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Readers' alert: *Things Past and Present*

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  • Robert Mason
    More FYI: Some of you might not have noticed yet, but one of the new offerings at the eLib is an English translation of Steiner s cycle *Things in Past and
    Message 1 of 2 , Jan 9, 2009
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      More FYI:

      Some of you might not have noticed yet, but one
      of the new offerings at the eLib is an English
      translation of Steiner's cycle *Things in Past
      and Present in the Spirit of Man*; this is
      GA167, *Gegenwaertiges und Vergangenes im
      Menschengeiste (und erweiterte Inhaltsangaben
      fuer die naechste Auflage)*. This English text
      is full of typos (or scanning misreads), but
      with a little effort, the reader can usually
      make out the meaning well enough. (And of
      course, one needs to keep in mind the standard
      *caveat* about the uncorrected lecture notes.)
      <http://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/ThingsPast/ThiPas_index.html>

      This cycle is a potpourri of Steiner's
      inimitable, startling insights on a wide
      variety of topics, drawn from almost the whole
      world, it seems -- for example: Solomon,
      Comenius, Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, Blavatsky,
      Thomas More, and, of course, Goethe. But the
      main reason that I want to bring this cycle to
      your attention is that it does contain pregnant
      Steiner-saids regarding topics that have often
      been the subjects of these e-discussions.

      For instance: There is Steiner's famous, or
      infamous, prophecy about the attack that was to
      come from America in the year 2000 against
      thinking:

      "Very shortly, when one will have written the
      year 2000, there will come from America not a
      direct prohibition, but a kind of prohibition
      against all thinking, a sort of law which will
      have the name of suppressing all individual
      thinking."

      One might jump to the conclusion that this is a
      prophecy that failed: we don't see any "law"
      of any "sort" coming from "America" (if that
      means the USA) against thinking; freedom of
      thought is enshrined in the American legal
      system at least as much as it is anywhere in
      the world, if not more so; indeed, such freedom
      is one of the primary gifts of the American
      Revolution to the world.

      But not so fast; if we read on, we might begin
      to understand what kind of indirect prohibition
      Steiner was talking about. He was not talking
      about a law against thinking; he was talking
      about machinations that would destroy people's
      *ability* to think. Further down, we read:

      ". . . . in the future you will not get a law
      passed which says you must not think. No. What
      will happen is that things will be done the
      effect of which will be to exclude all
      individual thinking. This is the other pole to
      which we are proceeding. This is connected with
      the development of the West."

      This brings up a point that we have discussed
      here before (on some of these lists, anyway,
      and maybe others): the present state of
      Consciousness Soul development, or lack of it.
      We recall that Steiner said elsewhere that the
      Consciousness Soul, at least in its socio-
      political aspect, was to develop instinctively
      in the English-speaking "West" especially. And
      it would seem that this development should
      include, at the least, the ability of people
      *en masse* to think freely and
      individualistically. But here Steiner seems to
      be saying that such ability will fail,
      especially in the "West". -- A contradiction?

      I would think: not necessarily a logical
      contradiction, rather an indication of
      contradictory, opposing trends and forces at
      work. If we compare the "theory" (in this
      case, the prophecy) with the "evidence", we can
      see that there is much evidence to support at
      least the existence of a strong trend in that
      direction, the direction of the mass failure of
      the ability to think. Plenty, *plenty*, of
      even non-Anthroposophical observers have
      remarked with consternation about the abject
      political gullibility of the mass of the public
      in the USA in particular (but also, for that
      matter, in Britain).

      For anyone with much understanding of politics,
      even on the surface, it is distressingly
      obvious that the political behavior of the vast
      majority of the public is such that they
      continually act against their own interests,
      even their short-term, selfish interests. That
      is, they chronically, repeatedly support
      politicians that serve powers that are raping,
      robbing, and pillaging the majority of the
      public. The recent Presidential and
      Congressional election in the USA is a glaring
      case in point: the overwhelming majority of
      the voters voted for candidates that very
      obviously represent financial interests
      detrimental to the public well-being, even
      while those interests are almost (or not merely
      almost) literally throwing the people out of
      their homes and into the streets -- and looting
      the country of trillions of dollars, literally.
      A slim majority of that majority voted for a
      Presidential candidate who promised "change",
      but whose background and recent actions show
      that, if there is to be any real change, it
      would only be such a change as to increase the
      intensity of the raping, robbing, and
      pillaging.

      And this is only the most recent, glaring
      example of public behavior that has been going
      on for many, many years. And such behavior, it
      seems, can be explained only by a failure of
      the public to *think*, even in the most
      elementary, realistic way about the basic facts
      of their own socio-political lives. That is to
      say, this state of affairs must be explained by
      a massive failure of that instinctive
      *Consciousness Soul* that was to develop
      especially in the "West". -- How can this be?

      Again, many non-Anthroposophical observers have
      come forward with some perspicacious
      explanations. Such as: the "deliberate
      dumbing down" through public education, the
      control of public discourse by the "mass
      media", the mind-numbing effects of drugs (both
      legal and nominally illegal) -- and even more
      exotic explanations such as the fluoridation of
      water, the denaturing and slow poisoning of the
      food, the subtle effects of vaccinations, and
      so on. More, some of these non-Anthros have
      understood that, besides the obvious, surface
      motives of greed and power for the
      manipulators, there are also dark occult
      motives at work.

      And it does seem that these manipulations do
      "work" all too well -- even so well that most
      people literally can't see what's right in
      front of their eyes, as in the case of the
      "chemtrails". But I would also say (or at
      least *like* to say?) that all this perhaps
      discouraging news is only one side of the
      story; the other side of the story is that the
      Consciousness Soul is indeed struggling to
      manifest, in some cases successfully. The
      growth of the "human potential" movement, the
      "alternative health" movement", the "animal
      rights" movement, the "alternative media", the
      "blogosphere", and even the various secession
      and survival initiatives in the USA are
      pointers in this direction -- despite the
      infiltrators and black-ops disinformation
      agents and all that.

      But I’m repeating essentially much of what I've
      said before; back to Steiner: RS made these
      remarks in the context of a discussion of
      certain "occult brotherhoods", especially the
      Freemasons, the Jesuits, and the Illuminati.
      Here we find some of the themes that have been
      taken up by Bondarev and others.

      Steiner says much about the Freemasonic
      traditions and how such occult knowledge,
      though true in a way, becomes perverted in its
      present-day application. In particular, he
      explains how those people who, even if sincere,
      are subjected to such occult manipulations can
      become unwitting tools for forces and goals
      they do not understand:

      ". . . . in these occult brotherhoods. People
      are taken up in the first grade or any other
      occultism and sign, grip and word and many
      other things are transmitted to them. In
      that way one is able to work upon their
      unconsciousness. . . . The consequences that
      you can adapt these people to become tools for
      all sorts of plans, because when you are able
      to work over the ether body such a way that
      [the low-grade inductee] does not understand
      what is going on, you eliminate those forces
      which would otherwise be present his
      understanding. In that case of these
      brotherhoods [he] can become a tool for those
      who want to execute their own plans."

      RS also discusses the techniques of what today
      would be called "mass mind-control" in relation
      to what today are called the "media". Of
      course he was speaking long before the ubiquity
      of television, "subliminals", and so on -- but
      he nailed the essential point very piquantly.
      Perhaps we could intensify this point by
      several orders of magnitude to describe the
      situation today:

      "You know what forces work in our present age
      and you have to know how today's public
      opinion is created and how one can lead all
      this back to human nature. You have no means to
      know about this if you do not enter into the
      knowledge of man who proceeds from spiritual
      science. Only through that are you preserved
      from being taken up by that stream that I have
      described which produces those thought habits
      that make people believe that they are not
      succumbing to authority. However, they believe
      everything that is in this newspaper . . . .
      At least we do not live in those regions in
      which people such as the Indians just described
      live, those Indians [in Jesuitical Paraguay]
      who looked up in reverence to the priests in
      their golden mass robes surrounded by incense.
      No. That we do not do, but we have other
      altars. What are our altars? The newspapers and
      things of that sort are what we look up to."

      This discussion leads directly into "deep
      politics"; these lectures were given during the
      First World War, and RS points directly to the
      murderous occultism behind the outbreak of that
      catastrophe:

      ". . . . occult societies and particular
      movements occur in Western Europe . . . . all
      the occult streams which produce conspirators
      resulting in the assassination of Jure (sic),
      also the murder of Franz Ferdinand. Here you
      have the whole source of the conspiracy of
      which the outside world knows very little. It
      begins in London, it spins over into Western
      Europe, goes into Southern Europe, goes into
      the Balkans and finally goes over to St.
      Petersburg and plays into the whole circle in
      St. Petersburg."

      Again, that point *in general* still holds true
      today, probably intensified. And not only
      Anthros have noticed it; instead those who have
      the sharpest eyes for this sort of thing are
      mostly non-Anthros, with a few exceptions, as
      far as I see. -- But the exceptional Bondarev,
      for one, has expounded on long-standing occult
      subversion of Russia. Steiner said:

      "Under the Empress Catherine of Russia
      something was received from Voltairism by the
      followers of Paul [sic???] and others in Russia
      who attempted to implant a [sic?] certain
      secret brotherhoods into Russia from the West.
      That has had a great influence upon the whole
      spiritual development of Russia since that
      time; a much greater influence than you would
      believe."

      But the subversion of Russia points not only to
      the Freemasons or quasi-Masonic occult
      "brotherhoods", but also lead in a direction
      perhaps closer to home for Anthros, in a way:
      to the ongoing Tomberg controversy. Steiner
      talks about

      ". . . . Papus, who had such a terrible
      influence on the Court of St. Petersburg where
      he played a very fateful political role."

      I think Prokofieff, in his first Tomberg book,
      wrote about the sinister role that "Papus"
      played in instigating the war from within the
      Tsarist power structure. And Steiner talks
      about another of the major influences which
      Tomberg cited in his *Tarot* book:

      "A great deal of damage has occurred in France
      through the occult literature of Eliphas Levi .
      . . ."

      And Steiner makes a point which could be
      repeated with probably even greater, more
      appalling relevance about Tomberg's *magnum
      opus*:

      "That which you find in Papus' books penetrate
      into the soul of weak people and that means
      preparing them to become complete sleepers in
      their intellect and then you can use them in
      whatever way you wish."

      Also, Steiner says more about another of the
      influences on Tomberg:

      "Jesuits can work in places when they are not
      present there."

      RS does distinguish this "Church" occultism
      from the quasi-Masonic "brotherhoods", but
      sometimes it's hard to tell the difference:

      ". . . . the upper orders of the Freemasons and
      the upper orders of the Jesuits build a special
      brotherhood; they build a state within a
      state."

      RS does explain a lot about the occult
      totalitarianism practised by the Jesuits in
      Paraguay, and about how similar mass-
      manipulations can be effected today (again,
      this is theme taken up by Bondarev):

      ". . . . [the Indians in Jesuitical Paraguay]
      were, in the main, only members in a common
      astral aura, but we Europeans have it better,
      because our heads are much thicker and not as
      easily influenced. You cannot work upon highly
      cultivated people in Europe in the way I just
      described; however, there is a possibility of
      working in a lesser way upon the ether body and
      astral body of man and this would then carry
      into the physical body by way of the
      vibrations. All this is the working in of the
      ahrimanic method, ahrimanic forces which weave
      in invisibly among us and have their own
      methods as compared with these which the
      Jesuits used in the State of Paraguay in the
      17th and 18th century. One could work upon the
      astral body of these Indians and their physical
      body was soft. Now, one must work differently;
      one must take into consideration the fact that
      you influence the thinking of man as such, that
      it is very important that one is not able to
      work into man's thought directions in such a
      way that man does not notice it. I am not
      saying that human beings do that. No, but
      ahrimanic beings do it through human beings.
      These human beings are tools for the ahrimanic
      beings."

      I would presume that the words *highly
      cultivated* were somewhat bitterly ironic;
      Steiner was speaking as the slaughter of the
      First War was raging. (And he was giving these
      lectures when he was finishing his book *Vom
      Menschenrätsel* [*The Riddle of Man*]; he wrote
      this book to uphold and defend the true German
      Spirit, the spirit of "German Idealism",
      against the rampant defamation of the German
      Spirit at that time. While the physical war
      was raging, Steiner was very mindful of the
      spiritual war behind it, and he wrote the book
      with his "heart's blood". Indeed, his
      Anthroposophy is the culmination of German
      Idealism; it is the great gift of the German
      Spirit to the whole world, valid for all
      Mankind. And it was no accident that Steiner
      himself was so placed within world-karma that
      this German culmination was also his personal
      culmination. So the book pulsed with his
      "heart's blood", and is too much neglected even
      by Anthros, IMO.)
      <http://wn.rsarchive.org/Books/GA020/English/MP1990/GA020_index.html>

      But as usual, not all is gloom and despair with
      Steiner; he does offer definite hope. For
      instance:

      "If a person maintains good control of his
      consciousness, Ahriman cannot enter."

      -- *Control of consciousness*; back to the
      basics: *KoHW*, *PoF*, etc.

      But for now, I would recommend this cycle. I
      would guess that most of you have not read most
      of it; I hadn't. Hopefully, this blurb will
      whet your appetite.

      Robert Mason
    • Robert Mason
      I did find another, more general, Steiner-said about the dangers of dimming of consciousness : In the present age, Ahriman can only have a strong influence
      Message 2 of 2 , Jan 28, 2009
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        I did find another, more general, Steiner-said
        about the dangers of "dimming of consciousness":

        "In the present age, Ahriman can only have a strong influence upon men when their consciousness is diverted in one way or another. The most radical phenomenon is that of a fainting fit, or a diminution of consciousness lasting for a considerable time. In times like this, when a man is overcome by faintness or diminution of consciousness, the Ahriman forces can most effectively approach him. At such times they work their way into him, he is exposed to them."

        Karmic Relationships
        Esoteric Studies III
        By Rudolf Steiner
        Dornach, August 3rd, 1924
        GA 237
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