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The Computer and the Incarnation Ahriman

Rudolf Steiner e.Lib Document

Sketch of Rudolf Steiner lecturing at the East-West Conference in Vienna.

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The Computer and the Incarnation Ahriman

On-line since: 28th April, 2017

5. From the Beginning of Time to the End

We all know that “hell” is a swear word. Does “hell” also refer to something? Is hell a reality?

Assuming there is a hell, we then think: whatever else hell may be it is also a state of being. But we — humans — are beings. So “hell” may be the name for a particular state of our being, a possible condition of the human being.

Whatever the state of a human being, that state continually undergoes change. The change is accompanied, not always fully, by attention. By paying attention, we direct what is creative in us and acquire an altered state of being. All degrees of attentiveness, from watching television to meditating, alter the state of our being. They differ not in whether attention is exercised but in how much will is exercised.

The human being took on a hellish tinge in events described in Genesis. The alteration of the human being in the direction of hell took place in two stages. In the first stage the serpent captured Eve's attention. She turned from attending exclusively to God and attended to the minister of hell who at that time still shared a residence with God and the human being. In the second stage Adam and Eve exercised their will and ate the apple. After directing themselves towards hell, they propelled themselves into it and it into themselves. Thus began a spiral of degeneration.

The spiral began with the expulsion from the Garden. What were Adam and Eve expelled into? Was there such a place before the apple? They were expelled from the “Edenic” state of being into the “fallen” state of being, the distinguishing characteristic of which is the active participation of the powers of hell. The Edenic unity of the human state of being was broken and access to one of the pieces given to the powers of hell.

The spiral of degeneration deepened as the human state of being increasingly became hell. The earth hardened and dried as a reflection of the changing human state. The being who appeared as a serpent was not yet in the earth, but the earth reflected its presence in us.

In the beginning, before all of this, there was the Word. That Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and glory. The Word offered to each human being power to become a child of God, to each who receives the Word, believes in His name, who is born of God. Proper attention to the Word gives will to transform the human in the Edenic direction.

In 1879, after extended battle, Satan was cast down to earth. Already established as part of humanity, Satan could then be in the world of objects. In that year the first electric, artificial light burned. All other lights had been like the Sun, ultimately derived from the Sun. Electricity and the electric light have their own basis, unrelated to the Sun. Also in that year a pivotal event in the development of mathematical logic logic broke the dominion of the word over the human mind, when Frege published his Begriffschrift. With this concept-script, Frege established logic as an intellectual object with a free basis unrelated to the word, just as electricity made light unrelated to the Sun.Sunless light and Wordless logic intertwined, and out of them came the computer.

In twenty one years this renegade, objectified logic developed to the crisis of self-awareness which in logic is the paradox of self-reference. In Russell this took the form of understanding the set of all sets which do not contain themselves. (Does it contain itself? If it does, it is not such a set. If it does not, it is such a set.)

In 1948 von Neumann worked out the details of automata, creatures of logic, which are able to reproduce themselves entirely, including their means of reproduction. All life processes were now possible within the realm of logic alone, from analysis to reflection to reproduction. This world of possibilities is now being incorporated into practical computers. Its basis, their basis, appeared in the Garden as the serpent, established a foothold in our being, and now is building a new world of its own, a world with light not of the Sun and logic not of the Word. Just as the Word offers each person the power to become a child of God, so each person is now offered the power to become a child of hell.

Last Modified: 28-May-2023
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