No. 23 Garden of Gethsemane –detail by DoloresRose Dauenhauer (1941–2015)
Newsletter on the Mysteries of Technology
The featured image of this Easter issue is called the Garden of Gethsemane, and was painted by my mother some 20 years ago. It was her last painting. It sat on her easel for years unfinished before I nudged her enough to finish it. Out of all of her paintings I liked this one the best. There was something about the sleeping disciples that I felt an affinity to.
The disciples were asked to be awake with Christ during his most vulnerable hours knowing that his body may not be strong enough to endure what was to come, and yet they slept. Like Perceval, a thousand years later, not aware enough to ask the question of the Fisher King, “What ails thee?” the disciples could not even ask this question of Christ, because they were asleep.
Today, two thousand years later, we should not only be awake but we should also know the question to ask as well. Easter is a time that should remind us of the importance of both, the wakeful attentiveness to spiritual events unfolding and of the right questions to asked to bring about a resurrected humanity of the future.
May you all be awake and full of question this Easter and all of your days and years to come.
Managing Director, CFAE
William Blake, Christ Appearing to His Disciples After the Resurrection, c. 1795
Freedom and Love
An Easter Challenge in our Time
By Benjamin Cherry
For many people, life seems to have become ‘normal’ again. In most places the extreme measures against covid have been relaxed, international travel is in full swing and small businesses are beginning to recover. Beneath the surface, however, something else has also been gaining momentum at enormous speed. Something that is going to have a very big influence on our future and which is already shaking our image of what we are as human beings.
What I am referring to is the presence of robotic entities in our midst, not only in the form of outer artificial intelligence, but on the level of a nanotechnology that can enter into the deepest, most intricate processes of our bodies. The notion that we are intelligent animals and nothing more is already deeply embedded in our individual and collective psyche. Now, building on that platform, a new age is being raced towards us of humanoid robots, of robotic humans.
At the apex of this pyramid of new possibilities and of breath-taking power, stands the image of the ‘avatar’, the humanoid cyborg interwoven with artificial intelligence, who (or which) can know everything that can possibly be known and can enter into worlds of infinite bliss and power. The latest version of ChatGPT is perhaps a forerunner of this future possibility that will soon, no doubt, be available as an inner, personal experience, for all who connect their body and soul with it. (1)
How different is the real meaning of ‘avatar’, the title given in ancient cultures to lofty spiritual beings, who entered into life on earth for a certain time through the portal of a chosen human body, in order to help humanity. They took on this task out of love and deep respect for our potential. They gained nothing for themselves through doing so, and it often brought them suffering.
Of all the avatars – such as Rama, Krishna, Jesu ben Pandira and many others – the one who took on the greatest and most long-lasting suffering was the one known as Christ. Whereas the earlier avatars left this earthly realm when their mission was accomplished, the Christ being took on the unprecedented task of uniting itself unconditionally with human evolution, until the end of earthly existence. (2)
Using other language, one could say that Christ has taken on the ‘karma’ of the Earth, so as to enable us to continue our evolution without that massive burden pulling us down. This does not mean the individualized karma, that is an essential aspect of who each of us is and can become, but the spiritual ‘slag heap’ of all the deeds of destruction and hatred human beings have wrought on this earthly plane. (3)
The outer symbol of this act of rescue was the nailing of Jesus, the human being who was the bearer of the Christ, to the cross on Golgotha – or, we could say metaphorically, to the ‘cross of the world’. The essence of the Easter story Is the overcoming of death’s power to suffocate the human soul. It is the transformation of the root of illness, corruption and death – whether on a bodily, soul or spiritual level – into a seed of new possibility.
It was an unconditional act of redemption, transcending all divisions between religions, cultures, classes and regions of the world. Moreover, in our time now, this freely undertaken sacrifice of ‘taking on the sins of the world’ on our behalf, has a further dimension. It involves facing not only death but the increasingly strong powers of evil, whose aim it is to steal, distort or destroy all aspects of our entelechy in body, soul and spirit and put them to the service of very different aims. (4)
Contemplating this confronting thought can shake us into realizing how blessed we are to have received gifts of such high value that beings, far more conscious and clever than we are, fight with all their power to steal them from us.
Though connected with humanity since the beginning of time and known in different cultures by many different names, the radiant being of Christ has only once experienced this physical dimension. This took the form of entering into the body and soul of the human being Jesus of Nazareth for three years, from the baptism by John in the River Jordan until the death on the cross, almost exactly 2000 years ago. (5)
The task was, not only to enter fully into human suffering and death, but to create a way forward for all of us, who choose to walk it. Through this, the possibility arises for a new level of existence, created through deeds of freedom and love.
Inherent in this is the moral power to go through suffering, death and confrontation with evil in its many forms, instead of hiding ourselves from it out of fear and self- absorption. Whereas joy is a gift that brings courage and strength to continue on in life, our real teacher is pain – not only our own, but the shocking suffering of others and of the whole of nature. Through facing this reality of suffering, levels of compassion and healing can be born that would not otherwise arise.
The ‘brave new world’ being thrust upon us by artificial intelligence is also a future possibility. Its charismatic power is becoming greater every day. It is a world where moral striving, human autonomy and caring for others have no place. A world in which everything that goes to the essence of what a human being is and can become, is snuffed out through the luster and dazzle of technological wizardry.
There will be no need for suffering, we are told, no need for illness or any kind of discomfort. Perhaps no need to die, for the essence of this artificial utopia is not subject to human death. Our bodies may indeed disintegrate in time, but the engineered ‘soul’ and ‘spirit’ that is called artificial intelligence will continue on in us. Such is the picture we receive through its greatest adherents and advocates. (6)
Let us compare this for a moment with words spoken so often by Saint Paul, after his experience of the Risen Christ on the road to Damascus – a city, whose modern inhabitants have been going through almost unimaginable suffering and destruction for so many years, as a shocking shadow image of our materialistic ambitions and lifestyle. It is not I alone, Paul said, who am able to carry out these healings and speak with such courage and clarity. It is ‘Not I, but Christ in me.’ (7)
What might one say now of one’s relationship to the metaverse and the infusing of artificial technology into human souls and bodies, that is gaining momentum every day? It could be something like, ‘My own ‘I’-consciousness is an illusion. What is real is what works in me through the might of artificial intelligence. For this infinite experience of knowledge and unparalleled pleasure, I give over my life.’
Two incompatible pictures of our future rise up in imagination. One that is being raced towards us, whether we want it or not, at breakneck speed; the other that quietly waits and holds back from any kind of persuasion. One that claims it will solve all our problems through reprogramming human souls and bodies, along with the environment and all its creatures. The other that calls on each of us, whatever our ethnicity, language, religion, gender or lifestyle may be, to recognize the silent power within to go through what confronts us and to unite with others out of free decision.
In the darkness and light of these thoughts of the future, I would like now to place another mighty event that Rudolf Steiner spoke of in 1910, four years before the first world war began. With sudden urgency, he travelled to many cities in Europe to speak about what he called the Reappearance of Christ in the Etheric. In these vivid lectures he predicted that more and more people will experience an encounter with Christ on a level of spiritual existence that is beyond, but interwoven with the physical world – the level he referred to as ‘the etheric’. (8)
To what extent this has been prevented by the almost continuous wars that have been inflicted on humanity since then, I cannot tell. It may also be that many, who have had such an experience, have been unable to recognize it, because of the smog of fear, deception and hatred that has been enshrouding our souls. There are many stories, however, of soldiers in battle having spiritual experiences shortly before enemy bullets and shells ripped into their bodies. What a picture this is – of people senselessly murdering one another and then perhaps through death rising up together in soul and spirit into the spiritual world. (9)
Beneath the shocking fear and polarization that has been gripping humanity more and more during recent decades, it is not hard to feel that enormous events are happening in the depths of our souls. But our denial of anything beyond the level of matter and mindless energy, makes it almost impossible for people to make sense of them. If we cannot raise ourselves inwardly towards the concepts that are needed for this, it is perhaps only through being jolted out of the body by truly shattering events, that we can begin to perceive in a new way. Then it becomes our challenge to ‘re- member’ and ‘make sense’ of what we have experienced.
Let us place these two pictures of the future before us, so that, within the sanctum of our hearts, we can sense what lives most genuinely as truth within us. It is my experience, in trying to do this, that a new level of courage and responsibility begins to stir. It is the courage to live life with evermore sensitivity towards truth. It is the deepening sense of responsibility towards others and the world.
Moreover, as we walk this journey, as many are doing today, not only do we subtly change, so does the world we perceive around us. We begin to feel the relationship between our own state of being and what comes towards us in life. A new kind of creativity is born, and with it a new sense of ‘destiny’, a new quality of ‘knowing’ within the ‘not-knowing’ that is so prevalent today. Not in the sense of gaining more information, but of a dawning clarity about what we are here on this earth to do.
I make no claim to be able to touch that level all the time or every day. Indeed not, for the habits of a lifetime do not easily release their hold. But, as with the experience of coming to an oasis in a parched land, there are moments of release and joy in the feeling of being at the right place at the right time. And I owe it to this time of deep concern about what is being visited upon humanity that these new shoots can arise.
It is a life journey from belief and supposition to a kind of faith, that is not just an intellectual construct but a continuing act of will. And, in time, from faith to a delicate sensitivity towards truth. As many others are discovering, it is this sensing of truth that gives birth to a new feeling of freedom.
Courage, faith, truth, freedom – and in all of these human moral qualities, there begins to grow that most mysterious of all powers on this earth and perhaps beyond, the sacrificial power of love.
So, we come in time to a feeling for the importance of not knowing, but of living with. It becomes a gestation process for a new level of awakening, that is already glimmering towards us from beneath the horizon. And at its centre, in my experience, is the profound mystery of Easter and the Resurrection of Christ through death, as a prototype for our own further evolution.
I cannot know of such events in the same way as I can know that the sun will rise tomorrow, even though it is setting now. It is not just earthly knowledge that is beckoning towards us, but an infinitely more tender kind of ‘speaking’, such as a sensitive mother can feel through what begins to stir within her womb. It is a knowing born out of not-knowing, out of waiting and trusting, that our eyes will indeed see what is moving in the depths of souls today, but whose time has not yet come.
Ben Cherry is living in Taiwan.
- According to Wikipedia, ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence chatbot developed by OpenAI. It is built on top of OpenAI’s GPT-3 family of large language models and has been fine-tuned using both supervised and reinforcement learning techniques.
- Stories of Rama and Krishna are interwoven with Hindu tradition. For more about Jesu ben Pandira, see Steiner’s lectures on the Gospel of Matthew in September 1910 (CW123) Rudolf Steiner Press.
- Another word for ‘karma’ is destiny. For much more detail about this, see, for example, Steiner’s lectures on Karmic Relationships given in 1924, published by Rudolf Steiner Press (CW235).
- An expression used by John the Baptist as he saw Jesus approaching for baptism. See the Gospel of John 1:29. The ‘sins of the world’ can also be understood as ‘world karma’.
- In Ancient Indian tradition, this being was in the world of stars and carried the name of Vishvakarman. In the civilization of Ancient Persia, many centuries later, it became Ahura Mazdao, the spirit of the sun. In the later civilization of Ancient Egypt, it became Osiris and in Ancient Greece, Apollo. In these successive epochs we are given a sense of how that being was spiraling closer and closer to the realm of humanity on the earth. And in the story of the burning bush in the Sinai desert, the name that was spoken to Moses, the leader of the Hebrews, was: I AM THE I AM.
- One of many examples is Ray Kurzweil, described in Wikipedia as an ‘American computer scientist, author, inventor and futurist.’
- For more details of this experience by Paul (or Saul, as he was then called), see The Acts of the Apostles, chapter 9 in the New Testament. The actual quotation cited here is part of a longer statement: ‘I am crucified with Christ. So, it is not I who live, but Christ lives in me.’ See Galatians 2:20.
- The Reappearance of Christ in the Etheric (CW118). A collection of lectures given between January and May 1910.
- A google search for ‘spiritual experiences in the trenches of world war one’ yields a variety of articles about what soldiers experienced in those extreme conditions. George Siever’s biography of ‘Edward Wilson of the Antarctic’ also reveals in detail how spiritual experience is connected with an immensity of suffering.
Goetheanum: Red window
with the Light of
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.
MysTech's 7th Annual Conference
AUGUST 9, 10, 11, 12
AT HIGH MOWING'S
PINE HILL WALDORF SCHOOL
WILTON, NEW HAMPSHIRE
Resonance as a bridge between the
technical and the spiritual
“The nature of the etheric and the sentient bodies is based on… spiritual tone and spiritual vibrations. The etheric body is lower than the astral body, but the activity exercised in the etheric body stands higher than the activity of the astral body.” –Rudolf Steiner
Please join us for this year’s exciting hybrid conference, both live and online, where we’ll dive deep into technology, spiritual science, and our present and future challenges before us.
Once again The Mysteries of Technology Presents:
Applying Spiritual Science in life!
Education is our mission. Technologies developed out of deep spiritual research is our goal. This conference will be an event you won’t want to miss. Join us in person and meet with the presenters and your peers. Form lasting relationships and further the work of moral technology through newly formed collaborations. Join us online and be a part of the conversation just as if you were there.
Save Your Place! Register Now and Save $50 dollars:
MYSTECH CONFERENCE 2023
Frank Spaan with host Andrew Linnell – Saturday, April 22, 2023, 2 pm ET. (11 am PT, 8 pm CET)
Bridging Spiritual Science and Technology
Today’s world is full of technology; mechanical, electrical, digital and so on. About one century ago Rudolf Steiner, as well as other spiritual scientists, gave us insights into the spiritual realm. But how do these two connect? Building the bridge is indeed important. However, not much has been understood, tried or even achieved up to now. This is so, in spite of clear indications, and even task descriptions, to get on the way. In this webinar we will be walking through this landscape of indications, trials and tasks in the field of spiritual science and technology. The webinar is intended to be of interest to beginners in this field, as well as to spark enthusiasm, for new experimental work, in the expert. The English and German sources from which this content is taken are broad and may reveal new facts not known to everyone.
REGISTRATION WILL OPEN SOON
PAST PROGRAMS TO REWATCH
Eugene Schwartz with host Andrew Linnell
AI and Waldorf Education
We have all known that the day of artificial intelligence was coming. We’ve had AI in those awful answering machines (press 1 if you want x, press 2 if you want y). AI is perhaps the major player in the stock markets today. Despite all of humanity’s preparations for this day, the launch of the chatbot system ChatGPT in November, 2022 startled not only the Waldorf World but the world in general. OpEds in major newspapers are addressing a growing dread of AI. Along with the chuckles, there is fear. Its speed, clarity, and writing skills appear to be harbingers of a new stage of artificial intelligence that may transform almost every field of human endeavor.
Thus, MysTech’s timing of sponsoring Waldorf consultant Eugene Schwartz as our speaker on March 14th was fortuitous. Eugene, a Fellow of the Carnegie Institute for the Advancement of Teaching, a consultant and mentor to schools worldwide, and a retired Waldorf teacher, was well able to address the topic of Intelligence, Knowledge, and Wisdom: AI and the Waldorf Schools.
What is Artificial Intelligence (AI)? What is ChatGPT? Eugene showed that it is software using statistics to wade through vast amounts of information. Most of the information comes from Wikipedia and similar online repositories. It is not sentient as its non-living software follows the rules given to it by its programmers. How effective this is in mimicking human intelligence in compositions is indeed quite remarkable. Although there is no human being there, ChatGPT has moved AI very close to passing the Turing Test (when intelligent human beings cannot tell which respondent is the machine and which is the human). Eugene mentioned the beginning of this with a program Joseph Weizenbaum of MIT wrote called Eliza. Another test by John Searle is called the Chinese Room. Eugene surveyed some dystopia movies such as THX 1138 by George Lucas and The Matrix by the Wachowski’s.
Eugene wondered if after our school experiences with Covid, have we become too relaxed or even more fearful about Tech in the Waldorf Schools? Eugene reminded us that the children incarnating today foresee what the conditions will be like during their lifetime and prepare for them. Many further questions arise from protections for our children, to age-appropriate introduction to technology, cyber-civics, and how to work with technology.
Eugene explored several products over the past decade, such as Hello Barbie, that contained AI and collected information about a child and the child’s friends through questions and “play” initiated by Barbie. This unnerved parents so much that the product was withdrawn.
Since the 1980s, Waldorf schools have been changing. Many charter schools were based on Waldorf methods. But over this time, Waldorf Education has become more distant from Anthroposophy. Recent focus on DEIJ and bullying has left little time for faculty meetings to truly work with Anthroposophy. AI challenges all of us to know what the human being truly is. How does a human being learn? Waldorf Education with Anthroposophy can provide the answers.
Mary Stewart Adams – Sunday, December 11, 2022 @ 8pm EST
This Christmas 2022, will be the 100-year anniversary of when Rudolf Steiner’s gave Marie Steiner the verse The Stars Spoke Once to Man on Christmas Day 1922.
Mary will lead us through an imagination on how this verse can be experienced as a precedent for the Foundation Stone Meditation that was first spoken by Rudolf Steiner one year later, on Christmas Day 1923. As spiritual scientists and researchers of the mysteries, we will look as well into the star picture that appears overhead each year at this time, how it is uniquely activated through planetary rhythms, and how this can deepen our inner knowing and sense of speaking with the stars.
Monique Pommier – Friday, December 2, 2022 at 7:30pm EST
In four presentations based on her book Harmony, the heartbeat of creation, Monique Pommier shares a path to the primal pattern of nature’s forms, which she uncovered while inquiring into the mystery of number 12. What emerges from looking at the forms of nature with an eye for their hidden sameness is the archetypal pattern of the spherical vortex. The kinship of this pattern with Steiner’s lemniscate lights up the inner dynamic of “consciousness” common to all forms of being. It also imbues our awareness of the day/night and earthly/cosmic cycles of the human “I” with a new quality of intimacy with the spirit world.
Robert Filocco – Wednesday, October 26, 2022 at 2pm EST
In this presentation, three areas of the phenomenon will be touched on, the technological, intrapsychic and ontological/spiritual. Special focus will be on the so-called abduction literature. Similarities between what Steiner called Ahrimanic and Luciferic beings and the appearance and apparent agendas of UFO beings will be explored via quotes from Steiner and modern-day experiencers.
A New Science of Heaven
How the science of plasma will transform humanity’s understanding of its place in the universe
Review by Leslie Markley
Although this book was published in 2021, it only became readily available in the U.S. in November 2022. In it, Robert Temple outlines a mostly unknown history of the new field of plasma science, by introducing many of the people who are responsible for its existence. It is a story filled with life – names of individuals, brief biographies and anecdotes that draw the reader in – so that we find ourselves interested in the researchers and what they discovered. Temple also provides a picture of how the work of those innovators was received by the scientific world that was entrenched in a particular worldview, and how sometimes that reception spilled over into the political realm. It is that encounter between “a new science” and an established way of thinking that underlies Temple’s assertion that humanity will transform “its understanding of its place in the universe.” To ordinary materialist thinkers, this may seem a grandiose claim, but as Anthroposophists, after reading this book, we may embrace this vision as an exciting step along the path of the evolution of human consciousness.
Although it seems unlikely that Temple realizes it, in exactly this way, he appears to be outlining a new understanding of the etheric and astral realms using a vocabulary of cutting-edge scientific explorations into: plasma, quantum theory, biophysics, and more. Along with his understanding of science informed by friendships with influential scientists, he shares insights from the history of science and a deep familiarity with religious traditions and many cultures. He also appears to have a clairvoyant talent that he describes on page 370 in the notes. This book is fascinating and any Anthroposophist interested in physics, biology, life, death, deep state politics and/or consciousness, will want to read it. In fact, the author of this review suspects that the potential for this new science to disrupt the old established world view, may explain the panic-driven chaos we are experiencing in the world. The Ahrimanic forces of materialistic thinking are in danger of losing their control.
Temple begins not at the beginning, but rather at a particular moment in 1961 when an astronomer saw something very faint in that area of space we may think of as the “moon sphere” – between the earth and the moon. Known as the Kordylewski Clouds now, they are named after the Polish scientist who first discovered one of them and worked out mathematically that the other one must also exist. However, they remained invisible to everyone else until 2019, when a Hungarian team of astronomers, led by Judit Sliz-Balogh, confirmed their existence. Technology has finally advanced to the point of being able to perceive the “space dust” in these “clouds,” which exist at two points (La Grange points) in the Earth-Moon system, where the gravitational forces have been canceled out – there is no gravity in these two areas. Each of these “clouds” is 4.5 times the size of the Earth. What are they? How was it that Kordylewski had seen one? Of what could it be composed?
The Year 1879
It is with the asking of these questions that Temple guides us, through a kind of retrospective meditation, back to the year 1879, which he sees as the starting point. A most interesting year for those who have read the work of Rudolf Steiner. (See below dropdown to read more)
In the world of Anthroposophy, the year 1879 is often mentioned. In books and lectures, Steiner frequently says that it was a critically important time in the evolution of humanity and human consciousness. The picture he paints and the language he uses, are truly mysterious when first encountered. Below are some quotes that the reader of the book, A New Science of Heaven, may want to keep in mind.
Steiner tells us there was a great battle in the spiritual world over the course of several decades, which:
“…continued until November 1879, and after this the Archangel Michael gained the victory —and the dragon, that is the ahrimanic powers, were cast down into the human sphere…. It would suit them very well if people did not know they existed, for they could then work in the subconscious…. If they still knew how to do [so], they would not have been cast down in 1879. They now want to perform their function with the aid of human brains. They are one level lower in human brains than they should be.‘Monistic’thinking, as it is called today, is not really done by humans.” – GA 177 The Fall of the Spirits of Darkness
Elsewhere, Steiner uses different language. The dragon and the ahrimanic powers are referred to as Beings and Spirits.
“From the year 1841 onwards, a battle was waged in regions of the spiritual world, between certain Beings of the higher Hierarchies and other superior Beings. The Beings who rebelled and waged war from 1841 to 1879 had been used, before that time, in the service of the wise guidance of worlds. Even those Beings who rebel and become evil Beings of Darkness may, at certain other times, serve good and useful purposes. I am speaking, therefore, of Beings who up to the year 1841 had been used by higher Spirits in the service of the wise guidance of worlds but whose aims, from then onwards, ran counter to the aims of the Beings superior to them. These Beings of lower rank fought a great battle in the spiritual world — one of those battles that often take place — but at different levels — and are portrayed in legend and symbolism as the battle of Michael with the Dragon. In the autumn of 1879 this battle ended by certain Spirits of Darkness being cast down from the spiritual world to the Earth. Since then they have been working among men, creeping into their impulses of will, into their motives, into their ideas, indeed into all human affairs.” – GA 178
Above we see that these dark beings are using brains, creeping into ideas and all human affairs. Below, Steiner calls for humanity “to learn” how to use reason – which we also associate with the brain – but is association the same thing as being the product of the brain? And note that he calls for each individual to “grasp the spiritual” with the powers of reason, the way we understand other aspects of our existence.
“During this epoch man has to learn by degrees to grasp the spiritual with his reason; for this possibility has been offered to him by the vanquishing of the Spirits of Darkness in 1879, as a result of which more and more spiritual wisdom has been able to flow down from the spiritual worlds. Only if the Spirits of Darkness had remained up there in spiritual realms would they have been able to obstruct this flow.” – GA178
If a human being wishes for a connection to the world of the Spirit, it will require work. Perhaps it is a quest which requires that each individual initiate the first step and the continuing effort of striving.
“Now, for the first time, man must strive for spirituality — if he desires it. And so, in our day, and actually only from the year 1879 onwards, very definite phenomena appear. Because external observation has become so crude, they are really only clearly to be perceived when the eyes of the soul are directed to that realm which the human being enters on passing through the Gate of Death.” – GA178
Temple’s history of plasma research begins in 1879, with Sir Wm. Crookes, who invented a type of vacuum tube, discovered “cathode rays” and asserted that there must exist a “fourth state of matter”. Nearly five decades passed before that hypothesized “fourth state of matter” was named “plasma” by American scientist, Irving Langmuir. That word was chosen “because the way a charged gas carries electrons and ions reminded him of the way blood carries red and white corpuscles, so the plasma seemed to him to be ‘alive’.” He also introduced the word “sheaths” for the skins of plasmas, in 1928. Temple tells us that as a result of the publication of Langmuir’s article: “…the science of plasma physics was truly born; all the work that had been done since 1879 on what had been called ‘ionized gases’ or ‘radiant matter’ became known retrospectively as plasma research.”
Even the reader who is not well-versed in physics may find that this book contains much of interest – especially for someone familiar with Anthroposophy. The author weaves back and forth in time and in a chapter called “When Heaven Was Young” relates the following “pre-history” which fits right in with this story: “Aristotle…believed that the divine beings as well as human spirits were made of the fifth element, and that when we die our spirits made of the fifth element return to the world of the fifth element, which he conceived of as being somewhere above the atmosphere. And of course he viewed all stars and the Sun as being made of aether. And he distinctly postulated, under the name of pneuma, the existence of a form of the fifth element within animal and human bodies as an animating principle…. These beliefs of his later had an influence on the fundamental concepts of Christian theology, especially the Gospel of John.
I won’t go into more detail here about these ancient ideas, as fascinating as they are, but I want readers to know that more than 2200 years before Crookes discovered his ‘fourth state of matter’, Aristotle had predicted it. That is more than a footnote in history, it is an extraordinary fact.” (See below dropdown to read more)
We might think that, if such a seminal thinker as Aristotle described an imperceptible substance, modern-day scientists of the western path, using Aristotelian logic, could find their way to the realization that the new science of plasma has placed them at a turning point. Rationally, if there could be a Copernican moment in the 15th century, when the understanding of the world was totally disrupted, then it is logical to assume that it could happen again. And we should consider that when Copernicus developed his theoretical model of how the universe worked (i.e. the sun was the center of the universe, rather than the earth) it was based on observable, sense perceptible phenomena, logic and mathematics. It was later taken to a different level, “less deniable” for those whose senses, or sensibilities, kept them from “seeing” the world in the new way. This happened in the 17th century, when improved technology allowed Galileo and Kepler to provide convincing “proof” that the Copernican “model” worked and was therefore, more valid than the old earth-centric model of reality. Faced with the evidence, logical thinkers everywhere abandoned the “classical” perspective in astronomy.
During Aristotle’s lifetime (384-322 BC) the classical understanding of matter appears to have been the result of relatively recent reductionist thinking. The Hellenistic (“Western”) world view had been brought to the point where philosophers, the theoretical scientists of their day, included only the four components: earth, water, air and fire. It was Empedocles who is credited with being “the first to propose the four classical elements as a set: fire, earth, air, and water. He called them the four “roots” (rhizōmata).” Physical matter seems to have become a case of definition during the time when philosophers debated the question of the “first principle”, apparently assuming there must be one thing from which everything else was made. There was “team air” (championed by Anaximenes), “team water” (Thales) and for Heraclitus, it was fire that should be understood as most basic. And anything else was deemed separate – not a material substance. And it was Plato himself who labeled them stoicheîon, meaning the smallest components, which concept has become our “element”. This would appear to be the early days of the kind of monistic thinking that Steiner points toward with a cautionary finger. Perhaps then, it will make sense to seasoned Anthroposophists when Temple says that Aristotle was “the first Western thinker to suggest such a thing” [meaning the fifth element ether and its subset pneuma which existed within living bodies, see chapter 6 of A New Science of Heaven]. Temple goes on to tell us that this can be said “because the Chinese philosophers of Daoism never accepted a dichotomy between matter and spirit. Such a dichotomy is entirely a Western phenomenon.”
Temple provides some fascinating insights based on Chinese beliefs in this discussion of history. As an interesting aside for Anthroposophist, we may also note that a system of five elements is to be found in old Sanskrit texts that have come down (via oral tradition) from the ancient Indian epoch. This allows us to see that Steiner was purposeful in his use of vocabulary, “Akasha” for the Theosophists (who were working with the newly available translations of Vedic texts) and “Ether” for the Classicists (who would recognize the term, even if they assumed it had been debunked.) See #5 in this list of Vedic elements:
- bhūmior pṛthvī (earth)
- āpasor jala (water),
- agní or tejas (fire),
- vāyu,vyāna, or vāta (air or wind)
- ākāśa, [akasha]vyom, or śūnya (space or zero) or (aether or void).
Once classical thinking eliminated #5, thus reducing the material world from 5 to 4 elements, and seemingly put a boundary there to define reality, we see that even the great Aristotle was unable to reintroduce that which was not perceptible by at least one of the five senses. The Akasha/ether was defined as non-existent.
Although Temple does not go there, we might wonder if this rigid thinking was related to the system of numerology that prevailed in the West for so long – epitomized by the Roman numeral system, in which “zero” does not exist. It was only by the circuitous route, through the expansion of the Muslim world (think of Haroun al Rashid and the Mohammedanism of which Steiner often speaks), that it became understood in the Western world, that zero must exist. Perhaps, in a similar way, science will gradually accept that the “nothingness” of space, as it was previously understood, is gradually giving way to the new concepts of plasma science.
Plasma, as it is understood now, offers more complexity for consideration than either Aristotle’s or Crookes’ concepts of another “state of matter.” Temple explains that, “plasma is essentially made up of two subatomic particles: electrons that have a negative charge, and protons that have a positive charge. In whole atoms there is a balance between the negative and positive charges. ‘Physical matter’ is really atomic matter, because in order to be ‘physical’ it has to be made of whole atoms. However, [he continues] an atom can be turned into an ion by the simple means of stripping it of one of its electrons. It is important to realize that ions are not considered to be physical matter and that they are charged. And to give some ideas of the relative sizes, it is usual for the charged dust particle [found in plasma] to have 10,000 electrons sticking to its surface. Because protons are larger than electrons, they do not stick to dust particles in quite so high numbers.”
“Contrary to what we might assume, living as we do in a material world, particles only very rarely come together to form whole atoms, and non-atomic plasma is the main constituent of the Universe….”
Temple requires many pages to explain the existence and role of micron- and nano- sized particles that exist in plasma-filled space. Rather surprisingly, these particles are simply called “dust” but are much more interesting than the name implies. One of the most interesting things we are told is that the dust simply materializes – it “falls out” of plasma – self-generates. Here we may stop to consider Steiner’s statements that:
“Even as ice is condensed water, so matter is condensed spirit.” -Steiner,GA 100
Or another explanation in The World of the Senses, and the World of the Spirit – GA134
“Matter is, therefore, in reality spirit, but shattered spirit.”
Temple and the scientists whose work he is describing, seem to be at a new boundary of science in their description of dust formation – something they can observe, and label “clustering process.” But what catalyzes the process? That is the subject of continuing research. They have gone much further than the physicists of Steiner’s day, but stop short of having the concept of spirit.
Temple tells us of some other, related findings: “…In addition to the discovery that plasma manufactures its own dust, in 2017 Hamish Gordon and his collaborators revealed that the [earth’s] atmosphere also manufactures its own ‘new particles’ spontaneously from gas within the air itself. The new particles are nano-sized and they form in clouds in the Earth’s atmosphere from condensable vapours.”
All public climate change discussions at the moment are deeply flawed because they rely upon inaccurate models.
Gordon and his co-authors on the 2017 “report in the Journal of Geophysical Research state: ‘New Particle formation has been estimated to produce around half of cloud-forming particles in the present-day atmosphere.’ They define new particle formation as ‘the process by which gas molecules collide and stick together to form atmospheric aerosol particles [particles floating in the air]. Aerosols act as seeds for cloud droplets …’
Since that time, numerous articles have appeared supporting these findings about the ‘nucleation process’ in cloud formation, including one that “… was published in Nature in October of 2019, when Christina J. Williamson and her collaborators reported crucial new findings about the subject. This team of researchers has discovered that new particle formation in the atmosphere ‘persists at all longitudes as a global-scale band in the tropical upper troposphere, covering about 40 per cent of the earth’s surface.’ They say that global climate models ‘underestimate both the magnitude of tropical tropospheric NPF [new particle formation] and the subsequent growth of new particles to CCN [cloud condensation nuclei] sizes.’ Accordingly, all public climate change discussions at the moment are deeply flawed because they rely upon inaccurate models.” [Note that Temple includes citations for these and many other references, in an extensive End Notes section.]
Something Out of Nothing
“The formation of these tiny particles out of ‘nothing’ in our atmosphere is very similar to the formation of tiny particles out of ‘nothing’ in plasma, as both are a result of clustering processes within the two separate media of plasma and air…. The similarities of ‘appearing to get something out of nothing’ in both plasma and in air suggests that a universal process is being manifested in the two different cases.
And considering that, it is perhaps not surprising there is also another way of getting ‘something out of nothing’, which has been known since the 1990s, and it operates at an even more fundamental level. I am referring to the creation of a type of subatomic particle known as a baryon. [i.e., protons, neutrons, and atomic nuclei]
Experiments have verified that the creation of baryon particles can occur when whirling vortices are created in a fluid medium such as Helium 3 (3He), a form of helium with the quality of ‘superfluidity’. This phenomenon is an important part of some of the weird quantum effects associated with plasmas, … it arises where liquids can flow without resistance.”
At this point, is anyone, besides the author of this review, thinking about the creation of vortexes in flow forms? In the creation of biodynamic preps? In homeopathic medicine? Once again, it sounds like Steiner was on to something considerably before the science of matter was able to perceive it.
“Isolated islands of positivity in a sea of increasing entropy and hopelessness, could … become increasingly complex and self-organizing systems”
“…Ilya Romanovich Prigogine (1917-2003), [was] the Nobel Laureate for Chemistry in 1977.’
Prigogine entirely revolutionized the science of thermodynamics, which is essentially the study of the actions of heat and all that follows from them. Until Prigogine, it was widely believed that the Universe was steadily running down, that things slow down and fall apart, as the Second Law of Thermodynamics says they will.
What Prigogine discovered and proved was that energy brought into a chemical system, instead of always contributing by a process known as the increase of entropy (the progressive increase of disorder), could be dissipated away into other directions and purposes that were productive and could form open, interactive structures such as life forms, known technically as ‘dissipative structures’. These structures, being like isolated islands of positivity in a sea of increasing entropy and hopelessness, could instead become increasingly complex and self-organizing systems.”
“The philosophical death knell for the mechanical Universe”
“Prigogine built upon these discoveries his concepts of self-organization, which are now at the heart of what we are finding in dusty complex plasmas. So what Prigogine did was no less than explain the central role of life in the Universe. Although this was by no means heard by everyone, it was the philosophical death knell for the mechanical Universe.”
Those working in this field (astronomers, astrophysicists, cosmologists) “recognize that ’Physical matter’ is very rare in the Universe. At least 99 per cent, and some say more than 99.99 per cent, of the Universe is composed of plasma. We therefore live in a plasma universe, not a physical matter universe. But what does this mean?”
To an Anthroposophist, this could be a picture of the physical body penetrated and enveloped in the etheric and astral realms.
To Temple, it means: “In light of what we now know about the predominance of plasma in the Universe, we really need to turn our physics on its head. Instead of trying to model the Universe on the basis of the very rare and specialized form of dense matter found on our planet, we need to treat dense ‘physical matter’ as an exceptional form of the true ‘universal matter’, plasma. There is no use in our trying to establish universal laws on the basis of a tiny sample of far less than one percent of what exists. We need to establish physical laws on the basis of plasma and specify what we call ‘physical matter’ as a very special and limited case, which has no justification for being used as a basis for describing the majority constituents of the Universe.”
New Ideas Not Welcome
Here, Temple provides a perfect example of resistance to change, in the story of Kristian Birkeland, a Norwegian scientist in the early 1900’s, who was the first to claim that the Auroras Borealis and Australis “must be caused by streams of charged particles pouring in from the Sun towards the Earth’s poles. These particles then glow and cause all the beautiful lights.”
This theory, Temple tells us, “caused the utmost outrage, and astronomers all over the world called Birkeland a madman. Did he not realize that space was empty? Charged particles could not pass through empty space!” So they labeled him a crank and dismissed him. It was not until the 1960’s with the advent of space exploration that his theory was proven true.
It wasn’t too long after Birkeland died in obscurity, that a Swiss astronomer in California, Fritz Zwicky at the Palomar observatory, “produced evidence to show that space is not empty.” Soon followed by French astronomer d’Azambuja’s discovery of the solar wind. Both discoveries were rejected soundly, further publication efforts were refused. It was eventually proved that there had been illegal censorship of Zwicky’s findings. This is a thumbnail version that leaves out the details that Temple provides to really bring this period of time into focus.
The book includes a long quote from a manuscript in which Fred Hoyle (scientist and sci-fi author) wrote that he and his colleague, Ray Lyttleton, in the 1940’s:
“suggested that the gas between the stars was likely in places to be clumped into much denser clouds than astronomers were then prepared to admit. We also suggested that the gas in dense clouds would be molecular rather than atomic, with molecular hydrogen the dominant component. These perfectly correct predictions never did us much good, however, because they were thought outlandish in their own time and three decades later, when observation had shown them to be correct, nobody remembered what had been said as long ago as 1940. So it goes, I’m afraid.
The thought that molecules, even quite complex molecules, might be present in great quantities within clouds of interstellar gas never died away in my mind, [Hoyle continued] although astronomical opinion through the 1950s was so firmly set against the idea that to argue for it in the scientific literature became impossible. Throughout my career I have argued fiercely against the refereeing system practiced by nearly all the so-called serious journals. My opinions are admittedly coloured by an intense dislike of being told by referees what I may publish, or not publish. But this is not the whole story. The superficially plausible reasons for maintaining the system are false. The real reason for the existence of the refereeing system is that it provides the majority with a strictly applied censorship over ideas which it does not wish to hear…
Because in the 1950s the seemingly respectable vehicles of publication were closed to the concept of molecules in space, I turned to the disreputable vehicle of science fiction.”
So in the end, many who tried to get the mainstream to allow in a new idea – that space is not empty – were not allowed to express their thoughts. It was “Birkeland’s fellow Scandanavian, Hannes Alfven” who was given the honor. He showed that the Universe has [a] vast network of plasma filaments carrying electric currents, he also showed that the Universe is full of electromagnetic fields….we now know that at a subatomic and quantum level, space is a jungle of plasma, a highly charged, creative ecosystem – with matter in the form of particles being one of the things it creates.”
Data and Information Really ARE the New Sources of Power
Once Alfven’s theories were allowed out and publicly recognized, then Birkeland’s ideas (upon which Alfven had based his work) became acceptable, and a whole new way of seeing space began to take hold. However, Temple describes a strangle-hold that exists on much of this information: “…the situation has become even worse today, for now it is not only observatory committees that prevent things from being published, but also the organized and combined forces of military, security and corporate power. Most scientists working in astrophysics in America today have signed confidentiality agreements with military agencies, and a large proportion of their work is kept secret under various security classifications….If the scientists try to release their findings, they can go to jail.” Temple gives an example of this secrecy in a story about a CIA-funded research paper which he wanted to see. It has been “declassified” but is only available by making an appointment and going in person to a CIA archive in Maryland, where the requester will be allowed to view the report but not allowed to copy it or take notes. Data and information are the new sources of power in the world, and this is a tiny example of how that power is wielded.
Electricity and Magnetism
Temple, in Chapter 8, states quite plainly that “the current standard understanding of electricity and magnetism is still insufficiently developed for us to ‘get our heads around it all’. As one example of our failure to comprehend the great mysteries that surround us, I come to what we call magnetic lines of force, or magnetic field lines. These are constantly spoken of by scientists around the world, as if they really existed. But they do not exist.” To anchor this statement, he quotes “Cullerne and Machacek’s physics textbook, The Language of Physics: A Foundation for University Study: ‘…field lines are a fictitious pictorial representation of a field.’”
But such fictions – such models – allow scientists to talk about things that are observed and/or hypothesized. Those working out of a background in Steiner’s work, will understand the essential nature of imagination in this picture. Before there can be either inspiration or intuition, there almost always needs to be an image – an imagination – that can serve as the core around which concepts may coalesce. Following the image, is sound – the sounds of language allow exchanges and collaborations. Just as ‘image’ is the center of imagination, sound can be considered to be at the core of inspiration. Under the right circumstances, an individual may find an intuition arises (or might we think of it almost like the dust that falls out of plasma?). Science advances by way of this process. And notwithstanding the resistance, anomalies in the world of physics continue to attract thinkers into new areas of investigation.
“Superconductivity is an extraordinary phenomenon, first observed in 1911, by which a current can pass through certain materials and experience zero resistance. Classical physics cannot explain how this works and the quantum mechanical explanation is still not complete.” But it has been well over a century since superconductivity was first observed on Earth and later in space where it is observed and known as “Birkeland Currents.” These streams of activity “are far more efficient at conducting current than any dense matter conductor could ever possibly be, and they have very little current loss despite the fact that they can extend not only across our solar system but across our entire galaxy and even beyond. Indeed, galaxies themselves seem to be linked by Birkeland Currents.
There are photographs of Birkeland Currents in space….The ‘loops’ that are seen extending upwards and outwards from the Sun’s surface and from the solar corona (which is far above the surface) are also Birkeland Currents. They are sometimes called ‘magnetic field lines’ by astrophysicists, which is incorrect; they are actually the flowing traces of the charged currents themselves, and there are many photos of these currents taken from the International Space Station, which show a kind of eerie glowing green river running along beside the space station, and encircling the Earth….” There are “literally space rivers of positive current streaming into our planet, and into all other planets in our solar system as well” connecting the Sun with all the planets, and other stars, and even all the galaxies. But “Birkeland currents can also be microscopic. Our bodies are full of them.” Temple helps us to imagine how the Universe operates fractally – with similar patterns appearing above and below – macroscopically and microscopically.
The Cold Sun
Chapter 9 in the book is titled: The Cold Sun. Long-time Anthroposophists are likely to be less surprised by this chapter than many other readers. In it, Temple writes: “We have all been told for our entire lives that the Sun is a raging furnace blasting out heat and light, which keeps us alive here on Earth. The Sun is supposedly so hot that nothing one can imagine could survive for even a fraction of an instant without being melted and consumed and annihilated within its inferno. The Sun is inconceivably hot, inconceivably violent, inconceivably turbulent. It is like a great bully in the sky, roaring with rage and spewing out fire and rays.
But this is not true. And nobody could be more shocked than I was when I discovered this.”
Although the Corona of the Sun is in the millions of degrees Centigrade, the ‘surface’ of the Sun, the technical name for which is the photosphere, is only about 5500 degrees Centigrade – that’s only about four times as hot as the inside of a cement kiln, here on Earth. And if one could move below that surface, for example, by descending through a sun spot, which is a kind of dark tube, the temperature might be even cooler. “So clearly our conventional ideas about the Sun cannot possibly be correct.” The Sun, Temple concedes, “cannot possibly have an explosion going on inside”.
“In 1977, Arthur J. Hundhausen, who was later to go on to become probably America’s leading solar wind expert, published a summary paper entitled ‘Plasma Flow from the Sun’. By that time, there had already been fourteen years of satellite data, so that he was able to make reliable statements about the solar wind. He said that the evidence indicated that the solar wind had been blowing continuously for four billion years. That is a lot of wind, a long time span, and a very powerful Sun, with no end in sight!”
The Day the Solar Wind Stood Still
“In May of 1999, a very strange thing happened. For two days, the solar wind stopped completely. That certainly poses some problems for conventional ideas about the Sun. Did somebody turn off the central bomb? How can you turn off a thermonuclear explosion and then start it up again two days later?” . . . . There are many bizarre solar anomalies that are ignored and glossed over at the moment. For instance, every 2 minutes and 40 seconds, the Sun shrinks in size and re-expands, or in other words rises and falls, by six miles. That’s a long way to fall and a fast rise! There is no ‘orthodox’ explanation for this strange fact. Is the Sun breathing? If there were continual pressure from a thermonuclear explosion at the core of the Sun, how could that pressure ‘breathe’ every two minutes and 40 seconds? Are we to imagine a fusion process that has lungs?”
There is another theory – not the thermonuclear core theory – which describes “huge streams of electrons [that] pour into the polar regions of the Sun continuously from immensely long galactic Birkeland currents. This continual inflow of negatively charged electrons provides the pressure to expel the oppositely charged positive ions into space, which form the solar wind. This system of solar activity…provides a way for the Sun to operate for billions of years without the need for any central explosion at all.”
“Although some atoms are known to be created by the Sun, they are created under the intense temperatures of the corona, far above the main body.” ….
Where are the neutrinos?
“Another major problem for the ‘thermonuclear folks’ who refuse to give up their hydrogen bomb in the centre of the Sun is what is known as ‘the neutrino question’. It is admitted by everyone that there should be a very large number of the tiny nuclear particles known as neutrinos pouring out of the Sun as a result of any thermonuclear explosion. But the requisite number of neutrinos has never been detected. This embarrassing lack of neutrinos is often a source of public anguish to many in the ‘astrophysical community”.
Invisible Earth – Van Allen Belts
In chapter 10 Temple asserts that science now recognizes “There is an Earth that is invisible to the human eye, and it surrounds the visible planet Earth.” Using the vocabulary of material science, Temple continues, “This other Earth is composed of plasma, and it is far larger than the ‘solid core’ on which we live. Which then, is the real Earth? Or is the real Earth both together? The Invisible Earth was only discovered in 1958 thanks to satellite data by James Van Allen” of Van Allen Belt fame. [The story of James Van Allen and his role in U.S. propaganda during the 1960’s space race, is quite fascinating.]
After the initial discovery of the two electromagnetic “belts” by Van Allen, scientific understanding continued to evolve: “the second and outer Van Allen Belt is now known to consist largely of electrons, whereas the inner and smaller one consists of a mixture of protons and electrons. It was only in 2014 that it was discovered that the inner edge of the outer Van Allen Belt is very sharp and highly defined, and resembles a protective barrier. Scientists are still trying to understand that discovery.
This finding is, however, precisely what one would expect, because plasma regions whether large or small are routinely surrounded by closely fitting plasma sheaths, which are rather thin and their edges do tend to be very sharp and highly defined, as we now know is the outer Van Allen Belt. In other words, what continues to be discovered about the Van Allen Belts provides increasing evidence that they are standard plasma belts of the classic type. Our planet is thus the solid core of a vast plasma entity that surrounds it. We need to accept that the Van Allen Belts and the atmosphere are the Earth just as much as the solid core.”
This is a concept that may resonate with many Anthroposophists, due to Steiner being clear on so many occasions that all (biologic) living entities have etheric bodies, and some have astral bodies (which can be perceived by clairvoyants) around a dense physical body. But we also know, that although the physical, etheric, and astral bodies may be considered separately, the entity can only “be itself” if all the parts are in place and working together. For the human being, of course, there must also be the “eternal kernel” of the “I”, the spiritual Self.
Van Allen worked at the military research center in Livermore, California, where further related research was undertaken by Winston Harper Bostick, who is credited with the discovery of the existence of plasmoids. These are “a type of plasma…often spherical or blob shaped, or sometimes shaped like a doughnut – and it also has strange properties.” For example, in the 1950s, Bostick showed that plasmas could pass right through metal plates without being affected. From the perspective of his military employers, “What could this possibly mean for potential future weapons? For the vulnerabilities of the walls of tanks? For the sides of aircraft? For the White House itself, which did not even have copper walls?” It is doubtful that they, unlike Temple, compared this behavior to that of descriptions of angels and such from religious and esoteric sources. Many readers of this review will want to find out what Temple has to say about these things.
Leaving Livermore and the concerns of warriors behind him, Bostick moved across the country to a basic research lab and continued plasma research work that, along with the work of Hannes Alfven, looked at plasmoids coming from the Sun, and the possibility that they are intelligent or conscious entities carrying information to our Earth. “The publication in late 1957 by Bostick of his article entitled ‘Plasmoids’ in Scientific American, the widely read magazine that acted as a bridge between scientists and the general population, brought these matters to the attention of the wider public for the first time. One might say that this was both the beginning and the end of public awareness of plasmoids, as the subject then vanished, and no meaningful or sustained public discourse about plasmoids ever really occurred afterwards. There was a flurry of brief press articles in newspapers all over America reporting that a scientist named Winston Bostick had discovered strange things called plasmoids, but after Bostick ceased to be news, this stopped.”
Like Plasmoids – Neon Light Tubes Are Filled With Plasma
Temple suggests that we consider the fact that a “neon light tube can be held in the hand and feels cool to the touch even when the electrons in the centre of the tube are twice as hot as the Sun’s surface. This information is a crucial fact, which we will need to keep in mind when we consider plasmoid entities. Anyone who thinks plasmoid entities cannot contain within a very small space huge variations in temperature, pressure, charge, and complexity, need only remember the lowly neon light tube. That is proof enough that the sort of complexity in plasma that we will be discussing as we go along is not only possible but probable.”
This is followed by a discussion of the Kordylewski Clouds, which are composed of trillions and trillions of “constituents”. Each cloud is over 4 times the size of the Earth and the components are so diffuse that by our standards – the standards of material entities – they might “seem almost not to exist at all. After all, at our human scale, we think of atoms constituting our bodies as being very near to each other. Of course, the idea that our bodies are solid is an illusion: Sir Arthur Eddington asserted a century ago that all atoms consist of 99 per cent empty space; nowadays we might modify that to say 99 per cent an amorphous mist of tiny, tiny particles called quarks and gluons.
The point is that if you shrank to the size of a ‘space grain’, you would find that you could easily traverse an entire human body and see nothing substantial because everything of which it was constituted was too far apart to appear to consist of anything. In other words, we would all essentially be undetectable. So everything is a matter of scale. If you were the size of a Kordylewski Cloud, you would very readily see them. You have to be big enough to ‘see’ them properly, or to have technology that can reveal them, as ours has done, but with difficulty.”
Anthroposophist who have read Steiner’s work where he talks about life after death – after leaving the physical body behind – will remember that he says in many places that when we are in Kamaloca, we will “recognize” each other if we have worked on ourselves as spiritual beings, including having a religion. Otherwise, if we believe that there is nothing more than the physical, we could be right next to a being and not recognize that being for who/what it is. Materialistic beliefs are very isolating. If a material concept is all we are looking for, and it is “undetectable” due to scale, or due to expectations and lack of concepts/vocabulary, we will not recognize a being that may be right next to us. Something to consider.
Brain – Plasma – Self-awareness
“It is often said anecdotally that the human brain contains more neurons than there are observable stars in the night sky. But the human brain fits inside a small skull. A stable dusty complex plasma ball of immense size, which has possibly endured for aeons and experienced continual growth and expansion over countless millennia, is in principle capable of developing something resembling a much more complex nervous system than a human brain with its average lifetime of around a hundred years. A complex dusty Kordylewski Cloud that has existed for many millions of years might even have become self-aware, with all that this implies.”
Temple paints a picture using a scientific vocabulary. Granted, these topics are cutting edge and must often create new words or tweak meanings, but what Temple brings has a certain resonance with Steiner’s spiritual science, and especially the way he talks about the “Akashic Record”. Is it possible that what is recorded in that “record” of all earthly thoughts and events is located within the Kordylewski Clouds? Perhaps that is not the right question, but how do these things relate to each other?
Microbial Clouds and Bioplasma
In 2015, Dr. James F. Meadow reported on his findings that people are surrounded by “bacterial clouds” or ‘microbial clouds’ that “have not yet been measured, but…appear to extend for several feet beyond the body in all directions….we are really clouds of bacteria with a hard core called a physical body. As for the body itself, the cells within it and supposedly ‘constituting’ it are outnumbered by the micro-biological entities (bacteria, fungi, and viruses) living on it and in it by ten to one.
What this means is that only 10 per cent of the cellular components of ourselves are really what we think of as us, and 90 per cent is a cloud of microscopic parasites that follows us around.” And, “…According to Meadow and his team, humans emit 10 million particles per hour….”
“Microbial clouds and dusty plasma are analogous in many ways as both are made of invisible and microscopic particles. And later in this chapter and the next I will be examining the work done on what we call our ‘bioplasma bodies’, which are invisible and which surround us, just as the microbial clouds do. The concept of bioplasma bodies suggests that we are jointly constructed of physical bodies and bioplasma bodies, which operate in synch.
The further suggestion is that when we ‘die’, because our physical body has worn out or been damaged beyond repair, our bioplasma body may detach from our physical body and abandon it to ‘death’. We might be said to continue to exist as bioplasmic beings made of non-atomic matter – of plasma. On this way of looking at it, the ‘soul’ is thus material, but in a different and more rarefied sense than was the physical body. This leads to the concept of bioplasma beings existing without ‘physical bodies’, and I suggest that this is what is often referred to as ‘the Other World’.
Traditionally it has been called ‘the spiritual world’, upon the assumption that it must be wholly immaterial. It was assumed that body and spirit were entirely separate. One being ‘material’ and one being entirely non-material. I touched on this earlier, and it is what I regard as the prime fallacy of our Western civilization.”
Temple appears to confuse the soul with the spirit, which, incidentally, was one of Rudolf Steiner’s prime concerns for Western civilization. And it is here that the Anthroposophist will realize that what Temple is revealing, is indeed permeated with Ahrimanic, materialistic thinking. We must be careful not to fall into the trap. Keeping in mind that Steiner always made clear that Ahrimanic forces and beings are absolutely essential to earthly existence, we just need to be open to what science brings to human knowledge without allowing it to obscure our understanding of the spirit that is behind all “things.”
Neither the Heart nor Body Is a Machine
Temple advises us that “The relevance of electricity and magnetism to the human body was revealed very dramatically in 1963, …[with]…the first scientific detection of a naturally occurring ‘biomagnetic field’ in the human body, and they proved the existence of a magnetic field associated with the action of the human heart. The electrical and magnetic aspects of the human heart are now universally accepted, but it was very painful and difficult for scientific and medical experts to accept this discovery at the time, because it went against the ‘body as a machine’ theory, by which everything was supposed to be chemical and mechanical.”
“Biophotons themselves are only part of a much larger picture, which took shape largely as a result of studying the biophotons. It was the brilliant Russian scientist Viktor Mikhailovich Inyushin, who pushed the boundary much further in his writings about ‘bioplasma’. This term ‘bioplasma’ was coined in 1944 by the Russian scientist V.S. Grischenko (aka Grishenko). By 1967, Grischenko and Inyushin were working together on bioplasma, and they announced then that they envisaged a plasmatic state within living organisms which, in contrast to inorganic plasma, would be a cold plasma possessing a high degree of order.
This was an interesting idea, for the cold plasmas in space, such as the Kordylewski Clouds for instance, are more likely to be intensively ordered and to show ‘emergence’ and self-organization, and indeed inorganic life. One would not normally think that the human body could contain a cold plasma, which seems counter-intuitive, considering how warm the body is.”
Anthroposophists may want to explore or revisit what Steiner has to say about the coldness of the nerves and neurological system. For example, in one lecture he tells us: “The relationship between nerve substance and blood substance in our organism is the same as that in our soul between abstract, cold thinking and the enthusiasm we can feel when things do not remain merely cold thoughts for us, but warm us through the spirit. This warming through the spirit does not come naturally; we have to train ourselves to attain it. GA 169
Cold Plasma Chiefly in the Brain
“…Grischenko and Inyushin worked out that [the body containing cold plasma] is possible. And what is more extraordinary, … they believed that this cold plasma would chiefly be found in the brain. So, to make it clear, bioplasma is the name they gave to that plasma which, they were convinced, joined with the physical body and helped it to operate, or even coordinated and guided its growth and development.”
This reviewer cannot help wondering if there is any relationship here to what Steiner calls ‘the double,’ which enters shortly before birth and leaves the body just before death?
In his final chapter, Temple says that he is “suggesting that the predominant forms of life in the Universe are inorganic.” And speculates that “The organic life forms of our planet are a footnote, not the main text, of the message of the Universe.” Anthroposophists may find it difficult to embrace the idea of humanity as a footnote, but the idea of inorganic life might correlate with Steiner’s description of spiritual beings associated with every “thing” perceivable and conceivable, in the material world. How difficult would it be to consider the “spiritual beings” of Steiner’s cosmology as inorganic life forms? They don’t have physical bodies, and are not perceptible to the five ordinary senses, but they are active in our earthly realm. If not “inorganic life form,” what other words might we use?
To anyone who has made it this far, I can only say that although I have packed a lot into this review, there is so much more in the book. Robert Temple has assuredly provided a tremendous service to the world in his ability to tell an important story well, and with documented references and detailed information that will help guide an interested reader who wants to know more about the ideas touched upon here, and others such as:
- Structured Water, Ice Crystals and Plasma
- Quantum Tunneling
- Research Mysteriously Gone Quiet – Is It Transhumanism?
- Our Bodies Emit Light – Biophotons are not bioluminescence, nor chemiluminescence
- The ‘Death Flash’ and the ‘Life Flash’
- Quantum Field and Information
- Morphic Resonance
Robert Temple is the author of twelve books, including co-author of The Genius of China, which won five national awards in the USA. He is Visiting Professor of History and Philosophy of Science at Tsinghua University in Beijing. He wrote, produced, and presented the documentary film Descent into Hell, based upon his book, Oracles of the Dead, for National Geographic Channel. His translation of the Epic of Gilgamesh was staged at the Royal National Theatre in London in 1993. He resides in England with his wife, Olivia. They are joint translators of Aesop: The Complete Fables. – https://www.robert-temple.com/
The Human Being Speaks Back to the Stars
With Mary Stewart Adams, Mary Ruud, and Lynn Stull
Eurythmy is the art form in which we are working in the etheric realm of the Christ and with the forces and powers of the Zodiac and the Planets. When we do eurythmy we have the opportunity to speak to the stars out of our own free will.
On April 20th we are inviting you to join eurythmists and eurythmy lovers in doing eurythmy (via zoom recording) to the Human Being’s response to the stars as it is expressed in the fourth panel of the Foundation Stone Meditation.
Why April 20th?
Star Lore Historian Mary Stewart Adams says in her 2023 Eclipses Essay (download PDF of essay here) The April 20 Total Solar Eclipse falls on the 99th anniversary of the first-ever eurythmy performance of the Foundation Stone Meditation. It was four months after the close of the Christmas Conference, and in 1924, Easter occurred on April 20.
The eurythmy presentation of the Foundation Stone was as a final “cosmic inscription” of this deed by Rudolf Steiner, given that he laid the original stone during a lunar eclipse cycle in 1913, with Mercury as witness; he offered it as a meditation starting on Christmas Day 1923 as Venus was rising; and he offered it to the Sun through eurythmy on Easter Sunday, April 20, 1924. Moon, Mercury, Venus, Sun, each sphere engaged in the history of the Foundation Stone from 1913 to 1924.
Eurythmist, Elfriede Mauren, witnessed the first Foundation Stone performance. She stated “Performers (eurythmists and speaker) always strived for the deepest spiritual devotion” and that the “audience feels inwardly called, to participate, to become an ‘I’ themselves, in the first step towards the laying of their own Foundation Stone.”
If on April 20th you would like to participate in the call to do eurythmy, here’s a video link to take you eurythmically through the Human Being’s response to the Stars: https://vimeo.com/811672829/41356d8531
May our humble attempts be received by the Stars and as Mary Stewart Adams states:
With warm hearts and light-filled heads, we can engage with the rhythm of this year’s eclipses through the sublime reality of the Foundation Stone that was laid into the Earth, and into all human hearts that so will to serve the good, the beautiful, and the true in our becoming.
MysTech Study Courses
Offering Studies into the Mysteries of Technology
Consider Joining A Course Group This Spring
MysTech intends to cultivate the ground both in the human soul and in industry whereby a healthy Man-Machine relationship can be realized. Toward that goal, MysTech intends to establish a research and development center. In support of our research goal, MysTech offers educational programs such as these study courses as well as a newsletter, periodic webinars, and an annual conference in addition to these study groups.
Each study course intends to build a supportive environment for the study of key lectures given by Rudolf Steiner regarding the future interaction of mankind with machines. Each course has a study guidebook containing lectures by Steiner along with study questions. The guidebooks are available: Study Course Guidebooks, link: https://secure.cfae.us/mystech-study-guides-pdf/
Study Groups for Spring 2023 are off and running! However, you can still join one until April 21st. And consider forming a group for Fall 2023! Each course is formed around a group whose members can be from anywhere in the world. The guidebooks can be used without a group leader.