Listening to the World Song
part two

Macro and micro aspects of the Mystery of Evil in Modern Times,
as these play themselves out in the social-political organism of humanity

by Joel A. Wendt

The Mystery of Evil is the profound riddle of the Age of the Consciousness Soul.  Especially today, with humanity caught up in its many tribulations and trials, there is nowhere we can turn where we are not confronted with this Mystery.

Rudolf Steiner gave us many indications, particularly with respect to Macro Evil, in his illuminating discussions of Lucifer, Ahriman and even the mysterious Asuras.  We are also told how it is that Christ confronted this Mystery in the 40 days in the desert, following on the baptism at the Jordan.  

How is it today for us as individuals, is perhaps an even more crucial question.  Steiner was less explicit as regards the problem of the Double(s), although for most people, who study anthroposophical Spiritual Science, consideration of the Double(s) is seen more closely involved with their (its) role as the Lesser Guardian of the Threshold.  It is almost as if we see the problem of the Threshold as far away, and therefore the study of the Double(s) languishes.

Our relationship to the Double(s) are certainly more personal, and for that reason alone have to be approached with a great deal of caution, but nonetheless, if we were to place in proper relationship a number of Steiner's indications, otherwise spread out over a variety of sources and places, it becomes possible to see that the Threshold and the Problem of the Double(s) is far closer at hand than we ordinarily imagine.

We are told in Theosophy, for example, that to the extent the soul makes a connection to the Good and the True, it makes a connection to the Eternal, and this is defined as the Consciousness Soul.  Now if we ask ourselves whether or not it is possible to make a connection to the Eternal without a Threshold experience, we perhaps might begin to see something of the nature of the problem.  Steiner also said on many occasions that all humanity is in our time crossing the Threshold, albeit often unconsciously.  And finally, he said, in the Challenge of the Times, that English speaking peoples are instinctively in the Consciousness Soul in their Life of Rights, while Central Europeans have to be educated to the Consciousness Soul.

If we weave together these (and other) various indications, we can begin to see that our biographies in the Age of the  Consciousness Soul, in that they place us again and again before personal moral dilemmas, invite (force) thus our participation in the problem outlined in The Philosophy of Freedom, with regard to which Steiner used the terms, moral imagination, moral intuition and moral technique.  As a consequence, at the start of the current age of Michael as the Time Spirit, Steiner placed before the world his epistemologies as the Spiritual Scientific means to knowledge, so that at this the Dawn of the Third Millennium the members of the Michael Community on the Earth are confronted in their biographies with the problem of raising into consciousness that aspect of the Consciousness Soul involving knowledge of the Good.

As this is a Threshold problem, then at the same time the issues of the Lesser Guardian naturally arise as well.  At the threshold of making an awake approach to the Good, via moral imagination, moral intuition and moral technique, we also confront the Double(s).

While some might then consider this a problem unique to the Michael Community on the Earth, the fact is that this same issue is being confronted everywhere at this time, but especially first among English speaking Peoples.  In America, for example, groundwork was laid in the late 19th Century, at the same time Steiner had published The Philosophy of Freedom (1894), with the publication of the novel In His Steps (1897), written by Charles M. Sheldon, a young pastor in Kansas, such that the same problem regarding moral imagination, moral intuition and moral technique, was in this work of imagination addressed for people of simple faith.

Steiner was for us like a King in the Gospel stories, who attended the birth of Jesus because of initiate knowledge (the Star in the Heavens).  He was a priest-king (initiate).  Sheldon is like a Shepherd in the Gospel stories, whose knowledge of this matter depends upon inspiration from an Angel, via his faith-filled imagination.  With Sheldon his novel once published, seems to sleep for a time, then to be met by a re-awakened interest in the 1970's in the What Would Jesus Do movement (a Christian faith-based response to the spiritual upheaval of the '60's).  This question in the soul (What Would Jesus Do) has the same consequence as our asking via moral imagination, what is the Good, in that for people of simple faith, in the Age of the Consciousness Soul, the highest imaginable Good (with considerable justification) is What Jesus Would Do.

Sheldon's novel addresses, in an imaginative fashion, and in words meaningful to the faithful, the same problems Steiner addresses with his ideas regarding moral imagination, moral intuition and moral technique.  Yes, there are subtle and not unimportant distinctions, but for our general purposes in trying to appreciate the wider processes of the Age of the Consciousness Soul, Sheldon's book is, for people drawn to Faith, the equivalent of what Steiner's book is for people drawn to Gnosis.

With this background to the present stage of development of the Age of the Consciousness Soul in mind, let us now return more precisely to Steiner's The Philosophy of Freedom, knowledge of the Good, the Threshold and the problem of the Double(s).

The tendency has been for many anthroposophists to imagine that clairvoyant experience, initiation and the Lesser Guardian are problems far down our path of spiritual development.  Yet, if we really listen to Steiner, and more crucially to our own biographies, then knowledge of the Good is more and more being demanded by the circumstances of life itself.  The logic (logos-nature of the ideas) is fairly straightforward:

1) life forces upon us personal moral dilemmas;

2) in the soul, the spirit (our experiencing and participating I consciousness) then reaches for knowledge of the Good in order to meet these personal moral dilemmas (we are inwardly unsatisfied with being dependent any longer on outside moral teaching, and feel compelled - it is an instinct for inner freedom in the deepest sense - to decide for ourselves what is moral);

3) our yearning for knowledge of the Good brings us to the Threshold in a natural way (heightened among English speaking peoples, by the moral dilemmas of the Life of Rights); [an explanatory hint: English speaking peoples, living more in a response-to relationship with the outer social world, react differently to problems in the Life of Rights, than do those Central European peoples, who more naturally live in the Ideal.]

4) and there, at this place within our souls, the Double(s) are very active in providing, just as with Christ in the Desert, those temptations that will inhibit us from fully awake knowledge of the Good.  [as an aside: We need first mastery of knowledge of the Good, to then afterwards properly approach knowledge of the True.  This means that for knowledge of the True, we have to stand upon an inner ground of the Good, or as Steiner points out in The Philosophy of Freedom: my actions are only free if I first self-determine the necessary moral ground out of which these actions arise.  This applies to all actions, including  that inner activity connected to seeking knowledge of the True.]

Let us turn now, for a time, toward a more intimate understanding of the Double(s).  Here, oddly enough, the best resource is an individual whose reputation within the Michael Community is routinely savaged - Valentin Tomberg.  His mission, with respect to helping re-awaken traditional Christianity, in the guise of the Catholic Church, to the return of initiation wisdom, has seldom been properly understood.  Too many anthroposophists thought in a comparative (rigid and abstract) way, as if the measure by which we know a person's spiritual maturity is to compare them with Steiner.  Those who would leave behind this error of thought, might do well to consider this from the Gospel of John 3:8: "The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know whence it comes or whither it goes; so it is with every one who is born of the Spirit." [emphasis added]

Tomberg approached the problem of the Double(s) in two places.  First, at the time in which he still wrote for the anthroposophical impulse, in his book: Inner Development.  He there describes three aspects of the double-complex: a luciferic double, an ahrimanic double and a human double. Then, later in his biography, while taking up the task of re-awakening people of faith to the wisdom Christ had placed in the Catholic Mysteries, he approaches the problem of evil in his book Meditations on the Tarot: a journey into Christian Hermeticism, in Letter XV The Devil.  Here Tomberg takes up the problem of the egregores, both in their macro social aspect, and in their micro soul aspect.  The term egregore we need to take to mean the same as the human double as described in Inner Development.

Thus, the double-complex includes a luciferic double, an ahrimanic double and a human double that is made up of egregores, which are self generated demonic-like entities that arise in the soul as a consequence of repeatedly giving into the temptations and ruses of the Double(s).  The classical idea of the drug addict, concerning the "monkey on my back" is an understanding of the egregorial problem with respect to human (micro) evil, and a clear distinction needs to arise between that and Macro Evil.

Macro Evil, in the sense of the work of the opposing powers, has an ordained place in social existence.  Via the two analogous Double(s), that is as micro evil - this also is an ordained structure.  Yet, because of human freedom, the human double or the egregores then arise as a form of evil outside what has been ordained.  It is this possibility of not only semi-consciously engendered human evil that needs to concern us, but more crucially: consciously chosen human evil.  It is consciously chosen human evil that is the Beast out of the Abyss (See Ben-Aharon's The Spiritual Event of the Twentieth Century).

To return for a brief moment to the Age of the Consciousness Soul...the problem of finding individual relief from the egregores in the soul has been addressed in a remarkably practical fashion in the Christ-inspired teachings of the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Back to our main theme...

With Steiner we are introduced to the idea that the Double(s) in the soul are related to the Beings of Lucifer and Ahriman, through a series of intermediary beings in the hierarchies of Evil, until such time as within the soul they (the luciferic and ahrimanic Double(s)) are in a proper equilibrium with the individual human spirit or experiencing and participating I consciousness.  Steiner speaks of this organism of Evil as gloves within gloves within gloves.

We are also taught, that the experiencing and participating I consciousness, due to its still developing phase of existence, very much needs the luciferic and ahrimanic Double(s) in order to accomplish certain tasks in the soul until such time as we are mature enough to take up these tasks ourselves.  In Tomberg's Inner Development, he describes this maturity as resulting on the one hand in the freeing of the luciferic double, and on the other hand in the pushing out of the ahrimanic double, suggesting for us that our relationship to these within the soul is not the same, a matter of no little practical import as we shall later see.

From Steiner, in The Philosophy of Freedom, we are introduced to three separate ideas: moral imagination, moral intuition and moral technique.  At each level, in our seeking after knowledge of the Good when facing an individual and personal moral dilemma, the trinity of evil within the soul - the three Double(s) - tries to interfere.  Let us now elaborate on the three positive actions we seek to take within the soul, as well as the usual (no hard and fast rules here) correlative aspect of the trinity of evil within us.

1) moral imagination is the formation of the question.  We ask, seek and knock concerning the moral dilemma we personally face in life.  The more consciously we frame the question (and the more accurately), the better ground for the next step. [here the main negative influence is the egregores, whose sterile and dark pleasures do not wish to be let go.  Unredeemed passions can create egregores, as can antipathy and sympathy (if repeated excessively concerning the same individuals).  Twentieth Century psychologies often called these: obsessive complexes ]

2) with moral intuition, we make a place for the answer.  In a very real way we answer the question ourselves, for at this point, in the Age of the Consciousness Soul, we stand upon the Threshold of the World of Moral Ideas.  It is in fact by Grace that we have this capacity to know individually the Good.  Our need will never be denied, yet at the same time it is what we sometimes call the higher ego to whom this knowledge appears and who speaks inwardly in the soul with the answer.  [as another aside: the lower I, is the i-AM (or the experiencing and participating I consciousness) as surrounded within our inwardness by the trinary complex of the doubles, while the higher I, is the i-AM within the inwardness free of this inner trinity of evil.  These are not separate natures, for the lower I and the higher I, are an unbroken continuum.  We are more asleep to our own nature as regards the higher I, but it is still there, and we move clearly into it when we take up the initial task of the Consciousness Soul Age, and seek to consciously make moral choices out of our own sensibilities of the heart.  Moral intuition is not just a thinking-perception of the World of Moral Ideas, but is more properly described as creative activity.  We participate (as Barfield so often pointed out) in these the coming phases of the evolution of consciousness. [here the main negative influence is the luciferic double, who, among other things, wants to save us the trouble of thinking for ourselves, and is quite ready to tell us what to do.  Below I will give some more detail.]

3) having determined the moral idea, the Good which the personal moral dilemma calls forth from our deepest nature, we now face the problem of bringing into incarnation this action.  This part of the problem Steiner calls moral technique.  We know what to do, but life is not simple and how to do the Good that we know is right to do, is a somewhat separate question. [here the main negative influence is the ahrimanic double, which would have us worship rigid and unchangeable rules, and apply only those to our shared social existences]

Each person has to make their own experiences here, for not only is the moral dilemma quite personal, so is the effort at interference from the trinity of evil in the soul something quite personal.  Here is some commentary to help with a few of these issues, from my book: "the Way of the Fool: Christian Enlightenment (initiation) and the Future of Christianity - some thoughts on the nature of human becoming (the evolution of consciousness) and the wise relationship of moral grace, freedom and love": (which can be found on-line at

"This then is the situation of modern humanity - this possibility to know individually what is moral in any given particular and personal moral dilemma, and which I have called here, precisely because the Divine Mystery participates in the creation of this potential and its
activation: Moral Grace.

"It is though an act of Divine Grace that we possess the capacity to know the Good (the Moral), and the True as an act of individual question and answering.  Moreover it is an act, which is clearly meant to enable us to be inwardly free of any confining and limited religious dogma.
The days of the authority of priests, or pastors and preachers, to define individual moral human activity are over, and it is the Divine Mystery Itself that has created in us this capacity to seek, to ask and to find.

"Naturally there are many questions, and I will try to anticipate and answer a few of them next.

"We can distinguish the act of knowing what the good (the moral) is in a given situation, from our acting upon that knowledge (moral technique - or how we carry out in practice our knowledge of the good).  That is we remain inwardly free to follow, or not, what we know to be right to do.
This has always been the case, and will always be the case.  Knowledge of the good and the true (What Would Jesus Do) does not compel.  We still must choose to follow this knowledge.  Recall what Sheldon wrote: "After we have asked the Spirit to tell us what Jesus would do and have
received an answer to it, we are to act regardless of the results to ourselves.  Is that understood?"  

"While Sheldon, the Shepherd, has understood then moral grace, he has not quite yet understood freedom.  He still has to preach, and in so doing instructs those who would take up this activity, that they "are to act regardless of the results to" themselves.  Sheldon understood moral grace, but not yet freedom - that which comes from distinguishing knowledge of the good from acting upon that knowledge.

"People will disagree concerning what is moral in a given situation, in particular if they approach the situation as if there was a rule that covered all possible realities.   So some will think that all killing or all abortions are morally wrong, and will judge others, who act contrary to their rules as regards such actions, as morally incorrect.  But this is not the question really being faced by Sheldon or Steiner.

"Nowhere in either work is the question put in such a way that we judge what the other person is doing.  We don't ask What Would Jesus Do, or seek a moral intuition, about someone else's moral dilemma.  We only ask these questions about our own moral dilemmas, and the operation of Moral Grace is such that we can only receive an answer to a question which is ours alone to ask.  The Divine Mystery has not said to us - look within and I will tell you what other people should morally do.  There are quite clear reasons why this is so.

"Each human biography is unique.  Yes, there are many similarities, but each of us is a completely different individual and our biographies are just as individual.  Simple observation shows us this.  This means that a moral dilemma in my biography, regardless of any superficial
comparisons, is in no way the same as a similar moral dilemma in yours. We are very much facing our own trials, and because abstract ideal rules can't really comprehend the nuances of the distinctions and differences, we have by Moral Grace the means to know what is right to do in our particular and unique situation.  The Divine Mystery has created us individuals, and Loves us as individuals and knows that our needs are also individual.

"The broader social implications of this we will face later, but for now we need to appreciate that Moral Grace only operates as individual knowledge of the good and the true (What Would Jesus Do), and in no way provides us any abstract rule or code by which to judge the morality of the other, the Thou.

"We can also do a poor job of asking.  We can be quite inauthentic and dishonest in how we frame the question, and we can also let ourselves believe we have an answer which is quite self serving and in error.   We are, after all, quite human, and there is good reason the Lord's Prayer
contains the plea: "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil" Matthew 6:13 {And do not put us to the test, but snatch us from the Evil One's clutches, ...}.  The act of asking the question in an authentic and honest way, and the act of listening inwardly in a selfless and open fashion, is not an easy act.  Much darkness in us will turn us away from the truth.  One way we can know that the answer is the correct one will be that it asks of us something we might well not like doing (which truth Sheldon understood, which is why he tried to insist that the knowledge be acted upon).  True moral activity is often difficult, and frequently comes with a cost (for a wonderful dramatic elaboration of this reality, see the film: Pay it Forward).

"In many ways, however, it all really comes down to practice.  We have to awaken inwardly and become active there.  Without our willing it, nothing happens.  Moral Grace needs our activity to manifest.  We have to sincerely ask, and be willing to accept the consequences of knowing what the right thing to do is.  We should expect to get it wrong, as often as not, for we are here speaking of a very subtle and real inner experience, that requires a certain discipline and silence in the soul in order to have the right space in which to appear.  We will also do actions we know are wrong.  We have asked and been answered and we do not follow the answer.  The activity of the Holy Spirit (moral intuition) does not beat us over the head inwardly, but is more like a
whisper, that well known small, still and quiet voice.  Knowledge of the Good does not compel action upon that knowledge.

 "[Here, from my biography, is a story told to me by someone of quiet personal grace (I will all in all probability get some of the details wrong).  This person described to me a situation where they were sitting watching some children at play, the children themselves watched over by their mothers.  The mothers chatted and then occasionally acted, not always just looking out for their own child, but often taking in and acting upon the whole play situation.  Now my friend on occasion sees Angels, and in this instance an Angel was sitting with her on the park bench.  At one point the Angel comments as follows "See, do." - in this way highlighting the moral activity (love) at the center of the overseeing of the play situation by the various mothers.  One first
sees, and then does.  Now this seeing is twofold, being both outward and inward.  One must take in the situation - the ordinary call to moral action (see the need to act) and know the good (see the moral nature of the required act).  In life, this seeing of the situation and the good (the required act) are often united in an almost seamless way, the one immediately flowing into the other, or "See, do".]

"So far then we have considered the Shepherd's Tale and the King's Tale, and seen their inner correspondence.  But life is often lived in many kinds of harsh circumstances, and some moral problems run deep, such that we seem almost possessed by evil and demonic forces.  As alcoholics and their families know, for example, demon rum is terribly destructive, as are all kinds of what we call addictions and other seemingly unchangeable habits of behavior.  But just as we have heard so far of the wisdom filled experience of a Shepherd (Sheldon) and a King (Steiner), so now we come to the wisdom filled experience of a couple of Healers, and the development of what are called: The Twelve Steps, applied in myriad places now, but originally created as the founding practices of Alcoholics Anonymous."

Here next, as a further way of illuminating the kinds of problems the double-complex throws in the way of knowledge of the Good, is some content from my essay: Concerning the Renewal of Anthroposophy: rediscovering the true meaning of the New Mysteries (which can be found on-line at:

"Some will think that the study of the Philosophy of Freedom is hard.  It might be better said that the work that seems to be hard is not the book itself, but the act of brutally self honest introspection that is required.  The book is merely a map to a territory, and we only learn from the territory, never the book.

"The territory (our own inner life) does confront us with the most difficult questions that come before any student of Spiritual Science.  For example, to fully come to terms with learning, in practice, how to produce intuitions of the Good, we have to face the possible fact of how often we fail to act from our true moral center.  In a sense, at the threshold of truly honest introspection, we run into our own fears regarding facing ourselves with equanimity and (as the recipe wisdom in Knowledge of Higher Worlds describes it) as a stranger.

"What we really run into at this threshold of true self exploration and knowledge is nothing but the first raw intimations of the complex of the Doubles.  It is the ahrimanic voice of this Double complex that suggests to us that we should fear this examination, and that we will find ourselves wanting if we do dare serious introspection.  The truth is that true introspection is an adventure, perhaps the most wondrous adventure that awaits us, and the reality is that for every bit of darkness we find inside, there is an equal portion of light.  Moreover, the darkness is not there to shame us (although shame and remorse are often how we can choose to feel concerning our inner actions), but to teach us.

"Seeking to intuit the Good, via the process of moral imagination, moral intuition and moral technique, is like learning to ride a bicycle.  We fall down a lot, and often hurt ourselves, but eventually we become skilled, and learn after time to see moral action as an art.

"At the center of the fear is the ahrimanic Double's whispering that we will have to love (that is that moral action finds its deepest roots in love), and certainly (according to this being) love is the most risky and terrifying act of all.  To love is to step into the unknown, for if we follow our impulse to love (the center of our heart), then who knows where that might lead?  We could get emotionally hurt, we might have to give up our life style, or share with others that which we hold dear, or all sorts of other actions that take from us what we do not want to give.

"Do you not know that this whispering is a lie?

"Yes, to open ourselves to love is to stand on an abyss, but the ahrimanic Double makes of this profoundly moral  act such a heavy and costly task, that we turn from it again and again.  Even so, Steiner (again in Knowledge of Higher Worlds) points us in the right direction when he says that for every step in inner development leading to higher knowledge, we must take three steps in moral development.

"Now moral development only takes place in life.  There are no exercises we can do by ourselves.  We can meditate all we want and study the dying and becoming of nature all we want, but until we face the nature of our own participation in moral intuition, we don't do the most essential work.  That by the way is one of the secrets - participation.  Intuitions of the Good are not announcements from a distant Father God demanding of us great sacrifices, but are rather gentle and tender presentments from our own heart of what the right thing to do is in a particular circumstance that is entirely individual to us.

"While the ahrimanic Double makes us fear love, the luciferic Double gives us images of love in its most grandiose forms.  According to the latter Double, we have to save the world, invite all the homeless to live with us, and sacrifice everything in order to love.  So the one makes us fear love, as too costly, and the other creates images of love as if we had to become some kind of super being.  In combination they steer us away from real and ordinary human love, until we ourselves learn to surrender to what lives already in our own hearts as an impulse to do the Good.

"We would do well to remember that Christ went to the Cross as a human being, not as a God.  His teachings on love are for human beings, not for divine beings, otherwise what would be the point.

"Christ lays this out for us clearly, in Matthew 11: 28-30: "Come here to me, all you drudges and overburdened ones, and I will give you a rest.  Put my yoke on  and learn from me: I am gentle and humble of heart, and you will find rest for your souls, because my yoke is kindly and my load is light."

"The act (or yoke) of love found in the individual search for intuitions of the Good is a far far lighter load than we imagine.  It really only comes down to finding the courage to risk the unknown in an inner questing for guidance to outer and inner actions, whose essential core turns out to be just the ordinary moral sensibilities of our own heart.  It is really only in our most ordinary human interactions that we are called to bear our portion of this yoke of love, and it is here just in these same actions that we are graced with the capacity to know the Good.  It is also here, where we do ask ourselves what is the Good, and let ourselves answer, that we take the first awake steps into the Consciousness Soul."

This then is the micro mystery of evil, that is faced by us as we seek to fulfill the tasks of the Age of the Consciousness Soul, in the seeking to learn of, and do: the Good.

With the True, we run into a second problem.  I will be brief, in part because it appears that we are meant to become intimate and skilled at solving the problem of the Good well before we can seriously take up the problem of the True.

Rudolf Steiner again set us on the right path with the Philosophy of Freedom, for in the Age of the Consciousness Soul we need to first come to knowledge of the Good.  However, while knowledge of the Good arises at the consciousness of the i-AM as an individualized intuition, the True has to be a universalized intuition.  As a consequence of this fact, we have to arrive at intuitions of the True via community processes, such as the Reverse Cultus, as described by Steiner in his lectures on Awakening To Community.

Intuitions of the Good, in that we meet and solve the problem of the double-complex, involve a sacrifice of antipathies and sympathies in the soul; while intuitions of the True, the seeking after being based upon a freely chosen moral idea (that is first we know the Good, then we can seek the True), involves the sacrifice of mental pictures and generalized concepts in the soul, in order to make room for the appearance of the True, via the group process of the Reverse Cultus, which comes to us in the form then of pure concepts and Ideas.  A wonderful exposition of this community process can be found in Marjorie Spock's Group Moral Artistry.

Having said that, and in conjuction with part one of this essay on:  A brief Application of the Principles of Goetheanistic Thinking  to the Problems of Human Social and Political Existence, let us now take a look at the Mystery of Macro Evil.

Macro Evil is an orderly process in social existence, in that in accord with the principles established by the Father God, the Son - the Creator, has fashioned our life on the Earth in such a way that Lucifer and Ahriman only have access to our social existence via the double-complex in the soul.  They do not operate outside the soul directly on social life, but only from within outward.

However, because the double-complex is an organism of gloves within gloves within gloves, the whole social order can be pushed (via temptations and lies etc) in a consistent direction, because while we act as individuals, the doubles can act in concert.  It was in this way that the errors of thought that created scientific materialism arose, and the Ahrimanic Deception came into being, so that humanity could descend to that place in a materialistic view of the world that was necessary in order to fully free us from the Gods.  The Ahrimanic Deception was a necessary  precedent to the arising of the capacity of the experiencing and participating I consciousness for spiritual and moral freedom (recall how this was suggested in the previous part, in that it arose over time in social life - scientific materialism ruins the living feeling relationship with religion, so that even among the faithful, religion becomes abstract and nearly heartless).

Thus, the Macro Mystery of Evil, is placed in service to the experiencing and participating I consciousness, although Evil's  intentions are always contrary to an orderly evolution of humanity.  The opposition of these powers then serves as a force against which we exercise our own wills.  This force appears in the soul, via the doubles, such that by our meeting with this resistance in the soul, as an aspect of our seeking the Good, we gain one aspect of the needed strengthening of the experiencing and participating I consciousness.

This force also appears in events, in that not all people can meet the temptations and lies in the same way, such that the social organism itself contains all manner of expressions of evil that enter in through individuals who succumb.  So we meet evil inwardly and outwardly, while at the same time limits are set because all such evil only enters in via human failure.  Ahriman and Lucifer can't freely act directly on the social order, except to the extent that they achieve entrance via our weaknesses.

As Steiner describes in The Balance in the World and Man, Lucifer and Ahriman, the human being has a zone of freedom in the center (a limit), which neither Power can touch.  When we live in this center with our will to do the good, coupled with our thinking with the heart, the opposing powers cannot interfere.

At the same time, without the outward appearance of evil, few moral dilemmas for us to solve would arise.  Thus, in many cases we will observe that an act of temptation that has led to failure in another, has participated in the creation of the moral dilemma we face.  Many of these appear in the Life of Rights, in that those drawn to power and wealth create a social situation that calls to our own I consciousness to respond.  All this is fairly obvious, so I will not say much more, except to caution that we will lame our understanding to the extent we judge political, religious and corporate leaders.  All of us are tempted, and it is karma and fate that has placed us in these various arrangements (some bound to power at the top and some free to create at the bottom) so that each individual's karmic needs in the Age of the Consciousness Soul can be met.

In the soul then is the direct restraint on Ahriman and Lucifer, wherein in the Age of the Consciousness Soul, the Christ Impulse manifests in the soul in the seeking after the Good and the True.  That battle is within, and its elements have been described above.

This leaves us with the mysterious Asuras and the human double or the egregores.  Looking at the potential devouring of the I consciousness, with which a drug addict is faced, we come upon this problem in an immediate and painful way.  Any repeated giving in to temptation and/or lies creates powerful egregores in the soul, whether it is the dark pleasure the torturer or the child molester seeks, or the sense of power and dominance that possesses far too many who rise to political power.

This attack upon the I itself is furthered as well by many temptations and lies to which Lucifer and Ahriman encourage us.  Certain inventions, especially of a form which act biochemically on consciousness, support this attack on the I consciousness itself.  Even the idea of scientific materialism - that there is no free I consciousness possible - lays the ground for further attacks of this nature.  We are being taught that there is nothing there (within us) that needs protecting.

Let us now try a brief summary...

Western Civilization, in its life organism of changing and flowing social form and forces, has given birth to certain developments in the experiencing and participating I consciousness, as a groundwork for the Age of the Consciousness Soul.  The first stage of the emergence of this Soul is the seeking for knowledge of the Good, and while people of Faith have also been given guidance, it is the Michael Community on the Earth which has received the most explicit instructions.

These instructions, contained fully in The Philosophy of Freedom, via the soul-processes of moral imagination, moral intuition and moral technique, lead us to the Threshold of the Spiritual World, for knowledge of the Good is a transcendent experience made freely available for the asking by Divine Grace (ask, seek and knock).  At this confluence between the experiencing and participating I consciousness and the Eternal, the Mystery of Evil is confronted, inwardly in the micro trinity of evil (the ahrimanic, luciferic and human doubles), and outwardly in the social tribulations and trials of the time.

The Good cannot be understood, or manifested, except in the face of real personal moral dilemmas, and so the World I, the Christ, which has given us birth, also enables the context for our development to appear, wherein the Macro Mystery of Evil shapes the texture of the shared social life of humanity, via materialism (scientific and otherwise) in all its egregious forms and consequences.

Thus, we face a world texture which compels choices regarding the Good, in combination with an inner battle ground whose resistance strengthens the experiencing and participating I consciousness towards freedom and love.

On the basis of this understanding, we can then look at the myriad variety of modern historical events, and see how individual biographies are brought into a woven tapestry of meaning out of the creativity of the World I, the Christ, via the management of karma and fate.  The seemingly evil consequences of the actions and choices of one whose karma has placed them in a position of power dominance, which descends upon the many through the dying hierarchical social forms left over from prior social conditions, are a necessary element of the individual moral biographies of those below, for this manifest evil then tugs at the heart impulses of the many, inspiring their creative generation of new social form (the Third Cultural Epoch inverts into the Fifth).

Knowledge of this, of course, is itself the creator of a prime moral dilemma that is placed before the Michael Community on the Earth, for this knowledge that we have been given, and can obtain for ourselves, is very much needed by modern humanity.

Yet, here too the problems of moral imagination, moral intuition and moral technique appear, for we have yet to really face and ask ourselves, as a Community: What do we owe to our teacher, what do we owe to Christ and what do we owe to humanity?

What will happen in Anthroposophical Communities when these questions are truly faced, and a community-seeking after the Good begins to dawn upon us as a possibility?  What happens when we individualize our sense of the Good, in the context of an appreciation of the True dimensions of modern humanity's vulnerabilities before the might of the opposing powers?  What would be our moral technique, should we seek to bring to humanity these insights for which we are the stewards?

How will we, as members of the Michael Community on the Earth, choose to serve?

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