the moral art or our technique), when we are convinced our brother or sister in Anthroposophy is in error?  In some places in the above book, Steiner used the term tact as an indicator of the social technique of incarnating a moral intuition.

There is an aphorism from the Middle-East, as follows: There are three gates to speech: Is it true? (truth)  Is it necessary? (beauty) And, is it kind?  (goodness) Where below I have felt it necessary to concern myself with the errors of thought in others, I have tried to tactfully follow this advice.

Now suppose, for example, that I correctly discern that what is encouraged among the membership, by those in leadership positions, is a misleading (erroneous) path.  Suppose that the general direction of the Society, in how it understands and practices Anthroposophy, is weak, lame and mostly inadequate.  Suppose the practices that are encouraged cause us to miss our real tasks.  Suppose that the Society got so far off the track during the 20th Century that we are not even close to truly bringing alive the New Mysteries.

Let us pause for a moment and consider what I mean by the above term: lame.  In a nutshell it comes down to this: Those who do not know, cannot teach what they do not know.  If the vast majority of those in leading anthroposophical positions do not know what lives within the experience that comes from truly penetrating the meaning and significance for our inner life of a proper study of The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity or Freedom - of Rudolf Steiner's own Path (see essay far below), and, if in this sense they don't know, again as an experience, true and exact living thinking (the New Thinking), then they cannot teach that which can be learned in no other way.  Further, if they do not know that, then they logically also do not appreciate what the absence of that knowledge will mean for their comprehension of the rest of what Steiner gave to us.

Let us repeat this last point, in a slightly different way.  Steiner's books on the science of objective philosophical introspection lead to knowledge of the inner life of the human being that cannot be obtained in any other way.  Certainly one can travel such paths without these books, but to acquire the near mathematical precision and exactness of introspective knowledge that Steiner himself developed through "...introspective observation following the methods of natural science", means something those who have not succeeded at this cannot imagine or understand.  There are considerable consequences to the thinking of any individual not self-trained in this fashion, which consequences will often lead to errors of thought.

The reader here is perfectly entitled to wonder, that if the author of this knows all that much, where is the evidence.  Certainly not just saying things like the above can count for much.  To the extent possible, the essays that follow are the evidence, are the demonstration - the product as it were - of the New Thinking.  Ultimately, of course, the reader will have to form their own judgments.

Steiner gave us what he gave out of his having himself first achieved the goal he sets before us in The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity or Freedom and A Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe's World Conception.  These are not books about some matter that has nothing to do with Anthroposophy or Spiritual Science.  On the contrary, these books are the foundational heart and soul of everything Steiner later did in his life.  They are the Key to the Kingdom of the New Thinking.  In the absence of knowing the experiences to which these books point, we simply cannot truly and fully understand, or appreciate, all the rest.

That failure then lames (in different degrees) all our work since Steiner crossed over.  We stumble around in an inner darkness of soul, that only the science of objective introspective philosophy can illuminate.  We do not know ourselves as knowing doers, the first and essential goal of spiritual development which enables it to be scientific. [In the essays in this book, the details of these problems will be laid out from a number of directions and within a number of different contexts.]

Where this leads is to the necessity of our recognizing that the Shadow forces have been having their way with us (from inside our own souls, via the threefold double-complex), while we've been trying to pretend that all the opposition only comes from the outside.  And, we also need to realize that this state of being is exactly where karma was meant to lead us - to a fallen condition.  Rudolf Steiner crossed over, the Vorstand fell into conflict, and the various National Societies took sides and split away from the General Anthroposophical Society.  Even though this split was healed in a kind of political way on the horizontal plane of social existence following the second Great War, it was not healed in a spiritual - vertical -  way.

Here is Ben-Aharon, from the forward to his book on the Second Coming, The Spiritual Event of the Twentieth Century: "...those forces of hindrance that brought about Rudolf Steiner's premature death in the first third came to an outward victory in the events of the twelve years 1933-45, both in the Anthroposophical Society and the world at large." [emphasis added]

Since this seemingly negative view is not being said by those who organize events, and run around the world giving lectures or writing big long books (none of which activities are socially permitted to be publicly and critically examined), it would appear that what I discern seems completely off the mark.  Everyone acts as if what we are doing is just fine, while over here in the corner, mostly ignored, Wendt (and others - such as Gordienko, and Ben-Aharon) are saying things like: Wait a minute guys, this is all wrong.  Isn't it really possible that we are failing our Teacher, we are failing humanity and we are failing Christ?

Couldn't be true, right?

Clearly people are trying to do the right thing.  Or so it seems, if we put the best face on it.  Most of our publications are self congratulatory, and my experience is that when you suggest they should be otherwise (critically honest and scientific), people get very defensive.   And, of course, Christ does forgive us; and our Teacher, well he joined his karma to ours, so that must mean something, must it not?  Then there is that famous near magical (and fantastic and probably false) semi-consciously shared mental picture of the Meaning of the Christmas Conference we all speak of as if in a dream, so we can't be all bad, can we?  As for humanity...well all kinds of folks are bringing their kids to Waldorf Schools - that must count for something, yes?

Lets try this. Imagine Rudolf Steiner in front of you and ask him if he thinks that its all peaches and cream in the Society and Movement, nothing is wrong, everything is perfect and there is no room for improvement.  If you really believe he will answer yes to this question, then don't buy or read this book.

If you know in your heart that he'll have to say no, its not all right, its not fine and somebody needs to wake up, then ask yourself: How do we know what next right thing to do is?  Maybe this book can provide some of the answers to that question, or if not that, then at least some better questions.

*       *       *

Let me begin this part of the introduction by returning for a moment to an appreciation of what has been and is being done.  It is entirely possible and reasonable to look at almost everyone working in the Society and Movement and find a struggling and striving human being, often one full of a great heart, who gives and bears much (something one can find all over the world in many people, not just anthroposophists). 

For example, all we have to do is to think of the many Waldorf teachers, who work for so little for such long hours.  Everywhere in the Society and Movement we see much that justifies our confidence and trust.

Yet, we are also required to cultivate the ability to look at ourselves as a stranger (Knowledge of Higher Worlds).  Do we in the Society and Movement practice such objectivity about our own activities?  Part of the purpose of this book is to do just that.  I may completely fail in such an effort, but not for want of trying.

Let me conclude by adding two considerations to what I am certain are major matters of spiritual import that are not yet clearly seen by our leadership and therefore not brought as strongly as is necessary to our attention.  These are in addition to the errors that arise because so few have penetrated to the kind of self knowledge only possible through an objective study of the own soul based on the science of knowing as developed by Steiner (A Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe's World Conception, and The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity or Freedom).

The second matter (besides the above introspective activity and books), left in the dust heap of our confusions following the split in the Society, and what followed in the 20th Century, was the Reverse Cultus.  It was not that this was presented to us by Steiner as an off hand remark, by the way.  It came about this way.  Almost immediately following the Burning of the Goetheanum, Steiner began giving a series of lectures (starting January 23rd, 1923) in Dornach and Stuttgart, which has been collected under the title Awakening to Community.

In Lecture VI, he takes up a significant subject, which he begins to approach by discussing the need for religious renewal that was to be met through the creation of the Christian Community.  He then paraphrases Dr. Rittelmeyer, who had recently said that the development of community in the Christian Community is potentially one of the greatest threats to the Anthroposophical Society possible.

Steiner then describes how a rite (and certainly this includes the Rite of Consecration of Man that is to be celebrated in the Christian Community) brings down into those present in the Rite (cultus) a spiritual presence: "a shared comprehensive memory of spiritual experiences". This, he goes on to say, is a powerful community building force.

Steiner then adds: "The Anthroposophical Society also needs just such a force to foster community within it".  He then elaborates the underlying spiritual principles that lead to the necessity for the Society to learn to enact a reverse cultus, in which spiritual presence does not descend via the Rite into the community, but the community learns instead to rise up toward spiritual presence through a rite of its own, in the nature of its groups and their cultivated feeling life and qualities of conversation.

Now an honest (as of a stranger) appraisal of the Life of our Society reveals that in comparison with the community feelings one can sometimes experience in Christian Community social gatherings, the Society has not achieved the same level of fellow-feeling.  In fact, most of the goals Steiner set for us in his collection of letters written to the Society members in 1924, and published as The Life, Nature and Cultivation of Anthroposophy, have not been achieved.

As a place where one can find deeply felt warm fellow-feeling, the Christian Community often succeeds where the Society does not, and the danger to the Society predicted by Dr. Rittelmeyer almost a century ago has come to pass.  What is worse, in my view, is that the priests of the Christian Community, at least among their leadership, ought to have known this and apparently have done nothing about it.  In fact, it began to greatly disturb me about 10 years ago, when I found more and more people in the Society who had never even heard of the reverse cultus or of this most crucial problem for the community life of the Society.

Now this error of thought (not recognizing the need for the reverse cultus) is in a very few places now being overcome (the Central Regional Council in American is trying, for example), but at the same time its significance has to be brought into the foreground over and over again, until we understand our loss, and our potential.

In addition to the loss of the reverse cultus, there is a further difficulty for which Steiner had given warnings (sorry, I can't put my finger on a quote at the moment, but most readers should be able eventually to appreciate this).  This danger is the intellectualization of the Michaelic Cosmic Intelligence.

When Steiner wrote and lectured, Michaelic Cosmic Intelligence lived into the room.  Where he was, It was.  But once this Intelligence entered the minds of his readers and listeners, a difficulty was encountered over which Steiner had little control.  This Living (experienced) Wisdom dies when brought into incarnation in words, and this death can only be overcome by the inner activity of the reader and listener.  We have to meet what he offered in the right way, and he spoke of this directly and indirectly over and over again (see the introductions to both Occult Science and Theosophy).

If we look honestly back upon the work of the 20th Century in the Society and Movement and see how it is developed into its present form, we will not find this living Intelligence, but mostly its lifeless intellectualized corpse.  Anthroposophy (the Wisdom of Man, which discovers how to encounter and work with the Michaelic Cosmic Intelligence) has become in far too many souls mere Steinerism, a philosophy (world view) attributed to the authority of the Great Initiate and Genius, Rudolf Steiner.  Over and over again, in conversations with others (deep sincere people) and on Waldorf websites etc. one finds something similar to this form of expression (here taken from an actual Waldorf website): Anthroposophy is a spiritual philosophy that reflects and speaks to the basic deep spiritual questions of humanity, to our basic creative needs, to the need to relate to the world out of a scientific attitude of mind, and to the need to develop a relation to the world in complete freedom and based on completely individual judgments and decisions.

What could be wrong with this?  Well, its not true in a living way, although it is more or less intellectually (materialistically) accurate.  The flesh has been stripped away, and all we have is the bones.  Recall now what Steiner wrote in the First Leading Thought:

"1. Anthroposophy is a path of cognition*, to guide the Spiritual in the human being to the Spiritual in the universe.  It arises in man as a need of the heart, of the life of feeling; and it can be justified only inasmuch as it can satisfy this inner need. He alone can acknowledge Anthroposophy, who finds in it what he himself in his own inner life feels impelled to seek.  Hence only they can be anthroposophists who feel certain questions on the nature of man and the universe as an elemental need of life, just as one feels hunger and thirst."

*[As previously noted, this is generally translated as knowledge, but it appears that the better English word for the German word Erkentnis or Erkennen is cognition.]

The two quotes above almost seem the same don't they?  But the fact is instead of quoting what Steiner himself wrote, the mind of the writer on the Waldorf website intellectualized the meanings, and lacking a connection to his own feelings on this matter, then subtly and thoughtlessly took away the heart of it, probably completely unconsciously and in connection with how the  corpse of this once Living Wisdom is taught among us today.

Like any error of thought, the whole misstep starts right at the beginning, where "Anthroposophy is a path of cognition..." becomes "Anthroposophy is a spiritual philosophy...".  Something that I do out of my will and feelings and needs (a path I walk), has become, as a consequence of the intellectualization, a mere point of view - something that I study in books and learn as a content (a spiritual philosophy).

The core difficulty is rooted (as the reader now should understand) in the absence of an appreciation in practice of The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity or Freedom.  For example, a scientific introspective life comes to recognize that there is a considerable difference among those activities of spirit that lead in the soul to such states as: belief, understanding and knowledge.   In the essay below: Anthroposophy and the Russian Soul, I go into a number of details as regards this problem.

The consequence of this intellectualization of the once Living Michaelic Cosmic Wisdom has led to the displacement of the Living element of this stream of Wisdom, away from the Society and Movement (what Ben-Aharon, in his remarkable Imagination of the Second Coming: The Spiritual Event of the 20th Century, calls the conscious Michael Community to what Ben-Aharon calls there the unconscious Michael Community).   When I write in the essays below on such themes as Civil Society, the Hopi Prophecy and the Bioneers, it is this displacement to which I am referring.

The Anthroposophical Society and Movement, having lost a connection to The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity or Freedom and the reverse cultus, failed to find their own way to the Living Spirit and thus to true Michaelic Cosmic Intelligence.  Since the movement among humanity of forces of the Living Spirit is not defeated by our failures, this wind or breath of [holy] spirit (see the Gospel of John) moved elsewhere.  Mainly It abandoned the institutional structures of the Society and Movement where the Living Wisdom had been intellectualized, and entered into humanity at the level of the social commons, which is why we can still sense Its Presence in our own anthroposophical communities, not from the top down, but rather from the social below upward (a general trend in all social forms in the present, by the way, not just the Society).

We actually come into contact with It when we participate as individuals in what the larger society is doing in such activities as the environmental movement or in political struggles (see the work of Ben-Aharon and Perlas).  For details, read Ben-Aharon's book: America's Global Responsibility: individualization, initiation and threefolding.

How do we once more become a truly conscious Michaelic Community on the Earth, carrying forward the tasks set before us by our teacher, Rudolf Steiner?  How do we overcome the intellectualization of the Michaelic Cosmic Intelligence (the reduction of acts of will in the soul, to the mere study of Steiner books)?  We do this through re-awakening interest in the New Thinking (The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity or Freedom) and the New Mysteries (the reverse cultus).  Hopefully this book will also help point the way.

To come at this from a slightly different direction, it can also be pointed out that most of Steiner's books and lectures (except when he could lecture in England) had to be put in the language of the Intellectual Soul.   His basic European audiences were by education and cultural influences not yet in the Consciousness Soul, and as a consequence Steiner found it necessary to use certain forms of language and to often speak indirectly or metaphorically as his listeners lacked the capacity (at that time) to observe the needed soul phenomena of the Consciousness Soul.

This book you hold in your hand, dear reader, is for example written entirely in the language of the Consciousness Soul, which in fact in many instances had to be invented in order to express Consciousness Soul experiences (see The Meaning of....for example).   This is why there will be for some readers an apparent disconnect between what Steiner said and what is said here.  This is not a disconnect at the level of the truth, however, but entirely a consequence of the fact that only now is it possible to write so openly concerning that which Steiner had to approach indirectly and often with a great deal of circumlocution.


Lets wind up this discussion in the introduction with a picture of the situation in America with respect to Anthroposophy.

America is a battleground of the spirit.  It is where there is more individualism presently than anywhere else on the planet.  This makes possible both Light (the Life Forces of Christ entering through the thinking of the heart) and Darkness (the Shadow forces out of the threefold double-complex).  Both will be present, in spite of the New Age dream of an Age of Light.

The actual battleground is within the soul and only indirectly in the outer world.   And, at this time only Anthroposophy truly understands this (there are a few whispers out there, but they could use our support).

In America, from the Cultures of the East, comes mostly decadent and luciferic spirit ways, wearing the seductive guise of the mysterious (thus all the more lucifericly attractive) satori or sudden enlightenment.  From the Culture of the Center, via scientific materialism, comes the ahrimanic to join with the natural materialism of the youthful American culture.   But also from the Center comes an Ideal of the new Life of Christ in the New Thinking and in the community work of the reverse cultus (the New Mysteries).

At the same time, the American Soul has unique (nowhere else in the world) forces, and these must be awakened and applied within the soul - in the battleground between latent and natural Christ forces of the heart (the true American Spirit) and the mostly decadent spiritual life of the Cultural East, which has been coupled to the excesses of the Ahrimanic Deception (materialism) given birth in the Cultural Center at the heights of Western Civilization in the 19th Century.

The American Soul stands as a mediating soul-space between a luciferic  ungrounded spirituality of the East, and the ahrimanically rigid belief in scientific materialism born in the Center.  While the Society and Movement are focused on the Center, in a social-spiritual sense this Center failed (in the same way an overstressed beam fails) during the crisis events in the 20th Century.  Recall Ben-Aharon above: The Spiritual Event of the Twentieth Century: "...those forces of hindrance that brought about Rudolf Steiner's premature death in the first third came to an outward victory in the events of the twelve years 1933-45, both in the Anthroposophical Society and the world at large." [emphasis added]

This book seeks to illuminate that battleground of the American soul-space, and the special role Anthroposophy can play in its future resolution.   In particular, we have to begin with the Challenge presented by the fact of Ahriman's actual incarnation in America, in the present.  For out of this incarnation the battle has now become fully joined, and as in much else the membership of the Society and Movement are here far too asleep.

I noted above how the Spiritual World's chosen displacement of the Michaelic Cosmic Intelligence meant that It  became a spirit breath weaving mostly among the awakening social commons (the millions* of souls Steiner is said by some to have hoped would be anthroposophists by the end of the 20th Century - alas a dream that was apparently not to be).  Nevertheless, it is in this awakening social commons that instinctive consciousness soul processes have burst forth within our declining civilization among Civil Society, the environmental movement and so forth.

*[see the essay below: The Natural Transformation of Anthroposophical Society in America, for a discussion of the so-called Michaelic millions]

Many anthroposophists find a kinship with these social gestures.  In them, for example, has begun the opposition to Ahriman's incarnation so necessary at this time.  Yet, what about the Anthroposophical Movement and Society?   Is it to do something different than that which is happening in Civil Society?


We hold the keys to the kingdom of the New Thinking (in the Philosophy of Spiritual Activity) and the New Mysteries (in the form of the reverse cultus), matters never before possible on the Earth.  While these are appearing instinctively everywhere today, only anthroposophists have been given (at this time, if we don't catch the bus now it is gone!) the opportunity to foster in the School and Society a scientific spiritual life.  At present, the main thrusts of the spiritual life in the planetary culture are unable (again, in the moment) to connect to the true nature of the Sun Intelligence living inside Natural Science.  If you will recall from Steiner's biographical statements, he was only able to enter the Sun Sphere of the Spiritual World after he had brought deeply into his soul the real impulses underlying the scientific enterprise.

If we, as anthroposophists, are unable to make the core of our practices scientific, we will leave the greatest of Steiner's gifts orphaned.  He said, as we all know, that the future would know him more for The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity or Freedom, than any other deed.  Why?

Because, in this book of Steiner's is the process by which a human being becomes freely awake as a knowing doer of the spirit in a scientific way.  If we drop this ball, the present may lose sight of it, which then means the future will have to wait for another time, perhaps even another age, to discover this sublime treasure.  Rudolf Steiner's greatest legacy is in our hands.  What are we going to do?

The Challenge

American Anthroposophy begins to come to maturity in the situation of a given place and a given time.  The dominant characteristic of this time, outwardly, is the Incarnation of Ahriman

[A brief introduction to the neophyte: For some it will come as a strange surprise (perhaps quite off putting) to find this book begin with the following discussion concerning the present day incarnation of a spiritual Being of whom they have perhaps never heard anything.  Ahriman is apparently first known to outward history as a figure in Persian religious myths.  Rudolf Steiner discussed this Being in great detail, and represented both human nature and the general structure of the social world as being threefold in its most universal all-human characteristics.  As represented artistically in Steiner's sculpture: the Representative of Humanity, we find above was Lucifer, who stood between the human being and his experience of the divine spiritual worlds.  Below was Ahriman, who stood between the human being and his experience of the world of the senses.  In the Middle, as the balancing gesture, stood Christ as the Representative of Humanity (what our true higher nature is to become, as St. Paul had noted: Not I, but Christ in me).  This arrangement should be viewed as something not easy to understand and as something that needs to be approached carefully and without succumbing to any temptations to sensationalize or exaggerate the real nature of Mystery of Evil, the main structural Mystery surrounding humanity in the present. 

This much should be recognized.  The social world consists of two parts, the first of which is an outer structural aspect - a  Stage Setting, the maya of nature, history and social-political facts and processes.  Here in this outside structure Ahriman is a main feature.  More essential is the inwardness, what is not visible to the senses. All our outer actions (and inner actions) have a consequence for our soul and spirit.  This inwardness is not maya, but truth.  But to arrive at truth requires a rite of passage.  The governor of this rite of passage is Lucifer.  As we progress in inner development, we come to learn that the real essential aspect is Christ.  He is the predominant feature of the truth of the inner world (Lucifer commands an inner world of temptation and illusion, while Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life - what receives our approach (the Way), in the middle becomes the means (the Truth) leading us through this rite of passage to its culmination (the Life).).

As the essay below progresses, certain facts about this structural Mystery will be illuminated, and other related facts will come forward as the reader gets deeper into the rest of this book.  The neophyte, who wants to go further into this Mystery - particularly what is called: the opponents, may want eventually to read Steiner's works on the subject of Lucifer and Ahriman very carefully.]

Outrageous Genius - Discovering the in-the-Present Incarnation of Ahriman in America through the Signs of the Times

first, some necessary preliminary considerations

Honoring the Teacher and the Teaching

"And, just as there was an incarnation of Lucifer in the flesh, and as there was an incarnation of Christ in the flesh, so will there be, before even a part of the third post-Christian millennium will have passed, an actual incarnation of Ahriman in the West: Ahriman in the flesh." [emphasis added] R.S. lecture, 1 November, 1919

"The thing that will matter, though, will be for people in the age of Ahriman to know that John William Smith* is only what appears before them outwardly, and that inwardly Ahriman is there; they must know what is happening and not succumb to any deception in the drowsiness of their illusions." [emphasis added] R. S. 28 December 1919 [*a name Steiner made up]

The first and essential thing to realize is that in thinking about the Incarnation of the near-god Ahriman, as a human being on the cusp of the change from the 2nd Millennium to the 3rd, we must not conceive of this as an incarnation of Evil.  What Rudolf Steiner has called the "opponents" play a necessary and ordained role in the Creation.  They are the density and weight we are to meet and learn to carry (in both the inward heavenly realm as well as the outward earthly realm), otherwise our own incarnations would be too easy, and we would never really learn anything. Macro Evil (the opponents) are different from the Beast from the Abyss, or collective and conscious micro (human) evil.  The tempters and confusers tempt and confuse, they sow seeds of fear and doubt and judgment and cynicism,  but they do not bring true evil into the social world.  We do that when we give into their urgings, instead of the wise (though challenging and often difficult) promptings of our own hearts.  The more consciously we choose the dark, the more the Beast from the Abyss has free play in human social existence.  The more we consciously seek and choose the Good, the more evolution moves forward in a balanced and harmonious  direction.

"...the very purpose of our Fifth Post-Atlantean epoch is that man should become increasingly conscious of what takes effect through him in earthly existence." [emphasis added] R.S. Lucifer and Ahriman, lecture II, 2 November 1919.

Some anthroposophists create pictures within their inwardness, in which they view the opponents as more or less extremely powerful, and thereby capable of overwhelming humanity (especially in connection with the hardly spoken of Soradt - the Sun Demon - and the Asuras).  Simple logic refutes such an assumption, for if these Beings had the power some anthroposophists believe they have, progressive evolution would already be over.  The fact is they are constrained, principally through the office of the Divine Mother, whose golden realm is found on the other side of the Eight Inner Spheres of the Earth (the Spheres of the Fallen Hierarchies).  As we more and more become able to do research into the Feminine Mysteries (something Steiner could only hint at in order not to get caught up in the web of the Mary Cult of European Catholicism), we will discover that there is not only a male trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit), but also a feminine trinity (Mother, Daughter and Holy Soul).  Steiner could only point out to us a few facts about this golden realm, and also the significance of the return of the Imagination (the Holy Sophia) and as well the significance of Anthroposophia.  Some of the best present-day research on the Divine Mother can be found in Tomberg's Meditations on the Tarot, in the 11th Arcanum: Force.  It is through Hell to the realm of the Holy Mother (the Eight Inner Spheres of the Earth) that Christ descended on the Saturday following His crucifixion, whereby he obtained the forces necessary for resurrection.  [See Proverbs viii, 22-30 for some hints.]

More detail will be developed on this problem in my essay below: The Mystery of Macro and Micro Evil: the relationship of the Shadow (the three-fold double-complex) to the American Soul, wherein knowledge of the Shadow obtained after 35 years of introspection will be described.  This much can be said presently: Ahriman and Lucifer enter directly into human affairs through us - through our giving into the Shadow, the three-fold double-complex.  We are the gate by which the effects of the opponents enter the world social order.  In a like fashion, it is also only through us that Christ (and the Divine Mother - but that is, as noted above, a whole other theme) can directly enter into the social order.*  The Fifth Cultural Epoch (the Age of the Consciousness Soul) is the era in which greater and greater aspects for the responsibility for earthly social affairs falls to human beings.

*[Obviously, both Christ and the Divine Mother appear sometimes to make a physical contact with individuals in various forms.  This is one of the means through which they influence a particular time, but still this is always done with great respect for human freedom, and still keeps to the same rule: the influence enters the social world through us.  The recipient of such effects is not made into a passive tool in any sense of that word.]

Ahriman in reality is a gift to humanity, a two-edged gift to be sure, but a real treasure.  His very onesidedness teaches us, and this is teaching we need to face squarely, for it not only teaches us about ourselves, but also about an essential aspect of the real nature of the Creation.  We all contain within our souls the ahrimanic potential, the possibility to be calculatingly cold and heartless, and if we are as brutally self honest as our conscience would encourage, we have all made and will make judgments that have such a quality - that are, from a human perspective, callous and indifferent.

Do we not walk through the world turning a blind eye away from all manner of suffering and pain, fully aware that we do this in order to preserve our self interest, our comfort and our far easier lives?

To fill out this picture, think on Nature.  In tooth and claw, in flood and earthquake, in all that seems as powers of death and radical sudden change, we see in the processes of Nature what appears as an absence of either compassion or love.  The Natural World (as against the Social World*) is a world of profound and complicated laws, which seem in their results to have not at all the same consciousness that one human being might bear, out of compassion and love, toward another.  In this indifferent power of Nature and nature's lawfulness, lives Ahriman as he manifests as an aspect of the sense world.

*[From another point of view this distinction, separating the mineral, plant and animal kingdoms from the human kingdom, does not work.  But we have different purposes here, if the reader will accept that reality (as Steiner himself pointed out) is frequently paradoxical.  Our bodies are of this Nature, but our Spirit, in its freedom, stands outside those rules.  See Owen Barfield's remarkable book Worlds Apart to explore some of the logical problems here in a deeper way.]

Yes, Nature (as meant here) contains beauty - it is a divine work of art, but in its processes and laws it is basically finished, fixed and complete.  It is essentially done.  That human beings may in the future have the possibility of lifting Nature up out of this fixed and finished condition is a whole other story.  That Anthroposophy can yet teach humanity mysteries of Nature unimagined by today's mankind is a necessary step in laying the groundwork for this lifting up.  Humanity must learn to truly see, and it is a mission of Anthroposophy to enable this seeing.  All the same, Nature is Created (past tense), in which the last act was the arising of thought.  "Thought is the last member of a series of processes by which Nature is formed" [emphasis added] R.S. A Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe's World Conception.  This is why the path of Anthroposophy is a path of cognition.  To see the real secrets of Nature requires the metamorphosis of thinking, a task not as well advanced as it should be in anthroposophical culture (more later).  What we haven't truly understood in practice, we cannot teach.

Our social-political world has almost completely emancipated itself from Nature.  As we more and more developed, we more and more separated away from Nature, so that today the Social World is a world essentially all of its own, in which callous indifference and compassion and love operate along side each other.  The Social World has out of instinct come to sit astride the Natural World, using it for our egoistic benefit.  We can now choose whether to continue that course, whether to continue to  embody dominion over or to transform and metamorphose that into communion with (see my book the Way of the Fool). We can go to sleep and let raw animality (callous indifference and appetite) rule us (instead of us ruling it), or we can wake up.

Ahriman in entering into our world confronts other powers than those which would be normal to his realm - his usual place in the Creation.  As a human being he now enters this world of choice, not of essentially fixed processes and laws.

Part of what bothers us, and will bother us about this Cosmic Being, now to be seen as a human individual, is not how much he has done that we see as wrong, but how much he is just like a certain part of us.  For example, many people have and will in the future like and admire this individual.  Even so, as a human being, to the extent that he does evil, he does it as a human being.  Elements of his cosmic powers are restrained by being incarnated, just as are ours.

In addition, recall that Rudolf Steiner explained how our antipathy to another really acquires its strength and passion from the fact that we semi-consciously know just how much we ourselves are like that which we observe in others as failings.  Ahriman incarnate is a mirror to a common human failing, a failing to which everyone living today in the world is prone.  If we want to avoid this, we must strive to know the true nature of our heart, and at the higher levels of inner development, think our way to an experience of the Ethereal Christ.  This requires us to work properly and consciously at soul metamorphosis, and not just whine and complain about how awful the world is, and about how much everyone but us is wrong, evil and dumb.

It is also important to realize that Ahriman incarnates in a specific place and time in order to accomplish something as a more or less ordinary human being (with extraordinary intelligence - one-sided spirit-thinking) he can only achieve at this specific place and time.  Outside the social world of incarnate human beings, the cosmic power Ahriman can only do certain limited things, and these mostly indirectly through our Shadow (the three-fold double-complex).  Inside the Social World, when with us as a human being, he can do directly things he was unable to do before.

All the same, to act directly on the world, as a member of the social order, he must still surrender some of his capacities - some of his genius, that is operate as a extremely gifted human being, not as a nearly divine power incarnate (what in ancient times might have been called an avatar).

In this, Ahriman's teaching is harsh - it is not for wimps, and his influence on our social existence is necessarily profound, regardless of how dark we may be tempted to seek to portray it.  A cosmic power is on the earth living as a human being, and this is a power that can only be called Outrageous Genius.

Ahriman also belongs to America (the true West), in the same way Lucifer belonged to the East and Christ to the Center.  American anthroposophists need to recognize that he is ours.  Our materialistic society, mostly of our own making through our choices in terms of comfort and appetites, is ahrimanic because we opened the door to his influence and have benefited from it.  For example, we have computers and all that goes with this electronic world, because of him.  The genius of cold heartless calculation provides many gifts, and we have had to become awash in it - buried up to our necks in it - so that we will soon be forced to decide whether or not we really want it to rule us, or us to rule it.

Our task then in coming to knowledge of this power is to recognize a part of ourselves in its nature, and to also understand how fine and exact is the shape this power seeks to give to our social life.  This shape, crafted by outrageous genius, can tell us a great deal.  In so doing it reveals to us, we who would foster the good - that is we who would be balanced instead of so extremely one-sided - just what we need to do and how we need to act in the social world to bring into that world just the healing that is needed.  Ahriman would overbalance the world in a certain direction, and it will be up to that portion of humanity, willing to be awake to him consciously, or instinctively, to strive to restore this balance.

In a peculiar sense, he also points directly at the true Second Coming, as began in its initial ethereal world dynamics in the years 1933 to 1945, by pointing so strongly away from it.  He (Ahriman) comes to distract us, to move us away from our true heart, and this is his temptation - to cause us to loose ourselves in the world of the senses, and never look within at the own soul and discover what lies there, for as Christ told us in Luke: "the kingdom of heaven is within you".   Ahriman would have us be so absorbed in the Stage Setting, that we never notice that the real battlefield is within - that is: It is within this inner battlefield of soul that we as individuals act most powerfully as creative authors in the Play.

Yet, by this very distraction and its strength, he points the other way.  He speaks into our lives and says to us: go here, for you will like it, for all your lower impulses will find there their satisfaction.  He wants to pull us down into too much self-gratifying gravitas.  Even the excess of seriousness in anthroposophical circles tends to have this ahrimanic character.  We have to engender the counter-levity out of our selves.  We have to overcome the cold-hearted and calculating materializing lower senses tendency in our soul that otherwise remains sub-conscious, and replace that with the ethereal forces of consciously moralized thought.  Only our wills can do this, and we have incarnated just in this time precisely to learn this lesson and to accomplish this task, which Rudolf Steiner has called: the unfolding of the Consciousness Soul.

Moreover, if we learn to perceive the real dynamics of social existence correctly, we will see that already, in spite of Ahriman's incarnate activities, we have been instinctively engaged in much that is already transforming the worst that he would accomplish were we not to learn to understand his teaching.   We are learning even now from this teaching how to make its countering healing gesture.   Everywhere there is a waking up, and now it is time for Anthroposophy to step forward and find a way to serve the world's hunger to wake up all the way.  However, first we need to rouse ourselves by facing the mirrored shadow of our worst qualities as these manifest not just in American and World Culture, but more importantly, as an absolutely necessary crucial first step, in American (and world-wide) Anthroposophical Culture.

Were we simply to look at the outer culture, without first looking inwardly and squarely at ourselves, we will fail utterly.  We must meet the Shadow in ourselves or we will be nothing but the hypocrites to which Christ referred when he said in Matthew 23: 25-28:

"Woe to you canon-lawyers and Pharisees, you fakes, for cleaning off the rim of your cup and saucer while on the inside you're bursting with greed and wild appetites.  Blind Pharisee, wash out the inside of the cup and saucer first, if you want the outside to end up clean!  Woe to you canon-lawyers and Pharisees, you fakes, for being like dusty monuments that look pretty on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of corpses and all kinds of rot.  You likewise from the outside appear to the world to be decent, but inside you're full of hypocrisy and ways around the law".

It is the thesis of this essay then that Ahriman incarnated in the West in the latter part of the 20th Century, and that his activity as an incarnated human being can be found in various phenomena of social existence.  He leaves/left a trail, as it were, in events that mark his passage, and this paper means to discover that trail, and mark that passage, so that we know who he is/was and what he did, and can then begin to counter-balance this influence.  Not erase it, or eliminate it, but consciously counter-balance it.  Moreover, we must start to look also at its examples that are nearest at hand in our Society and Movement (a great deal in the collection of essays that follows does this).  We look outwardly to understand it, and then inwardly to correct it; for we have nothing to teach anyone about this if we have not first understood it, and mastered it within ourselves and within our own circles.

Anthroposophists are faced in this trial - of coming awake to Ahriman's Incarnation - by the problem of the mote and the beam on a very large scale (See Matthew: Chapters 5-7).

Those wanting to consider more details, as regards the indications of Rudolf Steiner, are encouraged to read and ponder the essay in the appendix to the book: The Future is Now: Anthroposophy at the New Millennium, which appendix was called: When did Rudolf Steiner Expect the Incarnation  of Ahriman? by Hans-Peter van Manen.  This is, of course, in addition to the obvious books Steiner wrote specifically on Lucifer and Ahriman.

In order to fully appreciate this incarnation of a near-god, we have to have a proper inner picture of modern existence - to learn to perceive that Earth Events also have Cosmic Meaning.  What can seem to some, to be merely historical confusion and social evil, has to be perceived by the anthroposophical living picture thinking as Divine Drama, in which certain unusual Actors enter Stage Left, cross the Stage, and leaving behind their Effects exit Stage Right.  I use the term Actors, because Ahriman does not incarnate alone - many others are drawn to this place and time precisely because of the unique characteristics Ahriman has stamped upon it.

We also need to ask good questions about where to look.  Do we look in the Cultural Sphere that is: Religion, Art or Science, or in the Economic Sphere (Production, Distribution and Consumption), or in the Life of Rights (State, Media, People)?  Where would Ahriman work?

I am going to suggest the Life of Rights, because if we read Steiner's The Inner Aspect of the Social Question, we will come upon the understanding that while the Cultural Sphere and the Economic Sphere have spiritual world counterparts, the Life of Rights is completely Earthly. It is our Earthly existence to which Ahriman wishes to bind us (while Lucifer would take us to a world of unearthly and illusory spirit).  Nonetheless, nothing here should be taken to confine the reader to coming to a different understanding.

Why the Life of Rights?

Humanity now possesses considerable freedom with respect to the happenings in the human social life of the Earth, as well as with regard to our relationship to the natural world. We can build bombs that we believe make a small sun of death inside a city.  We can alter biological life in ways we can't predict out of an almost cultivated arrogant ignorance (callous indifference).  We can consciously spread horrible diseases, perhaps killing all human life, all animal life, all plant life.

We can also control the economy by the hidden secret levers behind the issuance and management of currencies, and then using the power that this concentrated wealth can buy, the holders of these hidden levers subvert politicians and media outlets so as to hold great temporal power in a few hands, which hands cannot be challenged or often even named.  A secret cabal tries to rule mankind, and seems to direct through money (stones into bread) most of the scientific research of our great industries.  All this inside a world view dominated by ideas and concepts that make little or no room for the reality of Spirit.  All to what end?

At this climatic point in world history, one Nation State is behaving as if it is the main center of political, economic and technological power - the United States of America.  The entire social and natural spheres of earth existence are spread out before this power like live prey waiting to be devoured (Americans literally consume far far more than a fair share of the world's wealth).  Since the United States Government is a nexus of these powers, those who seek to rule from out of the economic and financial circles still must work through the Life of Rights.  

If then someone were to be inside this nexus of power conduits, they would be able to sit astride all those flowing streams of power running from the economic, and the cultural (as in that which is controlled by corporations - television and movies etc. and also the dangerous oversight of the State in education) in and through the Life of Rights - the middle Sphere of the emerging Threefold Social Organism.

Recognize also that of the threefold nature of the Life of Rights (State, Media, People - see my essay Waking the Sleeping Giant: the Mission of Anthroposophy in America, these streams of power are currently dominated by the State alone.

We could place then Ahriman's human incarnation right inside the current Bush II Administration and not be far off the mark in our efforts to see if some kind of heartless calculating force is/was radiating from there outwards into the political life of the United States, tilting it and the world in certain directions.  We should also expect that Ahriman will not incarnate alone, but will bring with him (or along side him) those who have some karma to work out with respect to such Genius.  His cold calculating genius does not need to be perceived as just localized in him, but needs to be seen as distributed - as spread out among many many individualities around or near him (and also throughout the world).

We also need to recognize that there will be those intimately within these circles (although more will be outside), who oppose him and these tendencies.  Christ is the Lord of Karma, and through His Art as the arranger of the relationships of all human biographies, He has allowed in the circles around Ahriman not merely his closest allies, but also those who have the remarkable strength needed to thwart much that he would otherwise like to achieve.  Michaelic warriors will be right next to those who have chosen to be the Dragon's earthly spawn.

Moreover, Ahriman has no need to hold directly any reins of temporal power, for the use of such power is not his genius.  His genius is to see how number relationships can be gripped and thus give an excessive strength of fixed-like order to the normal living and fluid nature of social existence.  He knows better than anyone, human or divine, what power lives in number, and earthly temporal power has no attraction to him at all.

second, a presentation of the relevant context in the form of a contemplation on the social organism

The Wise Earth* as Counter-force to Ahriman's Incarnation

*c.f. Paul Hawken's

We need now to revisit the above themes, but from an even higher and more picture-like level.  It is important for the reader to realize that our conventional conceptual frame of reference as regards political-social themes, in particular the Life of Rights, does not adequately take account of the related spiritual reality.  To speak or think of the political-social using the same terminology as conventional media is to "materialize" our mental pictures, concepts and ideas.  In this next section I will endeavor to help the reader overcome these habits of mind.

First, we should step back a little, and see if we can see earthly events in the more mythic or imaginative form.  Events in the social organism are also a story, or perhaps better said a Cosmic Tale as it were. Just like nature speaks in its appearances, so does the logos nature of Christ speak into social events, which He artistically arranges through His role as Lord of Karma (see my essays below: The Meaning of Earth Existence in the Age of the Consciousness Soul; and, The Methodology Necessary for a New Social Science).

Picture the surface of the Earth sphere, that narrow spherical physical band in which unfolds all the visible phenomena of human lives and cultures.  Literally, dear reader, consciously form this picture of a huge spherical band, perhaps only twenty miles in height, that at its upper limits is airless space (beyond which we cannot breath), and at its lower limit solid near impenetrable rock.  Six billion plus people spread over the surface of the Earth, all held dear by the Divine Mystery.  Waves of change move through this sphere of social existence, which in the 20th Century became truly global economically, at the same time it became more self-aware globally (via the Internet).  In fact, if we think away the mental pictures we have of this world that are derived from the senses, and begin to substitute more imaginative, more fluid and dynamic pictures of the social world as the interplay of downward and upward flowing will forces of Cosmic Beings, in which the human being moves through fields* of thinking, feeling and willing born in the hierarchies, we will come closer to the truth.  The apparently material earth sphere, in which the social world seems to have emancipated itself from Nature, is in fact a nexus of dynamic and inter penetrating cosmic spiritual activity.  Rudolf Steiner gave us a very necessary picture of this activity, when he said that "man was the religion of the Gods".

There is a reason so much activity is directed from the Cosmic Spiritual Heights and from the Earthly Spiritual Depths, at this
in between center - at this narrow material-like spherical band where human beings unfold their biographies.  The Hierarchies conceive of us as their religion, because inside us, in the i-AM, that is the human spirit, exists something that can't be found anywhere else.  Rudolf Steiner wrote of this in his youth, in A Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe's World Conception:

"Man is not behaving in accordance with the purposes of the Guiding Power of the world when he investigates one or another of His commandments, but when he behaves in accordance with his own insight.  For in him the Guiding Power of the world manifests Himself.  He does not live as Will somewhere outside of man; He has renounced his own will in order that all might depend upon the will of man." [emphasis added]

*[See the lessons of the First Class of the School of Spiritual Science.]

We are the father and mother of all human action.

Within the consciousness of these many billions of human beings, whose true mystery we are hardly ready to acknowledge, exists struggles, which we call in general the Evolution of Consciousness.  In the current phase of this evolution, which we call the time of the Consciousness Soul, the I seeks to awake in the encounter with other I's. Within the soul, moral challenges appear out of these encounters, as each biography confronts its necessary karma and destiny.  First, as if radiating outward in waves from the Western Democracies (where individualism is most fully developing), while at the same time appearing homeopathically in smaller communities world-wide, the Consciousness Soul begins its unfolding.  From out of the totality of the invisible inner world of humanity the I faces both outer and inner challenges (for the most part lost from the insight of our thinking in an inner darkness of coagulated concepts, such as rigid and arid religious beliefs, or a spiritless materialistic natural science, or even to the Anthroposophical Society and Movement via the intellectualization during the 20th Century of the Michaelic Cosmic Intelligence).

Meanwhile, unknown to most, the Christ works in between.  He is able to work in between because having arranged our karma - our integrated  and finely interrelated biographies - to the extent that our social relationships are informed with moral qualities (even the most tentative impulses of the heart), these moral acts in the Epoch of the Consciousness Soul also amount to an encounter with the Eternal.  In that we seek the Good, and draw even a weak tea intuition of it into our social relationships, Christ can be present precisely because of that qualitative vertical inner gesture we make in our souls in order to seek knowledge of the Good in the dramas of the moral challenges in modern life.  (For every one step in spiritual development, we must take three steps in character - moral - development)

In the outer stage setting, which we believe we know through our materialized conceptions of present world history, itself a kind of polar opposite to the inner world of spiritual awakening and moral challenge, gestures of change seek to warp the slowly unfolding threefold social organism to their own uses and needs.  A Dark Prince of the World seeks to dominate the Stage, while the Lord (Artist) of Karma weaves the biographies into a musical-like harmony of inner conscious spirit evolution.  The I, under the influence of Christ, tends to become We.  While we, under the influence of Ahriman, are pushed to remain only I. [The Rastafarians - a mostly now Jamaica based religious impulse - speaks interesting enough of the idea of I 'n I - we - as something different from the idea of I and you.  The idea of I and you comes from the devil, according to their instinctive wisdom, while the truth is that we are both I's - that is we are the same, "I 'n I".]

Ahriman divides communities into smaller and smaller groups, ultimately to become isolated I's.  Christ unifies I's into communities through His in between support of the healing resolution of our karmic moral challenges.

Let us look for a moment closer at the threefolding of the social organism of the world social order.

Many in anthroposophical circles will tend to believe threefolding is something we have to create and is not the present condition of the social world.  This is partially true, but at the same time we need to recognize that the dynamics of social life have been active in the history of civilizations for thousands of years, and the slow evolution of the social organism has been set on a progressive course for a long time.  For example, in the third cultural age the Cultural Sphere (the ancient Mysteries) ruled the social order.  In the fourth cultural age, a Rights Sphere impulse was added at the foundations of Greek and Roman civilization in the idea of the State on the one hand and of the Citizen on the other.  As the fifth cultural age emerged from the fourth, the rights life itself threefolded (State, Media, People - or citizen), just as the cultural life had already threefolded into Science, Art, and Religion.  At the same time that the on-looker consciousness appears (as did the deepest aspects of the Ahrimanic Deception, namely materialism in all its aspects), so began the birth time of the economic life, which now struggles to differentiate into an inner threefolding of producers, distributors and consumers.

Clearly we live in a time when the concept of the threefold social organism had barely begun to be present and was at the same time never more needed.  Threefolding manifests itself instinctively, but if we are to properly birth it in a healthy social way, we have to know the Idea of it consciously. as well as choose to embrace it consciously.   Here again is a teaching task which anthroposophists may fail entirely to bring into our shared social life.

With Ahriman's incarnation, powerful dividing forces entered into the nature of the Stage Setting - the stream of historical events and its structurally embryonic threefold relationships.  America (as a political power ruled by an essentially unelected elite) under this influence isolated itself on the world Stage, taking the attitude that it could stand alone (Ahriman's attitude).  Within America, groups were set against groups, communities against communities.  Hate and mistrust was fostered, for to some at least this was seen as an advantage.  This we know from the News, but other impulses were simultaneously at work.

At the same time that this isolating gesture pushed against the instincts of the human spirit for community, the instinctively developing consciousness soul produced its counter-gesture.  People did not really want separation, and felt in their hearts the social poverty of this tendency. As this situation ripened, it brought with it a certain developments in technology, which also contained both potentials - one for isolation and one for community building.  This was woven into the the whole world's social fabric - a means of connecting across previously disconnecting boundaries.  Someone in China could now meet and work with someone in Sweden, instantly in the moment.

Out of the earth, human intelligence, guided in part by Ahriman's genius, raised up from the world of metallic substances a network, perhaps a spider web of inter-connectivity. A great power oozed out of its previous sub-natural condition and took on form in metal and plastic, spreading its arms all over the world.

Yet, Ahriman was not the only inspiring genius, and other impulses from human beings took hold of this transformation of substance and sub-nature and gave it higher potential uses.  It was after all capable of being only a tool, and the real meaning of this tool was in the hands and hearts of those who created how to set it to work.

One kind of work was the turning of human beings into number.  Everything that could be counted was being counted and every fact that could be converted to data was being  converted. Human beings became capable of being known as mere cyphers.  As a result, when Ahriman incarnated, he could take hold of this number meaning of human beings and use that tool to create a top down driven political power machine, filled with the callousness of cold calculation exactly in the center of the social organism: the Life of Rights.

A kind of social heart attack was created in the instinctive relationship of Americans for the Consciousness Soul (English speakers are instinctively in the Consciousness Soul in their Life of Rights - R.S. The Challenge of the Times).  Just when the most egregious terrorist attack of modern times shattered the world's divisions and united them in a shared sense of loss and tragedy (remember the Towers were centers of international financial activity), the political power elite of America turned away from this warm-hearted world-wide joining, and used this situation in the most callous and calculated fashion.  Centered in the most powerful Nation State in the history of humanity, this heartless thinking flowed outward as a political foreign policy out over the world, encouraging division and in the lie of all lies, everywhere (domestically and internationally) suppressing freedom in the name of freedom.

But, again as we have already seen, Ahriman had not incarnated with only his minions as companions.  Michaelic warriors, some very aware but most only instinctive, entered into incarnation as well.  At their insistence and from their genius, the tool of metal, plastic and sub-natural forces was put to other uses.  Reacting, the Consciousness Soul took on a world-wide social form in thousands upon thousands of new kinds of communities of association, something it had been slowly preparing to do for a long time.   Civil Society was born, and the tool - the Internet - was placed in the service of heart-warmed thoughts.  In so doing we need to emphasize that this Sphere of heart-centered activity (the Wise Earth) tended to arise on the Internet as individual expressions of community service.  The I's sought out other I's and many kinds of We's were born.

The same tool Ahriman used to create a social machine for the manipulation of political power in America, was used by others to create a living organism of communities world-wide in scope, while at the same time concentrated in America and active on all political fronts.  Above, in the top of a now decadent elite political hierarchy, Ahriman worked, while below, spread out across the social commons, the Consciousness Soul - the Wise Earth - spoke back.

In the Wise Earth impulse all manner of spiritual voices are heard.  The excesses of the Ahrimanically driven assault via the Life of Rights on social order and individual freedom has become so plain and obvious, that communities of opposition are everywhere being formed.  As a prime incarnate opponent, Ahriman does his duty, driving individuals toward the necessary moral dilemmas and challenges.  You could say that one of the aspects of the Ahrimanic Incarnation is a kind of heating up of social chaos - an inflaming of disorder.  This engenders in morally awake human hearts the will to do battle.  The dragon forces circle social life everywhere, and the knights of Michael, themselves no doubt students of the spiritual world Michael School before incarnation, take up their earthly social tasks. (see the book Blessed Unrest, at:

Ahriman's teaching is harsh, and the I must stand up within itself and in relationship with others, or succumb to soul failures it would otherwise be unwilling to tolerate in what we call: good conscience.  Inwardly, in the deepest aspects of the soul, invisible to outer sense experience, the presence of Christ in the Ethereal (the realm of human thought) is met with a hunger to know the Good on the part of the I.  This moral need for knowledge of the Good (in order to know what is right to do in the face of challenges forced upon humanity by Ahriman's intensification of the heat and pace of social crisis) - this moral need instinctively hungers for the Eternal, the experience of the Consciousness Soul.

There, inside the soul, this hunger for knowledge of the Good, coming in the time of the Second Coming, leads to a Second Eucharist - a communion of the I with the Being of the Good (for details see the next  essay:
The Meaning of Earth Existence in the Age of the Consciousness Soul).

What an amazing teacher and teaching is this Outrageous Genius, we know as Ahriman, forcing us to awake to the Good by driving into the Center Stage of social existence, in the principle nation state in the world, obviously powerful impulses of callous and calculated indifference to human suffering and need.

third, an entry more into the material, in the sense

of ordinary political and social language

Brother What Ails Thee ?

In the following discussion it is very important to keep in mind that we are now mostly using a quite materialized way of speaking and writing about something whose true essence remains entirely spiritual in its most significant meaning.

Such a personality as Ahriman incarnate, in my view, can be found just here then in the American Life of Rights (working from there upon the whole world), for after all these preliminaries we must begin to name him. The question for us, however, is: Will we recognize this "human" being as a brother?

Karl Christian Rove (birth name), was born December 25th 1950.  Karl's biological father abandoned him early on, his adoptive father left home when Karl was 18, and it later became known that this second father was a homosexual.  His mother committed suicide when he was 30.  Karl described himself in high school this way: "I was the complete nerd. I had the briefcase. I had the pocket protector. I wore Hush Puppies when they were not cool. I was the thin, scrawny little guy. I was definitely uncool" [facts and quote from Wikipedia].

[There will be a few quotes below about Rove-Ahriman (hundreds could easily be provided).  The reader should realize that Rove has had such a strong influence (which Outrageous Genius certainly would) that while Google only shows 630,000 entries for him and about 8 million for George W. Bush (and 1.5 million for Dick Cheney), all that is said about Rove recognizes that his influence from behind the scenes is the real dominant feature of the Bush II Administration.  He is the riddle and puzzle that many have commented on seeking to penetrate his real nature and activity in order to understand the policies of the Bush II White House.  His hand prints are everywhere, and no historical political figure has ever inspired such interest, both positive and negative.

We could also keep in mind this idea from Rudolf Steiner.  In the lectures published under the title The Fall of the Spirits of Darkness, he presents the following for our understanding.  Just like what happened after the mid-point of the various ages of Atlantis, we in this the Post-Atlantean Epoch are past the mid-point as well.  Spiritual capacities and impulses that are up-building and progressive in the first half of an Epoch become in the second half forces of degeneration.  Decay sets in and the course the Evolution of Consciousness takes must be unfolded in the context of this decay.  In addition, with the Battle in Heaven between Michael and the Dragon, which Michael had won by 1879, the Spirits of Darkness were pushed down into the realm of the Earth. 

These spirits have to be recognized as being everywhere, in particular working with the dead and with the various occult brotherhoods.  So when we recognize in social phenomena the prevalence of human evil, we have to see that the tendency for this immorality to dominate social existence cannot be avoided.  In fact, our ability to properly work with the times, requires we not be asleep and have fantastic visions of unrestrained potentials for utopias.  Our thinking has to root itself in reality, and social reality cannot in our Age be forced into an illusion of some kind of universal domain of freedom and happiness.  These facts then all the more call to us, who receive Spiritual Science, to develop our own soul life so that we will be able to find the down to earth healing social ideas that can actually be brought into incarnation.]

Now we must tell a more detailed story of certain changes in social life that have come at the same time as this incarnation entered deeper and deeper into a core aspect of the Life of Rights in America.  Let us begin by considering certain changes in law and other governmental emphasis that have accompanied the 7 plus years so far of the Bush II administration (at the time of writing these paragraphs). While doing this we need to keep in mind how crucial is this moment in the Evolution of Consciousness.  A great deal is being decided by individual human beings just now, and we cannot blind ourselves by assuming that the struggles for the future of America, and as a consequence the whole World, are simply passing and insignificant moments in history. These events are profound in the deepest sense of that concept.

Not only that, we, living today, are in the middle of them.  It is no accident we too have incarnated in the Time that Ahriman is to be discovered as our most significant outer-world teacher.  What Ahriman could not do, while excarnate through the Shadow - the three-fold double-complex, he could now do as a human being having incarnated just in this time into the heart-center of human social life: the Life of Rights, and giving birth there not to heart-warmed thoughts, but rather the most cold and calculated conceptions possible.

Over the course of activity of this Administration, several structural changes have occurred, which changes by the way are not just confined to the time of the Administration, but were authored further in the past, and then matured and polished off in the time since the 2000 election, the election, remember, at the cusp of the New Millennium.  Let us list a few of those.

The Executive Branch, mostly through the exercise of raw power has been able to achieve a certain freedom from restraint by the other two Branches (the Legislative Branch and the Judicial Branch).  This breaking down of the threefold balance of the U.S. Constitution gives to the will force, of those addicted to power, extraordinary latitude in its conduct (this is how we must see Cheney and Bush, as addicts to the most addictive temptation of all - earthly power).  This executive power has become so freed of any restraint that it neither must feel (the significance of the Legislative Branch - the People's House) nor be wise (the import of the Supreme Court).  The American Government, during Rove's strongest period of influence, had no wise head, nor any open heart.  Nor would it do to see this as a reflection of just the Republican Party.  The Ahrimanic confusion and the influence of the Spirits of Darkness is everywhere, and we have now mostly raw will forces owning the Executive Branch of the dominant Nation State on the Earth, which from there radiates out into the whole world social organism heartless cold and calculating thought and will.

The Bush II administration's definition of the meaning of the War on Terror has taken hold of the political consciousness of both major American political parties.  No major candidate currently running for President wants to appear weak in the War on Terror (a complete illusion by the way, once critically examined as is being done out of the social commons by the Wise Earth appearance of Civil Society).

Thus also has torture become officially permitted in the conduct of self-interest by the U.S. government (using the identical language of the Third Reich in its justifications for torture).  Included in this are the powers to remove any claim of citizenship of a natural or naturalized Citizen.  Anyone anywhere in the world (including Americans in America) can be kidnapped and taken anywhere anytime to places of prison and torture (extraordinary rendition).  To call these Imperial Powers, akin to that of Rome at its most decadent, is to severely understate the case, for the United States has far greater powers than ever Rome could dream of.

There is a quote, falsely attributed to Alexis de Tocqueville: America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.  While it turns out the great French thinker never wrote this, the fact that it is constantly quoted in public life suggests that it nevertheless has deep meaning for Americans.

Civil liberties, once taken for granted in the United States have been neatly and nearly castrated.  Since there is nothing to require the government to admit to even possessing the body of a single human being (habeas corpus exists as a rule, but is consciously ignored and obstructed by the Bush II administration at every turn), we have no idea how many have disappeared into the hidden bowels of this out of control will.  This is all the more problematic if we recognize that to a certain extent America is very much a cradle for future spiritual development, so that the unopposed emasculation of major components of the Life of Rights in America is a significant victory for Ahriman.

The power radiating out from the imbalance in the State (the out of control Executive Branch), has been joined by an ahrimanic corporate control of the Media (the heart of the heart of the social organism).  Thus it has come about that the threefold social organism's inner core (the Life of Rights), itself is out of balance such that (or so it appears) that the polar opposite to the State - the People - is completely dominated through so much fear and hopelessness, that many of the People have come to believe themselves to be completely powerless.

"He [Rove] could carve up constituencies with the best of them, and divide the country as easily as columns on a spreadsheet -- and with no more thought" diarist "Hunter" DailyKos Aug.2007.

Yet, here is where the counter-pole begins to appear, for recall that Rudolf Steiner spoke in a lecture collected in The Challenge of the Times:  English speakers are instinctively in the Consciousness Soul in their Life of Rights.  Ahriman's incarnation arouses the Consciousness Soul to action.  Rove, by pushing forward the callous and indifferent to consequences unconscious will forces of Cheney and Bush II (and others), stimulates in those who strive to follow their political conscience the opposite reaction.

This administration has made of the lie an art never dreamed of even in the time of National Socialism (see Steiner's The Karma of Untruthfulness).  They have lied so successfully that large portions of the People of America have bought elements of it for years, and still buy into it (polls still show that large numbers believe Iraq was connected to 9/11).  Granted the culture of the lie is everywhere, from daily advertising to individual human biographies, nevertheless the callous, calculated and repeated nature of these lies offered by a United States government is staggering.  The only matter more staggering is how much they have managed to simultaneously hide from view. 

The art of secrecy is equally adept in this government.  No one knows what it is doing, and so clever has been the manner of this hiding, that it is carefully layered such that even if you think you have caught them out, they have a backup plan - lies within lies, as it were.  As time has gone on, and various members of the administration became more publicly vulnerable, they have easily blocked every effort to have them removed from office (Rumsfeld and then Gonzales, for example), until it was time to cut them loose and then install an even better buffer in between public interest and the truth.  For example, nearly every military general officer who would not spin and lie about Iraq has been systematically removed until all that is mostly left in positions of power are career military general officers who are themselves essentially politicians and sycophants.

The pure outrageous nature of the nerve of this administration is extraordinary.   They lie, and then they act, and then even when caught out, continue to lie and lie.  Holding powers stolen from the other Branches (and to which these Branches acquiesce) there is no motive to come clean in any fashion, for almost no human heart forces are really present in this home in which Ahriman created for himself and his priests to incarnate.

"That's not the way the world really works anymore,'' he continued. ''We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do" Senior white house official, assumed by everyone to have been Karl Rove, summer 2002. [An earthly social-political act comparable to  materialism - a kind of political-social Ahrimanic Deception.]

"The great majority of mankind are satisfied with appearances, as if they were realities" Machiavelli

At the locus of this center of power of Earthly streaming forces, he has come to rest, with his aides, in order to imprint with his nature, the most earthly aspect of the potential and unfolding threefold social organism: the Life of Rights.

One of Ahriman's qualities is hardening.  He desires that things become fixed, immobile.

This means that one Party in the United States strives to achieve continuous dominance.  Not only was a world dominating power to radiate from the United States as a center, but it was to have within itself a loss of what had been an otherwise self-correcting fluidity - that more than one Party would hold power, which would mean that no longer could any Ahrimanic excess of the Right be balanced out through the pendulum swing by any Luciferic excess of the Left . So it was desired that this swing of the balance be stopped for a while, especially at a particular Moment in Time; AND, if this unbalancing gesture was to take into itself an also rigid and arid religious impulse, then the knowledge of the social effects of Christ's True Second Coming could be hidden, if not completely blocked for centuries, in that the otherwise good effects on the social world of humanity, this Second Golgotha offered, were obscured and interfered with.

Consider: Already, the Anthroposophical Movement and Society had been eviscerated from within, and led in its centers into great confusion (any honest rendering of our history in the 20th Century shows this - for details see the essays below), so that basically unopposed and unknown Ahriman could now undertake the task to boldly assert temporal powers as an obstacle to spiritual inspiration [for example, the New Freedom Act which enables the government to test all for mental illness and require medicine to be given to those who fail this examination].  In addition, granting political power to an arid and rigid religious cult, calling itself Christian, could do much to convince the world that Christ and Christianity had nothing to offer.   So drawing this already decadent religious impulse deeper into politics does a great deal which is far more than just to secure votes at a crucial moment, for whatever the outer world press sees of the effects of this genius that radiates out of the White House, you can bet this outer world press is completely clueless to what is truly at stake.

The ahrimanic Christianity of the Religious Right hates all that it judges (all beam and no mote), and speaks into world culture in such a way that more and more the world is pushed to hate such Christianity back.  What better way to turn minds away from the true Second Coming, than to raise up a such a false and foolish alternative, that seemingly* rational people cannot but think of the idea of Christ and the Second Coming as some kind of insanity.  How do we bring into such a world, a true appreciation of Christ's Second Coming, and the related Second Eucharist, when ahrimanic Christianity has gained such temporal power in the Bush II administration to the dismay of so many intelligent people.  Ahriman is clever beyond our imaginations.

*[See Sam Harris's The End of Faith; Christopher Hitchens' God is not Great: how religion poisons everything; and, Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion, where what are called the New Atheists have taken (hopefully briefly) center stage in the public dialog on religion and Christianity.]

Craig Unger*, In an interview with Amy Goodman, mid-November 2007: Well, LeHay** is one of the founders of the Council for National Policy. Now, this is a not-very-well-known group, but it's an umbrella group that oversees dozens of Christian Right groups, like Focus on the Family, which is James Dobson's group. The Moral Majority was part of it, and so on. And within it was a much smaller group called the Arlington Group, of about fifty religious leaders. Now, they were in regular contact with Karl Rove. And what you have in the Christian Right is as many as 80 million adult evangelicals. You have about 200,000 pastors, and they operate almost as precinct captains did in the labor unions for the Democratic Party. So this is a vast populist movement that operates as part of the Christian Republican Party, and they have regular contact with the White House. [emphasis added]

[*author of: The Fall of the House of Bush: The Untold Story of How a Band of True Believers Seized the Executive Branch, Started the Iraq War, and Still Imperils America's Future.  **one of the authors of the Left Behind series of novels on Armageddon.]

Christianity is not alone in being so publicly compromised by the materialization of religion.

"The grim truth is that when George W. Bush declared "a global war on terror", he was really announcing a jihad of his own - a struggle to convert the whole world to American-style capitalist democracy....Here lies the peril for the future. For how can "the Axis of Evil" and "the Great Satan" negotiate a businesslike compromise on the basis of live-and-let-live?" from the article: Bush the Jihadist: How the world was plunged into an apocalyptic war, by Correlli Barnett, Daily Mail, Sept. 2007.

"...these ahrimanic powers are present wherever disharmony comes about between groups of people..." R.S. lecture, 2 November 1919

Another matter to recognize is that after 9/11, the ahrimanic forces radiating out of the temporal power center that is Washington, were able to bring about a Crucifixion of the Imagination of America as a Beacon of Hope for the poor and disenfranchised the world over.  Previously America (which is at root itself a Mystery) stood in the imaginations of the world's downtrodden as the place of dreams, where one could go and find freedom (spiritual-religious, as well as political and economic).  So Rove-Ahriman not only created and encouraged a debased Christian Meaning in the World, but also cast down the single most important aspect of the American Mystery in the present - its meaning as a Beacon of Hope.

Let us now take a necessary but small side trip here, and fit in two of Ahriman-Rove's chief allies: George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.  Both are addicted to power, but in two entirely different ways.  At the same time, let us keep in mind the title to this section: Brother what ails thee?.  These are flawed (as we are all flawed) human beings, placed by the Lord (Artist) of Karma, in their biographies into very special places in relationship to all of us.  Like Ahriman-Rove, they participate in the creation of the heating and speeding up of social chaos - conditions necessary for the development of the Consciousness Soul through the I's necessary encounters with real existential moral crises.

Bush appears to be what is called a dry drunk.  That is, while he is not actively drinking or drugging (we assume) he still displays all the behaviors of a serious alcoholic or addict: bouts of extreme anger (kept mostly secret from the public, but well known to West Wings staffers), coupled with a psychological need to never admit he is wrong - the problem always lies with someone else.  In taking up the outward (fake) posture of recovery, he adopted the attitude of someone who has been saved by Christ.  No doubt encouraged by Rove (all the way back in Texas), Bush courted the Religious Right, and here found fuel for his own (hopefully sub-conscious) megalomania - a religious conviction which included him as being an active and dominant world player in the End Times fantasy.  So rigid is his faith, as he constantly demonstrates by his unchanging behaviors, that only this mega-illusion has meaning - the truth has been banished from his consciousness.

"Mr. Greenspan described his own emotional journey in dealing with Mr. Bush, from an initial elation about the return of his old friends from the Ford White House - including Mr. Cheney and Donald H. Rumsfeld, secretary of defense - to astonishment and then disappointment at how much they had changed."  New York Times book review describing Alan Greenspan's (former chairman of the Federal Reserve) book: The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World "...much to my disappointment, economic policy making in the Bush administration remained firmly in the hands of the White House staff.” He was clearly referring to the political team led by Karl Rove at the White House. Mr. Rove was a neighbor of Mr. Greenspan in a leafy enclave near the Potomac River, but the two men almost never had a conversation." [emphasis added]

"Rove's method is to plot out elaborate strategies well in advance of the campaign, and stick to them vigilantly. John Deardourff, Rove's media consultant for races in Texas and Alabama, says, 'This rap Bush has of never changing his mind and never admitting a mistake-that's Karl! That's where it comes from.' It is a tribute to Rove's strategic skill that he is so often right." Joshua Green Atlantic Monthly 2007.

Already long before his incarnation, Ahriman-Rove had cultivated the illusory religious impulse that has at least captured the sub-conscious of Bush, probably through the help of Lucifer's legions, for in its rigid End Times world picture and rigid and fixed morality, it has hardened all that was once Life in these aspects of Christianity, and turned that Life into a fixed and vain system of beliefs in the soul.

The fixed nature comes from Ahriman, and the vanity (pride of belief in ones moral righteousness) comes from Lucifer.  Both these, however, arise indirectly in the soul through the three-fold double-complex (see the essay on the Shadow below).

Then comes Cheney.  Already a hard line cold-warrior, well connected and supported by the elites of industry and banking throughout his political career (Cheney won his spurs here, while Bush was born into these circles), Cheney (again no doubt encouraged by Rove) became Vice President, and having an intellect of far more depth than Bush's, discovered that the child of privilege had little interest in actually understanding and wielding the reins of governmental power (Bush loves to playact as president).  These then fell by default to Cheney, and gave to his addiction more temporal power than any human being has had in history, and of such a nature that as a behind the throne power he could do much that was unseen and thus experience as all the more delightful its private pleasures (the addictive payoff).  Think on it!  No one could really oppose his actions always taken in secret.  He could tell any lie he wanted and change them at will for everyone else was asleep.  Every urge and impulse to dominate his political enemies and reward his rich friends could be immediately indulged.  Nothing stood in the way of this will to excess, while at his side, and in his aid was the most clever of minds ever, able with just a word or two to encourage Cheney's every desire, and at the same time to likewise with silver tongue encourage the child of privilege to believe he was god's chosen to stand in the world just in this time. [Recall Tolkien's character Wormtongue in the Lord of the Rings!]

So then we have around Rove, two personalities, the one lost in a luciferic dream of egoistical historical place, and the other, given the opportunity to wield enormous earthly temporal powers, becomes instead the creature of those very powers - possessed by them.  Recall from above Greenspan's dismay to discover the changes in his old friends.  Rove's truest and more profound contributions, however, are of a whole other kind, even though he played a significant role in the transformation of a child of privilege, from out of the culture of Texas oil and wealth, into a public persona that doesn't actually bear any relationship to the underlying human personality*.  See: "Bush's Brain: How Karl Rove made George W. Bush Presidential" by Wayne H. Slater and James C. Moore.

*[To appreciate this even more, just consider how frequently it is now observed that Bush seems so often inappropriately happy as his term of office nears its end (or culmination?).  A President, who honestly bore the necessary wounds of leading American into such a state as it is today, should be gray headed, careworn and full of melancholy.]

At the same time, we have to remember the title to this section: Brother what ails thee?  It is essential (as will be discussed in later essays) to recognize in such personalities that we are observing wounds of soul.  Certainly there can be venality, and even conscious choosing of evil, but if we were to be able to live through the details of the biography of such men as these, and see how their inner life developed over this long period of a lifetime, we would discover how the soul has been wounded by life experience.

We all bear such wounds.  It would go too far here to go into details, but the question Brother what ails thee? is directed exactly at discovering the mystery of the wounds that lie behind choices and actions, so as to be able to perhaps help heal our brothers and sisters in life.  With this thought in the background, let us continue our examination of what has flowed out of the center of the American government, and into our shared public life.

In order for a single Party to dominate, certain possibilities inherent in our Time in relationship to technology have become applied to the political process.  Computers are turned into ballot boxes.  The striving for power, which had taken possession of the Republican Party, found a crucial inspiration in all that Ahriman had prepared before his incarnation, and in all that he was about to accomplish during his incarnation.  Win at any cost is the goal, and the corruption of the ballot box by electronic means provides an easy tool in a war in which number is to play such an essential role.

Data is accumulated, not just State by State, or city by city or neighborhood by neighborhood (voting precinct by voting precinct), and when possible individual by individual. Profiles are created showing, through the accumulation and use of well tracked commercial purchases, just what attitudes each individual who is potentially a voter is likely to possess.  The out-of-strict oversight computer powers, of the United States intelligence community (and willing corporate allies), is through secret process turned on its own citizens, and further data accumulated, such that there now is in place and in the hands of a single party, exactly which voters to encourage, and which to discourage in order to place in power and keep in power a single political party as the dominant political force in America, itself (at a crucial time) the dominant Nation State in the World.

Nor is this done with any sense of the individual itself, as an I.  It is only their general characteristics as a set of numbers on a spreadsheet that matter.  One young woman, who had worked with Rove, the human incarnation of Ahriman, described in a televised interview how remarkable it was to watch him pick up a newly generated spread sheet from a computer, glance at it and then immediately begin to issue instructions, down the well oiled machinery intended to coerce an election effect, from the inside of the White House out into a neighborhood and then surrounding an individual home.

In addition was perfected what became called: the Republican talking points.  Spreading out from the political center of the West Wing of the White House, a well controlled and perfected set of lies and spin was distributed throughout Party officials (elected and otherwise) and among the cooperative media, such as Fox News and the widely listened to conservative radio talk shows.  If one listened across this spectrum, as well as to the President himself and his chief spokesman the White House Press Secretary, the same reality was presented.  Remember that Rove's idea of the power of deception is remarkable.  Set the agenda, set the tone of what is to be claimed to be true.  Create our own reality (an earthly political ahrimanic deception), and never ever give an inch.

Radiating from the imbalanced and unhealthy will force of the Executive Branch had been created a huge manipulative mechanism for coercing the vote, precinct by precinct, drawing certain voters in, keeping certain voters out, and all the while ignoring places, neighborhoods and communities that could be seen by this cold calculating genius as having no meaning or worth at all.  Coupled with this was an enormous publicity machine, never seen before, creating in that Nation State that believed itself most virtuous to have unlimited free speech, a propaganda mechanism quite beyond that known even in the time of National Socialism or Communist Russia. 

This lie machine is all the more devious (and clever) for it was accomplished in what thought of itself as a non-totalitarian state.  In the center of the Life of Rights, this calculated number driven process came into existence, in which data streams about voters were turned into numbers on a spreadsheet. and false ideas about social reality merely items on a sheet of talking points.  What genius created such a work!

"President Bush's powerful adviser is one part spreadsheet-carrying, vote-counting political wonk, and one part no-holds-barred, brass-knuckled political operative" Dan Froomkin.

"I'm looking at 68 polls a week. You may be looking at four or five public polls a week that talk about attitudes nationally, but that do not impact the outcome -" Karl Rove in a radio interview late October 2006.  "You may end up with a different math, but you're entitled to your math. I'm entitled to the math." same interview. [emphasis added]

In all this, the Legislative Branch was compliant.  Even so far as to pass legislation requiring all States to issue common-in-nature drivers licenses, that individual States could then require be presented in order to vote.  This process of making voting more and more difficult was another part of the grand scheme, which then makes it possible to eliminate those most inclined to vote for the Party that is not to dominate - namely the Party whose fundamental traditions connected it to the poor and disenfranchised.  Remember, Ahriman incarnated with a community of like-minded, already disposed through all his preparations to their own weakness and self-interested heartless cold calculating judgments.  All he had to do was enter into the center of these streams of downward radiating powers, take hold of the number relations, and polish off the machinery that was to permit a solidified rule from the top down, during one of the most significant moments of emergence of the Consciousness Soul (the Dawn of the Third Millennium), with its natural impulse to bring in social reform out of the social commons - out of the social below.

Now in this work, he was not unopposed.  As a human being, his will was bound by many earthly laws.  He could not force those around him serve his will.  He could only, with extreme cleverness, encourage their weaknesses and inclinations, thus the personality changes that can be observed in those he influenced while in (and on his way to) this center of temporal power (from which he himself recently resigned, which is, of course, just an appearance - another kind of clever lie, his influence is undiminished).

At that same time as all this ahrimanic success, we need to come to understand that his very genius in its one-sided nature was also a blindness.  This blindness came to the fore in the 2006 general election in America.  Rove fully expected to win, his spreadsheets told him so.  However, human beings are in fact not numbers, and not really predictable at that level.  Rove's numbers told him only of general characteristics, which were all based on specific assumptions.  When many of these people walked into the polling booth, something happened (and will continue to happen) which can't be reduced to number.  People, when they vote, are faced with what to them is essentially a moral choice (English speakers are instinctively in the Consciousness Soul in their Life of Rights).

This righteous impulse, invisible to number driven perception, expressed itself strongly in the 2006 election, reacting in large part to all that was being experienced as the callous indifference radiating from the White House, and as political impotence, corruption and incompetence in the Legislative Branch.  The Democrats won the House with far more seats than expected by any pollster (whose immature science suffers the same perceptual limits as Ahriman), and further won the Senate as well, something not expected by either Party.  Since this victory gave the chairmanship of the various House and Senate committees to the Democrats, a very large shift in power occurred in the Life of Rights in the United States of America (in the People's House especially, with it role as regards "feeling").   While such a shift of power is not able to manifest in a rapid fashion (in spite of the hopes of the Left), this expectable time-delay has enabled the White House to continue to act out its disdain for the People, treating them as number-cyphers instead of as real human beings.

"Rovism is not simply a function of Rove the political conniver sitting in the counsels of power and making decisions, though he does. No recent presidency has put policy in the service of politics as has Bush's. Because tactics can change institutions, Rovism is much more. It is a philosophy and practice of governing that pervades the administration and even extends to the Republican-controlled Congress. As Robert Berdahl, chancellor of UC Berkeley, has said of Bush's foreign policy, a subset of Rovism, it constitutes a fundamental change in 'the fabric of constitutional government as we have known it in this country.'"Neal Gabler The Los Angeles Times Sunday 24 October 2004.

"The whole art of war consists in a well-reasoned and extremely circumspect defensive, followed by rapid and audacious attack." Rove campaign memo from the early years in Texas.

"Rove is the greatest political mind of his generation and probably of any generation. He not only is a breathtakingly smart strategist but also a clever tactician. He knows history, understands the moods of the public, and is a visionary on matters of public policy. But he is not a magician." Fred Barnes, conservative commentator, editor The Weekly Standard.

"Dubbed the “architect” and “Bush's brain”, Rove plotted the rise of George W Bush and departed the White House after the disastrous 2006 mid-term elections. Successful punditry is a combination of real political experience, intellectual nimbleness, a provocative turn of phrase and a coherent point of view. Rove, a Fox News commentator and contributor to Newsweek and the Wall Street Journal, has all these qualities.

"Democrats may protest that they would rather see him in jail than on their television screens but they can't help noting what he says. Whether outlining what the Democrats should do or outlining John McCain's rocky path to victory (and McCain has followed his advice almost to the letter), Rove's take is important and often surprising. Expect the name Rove to come up frequently on the campaign trail - and in coverage of it."  Comments in the British newspaper The Telegraph, who ranked Rove (since leaving the White House) as the number one (of the top 50) pundits in U.S. Politics, Friday, May 2nd, 2008.

Ahriman-Rove's genius is seen by many, and his incarnate influence is far from over.  He has left the realm of the State now, and is taking up his mature biographical position in the real heart of the Life of Rights: Media.  From here he can continue his influence, for his very success is attractive.  Because of the influence of the ahrimanic shadow on people, many will succumb, for that same callous and calculated indifference toward which they are inwardly tempted, will now reside in those aspects of Media open to making such views widely known and justified.

It is not an accident that Rove now works for two major Rupert Murdoch Media companies, Fox News and the Wall Street Journal.   Many will read him, and his clever genius will guide and teach, all who will listen, into a life without any moral center at all - only the cold calculus of intellect, and its anti-human world views and impulses of will.

Ahriman-Rove has now risen to the celebrity heights of the social world as a Media personality, respected and trusted by many, for he reflects back to them all the justifications they need for their own ahrimanic tendencies.   A quite neat fit, if you think about it.  The Shadow of Ahriman within, and the Stage setting influenced by Ahriman without.

Even so, the individual I in the Age of the Consciousness Soul would chart its own course.  His very presence arouses something in the I that needs just that presence as a goad to its own awaking.


finally, a look at the challenges to the role of the Society and Movement as a consequence of recognizing Ahriman's present day incarnation

Waking the American Anthroposophical Society and Movement

for their true tasks in the 21st Century

The above then is what happened on the macro scale of modern human history.  What then on a micro scale has happen in the internal makeup  of the Anthroposophical Society and Movement?  Were we somehow free of this influence?  Did Ahriman incarnate and just ignore us in the process?  I think not, and in the next essays it will be unfolded just what needs to happen within our circles in order for us to be able to speak first honestly among ourselves, before we can earn the moral authority to truly bring Anthroposophy further into world incarnation.  The greatest potential for leading the instinctive Consciousness Soul into full awakening lies in Anthroposophy, and by implication in the Society and Movement.  But these problems are not simple and many of the essays below are required of anyone wanting to really learn what is needed to be learned in order to meet the Challenge of Ahriman's Incarnation on the Cusp of the New Millennium.

We have one last task,however, which is most essential.  Having discovered Ahriman's incarnation, how are we to treat the living man, now and into the future?  Ahriman-Rove has a family - a wife and a son: should they think of him as evil?  Of course not, he is a genius, he is a cosmic power incarnate, who will at the final judgment weep at the feet of the Mother and beg forgiveness for all that he had, out of his given nature, the responsibility to author.

Those seduced by Ahriman-Rove are to be pitied.  Our problem then is not to assume evil and seek to rub it out, but to see clearly the social processes so that we, who would do the good, can discover how our work can be applied in the right places.  Many already are working in such ways, albeit instinctively, and others will want to hate Rove, Cheney, Bush and their friends.  Should we follow such an example, or create another?  How do we redeem what Ahriman-Rove has done and properly honor it?

We are also frustrated by the scope of the debacle - Ahriman-Rove has spread chaos in the world in a huge way, and this is not yet finished, for much worse may yet be done by those who have succumbed to his influence.  This Ahrimanic Impulse, living throughout the social world of humanity, has pushed that world toward its breaking and fracture points in a quite precise fashion through the influence of Ahriman-Rove within the excesses of the Bush II administration.  The whole social order of Western Humanity is breaking down.  Wherever we look, whether at global warming, the crisis in the food supply, the corporate theft of the water supply, the spreading of technological means of biological destruction, the machinations of those in the banking and finance industries and the interference with the genetic code itself, - all stands on the brink of even further decay, while the political life by its everywhere pursuit of dominance, engages all structure in war, at a time when in order to survive humanity needs instead of war to develop the greatest skills at cooperation.

One of the worst effects, as previously noted, is the crucifixion of American Dream.  All over the world, that which had once been a Beacon of Hope to many people living amidst poverty and despair, has now been tarnished, perhaps beyond repair.  Is this not then the next goal for America, to discover how to restore what has been defiled?  Who will lead here?  Who will understand this need for the imagination of the downtrodden the world over to have once more a Beacon of Hope?  Can there be a resurrection of what was crucified?  What kind of moral forces could bring this about?

We are also right to be concerned whether the political machine that has been created will live on into the future inside the core of the America Government.  Already, many wonder whether the Democrats will roll back some of what has been done, should they win the White House in 2008.  A lot of people believe many of the worst of the changes introduced by Rove and friends will be permanent.

All kinds of debris live as the after-effects of Ahriman-Rove's incarnation. The situation and consequences will not go away, but reverberate on into the future, and we have to not just come awake, but must learn how to stay awake.

Into the world the power, the tone, the sound of number, and the searing light of geometry incarnated, with its naturally given mission to draw downward the heart of the developing social organism into rigid form and lifeless brilliance - what Rove called "the math".   Here too was "mission accomplished", because while the Anthroposophical Movement and Society lost themselves in a massive forgetting of the true significance of Steiner's scientific introspection (The Philosophy of Freedom, and A Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe's World Conception), and in ignoring the beauty and potential for community life given by Steiner in Awakening to Community as the Reverse Cultus, we also took the living Michaelic Cosmic Intelligence given to us by Steiner through Anthroposophy and converted it to dead intellectualized content, without any life at all: the Steinerism displayed constantly in the excesses of Steiner-said.

There are no redeeming powers in Steinerism, such that without The Philosophy of Freedom (Spiritual Activity) and the Reverse Cultus, with which to meet the deeper spiritual after-effects of Ahriman's incarnation, the Movement and Society are impotent.  At the same time, American Anthroposophy (which this book seeks to illuminate) offers just those needed antidotes and inspiration for all of Anthroposophy world-wide.  The American Soul must awake now, and the best leaders for this will be those American Anthroposophists who have the will and the courage to find the truth of who they are, as a separate but equal soul force in the threefold world.

For example, Ahriman accomplished a great deal during the weaknesses of the 20th Century into which the Society and Movement fell, such that all kinds of wisdom was lost and buried in Ahriman's "preserving jars", locked up either in books stashed in libraries, and in books allowed to go out of print.   Hundreds of significant works, by early students of Steiner, have been allowed to go out of print, while the anthroposophical publishing houses reprinted again and again Steiner's lectures, erroneously leaving aside all the work done by others during the 20th Century.

Let me take up just one other theme left in the dust heap of the 20th Century, along side The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity and the Reverse Cultus: namely Projective Geometry.  Nothing else has quite the ability to give to the Life of the Mind the forces necessary with which to meet Ahriman's one-sided: "...power, the tone, the sound of number, and the searing light of geometry incarnated...". 

Let us begin with an obscure out of print essay by George Adams Kaufman: Space and the Light of Creation: a new essay in cosmic theory.  Just in the Chapter headings of this essay we can feel/see the redemptive force of the new thinking as it penetrates the very realm of Ahriman and lifts it free through the art of thought of the tendency to an excess of gravitas: Chapter I: Radiation of Space; Chapter II: Music of Number; and, Chapter III: Burden of Earth and Sacrifice of Warmth.

One of the tasks of American Anthroposophy will be to rediscover and ingest the art of others besides Steiner, which has been given to us by European anthroposophical endeavors during the 20th Century.  This is something far beyond what Steiner had provided, but which he certainly inspired.  In the essay far below: a letter to a young anthroposophist, you will find details.

Olive Whicher's book: Projective Geometry: Creative Polarities in Space and Time, should never be out of print, and ought to be on the same shelf with every anthroposophist's copy of The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity and Awakening to Community.  By the way, little or no abstract thought is called for in this way of study - as all that is essential is taught through drawing.

The significance of Projective Geometry can be found here, quoted by Olive Whicher in her introduction to Adam's remarkable Physical and Ethereal Spaces: "Confirmed by Rudolf Steiner in the knowledge that the quality of thought prevailing in the new geometry is in reality indispensable both to the scientist in his quest of world-reality and to the individual on a path of spiritual development..." [emphasis added].

The living (heart) thinking, to which many anthroposophists today aspire (but believe comes far easier than it actually does), needs to remain scientific and picture-like in all its qualities.  Nothing aids this need better than the study through drawing of Projective Geometry, which teaches the I how to move and weave living pictorial thought, through and from one metamorphosis to the next, all the while never losing the exact and precise quality of scientific thinking.

To truly meet and contain Ahriman-Rove, we also need a living spiritual social science, whose scientific qualities can only be found through pictorial thought trained in the disciplines of Projective Geometry and Goetheanism (A Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe's World Conception).  We meet his powers, with those of our own.  Then out of this soul training, the I can hear the World Song in which is contained the logos speaking of the Christ into the social world of humanity (as the Lord - the Artist - of Karma).  Just as Goethe learned to listen to the speech of Nature, we must now learn to listen to the speech of the social world, and then out of our own forces of art and story telling, render this logos speaking into pictures we share with each other.

Let me end by bringing forward one last matter, which in its details can be found below in the discussion of the true soul roots of the Mystery of America.  This will be there developed much more fully - here I only want to hint at its dimensions.

The roots of the American Soul, by the way, are not found in Europe, but in America's Aboriginal Peoples.  The soul is determined by two main influences of which the most earthly is the local geography, while the most heavenly is the incarnating spirit.  Spirit and place interact, and the soul is born.

Among the various Nations of Indians, there is one who has a very special relationship to the whole: the Hopi.  All the Elders of the other Nations recognize this.  It is from a Hopi that we received the idea in the 1990's: we are the people we have been waiting for.

The Hopi Prophecy anticipates the arrival from the East (from the rising Sun), of the True White Brother.  This influence is to come at a time when the Nations of Indians will be in dire need, for world conditions will have brought about their near destruction.  Only one or two individuals may still be alive that are true to their deepest teachings.  In the most crucial words of the Prophecy we find this statement: "This third event will depend upon the Red Symbol, which will take command, setting the four forces of nature (Meha) in motion for the benefit of the Sun."

You can find details below, but let me just render my best interpretation of this phrase in the language with which anthroposophists are familiar (it will be well worth repeating in greater depth later). 

At the time of great crisis, the World will be three times rocked into War.  It is the last, the third event, which is the most crucial.   The outcome of this third event (Ahriman's Incarnation) will depend upon the Red Symbol, or the People of the Rose-Cross.  These People of the Rose-Cross, the True White Brother (true in the sense of also being awake to the living Being of the Earth Mother and the Father in the Sky, as once were all Aboriginal Peoples), will then take command, setting the four forces of nature in motion.  These are the forces of the Four Directions (honored in the Pipe Ceremony of the Lakota Sioux), or the Cosmic Ethereal Forces (and their elemental servant beings in Nature), which even Steiner recognized when he laid the Foundation Stone for the original Goetheanum in the Earth, and then later the Foundation Stone Meditation in the hearts of those who attended the Christmas Conference.

All this for the benefit of the Sun.  To understand this all we need to remember is that the Hopi Prophecy originated in a People who remembered Atlantis (see below).  At the time of Atlantis, where was Christ?  He was in the Cosmic Sun Sphere!   What then does all this come to mean, especially given that the Prophecy also recognizes that this needed work of the True White Brother can fail to manifest?

The outcome of the Third Event - the third time the World is rocked into War (Ahriman's Incarnation) depends upon the People of the Rose-Cross bringing forward a scientifically based knowledge of the Ethereal Cosmic Forces, not just in the living aspects of the sense world, but in the life of thought itself.  Moreover, all this in service to the Christ, by announcing His True Second Coming in the Ethereal, with all its majesty (a Second Crucifixion, a Second Resurrection, and a Second Eucharist).

Are anthroposophists up to such a task?  Apparently that remains to be seen.


The dominant characteristic of this time, inwardly is

the True Second Coming of Christ

" can say that we in Europe develop Anthroposophy in a spiritual way; the American develops it in a natural way..."  R.S. lecture to the Workman at the Goetheanum, March 3, 1923 GA-349

[For the neophyte: Ahriman's incarnation as Karl Rove in the social-political world, really only effected the Stage Setting, which serves as a background to our individual biographies.  Granted this Stage Setting is far more realistic than the cardboard and paint of a theater, nevertheless the relationship, between our individual lives and the historical backdrop in which those lives unfold, is captured quite neatly by the Bard's metaphor of Stage Setting and Actors in a Role.  Ahriman is a significant ruler of the characteristics of the Stage Setting, but as regards the soul and spiritual element of the human being (our inner world and life), Ahriman, through his influence via our Shadow (the double-complex), is but a small though significant part, while we ourselves can be the Star.  

Ahriman is also not the Author of the Play, Christ is - Christ as Lord (Artist) of Karma, and we as free choice makers.   Just as the East sometimes talks of there being something that might be called (in the human being) a Buddha Nature, so we in the West can speak of a similar characteristic of being human - the Christ Impulse.   Out of the Buddha Nature of the human being comes Compassion, and out of the Christ Impulse of the human being comes Love.  So the two combine: Christ Himself as Lord (Artist) of Karma, who works with our freedom, so that we can out of that freedom ourselves author human love in the form of the Christ Impulse.

In this realm (the inwardness) Christ can have far more influence if we know how to choose to make that possible.  The inwardness belongs to our will (we know this instinctively), but for the individual I to become the proper steward of all the potential capacities hidden in this inwardness does require that we wake up there and begin to be active.  In this next essay I lay out just how Christ has made himself available to us directly when we strive to be moral - that is when we seek to know and do the Good (or as Rudolf Steiner would say: become knowing doers).

As such the essential lesson from the story of Ahriman's incarnation can be seen in that his activities push many people in the direction of such soul pain that they are confronted by a choice as to whether to remain asleep or actually wake up to the conditions of inflamed social chaos and insane speed of life.  Modern existence, for all its seeming unnecessary difficulties is actually a blessing.  Just as physical illness is a transformative blessing, so are today's illnesses in the social existence of humanity.

Of crucial importance is to keep in mind what was mentioned above, in that religious fundamentalism (Christianity forced into arid and dead doctrines and dogmas, by the influence of the ahrimanic double) acted in the world in recent years in such a way that made a mockery of the True Second Coming.   Nothing Ahriman has accomplished is a potent as this misdirection, which has made people shy of the promise Christ made to come again.  This essentially fake Christianity is simply a modern version of what a similar impulse among the Hebrew people accomplished at the time of the Incarnation - that is: People in that time were lead away from the truth by those who sought to maintain their own power and stature as religious leaders, rather than understand that Love begins with Service to the Thou (washing the feet), and then leads ultimately through trials to Love as a total Sacrifice of self for other.

We live in a time in which a similar gesture permeates the Christian world.   Religious leaders tend to prefer themselves over others, and being in more in love with their own thoughts of what is the truth, they keep their flocks (and those who hunger for spiritual enlightenment) from knowledge of the True Second Coming.  In the essay below (and those that immediately follow) I offer to the reader precise instructions as to how to experience the True Second Coming, first as a Sacrament in the Soul - a Second Eucharist in the Ethereal - in the world of thought, that arises when we authentically seek to know the Good, or what I also call: discovering the experience of Love Engendered Free Moral Grace as that arises out of the spiritual activity of the own I.]

This next essay was abstracted from my book, the Way of the Fool, in order to submit it to the Newsletter of the Anthroposophical Society in America in the winter-spring of 2006, where, as is typical of my offerings there, it was ignored.  For this book it has been carefully rewritten, with entirely new material added in certain places.  By the way, the Way of the Fool is, at its core, the beginning of a courtship between that reality referred to by the terms esoteric and exoteric Christianity - between Gnosis and Faith (Kings and Shepherds), and this essay is the final thought-picture in the main body of that book.

The Meaning of Earth Existence

in the Age of the Consciousness Soul

*[John 16: 12-15 "I have much more to say to you, but you can't bear it just yet.  But when the other comes, the breath of truth, he will guide you in the ways of all truth, because he will not speak on his own, but will speak what he hears and announce to you what's coming.  He will glorify me, because he will take of what is mine and announce it to you.  Everything the Father has is mine: that's why I said he will take of what is mine and announce it to you."]


from the book: the Way of the Fool: 

There yet remains a small effort to make a synthesis this work - to make a whole out of seemingly disparate parts.  I will try to be brief.

A principle aspect of the great Mystery of our Time is the Mystery of Evil, both outwardly in the structural backdrop to the shared social world of humanity, and inwardly in the depths of our own souls.  I have tried above to point out how it is that the essential matter is not the outer social world, but the inner soul world, and the trials and education of the i-AM, in the biography. The context, which we need to call the maya of history and current events, and which is receptively held everywhere from below by the Dark Mystery of the Divine Mother, all passes away, and only what is Eternal, that is what becomes an aspect of the developing i-AM, continues; and, this inner realm (the whole Inwardness of the Creation, which includes human souls and spirits) only exists because of the Heavenly Mystery of the penetrating thoughts of the Father, while the whole (the outer social maya and the eternal inner mind) is created, loved, overseen and mediated (wherever two are more are gathered...), in all its Grace filled and Artistic interrelationships, by the Earthly [new Sun] Mystery of the sacrifices of the Son.

We (humanity) now begin to move out of our spiritual childhood, and in making our way through the Rite of Passage that is Life as it leads us toward our spiritual maturity we need to take hold of the complex of the doubles and the karma of wounds, as these thrive within our souls, and which encourage human evil through temptation and inner prosecution.  Even so, this task of meeting the Mystery of Evil within the soul is not as heavy as we think, for through the Shepherd's Tale [Charles Sheldon], the King's Tale [Rudolf Steiner], the Healers' Tale [the community-created Twelve-Steps] and the Sermon on the Mount, we have all the practical instructions that we need.

In seeking to understand in ourselves these three: moral grace, freedom and love [each of these is elaborated in great detail in the book], we set before ourselves what is required to be learned in this Age and it is with these three naturally unfolding capacities that we are Graced and strengthened so as to be able to meet with courage the Mystery of Evil.  If we do dare this path, and seek for the deepest instruction in Christ's Sermon on the Mount, then will come to us a change in the nature of our biography, such that it more and more takes on the pattern, described in the John Gospel, as the Seven Stages of the Passion of Christ (the washing of the feet; the scourging; the crowning with thorns; the carrying of the cross; the crucifixion; the entombment and the resurrection) (for a careful exposition of these Seven Stages, see Valentin Tomberg's [anthroposophical] book: Inner Development).

Whereas Christ lived this in an apparently mostly physical way, those, who truly follow In His Steps [the name of Sheldon's book, as well as a critical phrase** in Ben-Aharon's The Spiritual Event of the Twentieth Century - a profound Imagination of the True Second Coming], will in the main feel these trials in their souls, as aspects of the joy and suffering in the human biography.

**["Now when they identified themselves with the situation of earthly humanity, the souls who remained true to [Archangel] Michael prefigured, in their planetary Earthly-Sun life, the great Sacrifice of Christ.  They walked again in His steps [emphasis added] as they did in former earthly lives, only now the order of following was reversed.  They went before Him, showing Him the way, acting out of free and self-conscious human decision, and He followed in their steps [emphasis added] only after they fully united themselves with the divided karma of Earth and humanity.  Only then could He offer His sacrifice as the answer to the new, future question of human existence: the question concerning the mission and fate of evil."  Jessiah Ben-Aharon, The Spiritual Event of the Twentieth Century.]

These trials may seem difficult, but the truth is they are merely human.  It was Christ becoming human that went to the Cross, for how could He place an example before us we could not do out of our own humanity (just as Sheldon wrote in In His Steps). [something written by a Shepherd (a pastor) in America, at the same time Steiner (a King) was writing his The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity (Freedom)]  It is the human in Christ that asks in the Garden of Gethsemane that the cup be taken from him, but if not, He accepts the Father's will. While later it is the even deeper human in Christ that says on the Cross: "My God, my God, why did you abandon me?".  Who among us, in the trials and sufferings of life, has not uttered these same thoughts? [That Steiner teaches an esoteric meaning for the end of life statements of Christ, in no way contradicts their exoteric meanings, which are also true.]

It is here that Christ's teachings strongly diverge from the Wisdom of the Buddha, for the Buddha would have had us overcome suffering by learning not to know it (one version of the third Noble Truth of the Buddha reads as follows: " ...concerning the Cessation of Suffering; verily,it is passionless, cessation without remainder of this very craving; the laying aside of, the giving up, the being free from, the harboring no longer of, this craving.", whereas Christ asks us to embrace our human pain so that we can pass through the Narrow Gate of suffering to then know our deepest self, the true i-AM, and then through this burning trial of knowledge of the true-self, ultimately come to Him.  If we would follow In His Steps then we too must take on ourselves the errors (sins)*** of the world, and the tasks of forgiveness and love, for every love engendered free act of moral grace takes up a small part of Christ's suffering, so that we too participate in the deepest creative acts of the Seventh Day of Creation - the transformation of evil into love.  [This is for anthroposophists the teaching attributed to Mani, but the reason such a personality even knows this is because the transformation of evil into love is modeled for us in the deepest felt actions of the Divine Mother and the Son.  When we know intimately these actions of the Divine Mystery, we know the true spiritual meaning of the Mystery of Evil, and that this Mystery is Itself the real source of the earthly doctrine connected to it that is sometimes called Manichaeism.]

***[The word sin does not appear in the original Greek, from which the Gospels were translated into the other languages.  The Greek word hamartia, misused to indicate sin, actually means "missing the mark" (it is a term from archery).   See in this regard the Unvarnished Gospels by Andy Gaus.]

Is this foolish?  Of course, but we need not fear this Way of the Fool, for our Faith in Christ's Promises will always be fulfilled, as we ourselves can learn to become the fulfillment of the law and the prophets.  Yes, this Way is full of trials, but whoever has lived life, and reflected upon their experience, knows that in the meeting of our biography's trials with courage we discover what it truly means to be human: to struggle, to fall, to get up and to learn - and, through this process, gently and humbly, begin to take up along side and with Him, Christ's kind and light, Yoke of Love.

Having said all this, it becomes necessary to make one last picture for the reader, for clearly, in that we read the news and hear of the horrors of man's continuing inhumanity to man, we ourselves face a terrible trial.  How are we to understand a world seemingly so filled with Evil?

Picture, for a moment, the surface of the Earth.  Below dense matter and fiery substance, while above, airless space.  Humanity lives out its Earth Existence only in this narrow spherical band of Life, whose diameter is just under 8,000 miles (and whose height is just three to four miles, because above 15,000 feet above sea level, the atmosphere starts to not contain enough oxygen to support our breathing).  The total surface area of the Earth is 196 million square miles, and the habitable land area 43 million square miles   Six billion plus human beings must find all that they physically need, which when we consider actual available arable land (land that could be cultivated for food, and other necessary resources), means that each individual only has a square 161 feet on a side from which to grow what they need.  This then is the physical spacial aspect of the social organism of the whole world.

Yet, we know that this spherical space is itself often unwisely distributed, for human social arrangements, whether rooted in dominance and selfishness (dominion over) or generosity and sharing (communion with), these social arrangements seem to determine this social order.  This stream of moral gestures (choices), of good and/or of evil, moves out of and through human beings, organizing the physical one.

As to this moral aspect of the social organism of the whole world, it has reached in this Time a kind of climax of development, and it will be important to appreciate the true nature of the logos order in which Christ has set modern human existence, through His creative powers as the Artist (Lord) of Karma (the precise and love based placement of individual biographies in relationship to each other).   Here is something Natural Science cannot do, for the meaning of existence is beyond the weaknesses of their yet fanciful and spirit-empty images.  This will also help us to understand why so many (falsely, but with some degree of reason) believe we live in the End Times.

In the Twentieth Century the world was woven together into a single social organism, not just via the globalization of economic matters, or the personal interconnections offered by the Internet, but most centrally by the Media.  At the beginning of the 20th Century, few knew what went on elsewhere the world, in any detail or with any immediacy.  At the end of the 20th Century, at the same time that the returned Kings' were unfolding the New Revelations of Christ  [the story of the 20th Century involves a return of the meaning-essence of the Three Kings of the Gospels - that is a return of the knowledge of Gnosis, hungering to be woven again into a single whole with true Faith - an event which clearly had to accompany the True Second Coming], the world itself was woven into a whole in the sense that no macro social event was not to be almost immediately known everywhere the same day (if not the same hour) that it happened.

We live in a time when has arisen a Culture of Media - a kind of knowledge commons, in which vast resources are used to create for us pictures of the meaning of the world and of events.  The more developed the country, the greater our daily experience can be saturated with the messages coming from this Culture of Media.

Moreover, great effort and expense is gone into by those who would force us to believe what they want us to believe.  Between advertising, political propaganda, outright lies, weak or lame reporting, and other similar failures to reach the truth, this saturation of the soul by the Culture of Media would seem to fail to offer us any service at all. What is not appreciated is that the Christ is far wiser than even the deepest believers imagine.  Every evil is eventually turned to good, and next we will explore the prime example for our time.

Recall what has been pointed out many times now, that the individual biography is the central reality of life on the Earth.  What happens inside us as we experience life is much more important and enduring than the outer events which surround us.  That Stage Setting (all the world's a stage....) is but epiphenomena to the reality of the life of the soul.  To help us appreciate this then, let us explore these matters from the point of view of the individual biography.

In this time, there are over six billion plus of these biographies woven into the tapestry of the social organism of the whole world.  Six billion lives held delicately and exactly within the Love and Divine Justice of the Mystery.  Within these biographies, all the individual i-AMs experience that precise and personal instruction that hopes to lead them to the realization of their own divinity and immortality of spirit. [The epoch (rite of passage) of the Consciousness Soul is 2100 years long, going from the time of the beginning of the on-looker separation (and the creation of Natural Philosophy - Science) in the 1400's, until the years around 3500 AD.]

To understand this we need to think it from the inside out, and not from the outside in.  The Culture of Media only provides context, never essence.  True, life is hard, even harsh, even terrible.  The naive consciousness wants to turn away from this suffering, and cannot understand how God (the Divine Mystery) could allow such things as torture, child abuse and the genocidal acts which are dumbed down by the terms: ethnic cleansing.

The reality is that what the Divine Mystery does is to allow for freedom.  This most precious gift is essential to the immortal spirit during its Rites of Passage we are calling: Earth Existence.  Moreover, the Mystery also makes certain there is a true Justice through the post-death passages of kamaloka and lower and higher devachan, in a manner no human social structure can provide.  Christ has told us this in the Sermon on the Mount: "to what sentence you sentence others, you will be sentenced".  All this should be kept in mind as we proceed.

As a single ego, I wake in the morning.  From the night I bring the remainder of yesterday, perhaps worked over.  Surrounding me, as I live the day, are the lives of those with whom I have a karma of wounds - with whom I have a debt of meaning to creatively work over.  This we carry together, each bearing a part, each bearing their own wounds.   These are wounds from the past, from the present and from the future.

To observe the world of today, as we walk the walk of our lives, is to observe trials of fire and suffering - rites of wounding and being wounded. But not just this, for also there is healing.  Where we let love thrive, wounds become healed.

Thus flow all our days, often too fast to even notice the beauty and wonder of the sea of personal relationships and shared trials.  Yes, there is misfortune, and evil deeds.  But do we really imagine Christ and the Divine Mother lets this evil happen without recourse or justice?  We may not know this directly through Gnosis, but we also can have Faith.  Gnosis without Faith is empty of Life; and, Faith without Gnosis is empty of the Truth.  Only when we join them together, do we get: the Way (the Mystery of living the Good), the Truth (the Mystery of knowing the Good) and the Life (the Mystery of union with the Good).

This then is the wonder of the outer and inner biography, for often the wounds are not visible.  Yes, sometimes the wounds are visible to our eye or ear for we see people too fat, too thin, too lamed in body, too poor, too physically or mentally deficient.  Often, however, so many of us suffer in silence that we really do not know the nature and personal meaning of their wounds - only our own are visible to the eye of our heart, unless we first learn to exercise and unfold certain powers of soul and spirit.

Amidst all this visible and silent suffering, we find ourselves woven into the Culture of Media.  Images and sounds flow around us, pictures of a world on the verge of chaos and madness.  Yes, we have the intimacy of our personal biography, but through the Culture of Media we are drawn into the painted backdrop of the whole world - a backdrop we all share.  War in Iraq.  Global warming.  Governments out of control.  Pandemics waiting in the wings.  Local economic recession, and even world-wide depression.

What lives in this painted backdrop - in this Stage Setting - in the wise relationship of the Culture of Media to the unfolding of our personal biographies?

The answer is this: the mirror of our own inner darkness and light...

Inside us the double-complex - our feelings of judgment, our temptations, our addictions and our sense of failure. Inside us the darkness that belongs personally to us, and outside us, carried to us by the Culture of Media, the mirror of that darkness.  But also inside us the Good that we would author.

Think on it.  Do we not experience the images and sounds brought to us by the Culture of Media as something that is filled with what we like and we dislike?  We live our biographies and the Culture of Media confounds our souls with pictures of dark and light to which we all respond individually.  The great masses of humanity do not make the News.  The great masses of humanity experience the News.

What is News?  News is exactly what the reporters and television personalities call it: stories.  The Culture of Media provides us stories (tales) of the world, which are often presented as if these stories are true, something most of us have come to know they are not.  News stories reflect all kinds of bias, and in some cases the bias is deliberate.  Moreover, news stories reflect conditions of commerce living in the agency reporting them.

For example, it is well understood that in the last third of the 20th Century in American television the news divisions of the major networks disappeared, and the entertainment divisions took over the responsibility for the news.  The opportunity to inform and educate the receivers of news stories became secondary to the need to keep them interested so as to be able to sell commercial time and make a profit.  In addition, the stories are mostly about dire and tragic events, and little is investigated or reported that is about the positive and the creative.

We are right then to wonder sometimes about the News, about its harsh nature and artless excessive attention to the dark deeds of many.  Humanity in general bears within it the beam that is not seen, while the mote is exaggerated.  But the world itself is not this beam, is not this darkness.  The greater part of darkness is inside us - in our own souls, and from there projected onto the world.  The Culture of Media exaggerates this darkness further, at the same time it gives us much that also arouses our own unredeemed antipathies and sympathies.

Once more for emphasis...

The world in its reality is not this Media generated excess of darkness (so out of balance with the light that is also everywhere present), which we all project from within the soul - the beam.  Yet, in the Culture of Media this whole processes of dark projection is exaggerated so that the mirroring nature of the social world itself begins to bother us.  This logos order of the social world is complex and rich, and worth a deep study.

Pictures of a distorted and untrue meaning of the world abound, and while we share these pictures, we make personal and individual our reactions.  Just as the intimate events of our biographies have a personal meaning, so does the shared stage setting have a personal meaning.  In a more general sense, for example, many Christians today are confronted, via the Culture of Media, with pictures of individuals whose actions as self-proclaimed Christians either inspire us to imitation or cause us to turn away in shame.  The same is true in Islam. The terrorist who frightens us in the West, also causes many ordinary Muslims to turn away in horror.  Everywhere fundamentalism rises, to continue the example, the great mass of humanity, that are not so tied to such arid rigidity, shrink away in antipathy.  Do we not assert quietly, inwardly to ourselves: this is not me, I am not that - I will not be that!

In our biographies then, we are confronted in the intimacy of our personal relationships with what are sympathetic and antipathetic reactions to that which we would choose to admire and imitate, and that which we would shun and refuse to be like.  Via the Culture of Media, we are met with that which approaches us in the same way, yet on a larger scale.   Just as we as individuals have a Shadow (a double-complex), so nations, religions and peoples have a Shadow, and the Culture of Media puts in our faces these pictures and meanings with which we can identify or from which we can turn away, often in shame.

Christ has arranged, in this particular moment in time (the cusp of the 20th to 21st Centuries, which is also the Dawn of the Third Millennium) to place in the dying away hierarchical social forms of humanity, those biographies which do two main forming gestures within that history.  This is all connected to a process in which social chaos arises in order to cause these old hierarchical [third cultural age] social structures to let go their no longer valid hold, and in many instances be eventually replaced with new social form arising out of the social commons [fifth cultural age].

In the first instance, these biographies living in the decadent social hierarchies (such as government, corporate and church organizations) portray strong images, via the Culture of Media, to which we react equally strongly out of our likes and dislikes.  For example, one of America's wise women, Doris (Granny D) Haddoch, has said that we should be grateful for such as George W. Bush, because he causes us to awake from our sleep as citizens.  As a consequence, in our individual biographies we react to the extremes of these dominant religious, business, cultural and political personalities, and this brings about in us as individuals certain inner judgments and calls to action.

The second effect of those biographies unfolding in the now decadent institutional social hierarchies is to drive the social order further into a needed condition of chaos, something all 6 billion plus biographies require in order to birth the moral dilemmas necessary for the Age of the Consciousness Soul.   This social chaos sweeps traditional moral authority aside, and forces us as individuals into situations where we must rely on the own I in order to properly face the moral crisis.  In that human beings are incarnating in massive karmic communities in order to have these sometimes shattering moral experiences, this causes the present world social organism to have the strong tendency to completely dissolve into a condition of near total social conflagration [thus my website: Shapes in the Fire].

The moral aspect of the logos ordered social organism of the world requires crisis in order for the individual biographies to live, not just intellectually, but fully and dynamically and existentially into dilemmas of moral choice.  Only true moral choice can awaken in us what is offered in this Age to the development of the Consciousness Soul.

Nothing in the world is not touched by the Art of Christ, who as Lord of Karma - Lord of the Satisfaction of Moral Debt and healer of karmic wounds, arranges in majestic harmony all the biographies so that even from the smallest detail to the grandest historical event, meaning is put to the service of our development - the leaving behind of our spiritual childhood followed by our birth into spiritual adulthood.

The world historical crises of this time are a complex and rich Stage Setting, against which 6 billion plus souls live out the dramas of their individual biographies.

Thus, in this birth from spiritual childhood to spiritual adulthood, the Time - the Age of the Consciousness Soul - is a Rite of Mystery, a Baptismal Mass for all of humanity, just as was told to us by John the Baptist. [in Matthew 3:11]  "Now I bathe you in the water to change hearts, but the one coming after me is stronger than me: I'm not big enough to carry his shoes. He will bathe you in holy breath and fire." (emphasis added)

Consider now more closely what happens inside us as we experience the intimacy of our biographies, and the shared pictures that come via the Culture of Media.

Choice confronts us.   Do I be like that, or like this?  From what place inside do I choose?  In a time so filled with chaos that rules no longer apply, I discover that I can rely only on myself.  Out of myself I must author the Good in response to the world of meaning that surrounds and confronts me.  So powerful, in its personal immediacy, are these experiences, images and meanings, that we cannot turn away from them.  It is as if the World itself is on Fire, wanting to burn and burn and burn until we run from it in terror, or stand up to it and give the fullest of our participation to its moderation and its healing.

Yet by Grace, I contain the means to know the Good that my biography and membership in the shared fate of humanity draws out of me.  What I source becomes a part of the world, and I know that this is so.   I know my freedom to enact the moral grace that my heart comprehends in its deepest places.  Deep inside my soul my very own heart hungers to sing: Love will I give.  Love will I create.  Love will I author.

So now we think away the physical - the maya of the sense world, and let our picture thinking gaze only upon this inner, invisible to the physical eye, moral act.  An act more and more emerging everywhere, for while in America, and the Cultural West, the Consciousness Soul is first widely  appearing, it will and must appear everywhere that human beings let the world touch their wounds, while they seek to share with others the trials by fire of their biographies.

Invited by the Love and Art of Divine Circumstance to look within and to reach into the depths of our own being in order to source and author that Good which we know to be right, we touch something spiritual and are Touched by something Spiritual.  In this time of the True Second Coming, in the inwardness of our souls and invisible to all outer seeing, a Second Eucharist is being enacted - the Good offers Itself - Its own Being - to us (Moral Grace).  For the Good we know is not just known in the soul as what we tend to think of as a mere thought, but if we attend most carefully, it is true Spirit, just as the John Gospel writer told us that Christ spoke: [John 3:6-8] "What's born of the flesh is flesh, and what's born of the breath is breath.  Don't be amazed because I told you you have to be born again.  The wind blows where it will and you hear the sound of it, but you don't know where it comes from or where it goes; its the same with everyone born of the breath."

[The existence of a Second Eucharist, to accompany the Second Coming, in no way means to diminish or change the Original Eucharist.  On the contrary, we will find that via the Second Eucharist our understanding of the meaning of the Original Eucharist (the transubstantiation of matter) will deepen.  See in this regard, the small pamphlet: Radiant matter: Decay and Consecration, by Georg Blattmann.  From the transubstantiation of matter we are being led onward to learning how to participate also in a transubstantiation of thought.]

Thus we are being truly and continuously born again today (each act of moral grace is another Second Ethereal Eucharist and birth), from out of our spiritual childhood and into our spiritual adulthood, baptized outwardly by the fires of the times in our biographies, and by holy breath within - a Second Eucharist where Christ gives of His own Substance that biblical knowing of the Good - His own Being.  For us to truly know the Good, requires we join our own soul to the Good.  Our yearning to author the Good out of ourselves is how we participate in the Baptism of being truly born again, and how we participate in the sacrament of the Second Eucharist.  Christ also participates by giving to us, out of Himself, this very Good - this Moral Grace.  When having received within ourselves this sacrament of the Second Eucharist, an act that only arises because we seek it and form its actual application, we remain free - we create moral law - we author the fulfillment of the law and the prophets.  Given to us within by Christ as a capacity, we then author its incarnate nature and pass it on to the world of our biographies, - from out of us thence into the outer world (or into the inner world), do we then ourselves author this Good: love engendered free moral grace.

But how does Christ do this?  Is this Good offered to us in this Second Sacrament as if it was a thing, passed by hand from one to another?

No.  Christ as holy breath breathes upon the slumbering burning embers of our own good nature, just as we breath upon a tiny fire in order to increase its power.  He sacrifices His Being into this breath, which gives Life to the tiny ember-like fire of our moral heart.  The holy breath becomes within the soul of each human being who asks, seeks and knocks a gift of Living Warmth that enlivens our own free fire of moral will.

The Narrow Gate opens both ways, making possible thereby the intimate dialog and conversation of moral deeds and thoughts that is woven between the i-AM, the Thou and the Christ (wherever two or more are gathered...), which intimate conversation leads ultimately to the consecration - the character development - of the soul.

In this way our thinking can now behold the Meaning of Earth Existence in the Age of the Consciousness Soul: A macro-cosmic Rite, a Second Ethereal Eucharist, in which we give birth out of ourselves in the most intimate way possible, knowledge of the Good, not as mere thought, but as Life filled moral will, breathed into greater power by the sacrifice of the true ethereal substance of Christ's Being in the form of holy breath. 

The outer world is but a seeming, and what is brought by the Culture of Media mere pictures of the Stage Setting for the World Temple that is home to our biographies.  When we think away this outer seeming - this logos formed and maya based sense world, and concentrate only on the Idea of the moral grace (Life filled holy breath) we receive and then enact out of the wind warmed fire of individual moral will - as individual law givers, as the fulfillment of the law and the prophets - we create this Meaning of Earth Existence.  Every act of moral grace, given greater Life within in the deepest intimacy of our life of soul, is an ethereal communion with Christ, even though we may only experience it as what to us is a mere thought of what is the Good at some moment of need in the biography.

Christ gives us this Gift, by Grace, freely out of Love, and with no need that we see Him as its Author.  We hunger inwardly to know what the right thing to do is, and when this hungering is authentic, we receive Christ's Holy Breath.  This does not come so much as a thought-picture of the Good in response to our questing spirit, but rather as the contentless breathing substance of Christ's Being.  We are touched (inspired) by Love, and at this touch we shape that Breath into the thought that we then know. The nature of its application and form in which we incarnate this thought is entirely our own.  We shape the thought completely out of our own freedom - our own moral fire of will, for only we can apply it accurately in the individual circumstances of our lives.

As the Age of the Consciousness Soul unfolds accompanied by this Second Eucharist, the Social World of human relationships begins to light and warm from within.  For each free act of moral grace rests upon this Gift of Christ's Being to us - an ethereal substance received in the communion within the Temple of the own Soul, freely given in Love whenever we genuinely: ask, seek and knock during our search for the Good.  Our participation in this Rite, this trial by Fire leavened by Holy Breath, leads us to the co-creation of new light and new warmth - the delicate budding and growing point of co-participated moral deeds out of which the New Jerusalem is slowly being born.

This co-creation is entirely inward, a slowly dawning Sun within the macro Invisible World of Spirit.  Moreover, we do it collectively (as humanity).  While each of us contributes our part, it is our collective conscious celebration of the Second Ethereal Eucharist (creating the Good) that begins the transubstantiation of the collective (presently materialized and fallen) thought-world of humanity into the New Jerusalem.

Thought is real, and it is as equally real as is matter.  The Original Eucharist transforms the already divinely given now-dying substance of earthly matter into Life-filled Spirit through our ritual invitation of the active Grace of the Divine Mystery; and, our participation in the Second Ethereal Eucharist transforms dead thought into living ethereal Substance, through the mystery of our individual spirit's active and embryonic grace, that becomes united into the collective co-creation of humanity.

In the Invisible World of Spirit, we co-participate, out of the own moral fire of will, in the Dawn of the New Sun that is to become the New Jerusalem.

Let us now slow down here for a moment, and take a deep breath, for these last thoughts above may seem almost too big - too idealistic - to be easily contemplated.  To ease our understanding and gently ground it, let us consider this situation once again in it most ordinary aspects.

The world of our biographies places each individual into the fires of experience.  These are remarkable gifts that lead us toward moral questions - often deep and troubling.  We yearn to know what to do, and in this circumstance we may ask, seek and knock.  What has been called earlier in this book Moral Grace is available to us, yet the mystery of this practice of inner activity is where we ourselves create moral law - where we become the fulfillment of the law and the prophets.

In the King's Tale, we saw that Rudolf Steiner's book The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity showed how to come to this knowledge through the practices of Gnosis - to knowledge - in the form of moral imagination, moral intuition and moral technique.  In the Healers' Tale, we saw how the 12 Steps helped us to master the soul through the elevation of the spirit, and in this way come to know God's Will as we understand it.  Finally, in the Shepherd's Tale we came to understand that by asking What Would Jesus Do out of Faith, we could also come to the needed individual moral beliefs.

Three different paths (among perhaps many more) all leading to those individual invisible depths that each of us must uniquely experience, which we have now seen must be properly called: the Second Eucharist of Holy Breath.  So we come now to perceive the Time - this Age of the Consciousness Soul - where, if we seek it, we have made ourselves available to be baptized with Fire and Holy Breath, just as John the Baptist us told Christ would do, 2000 years ago.

Even so, we still have to truly want to know the Good - to authentically ask, seek and knock.


[For the neophyte:  So far we have seen how with Ahriman's incarnation, humanity was driven deeper into moral crisis - the opposing beings, by trying to create a world in which evil triumphs, also create a tension in the social reality that causes people to resist.  Refusing to submit to this pressure, human beings reach into their own depths and draw out of those depths previously hidden capacities.  Life makes a demand, and some fold, and some stand up.  This is nothing new in human existence, except that in this instance we have come to see how, even though the Prince of Earthly Dark can incarnate in a human being, and from that place in the center of our social existence create all kinds of troubles, many people refuse to bow down to this Prince.  Instead, they turn to their own inner resources and to each other, bringing out of the secret aspects of their own will moral qualities perhaps they didn't even know they had.  If we start to look around us, we will see that more people do this - reach to the deep inside - than those who fall deeper into the dark.  Who does this?  Who stands up?  Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.  The salt of the earth refuse to stand by and let evil prevail.  In them the seed of the Father resides, and this mystery we will take up next.

Below is an in depth look at one of the possible processes by which our own thinking can be changed in profound ways, through the application of moral grace to our own inner activity.  Instead of just acting in the outer world, we wake up and become an actor in our inner world.  It is this transformed thinking that enabled me to come to the knowledge that stands behind my ability to write the above two essays.  Many who read this will recognize that much of what is described they already do, to some extent or another.   Recall that the American Soul as an natural instinct for Anthroposophy and for the Consciousness Soul, such that every time a reader of this says to themselves: I try to do this, you are recognizing this healthy instinct.] 

In Joyous Celebration of the

Soul Art and Music of Discipleship

- a moderately serious introductory sketch unveiling

a mostly American way of understanding the New Thinking -

first some necessary context

Recently in the News for Members of the Anthroposophical Society in America (late 2005), was published a wonderful lecture given by Dennis Klocek, elaborating the alchemical foundations living in Rudolf Steiner's spiritual scientific work.  The essay below means to be something from just one voice out of another of the streams that seeks to find its home within the Anthroposophical Society and Movement - the stream of discipleship, of those who are karmically related to the original Twelve and the direct participation in certain aspects of the Mystery of Golgotha. [See the essay above (The Meaning...) for why I write in this way.]

In the essay that follows, it might help the reader to understand that it is mostly written for, and out of, the American Soul.  About this Soul, Rudolf Steiner spoke in different places and in the following ways, which I will paraphrase:  The American comes to Anthroposophy naturally.  English speakers are instinctively in the Consciousness Soul in their Life of Rights.  There is a hidden and unique form of Anthroposophy that is to develop in America in the future, and one should look to Emerson and his circle of friends to appreciate it.

The reader, of whatever Soul background and gesture,  who would seek inner stimulation from actively engaging this essay, should understand that for the American Soul much of what is described below is already instinctively present.  This instinctive relationship to the art and music of discipleship appears first in the American Soul in the dominant tendency to be directed outwardly toward the world, fully engaged in social reality, and sometimes (often more frequently than appears on the Evening News) seeking to heal the social world's wounds.  Part of the hidden mystery of this Soul is that it is possible to take what is so present instinctively, and awaken it by gradual degrees into full consciousness.  This task may turn out to be far easier for the American Soul, than has so far been imagined within Anthroposophical circles.

To fully inaugurate this gradual awakening, however, does require turning from the outer world and its worries and wonders for a bit, and to look within - to practice introspection.  When looking within becomes a normal part of soul life, American anthroposophists should not be surprised to find that they already live instinctively in their wills in ways with considerable kinship with the path of discipleship - the path of moral action in the world through renunciation and love.  With the addition of this introspective looking within, we add to the thinking we already do about the field of outer-world social moral action, a complementary and much needed thinking about the soul-field of inner moral action.  Outer world thinking and action are enhanced by everything we learn from the practice of looking, thinking and acting within.

By the way, it is not the point of this essay to encourage any divisive distinction, such as might be assumed because of the emphasis on matters American.  Nor is it being suggested here, for example, that Americans are any better at Anthroposophy in any way.  On the contrary, we are just different.  Each Soul gesture in the Threefold World has unique gifts to offer, and this essay means to serve the potential freeing of those yet untapped American gifts from a kind of child-like imitation of things European.  This tendency, to model our soul practices on a kind of European anthroposophical idealism of the soul, was a natural impulse connected to our admiration of the work of our European brothers and sisters.  It is time to grow past this however, to discover our far more earthly and pragmatic way to the Spirit.   And, to do this not only for the benefit of the American Soul Itself, but also for the benefit of the Anthroposophical Movement world-wide.

There are then two themes, which while related are also quite separate.   The relationship of the Alchemical stream and the Discipleship stream is one theme, and the relationship of the American Soul to the wider world is another.  The point of intersection, between the Discipleship stream and the instinctive capacities of the American Soul, shows only that the Rosicrucian and Manichean streams of the Old World, and their connection to Initiation, does not quite have the same meaning for the American Soul as does the natural Christ Impulse inspired in Americans, and revealed by their relationship to the outer world of social need (in part a consequence of the fact, that due to its rampant individualism, the Consciousness Soul is developing faster here - See Ben-Aharon's "America's Global Responsibility: individualism, initiation and threefolding").

The Alchemical stream is a stream of studied spiritual knowledge and of initiation.  It is more of the Kings and of Gnosis than of the Shepherds and of Faith.  The Discipleship stream is more related to that moral work in life that comes from following the Teachings of Christ, and thus is more of the Shepherds than of the Kings.  The disciples, who were meant to be fishers and shepherds of human beings, were not (in general) of the old mystery streams as were the Kings.  The Shepherds belong to what was being newly created - to the future Mysteries that are to arise from the social commons.  These future Mysteries are not to flow out of the old, now impotent and dysfunctional hierarchically organized Mystery Centers, but from finely and homeopathically distributed Branches and Discussion Groups - that is the New Mysteries are to be born out of and in ordinary social life where groups of individuals draw together (wherever two or more are gathered...).

At the same time, while the America Soul is more naturally of the Shepherd stream, - of the discipleship stream, because of its orientation to outer world moral action, it can by turning inward and seeking a pragmatic introspective life, begin to draw from the wisdom-well of renewed European spiritual life.  Rudolf Steiner, in his works on objective philosophical introspection ("A Theory of Knowledge Implicit In Goethe's World Conception"; "Truth and Knowledge"; and "The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity") gives us a quite useful generalized map to this introspectively investigated inner territory - a territory that for the American Soul has many different and unique characteristics.  With Emerson, we get a similar map, not as exact and scientifically rigorous, but one which nonetheless is more in harmony with the actual landscape of the American Soul.

We can then read Steiner to initiate us into our introspective soul voyages, in the most objective and scientific fashion; and, read Emerson for that travelogue, which is more attuned to the unique scenic beauty to be actually found there, given that the American Soul, like the other soul-gestures of the Threefold world, is differently oriented in its fundamental nature.

I have tried here to distinguish two problems that ought not to be confused.   This article is not saying that the American Soul and the Discipleship stream are identical, only that there is a definite kinship.  What is also being said is that for those in this discipleship stream (of which there are no doubt many - Americans and otherwise - within the Society and Movement, and for whom this article also aims to provide greater self-understanding), they will tend to be less attracted to exercises aimed at spiritual development, and more called to moral action in life, which incidental to its true deeds, produces the after effect called: character development.

"For every one step in spiritual development, there must be three steps in character development".  Rudolf Steiner: "Knowledge of Higher Worlds and How to Attain It".

[Keep in mind, when thinking about character development, this question: To what aspect of character development do we relate a good sense of humor, laughter, foolishness and dance?  Please also note that at one time the word silly meant to be possessed by the sacred.]

This is not to suggest that specific spiritual developmental exercises are unimportant, but rather just to point out that if the moral (character) development lags behind, it more and more becomes a danger that spiritual experience will come toward us in a one-sided way.  Further, we need to understand that true heart thinking is almost entirely a consequence of the extent to which the will to do the Good (that is to be moral) is the foundation for all feeling and thinking activities.

To make some of this a little more concrete, we might notice that it would not be uncommon for those drawn to the Discipleship stream to find that their biography involves a need to encounter the 12 Steps of AA, or to have to undertake some similar deep moral-Trial work.   Challenges to character development are common in biographies with a strong kinship with the discipleship stream.  Which thought then leads us to the essential point.  Moral or character development does not result from spiritual exercises, but only from inner and outer actions in the biography, and their related moral dilemmas.  The practice of exercises builds capacities in the Soul, while moral actions, both inward and outward, apply these capacities in life (which then purifies the Soul).  Christ puts it this way: Blind Pharisee, wash out the inside of the cup and saucer first, if you want the outside to end up clean [for the whole theme, see Matthew 23: 25-28]

Let us review a bit:  From a certain point of view, the Alchemical stream is very European, and thus has a tendency to put forward the incarnation of an Ideal as a goal, leading to the emphasis on spiritual exercises, knowledge and initiation.  Americans, on the other hand, tend to face the social as a problem to be solved through moral action.  This is very pragmatic, for it is not the purity of an ideal that matters as much as being able to do something to help others.  In this sense, the stream of Discipleship is more natural to Americans because, in harmony with our engagement with and in the world, as social helpers, discipleship is rooted in moral action - in doing the Good ("...and crown thy Good, with Brotherhood...").

[Isn't this Brotherhood also partly related to our ability to help each other experience the katharsis of laughter, especially under dire circumstances.  Conversation does have a higher function than light, but then what about a well encouraged giggle?  The Shadow cannot abide humor, and runs away when we make fun of it.]

In a sense, the idealism of the European anthroposophist has blinded the American anthroposophist, first by suggesting there is only one way to be anthroposophical (a European soul idealism), and second by failing to appreciate that the American Soul is considerably different.  The result is that instead of coming to true self knowledge, we (in America) have been pursuing what is at best a temporary illusion (a goal we really can't achieve), instead of our developing, more consciously, the earthly (including humorous and joyous), socially oriented and pragmatic instinct that is our given nature.

I hope the above has not been too confusing.  Mostly I just wanted to point out certain contextual themes, and leave to the reader's own thinking precisely what to make of these ideas.  In what comes next, where we get more deeply into the pragmatic and the concrete, I hope then that these contextual matters will, as we proceed, begin to make a more practical, and a less abstract, sense.


[a brief biographical note:  My interest in introspection began around 35 years ago, in 1971, as a result of a kind of spontaneous awakening in my 31st year.  I didn't call it introspection at that time, but I had become quite awake inwardly, and was only able to orient myself to these experiences using the Gospels.  Seven years later, in 1978, I met the work of Rudolf Steiner, and gravitated to his writings on philosophy, particularly A Theory of Knowledge...,  and The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity.  I also became very interested in Goethean Science, projective geometry and all the Steiner material on the social problem, which was my own main outer-world interest.  It was over 25 years later, in 1997, that I wrote my first effort at describing what I had learned about the moral nature of the Soul under these two influences: the Gospels and Steiner's writings on objective philosophical introspection.   That essay was called "pragmatic moral psychology" and can be found on my website .  At that time, however, I did not yet know enough about the Shadow, and only now, almost 10 years later, can I write the immediately below with some confidence in my appreciation of the intricacies of these problems in the light of an intimate experience of the threefold double-complex.]

substance, or better yet,

selling water by the river*

*[The river of the soul lies inward in everyone.  To teach, as it were, about the soul, is to sell water by the river, to give to someone something that is already right in front of their own true face.  In spite of all that exists, for example in our home libraries of Steiner texts etc., there are really only two essential books for the study of the soul: the Book of Life, and the Book of our Own Soul.  Learn to read those, and you'll know the core of what you need to know.  A text, even this text, can at best be a word-map describing a territory you'll only really know by direct experience, however many other books you ever read.  The reality of matters spiritual is, however, not found in reading, but only in action.  We can acquire a lot of concepts by reading, but we need experience (the consequences of action) more.]

We should keep in mind as we begin, that what is described below is essentially very human and very ordinary.  It is one possible descriptive word-map, as it were, of the soul engaged in the dynamics of inner awakening via the path of discipleship.  As a map, it will be somewhat abstract and defined.  The actual territory is something else altogether - human, messy, inconstant, prone to emotional ups and downs - that is all the wonders of ordinary consciousness. All a word-map tries to do is to point out various significant features.  Look out for these mountains, notice those valleys.  Here is a pure spring, there is a hard and dangerous rock wall.  It is my hope that the reader will find below some guidelines which will help them to chart their own path through the pristine forests and dark swamplands of the soul.  Keep in mind it takes courage to explore there, but at the same time there is no other adventure quite like it.

Recall then what Dennis Klocek gave in his lecture to the 2005 AGM, and then published shortly thereafter in the News for Members  (or if you didn't hear or read it,  try to find a copy as soon as you can):  On the blackboard a mandala: a circle, expressing a series of alchemical relationships: earth (freedom); water (phenomenology); air (silent practice) and fire (dialog).  The circle form suggests a return to earth (freedom) at some new or higher kind of level.  But before considering that, first some deep background.

If, from a certain point of view, we think of the above four elements in Dennis Klocek's lecture as notes in a rising scale, we could also find that in between each note is an interval.   While the note is in itself more of a step in spiritual development supported by spiritual exercises, the use in life (the interval) of the acquired spiritual skill/capacity is more of a moral act - an aspect of the process of character development.  The soul is fallen - it is an out of tune instrument, yet we hunger to return, to rise up and to experience reintegration, and to give voice to the joy of coming Home, which the Story of the Return of the Prodigal Son tells us leads to celebration and feasting.

Because the spiritual development exercises are so well known, and so completely covered elsewhere in Steiner's basic books, as well as Dennis Klocek's books, I will not be discussing them here.  This essay assumes a general knowledge of that work, and some practice in their use. Here we are looking at the development of the Soul solely with regard to its struggles with the so very messy, personal and human moral questions of the biography.

In case there is some confusion here, in Steiner's Knowledge of Higher Worlds, the moral is approached mostly through a series of admonitions, encouraging the student to orient him or her self in life in certain ideal ways.   Only in The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity, with the discussions of moral imagination, moral intuition and moral technique, did Steiner confront the moral problem directly and exactly.

The details that follow I have derived from my own (naturally messy and human, stupid and silly, and when I really get serious - pretentious) introspective investigations of the moral dimensions of the soul, but it should be kept in mind that while it is prudent to describe these phases and Trials as if separated in time in the soul, they are much more likely to be layered over each other - and often simultaneous in a variety of ways.  It also needs to be clear that what is to follow wishes only to add another dimension - another view from a different direction - to what Dennis Klocek gave, and not to contradict it in any way whatsoever.

It is particularly crucial to note here that we are mostly discussing those moral acts that take place in the Soul, not those in the outer biography.  There is a relationship to be sure, but it will help to understand that we are moral in both worlds: the outer world of our biographies, and the inner world of Soul practice and art.

I emphasize the word Trial to add another quality to our understanding.  Moral development takes place in the biography through Trials.  These challenges to the life of soul and spirit are meant to be difficult.  We become deeply engaged in our karma of wounds with others in these Trials.  Moreover, these are called Trials precisely because there is great pain, suffering and effort (as well as not enough fun) connected to them, and because the Shadow plays such an important and often decisive role.  Furthermore, various aspects of the Seven Stages of the Passion of Christ (as described in the John Gospel) are enacted in the Soul via these biographical Trials: the Washing of the Feet, the Scourging, the Crowning with Thorns, the Carrying of the Cross, the Crucifixion, the Entombment, and the Resurrection.  There is nothing abstract about these difficult processes of  soul transformation, and this should be kept in mind as we go forward, namely that: every time I use the word Trial I am speaking of quite human, difficult  and sometimes years long life-crises.

There is, in this regard, something of a kind of spiritual law involved.  Just as the world of the senses has its laws of gravity and color, so the soul world has its laws.  The ones to keep in mind here are the karma of wounds in the outer biography, as well as the outer and inner moral Trials to be faced there, which bear an exact and direct interrelationship.  To face a challenge in life, to face a Trial, means to engage in just that personal teaching which belongs specifically to our individually most needed for the development of our character.

Consider a marriage for example, or the children to be raised there.  These relationships are not trivial distractions to any spiritual development, but rather are precisely those riddles and mysteries of life belonging particularly to our own ego's character developmental needs.  One can read all kinds of spiritual books, practice all manner of spiritual exercises, and still not advance because the biographical tasks are ignored.  To begin to awaken within, and to appreciate that we are surrounded in our biography with just those moral tasks and Trials we individually need, is to recognize just how precisely and miraculously has Christ, as the Artist of our karma of wounds, woven us into the world of personal relationships.  So when Christ advises that unless we become again as little children, we cannot enter the kingdom of heaven, He is, among other matters, telling us precisely who our deepest spiritual teachers in life often are.

This world of personal relationships, and their corresponding moral Trials, whether of family or work, or even wider world challenges, is also very elastic in a sense.  We are quite free in it, and it has a quality that can respond rather exactly to only those tasks which we choose to take up.   Part of true Faith is to accept what comes to us as challenges, yet at the same time to recognize that our freedom also allows us to choose at every juncture, which way to turn, what burden to carry and when to laugh at ourselves.

For example, the interval from earth (freedom) to water (phenomenology) involves the skill: thinking about.  This skill we receive as a natural aspect of living in this age, in that we are inwardly free to decide what to think; and, in accord with the Age of the Consciousness Soul, we are also becoming more and more able to form individual free moral ideas as well.

The Consciousness Soul really just means that if we inwardly wish to know the Good, in any particular moment of moral demand, crisis or need, we can in fact know what the Good is.  Yet, in order to have this knowledge, we first have to ask, seek and knock.  We have to inwardly form the question, and struggle there to let ourselves answer from the higher nature of our ego.  The Good is what we make it to be, and as this essay proceeds, we will get deeper and deeper into this Mystery.  This is why my book (found for free on line at or which can be purchased at "the Way of the Fool" calls this capacity to know the Good: Moral Grace.

[As an aside, for those more familiar with Steiner's terminology, you should keep in mind that by necessity he was required to cognitively form his research and understanding into the language of the Intellectual Soul, as that was the condition of his audiences.  In this book we are writing out of the language of the Consciousness Soul itself (something toward which American's are instinctively gifted).  So, for example, when in the opening lecture of the book The Challenge of the Times Steiner speaks of the need for people to work out of an experience of the threshold, he is using Intellectual Soul terminology.  In the essay above, where I have elaborated carefully on the Second Ethereal Eucharist experience, this has been a quite concrete and exact picture of human intercourse across the threshold in the language of the Consciousness Soul.  I also mean to suggest here that it is quite possible to take many of Steiner's works and translate them from Intellectual Soul language into Consciousness Soul language.   The attentive reader of this text, who takes to heart the suggested practices, will in fact eventually find themselves able to do this translation process themselves.  Once able to do this, the reader will be able to confirm not only their own experience, but all that is written here in Steiner themselves, for nothing here is contrary to what Steiner offered.]

Now in this thinking about there is the object of our interest, in relationship to which we are the subject.  As subject, we think about this object.  This thinking is also essentially (and initially)  discursive to our inner experience.  We appear to inwardly talk to ourselves.   Our spirit seems to inwardly speak that which our soul then hears.

It is with the skill thinking about that we first enter on the problem of the Water Trial of phenomenology.  Thinking about naturally contains something of the shadow forces of the soul, in that our feeling life is, in the beginning, dominated by antipathies and sympathies.  These natural likes and dislikes of our individualized soul color all that we think about.  Through them what we think about acquires an individualized (non-objective) meaning for the spirit - the i-AM, in the soul.

[The use of this form of the term "i-AM", is meant to lessen the emphasis on the being nature of the ego - its noun-like aspect, and to place more emphasis on the action nature - on the verb-like aspect of the ego.  The being nature of the ego tends to be more related to the teachings of the Buddha, while  the action nature of the ego tends to be more related to the teachings of Christ.]

In the light of Steiner's The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity, the experience (the percept) is, in the beginning, distorted in its meaning (the thought, the concept) by the shadow elements lingering in the yet unredeemed antipathies and sympathies.  By the way, the reader should be clear that only their own personal introspective observations can adequately discern what is going on within ones own soul.  We have little business believing we can make such determinations about, or for, another.

Noticing these excessive and unredeemed aspects of antipathy and sympathy will give us our first vague perceptions of the work of the threefold double-complex, the Shadow in the Soul.  Thought is a flower rooted in the soul-soil of feeling, and filled from within by the blossoming life of the will-in-thinking. Where an excess of unconsciousness infects this soil and this life, the Shadow is given free play.

In order to progress properly through the life passages that comprise the Water Trial, we have to learn to renounce the unredeemed antipathy and sympathy.  This is the central moral act that makes possible the transformation via the Water Trial from thinking about to thinking with.  We enter the Water Trial knowing how to think about, and we can leave the Water Trial knowing how to think with.  The essential moral nature of this Trial is outlined in the Gospels in the Sermon on the Mount, in the teaching concerning the mote and the beam.  In the biography, when we learn to struggle with the covering over (or painting in thought via the unconscious Shadow driven creation of mental pictures) of the persons that we meet with our individual unredeemed antipathies and sympathies, we are learning about the beam in our own eye.  We see not the person, but our own soul as that lives in our projected sympathies and antipathies.  To learn to see past the beam, to meet the true phenomena of the other, to learn to think with them rather than about them, this is the moral craft to be discovered during the Water Trial.

The biography gives us just those experiences that challenge this learning.  The spouse, the child, the co-worker, the boss, the neighbor, the relative, or the stranger-other, all will evoke the beam, the unredeemed mental pictures.   We must learn how not to paint our experience with this already unconsciously given thought-content, and instead learn to let the experience itself speak into the soul, and to become consciously active as a creator of the free thought in relationship to the experience.

Again, one way to banish the Shadow influence here (when we discover our thinking to be possessed by the beam) is to laugh at ourselves - to see the essential silliness of our dark inner depictions of others, as well as those depictions which are too sympathetic (that is where we raise another up to the level of a kind of minor deity, such as how too many view Rudolf Steiner - and others - out of a soul mood of ungrounded and unrealistic admiration).

Sobriety, for all its virtues, must be balanced with play, otherwise the soul becomes an arid desert.

So, for example, when we look at another person and recognize that they are, in themselves, not just that which we observe in the moment, but rather that they are their whole history - their whole biography (in fact a sequence of biographies), and when we learn to consciously set aside the reactive feelings of antipathy and sympathy, only then can we start to think with who they truly are, and not just about them.  Our folk wisdom calls this learning to walk in another's shoes.

This thinking with can of course be applied to anything living, anything that has a life element to its nature, not just human beings, plants or animals.  This includes the history (the story) of a social form, such as a family, or even an Anthroposophical Branch.  When we recreate in the imagination, free of antipathy and sympathy, the story-picture of something, we are then learning to think with the object of our thought.

Goethe taught himself to think with the plant, and to this organic way of thinking Rudolf Steiner later gave the name: Goetheanism, which is a thinking that leaves behind the discursive aspect of thinking about, and replaces that with a thinking with - a qualitative characterizing picture thinking (Tomberg's formulation).  We do this by learning to make inner images (mental pictures) consciously.  We still retain the ability to think discursively about these inner images - thinking about does not disappear, but remains a skill which can be applied when we choose and where we feel it is appropriate (which is why I wrote earlier of the layered nature of these soul phenomena).

Two additional aspects of soul phenomena need to be understood here - the attention and the intention and their relationship.  The moral act of renunciation is more related to those actions of the will-in-thinking that determines on which particular object we focus our attention.  When we are lost to the beam in our own eye, part of our attention is unconsciously focused on our own soul's reactive feelings of antipathy and sympathy.  To the act of renunciation of these interfering aspects of our attention, we need to join the intention to love the object of this phenomenological (story-picture) thinking.  After subduing the impulse to live imprisoned and in the thrall of the beam in our own eye (reactive feelings of antipathy and sympathy), we use our first stage (necessarily awkward and tentative) understanding of how to love the other in such a way so as to redeem them in thought.  We consciously create a new picture to replace the old unconscious and reactive one.

As part of the Water Trial, we don't just set aside the reactive feelings, but we learn how to create in the soul cultivated feelings. We create freely chosen cultivated moods of soul - that is intended feelings of reverence, wonder and so forth, which then have a salutary effect on the thought content that is to be produced according to where we let our attention come to rest.  This is an example of where the exercises bear fruit.  If we have practiced these exercises, this will be a great help when we then need to apply the newly learned ability to form cultivated moods of soul, as a prelude and foundation for thinking with someone in a new way.

With a cultivated feeling we transform the soul-soil from which the thought is born and then flowers (which is also why the ideal is expressed as: thinking with the heart).

In a certain sense, what is renounced, love replaces.  What is given up, becomes transformed.  What is dark, is turned to gold.  What is evil - our dark habits rooted in the unconscious fear and mistrust of the other - the Thou, are beginning to be transformed into love.  And, best of all, what is too sober, particularly in our Self, can - as is necessary - be made silly.

The renunciation of unredeemed antipathy and sympathy does not, however, mean their elimination.  The will acquires the capacity to master this somewhat base song of the soul.  We cease attending to it unconsciously, and turn that attention (and the related intention) elsewhere.  We master the unconscious soul gesture that leads antipathies and sympathies into the forefront of the soul, and like a good choir director, silence it so that we can concentrate on other instruments of soul potential, other voices.  Transformed and conscious feelings of antipathy and sympathy become a valid means of discernment.  But we need to be awake to the arising and becoming of these feelings, if we wish not to give the shadow element free play.

The will-in-thinking (an awake and more and more morally pure intention and attention) fills the thought with life (which is why I add to the ideal of thinking with the heart, the ideal also to will the good).

In this way we also refine the gold that is latent in antipathy and sympathy - their capacities for discernment and truth are enhanced, because we apply them with more consciousness - a more awake attention and intention.  In the teaching on the beam and the mote, Christ, in Matthew 7:5, ends it this way: You fake, first get the log out of your own eye and then you can see about getting the splinter out of your brother's eye.

Again, one of the best ways to eliminate the log is to learn to laugh at it.  The log arises from the Shadow side of soul life, and in the light and warmth of our learning to laugh at ourselves, the Shadow's hold dissolves.

In Steiner's The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity, we are taught the importance of the moral basis for our actions, whether outwardly in the sense world, or inwardly in the soul.  Only that action, which is preceded by a self-determined moral reason (intention), is truly free.  Even so, no one should be surprised to discover that they are already trying to do these activities in some fashion or another.  Emerson said this: In self trust all virtues are comprehended.  The purpose of this essay - this word-map - is to help us raise out of the realm of instinct, step by step into full consciousness, our already existing natural goodness.

[Another brief biographical note: As I shared previously, I underwent a kind of spontaneous awakening at age 31, and one of the by-products of this inner infusion of light, was that I became hyper-aware of judging people.  I could see myself putting them into various boxes and categories, and being now awake to this beam in my own eye, I could also see that this was not right - it violated conscience, so that I struggled to learn how to not do it.  That said, learning how not to do it, does not mean that we always apply this newly learned moral craft.  On the contrary, I often fell back into old ways many times over the years, although there did slowly dawn a kind of sensitivity, that let me see that I had been again in thrall of the beam.  Stepping outside the prison of the beam does not become automatic - a habit, but must always be applied, in the moment, consciously, with intention and attention (the will-in-thinking).]

After we have learned to renounce (consciously and for specific and individually freely chosen moral reasons) our soul gestures of yet unredeemed antipathy and sympathy, in order to learn how to think with that object of thinking which we are learning to love, do we then move out of the Water Trial, via more necessity, to the life passages of the Air Trial. This movement from water (phenomenology) to air (silent practice), which before (at the entrance to the Water Trial) began with thinking about, now begins with the newly learned craft of thinking with.  We start with that which we have now discovered as a spiritual development in the course of the Water Trial, and then apply that new level of moral craft (capacity of the will) of renunciation and love to the Air Trial.  The will-in thinking, which has learned to master the unredeemed aspects of feelings of antipathy and sympathy, and to replace these with thoughts born out of cultivated moods of soul, is now strengthened.  It is this strength that then lends itself to the life lessons of the Air Trial.

Dennis Klocek described the Air Trial as a learning to think backwards - of unraveling, or unrolling, the thought content produced by thinking with. The Discipleship stream sees it from a slightly different direction, one which, however, is not in opposition, but which instead is once more intended to be complementary.

Via the Water Trial we have learned how to think with, and that has produced a thought content in the soul.  It is this content that must now be renounced in the Air Trial.  When Steiner wrote of this he called it: sacrifice of thoughts.  We learn how, again in meeting people, to not have a thought content at all.  We become inwardly silent.  Strong forces of will are needed in order to subdue the already achieved thought content, which we have wrapped around another person (or any other object of thinking), even if this content now lives free of unredeemed antipathies and sympathies.  We can also renounce, during the life passages of major aspects of the Air Trial, those thoughts produced only by thinking about.

Further, in the feeling life there live attachments to the thought content.  We have, after all, produced it.  It is our creation, and we like it (most of the time - where the Shadow has unconsciously produced the thought content, we can learn to relate to this soul phenomena out of a healthy antipathetic discernment - we can come to not liking it that we have such a thought).  Sometimes, however, we can't even separate our own sense of self from this thought content.  Nonetheless, to traverse the Air Trial we need to renounce our collection of mental pictures (thoughts).  Remember, the self development that accompanies the sequence of alchemical Trials is not just related to spiritual exercises, but also to moral or character development; the chief features of which are acts of sacrifice - acts of renunciation, and acts of love (the beginnings of: Not I, but Christ in me).

Steiner also calls this attachment to our thought content, in certain circumstances: being in bondage to the concept "One must be able to confront an idea and experience it; otherwise one will fall into its bondage" (The Philosophy of Freedom, last sentence of the original Preface).  It can be a savage inner struggle - this Air Trial - to learn to forcefully set aside our favorite pictures of the world, a seemingly negative artistic act, sometimes taking months to accomplish.  At the same time, their essential nature does not disappear, for the very same qualitative aspects of our true nature - our true i-AM - can once again call them forth. Thought does not disappear, it only becomes latent and goes into a kind of pralaya (the state of being uncreated, unformed).  The will-in-thinking is strengthened by this act of renunciation, and when we choose to think again concerning this same object of our thought, the penetrating new powers of the will-in-thinking (attention and intention) can call forth from this pralaya an ever deeper understanding of the underlying meaning and truth of that about which we have chosen to think.

[another biographical note: I first explored this process during my many long years of the Water Trial, which really began when I discovered that I had become captured by a psychological paradigm, or world picture.  I had come to view everyone, after a time, through the lens of this psychologically based world picture.  I discovered that the best way to become inwardly free of this capture, was to undo any relationship to this paradigm, an activity that took several months.  A year or so later, I let myself be captured by a similar world picture, this one connected to Tibetan Buddhism.  Again, many months were needed to become inwardly free - to break the chains of the teaching - to be able to only experience these thoughts when and if I consciously called them forth.  Subsequently, upon encountering Anthroposophy, I gave myself wholly to it - became intoxicated with it in a way, and spent three years drinking in all that I could manage, eventually once more finding myself inwardly lacking the spiritual freedom before the concept that I knew by then was essential.  

Only after many months of work at sacrifice of thoughts, was I able to stand in relationship to the massive and marvelous thought content of Spiritual Science, inwardly free.  Through this activity of sacrifice of thoughts, I eventually stood in relationship to concepts, acquired from Steiner, in such manner that they only appeared in my consciousness when called forth.  From this free perspective (which I was then able to survey as a whole), I then could see that Anthroposophy was not a thought content at all, but rather just the method of awake, and fully conscious (intended and attended) free thinking I had been instinctively seeking for many years.]

As the shadow elements (unredeemed antipathies and sympathies - Water Trial, and emotional attachments to our self-created thought content - Air Trial) are being let go, we now begin to have another experience connected to the Gospels.  This is again related to the Sermon on the Mount, specifically the beatitude: "blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven".

The rolling back, the sacrifice of, the renouncing of the previously created thought content, makes the soul inwardly poor in spirit.  As we empty out the soul, we begin to learn a new spiritual activity, which might be called thinking within.   The Air Trial passages of life are taking us from thinking with toward thinking within.  This opens us to the delicate first stages of the conscious experience of the kingdom of heaven as It begins to appear with greater clarity out of the general background noise of the soul, and on the wings of our natural instinct for the embryonic New Thinking.   The Air Trial is developing that which is meant to take us upward and onward to the Fire Trial, or dialog.  When we are poor in spirit, empty of the previously given thought content (and master of silent practice), then we can, to a degree, experience directly the inside of the object of our thought.  In personal relationships, this is the capacity for the beginnings of true empathy.

In a sense, the base elements of unredeemed antipathy and sympathy are a foundation in the soul. They are of the earth.  In the Water Trial, we rise to a more subtle and plastic condition in the soul.  To think with, to know the phenomenology of the object of thought, is to bring the thinking into movement with its object.  The earth aspect is more solid and crystallized, while the water aspect more fluid and more mobile.  The discursively produced thought is dead (the instinctive living element necessary for any thought remains in the unconscious), while the consciously created picture-thought is more living.  With the air element, the soul becomes more expansive.  Thought that is renounced in the Air Trial dissipates, disperses and dissolves into the general spiritual background of the soul - the previously noted pralaya (uncreated, unformed) condition.  The will-in-thinking does not any longer call it forth, nor does it let the thought call itself forth.  When we are in bondage to an idea, it calls itself forth, and the Air Trial teaches us to break the chains by which we have let our unconscious feeling attachment tie us to the concept/idea.  We break these chains of feeling by dissolving them, and Dennis Klocek's metaphor of rolling back the thought is quite apt.  We untie it from its attachment to the soul, and without doubt the practice of the spiritual exercise of the Ruskshau is a great help here.

Only then, when we are truly empty, can thought, in the sense that it is the true inside of our object of thinking, come toward us.  The true idea of the object moves toward us, as we learn to open ourselves to it, such that it then thinks in us.  As Christ says in Luke 17: 20-21 "Asked by the Pharisees when the the kingdom of God was coming he answered: "The kingdom of God doesn't come with the watching like a hawk, and they don't say, Here it is, or There it is, because, you know what? the kingdom of God is inside you."

Steiner writes at age 25, in "The Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe's World Conception", published in 1886, that: What takes place in human consciousness is the interpretation of Nature to itself.  Thought is the last member in the series of processes whereby Nature is formed.

While Emerson writes at age 33 in the essay "Nature"", published in 1836, 50 years before Steiner wrote the above: Nature is the incarnation of a thought, and turns to a thought again, as ice becomes water and gas. The world is mind precipitated, and the volatile essence is forever escaping again into the state of free thought.

Thus, having mastered (to a degree) silent practice (learned how to be poor in spirit), we are at the beginning of the Fire Trial, and similar in kind to our previous renunciations, the soul now begins to discover how thinking can be in deepest kinship with its object, by abandoning the Self - by no longer seeing ourselves as the center of the universe.  Instead we begin to love the object of thinking more than we love ourselves.  This deepening intention to love, in that our own i-AM learns to stand out of the way, allows the i-AM of the other more room in the soul - we begin to see them not just from their inside - true empathy or thinking within, but as them, united with them.  Again, anything living that can be thought empathically, can also be even more deeply known when we learn to unite with it in thought.  But this requires more than our own action.  The art of true empathy, or thinking within, now, as we let go our own centrality of being, becomes the chalice in which It can think in us - and the life passage of Fire Trial begins to unfold.

This is the fruit of the Air Trial now carried further - the spiritual developmental capacity to have dialog with the realm of the invisibles, for true empathy free of self importance and rooted in inner silence, now lets the inner being of the other - the Thou - speak.  Having understood how we become in bondage to the concept, and emotionally attached to it, we no longer repeat those actions, with the result that thought tends not to come to rest in the soul, to coagulate there.  Instead, thought now passes through the soul - flows like a living stream.

[In 1999, seven years ago, I wrote this:  My method basically now consists (when life circumstances allow it) of sitting at my desk and writing descriptive passages of social and political realities.  Inwardly the experience is analogous to looking at a clear stream.  The surface of the stream results from my inner activity in sacrifice of thoughts, fact gathering, picture forming and artistic expression (more or less done simultaneously).  At the same time as my thinking sees this clear surface, I can perceive that there arises, on the other side of that surface, activity which does not belong to my own will, but which appears there spontaneously of its own accord.  The clear surface is then a product of two activities acting in concert.  With my writing I record what appears there.]

With this art (thinking within), which was earlier merely a skill (thinking about) and then a craft (thinking with), we now are in the midst of the Fire Trial.  But before discussing this Trial more deeply from the point of view of Discipleship, we need to look ahead a bit and understand what lies on the other side of the Fire Trial.  We need to have a picture of what happens in between - in the moral interval between fire (dialog) and the new earth (new freedom), as the circle gesture spirals around in a kind of completion, before moving on to a new level of experience.

[a bit more biography: the material next to be presented, regarding what can happen after the life passage of the Fire Trial, is a little bit speculative on my part.  While I have had quite definite experiences of the kind: Imagination, Inspiration and Intuition (mostly by Grace from Above), I am neither naturally clairvoyant nor an initiate. I am not even sure most of us need anymore to strongly seek such a goal, at least certainly not in a single lifetime.  When I get deeper into the Fire Trial material itself (below), especially given the layered nature of the soul capacities and experiences of all the Trials, and as well the true mystery nature of ordinary consciousness, why I encourage a consideration of the more modest goal of a kind of sacramental thinking (as against initiation) especially for Americans, will be made more plain.]

This culmination of the Fire Trial is described in Steiner's John Gospel lectures, in lecture twelve, as: The Nature of the Virgin Sophia and of the Holy Spirit (when reading this lecture, keep in mind that it was addressed to the Intellectual Soul, not the Consciousness Soul).  The previous spiritual developmental tasks, interwoven with the moral and character developmental intervals, or Trials, produces a katharsis, or purification of the astral body, such that the Rite of Initiation may now be enacted, and the seed organs of clairvoyance may now be impressed on the etheric body.  I emphasize the term may, because while a great deal of the development leading to this stage is rooted in our own actions - our own will-in-thinking, as the Fire Trial progresses we become more and more interdependent with the will activity of the invisibles.

We do not, as I understand it, so much initiate ourselves, but instead are initiated in a cooperative dance necessarily involving Another.

On the other side of the Fire Trial, if initiation is to be the result, we have acquired new faculties of perception.  The spiritual world is now there to be experienced directly, and the soul has fully developed that spiritual freedom, which The Philosophy of Freedom (or Spiritual Activity) contemplates, for we have renounced unredeemed antipathy and sympathy, we have renounced our emotional attachments to a given thought content and we have renounced even the significance of our own i-AM in relationship to others; all the while learning to love ever more deeply the objects of our perception (beholding) and thinking.

[From this point onward, I will be often using the term beholding instead of perception (in certain cases) and for this nuance I am grateful to Clifford Monks, who provided this in a recent conversation between the two of us.]

Now before us stand new objects of inward beholding.  The world of Imaginations is faced with this new freedom, but it stands inwardly over there, as it were, such that once more we have something which we think about, only this time it is not a sense object but a spiritual object.  Moreover, the perceptual element of an Imagination has required our co-participation; and, the thought content produced by our cognitive capacity, during the experience of the supersensible, arises simultaneously with the experience.   Contrary to a sense object, which has as an aspect of its nature what Steiner called the necessary given, a spiritual Imagination as an object of clairvoyant beholding does not exist independently of our own will-on-fire in thinking.  We have authored and sourced (for this language, grateful thanks to Harvey Bornfield) it in cooperation with spiritual beings.

Our new thinking about has participated in the creation of the Imagination.  We experience the Imagination in infinite internal space (ethereal and peripheral space) as an object, whose existence comes about because our own activity is coupled with the by Grace activity of higher beings.  The intention and attention are involved in a Parsifal question* to which the Imagination is an answer (producing a kind of wordless knowledge).  Subsequent in time to this wordless knowing experience (which includes a conceptual element), cognition then produces the word forms, either written or spoken, in which the living Imagination dies into a crystallized word-picture, such as what is given to us in many of Steiner's lectures and writings.  When we actively (not passively) read these word-pictures, recreating them in our own picture-thinking, the soul harmonizes with the Imaginative aspect of the world of spirit, creating out of this harmony a rudimentary chalice in which later spiritual experiences can arise.

[*A Parsifal question is a question that if we didn't ask it when we could have, we may have to wait a long time to later receive an answer.]

So we begin then to repeat at a higher level the previous Trials, but this time facing experiences we have never before had.  We travel once more around the mandala of the circling spiral of soul metamorphosis, learning in new ways to think about (Imaginations), then on to new thinking with (Inspirations) and finally to new thinking within (Intuitions).  [There would seem to be here a great mystery, about which I have not (yet) any experience, but at the same time a great curiosity: do angels etc. tell jokes or laugh and dance?]

This full new thinking, however, is itself at a higher stage.  It is thinking transformed into willed creative and participatory beholding.  The normal thought content, which we know as an aspect of our original state of consciousness (earth and freedom, in discursive thinking about), only arises in the soul after the clairvoyant thinking perceiving/beholding.  This thought content falls out, as it were, during the period of time the spiritual experience is fading away.  The spiritual experience does not continue in earthly memory, but at the same time, the thought content produced (that is, how the experience was initially cognized as it fades away) does remain in earthly memory.

Let us now return to a deeper appreciation of the life passages we are calling: the Fire Trial.

All the work we do, through the various Trials and passages of our biography, more and more purifies the soul, making it ready for clairvoyant spiritual perception.  At the same time, there is constant spiritual music in the soul - the song of the wind and of the breath - even as far back as when we are only being newly born out of the first Trial of earth and freedom.

Ordinary consciousness is already full of spirit.  Our problem is how do we pick the gold out of the dark shadowy and leaden dross of the soul, normal to its given fallen state of earth and freedom.  Two factors are clues.  These are discovered during the early stages of introspection in the idea of needs and the idea of choices.  The wind - the breath - the living river of thought - blows through the soul constantly, but always in accord with need and most often in accord with other-need, that is the needs not of the Self, but of the Thou.  To live into this Grace given always present intuition-like breath, we need to choose. When we do choose service to other-need, then true, good and beautiful intuitions flow on the wind of Grace into the soul, even in its ordinary and fallen state of consciousness.

How else are we to understand the natural and harmonious state of grace always potential in such relationships as: mother and child, comrades at arms and lovers.

Other-need also helps keep our ambitions in check.  One of the temptations that the Shadow offers to us is to let us believe we can, for example, out of reading a Steiner text speak with authority about matters concerning which we have had no other experience than the text.  Absent the real experience - the percept - true thought (the concept) cannot arise.  Only in conjunction with actual clairvoyant experience can we, in full conscience, speak of such matters with the same confidence as did our Teacher, Rudolf Steiner.  Yet, in the face of other-need, and our choice to devote ourselves to this need, spiritual contact (experience) does appear in the soul.  The spiritual percept (experience) arises within the soul as a response to the Parsifal question which our intention and attention have created out of our relationship to other-need; and, the modest nature of our choice to serve this need makes our soul a suitable chalice to receive that thought content which then serves this need.

For example, we have no need (besides a vain curiosity) to know who was the 20th Century Bodhisattva incarnation of the future Maitreya Buddha.  Yet, on the other hand, there is a deep need to know how to love those intimate others in our biography, so that we can learn to heal our shared karma of wounds.

With this in mind (and also keep in mind the layered nature of soul development, as against the one-sided idea that it is a mere linear progression) let us look at the Fire Trial, which Dennis Klocek has described also as: dialog; and which he related to meeting with the dead, who come to us through our encounters with others.  From the standpoint of the Discipleship stream, this is once more perceived a bit differently, yet again in a complementary fashion.

Having passed through the previous Trials, our will-in-thinking now possesses certain capacities, certain inner arts, the essence of which are moral in nature. The self development spiritual exercises are secondary to, but supportive of, the character (moral) developments.  We have learned in the Water Trial to renounce unredeemed antipathies and sympathies and to replace those with a redeemed thought-content produced in a chalice of freely chosen cultivated feelings - that is we have learned to think with the object of thought. In the Air Trial we have renounced as well even this self-produced thought-content, in order to live in the silence, that is poor in spirit - thus beginning the experience we have been calling: thinking within.

In Fire Trial, which begins with its capacity of thinking within won in the Air Trial, we now enter into dialog on the wings of a renunciation of self importance.  That which is not-Self is to become more important than that which is Self.   Love of the other fills the attention and intention, and the work toward Not I, but Christ in me matures.  In this case, the dialog element for the Discipleship stream is more accurately characterized as Steiner's "it thinks in me", albeit this form of expression is lacking a certain artistry (Intellectual Soul, not Consciousness Soul).  A more beautiful phrase would be: the delicate and subtle presence of Fullness and fullness of Presence (Holy Breath).

[another biographical note: I learned, over many years of hard experience, that the essential matter was the Parsifal question - the deeply felt question, coupled with the absence of personal ambition in this question.  The knowledge I seek must be consciously intended to serve others, not to serve my vain curiosity.  In fact, my success in my researches into the social (see other essays in this book), seems to have been entirely related to my renunciation of the possibility of initiation in order to more deeply be led to an understanding of the social, an act which occupied my prayer life for a number of years in the mid-'80's.  As a consequence, I began to experience this wind, this delicate and subtle presence of Fullness and fullness of Presence in response to my Parsifal questions concerning an understanding of the social, which I had sought in order to serve other-need.  My biography led me to working, from my mid-thirties onward, as a member of the working poor.  I cleaned toilets, washed dishes in restaurants, worked in mental hospitals, and the last three years of my work life (59-62), I worked in a factory.  This led me to not only a personal, but a shared experience of the suffering in the world due to the Age of Materialism, which has led the i-AM not to appreciate itself or the causes of its suffering, and which gave me such pain of soul that the only way I could think to alleviate this was to seek, via the New Thinking, the ability to tell a new story of the world and of human meaning.  This was my Parsifal question in its broadest form, and the wind would come at anytime It choose as I lived out these experiences, so that I had to learn to be sensitive to this wind, and to serve It, even by pulling off the road when driving and taking notes, or getting up from bed at night and writing when called.  The success of this inner work also made me on more than one occasion, an obnoxious moral nut case, filled with excessive moments of grand hubris - my own Shadow intoxicated and inflamed.  Fortunately, the Trials would knock me down whenever I got too drunk with the seriousness of any luciferic fantasies of having a mission.]

The moral art of thought not only comes to the truth of the object of thinking, but also knows its goodness and its beauty.  In intimate relationships, where we learn to love the will of the other - the Thou, and to see the beauty, not of their physical appearance, but of their deeds - in this selfless perception we then start to live in their true Fullness and Presence.

Thinking within, as it traverses the Fire Trial, begins to experience the spiritual world as a thought world, via a pure thinking, which is a cooperative art - Grace will be present.  This purity is three-fold.  It is pure in the sense that it is only thought - that is it is sense free.  The attention is so focused only on thought, that the outer sense world recedes far into the background of consciousness.  That is one aspect.  The second kind of purity is moral in nature.  The soul is pure in its intention and attention.  The intention and attention are chaste, as it were.  Modest, or moderate.  Without ambition of any kind.  Not even seeking initiation or enlightenment.  Insight increases in the soul, but each time as a surprise - as a wonder.

The third kind of purity is as regards the thought - the concept itself.  It is only pure concept or idea and in this it is thought as Being, as Presence and Fullness.  Our earthy grasping of the thought, which in the beginning tends to render it into mere mental pictures or generalized concepts, has been gone beyond.  We have sensed thought unconsciously in this beginning, and caused it to fall into our earthly and darkened consciousness from out of its original living environment.  When we learn how to return thought to its true realm and nature, then our sense-free thinking, and the purity of our intention and attention now lets the pure nature of the Being of the Thought think in us (dialog).

At the same time, this conversation has what seems at first blush an odd quality to it, in the sense of our freedom.  As discussed in the essay above, on The Meaning of Earth Existence in the Age of the Consciousness Soul, just as Christ gives his Being to our need for knowledge of the Good as an act of Grace in such a way that the thought of the Good is entirely ours to shape, so also that which thinks in us does not answer our knock with any authority whatsoever.  This Holy Spirit (the wind in the soul spends (exhausts) Its will into us in a way.  Its participation with our i-AM in the nature of the thought's form is such that, while the Holy Spirit elevates our perception of truth, we remain the final author and source.  The Holy Spirit's participation is also a gift and becomes the wind to the wings of our soul.  Borne on this wind we see from whatever height, depth or breadth that must be there for other-need.  We serve the Thou and the Holy Spirit serves us both.

The soul is now grateful for whatever wills to dialog with it, and has no need for anything other than the occasional, but profoundly nourishing, experiences of Grace, all of which it had already begun to know, even coming in the beginning in the wonderful mystery of ordinary consciousness, and in accord with other-need and choice.

Yet, in this same beginning, the karma of wounds, and the unredeemed aspects of the astral or desire body move us forward in life, and we are guided by the Shadow into and toward our necessary biographical experiences.  In the processes of the Fire Trial, we learn to let go these drives, to move with and within the stream of Providence in Life.  The soul now tends to want only to be content and at rest, no longer driven.  We love the necessity that Providence brings us, and devote ourselves to that task, recognizing that the Great Whole of Life is in Other and far more competent Hands (Christ's Love).

There can be, by the way, either (or both) an outer necessity and an inner necessity.  Self observation, with an evocation of conscience applied to the question of whether we are being truthful to ourselves, will reveal whether an inner necessity is to have the same weight as an outer one.  This essay, in fact, was very much produced out of an inner necessity in connection with the delicate and subtle presence of Fullness and fullness of Presence, brought into the stream of Time, because of a Parsifal question that occurred to me regarding the pending conference on Ben Franklin (August 18-19, 2006), where I lived in Fair Oaks, California.  Yet, even in this work, I encountered Fire Trial elements, for latent and unredeemed ambitions limited and distorted my first versions of this essay.  Only after I had recognized these ambitions and laughed at myself for them, did matters begin to acquire a satisfactory to conscience moral clarity.

We need to keep in mind that we remain of the earth, even when the wind - the kingdom of heaven - is blowing through the soul.  In our earthly dialogs, one with the other, we need to learn to just listen and not to always impose our own opinions upon the others freedom of thought (for parents of children and others in a teaching necessity, this will be different, sometimes).  We can let the soul rest in wonder at what the Thou will say and do.  So also with the invisible other-presence in the soul.  In this way the outer biography and the inner biography more and more consciously harmonize their naturally interwoven music.

Life itself - the biography - will demand of ordinary layered consciousness, and in harmony with the necessities of our karma of wounds, those experiences to be faced in which other-need and choice appear.  If we think with the heart and will the good, Grace will come in the form of those other-needed intuitions - the deepening consciousness of what other-presence wants to say into our inwardness, in concordance with our slowly growing and developing capacities, as is necessary for service to the Thou.

This is the essence of the Fire Trial - a burning away purification of self for other.  Just as in the Air Trial we set aside attachment to a given thought content, so in the Fire Trial we give away our attachments to our own meaning - we dissolve the self descriptive concepts with which we previously adorned our i-AM, as if wearing a costume.  Instead, we just are.  In all our actions and choices, we are (if we think on it) always: "In the Beginning...".

We no longer are this or that, but just are (i-AM).  Each favorite self-name: father, mother, anthroposophist, alchemist, lawyer, ditch digger - all these names of self are let go, using the craft and art acquired in the Air Trial.  We do this in order to get ready for the first part of Not I, but Christ in me - the Not I part.  We burn away the I concepts, which by their very nature are limiting and mark us as not-free and are a beam in our own eye-inside, directed at ourselves.

We don't have to think of ourselves as a father or mother, for example, since the necessity of the biography places those tasks before us already.  The inner biography too, with its ambitions, hopes, dreams and wishes, pulls us forward as well.

There is as yet no traditional clairvoyant spiritual perception - the astral body is still being purified during the Fire Trial.  What was the lower ego, or that which begins its path accompanied by the Shadow or threefold double-complex, has more and more merged and identified itself with the higher ego - the self-participated aspect of conscience.

When we live purely in Parsifal questions (that is, poor in spirit), in the artistic mastery of our antipathies and sympathies, having set aside self-importance and attending to the object of thinking with the intention to love, then thinking is meet with other-presence, as needed.  This is the quite definite inner experience of the delicate and subtle presence of Fullness and fullness of Presence, which is described in the John Gospel as follows: What's born of the flesh is flesh, and what's born of the breath is breath.  Don't be amazed because I told you you have to be born again.  The wind blows where it will and you hear the sound of it, but you don't know where it comes from or where it goes; it's the same with everyone born of the breath John 3: 6-8

This Fire Trial is all the more painful, because we have become exposed via the previous layers (stages) of spiritual and character development, to a much deeper introspective understanding of our own desire body - our own astral body.  We can now not only think within the other - the Thou, but also we can now think much deeper within our own soul - we are naked before our own introspective clarity of perception.   That which remains unredeemed, and still yet outside the full and completed Fire Trial of purification, lies inwardly exposed to us.  The descending conscience (like the descent of the dove in the Gospels) meets the rising lower ego, both seeking union and marriage; and this light from above, a kind of deep moral Grace, illuminates and warms all that is yet shadow in the soul.  Emerson has put the bare bones of it like this in his lecture, The American Scholar: "For the instinct is sure, that prompts him to tell his brother what he thinks.  He then learns that in going down into the secrets of his own mind he has descended into the secrets of all minds..."


Just as we learned to think about, with and within the other - the Thou, so we learn to think about, with and within ones own soul.  Each skill, craft and art of thinking emerges from its corresponding Trial.   The Earth Trial is a given, it is where most of us start.  The Water Trial requires our first struggles with renunciation and the beginning, and delicate, expressions of love.  The Air Trial takes us even further, to the abandonment of our favorite thoughts.  Then we also renounce our excessive sense of Self, in the process of facing the Fire Trial.  There we are also most exposed to our own other-Self, - the Shadow - which is now fully illuminated - no secrets whatsoever.

Let us consider, briefly, some hints on the encounter with the Shadow, from the point of view of the Discipleship stream.

When Valentin Tomberg was writing as an anthroposophist, he described in his book "Inner Development", three aspects to the Shadow: a luciferic double, an ahrimanic double and a human double.  Later, in his profoundly Christian "Meditations on the Tarot: a Journey into Christian Hermeticism" he wrote of the tempter, the prosecutor and of egregores - that is of self-created psychic parasites in the soul (Steiner called these latter creatures, in Man as Symphony of the Creative Word: cancers or tumors of the soul).

When we think discursively - talk inwardly to ourselves, the unconscious works into the soul.  That is, both the higher and the lower unconscious are present.  No true thought, for example, can arise in the soul except for its having come to us via the living stream of thought (see Kuhlewind here).  But, because in ordinary and fallen soul consciousness, we are bound (intentionally by the Gods so as to give us true freedom on the earth) into an inner darkness of spirit, we only can know thought as it falls out and down into the soul from its original living element.  In discursive thought the living element has died.

Conscience, another higher element of the unconscious, also speaks into the soul via discursive thought, as that whispering still small voice.

At the same time, the Shadow is active here as well.   When we struggle with our own temptation or tempt others (the luciferic double), or when we hurt ourselves, or others (prosecute ourselves) with mean thoughts (the ahrimanic double), these too come from the unconscious into discursive thinking.  When we fall, over and over again into temptation such as addiction or alcoholism, part of the soul becomes excessively free of the ego, for the ego is weak in many ways.  This part can be called an egregore or a tumor of soul.

However, since all manner of bad habits (an ill temper, an abusive tongue) are also connected to tiny tumors of soul, I have began to feel that this language lacks what art and a sense of beauty needs to give to our conceptions, so above I wrote only of wounds, of our karma of wounds.  In the case of egregores or serious tumors or cancers of the soul, we can call these self-generated wounds.

What the life passages of the Trials give to us is ever greater consciousness.  We draw out of the unconscious, through a more and more awake intention and attention,  not only its lower elements, the Shadow and darkly cold side of temptations, prosecutions and wounds, but also the Light and heart warmed side, the stream of living thought and participated conscience.

So, in facing the Water Trial of the mote and the beam we begin the work of discipleship, the work of seeking reintegration and reunion with the Divine Mystery Itself.  So also with the Air Trial and the Fire Trial.  Bit by bit we perceive and then let go what is dark in the unconscious, thereby separating and drawing into the light the gold of our growing will-in-thinking.

The fruit of each Trial remains with us, and at each passage becomes deeper.  The soul becomes a rich texture of layers of inner song and music in the form of ever unfolding capacities of will, in the corresponding creative cultivation of sublime elements in the feeling life, all interwoven with the arising and passing away of the breath-stream of living thought.

The purified will (an appropriately moral intention and attention) creates heart warmth in the soul-soil of feeling, out of which the light and life filled flower of thought is born.  And, because we are first born into this process out of the Earth Trial of freedom, our whole passage in these Life Trials goes forward in freedom.  It all evolves out of our choices.  Recall Emerson: In self trust all virtues are comprehended.[emphasis added]

Nothing renounced has disappeared, but rather the soul becomes an instrument, which the i-AM in freedom learns to play.  The notes and intervals become primal dynamic expressions of soul forces and capacities, many generated out of spiritual exercises.   Just as we must practice the use of a material musical instrument, so we must practice the capacities of the soul.  At the same time, many forces and capacities (if not more) have a quality that comes only from the moral tone of the soul.  We purify the instrument of the soul as much as we learn how to use it.  Both are needed, both are necessary.  The spiritual exercises, that is the how as in technique, has more kinship with the teachings of the true Alchemists - the stream of the Kings, while the moral purity of the soul has more kinship with the teachings of Christ - the stream of the Shepherds.

Steiner's The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity is the modern transformation of the Christ-in-me moral essence of the John Gospel, while Knowledge of Higher Worlds is the modern transformation of the Rosicrucian Ideals of spiritual developmental exercises.   While the latter has more kinship with the soul nature of Central Europe -  the seeking to incarnate the Ideal, the former has more kinship with the soul nature of the American - the need to act morally in the world.  Both are present everywhere in the world, it is just the mix and their proportions that vary from one soul gesture to another, in the wonder and mystery of the Threefold World.

Let us now seek to make a whole.

We become more and more inwardly free as we renounce and transform sympathies and antipathies, then as well the very thought content itself, until finally we sacrifice our own importance.  Each act of renunciation is accompanied by a corresponding and deeper capacity to love.  Each act of love, beginning with the most simple appreciation of the other - the Thou, creates inner purity: inner light and warmth.  We are in the process of learning to make of the soul a temple, and to fill it with created and cultivated feelings of reverence and wonder at not only the world of nature, but also the world of social community - the stream of karmic wounds and free destiny meetings with our companions in life.

Ultimately, this inner and outer moral work leads us to becoming fully inwardly naked to ourselves in the Fire Trial (where there is no longer the possibility of escaping the Shadow), and as well fully and consciously naked to the other-Presence (the kingdom of heaven is within you).  But even in the face of the other-Presence we are nevertheless completely free. The nature of the breath (the other-Presence) is to bring not only a new depth of comprehension, but ever more freedom, for we never stop being the principle willful agent of the thought-content that arises in the soul.  Overtime we become even freer and more creative - a true artist in thought.

The creation of a human thought content is the sole province of the 10th Hierarchy.  Only in us, and through our love, does the Cosmos know Itself in the beauty of human thought.  We were told this as long ago as Genesis 2:19-20, with the symbolic picture that unto Adam is given the power of naming every living creature.  We name the world, give it its human meaning, with every thought we source and author.

Here we can now come to understand more deeply the truth, beauty and goodness hidden in Christ's comments in response to the question of what is the most important commandment: He said to them, "You are to love your lord God with all your heart and all your spirit and all your mind.  That is the important and first commandment. [love other-Presence] The second one is similar: You are to love those close to you as you love yourself. [love the Thou, the companions in life]  All the law and the prophets hang from these two commands" .  Matthew 22: 37-40.

What we really learn is to participate sacramentally in the arrival of the thought-content in the soul, which becomes then ever new each time we truly think.  We are, in this, inwardly born again and again and again.  This living thinking is a perpetual rebirth of thought, which comes into being and dies away - a constant dying and becoming.  We learn to unite with this living stream of thought, the living stream of breath within.  We give ourselves over to it, in a participatory Rite - an artistic soul dance of sacred-heart thinking, and then discover the true secret of the Fire Trial, which has been hidden out in the open in the Gospels, just in this: Now I bathe you in the water to change hearts, but the one coming after me is stronger than me: I'm not big enough to carry his shoes.  He will bathe you in holy breath and fire.  John the Baptist: Matthew 3:11

leading us, through His Grace (holy breath within)

and His Love (as Artistic arranger of the Karma

of the Fire of Trials in our biographies), to:

Not I, but Christ in me.


[As I was going through a final revision of the whole text of this book, the following statement appeared in an essay, by Michael Howard, in the News for Members:

"This brings us to see another primary reason why Rudolf Steiner gave such emphasis to the role of the arts.  In Rudolf Steiner's view, the fundamental discipline for each art has to do with learning to perceive the moral qualities inherent in each artistic medium.  The same discipline can be surmised from Rudolf Steiner's view of spiritual development as serving the transformation of the human astral body into Spirit Self.  Here too is an avenue for cultivating another dimension of the art of the spirit, what we might call the Art of the Spirit Self.  This Art of the Spirit Self precedes all others because the art of building community, the Social Art, and the art of balancing and harmonizing all dimensions of the living earth, the Ecological Art, depend on the art of self-metamorphosis.

"The Anthroposophical Society will find new life and purpose insofar as it fosters not only the Science of the Spirit, but also the Art of the Spirit and its different dimensions: the Art of the Spirit Self, the Social Art, and the Ecological Art.

"For the Art of the Spirit is the Art of the New Mysteries."

It is my hope that this essay, In Joyous Celebration of the Soul Art and Music of Discipleship, has made a contribution to this vision.]


[For the neophyte: Having examined briefly the essential moral nature of inner work, following on our appreciation of how it is that the Stage Setting, while managed by darker forces, is not the essential meaning of Earth Existence (itself a moral communion with Christ), we now begin to get more into the concrete thinking skills necessary for the right perception of human social life in general.  As we saw in the first three essays, conventional thinking does not bring to us the spiritual reality underlying our shared social existence.  In addition, since anthroposophists are members of a Society and Movement, that is they are involved socially with each other and as a community with the wider social world, it becomes prudent think with more depth about this Society and Movement itself.  Yet, in order to do that with conscientiousness, we must first consider how it is that the new thinking can objectively create a new social science, so that our considerations concerning the social in general, and the social in the Society and Movement in particular, are grounded in a true knowledge-seeking discipline and not just vain opinions.]

The Methodology Necessary for a New Social Science

- a brief introduction -

 (written for this book in the Season of Michaelmas, 2007)

One of the potential capacities, of those who seriously follow in the footsteps of Rudolf Steiner, involves the ability to give birth to the New (Living) Thinking.  However, merely reading Steiner, or joining the Society, does not bring about this birth. Moreover this birth, when accomplished, does not just arise in the abstract, but realizes its deepest self-awareness when this Living Thinking is applied to a specific field of knowledge.  In fact, the New Thinking very much needs earthly application in order to have a proper moral grounding.  In this earthly connection a kind of training occurs, which has the consequence that when a will thus trained enters on spiritual experience, it brings with it capacities not otherwise obtainable.

Now within the anthroposophical movement, the dominant field of knowledge in which an embryonic version of the New Thinking has appeared is what is called Goethean Science.  We also find its mature birth in the works produced by such individuals as Owen Barfield, Georg Kuhlewind, Bruno Abrami (a member of the overlooked Italian School) and Jesaiah Ben-Aharon.

Thus, in the Goethean Scientific work of such as Schwenk (Sensitive Chaos: the creation of flowing forms in water and air); Schad (Man and Mammal: toward a biology of form; Grohmann (The Plant vols. 1 and 2) and the related institutions, such as the Nature Institute [] featuring Craig Holdrege, the goetheanistic application of the embryonic version of the New Thinking is slowly taking its proper place in the world.  The methodology of such a science is developed in its basic form and structure in Ernst Lehrs' book: Man or Matter: Introduction to a Spiritual Understanding of Nature on the Basis of Goethe's Method of Training Observation and Thought.

Rudolf Steiner unveiled these first (embryonic) steps of the path of a knowing doer of the spiritual in Nature, in his book: A Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe's World Conception.  We also owe to Steiner the revival of an interest in Goethe himself, and in particular Goethe's scientific works such as The Metamorphosis of Plants and A Theory of Color.  Anyone wanting to develop their thinking, such that it can be prepared to work within a New Social Science, will want to become well acquainted with all these books, but in particular with A Theory....

In moving from the embryonic aspect of the New Thinking, to its maturity via The Philosophy... there appears a boundary condition, which this New Thinking can encounter during its development.  This is where the phenomena being studied lacks a definite physical sense world existence.  Thus, Goethe's idea of exact sensorial phantasy (the use of the imagination to recreate inwardly in the soul a sensory experience as it occurs over time) can reach a limit when the phenomena sought to be studied is only available in the soul as a purely abstract mental picture or concept and has no corresponding appearance in the world of the senses.

This is a problem that Owen Barfield certainly had to meet in his studies of language, which he clearly thought about imaginatively and in movement over time (see for example his remarkable: Speaker's Meaning, as well as his World's Apart).  Once we no longer have a sense world necessary given (see Steiner's A Theory of...), thinking acquires an additional responsibility, for the object of its considerations now only arrives in the soul out of our own activity in the creation of mental pictures and the apprehension of concepts.

In a proposed answer with an apparent awareness of this problem, the anthroposophical mathematician Lawrence Edwards, in his book Fields of Form, suggested that in addition to a kind of Goethean thinking, there is a thinking which needed to be called: polar-Goethean thinking.  As this essay proceeds, I'll be trying to develop such ideas in a deeper fashion, so that the reader can find their way to understanding the kind of thinking needed in order to be able to behold the living and spiritual elements of human social existence, in all its dynamic expression (see my The Meaning of Earth Existence in the Age of the Consciousness Soul, for a demonstration).

One last point of reference concerns the study of projective or synthetic geometry.  This geometrical discipline will be very helpful to anyone wishing to find their way into the New Thinking.   Working with this geometry exercises our inherent picture thinking qualities in such a way that we can behold and transform mobile imaginative pictures without losing any quality of exactness.  The development of this geometry among anthroposophists (by such as George Adams Kaufman, Lawrence Edwards and Olive Whicher - to name just a few) is very much a consequence of the polar-Goethean thinking to which Edwards pointed, and this as well needs to be appreciated.  The best book, in my view, (which is, of course, out of print) is Olive Whicher's: Projective Geometry: Creative Polarities in Space and Time.

The reader interested in projective geometry should also know that its study in the above book is not done through abstract proofs, but entirely through drawing.  We discover the rules of projective geometry with a piece of paper, a ruler, pencil and our own imagination.

As a cautionary tale, so as to not forget that is possible to follow paths that can lead to errors of thought, we will also here take a look at what has been called (among anthroposophists) symptomatology, which is a well intended effort to apprehend with the thinking the deeper aspects of the social and historical, but has (alas) led instead to much confusion.

And finally, we need to recognize that it is Steiner's The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity or Freedom, that resolves the dilemma posed by the transition from working directly with sense experience, to working solely with mental pictures and concepts (abstractions) that have no definite exact reference in the world of the senses.  This resolution is made available when we understand the practice of pure thinking.

Let me remind the reader here of the threefold nature of pure thinking as described above in In Joyous...

First the thinking is essentially sense free, which mean that the consciousness is focused on the thinking to the exclusion of sense experience (as much as possible).  Second the thinking is selfless, that is pure in the moral sense.  Third, the thinking is only of concepts and mental pictures themselves.

*       *       *

As we begin to get into details, I want to share with the reader that what is to be written here was not by me understood in the beginning.  I wandered in many strange places and down a number of false paths, before I slowly came awake to the real inner processes and activities.  If there was a guiding light, it was that as I proceeded thoughts would arise in my consciousness that clearly revealed a deeper than before understanding of my riddles (the social).  In effect, I would have small successes, and this would lead me on.  

I say this here so that the reader will not think that they have to have arrived at some kind of inner state first, before taking up their riddles.  It is clearly true that it is the riddles themselves that guide us on our personal path to the discovery of the secrets of the New (Living) Thinking.  We hunger to know, and are thus drawn forward into the adventure that awaits.

I will also below have to make  additional references to my previous essay: In Joyous Celebration of the Soul Art and Music of Discipleship, in which I have laid out certain moral arts that I found it necessary to develop in order to acquire the capacities to enter more deeply into a contemplative picture-thinking of the social.  These capacities first arose as a consequence of learning how to think more consciously about my fellow human beings, but the polished development of these capacities was in the work of seeking answers to my riddles.  In that essay I placed human relationships in the foreground, but at the same time everything said there can be applied to problems of knowledge in general, as will be made more clear as we proceed.


Lets begin with the riddles.

We have an experience that we want to know something.  We may also have the experience that knowing what we want to know might be a bit harder than we think.  This latter experience usually comes in the biography in the form of failures.  We think we know, only to discover from experience that we do not know.

After a time we might come to understand that the seeking of knowledge comes to our consciousness first in the form of a question, or a riddle.  In its higher sense we can sometimes think of this as a Parsifal Question - a question that if we don't seek to answer it when the answer is nearby and available, results in our having to undergo trials that may have been unnecessary and avoidable.  What we are likely to discover over time is that these riddles really present themselves as a series of nested questions.  We move deeper into our riddles by moving from question to question, following a trail in the world of thought.

At the same time, the above books can help us understand from various directions this inner process, its dimensions and how we can find our way into the world of pure thinking in a scientific fashion.  At least a few scientists understand this is possible, because (in particular) of the nature of pure mathematical thinking.  At the same time their understanding of the art of thinking itself is weak.  It was Rudolf Steiner in his A Theory ... that laid out the basic rules underlying this discipline of the soul by the spirit, which was later revisited with another and deeper emphasis on the moral element in The Philosophy....

For example, the mathematician Roger Penrose, in his book The Emperor's New Mind, makes this remarkable admission: "...I cannot help feeling that, with mathematics the case for believing in some kind of ethereal, eternal existence, at least for the more profound mathematical concepts, is a good deal stronger..." (pp. 97).  There is other evidence that Einstein and Godel (as well as Penrose) are considered by some to be modern Platonists, because of their views on the independent existence of ideas (see Incompleteness: the Proof and Paradox of Kurt Godel, by Rebecca Goldstein).

Once we understand that the thinking process is drawn forward by riddles and nested questions, then we can take a more careful look at some aspects of thinking itself.

Generally thinking has an object, in relationship to which we are the thinking subject.  In Joyous... above, I wrote of a moral process connected to renunciation and love (Tomberg speaks of learning to think on your knees), wherein thinking about gave birth to thinking with, which in turn gave birth to thinking within, and then that to thinking as.  In this slowly unfolding process (about > with > within > as), the relationship between the object of thinking, and our subjectivity slowly becomes more intimate - the separation narrows.  Eventually "it thinks in me", and the subject object nature of the conversation can disappear.

Now in A Theory... Steiner takes us carefully toward organic thinking and then through that toward spiritual thinking.  Lets look at the problem of organic thinking first, which is more accessible in a way.  Sometimes this thinking is called phenomenology, and above I have called it thinking with.  This is a kind of thinking very suited to coming to knowledge of the living or organic aspects of existence, which is why this process of Goetheanism gives birth to works in the field of Goethean Science.

For Goethe, the matter concerned the world of perceptions (the sense world), which Barfield sometimes called the world of appearances (see Barfield's Saving the Appearances: a study in idolatry).  Goethe discovered that the world of appearances, which Natural Philosophy (science) was at that time beginning to dismiss (it was thought the truth had to be found somehow and somewhere other than the realm of the senses), could be read.  He called it: reading the Book of Nature.

For example, using microscopes and telescopes led Natural Philosophers to realize that there was enormous detail not apprehended by the therefore limited human sense organs, which then suggested to them that the unaided senses would not lead to the discovery of the truth.  Goethe thought otherwise, which was a kind of act of faith.

Goethe's researches led him to conclude that the sense world spoke, and if we studied it in the right way (various rules of thinking discipline needed to be applied - see Man or Matter above), then Nature Herself would teach all that we needed to know.  My work has shown to me that not only does the natural world speak, through its phenomenal appearances, but so also does the social world.   There is not only a Book of Nature, but also a Book of the Social World.

For those who would like a bit of explanation for this, you might consider  the following: Picture that the Creation has come to rest in a living equilibrium.  Although it is true from a spiritual-historical view that the senses experience a world of maya - an illusion.   A more modern view (Goetheanism),which has arisen since the Incarnation, realizes that this maya is not disorganized.  What appears to us as the illusion reveals its own nature, because the Word Itself is embodied in it.  The Word has clothed Itself in the Creation, and when thinking wakes up in its true nature, the speaking of the Word in the appearances becomes capable of being beheld within human consciousness by the I ("it thinks in me"); or as Steiner has pointed out in The Philosophy...: knowledge (the speaking of the Word through the Creation) is the union of percept (experience) and concept (thought).

As said above, Steiner put it this way in A Theory...: "Thought is the last of a series of processes by which Nature was formed".  Or Emerson, in his essay Nature: "Nature is a thought incarnate, and turns to thought again as water becomes vapor and then gas.  The World is mind precipitated, and the volatile essence is forever escaping into the state of free thought".

If there is a caveat, it is this.  We must be active inwardly.  Our thinking needs to become disciplined - ordered in a way, yet remain artistically open.  Our will-in-thinking needs to awaken.  Only the I can bring about this metamorphosis in the soul, which leads the thinking from its given state, through an organic qualitative picture-thinking, to an awake and pure (living) thinking.

Let us return once more to the subject / object aspect of thinking.

What Goethe discovered was that if he recreated the gestures of Nature, particularly of the Plant, in his imagination in as exact a fashion as possible, that which was within the appearances made itself known to his inward picturing.  This is why we are introduced to such disciplines in the contemplation of changes in leaves over the becoming cycle of a particular plant.  We collect or draw the various kinds of leaves made by a plant over the course of its life, and then recreate inwardly with our imagination, this series of form gestures the plant has made over time.  We think with the plant's expression in the sense world.

In doing this thinking with we open ourselves up to that which stands within the different forms that arose over time, but which was all the while continuously living behind each individual form.  Such work is, however, merely an appetizer for the real work, which is why I encouraged the reader to become well acquainted with such books as Sensitive Chaos.  From such reading we can come to understand how much detail can be gone into while exploring this relationship between ourselves as thinking  subject and the objective world of changing form.

A major aspect of the needed discipline involves realizing that we must hold back our own gesture of thinking in that it tends to want at once to bring a ready made concept (a thought) to our experience.  We instead give our consciousness over to the experience - live in the perception and let It speak - and then will arise the true related thought.  We do not want to impose an already thought thought or mental picture or concept on the phenomena, but wait, holding back the cognitional gesture, until the phenomena Itself leads us to the thought-concept.

Only practice, which is carefully self-aware, will understand this.  Learning this is something that can't really be known as a mere thought from reading a text.  We must develop the tools of introspection, so that we can make inner observations of our own activity.   We not only study the phenomena of the sense world, but the phenomena of the own soul as well.

There is a bit of a trick here, in that when we are thinking, we can't self observe.  What makes self-observation possible is that our inner activity leaves behind it a kind of fading away impression in the soul, such that after a certain inner activity, we can for a time observe this slowly disappearing mirror image of our own activity.  Again, this is an experience which must be gained directly, and cannot really be understood as a mere thought from reading.

Now when we move from thinking about sense world objects (or other kinds of the necessary given), to the pure thinking in mental pictures or concepts of objects which have no necessary given, a certain problem arises.  How do we trust the mental picture or concept which we have abstracted from our experience?  The necessary given aspect of the sense world is obvious, but when we think about, with or within a non-sense world object (such as the concepts: biography, community or family), there is no true sense percept (no true sense experience).  The abstract concept has already been taught to us by our culture.  In fact, our ordinary consciousness has many such abstract concepts, for which there is no sense world percept.

The solution to this is to understand something which is part of the discipline of Goethean Science, namely to learn to be purely descriptive.  So we can then ask: What is a biography, a family or a community? (to continue the examples).

These are such simple abstract concepts that we have no problem at all with them.   We were raised (most of us) in a family.  Aspects of our biographies are lived in communities made up of many families.  We can say all manner of things about biographies, families and communities in general, and in particular, out of our own experience.  We also know that such a term (word) as family can be used metaphorically, as in: the family of man.  Or, a community of related types of plants.  Or even the biography of a social form such as a Branch of the Anthroposophical Society.

To help us further understand this, let us next look briefly at two kinds of errors which arise in thinking in relationship to social questions, one of which is mostly part of the anthroposophical movement (symptomatology), and the other mostly part of conventional social science. 

The error in conventional social science arises in the tendency to emulate the past of physics, a problem true also in conventional economic theory.  This is the tendency to reduce complex phenomena to number, and then to seek to find laws of the phenomena in the number relationships (statistics).This was not always the case (and is still being resisted in some quarters), witness, for example, C. Wright Mills: The Sociological Imagination, but there lies a whole other story.  In Goetheanism, that is in learning to Listen to the World Song, or to behold the speaking of the Book of the Social World, we live into the appearances, and do not try to analyze for some kind of hidden behind-the-appearances rule or law.

Instead of seeking number relationships among large populations for our understanding of the social, we carefully practice description (for more, see below).

The error in symptomatology (as done by anthroposophists) is as follows: First, one studies Rudolf Steiner, and acquires from Steiner certain concepts.  Then one looks at the social-political world as if it presented symptoms, to which we attach the already thought concepts we acquired from reading Steiner.  In the last phrase just above we come to the problem.  There is in this activity no phenomenology and the social-political world is not allowed to speak, for we already have the concept (borrowed from Steiner) which we attach to the contemporary historical phenomena.

In addition, our experiences of the social world may be driven by unconscious feelings of antipathy and sympathy.  Any thought arising out of an unconscious (shadow driven) feeling has lost its objectivity.  Such that when an anthroposophist, who is trying to work with symptomatology, is reacting unconsciously out of antipathy to the phenomena being observed, this further distorts away from any objectivity the falsely practiced joining of the pre-thought Steiner thought that is now being attached erroneously to the social phenomena.

Thinking in this case is then not listening, but instead is a bringing to the phenomena of social existence a pre-thought thought, which has the effect inwardly in the soul of placing a ghost (Barfield called these idols) in between our thinking and the phenomena.  Similar kinds of things exist in contemporary social science as well, when certain points of view are elevated to near-eternal verities (dominant world views), and are then used to interpret all social phenomena in accord with that particular view.  Here, for example, we see today the use of Darwinian evolutionary theory, especially in the form of evolutionary psychology, as a main interpretive meaning given to understanding humanity's social life in the modern world.

In both cases, whether it is the application of pre-thought concepts borrowed from Steiner, or from modern theories of human nature, the result is the same.   The phenomena are not experienced - not heard.  Only the pre-thought ghost (the idol) is known in the soul.

So then, what is the incipient, striving for the new (living) thinking, social scientist to do?


No theory, no conclusions, no idols, no ghosts.  Simply pure description, which is not an easy craft at all by the way.

About 12 years ago, I went through old files, and made a throw-away pile on the floor of my bedroom/office of years of descriptive writings set down on loose leaf notebook paper.  The stack of individual sheets of paper was higher than my knee.

Of course at that time I was only guessing as to method.  I had discovered that when I carefully described, new perceptions of the social would arise, which new thoughts led me on (nested questions and riddles).  I also had the advantage of a deeper introspective life, such that when thinking about the outer and inner aspects of social existence, my sense of the inner was more accurate and less confused by contemporary and false conceptions of the nature of mind, assumed by modern social scientists to stand behind human behaviors. 

I also held back on publishing, such that I had, by the time I threw out that stack of paper, offered for publication (to the Threefold Review) only one paper: Threshold Problems in Thinking the Threefold Social Order []; and self published another Song of the Grandfathers: real wealth (wisdom) and the redemption of social and political existence (civilization) [].  The first was written in 1991 or so, the second in 1995) and both remained basically unpublished until 1997 when I begin to construct my own website.  After being available for a time on that website, the Threshold essay did receive some recognition on anthroposophically oriented aspects of the Internet.  I have been, during my biography, mostly a father (five children, two marriages) and a member of the working poor (but never an academic), so my offerings never really had a chance of receiving much recognition in traditional ways, and the research was always being done in fits and starts.

At the same time this was a blessing, because I didn't have to fight against the tide of contemporary thought.  I share this, by the way, so as to encourage others to do such work in whatever circumstances of life they find themselves, knowing that it is the questions and riddles and work that has the most meaning, not success or achievement or notoriety.

Some may recall that Steiner held back on publishing his research about the threefold form of the human being for 17 years!  Much can be gained by letting our work in the world of organic and pure thinking mature over time.

Let us go forward now, continuing our examples with the biography, the family and the community.

Using the imaginative faculty, and our related carefulness with regard to the fact that we are working with what can become an idol (an illusory abstraction), we make descriptive pictures of each over time.  Here I'll be brief, but many texts by social anthropologists contain important data, just not yet developed in full consciousness in a Goethean fashion.

At the same time we need to keep clearly in mind that these themes being described here take the form of pure abstract concepts, and not anything that exists as a necessary given in the sense world.

Let us begin with the biography.  We each have one, and this itself can be something to carefully contemplate, for it contains both individual and universal phenomena.  While a great deal of understanding given to us by Rudolf Steiner can illuminate certain details, it is actually unnecessary to borrow his concepts, when instead we can carefully observe and describe, using quite ordinary language, the nature of a biography.

We are born, we die.  We are raised and educated.  We come into a specific time and place, as well as language and culture.  We make choices and have meetings of destiny (spouses, work situations and so forth).  We suffer illnesses and meet all kinds of challenges. 

If we look within at our own soul life, we will come upon a world view that belongs to us, but was/is strongly influenced by all the above factors.  We also have emotional habits and strong desires.  The more detail we go into in our own biography, the greater will be our ability to recognize not only the universal elements of all biographies, but even more important the individual nature of this organism - our personal Tale (the biography as a thing in itself).

We also have significant tendencies that arise in the personal nature of our thinking, but which are due to outside influences.  If we are willing, we can through conversation with others, become more deeply aware of how they too have such characteristics as do we.  Emerson wrote this as pointed out above, for his Harvard lecture, The American Scholar: For the instinct is sure, that prompts him to tell his brother what he thinks.  He then learns that in going down into the secrets of his own mind he has descended into the secrets of all minds...

This picture can then be made...

From my self as a center, I peek out at a world of sense experience.  I interpret this world according to those experiences that arose during my biography, and while the details of those interpretations of the meaning of my experience are rich, they often represent influences I have not worked over on my own.  My world view is shaped by family and community (in its widest sense).  These influences also determine the conceptions by which my self conceives of my inner life.  My I swims in a sea of meaning I may have had little influence determining on my own, and I also seem to be the tail wagged by the dog of emotions over which I have little control.

These are the general or universal characteristics of the biography.  What is also crucial to realize is that the individual characteristics result in each biography being essentially unique.  This observation is a little harder to obtain, because one of the influences to which we may have submitted has shaped our thinking to perceive others only by their general characteristics and not their individual and unique natures.  I have to actually strive to learn to "walk in another's shoes", that is to see their biography from its inside, rather than from the outside (to think with and within them, instead of just about them).

Next, let us take up the family...and simultaneously, the community.  Here again we have general or universal characteristics, and when we get into the fine details, quite individual and unique characteristics.  Remember we are also going to work with this as something in movement over time.

Take an old world village, perhaps about 500 years ago (at the beginning of the Age of the Consciousness Soul), for example.  Many large families.  Often a dozen births for each mother, not all of them live.  Many relations, as well.  An old world village might contain any number of large extended families (a few grandparents, many parents and several dozens of children and related cousins).  Rules as to marriage across these complicated lines of blood existed for very practical and obvious reasons.

Such a village (community) would often have one language, one general culture, one religion and social political structure.  Different villages in different locales in Europe would have differences of language, culture, religion and social political structure, but all would have large extended families as the dominate basis of the community.

Everyone would know most everyone else.  Children born into such families would have destinies almost fixed in nature (the son becomes like the father, the daughter like the mother).  No one violates social norms without severe consequences.  Individualism is generally unheard of.  People almost do not have a thought outside the standard and shared point of view.  Most are uneducated, and few can read and/or write.

Now let us jump forward a bit - say New York City in the mid to late 19th Century.

Here we have neighborhoods.  Large extended families continue, but not as large or as extended as an old world village.  As immigrants, parts of families were left behind in the Old World.  It is harder now to keep tradition alive.  Religions, cultures and languages butt up against each other, often in conflict (mirroring in a small way the frequent wars in Europe rooted in the same differences).  Children are less inclined to follow in the footsteps of the parent.  Marriages across lines of religion, language and culture are frequent.  Individualism increases, and the ability of the community (now fractured from within, and attacked from without) to cause conformance to its dominate values lessens.

During the transition from the older isolated villages to the neighborhoods in the great cities, two important changes have appeared - natural science and industrialization.  Religion, as a family and community cohesive forming force, is weakened by natural science; and, the family and community by the industrial revolution (the father is driven from the home and into the factory, along with many of the children, as people leave the villages to find work in the growing cities).

Flash forward now into the present - Los Angeles 2007.

An inner core and an outer rim.  Mere vestiges of neighborhoods, mostly racial ghettos in the inner core, with smaller families.  Better education, similar poverty.  In the outer rim, a different racial mix, tiny (nuclear) families.  In neither place does a coherent community exist as once did in the Old World village.

A staggering increase in homelessness.  None of these individuals has a place to call home.  Even the family has fractured into individual splinters. The I is alone even there (c.f. Riesman's The Lonely Crowd).  Children wouldn't think of following in their parents footsteps.  Individualism triumphs and the old world cohesive nature of community and family is near dissolved.

What happens in our consciousness when we move these pure abstractions through time?  What happens when we recreate in the imagination the gesture of social form over the last 500 years in Western Civilization?

In addition, what happens if we add to this social form movement an understanding of the evolution of consciousness, or at least the pictures we have made of the biography?  This is something hardly known to the ordinary social scientist, and while indicated by Rudolf Steiner it was proved in three books by Steiner students: Lehrs' Man or Matter (a history of science), Barfield's Saving the Appearances: a study in Idolatry (a history of language and meaning) and Richter's Art and Human Consciousness (a history of art).  In each instance a phenomenological examination was made, which shows that the phenomena themselves (history of science, language and art) reveal that consciousness itself was not static, but in movement.

We discover that not only was outer social form in movement, but so was human consciousness in the biographies.  Social reality has not just a mobile developing outside, it has a transforming inside as well.

One of the things that becomes apparent is that we begin to see that something from the inside of the human being is driving these changes.  Yes, there are huge transformations of outer circumstance, but individuation is itself a force moving from within outward into social existence, transforming it.

Now this idea is not entirely new (its obvious to some degree to many ordinary social scientists), but a Goetheanistically  oriented organic and pure thinking begins to behold something which ends up speaking of the death and the becoming of civilizations.  A great metamorphosis at the level of social order is in process.  However, to pictorially think this transformation requires that we combine, in a single whole, a variety of individual threads, including not only the kinds of general trends we can observe in changes in biographies, families and communities, but wider social phenomena as well.  One such is the arrival of what seems to be a tendency to a post-literate culture, that is the loss of interest in books among the young.  Another is the frequency with which artists of various kinds create novels and films of a post-apocalyptic near future, such as the 1992 novel by P.D. James that later became the basis for the 2006 film Children of Men

Once we have become sensitive to these kind of phenomena, we discover they are everywhere.   In addition, not only is there phenomena reflective of the breaking down or a descent into social chaos, we can also find phenomena indicative of the emerging new civilization.  Tragically, while  our dreams are haunted by visions of darker times, they remain (in many circumstances) yet absent any sense that redemptive powers are also at work.

One of the early ways I wrote of this logos speaking of the world song, was that as the loss of social form increased (family and community becoming less coherent) such was necessary for moral freedom to arise.  The outer social form had previously coerced the I into conforming to social values, and as the I pressed itself outward from within, it reached a point where it had overwhelmed the morally coercive effect of the family and the community (the family-community nexus itself disabled by natural science and the industrial revolution), enabling the I to act as an individual determiner of what was moral (this has been called by some - who understandably could only think in a finished and fixed way instead of an organic way - moral relativity, the family values crisis and the culture wars).

A number of social phenomena reveal this - I'll just point to one.  In the 1950's in America, it was not unusual for a parent to say to a child: you should do what is right, with right meaning the shared value of the community.  As the transition through the 1960's to the 1970's took place, do the right thing became do your own thing.

Now above I used the phrase: logos speaking of the world song.  I had years ago (1984) written a first version of: Listening to the World Song.  In these last years, as my thinking penetrated more deeply into this Song, I began to behold inwardly that Christ was the Author of this situation (in which He told us in Matthew 10:34-40:  "Don't think I came to cause peace across the land.  I didn't come to cause peace, I came to wield a sword..."  In some of the essays below (or above) you will see such language in the newer pieces, while the older ones do not have it.  The culmination of my research via pure living thinking was, of course, published in the essay The Meaning of Earth Existence in the Age of the Consciousness Soul.

At the same time that a degree of social chaos was necessary for the inducement of the opportunity for moral freedom, this moral freedom itself has become productive in social existence in the form of the various Civil Society and culturally creative movements all over the world.  In these latter phenomena will be found the up-building and renewing processes of the new civilization that is emerging from this long term metamorphosis.  We need, however, to keep in mind that this is a process spread across centuries, and that what appears on the surface as social and political phenomena is simply symptomatic of far deeper currents (see Steiner's lecture cycles: The Challenge of the Times, and From Symptom to Reality in Modern History).

Let me offer one final picture, to reemphasize certain matters suggested  above.

When we think the social world, it is crucial to think it from the individual biography outward, and not from the Stage Setting inward.  That is, our picture of the Logos Speaking of the World Song needs to move from where Christ's Love focuses on each individual, instead of seeing the world as consisting only of the horrors of current history and politics.

We need to have clear in our minds the difference between the context in which the biographies are embedded, and the essence of that biography, which is the development of the individual i-AM.  The context serves this development, and is itself, in its higher nature, another expression of Christ's Love.

Each individual, of the six billion plus now incarnated, has their own karma, fate and destiny.  Christ, being outside of Time and Space, has eternity in which to focus on us one at a time.  In support of this is the whole symphony of the spiritual world's incredible variety of communities.  Down and into the finest details of our day to day existence, creative powers pour their love.  The i-AM swims in a sea of love that crafts for each individual a unique and individual biography, physical body, astral body and ethereal body.  The poor farmer in deepest despair in South Korea is just as important as the struggling striving head of the pedagogical section of the School of Spiritual Science.

Each of us bears individualized concepts through which we interpret the meaning of the world, which concepts are precisely and exactly those concepts which we need in order to experience our biographies.  Each of us has just those individualized bad and good habits and unique configuration of temperaments, that play their necessary role in our karma and fate.  Not only this, but the living nature of the Logos Spoken World Song is malleable.  It constantly adjusts, stretches and contracts, moves and dances in accord with our free destiny decisions that are made moment to moment.

Our conceptions of linear time and fixed space are maya.  The real social world is far more dynamic.  It is a living womb to the song of the becoming of each unique individual i-AM.


Above I have tried to indicate, through both ideas and a minimal level of  demonstration, the existence of certain questions, about the thinking processes and observational process of a new science of the social, such that stands behind my research work on the social.  I fully expect the above to be inadequate, and that others, who in following their own riddles and nested questions, are likely to discover much that I have overlooked.  Hopefully the above will provide an adequate beginning.

Most of the details that have been hinted at above will be found scattered throughout my writings in many places.  When opportunities permit I expect to publish in book form my essays on various themes that can be found on my website Shapes in the Fire.  The main reason for this brief introduction was to make explicit certain aspects of method, while in the other essays it was much more important to bring forward the product produced by the method.

After all, the resulting thought content is the reason for the activity of thinking in any event.


[For the neophyte: The Society and Movement contain a number of different, often conflicting, ideas and actions flowing from members and friends as regards how it should move into the future.  Here, as a first look, is an effort to highlight one of these dimensions and perhaps show how its present-day ill effects can be redeemed.  This essay is an application of the thinking (both organic and pure), as described above, to the general social situation of the Anthroposophical Society in America.]

The Natural Transformation of the Anthroposophical Society

in America (Michaelmas, 2007)

Some, who take an interest in the future of the Society in America, generally have an idea about what it should become.  Some ideas could be called "continuing to develop matters along more traditional lines", and other ideas could be described as "taking the development of matters on more progressive lines".  The use of neither of those terms here is meant to suggest anything fixed, but rather represents an endeavor to point out something that can be observed in the patterns of the thought-background, as it were, of the concepts being advocated by others.  Such a pattern would not necessarily appear on a specific page of text, or in a lecture itself, but would hover in the contextual structure of concepts of the whole of any writing or lecturing concerned with the themes of development or change.

The recent article in the News for Members of the Anthroposophical Society in America, based on material created by former Vorstand member Heinz Zimmerman, was actually a fairly good representation of the kinds of ideas coming from both a traditionalist and progressive direction.  Zimmerman gave us an intelligent summation of both sets of concerns.  That Zimmerman couldn't really arrive at any conclusions or answers to questions, he himself posed, is also significant.  To borrow a term from astrology, the direction of the Society might be called, in the way that he expressed it: void of course - that is absent clear direction.

To come at this from another direction, I'd like to share something from an experience I received by Grace during a group contemplation (from about 20 years ago), where a member who had just died was being remembered.  The perception given to me was as follows (I have worked with it since that time, and this understanding is the most current):

There were basically two dominant soul gestures in the Society.  The larger gesture (in terms of numbers of members) focuses mostly on a kind of golden past, on the great heights to which the Society had risen during Steiner's lifetime, and with respect especially to the Christmas Conference. Everything in the present in the Society is seen by this thinking as though through a kind of highly sympathetic haze colored by this spirit recollection of a golden past.

The second basic gesture of soul, but smaller in number of members, was from those who imagined a future.  Their inner perception was not focused on the past, but on the possible future - the potential they experienced as latent within the Society.  This spirit vision was then the point of view out of which they experienced the present, and by this vision the present was antipathetically judged.

The former I would call the traditionalists, and the latter the progressives.  The traditionalists tend to want and urge preservation, while the progressives tend to want and urge transformation.  Sympathy says this is good, let us hold to this.  Antipathy says this is not good, we must change.  Of course, no single individual or small group (such as a Branch) is wholly in one gesture or the other, so here we are just trying to delineate the patterns of thought that can be observed and their general nature and direction.

This essay hopes to place itself inside neither pattern, that is, to see the present not out of spirit recollection or spirit vision, but with spirit mindfulness.

*     *     *

As  beginner spiritual social scientist, I strive to perceive what is actually happening in the world and within the Anthroposophical Society.  An essential matter, or at least a reasonable place to start, is a certain somewhat controversial theme which concerns the so-called Michaelic Millions. A long essay researching this theme was written by Joel Kobran and published in the Threefold Review for the Fall, 2000.

On the surface, that article represents a kind of traditionalist criticism of a kind of progressive point of view.   Kobran took exception to the discussions ongoing among some anthroposophists as regards the concept that Steiner had suggested there were to be in the world six or seven million anthroposophists at the end of the 20th Century, who had been within the supersensible Michael School before incarnating.

In his descriptions of the history of this concept, who is using it, what statements of Steiner's or others can serve as a reference point - in general as something requiring a great deal of careful research, Kobran's article is superb.  All that needs to be kept in mind is that he did conclude that the use of this idea, of there being many members of the Michael School presently incarnate who were not yet members of the Anthroposophical Society and who were instead members of what is called Civil Society - a view taken by both Perlas, Ben-Aharon and their co-workers in the Global Network for Threefolding, - the use of this idea was (according to Kobran) defective in several different ways.

I'll not go into details here, but I just wanted to note the existence of this thorough research by Kobran and the existence of the views of others, such as Ben-Aharon's reflections in his The Spiritual Event of the 20th Century concerning the existence (or not) of an large unconscious or instinctive Michael community among humanity (whose language we don't yet know how to speak), as well as a much smaller more conscious Michael community.

To remain within observable social phenomena of the Society a bit longer, I'd like to comment a little bit on a recent discussion among a few of the members of the Social Science Section in America, at a meeting I attended in Berkeley, California in late summer 2007.  An initiative was there proposed that certain actions be taken via the creation of a website, on which would be various articles and other materials, provided by anthroposophists (and vetted by some kind of committee) that might serve as a support out of Spiritual Science for the work of many non-anthroposophists, who are engaged in creative social work in the world.  It is not the details of this proposal that matter to us here, but simply the fact that such a discussion took place and was seriously considered.

In a similar vein, a group was formed, by Society members in the Berkeley area more than a year before, that sought to engage in outreach.  If one does an Internet search for the terms "anthroposophical" and "outreach", many hits turn up.  We could say that in the Movement and Society, all over the world, there is a common will to connect to others outside of anthroposophical communities, and to participate in the great issues of the day.   There was even a book published in 1999, by Temple Lodge, offering many essays on such questions: The Future is Now: Anthroposophy at the New Millennium.

As a social scientist, it has been a part of my work to seek to observe in the phenomena of the social world facts representative of the appearance of the Consciousness Soul, which according to Steiner is the Soul transformation that is to be the signature development of the evolution of consciousness from around 1400 to 3500 AD.  Various observations I have made of the activity of this Soul can be found throughout this book.  I would like the reader to take it as a given, that once one learns to really appreciate in the own soul the real nature of the Consciousness Soul, it becomes clear how much of an instinctive Consciousness Soul activity is present in the world.   It is everywhere, and if it remains unseen to any reader of this book, I urge them to make more careful observations of their own free moral life, and where in the world they see others expressing this free moral life.  There is no free moral life, without a corresponding moral intuition of the Good (see my essay The Meaning of...), which moral intuition of the Good fits exactly Steiner's description of the Consciousness Soul in his book Theosophy:

"By causing the self-existent true and good to come to life in his inner being, the human being raises himself above the mere sentient-soul.   A light is kindled in her which is imperishable.  In so far as the soul lives in this light, she is a participant in the eternal.  With the eternal she unites her own existence.  What the soul carries within herself of the true and the good is immortal in her.  Let us call that which shines forth in the soul as eternal, the consciousness-soul."

For those who wonder about the true, and who may accept that large portions of humanity could be finding their way toward free moral intuitions of the good, I suggest that you consider that the perception of the true necessarily has to be preceded by an ability to perceive the good.  If people, for example, are to have at least two incarnations in the epoch of the Consciousness Soul, then it is my view that the first (our present) will bring forward the good, which then becomes a basis for the soul's reaching for the true.  In the discussion that follows, I'll try to develop this further, and especially the possibility that in this present time one can do both, as long as it is the good that is understood first.  The social phenomenological observation is, however, that people are in the present finding the good more easily than they are finding the true.

For the moment, let me suggest this.  Part of knowing the true is rooted in the inner ability to distinguish the true from the false.  The inner organ in the soul, for making such a distinction in a conscious way, is founded on the ability to intentionally ask ourselves inwardly whether what we think we know as the true, we do in fact know to be true.  We must place before the eye of our conscience, by asking that express question, the matter of our relationship to knowledge of the true.  To ask such a question is to take a moral point of view regarding our own inner actions, that is to first be living out of the good.  It is the goodness in our hearts that enables us to honestly consider whether or not we do in fact know something to be true.  The more conscious we are of how to know the good, the better will our soul and spiritual life be able to form a right relationship to the knowledge of the true.


To round out our discussions, I'd like to add another nuance - this concerning the lectures of Steiner called: Awakening to Community, in which the concept can be found called the reverse cultus (see lecture 6).

In Awakening to Community (also in lecture 6) Steiner remarked about a conflict then living in the Society between oppositely disposed groups (those who had duties to continue the past, and those who felt no relationship to such an impulse).  Steiner then stated that it might be better if the Society divided itself into two organizations, and that these organizations would then see themselves as sister-souls, taking different paths toward reaching what was essentially the same ideal goal.  A recent conversation with a friend gave rise in me the following archetypal imagery in connection with the above distinction between what I am calling the traditionalists and spirit recollection, and the progressives and spirit vision, yet which also seems related to what Steiner described in Awakening to Community as the sister-souls.

My friend thought that the two sisters could be visualized as being in the same relationship as Martha and Mary as revealed in the Gospels (search the Internet for "Gospels Mary and Martha").  Martha, the older sister, saw the world out of tradition and in action took care of the household, while Mary, the younger, pursued freedom and a devotion to the spirit.  One writer calls Mary the active gesture, and Martha the contemplative gesture.  Now lets not make too much of this, or too little.  I do believe, however, that we can find here something very important.

In different places Rudolf Steiner spoke of the Mystery of Golgatha as being an enactment of a central Cosmic Mystery taking place on the Earth in a kind of earthly tableau.  All the events connected to this moment are not just unusual historical events, but are rather a kind of Divine Speaking in which great mysteries are represented through the many actors and dramas in this Play.

For example, Christ's death and resurrection, to my thinking, could be seen as the Great Archetype of dying and becoming that moves among all that is living in earthly existence, such that when Goethe discovers the principle of metamorphosis of plants he is finding a reflection of this Great Archetype as it expresses itself across time in all manner of phenomenal existence, both cosmic and earthly .

In a like fashion, I suggest the relationship of Martha and Mary is an archetype, one which we find folded and blended into the very nature and living structure of the development of the Anthroposophical Society.  Nor is what I am suggesting an entirely new thought.  The sometimes conflicting impulses between preservation and initiative are common everywhere and others have written of them in regards to our Society.

What I am trying to suggest is that these sister-soul impulses, which manifested in a conflicting way in the article by Kobran that had criticized the work of Perlas and Ben-Aharon, are both healthy and needed.  The meeting place then of those who on the one hand take seriously the duties that evolve from an emphasis on spirit recollection (and are drawn inward into contemplation), and of those who take seriously the duties evolved out of spirit vision (and are drawn outward into action), can be reconciled. The two can learn to understand each other, and to see in the other a necessary part of the whole, which understanding may then lead to the Natural Transformation of the Anthroposophical Society in America (and by implication world-wide).

With this background, let us come at this from a slightly new direction, following out more carefully the concept: natural.

Recall that Steiner said, which I paraphrase: the American develops Anthroposophy in a natural way.

I cannot say that I have experienced all that is anthroposophical in America, but I do not doubt that my experience (of now almost 28 years) is broad enough to give me a representative phenomenal picture.  Everywhere in America there are traditional institutional social forms, such as Branches, study groups, Waldorf Schools, Camphill Communities, Eurythmy Schools, teacher training facilities and on and on and on.

In such Centers of activity (which would also include many conferences), the practices are traditional in the best sense of that word.  What is done is mostly what has been recognized as the best practices born out of our experience of the past.  In these Centers of anthroposophical activity members draw inward to meet each other as a community, and then afterward go back to their very busy lives.

At the same time, in many of these busy lives, the moral freedom and individuality consciously fostered as a member of the Society and Movement leads people into action as participants in the wider non-anthroposophical life.  In the Center, we are concentrated together, at the Periphery we have no edge, but are dispersed and interwoven with all that is happening in the wider world.

In the Center we recognize each other as sharing an unusual common interest, focused on Rudolf Steiner's personality and teachings, and at the Periphery we are one with the rest of those in humanity that seek to heal their shared karma of wounds and move thus progressively forward into the future.  In American, in particular, with its special soul characteristics, we find that while few know of Steiner, many yet live instinctively out of the individual moral freedom (English speakers are instinctively in the Consciousness Soul in their Life of Rights - R.S.).  Whether it is just a natural foods co-op, or a political group such as the Greens, or reading of and giving money to causes such as Doctors without Borders, many anthroposophists fully participate, as brothers and sisters, with those seeking the progressive advancement of the human condition, out of less conscious - that is instinctive - free moral activity.

When we draw inward into our Centers, we are glad to have the comfort provided by the Martha Impulse, to have a sense of coming home.  And then, when we breath outward into the larger society, we join with the naturally arising Mary Impulse which can be found everywhere, in both conscious and instinctive forms.

Yes, I know, for many in our circles this is not true.  The last thing many of those, who are more filled with the Mary Impulse, want to do is hang out with the Martha folk.  Meanwhile, many of the Martha Impulse find that what the Mary folk do is incomprehensible and a violation of all the rules of tradition (particularly anything Steiner said).

Now one of the rules of polarity, that can be studied in may places where life processes provide organization, is that in the inside of one pole is its opposite, as a small but concentrated essence.   This means that the Martha folk have a Mary Impulse in their core and that the Mary folk have a Martha Impulse in their core.

As a consequence, the traditionalists in their contemplative gesture must naturally always seek to actively deepen it.  Our inner developmental tasks we always recognize as incomplete, although the outer form of our activity tends to remains constant (traditional).  For the progressives, their transformational gesture must naturally always seek order, or an unrestrained urge to constant change will lead to chaos.  Activists are always building social new form, so that the community of the Mary Impulse has a well formed structure or social foundation from which to act.

In the Society confusion arises when the Mary Impulse wants to change the traditional form in the Center, or when the Martha Impulse criticizes the inner work of the activists on the Periphery as not properly grounded in Steiner.  The Mary Impulse in its own field of activity has to move beyond Steiner and traditional Anthroposophy (so as to be compatible with the wider world), while the Martha Impulse has to maintain in the Center its concentrated devotion to Steiner.

Sister-souls, sharing the same ideal goal, is what Steiner indicated in Awakening to Community. What is this goal?

I suggest it is the furthering of the life of the spirit in humanity, which act of furthering is rooted in a new Way, a Mystery Way made compatible with natural science.

The Martha Impulse preserves the Steiner core, while the Mary Impulse has to forge allegiances with that which does not, and need not, recognize Steiner.  In this sense, I believe Ben-Aharon is right in his conception of two communities, a conscious Michael community and an unconscious (instinctive) Michael community.  At the Periphery of anthroposophical activity, where the Mary Impulse has to integrate itself with the wider world, brotherhood and sisterhood means that one cannot stand apart on the basis of doctrine, but must find real inner compatibility.  For the Mary Impulse this is done in recognizing the free moral nature (Consciousness Soul) instincts in others, and that this inner free moral nature can be shared across any fancifully imagined division of doctrine or path.

From the Center, in the natural realm of the Martha Impulse, Kobran was correct to suggest that, to the extent the Perlas Ben-Aharon group seemed to see the Consciousness Soul only in Civil Society and not in the world of banking, politics or corporate life, this view had to be false.  Thus, the Mary Impulse can be aided, out of the work of the Martha Impulse, to struggle to see more deeply into the World, and perhaps observe that an individual's membership in any group cannot be used to define the state of their inner moral freedom (which observation includes the Anthroposophical Society and Movement - membership in either or both is not necessarily a sign of the achievement of ethical individualism).

The contemplative gesture can inform in a good way the active gesture.  Of course, in order to really do this, the contemplative gesture will find its help ignored if it is rooted in a non-objective criticism; and likewise, the active gesture will lose something very precious if it removes itself too far from the Mother Source carried more strongly by the contemplative core.

The Kobran article, in its criticism of the Perlas Ben-Aharon idea of where are the so-called Michaelic Millions, also was concerned with the question of whether it was accurate to see Civil Society as a cultural gesture of threefolding in the world social organism.   This dispute then would suggest that a rethinking on the part of both the Martha core and the Mary rim needs to be done as regards the state of threefolding of any new cultural life in the wider world.   As this is a significant question, I'll try to contribute to its resolution next.  It is, in addition, my view that learning to perceive these aspects of modern social existence will be very helpful for everyone in Anthroposophy, whether they more strongly identify with the Martha or the Mary Impulses.

The basic intuitions of the Mary Impulse as regards threefolding are represented quite strongly in Ben-Aharon's remarkable (and quite important for Mary Impulse anthroposophists) book: America's Global Responsibility: individuation, initiation and threefolding.  A part of this view could be stated briefly as follows:

In the course of the 19th and 20th Centuries, the general condition of human societies encouraged greater human freedom and individuality.  As a consequence, out of this freedom non-governmental organizations arose and became after a time more effective in delivering aid to those human needs that governments were becoming less and less able to provide.   The State (that is one aspect of the political-legal sphere) was not able any longer to be devoted to goodness out of freedom, and into this vacuum stepped a Consciousness Soul response that was world wide: Civil Society.

At the time then of the arrival of the global economy, with its huge raw forces and influences, a counter-pole came into being as a necessary balance - a new cultural impulse (the Wise-Earth, see first essay above).  So effective was this counter-pole, that the institutionally supported and hired minds of those seeking to rule economic life recognized it long before most thinkers on threefolding in the anthroposophical Society and Movement recognized it.  Civil Society, a free moral (Mary Impulse) gesture that organized social forms for the purpose of solving humanity-wide social problems, represents to such thinkers as Perlas and Ben-Aharon the coming into being of a world-wide transformation of the Cultural Sphere of humanity.  Kobran seemed to disagree, and I am certain he is not alone.

The difficulty lies not, in my experience, in one or the other being more correct in their views, but in the fact that the Martha Impulse tends to think about the threefold social order through a different inner process than does the Mary Impulse.  Since the method (or gesture) of thought is different, the resulting thoughts and conclusions will of course be different.

One of the phenomena that can be observed in the anthroposophical Society and Movement is that there are two major and quite different paths of development: the Knowledge of Higher Worlds path, and The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity path.  In several essays in this book I make reference to this, and I will not be repeating myself here about this in any great detail (all of which can be found elsewhere).

A major characteristic of the former is that it seeks the spiritual indirectly through the world of the senses, that is through the world were Ahriman has a certain influence, both within the soul and outside it in sense reality.  The latter seeks the spiritual directly, through self observation (introspection), and here encounters the realm of Lucifer, again inside the own soul and then at last at the Threshold.

Both paths influence the development and awakening of more conscious thinking.  As the Society and Movement developed over the 20th Century, the inner core of Martha folk (who are far more numerous) became quite involved with Knowledge of Higher Worlds.  Those who followed The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity tended to the edges, and thus we find such as Barfield, Kuhlewind and Ben-Aharon on the Periphery of the Society, where the Mary folk are gathering.

The thinking, as practiced and modeled in the Center, tended toward a kind of European idealism of the soul.  While on the Periphery there was an instinct for a more pragmatic (almost American) introspective life.  The Martha folk looked at threefolding as an ideal to be incarnated, and the Mary folk as a phenomena of social existence to be perceived (a division rooted in the difference between the Aristotelians and the Platonists?).  So we find Kobran, for example, carefully reading Steiner, and vetting any thoughts about world threefolding development against the ideal of threefolding given out by Steiner.  On the other hand, such as Perlas and Ben-Aharon tried to live into the phenomena of social existence and listen to that social-forming spirit speak into their thinking.

Where this takes us next is something we have to be very careful about understanding.

The knowledge that comes into thinking, from that which we have called a kind of progressive spirit vision process, is out of the future.  While the knowledge that comes into thinking, from that we have called a kind of traditionalist spirit recollection, comes from the past.  The former pulls us forward, and the latter anchors us to our necessary roots.  It is only through spirit mindfulness, in the present, that we can meld the two poles together into their natural unity and harmony.  Too much sympathy for the past make an idol in the present, and too much antipathetic measuring of the present against a vision of the future ungrounds us.

Paradoxically, the threefolding idealists are living in that aspect of the Mary Impulse which is the core inside of the Martha folk.  So to perceive the ideal of that which is not yet fully incarnated is to have a vision of the future.  While the threefolding phenomenologists, fixed in their thinking on the present, are really only seeing the past in the present - what has already become, for that which is living (changing) in the present is not fixed in form, but is rather invisible or hidden as it were.  Their inner core of the Martha Impulse tends to fix the views being developed by the Mary folk.

At the same time, those on the edge, in meeting the rest of humanity at the Periphery of anthroposophical (the conscious Michael community) activity have to set aside the Steiner idealism in presenting threefolding.  The unconscious Michael community has no use for what would appear to them as a dogma, so the Steiner given idealism in the conception of threefolding has to be stripped away, otherwise its presentation will be sterile (see the work in the world of Gary Lamb for a healthy example of this).  What the Martha folk want to present out of traditional Anthroposophy has no use for the wider world, and Steiner even pointed this out in suggesting that when Anthroposophy truly entered social life it would disappear.

The movement from the Center, out of the contemplative Martha aspect of the sister-souls, outward toward and through the Periphery and as a gift to humanity through the actions of the Mary aspect of the sister-souls, involves the disappearance of Anthroposophy, at least as presently conceived.  The Martha folk conceive of Anthroposophy as the substance and content of Rudolf Steiner's works, which need (correctly) to be preserved and kept linked to his name.  The Mary folk conceive of Anthroposophy as the method of cognition, the will to spirit in the soul that leads to living thinking.  Such living thinking is not owned by Rudolf Steiner by the way, who was only one of those who discovered it (for example, Coleridge and Emerson discovered it before him).

Christ is the creator of the human potential for living thinking, and its major co-participant when we are able to engender it out of ourselves.  At the Periphery of the Society and Movement, where the rest of humanity is encountered, it will be Christ who is ultimately linked with this living thinking, for it is Him that is the Life that comes into us when we learn to think in this new way.

It would be possible to say then that the Martha folk would view the current world conditions as lacking something of the ideal as represented by Steiner in his books on the social organism.  The Mary folk would view the world of social phenomena as a logos speaking of macro threefolding (the appearance of Civil Society) into a cultural dynamic as an opposite pole to an economic dynamic (Elite Globalization).  However, if you read carefully what Ben-Aharon has written in his book on America's Global Responsibility, his presentation is a bit weak on certain levels.  As this is important I am going to take up this subject next.  That is we are going, for a time, to look at the present day threefold conditions of the social world out of spirit mindfulness, rather than out of spiritual recollection or spirit vision.


Years ago I wrote of this theme and offered an article on it to the Threefold Review which choose not to print it.  Several years later I was able to publish it on my website, where aspects of it drew the attention of the English anthroposophist Terry Boardman, and he wrote of these ideas in an essay called: The Idea of the Threefold Society at the Dawn of the Third Millennium, which was first published in the book referred to above: The Future is Now: Anthroposophy at the New Millennium.

Here is some of what Terry Boardman wrote:

"In his lectures to the West-East Congress in Vienna 1922, Rudolf Steiner spoke of Europe-Asia as 'the problem' of modern times and Europe-America as 'the solution'. By this he meant that Europeans were preserving the dessicated remnants of an ancient Asian spirituality in the dusty abstractions of their intellectual, political, and religious systems. The future lay rather with the will to create out of nothing. And this willingness he saw in the youthful energies of the Americans. It is no surprise therefore to learn that it is an American anthroposopher, Joel Wendt, who has articulated best this need for Anthroposophy to enter the belly of the Media. Wendt has written: (13)

"What else have politicians, terrorists, single interest groups, businesses etc. been fighting to control and manipulate? Within Media the People come to common (equalized) self knowledge and mutual understanding. Within Media the idea of the State and of the rights and duties of citizenship come to common form. Media shines light on the activities of the State, and media personalities (with varying degrees of consciousness and moral integrity) believe they act thus for the People. However we turn our thinking, if we remain pictorially descriptive of the dynamics of social life as these actually play themselves out in the political-legal sphere we will come to the perception of the threefoldness of State-Media-People.

"It is a risk, Wendt says, to enter this realm, but a risk that should be taken, a nettle that should be grasped if the Media serpent is not to continue merely to slide in the dust.

"Media, if its present condition is clearly understood, is young; i.e. it is still undergoing formative developments, and functions today with a kind of moral or spiritual immaturity. In this sense Media may take one of two different courses of future development. It may become a kind of moon center, rigid, arid, not light originating, but rather only able to reflect those impulses which come to it from the outside. Or, it may become a sun center, a source of warmth and understanding, a medium of creative forces flowing into the social order and carrying both in deed and in word a true image of man as a being of soul and spirit. I imagine then, Media becoming a sun, a true heart of the heart of the social organism, so that the common understanding of the People will find a renewed vision of the State. In Media a song can yet be heard, the song of the truly free man, the moral man. In this way the rigidification, the mechanization, the image spell-binding of the word will be overcome, and a true understanding given to Western civilization of the Idea of the Threefold Social Organism as a dynamic social form already latent in human social existence in the West....There is of course no predicting how events will proceed, yet it seems clear to me that this historic moment is pregnant with certain kinds of potential. Just as there is great risk of a further fall into materialism, so as well there is much possibility for spiritual transformation. If we do not blind ourselves with a kind of threefold dogma (for example, that the first need is to free the spiritual cultural life), but instead truly perceive the actual dynamics.  Then as far as I am able to hold in pictorial thought, the ripe moment lies in bringing moral trans-formative forces to the thinking active within the Media - to bring a song to life just here in the heart of the heart of the social organism.

"Here speaks a true American voice - a voice of idealism and the will to courage."

Leaving aside Mr. Boardman's kind words, let us consider then the concept that during the development Western Civilization, a kind of natural threefolding occurred in the newly being born Life of Rights (which arose when the Greeks and the Romans began to see the State as one pole of the Life of Rights, and the Citizen as the other pole).  During the course of this unfolding of the Life of Rights, it threefolded within itself, not unlike the natural threefolding of the Cultural Sphere into Science, Art and Religion (or what is latent in the Economic Sphere: production, distribution and consumption).  Only with the Life of Rights we have a natural threefolding into: State, Media and People (or Citizen).

This makes Media to be the heart of the heart of the social organism.  Since the middle realm of a threefold organism (such as the human being, which is the Archetype of the Social Organism) is, in part, a melding together of the two poles, yet which seeks to be the selfless servant of both, we can see in modern media the struggle between economic and cultural impulses.  Like the rest of the social organism, Media is dominated today by the cold calculations of profit and power seeking motives.  Yet, this is the outer Media and it is now being enriched deep in its interior core by that free moral spirit currently inhabiting the Internet.

The Internet is to a great degree that natural anarchy in which is hidden beneath the surface Steiner's instinctive Consciousness Soul idea of ethical individualism.  We find this individual and natural  anarchy in the Open Source communities and their various services given away for free to the Internet, and in the struggles between the free exchange of ideas and art that is giving fits to those who cling to the old Roman idea of property rights under the current term: intellectual property rights (which wants to own the products of spirit, by the way - but that is a whole other story).  In any event, between the millions of blogs and millions of individual websites, the Internet is an extraordinary development of a free Media process as it works deeply within the middle of the threefold nature of the Life of Rights: State, Media and People.

This was the means, as was noted by Ben-Aharon in his book on America, that enabled Civil Society to defeat the introduction of a horrible attack on the economic life of the world social organism in the guise of a treaty called: the Multilateral Agreement on Investments, which would have turned all economies world wide into prey for the concentration of wealth among speculators and huge financial capital institutions.  The Internet has become the physical apparatus of living social reality: free Media, which is the free moral heart of the heart of the social organism, and was absolutely necessary for people to become informed of this attack (and essential to the use this same resource - free Media - in repelling this attack).  The whole confrontation, against the Multilateral Agreement on Investments by Civil Society, would have been impossible without a truly free Media in its current form of development.

If I was to point toward the most special place for the Mary Impulse to work, it would not be so much in Civil Society itself, but within free Media on the Internet.  This free Media is the beating heart of the lifeblood of the community of wisdom that is Civil Society, or the instinctive Michael community.  This heart is built up out of the streaming intelligence, from below and above, yet is that one place were the opposing nature of these streams can be mediated.

We confuse ourselves if we turn away from the Internet because it is based on an ahrimanic tool, the computer.   It is the uses this tool is put to that are important. 

From above, out of a somewhat luciferic Civil Society comes those ideals and dreams that represent an active and instinctive free moral intelligence, while from below, out of the ahrimanic economy, with its technological excesses comes the tool - the Internet.  Somewhere some people have to be wise enough to consciously serve this confluence of downward streaming wisdom as it intersects with upward streaming wisely authored earthly formations. Here is the point from which to alter the world conceptions of the community of human beings meeting on the Internet.  At the same time, it is not the Martha Impulse that will function best here, but the Mary Impulse.

The ideal (but unpracticed) living thinking, cultivated in the contemplative core where the Martha Impulse struggles to nurture the Mother - Anthroposophy, has to move out through the Mary Impulse into the beating heart of free Media, and from there into the social periphery where the instinctive Consciousness Soul of humanity can come to collective self-consciousness.  Only in free Media can the living nature of social threefolding, of the reverse cultus, and of a scientifically based new gnosis come to conscious world-wide understanding.  Here, in this periphery, lives Christ.  In the interactions on the Internet, world-wide in scope and crossing all former barriers of culture, race, language and religion, the Michael gesture predominates.  Human beings seek each other as human beings, no longer as Jews or Arabs or Americans or Chinese.  Then, in the interweaving exchanges, carried by a human created physical structure no less significant than the cosmos created physical structure which is necessary for speech, Christ lives in between.  All is, of course, crude and barely workable, but even so, if we look at the drivers behind much of the human activity on the Internet, it's use is forged by hundreds of thousands of human intentions to create bonds of contact across former boundaries, which ultimately leads to face to face interactions (from the world's Social Forums such as FaceBook to Moveon's American meet ups, to individual love affairs and marriages).

Let us look a little more closely at one very odd, yet quite compelling Internet phenomena: YouTube.  YouTube is a website where anyone anytime can post home-made videos.  Hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people world-wide go daily there to look at these individually created picture stories born frequently in the impulses of instinctive consciousness soul activity.  Whereas mainstream culture, such as television and movies is mostly dominated by corporate culture and impulses of greed, YouTube, a representative phenomena spilling upward out of the social commons, lets everyone be a TV producer or film-maker. Short films to be sure (some less than a minute), but if it strikes a cord, in a short time it can be viewed by millions.

What if the creative arts and selfless thinking of anthroposophists, as individuals, were to join in this world-wide artistic community dialog.  Instead of thinking (as the Martha folk tend to) that people should come to us, we (as the Mary folk are inclined to do) go to them - to where they are.

Far too many anthroposophists are so focused on the rightness of what they are doing, that they often miss what the rest of the world is doing.  In case the reader of this doesn't want to be asleep, they should read; Blessed Unrest by Paul Hawken; and, World Changing: a user's guide for the 21st Century, edited by Alex Steffen, Forward by Al Gore.


Let us now weave back in a previous theme: Steiner is the one, who in The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity found the way to this living thinking through the application of the methods of natural science to the processes of introspection.  That deed will remain linked to him for a very long time. In a certain sense, the Mary folk are the mediating principle between the inner core of anthroposophical tradition and Steiner study held dear by the Martha folk, and the wider world of humanity.  Martha strives to keep the treasure house pure, while Mary tries to distribute the treasure freely to all, humbly and without need for credit, just as Christ gives Himself away without needing any acknowledgment.

As American anthroposophists (and perhaps others in the world) wake up to this conception of the sister-souls and their natural relationship, this waking up may foster in both realms impulses toward a greater clarity of activity.  For the Martha folk this may arrive in the form of a desire to deepen their relationship to Anthroposophy by taking up more firmly the inner work of The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity - that is to approach the spiritual more directly (instead of indirectly) through a scientifically based introspective activity.  For the Mary folk this may bring about in them the desire to deepen their practices of the reverse cultus, for they will find that not only does the wider world have an instinctive relationship to free moral action, but also to deeper group practices rooted in the spirit.

After a century of anthroposophical work, it seems to be the time in which the belief, that The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity is too hard, has to be overcome; and, that Knowledge of Higher Worlds, while a quite definite path to the spirit, has to be seen as Steiner saw it, as lacking the same surety or exactness as The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity (see Steiner's remarks toward the end of the fifth Chapter of Occult Science: an outline).  Out of such a change of emphasis in its contemplative directions, the Martha Impulse, in the core of the Society and Movement, will find itself able to achieve much that before was impossible. They will, by such an act, remove from the dust heap of the 20th Century the most important work Steiner created, and return it to its throne as the true ruler of anthroposophical spirit activity, since it represents Steiner's own path of development (which Knowledge of Higher Worlds does not).

At the same time, the reverse cultus too must be rescued from that same dust heap into which the understandably spiritually immature activity of anthroposophists in the 20th Century discarded it.  Let me create for the reader an Imagination of such a Rite in action, as an aid to appreciating what has been lost.  For this Rite - the reverse cultus - is the Queen of the New Mysteries, just as The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity is the King.

*   *   *

The Circle gathers, with one shared intention - to consciously work with the spirit.  No member of the Circle is more important than any other member. First in silence they recall what Steiner taught about why Judas had to kiss Christ.  The truth at that time in Palestine was that when crowds gathered to hear teaching, the teaching came from all those in the circle around Christ.  The Christ spirit spoke through all, first one and then another.   For this reason Judas had to kiss the One who was the center, otherwise the Centurions would not know whom to arrest.

After this mood is engendered, in which each recognizes in the other a true source of spirit presence, the members of the group begin to speak.  What they offer is not a pre-thought theme, about which one may be more expert than another, but rather the simple feelings of their hearts in the moment. These heart-felt concerns are the sharing to each other that opens the hearts to each other.  The Circle meets each other in this art of coming to know each others deepest concerns, which can (and often will) be entirely personal.  This knowing of each other is a great gift to give and to receive.

In this brief sharing will begin to emerge the spirit music latent in the coming conversation, for the co-participating spirit presence knows the truth of our hearts, and is drawn to these concerns out of the darkness represented by the Threshold and into the light and warmth of the sharing. Thus, in acknowledging each other in silence as also true speakers of the spirit, and then in sharing the true matters of the heart as exists for each at that moment in time, the Chalice is born in the Ethereal - in the mutually shared world of thought.

Now comes the Art of Conversation, the Royal Art.

Here too no one is better than another for as Christ is quoted in the John Gospel: "What's born of the flesh is flesh, and what's born of the breath is breath.  Don't be amazed because I told you you have to be born again.  The wind blows where it will and you hear the sound of it, but you don't know where it comes from or where it goes; it's the same with everyone born of the breath".

The breath of spirit blows where It wills, not where we will It.

The Royal Art is deep indeed and begins (as Tomberg expressed it) by learning to think on our knees.  At the same time, these inner skills of thinking and listening will have little effect on where the wind blows, and while the study of The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity may make us individually more awake inwardly, the will of the spirit presence in the conversation belongs to that spirit presence, not to us.

So the conversation proceeds in the heart-warmed Chalice of the shared experience of the world of thoughts.  Each contributes what is thought in them. Together a weaving of a whole is sought, but no one can judge whether anyone else's contribution is a needed thread or not.  Often, for example, something, which on the surface seems antagonistic or oppositional, is precisely what is needed in the moment to stimulate another in the offering of their part of the whole.

It is possible then for this circling weaving conversation to rise, in the nature and the substance of its overall meaning, nearer and nearer to spiritual other-presence.  It will not do, however, to believe that as the conversation of the members of the group draws near this other-presence, that It will tell us what is true and good.   That would violate our freedom.  The true touch of the wind in the soul is otherwise in its nature.

In each soul lie latent embers of spirit recollection, spirit mindfulness and spirit vision.  We are already as thinking spirits, in the spiritual worlds.  What is fostered in the Chalice is something rooted in the teaching of Christ: Wherever two or more are gathered in my name, there I am.

He is with us.

Moreover, He is very interested in what we choose to think, not in our obedience to Him.  Our obedience we owe to our higher self, not to Him - that is to the Not I, but Christ in me.  He loves everyone in the Circle equally, and observing the latent embers of recollection, mindfulness and vision within each separate soul, He aids our communion by breathing on these embers.  He gives to each, according to that individual need, that aspect of His Life which is His Breath - what John the Baptist in Matthew 3:11 called holy breath.  ["Now I bathe you in the water to change hearts, but the one coming after me is stronger than me:  I'm not big enough to carry his shoes.  He will bathe you in holy breath and fire."]

With His Breath, during the communion that is the conversation in the Chalice, the latent embers of our own soul are given Life.  Within the thoughts of each arise that which belongs to each, but which is also seen by the Love of Christ, and enthused with His Life.  We rise on the moral quality of our will in recognizing the spirit presence in each other, and in the sharing of the concerns of our hearts; and, as we do this, the weaving of the thoughts into a whole - still resting on our own insight and will - is given Eternal Life, in the form of the good and the true.

Thus revealing the truth that: "I am with you every day, until the culmination of time." Matthew 28:20

*   *   *

What does this mean for the sister-souls, the Martha Impulse and the Mary Impulse?

In the Center, where the Martha folk strive to keep the work deep, in addition to their renewed studies of The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity, can be added a renewed interest in the reverse cultus.  At the Periphery, where the Mary folk strive to integrate with the wider world, they will find everywhere, just as they had previously observed an instinct for free moral action, an equal striving for the spirit in conversation.  Whether it is in a formal setting such as the striving in 12 Step Groups or the study of Non-violent Communication, the instinctive path of spiritual communion through conversation is everywhere - for again: Wherever two or more are gathered in my name, I am there; and, I am with you every day, until the culmination of time.  Christ does not make a distinction between anthroposophist and non-anthroposophist, nor from a certain perspective should we.

The Martha Impulse recognizes the treasures that Rudolf Steiner spent his life forces to give to humanity.  The Mary Impulse recognizes the need to meet people where they are.  Turning everyone into anthroposophists is not the mission of Anthroposophy.

The deeper is the contemplative core (Martha Impulse) of the conscious Michael community, the richer and more practical will be the realization of what Steiner taught, especially in all the daughter movements.  The more other (thou) directed is the active rim (Mary Impulse) of the conscious Michael community, the more will the wider world be able to receive the dying into becoming of Anthroposophy as that metamorphosis of spirit is transmitted from the Center, through the mediating Periphery thence into service in the world.

There is a direction of movement in the horizontal social, from left to right:

>Center-Martha Impulse <(Michael)> Periphery-Mary Impulse <(Michael-Christ)> World>

which as a social impulse (in the horizontal) eventually loops around (a cross within a circle) and pours itself into the individual biographies, from within (this, from the vertical-spiritual), or:  Fires in the Biography, upward and downward.

holy breath



free moral activity (instinctive and conscious)



reverse cultus groups (instinctive and conscious)



sharing of trials in the group creation of the chalice

(instinctive and conscious)



trials by fire in the biographies

where it once again spreads out in the horizontal-social, the whole inwardly a lemniscate gesture on the one hand, and outwardly a circle-cross gesture on the other.  This creates in the in between, where Christ lives, the spiral-like gesture of development of which we all should now be well aware.

It is in the fires in the trials of the biographies that the outer gesture of our baptism by holy breath and fire appears.  Outwardly we are baptized in trials by fire in our individual biographies (through Christ's Art as Lord of Karma), and at the same time we are inwardly baptized by the Living Christ via holy breath.

Thus does the future and the past, via Anthroposophy both in its concentrated form (conscious Michael community - the sister-souls of Martha and Mary) and distributed form (unconscious Michael community), homeopathically pollinate the present social world of humanity in a natural way. Through the shared gesture of free moral activity, and conscious conversation (whether fully awake, instinctive or somewhere in between) humanity is united in spiritual communion with and via Christ.

For anthroposophists, this creates significant responsibility.  If they fight among each other, unable to recognize the value of the different Impulses, they will cripple their own work.  Only by walking side by side, each honoring the other, may the two gestures - the sister-souls - accomplish the work that neither can do on its own.

The Class, the School of Spiritual Science, the work of the Sections, the work of Branches and Group - all this concentrated Steiner focused activity, essentially contemplative in nature, is one kind of work.  It supports and enables the other kind, the active in the world work - the work of outreach. Some will prefer to limit their work to one sphere, and others will move back and forth.  All that is really needed is for the two to understand each other, instead of judging each other.  On the success of that seeking after understanding, a great deal depends.

For the real challenge in the end is whether the Martha folk and the Mary folk can combine their ideal intentions in such a way that humanity is served - such that something begins to come to light in free Media - that is Anthroposophy leaves the Society and Movement and dies into the living world social organism as a fully awake and conscious gesture of service.  We are not meant to create a new philosophy or a new sub-group of spirit practitioners - that is to spread the idea of Anthroposophy - but to instead purely and simply serve the needs of humanity through the practice of Anthroposophy.

[As I was going through my final review of the whole text of this book, the following is a second statement (the first is above at the end of In Joyous Celebration....) that appeared in an essay, written by Michael Howard,  in the News for Members: "A crucial aspect of the Social Art is the question: how do communities and institutions metamorphose?  If the Anthroposophical Society is to play a leading role in the cultivation of the Social Art, then what better starting point than for the members of the Society to take up action research regarding the ways the Anthroposophical Society will metamorphose."  On reading this statement I had the hope that the essay above, written some time before, might make a contribution to this riddle.]


[for the neophyte: we enter here a great and central mystery of our Age.  We have touched this previously, but now it becomes necessary to look at this more closely and with a certain personal intimacy.  We are to look at the dark within, discover its real meaning and significance, and begin to learn how to master it.]

The Mystery of Macro and Micro Evil

and the relationship of the Shadow

(the threefold double-complex) to the American Soul

[warning for all readers...facing the fact that we are the door through which evil enters the world can sometimes be a shattering experience, for often our general attitude of mind is that evil is in the other, not in ourselves.  This is why the teaching of Christ on the mote and the beam is so crucial.  Below the reader will be led directly into some of the deepest aspects of the beam in their own eye.  At the same time there is a danger that we will apply this beam in judgment of ourselves - we will be tempted and encouraged by the double itself, to look upon this fact (that we have a  shadow being so intimately within our souls) as a defect or flaw.

This is not the case.  As was pointed out far above in the discussion of Ahriman's Incarnation, the opposing beings are a gift and a treasure.  Further, in our biographies we are watched over by the Divine Mystery at all times, and whatever our state of soul - whenever we are in the deepest despair and pain, that is the time when we can turn to the Mystery in prayer.  The 23rd Psalm is a quite exact description of our real condition in any given moment of time in our biographies, and even harsh conditions of soul pain and despair are as much a part of our development of any other experience we are to meet in life.  Rudolf Steiner advised us, and experience itself proves, that the hardest experiences are the most fruitful, even though we may not like them at all.  To labor in an inner trial of life is to do a spiritual developmental work that can be accomplished in no other way.  The opponents and the shadow beings are a gift, and the Divine Mystery is always ready for and open for us to surrender, just as was captured by Michelangelo in the Pieta.  The not I but Christ in me will in these trials go though passages much like death, as the trials strip away from us our excesses of egotism.   When the unredeemed aspects of the  soul dies through these experiences into a new becoming, we are always held in such moments by the Mother, exactly as is depicted in this remarkable work of art: the Pieta.]


I recently had a discussion with a leading anthroposophical doctor, who was also many years a leader in the Society as well, and who on the question of the Shadow said to me that it was his view that I could not speak of such things, without first discovering and mastering everything Rudolf Steiner said about the Double and about (I believe) Lucifer and Ahriman. 

I found this to be a most incredible statement, for it seemed to assume that if one was to take up any subject Rudolf Steiner spoke about, the first path to knowledge of the matter had to go through him.  Since Steiner himself had urged us again and again to not make him into any kind of authority, I wondered just what was being said to me by this doctor who has been seen for many years to be a deep anthroposophist.  I found this all the more peculiar in an anthroposophical doctor, for at the end of the lecture cycle Spiritual Science and Medicine, Steiner was asked by a doctor/student what should one do with Paracelsus, whom Steiner had recommended be studied.  Steiner replied that one should think out things for themselves first, and then go to Paracelsus for confirmation.  My view has been that this is a good approach to Steiner as well.

This doctor's attitude was also not something new to my experience, for I had run into similar views many times during my 25 plus years as an anthroposophist.  Basically this view was that all that we could think, had to be tested against what Steiner had said.

This is, of course, logically impossible.  If taken to the extreme of what it implies, it would suggest that no one can have a thought about anything since Steiner incarnated.  Further, it represents a view that imagines thinking to be incapable of having its own direct spiritual connection, independent of Rudolf Steiner, while at the same time assuming that Steiner never made an error, never could make an error and ought not ever to be questioned. (At a recent Branch meeting, a Christian Community Priest said to me: we are never to doubt Rudolf Steiner.)

Given the logical absurdity of the doctor's statement to me, what was in fact living in this point of view?  I would say that it was in fact the Shadow itself speaking to me, trying mightily to rise out of the doctor's sub-conscious soul on streams of anxiety and doubt and thus to keep its nature hidden.  The Shadow cannot not bear the light of reasoned examination, or the true heart-warmth of genuine humor, and will trick us at every turn whenever we let ourselves sleep inwardly.  But this is getting ahead of ourselves.

Where did the doctor's unconscious anxiety come from?  It came from the fact that he did not know me, and even though he had read some of my writings, had no basis in his experience to have confidence in me.  But he was asleep as to this lack of confidence, otherwise that is what he would have said.  He would have said, that if I was to write of the Shadow, I needed to explain how it was that I felt qualified to speak, for people (such as himself) would need to be able to have some trust right from the beginning, otherwise they will believe that all that is said is theory and Steiner-said - everything but something actually grounded in direct experience.

This then is where I will begin - with my experience.

I have practiced introspection for over 35 years now, ever since at age 31 when I underwent a remarkable, unexpected and spontaneous change of personality.  From one evening on going to sleep to the next morning on awakening, a light - a new small flame of self-awareness - awoke in my soul that had not been there before, such that I began to see inwardly (into my own inwardness) where previously all had been enfolded in the normal darkness of ordinary consciousness.  Lest one think this was a godsend, let me set the record straight, for it separated me from my fellows and has since lead to all kinds of troubles and challenges.  To be awake where others are sleep is not always a good thing.

Fortunately, the personality that I was before the change was grounded in a kind of simple faith, and so in the beginning I turned to the Gospels in order to understand the meaning of what I began to observe in my inner life as a consequence of this spontaneous inner and brighter self awareness.

Seven years later, I met Rudolf Steiner's writings, and became attracted almost at once to his works on the science of objective introspection (A Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe's World Conception, and The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity).  Already naturally introspective (inwardly awake to the processes of my soul), I now found the way to make this very alone journey with the aid of scientific thinking.  The main trouble that followed (these things never take a straightforward course), was that among other anthroposophists, I found almost no one that was as inwardly awake and as carefully studying their soul life out of the impulse of an introspection following the methods of natural science.

Oh, people did read the books on epistemology, but mostly they absorbed the concepts from the books, such that they thought about the content of their souls through the lens of the indications of Steiner, and did not in fact actually look to their own souls as a book itself that can be studied. Slowly over time I found myself again at odds with what I had assumed were my fellow students in Anthroposophy, because we were not actually studying the same material.  I was studying my soul and they were reading books.

About ten years ago, I ran into a wall in these studies.  I knew a great deal in practice and had written about it in my essay pragmatic moral psychology (see my website), but I had not yet met the double (in any kind of obvious way such that I felt any confidence in describing it as experience that had become knowledge in my soul).  I had read much about the double, and had all kinds of concepts, but no adequate experience.  I even stopped completely writing a book I was writing at that time because I did not know what clearly was the next thing to know.  I wasn't even sure that introspection, for all that I had learned there, could provide this experience, which seemed to require actual clairvoyant perception.

In this I was wrong.   The fact is that my experience was full of evidence of the double, but this had eluded me because I had made certain assumptions about what I was to experience as an aspect of introspection, such that a matter that was the most intimate aspect of my inner life - the introspective experience of the Shadow, I had assumed to have one quality, when it in fact possessed another entirely.

This quality was hidden in the process we call our inner voice, or sub-vocalization, or which others call discursive thinking (the  spirit speaks, the soul hears).  The plain fact was that unless I was consciously directing this inner speaking (the throat chakra), the unconscious (in part the threefold double-complex) was using it.  To experiment here, simply count inwardly to yourself up to 23, and then stop and go on to some other activity, possibly involving movement.  While you are doing this other activity, this inner speaking (the mental chatter we mostly conceive of as thinking) will continue on its own.   There is a kind of endless commentary about everything that is going on, and unless we are consciously directing this inner speaking, it is speaking out of itself, or more precisely out of the presently hidden sub-conscious and super-conscious elements of soul life.

For someone to whom this is a new idea, and has little experience with introspection, let me add this concept.  We all know how it is that we can place iron filings on a piece of paper, underneath which is a magnet.  The filings will form patterns on the paper to line up with the influence of the magnet's magnetic field.  In a like way the double-complex and other aspects of the soul, both sub-conscious and super-conscious, make patterns in soul phenomena - patterns that can be observed.  When we think about these patterns, after a time it is this thinking reflection itself which sees (recognizes) the meaning of the various phenomena as described in this essay.

Now this unconscious soul life is not just the double-complex (the sub-conscious), for the conscience (the super-conscious) speaks here as well.  In addition, what the John Gospel calls the wind (the Holy Spirit) also speaks into our thinking (recall above the essay: In Joyous Celebration of the Soul Art and Music of Discipleship).  The whole soul is in fact a kind of inner mystery temple*, and requires that we pay attention to it (be scientific about our introspective experiences), otherwise we will miss a great deal that can be observed in the soul.  As another example, just notice the next time someone seems to have made you angry.  Up in intensity goes this inner chatter, which then tends to take the character of all kinds of thoughts which are unkind and destructive.  If we act out of these thoughts, we will usually make a mess of things.

*Once we recognize the soul as an inner mystery temple, we can approach it with the care and art that we might make with regard to a physical temple.  How often do we clean it?  How often do we air it out?  What rites to we celebrate there?  These are just a few of the dozens of questions we can take up, once we orient ourselves toward our soul in this way.]

If we think it through, we will now recognize why Steiner so frequently spoke to us about learning control of thoughts.  Our will needs to awake in this realm, so that the unconscious influences become more conscious, the access to our I by the Shadow is reduced, and our ability to consciously co-participate with the Holy Spirit (the wind) is able to emerge out of the general background noise in the soul, because thought is no longer allowed to be driven out of the hidden depths (instead becoming a conscious act of the own I).   This then is a basic and essential task in achieving the Living Thinking or what is sometimes called heart thinking: control of thoughts.

Some will have good instincts about holding back this endless mental chatter (which the Tibetans call: the oscillation of the citta).  We will also here come to a sense of the difference between the lower ego and the higher ego.  That which appears to introspection in ordinary consciousness as the seemingly endless flow of mental chatter is a phenomena of the soul.  I am not, by the way, in the immediate above trying to solve all of the relevant problems.  Instead I am simply pointing directly at soul phenomena that if studied objectively will lead to experiences of the threefold double-complex in the soul.

All that said, let us now step away, and come at this more abstractly for a while, instead of so intimately, for this outer view, with its generalized mental pictures, is needed in order for us to have a context in which to place the meaning of why we need to have such an intimate inner companion, the shadow or double-complex, who appears to be able to use our own inner voice as a vehicle for temptation and prosecution and other problems, while at the same time the conscience and the wind have a similar access to our deepest inner soul realities.  In the sense of the soul as an inner mystery temple, while it has many general characteristics, this temple is also quite distinctively individual and unique.

Also, keep in mind that once we obtain to a certain degree of control of thoughts (the will-in-thinking) it then becomes possible (again see my essay In Joyous...) for us to begin to learn how to perceive inwardly the voice of temptation - egotism (the luciferic double), the voice of inner prosecution - lies (the ahrimanic double) and the influence of the self-created egregorial beings (or better said: the self-generated wounds) in the soul (these wounds by the way, can so weaken the I that it becomes permeable for the influence of the Asuras).  Further, the lower ego (the I surrounded by the threefold  double-complex) becomes able, via the will-in-thinking (control of thoughts), to begin to consciously co-participate with the conscience (the higher ego - which is itself never really separated from the Mystery).

Here is a diagram from my book the Way of the Fool:

Christ Jesus

Guardian Angel


[sense world < soul (A/d) < i-AM  > (L/d) soul > spiritual world]

human double


the Divine Mother

Here is another diagram, isolating part of the first one for special attention:


(A/d) < i-Am > (L/d)

human double

We need to keep in mind that the symbols (the map) is not the territory.

The first diagram represents our general experiential relationship to the worlds, both inner and outer.   The second diagram represents the structural nature of the lower and higher egos as they sit within this world of experience.

From within our biographies we experience the world, mediated on the sense-world side by the ahrimanic double and the sensory parts of the  soul, and mediated on the spiritual-world side of experience by the luciferic double and the higher inner perceptual parts of the soul.  We are far more awake to the former (in the sense-world) in this stage of the evolution of consciousness than we are to the latter (the spiritual-world). 

This is an important point, and one of the reasons the study of Steiner's The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity is far more important for the future of Anthroposophy than the study of Knowledge of Higher Worlds.  Only via actual introspection following the map that is  Philosophy do we begin directly with an encounter in the spiritual worlds.  In KoHW our approach is indirect, through the sense world (a world more informed by Ahriman, who is, in a way a stronger opponent than is Lucifer).

Further, not one of the spiritual powers, whether it is Christ, the Divine Mother, Ahriman or Lucifer have direct access to the social world of the tenth hierarchy.  Their only access is through us.  "...the very purpose of our Fifth Post-Atlantean epoch is that man should become increasingly conscious of what takes effect through him in earthly existence." R. S. Lucifer and Ahriman [emphasis added].  This both insures our freedom and our capacity to in the end master the influence of the Shadow forces, as these pour out of ourselves onto the shared social world of humanity.  As pointed out above in my article on Ahriman's Incarnation, his power in Nature no longer quite influences us as directly as before, for the social world has emancipated itself from the natural world. [It could come to pass that this situation will change as Western Civilization passes through its death and then toward a rebirth - such that humanity could find itself once again deeply integrated with the natural world, albeit one badly damaged by our excesses.]

The main thing that goes on in the social world is the biographies of six billion plus human beings.  These are artistically arranged by Christ as Lord of Karma, so that each of us lives our biographies in the company of those with whom we have special and very much needed shared striving.  Once we incarnate into the social world of humanity, we are set free of direct spiritual-world influence, except for the fact of partial excarnation every night during sleep.  This is where needed adjustments can be made to keep us on track with regard to the goals we have agreed to experience in our biographies.  Here is a great mystery, and everyone should really only make a judgment about what this means for them individually, and not concerning any other person.

The threefold double-complex plays a special role here, for much that the double does is needed in order for us to experience our karma, fate and then eventually (perhaps) to form our free destiny.  We need the Shadow in earthly life in the same way we need a physical body.  Granted aspects of the double-complex are similar in kind and nature to immense spiritual powers, yet Steiner also describes this as a hierarchical structure of gloves within gloves within gloves - a stepping down of the original Power into something much smaller and more in balance with the real I.  While the double is like Ahriman and Lucifer, it is ordained to be in a kind of harmonious relationship to the ego, for the freedom of the I is the essential matter.

In the heart-center of the soul is a realm the double cannot touch.

In the last Lecture to the John Gospel cycle, Steiner also speaks of the result of properly passing through the trials of The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity (becoming able to reproduce the meaning content of that book out of our own thinking, feeling and willing) as producing a condition of katharsis (or purification) in the astral body.  This purification is what makes the soul (the astral body aspect) more permeable to the Light and to the Life, and this forms the necessary basis out of which the Rite of Initiation can later be enacted.

Every incarnate human being is thus accompanied in the biography by a relevant Shadow (threefold double-complex), which is rich and just in its essential nature (the justice element comes from Christ's influence as the Lord of Karma).  We can begin to observe the field of play of these beings by studying (with scientific objectivity) our own inwardness, especially the phenomena of discursive thought.  Because of the laws of karma and reincarnation, the astral body also contains (in addition to the ahrimanic and luciferic doubles) the human double, we will explore this in more detail next.

In my writing I used to speak of the human double as various kinds of egregorial beings.  This is an ancient term, and refers to a kind of self-generated psychic parasite in the astral body or world (the heroin addict calls it: the monkey on my back - a quite suitable imagery).  Many times these beings are formed collectively by a group, but they also can be formed individually as well.  Such artificial beings are created by our giving into a prompting of either or both of the ahrimanic and luciferic doubles, except that the egregore requires an almost rite like-repetition for its creation.  The ritual by which the heroin using shots up is one such rite.

The result of the rite is a kind of forbidden pleasure (the payoff to the rite), and a kind of separation occurs in the astral body such that the egregorial being becomes more and more independent of the will of the I as the rite is repeated.  Steiner hinted at such beings in the last lecture of the cycle called: Man as Symphony of the Creative Word, where he called them cancers or tumors of the soul.

I have taken to dropping the term egregore, and replacing it with self-generated wound.  I believe this is more accurate if we want our conceptions about such matters to not only be true, but also good and beautiful.  Steiner also referred to such beings somewhat indirectly when he described the processes of excarnation and incarnation (in between death and a new birth) in a way that suggested that as the astral body expands (excarnates) into the cosmos, it leaves behind pieces of itself, which later during the following incarnation process are picked up once again.

Now such beings are of varying degrees of harm.  Many of us will have had the experience of driving on a freeway, and because there was little traffic we let our minds go into a kind of reverie, such that 20 miles down the road our ego consciousness (our attention) returns from the day-dreaming with a kind of shock that we did not at all notice what we did as a driver for the lost time.  Who drove the car while our conscious ego attention was participating in the experience of reverie?  A modern thinker, using computer terminology, might speak of a sub-routine, which is not entirely inaccurate since a sub-conscious habit was driving the car. 

We have many such sub-conscious habits (physiologists also speak of muscle memory, as if the physical body itself could self-direct its complicated activities).  What else is the training for certain dancers, gymnasts and others, but the creation of a whole community of sub-conscious habits.  Experience in fact teaches us that many such activities require of the ego that it not over-think the activity, otherwise we become awkward and clumsy.  Also, if we come to understand that the ego is much more than where our I directs our attention at any given moment, we can see that in the sub-conscious and super-conscious of the will are rather remarkable capacities.

It is really only in thinking that the activity of the will can become the most conscious (see again In Joyous...).

Now as we know, the more dangerous and problematic self-generated wounds (addiction, alcoholism, etc.) have in the 20th Century become more treatable.  A great aid came into existence at the beginning of the most intense period of the Second Coming of Christ in the Ethereal in 1933, when Bill W. was visited, while detoxing in the hospital for the umpteenth time, by Christ in the form of an angel, and the impetus was given for the later community development of the 12 Steps.  There is no present day spiritual discipline better suited for healing self-generated wounds than the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.

I'll not lay out the Steps here in detail, but I will do a kind of overview, and point out their threefold nature.  The beginning gesture of the Steps is one of surrender.  We recognize our powerlessness before the self-generated wound (the monkey on my back, my disease, demon rum etc.), and we turn to the Divine Mystery (as we individually understand this - our spiritual freedom remains fully intact) for help.  Here is some Novalis which touches this process quite directly:

The heart is the key to the world and of life.

We live in our helpless condition

in order to love, and be obliged to others.

Through imperfection we become ripe for the influence of others,

and this outside influence is the aim.

In illness we must be helped by others and only others can help us.

From this point of view, Christ surely is the key of the world.

What actually happens in a spiritual technical sense is that by our act of surrender the forces of the Divine Feminine (which oversee, from the other side of the Eight Inner Spheres of the Earth, the hierarchies of the left) are able to enter for a time into the soul and stand in between the I and the self-generated wound, as well as in between the I and the ahrimanic and luciferic doubles as these through inner prosecution and temptation encourage the flaw in our character that has led to the self-generated wound.  We surrender to our helpless condition, and in so humbling ourselves make it possible for the soul to have enough embryonic purity (humility) that the Mystery can come to our aid.

In the middle elements of this 12-Step process we enter into community.   We confess to another.  We admit our flaws to the Divine, and we get ready to make amends to those we have harmed.  We start to shoulder, on our own, acts of purification rooted in the slowly unfolding of this practice of true humility.

In the final elements of this process we then act in the social community world so as to transform our character flaws, and build out of this a conscious spiritual practice that keeps us awake in the moment to our next potential fall from grace.  As we do this it becomes less necessary for the Divine Feminine to provide direct inner support, as long as we can remain on the path of humility and service to others.  The ego is strengthened in the very best way (beginning with and remaining in: washing the feet).  This process, which I call the elevation of the spirit for the mastery  of the soul is as follows: 1) surrender; 2) entrance (naive membership) in the community of like-wounded; and, 3) then becoming a self-transforming example and actor (through service) in this same community.

Lets now look a little more deeply at the ahrimanic double and inner prosecution - lies (we hear in our inner voice the repeating tape of: you are such a loser!).  This is not all the ahrimanic double does, for it is a kind of cold and calculating intelligence.  In fact, precisely because it is so cold and calculating it has (in a way) a higher order intellect.  Heart-warmed thoughts are wise and generally far less clever in making life decisions.  Further, heart-warmed thoughts often selflessly involve us with others, such that they can often lead to troubles and difficulties (see the film Pay it Forward), whereas clever thoughts are quite selfish and enable us to avoid more easily messy life situations.

Now in extremis, inner prosecution is often accompanied by what we tend to call depression, using conventional psychological terms.  We have lost ourselves in self-negative feelings, and out of this inability to control our life of feelings, the inner prosecutor (the lying ahrimanic-double) is given a kind of free reign to provide us with negative thoughts (remember from above the need to learn to control thoughts).  Here the problem involves the mastery of feelings.  The Shadow during much depression is in charge of the feeling life (yes, there are physically based physiological problems that can lead to depression, but we need to learn to work within our own soul first, before we turn to a pill.  The pill can weaken the I, because it fails to wake up within and then face the Shadow-in-the-soul out of the I's own forces.

By the way, do not go around giving advice to any of your depressed friends, unless you have clearly mastered the following practices yourself, and they (your friends) already have a general spiritual understanding of their own life of soul and spirit.  What is being said here requires that it remain within its necessary context, and if abstracted out of that context it will lead to harm.

In effect in much depression we are in the grip of the ahrimanic double.  Our life of feeling is not mastered, nor are our thoughts within our control. Also remember that this being is very clever, so one must begin by recognizing (as in the 12 Steps) our fundamental helplessness.  The best advice I have ever practiced in this regard, apparently came from Dennis Klocek (indirectly attributed to him through another), and involves taking hold of our inner voice, and saying inwardly: Who are you?  This should be repeated two or three times, with the accompanying thought (remember that context) that we are waking up in the realm of soul and spirit and speaking to a being in the still somewhat inner darkness of ordinary consciousness.

This being cannot give us its name, and is compelled, upon being asked to provide its name, to withdraw from its activity as a contributor to the state of depression.  Part of what is going on is that during depression we are experiencing a related paralysis of the will.  When we activate the inner will by asking the question, we take from this being a power it has tricked us into allowing it to have, which power really belongs to us.

Don't expect immediate relief.  Feelings linger, and the depression (especially if quite strong) will not fly away (unless a higher being intervenes, an experience I have also had, but which requires petition - prayer - followed by grace from above)*.  Sometimes we just need to lie down, ask the question a few times, and then rest.  The being must withdraw and the depression will lessen.  At this point, however, we are not yet done.

*[The best time I have found for petition and prayer is on going to sleep.  We pray to the Holy Mother for help with our depressed state, and in the morning on waking, there should be a kind of small gap between our I and the shadow presence.]

Just as in the 12 Steps, when during surrender there arises a gap in between the I and the self-generated wound, so the question (who are you?) creates a gap between the I and the ahrimanic double (the inner prosecutor).  Into this gap now we must assert further inner activity.  The best activity I have found is to then consciously create a mental picture of this being and its cohorts.  I make a picture of three such beings (really seeking thereby to effect the whole threefold double-complex, for these tend to cooperate), imagining them being somewhat like the character Gollum in Lord of the Rings, but instead of being rounded in shape as in the film are actually quite angular with very sharp features as described in the early lessons of the First Class.

We imagine these beings kind of gleefully dancing, holding hands, and moving in a circle.  Then to this picture we add something humorous.  Perhaps we picture cold maple syrup pouring over these beings, making them slippery and causing them to pratfall.  We, of course, don't want to imagine harm coming to them, but we do need to make an inner picture in which their activity is seen as quite silly and ineffectual.  Maybe we picture that they get depressed and then start to eat all kinds of ice cream until they get sore of stomach because of the excess.

By this activity we have first dismissed the being by asking the question of their name, and then second made a counter picture to those negative self images the Shadow has been urging on us.  The final (or third step) is to become physically active.  We rise from the sofa or bed where we have lain down, and take up some activity (cleaning is good, if we otherwise because of weather can't go for a walk).  Nature is certainly a good experience here, or if we are housebound for some reason, then music, made by ourselves (singing, playing a recorder, or listening to a CD).  Something like the Gregorian Chant music that was popular some years ago is also helpful.  Whatever choices we make, it is movement that is essential. 

The depression has paralyzed the will, and now after we have first asserted the will inwardly by asking the question and then developed it further by creating the humorous counter-picture, we must then press this will gesture all the way into the physical body and into movement.  With the state of depression lifted, the more harmonious thoughts that we need will come to us, and we can return to life.

On the basis of a picture from Tomberg's book Inner Development, I have also taken to imaging my will working from the crown of my head downward, pressing the ahrimanic double out through the soles of my feet.  This is the last act before rising from rest (or from inner meditative activity) to begin movement.  I also try to image this being not having the capacity to enter another, or cause harm there, but once pressed out it has to return to the realm proper to it in the Eight Inner Spheres of the Earth.

Experience, by the way, shows that this being does not leave us completely in the beginning.  We are learning to exercise a certain capacity of soul, and the threefold double-complex remains present until we have accomplished all that we need to develop in the soul, through the activity of our own I.   Just as there is no instant mastery of the physical body, there is no gain without pain in the purification of the temple of the soul. 

Next lets look at temptation -egotism, a principle arena of the activity of the luciferic double.  Again, this temptation comes to us via our own inner voice, which we have, mostly by habit and lack of development, allowed a kind of independence from the I.  Our attention is on listening to the tempting inner voice to our egotism, and not on control of thoughts or mastery of feelings.  At the same time we need to keep in mind that the luciferic double is also a voice of a kind of wisdom.  We sometimes need this wisdom in life, even though it will tend to be a bit ungrounded.  Luciferic wisdom takes us off the Earth, while Ahrimanic cleverness drives too deep into a mood of gravitas.  Keep in mind also, that Steiner has said that often the cure for Ahriman is Lucifer, and the cure for Lucifer is Ahriman.

Essentially the same problems as above apply, except that we are not generally depressed (although often in states of depression we are more easily tempted).  The root of the temptation is generally a mood of soul.  So lets come at this from the problem of mastery of feelings (something a bit different from control of thoughts).  Obviously the six supplementary exercises are an essential preliminary support here as well.

There is some imagery from the middle-East, Persian or perhaps Sufi, which I have found useful in understanding this problem.  The soul and spirit can be described as consisting of a charioteer, a chariot and a horse.  The charioteer is the I.  The chariot is the self constructed mental world - our collection of ideas and concepts which we use to travel through life.  And, the horse is our feelings or emotions (e-motions).

The charioteer is most in balance when he has consciously created and maintained his chariot, and is able to tame and direct the energies of the horse (the mastery of feelings).  As regards the chariot, we have the need to control thoughts, and to not be in bondage in the experience of an idea (unable to distinguish our I from an idea).  As regards the horse, we have to be able to step aside from unredeemed (sub-conscious) feelings of antipathy and sympathy, and develop the ability to be able to replace these with cultivated feelings (such as reverence, equanimity etc.).

A temptation is generally a selfish (egotistical) desire (which Steiner speaks about from many directions in The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity).  It is a want, perhaps experienced as a need: sex, hunger, revenge, etc.  Lets just work with hunger and sex, to keep things simple.

Hunger is often a need of the body, as is sex.  The I experiences the need, and in fact often identifies with it, having already identified itself with the body.  We feel/think: I need food or sex (when it is really the body).  In the Philosophy Steiner has put the question this way: Can I want what I want?  Can a desire be an act of will, or am I powerless before it?

His answer is that we can will what we want, if we put before the want a self-chosen moral intuition.  We put in front of the want, a self-determined because.  Not after the want, in front of the want.  Just like with depression, the first step is actually to create the gap in between the want (the temptation) and the action.  And the same rules can apply.  We experience the want, the temptation, which will often appear in discursive thought as if our own inner voice was saying: oh boy, I was so good today with what I didn't eat at lunch, I can take my dinner hunger and satisfy it with ice cream (a friend of mine humorously calls this an ice crime).

If we notice the temptation, and then we can say: Who are you?  There is also an old folk remedy from Europe, where we cross ourselves three times and spit over our left shoulder.

Of course there are all kinds of temptations and desires, this is just an example.  Lets look at sex as well, since there is a lot in common with other inner soul gestures that can make these questions of soul management (control of thoughts and mastery of feelings) stand out.

Generally with sex and hunger we also deal with inner pictures, and also the lower chakras.  These images are not insignificant.  Further, our culture through advertising is constantly stimulating desire.  This (sex) is a bit of a different problem for men than for women.  The temptation for men is to see a women just as a women and not as an individual.  A man just wants to get laid (is the cliche), and is often in-discriminant about who is the object of his desire.  The temptation for women is more of one toward immodesty in dress and action.

The man is stimulated by the culture to make women into sex objects, and the women is stimulated by the culture to dress provocatively, forgetting that (or asleep to the fact that) men are intoxicated by such stimulation (intoxication being a kind of surrender of the I to the aroused passion).  No one in these circumstances is free, because they are in fact in bondage to the idea (the related mental pictures), and mastered by the feelings (the passion) instead of being their master.

So the first problem, as noted above with depression, is to awake to the situation, in this case the temptation.  The second problem is to create a gap in between the desire and the action, so that before it sparks across that gap, a freely chosen moral choice can be inserted in the front of the desire.  Willed thinking can do this in accord with the teachings contained in The Philosophy of Freedom. [With this understanding we also get an idea of the deeper nature of the Freedom contemplated by this book.]

Again, since the chariot - the mental construct - is relevant, we can create an alternative mental picture to the one prompting the desire.  We can shift from a picture of an ice crime, to one of another food choice, which our thinking helps us recognize as more healthy.  We can also try to self observe the feeling life which has prompted the desire.  We can then ask, where did this mood of soul come from, and how can I substitute another mood (take the reigns of the horse through the conscious willed creation of a cultivated feeling).

The most significant matter is to have in our world view of our inner life a quite concrete and accurate understanding of the relationship of the Shadow (the threefold double-complex) to the I.  With this understanding we now shift the battle with evil into that realm were we are most able to meet it.  We understand that evil (and the good) enter into the world through us, and since this is the case, we are then able to meet it, and more and more slowly render it impotent out of the own developing I.  We don't change the world, we change ourselves.

As a corresponding element of this understanding, we also need to recognize (as pointed out in the essays above on the mote and the beam) that what we observe in the outer world (the Stage Setting) is more beam than mote.  Yes, we can in the outer world oppose evil, but first we must master the beam ("You hypocrite, first you must get the beam out of your own eye, before you can help your bother with his splinter" Christ Jesus, the Sermon on the Mount). 

Another thing the tempter (luciferic double) can do is cause us to live too strongly in fantasy and reverie.   This is a use of the imagination (picture making capacity) that wastes its energies in the realm of illusion.   A fantasy is not real, and when we give into this day-dreaming sub-consciously, we retreat into that inner realm which the luciferic dominates.  At the same time, there is a great deal that the imagination can do, if we but give it the lightest direction and guidance.

Here the artistic impulse finds a great source for its work.  The question that is helpful to ask ourselves is: Toward what purpose has my I directed my assent into inner reverie?  Recall, for example, that in The Philosophy of Freedom a crucial step involves a moral imagination.  The impulse to Goetheanism also finds its powers in the use of the picture thinking.  We routinely rehearse our coming conversations with people in order to be ready for what is to happen there.  All of this kind of inner picturing activity can be lightly directed by the I along directions that are less and less illusory, and more and more lending themselves to real spirit vision.

Day-dreaming takes only a little nudge from the I to become meditation and thinking contemplation.  Reverie is a step that lets us calm the soul, especially when outer events may tempt us to anger and away from peace.  Picture thinking is strong in us today precisely because the Sophianic impulse lays there, and wants to find itself in our souls once more.  If we feel a need to understand better someone who is disturbing our calm, what better soul quality do we have than the capacity to strive, using the picture thinking, to see the world from their point of view.  The opportunities to grace the temple of our soul with new inner pictures are ever present, if we but wake to them.

Let us now return to the consideration of Macro Evil, for one of the characteristics of the Stage Setting (the cultural historical background to individual human biographies) is that because the relationship between the opponents (Ahriman, Lucifer etc) takes the shape of gloves within gloves within gloves, giving thus a common and general yet specific nature and character to the threefold double-complex, a whole culture (even a Civilization) can be turned in a certain shared direction because each individual double expresses to a small degree the same time-related impulses originating in its Hierarch (or ruler, such as Ahriman).

For example, scientific materialism (an aspect of the Ahrimanic Deception) arises in Western humanity in large part because the individual doubles are able to be coordinated, and consists (in part) of inner temptations and prosecutions designed to cause natural scientists (natural philosophers at the beginning of the scientific age) to make the same (common) error of judgment.  The whole of Western Civilization pivots in the direction of a spiritless (all matter no spirit) world view because most all the threefold double-complexes are moved in sync with this basic impulse* originating in the realm of the hierarchies of the left.

*[For a discussion of certain details of the some of the more common errors of thought induced into this period of development, see Barfield's World's Apart, and Cruse's Evolution and the New Gnosis.]

William Blake called the effect of this generalized confusion: "single vision and Newton's sleep".  The natural scientist lost confidence in his senses (which Goethe said never lie, only the judgment - discursive thinking moved from out of the sub-conscious - lies), and so the natural scientist believed he could only find the truth of the world through instruments and mathematics.  Thus arose a spiritless world-view, which while itself seems a terrible thing, was actually turned toward the good by Beings more powerful and wise than Ahriman and his minions.

In the stream of earthly world events, a central theme is the evolution of consciousness.  Humanity evolves by being offered precise tasks in each cultural age.  While not every biography achieves what is offered it, at the time it is offered, the possibility is always there.  In terms of the evolution of consciousness, the Ahrimanic Deception enabled humanity to become (more or less) free of the Gods.  The human being was to feel spiritually alone, until bearing a hunger for a return to the spirit, it awoke enough to begin to strive once more for reintegration.  Even faith was to become arid and dead (thus the appearance of spiritual materialism everywhere as a kind of rigid - ahrimanized - dogmatic fundamentalism).

As we saw above in the essay on Methodology, that the processes in the social that gave rise to the potential for moral freedom (the development of individualism and the loss of the cohesive nature of the family and community), were accompanied in large part by the effects of natural science and the industrial revolution.   The social effects of Ahriman's character, as stamped on present day civilization, served the good - the evolution of consciousness, by causing the I to have to stand on its own (leave its childhood behind), and begin to draw from the deeper inner wells of its nature a true - self-created - knowledge of the Good, or moral freedom (see also above: The Meaning of...).

Christ even told us to expect this effect, when He said in the Gospels, Matthew 10:34-40:  "Don't think I came to cause peace across the land.  I didn't come to cause peace, I came to wield a sword, because I came to divide a man against his father and a daughter against her mother and a bride against her mother-in-law, and to make a man's servants his enemies.  Whoever prefers father or mother over me is not worthy of me; and whoever prefers son or daughter over me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me.  Whoever found his life will lose it, and the one who lost his life because of me will find it.  Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me, receives my Sender."

Rudolf Steiner called aspects of this effect of the Christ Impulse: the loss of the blood ties that at one time bound us into various forms of group soul.

This then is how we need to see (from this point of view) the Mystery of Evil.  Macro-evil, the Stage Setting, is one aspect of the living and evolving social organism of the whole world.  It is context, not essence.  Essence is micro-evil, which occurs in individual human biographies in the nature of the relationship of the I to the threefold double-complex - the Shadow.  The counter to the Shadow is the own I.  We are the key to the Mystery of Evil, for real evil (along with the good) only enters the world through us.  By unfolding within ourselves the Christ Impulse (free moral grace via the Second Eucharist), we start to learn to tame evil and subdue it at the only point it has through which to enter the social world.

We will also gain something by noticing from Lecture Five, of From Symptom to Reality in Modern History, a hint from Steiner about the Mystery of Evil, where he says that what we think of as evil is a secondary effect of something that is more important and part of the Good.  He uses there the metaphor of a train and the rails that train travels upon.  The train engine and the direction it travels are important, but the indirect effect of this travel is that it wears out the rails.  When all we notice is the wear and tear on the rails, this is the human conception of evil.  Yet, this concept misses the main point, which is that the engine and its direction are an important and necessary part of human development and existence.

In the essay below on sexuality, we'll come at this again, but let us here just notice that without sexuality and desire there is no procreation, no stream of heredity.  Without physical bodies there is no earth existence for our development.   Without the hunger for food there are no forces for that same body's use.  In the so-called lower chakras are the true Mystery of Evil, the engine that takes us where we need to go.  That this conscious and semi-conscious giving into appetite wears out the body and wounds the soul, through leading us to excesses of temptation and addiction, this is a side effect of the true purpose of what we, in human terms, call Evil.

Again, and to conclude: "...the very purpose of our Fifth Post-Atlantean epoch is that man should become increasingly conscious of what takes effect through him in earthly existence." R. S. Lucifer and Ahriman [emphasis added]  As well: You hypocrite, first you must get the beam out of your own eye, before you can help your brother with his splinter.


Encountering The Mystery of America

- what distinguishes the now emerging natural Anthroposophy

of the American Soul, from the anthroposophical work

of the Twentieth Century -

[For the neophyte:  The social world of humanity can be divided into three general regions of soul activity (observable with the own thinking, and indicated by Steiner).  These are East, Center and West, and mostly can be observed in concrete form in the nature of the general cultural influences that emerge from these somewhat distinct soul characteristics.  Below in various places I will go into details.  For the moment we need only be concerned with this general observation.  Central Europeans tend to live in the ideal in their thinking, and in that they seek to effect the social, attempt to incarnate this ideal into social reality.  In the West (England and America), and particularly even more so in America (what I call the true West), the soul lives more in the outer circumstances of life, and desiring to be a helper there, and then uses thinking to discover how to practically and pragmatically solve social problems. 

In the one case the soul lives more in the vertical (thus Steiner's indication that Europeans come to Anthroposophy in a spiritual way) and in the other the soul lives more in the horizontal (social), and comes thereby to Anthroposophy in a natural way - as a product of its engagement and desire to be a social helper.  If we couple this with Steiner's indication (which again can be confirmed through observation of the social) that English speakers are instinctively in the Consciousness Soul in their Life of Rights (their striving in the great political-social issues of the day leads them to moral choices), then we can see even more clearly this distinction between Center and West.

Sadly, my experience of European anthroposophists is that when you seek to point this out, they won't have any of it.  It seems beyond their capacities (in not all cases) to recognize that another's inwardness is fundamentally different.  As a possible help for this, let me digress for a moment into the following...

The American is said to wear his heart on his sleeve (something connected to his instinct for brotherhood - more later).  This is also connected to America being a product of Western Civilization, in the sense of being the womb of the successor civilization.  Western Civilization is dying into becoming (a metamorphosis), and in America we find the youthful (and raw) organism of the new civilization (the dawning of the Age of Aquarius).  For example, in Central Europe (in Germany in particular), social life is more formal (they do not wear their hearts on their sleeves).  So in German there are two words for you: sie and du (you and thou).  The first is more formal, the latter far more intimate.

As a necessary consequence, in anthroposophical circles in America, the European wants to remain formal, and the America can't bring himself into a social setting where he cannot wear his heart on his sleeve.

In any event at the beginning of this section I am going to undertake to reveal some of the unrecognized depths of the American Soul.  This is made especially crucial by another tragic fact, which is that in anthroposophical activity in America, not only is there the general tendency (common all over the world) to walk backward into the future (lean far too much on Steiner-said, and thus be blind to huge aspects of the present*), American anthroposophists are almost universally ignorant of their own culture and can't seem to put together a conference which doesn't consist of equal parts worship of the past and worship of the culture of the Old World (all in full ignorance of the American Soul's rich evolving cultural achievements.  Below in various places I'll write more directly on the details of this problem.

*In spite of all that Steiner indicated on this subject, it seems to never really penetrate anthroposophical consciousness that the world of spirit and of inspiration does not rest or remain fixed in its nature, such that there has come to be an unconscious assumption in our circles that everything Steiner said is a written in stone vision of the activity of unchanging spiritual beings.  The spiritual hierarchies evolve constantly, and as humanity struggles, they too adapt and change so that fresh and vital spiritual impulses are constantly made available to us if we can get out of the way in our minds of this excess of past Steiner said (too much spirit recollection and not nearly enough spirit mindfulness or spirit vision - see the Foundation Stone Meditation).

First some observations of America that are of the present...]


Present Day American Culture

- four archetypal personalities -

Some years ago, I was in a conversation at a small anthroposophical conference, and I used the term: American culture.  The European anthroposophist sitting next to me snorted, and clearly looking down his long nose at us poor unenlightened Americans, offered this terse commentary: What culture!?!?!  Shall we see?  Keep in mind that this which is being described is youthful and raw, as against the mature (but dying) European Culture, which had clearly reached remarkable heights of achievement in the 17th, 18th and 19th Centuries.


I'd like to start with someone who is certain to raise a lot of antipathy in those who haven't bothered to think about these things: Clint Eastwood.  Here is a man, not only associated primarily with movies, but with violent movies.  Clearly movies are not great literature or opera or symphonies of the masters.  Worse, Steiner has indicated certain problems that can arise when one sits and views cinema.  It is a singular experience, often passive and lacking in all the greatness and natural co-participation of the high arts of Western Civilization.  All the same lets see what can be observed if we do not automatically close our minds right from the beginning.

Born in 1930, Eastwood begins his career in television, and is most often remembered by the older American generation as a character in a television series called Rawhide, centered around the practice of driving cattle to market in the West in America and set in the late 19th Century.  Subsequently he is tapped by the Italian filmmaker Sergio Leone for three operatic Westerns that essentially made Eastwood into a Hollywood star.   As a star Eastwood then makes a number of Westerns, as well as a series of police detective films (the dirty Harry films), which if we use our imaginative faculties are really just Westerns set in modern times.   These observations lead us to asking the question: Just what is the significance of the Western for the American Soul, for it once dominated film and television, has its own special place in American literature, and still (as can be seen by recent films such as the remake of 3:10 to Yuma) captures the imagination of the American Soul.

We know that in the background of European and other world cultures there are Myths, often profound in nature and quite revealing of the character of the people whose myths are being studied.  For the New World and for the American Soul, the Western is our Myth - our archetypal story that reveals a great deal about our character.  Now this Myth is rich, deep and wide.  It encompasses, for example, a quite dramatic change overtime in how Native Americans are depicted.  Early Westerns took the more European view that Native Americans had no culture and were primarily savages.  Steiner even uses that term (savages) in a lecture.  Eventually, beginning with such films as Little Big Man, Jeremiah Johnson and then Dances with Wolves the whole bigoted view of America's aboriginal peoples begins to be stood on its head.

In this rich field of activity - the story telling of the primal Myth of the American Soul, Clint Eastwood emerges not only as its master, but in such films as Pale Rider and Unforgiven he uncovers in the former film quite spiritual dimensions, and in the latter the incipient reflections of the Consciousness Soul.

Consider now the basic aspects of this Myth: Evil takes hold of a community, and fear paralyzes the members of this community.  Then comes the individual, the one (whether a member of the community or a stranger-other) who has the courage to face down evil, even when the community itself (out of its fear) stands in his (or her) way.  In the early years these themes were painted in stark contrasts of black and white, even to the color of the hats the bad guys and the good guys wore.  As the Myth is worked with over the years, the stories become more and more sophisticated, and at a certain point the same Myth gets transferred into literature in the genre of detective fiction.  The hard boiled detective, often himself an anti-hero (as are many Western film characters), has to wander in the dark underbelly of society in order to right a wrong.

The Western writer Zane Gray begins to include spiritual elements in his works, but is mostly yet unknown outside small circles of fans.  It is really Eastwood who starts to explore these aspects in the more popular art of film, first in the movie: High Plains Drifter (1973).  In an interview years following the film, he offers in his laconic way of speaking, that he thought that his character could either be played as an avenging spirit come to this town, or as a dead man brought back to life in order to right the wrongs committed in the community.  Later, in the film Pale Rider (1985) [Revelation 6:8: "And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death...")] which Eastwood directed and starred in, he plays a dead man brought back to life (there is a scene were another character sees this man, who has come to town wearing a priestly collar, with his shirt off, and his back is covered with a half dozen scars of gunshot wounds).

In fact, the opening sequence of Pale Rider has a young girl, who is burying her dog that the evil doers killed in a raid on the community, praying to god for an avenging angel to come.  Needless to say, the Eastwood character kills the bad guys, saves the town and so forth.

As Eastwood matures, both as an actor and a director, he finally creates his Western masterpiece: Unforgiven (1992).  The film wins four Oscars, with Eastwood receiving two: as best director and for best film.  The main character is a former killer and drunk, now widowed, who in the beginning (in order to make some money) leaves his small children alone (they are perhaps ages 10 and 6) and goes off to kill (as in paid to commit revenge) a couple of cowboys who had badly cut up the face of a whore.  Nobody in this film is a mister good guy.  Everyone is wounded and troubled.  None of the moral questions (which are fundamental to the films themes) are unambiguous.

Eastwood has here instinctively found the core of the questions being faced by the Consciousness Soul (moral dilemmas in an age of ambiguity, which force the I to rely fully on its own inner resources).  Yet, he continues to mature and more precisely understand and observe human beings, and the next two significant films are modern and face the Consciousness Soul questions squarely (it is unnecessary in any Epoch of the Evolution of Consciousness for those participating in it to use the terms Steiner created.  They only have to see the core of the human questions, and then portray them in their art).

The first of these is Mystic River (2003), based on a novel by Dennis Lehane, and directed by Eastwood.  The film wins two Oscars for its principle actors (Sean Penn and Tim Robbins), and Eastwood is again nominated for Best Director and Best Film.

The story begins with a flash back to a time when two young boys watch a third (they are friends in Boston) be abducted by a unknown man who subsequently abuses the third.  Then we come to many years later, and the three become involved in a horrible crime (one's daughter is killed - he is a local petty criminal, another is the lead detective in this homicide, and the third (the abuse survivor) becomes - erroneously - a principle suspect.  Every character (including the wives and friends of the principles) confronts moral questions, each unique to their personal biography.  Few make what might be good choices in the abstract (idealistic), but between the novelist's vision and Eastwood's film rendition, the confusion and moral ambiguity seeps out of every corner of the film and almost every scene.  Nothing ends with clarity - no nice wrapped up package.  It is all too real, and the audience well knows that this is a slice of life they themselves have faced at one time or another at least in part.

Then Eastwood directs and stars in: Million Dollar Baby (2004).  The film wins four Oscars, Best Film, Best Director and two best acting awards for two of the principles (Hillary Swank and Morgan Freeman, besides Eastwood, who was nominated but did not win best lead actor). 

Eastwood's character, a boxing coach, becomes faced with a horrible moral choice, one that most of us would hope never to have to face.  He is also a practicing Catholic, who goes to Mass almost everyday, although he constantly fights with his priest about whether any of this religious stuff means anything anymore.  Based on a short story by F.X. Toole, the film leaves behind the multiple moral dilemmas of Mystic River and focuses precisely on one character and one principle question.   The character eventually denies his Catholic background, makes his own choice (clearly making a Consciousness Soul decision) and afterward goes on into (for the movie goer) a kind of unknown limbo which we can only imagine never leaves this character for the rest of his last few years of life (he is quite mature).

Not content with these triumphs, Eastwood next takes on the issue of war, in a time of the Iraq war, and directs two more wonderfully related films: Flags of our Fathers, and Letters from Iwo Jima.  In the first we see the Battle for Iwo Jima from the side of the Americans, and in the second the same battle from the side of the Japanese.  Letters sees Eastwood nominated (but not winning) for Directing and for Best Picture once more, while Flags is less successful in that department.  Since Flags actually tells a story about the American military in the Second World War, that is not heroic in its nature, the movie is not so easily popular.  In both, Eastwood once more highlights moral questions and their resolution, and most interestingly in Letters we see the struggle between the group soul and individualism portrayed, as a couple main characters try to step outside Japanese military tradition, and make in the moment individual moral choices.

Eastwood is, of course, not the only director in film to deal with Consciousness Soul questions, but he is easily one of the most gifted and focused (again never needing to do anything more as an artist but see the human world in which he lives).


Next lets look at the work of Neal Stephenson.  Stephenson is a novelist, and a genius.  Born in 1959, Stephenson is mostly seen as writing science fiction, about which he says: The science fiction approach doesn't mean it's always about the future; it's an awareness that this is different. [emphasis added, ed.]

Coming from a hard science background (family and early college), he makes a name for himself with imaginative novels of a unique character (Snow Crash, the Diamond Age and Cryptonomicon) and is nominated for and wins several awards in this field.  The latter, Cryptonomicon, actually explores a whole new field of literature (he is basically inventing this), which while unique, is still not yet recognized for what it contains and what it portends.

Cryptonomicon is part novel, part exploration of code cyphers and computers, part real history and part imagined history.  It is over 900 pages long and actually succeeds in being quite educational.  In this novel we get a glimpse of the later works, which do something with history that so far has only been imagined.

Owen Barfield, a significant anthroposophist and researcher into the mysteries of language (and what they can say about the Evolution of Consciousness) once remarked about the works of R.G. Collingwood (author of The Idea of History), suggesting that Collingwood was onto something special when he (Collingwood) said that all history is a history of thought.  It is, according to Collingwood, not so much that a certain event happened at all (such as Caesar's crossing the Rubicon), but more crucially what Caesar thought when doing this that the historian must discover.  Steiner's spiritual science gives us much of this kind of history, and Steiner himself suggests that in the future individuals will be able to do this - that is give us a history of what was thought - of the insides, not just a usual history of events - of outsides.

It is my view that Stephenson is able to do this instinctively, although no one really yet recognizes the significance of his genius in this regard.  Now I could try to demonstrate this with long quotes from his books, but sadly they really must be experienced (just as Eastwood's films must eventually be experienced).  All I can do here is present the idea of this kind of new instinctive cognition as regards the representation of history, and suggest that Stephenson is able to do this.  It will be up to the reader to engage his works, in particular those I go to next, in order to satisfy themselves as to how successful Stephenson has been.

Stephenson, after Cryptonomicon, took on the subjects of certain aspects of the history of the world, in particular mostly Europe, during the time (about 1670 to 1730) when Newton and Leibniz were arguing quite fundamental questions, whose resolution was essential to the future of physics and scientific materialism.  While this scientific debate was ongoing, there were also struggles among bankers and traders and buyers and sellers of financial instruments (stocks etc.), concerning the real nature of money, of trade, of currencies and the relationship between government and private individuals as to finance and banking.  A great deal that lives in modern civilization was being given birth in those years, and Stephenson has written six novels, collected in three volumes, for a total of 2700 plus pages, in which he recreates an imaginative picture of what was thought by the principles (real and fictional) regarding these and related questions.

Called the Baroque Cycle, the three volumes are also rich in story-telling, adventure, passion, secrets, plots and counter-plots.  Where a particular question might puzzle the reader, Stephenson invents fictional dialogs of explanation.  For example, a young princess (a real historical figure), travels by horse drawn coach for several weeks across much of central Europe in the company of Leibniz and another, who in response to the naive questions of the young princess are required to explain the nature of the arguments among the savants (the leading natural philosophers of the day).

In one such dialog, we find a fictional character and Leibniz explaining the significance of the counter ideas over the nature of matter (Leibniz wants to have his monads have consciousness, and Newton wants to have his atoms be mere things without consciousness).  In a later dialog they recognize in this moment that the course science takes as a result of these dialogs among the leading savants, will have enormous consequences for the future.  This later dialog is remarkable, and deserves some detailed hints as to its contents (it can be found beginning on about page 672 of the last novel: The System of the World).

The Hanover princess Caroline (a historical figure) brings to her drawing room in England two other historical figures (Newton and Leibniz) and a fictional character, Daniel Waterhouse.  She sets them the task of trying to settle a certain argument of which she has become aware (during the processes of education in her youth), concerning the relationship of matter and of spirit, or in another way: what is the nature of substance and what is the nature of free will.  Both of these were significant questions of the time among the leading thinkers, and Caroline is portrayed as being concerned with what kind of cultural future is to be born out of a resolution of these questions that leans too far in one direction at the expense of the other.

The ensuing dialog is delightful - that is it is a pleasure to read, and makes the modern arguments between such ideas as evolution and intelligent design (for example) seem lost and confused, because they have failed to keep in mind the more fundamental questions as Stephenson has so ably recreated them for his readers.  Steiner, of course, has not lost sight of this question, for his The Philosophy of Freedom (or Spiritual Activity) fully embraces the question of free will in the spirit of natural science.

The same methods of illumination are applied by Stephenson to finance, trade and the creation of money.  At various places fictional characters interact with real historical figures, and the underlying principles of these matters (which effect us now greatly) are examined in quite plain and clear language (something we have a hard time getting today).

In addition, the reality of the times and places are portrayed starkly.  The lives of the poor are not whitewashed to any degree.  We get to attend hangings outside London, wars in the fields of Europe. slave ships prowling the Mediterranean, parties at the Chateau of Versailles, arguments in the English Parliament, what it means to be a soldier for Kings of all kinds, what Cairo was like at that time, what the Alchemists (including Newton) were pursuing, how women had to dress during the winter in order to keep warm at the French Court, and on and on and on.

The world of Europe (and elsewhere) is so fully realized, in all its rich detail, that we can't help but feel we are there.  The novels are never boring (as history often can be), and over and over again we find language used in such a way that we go: oh, that's where that word came from that we use today.

There will no doubt be those modern historians or cultural anthropologists who want to argue with Stephenson, but they will really be jealous, for he makes us live in the time, intimately know the times, and most importantly understand the thinking (just as Collingwood suggested was necessary for history) that was giving birth to the world we live in today.

Most significant is that because of what Stephenson had been writing, and who his readers most ofter were and are, we can come awake to an instinctive Consciousness Soul teaching and teacher.  Stephenson cares about his subjects and his readers.  He has mastered all manner of questions and historical details, and then rendered for his readers (often the very geeks we recognize as responsible for the best in modern technology and advanced green biology) a true living history of the world in which we stand today. 

Consider the titles to the three volumes, which should not be seen as arbitrary in any sense: Quicksilver (not only does he here recognize the strange world of early chemistry, but also the mercurial nature of the changes going on at this time in history; The Confusion (everything has become indefinite, unformed, ready for new form); and, The System of the World (the questions are resolved, and science and finance and much else has now to move forward based on the questions asked, and then answered, during this period of European history (whether correctly or not).

Those familiar with the lifeless sense of the history that stands behind our present world conditions, will be graced with a great gift in these books, which are always entertaining, always informative and always intellectually engaging in the highest sense of those terms.   A lapse in conventional education regarding recent history, which had probably confused many young minds today, is in these books overcome.  To read them is to become more awake to the world that surrounds us.


Let us now take up another novelist, this time a woman, Ursula K. Le Guin, born in 1929, a half year before Clint Eastwood.  She has written so much and for so long, that it is almost impossible to categorize her work.  Much, as with Stephenson, seems to be in the realm of science fiction and fantasy, but as with Stephenson this is really a field of literature (relatively new) where one can invent stories in which to clothe ideas.  For example, rather than writing a philosophical treatise on the nature of gender sexuality, Le Guin writes an award winning novel (The Left Hand of Darkness - 1969) in which she creates an imaginary world through which she can not only raise the issues, questions and ambiguities, but demonstrate, through the imagination, how these matters might play out in life.

Here is some Steiner and Tomberg on social life and images and pictures: From Rudolf Steiner's Education As A Force For Societal Change:  In the future, social life will depend upon cooperative support between people, something that happens when we exchange our ideas, perceptions, and feelings.  This means that we must base our general education not just upon ideas taken from science or industry but upon concepts that can serve as a foundation for imaginative thoughts.  As improbable as this may seem now, in the future we shall be unable to interact in a properly social way if we do not teach people imaginative concepts.   In the future, we shall have to learn to understand the world in images.

From Valentin Tomberg's Anthroposophical Studies of the Old Testament: At the present time, the mission is different (the mission being the method correct for the average student of mystery wisdom in a particular epoch).  It consists in a thought knowledge endowed with vision achieved through the development of the forces of the conscience in order then to live powerfully in the creative word.

Remember, here we are coming to know American's who arrive at Anthroposophy naturally, and who are instinctively in the Consciousness Soul in their life of rights.

In Le Guin we have another instinctive Consciousness Soul artist, who examines the depths of human existence and potential using the imagination.  Now some may suggest that the classic novel, or even the modern more ordinary novel does this well, but in those cases we have a kind of spirit recollection (past looking gesture) coupled with a bit of spirit mindfulness (present oriented gesture).  It is human nature seen most often as fixed, settled and unchanging that novels outside the fields of science fiction and fantasy often consider.  In Le Guin (and others) it is spirit vision that is significant, as well as the ability to illuminate the present by changing the context imaginatively.

Similar in a way to Owen Barfield, Le Guin loves language.  She not only employs it with profound grace to render her thought into pictures (stories), but many of her stories focus on the significance of language itself (such as The Telling - 2000).  Moreover, she is quite interested in the spiritual dimensions of existence. 

For example, while her Earthsea stories and novels seem to be about wizards and magic, in fact they are morality tales.  Her question often is in these works: what do you do with power and why do you do it.  The power can be the great power of a king or a wizard, or the simple power of gossip and lies in a small community.  In The Farthest Shore, the old mage tells the young man, who doesn't know he is about to become a king (and thus have a lot of power), more or less as follows: The important thing to recognize is the balance:  When you lift a rock, while the ground underneath is lighter, your hand is heavier.  If you change the weather here, the weather elsewhere is also changed.  Every act has consequences far beyond what seems to be immediately true.  Would that modern day political leaders had such an education!

In the world of Earthsea, the fundamental power comes from knowing the true name of something.  Names are important, and this is a theme of significance throughout Le Guin's works. 

In what I consider her greatest achievement (she might disagree but like The Left Hand of Darkness it won several awards), the Dispossessed: an Ambiguous Utopia (1974), she creates two contrasting worlds that are neighbors to each other.  One world is the large moon of the other, a planet.  This moon is not airless and bears life.  At some time in the past, a group of people, in disagreement with the direction of the main planet's cultures. were asked to leave and go live on this stark and hardly habitable moon.  There they consciously created a society of anarchists (what would be a natural consequence of Steiner's ethical individualism).  To do this, their leader (a woman) invented a whole new language.  Taking the power latent in naming, she sculpts a new language that can not only carry their political ideals, but also the quite naturally more awake soul (psychological) realities of ethically free human beings.

Now Le Guin only instinctively does this herself, but as she just imagines that it can be done, she then works out bits and pieces of what this new language might be able to do.  Mostly she works with her characters, making the vision she has of a society - of people trying to raise children to be ethical individualists - live in the reader through her depiction of their thoughts and actions.

She is also, like Steiner and Barfield, a quite subtle thinker.  Consider the title, for example: the Dispossessed.  The world she imagines has a very definite set of ideas concerning the relationship of human beings to things - to personal property.  In fact, a common epithet in this community of free individualists is to call another a: propertarian - that is someone who sets more store in things, than in relationships.  Further, as children are raised, they are encouraged to be more other-directed by being challenged as egoizers or committing the act of egoizing - that is being self-centered.

In essence, as conceived by her, this community finds some degree of its freedoms by becoming dis-possessed - free of possessions.   In the first chapter, the main character - a man from the Moon, says this to someone who is from the home planet: "You see, I know you don't take things, as we do.  In your world, in Urras, one must buy things.  I come to your world, I have no money, I cannot buy, therefore I should bring.  But how much can I bring?  Clothing, yes, I might bring two suits.  But food?  How can I bring food enough?  I cannot bring, I cannot buy.  If I am to be kept alive, you must give it to me.  I am an Anarresti, I make the Urrasti behave like Anarresti: to give, not to sell...".

As a genius at story telling. Le Guin also tells her tale by alternating chapters from one world to the next.  In the first chapter, her main character is leaving to go to the planet-world from which his fellow anarchists once fled (200 years before).  There, as the novel unfolds, we get to see what he sees of what is essentially our modern culture, but from the point of view of someone raised in an entirely different fashion.  In the alternating chapters on the moon, we get the back story, to who he is and why he went on his journey.

Using the contrast between the two worlds, and the awake consciousness and moral sensibilities (not always certain at all, but quite ambiguous just as the Consciousness Soul age requires) of her main character, Le Guin not only comments on our contemporary society and its many flaws, but also on a possible ideal society and its many flaws (remember it is an ambiguous utopia).  Also, at the core of the whole thing she puts the problem of language and of meaning.  A great question arises here, for we are confronted with the idea of what could we do if we changed our language itself.  How could we take hold of our communities and our cultural life if we took a firm grip on the fundamentals of the meaning of words, and instead of letting their development take place sub-consciously, we intentionally craft all of it anew.

In this envisioning, Le Guin has shown us just what we might be able to do if (as I suggest), Western Civilizations is dying, and we are on the transition from a literate culture to once more an oral culture.  This may seem for some a degeneration, but if we take hold of this transformation and introduce into it new stories, stories carrying the true spirit of our age (as born out of Anthroposophy), we might just discover how to be far more creative than we yet imagine in our application of the new picture-thinking.

Le Guin has done this for us to a degree, albeit instinctively, for she has set the past and the future along side each other (the old no longer socially vital planet-world and the new more socially vital moon-world) enabling us, by this contrast, to see both with greater clarity and not too much vain idealism.  Yes it is utopian in its hunger, but ultimately human and ambiguous in its true nature.

If I was to teach a course on Steiner's threefold social ideas, I'd include, as necessary reading, Le Guin's social masterpiece: the Dispossessed: an Ambiguous Utopia.  Why?  Because while Steiner's threefolding ideas are quite significant, they are too ideal for the American Soul, with its quite practical down to earth need to solve problems.  Le Guin isn't advocating an ideal utopia, but she is imagining the concrete and human reality of such a social experiment (as ethical individualism), in a remarkably wise fashion.


Last, I want to introduce David E. Kelley, a writer of television scripts, who I call: America's Shakespeare.  Of the four, he is the most fully awake to the Consciousness Soul.  He is the principle writer (and later producer) of several television series: L. A. Law; Picket Fences; Chicago Hope; Ally McBeal; The Practice; Boston Public; and now Boston Legal.  In Picket Fences (about 1995), for example, he actually has a character say (the sheriff) at the end of a hard and morally ambiguous day for everyone: "you know, there are no rules anymore, we are all on our own".  It would be hard to imagine a non-anthroposophist more clearly characterize the human question at the center of the Age of the Consciousness Soul.

Kelley is a former lawyer turned Hollywood TV writer, and first comes to public attention in the late 1980's (1986-1994) as a major writer on L.A. Law.  When that show had a special 100th episode (it was extremely popular and won many awards) instead of a drama, this episode consisted of cast and crew interviews.  Richard Dysart, a lead actor, was asked about being in a drama where there weren't just a couple stars anymore, but rather a large ensemble cast.  His reply was surprising. He said, in essence, that the actors were not the stars of the series, but the scripts.  It was the ideas in the scripts that made the show what it was.  There was also a brief interview with Kelley as a principle writer, and he talked as follows about his practice:  I like to go into a room, alone, with a lot of legal pads and pencils, so I can be there undisturbed with my characters.

This bears some thinking about so as to not miss the special nuances.  Those who read this who write fiction will know this better, but when one is living dynamically in the imagination, the plot and the characters (when this art is at its best) take on a life of their own.  We write and record what passes before the eye of the imagination, but are frequently surprised.  Yes, we do some work in the beginning setting up the situation and the structural context, but once we set them free the characters begin to take on a life of their own.  The more we set them free, the more human they become and the more real.

It is also important to realize that most television writers might pen four to eight scripts a year and feel quite productive.  It is not uncommon for Kelley to do twenty to thirty, sometimes writing (or supervising) personally all the scripts for a series.  When Ally McBeal and The Practice were running simultaneously on two different major networks for a time, it was thought that in one or two of those years he wrote over forty scripts personally.

Three other characteristics of Kelley's work need to be noted.  One is how much actors like to play his characters.  Not only do they win all kinds of awards (for example, the lead female - Kathy Baker - in Picket Fences won a best actress  Emmy for three of its four year run; a major supporting actor - Ray Walston - won twice in the same series, which ran from 1992-1996.  In more recent times, James Spader has won three Emmys - 2004, 2005 and 2007, playing the same character - lawyer Alan Shore - in two series, The Practice and then when that had finished out its 7 year run, in Boston Legal), and you can actually see their love of this work as they get to speak the words Kelley has given them to speak.

The second characteristic, and probably the most important, has to do with an indication of Steiner's where he said that: English speakers are instinctively in the Consciousness Soul in their Life of Rights.  Kelley, as a former lawyer and an artistic genius, as he developed his craft more and more placed his characters in courtrooms.  Picket Fences, for example, frequently spent the first half to two thirds of its plot setting up a court case, where the moral and legal issues being dramatized could be discussed both legally and philosophically.

Lest we think Kelley is advocating a point of view (which he is not afraid to do), in the 100th episode of L.A. Law referred to above, it was described of him how he was able, through his characters to see every side of an issue.  No point of view was overlooked, or weakly presented.  Often the judges who had to rule (which is why Ray Walston as Judge Bone in Picket Fences won two supporting actor Emmys) could come off as modern day - yet quite human - Solomons (or as needed, Falstaff-like fools).

Consider a plot line from Picket Fences, with which the third or fourth year of the series began.  The town in Picket Fences, Rome Wisconsin, is a basically white rural community not too far from a large urban city.  A black federal judge in this large city decides to bus 400 inner city youth to Rome for the purposes of desegregation.  Kathy Baker, playing the town doctor, who has recently been elected mayor, decides to resist.  This crisis, a