In response to Albion’s comment on the merit of ‘ The Power of Nightmares’ I said more or less as follows and because I’m lazy I will re-use it here because it’s as clear a way to kick off as I’m likely to come up with.
What I’m interested in is how neoconservatism, and fundamentalist Islam are both rooted in a perceived ‘failure’ of liberalism, much as national socialism was. And since as liberals we tend to equate liberalism with progress, all three tend to fold into a larger critique of the ‘myth of progress’ which folds into a larger view of the traditional cycle. My feeling is that all these things represent a spiraling failure, not so much of any particular historical dynamic, but of the ongoing attempt to maintain an integrated relationship between human beings and their spiritual wellspring. Each swing represents a cascading over-compensation to one pole or other, which really only highlights how we’ve well and truly lost our sense of where the balance point actually is. That’s the underlying ‘derangement’ which to me underpins the ‘counter-initiation’ and what I’m looking to address
Before we address alla that up there we need to set some terms first. My feeling based on experience and research, is that the fundamental spiritual dilemma is not so much a problem of evil, but of ignorance, of imbalance. The problem is we’ve lost the knowledge of how to balance our being. The counter initiation is based on the idea of imbalance, of crippling our ability to strike the correct balance, driving us to ever more distorted and destructive aberrations.
One man who understood the problem in this light was one Rudolf Steiner, a multifaceted visionary whose influence has been deep and long lasting, even if his profile in the public consciousness is basically nil.
Steiner considered the course of human evolution to be aimed at the realization of the Christ consciousness, which seeks the harmonious manifestation of all aspects of the human being in balance. Steiner’s thought is characterized by his belief in the correct differentiation of forces, as a precursor to a higher integration. His belief was that the Christ consciousness was opposed by a current of consciousness based on destruction, imbalance and conflict, which we may identify with the counter-initiation, and which Steiner referred to as Sorat, the Dragon. Steiner was clear that Sorat was not an antithetical element to the evolution of humanity, but a necessary counter weight, much as the Buddha considers suffering a precondition for enlightenment.
Further, Steiner separated the Sorat-current into two arms, which symbolize two different kinds of consciousness, but both act as temptations away from the gnostic Christ force. Again, both are useful and even necessary to human growth, but allowed to run unchecked these forces are destructive.
These two arms are ( you guessed it ) Lucifer and Ahriman.
In simplest terms these two represent energy and matter respectively. Lucifer is the symbol of energy, dynamic motion, dissolution of boundaries, and in a larger context, light, transcendence, and immateriality, hence an association with spirituality and even morality that can be misleading.
Ahriman is the symbol of matter, crystallization, formation of boundaries and limitations, solidification in all regions. Ahriman is the tendency for the animate to become inanimate, for motion to become stillness. Ahriman is thus identified with unconsciousness, materialism, and stasis. Because matter is ‘mute’ Ahriman can be considered to be the enemy of nonmaterial abstractions like morality and ethics.
Neither one is inherently harmful. Without Lucifer there is no motion, only dead matter, and without Ahriman there is no form, only endlessly fluctuating colliding forces.
From Steiner’s perspective, the Lucifer current is responsible for movement away from Paleolithic hunter gatherers in prehistory, triggering the slow technological advance toward the present day. Initially this was characterized by the growth and abstraction of the mind, and the growth of philosophy and mathematics and it is only with the ascendancy of the Ahrimanic current that ‘progress’ takes on it’s more familiar aspects of mass production, regimentation and materialism.
So what has this to do with our topic? Well, keep in mind that these two forces act as twin temptations, always struggling to pull mankind away from the Gnostic/Christ current into some form of deviant synthesis of Lucifer/Ahriman that excludes the Christ consciousness as much as possible. In this way both fulfill their function as the arms of Sorat, the opponent of true human evolution. In Steiner’s own words each strives for a particular kind of deviant synthesis : Lucifer wishes us to become moral robots, cookie cutter children who await ascent into Lucifer’s world of light and beauty. While Ahriman wishes us to become free but amoral; rudderless ghost people in a dead world. Both overlook the deeper truth: that spirit is nondual, it transcends and incorporates both matter and energy, favoring neither.
I’m cautious about complicating the terminology of our inquiry overmuch, but I find that making the distinction between Lucifer and Ahriman critical for making sense of certain aspects of the Gnostic/parapolitcal scene. Keep in mind I am GROSSLY over simplifying Steiner’s thought, but thankfully he considered symbols as ornaments on the surface a true understanding of deeper realities, so I feel content that our project here is in the correct spirit.
By way of illustration lets apply this to Sayyid Qutb, and his story. Qutb was opposed to what could be considered the counter initiatory spirit of the modern west, and his disdain was mostly for the amoral, materialistic, decadent sensual aspects which can be identified with Ahriman. Again: Free but Amoral. But his solution was a rigid, technologically advanced Muslim theocracy implemented by murder, which is simply an imbalance toward the Luciferic end: Moral Robot. Without a grounding in the Gnostic spirit which comes in Qutb’s case through the prophet Mohammed, he can only react to a excess of Ahriman with an excess of Lucifer, unable to escape the fact that without gnosis there is no real chance of correct balance, and ultimately his critique is folded back into the dominant Ahriman styled power structure of unconsciousness, deep amorality, and decadence, coated with dogma.
So now that we’ve established our terms a little bit, we’ll move on in our next installment to the recent history of the Lucifer current as it concerns us…