Tragedy, Comedy and Whimsy

in Anthroposophia-Land

a contemplative review of the book:

The Event in Science, History, Philosophy & Art


Yeshayahu Ben-Aharon

contemplation and review by Joel A. Wendt, author of

The Art of God: an actual theory of Everything


- this review assumes some degree of familiarity with Rudolf Steiner’s life and works,

as well as the works of those he influenced, which includes this author -

The central question is: Why, given Ben-Aharon's authorship of The Spiritual Event of the Twentieth Century, he has now chosen to make prominant that far more materialistic  Event which belongs to Ahriman's Incarntion, rather than the true Second Coming of Christ, as was so beautifully expressed in the above book on which his current reputation rests.  That mystery I hope to illuminate below.

here is a link to my review of Ben Aharon's Cognitive Yoga, which I also do not recommend.

*         *         *

In case you haven’t been paying attention, the year 2012 seems to be living up to some of its prognostications and expectations.  In the USA the corn crop is failing, a couple of bankers are confessing they were wrong and won’t do it again if we just pass some laws to save them from themselves, while meanwhile a young man opens up with some guns at the latest Batman movie.  Says he’s the Joker, but he really isn’t all that funny.

Then there is Anthroposophy, the Anthroposophical Society, an AGM meeting in Ann Arbor in August, and various individuals running around selling their latest version of god’s awful truth (such as this book called The Event, and my latest: The Mystery of Evil in the Light of the Sermon on the Mount).  Either Shakespeare was an idiot, or in all of this drama on “all the world’s a stage" there ought to be not just Tragedy, but Comedy as well.

Here’s a tragedy: Rudolf Steiner was a very unusual man who has had and is having a profound effect on modern culture and civilization.  Ben-Aharon’s book hardly acknowledges him, sticking his name only in such paragraphs as this:

Actually, David Hume already discovered that Rene Descartes’ “I think” subject could never be found at all in his mental and soul researches.  Hume’s conclusion was that there is no mentally substantial “inner self” that can be grasped, taken hold of, and represented in the inner consciousness as an object,  and would it not have been for Immanuel Kant’s cunning recovery of this subject, through his transcendental analysis, a direct phenomenological line would have led us from Hume to Nietzsche, Steiner, Husserl, Bergson, Heidegger, and on to the 20th century post-structuralist thinking that will be studied in our later chapters” (page 46). 

I knew another thinker and writer who wanted to place Steiner on the same spiritual/cultural  plane as Joseph Smith, L. Ron Hubbard, Rev. Moon, and others with whom he was familiar in his own biography.   Can Steiner really be compared and made the companion of such as Hume, Nietzsche, Husserl, Bergson, Heidegger, Smith, Hubbard and Moon?

Someone is having someone else on, and I think Ben-Aharon too fell for the joke, or the cosmic whimsy if you want to be more - shall we say - forgiving.

Now these two individuals, Ben-Aharon and John Sterling Walker (who put Steiner in with Smith, Hubbard, and Moon et. al) shared a common biographical trait.  They both experienced a kind of spontaneous initiation process in their youth (early twenties), which arose before their souls were mature enough to pursue spiritual attainment in a way in which they might have otherwise earned it.  Their initiations were gifts - unearned, and as we know the warning: don’t look a gift horse in the mouth, really means that if you do look you are not going to like what you find.

I told John Walker a year and a half ago that in my view he had experienced a forced initiation, which seduced him against his immature will, and that the Being he thought was responsible for this spiritual event lied - i.e. it represented itself as one of the good guys, rather than divulge its real nature.  After all, wouldn’t that put the fox in the hen house, if Ahriman or Lucifer walked up to you and said: here is a free initiation and by the way it’s really going to screw up your head, because you’ll continue to grow up thinking  you are special, when your dreams for your destiny may well turn out to be a Nightmare on Elm Street.

Again, I think there is a joke here, because who among us would fail to be foolish enough to accept this kind of transformation, especially if the Being involved acts as if it was one of the good guys?  Was Walker, or is Ben-Aharon, bad or stupid?  Not in the least.  Its just that Loki and Coyote (the trickster spirits) are real, and some individuals will have the karma to be touched this way, for the world is complicated and even the Good Gods allow for there to be jokers in the wood pile.  When I was doing drugs in Berkeley in the early 70‘s, and then up until 1987 when I finally made it into recovery, I often thought (during my intoxicated fantasies) I was going to be a great world-teacher of the spiritual kind.  What I ended up doing is writing books only a few read, and ruining my health with junk food, coke-a-cola,  and lack of exercise.

The truth is harder to swallow in a way.  Walker and Ben-Aharon aren’t really tools at all.  They are just human beings with the right kind of normal vanity (something I’m very familiar with), and the role they are called upon to play in this life is not actually as special as they/we think (including me).  This role, while whimsical (a wise recognition of the role of the trickster spirits), can be turned into an object lesson for others.

That’s right.  The joke, or the cosmic comedy as it were, is that at some point we all fall from grace, perhaps hard (Walker died about half a year after I confronted him  with my own excessive judgmental passion).  So what this review is about is that.  We are going to look at Ben-Aharon’s book to see where it gets goofy, and what the goofiness can tell us as an object lesson.  And, by the way, if someone would do me that same favor for some of my works, I’d be very grateful.  I know its there - I just can’t see it, which is one of the reasons this introduction is important - to remind us that we do not see ourselves as clearly as do others, and that their seeing is for us an act of love.

The reality is that none of us who encounter Rudolf Steiner, and appreciate him even a little bit, understand that we are never going to be of that same stature - never, however hard we try, however much we dream and fantasize.   In a real sense we are “doomed” to Spiritual Science as my friend Elizabeth A. MacKenzie likes to say - which means we have karma and work and a personal biography in which we do not yet know how to work together.

Years ago I e-mailed Ben-Aharon seeking communal conversations and co-working, lamenting that I did not understand why the incarnate wise did not join forces.  Funny isn’t it how I included both of us in that characterization: the incarnate wise.  He bought into it too, but said he felt as if it wasn’t yet time for us to do so.

So here we are, influenced by Rudolf Steiner, and can’t find a way to talk to each other or somehow not compete, while trying to rise above the fray and stand out in some way.  Like I said above: vanity, pride, and/or doomed, as Liz likes to put it.

Now I am going to assert here that Ben-Aharon’s book has been influenced by the legions over which Lucifer and Ahriman have dominion.  Just keep in mind that we all are touched in this way, or as Prokofieff (another doomed and vain seeker) said to me in Ann Arbor in 2005: “None of us are perfect”. 

I hope to make of this book The Event a better book by exposing its flaws, and perhaps show others how to learn to see them.  In that I won’t be perfect, I’ll just be human, as are we all.  Such a review process is part of our doom - we really should meet together more often and work harder at science and empiricism and less at trying to stand out as individuals.  Elizabeth likes to point out that science is a “we" effort - we don’t do it alone.  But we don’t seem to get that, and for now this is the best that we can do as we try to express our individuality - for which a touch of whimsy is probably the best attitude.  We all need to learn to laugh at ourselves. 

In reality this is just plain funny - all these differing points of view proclaiming deep truths, yet which can’t seem to agree with each other.  No wonder the new-atheists think spiritual people have lost their reason.

the doubles and Ahriman - the joker is in us

Ben-Aharon seems to be writing a book on great advancements in human thinking in the 20th Century, but manages to omit completely Steiner and Steiner’s many very inspired students and their collective works: Waldorf Schools; biodynamic agriculture; anthroposophical medicine; Camphill Communities; Goethean Science; - it would be easy to write an extensive list of individuals and major advances in human understanding that far outshines what Ben-Aharon has pointed to in his book The Event.  This total Steiner-inspired work far exceeds qualitatively that to which he does point, both in a practical way, and in an wise way.

This is especially egregious given that Steiner was the John the Baptist figure - the voice crying in the wilderness of scientific materialism - in the true Event of the 20th Century: the Return of Christ in the Etheral.

If there is a difference to be noted, its that Ben-Aharon does properly go to what lives in the undercurrents of the main streams of knowledge, while the anthroposophical stream yet remains a minor note in the musical themes of modern cultural life.  That still does not justify him ignoring Steiner, however.

In particular Ben-Aharon leaves out the extensive discussions by Steiner of the major spiritual Beings toward which he pointed: Lucifer, Ahriman and Christ.  He also leaves out Steiner’s indications about the double complex.  To read The Event is to read someone who has every reason to be completely familiar with all that Anthroposophy and Spiritual Science have come to mean, yet who pretends none of it happened or is happening.  This missing element is so significant and so complete that in itself it is a finger pointing to the great flaw.  Something is encouraging subtle errors in Ben-Aharon’s thinking - something which itself wants to deny knowledge of Steiner and Christ to those human beings needing and hungering in the world for truth

For a long explanation, see my most recent work: The Mystery of Evil in the Light of the Sermon on the Mount, which is itself a small companion to a much longer work: The Art of God: an actual theory of Everything.  Here we have to go for a much shorter explanation, which the reader of this review should understand is based on the details elaborated in the two works just referenced.

An unfortunately too short summary:

The human I, whether we consider it to be inside us - inside our skin - or outside in the world, moves through life with intimate invisible to the senses psychological/spiritual companions: the threefold double-complex.  Here is a far too abstract (the map is not the territory) diagram from my research work of many decades:

Christ Jesus

Guardian Angel


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

human double 


the Divine Mother

... out of which I separate for emphasis, this sub-diagram showing the relationship between the human essence (the lower and higher egos as it were: - i-AM - and - i-AM) and the threefold double-complex:


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

[human (d)]

“A” stands for ahrimanic, “L” for luciferic and “d” for double.   For brevities sake, let us concentrate on the ahrimanic and the Being Ahriman.

Steiner pointed toward what he called the Ahrimanic Deception, which I call the Ahrimanic Enchantment (an artistic choice).  This is what brought into civilization materialism in all its forms, which Ben-Aharon writes about in the beginning of The Event when he describes the problems and worries modern civilization swims in and will likely face in the future.

Ahriman is the cold intellect alone, from one point of view.  When we think, as did the original natural philosophers, in a kind of intellectually detached fashion, this thinking produces all the concepts which Ben-Aharon wants to see overcome, such as: dead matter, abstract space and time, mechanical (predictable) systems and their social consequences such as social Darwinism.   For Ben-Aharon, we are now in a second revolution in science (The Event), which thinks instead that “...the human and the universe exist in continuous state of emergence ... in creative becoming and transformation.” (page 12).

What Ben-Aharon hasn’t asked is how and why the old conceptions came to be, because that would be embarrassing given that Steiner laid this effect on Ahriman’s Deception.  To Ben-Aharon the old just sort of happened, and the new as well is just sort of happening.  The causality element, which Ben-Aharon creates as regards The Event, is itself abstract, and mostly ambiguous - it just is, without bothering to explain it.  This is not good science of philosophy.

If we understand the past several centuries in the ways that Steiner encouraged, we can then think our way to a much different and more exact process by which present conditions arose.  Take for example the work of the Canadian anthroposophist Don Cruse.

Cruse pointed out (see his book: Evolution and the New Gnosis) that within the thinking of Darwinian biologists there was a subtle process at work, and this concerned the use of the metaphors by which macro-life processes were described.    He pointed specifically to the term: mechanism, remarking that this word really only has one possible meaning, which is connected to human creation.  If biologists wanted to really speak of a mechanism of random and chance induced process in the development of living organisms they should not anymore use the term mechanism, because such a term can only mean something created through a means similar to human intention.  Human beings create mechanisms, something chance and the random cannot do, having no Being, or capacity for intention and purpose.

In fact, the term selection, in the phrase natural selection bears the same defect.  Someone has to select, or the word has no meaning.  Biology is littered with such defective metaphors, which then often become tautological in their formulations.  See here the work of the anthroposophist Ron Brady in his article: Dogma and Doubt.

Now this process in the mind of the biologist, which process chooses words to use in a metaphorical or figurative fashion, can be and is influenced by the threefold double-complex, which influence arrives in the mind via discursive thinking.  The mode of discursive thinking (not the only possible mode of thinking) takes the form inwardly of an internal dialog, between our spirit and our soul, or our self-consciousness and our consciousness.  We (our spirit or I) speaks silently (thus the term discursive) into our own awareness.  If we lack a certain moral intention in the process of discursive thinking - that is if we are somewhat asleep when thinking discursively, we will not notice how we use metaphor and figurative thinking to create the concepts, using a variety of words and terms. Into this sleepy process of discursive thinking the ahrimanic and luciferic aspects of the double can insert their influences. (for details see The Mystery of Evil).  Out of this process is then formed the Ahrimanic Enchantment of the Human Mind, in which all of modern civilization and culture is embedded.

This Enchantment is the result of a battle or choice taking place in human consciousness when the powers of the intellect fail to be guided intentionally by our moral nature.  When the hunger (Anthroposophy) for the moral and the true - the Christ Impulse - does not purposefully move the process of thinking, the raw power of the intellect will think by itself.  Given that the ahrimanic is often clever beyond our current ability to understand and manage, human concept creation processes are frequently deformed within us by this clever intellectuality - which often appears in various fields of thought in the simplest of ways.   From this inner enchantment process then arises the unwise use of certain terms and words, observed above by Cruse.

Even with our seeming best intentions we all will suffer failures at this level of semiconscious thinking, which is often the case in this otherwise wonderful book.  My original review of this book had to be withdrawn, two days into its publication on my website, precisely because I was myself enjoying being so clever in analyzing Ben-Aharon’s book, as well as being “swept away” by my anger at Ben-Aharon for leaving out the true significance of Steiner.  All of us can make these kinds of errors of thought, which is why we need personal encounters and critical shared thinking within scientific communities to navigate the obstacles to truth common to this Age.  Scott Hicks challenged me, and this led then to the reconsiderations appearing in this second effort to come to terms with Ben-Aharon’s latest work.

If we read Ben-Aharon carefully we can come to see the same influence still present, that was present and led in prior centuries to materialism.  Let me give a couple of examples of clever thinking ...

He writes about insects: In other words, they transcend time and speed altogether, and control their flight as a whole from a virtual plane, beyond time and space (I follow Bergson and Deleuze’s use of the term “virtual” to mean the infinite potential of a thing.) (page 7)   The problem here is that in standard English the term virtual means simulation, and redefining it is clever, but not good.  Why?

Because we need to keep the reader’s consciousness in mind.  Regardless of how hard we try to cleverly create brand new concepts, or redefine terms, the naive reader will read the term in its ordinary meaning.  So Ben-Aharon, if he wanted to wash the feet of his readers (have a moral relationship) would have been less clever - less ahrimanic, and more inclined to say what he meant than trying to invent new language.  He doesn’t need to use “virtual” in this new sense ... he could say instead (in all cases when the term “virtual” is used): infinite potential

Another example ...

He writes on page 33, concerning Katzir’s work: That is, when the isolated  particles are gathered together, they enter into an interaction of becoming, that allows “creative emergence” of something that was not there at least explicitly before, a whole not only much greater but essentially different from its  parts, a new material and new function.  And it gives expression to a singularity , self-creative and self-reproducing in and through its greater environment.  Again a new use of the term “singularity”, but which has another meaning altogether in general usage - once more Ben-Aharon is clever but not good.

E.g.: The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology is a 2005 update of Raymond Kurzweil’s 1999 book, The Age of Spiritual Machines and his 1990 book The Age of Intelligent Machines. In it, as in the two previous versions, Kurzweil attempts to give a glimpse of what awaits us in the near future. He proposes a coming technological singularity, and how we would thus be able to augment our bodies and minds with technology. He describes the singularity as resulting from a combination of three important technologies of the 21st century: genetics, nanotechnology, and robotics (including artificial intelligence).

Now these distortion processes through the clever use of meaning are not just in the writing by Ben-Aharon - they are everywhere.

What is worse is that these influences are subtle, in much the same way that biologists were led to use the terms mechanism and selection with their latent meaning of human intention, while trying to point toward chance and the random.  Ben-Aharon seems to want to point to creativity and emergence and becoming, but borrows terms in general usage with other normal meanings.  Not only that, if we look for a causal explanation of this “becoming”, we are left with what appears to be an essentially mindless process, rooted itself in matter.

He frequently quotes scientists to the effect that matter is itself becoming - in fact kind of disappearing in the sense of the older conceptions of thingness, going mostly toward ... what?  From page 18: It may turn out that humanity is the first place in the universe as we know it, at which the infinitely creative cosmic formative forces become conscious of themselves.

Steiner here is turning over in his grave, for the terms “formative forces” are his creation, and here they are borrowed to suggest that these forces were never before conscious of themselves.  Yet, Ben-Aharon has to know that for Steiner nothing in the whole Creation is not the actions and will activity of Beings, including the ethereal formative forces about which Steiner spoke over and over again, and which have been applied in practice in all those works and places inspired by Steiner’s life.

Ben-Aharon also plays loosely with the term “organic”.  He writes often of “non-organic life”.  This too turns ordinary concepts inside out.  If he was meaning to be precise he would write of non-material organic life - seeking thereby to shed the older idea of organic matter as dead matter, and while he seems to mean this, it is not clear, but rather confusing.   He writes, page 38:

Properties and functions believed to be restricted to living organisms alone are now discovered in all other systems.  It seems that vast fields of “non-organic life” are penetrating deeply into realms that were traditionally guarded as the realms of lifeless matter.

I, for example, have been writing about the social organism as exhibiting organic properties for decades.  That is social forms are born and die, transform and undergo metamorphosis - i.e. they are living.  So Ben-Aharon again doesn’t need to create the term “non-organic life” to describe places (such as the social organism) where life processes are active.  In addition, if we have understood Steiner, we will know we don’t have to change reality, but rather change the mode of thinking itself.  To go via the latent potentials in thinking away from the perception of “thingness” (materialism in concept formation), we simple discover how to shift thinking from thinking-about to thinking-with.

He also wanders into territories concerning which his knowledge is weak, for example his use of the term “disorder” on page 38 and then 39 as well, in this way:

In open systems that constantly receive and exchange energy, information, and formative forces from their environments, entropy is just a register that measures the amount of disorder that a system produces as a byproduct of its self-generation and development.  That is, it tells us how much disorder is needed in order to create new order out of fresh chaos. 

If Ben-Aharon was familiar (as he could be with modern thinking on these questions), he would know that David Shiang has proven logically that the idea of disorder does not really describe Nature (see Shiang’s God Does Not Play Dice and On the Absence of Disorder in Nature).  He would also know that the Steiner student Ernst Lehr’s book Man or Matter shows that true chaos is not random as we are taught to think using modern terms, but rather is the older (pre-scientific) perception that there is a causal realm which is properly called the realm of the uncreated and unformed, from which then issues the will forces of invisible beings who organize matter (even the dreaded organic matter) via the formative forces.

But then Ben-Aharon seems to want these days to have nothing to do with Steiner or Anthroposophy.

Please keep in mind that I am a fan of Jesaiah Ben-Aharon, having followed his career, and read more than once all three previous books he wrote.  I dedicated my book on The Art of God, to him, and to another ... here is what I wrote in his portion of the dedication:

To Jesaiah Ben-Aharon, easily one of the wisest individuals on the planet, whose books fascinate me, and with whom I find myself more and more wanting to engage in furious argument ... his book on The New Experience of the Supersensible is occasionally so abstract, it is nearly unreadable (but, unfortunately, worth the effort at deciphering); and whose book America’s Global Responsibility, seems to contain in the background undertow of its thought, some kind of ancient and terrible Jewish Mother injunctions radiating too frequently all manner of guilt on just about every American, all the while being for the most part tragically factually true; while his book The Spiritual Event of the Twentieth Century will eventually be recognized as one of the first authentic Gospels (Good News) of the true Second Coming of Christ ...

Now he calls himself Yeshayahu, which apparently he was named all along.  Even so he seems to have gone in this book The Event a bit off the rails, which perhaps suggests that like all of us he was always flawed (due to his unearned initiation?), and as he has now matured, his flaws are becoming more apparent.  This book on The Event is very much in opposition to  the work and influence of Rudolf Steiner, and while I can speculate as to how this happened (which I on occasion do here), in this review I will mostly be demonstrating the problems with the text: its polemical defects, its illogical leaps, and what is most wrong in my view: its denial of the significance of Steiner’s youthful philosophical works, and his later in life influence on so many others. 

Keep in mind that I do this in the context of using the review to expose general conditions applicable to all thinkers in contemporary times.  Via the threefold double-complex Ahriman turns us away from the truth.  He does this as part of a process through which we are forced to wake up inwardly, especially in the realm of understanding the relationship between our moral nature and the thought content we produce.  Absent a conscious moral intention, thinking will slide into errors of thought through the influence of the sub-conscious.  All of civilization is under this influence regarding the unrestrained and unredeemed intellect.

Take for example, this from page 137, in the section called: Deleuze-Foucault (D&F):

“Now the concept of discourse delimits a path that leads to the operation of de-actualization in the field of the thinking of language.  It opens the way to free the thinking of language from the accustomed language of thinking, while the concept of  subjectivation marks the direction in which thinking must proceed in order to appropriately problematize the actualization of ‘subject-hood’ on the plane of immanence.”

This made me laugh, which is why in part I used the terms Whimsy and Comedy and Tragedy in the title of this review.  It wasn’t just the conceptual nonsense being sold here, like so much new-age junk psychology, but I also knew how often in certain phases of my own development (especially when I was actively using drugs) I would write like this and believe I was making sense, and thinking in terms that related to real human qualities.  I wasn’t.  I was intoxicated with the luciferic - the sense of self as sitting on high and making pronouncements of importance for others.  In effect as I read this (and many other similar sentences and paragraphs) I was also laughing at my self as much as laughing at what Ben-Aharon wrote.  Pride of knowledge is a dangerous intoxicant for whoever succumbs to it, for it is something we all do at different times.  Just consider the damage caused by the all-knowing gossip.  Again, it isn’t just Ben-Aharon who can succumb to these temptations.

It also may be possible to enter deeply into what he is trying to mean here, and bring it down to Earth, out of Lucifer’s intoxication-realm.  In addition there is much in this book that suffers from the curious confusion of those born in the Center of the Threefold Social World.  This involves the tendency to think in the ideal (or idealistically), and believe that such created concepts will make sense to those who live either in the East or the true West.  They don’t.  The East lives in the memories of the Cosmic - the Heavenly, the Past, and the West lives in the concrete potentials of the Future - in the most Earthly.  The Center abides in between, where  High Art is born, but Art as we all should now know is not  good for communicating the specific and the concrete.  Art is too much a matter of personal taste, with the artist’s taste (in this case the writer’s taste) dominating.

It is possible to live into Art and receive much, but the Age of Science requires the concrete, the exact, the empirical and the reproducible.  That’s why Steiner created for his supersensible experiences the language of Spiritual Science, rather than a loosely organized mysticism.  That’s why Steiner began his life with working on and solving the problem of knowledge.  And that is also why America is to play a special role in the future development of Anthroposophy.  Knowledge processes in the Third Millennium must come down to Earth.

Steiner was not just any other philosopher in the stream of German Idealism, leading eventually to French post-structuralism or post-modernism.  Steiner was the scientific discoverer of the real nature and potential of thinking, appropriate to our time, and the consequences of that discovery have led to embryonic changes in science and culture and religion far beyond what Ben-Aharon seeks to point out to us in those realms of thought he seems to wish to use to replace Steiner’s works and cover over Steiner’s influence.  In this Ben-Aharon has sided with the opponents of the Christ Impulse, who Steiner named Lucifer and Ahriman.  There is too much of Lucifer and Ahriman that has been allowed to live in Ben-Aharon’s book.

You are right to ask why.  A friend of mine suggests the following: Ahriman doesn’t bother seeking to derail the ordinary human spirits working in our time, but rather goes toward those whose genius might well tower over the rest of us, precisely because if he can twist their work and their destiny he accomplishes a great deal.  In a way, it is a mark of Ben-Aharon’s genius (as with Prokofieff and others who seek - but failed - to accurately represent Steiner to the world), that Ahriman has attacked him and Lucifer has subverted him.

Partially what this means is that this review seeks not just to show the flaws, but if possible reclaim, from the ahrimanically and luciferically sowed confusion, the best of what Ben-Aharon has perceived and wishes to draw to our attention.

the choices of writers in the Age of the

Consciousness Soul

The central existential aspect of the Age of the Consciousness Soul (our time) is the striving of the individual for spiritual (inner) freedom, in the form of uniting with the good and the true.  Writers can write their works in a way in which this striving for individual inner freedom is enhanced (we wash the feet of the reader), or they can seek to persuade and dominate those who read their works - seeking to impose a specific view as if that is the only view that can be had.  It is the mark of the influence of Lucifer and Ahriman when a writer uses the power of the word to dominate another’s thought and thinking.

This domination is accomplished in multiple ways.  One way is by omission - that is to leave out relevant material, which is yet the possession of the author.  Another way is to insist that facts have an absolute meaning, or that truths too can be absolute.  The former is to defer to Ahriman, and the latter is to defer to Lucifer.  See in this regard, Catherine MacCoun’s remarkable: On Becoming an Alchemist.

A major saving grace is found for the writer when they understand what Steiner called: Goetheanism, and which Tomberg (the author of Meditations on the Tarot: a journey into Christian Hermeticism) earlier in his life recognized in this way, as: qualitative characterizing picture thinking.  This conscious mode of thinking, which sacrifices its individual subjectivity to the phenomena, need never argue about what is or is not real.  This thinking only describes what is experienced, and by doing so reveals (as Goethe proved) that the correctly described phenomena are the laws, and that one need never seek for any explanations behind these most basic facts as they appear to a disciplined sense perception and to our careful picture thinking.

In my experience, the world so embodies the Divine Mystery that in every instance this world speaks to us, directly, all of its secrets.  They are hidden out in the open, and thinking only need surrender to their Being and describe what it perceives.

We might also note that Ben-Aharon’s books The Spiritual Event of the Twentieth Century, and the New Experience of the Supersensible were both published by Temple Lodge, while his book America’s Global Responsibility was published by Lindesfarne.  This book on The Event was self published via an Internet on-demand publishing company.  No editor save himself was required as would have been the case with Ben-Aharon’s first three books. 

This is a badly written book, and very likely would have been (and might have been) rejected by an actual publisher.   At the same time I need to confess that this is exactly what I do - I use to self publish, finding editors a limitation for their not having the same artistic taste as I do myself.  Yet, I do share my works with others, and from readers receive a great deal.  This fact of the on-demand world - that the book consists of ones and zeros on a server - allows me to constantly upgrade and change the primary file as readers make comments.  Perhaps then, the next time this book on The Event is reconfigured, Ben-Aharon will correct such obvious technical errors as calling William Blake by the name Black (see page 14), as well as reexamine certain aspects of his whole approach.

{late addendum, written on 12/9/12: It is a curious and sad fact that Ben-Aharon has refused to permit me to join his Facebook discussion group on this book.  We have to wonder what he fears about having his works examined by someone such as myself.  That he excludes me is a fact.  Why, is a mystery.}

The Event

What is The Event?  To a certain extent it takes the whole book to “delimit” this concept.  What he seems to be trying to speak to is his perception that a kind of general change is undergoing all knowledge processes in mankind, at least in the leading edges of Western Culture.  Thus science, history, philosophy and art give evidence of this change, but the change is happening (or about to happen) to all of us in some way.  We are changing, and he seeks evidentiary support for his view.

One point he makes is what he calls the second revolution in science - a new paradigm emerging in the latter half of the Twentieth Century.  One problem here is that if we look on Google for a “second revolution in science”, we find historians of science referring to the years from 1830 to perhaps 1950 - not to the 1930‘s and toward our present.  Another problem comes when Ben-Aharon tries to appropriate the thinking of Thomas Kuhn in his 1962 (Ben-Aharon says 1964) book: The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, which book reintroduced to modern language usage the term paradigm.  Ben-Aharon seems to think Kuhn redefined that term, which is reasonable and somewhat true, but when I read (page 23) Ben-Aharon’s description of Kuhn’s ideas I hardly recognized them (this is a book I’ve read multiple times). 

That’s why I used the term appropriate above, and this situation with Kuhn made me wonder what else Ben-Aharon might have appropriated to his use and in support of his conclusions about The Event.  Another typical formulation involves references to “St. Paul’s insight”, on page 126, but never quoting the relevant verse or verses at all.  This lack of sources is everywhere.  There are many names, but mostly Ben-Aharon seems to want us to infer that what he is writing is rooted in the work of others, a matter usually accomplished with quotes and evidence of scholarly research.

Now I don’t mind him writing a book in which he is being mainly intuitive - that’s what I do.  What I do mind is his implying constantly that his thought is rooted in the work of others without showing, through quotes and references, just why that is the case.

There is then, in the logic-tone structure of the whole book, a kind of appearance of what very much seems to be thinking to a foregone conclusion.  He knows where he wants to go, and forgets the importance of the means, concentrating only on the ends.  The danger here is that the wish may become the father of the thought (Shakespeare: King Henry IV, Part Two) .

What was particularly odd, as pointed out above, is that in the section on Science in Ben-Aharon’s book that there was no mention of Goethean Science, as inspired by Steiner.  No mention of: George Adams’ work on projective geometry; Ernst Lehr’s book Man or Matter; Schad’s book Man and Mammals; Schwenk’s book Sensitive Chaos; Grohmann’s two volumes on The Plant; Hauschka’s book: The Nature of Substance; Bott’s book on Anthroposophical Medicine just to lay out a missing few.  Then there is the work in agriculture: Biodynamics.  The research on weather by Dennis Klocek, including Climate: the Soul of the Earth; as well as Chester’s recent work on the Etheric Heart and the seventh platonic solid. 

As also pointed out above, given Ben-Aharon’s obvious anthroposophical background and credentials, it is clear that he cherry-picked his sources in support of his personal view of the meaning of The Event.  To admit to the work and direction of Goethean Science, and Steiner’s relationship to that impulse, would require of Ben-Aharon a significant adjustment as to what he is trying to sell in this book.

An important point to note, is this, from page 142: Since the 1930‘s, and more forcefully since the middle of the 20th Century, a highly creative force has been streaming into human becoming [emphasis added, ed.].  My spiritual research (as well as Elizabeth MacKenzie’s) has shown that Ahriman incarnated on Christmas Day 1950, in a mockery of Christ’s mode and time of Birth.  Would we describe the Being of Love as forcefully coming toward human beings?  A lover does not force on us his/her attentions - we are courted, and nothing that we change is involuntary (which marks Walker’s and Ben-Aharon’s initiation experiences - they didn’t consciously ask, seek or knock).

Here is another quote on The Event, page 127 at the beginning of the section: Re-actualization:

“Working on the plane of immanence, with fully singularized forces of the event of virtual actualizations, we master the capacity to perform re-actualizations, re-incarnations and re-territorializations on any level and in any field of embodied matter, life, cognition and social life.” [emphasis added, ed.]

This idea of us becoming masters made me think of Matthew 4: 8-9: Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”  This is, according to Steiner, the first temptation of Christ in the desert, belonging to Lucifer.

Or this from page 124:

“Third, virtual actualization’s main operative power is made of the reversed intensive energy invested in the formed embodiment.  Now it is wholly distilled and purified, and becomes infinitely intensified and it directs itself to motivate and actualize the virtual creative actualizations and individuations of the event itself on its own plane, with its own forces of non-organic life.” [emphasis added, ed]

Besides all the clever use of language, to what does “it” or “its” “power” refer?  Not whom or who.  Not a Being, such as Christ, but a disguised nameless force?

Something is not right here!

the core issue

Ben-Aharon notices a problem.  He notices that ordinary consciousness seems trapped in a logical impossibility.  Our collective view of the world (for most of us) had been described by those in the business of trying to describe this view as something some modern philosophers (such as - perhaps - Nietzsche, Steiner, Husserl, Bergson, Heidegger, Foucault and Deleuze) see to be in error.  We have a view, but the view is in error, or so some believe.  They discover this “error” through their own investigations of the phenomena of consciousness, and Ben-Aharon agrees.  Steiner, by the way, does not belong in this list at all, which will become apparent soon.

Ben-Aharon creates his argument by referring to the “theory” of this view (rather than the experience - a significant choice).  That is he takes this view, and tries to destroy the conceptual edifice raised by intellectuals - their theory.  The theory goes like this, using some of Ben-Aharon’s language:

We have sense experience.  From sense experience we make representations or mental pictures.  The mental pictures are not the same as the object of sense experience.  Further, we make mental pictures (representations) of ourselves as subjects relative to these objects of experience.  But the representations even of our “self” are not the real.   This term: the real, is an important term for Ben-Aharon.

So there is then, the real and against this our representations (mental pictures), including our representations of having a self - which concept or theory he describes as a little man sitting inside our brain receiving neurological impulses from the sense organs.  Since the representation (the mental picture) is not what is sensed, none of our representations are the real, including our sense of self as the person having experiences.  Only what is out-there, being sensed, is the real; and, this includes our self, which is not in here, but instead is out there too.

Now if the reader of this feels a little like they have stepped in some mental quicksand, they are correct.  The logic is, after a fashion, flawless.  The problem with Ben-Aharon’s statement of the problem is that he has mis-stated it right from the beginning.  Why did he do that?  How did he do that?

As to why I can only guess.  He went looking for something, and thought he had found it, and that it was a great thing he had found.  Not only that, he sensed others were finding it too, so he called this broad cultural change in perception, where the real was being investigated outside the limits of the older theory: the Event.  People in many fields, according to Ben-Aharon, were finding this limit and flaw of the represented mental picture (either instinctively inwardly or as a philosophical assumption) and its failure to be the actual thing perceived (the real).  Not only that, but some were trying to develop their consciousness so as to get to what they thought was the real.  They were seeking to find the real in themselves in the outside real, rather than in the theorized inside, which is, according to this point of view, not real.

Let us assume for the moment that from a very limited point of view this is all basically true.  That is, that my sense of my I as existing in an interior place inside my skin is not ultimately true, and that if I want to find or know my real “I” I have to find it outside in the same place the real is - the place which is not represented in mental pictures.

Ben-Aharon seems never to have read the anthroposophist Owen Barfield, particularly Saving the Appearances: a Study in Idolatry.   Barfield is smarter and wiser than Ben-Aharon, as well as smarter and wiser than most of the people Ben-Aharon wants to suggest are involved in The Event.  I, for a fact, know he is smarter and wiser than me.  Barfield saw this problem (a common failure of thinking and perception) coming, and having detected it, solved it, while at the same time not having to make wrong or in error ordinary consciousness and its normal mental processes of representation.

Barfield saved the Appearances of this common experience/perception of there being a world outside and a me inside my skin.  He did this by noticing what Rudolf Steiner had pointed out, namely that consciousness evolves.  Barfield described in a Goetheanistic manner these changes of consciousness.  Next a brief exposition of his major observations ...

First there was original participation.  Human beings felt they were inside Nature, or to use Ben-Aharon’s terms, that they were inside what we today call the outside.  In his book on Coleridge (What Coleridge Thought), Barfield noted that Coleridge called the next state of human consciousness the perception of “outness”.  Namely that we, as a shared common experience, think the world in a way in which we are “separated from it”.  So original participation finally (a long term process) gives way around 1500 to this outness or what some call: the onlooker separation.  First we are inside the world that we perceive with our senses, identified with it, and then that world pushes us out of this inside, and into a perception of “outness” or separation.   Following this, according to Barfield’s perception, is to come final participation.  That is we will once again unite with something, which we might today call Nature or Spirit, but even that too is evolving.

Ben-Aharon recognizes this, but in his hurry to get ahead of the curve of this change, he exaggerates almost every fact giving evidence of this kind of change.  The first 30 plus pages of his book are mostly polemical - that is he pushes at the reader how important this Event is.  How unique and everywhere seeming to fix and overcome the dangerous past which led somehow to the ideas of dead matter and so forth.  He is barely descriptive (Goetheanistic), but mostly argumentative.  He wants to drown us in his ability to reason us toward the conclusion he has made (the wish that is father of the thought).  Our spiritual freedom of thought is not as important to him as it is for him to be the harbinger of what is in his view a great change, which he calls: The Event.

See me, he says by his deeds as a writer and thinker and philosopher.  See how smart I am to be a part of this, and to know all these fields of knowledge (which is not true for anyone familiar with many of the fields in which he finds changes supporting his assumptions).  He doesn’t know as much as he believes he knows - a tragedy for all of us as he is a quite gifted individuality.  He is going around the world now, recently in America, trying to lead us toward his conclusions of the existence, and significance of The Event.  I do not dispute his observations, but rather dispute his exclusion of the facts of Steiner’s work, and the ultimate meaning of his observations when taken account of in the totality of our possible understanding of our Time.

In anthroposophical terms we have here a very peculiar problem.  Ben-Aharon seems to want to wake us up to a state of consciousness now, that is not really of our now.  Final participation is not now, because what is now in the evolution of consciousness is “outness” - the experience of separation.  We have much to learn in this state, and we need to recognize that it is this very state of separation that allows our I to grow and mature in freedom.  It is no accident the good gods led us out of original participation and into the onlooker separation - a state that is to last for many many centuries.  Details in support of some of this can be found in my book: The Art of God.

What Ben-Aharon wants to describe, as a philosophical or theoretical error, is necessary for human beings to go through.  In Steiner’s works, he describes as true evil the bringing in of something from the future before its true time.  Ben-Aharon is helping this evil manifest, by making the argument that our sense of outness is not real.  This which he argues for is false - our sense of outness is real.  Even Christ said in Luke: the kingdom of heaven is inside you.

It is the ultimate real which changes and evolves over time.  Ben-Aharon’s real is a made up conceptual contradiction between ordinary consciousness and an imaginary or luciferic fantasy advanced state into which we will later grow naturally - in thousands of years.  He seeks to hurry this up, and to do that he has to deny that the separation - the condition of outness too is real.

Lets come at this from another direction ...

Rudolf Steiner wrote three books early in his life on the problem of knowledge - the very knowing that Ben-Aharon wants to dispute: A Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe’s World Conception; Truth and Knowledge; and, The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity.  In various lectures Steiner spoke of the problem of knowledge in this way - I paraphrase ...

The human being is inserted in the world in such a way that the world’s real nature is divided in two.  From one side (our sense organs) we experience the world of the senses, and from the other side (our experiences related to thinking) we experience the world of thoughts.  The world of the senses has an “inside” just as we do, and it is through our own “inside” activity - i.e. thinking - that we directly apprehend the inside of the outer world.  Thinking is the door to perception of the inside of the outer world, and to understand and practice this perception in a living way we begin with Goetheanism - that is we just describe what we see. 

The outer world of the senses is mostly a necessary given of surfaces.  The descriptions that thinking produces (the concepts) are then the inside of what the senses experience (the surfaces), because the two insides are directly connected.  [Steiner describes the mental picture or representation as the bridge between percept and concept]  This enables us to reunite what is otherwise split without ever changing the sense experiences (the percept) into something else.  This is why Goethe described what he did as: reading the Book of Nature, for these surfaces - these appearances - are embodied.

Just as we know we have an inside that those who look at our bodies do not see, so the world too has an inside.

Here are Steiner and Emerson on the fundamental question:

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.

We also have to learn to describe the world of thoughts as well - that is we have to think about thinking.  In this world of thoughts we find mental pictures, generalized concepts, pure concepts and ideas, as well as all manner of different modes of thinking and moods of feeling.  Note that Ben-Aharon stopped at mental pictures or representations in his presentation on the so-called error in the theory, as if that was the totality of thinking’s inner creative experience of thought.  Lets examine an example:

I see a specific book, and I make a mental picture or representation of that particular book.  I also acquire the generalized concept of books, which allows me to recognize all such quite distinct objects as members of the same category, namely they are books even though I can also have a separate mental picture of each individual book.  My mind can go further in that I can create the concept: bookness.  With this pure concept I can make a metaphor (what poets and true philosophers do), and which Goethe did when he said he learned to read the “Book” of Nature.  This use of bookness as a metaphor draws us toward what can be called a pure concept as against a generalized concept.

Beyond this comes the “idea”.  Steiner called
ideascomplexes of concepts.  So for example the idea of Darwinian Evolution, while having a simple name as a totality, is in its details many quite different concepts combined (for the philosophy of science significance of this see Brady’s Dogma and Doubt mentioned above.  Eventually the seeking to perceive the real nature of “ideas” leads us to what I metaphorically call: the garment of Beings.  These thought-forms are the clothes of otherwise invisible Beings (revisit in this regard Plato’s Allegory of the Cave).

Now this perception of the world of thoughts, and its many kinds of forms of thoughts (mental pictures - representations; generalized concepts; pure concepts; and, ideas) requires that the thinking/perceiving/beholding pay attention to the content of the mind, in much the same way we pay attention to the sense world.  We seek a science of the mind and discover there much that otherwise we would not notice.  Ben-Aharon, and those upon whom he relies - especially the French post-modernists, seem not to have made a very good empirical introspective observation of the mind.

I always thought that Ben-Aharon understood this need for an empirical study of the own mind, given his writings.  It is now beginning to seem that he mostly accomplished his writing as an act of pure intellect, not on the basis of a true introspective science of the mind.  Keep in mind what the nature of the pure intellect is, absent the Christ Impulse - i.e. absent a conscious moral intention in the thinking.  This pure untamed and unredeemed intellect is naturally ahrmanic.

Here - in an empirical investigation of the mind - we again encounter the concept/idea of an “inside”, via the term introspection, or looking within (the related word to introspection in English, in German means: soul observation, which is what Steiner uses in his The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity).  Even the term or concept within does not need to have the spacial limit Ben-Aharon wants to give it.  Steiner, for example, also pointed out the importance of a new geometry - projective geometry, which gives us the spacial laws of this within that we encounter when we examine the mind properly.  These spacial laws establish that this “within” actually leaves three dimensional space behind.  It is at its beginning two dimensional, which turns us again to Tomberg’s characterization of Goetheanism as: qualitative characterizing picture thinking.

Further, if we read (and why Ben-Aharon apparently has not is a wonderment) George Adams Kaufmann’s (a Steiner pupil) Physical and Ethereal Spaces, we will come to the knowledge that projective geometry describes accurately this transition, and further that it accurately describes the peripheral cosmic life forces (or Steiner’s “formative forces”).   The imagination activity in Goethe’s exact sensorial fantasy (picture thinking) is filled with these peripheral cosmic life forces as they arise in the mind.  When we think in the right way, we are within the world of spirit in its ethereal form.

Like a lot else he does, Ben-Aharon appropriates projective geometry concepts in support of his foregone conclusions, such as here on page 140:

“The process by means of which subjectivity is produced is, according to Foucault, a real projective-geometrical inversion of the external-world-circumference outside in, creating an inner space as a ‘fold’ of the open infinite  world.”

What is this picture thinking in reality?  It is our imagination, which if we investigate the pictures we create with this power of imagination we will discover them to be “flat” as against having any depth similar to what we see when we look at the sense world with our “pair” of eyes.  The mind’s creative and imaginative spiritual eye is singular, and in a way sees all.  The return of the imagination or picture thinking, in our time, is part of the return of the Divine Sophia, or sometimes of Anthroposophia (which is why the title to this review is: Tragedy, Comedy and Whimsy in Anthroposophia-Land)

There is more, which Ben-Aharon has overlooked and which his sources of inspiration (Ahriman and Lucifer) would seem to want to have us never see “inside” ourselves.  This includes the role and influence of feeling and willing on the nature of concept creation.  Details of this, and other modes of thinking which we can discover “within”, will be found in my book: The Art of God.

What’s the problem here?  It would appear that Ben-Aharon never made the adventure of self-knowledge which Steiner urged we take in a scientific and empirical fashion through his early-in-life three books on the problem of knowledge.  As a consequence Ben Aharon cannot see in himself, or recognize in others, the Christ centered evolution of consciousness potential in our time.  That Ben-Aharon finds sympathy with certain writers and artists only shows that they too have not made this scientific (empirical) introspective adventure, and have only been able to find a new development of their intellectual prowess through embracing the ahrimanic aspect of their soul life (see my book: The Mystery of Evil in the Light of the Sermon on the Mount, for details).

This is precisely what Steiner meant with:

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.

can we redeem the non-confused aspects

of what Ben-Aharon was trying to point out?

Ahriman, the Father of Lies, does not tell completely false stories, but rather twists and turns matters, which otherwise contain great portions of the true.  All of us have in our world conceptions (or paradigms), aspects of the false and the true mixed in together.  I am certain my own writings would not pass everyone’s judgment as to their accuracy.

Also, especially in Ben-Aharon’s case, I had the feeling that it was important to Ahriman to destroy the righteous aspects of Ben-Aharon’s early works, as well as to interfere with the general cultural understanding of the significance of Rudolf Steiner.  Ben-Aharon, for example, plans to write another book: Cognitive Yoga, which I assume is a how-to book on thinking-cognition.  I suspect the ahrimanic hierarchies want, especially given Ben-Aharon’s mostly well-earned reputation for his book The Spiritual Event of the Twentieth Century, to halt any possible development of a Christ-centered cognition from becoming known.

Recall once more the quote from page 142: Since the 1930‘s, and more forcefully since the middle of the 20th Century, a highly creative force has been streaming into human becoming [emphasis added, ed.].  The 1930‘s Ben-Aharon understands as the beginning point of the experience by human beings of the Return of Christ in the Ethereal - what to the naive Christian is called: the Second Coming.  What Ben-Aharon does not yet know (apparently) is that Ahriman incarnated in the physical, as pointed out above, on Christmas Day, 1950, bearing the name Karl Christian Rove (see my book American Anthroposophy, and the essay therein called: Outrageous Genius for details).

As Elizabeth MacKenzie’s research points out, this Ahriman Event was preceded by Ahriman’s Star in the form of atomic explosions in America and Japan - another mockery of the Christ-birth Events.  She has also noted that post his incarnation, and in the apocalyptic year 2012, we have had from theoretical physics the fantasy discovery of the so -called God-particle.  This is perhaps why so many (such as Ben-Aharon) having noticed the more forceful aspect appearing in the middle of the 20th Century, such that the French Post-modernists experienced this directly in their philosophical discoveries as an enhancement of intellectual potential.

Please keep in mind that what is being pointed out here is a general condition in humanity that is not recognized in practice even in the Anthroposophical Society, where knowledge of Ahriman’s Incarnation is resisted, and as well accurate knowledge of the working of the double is resisted.  Ben-Aharon and the French philosophers are all caught up in the intensity of Ahriman’s Incarnation and its effects on the intellectual consciousness throughout humanity.  The Ahrimanic influence is everywhere in human intellectuality, although in many souls this is balanced out by other Christ Impulse elements which too are appearing.  Many people naturally and instinctively refuse to be guided by this cold and powerful intellectuality, and instead prefer those thoughts that come from their warm hearts.

That which is the dream and hope of the beginning of this book on The Event contains many elements of the Christ Impulse.  The Event is real, but the description of The Event in this book lacks subtle discernments, which this review/contemplation is hoping  to reveal.  Ahriman does want to continue the Enchantment of the Human Mind, and this book does not oppose that but rather furthers it.

Ben-Aharon’s The Event then notices the battlefield, but cannot yet discern the spectrum of seeming opponents.  Christ and Ahriman together make for the The Event, while Ben-Aharon is somewhat predisposed to see only the positive Christ side (the wish that fathers the thought) - a confusion common to almost all of humanity, and one that only really consciously can be overcome via Steiner’s work on the problem of knowledge.   This age is after all, even as recognized by Steiner, Ahriman’s Time.  The Event could not but be stamped with his presence.

Further, Ahriman is not evil, but rather resistance and excessive order.  Read The Event carefully and you will see how at one moment Ben-Aharon has a grip on the free and life giving aspects of The Event, and then in the next moment slips and slides into metaphors of power and dominance and control - anything but Love.  Ben-Aharon was able to write as a much younger man of the Return of Christ in the Ethereal, but not of the Second Eucharist in the Ethereal regarding humanity's adventure toward the discovery of personal and individual moral freedom (see my work).

To be more concrete:  We need to recognize that the will-in-thinking is not about intellectual power (or genius), but about attention and intention.  In addition it is the moral intention that creates Christ-centered thinking.  Ben-Aharon knows renunciation is involved, but not having traveled as far down that road as is possible, and have his own intellect be so strong (his genius), the difference within the soul life between Ahriman and Christ is not so easily visible in its effects.  So a thinking that is Christ-centered involves the intention of love, as well as a renunciation of certain aspects of our “self”.

All of this to some degree Ben-Aharon senses, but cannot fully grasp.  He studies middle-European philosophers, but not American comics and anthroposophists.  Wisdom wears many guises and thinking manifests the sacred in a variety of ways.

People of the Center (the middle sphere of the threefold Earth) as well do not have doubles as strong and as vivid as those in the true West.   No research on the threefold double-complex since Steiner has been done, except mine (once more: The Mystery of Evil in the Light of the Sermon on the Mount).  The ahrimanic is therefore far more subtle in the Center, and requires greater discernment for not being so obvious.  We in the true West - the Americas - have an advantage, as it were.  Being pragmatic rather than idealistic, our relationship to flaws and such is more common - more ordinary.  This is one of the reasons Alcoholics Anonymous and the Twelve Steps were born here.  The journey to the earthly (the non-ideal-imagined-real or heavenly) is normal, where in the Center their idealism seldom acknowledges that it can be fallen.  Certainly the French post-modernists did not think of their philosophical discoveries as polluted with the dark as well as the light.  Yet, they most certainly were, for to repeat Prokofieff: none of us are perfect.

The Event, as conceived by Ben-Aharon, is embryonic, but not supposed to arrive.  The consciousness of outness and separation needs to have time to unfold all its potentials.  Humanity is not yet ripe enough to step across the boundary and threshold once more into unity with the All (Barfield’s Final Participation).

Ben-Aharon recognizes individuality, but only as a general case.  Yes, we individualize, but more than that we are becoming over multiple biographies highly differentiated.  No human being is destined to be like any other human being.  The general characteristics of human beings will be overwhelmed with the unique characteristics of each separate individual spirit.  All can love and be wise, but no one will love or be wise like any other.  Steiner suggested each individual human being is as unalike any other as are different species of animals.  We are as different from each other as are an ant and an elephant. 

That we have DNA and bi-lateral symmetry are superficial similarities.  Our individual spirit is to be unlike any other.  This knowledge Ahriman and his hierarchies wants to deny us.  Better we should seem all the same, a theme deep in the background of this book on The Event.  If all the same, then how silly is love.  But true love is hard precisely because we are so unalike.  Being hard - that makes it all the more worthy to pursue. 

thought as noise

As I read the last quarter of this book I found myself no longer making notes in the margins - no longer trying to grasp any meaning.  I had, years ago, taught myself how to enter into the thoughts of a writer and to surrender to that thought-stream - how  to set aside self-thought for other-thought.

As I read Ben-Aharon now, I am left simply dizzy.  I grasp no meaning, and oddly can’t find him at all.  I realize that were I to ask him a question, if and when face to face, there is no way he would  answer me but with more noise.  He would speak, but no meaning would arise.  As a reader I mean nothing to him, for he wants not to tell me anything, but rather only to take me up into the whirlwind of his own too often chaotic thoughts as if that was a place were the meaning of The Event would grab me and heal me of my no longer viable or useful ordinary and separate  I-consciousness.

There is no room to breath as a reader - no space for me.  I don’t exist in his view’s assumptions and neither does he.  The words too often rush down the page, tumble and fall rapidly unconnected to any point or purpose  and then next rise like a rocket seeking to leave the earth behind for some kind of space he alone inhabits.  In these moments all is untempered speed.  And this done with the uber-idea that he is giving me something I need, which only he has.

We don’t need more well-intentioned spiritual teachers.  We really only need for individuals, who have begun the exploration of new kinds of knowledge, to provide a service as guides.  Why does he not realize he is torturing his readers?  So much of the language has been crafted with new meanings, such as “virtual”, “non-organic life” and in particular the very strange usage: “reversing the reversals”, that it is nearly impossible to identify with his thought stream and find thereby its meaning.

Years ago I read, in Tomberg’s Meditations on the Tarot - an extraordinary work of religious meaning, that to meditate upon or contemplate evil was to lose one’s creative elan.  Tomberg there describes true evil as a luxuriant jungle, all unbound growth and chaos.  Until I read this book of Ben-Aharon’s I had never known a thought-stream that so often felt this way. 

Always before in my reading of the higher principled writers, such as Steiner and his many coherent pupils, they meant me no harm, but rather only wanted to illuminate.  To read George Adams or Ernst Lehrs was to be lifted higher into the sublime world of thought.  Ben-Aharon seems to think I need to be destroyed in an unrestrained undisciplined outpouring of concepts and ideas, formed in alien ways, lacking coherence and beauty. 

If Ben-Aharon is accurate in his understanding of many French post-modernists, then they too have succeeded in so far deconstructing meaning as to fall into the deepest thought-abyss possible.  Each quote of their’s Ben-Aharon gave me felt filled with the same conceptual chaos.  No wonder the French of late have had such a hard time relating to the non-French.  The shared meaning of human relationships is, on their undisciplined path, been shredded.  Just consider how many of the French post-modernists lived isolated lives.  This isolation from others is what the undisciplined ahrimanic intellectuality creates.

I can’t recommend to others to read this book, and I fear for those who do.  With luck they will not surrender to his thought-stream, but rather go inwardly asleep in some way to be thus saved from what has to be called: the too frequently chaotic rushing thought-life.  Again, there is truth here, but the style of presentation belongs not to the Christ Impulse.

Once more, Tomberg’s Meditations on the Tarot illuminates the underlying problem.  In that book Tomberg speaks of the luciferic legions as creating a stream of thought and of consciousness where those so influenced are: swept away.  The I consciousness of modern human beings needs to be loved and honored, not swept away by a point of view that believes itself right for this time, and which wants to be bowed before.  Again, it is not the individual concepts, but the manner in which they are presented - their frequent breathless rush and high level of abstraction.

I can love Ben-Aharon, but will not join him.  I can see parts of what he saw that ought to be noticed and reclaimed from this disaster and tragedy, where some turns of phrase are so convoluted as to be comic, in the way comedic pseudo-violence (such as by the Three Stooges) endlessly makes us laugh because otherwise we would cry.

Ahriman would destroy the I, leave our physical human existence empty of spirit, and Ben-Aharon has unconsciously given him a great tool with which to reach such a terrible goal.  Nor is Ben-Aharon the only modern thinker pushed in this direction.  At the same time, if we can discern the subtle themes living in this book, then it can serve purposes beyond The Event, and become a wise cautionary tale regarding all excessive excursions into pure intellectuality. 

some last words, his and mine

Ben-Aharon uses over and over again an unusual word: virtual.  In the summa of his book he uses it many times, and prior to that he suggests he is using virtual as an analog for spiritual.  The book seems to have been written in English, and the word virtual is apparently an invention of a French playwright  Antonin Artaud. In his seminal book The Theatre and Its Double (1938), Artaud described theatre as “la réalite virtuelle”....” (from Wikipedia)  In common English usage today the English word virtual means a simulation, i.e. not real (for understanding, look to the three films on The Matrix).

On page 205 he writes, concerning a new organ of consciousness:

The forming process of this organ condenses a clear and transparent space of stability and peacefulness, at the crossing point of the cosmic and macrocosmic streams, through which the vortex is formed as described above.  It is formed right where the two streams meet and fight each other.   The place in which the vortex of metamorphosis is formed, is in the midst of mutually exchanging, replacing, constantly reversing, forces.  There, through the mutual life and death and rebirth processes, a virtual organ of metamorphosis is formed.  I wish to call it here the crystal of consciousness.

Here is the great clue as to whom this work owes its inspiration.  There are no Beings here ... only forces and processes.  This is Ahriman’s version of Steiner’s Occult Science: an outline.  Steiner shows in that book how all of The Creation comes from Beings and is given to the human being, but in Ben-Aharon only nameless forces and processes, whose object is to create a crystal-like organ.  This is the hallmark of materialism in physics and biology - no creative spiritual Beings,  just blind forces and processes, lacking intention and purpose, character and love.

Here is from my article Outrageous Genius, on Ahriman’s Incarnation, in my  book American Anthroposophy:

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. ... 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” ...

Ahriman wants to create a vehicle for his kind of consciousness to occupy - without compassion or love, and essential indifferent.  This is because he is the near-God of the lawfulness of geometry - all that we know and experience is rooted in the nature of Beings.  The laws of geometry do not care ... they just are.  And Ahriman is the source of these uncaring and indifferent laws.

It should come then as no surprise that the being-less forces and processes seeking to create a virtual (simulated) organ of consciousness, would cause it to take the form of a crystal.

As the book concludes, all manner of anthroposophical understandings are turned on their head.   There is, according to Ben-Aharon, only one Guardian of the Threshold, not two, not a Lesser and a Greater Guardian.  Only the Lesser Guardian, only the double: “Arial Hirschfeld offers a fine description of such a self-meeting with the double ...” (page 212).

Rudolf Steiner is said to agree with with Nietzsche: Like Nietzsche, Rudolf Steiner also contended that modern, rational, historical science, born in the 19th century, and the historiography written it its vein is but a dream convinced that it is full wakefulness. (as with most implied quotes of this kind, no source is given).

Much of his last words imply, as a source, that he has a special form of perception.  Here he finally states this claim plainly (page 205):

“What is described in this very book is being perceived and researched by means of this organ of consciousness.” [emphasis added, ed.]

This organ refers to the “crystal of consciousness”, and the sentences noted above about that language of forces and processes, were in fact preceded by the sentence just quoted.  Where this takes us now is to the hidden question in the whole text: By what means does Ben-Aharon claim to know that of which he writes?

Certainly not by the means of research fostered and modeled by Rudolf Steiner.  Ben-Aharon has gone out on his own, and seems to want us to believe (without actually stating it) that he alone is now the spiritual leader of humanity that was to have succeeded Steiner.  Yet, in his own biography we find admitted that his initiation experience was by Grace and not earned.  Only after does he take up the study of Spiritual Science and Anthroposophy.  Here are his own words from an interview edited by Scott Hicks and then published on the Facebook page for this book on The Event.

After some remarkable but unconscious preparatory soul- and life-experiences and processes, I felt one early evening of spring 1975 that the inner and outer walls surrounding and blocking my soul were beginning to crumble down. I felt that my entire soul was opening up and that a stream of unknown life of great beauty and intensity was flowing in and through me. It was a true revelation that continued off and on for a whole week.  [emphasis added, ed.]

The reader of this review needs to keep in mind that what is being suggested here is that Ahriman initiated Ben-Aharon, helped him to understand the Second Coming in a particular but limited way, yet at the same time was ready to betray his pupil when the time required it, by making Ben-Aharon into the vehicle for the overshadowing of Steiner’s work, and for a hiding of the reality of the Christ Impulse on the Dawn of the Third Millennium.


The last section of Ben-Aharon’s book is called: resurrection.  But neither he (apparently) nor Ahriman (certainly) understand this profound act, which was modeled for all time over 2000 years ago.  Only human feeling can understand resurrection, and Ahriman has no human feeling.  Here is something from my own works on modern thinking (from In Joyous Celebration of the Soul Art and Music of Discipleship):

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. ...

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). ...

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.

Resurrection is preceded by Descent.  Christ on Saturday falls (surrenders) to/through Hell into the arms of the Mother (expressed so eloquently in Michelangelo’s Pieta).  From the Mother He then receives the Love needed for Resurrection.

However, this just written cannot be understood in an act of the intellect.  Nor can it be communicated by mere words.  I cannot give you this, nor can Ahriman or Ben-Aharon.  Only when we surrender to letting ourselves feel love from another human being does there arise in our experience what all this means.  We do not experience it in loving, but only in receiving the feeling that goes with being loved.  This knowledge is pure experience, to which we may later attach a concept, but without the experience we are empty. 

In the Pieta She holds the fallen God, which in our deepest reality we all are.  She receives Him but does not judge Him.  All that She is, is living in that act of receiving and holding.  She abandons Her Self to this act.

That this book on The Event approaches this Divine Mystery without noting that it is a Divine Mystery tells us all we need to know.  Here is the sin against the Holy Spirit that cannot be forgiven.  Whether Ben-Aharon has committed this sin is an open question, but surely Ahriman has, which reveals the destiny I once saw for him in a by-grace gifted vision, with Ahriman curled up in a ball, lying at the feet of the Holy Mother sobbing and begging for forgiveness at the End of all Time.

we are all fallen


unknown even to ourselves

strangers to all that is,

until some odd time

some faint dream

when once more

we abide at peace

no longer striving

Ben-Aharon’s book, The Event in Science, History, Philosophy and Art wisely notices a major part of the cultural impact of the untamed intellect and its struggles to redeem itself.  The real Event is with us, not outside or inside, but with.  To tame and redeem the power of the intellect we need Him as much as He needs us: “I am with you, every day until the culmination of time.”  The last sentence of the Gospel According to Matthew.

But the power of the intellect is part of us, not outside or inside, but part.  It is in the realm of the human, of the tenth hierarchy, where the creative struggle to overcome the division between Self and Other is played out.  So we have then been created able to give birth to that which unites in love and in peace - the Christ Impulse - to the end that we are no longer parts, but rather whole.

In Rudolf Steiner’s statue: the Representative of Humanity, Christ is neither holding at bay or beckoning Lucifer and Ahriman.  Rather Christ is acknowledging them and with them, just as He acknowledges and is with us.  As my friend Elizabeth MacKenzie likes to say, quoting Steiner: We are seen.

Tomberg, again in Mediations, has put the whole matter very beautifully.  For love to exist, there must be three: the lover, the beloved and the love that lives between them.