Several of my recent blog posts have tried to express what I feel about the net that is slowly but surely enmeshing us all as we proceed into the 21st century. The dominant themes are clear enough by now – the ongoing war on culture and shared values, climate breakdown, the lack of international solidarity, the subversion of truth and morality, the deliberate inculcation of fear and division, a pandemic which has prompted governments around the world to dismantle existing civil liberties, GMO and gene editing, artificial intelligence, the merging of humans and machines and – gradually emerging from the shadows – the ongoing project by the ‘Ruler of This World’ to build a hyper-real replacement for life itself. Whatever it is, we can see it rising, and we will see it closer and more clearly during these next few years, in all its malevolent manifestations.
The divisions caused by Covid-19 are making the arguments about Brexit seem like a vicarage tea party. The unvaccinated, for example, are fast becoming a global underclass, with a two-tier society opening up between what you might call the jabbed and the jabbed-nots. Let us also not forget the arrogance and greed of the elites, who as it appears from this article are plotting to leave the rest of us behind.
I cannot fight this any longer – force majeure is in operation. I have to live in the world as it is and I have to share the karma of humanity. For example, this means that I have had to bow to government diktat and to have the first Covid jab, or lose my job. I will have the second jab before the government deadline of 11th November. I am trying to regard this as a sacrifice on the altar of the collective. But what I really feel is that this has been a bitter demonstration of my powerlessness in the face of manifest injustice. This is epitomised for me by the fact that, as a worker in a care home for adults with learning disabilities, I must get the consent of a resident or their family before I am able to administer a paracetamol for a headache; but I am not allowed any say and have no right to consent or refuse when the government demands that I take into my body an experimental vaccine that has not yet completed its trials. This absolute principle of consent, which must be applied with complete rigour not only to vulnerable people such as those with learning disabilities but anyone in the normal course of medical treatment, does not now apply to me or other care workers because in our case the government has changed the law. Our only choice is to have the jabs or lose our jobs. The health minister in England, Sajid Javid, is said to be now thinking seriously about sacking 106,000 staff in the NHS (including doctors) who are refusing the Covid vaccines.
All this has shocked me out of my naïve assumption that those of us who live in the countries of the West are somehow freer than the populations of China or Russia. This is a lie, which is fed to us during our education and through all the media – but it is a lie, nonetheless. The objective reality is that wherever we live, we are subject to tyrannies of various kinds, and although the degrees of tyranny may vary, in our lives within physical bodies the fact remains that we are unfree. This can never apply, thank goodness, to the non-material aspects of our being.
But I feel that I have paid enough time and attention to these negative phenomena. If we focus too hard on Ahriman, he and his minions will focus on us. “No man can concentrate his attention upon evil, or even upon the idea of evil, and remain unaffected,” wrote Aldous Huxley in The Devils of Loudun. “To be more against the devil than for God is exceedingly dangerous. Every crusader is apt to go mad.” Wise counsel indeed, and I am trying to take it to heart. In that same book, Huxley also said:
“Possession is more often secular than supernatural. Men are possessed by their thoughts of a hated person, a hated class, race or nation. At the present time the destinies of the world are in the hands of self-made demoniacs – of men who are possessed by, and who manifest, the evil they have chosen to see in others. They do not believe in devils; but they have tried their hardest to be possessed – have tried and been triumphantly successful.”
These possessed souls are eating us alive but it is surely not inevitable that all of us will become prey. What looks right now as though its triumph is a foregone conclusion may not be as strong and solid as it appears, because as we know from the past, despite many victories in battle along the way, in the end Ahriman always loses the war. He will lose this time as well because there is a resilience in human life and the natural world which, when allied with our knowledge of the absolute and total love of Christ for each one of us, gives certainty that truth and real human values will outlast and survive the worst that can be done to us, or that we can do to ourselves.
Rudolf Steiner had a deep confidence in humanity and human beings, a belief that some of us have from time to time struggled to share, given all the disappointments we are currently experiencing. Steiner knew, however, that freedom is fundamental to genuine human evolution as “willed by the gods” and this means that, in their free actions, human beings are going to make many grievous errors.
So in this post I want to look at ways of moving beyond our present situation: how to reclaim our humanity, redeem Ahriman, and begin to sow the seeds of some kind of human-scale world again. In particular, I want to focus on the initiatives that each of us can take in our daily lives, that when allied with countless other small initiatives across the world, will turn the tide in favour of humanity and real human values.
Here, I think, it is relevant to quote what Rudolf Steiner had to say in the Karmic Relations lecture given in Dornach on 4th August, 1924:
“All this makes it necessary for the anthroposophist to pay heed to one condition of his karma — a condition that is sure to be present in him to a high degree. Much can be said, — and we shall still have to say many things — about the reasons why one or another character or temperament is drawn to Anthroposophy (…). But all these impulses, which bring the individuals to Anthroposophy, have one counterpart, which the Spirit of the World has made more strong in them than in others. All the many possibilities that are there with respect to the most manifold things in life, demand initiative from the anthroposophist — inner initiative of soul. We must become aware of this. For the anthroposophist this proverb must hold good. He must say to himself: ‘Now that I have become an anthroposophist through my karma, the impulses which have been able to draw me to Anthroposophy require me to be attentive and alert. For somehow or somewhere, more or less deeply in my soul, there will emerge the necessity for me to find inner initiative, — initiative of soul which will enable me to undertake something or to make some judgment or decision out of my own inmost being.’ Verily, this is written in the karma of every single anthroposophist: ‘Be a person of initiative, and beware lest through hindrances of your own body, or hindrances that otherwise come in your way, you do not find the centre of your being, where is the source of your initiative. Observe that in your life all joy and sorrow, all happiness and pain will depend on the finding or not finding of your own individual initiative.’ This should stand written as though in golden letters, constantly before the soul of the anthroposophist. Initiative lies in his karma, and much of what meets him in this life will depend on the extent to which he can become willingly and actively conscious of it.”
This is a wonderful lecture and there is so much in it that is well worth reading. I am struck by the emphasis Steiner gives to the additional difficulty that anthroposophists have in finding their way in the world; and also to the pain they feel when trying to connect with others who have no access to anything other than the material realm. All my experience cries ‘Yes’ to these words. So given the dire state of the world and given the additional hindrances that anthroposophists face, what can we do to find the centres of our being, the sources of initiative which are key to making life worth living?
Each person must of course answer this for themselves. My own answer includes concentrating on those areas of life where one can make a difference, rather than wasting time and emotion on problems which are way beyond my capacity to influence. Is there something in one’s life which holds a promise for a better future, a seed which has been planted for worthwhile human developments and which can support real human needs? As one small example, long-time readers may recall this article in which I wrote about Pixton Third Age, an initiative to provide a co-housing scheme for older people at Emerson College. After years of hard work and effort, this project has at last received planning consent and by the end of March 2022 we should know whether we have enough people interested to make it a success. If all goes according to plan, the building conversion work will begin in Autumn 2022 and the first residents will be able to move in at Spring 2024.
Each of us is now being called upon to do all that we can to help in the evolution and progress of human life. In the face of the current massive onslaught which is seeking to re-define what it means to be a human being, any project which concentrates on true human needs and values is a worthwhile antidote to the poison of our times. People are trying to help in their own myriad ways: artists through their creative work, teachers and parents through educating and bringing up children, activists through changing policies and laws, and any of us through our encounters in daily life. If we can be people of initiative, rather than passive sponges soaking up whatever is done to us, humanity will survive the incarnation of Ahriman.