A Being like Ahriman, who will incarnate in the West in time to come, prepares for this incarnation in advance. With a view to his incarnation on the earth, Ahriman guides certain forces in evolution in such a way that they may be of the greatest possible advantage to him. And evil would result were men to live on in a state of drowsy unawareness, unable to recognise certain phenomena in life as preparations for Ahriman’s incarnation in the flesh. The right stand can be taken only by recognising in one or another series of events the preparation that is being made by Ahriman for his earthly existence. And the time has now come for individual men to know which tendencies and events around them are machinations of Ahriman, helping him to prepare for his approaching incarnation.
It would undoubtedly be of the greatest benefit to Ahriman if he could succeed in preventing the vast majority of men from perceiving what would make for their true well-being, if the vast majority of men were to regard these preparations for the Ahriman-incarnation as progressive and good for evolution. If Ahriman were able to slink into a humanity unaware of his coming, that would gladden him most of all. It is for this reason that the occurrences and trends in which Ahriman is working for his future incarnation must be brought to light.
One of the developments in which Ahriman’s impulse is clearly evident is the spread of the belief that the mechanistic, mathematical conceptions inaugurated by Galileo, Copernicus and others, explain what is happening in the cosmos. That is why anthroposophical spiritual science lays such stress upon the fact that spirit and soul must be discerned in the cosmos, not merely the mathematical, mechanistic laws put forward by Galileo and Copernicus as if the cosmos were some huge machine. It would augur success for Ahriman’s temptings if men were to persist in merely calculating the revolutions of the heavenly bodies, in studying astrophysics for the sole purpose of ascertaining the material composition of the planets — an achievement of which the modern world is so proud. But woe betide if this Copernicanism is not confronted by the knowledge that the cosmos is permeated by soul and spirit. It is this knowledge that Ahriman, in preparing his earthly incarnation, wants to withhold from men. He would like to keep them so obtuse that they can grasp only the mathematical aspect of astronomy. Therefore he tempts many men to carry into effect their repugnance to knowledge concerning soul and spirit in the cosmos. That is only one of the forces of corruption poured by Ahriman into the souls of men. Another means of temptation connected with his incarnation — he also works in co-operation with the Luciferic forces — another of his endeavours is to preserve the already widespread attitude that for the public welfare it is sufficient if the economic and material needs of men are provided for. Here we come to a point that is not willingly faced in modern life.
Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 191 – LUCIFER AND AHRIMAN – Lecture I – Dornach, 1 November 1919
Translated by D. S. Osmond
This handsome boy is Ahriman, carved in wood by Rudolf Steiner