The Mystery of Technology in the Light of the Emerald Tablet
A decade, or so, ago, I wrote a small book: “The Mystery of Evil in the Light of the Sermon on the Mount” (1). This was a follow up companion to a longer book: “The Art of God – an actual theory of Everything” (2). The deeper questions of the real nature and purpose of “evil”, especially that aspect of human inner life involving the “three-fold double complex”, begin and end with self-knowledge. We don’t know evil except we first know it in ourselves.
The remarks in the Sermon on the Mount, connected to the admonition to “judge not”, advise that if we really want to help another with their “mote”, we first need to remove the “beam” from out of our own heart’s mind.
In the communities of folk, who have felt inspired by the work&life of Rudolf Steiner, this problem of evil has become deeply involved with the question of the true nature and meaning of technology, and electricity (3). This confusion of evil and technology is rooted in the frequent use by Steiner linking the ideas of good&evil to humanity’s relationship with the Inner Earth, … spiritual realms where reside Beings of great and ancient powers. Steiner experienced this realm as a clairvoyant spiritual-scientific investigator of these inner “layers”, many of which he described as evil, and as sources of something called “black magic”.
Most readers of Steiner buy into this point of view of sub-nature or sub-sensible forces. Give that what Steiner reported – from his “researches” into the Inner Earth – is completely wrong (4), a rather peculiar problem arises, especially in the sense of our methods of spiritual perception and cognition.
This also makes for a kind of cruel paradox for Steiner readers, which is that if Steiner got the meaning and significance of the Inner Earth wrong, what does that fact mean as regards other offerings of Steiner to the world. Are they too “wrong” in some sense?
This question disappears if we stop treating all that he said as if it was absolutely true. Steiner readers too often make a “bible” of what he said&wrote, and constantly use his words as final answers to complicated questions. The result is a kind of religion I have come to call: Steinerism. To engage with a mind given over to Steiner-thought, is to leave the fields of scientific investigations for discourse which is essentially theological in nature. Various folk argue over what Steiner said/meant, but existentially it is impossible to argue with a dead man’s true believers.
Steiner showed the Way out of this confusion in his first four books (GA-1 to GA-4), where he points to the personality of Goethe, and to Goethe’s phenomenological investigations of Nature. We let the phenomena speak, rather than bring to it a ready made idea/concept. We perceive first, and thought comes next. What concepts we let into our heart’s mind, from reading Steiner, are ghosts in between our own perceiving self, and the object of knowledge
Not only that, but in the above four books we can begin to understand that the human being is Nature observing Itself, and in human thought/cognitions that act of perception becomes creative. We add to the thought world concepts that did not previously exist. We give to our experience the core of human “meaning”, which ultimately needs to be understood as personal.
Meaning is to become individualized, an element that disappears in those communities where folk engage in theological representations based on any “master’s words”. As Emerson observed, … to place our own heart’s mind in orbit around the thoughts of another personality is to disable our own latent potential for acts of individual genius.
None of this means that we – ourselves – cannot personally confirm something toward which Steiner pointed. On that personal act our future spiritual development depends. To become dependent on Steiner-said is to lame the own soul, and worse … to model voluntary mental servitude.
Technology is not something new. The Hermetic Science (aka: magic) of the ancient Egyptians is a science of techniques (5). Ceremonies. Religious objects and tools. Evocations of the direct perception of those immortal beings, who Steiner has suggested went through a “human” development before ours. We are right then to ask ourselves, just what does it mean to be “human”?
There is a tale of a Garden, in which stood two trees. The tree of knowledge of good and evil, and the tree of life. Although advised otherwise, being human in that moment meant accepting the temptation to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The “Garden” (aka: Faerie, the Underworld, the Upsidedown, the Lost Cities … just a few of the names for that which we once knew) … the Garden is lost, but not forgotten.
Part of this prior existence – Steiner suggests – included an ability to see otherwise invisible beings, in an otherwise visible or sensible environment. Poetically … we are born of life&light, within life&light, via a process that means to free us from any dependence on this originally external life&light.
The method (or technology) of the Divine Mystery is to turn inside out (involute) light and darkness. This has been called: the Fall. We fell away from life&light into death&darkness. The principle means, to effect this darkness, is to begin to perceive in the world this darkness. Not so much in ourselves, but in others.
The fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil is in our nature. When Steiner approached the Inner Being of the Earth, he brought with him unresolved issues of good and evil, given that the time in which he taught found that duality a descriptive necessity for modern existence. Essentially, in spite of his attainments, he remained “human”, as do we.
Technology too evolves.
For millennia human beings have had a devotional relationship with the world of experience. Practices and traditions endured, where the Mother (the Goddess) was still perceived. With the coming of the three patriarchal monotheisms, these most ancient Ways surrendered to a process where something new was to be discovered by the human being. Something within the human being.
We have a hard time, us moderns, having the ideas of past and future. There is no past, or future, only Now. Without a doubt, there are patterns. Stories of past remembered, and observed to have order, which order continues. There is also disorder, or the paradox of the order in disorder – what Socrates might have noted as Divine Whimsy.
The modern human being has become, in certain limited respects, the author of the direction of the Now. Our choices have consequences. This stark fact reveals that a kind of torch has been passed from the Greater Divine Mystery, to the lesser divine mystery. We create objects out of stuff in new ways, and often ignorant of what is the real nature of the stuff we carelessly transform into forces of death. Keep in mind that the stuff we transform via our “technological accomplishments”, … that stuff we never made.
The Mystery made the stuff, and in fact is the stuff. We just dug it up from where She had put it, and went so far as to blow a hole in forever with our plutonium experiments. We did that, They did not.
That fact hides a very difficult truth, which can only be understood poetically by saying that the divine mystery aspect of the free human being, in this unfolding of unrestrained technological innovation, is aptly named in Revelations, as: “the Beast from the Abyss”. Abyss, in this case, referrers to a realm where the Mother resides, that Steiner never got to enjoy, … the Realm of the Unformed and Uncreated. Human freedom is at play in the realm of that which has not yet been formed or created.
Magic resides there, i.e. the Being of Magic. The Goddesses Hecate & Circe to the Greeks, and the God Heka to the Egyptians. To know Her/Him/It/Them requires surrender, given that is the Way to the Wild in Nature – the Act of Surrender. Steiner, the spiritual investigator, met what was unredeemed in his own soul, because Their Surrender to us is so complete it is like meeting ourselves.
Those wishing to understand modern “technology”, will find the best help in the most ancient technology: Magic. Until human beings begin to have intercourse with the spirits behind the veil of the sensible world, these human beings will not understand what has come to “live” in the stuff&things we make, out of stuff&things we did not make.
This means that the basis for a “moral” technology so many pursue, needs to begin with accepting what They did, and not arguing it never should have appeared in the first place. It (a moral technology) is not in the nature of the objects, but in the moral nature of the thinking-means which produces the objects.
That technology exists, which we don’t like (5G, chem-trails, HAARP etc), is not the riddle. The riddle is are human beings willing to do the work required to have direct and personal intercourse with the Beings living in the “tech”. An I and Thou relationship needs to arise, and for that we need to know the secrets of the Emerald Tablet (6).
On such paths lie many open secrets, whose teachings for our Journey through the Dying and Becoming of Western Civilization depends (7).