The Nature and Purpose of Evil by Rudolf Steiner

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Rudolf Steiner on the

Nature and Purpose of Evil

One of the greatest questions facing humanity is what to do with evil. Students of Rudolf Steiner often argue whether one should conquer evil in a Michaelic fashion with a sword of wisdom that slays ignorance, ignore evil and see only the good, or absorb and transform it in the fashion of Mani, the great spiritual teacher who founded the Manichean religion.
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Evil abounds everywhere and in America it is the mainstay of most every newscast, television show, and movie. The greater the evil displayed, the larger the audience. Evil is so encultured that when it rears its head, like the American bombing of Syria, Libya, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, and other countries, the modern Westerner does not even notice. Evil is king and the global elite and every small cabal underneath them run rampant through the world causing chaos, destruction and destabilization in their wake.
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How can the modern aspirant of spiritual teachings find an answer for evil and learn how to transform it?
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First, we need to know what evil is. Steiner gives tremendous descriptions of good and evil and explains things as the combination of four different time periods that interpenetrate to create our world, essentially, three dimensions and the factor of time as a linear experience. Our three dimensions result in the three soul forces of the human being – thinking, feeling and willing. These three soul forces are confronted by three different types of evil in the world.
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Thinking is attacked by spirits who slowed down their development to help create resistance for the human being in thinking. Thinking can rise up and become higher vibrations and harmonics while creating the future spiritual environment of the aspirant. Thinking can also lower its vibration and become food for the elemental beings and the beings who slowed down and remained behind for our benefit. In the moment, these beings are evil and wish to lead thinking in the wrong direction and make it the materialistic limit of human development, instead of a tool that can commune with higher spiritual beings through developed thinking called Imagination.

Living Thinking Becomes Imagination  

 

Graphic from The Gospel of Sophia: Sophia Christos Initiation
The spiritual initiate works to transform the Seven Deadly Sins
into the Seven Heavenly Virtues.
The beings who wish to steal human thinking and lead it astray are called Luciferic beings.  They attack the human astral body and lead thoughts into the seven deadly sins instead of into higher worlds through the seven holy virtues. Every person is faced with the polarity of evil in their thinking through cold, grey shadow thoughts on one hand or brilliantly luminous and selfish thoughts on the other.
When the center is found through “warmed up” thinking that arises from the heart, then thoughts can be filled with life and become living Imaginations. Lucifer is tamed through this type of living thinking. The evil of thinking is then channeled into Imaginations that feed the angels instead of evil thinking that serves the lower self and its elementals.
Grappling with the Luciferic angels that wish to steal our thoughts is the first stage of spiritual development where doubt is conquered and thoughts are warmed with love to become wisdom.  This type of love is often called Christ, or the higher self. It is a type of warmed up thinking that becomes living Imaginations which is often called Wisdom or the being Sophia. Steiner called Her, AnthropoSophia.
Sophia works with the Archangel Michael through wisdom to guide thinking into the realm of the angels, the realm of living Imaginations. Michael is the son of Sophia according to Steiner.  With Sophia’s love and close guidance the aspirant can utilize the cosmic Wisdom (Sophia) of Michael to defeat Lucifer in the realm of thinking.

Courageous Feeling Becomes Inspiration  

The second stage of spiritual development happens when feelings can be turned into Inspirations. Generally, evil penetrates feeling through fear and anxiety in the human heart.  Cold, reptilian feelings rule the modern realm of emotions. From cold, dispassionate evil that racks the heart with fear and anxiety, to the rage and anger that fills the American emotional landscape there is little balance in the soul. Faith and confidence in the spiritual world seldom fill the heart. Worries of making money, finding love, and making a living oftentimes overwhelms the heart until fear and anxiety turn to depression and suicide. Only the confidence that comes from belief in and experience of the spiritual world can allay those fears.
Fear of death is conquered when the Inspiration arises that human life is eternal and we live on after death, one life after the next. The sting of death dissipates when faith and confidence in the divine fill the heart. This type of Inspiration comes from the realm of the Archangels. The opposing beings who use fear, anxiety, and oppression to steal the heart forces of humanity are called the Ahrimanic beings. Where there is love, there is no fear.
Rudolf Steiner tells us about fear and anxiety in, The Stages of Higher Knowledge:
 
Now that you have read about the nature and purpose of evil and how it can be used to transform thinking, feeling, willing into Imagination, Inspiration, and Intuition, we invite you to wake up to the world’s events and see how Ahriman has been very busy trying to put you to sleep.
It takes spiritual courage to see the veils lifted, but we will be with you every step of the way. You don’t have to lift all the veils at once. We have several layers of truth built into this lesson. Go just as far as you can, no further.

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