The present phase of evolution may be characterised in a general way by saying that all the experiences confronting mankind in the physical world during the earth’s further existence will represent a decline, a retrogression. The time when human progress was made possible through the constant refinement of the physical forces, is already over. In the future, too, mankind will progress, but only through spiritual development, through development on a higher level than that of the processes of the physical plane.
Men who rely entirely on the processes of the physical plane will find in them no source of satisfaction. An indication given in spiritual science a long time ago, in the Lecture-Course on the Apocalypse, namely that we are heading for the “War of All against All”, must from now onwards be grasped in all its significance and gravity; its implications must not remain in the realm of theory but also come to expression in the actions, the whole behaviour of men. The fact that — to use a colloquialism — people in the future are not going to get much fun out of developments on the physical plane, will bring home to them that further evolution must proceed from spiritual forces.
This can be understood only by surveying a lengthy period of evolution and applying what is discovered to experiences that will become more and more general in the future. The trend of forces that will manifest in the well nigh rhythmical onset of war and destruction — processes of which the present catastrophe is but the beginning — will become only too evident. It is childish to believe that anything connected with this war can bring about a permanent era of peace for humanity on the physical plane. That will not be so.
Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 191 – Lucifer and Ahriman – Man’s Responsibility for the Earth – Lecture III – Bern, 4th November, 1919
Translated by D. S. Osmond
This lecture was given one year after Armistice Day – November 1918
Since then we’ve had a world war 2 with 80 million dead – not mentioning the wounded and tens of millions of dead from various wars, including the war of Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan.
Multitude of armed conflicts have started and ended and a multitude continue.