No, it's not inevitable!

     Francis Berger's recent post "Liberty No Longer Enlightening the World" raises some important points that are worth considering further.  Berger contrasts the idea that increasing freedom caused the decline of Christianity and the culture of the West with the idea that this increasing freedom was actually an opportunity.   He mentions the book Liberty: The God that Failed by Christopher Ferrara.  Berger writes: "According to Ferrara, it was the dark forces of Enlightenment that did in the Church and Christendom."  

    Ferrara's view is not uncommon.  Whether it is regarded as a good thing or not, many believe that the decline of Christianity was inherent in the changes that led to the Enlightenment.  These impulses could have been stopped earlier, but they could not have been prevented from having a negative effect.  But is this true?  Can we really be sure of this?

    Just from a logical perspective the answer is no.  Simply because we can document a series of events where each event follows another in time does not mean that each event inevitably caused the subsequent event.  At the end of his post, Berger raises this point: 

"I think about Libertas in terms of consciousness - that missed opportunity in the eighteenth century and everything that has followed since. The missed opportunity created Libertas. And the culmination of Libertas has led to Servitus. Servitus strikes me as the death of consciousness. Even worse, the death of spirit - the deadening of humanity, which is also the deadening of God. What comes then? Destruction?

But I do not think Servitus has won decisively - not yet anyway.

Perhaps we will rediscover libertas again  - true libertas - the kind of libertas that does not need to impose its glory upon the world with through the promise of a beckoning, light-casting statue.

The kind of libertas that can lead us from enlightening to finding the Light, if we so choose.
"

    There is something more subtle going on.  Rather than a change merely in culture, we have a change in consciousness, in how people think and understand.  This change was an opportunity, but everything bad that has flowed from it was a perversion of that impulse.  The two centuries following the enlightenment could have been entirely different in ways that are hard for us to imagine.  But, let that not deter us: no one could have imagined 2021 in 1921.  

    In fact, telling us that these changes are inevitable is the Big Lie that our enemies want us to believe.  If we really were meant to unfold this change in consciousness in a good way, then believing that the bad effects were inevitable plays right into our enemies' hands.  It wasn't inevitable then, and it isn't now.  Let us not try to manipulate the perversions of the impulse for our own benefit and turn them towards the good.  One century of that has proven an abject failure.  Instead, let us reach deeper and align our thinking and imagining with the Good to find true libertas.  

Important Saints for Our Age and a Possible Synchronicity

    The Desert Fathers are some of the most important saints to think about in our current time.  They were monks and nuns (there were also desert mothers) who lived in the Egyptian desert from the 4th century to the mid 5th century.  The lifestyle of the desert fathers was extremely austere.  Some ate only bread with salt and drank water.  Many lived communally but spent much of their time in individual cells.  Others lived as hermits, entirely alone.   Many made money for food by weaving baskets from palm leaves.  Probably the most famous of the desert fathers is St. Antony, who was one of the earliest to go out into the desert.  Antony lived as a hermit and many followed his example and went out into the desert as well.  

    Why are the desert fathers particularly important now?  The reason is that the purpose of all of their austerities was to build up inner strength, spiritual strength.  They denied themselves food, not to weaken the body, but to strengthen the soul.  

    Many of these monks and nuns were Egyptian peasants.  The life of an Egyptian peasant in the third or fourth century is already almost unimaginably austere compared to the life of a modern Westerner and yet, thousands of people chose to go to the desert and live lives of even greater austerity.  This gives the lie to the idea that the spiritual is something extra, something for the materially comfortable.  Furthermore, in those days there were gladiator fights, public torture and executions.  The example of the desert fathers whose incredible purity of life coexisted along with such gruesome spectacles shows that real spirituality is not something weak; a merely aesthetic repugnance that flees from "real life"; it is something tough and strong.  

    Furthermore, these monks spent much time alone in prayer and contemplation and sought to strengthen the mind and soul.  The desert fathers also sought to discern true visions from self-delusion or even demonic deceptions.  In this time age of countless distractions when we must develop our own powers of discernment, the desert fathers provide a good example.  A few of these monks even were attacked by the powers of darkness.  Antony was one.  In a sense, he can be thought of as a real life Dr. Strange, someone who withdrew from normal life to do battle with threats of which few are aware.  In these times when everything normal and natural is under siege it is apparent that we too are under attack by the enemies of God and humankind.  These are good saints to meditate upon and to ask for help.  The Penguin classics books Early Christian Lives and The Desert Fathers: Sayings of the Early Christian Monks have more information.  

    A possible synchronicity is that January 15 is the feast of St. Paul of Thebes, who was traditionally the very first of the monks to go into the desert and live as a hermit.  Saint Jerome wrote about Paul of Thebes.  He tells the story that Antony had a vision that there was a monk deeper in the wilderness who was better than he.  Antony went on a journey through the desert, met Paul and conversed with him and then came back later to the place Paul lived after Paul of Thebes had died.  When Paul of Thebes met Antony, he said something interesting.  I first read it in the Book of Saints and Heroes, where it is rendered: "Tell me, I beseech you, something of the children of men, for much must have happened since I took up m abode here, well-nigh over a hundred years ago.  Are the walls of the ancient cities still growing bigger because of the houses which are being built within them?  Do kings yet reign over the earth, and are they still in bondage to the devil?"  

    When I first read that, especially the last sentence, I interpreted it as meaning that Paul thought the world may have ended while he was out in the desert and he was one of the few people left.  Then I read a translation of the original which said: "tell me, I beg you, how the human race is getting on.  Are new building rising up in the old cities?  What government rules the world?  Are there still some people alive who are in the grip of the demons' error?" which does not sound like Paul thought the world was over, but it is still a striking sentence.  Imagine a man who has been alone for many decades.  Paul of Thebes is one of the few completely unworldly people I can think of.

    Could this be a synchronicity and what does it mean?  Does it mean we will go into the "desert" on the fifteenth or that we will be cut off from information about the world.  In the way Jerome tells the story, Antony also met a centaur and a satyr, so will we see strange and unusual things in the coming weeks?  I am not sure about the synchronicity, but it fits with the rest of this post, so maybe it is worth posting. 

What is a Red Queen Religion?

    JM Smith of the Orthosphere has written a post responding to a post of Francis Bergers's which referenced a post of mine that used the phrase "Red Queen Religion."  I have enjoyed reading Smith's post, which used the phrase to refer to an individual Christian's practice.  Then, in the comments, the phrase was used in yet another way to refer to competing worldviews.  Since the original purpose of my post was     I used the phrase in the sense of the Red Queen hypothesis from evolutionary biology.  However, after reading the Wikipedia article, which says: 

"The Red Queen hypothesis, also referred to as Red Queen's, the Red Queen effect, the Red Queen model, Red Queen's race, and Red Queen dynamics, is a hypothesis in evolutionary biology which proposes that species must constantly adapt, evolve, and proliferate in order to survive while pitted against ever-evolving opposing species"   

    I realize now that there are at least two ways to view the Red Queen hypothesis.  One is in terms of species competing with each other.  But I was thinking more in terms of how the phrase was used in this post by Bruce Charlton where he says:

     "Mutational damage and other forms of entropic damage to organisms will spontaneously occur and accumulate - therefore each lineage is on a treadmill sweeping it backwards towards extinction; and the basic and minimal function of natural selection is to keep the organism moving forwards at least as fast as the treadmill is tending to sweep it backwards."

    After reading Francis Berger's statement

    "Many Christians view judgement as the Achilles' heel of their faith."  I thought about how statements such as "Judge not, that you may not be judged, For with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged: and with what measure you mete, it shall be measured to you again." (Matthew 7:1-2) have been used in bad faith arguments for the purpose of attacking Christianity.  And there are other features of Christianity that make it seem weak from a perspective of "social technology."  J.B.S. Haldane encapsulated this idea fairly well in saying: "Jesus left no code of law behind him like Moses ... and his moral precepts are so different from those of ordinary life that no society has ever made any serious attempt to carry them out  such as was possible in the case of Israel."

    So, should we refrain from thinking about such matters - do raising such questions only serve to undermine faith?  Or maybe, is this a feature of Christianity rather than a bug?  If Christianity is what we believe it to be, then maybe the essence is not a sort of social technology, but something bigger than that.  In that case, we shouldn't be worried about thinking more deeply about the faith because Christianity can always accommodate more.  Raising such questions isn't undermining Christianity but going deeper.  

    That being said, there are some important caveats.  First of all, it has to be a good faith question.  People who are just raising questions to wear down the faith will end up chasing their own tails or inventing fake answers.  Secondly, it may not be the proper time to find an answer, in which case we may have to live with an incomplete understanding.  And, thirdly, the increase in understanding may be very small.  When I said we can always go deeper in our understanding of Christianity, I meant that if it is needed, then we can do it.  But it may not be needed, or it may be needed only to a small degree.

    Can we draw a parallel between the small-scale increase in understanding and the development of Christianity as a whole?  If Christianity is a Red Queen religion, then it will tend to degrade of its own accord and so if this happens it is our own fault for lack of proper maintenance.  On the other hand, is there something else going on?  This is the point Bonald raises in this post

    "The anti-intellectualism to which I object is the assumption that the answers to the great intellectual problems are easy, that no serious intellectual work or fundamental re-evaluation of given ideas is needed.  This must not be true today, at least if Christianity really is true even though so few seem to find it credible.  The solution must require breakthroughs in our thinking and our imagination.  Having a more forcefully orthodox episcopate or holier priests will do nothing about the fundamental problem of people wanting to be as liberal and materialist as possible."

    In other words, maybe the way to help Christianity is not to spend our effort maintaining but in doing something else, moving forward to something else.  Certainly not liberal (fake) Christianity and certainly not discarding the substance of the faith, but something at a level between the societal and the metaphysical level.  And this would not be more advanced, but just different in the same way that Medieval and Ancient Christianity were different but there was still continuity between them.  

    So, if we can increase in understanding if we really want to know, then in the same way, if we have reasons for believing that we need to develop Christianity then we really can do it.  To use a metaphor, if Abraham was asked to leave his land and go to another, he could be assured that there really was another land waiting for him.   


The World is Under a Spell Part 2

 Continued from Part 1 

    Likewise, what has actually happened with the eliminativists is that they have fallen below the conceptual level.  In a lecture titled: "Anthroposophical Leading Thoughts: From Nature to Sub-Nature",  Rudolf Steiner says: 

"By far the greater part of that which works in modern civilisation through technical Science and Industry — wherein the life of man is so intensely interwoven — is not Nature at all, but Sub-Nature. It is a world which emancipates itself from Nature — emancipates itself in a downward direction.

    Rudolf Steiner had the idea that Divine plan for the development of consciousness was that consciousness would become increasingly less spiritual until a certain point at which point, consciousness would become spiritual again.  In the lecture cited in Part 1 of this post, Steiner gave a clue how to do this:  "We can, however, recognise the task before us: it is to permeate our concepts and ideas with spirituality. "

    However, the way up will not be like the way down, not only in its characteristics but because the way up must be conscious.  Steiner warned that if we do not take the upward path, then we will put ourselves in a dire situation: we will lose the old unconscious power of concepts, but will have nothing to replace them with.  And when you don't even believe in concepts, do you believe in nothing?  No, no one can actually believe in nothing.  What happens in practice is that people believe reality is what is imposed.  Bruce Charlton has many posts describing this phenomenon.  

    And in our world, what is imposed is not just materialistic and non-spiritual but in fact anti-spiritual and unnatural.  But who is imposing it?  I think Descartes was more prescient than he realized when he imagined an evil genius that could confuse people's thoughts and deceive them.  That is what we see all around us.  People do not even believe their own thoughts or their own experiences and not only that, they believe things for which they have no basis to evaluate the truth of.  If an ancient or medieval person saw our current world, I think they might conclude that it was under a spell.  

    The ultimate source of our enemies' power is spiritual (though their material power is immense).  The ability of mutually indifferent or even hostile groups to combine in such a way that all friction is ironed out doesn't make sense otherwise.  And if one believes that thinking is spiritual, then the ability to control thoughts is a spiritual power.  It is amazing how many people will not permit themselves to even think things that the media has declared unthinkable.     

    But, as discouraging as the current situation is, if our enemies' power was purely material, we would have no recourse.  Whether things will turn out for the good in a worldly sense and how so, I hope, but cannot be certain of.  However, if the nature of what is happening is spiritual, then there is much that we can still do.  Only spiritual power can counter spiritual power.  So, developing the spiritual within us by thinking and also calling upon power greater than us, by prayer is what we must do.

The World is Under a Spell Part 1

    Towards the end of last year, I wrote about eliminativism, which is the idea that all conscious experience is an illusion.  It is worth revisiting because there is more going on than just an academic dispute.  I believe that the phenomenon of Eliminativism is intimately related to our current situation.  

    What has always struck me about arguments over eliminativism is how confident both sides are.  On the one hand those who argue against eliminative materialism point out that it is self-contradictory.   If you ask people to believe a theory that denies the possibility of belief, then how can they follow through with your request?  On the other hand, those who argue for eliminativism say that it is so obvious that science has reduced everything to material descriptions that those who believe the mind is the last holdout are either naive or afraid to follow through consistently the implications of science.   

    Something strange is going on here.  At the level of basic argumentation, eliminativism fails; it contradicts itself.  But, pointing this out does not convince those who believe in the theory.  So why do eliminativists believe what they believe?  

    The answer is that because the eliminativists do not believe in the mind argument cannot persuade them.  Jonathan Swift is reported to have said something like, "You cannot argue someone out of what they were not argued into."  Conceptual argument cannot persuade the eliminativists because they do not believe in concepts.  

    And I think we can go even further.  One of Rudolf Steiner's insights is that thinking is spiritual.  Thinking itself has spiritual power.  In a lecture entitled "Background to the Gospel of Mark: The Tasks of the Fifth Post-Atlantean Epoch" Steiner says:

    "We can still feel that concepts and ideas are in essence supersensible when we regard their very character as being a guarantee for the existence of the supersensible world. But only few feel this. What concepts and ideas contain is for most people extremely tenuous. And although there is something in them which can provide complete proof of man's immortality, it would be impossible to convince him, because compared with the solid, material reality for which he longs, concepts and ideas are as unsubstantial as a cobweb. They are, in fact, the last and slenderest thread spun by man out of the spiritual world since his descent into the physical world."

     This is an important paragraph because it elaborates on the way in which concepts are spritual.    Rudolf Steiner also had another idea, which was that in 1899 the world crossed a threshold; after this year materialism would be on the decline.  If we look around us, we see that this is not the case, but I think there is still something to this idea.  In the 19th century and earlier, materialism was primarily an intellectual doctrine.  It was believed because of arguments, which were put forward as inferences from scientific theories.  However, especially in the 21st century, very few people hold materialism as an intellectual doctrine.  Instead, they believe it because of the increasingly materialistic character of our world.  

    It is not that their concepts are materialistic, but rather, in the absence of concepts having power over people, they defer to what is around them, which is (especially in the West) a world structured according to the principle of materialism.   

Part 2

Some crazy synchronicities and something more serious

    This is by far the craziest post I have ever written.  But, inspired by William James Tychonievich, here it is: 

    Recently, I watched the movie Weathering with You.  To give away a spoiler, one major plot point is that if a "sunshine girl," (someone with the power to temporarily stop rain and bring sun) is sacrificed, the world will go back to normal.  Now, we are being told that if we just sacrifice a "sunshine man"

    

then everything will go back to normal.  However, the "sunshine girl" doesn't end up being sacrificed Also, the film features a dragon rain god and the day after I watched that movie, William James Tychonievich wrote his rain god post with this picture: 

Another thing I've been thinking about is, the line: "it's the 10th of January and I still ain't had no sleep" in Arlo Guthrie's song "My Darkest Hour."  Does this refer to the early morning of January 10th or the night?  Well, apparently the plan is to impeach the sunshine man on Monday, January 11.  Recall the lyrics in the song: 

        "Her father's in his chambers with his friends all gathered 'round

They are plotting their enemy's demise
With their last detail done, they await the coming sun
While I am staring in my lover's eyes
Her brothers and her sisters are all through for tonight
Pretending that they've just come to power
But she, far most of all, knows that they can only fall
In my darkest hour"

    Recently, I finished watching the show Violet Evergarden.  Watching anime is sometimes like hearing someone talk about their dreams.  There are things that seem to have some relevance in an impressionistic way, beyond the plot.  There is one season with 13 episodes.  One thing that caught my attention about the show is that it takes place in an alternate history Europe after WWI, something I've been thinking about lately.  But also, in season one, episode 11 (1/11), the main character Violet is referred to as a soldier maiden.  Now where have I heard that before?  She parachutes out of a plane to a fallen fort after being summoned by one of the soldiers. 

 
Looking for an image for this post, I just searched "violet evergarden plane" in duckduckgo and this was the only picture I clicked on.  It was part of blog reviewing episodes of the series and said: 

"The anime is bent on romanticizing Violet as some angel of salvation."

    In Season 1, episodes 12 and 13 (1/12 and 1/13), the "soldier maiden" comes out of retirement to fight again.  Even though Violet's country has a vaguely German sounding name, in the movie that goes along with the show, there is a structure that looks like the Eiffel tower being constructed.  Conclusion: Joan's not finished with us yet. 

    On a more serious note, I think we are being given another chance.  All we have to do is to want to be on God's side, wherever that may be.  It may be that this will lead us to something utterly bizarre that may lead to short to medium term difficulties but good in the long term.  But, if we stick with "the devil we know," it's clear what will happen.  

    So, let us pray for the aid of Saint Joan, Saint Michael the Archangel, all the angels that watch over this earth as well as the dead.  I want to be on God's side, wherever that may be and may all people of good will be on God's side united under the banner of Saint Michael and Jesus Christ.

Amen


Christianity is Inexhaustible

     In his post  "The Limits of Solzhenitsyn's Concept of the Line Separating Good and Evil" Francis Berger writes: "Many Christians view judgement as the Achilles' heel of their faith."  

    The post itself is well worth reading because of the importance of the questions it examines, which is examining Solzhenitsyn's famous quote: 

"Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either - but right through every human heart - and through all human hearts.

    in the light of how there really can be sides in a spiritual war.  I am not going to examine this, but another train of thought that reading the post took me on: 

    Bruce Charlton has written about how Christianity is a strange religion compared to other religions in what it promises.  It is also strange in its teachings in that Christians are on the one hand enjoined to refrain from judging rashly, yet human beings must make judgments throughout life.  And there are many other difficulties like this.  Are the difficulties things that we should just dismiss because they can be manipulated to sow the seeds of doubt?  Or should we think through these issues precisely so that we can understand our faith better? 

      Then, after thinking about that, I remembered this quote from John Fitzgerald's post "The Marble of Exchange:"

"It shows to me just how far Christianity still has to go before it can become the religion it is truly capable of being. In a sense it hasn't done anything very much yet. So much of it is still latent, still in a state of potential, raw and undeveloped. And this should give us both cause for concern and grounds for real hope.

    In other words, Christianity can continue to develop.  Christianity isn't a Red Queen religion, where most of the energy is spent trying to avoid defects.  Christianity can always develop.  We can always go deeper in our understanding of Christianity because we can always go deeper in  our understanding of Christ.  Bonald quotes G.K. Chesterton who says:  

    "Now what we have really got to hammer into the heads of all these people, somehow, is that a thinking man can think himself deeper and deeper into Catholicism, but not deeper and deeper into difficulties about Catholicism.  We have got to make them see that conversion is the beginning of an active, fruitful, progressive, and even adventurous life of the intellect."

But Christianity not only is inexhaustible in depth, but also "horizontally."  Christianity can always accommodate new individuality because to be Christian is not to lose individuality but to bring it into something bigger.  

One example would be in the conversation of Jesus with the Samaritan woman (John 4:20-26) when the woman says: 

"Our fathers adored on this mountain, and you say, that at Jerusalem is the place where men must adore."

and Jesus replied

     "Jesus saith to her: Woman, believe me, that the hour cometh, when you shall neither on this mountain, not in Jerusalem, adore the Father.  You adore that which you know not: we adore that which we know; for salvation is of the Jews.  But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true adorers shall adore the Father in spirit and in truth. For the Father also seeketh such to adore him.  God is a spirit; and they that adore him, must adore him in spirit and in truth.  The woman saith to him: I know that the Messias cometh (who is called Christ); therefore, when he is come, he will tell us all things.  Jesus saith to her: I am he, who am speaking with thee."

    I believe that among the earliest Christians, there were both Jews and Samaritans.  And I also believe that in becoming Christians they were able to overcome their differences.  But they were able to do so not by falling below them, by caring so little about their people that being a Jew or Samaritan didn't matter, but by going above their differences.  By becoming part of something bigger.  They still were Jews and Samaritans but were also Christians.

    Paul said something similar when he said (Galatians 3:26-29): 

"You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.  For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.  There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise."

Significance of Rudolf Steiner Part 2

Continued from Part 1

    The third reason why Rudolf Steiner is important is his ideas regarding the modern world and the change and developments in civilization.  I am not sure about his ideas regarding the ancient world, but I believe Steiner did have genuine insights about modernity.  

    Science as well as the social changes of the modern world is something genuinely new under the sun.  Over the past four centuries much ink has been spilled trying to come to terms with this fact.  Bruce Charlton has mentioned on his blog how different the pre-industrial age was.  In particular, that rapid scientific progress is not normal.  It is very rare and so far as we know has only showed up in one society.  The ancient world was not just the modern with with science subtracted.  It ran on entirely different principles.  

    It is very difficult for us moderns to imagine this fact.  In fact, I believe that some people really do believe that a technological society is normal.  They believe technology will just develop if it isn't constrained.  That is the idea behind the meme that the Church held back progress during the Middle Ages.  People will naturally become modern if some force isn't holding them back.  That is also one reason why some people are interested in Atlantis.  They cannot imagine that the ancient world was structured differently and so they imagine that known history is just a decline from the advanced technological days of Atlantis.  But the problem with these ideas is that they have no explanation for where these forces opposed to progress come from.  Also, they do not come to terms with the ancient world on its own terms.  They view it as an aberration of modernity, when it was a completely different thing.

    Steiner was able to go deeper into an understanding of the nature of the modern world and how it differs from earlier times.  At bottom, the changes are spiritual in nature, including changes of consciousness.  Steiner was able to go deeper than the cycle of civilization.  Yes, there do seem to be patterns that repeat, but it makes more sense that rather than the changes over history being merely the working out of blind historical forces, there are qualities specific to each time period which allow us to go see a more comprehensible pattern. 

Significance of Rudolf Steiner Part 1

    Bruce Charlton has a post called "Why Rudolf Steiner? (despite everything)" where he discusses the importance of Rudolf Steiner and ends with this excellent summing up: 

"I completely agree with Steiner's core teaching, which is that our primary urgent task - here and now in 2020 - is to choose consciously to live by-and-from the spiritual (including to discover what that means for us, as individuals). 

This should be what we think about when we awaken each morning, and when we look back on our day each evening, and as we settle to sleep at night. 

This should be a focus of our meditations and prayers. 

Nothing is more important than this: here, now; for you - and for me."

    In this post, I will write about the reasons I have found Rudolf Steiner helpful.  

    One reason is that Steiner is one of the few "countercurrents."  One of the most harmful ideas that has been believed by human beings over the past two centuries is that the materialistic developments of these centuries and their dramatic acceleration in the second half of the 20th century and continuing into the 21st were inevitable.  In particular, I mean intrusion of machines and mechanistic thinking into all aspects of life, bureaucratization of jobs and thinking.  Many, many people believe all these things are right, good, and inevitable.  

    Some people who lived during those two centuries tried to manipulate these developments for their own benefit.  The vast majority viewed them as the backdrop of life; they neither tried to help nor fight against them.  Steiner is one of the few people (the Inklings are others) who not only acknowledged that these things were not right and good, but tried to fight against them.  To accept materialism and mechanization as inevitable is to surrender without a fight.  So if we want to get past these things, we must try to look for something else; some other possibility.  Whether one agrees with Steiner's proposed answers or not, the very fact that he was one of the few people to even try to do this makes him worth looking into.  

    Another reason relates to levels of analysis of society.  People can analyze society at many levels from day to day interactions to historical trends or even the metaphysical level.  However, there is a trap that is very easy to fall into.  It is easy to take the historical trends as a given and simply explain how they came about rather than look at any deeper cause.  Many of Steiner's discussions of societal questions take place on a neglected level which is between the macro-societal/historical and metaphysical.  I am not sure of a good name for it, perhaps the epochal or macro-historical level.  

    Let me give an example to make this more clear.  Even though I do not necessarily agree with the numerological aspects of his articles, often after reading Terry Boardman's articles or listening to his lectures, I have gained understandingMany historical or sociological analyses do not really provide understanding.  They report many facts and events and explain how one series of events led to the next, but they do not explain why just such and such a series of events and not some other led to a certain result.  There is no deeper pattern to fit the facts into and one is left with a description (often highly detailed) but there is something missing.  

    What Steiner did and what he provided those how use his concepts with is an ability to think about world events and changes in society from a perspective that can elucidate meaningful patterns rather than merely describe events.  And in order to get past the trap of thinking what we see around us is inevitable, we have to analyze on this level.      

Part 2


Some thoughts on 2021 Part 3

 Continued from Part 2

    So, I believe what might happen in 2021 is that the impulse of the Seventh Post-Atlantean Epoch will come into play.  Things will be strange because we will have impulses from three epochs at work on the earth at once, kind of like a triple conjunction of planets.  I also believe that the impulse of the Seventh Epoch will be stronger and more severe than that of the Sixth and Fifth.  One way I try to imagine this is the scene in C.S. Lewis's That Hideous Strength where Merlin is accepting the planetary spirits into himself.  In this novel, the planetary spirits of Saturn and Jupiter are stronger than those of Mercury, Venus, and Mars and but rather than overpowering the lesser qualities, they join with them: 

"Ransom greeted his guests [the planetary spirits] in the tongue of Heaven.  But he warned Merlin that now the time was coming when he must play the man.  The three gods who had already met in the Blue Room were less unlike humanity than the two whom they still awaited.  

... 

Yet Lurga [Saturn] in that room was overmatched.  Suddenly a greater spirit came - one whose influence tempered and almost transformed to his own quality the skill of leaping Mercury, the clearness of Mars, the subtler vibration of Venus, and even the numbing weight of Saturn."

    So, what should we do?  Well, first of all, keep doing anything good.  As Paul said in Philippians 8: 

"whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think on these things." 

    Also, recognize that the supernatural is real.  The most hopeful thing about Steiner's philosophy is that even though we have moved away from the spiritual - there is a way back up.  External circumstances may hinder us in this, but it is available.  

     If we have the chance to do something that we have discerned is good, do not be put off by its strangeness.  

Meditate on what is good and powerful, like the guardian angel of Earth.

Part 3

Some thoughts on 2021 Part 2

 Continued from Part 1

    In fact, I believe that because the materialism and the misuse of science in the Fifth Epoch proved to be such disasters, as typified by the two World Wars, that the Sixth Epoch was begun early and in a different place.  Rather than beginning in Eastern Europe, it began in the Anglo-American world after World War II and especially accelerating in the 1960s.  In fact, I believe that the Sexual Revolution is actually the corruption of the impulse of the Sixth Epoch.  It's not hard to see how this might happen.  What would the corruption of an impulse for almost everyone to start a family lead to?  Well, the result is all around us.  (Corruptio Optime Pessima)  

    Steiner seems to suggest as much in his prophecy of 1918: 

    "But this much can certainly be said: The effect in the evolution of humanity would be that certain instincts connected with the sexual life would arise in a pernicious form instead of wholesomely, in clear waking consciousness. These instincts would not be mere aberrations but would pass over into and configure the social life, would above all prevent men — through what would then enter their blood as the effect of the sexual life — from unfolding brotherhood in any form whatever on the Earth, and would rather induce them to rebel against it. This would be a matter of instinct."

    The key phrase here is "configure the social life."  

    In another lecture, titled "Behind the Scenes of External Happenings" Steiner said: 

"the secret of the control of masses — I spoke of this to begin with. It is the secret of how to gain extensive control over those masses who concern themselves little with external affairs, yet possess spiritual capacities and are especially qualified to assist in the preparation of the Sixth Post-Atlantean epoch — it is the secret, too, of how the art of controlling these masses can be placed in the hands of a few individuals. "

    When I try to think about what the Sixth Epoch would look like, one thing I wonder is, how would the families defend themselves?  In other words, those who concern themselves with raising families would not concern themselves with the macro-structure of society within which the families exist and so they would be vulnerable to various kinds of attack on that level.  I believe there was something supposed to develop in the Fifth Epoch (I have no idea what it would have been like), which never got off the ground.  This impulse would have structured human life at the macro-level and would have defended the families in the Sixth Epoch from those who meant them harm.  

    So, if this is true, then it means that people who have the qualities of the Sixth Epoch inside them naturally assume there will be a macro-level structure that defends them and helps to structure social life.  But, they have transferred that belief to the system.  Which has had very bad effects indeed. 

    Notice also that Steiner uses the phrase "the masses."  It is essential that the Fifth Epoch of individuality take place before the Sixth so that human beings are not swept up in the impulses of the Sixth Epoch and become just an undifferentiated mass.  Unfortunately, because the Sixth Epoch was accelerated, people had not fully developed their individuality so these people that Steiner speaks about in this paragraph are highly vulnerable to manipulation on a certain level.  Which we do indeed see with the media.   

    

No, it's not inevitable!

      Francis Berger's recent post " Liberty No Longer Enlightening the World " raises some important points that are worth co...