Evil (Hebrew: רָע ra), the fifth of the seven secrets of life, is, in Rudolf Steiner's view, an originally good which, instead of developing further, continues to have an effect in its unchanged earlier form in a later age. Evil, however, can also arise from the fact that something which is only to become effective in a later age appears too early in an immature form. Evil is a time-delayed good. The struggle between good and evil consists in the confrontation of the earlier with the later, of the old with the new.
Evolution requires evil as a necessary counterbalance to good; only by balancing the two can the goal of the world be achieved. For this purpose, certain spiritual beings must make the sacrifice of lagging behind in their proper development for the salvation of the overall development. They thereby become adversary powers, but through their resistance they promote development as a whole. In particular, freedom can only be achieved for man by giving him the choice between evil and good.
According to the original Persian view, good and evil emerged from Zaruana Akarana, the uncreated time. As soon as that which lasts in the spiritual world (→ Devachan), i.e. which belongs to eternity, separates into the temporal, it necessarily divides itself into evil and good. That which has become solid in its form and then only falls prey to putrefaction, to decay, becomes evil, while the good is a becoming that has retained something of its original creative power. Through the fall of the eternal into temporality, the zodiacal entities are divided into two spheres: into the 7 day zodiacal signs ascending from Aries, which represent the good, and into the 5 night zodiacal signs descending from Scorpio, which are related to the forces of evil. For the ancient Persians, the opposition of good to evil was not yet a moral question, but one of the interplay of cosmic forces. It was only in Hebraism that the concept of human guilt developed.
The Origin of Evil - The Fight in Heaven
According to Rudolf Steiner, the primordial secret of evil is connected with the Fight in Heaven, the consequences of which were incorporated into the human astral body during earthly development by the Luciferic spirits. In the transitional period from the Old Sun to the Old Moon, spiritual beings from the hierarchy of the Dynameis (Spirits of Motion or Mights) were, as it were, "commanded" to act as adversaries to hinder the progressive development, but precisely by this means to bring about a new essential evolutionary leap. These mights were not yet evil in themselves and could not have become inhibiting forces of their own will. But by running up a storm against normal development and thereby opening up new paths for evolution, they ultimately also became producers of evil.
Already during the old lunar development, the Dynameis who remained behind became seducers of the Angeloi (Angels) who were then passing through the stage of humanity. A part of these angelic beings thereby remained behind in their development, whereby they became Luciferic beings. During the later development of the Earth, these Luciferic Angels inoculated the consequences of the fight in heaven into the astral body of man and thereby gave him the possibility of evil, but at the same time opened the way to freedom.
In this sense, there is no absolute good and no absolute evil, but both are determined by their relation to each other. What is good in one area can become evil in another. What matters for human beings is that they make the choice appropriate to the respective state of development. Thus the cosmic struggle between good and evil gradually becomes a question of human responsibility. By raising himself from the temporal to the eternal through his spiritual striving and by absorbing something of the eternal that graciously descends to him, man dissolves the opposition of good and evil again.
The Manifoldness of Evil
Just as there is a threefold structure of the human organism, there is also a threefold structure of evil which, through its polarity, causes an increase in the forces of evil. In anthroposophy, these essential powers of the adversary bear the names: Lucifer and Ahriman as well as Sorat-Asuras.
„You see, one can say, if one looks at the human being schematically in this way (see drawing): Fourth Greco-Latin Age, Fifth Age - birth and death were consciously seen by the human being in this Fourth Age when he looked inside his human being; now he must see birth and death externally in the historical life and from there also seek it internally. Hence it is so infinitely important that in this age of the consciousness soul man should enlighten himself about birth and death in the true sense, that is, in the sense of repeated earth-lives, otherwise he will never come to acquire an understanding of birth and death in historical becoming.
But just as birth and death have gone from the inside outwards in human observation, so man must again develop something within himself in the fifth post-Atlantean period, which will again go outwards in the sixth age, which therefore begins in the fourth millennium. And that is evil. Evil is developed within the human being in the fifth post-Atlantean period, must radiate outwards and be experienced externally in the sixth period, just as birth and death were in the fifth period. Evil should develop inwardly in man.
Just think what an unpleasant truth this is! You might say that it is still possible to accept what is important in the fourth post-Atlantean period, that man becomes inwardly acquainted with birth and death, but then cosmically grasps birth and death, as I have presented it to you in the conceptio immaculata and in the resurrection, in the Mystery of Golgotha. That is why the birth and death of the Christ Jesus stands before humanity in the fourth post-Atlantean period, because birth and death were the most important things in the fourth post-Atlantean period.
Now, when the Christ is again to appear in the etheric, when again a kind of Mystery of Golgotha is to be experienced, now evil will have a similar significance to birth and death for the fourth post-Atlantean period. In the fourth post-Atlantean period, the Christ Jesus developed his impulse for Earth humanity out of death. And one may say: out of the death that took place became that which flowed into humanity. - Thus, out of evil, in a strange, paradoxical way, humanity of the fifth post-Atlantean period is led to the renewal of the Mystery of Golgotha. It is through the experience of evil that the Christ can reappear as he appeared through death in the fourth post-Atlantean period.“ (Lit.:GA 185, p. 102f)
- Erhard Fucke: Im Spannungsfeld des Bösen, Vlg. Freies Geistesleben, Stuttgart 2002
- Michael Kalisch: Das Böse - Polarität und Steigerung, Vlg. Freies Geistesleben, Stuttgart 1998
- Bernard Lievegoed: Dem einundzwanzigsten Jahrhundert entgegen. Acht Vorträge, gehalten in Spring Valley, Info3-Verlag, Frankfurt a.M. 1988
- Alfred Schütze: Das Rätsel des Bösen, Fischer TB Vlg., Frankfurt a. M. 1982
- Rudolf Steiner: Das Mysterium des Bösen, Vlg. Freies Geistesleben, Stuttgart 1993
- Rudolf Steiner: Geschichtliche Symptomatologie, GA 185 (1982), ISBN 3-7274-1850-8 English: rsarchive.org German: pdf pdf(2) html mobi epub archive.org
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