Sergei Prokofieff, head of the international Anthroposophical Society, explains (link to pdf-file)* how the internet is best understood from an esoteric viewpoint. Rudolf Steiner prophesied that “from the earth will well up terrible creations of beings who in their character stand between the mineral kingdom and the plant kingdom as automative beings with a supernatural intellect, an immense intellect” and they will spread over the world like Ahrimanic spiders weaving a web. There will be evil intent and mankind “will have to unite with these terrible mineral-plant like spider creatures.” Prokofieff — ignoring the very fact he has himself observed in Steiner’s indications, i.e., that this web is to be expected no sooner than about 6000 years from now — writes:
“It is as if Rudolf Steiner, with his spiritual gaze, described today’s Internet from beyond the threshold, categorically warning humanity that in a not too distant future, with the unification of moon and earth, this whole internet-computer-web and in fact everything connected with the development of the artificial intellect will suddenly come alive …”
Technology, thus, means problems, but what is Prokofieff suggesting as a cure? White magic. (Anthroposophy?)
“The frightening picture of an insect caught in the net of a huge and ravenous spider, trying in vain to free itself, outlines an appropriate picture of this future for mankind. And it will be a very special task of white magic to free such people from their bond to these beings.”
Secret occult circles are responsible for speeding up this development and they are also behind the name for the internet: that’s why it’s called www, the world wide web. That aside, it is not until this passage that I seriously begin to question Prokofieff’s sanity:
“This begs the question whether some of the other labels in the world have arisen from the same source e.g. the hotel chain in Germany called 'Sorat' (the largest Hotel being in the centre of Berlin) or the satellite aerials which in the centre of their dish display in big red letters the name 'SatAn;' or as with the latest computer system where one finds demonic pictures and words as for example the internet browser 'Mozilla' which portrays the head of a red dragon etc.”
It’s a fox, dear Mr. Prokofieff, but I’m certain St. Michael can slay foxes too, they’re usually smaller than dragons.
Then we learn that the letter “w” is the spiritual equivalent of the number “6" which is not a good thing at all: “www”, consequently, is “666" — the number of the beast. That is, Satan. But, as Steiner has indicated, Satan will use something man-made for his evil attacks on humanity; let’s return to Prokofieff:
“In my opinion the Internet and everything connected to artificial intelligence are part of this.”
What is going to happen, then, when the occult circles have their ways, and Satan his?
“[T]he aims of the…occult circles not only relate to the spiritual en-webbing of humanity but ultimately in the endeavour to put the whole undertaking into the service of ‘Sorat.’”
But the internet isn’t the only grave problem facing mankind. I bet most people don’t give much thought to the spiritual aspects of discs and data storage devices, more specifically the compression of data; this would be mistaken, because "one has to remember that when the cosmic intelligence guarded by Michael descended from the sun to the earth in order there to become human intelligence, it went through a massive process of compression or contraction.”
Ahriman can interfere in this (of course, Ahriman can interfere everywhere), but if he doesn’t, the intelligence (or data) is set “free after death during the expansion of the ether body in the cosmos”. Ahriman tries to screw up the work of Michael (and his blessed forces) — and he can do this by messing with digitalized information. Like a pathologically jealous husband, he wants to gain control and power, in this case over human intelligence.
“Ahriman finds such favourable conditions especially in the world of the computer and digital industry.”
The digitalization of Rudolf Steiner’s collected works is perhaps paradoxical (the digital German Gesamtausgabe consists of hundreds of his works), as the material is also compressed (and then transferred to laser discs — oh the horror), and can make the spiritually conscious feel physical pain (why physical pain and not spiritual pain, I ask, but I suppose there’s no answer to that one…). This is a big drift into sub-nature.
“Don’t fall prey to the illusion that it is possible to ‘redeem’ the Internet or CD/ DVD in the way Rudolf Steiner indicated for printing. In the realm of sub-nature the obstacles are far greater.”
It is a task for the School of Spiritual Science to “consciously oppose the ahrimanic principle of the duad, which has spread worldwide in particular through computers …”.
For Prokofieff “[i]t follows that the whole computer- and Internet industry is today the most effective way to prepare for the imminent incarnation of Ahriman or at least to allow his earthly task to run as smoothly as possible for him. The net of ahrimanic spider beings developing out of the internet around the earth stands right from the beginning in a direct relationship to Ahriman appearing in a physical body and will serve him particularly effectively and offer him extremely favourable potential to work.”
In addition to the work of Ahrimanic forces, the internet has, according to Prokofieff, enabled vicious and defamatory attacks on the Anthroposophical movement (or maybe these are the Ahrimanic forces? Well, I suppose so…). These “attacks” will become increasingly severe with the spread of Steiner’s collected works in digital form, “because then all alleged ‘vulnerable passages’ in the collective works will be easily and quickly accessible.”
It’s easy to spot the warped logic. When people can read Steiner for themselves — instead of reading or hearing propaganda brochures on Anthroposophy — they will reject much of what he had to say. When people can find out for themselves, they become dangerous. Unfiltered, uncensored access enables people to form their own opinions more easily. (But, contrary to Prokofieff’s bad feelings about this, I think that having the material accessible allows people to find out for themselves that the bad things in Steiner aren’t always as bad as we’ve suspected, and that there are many redeeming qualities about him, too. To know this, you need to read, you need the source. And wasn’t this what he wanted, to some extent — openness? Unlike the relative secrecy surrounding other esoteric or occult movements, groups and their teachings. More on this later, though. Suffice to say that Prokofieff claims that the online publication of the works contributes to an increasing intellectualization of Anthroposophy “through which it will be handed to Ahriman, the Master of Death.”)
This doesn’t mean people have to give up modern technology altogether (had Prokofieff suggested they had to, he would have boldly contradicted Steiner’s recommendations, although Steiner spoke about other types of applications of Ahrimanic science and technology); it’s more crucial who controls whom. For Prokofieff, it’s about noticing what is happening “in reality”. Given the content of this particular article, I very much doubt he knows what “reality” is, but that’s just a side-note. I’m almost blushing when I read about phenomena such as the “Ahrimanic seduction,” though. Probably because I’m so totally under its spell. I am seduced. By the internet, by the glorious spiders offering an Ahrimanic kingdom — I can’t resist! But then, of course, I am “an instrument for alien purposes” who “slowly slides into the sub nature [myself].” Damn it, I am “cut … off from [my] ability to read in the astral light and thus to encounter Michael in the spiritual world.”
Sure, through the internet, people can connect with each other in an unprecedented manner, but instead “mankind becomes increasingly separated from the cosmos and the hierarchies and thus is bound up with what was described above as an ahrimanic spider web.”
“The Michaelic intelligence came to earth from the spiritual world in order for man to achieve freedom through insight.”
Not the insight gained from reading — Steiner’s works? – on the internet, I gather. Intelligence and freedom for mankind — but not to be used intelligently and freely? That’s also quite interesting, a kind of plea for restricted freedom and stupid intelligence? Anyway, the world wide web has enhanced the process of the human intellect becoming shadowy (spiritually speaking).
When anthroposophic works are published online, they “are being put into an occult prison.” Prokofieff is particularly worried about the fate of the so-called class texts (the Esoteric Lessons for the First Class of the School of Spiritual Science — available online, as far as I know, only in German). The class texts supposedly consist of “a substance, which comes directly from Michael himself (out of the Michael-School) and therefore contains imaginations in their original form” and consequently they must be treated differently than other Steiner works, according to Prokofieff (and, I’m certain, many others). However, the lessons are already there, and I’d say it’s good they are: it was inevitable.
Prokofieff speaks of a need of a place “within man and for future mankind, where anthroposophical wisdom is protected from serving adversarial forces.”
Is Anthroposophy too weak to subsist if or when it encounters adversity? Sometimes it strikes me: Anthroposophists have very little faith in Anthroposophy. And I mean faith as in confidence, not as in religious type faith.
And I, I am seduced. By everything bad and evil.
* As often happens when material embarrassing to Anthroposophy is posted at sites like The Ethereal Kiosk, this material apparently has been removed from its original Anthroposophical site. The passages Alicia Hamberg refers to may be found, however, in Appendix 1 of Prokofieff's book RELATING TO RUDOLF STEINER (Temple Lodge Publishing, 2008). The title of this appendix: "The Esoteric Background to Electronic Media".
A sort of long P.S., but while I was writing, a friend sent me another link, presenting (Anthroposophist] Eugene Schwarz’s reply to Prokofieff. It’s entertaining. For example, the part about the unmentionable early computer in the Goetheanum’s basement. Schwartz [a prolific and very active promoter of Waldorf education] also writes:
“So timely and important was this information [about the webs] that Steiner was not alone in presenting these inter-related Imaginations of intelligent spiders and world-saving supermen. In her ca. 1915 book, Woody, Hazel, and Little Pip, (Figure 1) the beloved children’s author Elsa Beskow pictured the telephone network as a web spun by a spider … And it is certainly no coincidence that in the 1930s, in the very years that Steiner had spoken of the possibility of humanity participating in the etheric reappearance of the Christ being, the Imagination of the supermen that Steiner had given in the previous decade appeared, in however distorted a form, in the medium of the comic book (the addictive mid-century equivalent of the video game) as figures such as Batman, Plastic Man, the Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, and, of course, Superman, the prototype of them all.”
Then Schwarz hints that perhaps Prokofieff’s scare-mongering will please Ahriman, since “such pusillanimity is precisely what Ahriman hopes to sow in us, opening us up even more to his impulses.”
And, of course, as I mentioned, the “dragon” is really a fox:
“It should also be noted that, rather than the ‘head of a red dragon’ that Prokofieff describes, Mozilla’s Firefox browser logo displays the body of a red fox encircling the world. From the time of Aesop, the fox has served as a symbol of cunning intellect and prevarication; somewhat less formidable that the Dragon, for sure, but certainly scary enough! Although I have not seen the SatAn satellite dishes mentioned by Prokofieff, there is the well-known ‘white hat’ hackers’ web site whose acronym SATAN stands for Security Administrator Tool for Analyzing Networks.”
Schwarz notes that the secret occult aren’t very cunning in their concealment of Ahriman’s activities:
“If, as Steiner clearly indicated, the aim of these occult brotherhoods is to hide the approach of Ahriman, why are they doing just the opposite? Indeed, it could be said that the hotel chain, the satellite communications system, the browser, and the World Wide Web are literally advertising Ahriman’s incarnation. And for all of those who still don’t get it, the brotherhoods, through their minions in the ‘entertainment industry,’ provide a never-ending spectacle of movies and video games replete with superheroes, giant insects, alien invasions, demonic automatons, and depressingly dystopic visions of the earth’s future (e.g. Bladerunner, Gattica, and Children of Men, which even portrays a world in which all women are barren). Short of shouting it from the rooftops, the occult brotherhoods that Prokofieff describes could hardly be broadcasting their aims for the future any more blatantly. For groups that consider themselves ‘occultists,’ these brotherhoods aren’t very good at keeping a secret.”
Most importantly, he asks “If Steiner was not inclined to advise people to stay away from the telegraph, a system that was clearly a precursor of the Internet, then why should we assume that he would be so opposed to the Internet itself as a channel for communications about the spirit?”
And he continues to say “let us recognize that anthroposophists are already nestled in the Internet dragon’s skin, albeit semi-unconsciously and in a very advanced state of denial.”
— Alicia Hamberg
The following is from an online discussion,
dated March 21, 2013
Rudolf Steiner and Sergej Prokofiev warned about the EXACT thing this thread is all about. There IS an atavistic force manifesting itself through the internet (remember the blog post).
Ohhh man, there's so much ... Chelley, I hope you are reading this too.
Quotes from Prokofiev's book about Steiner and all this:
"It is as if Rudolf Steiner, with his spiritual gaze, described today’s Internet from beyond the threshold, categorically warning humanity that in a not too distant future, with the unification of moon and earth, this whole internet-computer-web and in fact everything connected with the development of the artificial intellect will suddenly come alive."
"Ahriman finds such favourable conditions especially in the world of the computer and digital industry."
"It follows that the whole computer and Internet industry is today the most effective way to prepare for the imminent incarnation of Ahriman or at least to allow his earthly task to run as smoothly as possible for him. The net of ahrimanic spider beings developing out of the internet around the earth stands right from the beginning in a direct relationship to Ahriman appearing in a physical body and will serve him particularly effectively and offer him extremely favourable potential to work."
A quote from Steiner in Prokofiev's book:
Steiner: "And from the earth will arise a terrible race of beings, in character midway between the mineral and plant kingdoms, as robotic beings of extreme, intense and logical intellect. They will spread and take hold of the earth, overlaying it as with a web of terrible spiders -- spiders of enormous wisdom, whose organization does not however even reach the level of plants. These terrible spiders will interweave and intermesh with each other, imitating in their movements all that human beings have conceived with their shadowy intellect -- without allowing it to be inspired by a new imagination, and all that is to come through spiritual science. All unreal human thoughts of this kind will assume the reality of being. The earth will be covered [...] with terrible, mineral plant-type spiders, which will spin very rational interconnections with each other but with malevolent intention. And the human being [...] will have to merge his being with these terrible mineral-plant spider creatures."
Steiner: "There are those [human beings] who are quite consciously allies of the intention to enmesh human existence."
Just like Credo Mutwa said (regarding "preparation" by the allies of darkness).
Now back to Prokofiev ...
"These spider creatures will be distinctly ahrimanic in character [...] in an era of global computer and internet links, you may feel disheartened to realize how quickly this prophecy is becoming a reality on earth."
"If we take Rudolf Steiner's words seriously, there can be no doubt that precisely these occult circles, which know of the above mentioned secrets and yet push humanity further in this forlorn direction, also coined a fitting name for the internet, the most appropriate instrument for achieving this future, and have spread it like a secret code: www -- World Wide Web."
Source: http://books.google.com/books?id=SfZymMqqDJ0C&pg=PA109&lpg=PA109&dq=ahrimanic+spider+beings&source=bl&ots=Z8rMlsYkZR&sig=tyEiKhyADKam2AtcIeW3b6njCLI&hl=en&sa=X&ei=kW5KUaO3JMeUrQGB_YCIAg&ved=0CDoQ6AEwAg#v=snippet&q=internet&f=false -- http://zooey.wordpress.com/2010/01/03/spiders/
... and there it is in a nutshell.
So here Steiner has warned about these robotic spider organisms somewhere between the plant and mineral kingdom rapidly populating the earth. The term "ghostly" was also used to describe the spiders. The author connects them to the internet AND connects ahrimanic forces to the technological revolution. It fits perfectly.
There are no coincidences, only PROVIDENCE, CHOICE, and SIMULACRA.
WHY ARE YOU HERE, WHAT IS YOUR PATH. CHOOSE.
There is also this book in French — From Jundi Shapur to Silicon Valley — I wish I could find an english copy, I can't even access the French version.
There is also a book I'm digging through called, The Computer and the Incarnation of Ahriman (http://www.steinercollege.edu/node/384), by David Black.
Alright, back to work, see y'all later.
TWO CENTS FROM YOUR HOST
The Waldorf aversion to computers is rooted in Rudolf Steiner's antipathy to modern technology at virtually all levels. The mere use of electricity is potentially demonic, he said:
"[E]lectric atoms are little demons of Evil ... [W]hen we listen to a modern physicist blandly explaining that Nature consists of electrons, we merely listen to him explaining that Nature really consists of little demons of Evil! And if we acknowledge Nature in this form, we raise Evil to the rank of the ruling world-divinity ... If we contemplate electricity today, we contemplate the images of a past moral reality that have turned into something evil." — Rudolf Steiner, "Concerning Electricity" (General Anthroposophical Society, 1940), GA 220.
But electricity is not the whole story. Even totally manual technological devices are suspect, Steiner taught. Think about typewriters, for instance (recalling that all typewriters in his day were non-electric):
"We can clearly see what is happening inside the human body once we have reached the stage of clairvoyant imagination. In objective seeing such as this, every stroke of a typewriter key becomes a flash of lightning. And during the state of imagination, what one sees as the human heart is constantly struck and pierced by those lightning flashes." — Rudolf Steiner, SOUL ECONOMY: Body, Soul and Spirit in Waldorf Education (Anthroposophic Press, 2003), p. 146.
Indeed, even the simple abacus is a monstrosity, in Steiner's eyes:
"The calculator [abacus] has been introduced. I do not wish to be a fanatic, and the calculator may have its usefulness; from certain points of view, everything in life is justifiable. But much of what might be gained from the use of invented calculating machines can be achieved equally well by using the ten fingers or, for example, by using the number of students in the class. Do not misunderstand if I say that, when I see calculators in classrooms, from a spiritual point of view it strikes me as if I were in a medieval torture chamber." — Rudolf Steiner, SOUL ECONOMY (Anthroposophic Press, 2003), p. 173.
The Waldorf approach is just a smidgen backwards. (The abacus was the latest thing, very high-tech, in ancient Babylon.)
— R. R.
P.S. Is Eugene Schwartz correct that "Steiner was not inclined to advise people to stay away from the telegraph"? The following leaps to mind:
"People will master the forces of nature to a high degree, as we have seen with wireless telegraphy and aeronautics. It is not without consequences whether the air is filled with spiritual thoughts or with thoughts of material needs. This will engulf our entire planet. We are looking into an age when humanity will intrude in large measure into air and light-filled space. What will be the fruits of this age? Seen in their true form it can be said that these electromagnetic waves will work back into the forces of the earth during a certain age. Then, according to good and evil, earthquakes and earth tremors will appear as the effects of human deeds. 'When he opened the sixth seal I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth ...' (Rev. 6:12) When the feelings of human beings are carried into the air, they change all of nature and something like a meteor shower appears. In this way human beings unleash the forces of nature, but their achievements do not go unpunished." — Rudolf Steiner, READING THE PICTURES OF THE APOCALYPSE (Anthroposophic Press, 1993), lecture 9, GA 104a.
Perhaps telegraphy can be used for good purposes, sometimes. Perhaps the Internet can. But dire possibilities — indeed, portents of the Apocalypse — are conveyed by Steiner's words, which surely constitute a warning. Our technological achievements "do not go unpunished." At the least, Steiner advised us to tread warily — very, very warily. (Be afraid. Be very afraid.)
“[T]he telegraph is very seldom used in anthroposophical affairs.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE APOCALYPSE OF ST. JOHN (Anthroposophical Publishing Co., 1956), lecture 3, GA 104.
Steiner taught that we have descended deeply into material existence. This has been needed; it will strengthen us for our re-ascent into the spirit realm. But we must be vigilant and cautious. If we descend too far — as by becoming too enmeshed in modern technology — we may plunge into the abyss, which can spell taps. [See the entry for “abyss” in The Brief Waldorf / Steiner Encyclopedia.]
The Anthroposophical headquarters — the cathedral called the Goetheanum — contains a large wooden statue of Christ, identified by Steiner as the Sun God. Also represented are the arch-demons Ahriman and Lucifer. According to Anthroposophical doctrine, Christ mediates between the two demons, converting the temptations they offer us into valuable gifts. Ahriman wants to drag us down into materialism while Lucifer tries to lure us into false spirituality. Christ finds the proper balance between these impulses and thus shows us the way toward our proper evolutionary path.
Anthroposophical religious beliefs generally lurk behind even the most innocent-seeming announcements and proposals emanating from Waldorf schools.
Multiple items previously presented here, on the Waldorf Watch news page, have discussed the Waldorf/Steiner aversion to high technology and its products, especially televisions and computers. Although there are rational reasons for limiting the amount of time children spend staring at flickering electronic screens, Rudolf Steiner’s followers fear technology for a wholly irrational reason: They associate it with the arch-demon Ahriman.
Below is one rather mild example of Rudolf Steiner’s teachings about Ahriman and technology. Steiner said that most intellectual and technological activities have no place in the spirit realm. When we die, we leave these things behind — we do not even retain clear images or understanding of these things. Likewise, our spiritual mentors, gods one and two levels above us (Angels and Archangels) also have no truck with intellectual and technological matters. The only spiritual beings who really grasp intellect and technology are Ahriman and his minions.
“In [the] world of the dead there is, for example, neither writing nor reading; there are no aeroplanes, no motor cars ... We can carry over from one earthly life to another [life] our experiences associated with the motor car, but not the [plans for the] construction of the car itself ... The spiritual beings with whom man is in direct contact [i.e., angels] cannot do it and therefore we as human beings cannot do it either ... [But there are] beings who are able by virtue of their Ahrimanic cosmic forces to understand modern techniques such as the construction of a motor car.” — Rudolf Steiner, TRUE AND FALSE PATHS IN SPIRITUAL INVESTIGATION (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1969), lecture 8, GA 243.
Ahriman and Lucifer are the two chief demons in Steiner’s theology. They are interesting characters. Steiner sometimes described them as thoroughly evil and intent on the destruction of humanity. He taught, for instance, that Ahriman and Lucifer have their own provinces of evil in the spirit realm (which consists of multiple levels and worlds). Ahriman reigns in “the evil Lower Devachan", while Lucifer rules over “the evil astral world.” [See “Evil Ones”.]
During our lives on Earth, Steiner taught, we must be ever-vigilant against the wiles and temptations of Ahriman and Lucifer. Steiner taught that Ahriman is particularly terrible, trying to lure us entirely away from spirituality into the gross emptiness of physical existence, where such delusions as intellect and technology loom so large. If we fall to Ahriman, we will lose our souls.
"[T]oday...the spirit-soul is asleep. The human being is thus in danger of drifting into the Ahrimanic world, in which case the spirit-soul will evaporate into the cosmos. We live in a time when people face the danger of losing their souls to materialistic impulses. That is a very serious matter. We now stand confronted with that fact." — Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), p. 115. [See “Ahriman”.]
So, Ahriman is evil. However, Steiner also sometimes taught that the demons are not truly bad, just different. They evolved differently from the good gods, and indeed they can be used for good purposes by the good gods. Thus, for instance, if Angels or Archangels ever want to know how to build a motor car, they can get this information from the Ahrimanic beings who understand such lowly matters.
The good gods “must enlist into their service others who had long been alien to them, who had experienced a totally different evolution ... These beings with their different evolution I have called in my books, Ahrimanic beings. “ — Rudolf Steiner, TRUE AND FALSE PATHS IN SPIRITUAL INVESTIGATION, lecture 8.
Demons can serve the good gods, and the demons' knowledge — such as knowledge of automobiles or computers — is not always, wholly tainted by wickedness. The use of technological products is thus not always wrong or soul-destroying. Still, according to Steiner, the things of Ahriman and his tribe are extremely dangerous and we should always be on guard against their vile effects. This is why, for instance, the Archangel Michael fights on our behalf against Ahriman. Michael is a good god and Ahriman is one of his foes. [See “Michael”.] Indeed, the good gods stand confronted with evil and they must wage war against it. Although Ahriman and Lucifer sometimes convey valuable gifts, we must not delude ourselves about the harm demons may inflict. There are good spiritual beings and evil spiritual beings.
“[W]e are watching the battle waged by the good gods against the evil gods.” — Rudolf Steiner, KARMIC RELATIONSHIPS, Vol. 2 (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1956), p. 251.
As for the demonic quality of technology, I will repeat a few quotations we saw here recently. ALL technology is potentially destructive, even primitive steam engines.
◊ “In constructing steam engines an opportunity is...provided for the incarnation of demons ... In steam engines, Ahrimanic demons are brought right down to the point of physical incorporation.” — Anthroposophist Georg Unger (quoting Steiner), “On ‘Mechanical Occultism’” (Mitteilungen aus der Anthroposophischen Arbeit in Deutschland nos. 68–69, 1964).
◊ "[W]hat has been said here about the steam engine applies in a much greater degree to the technology of our time ... [T]elevision, for example. The result is that the demon magic spoken of by Rudolf Steiner is spreading more and more intensively on all sides ... It is very necessary that anyone who aspires towards the spiritual should realise clearly how the most varied opportunities for a virtual incarnation of elemental beings and demons are constantly on the increase." — Georg Unger (speaking for himself), ibid.
◊ “The exploitation of electric forces — for example in information and computing technologies — spreads evil over the Earth in an immense spider's web. And fallen spirits of darkness...are active in this web.” — Anthroposophist Richard Seddon, THE END OF THE MILLENNIUM AND BEYOND (Temple Lodge Publishing, 1996), p. 24.
So switch off your devilish gizmos. Waldorf schools often have "media policies" that direct students' families to severely limit if not wholly reject use of televisions, computers, and such. Likewise, such appliances are almost never found in Waldorf schools. The ban on computer use is lifted slightly, at some Waldorf schools, in the highest grades — but even this small nod to reality in the 21st century is generally grudging.
March 8, 2018
◊ ANTHROPOSOPHICAL WISDOM ◊
THE WALDORF WATCH
THE SPIRITS OF DARKNESS,
THE ANTICHRIST, AND
When we consider computer technology, it is apparent...that we are dealing with an externalized ahrimanic doppelgänger [i.e., an incarnated doppelgänger associated with the arch-demon Ahriman] ... The computer is a cold machine with a very high level of intelligence and an uncompromising will ... Steiner [connects] the discovery of the ahrimanic doppelgänger with [the] 'fall of the spirits of darkness' [i.e., the ejection of certain demons from the spirit realm]. He describes the attempt by western occult lodges [i.e., secret societies] to keep these facts secret in order to exploit them as a deliberate means of exerting power and darkening people's awareness of supersensible [i.e., supernatural] reality ... [A] large proportion of humanity's powers of attention are now bound to machines with the help of the consciousness technologies of the internet and computers ... Rudolf Steiner [describes] how these technologies, originating in America, will spread throughout the world.
Those who will seek to introduce the Antichrist as the Christ are attempting to exploit what is able to act through the most material of forces but which, in actual fact, acts in a spiritual way through the most material of forces. Above all, this group is seeking to exploit electricity and the Earth's magnetism in order to generate effects throughout the world.
Steiner thus makes clear that, in connection with the fall of the spirits of darkness, an attempt will be made to absorb the development of the free, etheric forces of our consciousness. This is because the spirits of darkness had to leave the etheric realm and therefore have an ever greater interest in keeping human consciousness away from this sphere. At present, they achieve this primarily through those machines that imitate consciousness processes within the human organism, processes that are bound to the senses and based on electrical currents, and ultimately, therefore, based on the ahrimanic doppelgänger.
Waldorf Watch Response:
[But if you want to explore the Anthroposophical fear of modern technology, see, e.g., Waldorf Watch news items for February 10, 2018, and January 5, 2018 (scroll down). To explore Steiner's views on America, see, e.g., "America". Concerning these and other matters, you might also explore The Brief Waldorf / Steiner Encyclopedia.]
QUOTE OF NOTE
December 11, 2019
"The present generation of children are already the third 'screen generation.' The first screen generation came from the public availability of television . The second generation were exposed to all channels being open for twenty-four hours a day, so the effect was greatly intensified. Nowadays, with the third generation, everything is available instantly on mobiles  ... The media become a huge 'sensory disintegration machine,' which suppresses our will to observe for ourselves  ... If we want to do something for truth in education, we really need to make our kindergartens and schools strictly media- and screen-free ." — Waldorf school doctor Michaela Glöckler, TRUTH, BEAUTY AND GOODNESS (Waldorf Publications, 2019), pp. 11-12.
Waldorf Watch Footnotes:
 Anthroposophists and Waldorf educators have long been averse to electrical gadgetry, including modern media such as movies, radio, and television. Their worries center on a terrible demon called Ahriman. [See "Ahriman".]
"Whatever the merits of certain inventions, they show the face of Ahriman. Under such headings one could consider all sorts of mechanisms but in particular such appliances as television, radio, cinema and the thousand and one things dependent on electricity." — Waldorf teacher Roy Wilkinson, RUDOLF STEINER - An Introduction to his Spiritual World-view, Anthroposophy (Temple Lodge Publishing, 2005), p. 131.
Rudolf Steiner taught that we must resist Ahriman, or we may lose our souls.
"The human being is thus in danger of drifting into the Ahrimanic world, in which case the [human] spirit-soul will evaporate into the cosmos. We live in a time when people face the danger of losing their souls ... That is a very serious matter. We now stand confronted with that fact." — Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), p. 115.
The "Ahrimanic world" is, Anthroposophists believe, the soulless portion of the cosmos ruled by Ahriman.
 Glöckler's concern here has largely shifted from televisions to computers and computer screens (including the tiny computers known as smart phones or "mobiles").
 To paraphrase and explain: Electronic media present only artificial images of reality, not reality itself. Our senses "disintegrate" as we are sucked into virtual realities rather than remaining alert in actual reality; we become passive viewers of false images, not active observers of the real phenomena of the world and cosmos. Our senses, our minds, and our agency (our ability to act on our own) are damaged, Anthroposophists contend.
 The Waldorf attitude toward electronic media is uncompromising. As Glöckler recommends, many Waldorf schools have "media policies" under which use of electronic gadgets (TVs, computers, smart phones) is all but banned. [See "media policies" in The Brief Waldorf / Steiner Encyclopedia.]
Waldorf worries about electronics stem from a more fundamental Waldorf/Anthroposophical fear of modern technology in general. Rudolf Steiner taught that technological devices such as steam engines promote the incarnation of demons. His followers see the same terrible effects arising — in more acute form — from the more advanced technologies that have developed since Steiner's death in 1925.
"[W]hat has been said here [against] the steam engine applies in a much greater degree to the technology of our time... The result is that the demon magic spoken of by Rudolf Steiner is spreading more and more intensively on all sides ... It is very necessary that anyone who aspires towards the spiritual should realise clearly how the most varied opportunities for a virtual incarnation of elemental beings and demons are constantly on the increase." — Georg Unger, "On 'Mechanical Occultism'" (MITTEILUNGEN AUS DER ANTHROPOSOPHISCHEN ARBEIT IN DEUTSCHLAND, nos. 68–69, 1964).
Numerous Anthroposophists have argued that computers are the primary carriers of demonic evil in the contemporary world. Their fears are perhaps most vividly (if turgidly) presented in the booklet THE COMPUTER AND THE INCARNATION OF AHRIMAN, by David B. Black. Published by the Rudolf Steiner College Press in 1981, the booklet has remained in wide circulation throughout the Anthroposophical community, and it is today preserved at the Rudolf Steiner Archive:
"The computer is special because of its relation to the spiritual being here called 'Ahriman.' In the latter parts of this book, Mr. Black attempts to make clear the exact nature of the relation between the computer and the being Ahriman." — https://wn.rsarchive.org/RelArtic/BlackDavid/DB1981/CmpAhr_index.html.
Rudolf Steiner taught that Ahriman is the lord of cold, deadly intellectuality that, he said, is draining spirituality from the modern world.
"Intellectuality flows forth from Ahriman as a cold and frosty, soulless cosmic impulse.” — Rudolf Steiner, ANTHROPOSOPHICAL LEADING THOUGHTS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1998), p. 98.
In his booklet, David B. Black argues that computers enable Ahriman to incarnate on Earth.
"[T]the computer has taken a giant step in furthering its ability to imitate the human being. In particular, the technical basis for a separate, incarnating consciousness has been laid — but a consciousness of a purely intellectual, mechanical (albeit self-aware) nature [i.e., Ahriman's consciousness]. With the achievement of the store program computer [i.e., the computer having a built-in operating system], it begins to be possible to talk in terms of a (macrocosmic) incarnation vehicle capable of sustaining the being of Ahriman." — David B. Black, THE COMPUTER AND THE INCARNATION OF AHRIMAN, p. 33.
Black's thesis has been repeated, and extended, by other Anthroposophists. So, for instance, we find statements such as these:
◊ "[I]nformation and computing technologies [spread] evil over the Earth in an immense spider's web. And fallen spirits of darkness [i.e., fallen angels, demons]...are active in this web.” — Richard Seddon, THE END OF THE MILLENNIUM AND BEYOND (Temple Lodge Publishing, 1996), p. 24.
◊ "When we consider computer technology, it is apparent...that we are dealing with an externalized ahrimanic doppelgänger [i.e., an incarnated double of Ahriman] ... The computer is a cold machine with a very high level of intelligence and an uncompromising will ... [A] large proportion of humanity's powers of attention are now bound to machines with the help of the consciousness technologies of the internet and computers ... Those who will seek to introduce the Antichrist as the Christ are...seeking to exploit electricity and the Earth's magnetism in order to generate [evil] effects throughout the world ... [T]he spirits of darkness had to leave the etheric realm and therefore have an ever greater interest in keeping human consciousness away from this sphere. At present, they achieve this primarily through those machines that imitate consciousness processes within the human organism, processes that are bound to the senses and based on electrical currents, and ultimately, therefore, based on the ahrimanic doppelgänger." — Andreas Neider in the introduction to a collection of Steiner lectures, THE ELECTRONIC DOPPELGÄNGER (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2016), pp. 8-18.
There are, of course, rational reasons to limit the amount of time kids spend staring into electronic screens. But these reasons do not include fear of demons or Ahrimanic doppelgängers. And, in fact, even rational worries about the use of electronic gizmos are often overblown. See, e.g., "The Kids Are All Right", SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN (November, 2019, Vol. 321, No. 5), by Lydia Denworth: "New findings suggest that the angst over social media is misplaced...", p. 45. Previous studies have indicated that watching TV does not necessarily rot kids' brains, and playing violent computer games does not automatically turn children into mindless mass-killers. Likewise, Denworth argues, spending hours in electronic social exchanges does not generally turn youngsters into spaced-out, self-hating zombies:
"[Researchers Andrew K.] Przybylski and [Amy] Orben measured the percent of variance in well-being that was explained by social media and found that technology was no more associated with decreased well-being than eating potatoes. Wearing glasses was worse. 'The monster-of-the-week thing [i.e., the current fear of social media] is dead in the water,' Przybylski says." — "The Kids Are All Right", p. 46.
Of course, watching too much TV is not good for anyone, just as spending too much time on the Internet is a bad idea. But too much of anything is bad for us. That's what "too much" means. And it is a long stretch to go from being concerned about electronic media to thinking that such media are bringing demons to Earth and preparing the way for the triumph of Ahriman. Anthroposphists' fears of such things are, quite literally, too much.