Humankind at a Crossroads – Lecture Notes

(Lecture Notes for a talk given at the Johannesburg Anthroposophical Society in Sep 2022 by Martin Wigand)

We are living in interesting times!

  • Covid regulations have caused a serious division, limited our fundamental rights
  • War in the Ukraine
  • Inflation
  • Energy crisis
  • Looming recession, economic hardship
  • Climate change
  • And all of this is affecting us directly, our standard of living, our financial and job security

In many ways, the future looks very challenging, both on the material as well as the spiritual level

There is a lot happening! Recently most of you took part in the seven evenings on the foundations stone Meditation. This is really a meditation for our time! I quote:

Where the waves of world-becoming-deeds / your own I / with the World-I / unite.

Isn’t that the situation we find ourselves in? Dramatic events are happening, winds of change are sweeping the world. The World is definitely changing! The WEF talks about ‘THE GREAT RESET. And we can have the feeling that this Great Reset will not just change some outer things, but that we are witnessing some very fundamental changes. And Anthroposophy teaches us, to look for the spiritual powers behind such developments.

The Foundation Stone Meditation gives us also advice how to approach such situations:

Practice spirit contemplation / in balance of the soul.

Contemplate in balance of the soul!

That’s what is needed today. Inner calmness. Get rid of fear and anxiety. So let us zoom out a bit and ask: what is the condition of humankind these days? What would the spiritual world see? A SPLIT IN HUMANKIND!

There is a mainstream of thought, very much promoted by the media, the governments and the various authorities – and there is a minority, who questions the main stream thinking. The main thing here is: how deep this rift is. It splits families, friends do not talk to each other anymore, It is hardly possible to discuss topics like covid vaccines or the war in the Ukraine, the sanctions etc. People are not willing to discuss such matters calmly, just listen to arguments of the other side, reflect on them, be open to them. It feels a bit as if we are back in the time of religious wars, when Catholics and protestants were seeing each other as devil worshippers.

A short while ago tolerance was regarded as a virtue, to respect people, even when they had different opinions. Not anymore. Why is there this aggression? Why can we not speak to each other calmly, discuss the arguments and the concerns? Is this only a temporary situation? Or does it indicate something more profound? It appears we are seeing the opposite of the Christ word:

“Where two or three are united in my name, I will be among them”.

Today it seems like Ahriman says:

Where two or three fight in my name, I will be among them!

Another Development

But there is another development, which is less in the headline, but even more relevant for the future: I am talking about TRANSHUMANISM.  What does that mean? It is the idea that we humans are less than perfect. I think we would agree with that! But in Transhumanism we are talking about improving humans through technology. We are not only talking about replacing organs or repairing DNA defects. People expect to extend life expectancy to far beyond 100 years with such medical interventions. Creating a world population of pensioners! But there is much more to it. How about improving your memory by implanting a chip into your brain? How about replacing the learning of tedious facts in school by an implant in your brain? How about connecting your brain via a chip directly to the internet? Would that not be marvellous? Having all the information of the internet available to you at any moment, without needing a cell phone or a computer? Watching movies without any outer device?

Maybe you think these are ridiculous and outlandish ideas. Think again. Huge companies like Microsoft and Google, people like Elon Musk pour billions of Dollars into this research. Elon Musk believes that without such improvements humankind will be doomed, that artificial intelligence and robots would rule the world in future, and humans would be a dying species like the Neanderthals of ancient days. “We’re creating God,” the former Google Chief Business Officer Mo Gawdat recently told an interviewer. “We’re summoning the demon,” Elon Musk said a few years ago, in a talk at MIT.

Read the Bestseller of Yuval Harari: Homo Deus: Not only robots, but integration of machines with humans. Ray Kurzweil (top manager at Google) as the prophet of Transhumanism.

Maybe you think this is just a temporary madness, people will be sensible and not go for such nonsense. Well, the German last Emperor believed cars would just be a silly fashion, and people would soon go back to horses again. He was wrong!

And Rudolf Steiner said: the integration of humans with machines will be a big topic for the next millennia! Not Centuries, Millennia! And he adds that this will certainly come. It will not be a question of ‘IF’ but of ‘HOW’ – with what intention, out of which spirit will we approach this question.

  • How can we make sense of all these developments? On the one hand this split in humanity, mainly created by fear, on the other hand the rise of TRANSHUMANISM, which Rudolf Steiner says will be a major topic for our future. How can we gain a deeper under-standing? How can we develop a healthy attitude towards them?

The Foundation Stone shows us the way:

Practice spirit contemplation / in balance of the soul

It is important to step back and see these developments calmly, put them in a bigger context. (WRITE ON BOARD)

We are living

  • in the second century after the end of Kali Yuga (1899)
  • in the 5th Cultural Epoch
  • in the Michael Age
  • 2000 years after Christ

Each of these statements needs to be unpacked, each of them are relevant for us in order to make sense of what is happening and how we can approach our time from a spiritual viewpoint, objectively and without fear.

What does it mean to live after the end of Kali Yuga?

It means the spiritual world has opened up again for us! That humankind has access again to the spirit after 5000 years of being increasingly cut off. It also means that mankind is crossing the threshold. Spiritual forces are streaming in again, but they encounter a mental condition in humans, which is entrenched in materialistic thoughts about the world. Many human souls feel threatened by these new spiritual forces, they are overwhelmed by fear, as if they are about to die. This fear is projected outward and becomes fear of a virus or fear of the future, of economic hardship etc. And also fear and hatred of people who have different ideas. These varied fears are just a sign of powerful spiritual currents entering our souls. We have Anthroposophy in order to understand this, to embrace these forces rather than being afraid of them!

It is like a spiritual spring: The ice is cracking and melting, fresh water starts gurgling again, water of life! But for the new to take hold, old structures and institutions need to crumble. This might cause some outer hardship, but if we understand the dynamics behind it, then we can also embrace it.

Characteristics of Living in the 5th Epoch:

  • Intellectualism, abstract logical thinking, as in natural sciences
  • Age of freedom from traditions, blood relations etc.
  • Encountering evil on a profoundly new level

10 commandments and avoiding evil is not enough, there are new forms of evil, just try to take away a cell phone from a teenager! Top psychologists are creating apps for the phones to make – not only – teenagers addicted. But are these psychologists evil people? They might go to church on Sunday, keep all the ten commandments. And yet – there influence on children is evil! Similar with environmental issues, climate change, industrial agriculture  etc. The people involved are not evil in any conventional sense, and yet, they create evil.

Even talking about Jesus Christ does not necessarily mean the real Christ is meant. Discernment is essential today!

Can we discern, which forces are at work today? Who is interested in dividing people, who is interested in forcing people to accept medical procedures against their will, who is interested in making people believe they are completely powerless without the pharma industry? Who tries to reach these goals through the medium of fear?

Who wants us to believe that humankind will be outdone by robots and the only way to survive is to integrate computer chips into our brain?

Let us reflect a bit on this. HUMAN FREEDOM is the big goal of our age (Renaissance  – 1500 years into the future). To this end we needed to be completely cut off from any conscious connection with the spiritual world. Intellect and materialism were the logical result. But we must only for a limited time remain in this state of feeling cut off, otherwise we will end up in a terrible abyss of egotism and immorality. We have already a taste of that in our time!

And here we come to our next point:

We are also living in the Michael Age.

He is the time spirit of our present age, under his inspiration certain thoughts and ideas flow down to humankind which are meant to lead us on into a more humane future. His age started 1879 and will last for about 354 years. So we are close to the halfway mark!

Michael is a fighter for truth. He wants us to become aware again, that we are spiritual beings, living among other spiritual beings, humans and others. He was the one inspiring Anthroposophy. We could say Anthroposophy was a gift from Michael at the beginning of the last century. Anthroposophy was meant to help humans find again the truth about themselves and the world around them. Let us try and step back, let’s try and look at the world from Michael’s viewpoint. What does he see? Anthroposophy is now about 100 years old. To what extent has humanity taking up these ideas? First of all the idea that we spiritual beings, that we are all beings with our very own destiny, with our very own mission, that we are meant to be the guardians of this planet and all the other beings on it?

Back in the late 1960s, 70 s and 80s there were very positive developments. Out of the protests against the Vietnam war the peace movement originated, the environmental movement, new ideas in education which lead to a boom in Waldorf schools, organic and Biodynamic agriculture…

It was a time, when people could look into the future with optimism, it seemed we were on the right path to tackle and overcome the problems facing us. These developments reached a climax in 1989 with the collapse of communism in Europe and the Fall of the Berlin Wall. In the 1990s there was the hope of lasting peace, Russia wanted to be part of a European peace structure. And then things seemed to develop backwards. It was as if all these great initiatives of the previous decades lost their strength, many just fizzled out. Bureaucracy with all kind of new rules made life more and more difficult for free and independent initiatives. It was as if a dark shadow spread over the world.

1971 a very important book appeared.

If Rudolf Seiner were alive today, I believe he would have talked about it. I mean Burrhus Frederic Skinners Book: Beyond Freedom and Dignity! Wikipedia writes about it:

Skinner argues that the entrenched belief in free will and the moral autonomy of the individual (which Skinner referred to as “dignity”) hinders the prospect of using scientific methods to modify behaviour for the purpose of building a happier and better-organized society. (READ AGAIN)

Skinner was the leading light of Behavioural Psychology. His ideas are the foundation of contemporary psychology. So, what does he say here? Our belief in free will and human dignity is an obstacle to creating a better society. He wages war against the idea of individual freedom and dignity!

In other words: our belief in human freedom and dignity is an illusion, a relic from pre-scientific times. We must overcome these illusions and use cultural or social engineering to manipulate people into doing what we, the enlightened scientists, have found to be the best behaviour. To be clear: His views are based on experiments with animals, mainly with rats. His approach turns humans into animals, into a herd of sheep! And that’s exactly what is happening today, especially with the Covid Vaccination campaign. The authorities know what is good or bad for us. Which medication, which vaccines, what other measures. Soon climate change will be another reason for manipulating human behaviour. Social engineering. Social technology!

DEAR FRIENDS, Here we can hear Ahriman speak! Man just as a higher animal! Man in need to be controlled, to be told what is right to do. Leave as little as possible to individual decision, because freedom is anyway just an illusion! Some of you will still know Charlie Chaplin and the opening sequence of his movie: Modern Times. Humans walking to the factories like a herd of pigs!

In Ahriman’s world truth is just what the majority believes – you just have to repeat something often enough to make it true! And to call anybody who does not agree a conspiracy theorist.

Michael wants something else: A community of free thinkers, free individuals, who respect each other, who listen to each other. The moment you label somebody with something like Nazi, Communist, Nigger or conspiracy theorist you deny him or her his fundamental human dignity, you actually commit a spiritual murder (Rudolf Steiner)!

Michael also stands for a global consciousness, for global citizenship, for a world economy. We can see how there are powerful impulses working today in the opposite direction. Dividing humankind into blocks fighting each other.

Rudolf Steiner warned: the biggest danger in the future is that people will stop thinking for themselves, that they will leave it to authorities or the newspapers (media!) or influencers, politicians etc. Michael so much waits for us, hopes for us to make an effort to think ourselves, to seek the truth, to not just follow all kinds of propaganda, which is like pre-digested thought food.

We are meant to connect with Michael, then we have to make an effort to find the truth, to think ourselves, to ask our heart! Free from fear!

The spiritual battle today does not happen anymore in the world out there, where we can sit back and watch Michael fighting! The battle is now happening within our own human consciousness – in all of us! Today Michael cannot win this battle on his own, he needs our support. We need to connect with his goals. His goals are human dignity and human freedom, the exact opposite of the social engineering, the manipulation by fear we see today. We must make these goals our own, overcome the fear which is spread by the media, see the present and future events through his eyes.

  • There is still another aspect to this. To live with a lie is undermining our health. And these materialistic ideas of man are lies. The modern scientific ideas are seeing man as an animal with a bigger brain. This is a lie! To live with this lie will make humankind more and more sick! We cannot achieve universal health by vaccinating everybody against all possible diseases! This is a lie! Ahriman himself speaks there! To live in truth is a very good health tonic!
  • So Michael sees this dark cloud of materialism and propaganda. But he sees also something else. There are also people who try their best to cultivate beauty and spirituality in their lives. Some will go to Yoga Classes or dance classes, play beautiful music, attend art classes,  withdraw into nature. But very often these people struggle with a lack of money or have disagreement with each other when they want to engage in a community initiative.  We also need to respect Ahriman in its own realm of money and legal affairs! Otherwise he will always come back to bite us!

2000 years after Christ, the Second Coming, the Age of the Spirit!

Joachim of Fiore: Famous in the Middle Ages. In the Easter night of 1185 he was meditating on the Book of Revelation and then had a great vision, in which the deeper meaning of this book was revealed. He talked about three ages:

Age of the Father:       Old testament, 2000 years

Age of the Son:            New Testament, 2000 years

Age of the Spirit: when mankind will gain a deeper understanding of Christ and the Trinity, then church hierarchies would be superfluous, it would be the age of freedom, etc.

Dear Friends, we are standing at the beginning of this new age! Insights into the reality of the world, understanding our spiritual nature and the spiritual nature of the whole world will change everything! The age of the spirit at its beginning!

What does this mean, a new Age of the Spirit?

We need to gain a new and deeper understanding of the Christ being and also of his so-called Second Coming!

Let us start with His Second Coming. U shape of evolution (drawing on board). Humankind now splits.

We will develop new spiritual faculties, some low level clairvoyance. If we do not understand this, people will think of these new visions rising up in them as illusions and take medication or even end up in psychiatric wards.

This is part of Anthroposophy’s mission to prepare humankind for these new faculties, so that we can meet the Christ in his etheric form!

The Christ holds the answer of how to balance the so-called adversary forces, Ahriman, who wants to bind us to fear and materialism, and Lucifer, who wants us to withdraw into a private world of beauty and creativity, forgetting our responsibilities towards the earth and each other.

The Christ shows us, how we can balance them. There is this famous statue. SHOW IT

There is another aspect which is less known.

We must not look at these forces of L and A just as adversaries. They are both absolutely necessary for our human evolution! We just need to understand where their rightful and constructive realm is!

We cannot live today in a constructive way as long as we try and ignore Ahriman. He is the Lord of this world, our earthly realm! We need to deal with him on a daily bases, with our financial system, with our technologies. Connect with Ahriman, when you need to take care of money or legal issues. Without his strength, you will become a victim. Connect with Lucifer to allow his joy, his enthusiasm to take hold of you! But only for a time! Both are part of our life! To ignore Ahriman at our own peril! We have to give to Ahriman what is due to him, respect in his areas! The secret is: Only where and when respect is due to him! The same with Lucifer: His gift to us is our enthusiasm for beauty, for creativity, for enjoying spiritual pursuits like meditation etc. Both these powers have their rightful place in the world and in us!

With the help of the Christ we can find the right balance between them!


For the Christ-Will holds sway in the encircling Round
in the World rhythms gracing the soul.

If we can approach life in this way, not being afraid of L & A, but honour them in their rightful places. Just making sure that we neither succumb to Ahriman’s forces of fear and greed and hunger for power and control, nor be carried away into realms of beauty or bliss, forgetting the needs of the earth – when we move back and forth between them, like night changes with day, summer with winter – when we can establish such healing rhythms in our daily life –  when we invite the Christ being as the being of love into our lives – then I believe we have chosen a good path at the crossroads of our time!

With this understanding of the Christ Being and of his Second Coming we don’t need to be afraid of the future! Yes, materialism will still be around for a long time and will cause through its own nature a lot of hardship in the future. But looking at it with equanimity we can just see it as a necessary stage in the big story of our human evolution.


Practice Spirit Beholding / in stillness of thought

Then we will be able to see the great panorama of human evolution. As we go through our various incarnations from ancient times into a distant future, we see the great goal ahead of us: to turn the earth into a planet of love!

This is what Michael strives for, this is the gift, Christ is offering us. Will we accept it?

There will still be darkness of materialism around us, but this darkness is necessary to stimulate our own growth.

Let us end with the ending of the Foundation Stone:

In the turning point of time
Stepped the World-Spirit-Light
Into the earthly stream of being;
Night-darkness / Had ended its reign
Day-radiant light / Rayed forth in human souls.
Light / that enwarms
The poor shepherd-hearts,
Light / that enlightens
The wise kings-heads.
Godly Light / Christ Sun
Warm / our hearts
Enlighten / our heads
That good will become
What we / from hearts would want to found
What we / from heads would want to guide
In conscious willing.

(Added Michael Meditation and summary below by Ian Dunnett)

Michael Meditation
(from Rudolf Steiner’s notebook 1924)

Michael brings will, strength, courage
He is Sun-spirit
He wills to be beheld
He works with the consequences, not with the causes
Michael is silent and reticent
He does not answer
He is there, he wills
But the earthly happenings he affirms or negates
Yet only if this is deemed just in the spiritual world
Because in all his epochs, he has never participated in Earth activity
Everything inherited is repellent to him
The languages are something from which he turns away
He demands first the thought.

Michael demands that we think, and then act strongly and with courage. If we do the appropriate thing, he will support our actions, which will have marvellous consequences. If inappropriate he will let it fail.


(These points were not brought in the lecture due to time constraints)

We can only go upright, because there is gravity, Without gravity we would be floating like fish in water. Ahriman is the spirit of gravity. Without him we could not go upright! For the upright walk it needs both Ahriman and Christ. The same applies today. The adversary forces are challenging us, so that we are calling on the support of the higher forces, and this ultimately makes us stronger!

It is not necessary for us to try and save the world. At present, the Karma of materialism is playing out. It is like with Climate Change. For a long time only a small minority cared about it, for the vast majority it was no priority. Only now, with devastating floods, forest fires and droughts the general population takes note. Is now used by commercial interests.

The same with materialism. We cannot change the mindset of a convinced materialist through smart arguments. The consequences of materialism need to be experienced like the consequences of climate change.

Yuval Harari: Typical contradiction: human as biological machines, no soul has been found, must be improved to create super humans, BUT: he meditates, recommends meditation. So in future we then will have computers which meditate!

Exercise: Try to tell yourself: I am just a biological machine. I have no soul, no I. There are just chemical processes in my brain which create the illusion of my consciousness.!

How does that feel?

Everything jars, screams not true! They will argue, that even that is just an illusion!

But most people believe that to be true! Living with a lie! Undermines our health!

But if you focus on that experience, if you ask yourself: who tries to persuade me of this lie?

Then you get an inkling of Sort, who wants to annihilate our I, the Sun demon, the adversary of Christ!

IF IT DOES NOT KILL ME, IT MAKES ME STRONGER! Crude, but there is some truth!

Rudolf Steiner on 7.10.1917: In technology, in our financial system etc. work Ahrimanic forces. Destructive.


Let us picture the two ways:

  1. Based on fear. Fear of loss of our material goods, fear of being forced to move out of our comfort zones, fear of illness and disease.
  2. We are aware of our own spirituality and the spirituality all around us. We are aware that we are living in world of divine wisdom. That pain and suffering are as much part of live as joy and happiness. We do not ask for it, but we know that it provides opportunities for learning and development. We know that Lucifer and Ahriman are our companions on this journey into the future. We honour them both in their own realms. It is wonderful to dance and to celebrate festivals with friends. There is nothing wrong with joy, happiness, even exuberance, as long as we do not try to hold on to it. We thank Lucifer for his gifts and then also return to the mundane tasks of life, like cleaning the house, paying the bills and so on. Like this we move between the Luciferic and Ahrimanic, we thank both of them for gifts, but are aware that we must not stay with one of them. Moving between them like with day and night, like summer and winter. The core line of the Class Lesson tomorrow is: as long as.. The Christ being will help us to find the right balance.
  3. And we know that we are part of incredibly beautiful evolutionary stream, leading to the transformation of this planet into a planet of love, which the Apocalypse of John calls the New Jerusalem – Isn’t that great Goal worth some suffering in order to make us ready?

Maybe for questions

  • 24 years after 1998, the year of Sorat
    Rudolf Steiner calls him the Sun-demon, the direct and powerful adversary of Christ. His number is 666, the number of the beast. 1998 is the third time, 3 x 666, that he has a climax of his influence in human history.
    666 the school of Gondishapur
    1332 the annihilation of the Order of the Templars
    1998: what impulse does he bring now?  His aim is to tie humans to the purely material. To deny human dignity. 
    We can see his signature in Sinners book: Beyond Freedom and Dignity. Meaning humans can just be treated like lab rats or sheep. Just use the methods of behavioural psychology and you can manipulate the behaviour of humans at will. Fear is especially effective, fear of dying or fear of disease.

And now Transhumanism. The promise of very long life on earth, hundreds of years, with the help of technology.

  • Michael is on a mission. He wants to defeat the spirit of materialism. Ahriman wants us to believe that we are living in a world of atoms and molecules, of natural laws where spirit and religion, beauty and human dignity are just illusions.
  • Etheric image of Michael within our consciousness will then fight the battle against the dragon within our consciousness. (GA 223, 102, 104, 121)

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