A childish belief

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 AhrimanMan’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.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ongoing_armed_conflicts

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The War of All against All

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

Previously posted on 20th October 2015