Approaching the new millennium

Humanity is at a critical turning point with of the new millennium. This view is felt by but in what sense can it be understood?

According to the teaching of Rudolf Steiner, gradually developed itself from a group soul March 1996 the approach many today humanity has or collective state of consciousness —— one similar to what the animals still possess today — to an individual personality, a sovereign self—dependent being. Despite this seeming self possession, the tendency prevalent today is to bow to external authority, to follow the adyice of others in arranging one's thoughts, one's actions, even one's life rather than trying to find the source of truth in oneself . This can take the form of becoming a part of various groups or communities where it is believed the answers to one' s problems may be found. This way has the seductive advantage of bolstering a sense of security through safety in numbers. On the other hand, the individual who attempts to stand on his own, seeking answers through his own awakening and trusting in himself, is frequently alienated or marginalised as someone who does not " fit in" . Yet such a person has the most to offer if his " individualism" is an ethical one in the sense of Rudolf Steiner's philosophy.

Steiner's philosophy as a path of knowledge gives a sound basis to the experience of oneself as a free spirit —— an experience that is open to everyone . - Inner conquest and the awakening to oneself through creative activity is the theme of the path to which Steiner gave the name "Anthroposophy" , a wisdom of the human being. Anthroposophical wisdom can shine forth from the soul of each person, but only through one' s own striving. It cannot be acquired by any external means. Each one of us may take up its teaching for and through our own inner being. Our spirit belongs to the invisible world which can be reached through the creative power of intuitive thinking.

Using the door of anthroposophical insight, a man or woman becomes a true individual, their own person and not a member of a type. And Steiner goes on to say that in the future only those individuals will remember their present existence in the right way if there is an awakening to the Christ—impulse, the source of our true human individuality.

He goes on to warn that the memory of those who today are living in the old group consciousness will be such that this group consciousness will still exist when they are reembodied at a later time. It will be possible for such individuals to remember their present incarnation in that later timer but they will then clearly see that their earlier judgment was made dependent on the judgment of others. They will then realise that they had acted as a non—individual, lacking in independence and bound up with a group mentality. The realisation of the denial of their Self will bring fearful and painful consequences. The task of the Consciousness Soul today, the evolutionary stage humanity has reached, is to awaken us to the unique spiritual being that we are . The prospect of being bound to the group soul consciousness threatens all those who are unable to receive the Christ—impulse in our time.

Steiner describes an ancient primeval condition when the human being was embedded in the whole cosmic world and fully united with it without any sense of separation. It was from the streaming cosmos that humanity received its nourishment. A memory of this time can be recalled today by observing the way the foetus is embedded in the nourishing womb of the mother before birth. Through the evolutionary process a gradual separation arose, a subject/ object relationship of the human being to the cosmos began to dawn, and the first experience of a separate ego made itself known. This was accompanied by a terrible feeling of shame engulfing the human soul. It was as though all were looking at it in its separateness, and the experience it had was of being different from everyone else. Shame burned in the soul at that time when the premature I" feeling was felt and the blissful harmony and security of being embedded within the greater environment was threatened with loss.

Such ancient feelings lie deep within us like memory seeds even today. This ancient shame has grown into anxiety and is deeply rooted in fear, the fear to be one's true self before the world. The working of the Consciousness Soul that would awaken us to our eternal Spirit can overcome this fear. Our redemption is possible, for the harmony of the Cosmos can now be found in the centre of each human soul as the Christ in Man. 

By Nelson Willby, March 1996