The Question of Evil and its Transformation into Higher Good in the Biographical Work
According to Anthroposophical spiritual science, the question of evil, its origins and purpose – is one of the key questions in our time, the era of “Consciousness- Soul”. In each human being of our time there is a leaning toward evil. By acknowledging both external and internal evil, and agreeing to ‘digest it’, a person could utilize it as basis for development and transform it into higher good.
In our School, Hotam, the question of evil serves as a basis for profound and courageous investigation – our students and counselees are introduced (each according to his/her willingness, age, and developmental stage in life) to topics such as evil, egotism, counter forces, and the encounter with the “Lesser Guardian of the Threshold”. These processes are conducted with love, awe and lack of judgment, and out of respect to the personal pace of each person, his defenses and resources.
We propose a workshop that will concentrate on this topic:
During the workshop, we will try to understand the essential role of egotism and evil in our time – the “Consciousness Soul” era.
We will deal with the question of egotism as a double-edged sword – and recognize that egotism is the source of both evil and good. In our era it is essential to develop individuality as part of the evolution of consciousness.
We will refer to egotism throughout biography – recognizing its necessity during incarnation in order to build tools and develop a strong ‘I’, and show how adolescence that lacks “evil”, of children that are “too good”, might be a sign of a weak maturation. We will observe the question of mid-life inversion with regard to egotism and evil, and the possibility and duty of each person during excarnation to take responsibility over his egotism, and through which to use cognitive, emotional, practical, and other such tools – that were developed during incarnation- to a higher serving for the world’s benefit.
We will discuss the “Lesser Guardian of the Threshold” as an obligatory condition to advance toward “the Higher Guardian of the Threshold”. We will show how subconscious evil might grow in the darkness of the soul and turn into a greater and more devastating evil that operates within us and in the world uncontrollably, like cancer cells, and how, once evil is consciously recognized – the possibility of resurrection opens up and how it could be turned into the greater good.
The workshop will include a lecture, biographical and art exercises, and examples from the personal lives of the participants.
“A man’s muscles get strong by use; and equally, if good is to rise to the heights of holiness, it must first overcome the evil which opposes it. The task of evil is to promote the ascent of man. Things such as this give us a glimpse into the secret of life. Later on, when man has overcome evil, he can go on to redeem the creatures he has thrust down, and at whose cost he has ascended. That is the purpose of evolution.”
Steiner, “at the gates of spiritual science”, 1906, lecture 8, GA 85.
“In order to be able to feel the good, man had also to be able to feel the evil. The gods gave him enthusiasm for the higher. But without evil there could be no self-feeling, no free choice of good, no freedom. Good could have been realized without Lucifer, but not freedom. In order to be able to choose good man must also have the bad before him; it must dwell within him as the force of self-love. But self-love must become love of all. Then evil will be overcome. Freedom and evil have the same original source. Lucifer makes man humanly enthusiastic for the divine. Lucifer is the bearer of light; the Elohim are light itself. If the light of wisdom has kindled wisdom in man, then Lucifer has brought light into man. But the black shadow of evil had to intermingle; Lucifer brings a shrunken, blemished wisdom but this can penetrate into man. Lucifer is the bearer of external human science which stands in the service of egotism. In pupils of occultism therefore selflessness as regards knowledge is demanded. What the leaven of the old dough means for the new bread: this, from the earlier planet, Lucifer means for us. Evil is good in its place; with us it is no longer good. Evil is good out of place. The absolute good of a planet always brings evil too in one of its parts to the new planet. Evil is a necessary course of evolution.
One must not say that the world is imperfect because it contains evil. Far rather is it perfect precisely on that account. When lovely figures of light are shown in a painting together with evil devils, the picture would be spoilt if one wanted to cut out the devil-figures. The creators of the world needed evil in order to bring the good to unfoldment. A good must first be broken on the rock of evil. The All-Love can only be brought to its highest blossoming through self-love. Goethe is therefore right when in “Faust” he makes Mephistopheles say he is “… part of that Power that ever would the Evil do, and ever does the Good.”
Steiner, The origin of evil, 1906, GA 55