‘What people of the fifth post-Atlantean epoch must learn to recognise is the fully conscious struggle against the evil rising up in the evolution of humanity.’
Rudolf Steiner, 18 November 1917
According to Austrian metaphysician Rudolf Steiner, the task of humanity in this epoch is to comprehend the relation of good and evil; especially, the human choice between good and evil, and the challenge of evil to make humanity more aware of spirit-consciousness. In our present age, we are to experience the negative counterforces in order to move through to greater development. Steiner stated that the ‘forces of evil’ exist in the world so that humanity might, at the appropriate time, break through into a ‘life of the spirit.’ The presence of the counterforces gives humanity an opportunity to gain insight into the human condition, as well as the life conditions in this earthly domain. By having some understanding of the intention of opposing forces, a person is better prepared for continuing their own journey. That is, we each can learn from our encounters with negating forces; we can take these encounters as an opportunity to connect more strongly with our own force of will. In the words of philosopher Sergei O. Prokofieff:
In addition to working intensely on oneself, especially with regard to eradicating falsehood of any kind and all aspects of fear, together with all overt and secret inclinations towards materialism – something different is required, namely, a working together of human beings in the social realm that is based on spiritual principles.
In advocating the coming together of spiritually minded people, it is not our responsibility to be concerned with those who Steiner called the ‘soulless’ ones. Rather than being pulled into the influence of such people (with their lower vibrational energies), it is more beneficial for a person to transform their immediate environment into a more harmonious energy. Another way of saying this is that the presence of negativity is to be transmuted into that which is not negative or counterproductive. This is akin to an alchemical procedure.
The 21st century is a transformatory epoch, where we shall have to face our shadows and deal with them. Without this acknowledgement, and cleansing, we will be dominated by the forces of stagnation. Later, when this catharsis or ‘cleansing’ has been achieved, we may collectively move into a stage of transmutation where the negative is transmuted into constructive forces. The spirit of our times, therefore, is one of transmutation and transformation. And until counterforces are transmuted, there is no real or lasting transformation. This ‘transmutation of the negative/shadow’ is the leitmotif of our epoch, and it cannot be done without passing through ‘the valley of the shadow of death;’ experiencing and, above all, understanding both the forces of negation and those of development. As author Terry Broadman writes:
In saying that, we immediately meet a paradox, because we need to recognise that without the resistance posed to our development by these counterforces, there would be no human freedom possible and therefore, ultimately no possibility for love either. No great drama, especially the great drama of the story of mankind, is possible without the challenge from forces of darkness within us.
By casting light upon those forces that oppose human freedom, we may also see that, somewhat paradoxically, it is these same forces that make freedom possible. And yet, we need to gain this realization so we can know what we are up against.
Entropic counterforces attempt to control and manage human thinking and cultural narratives through arid materialism – the forces of limitation, indifference, rational logic, and consumption, for example. Such arid forces seek to constrain and contain human thinking by limiting it to the physical domain. That is, by negation and denial of the metaphysical background to life; a worldview that recognises no spirit-consciousness or genuine inspiration from beyond the material realm. It can be said that such counter-evolutionary forces wish to ensure that humanity remains at the level of the ‘lower ego;’ that is, our base level ‘everyday’ selves, ruled by passions, possessions, promises, and pseudo-truths. We have already seen how modern life is rife with the self-centred materialist concerned only for their physical pleasures and gains. This is the false-polished underbelly of a capitalist-fed globalist agenda. This is the sphere where the tightly controlled culture industry provides ultimate dissonance through glamour-distraction. Cacophonous music, jarring rhythms, and discordant lyrics appeal to the basest impulses within the tranced modern listener. It is little wonder then that there is resistance to those people who wish to develop their inner senses and modes of perception. The everyday environment is not conducive to the development of spirit-consciousness. And yet, it is the role of awakened individuals to assist the unconscious in becoming conscious.
Entropic forces can be regarded as forces of hindrance. For various reasons, they have not fulfilled their developmental potentials; they have faltered in their path, and thus ‘fallen by the wayside.’ And as wayside creatures, they hinder and disrupt all other wanderers and walkers upon the path. It can be said that they belong to our realm but are no longer upon our developmental path. Such counterforces are not creative; that is, they are not a creative principle in the universe, and so they need to make use of – or usurp – existing impulses to be able to act in the physical world. Such forces operate by distorting, and demonising, other processes and/or vessels in order to function. We need to be aware of those beliefs, idealisms, organizations, groupings, etc, that show a deliberate antipathy and hostility towards aspects of spirit-consciousness and the metaphysical. These may be collective, and/or concealed, forces aiming to divert humanity’s path of growth. The materialistic route is a caricature of what now needs to be the human being’s present state. Total materialization, including the digital-virtual domains (such as the Metaverse) represent a paralysis of growth in spirit-consciousness. A total materialization of human consciousness is taking place across the world and is especially dominant within the technologically advanced nations.
Modern life has been turned upon itself to become a parody. Nothing can be taken at face value for the outer expressions have become corrupted. Pseudo-truths are the caricature of relative truths; deep fakes are the travesty of genuine selves; and the lines between knowing and unknowing have been deliberately smeared. The outer life, on its own, exists as a tarnished kingdom. The only thing to do is to extract oneself from this polluting sphere and to re-wire one’s alignments, attachments, and allegiances. In previous epochs, the human being’s inner authority was undermined by subjugating it to exterior bodies of authority – such as institutionalized religions. When the masses moved out of illiteracy and became educated enough to read, research, and learn for themselves, the exterior forms of authority shifted from the sacred to the secular. Secular institutions came to regulate social norms, thinking patterns, and modes of accepted behaviour. In present times, as conscious awareness and perceptive understanding expands rapidly, the exterior bodies of authority are attempting to gain leverage by gaining interior access to our bodies and minds – what I have referred to as the new forms of biopower. These interventions into the physical integrity of the human being have serious consequences for the natural expression of spirit-consciousness. If the human vessel is unbalanced, or bio-chemically – or even genetically – interfered with, then the incarnated spirit-consciousness will have trouble in manifesting within the physical.
This intervention can be taken to the extreme through advancements in the biological-genetic sciences. The process of human cloning is a further step in this domain. If a physical body is cloned, then it is basically manufactured – it has not been brought into life through an organic birthing process (regardless of how the fertilized egg was delivered into the female body). In a metaphysical sense, it can be said that the physical body is not capable of receiving spirit-consciousness for it is not vibrationally aligned. It is an empty vessel, in a spiritual sense. From this, it may be inferred that other entities or forces could inhabit such a physical vessel. Why is human science increasingly moving towards the automation, the techno-hybrid, the slicing and dicing with DNA and human genetics? In this, there is a shift toward splintering the human being from its metaphysical origins and from the domain of spirit. If anything, this is the definition of evil – the isolation of the physical from its metaphysical source.
The counter-developmental forces are acting against the human mind (psyche), the heart (emotions), and the body (will). These three aspects can be related to imagination, inspiration, and intuition. And these three aspects have been targets for manipulation for quite some time. In our current age, the imagination is targeted through the media, video games, propaganda, digital life, and augmented reality, for example. The faculties of inspiration are being distorted through a controlled culture-industry (music, literature, art). And the intuition is deadened through a weakening of the human will as well as interventions and violations against the physical body. All these forces aim to press down upon the human being in a way that increases its immersion in materiality whilst bringing forth more animalistic, or primitive drives. How much more difficult it is for spirit-consciousness to come into a life experience, only to find that everything is subordinated to a material perspective – a world that is almost oblivious to the reality of the spirit.
The more a person comes under the powers of this world, under the laws set within this materiality, the less a person can act from an inner place of personal and spiritual will. A human being can no longer truly become their essential self if they are wholly invested in a consensus reality that is averse to metaphysical truths. As Christ famously stated: ‘My Kingdom is not of this world.’ (John 18:36) Although not of this world, it must work in this world. Our point of interaction – participation and action – are within this world, yet our foundation does not originate from within this world. And this combination, this merger, is what creates a strength to be in this world and not to be worn down by it. The expression of spirit-consciousness is a fusion – and the human being is the vessel (the receptor as well as the carrier). Being the carrier for that which is also beyond the physical means also that the person needs to strengthen their interior world – their inner environment. A fully exteriorized person is too much attached with events and influences of the material world, and this can become a hindrance. There needs to be enough capacity within each person to exercise internal creative imaginations so that received inspirations have a vessel, a protected space, in which to gestate before outward expression. A ‘new world’ can come into being, yet it must come through the human being and not to be forced upon it. This is why it is said that a new world is birthed rather than built. The outer actions may be that of building, yet the initial impulses are birthed from within. It is in this way that metaphysical influences can enter into the domain of the physical – through receptive individuals.
The act of transmuting counteractive forces into constructive ones requires that humanity shifts from a place of outward dominance, under the sway of external influences, and into spaces of inward receptivity to inspirational impulses. In this, it can be said that the transformative process is one of the unconscious becoming conscious.
 Mentioned in a lecture given on 26th October 1918 (GA 185)
 Sergei O. Prokofieff, The Encounter with Evil (Temple Lodge, 2001), p62
 A phrase relating to a version of Psalm 23 in the King James Bible.