Newsletter on the Mysteries of Technology
Now that we’re coming to the end of 2021, I find myself reflecting back on these past two years that brought about such dramatic change for all of humanity. In 2020, we saw an abrupt halt to society as we had formerly experienced it. Come the beginning of this year, 2021, we witnessed the establishment of a new society, one that will be governed more and more by Artificial Intelligence. You may ask, how did we get to this point and where might this all be leading us?
How we got to this point is a long story indeed but, in short, and in reviewing the past few decades, we can see how we first perfected devices that could be carried on us at all times. We see also how we perfected the software to collect our every moment, so as to create our digital self, in order to help us make our own decisions. What’s next in this coming decade will bring about the perfection of our body image imposed upon our digital self and the beginning of life within the Metaverse. With the coldness of computational calculation, the occult nature of one’s digital identity will finally be born before our very eyes and, in the likeness of our own desire, within a world made for its existence. We will be its mother, its father and the child, the trinity in one but all under the governance of A.I.
As of the turn of this decade, humanity is heading into an age of contraction and darkness, furthering ourselves from the light of our creator. The inner space that we will soon experience will be of our own making, filled with the light that will be provided for us by technology, devoid of warmth and detached from love. But what this place will provide is an approximation that will eventually, for some, become their reality.
It may be that this path we all are headed down is inevitable, taking us to a place within, in which we must live individually, and yet somehow remain together, even if we find ourselves isolated physically from each other. But no matter how dark and complete the isolation may potentially become, there is always a spark ready to ignite within each of us. For even at the coldest, darkest, and least hospitable time and place, a light was born as a child. It grew into a flame that consumed the whole of the earth. So too, this light is inseparable from us and is always with us.
We find ourselves free of the directed control of higher beings – in a sense, we have emancipated ourselves from the spiritual world – and we are well on the way to emancipating ourselves from the toils of this physical world. We must now, out of our own initiative and with the help of that light, the light that came into the world with the Jesus Child, find our way back to our humanity — our spark of divinity — and wrest ourselves from the trappings of the (so-called) ‘Metaverse’ to become once again citizens of the cosmos.
At this time of year, we hold in our hearts the approach of the Christmas season, the time of renewed light that follows the cycle of darkness. May we also see beyond the age of darkness approaching humanity and look forward to a time of light to come. May the mood of Christmas hold sway over the Metaverse.
Center for Anthroposophical Endeavors (CFAE)
Communing with the Dead
Spirit and Technology
Image: The Guiding Spirit by Ernesto Genoni, 1955
Death and dying are a part of the domain of experience of the earthly human being. Our experience of bodily decay, our passing away, and emergent rebirth in another dimension beyond a spiritual threshold, is a uniquely human experience. On the one side of this divide is the material domain of carbon, silica and the metals upon which our own bodies, but also our devices are conceived and constructed, while on the other side of this divide is a purely spiritual existence. Yet there is a continuum in spirit that exists between these two domains, a relationship that continues without interruption, and thus a communion. We may say then that there are three states of being: spirit in matter, spirit at the threshold, spirit outside matter.
When we live on the earth we live as spirits in matter in our waking life. We feel that the material world is around us as a sort of sheath of existence. Without our effort while incarnated, it is hard for us to become conscious of all the spiritual beings that permeate the same physical space as we do, or of the spiritual forces that move between one human being and another, across space and time. We live within, and in communion with, the spiritual bodies of our friends and acquaintances every day of our existence, yet with this outer experience of physical material separation between us. Rarely do we directly glimpse the forces of love that exist as powerful deeds between us, or the sharing of our etheric forces when we are present in the same room as our friends.
What then transpires when our physical bodies are gone and buried, and we then exist on the other side of the threshold? The thoughts that we carried while on the earth still need spiritual nourishment, not only from the light of the new spiritual dimension in which we now exist, but also from those with whom we carried on relationships while on the earth. The spiritual deeds, the sharing of thoughts, the streams of etheric forces and love from those left behind become a thirst for those who are now separated. The spiritual thoughts of those we knew in the earthly context become windows of light between these worlds.
The purely material aspects of our existence on the earth as ‘spirit in matter’ no longer is a shared experience. Our connection is not through material devices, through a zoom session on our laptop, but through our only means of connection once we are ‘spirit outside matter,’ that being spiritual forces as manifest in thinking. It is our thinking during sleep that is the normal point of communion between the living and the dead, as our thoughts become living beings during sleep. Also, when we develop spiritual capacities, it is possible that this connection is made conscious during our awake hours. Or even while reading to the dead, meditating upon their life while on earth, or recalling the last moment when they shared a smile, or from that final soul-filled glimpse before they closed their eyes for the last time. These moments are all the portals of communion between the living and the dead.
When we sleep at night, our thoughts and ideas become beings, living beings that satisfy the longing from those who have died to have communion with us. Steiner describes this process eloquently: “Nourishment after death can be drawn only from the ideas and thoughts of those with whom there was some connection during life; nourishment cannot be drawn from those with whom there was no connection at all… the dead can draw nourishment only from souls with whom they were associated in life. We therefore try to bring souls together in order that the harvest-fields for the dead may become more and more extensive. Many a human being who after death finds no harvest-field because all his family are materialists, finds it among the souls of anthroposophists with whom he had had some connection. That is the deeper reason for working together in community, and why we are anxious that the dead should have been able before death to know anthroposophists who are still occupied on the earth with spiritual things; for when these people are asleep the dead can draw nourishment from them.” (Steiner, GA140 – Links Between the Living and the Dead). When we have our zoom conferences, when we reach out and make ourselves available in our work lives through our technological devices, or over our phones, we are still forming bridges and spiritual relationships that may continue after death and nourish those who have died. But that is only true when we understand that the material devices are an outer aspect of existence while we are, ‘spirits in matter.’
Imagine now what takes place when Elon Musk sleeps at night? During the day he is intent on working on technological achievements, massive, amazing feats of engineering. His dreams extend as far as a longing for physical travel to Mars. All his wealth accumulation is focused on this goal of getting his physical body to Mars, perhaps back to Mars? He feels he is the savior of a future humanity, preserving their physical bodies, once this Earth planet is dead and burned out, or ossified. When he sleeps at night then, his thoughts about the material nature of the world are like darkness to the spiritual beings with whom he is connected. They know him as a spiritual being, but all his intellect is focused on a material world that no longer has meaning for them in this regard. If we turn to the poetry of Karl Marx, we find a powerful vehicle for conceptualizing what the thoughts of an inventor like Elon Musk must mean for the dead:
Then I will be able to walk triumphantly,
Like a god, through the ruins of their kingdom.
Every word of mine is fire and action.
My breast is equal to that of the Creator.
I shall build my throne high overhead
Cold, tremendous shall its summit be.
For its bulwark — superstitious dread
For its marshal — blackest agony…
Ha! Eternity! She is an eternal grief …
Ourselves being clockwork, blindly mechanical,
Made to be the foul-calendars of Time and Space,
Having no purpose save to happen, to be ruined,
So that there shall be something to ruin …
If there is a something which devours,
I’ll leap within it, though I bring the world to ruins-
The world which bulks between me and the Abyss
I will smash to pieces with my enduring curses.
I’ll throw my arms around its harsh reality:
Embracing me, the world will dumbly pass away,
And then sink down to utter nothingness
(Karl Marx, Oulanem, A Tragedy)
The idea that our physical bodies are the extent of our existence cannot nourish those who have died. While relationships continue beyond the threshold, these materialistic conceptions create a deserted, empty plain upon which no light may pass. It is the responsibility of every spiritual scientist to understand that each human being we touch, each hand that we hold, smile or thought shared, is a potential relationship that may continue beyond the time while we are ‘spirits in matter.’ As we pass over as ‘spirits at the threshold’ we carry our spiritual deeds with us, our threads of love for those we leave behind, thus forming spirit-bridges out of forces that are not limited by time and space.
Daniel Perez has been a technologist since his teens, at the dawn of the age of the personal computer. He has been programming since he was a student at Green Meadow Waldorf School, and later educated as an Electrical Engineer at the University of Rochester. His adult career has placed him in several areas of technology development, from space-based laser systems to video compression used for teleconferencing, and he currently leads an engineering team in Cloud Computing development. He also is co-founder of Threefold Capital Corp, an investment company, and sits on several non-profit boards including the Center for Anthroposophy. He and his wife live in Peterborough NH and have two adult children living in San Francisco, one of whom is a Waldorf teacher.
Facing a Future Permeated by Machines
Imagen de The Matrix Revolutions
If your son had an accident and lost a limb and was then outfitted with a prosthetic limb, would you still love your son? Of course you would. What if he lost two limbs? Three? How much of one’s body would need to be replaced by a machine before one would no longer feel fully human or their spouse might say, “I can no longer love this person”? Early in the 20th century, the merging of Mankind with Machines began. Many of our loved ones already have pacemakers, artificial joints, or hearing aids. Many more “mergings” are in the works.
Almost certainly, most people today would accept a machine as a prosthetic limb to replace a severed natural limb. Likewise, most would augment a damaged sense organ with a bionic aid. But when it comes to internal organs, I believe we enter squeamish territory. Replacing the body parts related to our will, i.e., our limbs, does not raise the warning flag that one is sacrificing their humanity as much as does replacing internal organs. What happens to our humanity when the operation of a liver is being largely conducted by an embedded machine? How much of the functioning of our heart can be done by a sophisticated “intelligent” pacemaker without sacrificing our ability to love or be loved? Does the one with an embedded machine change in anyway? When we consider replacing our thinking-related body parts, even more concern may arise about this de-humanizing our future.
Ray Kurzweil (1) and much of the Artificial Intelligence (AI) community are convinced that the ultimate human organ is the brain. This camp would say we can replace all the other organs and body parts and we still have a human being. They would argue that the essence of the human being is its mind, and this is found in the “software” of the brain. Thus, according to this camp, if one can migrate the software that represents the mind from a biological brain to an equivalent non-biological brain, then that mind will have achieved immortality. (2)
Perhaps we do not truly understand mortality and the role it plays for the human being. Moreover, people who receive organ transplants find that they have new memories that apparently come with the new organ. (3) Could our memories be outside of our brain? If so, where? Why do we expect that they are bundled up within a physical organ? What are our memories?
When I think of a person or place from my past, typically more than merely a picture arises. Other sensory impressions from that past event arise too. And an emotional memory commonly fills our soul. When one sees a photograph taken in their youth, more than visual memory attributes can fill one’s soul. Where is this memory content being kept and where is it being experienced? If we lost our memory content, how would that affect our sense of self? Do we need memory for a solid foundation to life and to have a sense of who I am?
It was already well established in the first century CE that the human being was a tripartite of body, soul, and spirit. In the 9th century, Western humanity had largely lost this knowledge and reduced the human to body and soul. As the 20th century dawned in the West, the concept of soul had been largely lost and the concept of body had been reduced to its chemical components. With humanity’s creative focus fixed on the mineral kingdom, great and powerful machinery arose that could move mountains. Humans became able to move their body quickly from one place to another, over land, over sea, or through the air and even through space to the moon. We became adept at extending our senses to explore ocean depths or the outer bands of the solar system or to the inner dynamics of a molecule or an embryo.
In the 19th century, a man and his horse were considered to become as one and “carriages were an extension of a person, like their clothes.” (4) Today, when one gets behind the steering wheel of a car, one is within a machine. As we drive this car, something in us merges with it. We get “a feel” for its functioning, how it responds to brake pressure, to steering wheel adjustments, and the like. And as we drive on the highways, we can experience the mood of other drivers about us, their aggressiveness or their abundant caution and timidity. Something of us permeates the vehicle and it recognizable from other vehicles. Is it our soul that permeates our car? Our car does not have a soul, but when I drive mine, it appears to have one.
When I make a phone call to a dear friend, my voice is digitized right in the phone itself. This digital signal makes its way through the internet, yes that same internet, eventually coming to my dear friend where the digital signal representing my voice is reconstituted to a facsimile of my voice – close enough that my friend recognizes it as my voice. Although we are not physically in the same room, we can have a conversation that has many of the same attributes as an in-the-same-room conversation. We can be emotional. We can be motivated. We can feel our souls engaged. We find that our soul is not so bound by spatial obstacles. Can we say that our soul is just as able to deal with electrical transmission of voice facsimile as it is with artificial limbs and bodily extensions such as an automobile?
The AI community, lacking a concept of soul, believes that we will eventually reverse-engineer the brain. Reverse engineering is done when one takes apart some manmade object to see how it was constructed. One discovers the object’s inner workings and then one can grasp the original engineering. Once that has been accomplished, one can devise improvements. The brain is deemed by AI to be engineered by natural selection of mutations over millions of years. Today’s brain has evolved. Is the brain’s evolution complete? The proponents of AI believe that the next step in the brain’s evolution will come from Mankind’s augmentation of existing brain functions. And, transhumanists believe, we will give to robots a functioning mind.
Reverse engineering works with manmade objects because our mind can grasp the concepts that are “built in” to them. Such concepts are within the realm of the ponderable. But this begs the question, does the human brain (and body for that matter) arise from the ponderable or the imponderable? If imponderable, will we grasp enough to make a human-like brain?
As we have already done with sensory organs, many in the AI community expect brain augmentation to come before a fully reverse-engineered brain is ready for humanity. This augmentation would be some sort of implant that would enable us to perform “context switching” from the affairs of our human mind to an augmented computational capability. For example, one might need to perform some arithmetic operation such as adding the prices of the items in one’s shopping cart. This AI future would enable the person to visually scan the prices, pass this information to the embedded computer and receive back the result. They expect this to happen similarly to how we conceive that the brain can switch from the functioning of the right hemisphere to the left. The expectation is that, just as we became adept at driving cars, we will become adept at such context switching in our augmented mind.
As these AI scientists and brain engineers research this, they will surely encounter the “hard problem” of consciousness (5) just as quantum physicists did in 1995. AI research will come to show the fallacy of how we view the functioning of the brain. While we wish we would not need to waste so much money pursuing this goal, we do need more “proof” that consciousness exists outside of the body. Near death research (6) may help to achieve this understanding, even perhaps proving that consciousness does not require a functioning brain.
While many in our Anthroposophical community may have the hair on the backs of their necks stand up in fear when they hear about the vision of the future imagined by Ray Kurzweil and others, we also know that the world has seen great changes before — changes such as the ice age, the end of Atlantis, the ending of the Ancient Mysteries, the entering into Earth evolution of the Christ, and the Black Plague followed by the Renaissance. Our Age begins the merging of Mankind and Machine.
Perhaps the greatest ‘adjustment’ humanity will need to make in the coming millennia is what to do about infertility. Steiner claims that because of a coming cessation of fertility, we will need to work with the fallen angels of darkness. “Not later than the seventh millennium in earth evolution women will grow infertile, and reproduction will no longer be possible.” (7) Is this the cause for our merging of man and machine as a training period for mankind to be able to build bodies that allow for continued incarnation? If we use a roughly 700-year incarnation cycle, then we have only about six more incarnations to complete the fulfillment of our karma and prepare these new vehicles.
To complete this picture, we need to be aware of the coming incarnation of Ahriman. Much of what we decry about this merging of Man and Machine is preparation for this incarnation that I believe will occur when Oriphiel will be the Time Spirit or about the year 2233. Each of us has an ahrimanic being accompanying us that Steiner called our double. It has accompanied us since sexual procreation began. It lives in our sub-consciousness from just before birth to just before death.
“These beings once decided out of their own will that they did not want to live in that world in which they were destined to live by the wisdom-filled gods of the higher hierarchies. When Earth evolution began, they wanted to conquer the earth. But to do this they needed bodies, but they did not have bodies of their own. Thus, they make use of as much of the human body as they can, because the human soul cannot entirely fill up the human body.”(8)
They want and need these physical bodies! Today our etheric body is loosening from the physical. As we approach those times of infertility, this loosening will have advanced to where our physical body will be withering and crumbling. People will elect to replace natural bodily parts that have withered with strong, mechanical parts. Our relationship between inner life and physical body must change during evolution. We must find different ways to relate to earthly existence. The “final stages of earth evolution will make it necessary for people to do without physical bodies and yet be present on earth.” (9) All during this future time, the Double will prepare the physical body to become its own desired body in order to conquer the Earth. They will succeed in conquering the Earth which will then become a corpse.
Our physical bodies will become their bodies. But this will be because we will leave such bodies behind. Christ is now showing us the way forward in evolution to the time when our lowest bodily member will be our etheric body.
These ahrimanic beings will not be able to maintain our form as this was given to us by the Exusiai. They will fall to become spidery beings that will conquer the earth by covering it as a great electronic mesh, a worldwide web. Steiner calls this, “The Second Fall”. This will happen at about the same time as the War of All Against All. That war will end for humans our physical presence on the earth. Then the Moon returns soon after the year 8000 AD.
What happens after that? We enter the Sixth Epoch. Then the Astral world will “descend” into a new human life that operates above the physical. Today, in the Fifth Epoch (which includes our current and all seven Post-Atlantean Cultural Ages), we live in the time of the descendance of the etheric. The battle of our time is not about what will come but about how it will come. Who will make the call regarding how new technologies are introduced into society and human life? It comes down to a Battle for the Etheric Realm. (10) It is a personal struggle to find the Etheric Christ and to realize “my kingdom is not of this world.” Like Prometheus, we are chained to the mineral kingdom. It will take a Herculean effort to free ourselves from the physical. This Age of Machines is a cosmic necessity that offers our free will a choice.
The question then arises: if modern technology is simply a source of death, as it must inevitably be, why did it arise? Certainly not in order to provide mankind with the spectacle of machines and industry, but for a totally different reason. It arose precisely because of the seeds of death it bore within it; for if man is surrounded by a moribund, mechanical civilization it is only by reacting against it that he can develop the Consciousness Soul. So long as man lived in communion with nature, i.e., before the advent of the Machine Age, he was open to the suggestion of communion because he was not fully conscious. He was unable to be fully self-sufficient because he had not yet experienced the forces of death. Ego-consciousness and the forces of death are closely related. (11)
- Ray Kurzweil (1948-), author of The Singularity is Near, The Age of Spiritual Machines, How to Create a Mind, and several more, is an American inventor and futurist. He is founder of the Singularity University. The 2009 documentary, The Transcendent Man, celebrated his life and work. Wikipedia includes this statement about how Kurzweil attains his creative ideas, “For the past several decades, Kurzweil’s most effective and common approach to doing creative work has been conducted during his lucid dreamlike state which immediately precedes his awakening state.”
- 2045 Initiative, Dmitry Itskov
- Pearsall, Paul, The Heart’s Code, Broadway Books, 1999
- Transportation Past, Present, and Future
- Bush, Nancy with Greyson, Richard, Dancing Past the Dark, 2012 and Fenwick, Peter, The Art of Dying, Bloomsbury Academic, 2008, see also Greyson video and the Near Death Experience Network with Robert Mays
- Steiner, Rudolf, Fall of the Spirits of Darkness, Lecture 14, GA177
- Steiner, Rudolf, Geographic Medicine, lecture 2, The Mystery of the Double, 16Nov1917, GA 178
- Thomas, Nick, The Battle for the Etheric Realm, Temple Lodge Press, 2006
- Rudolf Steiner, From Symptom to Reality, lecture 3, 20Oct1918, GA 185
Andrew Linnell is co-founder of MysTech. He retired from a 42-year career in the computer industry in 2013. He had been CTO of OmegaBand in Austin, TX; and also worked at EMC, Compaq, DEC, Wang Labs, and IBM. He is president of the Boston branch of the Anthroposophical Society and a member of the School for Spiritual Science. He is the father of three and the author of two children’s books plus an art history book “The Hidden Heretic of the Renaissance: Leonardo”. He leads several study groups and for MysTech he has published three study group guidebooks. He is a frequent lecturer on the role of technology in human evolution as well as the Christian Mysteries. He manages several websites and Facebook pages devoted to MysTech and to the Christian Mysteries.
“When we think of the deceased we can help them by visualizing colors and especially violet, the color that is so intimately connected with everything that is holy, with the depth.”
– Liane Collot d’Herbois, Light Darkness and Colour in Painting-Therapy
The Struggle for a Human Future
5G, Augmented Reality and the Internet of Things
by Jeremy Naydler
Temple Lodge Publications, 2020
Jeremy Naydler’s book, The Struggle for a Human Future – 5G, Augmented Reality and the Internet of Things, is a very approachable book in terms of its presentation of the technology content. Only 105 pages of text, it is less daunting than Naydler’s comprehensive, 2018 book, In the Shadow of the Machine, The Prehistory of the Computer and the Evolution of Consciousness. In this new book, he brings us up to the present moment and helps us to see the future that is envisioned by the technocrats of the world, who believe that – no matter what the question – the answer is “technology”.
Having begun the book with discussion of “four shadow aspects of computer technology…addiction psychic fragmentation, abandonment of the real for the virtual and drift towards becoming cyborg”, the reader is then treated to a chapter on the metaphysical quest of humanity – which Naydler presents in the language of myth as a search “for the pearl”. He weaves his tale, going between ancient imagery of Kali Yuga, “the rapture” as conceived by some evangelical sects, and a science-based version illustrated “in the image of the astronaut, who has escaped gravity and floats freely above the earth”. This last he describes as the “new technological shaman, who enacts the collective dream of disincarnation and abandonment of the Earth.”
I asked a young friend what he thought about some of the things I was reading, including this quote from the misanthropic Ray Kurzweil. It succinctly expresses the dream world of those true believers in technocracy:
“…the culmination of the merger of our biological thinking and existence with the technology, resulting in a world that is still human but that transcends our biological roots. There will be no distinction, post-Singularity, between human and machine or between physical and virtual reality.”
My friend’s answer was this:
“As for the Kurzweil quote – there is a growth in what is considered virtual reality. On one side, there is being consumed by the virtual, which is scary, but I think it doesn’t happen as often as what I will say next, which is having the virtual world play a more significant part in your life than it did before. I think we’re far away from there being no distinction between physical and virtual reality. Virtual reality depends on physical reality, but the same cannot be said the other way around. Additionally, I have been alive since 1998, so I don’t know how our relationship with technology was like in the 80s & 90s.”
Note that he does not deny the possibility of being “consumed by the virtual” but seems comfortable with the idea that it doesn’t happen “as often” as what he seems to see as almost inevitable: the “virtual world [will] play a more significant part in your life than it did before.”
And how will that happen? Jeremy Naydler gives us many insights to the ways this new “virtual reality” technology will enter our lives. For most people, it will begin with “Augmented Reality”. For example, in his chapter on Technology and the Soul, he tells us that “Because 5G promises to enable far greater amounts of data to be processed at much higher speeds, the world will become increasingly permeated with virtual content to be retrieved with Augmented Reality applications “[as examples of apps that “retrieve” virtual objects, he points to Google Skymap and Pokemon Go]. “This will provide a strong impetus for the replacement of portable computers like the smartphone, tablet and laptop with wearable devices” like smartglasses, headsets, and smartwatches. “The wearable computer” he tells us, “will not, however, be the endpoint. It should be seen as a step on the way to a biologically integrated computer. The more we identify ourselves as ‘digital citizens’ living in a dual world in which virtual and real intermingle, the more we shall find ourselves channeled towards biological integration of computer technology. Preparations for this have long been underway. [As a kind of cross-over device], the so-called ‘bionic contact lens’, for example, was first developed at the University of Washington in 2008. It has an imprinted electronic circuit only a few nanometres thick, and is combined with microscopic light-emitting diodes. Because these components are so small, they do not obstruct a person’s view, but they do allow virtual displays to be projected in front of the eye, which only the wearer of the lens would perceive.” By 2016, these lenses were able to connect to a local device that gave them access to the Internet.
Among many thoughts this provokes is that it would appear to make examinations hard to proctor. Will there be electronic-implant-detection devices when pilots take their competency exams? Or will those jobs be among the first to be supplanted by robots?
Clearly, the world is going to become a very different place with devices that can be worn. What will it be like when they are implanted? Naydler discusses implications, saying: “What we are considering here is the augmentation of the powers of the human mind, but without any parallel ethical development of the human being. From a traditional religious standpoint, or equally from a modern esoteric standpoint, any increase in human mental capacities should only be sought in conjunction with the transformation of one’s shadow….Brain-machine interface technology, which will incorporate neural Internet connections, contains the inherent risk of artificially endowing human beings with abilities akin to clairvoyance, telepathic communication and enhanced powers of memory, without any accompanying moral development.” And he sees such technological enhancement as “an invitation to the inhuman to take up residence within the soul.”
Naydler guides us through a thought process and points to “the fact that current technological developments are not taking place in an ideological vacuum, but within a highly materialistic philosophical matrix, which is unable to conceive of a deeper level of thinking than that which solves problems through computational power alone [my emphasis]. This is in the tradition of Bacon, Hobbes, Descartes and Leibniz, whose mission it was to replace spiritual contemplation with calculative thinking as the paradigm for gaining knowledge. The history of modern computer technology has its origins in the mechanistic philosophy formulated in the seventeenth century by these thinkers. Along with the thoroughly materialistic assumptions of this stream of philosophy, this type of thinking continues to underpin the research that is conducted today and the long-term goals that are set for future innovations. No matter if many of those who use these technologies have a developed inner spiritual life, and would be the last to condone the materialistic worldview, the technologies themselves are not philosophically neutral. Computer technology as such is an embodiment of reductionist thinking.”
After an informative chapter outlining the history of microwaves, the regulation or lack thereof in the U.K. and the dangers of 5G which he calls the “multiple assault”, many readers will be grateful for Naydler’s final chapter titled: “Bringing Light to the World: Our Deepest Human Vocation.” In this chapter, he outlines Rudolf Steiner’s explanation of the relationship between light and thought, and he proposes three steps to build up “our relationship with the light as a spiritual foundation of our response to the technological challenges we face.”
This book is informative, thought provoking and a valuable offering “to counterbalance the negative forces that today assail humanity and menace the living Earth.”
The Struggle for a Human Future
Temple Lodge Publications, 2020
$19.00 at Rudolf Steiner Bookstore
Jeremy Naydler, Ph.D., holds a doctorate in theology and religious studies, and is a philosopher, cultural historian and gardener who lives and works in Oxford, England. He has long been interested in the history of consciousness and sees the study of past cultures – which were more open to the world of spirit than our own, predominantly secular, culture – as relevant both to understanding our situation today and to finding pathways into the future. His longstanding concern about the impact of electronic technologies on our inner life and on our relationship to nature has found expression in his book In the Shadow of the Machine (Temple Lodge 2018) and in numerous articles contributed to magazines such as New View, Self and Society and Resurgence. Jeremy Naydler has published eight books in all, going back to his first in 1996, Goethe on Science.
Available Now at Rudolf Steiner Bookstore
The Great Reset and the Health Dictatorship
A Guide to Freedom in the Post-Corona World
This new and compelling book by Harrie Salman is a manifesto in which he analyzes the ills of our times, calls out those persons and institutions he sees as responsible for those ills, and issues a call to action. He addresses that call to action to all of us who believe that individuals and groups working together can renew and liberate our society. He calls on us to become fully human and enrich our social lives—impoverished by the lockdowns of what he calls “the health dictatorship”—from the bottom up, with inspiration from the Divine. It is a noble call, and Harrie is quite aware that the tasks he outlines will not be easily accomplished.
How the Environment Has Been Weaponized by Chemicals, Electromagnetics, and Nanotechnology for Synthetic Biology
Geoengineered Transhumanism is the third book in Elana Freeland’s trilogy on geoengineering. It completes the picture of what geoengineering has been from its very beginning decades ago: to control the ionosphere with phased array heater blasts so as to maintain an ionized atmosphere in which chemicals, nanotechnology, and synbio synergies can be continuously laid by jets, drones, and rockets in the name of “climate change.”
November Brings Us Close to the Dead
Ushered in with days dedicated to the remembrance of the dead, November is the month in which the light grows weak and death seems nearby. Perhaps it is also the month in which we may more easily approach those across the threshold.
And what about those “so called dead” (as Steiner often referred to them)? Is there a way that we might help them to approach us?
There is a story of two soldiers in the first World War, stationed in the hills above Jerusalem, the night before a battle. One of them, sensing his time was short, told his friend that he did not expect to live, and that he foresaw an even greater war coming in the future. He urged his companion to provide assistance to him, and an army of others who would wish to help “from the other side”, saying: “Lend us a moment…each day and through your Silence give us an opportunity. The power of Silence is greater than you know.”
This is the story behind the Big Ben Silent Minute, which first took place on November 10, 1940, during the time of the London Blitz. By means of the technology of radio, people throughout the British Isles, were able to hear the striking of the bells at 9:00 pm, from the clock tower at Westminster Abbey. And during the time it took for those tones to play out across the airwaves – nearly a minute – listeners observed an inner silence with thoughts or prayers for all who had died in the conflict.
It is said that after the war, a high-level German officer told British interrogators:
“… you had a secret weapon for which we could find no countermeasure and which we did not understand, but it was very powerful. It was associated with the striking of the Big Ben each evening. I believe you called it ‘The Silent Minute.’”
Is it possible that there are those on the other side who would wish to assist us now? And would it help to give them a minute of our silent attention? There are many who believe this to be the case.
In 1940 it was the radio that brought about the minute of silence. Now the internet continues the effort https://www.globalsilentminute.org/history-of-the-silent-minute/ . Sadly, since 2017, it has been without the aid of Big Ben and the other bells, for they have been silenced during a long period of restoration that seems to have a continually moving date of completion. With the assistance of the internet, we may at least hear a reproduction of those same tones.
Known as the “Westminster Quarters” it is traditionally believed that these are four variations on the notes that make up the fifth and sixth bars of “I know that my Redeemer liveth”, from Handel’s Messiah. It does not require much of a stretch to imagine that, like the Easter bells that made such a difference to Geothe’s Faust, the tones of the Westminster bells could have bolstered the effect of the silent prayers in 1940 London. As we all know, although much harm was inflicted in the bombing Blitz, the invasion of Britain by Hitler never did happen. Perhaps it was due to the opening of a “portal for cooperation” with an “unseen but mighty army” from across the threshold. And if that be the case, might we be able, even now, to obtain help for the shifting of consciousness that the world so desperately needs? If so, let us include in our thoughts hope for the reconnection of the bells and with that, also, an acknowledgement of our debts. Before the technology of the internet, and before the technology of the radio, was the technology of communicating to the community through the sounds of the bells ringing. May human beings hear it.
Question & Answer
with Andrew Linnell
Given that there is consciousness, and given that discrete separate parts of the human being are not individually conscious (for example, the big toe is not separately conscious, although it participates in sensation) … is it possible for a computer or other discrete object to have sensation or consciousness? If so, where would it be found?
When we humans think with our everyday consciousness, our thoughts are present in the lifeless aspect of our brain reflecting on the lifeless aspect of what we are able to perceive with our physical sense organs which are part of our lifeless neurological system. Our senses are “of this world”. An enormous amount of thinking, as a spiritual activity, went into each generation of computers and networking and soon augmented reality. But all this prior thinking has been “dead” thinking. This dead thinking is “embodied” into each device in a way similar to how the thoughts of an author are embodied into each of his/her books printed. When one reads the book, one “perceives” the author’s thoughts. This is much less “occult” than the thinking that is embodied in a computer. There is nothing new in the thinking despite the glorious claims of machine learning and self-programming. So, a computer from a given manufacturer has hardware, software, and firmware where each have embedded dead thoughts – many billions of dead thoughts all arranged to be integrated by further dead thoughts. None of this is consciousness. But it is the wrought work of consciousness. This is the spiritualization of matter, a modern “masonic” work, Cain-work.
Christ said, “my kingdom is not of this world”. When we come to living thinking, we are entering Christ’s kingdom – the etheric where we can find him today. 4000 years from now, our lowest bodily member will be our etheric body. The physical body will be gradually given over to our ahrimanic double. More and more our relationship to our physical body will resemble the relationship we have today to our car. Does the car have consciousness? No. But when we are inside it, driving it, the car appears to have a consciousness. I certainly enter this mode of perceiving when I am driving on a highway. I try to assess what each car’s behavior is so that I can drive defensively and safely. This is similar to imagining a conscious entity inside a computer driving it! In this case, each device is like a cell of a body but a body that is not physically coherent, not in one integrated space. The conscious being, if we call it Ahriman, is not within a device as a human consciousness is within its physical, etheric, and astral bodies . Similarly, the “Ego” of each mineral is at the level of Devachan and not within the physicality of the mineral.
On November 14, 2021, Prof. Valdemar Setzer gave a webinar called: The Turing Machine and what computers can and cannot do, where he proved that a computer, as a subset of Turing Machines, cannot have free will nor any feelings, nor any of its own thoughts. Thus, a computer, with all of its artificial intelligence or even artificial soul, has no consciousness of its own.
MysTech Study Courses
Consider Joining A Course Group This Fall
A century ago, Rudolf Steiner had illuminating and prescient things to say about technology. However, it is not easy to find a group of people with whom to study those thoughts. Perhaps it is because there has not been a collection of lectures specifically focused on this subject, or because many people have a tendency to keep the spiritual implications of technology at arm’s length. In any case, MysTech’s on-line study groups are a good way to overcome obstacles such as these, or others.
In the MysTech, Mystery of Technology Study Guides, Andrew Linnell has brought together relevant passages and lectures that provide a helpful framework to approach this complex topic. The study group’s weekly format motivates participants to do the reading and leads to interesting questions and comments.
Broaden your circle – meet people in different places and time zones.
Sign up for Winter 2021/22 Study Group Course at: https://mystech.org/study-courses