We are going forward to an age when, as I indicated recently, men will understand what the atom is, in reality. It will be realised — by the public mind too — that the atom is nothing but coagulated electricity. — The thought itself is composed of the same substance. Before the end of the fifth epoch of culture (1413-3573 AD), science will have reached the stage where man will be able to penetrate into the atom itself. When the similarity of substance between the thought and the atom is once comprehended, the way to get hold of the forces contained in the atom will soon be discovered and then nothing will be inaccessible to certain methods of working. — A man standing here, let us say, will be able by pressing a button concealed in his pocket, to explode some object at a great distance — say in Hamburg! Just as by setting up a wave-movement here and causing it to take a particular form at some other place, wireless telegraphy is possible, so what I have just indicated will be within man’s power when the occult truth that thought and atom consist of the same substance is put into practical application.
It is impossible to conceive what might happen in such circumstances if mankind has not, by then, reached selflessness. The attainment of selflessness alone will enable humanity to be kept from the brink of destruction. The downfall of our present epoch will be caused by lack of morality. The Lemurian epoch was destroyed by fire, the Atlantean by water; our epoch and its civilisation will be destroyed by the War of All against All, by evil. Human beings will destroy each other in mutual strife. And the terrible thing — more desperately tragic than other catastrophes — will be that the blame will lie with human beings themselves.
Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 93 – The Work of Secret Societies in the World – Berlin – December 23, 1904