One of the most world-changing technological discoveries of our recent era has been that of electricity. The word electricity first entered the English language in a 1650 translation of a treatise on the healing properties of magnets by Jan Baptist van Helmont, a Flemish physician and Rosicrucian who worked on the borderline between natural magic and modern chemistry. Many of the earliest books and treatises on electricity described the force in distinctly alchemical terms, with such names as the ‘ethereal fire,’ the ‘quintessential fire,’ or the ‘desideratum,’ being used. Now it is taken for granted how almost everything we use today is plugged into some invisible power grid. We take little or no notice of how our devices and household appliances produce electromagnetic fields that mesh with all the other unseen fields into an ecosystem of electro-energies. These energies are sub-nature. They are part of living existence, yet they are a lower form of life vibration. Electricity, said Rudolf Steiner, is light in a sub-material state. That is, it is a form of light that has fallen below the level of nature and has become what he termed ‘sub-nature.’ It is because of this that Steiner warned humankind to be cautious not to build cultures dependent or based on electricity. An electro-ecosystem will only serve to draw us away from our natural eco-system and into a lower vibrational state of sub-nature. In a lecture from 1925, Steiner says

‘There are very few as yet who even feel the greatness of the spiritual tasks approaching man in this direction. Electricity, for instance, celebrated since its discovery as the very soul of Nature’s existence, must be recognised in its true character — in its peculiar power of leading down from Nature to Sub Nature. Only man himself must beware lest he slide downward with it.’1

Rudolf Steiner made great efforts to outline aspects of the various forces acting against humankind’s development. One of these forces he termed as ‘Luciferic,’ and the aim of these forces was to sever the connection between the human world and the realm of spirit. The other forces he named as ‘Ahrimanic,’ and the intention of these forces was to draw humanity into their realm; that is, to drag human beings further into deep material entanglement.

What makes Steiner’s observation central to my exploration of what I call the Inversion is that he was perhaps the first figure – or spiritual researcher – to publicly refer to electricity as sub-nature, and of its possible relation to entropic or negative forces. Specifically, how anti-developmental impulses – Ahrimanic impulses according to Steiner – are connected with the forces of man-made electricity and magnetism, the same energy processes that information and computing technologies are based upon. As electricity, light is highly compressed into a sub-material construct. The inner qualities of natural light are distorted into an artificial form below that of its original state. And from this, human technologies are created; technology utilizes natural energies condensed into sub-natural – i.e., artificial – states. According to Anthroposophical researcher Paul Emberson:

In a nutshell: technology is that sphere of human activity in which we are transforming the substances and forces of the outer mineral world, giving them new structures, motion, properties and purposes, in accordance with our ideas, our intentions and the destiny of our race.2

Through technology the human being is externalizing its own nature, manifesting an expression in material creations. Such outer creations can be seen as projections of a person’s own nature. The shifts to occur in technology will be reflections of the changes occurring in human beings themselves. Yet since the human being is caught up within the material inversion, becoming ever more entangled within physical matter, such technological creations or ‘expressions’ will not come from a place of pure consciousness. Current technological developments and processes are not only an expression of our wishes and desires – the human ego – but are also expressions of a machinic impulse that runs through humanity via their embodiment in this inverted reality. That is, forces which operate within the Inversion are able to find expression through the medium of technology because such technologies are externalized creations of a humanity through which such forces also operate.

Technology is also an intermediary medium through which humanity can access and interact with other forces and realities. If we examine some of the most recent technological innovations, we can see that there is a marked potential for doing more than processing operations within this current reality. As an example, quantum computing utilizes the properties of quantum states. As quantum science has discovered, such states as entanglement and superposition, particle-wave, demonstrate a correspondence with an underlying quantum vacuum, or quantum unified field. Such a unified field is also related to the zero-point field from which matter-reality manifests. In other words, quantum science connects with an energetic realm beyond spacetime. Within such a realm, other dimensions, other realities exist; and many quantum scientists are cognizant of this potential. David Deutsch, a British physicist and pioneer in the field of quantum physics, stated in 2005: ‘Quantum computation …will be the first technology that allows useful tasks to be performed in collaboration between parallel universes.’[i] Similarly, Geordie Rose, the founder of D-Wave Systems that created the D-Wave Quantum Computer, stated in a similar talk:

Science has reached the point now where we can build machines that can exploit those other worlds…The shadows of these parallel worlds overlap with ours and if we are smart enough, we can dive into them and grab their resources and pull them back into ours, to make an effect in our world.[ii]

Later on, Geordie Rose confessed that when standing next to his quantum computer, ‘it feels like an altar to an alien God.’ Yet just how a person is able to distinguish between an ‘alien God’ and a demon has puzzled humanity with this dilemma for millennia. Around the same time, in 2014, Tesla chief executive Elon Musk was warning of the dangers and high risks of advanced technology, such as artificial intelligence. He famously stated that, ‘With artificial intelligence we are summoning the demon. In all those stories where there’s the guy with the pentagram and the holy water, it’s like, yeah, he’s sure he can control the demon. Didn’t work out.’[iii] As one more example from many, we can point to the large hydron collider at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (known as CERN) which many have suggested could be a means for accessing other dimensions. In a briefing to reporters, Sergio Bertolucci, who is Director for Research and Scientific Computing at CERN, stated: ‘Out of this door might come something, or we might send something through it.’[iv]

The pattern emerging here is that through technology, humanity is opening up the possibility of establishing correspondences with other forces and other realms. However, the inner state of the human being needs to be taken into account here for we are not dealing with external events alone. And when humanity’s lower nature is in contact with, or attracted to, those forces beyond the present physical reality, then a detrimental relationship can be brought into manifestation. As has been stated within the occult sciences, it is more often the lower nature of the human being that is sought out, for alliance and unhealthy bonding.


Humanity is now coming face-to-face with technologies that transcend the known boundaries of physical space and time. These technologies are not being introduced into a vacuum, but into a matter-reality populated by predominantly carbon-based life forms through which conscious energies flow. As yet, there are not only no real understanding of the effects to the biological nervous system and human consciousness; there is no comprehension of the impact this will have upon the inner development of humankind. The great challenge facing humanity as it steps into the future is how to manage its relationship, and increasing merger, with technology; especially in regard to the presence of the ‘machinic impulse.’ What is clear is that for Steiner, and his fellow spiritual-science researchers, these new technologies have tremendous metaphysical weight attached to them. Furthermore, the potential negativity that such technology, and their forces, visit upon humanity may be absolutely necessary for humankind’s continued development. Why this might be is explored in my next essay.



1 Rudolf Steiner, “From Nature to Sub-Nature,” Anthroposophical Leading Thoughts –

2 Emberson, Paul (2013) Machines and the Human Spirit. Scotland: The DewCross Centre for Moral Technology, p12


[i] Spoken at a 2005 Ted Talk

[ii] Spoken at a 2015 talk at Ideacity –



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