Rolling heads

When I was still a very young man, I spoke once with an Austrian poet who was quite well known at that time; he had a fine feeling for what is emerging in our civilization, and he expressed it in a half-pictorial way; this half-pictorial quality was for him, however, a reality. He said to me — and it seems to me as if it were happening today — “Considering how we human beings are today, and especially if things continue along the lines they are going now, humanity will actually be confronted by a terrible fate, for the human being will gradually lose the agility of his limbs; he will no longer be able to walk properly; he will always want to ride a bicycle and to travel mechanically. He will lose the agility of his hands, and everything will become technical. Just as a muscle atrophies if it is not used, so everything in the human body will atrophy and the human being will become merely a head. The head will become bigger and bigger until finally the human being will just roll along, with the rest of his organism totally crippled.”

This picture hovered like a nightmare before this Austrian poet — Hermann Rollett was his name — and he described it very visually, for it weighed upon him terribly, this picture that human beings will become rolling heads due to our civilization. There is something quite true underlying this picture, however. What underlies it is that, in fact, in our time the powers are extraordinarily strong that would like to develop our heads more and more. With the physical head they will not succeed so well, but with the etheric head they will be more successful. It is therefore so, in fact, that in our time the Ahrimanic powers would like to make us thoroughly head-men; they would like to transform us completely into mere thinkers.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 205 – Therapeutic Insights: Lecture V: Earthly and Cosmic Laws – Dornach, July 3, 1921

Translated by Alice Wulsin & Gerald Karnow