Since the middle of the fifteenth century, a gradual transformation of intelligence is taking place. Although it is still very much like that of the Greeks it is undergoing a transformation, and we are in the beginning of it. In the coming centuries and millennia this intelligence will become something very, very different. Even today it shows a tendency toward what will come in future, a tendency merely to grasp what is error, untruth, deception; a tendency to ponder only what is evil.
The mystery pupils and especially the initiates had known for some time that human intelligence approaches its development toward evil, and that it becomes more and more impossible to recognize the good through mere intelligence. Mankind finds itself today within this transition. We may say, it is still barely possible, if men exert their intelligence and do not bear especially wild instincts in themselves, to look toward the light of what is good. But human intelligence will more and more develop the inclination to plan evil, to bring error into knowledge, and insert evil into man’s moral life.
This is one of the reasons initiates called themselves men of anxiety. Indeed, if one observes the evolution of mankind from this aspect as I have just done, it causes anxiety, precisely because of the way intelligence is developing. It is not for nothing that it fills modern man with pride and haughtiness. This is the pre-taste of intelligence becoming evil in the fifth post-Atlantean age, which is beginning now. If man were not to develop anything else but intelligence he would become an evil being on earth. If we want to think of a wholesome future for mankind, we must not count on the one-sided development of intelligence. In Egypt and Chaldea, it was good; later it entered into a relationship with the forces of death; and it will enter into a relationship with the forces of error, deception, and evil.
This is something about which mankind should have no illusions. In an unbiased fashion humanity should reckon with the fact that it has to protect itself against this one-sided development of intelligence. It is not in vain that precisely through the anthroposophically oriented science of the spirit another element will be added by taking in what can be gained through a renewed perception of the spiritual world. This cannot be grasped by intelligence, but only if we take into ourselves what the science of initiation brings down from the spiritual world through vision.
Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 296 – Education as a Social Problem: Lecture V: The Metamorphoses of Human Intelligence: Present Trends and Dangers – Dornach, 16 augustus 2021
Rudolf Steiner by Bernhard Hoetger