The US-China Relationship in the 21st Century and the Spectres of 1776 (2)


© Terry Boardman

This article first appeared  in New View magazine 2nd Quarter Spring 2007



The year 1776 saw four developments of crucial importance which are all in a sense related: the American Declaration of Independence from Britain, the publications of Adam Smith’s book The Wealth of Nations and the first part of Edward Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire and the foundation of by Adam Weishaupt (1748-1830) of his  conspiratorial group, the Order of the Illuminati, dedicated to the revolutionary overthrow by stealth of all traditional social order. 18 years later came the utter failure of Lord Macartney ‘s official mission to China to open up that country to British trade.

Today, the USA is, effectively, the new Roman Empire ; its power is built on its economic strength, which in turn is based on two things – possession of productive land and the application of an economic ideology. In the Louisiana Purchase of 1803 the vast territory between the Mississippi and the Rockies was bought from Napoleon, who was himself something of an Asiatic despot in his dealings. The lands of the Southwest and the Far West were then seized in war from Mexico . The ideology was essentially the economic liberalism of Adam Smith : a successful economy is one in which the individual is assumed to be self-centred and therefore needs liberty in his economic life to enable him to create growth and profit; the state should therefore involve itself as little as possible in the economy. [1]

Weishaupt’s revolutionary Illuminati established something of a template for countless revolutionary groups throughout the world, including the Chinese Communist Party. Its structure was strictly hierarchical and cellular; subordinates were not to know their superiors’ views or policies. It resorted to all possible means of infiltration and accommodation to gain its objectives, just as communists were to do in the 20th century. The aim was totalitarian governance of the people by a self-appointed cadre of superiors. Here was the germ both of Bolshevism and of western think tanks allied to conservative elites. The people were not deemed fit to govern themselves. 200 years after the failure of Macartney’s mission, China is still being governed in accordance with these principles. 200 years after the publication of the books of Gibbon and Smith, the USA – its administration constantly advised by and infiltrated by think tanks – has become the New Rome, seeking to spread Smith’s message of economic liberty for the individual throughout the world.

In the first part of this article (New View Winter 2006/7), I considered the prospects for war some time later this century between the two ‘Atlantean’ powers: China , proud of being the world’s oldest continuous civilisation, and the USA , with its universalist claim to being the world’s self-styled model for the present and future. Is such a dreadful clash between these two titans inevitable? What hidden forces may lie behind such a drive to conflict? How could it be avoided? This article will consider the more ‘esoteric’ aspects to these questions.

The Descent of Man

Rudolf Steiner pointed out that history is not a linear chain of events in which C is caused by B, which is caused by A. Rather, historical events can be seen as ‘symptoms’ of deeper underlying changes in human consciousness, which constitute the process of spiritual evolution. Steiner described a process in which, together with the Earth and the entire solar system, mankind has descended from a spiritual non-corporeal condition into material bodies.[2] During the earlier stages of this process, mankind was aware of the existence of spiritual beings, because they were directly perceptible, but with the ever deepening descent into matter, these beings withdrew. If they had not, mankind would never have been able to develop its own freedom, which was the whole purpose of the process. After the withdrawal of spiritual beings from human company, contact with them was maintained through the establishment of mystery centres where pupils were trained by initiates to develop capacities no longer possessed by the majority of their fellows. Cultures were guided from these centres. In time, such centres also faded until, approximately 2000 years ago, mankind reached a critical stage in its evolution in physical terms. At this point, without a major intervention from the spiritual world, humanity would have fallen into complete physical degeneracy. The growing human ego was not yet strong enough to prevent human passions from damaging the life forces of the human organism to the point where the physical body would no longer be able to function as an effective nexus of sense organs for the individual’s ego on the material plane.

At this point, the being known in the West as the Christ intervened in human evolution and through His Resurrection, provided the impulse for the crucial turn-round in human development.[3] This is why Steiner always maintained that it was not Jesus ‘ teachings that were so important (others before Him such as the Buddha had taught of love and compassion); rather, it was Christ ‘s deeds that were and are the key to understanding Christianity. Having descended from the spiritual sphere of the Sun, Christ saved the human physical body for mankind  – all mankind, whether they knew of Him or not – and thus enabled human consciousness  to continue to develop on Earth. That single physical intervention by Christ was the only physical intervention He needed to make in human evolution; it occurred at a fulcrum point in our whole history on Earth. Steiner showed how Christ has accompanied mankind through all the stages of human evolution and, since the Resurrection, mankind and the Earth itself have been on the path of re-ascent, gradual re-spiritualisation, a process through which the Christ Being also accompanies us, but now from that region of the spiritual world that is closest to the physical. This region is termed in spiritual science ‘the etheric world’; its physical correlate is what these days we call the Earth’s biosphere, which, according to Steiner ‘s spiritual research, extends from the Earth’s atmosphere up to the orbit of the Moon. The spiritual world no longer guides mankind; it is now up to us to find our own way back, in freedom, to our divine origins and to bear the fruits of what we have learned through many lives on the material plane back to the spiritual world.

The stages of mankind’s journey, the unfolding of different aspects of our being, are cosmically regulated by the passage of the Spring point (vernal equinox) through the Zodiac: it  takes 72 years to move through one degree, and 2160 years for 30 degrees. With each passage through a Zodiac sign the human organism has developed new capacities. Each major epoch of development has 7 phases, called cultural epochs. There are 7 of these epochs (15,120 years) in a Great Epoch and we are currently in the fifth of 7 Great Epochs of the physical material condition of the Earth.[4] Before and after this condition, the Earth exists in a less physical state. The Great Epoch immediately before our own  ended some 10,000 years ago c.8000 BC and is known as the Atlantean Epoch. Numerous cultures around the world have memories of the great

Flood which gradually brought Atlantis to an end. As Atlantis declined, many of its population emigrated to West and East. The people of its southern region, who were oriented to the cult of Saturn[5], left Atlantis first and settled in what is now North America and subsequently, Central and South America where the later Olmec, Toltec, Mayan, Aztec and Inca civilisations developed. The people of the other planetary cults headed East in two broad streams on either side of the Mediterranean Sea , dropping off groups as they went. Eventually, they reached East Asia, where one of the two streams, members of the northern group, later merged with older        
indigenous pre-Atlantean peoples to form the Chinese people.[6] In their art and art and philosophy,  social forms and general approach to life, the Chinese have preserved until today the memory and habits of Atlantis more than any other people, seeing “beauty in the order and harmony of the universe, not in the expression of individual wishes, opinions or experiences”[8] – only in the last decades has this now begun to change to any substantial degree.

Two Polarities

Two other concepts of spiritual science must be briefly outlined that help elucidate our present situation. The Christ is that Being Who supports our deepest humanity, our sense of Self, the Sun in each one of us. This gives us our psychological balance, but freedom would not be possible only with the Christ . To be free, we must have choice and the possibility of imbalance, excess and error. There are two spiritual beings (and their hosts of attendants) who represent this polarity to us: too much levity (expansion, inflation, hysteria, excess of heat) or too much gravity (contraction, deflation, depression, excess of cold).  By the time Taoist teachings were written down a few centuries before Christ, these two polar imbalances were known in China as Yin and Yang. Rudolf Steiner recognised such forces as spiritual beings and named them Lucifer (the expansive) and Ahriman (the contractive). Lucifer would hold us back in the past, away from the material and wish to draw us into his own world of spirit, while Ahriman seeks to press us down ever deeper into matter and even below matter so that we forget the spirit entirely. Steiner recognised that there comes a point in time in human history and also a point in space when these two beings, like the Christ , incarnate once at crucial periods in our development. In 1919 Rudolf Steiner described how the being Lucifer incarnated in China c.3000 BC.[9] He went on to make the remarkable observation that the human being in whom Lucifer (Light-bearer) dwelt was extremely brilliant, in fact the first human being who really thought for himself. He was so brilliant in fact that he inspired ­all the subsequent knowledge that spread from Asia right across to Greece . The Chinese, as might be expected, seem to have retained a memory of this remarkable being, the best candidate for whom is Huang Di (August God-king), the Yellow Emperor (supposedly reigned in the 27th century BC). They regard him as the ancestor of all Han Chinese; much traditional medicine, musical instruments, silk-making, the compass, the calendar, and writing are attributed to him.[10]

With Christ’s own incarnation in Palestine 3000 years after Lucifer, the luciferic influence over mankind as a whole began to weaken, and the balance began to shift to the other side. Ahriman became an increasingly greater source of imbalance and will remain so until the end of Earth evolution, but he too will spend a period united with a single human being on the Earth. In 1919 Steiner indicated that this incarnation would take place “before only a part of the 3rd millennium has elapsed” and it would be “in the West”.[11] For various reasons a number of people have indicated that it will be in the 21st century and in North America , most likely the USA . Both Lucifer and Ahriman bring gifts  to humanity but of a very one-sided nature. As with Lucifer, the coming incarnation of  Ahriman will present a huge challenge to mankind, which we are already beginning to sense. Ahriman’s  gifts will help us to develop our technical and intellectual culture, but if we fail to recognise his  one-sidedness then we will fall for his temptation, which is intended to make us forget the spirit completely so that the Earth will become a giant machine culture.

There have been innumerable examples in recent decades of mankind’s intuition of this approaching danger, from Charlie Chaplin ‘s Modern Times and Alduous Huxley ‘s Brave New World to Tolkien ‘s The Lord of the Rings and the movie The Matrix. The growing spirit of Ahriman, a rigidifying total control, can be felt everywhere – in the media, in music, politics, the all-pervading growth of systems thinking, religious literalism, computers and the Internet, the domination of the global economy by mega-corporations, virtual reality, and in the rise of the new Romans, Romulus and Remus[12], the imperial ambitions of the USA and the EU – in short, in everything which  projects and fixes will-to-power without corresponding reflection and heart.

The Real Destiny of the USA ?

Rome was the cultural fashion in the 1770s and late 18th century when the USA was founded. Today, the USA has taken on the mantle of Rome ‘s claim to determine the future of human culture itself. The ‘soft power’ of its cultural allure is all-pervasive, even as its legions have over 750 military installations and bases projecting ‘hard power’ in over 50 countries around the world; its planes, civil and military, dominate the skies, and its navy rules the waves; its submarines prowl the oceans with their nuclear missiles (9,960 apparently available for use in 2002)[13]; American satellites spy on the world from space; its super computers investigate all electronic communications; the global Internet is centred in the US and a complete alternative cyber reality, Second Life, devised in the US, has been spreading over the Internet since 2003.[14]  The power of the USA is unique in world history; not since Atlantis, and maybe not even then has there been anything like its all-encompassing global reach. Furthermore, the magnetic N. Pole is situated in North America ; subterranean magnetism is the most concentrated in the north-south mountain ranges of the Rockies and the Andes . Such magnetism, according to Rudolf Steiner , is what strengthens the power of the psychological Double, an ahrimanic being which accompanies each of us, indwelling our very bio-electrical physiology – the electricity in our bodies that functions alongside the nervous system and is registered on ECG and EEG scans.[15]Materialism, contraction, involution, sclerosis, hardening, rigidification, fixed positions in thought, gravity – these are the forces with which Ahriman works. He is determined to force humanity into a premature and excessively mechanised future of total control in which free choice will be an impossibility, and any notion of the spirit will simply not occur to people, for it will have become the norm to think of human beings as either animals or cyborgs. Whereas Lucifer, in his incarnation, was unknown outside of China , and Jesus Christ hardly known outside of Palestine , Ahriman will make himself known all over the world through technology. Furthermore, his self-representation will be a consummate Lie. The name Steiner chose for him is that of the ancient Persian god of darkness, who the Zoroastrian prophet Zarathustra always referred to as the Lie. Ahriman will  try to pass himself off as something he is not; he will in fact try to pass himself off as a kind of saviour, or Jesus Christ .

It ought to be made clear that all this implies no demonisation of the American people. They will have to provide the cultural stage on which Ahriman is likely to appear, and they will do that for all of us, for without Ahriman we have no possibility of real choice and thus ultimately, no freedom. Similarly for the Chinese with Lucifer when they provided the stage for him, and also for the Jews with Christ . We should ever be grateful to these peoples, the Chinese, the Jews, and the Americans. What they have had to do is a great sacrifice for all three peoples, for in each case, their cultures have had to prepare for centuries to bear the burden of the incarnations of these great beings, who are so mighty that the effect they have on the three peoples throughout their subsequent history is such that it  hardly fades; it is a profound engraving. The tragedy of Israel and Palestine is intimately bound up with what happened there 2000 years ago. The Chinese people have retained social habits that ultimately reach back to Atlantis because Lucifer was there amongst them 5000 years ago and sounded such a cultural note that it still echoes on today in China ‘s national pride and the political authoritarianism of its current rulers.

Ahriman’s increasing influence  in North America can be especially experienced is in the west of the continent, and it is here, in California and the American South West, that we can see the influence of Mexico and the ancient Mesoamerican cultures, which had a strong Ahrimanic colouring also stemming from Atlantis. Stephen Clarke, who lives in New Mexico, has written illuminatingly on the relation of the American imperial National Security State and the development of the A-Bomb (Manhattan Project) at Los Alamos, New Mexico, as “a recapitulation of the spiritual and political history of Mesoamerica: the history of great religious-militaristic empires – and one which is in syncopated counterpoint to the legacy of Rome in Europe.”[16]

By 1325… the Mexi’ca had begun to build their double-headed capital city of Mexi’co-Tenochtitlan and Mexi’co-Tlatelolco…. Ironically in many ways, (politically, economically, and psychologically), the Mexi’ca were the spiritual ancestors of the United States of America . The Mexi’ca bled their subjugated vassals of economic, and cultural vitality. According to the “officially approved” history of the ruling class of Tenochtitlan, the Mexi’ca were the centre of the universe, and were entrusted with keeping it alive. In their eyes, they were the greatest nation to have ever existed. They were the chosen ones, blessed as God’s righteous and sacred people. This has many echoes in today’s nationalistic, evangelical, supremacist rhetoric from the dominant powers of today’s U.S.A. and Europe .[17]

In the 1830s the farsighted Frenchman Alexis de Tocqueville already identified sinister and unexpected aspects of the new power arising across the Atlantic :

    “I seek to trace the novel features under which despotism may appear in the world. The first thing that strikes the observation is an innumerable multitude of men, all equal and alike, incessantly endeavouring to procure the petty and paltry pleasures with which they glut their lives. Each of them, living apart, is as a stranger to the fate of all the rest; his children and his private friends constitute to him the whole of mankind. As for the rest of his fellow citizens, he is close to them, but does not see them; he touches them, but he does not feel them; he exists only in himself and for himself alone; and if his kindred still remain to him, he may be said at any rate to have lost his country. Above this race of men stands an immense and tutelary power, which takes upon itself alone to secure their gratifications and to watch over their fate. That power is absolute, minute, regular, provident, and mild. It would be like the authority of a parent if, like that authority, its object was to prepare men for manhood; but it seeks, on the contrary, to keep them in perpetual childhood; it is well content that the people should rejoice, provided they think of nothing but rejoicing”. [18]

Most educated Americans of that time, as John O’Sullivan and Hermann Melville declared, would have claimed their republic as the model of individual freedom, of universal enfranchisement….. the ark of the liberties of the world. This, they felt, was America ‘s ‘high destiny’, its ‘express dispensation’. Many in the New Age movement have claimed that the USA was founded by ‘Aquarian’ or ‘Rosicrucian’ initiates as just such a philadelphic model for humanity. But we should ask ourselves rather, whether the USA was not intended to bear a cross of its own in the burden of bearing the presence of Ahriman. Living in America as Ahriman has prepared his incarnation and then experiencing that incarnation in the future when it occurs – this is what has made and will make the people of the USA   – of all ethnicities and colours – heroic. More than any other nation, they have to deal with the most powerful forces of evil, the most powerful manifestation of the Lie. While George Bush points ever and again to the evil outside America , he seems blind to what is looming in his own country. Since 1776, Americans have told themselves and the world repeatedly that their country is formed by their individualistic and freedom-loving character, but this was largely a dream, more or less conscious, which they brought with them from a painful past in Europe, hoping to realise the dream in the opportunity offered in the great open land over the ocean. But in the 20th century, and especially since 1945 and the Trinity Test (the official name given to the first test explosion of the A-bomb near Alamogordo, New Mexico) that culminated on 16 July that year, more and more people in America and abroad have become aware of something else in the American character that stems not from the old thoughts of Europe and Asia but rises up, as it were, from below, from the land itself, especially in the West, where the subterranean magnetism is strongest:

If I had ever been here before I would probably know just what to do

Don’t you? If I had ever been here before,

On another time around the wheel,

I would probably know just how to deal with all of you.

And I feel … I’ve been here before

Feel like I’ve been here before

And you know

It makes me wonder….what’s going on… under the ground

Do you know? Don’t you wonder? What’s going on down under you?

We have all been here before …We have all been here before…..

                                        Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Deja Vu, 1970

Since the Spanish first arrived there, Europe has felt America ‘s Midas touch which, according to Steiner , “tends to mechanise and naturalise” all it comes across. 700 years ago, in the 13th century the Mongols represented the opposite danger for Europe   – namely, being dragged back to earlier stages of development – when they destroyed a great pan-European army at the Battle of Liegnitz in 1241 and all Europe was theirs for the taking. The danger receded as mysteriously as it had approached, Russia paying the long and heavy price for absorbing for the rest of Europe the remaining Mongol pressure. Then, by an equally mysterious process, we see how the Far East actually led Europe to America, for it is now known that a heavily annotated copy of Marco Polo’s account of his travels to China was in the possession of …. Christopher Columbus . Europe sought a New World in China , but found it in America. As Steiner puts it, the luciferic element needed to be balanced by the ahrimanic, and Europeans had to be kept away from both China and America until they were at least partly ready to cope with the powerful forces of the two realms without being utterly overwhelmed by either.

    A certain quarter”, said Rudolf Steiner, “wishes to remove the impulse of the Mystery of Golgotha by bringing in another impulse from the West, a kind of Antichrist. More than anything else, that quarter will strive to make use of electricity, especially the earth’s magnetism to spread effects all over the earth….It will be an American secret to use the earth’s magnetism in its duality, the northern and southern magnetism, in order to send controlling forces across the whole earth, forces that work spiritually….If Europeans remain blind to the power of such geographical forces, their continent “would become Greece to the US Rome; European culture would be extinguished.[19]

Lucifer  in the past of China -  his influence continuing the past in the present -  and Ahriman in the future of the USA -  his influence always seeking to accelerate development and propel the present prematurely into the future: these are what stand behind the symptoms of a possible US-China clash over, for example, the controversial island of Taiwan, whose capital lies at the same latitude 25°N as Mexico City (the former Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan). Ahriman’s own incarnation is also imminent and it stands to ‘spiritual reason’ that whereas the rest of us need to draw what we can from the event while defending ourselves from its excesses, the Chinese will tend to oppose the USA, the stage of Ahriman’s incarnation, most strongly, because the effects of the luciferic incarnation still live so strongly within their own culture.[20]

Estimated Time of Arrival

So much then, for Lucifer and Ahriman in space; what of time? The Sino-American clash is looming now, in the 21st century, because the 20th  to 23rd   centuries are the most important period in history since the Christ united Himself with the etheric organism of the earth at the Ascension. Why is this?

It may help to look at some of the profound rhythms that work into the human condition. In the Far East , adulthood was traditionally celebrated at 20, that is, in the 21st year of life. In the West it has traditionally been  21, only recently reduced to 18. 20-21 is the time when the human ego, which has been gradually uniting itself with its body’s material organism, enters fully in and takes charge, much as an owner takes possession of a house. The house still has to be made into ‘a home’; it still has to be decorated and fully furnished, but at 20-21, the owner has taken full possession. In Dec. 1917 Rudolf Steiner spoke of a historical law operative since Christ left the material plane in 33 AD: all social impulses  – ‘good’ or ‘bad’ – that arise in a 33-year period go through a transformation over the next 33 years and are resurrected, so to speak, in the third 33 year period.[21] What is planted in, say, 1900-1933 grows through 1933-1966 and then returns as fruit in 1966-1999. This means that 3 x 33 years (or approximately one century) constitute a specific period of social and cultural growth. This historical principle can also be related to the life of the individual i.e.  a year in the life of the growing child corresponds to a century in the life of mankind. A study of the events that occurred in, for example, the 4th, 7th, 9th, 14th and 19th centuries, irrespective of culture, can  show clearly how  they correlate to the 4th, 7th, 9th, 14th and 19th year in the growth of the individual,  irrespective of the culture they come from. Around the 4th year the ego usually connects with the organism, and the child begins to say “I”. In the 7th year comes the change of teeth, the sign of independence from the body of the mother; in the 9th year, however, the first signs of the bodily death process set in as brain cells begin to die; in the 14th year puberty takes hold, and in the 19th year, the first Moon Node takes place.[22] Events on the global and national scale that correlate with these processes in individual biographies can be observed in the course of human history since Christ .  The 21st century is therefore no mere arbitrary date for the events described here to take place. It is the very special time when the ego of mankind as a whole  – since Christ came for all of mankind – takes possession of the house of mankind just as it was a very special moment when the young adult used to be given the key of the door and was recognised socially as an adult. In this 21st century we shall have such global self-consciousness as never before. Precisely in this century then, the luciferic and ahrimanic forces can be expected to make their greatest strike against the human ego and the ego of mankind that seeks for freedom. Precisely in this century, we see the USA and China, the two cultures of the incarnations of Lucifer and Ahriman respectively that most resonate with the spirit of ancient Atlantis, begin to square up against each other. Between their compulsive forces is the Ego of Man. The destruction of the Twin Towers as the 21st century  began was surely an awesome symbol of the dual nature of the assault on mankind that the forces of opposition are planning for mankind in this critical century. The Twin  Towers were both annihilated, nearly 3000 people sacrificed, and what was left was pain, loss, heroism, and the love and sympathy of so many of the people of the world for the people of America. This became tempered when until the White House began to act so strongly abroad.

Three Ways to a Solution

Finally, what can prevent China and the US from clashing? What can prevent the Ego of Man from being destroyed by their clash? We can look for wholesome answers in three directions – in the cultural, economic and political spheres.  Both Taoism and Buddhism counsel against attachment, but the Chinese are deeply attached to their national religion, which is ‘being Chinese’, and are perhaps prepared to summon a dragon for its sake:

In the five thousand years of outstanding civilisation, our country has commanded a predominant position in the whole world. ….However, as long as Taiwan has not returned to the motherland, the unified image will remain incomplete, which is not only an emotional trauma for the Chinese people, but an issue involving the dignity of our country; ….The Taiwan issue directly affects the solidarity of different nationalities within our country and constitutes the most serious hidden problem that could endanger the very existence of the Chinese nation.[23]

Yet the Tao says:

Whenever you advise a ruler in the way of Tao, counsel him not to use force to conquer the universe. For this would only cause resistance… Lean years follow in the wake of war…Never take advantage of power…Force is followed by loss of strength. This is not the way of Tao. That which goes against the Tao comes to an early end. (verse 30. tr. Gia Fu Feng)

The root cause of modern warfare is almost always the disease of atheism, a reliance on materialism as one’s philosophy of life; this is spiritual ignorance. George Bush may speak of God, democracy, and freedom, but we only have to look at a map to see where the US bases are in order to understand the  economic motives behind US actions.

The Tao of heaven is to take from those who have too much and give to those who do not have enough. Man’s way is different. He takes from those who do not have enough to give to those who already have too much. (verse 77. Tr. Gia Fu Feng)

More than anything, a knowledge of the spirit, a spiritual science that brought a concrete understanding of reincarnation would actually serve the most to avoid war between the USA and China and bring peace in this critical 21st century by creating a sense of spiritual brotherhood that goes beyond nationality and genetics. This would not only work against the Roman ghost  of western neo-imperialism, it would help Chinese people to see that one has a spiritual heredity as well as an earthly genetic one and that in their previous lives they may have been Europeans or Africans and may therefore be Japanese or Americans in their next lives. It would help draw American Christian fundamentalists away from reliance on the letter of the Bible and towards  a spiritual understanding, as revealed in the Bible,  of the evolution of consciousness and its relation to reincarnation; they too may realise that they could be Chinese in their next lives. Rudolf Steiner certainly did more than anyone to substantiate reincarnation from a spiritual perspective, as the eight volumes of his Karmic Relationships (1924) attest.[24]

Another crucial task that needs to be accomplished is to overcome the liberal economics heritage of Adam Smith . Individual liberty works destructively when applied to the economic realm, where it does not belong.[25] The self-centred freedom to exploit workers and the natural world in order to maximise profit, to manufacture whatever one desires, the emphasis on liberty in all realms, was the intellectual product of mankind’s 18th century -  which is reflected in an individual’s 18th year. For we can see that the later teenage years in individual biographies are often  marked by exactly this self-assertive striving that can fail to take account of the needs of others, so great is the drive of the individual personality to assert itself in or even against its environment. But mankind is now in its 21st ‘year’, and our needs are different. Slowly, we are beginning to realise that the self-aggrandising capitalist free market ethos of the 18th century, based on Adam Smith ‘s insights that arose naturally at that time, threatens now to overwhelm the balance of Earth’s ecology and exhaust its forces.

Thirdly, we have not yet solved the problem of political parties, groupings that seek power based on programmes devised by small oligarchies and committees, sometimes secretively. “We have to realise that in a democracy we have to have political parties” said Hazel Blears, UK Cabinet Minister on BBC Radio ( 15 March 2007 ), arguing for compulsory public funding of political parties. But this too is a spectre from the late 18th century that needs laying to rest. The 21st century must be one of the individual ego that recognises and respects other individual egos and builds community on that basis, and not on the basis of political tribalism disciplined by threats and bribes by political party bully boys. The teenage years are, and ‘the teenage centuries’ were, a time of tension between a growing self-consciousness and the receding group consciousness of childhood. Thus the 18th century could produce the writings both of an Adam Smith and an Adam Weishaupt – writings for the thrusting individual looking for profit and also for the forger of secretive cabals. The politics of cabals and parties must now be replaced by a new politics of individuals and freely chosen associative communities.[26] The best ‘candidates’ for this task would perhaps be Britain, France and the USA, the three societies most associated not only with the modern party system but also with the grandfather of secret societies  – Freemasonry. This would end the empty, rich man’s charade of the American see-saw party system and provide a different, more contemporary model for the Chinese, whose old-fashioned Bolshevik hierarchy Adam Weishaupt would still recognise.

The Way gave birth to unity,

Unity gave birth to duality,

Duality gave birth to trinity,

Trinity gave birth to the myriad creatures.

(Tao Te Ching chap. 42)


[1] This concept of relatively untrammelled liberty for entrepreneurs would also lead directly to the Opium Wars with China 1839-42 and 1858-1860, in which, incidentally, American traders (e.g. Warren Delano, ancestor of President F.D.Roosevelt) played no small part. Today, drugs trade is one of the worst scourges of the modern world.

[2] For spiritual researchers like Steiner, this process is an observable fact; for the rest of us, until it can be verified spiritually, it must remain hypothetical, but it can nevertheless be compared with what we know of studies of history, mythology and anthropology to ascertain its plausibility.

[3] See Rudolf Steiner’s lectures on the Gospels.

[4] See Steiner’s lectures on The Apocalypse of St John (June 1908) where he describes how the Earth goes through 7 conditions of Consciousness, each of which has 7 conditions of Life (sometimes known as Rounds) and these in turn each have 7 Conditions of Form (also known as Globes). Currently, we are in the 4th (Earth) condition of Consciousness, the 4th (Mineral) condition of Life and the 4th (Physical) condition of Form. Within the physical condition of the Mineral Earth, there are 7 evolutionary epochs, of which the Atlantean was the 4th, and ours is the 5th, the Post-Atlantean. Finally, our 5th epoch also  has 7 cultural ages (determined by the precession of the equinoxes), of which again, ours is the 5th post-Atlantean age (1413-3573). Our ‘grand address’ in Time is thus (in terms of the epochs we have completed)

[5] The peoples of Atlantis were grouped around cults, mysteries or oracles relating to the different planetary spheres: Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Venus , Mercury, Vulcan. See R. Steiner, Cosmic Memory (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2006)

[6] The Chinese usually see themselves as consisting of two broad groups – the northern Han and the southern Man.

[7] Hunab Ku – symbol of Mayans’ supreme God, formless and transcendent. Correlate of Aztec Taotl.

[8] J.Blatchford , China – Ancient Inspiration and New Directions (Rudolf Steiner College Publications 1989) p.142

[9] R.Steiner, The Influence of Lucifer and Ahriman, Anthroposophic Press, 1993, lecture 3

[10] All Chinese emperors since the time of Qin Shi Huang (221-210 BC), the first historical emperor and builder of the Great Wall were called Huang Di.

[11] See n. 9, lecture 1  

[12] Twin mythological founders of Rome, abandoned and raised from infancy by a female wolf.

[13] Robert S. Norris and Hans M. Kristensen.’ U.S. nuclear forces, 2006′, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 61:1 (January/February 2005), pp. 68-71

[14] As of Dec 2005, 10 of the world’s 13 Internet root servers were then operated from the United States and one each from Amsterdam, Stockholm, and Tokyo, and the US insists on retaining control of ICANN, the international body that supervises the administration of the Internet K.N. Cukier, Who Will Control the Internet?, ‘Foreign Affairs’ November/December 2005.  

Second Life is an Internet-based  multi-player virtual world, available to the public since 2003. “Residents can explore, meet other residents, socialize, participate in individual and group activities, create and trade items (virtual property) and services from one another.”

[15] ECG: electrocardiograph   (records the electrical activity of the heart over time) EEG:  electroencephalogram (measurement of the electrical activity of the brain)



[18] Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, (1835 & 1840) Ch.6 Bk IV This is not the picture one usually associates with de Tocqueville ‘s  often eulogistic appraisal of the young Republic.

[19] R. Steiner, lecture of 25.11.1917, Secret Brotherhoods and the Mystery of the Human Double (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2004)

[20] This is not to say that Ahriman has not made his own inroads into China nor that there are not many Chinese who will successfully in their own souls defend themselves from both the excesses of the luciferic element in their own culture and the ahrimanic from the West. Equally, one only has to listen to some of the inflationary and self-glorifying “God-Bless-America” claims of George Bush and the rightwing America Right or Wrong lobby to know that lucifer is active in the USA too. The point is that despite this, the two cultures represent the physical stages of the planetary yin and yang, as it were. The power elite in the USA know that China represents the toughest nut for them to crack, far tougher than the world of Islam, which is why they are surreptitiously making plans for action against China once the much-hyped War on Terror against the Islamists is over. (see the first part of this article, New View, Winter 2006/7)

[21] R. Steiner, lecture of 23rd December 1917, Basel

[22] Moon Nodes – the two points on the Moon’s path around Earth where the Moon rises above and later dips below the Earth’s ecliptic. These positions are constantly shifting but after 18.7 years they return to the same place. When the individual reaches about 18½ that is the first Moon node in an individual’s biography; the second is at age 37  and so on. At these nodes a ‘window’ opens for a short while in the biography where the individual has an opportunity to reconnect with his/her pre-birth intentions that s/he forgot when descending from the Moon sphere to birth.

[23] “Watching Closely for Changes in the Relationships with Taiwan and Enhancing the Awareness by Military Leadership of the Current Situation,” Office of the Central Military Commission of the Communist Party of China August 10, 1999

[24] The man who perhaps did more than anyone in recent decades to substantiate an understanding of reincarnation by doing exhaustive research on the earthly plane was the Canadian, Prof. Ian Stevenson M.D. (University of Virginia), who died on 8 Feb. 2007. See his Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation (2nd revised and enlarged edition,  University of Virginia Press, 1974)  

[25] Individual liberty and freedom belong in the cultural sphere where competition is justified. The political sphere of rights calls for equality, while the principle of the economic sphere should be fraternity; to transform the fruits of the Earth requires brotherhood. See R. Steiner, Towards Social Renewal (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1999)

[26] By associative communities is meant political communities the individual chooses to join rather than those s/he is ‘born into’ as a result of class or ethnicity.

Terry Boardman 2007

 This page was first uploaded 20.9.2008. Last updated 2.7.2012