By Andrew Linnell
Are these the most challenging times in human history? Perhaps the evil times of Atlantis that led to deluge were worse but these are certainly not times for a spiritual scientist to be lackadaisical. The future of humanity certainly seems to be at stake. Does Anthroposophy offer us help? Yes, it certainly does for Rudolf Steiner had a role to prepare us for these times. In fact, Rudolf Steiner implored us to be actively involved in bringing about a future that serves human evolution. But how do we know what future we should be preparing? Steiner described how human evolution has passed its zenith. We are necessarily on the descent, doing involution. We need to be the Preparers of the Future so that a seed for the Sixth Epoch is made. Thus, we must ask if transhumanism impedes the preparation for this seed.
Should we be leading a movement to stop transhumanism? Should we found cultural oases, i.e., communities wherein no transhumanist would be allowed? In the opinion of this author, neither of these would have pleased Steiner. He remarked on multiple occasions that despite all the terrifying pictures of the future that he presented, Anthroposophy is not opposed but will attempt to find appropriate counterbalances. He called it spiritual arrogance as well as spiritual cowardice to seek to avoid or to rebel against what technology will bring us.
It has been some 2000 years since Christ walked upon the earth. What pictures do you have of the next 2000 years? And the next 2000 years thereafter? Peace, love, and harmony lead most lists. The attainment of Heaven on Earth seems to be the goal of many.
Likely few of us are aware of what Steiner labelled as “iron necessity” for our future. This list of “iron necessities” includes:
- By the year 5700, sexual procreation will have ended!
- A separation of humanity will already be underway by 5700 with some able to ascend to a new life existence without a physical body while others remain convinced that the physical is the only reality.
- Before the year 8000, the “war of all against all” will have been waged.
- As this war is waged, “The Second Fall” will have begun.
- Soon after this war, there will be the return of the moon when all life upon the physical realm will be destroyed.
- After the moon returns, we will enter the Sixth Epoch [about 8000 AD] where our lowest bodily member will be our etheric body.
Why can’t we fix civilization in order to live and evolve in the physical? Because certain guiding beings intended for the physical to be a realm in which we could develop freedom. They did not intend for us to remain in the physical. The physical provided an environment where every being has its own separate space. We came to experience reality as “me inside my body” and everything else is “out there.” This sojourn in the physical was meant to be only so long as it took humanity to develop freedom.
Those goals of peace, love, and harmony align with Christianity’s goal of agape-love. Agape can only be offered out of true freedom. Some may ask, what good is peace, love, and harmony if everyone is starving? Shouldn’t prosperity for all be our goal? Is this our desire for comforts speaking? We like it here. Even more so, we love our comforts, our entertainments, our abundance of goods. And so, we begin to forget that we are cosmic beings who have been evolving upon this human stage on Earth. Sadly, just as the civilization of Atlantis had to be destroyed, so must our Post-Atlantean Epoch’s civilization come to a destructive end.
“Indeed, the materialistic tendency of our age and the insistence to accept only the physical world as real are connected with humanity’s further descent into the physical. However, things must not remain like this. We must ascend again into the spiritual world, bearing with us the attainments and fruits we have acquired in the physical world. It is the task of anthroposophy to offer people the possibility of ascending once again into the spiritual world.”
Thus, the goal of human evolution is not to remain in the physical but to progress to where the physical can be left behind. The period of time for humanity to evolve within physical bodies was meant to be temporary. It must come to an end. That coming ascension foretold in Matthew 25 will be opened by the Maitreya Buddha. Ascension can begin in about 3000 years. It will last about 2160 years. It will be a time when some are able to cast aside their physical body like a snake casting aside its old skin and thus begin a new existence with their etheric body as their lowest bodily member. Lucifer will offer us a too-early-ascension while Ahriman will offer even more comforts and power to remain with him on the physical world.
So, what’s this have to do with Transhumanism? As Preparers of the Future, what do we do about the end of sexual procreation? Are we to help prepare for a War of All Against All? How can we prepare for this in a Christian way?
Only with the assurance of the presence of Christ within one’s inner core, within one’s I-Am, can one participate in such preparations with confidence. Only with spiritual science can we adequately face such a “terrible truth.” Steiner urged us to factor such pictures of the future into the work we do today. Although this picture may seem grim from today’s perspective, it will prove to serve human evolution. This does not mean we should play the role of Judas, but we should not seek to stop Transhumanism and what it will bring to humanity. Rather, we need to see what it will bring and then offer the counterbalances that allow our evolution to progress as our divine guiding beings intend.
A natural reaction of many who read this passage is to say to themselves, such things are not going to happen in my lifetime so they don’t concern me. I am only concerned with the present, the here and now. To this common attitude, Steiner offered these words, “It is not a matter of avoiding things but of getting a clear picture, real insight into the iron necessities of human evolution.”
What then is the role of Transhumanism in human evolution? We’ve learned that sexual procreation comes to an end by 5700. At that time, puberty will no longer occur. But we will still have the 7th Cultural Age (5733 – 7893 AD) to go through! Steiner told us that by then, we will need to be able to work with the fallen angels of Ahriman in order to keep our presence on earth going.
Rudolf Steiner frequently spoke about the necessity of preparing for a future that is consistent with the divine goals of human evolution. He said that such preparations must begin now and continue through the remaining cultural ages of this Fifth Epoch. It is the task of Anthroposophy to be the preparer of a future that aligns with the goals of those divine beings who have guided our evolution. As such, we need to find counterbalances for each new wave of technology. “The great problem of our time is that people slide into the ahrimanic sphere without having the support of the Christ. … We can only become sure of ourselves as human beings if we walk the road created by the whole of technology, but do not let our lives be governed by the products of technology and grow to become able to behold the Christ-power that can become part of us to enable us to inwardly overcome those products of technology.” In our times, this Christ-force is the key to all balancing and all transformations.
Steiner’s Representative of Man expresses how mankind, and each individual, can bring the polarities of Lucifer and Ahriman into balance. Lucifer seeks to lead us into the bliss of the spiritual world too soon, before our maturation within the physical realm is complete. Ahriman aims to keep humanity dependent upon the physical realm as our only sense of reality. But this cannot be a static balance for it must exist within the march of time, within the course of our lives and within the course of evolution. Lucifer has had his incarnation about 3000 BCE when he gave humanity much wisdom. Christ, we know, has had his incarnation. Now the time has come when Ahriman must have his incarnation in the flesh. His incarnation should not be opposed as it, like Lucifer’s, will serve human evolution. Thus, a dancing with polarities would be an apt expression for this balancing act needed during our times. To maintain this balance, while proceeding towards Ahriman’s incarnation in the flesh, we need to develop counterbalances for each of the further stages in technology’s destiny. It is not for us to become neo-Amish nor to bemoan modern life. A heart-space between Lucifer and Ahriman where Christ can exist must be constantly remade by each individual.In summary, we are called upon to be pioneers, to be the preparers of the future. Ahriman and technology have roles that provide the resistance for us to build strength for our coming cosmic tasks. Bemoaning technology comes from spiritual weakness. Rather, we need to face Ahriman and Transhumanism with soul strength and courage to find out of the wisdom of spiritual science the appropriate counterbalances for our times. As Ahriman’s incarnation approaches, more of the “welding together of Man and Machine” will be evident. We already witness pacemakers, artificial joints, and prostheses. More will come. To meet this, we must expand into super-nature as much as needed to cosmically balance our necessary descent into sub-nature. The real battle of our Consciousness Soul times is an inner battle.
Rudolf Steiner, Technology and Art, 28Dec1914, GA 275, “Naturally I say this without making the slightest implication, either general or specific, for in speaking of such a thing one immediately opens the way for the passing of judgments. What I mean by this arrogance is that someone may say to himself: “I must guard against exposing my own body to these destructive forces; I must strictly protect myself from all the influences of modern life, retire into a sanctum with the right surroundings and walls painted in colors suitable for spiritual sensitivity, so that none of the adjuncts of modern life may come into contact with my bodily constitution.” The last thing I want is that what I say should have this effect. All desire to withdraw, to protect oneself from the influences of unavoidable world-karma, emanates from weakness. But it is Anthroposophy alone that can make the human heart and will vigorous enough to develop the force which arms and strengthens us in face of these influences. Any kind of advice to withdraw from modern life, or to engage in a sort of hothouse cultivation of the spiritual life, should never find favor in the sphere of our movement. In a true culture of the spirit there can never be any question of such procedure. Although it is understandable that weaker natures would like to withdraw from modern life into communities where they will be untouched by it, it must nevertheless be emphasized that such an attitude is not the outcome of strength, but of weakness of the soul. Our real task is to strengthen the soul by permeating it with the impulses that come from Spiritual Science and spiritual research, so that it is armed against the influences of modern life, can hold its own in spite of all the surrounding hubbub, and be able to find its way through the tumult and din of the Ahrimanic beings into the spiritual-divine world.”
 IBID, “Everybody is obliged to undergo the battle; in its effects it is experienced by everybody. There would be no greater fallacy than to say: We must rebel against what technical science has brought to us in modern life, we must protect ourselves from Ahriman, we must withdraw from this modern life. In a certain respect such an attitude would be an indication of spiritual cowardice. The real remedy lies, not in allowing the forces of the soul to weaken and to withdraw from modern life, but in so strengthening these forces that its pandemonium can be endured. World-karma demands a courageous attitude to modern life, and that is why genuine Spiritual Science calls at the very outset for effort, really strenuous effort on the part of the human soul.”
 IBID. Matthew 25 calls this the separation of the sheep and goats.
 Agape-love is mentioned multiple times in the Gospel of John meaning a deeper, spiritual love meant in Christ’s words to “love one another as I have loved you [John 13:34].” Such love is based on true freedom of will.
 Rudolf Steiner, The Universal Human, lecture 1, 4Dec1909, GA 117
 See The Fall of the Spirits of Darkness, lecture 4: The Elemental Spirits of Birth and Death, 6Oct1917, GA 177
 Rudolf Steiner, The Fall of the Spirits of Darkness, lecture 4, 6Oct1917, GA 177
 In Steiner’s pneumatology, two beings are mentioned that are involved as hindrances for human evolution. These two have the names Lucifer, meaning the light bearer, and Ahriman as the prince of darkness and lord of death. We hear their voices from the two crucified with Christ. Lucifer recognizes Christ while Ahriman mocks him. The field of technology is largely a penetration into the realm of Ahriman.
 Rudolf Steiner, Polarities in the Evolution of Mankind, 14Nov1920, GA 197
 See The Representative of Humanity between Lucifer and Ahriman, by Judith von Halle and John Wilkes, Sophia Books, 2010.
 This author places this event soon after Oriphiel becomes the next Time Spirit or around 2230.
 Rudolf Steiner, The Wrong and Right Use of Esoteric Knowledge, lecture 3, 25Nov1917, GA 178 where he said ”The welding together of human beings with machines will be a great and important problem for the rest of the earth-evolution.” Rudolf Steiner, Anthroposophical Leading Thoughts, letter 29, GA 26.
Andrew Linnell, retired from a 42-year career in the computer field in 2013. A co-founder of MysTech, he has served on the board since its inception. His focus has been outreach in building the study groups and their content.