Category Archives: Covid-19 pandemic

Covid-19 – where are we right now?

I’ve been wanting for some time to write a blog post on the theme of ‘Michael and the Cosmic Intelligence’ but whenever I try to do so, another egregious example of government Covid-19 stupidity or tyranny arises to deflect me. So it is at present, with almost daily examples of things that indicate how far and how fast our notions of society and stability and civilisation are falling, and it seems important to give them some attention. 

But to set the scene, with thanks to Annael Poet-Artist of the Judith von Halle and Anthroposophy Facebook group, here is a quotation from the great Bulgarian master, Beinsa Douno, also known as Peter Deunov (1864 – 1944), who brought us Paneurythmy among many other treasures. This excerpt comes from a talk with his followers during the 1920s, and it seems highly relevant to our situation now:

The “end of the world” manifests itself through the cleansing of the old humanity, so that a new humanity can come in that place. This cleansing and the end of the century has been carried out for a period of 45 years. This period began in 1900 and will end in 1945. You are all eyewitnesses to what happened during this period.

From 1945 will begin another period, which will also last 45 years until 1990. Such times come and such power comes, that whoever opposes it will lay his bones on the ground. A great dictatorship ensues, allowed to clear the stagnant mud. When a water is turbid, it must take a long time for the running water to clear. Turbid water will flow during this period. Some of you will not wait for the end of this period and will leave, but others will surely wait for it so as to testify the words of the Lord.

After this period there will be a short break until 1999, which will be the most spiritually favourable for the White Brotherhood. And then a new period will come, with an even more terrible dictatorship than the one that is to come. It will also last 45 years. It is also spoken of in the Revelation of John, ch. 21, v. 8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. 

Making due allowance for the archaic language, this sounds right to me; and it means that the manifestations of the Ahrimanic incarnation of which Rudolf Steiner so often spoke are happening all around and will be with us until about the year 2045.  Steiner described the ‘disorder’ in the planetary system caused by Ahrimanic powers, among others, and the resulting catastrophes. He relied entirely on humanity to take on the task of counteracting such powers, out of a sense of responsibility and in freedom (“…Only through strong human spirituality can a balance be generated to the disorder that will be contrived”: GA 346) 

How are we doing with that challenge right now? Here are a few random examples from around the world of what is going on:

In early August, Italy banned the unvaccinated from most forms of social life, then most forms of travel and now most forms of work. The unvaccinated have already been banned since 6 August from most indoor public places such as bars, restaurants and gyms, plus many outdoor ones such as football stadiums and the Colosseum. And since 1 September they are banned from planes, ferries, inter-regional trains and coaches, plus universities (staff and students) and schools (staff only). The vaccine has been compulsory for health workers since April.  More or less the only activities the unvaccinated are allowed to do outside their homes are shopping and going to mass.

In the US, Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna launched their COVID-19 vaccine trials for children as young as 6 months old in March and expect to share results as soon as this month. I find this extraordinarily evil – to inject babies with these mRNA vaccines is almost beyond belief. Johnson & Johnson, meanwhile, is collecting data about their COVID-19 vaccine in ages 12 to 17 and hopes to start studying ages 2 to 11 soon. In this Land of the Free, the Biden administration has said most federal employees must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 no later than 22nd November as it drafts rules to require large employers to have their workers inoculated or tested weekly. And last week Biden signed an executive order requiring federal employees who work in the Executive Branch to be fully vaccinated. In more shocking news from America, some American parents are lying about their children’s age to get under-12s vaccinated.

In the UK, the Scottish Parliament has voted in favour of vaccine passport implementation for nightclubs and other crowded venues. Negative tests will not be accepted; the Scottish government intention is to boost vaccine uptake. In both Wales and England, the governments have made it mandatory for care home workers to be vaccinated. Clubbers in Wales will have to show a vaccine passport to enter nightclubs and attend large events. From October people in Wales will also need a NHS Covid Pass to prove they have been double jabbed or show a negative lateral flow test result. In England, Boris Johnson’s government has flip-flopped wildly on the introduction of vaccine passports for visits to nightclubs and large events before ruling it out for the time being (more on the situation in England below).

Here is an excellent and really chilling account of how the Covid vaccine passports are being implemented in Lithuania: (Hat-tip – Robin Hall).

In Switzerland, since Monday 13th September, people must show a Covid certificate, issued to those who have been vaccinated, tested or recovered from the coronavirus (but not to those who are healthy) to access indoor spaces such as restaurants, bars, gyms and museums, because of a fourth wave that is putting pressure on hospitals. Almost 53 per cent of the population have been twice jabbed; now plans are in motion to extend vaccines to the 12-plus age group.

Thousands of health workers across France have been suspended without pay for refusing to take a Covid-19 vaccine ahead of a deadline of September 15th, Health Minister Olivier Veran has said. It comes just two days after doctors and health workers staged mass protests against mandatory vaccination measures which many view as being an attack on their civil liberties. France’s national public health agency estimated last week that roughly 12 percent of hospital staff and around six percent of doctors in private practices have yet to be vaccinated, leading the ministry to ban 3000 people from their jobs.

Australia is especially gung-ho in removing basic civil liberties. Apart from all the other violations of previously accepted rights, there is the Howard Springs quarantine facility in Darwin for Australians returning from overseas, who must go into mandatory supervised quarantine. In other words, the Australian government is forcing Aussies, who have already paid a fortune to airlines to get back home after having been kept out of the country during lockdown, into an internment camp where, among other sanctions, the inmates are not fed if they breach minor rules.

According to Reuters, there are similar situations in Greece, Indonesia, Fiji, Hungary, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, Malta, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Turkmenistan and many other countries. This removal of basic liberties seems to be a worldwide phenomenon.

Here in England, Boris Johnson’s government is determined to prove that it can be just as tough and draconian as anywhere else in the world. I have written previously about how the law requiring care home workers to be vaccinated is affecting me and my colleagues. It’s a strange paradox of the situation that as a care worker I can’t even put a plaster (BandAid) on the grazed knee of one of our residents without getting his consent – but the government has completely over-ridden my rights to have a say in which medical interventions I receive and compels me to have an experimental vaccine which has not yet completed all its trials. 

This is especially sinister as despite much censorship, there is now plenty of evidence that there are serious levels of Covid vaccine damage recorded under the Yellow Card Scheme run by our watchdog, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). It currently shows 1,632 deaths and 360,000 injuries since December 1, 2020, far more than any vaccine in the past.

Some care homes may be forced to close as their staff leave their jobs rather than submit to coercion to have the jabs. Many staff are now leaving to work in Amazon warehouses, where they are paid more than they get in the care sector and where they are being wooed with £1,000 ‘golden handshakes’. There is already a shortage of 120,000 care staff in England, so this new law will be turning a bad situation into an impossible one by (at the government’s own estimate) forcing 40,000 to 70,000 staff to leave. There are already reports of some care home residents not being reached by carers until late morning because of staff shortages and some care home companies are asking the families of residents to come in as volunteers to make up for the shortfall.  To add insult to injury, the government has told local authorities to redeploy library staff into care homes, as though anyone, whatever their background, can come in and take over from a skilled care worker.

And this is really strange – why is a government, which is supposedly Conservative and all in favour of family values, saying that 12 year-olds can go against their parents’ wishes and have the jabs without their parents’ permission? This is the State, in a move reminiscent of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, asserting that it can decide what is best for a child by taking away the rights of parents. If you are a parent of a child at school in the UK, there is a letter here from the organisation Lawyers for Liberty which you can download and send to the Head Teacher warning them of possible legal consequences if they facilitate the vaccination of your child without your consent.

All I wish to add now is that I have joined a crowdfunding campaign to bring a judicial review of the statutory instrument requiring workers to be vaccinated by 15th November or be sacked, which according to the statement of claim put in by the solicitors Jackson Osborne, is incompatible with three pieces of primary legislation which should take legal precedence.

What is really going on? We can see several characteristics of what is happening to people across the world right now:

  • A huge increase in stress levels
  • A loss of faith or confidence in governments and public institutions of all kinds
  • Personal rancour and divisions between families, friends and colleagues
  • A collapse of the systems on which we all rely (the latest being the possibility of food shortages and energy supply failures during the winter)
  • The gradual disappearance of all our old certainties

For anthroposophists, these phenomena indicate that what is happening is Ahrimanic, clear signs of the impending incarnation of the being that Christ called the ‘ruler of this world’. If Peter Deunov was right, we are going to be enduring these times for another quarter of a century.

Anthroposophists are not always the most psychologically self-aware of people, however; and although Steiner said that Ahriman is an actual being whose incarnation was unstoppable, we should also consider that human beings are threefold in nature and each of us has our own ‘inner Ahriman’ and ‘inner Lucifer’ whose efforts draw us away from the state of balance represented by the Christ impulse. In its effects, Covid-19 is surely forcing us to be aware of the shadow sides of our human nature and the consequent flaws in how we structure our societies. It is a combination of fear and the desire to exercise power that is driving these governmental responses to the pandemic and it is fear that is keeping so many of us in thrall to government diktat. But what about our own part in what is happening?

The writer Paul Kingsnorth, describing a family holiday in Ireland, summed up our situation in a nutshell:

“On this occasion we were in a small town – a nice little place, full of holidaying people like us. There were pubs and restaurants open, and the streets were full of tables and chairs (one of the unexpected benefits of the pandemic has been that Ireland has discovered outdoor dining). There were shops and markets. There were people in vans, like us, and other people hiring boats and other people eating and drinking. There were leaflets in the tourist information centre advertising country house tours and chocolate makers and cycling trips.” 

“It was a nice little place, and all of a sudden I saw it for what it was. I saw what was happening here, and by extension everywhere, and within me and all of us. I saw that everything around me was dedicated solely to the immediate gratification of the senses. 

There it was, all of a sudden, right in my face. Eating. Drinking. Buying colourful things. Boats, vans, bikes, beer, steak, new clothes, second hand clothes, burgers, chocolate bars, old castles, stately homes, cappuccinos, pirate adventure parks, golf courses, spas, tea rooms, pubs. Food, drink, fun, entertainment, games, probably some sex somewhere in the mix. All of it came together suddenly into a kind of package of sensory overload and I saw that this was what we were, what we had become without really thinking or planning it.” 

“Stimulating the senses, then reacting to the stimulus: this was what our society was all about. Feeding the pleasure centres, spending and spending to keep it all coming at us. It was a nice little place. A small, unremarkable town that became, just for a second, the centre of the whole world.”

Kingsnorth is describing what you might call the Amazon Prime nature of our times (I want it and I want it now) that is leading us towards the collapse of human societies and systems around the world. It is unsustainable and if left unchecked, it will kill us all.

Is it too late to do anything about this? Is there an antidote? 

As an anthroposophist, I hope that more and more people can discover what it truly is to be a human being; ie that we are beings with one foot in the material world and another in the spiritual world, that spiritual world to which we return between incarnations and which is our real home. Here on Earth, we have the privilege and the challenge of free will, something which allows us to experience both the good and the bad sides of our natures over many lives and through this process to grow and evolve in freedom through our own decisions. A future stage of our development, many, many years ahead, will be to evolve to what Steiner called the ‘spirit self’, the ability to do what we know, where knowing and doing are one, which is the state of consciousness of the angels. 

In a way, we should be grateful to the Ahrimanic beings who, in this spiritual evolutionary process play an essential part. Not only are they instrumental in the forming of the human being’s constitution in all its beauty and darkness, but they also play an important role in bringing us face-to-face with the consequences of our actions and decisions and hence also the forming of our destiny and karma, of which Covid-19 is currently making us so painfully aware. 

This brings me back to my original intention of writing about the Archangel Michael, who Steiner tells us is the time spirit of our age, which is the age of the Consciousness Soul. During this time, humanity has been left free to a great extent. It depends on us and our own efforts if we are to make the connection with Michael, who unlike the adversarial beings who live in our blood and nervous systems, has to wait for us to turn to him in freedom. Michael wishes to work with human beings to safeguard the direction of our future evolution and avert the future planned for us by the adversarial powers.  It seems appropriate to end this piece with a prayer from Ita Wegman:

“May a sufficient number of people become conscious of the active power that Michael is among humankind. May all those who have the strength and courage, not only to bring the Michael-thought to manifestation in their souls but to make it living in their deeds, become true followers of Michael and bring about his aims, and thus lead humankind over the great crisis with which it is now confronted.” 


Filed under Covid-19 pandemic

Freefall to tyranny

We’re living now in a time of freefall towards tyranny. If you’ve been paying attention to what is happening, you will be aware that we are not only facing a future of ecological collapse, but also one in which advanced technologies of control and manipulation are playing havoc with our cultures and leading to the breakdown of the social structures and values which have underpinned our world in the recent past. Why is this happening and who is behind it?

Let us imagine for a moment that you are one of the global overlords, a controller of the algorithms, someone who takes an elite versus the little people world view. You look around the world and you see the results of unrestrained consumer capitalism and human greed; you see a gigantic mess and the imminent breakdown of climate systems, massive pollution, alternate floods and droughts leading to starvation and huge waves of migration and all the other phenomena with which we are so depressingly familiar. This is serious, it is starting to impinge on your own lifestyle. Something has to be done and ideally, it also has to make you a lot of money; but there’s a problem – there are too many people in the world and too much freedom and democracy are getting in the way of the necessary measures. The little people love their cars and flying abroad for international holidays – they are never going to vote for policies that might curtail their freedoms. Drastic change is therefore needed, and the best way to motivate the little people to change their ways is through fear.

Fear has always been the means that tyrants have used so that they can exercise power over their populations. It was of course used effectively by Adolf Hitler in driving the German people towards war in 1939. It was explained by Hermann Goering in an interview with Gustave Gilbert, an American psychologist, during the Nuremburg tribunal:

“Why, of course, the people don’t want war,” Goering shrugged. “Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece. Naturally, the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood.

But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship.” (…)

“There is one difference,” [Gilbert] pointed out. “In a democracy the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars.”

“Oh, that is all well and good, [replied Goering] but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.”

It works the same way in any country. It has worked that way throughout our history. It worked for George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, Tony Blair et al in driving the USA and the UK to war with Iraq and the subsequent ‘war on terror’. It is working that way now. Dr Thomas Hardtmuth, in his book What Covid-19 can teach us,1 has said the following:

“Intriguingly, the institutions who are now managing the global pandemic are the same ones who were previously active in the campaign against terrorism and the threat of biological weapons. The Center of Health Security at the John Hopkins University, which has played such a leading role in the corona crisis, was previously called the Center for Civilian Biodefence Studies. It was essentially a military institution which in the years since 9/11 has kept alive the images of fear about the terrorist threat from bioweapons, smallpox and other killer viruses.”

“During regular international conferences attended by high-ranking representatives from government, economic interests, pharmaceutical companies and the military, this organisation ran exercises in minute detail to manage terror scenarios with millions of deaths. One such crisis simulation, called Event 201, took place on 18th October 2019 in a New York luxury hotel. This time it was not a terrorist attack but the threat posed by a deadly coronavirus mutant that was simulated. A crisis management programme was designed, the individual measures of which bore a remarkable resemblance to those introduced in real life three months later.” 

What Dr Hardtmuth has not mentioned in his book is that Event 201 was funded and organised by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which has also given funds to ten of the vaccine-producing companies as well as John Hopkins University, the World Health Organisation, Dr Anthony Fauci, Professor Chris Whitty, Imperial College London and many of the other prominent players in this pandemic. Nor does he mention that, as has just emerged, a patent filing for the coronavirus was taken out with the US Patent Office in 2018 by the Pirbright Institute, with funding from Bill and Melinda Gates, the Wellcome Trust and the European Commission.

In connection with this Event 201 simulation exercise, Dr Hardtmuth also quotes from a book Chronicle of an Announced Crisis by Paul Schreyer:

“The significant thing about this exercise as well as the subsequent real-life situation was a conflation of fear, mass deaths, national emergency, over-extension of the state, restrictions on freedom, vaccines, pharmaceutical regulation and media strategy. More directly stated, a health emergency leads to a global demand for vaccines which in turn requires that corporations play a more active international policy-making role in order to finance, produce and distribute them and that the inevitable resistance from the population is met with PR strategies and the media. That is what the exercise was about – and that is what is happening today.”

Dr Hardtmuth concludes: “It is clear to any observant person that the numbers are being manipulated and everything is being done here to maintain fear and panic at the highest possible level.” 

At the start of the pandemic, I could scarcely have imagined that so many of my fellow citizens in the West were going to be taken in. As former Lord Chief Justice, Jonathan Sumption put it last November: “The British public has not even begun to understand the seriousness of what is happening in our country, many – perhaps most – of them don’t care or won’t care until it’s too late. They instinctively feel that the ends justify the means, the motto of every totalitarian regime that has ever existed.” 

But I’ve decided that it’s not only acceptable to take a different path from all those people who have either bought into or are unwilling to challenge the tyranny that surrounds us, it’s essential. I’ve already written about my personal experience – the British government is continuing with its plans to make it illegal for people, including me, to work in care homes unless we have had both jabs. They did this by passing a Statutory Instrument (just before the House of Commons broke up for its holidays) to amend the Health & Social Care Act of 2008, so that it would not receive any further scrutiny in the House of Lords before it became law. This is a prime example of state tyranny, removing as it does the human right of individuals not to be coerced into taking medication which has not yet completed its trials. This is a pattern that is being repeated across the world.

One notable feature of our freefall to tyranny has been the corruption of science through the suppression of dissent; stories are now legion of doctors and scientists being silenced, losing their jobs and being vilified in public by some colleagues if they raise any questions. 

Another feature has been the corruption of the news media so that any voices raising doubts about government policy are censored. The BBC is now notorious for its failures to report anything contrary to the government’s agenda and both the BBC and The Guardian have been taking money from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. According to a tweet on July 20th from the journalist James Delingpole, “Boris Johnson has privately admitted to all the MSM (mainstream media) editors that he’s not in charge, that he’s just obeying orders. Their silence is at least as inexcusable as Boris’s compliance.”

Is this true or even probable? I’ve no way of knowing. But I’m very aware of the censorship and non-reporting of anything that might cast doubt on the wisdom of vaccinating every single person. It also begs an intriguing question: who is issuing orders to Johnson?

I’m not going to speculate on that in this post, except to say that the wilder shores of conspiracy theory are beginning to look increasingly plausible. But there is another factor which should be mentioned: I have written here and here about the transhumanist agenda that’s at the core of so many of the changes we are facing. I have also touched on the deeply disturbing Chinese model of ‘social credit’. We are now facing the Western version of ‘social credit’, which will be delivered by way of vaccine passports.

The Belarussian tribute act that is today’s British government denied it for months. Michael Gove said there were no plans for them. Backbenchers professed that the idea was unethical, unthinkable and unenforceable. The vaccines minister, Nadhim Zahawi, said the public could hold him to his promise that vaccine passports were never going to become a reality.

Yet in a rather predictable turn of events, Boris Johnson has this week announced that all over-18s will need to demonstrate that they have received both doses of a vaccine in order to enter nightclubs, venues and other large gatherings. From now on, ‘proof of a negative test will no longer be enough.’ And as a worker in a care home, I will have to have a vaccine passport so as to be able to demonstrate to the Care Quality Commission inspectors that I have had both jabs, to which they will soon add the need to demonstrate that I have had an annual flu jab, which will then doubtless be followed by insistence on regular Covid booster jabs.

But why should anyone need a vaccine passport? We were previously told that if you’ve had your two jabs, you’re protected. You don’t need to know anyone else’s immune status. But as our new secretary of state for health, Sajid Javid has just discovered, you can still catch Covid-19 even if you’ve had both jabs. So what is the point of the vaccines? Javid’s story for now is that he got a milder version because he was vaccinated, so we should still get the jabs. But vaccine passports protect nobody.

What these passports will do, however, is give huge power to our overlords, the masters of the algorithms. Anyone who controls the vax passport database and any algorithm governing what it permits and denies, has absolute control over every aspect of your life. Do you want to visit a sports stadium, or a museum or a theatre? Invalid vax pass, no entry. Now imagine the rules are tightened up, as they will be as soon as the basic concept has been established: no entry to a supermarket or shops or pubs or restaurants, no entry to buses or trains or planes. Your life will be so circumscribed that it will in effect become impossible to exist without a vax pass. 

This is not my imagination: this has been planned for over years by our global overlords, the ones who issue orders to Boris Johnson and other national leaders. It is now being delivered. It’s already happening in Israel and it’s coming here soon. France is currently rushing a vaccination passport law through the French National Assembly. Without this vax pass, you will not be able to get into restaurants, trains, workplaces, art galleries, museums and cinemas. Other European countries, including Italy, Greece and Austria are bringing in similar Covid certification following the announcement from French President Emmanuel Macron. It’s a little remarked feature of the president’s crackdown on the vaccine hesitant that the one group he will depend on to enforce his new law has been specifically excluded from complying with it. Firefighters, nurses and teachers, and soon, children over 12, are all to be subject to mandatory jabs. But not, curiously, the police.

How much vaccine coercion will Boris Johnson use? Given his track record to date, it’s highly likely we will be coerced to be vaccinated, either by government diktat or more likely, by government forcing businesses to do its dirty work for them. Either that or you’ll be rapidly marginalised from society. And once you’ve been vaccinated, the limited freedoms allowed you can be withdrawn at any moment.

Such attitudes of course radiate out into wider society and cause dissension between ordinary people. Here are just two examples of these polarised attitudes of which I’ve become aware in my own locality: one, comes from someone who has a mother in a care home. This person does not want to have the jabs and has not only been told that as a result she won’t be able to visit her mother but that unless she has both jabs her mother will no longer be able to stay in the care home! The second comes from someone who runs a kindergarten – she has been told by some parents that if she herself has the jabs, then their children will be removed from the kindergarten. Tyranny runs in both directions…

What we are currently experiencing with this artificially contrived corona crisis is a new way of imposing a totalitarian system, a standardised and uniform world governance, under the guise of health provision. We are all being played. The UK and other governments are clearly using threats of various kinds to test out, first on groups of particularly vulnerable workers such as care home staff, just how far they can go with other groups in terms of totalitarian rule. It won’t stop with care workers and it won’t be confined to Covid-19 vaccines. Once governments are able to impose mandatory vaccinations on whole populations, our lives and our bodies will never again be our own. 

Will we accept it? You are all next on the list.

1. What Covid-19 Can Teach Us by Dr Thomas Hardtmuth, with a foreword by Dr Michaela Gloeckler, former head of the Medical Section at the Goetheanum. Translation of the original German text into English by Bernard Jarman. Published by InterActions.


Filed under Artificial Intelligence, Coronavirus, Covid-19 pandemic

“An overdose of freedom is lethal to a state.”

An interesting interview caught my eye in the Financial Times of 19/20th June. It was with Vladislav Surkov, who is the architect of the corrupt democracy that has kept Vladimir Putin in power for 21 years. Surkov is a consummate Kremlin backroom operator who became Putin’s chief ideologist and closest political confidant, carrying out a similar role for Putin as Dominic Cummings did for Boris Johnson or Steve Bannon for Donald Trump. In the same way that Cummings and Bannon were eventually thrown overboard by their political masters, so Surkov has just been ‘let go’ by Putin.

Surkov was a founding father of Putinism and helped to create Russia’s ‘sovereign democracy’, an ostensibly open system with a closed outcome. Elections are called, candidates campaign, votes are cast, ballots are counted and the same man wins, every single time. Its core idea is that the stability of the state is much more important than the freedom of the individual. This leads to the creation of fake opposition parties, rigid control of the media and impossible barriers to entry for political figures not approved of by Putin.

Surkov claims that Putin has not abolished democracy but has married it with the monarchical archetype of Russian governance. “This archetype is working. It is not going anywhere…it has enough freedom and enough order. An overdose of freedom is lethal to a state. Anything that is medicine can be poison. It is all about the dosage.”

This stands of course in complete opposition to ideas of societal freedoms that up until recently were espoused by most governments in the west. Whether these ideas can still hold in the current climate of pandemic-induced fear and panic is now debatable. One can imagine that governments in the west and the kind of people who meet at Davos are questioning whether our ideas of individual freedom and liberty can be sustained during a time of climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly when autocratic regimes such as the governments in China and Russia are claiming that their cultures are superior to ours when dealing with current world crises. 

Could it be that our governing elites have in effect seized the opportunity of the pandemic to introduce an experiment to see how far they can go in imposing Chinese or Russian-style social controls on their populations? Have they reached Surkov’s conclusion that “an overdose of freedom is lethal to a state”?

I wonder whether the battle for our freedoms has already been lost. The extraordinary passivity displayed by my fellow citizens in the face of lockdown restrictions and curtailments of liberty, which have been aided by a covert culture of censorship and self-censorship from the media and professional institutions, has been quite unprecedented in my adult experience, which spans the last half-century. 

One can only hope that the recent exposure of Matt Hancock as not only a “totally f………  hopeless” secretary of state for health (Boris Johnson’s verdict on Hancock, as quoted by Dominic Cummings in a statement to MPs) but also a nauseating hypocrite, who was filmed groping an aide in his private office while telling everyone else that they can’t even hug their dying relatives, will by his actions have done enough to make even the most passive Brits rise up in revolt against our political masters, who preach one thing for the little people (and set the police on us or threaten us with prosecution for supposed infringements of their rules), while doing quite other things themselves. It would seem so, as Hancock has now been forced to resign, despite Boris Johnson saying that “the matter was closed.” 

One of the most powerful comments I have seen on this came from Rachel Taylor, a hospital doctor in Oxford, who tweeted: “It’s not the infidelity, it’s the sacrifices every decent person made because Matt Hancock told them to do so. You do realise we had to tell distraught family members they couldn’t see their dying loved ones in hospital? Over and over again. I can never forgive his hypocrisy.”

Sajid Javid has now been appointed as Hancock’s successor so we shall soon see whether he intends to continue with the government’s Covid restrictions. At present the government’s public case for continuing these restrictions does not stand up to any logical or evidential test. Nor does it take into account the full extent of the negative impact on people’s lives in order (it is claimed) to save the lives of a tiny number of people, many of whom might die anyway from pre-existing conditions and complicating factors, for which Covid might be the final catalyst. In other words, although Covid appears on the death certificate, it may not have been the actual cause of death. This is not a justifiable reason for removing the civil liberties of the entire population, and never could be. There must be a more moderate, middle way of dealing with this situation. 

Here are two personal examples of how our freedoms are being eroded: my wife, who is a French national, needed urgently to go to France to see her 89-year-old recently widowed mother. After having to pay £60 for a PCR test taken two days in advance of her flight, she was able to help her mother for a week before returning and being put under quarantine (not unlike house arrest) and then was subjected to three more tests during the 10 days, at a further cost of £299, and being phoned each day to check that she had not absconded. The profiteering by these private testing companies (and how did they get their contracts?) adds injury to insult, especially as the PCR test in France, taken two days before departure, was completely free.

My own experience is potentially more serious: I am now being threatened by the government with the loss of my job unless I have two Covid vaccinations within 16 weeks of new legislation to be introduced in October. I should explain that, at the farm where I work, we have a small residential care home for three adults with learning disabilities. The care home is regulated by the Care Quality Commission, and I am its registered manager. The CQC has rated our care home as ‘Good’ in all five of its inspection categories and I believe that our model of care, which provides a family-style setting on a working farm, is recognised as offering an exceptional quality of life for our residents. 

In accord with their families’ wishes, our three residents have each had both jabs of the Oxford Astra Zeneca vaccine, and so can be considered safe. They also have one PCR test each week. Our staff have three tests a week (1 PCR test and 2 lateral flow device tests), so we know that we, too, are free from infection and that our residents are safe. My strong personal conviction is that I do not wish to have the experimental Covid jabs on offer (from Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford Astra Zeneca) until there is more data and all four phases of the vaccine trials have been completed (we are currently in Phase 3). This conviction of mine is only reinforced by the hitherto-suppressed stories that are beginning to emerge of unexplained deaths and serious illnesses following the Covid-19 vaccinations (examples here and here).

I also believe that to insist I have the vaccine or lose my job is to go against the principle of ‘informed consent’ prior to vaccination which is enshrined in UK law and international human rights law. These vaccines were introduced under emergency conditions to deal with the pandemic. It would normally take 10 to 15 years to develop a vaccine from inception to licencing, yet the Covid-19 vaccines data was collected over two months. I cannot be informed properly about possible adverse consequences of these vaccines until all 4 phases of these trials have been completed. To threaten me with the loss of my job before all the trial data is available is fundamentally unjust, and unworthy of a free country. 

For any government minister to change my terms and conditions of employment and thus require me to have the vaccination or face the sack is not to get my informed consent but to obtain consent by coercion. And this from the government which decided to send elderly NHS patients back to the care homes without testing them for Covid-19 “so as not to overwhelm the NHS” and thus condemned many tens of thousands of other care home residents to death. 

Although most political leaders and those powerful people who consider themselves ‘masters of the universe’ haven’t yet got the true message of our times, I wish to finish on a more uplifting note and quote instead the ‘masters of wisdom’, as channelled by a dear friend, Annie Davison. I commend these thoughts to any politician who is tempted to tell the rest of us to “Do as I say, not as I do.”

“The most important thing for us right now is to know and recognise that all humanity is spiritual in origin. Therefore, all humanity is equal in the eyes of universal understanding. Throughout its history, humanity has been unable to perceive equality. Until now, life has been about fight and flight, about dominance and servility. About reaching for the stars no matter whom you tread on along the way.”

“But over these last years, more and more people have recognised that there is more to their inner world than this mighty, greedy, trampling attitude that has evolved to its zenith. Slowly but surely, they have understood, worked hard, and moved through the history mankind has created – life after life, death after death.”

“They have reached the knowledge that life itself can be spiritualised and that if you treat your life gently, with intention, with respect, then you can treat others gently with respect. Life itself, on earth, is where life can be lived within a spiritualised worldview.” (…)

“It is as simple as that. All beings are equal.”


Filed under Covid-19 pandemic

Covid-19, world morality and the culture of safety at any cost

Although I wasn’t a Waldorf pupil, my primary school was child-centred enough not to interfere with my unconscious assumption that “the whole world is moral”, to use Rudolf Steiner’s words.  For whatever reason, I was able to grow up as a child in the 1950s believing that those who had charge over our lives, such as parents, teachers, MPs and ministers, policemen, doctors and other public servants were, on the whole, good people working for the benefit and general welfare of others. Looking back to a time when I was younger and less disillusioned, I think I had a fairly positive view of the role of government and officialdom.

In the ninth lecture of Study of Man, Steiner says: “When human beings leave the world of spirit and soul and clothe themselves in a body, what do they actually want? They want to realise in the physical world the previous things they experienced in the spirit. Human beings before the change of teeth are, in a manner of speaking, still wholly focused on the past. Human beings are still filled with the devotion which they develop in the spiritual world. (…) This basic mood is actually a very lovely one. It is one which proceeds from the assumption, the unconscious assumption: the whole world is moral.”

Although we all know that this is not how the world actually is, it is vital for the future development of the child that in their early years their unconscious assumption that the world is beautiful, good and true should not be destroyed. I’ve been reflecting on all of this during the Covid-19 crisis, when the actions of government ministers have been causing me more and more disquiet. For one of my generation and political views, it has been a dispiriting experience to find myself tending to agree with Ronald Reagan that “the nine most terrifying words in the English language are ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help’ “. 

I’m also disappointed to see the readiness with which most people have gone along with every new restriction, imposition and removal of an established civil liberty by the government. There are two sides to this, of course. During this crisis, we have seen some of the very best of human nature. I’m a care home manager and when I took our residents to get their jabs at a medical centre in Crowborough, there was a long but good-natured queue of people waiting patiently in line. There were friendly and helpful volunteers shepherding the queue, and the doctors and nurses inside the clinic were just lovely with our residents, who were understandably nervous beforehand, by reassuring them and administering the injection so that none of them felt a thing. All in all, this was the British at their best and it occurred to me that there must have been a simiIar national spirit in people during the Second World War. 

On the other side, I don’t think one has to be paranoid to start wondering whether there is another agenda behind all of this. By now it is clear that all the vaccinations, mask-wearing, social distancing and staying at home are not that effective in protecting us from Covid-19 and therefore most of the restrictions will have to stay in place. Scientists are saying that while vaccines are having a major impact by cutting illness and deaths, they are not effective enough to allow a return to normal social mixing without the risk of “a big epidemic”. Professor Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer, said on 5th April: “I don’t think there’s any surprise that it [Covid] is still with us now, nor is it going to magically disappear over the next few months. This virus will be with us for the foreseeable future. We will have significant problems with Covid for the foreseeable future, and I don’t think we should pretend otherwise.” 

And on Tuesday 13th April, Boris Johnson told Sky News: “The (Covid) numbers are down – of infections and hospitalisations and deaths. But it is very, very important for everybody to understand that the reduction in these numbers – in hospitalisations and in deaths and infections – has not been achieved by the vaccination programme (my emphasis). People don’t, I think, appreciate that it’s the lockdown that has been overwhelmingly important in delivering this improvement in the pandemic and in the figures that we’re seeing”. 

So, why is Boris all of a sudden playing down the role of vaccination in dealing with Covid?  If it’s the case that, even though you have had your jabs, it will not make much difference – what are they for? You still have to wear a mask in public and practice ‘social distancing’ and for months to come, you may not be able to travel abroad, or even go very far within the UK. We don’t know whether the jabs will reduce transmissibility of the virus or whether they will protect you against new variants – but we do know that it is likely you will now have to have additional jabs at regular intervals.  Pfizer’s chief has just said that people will probably require a yearly Covid booster shot. Oxford Biomedica, which is manufacturing the Astra Zeneca jab in this country, is expecting to earn over £50 million pounds this year from the jab. 

Back in December 2020, I wrote a piece about Coercion and the Covid-19 Vaccines, in which I argued that we were about to see the beginnings of a campaign that would threaten to make life so difficult for anyone who didn’t agree to be vaccinated that it amounted to making it compulsory. Events since have not proved me wrong.

There was a time, before he became prime minister, when Boris Johnson presented himself as a believer in civil liberties. This is what he wrote in his Daily Telegraph column in 2004, when the then Labour government was thinking of introducing ID cards: 

“If I am ever asked, on the streets of London, or in any other venue, public or private, to produce my ID card as evidence that I am who I say I am, when I have done nothing wrong and when I am simply ambling along and breathing God’s fresh air like any other freeborn Englishman, then I will take that card out of my wallet and physically eat it in the presence of whatever emanation of the state has demanded that I produce it (…) and add, in the words of Barry Goldwater, that extremism in the defence of liberty is no vice, and that I really don’t know what I dislike most about these cards. There is the cost; (…) There is the loss of liberty, and the creepy reality that the state will use these cards – doubtless with the best possible intentions – to store all manner of detail about us, our habits, what benefits we may claim, and so on.”

What a difference political power and a pandemic can make to basic principles! But it’s been obvious for a long time to anyone who has observed Boris Johnson’s career and general behaviour that he has no basic principles, other than to do in all circumstances whatever will lead to his personal advantage. 

Now in 2021 the government, of which he is prime minister, is proposing not only vaccine passports (ID cards by another name) but also a “UK Health Security Agency”. The idea behind it is that to control the circulation of viruses, the government needs to control what people are allowed to do. Our rights to freedom of assembly, of protest, to send our children to school, to go abroad, to visit the pub etc are now seen by the government as privileges which they can remove or restore as they see fit. One idea apparently being seriously considered in Whitehall is that each of us will have to send in our temperature every day using the NHS app.

I have some skin in this game, as the Americans say. The government is planning to legislate to make it illegal to work in a care home if you have not had the vaccination – but I want to wait for further analysis about possible side effects from these experimental vaccines before deciding whether or not to have one. 

Critics will scoff at my use of the term ‘experimental’ and point to the NHS statement: “The vaccines approved for use in the UK have met strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness set out by the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). Any coronavirus vaccine that is approved must go through all the clinical trials and safety checks all other licensed medicines go through. The MHRA follows international standards of safety.” 

According to the scientific technical writer, Mark Pickles: “There are many things wrong with this NHS statement. It is misleading at best. The medicines are not licensed. The medicines are not approved (certainly not according to the FDA in America, who in granting ‘emergency authorisation’ for three vaccines tell us ‘There is no US Food and Drug Administration approved vaccine to prevent Covid-19’, and the clinical trials are still in progress. We are now in the long-term trials, or Phase 3 of four phases, following which the medicine is assessed and either licensed or revoked.” 

What’s more, “every letter of authorisation from the FDA to Janssen BioTech, to Moderna TX and to Pfizer Inc for the Covid-19 vaccines describes each product as: ‘an investigational vaccine not licensed for any indication.’ “ 

The medical term ‘investigational’ as used by the health authorities is defined in the Merriam Webster dictionary as follows: 

“Investigational [medical]: relating to or being a drug or medical procedure that is not approved for general use but is under investigation in clinical trials regarding its safety and efficacy.” 

To my mind, ‘investigational’ means that these vaccines are still experimental. This also means that everyone who has had one of these vaccines has been unwittingly taking part in the biggest trial ever known in the history of medicine – and it’s worth remembering that all of the companies making these vaccines have been granted blanket immunity by government from litigation arising from unforeseen side effects.

This creeping authoritarianism is to my mind quite sinister. Professor Neil Ferguson of Imperial College, London, whose inaccurate projections about the pandemic (forecasts of 250,000 deaths in the UK and 1.2 million in the US) have been relied on by several governments to shape their response, made some interesting comments during an interview with Tom Whipple of The Times: 

“I think people’s sense of what is possible in terms of control changed quite dramatically between January and March (2020),” Professor Ferguson says. When SAGE (the UK government’s Scientific and Advisory Group) observed the ‘innovative intervention’ out of China, of locking entire communities down and not permitting them to leave their homes, they initially presumed it would not be an available option in a liberal Western democracy. ‘It’s a communist one-party state, we said. We couldn’t get away with it in Europe, we thought… and then Italy did it. And we realised we could.’ ” 

It seems from Ferguson’s comments that the UK government is taking lessons in social control from the Chinese Communist Party and applying them to a so-far docile population at home, with success beyond their expectations. But is it just paranoia on my part to draw the conclusion that Boris Johnson and his bunch of political pygmies are simply the servants seeking to enforce a larger agenda emerging from those who regard themselves as our global masters?

Here it is instructive to listen to Edward Snowden. Wikipedia tells us that Snowden is the “former computer intelligence consultant who copied and leaked highly classified information from the National Security Agency (NSA) in 2013 when he was a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employee and subcontractor. His disclosures revealed numerous global surveillance programs, many run by the NSA and the Five Eyes Intelligence Alliance with the cooperation of telecommunication companies and European governments, and prompted a cultural discussion about national security and individual privacy.”

I have a great deal of respect for Snowden, his bravery and his sense of outrage at the immorality of many covert government operations. I think that Rudolf Steiner would also have applauded Snowden for revealing to us the brutal reality and lies behind so much government rhetoric. I urge you to listen to him in this short YouTube video, where he is speaking about coronavirus and the effect on our freedoms, and in which he suggests that the pandemic is being used to put in place controls on populations throughout the world – and that governments will find these controls very useful and want to make them permanent.

In the end, it comes down to a question of trust. We all know about Boris Johnson’s track record with truth, so I suspect that most of us will not be reassured when we hear him declare his confidence in the AstraZeneca or any other vaccine. These are fearfully complex questions that only an epidemiologist or virologist can pronounce on with any authority, so some of us will want to turn instead to scientists for reassurance. But can we trust the scientists and doctors, many of whom derive their funding from the giant pharmaceutical corporations? I don’t think so, which is why I want to see two or three years more data from the ongoing clinical trials before I decide whether to have the jab. In the meantime, I and my care home colleagues are having three tests a week to show that we are free from infection. It is fundamentally immoral for any government to seek to coerce me through the threat of unemployment, loss of the right to travel etc, into a premature decision on the matter of vaccination.

I am saddened to have lost my childhood assumption that the world is beautiful, good and true because, in my heart of hearts, I think that this is how the world is one day meant to be. At this time, however, as we become more and more aware of the impending incarnation of the being whom Christ called “the Ruler of this World”, it is clearly unrealistic to suppose that governments, leaders and the rest of us are not going to be unconsciously or otherwise influenced in myriad negative ways by what is coming towards us. Our only option is to become as aware, as far as possible, of the reality behind world phenomena; and in Rudolf Steiner’s words, “it is humanity’s task in this period to come to grips with evil as an impulse in the evolution of the world”. 


Filed under Coronavirus, Covid-19 pandemic, Evil

Walking my anthroposophical talk

In a lecture given on 30th January 1924, Rudolf Steiner spoke of the qualities needed in the people who wished to become members of the First Class of the School of Spiritual Science. Among other comments, he said this:

(…) “it is necessary that everyone who wishes to belong to the Class should ask himself (sic) whether he really intends to be one of those who from the outset will not only stand for the anthroposophical cause before the world but will be a courageous representative of it in every way.”

Steiner recognised that, if you were not only to call yourself an anthroposophist but also to let other people know that you are, it requires courage. Why is this? It is surely because to identify yourself as having belief in a larger reality than that which most people subscribe to, is to invite others to heap scorn, and even hatred, upon you; you have made yourself different from the commonsensical view of the majority in the West and thus you are an offence to their idea of what is true and obvious to all right-thinking people.

But despite this, we are all human beings, struggling with life as best we can, and sharing many more things than those which separate us. So how, while staying true to our beliefs, can we connect with one another in ways which respect our differences?

For making connections with others is at the heart of it. As Justus Wittich, a member of the Vorstand (Executive Committee) at the Goetheanum, wrote in the January 2020 issue of Anthroposophy Worldwide: “The Anthroposophical Society could become a global association of people who stand up individually and courageously for human dignity and for shaping the world out of spiritual insights. The motto we have chosen for this year’s Annual Conference from Rudolf Steiner’s Letters to Members reflects this: ‘Connecting with the world willingly out of love’. “

Yes, I completely support that aspiration, although I wish the Goetheanum could go a bit further in actively putting before the public eye spiritual research about contemporary issues such as Covid-19. If it could make a connection with the wider public, then it might stand a chance of becoming that global association mentioned by Justus Wittich. But here is our dilemma: how, in this age of atheist materialism and disbelief and disparagement of anything that smacks of spirituality, can the anthroposophical movement find its relevance and connect with other points of view? 

As a blogger on anthroposophical themes, I come up against this dilemma quite frequently, because some other people simply have no way of understanding or even tolerating what I am trying to convey about the potential relevance of anthroposophy to all human lives. Here, for example, is a Tweet I received after my recent post on Coercion and the Covid-19 Vaccines

Dunning-Kruger compliant drivel excused by #Steiner #anthroposphy barmpottery. Riddled with the usual oft-debunked #antivaxxer tropes. See… to counter the scare-mongering on aluminium, formaldehyde, thimerosal (mercury) etc. Oh, and they’re not untested

I didn’t know what the reference to Dunning-Kruger meant so I looked it up: apparently it is a type of cognitive bias in which people believe that they are smarter and more capable than they really are. Essentially, low ability people do not possess the skills needed to recognise their own incompetence. Well, thank you, kind sir.

I also had a look at the docbastard website but don’t recommend you do the same, unless you are unoffended by frequent use of the ‘F’ word and violent, aggressive, sneering language. All I would say is that I don’t think the guy who wrote this is likely to achieve a meeting of minds with low ability people like me.

More representative of different views from my own, as well as better exemplars of civilised discourse, are those such as the Financial Times journalist, to whom I sent a link to my previous post after seeing an article in his newspaper about what he calls ‘Vaccine Hesitancy’. He was kind enough to reply:

“Mr Smith, 

Thanks for writing. I think we have different ideas of freedom. For me freedom is the freedom to go into an office or a restaurant or get into a plane without having to fear that there’s a high risk that someone else in it will give me a dangerous disease, which probably wouldn’t kill me at my age but could severely damage my organs or just give me the worst flu of my life. If you don’t want to be vaccinated, fine. I don’t think the UK govt or any other in the west will force you to. But you shouldn’t expect the freedom to then go around infecting everyone else. I should remind you that childhood vaccinations are compulsory in large numbers of countries and have been so a long time. 

Sorry to disagree, keep well.”

His comment really brings home to me, as if I didn’t know it before, that this whole issue of vaccination presents all of us with a genuine moral dilemma:

  • Should I have the jab as my contribution to the common good and herd immunity?
  • Although I don’t want to have it, do I still go ahead as a kind of sacrifice to the altar of the collective?
  • Or do I decide to stay true to my belief, refuse the jab and be perceived as selfish by others?

I replied as follows:

“Thank you for your reply – I appreciate your taking the time to do this.

I’m not sure that we do have different ideas of freedom, as I, too, would like to be able to enter an office, restaurant or plane without feeling in danger. But even after you have had the jab, you will still be wearing a mask and maintaining social distancing, as the Deputy Chief Medical Officer in England, Jonathan Van-Tam, has indicated in this short YouTube clip:

Second, no-one yet knows whether the jab will give you immunity and if it does, for how long that lasts. Nor do we yet know whether, if you are an asymptomatic spreader, it will prevent you from infecting others.

Third, I don’t expect the freedom to go around infecting everyone else. I am the manager of a small residential care home for adults with learning disabilities and I have to be ultra-cautious; I swab-test myself and colleagues every week and our residents every month; we use PPE and we are scrupulous about hand washing, infection control etc. As workers in a care home, we will be high on the priority list for the new Pfizer vaccine – but neither I nor my colleagues want to have it.

My wife, who is a reflexologist with several GPs and surgeons as clients, tells me that these NHS staff don’t want to have it, either – why do you think these professional medical staff are also reluctant?

Now it may well be that my blog post was not a balanced account, as I was writing it in the white heat of indignation – but if I were to add anything, it would be to say that there are far cheaper and safer ways to protect oneself against Covid-19, ways that can’t be patented and profited from and could be mass-adopted if the government were to advocate them. But that would have made it far longer and probably wouldn’t have made it any less contentious.

Thank you, and all good wishes.”

Reflecting on these exchanges, I am very aware of the gulf that lies between my views and the views of so many other people, as typified by that journalist. If he had taken a look at other posts on this blog, he might well conclude that he was reading examples of the mystical ‘barmpottery’, of which my Twitter correspondent accused me. 

Is there anything else I could say to people who have quite different perspectives from my own, that might help to create more understanding between us? I might say that I would like to know exactly what is being injected into my bloodstream and how it has been created; I could say that the record of Big Pharma over the years has not inspired me with trust in their integrity or moral judgments; I could add that none of the politicians who are exhorting us to have the jab seem to be taking into account what human actions might have created the pandemic in the first place.  I might ask: can we not all see that instead of going back to how the world was before Covid-19, it was that kind of mindset that has brought it towards us? Is that the way we wish to live our lives? Is that what human beings are? 

If I were to say such things, they might get us into a reasonable dialogue; but if I were then to introduce some more esoteric concepts from anthroposophy, for example about what a human being really is, the other person would most likely start to shake their head and write me off as insane.

Even someone as sympathetic to anthroposophy as is Hans van Willenswaard, who brings a Buddhist perspective to his comments on this blog, has questions about the effectiveness of anthroposophy in the world:

“The question, which also now can be applied to the numerous COVID-19 dilemmas, is whether ‘the esoteric’ spiritual science, is more effective in preventing/solving war and crisis than exoteric activism?
What are the lessons we could learn from the failed top-down political threefolding campaign shortly after World War I; and from the ultimate destruction of the First Goetheanum by fire, even though it had survived the war thanks to its position in ‘neutral’ Switzerland?
Can anthroposophy be effective vis-a-vis the COVID-19 crisis (+ climate emergency; + economic downturn; + painful inequality; + technocratic authoritarianism and + social/cultural divisions) if we are not better able to integrate the esoteric with the exoteric and shape the movement beyond the anthroposophic ‘silo’?

My answers to these questions, in the same order in which Hans asked them, are as follows:

1. Does ‘exoteric activism’ actually prevent or solve wars? For example, did Woodrow Wilson’s League of Nations, set up after the 1914-18 war, prevent the 1939-45 war? Obviously not. Has the United Nations prevented any wars since 1945? I can’t think of any. Can anyone point to examples of exoteric activism which have averted war? Probably not, although one could argue that organisations like Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, Medecins Sans Frontieres etc have been effective in galvanising public opinion for change – but it’s not fair to contrast this with spiritual science, whose role is entirely different from that of activist organisations.

2. Spiritual impulses, important though it may be that they are brought forward at a particular time, do not necessarily find fertile ground for their reception. This was true for threefolding and perhaps it was generally true for anthroposophy as well, given that Steiner’s ambitions for anthroposophy have to this day not been realised. Does this mean that these impulses should not have been introduced to the world? Absolutely not, because the results, although fewer than Steiner might have wanted, have been nevertheless totally worthwhile and are still capable of engendering new possibilities and worthwhile initiatives into the world – and we don’t know what these seeds sown in the last century might yet bring forth in the future.

3. Because the insights of spiritual science are not yet shared by a critical mass of human beings, humanity continues to create difficult karma for itself; and as with the Covid-19 vaccines, it chases after ‘solutions’ that miss the point and perpetuate in different ways the mistakes that led to the original crisis. What I’m not clear about is whether the ‘critical mass’ that will make the difference could be (a) a small number of people acting as a kind of homeopathic dose within the body of humanity; or (b) whether it really is a question of vast numbers of people being brought to a point of total crisis before real change can happen. I fear that (b) is the more likely option, but I hope I’m wrong – and in any case I choose to be in (a).

To bring this discussion back to the personal, how can I stand in the world as an anthroposophical blogger and communicate as such with other people without it ending up in complete deadlock and misunderstanding?

Here, I think, we cannot do without Rudolf Steiner’s concept of the Twelve World Views, as expressed in his book The Philosophy of Freedom. Steiner contends that truth is expressed in twelve different ways, each one of which has its own justification – which in turn means that someone with whom you have a serious disagreement may just be looking at a different and perhaps equally valid part of the truth. There is an excellent exposition of this here. Do please have a look and try to identify which is your own predominant world view. 

So, if my truth and your truth are both facets of a much larger truth, and if we can both acknowledge that that is a possibility, we ought to be able to find ways to avoid falling-out over who is right and who is wrong. This is surely one of the greatest challenges facing human evolution, because people who are convinced that they are right and everyone else is wrong will continue to perpetuate division – and are ultimately capable of going to war to impose their truth on others.

We are currently in the grip of a pandemic which has put fear into millions of people. Responsibility for dealing with this is being given over to forces beyond our control. If we can but realise it, we have the opportunity at this time to make significant changes through our own resolve and will forces. As an anthroposophist, I believe that I was born into this world so that I could be in physical incarnation at this time of trial, because it is only here on Earth that certain things can be achieved. What is it that I need to do at this time? Surely it is to develop, out of my own free will, a renewed capacity for love – love for myself, love for others and for all creation. Love that can be shared with others and that can bring healing to this Earth, at all levels of existence.

As Rudolf Steiner put it in his lecture “Love and Its Meaning in the World”:

“Our egoism gains nothing from deeds of love — but the world (gains) all the more. Occultism says: Love is for the world what the sun is for external life. No soul could thrive if love departed from the world. Love is the “moral” sun of the world. Would it not be absurd if a man who delights in the flowers growing in a meadow were to wish that the sun would vanish from the world? Translated into terms of the moral life, this means: Our deep concern must be that an impulse for sound, healthy development shall find its way into the affairs of humanity. To disseminate love over the earth in the greatest measure possible, to promote love on the earth — that and that alone is wisdom.”

Can I find that wisdom and live my words?

If I and others who have similar views are not able to rise to this occasion, this enormous opportunity for a better future direction, then surely we will continue to experience, with everyone else, each of the coming crises resulting from the shared karma of humanity.


Filed under Coronavirus, Covid-19 pandemic

Coercion and the Covid-19 Vaccines

Are you keen to be among the first people to try out one of the new Covid-19 vaccines? Or would you prefer to wait and see how these vaccines affect the ‘early adopters’ before deciding? 

Well, you may not be allowed the choice to hang back. We are seeing the beginnings of a campaign that will threaten to make life so difficult for anyone who doesn’t agree to be vaccinated that it amounts to making it compulsory.

The signs are all about us: Quantas (the Australian national airline) warned this week that it expects to allow only passengers who can prove they have been vaccinated onto international flights. 

In the USA, the New York State Bar Association passed a resolution urging the state to consider enforcing mandatory COVID-19 vaccination. The group’s task force on COVID-19 said people should be made to have the vaccine, even if they object for “religious, philosophical or personal reasons.”

Meanwhile in England, Matt Hancock (Secretary of State for Health) has refused to rule out making a coronavirus vaccine mandatory, suggesting ministers could make it a requirement if initial take-up is lower than expected. The Health Secretary said the Government was not “proposing” a legal requirement for people to be vaccinated because some would be unable to have a jab due to medical reasons – but he added he has “learnt not to rule things out”. 

Professor Julian Savulescu, whom I have had cause to mention here before in connection with his advocacy of eugenics, has described an algorithm for justified mandatory vaccination. He says that penalties or costs could be imposed on people who refuse the vaccine, including withholding of benefits, imposition of fines, provision of community service or loss of freedoms. He also argues that people “should be paid to do the right thing”, eg parents should be paid for getting their children to be immunised or workers should be paid for having the jab. This doesn’t strike me as a very ethically sound proposition from the holder of the Uehiro Chair in Practical Ethics at the University of Oxford.

Fresh from culling 17 million mink, on Tuesday 17 November the Danish government finished considering a new law giving itself extended powers to respond to epidemics. Parts of this law propose that:

  • People infected with dangerous diseases can be forcibly given medical examination, hospitalised, treated and placed in isolation.
  • The Danish Health Authority would be able to define groups of people who must be vaccinated in order to contain and eliminate a dangerous disease.
  • People who refuse the above can – in some situations – be coerced through physical detainment, with police allowed to assist.

While here in the UK, according to an article by Rosalind English on the UK Human Rights Blog

“In July 2020 a group of philosophy and law academics presented written evidence to Parliament proposing that individuals should undergo vaccination as a condition of release from pandemic-related restrictions on liberty, including on movement and association. The authors of the report base this proposal on two “parity arguments”:

a. If Covid-19 ‘lockdown’ measures are compatible with human rights law, then it is arguable that compulsory vaccination is too (lockdown parity argument);
b. If compulsory medical treatment under mental health law for personal and public protection purposes is compatible with human rights law, then it is arguable that compulsory vaccination is too (mental health parity argument).

They contend that there is “an arguable case” for the compatibility of compulsory vaccination with human rights law.”

Well, one can always rely on academics and philosophers to find arguments in support of tyranny; but in England, medical treatment without consent, including vaccination, is prohibited by the criminal law on assault, which could even be construed as grievous bodily harm if the consequences of the treatment are serious.

So, knowing this, it seems likely that the government will be instead relying on pressure exerted by all those organisations with whom we normally interact, such as shops, pubs, restaurants, health centres, airlines, sporting venues, theatres, etc, to act for them by disrupting the lives of anyone who has doubts about being vaccinated. 

As John Gapper in the Financial Times of 28/29th November put it in an article headlined ‘Those who are inoculated deserve more freedom’:

“…governments that do not make vaccination compulsory themselves will be tacitly relying on companies and organisations to do it for them. It will force the latter to make unpopular decisions but they should be allowed, even encouraged, to protect customers and employees from harm.” 

Gapper speculates that: “Offices and public venues may scan mobile phone apps that link the proof of vaccination or a negative test to digital identities before letting people in. National passports are only needed occasionally for travel, but ‘immunity passports’ could intrude into everyday lives.”

It’s therefore clear that in the near future, if we want to enter shops, drink in a pub or have a meal in a restaurant, attend a sporting event, see a play or concert, go to work in an office, visit a doctor or hospital, travel abroad via ship or plane or even just get on a train or bus, then we will have to have the jab – or normal life cannot be carried on. 

This now seems to be deliberate government strategy. Nadhim Zahawi, who on 28th November was appointed by Boris Johnson as Minister for Covid-19 Vaccine Deployment at the Department of Health & Social Care, confirmed in a radio interview on 30th November that it will become virtually impossible to lead a normal life if you don’t have the vaccination. He warned that many businesses were likely to require proof of the jabs once they become available, in the same way they now ask customers to check-in using QR codes. He admitted ministers were looking at so-called ‘immunity passports’ on the NHS Covid-19 app as a way to provide evidence of vaccination. Asked if that meant people who did not have a vaccination would be severely restricted in what they could do, the minister said: ‘I think people have to make a decision.”

Yet despite the threats of punitive action, governments around the world are clearly worried that not many people will want to get vaccinated. Simon Kuper in the FT Magazine reports that between 43 and 50 per cent of the French populace say that they will probably or certainly refuse the vaccine. And here in the UK, a survey by market research company Kantar at the end of November found that 75 per cent of people in the UK were “likely” to accept a jab. But only 42 per cent said they would definitely do so, and “the hesitancy is growing”.

To try to counter such scepticism, the government and the NHS in England are drawing up expensive PR campaigns. According to The Guardian:

NHS bosses plan to enlist celebrities and “influencers” with big social media followings in a major campaign to persuade people to have a Covid vaccine amid fears of low take-up.

Ministers and NHS England are drawing up a list of “very sensible” famous faces in the hope that their advice to get immunised would be widely trusted, the Guardian has learned. 

Health chiefs are particularly worried about the number of people who are still undecided, and about vaccine scepticism among NHS staff. “There will be a big national campaign [to drive take-up,” said one source with knowledge of the plans. “NHS England are looking for famous faces, people who are known and loved. It could be celebrities who are very sensible and have done sensible stuff during the pandemic.”

This issue has a personal resonance for me, as I am one of those people who does not want to have the jab. There are many reasons why but here are just a few of them:

  • When I was 21 and wanted to visit the USA, it was mandatory to have a smallpox injection. It was fairly brutal to receive and was far from perfect; I had side effects serious enough to keep me off work for a week and I still have a small round scar from it on my upper arm. On the plus side, smallpox as a disease has now been eliminated around the world.
  • The smallpox vaccine had been around for many years but the new Covid-19 vaccines are being rushed out without the normal routine of tests. Leaving aside the dispiriting spectacle of crony capitalists rushing to make fat profits from vaccination, as well as Judith von Halle’s eminently sensible observation that “Humanity’s way of thinking has become so corrupt that it can no longer even realise how absurd it is that production of medicines is subject to financial interests,” we should note that Big Pharma has been given blanket immunity by health policymakers around the world. In order to get drug manufacturers to invest in research and development, it seems necessary to allow them complete freedom from accountability – so that they can’t be sued when people are hurt by their vaccines. This is a dream come true for drug company executives – billions of dollars are being funnelled their way, prototype vaccines are being pushed past administrative red tape and over licensing hurdles and clinical trials are being fast-tracked – but when one of these vaccines arrives, remember that if anything goes wrong, you will not be able to sue for any side effect, known or unknown.
  • Dozens of new prototypes for vaccines are being trialled and among these are some which use techniques that have never been tried before. I don’t pretend to understand what Messenger RNA is, for example, but Bill Gates, (who has invested $10 billion dollars in global vaccines over the past two decades and has said that he expects to get a 20-fold return on his money), thinks mRNA as being produced by Moderna will be a winner “because it’s much faster to manufacture” and “you essentially turn your body into its own vaccine manufacturing unit.” There is a catch, though, Gates added. “We don’t know for sure yet if RNA is a viable platform for vaccines. Since Covid would be the first RNA vaccine out of the gate, we have to prove both that the platform itself works and that it creates immunity. It’s a bit like building your computer system and your first piece of software at the same time.” 1 Oh dear – anyone who has memories of Bill Gates’ early Microsoft operating systems such as MS-DOS will not be reassured by that analogy.
  • We have no idea for how long these vaccines will provide immunity. I was ill last February with what I suspect was Covid-19 but at that time there was no test I could get hold of to determine it. By the time I was able to get an antigen test kit eight months’ later, I had no antibodies and the test was negative. Anecdotal and speculative, I know, but it made me think that any immunity I might have had after the illness will have lasted no more than six or seven months. Will the vaccine do any better – or will you need to have an injection every six months?
  • I’m worried about what these vaccines might contain and whether we will ever know the full list of ingredients. We do know that they are much more than just a virus in a saline solution with the worst bits of it taken out. They contain ‘adjuvants’ (an adjuvant is a pharmacological or immunological agent that improves the immune response of a vaccine). Adjuvants are added to a vaccine to boost the immune response to produce more antibodies and longer-lasting immunity, thus minimising the dose of antigen needed. That sounds sensible, until you realise that these immune system stimulants include adjuvants like aluminium; preservatives like thimerosal (which contains mercury) and formaldehyde; antibiotics like neomycin and a wide range of ‘excipient’ ingredients (ie that bulk up or stabilise the active ingredient). These excipients can include DNA from whatever cells have been used to amplify the virus in manufacturing production – and in some vaccines these have been cultured from aborted human foetuses, or dogs, monkeys, insects and more. 2
  • It’s known that at least six Covid vaccines, including two leading candidates from Moderna and Oxford University, are manufactured using human embryonic kidney cells (HEK-293 cells) drawn from a baby aborted in 1972 and since multiplied millions of times over. Johnson & Johnson’s Covid vaccine is being developed with their patented Per.C6 cells, retinal cells taken from the eyes of a baby aborted at 18 weeks.3 How do you like the idea of that being injected into your arm?

Vaccines are not yet mandatory in the UK, and the government’s own guidelines on vaccinations say individuals “must be given enough information to enable them to make a decision before they can give consent.” The information I have so far discovered has enabled me to decide that I do not want to give consent. How about you?

1. The Vaccine Race, Explained. April 30, 2020

2. US Centers for Disease Control, Vaccine Excipient Summary, February 2020

3. Vaccine, 2001; 19:2716-21


Filed under Coronavirus, Covid-19 pandemic

Coronavirus and the indwelling divinity within each human being

During these challenging times, I have been reflecting on what an anthroposophical approach to this Covid-19 pandemic might be. There are so many theories, anthroposophical and otherwise, that we are being invited to take in and consider. Perhaps you, like me, receive links to more pandemic-related videos and websites than it is possible to view – that is, if you wish to have any time at all away from the screen and maintain some semblance of a normal life.

All I personally feel able to do is to watch and observe and try to reach some conclusions about what is going on. One of these conclusions is that nearly all of us, including most doctors, scientists, politicians, academics and pundits of all kinds, know next to nothing about Covid-19. All the information coming to us from official channels is confusing, constantly changing and often contradictory. This is a very disconcerting experience for those of us who would like something solid to hang onto. The writer Paul Kingsnorth has expressed this dilemma very well:

“I would like to say that I know what to do about all this, or what to learn. I would like to teach it to you so that you may learn too. I would like to be a prophet in a time when prophets are so sorely needed.

Unfortunately, I am not qualified for this role. I don’t know anything at all, and I am learning, painfully, that this was my lesson all along.

I don’t know anything at all.

My society does not know anything at all.

All the things I was brought up to label as learning: my A-levels, my Oxford University degrees, all the books I have read and written, all the arguments I learned how to formulate, all the ideas I learned how to frame, the concepts I learned how to enunciate. All this head-work, all these modern European ways of seeing, understanding, controlling, managing, directing the world:


None of that was it.”

So what has this pandemic got to teach our globalised Western civilisation? What can we learn from all of this?  Nothing, because we are not equipped to learn the actual lesson that is being taught. 

We cannot learn the lesson, because our head-centred, materialist culture does not believe in the existence of the realm from where it is coming, which is the non-material world.

During a previous piece about coronavirus, I gave quite a bit of emphasis to the positive sides of lockdown – the improvement in air quality, the reduced road and air traffic noise, the benefits for nature and wildlife, the enhanced sense of a community caring for its weaker members and a hope that, as there were so many of us who did not want to return to ‘normal’,  that governments might take notice and stop talking about economic growth as if nothing else mattered. These hopes have not endured, of course.

I also raised the possibility that I was being naïve and that all of us were being played by forces very far from benign towards human beings, citing the speed with which our civil liberties have been removed, the many restrictions being placed on social and family life and the damage being done to our economic circumstances. With each month that passes, it becomes clearer that this more pessimistic view is increasingly valid and that humanity has entered a very dark period.  

One answer to Paul Kingsnorth’s call for real knowledge about the virus is to be found in The Coronavirus Pandemic – Anthroposophical Perspectives by Judith von Halle. Translated from the German original by Frank Thomas Smith and published by Temple Lodge, this is one of the few commentaries from an anthroposophical point of view that I have found to be really useful. Despite von Halle’s disclaimer of scientific knowledge or her modest description of her writings as “motivating fragments for free consideration”, what she writes has, for me at least, a flavour of genuine anthroposophical spiritual research. She wrote this for an anthroposophical audience, in response to questions earlier this year from members of the Lazarus-John Branch of the Free Association for Anthroposophy, so at times it uses language and ideas with which general readers may not be familiar. I have tried therefore to include hyperlinks to sources of further information wherever this could be helpful, or else have provided short explanations in italics.

In such a brief post I cannot do justice to the full range of her insights but will only mention here what are for me some of the most important points she makes. Apart from all the human anguish and inconvenience triggered by coronavirus, the spiritual causes behind it are extremely disturbing. If the present pandemic is not to be the first in a series of catastrophes, humanity is called upon to make some big changes to the way we conduct our lives. Von Halle suggests that because Covid-19 is a pandemic, it means that we are in the grip of a situation where the karma of humanity as a whole applies – and this has happened in such a way that planned individual karma is thwarted. In such cases, she says, after the death of an affected person whose individual karmic threads have been severed by the karma of humanity, it is not easy for the hierarchies of angels to weave these threads back together again. This is therefore a full-frontal attack on the I-hood of the individual (the Self, the bearer of the Christ principle or the indwelling divinity in the human being, which we take with us from incarnation to incarnation) and from this she concludes that the spiritual power active in the pandemic is Sorat, the Anti-Christ, “the mightiest spiritual enemy which humanity must face on its path to development” and that the “virus is only a rippling wave compared to what humanity must still undergo in the near future”.

In connection with this last point, von Halle says that:

“Today we experience the attack – caused by us as the organism of humanity (ie humanity as a whole) – on the air-element and the physical organ associated with it, the lungs, through our corrupted, not life-giving thinking (this is a reference to the concept of ‘living thinking’, which you can read more about in Chapter 8 of Steiner’s ‘Philosophy of Freedom’). But if in the future, in the age of the consciousness soul, humanity has sunk so low that it is just as degenerate in its feeling as in its thinking, an attack on the heart will follow. Then it will be a case of absence of compassion, which is connected, among other things, with the suffering of animals.”

Von Halle also says that “it is not only the individual due to his personal biography, but also humanity as such that has developed a disposition for illness by this virus in that it has promoted and cherished materialism in its thinking for the past 150 years”. 

This is where human beings are called upon to transform their thinking:

“The greatest difficulty facing human beings is that they do not want to acknowledge the I, that is, the reality of their spiritual origin and purpose – the reality of their selves as a community of entities of purely spiritual nature, who at the present time have taken on materially physical sheaths. Only when this insight exists will life on earth for humanity – an existence that can truly be called life – be able to continue”.

Unless we can come to a clear awareness and understanding that the invisible spheres of life are as important as the physical in making us fully human, then the result will be estrangement from spiritual life, both on Earth and after death. The consequence of this estrangement and isolation is that an element which should remain in the spiritual life degenerates, is driven out and begins to manifest in the physical world as pathogens and illnesses which appear in a living organism and multiply parasitically within it. Von Halle then says:

“A different world, which is not included in the divine development plan for humanity, arises through this parasitical isolation. If human beings recognise their I and its importance, its tasks and possibilities, moral individualisation begins – the self-desired maturity from a creature to a new god (Von Halle is here referring to Rudolf Steiner’s statement that human beings are destined through their evolution over aeons to become the next order of angels, the Tenth Hierarchy). If human beings do not recognise their I and its importance, its tasks and possibilities, an amoral special existence begins, a self-degeneration from divine creature to a new – never before existing and also not in a higher sense envisaged – sub-sensory creature. Then human beings consummate this splitting from the whole and suck out all that they can of the living world that had been bestowed upon them, thus furthering their degeneration”.

This is a truly alarming insight: that humankind, through its thoughtless denial of its true nature and its embrace of atheistic materialism, is in danger of being driven by malign spiritual forces into a sub-human state of existence.

Judith von Halle also has some very interesting things to say about viruses:

“As viruses are not made up of cells and have no metabolism of their own, but only a blueprint of their reproduction, which they can actualise within the cell of a so-called ‘host’, they are not living beings like bacteria (many of which, by the way, play an indispensable role in the human digestion process, which is not the case with viruses). Moreover, viruses maintain themselves by the principle of errors that occur during their copying process and which often result in optimal situations – for them. Thereby they stand in diametric opposition to the basic divine order, namely the principles of truth, beauty and goodness, which are fundamental to humanity’s creative power. The cause of cell death in the human body is what optimises viral existence (Programmed cell death is an integral part of host defence against invading intracellular pathogens). This alone directs our attention to the spiritual nature of a virus. 

(…) An infection with the virus steers the I-slumbering person’s attention back to the purely material-physical processes, and it reaffirms his or her already biased materialistic worldview. It impacts a spiritual (sub-sensory-spiritual) impulse on the physical in the human soul. (…) The spiritual intention of viruses, as spirit bearers (or non-spirit bearers) (…) is to cause maximum harm in that they come into contact with the spirit of the human being at the level of devachan – albeit at its amoral mirror-image plane – but with the spirit not used by that person. (Here the author is referring to parts of the human spirit which are taken over by the Asuras and are thus not available to the individual human being.) Thus they are a plague of the consciousness soul age. Virus epidemics affect the karma of humanity insofar as the individual spirit is not brought to bear within an individual human being, and as a result, in what is meant to be the age of spiritual awakening, the person relapses into group-soul attitudes, which increase the physical potency of viruses.”

Will the new Covid-19 vaccines help? 

“That vaccination cannot offer lasting protection is indicated by the impulse to mutate that was induced by vaccination. Spiritually considered, vaccination campaigns, however beneficial they may be at first, cannot remedy humanity’s karmic adjustment caused by a viral epidemic. At best, a postponement of humanity’s karmic adjustment takes place. If the spiritual causes of the plague are not remedied but instead comprehensive vaccinations are administered, a more drastic consequence or compensation must be reckoned with in future. This is not an appeal against vaccinations. It is only meant to indicate that vaccination campaigns alone are not a solution, but at most a stop-gap, because without the removal of the spiritual causes for the infectious illnesses, they contribute to the eruption of other more powerful epidemics.”

It’s now clear to me that Covid-19 is just one aspect of a multi-faceted attack on human beings and all life on Earth that we are living through. Climate change, war, the sixth great extinction of species, genocide, materialism, racism, human degradation, pollution, terrorism, the polarisation of society, the undermining of democracy, fake news and ‘post-truth’ – these are all facets of attacks from the same enemy. The aim of Sorat and his helpers, the Asuras, has always been to destroy the human I (the Self, the bearer of the Christ principle or the indwelling divinity in the human being) and to destroy the earth itself, which the I needs for the future development of the human soul. This is the true scale of the battle in which humanity is now engaged. 

Foreseeing all of this, Rudolf Steiner said: 

“Mankind will begin to recover when, through work in the life of the spirit, people come to know and to see in its true light the fact that the fifth post-Atlantean epoch (ie the age we are currently living in, which runs from 15th Century CE to 4th Millennium CE) is intended to create a materialistic state of being out of the general stream of human evolution. But all the more, then, must a spiritual state of being be set in opposition to this materialism. What people in our epoch must learn is the need to wage a fully conscious fight against the evil that is making its way into human evolution. Just as in the fourth epoch (ie the Graeco-Roman age) the struggle was to come to terms with birth and death, so now we have to come to terms with evil.” 

What help is available to us in this great struggle? Von Halle suggests several things:

  • “Reducing one’s exposure to news about the coronavirus pandemic to the minimum that is necessary to avoid ignorance of what is going on in the world. (Rudolf Steiner, alongside his spiritual research, always made sure that he was thoroughly informed about outer events and opinions.)”
  • “The consistent psychical-spiritual work of an individual, or of a few individuals, can have an enormous influence on the physical and spiritual conditions of the world! When someone asks: What can I as one person do to influence world events? – the answer is: everything! If people could only see with physical eyes the effect on the macrocosmic context that the decision and its implementation to consistently practise only one meditation by a single person, then probably no one would hesitate to undertake such an exercise themselves. For the possibilities are enormous! Allow me to give you this as the greatest consolation, as the strongest ray of hope in the present situation. The individual person holds the world’s fate in his hands. This is the gift of the Christ, who sees the individual I as a deity, who treats it as a deity. (…) Spiritual life must become a reality in our hearts and therefore in our higher consciousness. We must develop a feeling in our souls for the true, the beautiful and the good that resides in this spiritual life.”
  • Speaking the Foundation Stone verse in nature. “Speaking the truth, this truth of cosmic wisdom is today (one could say, unfortunately) a shattering relief – for oneself, for one’s fellow humans, the divine spiritual world and, above all, for the physical world.”

Von Halle also recommends the Michael verse ‘Victorious Spirit’, “which shows us the essence of the true spirit of our time and, through its character, not only makes us aware of our contemporary tasks in everyday practical life, but can also give us the necessary will to fulfil them.”

Victorious spirit

Flame away the impotence 

Of timid souls.

Burn up self-interest

Kindle compassion,

So that selflessness,

As the life-stream of humanity,

Reigns as source

Of spiritual rebirth.1

(1 From Rudolf Steiner, Mantric Sayings, Meditations 1903-25, GA 268)

After having read this book, I am left with several thoughts and questions. First, how can one not be totally overwhelmed and horrified by the scale of the assault on human beings, especially when most of us are completely unaware of what is going on and have not even the basic concepts to begin to understand what is happening? Does it matter that there are so many people who will greet with derision what is written here, or have no comprehension of and no interest in what has been described? I take comfort from what von Halle says above about the massive difference one or two people can make when they work with prayer or meditation. And I also take comfort from the fact that there are so many good people doing good things for one another at this time, all of which I believe will weigh in the balance on the side of humanity.

Second, what can one do against such apparently insuperable odds? All that I personally can do is to write my blog; to look after people with learning disabilities at the care home where I work; to care for those close to me; to cherish my garden as a meditative space; to be part of my local community – for as I’ve noted before, it is human solidarity and caring for one another that will bring us through this crisis. Sorat is beyond all comparison the greatest enemy that humanity has ever had; but it is also true that having an enemy helps one to define oneself (and indeed, one’s Self). And Sorat and the Asuras have no response, no possible counterattack, that can defeat the love of Christ as expressed through simple human caring and selflessness.

Third, why is this happening? Here, I believe, we touch upon a great mystery of human evolution, ie the role of evil in human development. I have written more about this elsewhere on this blog, in case anyone is interested to take a look.


Filed under Anthroposophy, Coronavirus, Covid-19 pandemic, Sorat

Guest Post: CoronaControversies

by Steve Briault

Steve Briault is the Director of Development at Emerson College, where he is responsible for the College’s education programme as well as its capital assets and finances. He was previously an  organisation  consultant  with  25  years’  experience  of  advising companies,  government and voluntary organisations on management processes and structure. He is currently also Chair of Trustees at The Mount Camphill Community and has been trustee and/ or Chair of a range of other charities. His early career included co-founding and managing the Pennine Camphill Community, and restoring the financial stability of a Waldorf School in the role of Administrator. He taught at the Centre for Social Development at Emerson College in the 1980s and has been connected with the College since then. Steve is the author of two books: ‘Working It Out’, a handbook for violence prevention in working with young people, and ‘The Mystery of Meeting – relationships as a path of discovery’. He is also joint editor, with Martin Large, of ‘Free, Equal and Mutual – Rebalancing Society for the Common Good’, a collection of essays to mark the centenary of Rudolf Steiner’s social threefolding initiative.

Steve Briault

Like many people, I have continually been receiving messages, links, videos and documents containing different narratives about the source, severity, nature, meaning and indeed existence of COVID-19. Alternative theories are flying around the internet, some almost seeming to become viruses in themselves.  Many such materials are sent with an exhortation to “wake up” (i.e. believe their content) and/or to circulate them further.  In this infected and confusing landscape it can be hard to orientate oneself, to avoid paranoia or complacency and to make balanced judgements and decisions.  Having immersed oneself in anthroposophy, even over many years, does not, I observe, guarantee clear thinking, wise discernment or immunity from the temptation of assuming that one automatically knows better than others, particularly than the so-called mainstream view of events.

As part of my own efforts to orient myself in this toxic force-field, I have tried in this document to outline some principles which I believe are important in assessing and responding to diverse claims, and also to categorise and evaluate as far as I am able the different types of theory  which are circulating.  (I prefer to avoid the term “conspiracy theory” which is often used to dismiss controversial ideas.  Just because there is a conspiracy theory, doesn’t mean there isn’t a conspiracy: equally, it doesn’t mean there is one…).

Principles I would hope to follow:

  1. Respect conventional science. Steiner repeatedly made clear that natural science is not wrong, but rather, incomplete; and requires spiritual science in addition to create a full picture of the human being and the universe. He also emphasised that the methods of modern science – sound logical thinking, observation and experiment – are the basis on which anthroposophy differs from other and earlier spiritual disciplines. I’m uncomfortable with the use of “materialist” as a term of abuse: materialism is one of twelve legitimate world-views, valid in its own terms though needing the other eleven to balance it.
  2. Enquire rather than asserting. Many of the materials, videos, texts etc. currently circulating which “question” the mainstream narrative do not actually question at all, but simply assert – often in aggressive, dogmatic or self-congratulatory tones – the certainties of the author/presenter.  If present at all in such messages, questions are mainly rhetorical or sarcastic. One of the most impressive aspects I experience from many “mainstream experts” is their frankness about what they don’t know or where they are uncertain – e.g. the origin of the virus, the accuracy of the tests, the predictions about and measurement of the rate of infection etc. Questioning, and the testing of hypotheses against evidence, are healthy scientific principles which we should also adopt. We should enquire open-mindedly, not jump to adopt extreme assertions which we have not ourselves independently verified.
  3. Avoid vilification of individuals or categories of people. Calling those who promote vaccination “mass murderers”, accusing people like Bill Gates of genocide and attempted world domination, or painting the BBC as an inveterate purveyor of disinformation, does no service to legitimate questioning of current practice and reporting.  I have worked with many people in the civil service, the BBC, production and service industries, and with hundreds of NHS doctors, nurses, researchers, statisticians and managers, and found them with very few exceptions to be men and women of intelligence, probity and good intention.  The idea that these and hundreds of thousands like them are either so stupid and naïve, or so corrupt, as to be part of a massive plot to deceive and harm the general population, seems to me completely incredible as well as highly disrespectful.
  4. Exercise modesty and responsibility in what we say and what we circulate. It is remarkable how many non-scientists – cultural workers like myself – now feel themselves able to speak with confidence about issues well outside their own competence, on the basis of having been convinced by something posted on YouTube.  Questioning the authority of conventional scientists should not lead to unquestioning acceptance of the authority of alternative, self-designated “experts”.   I think it’s unwise and irresponsible to propagate narratives that could create unnecessary alarm – as may or may not be the case with 5G – or indeed complacency where there should be alarm – as with climate change – unless one has checked the evidence and its source oneself.  Encouragingly, I have also been sent links recently in which people who had propagated a controversial view have retracted this and apologised in the light of what they subsequently discovered.
  5. Think for oneself. As anthroposophists, we should be mindful of Steiner’s repeated enjoinders to develop clear thinking and independent judgement. In assessing controversial claims, I think this would include asking oneself, and if possible researching, questions such as:
    • What is the background and qualification of the person making these statements?
    • Do their claims make sense in the context of other knowledge and experience I have?
    • Is it plausible that the alleged conspirators would behave as described? Why would it be in their interests to do so?
    • Where my own expertise is limited, whom would I trust to give me informed comment? In my own case, it has been very helpful to be able to consult two of my sons, both Waldorf-educated and scientifically trained – one an environmental engineer, the other a hospital anaesthetist currently treating coronavirus patients.

A typology of controversialism:

These are some of the main categories of theory I have seen recently:

  • Minimalizing: this is the narrative that suggests that the virus, if there is one, is in itself relatively harmless, only dangerous for small sections of the population and essentially little different from many other viruses and coronaviruses that create colds, flu etc. The argument is that for whatever reason, with whatever motivation, the danger has been exaggerated and therefore the lockdown measures unnecessary. This account seems mainly to have come from a number of German doctors: in that country the infection and mortality rate has been far lower than elsewhere in Europe and the US – less than 10,000 deaths compared to c.40,000 in the UK – and it is quite likely that most of those fatalities were indeed people whose age or existing conditions made them particularly vulnerable.  Donald Trump started his erratic and politicised approach to the epidemic by denying, then minimising the threat; now in the face of more than 80,000 deaths he declares it “the worst ever attack” on the US.

 The clearest evidence seems to suggest that although harmless for many, COVID-19 can be deadly not only for the well-known high-risk groups, but also for some who are neither elderly nor otherwise unhealthy, and the reasons for this are still unknown.  My medical son has seen a previously healthy 52-year-old man with no pre-existing conditions die from the virus – “no matter how much oxygen we put into him, his body just couldn’t absorb it…one after another his organs just went down; and there was nothing we could do”.  Besides this unpredictable severity, the coronavirus does seem to be much more easily transferred than other viruses, meaning that without controlling the spread, and with no vaccine and no treatment, an indefinite and potentially very large number of individuals could die in this way.

  • Unlockdownism: the minimisation narrative naturally questions the necessity for the social isolation measures which have been imposed in the UK and elsewhere. There are undoubtedly severe, widespread and damaging unintended consequences to the lockdown – economic, social, psychological and indeed medical – and it is absolutely legitimate to question whether and for how long they should continue.  At the same time, it is also clear that those countries – especially ones with obedient populations – which reacted quickly, consistently and radically to the arrival of the virus, escaped much more lightly in terms of infection and mortality rates. South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore and China are examples of this, but also Germany and Switzerland.  Mask-wearing, contact tracing, testing and full social distancing were effective in controlling the spread; the initial policy of the UK government, which relied on the gradual acquisition of “herd immunity”, failed and had to be replaced by the current controls, which may as a consequence have to be in place for much longer than elsewhere.

If the authorities are clear that a “second peak” must be avoided to protect the NHS, the policy of maintaining restrictions to keep the “R” number less than 1 makes sense.  Whether we agree with this policy or not, it’s also clear that to succeed it needs all or most of us to adhere to it; and it is therefore understandable that the government avoids dwelling on the disadvantages in order not to undermine the primary message.  In Germany the infection rate is now (10thMay) rising again as a result of easing the lockdown.

A 70-year old friend who is unhappy about the lockdown wrote to me that she would embrace her own death (from the virus) if that would serve the freedom of her children and grandchildren. I would want to respond: that is indeed very noble, but it’s not about you and your choices, it’s about those people whom the restrictions are designed to protect, and who might prefer not to die prematurely even in the notional cause of freedom.

  • Corporate conspiracy: there is a school of thought which suggests that the “plandemic” was deliberately created or fabricated in order to serve commercial interests, which are variously suggested as profiting from vaccination products, bail-outs from governments, or the development of testing or tracking technology. I am as suspicious as anyone of the influence and motivation of large corporations and the owners of capital who control them, and appalled that the impact of coronavirus is disproportionately affecting those who are already disadvantaged.  Nevertheless, the idea that the epidemic was somehow designed to serve corporate interests overall does not bear scrutiny. The impact on share prices, financial institutions and government debt has been enormous and highly disadvantageous to global capital.  This is why Trump and his neo-con supporters, who desperately need a strong US economy to facilitate DT’s re-election, initially denied and minimised the problem.  Of course, some people and businesses will always find ways of profiting from human suffering, and the pharmaceutical industry in particular has a lot to answer for in this respect;  but it will rightly come under great pressure to make products than can prevent or treat COVID-19 as widely and affordably available as possible.
  • World domination: another source of anxiety is the prospect of some kind of “world government” being created, using (or perhaps manufacturing) the pandemic as an excuse to subject us all to centralised authority. (The same accusation has been made in relation to climate change.) This is a genuine concern and dilemma: on the one hand, the dangers of global governance and its potential for oppression, corruption, and loss of diversity and liberty, are obvious; on the other hand, the lack of international coordination and cooperation has clearly inhibited a coherent and effective response to a global threat – as indeed has been the case, tragically, in relation to climate change.

One fruitful approach to this dilemma is clearly the principle of social threefolding, whereby equality in the sphere of rights – e.g. legal restrictions on the right to pollute, to destroy eco-systems, or to put others at risk of disease – is balanced by liberty in the purely cultural realm where one person’s freedom does not impinge on another’s, and mutuality in an economy which genuinely serves the needs of all consumers.  Another is the principle of subsidiarity, which suggests that only those issues which cannot be resolved at “lower”, more local levels should be devolved “upwards” to more general bodies.

International and supra-national bodies such as the EU, the WHO, the UN and the IPCC, for all their imperfections, are necessary in order for humanity to research and agree how to address global challenges.  The alternative is a nationalistic or individualistic free-for-all in which social Darwinism is the ruling force, and global catastrophe the likeliest outcome.

  • 5G: many people were of course concerned about this next step in electromagnetic technology long before “coronavirus” entered our everyday language. Some have sought to associate the roll-out of 5G with the incidence and severity of the epidemic – whether through a suspected weakening of the immune system, or the allegation that the wave radiation somehow directly creates viruses.  Such polemicists often use flawed “post hoc” arguments, suggesting that geographical correlation between 5G implementation and infection or death rates demonstrates a causal connection.  This is the equivalent of saying that because most possessors of facial hair wear trousers and very few wear dresses, it is clear that trousers cause beards and dresses prevent them.  In any case, there is no such geographical correlation, and plenty of counter-evidence: South Korea and Hong Kong are saturated with 5G yet have very low coronavirus rates; Iran has no 5G but has suffered a serious epidemic.

Moreover, there are extremely wide differences in susceptibility between individuals,within populations which can be assumed to have been exposed to similar levels of 5G or other radiation.  Any argument for causal influence would need to show that individuals who became ill or died had been “irradiated” more than their neighbours who had only mild or zero symptoms.  As far as I know, no such evidence exists.

On the question of 5G more generally, I personally have an open mind about the risks, but feel there are far more serious and urgent concerns, connected with the environment, human rights and inequality, that deserve higher priority.  My limited technical knowledge understands that the radiation emitted through 5G technology is, like radio and mobile phone waves, non-ionising and therefore unlikely to cause damage to humans.

I remember considerable paranoia in the 1990’s about the alleged dangers of mobile phone technology, yet I and most people I know have been using this daily since then, with no discernible impact on our physical well-being.

There are of course people who are sensitive to EMR, and at Emerson College we restrict wifi to certain areas and buildings out of respect for these individuals, who are perhaps more common among our students and visitors than in the general population, in the same way that we provide gluten-free meals for those with allergies. This does not imply that wheat – or wifi – are in themselves necessarily harmful.

  • Vaccination: I worked with vaccine-damaged children in Camphill in the 1970’s, so am well aware that some individuals react negatively, in some cases disastrously, to immunisation procedures. I remember Dr Thomas Weihs remarking that the approach was comparable to ancient religious practices in which an individual was sacrificed in order to save the larger tribe or community.

However, since then (it is claimed that) the safety of current vaccinations has improved, and I have had vigorous debates with my medic son in which he quotes alarming statistics about e.g. child deaths from measles in countries where vaccination is not available, as well as the fatal diseases that have been eliminated by vaccines.

Some anti-vaccine campaigners suggest that viruses do not actually spread diseases: however this seems to fly in the face of e.g. the historical fact that vast numbers of indigenous people in the Americas were wiped out by the introduction of viral illnesses brought by European invaders, long before any “electrical events”.  Smallpox and polio were both viral illnesses, clearly spread by inter-human infection.

I have never taken up the flu vaccine, relying on my generally very robust constitution.  I wouldn’t bother with a COVID vaccine either, unless I were convinced that by having it I would significantly reduce the likelihood of putting others at risk.  I had all the “normal” vaccinations as a child, and they didn’t prejudice my immune system or make me into a materialist: nor have I ever met anyone of my generation who claims to have been damaged by vaccination. Nevertheless I did not vaccinate my own children as infants, with the result that two of my sons went through a very painful episode of mumps in adolescence: whether this strengthened or weakened their later resilience I can’t judge…

  • Sinophobia: when reality contradicted Trump’s initial minimisation tactics, he quickly moved to blaming China in the attempt to make himself and his handling of the crisis – and foreign relations – defensible. Some of his more extreme right-wing, nationalistic supporters have suggested that the virus originated in a laboratory in Wuhan and was created and/or released as a biological weapon.  A milder variation is that the virus accidentally “escaped” from this virology research facility.

It does seem to be the case that the Chinese authorities originally tried to deal with the outbreak in secret, and were late in admitting and communicating the existence and nature of the disease. Once they did so, however, they seem to have done everything possible to warn other countries of the risks, share their own knowledge and indeed offer professional and practical help to affected populations.  From my visits to China I know that those people and their leaders are keen to be perceived as cooperative and responsible in their international relations.  The reality – in terms of the political and military powers – may in some cases be very different: however, if they actually wished to use a coronavirus to damage rival economies, they would certainly have found a better method than inflicting it on their own population first, shutting down their own industries and incurring huge economic losses before it affected other countries.  The Sinophobic hypothesis is simply not plausible.

  • Ecosophy: a virus, like every earthly organism, is a spiritual as well as a physical being: “Spirit never without matter; matter never without spirit”. It arises from and is integrally connected with a particular ecosystem within the overall biosphere.  Viruses are integral inhabitants of undamaged natural environments. When humans inflict damage, distortion, exploitation and cruelty on to other organisms, destructive forces are released which sooner or later also affect human populations.  The most credible “mainstream” hypothesis – scientists accept it is still unproven – is that COVID-19 “jumped species” from a wild-caught bat sold for food in the market in Wuhan.  This video expresses most coherently and accessibly, if a little sentimentally, the ecological narrative which I find the most compelling and credible.

To move from “ecology” to “Ecosophy” – “wisdom of the household (of nature)”, as “Anthroposophy” enhances “anthropology” – one can consider, for example, how Steiner speaks about the way in which suffering inflicted on the group souls of animals can create beings which inflict necessary consequences, in the form of diseases, on humans.  This perspective is the most convincing for me, and calls on the responsibility of us all to work towards our own health in harmony with the healing regeneration of our earthly environment.

I will conclude with a passage by Georg Soldner, joint leader of the Medical Section at the Goetheanum, who writes: 

“For veterinarians, corona viruses are part of daily life, but now the corona virus SARS-CoV 2 has crossed the barrier to humans…. Where do these apparently novel viruses come from and why did they develop? Interestingly enough, many of the viruses come from animals. The corona virus probably comes from the Javanese bat. So why do viruses from the animal kingdom become dangerous for humans? We are currently inflicting untold suffering on animals: Mass slaughter and experimentation on laboratory animals causes pain that the animal kingdom is    helpless to bear. Can this suffering lead to consequences that alter viruses that are native to the animal organism? We are used to only looking at the physical and to seeing it as mostly separate from the mind and emotions. Research on intestinal flora, on the microbiome, which includes not only bacteria but also viruses, proves the opposite. This raises not only the microbiological question of the origin of the virus, but also the moral question of how to deal with the animal world. Rudolf Steiner pointed out these connections more than 100 years ago. Today it is up to us to investigate these relationships and to ask deeper questions in addition to scientific analysis”.



Filed under Coronavirus, Covid-19 pandemic

Being human is an Easter experience

Some months ago, I was asked by the committee of the Anthroposophical Society in Sussex to give an address on a theme of my choice at our Easter Festival, which was to be held at Emerson College on Easter Day, 12th April 2020. I was honoured and enthused by this request and decided to give a talk on the theme of ‘Anthroposophy as an Easter experience.’

The inspiration for this theme came from a remark by Rudolf Steiner during a lecture he gave on April 22nd 1924: “Anthroposophy in all its working, is an Easter experience, an experience of resurrection bound up with the experience of the grave.” Steiner was speaking in the context of the deliberate destruction by arson of the first Goetheanum on New Year’s Eve 1922, an event which he was able to relate to the similar destruction of the Temple at Ephesus in the year 356 BC by the arsonist Herostratus.

The Goetheanum had been intended as a modern mystery temple; its burning had been for Steiner a kind of crucifixion.  Steiner now called for a renewal of the Mysteries, saying that: “The Anthroposophical Society must consciously cultivate this renewal. The Society was, after all, witness to an event that, like the burning of the Temple at Ephesus, can be turned to good historical account. In both cases a grievous wrong was perpetrated. However, what is a terrible wrong on one level can turn out to be useful for human freedom on another level. Such harrowing events can indeed call forth a true step forward in human evolution.”

Steiner also recognised that the destiny of human beings is to achieve freedom, “which meant that the Mysteries’ powerful influence had to diminish and for a time leave human beings more or less to their own devices.”  This, of course, in the age of the Consciousness Soul, is where we are today, with many people pulled this way and that because they have no foundational philosophical base on which to gauge their response to world phenomena.

All of this was to have been the context for my talk, which cannot now take place owing to the Covid-19 pandemic which has closed down Emerson College and many of the other aspects of our normal, everyday life. I would also have talked about some of the anthroposophical enterprises which have experienced significant difficulties in recent times, particularly the Steiner schools. I had even found a quotation from Steiner, to the effect that whatever good intention we start off with, it is inevitable that the way of the world will eventually turn it into its opposite. It comes from Lecture 4 in the cycle ‘The Fall of the Spirits of Darkness’, given in Dornach on 6thOctober 1917:

“ ‘Surely’, people will say, ‘it must be a good thing to be more and more perfect?’ And ‘What better ideal can there be but to have a programme that will make us more and more perfect?’ But this is not in accord with the law of reality. It is right, and good, to be more and more perfect, or at least aim to be so, but when people are actually seeking to be perfect in a particular direction, this search for perfection will after a time change into what in reality is imperfection. A change occurs through which the desire for perfection becomes a weakness. Benevolence will after a time become prejudicial behaviour. And however good the right may be that you want to bring to realisation — it will turn into a wrong in the course of time. The reality is that there are no absolutes in this world. You work towards something that is good, and the way of the world will turn it into something bad. We therefore must seek ever-new ways, look for new forms over and over again. This is what really matters.”

But to have confined my remarks to the original theme of this talk would at the time of this pandemic have seemed not only beside the point but even frivolous, given the scale of what human beings are currently facing. It is not only anthroposophy which is having an Easter experience but humanity as a whole.

Each one of us is familiar in these apocalyptic times with what Steiner called ‘the experience of the grave’ . For many areas here in the UK, 2019 ended and 2020 continued with day after day of heavy rain and disastrous flooding. The rain never seemed to stop. On the other side of the world, Australia suffered huge bush fires which were then followed by floods. Climate change, which is affecting all parts of the world, is having a marked effect on weather patterns. Pollution is poisoning our land, seas and rivers and much of nature, including us. Migration and the associated resurgence of nationalism encouraged by populist politicians is undermining our sense of shared humanity and common goals. We know that the Sixth Great Extinction of species is underway, and this and so many other human-made problems are casting long shadows over all life on Earth. And just to add to the Biblical scenes of apocalypse, in Africa we are even seeing a vast plague of locusts, the worst there has been for nearly a century. Now the Covid-19 pandemic has joined these other phenomena to reinforce our sense of all-consuming crisis. For me this is epitomised by the “social distancing” that we are being exhorted to practise – literally to keep our distance one from another.

In Judith von Halle’s book Illness and Healing, she suggests that in this present age of the Consciousness Soul, many modern illnesses are in fact illnesses of the organism of humanity, ie the totality of all human beings. These illnesses arise from the collective effect of the actions, thoughts and feelings of each one of us and express themselves through human beings in the form of pandemics; but they also manifest in the Earth as extreme weather events, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and so on.

This will, no doubt, strike many people as just fanciful – but as Steiner observed in another context, “Present day materialism will find it very hard to admit that the spirit creates everything material. It is, however, the tragedy of materialism that it understands the nature of matter least of all…”

But could it be, as ‘Midnight Rambler’ recently suggested on this blog, that the current pandemic may have a potentially positive outcome? His view was that, if we can grasp it, this global event could be an example of metanoia – a John the Baptist moment for a re-evaluation of how we want to live and how we want society to function. He also said: “Is everyone noticing how Natura is breathing more easily now that the world is slowing down?”

Let us hope so – we should never waste a good crisis; and unlike the Member of Parliament I heard on the radio the other week, I do not want to “get back to normal as soon as possible” after this crisis is over; because if we do go straight back to how life was before, we will soon have to suffer even more pandemics, extreme weather events, societal breakdowns etc., until we finally learn the lesson.

The lesson we need to learn is actually quite a simple one: how can we meet real human needs and care for each other and all life on Earth through our work? If we are to experience the resurrection as well as the grave, it is human solidarity, which is love expressed in practical action, which will get us through this present crisis and take us on to a better future. We are seeing this now, in the countless deeds of selfless work on behalf of the sick by hospital and health workers; and we see it, too, in the myriad acts of kindness offered towards the elderly and vulnerable by their neighbours.

At my own local level here in Forest Row, I’m often reminded of these simple truths; at Tablehurst Farm, for example, where I work at the farm’s care home, a small residential home for three adults with learning disabilities. I’m reminded of this, too, by the farm’s work in producing biodynamic and organic food for local people while demonstrating strong community values. The farm has recently started home deliveries for the elderly and those who are self-isolating (a service which I’ve just taken advantage of, as my wife Sophia and I are recovering from symptoms of the virus and so unable to leave home). Will this epidemic help society to make these kinds of initiatives part of the new normal, so that we don’t have to go back to what we had before?

Even better, might this experience make it possible for us humans to realise we can change our habits and our expectations without too much pain? Could those of us in the West learn to do with less so that the rest of the world can have a little more?  Can we prolong this welcome mini-break that the Earth has had from our polluting activities? It’s been wonderful to see evidence of reduced air pollution across major cities and I’m sure we’re all enjoying the diminution in aircraft and traffic noise. Could this be maintained into the future? Probably not, unless we can persuade governments that we do not want to resume the relentless emphasis on economic growth, even though it’s obvious that this is the only way for us to achieve the reduction in carbon emissions necessary if the twin crises of climate change and species extinction are to be averted. If change is what we want, then we all need to let our politicians know it, loud and clear.

I’ve been veering towards the positive so far on what this pandemic might mean for us; but there is also a possibility that I am being naïve and that we are all being ‘played’ by forces that are very far from benign towards human beings. One of the many disturbing features of this crisis is the astonishing speed with which our civil liberties have been taken away from us. At Easter time, amid all the other restrictions being placed on us, it is very strange that Covid-19 is making it impossible for churches to be open and for services to be held; and therefore “where two or more are gathered together in my Name, there I am present among them” is also rendered impossible. Sophia, who is a French national, tells me that in France people are now only allowed out of their homes if they are on their own – and only for one hour at a time and they can only go one kilometre from their home. This pandemic has created the circumstances in which all the aspects of a totalitarian dictatorship can be justified by governments and accepted meekly by most of us, not only in France but also in the UK and across the world.

Who would wish to bring about such a situation? Anthroposophists will of course have a ready candidate in mind, the infinitely clever being whom Jesus Christ called the Ruler of this World and whom Steiner called Ahriman.  It would be very much in the interests of Ahriman, whose incarnation may be imminent, to close down Easter and to force every person on the planet to submit themselves to government diktat for reasons that are apparently benign and claimed to be for the greater good.

What can we do as a form of gentle resistance to this closing-down of Easter and normal life? This Good Friday morning Sophia and I lit a candle and read through the Gospel of John, from the account of the last supper in the Upper Room through to the events of the Crucifixion; this was an incredibly powerful and moving experience for both of us. We will continue to read the rest of the story in the coming days. Outside, the sun was shining, the plants are burgeoning and there was a very strong sense of the Christ-filled elementals celebrating in the garden.

If I could have given my talk at Emerson College on Easter Day, Sunday 12th April, I would have begun with the great Easter poem by the Elizabethan poet Edmund Spenser. This is Sonnet 68 from the ‘Amoretti’ sequence of 89 sonnets, first published in 1595, which Spenser wrote for his fiancée, Elizabeth Boyle. Now it seems an appropriate way to end this piece:

Most glorious Lord of life, that on this day,

Didst make thy triumph over death and sin:

And having harrow’d hell, didst bring away

Captivity thence captive, us to win:

This joyous day, dear Lord, with joy begin,

And grant that we for whom thou diddest die,

Being with thy dear blood clean wash’d from sin,

May live for ever in felicity.

And that thy love we weighing worthily,

May likewise love thee for the same again:

And for thy sake, that all life dear didst buy,

With love may one another entertain.

So let us love, dear love, like as we ought,

Love is the lesson which the Lord us taught.


Filed under Ahriman, Covid-19 pandemic, Easter