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Eternal and Transient Elements in Human Life

The Cosmic Past of Humanity and the Mystery of Evil (CW 184)

Rudolf Steiner Translated and Introduced by Anna Meuss

336 pp.  
6" x 9"

Rudolf Steiner Press


Published:  February 2016


15 lectures, Dornach, September 6–October 13, 1918 (CW 184)

In what has been called “the most advanced course in Anthroposophy,” Rudolf Steiner addresses one of the great questions of our time: the role of evil in human development. He speaks of the year 666, when three streams of time intersected—the familiar linear stream and two “lateral” streams—and the reoccurrence of the 666-year rhythm in history. At the heart of this mystery is the being Sorat (“the beast”), who attempted to flood humanity with premature spiritual knowledge by inspiring the scholars of the ancient Academy of Gondishapur. Although that academy was responsible for saving Aristotle’s works, Steiner describes how it generated tremendous and dangerous gnostic wisdom, which eventually spread through the Christian monasteries and inspired Western scientific thought. Its immediate negative impact, however, had to be counteracted by the Prophet Muhammad and the establishment of Islam.

In contrast to the 666-year rhythm in history, the 333-year rhythm is connected to the healing forces of the Golgotha Mystery. The year 333 is a central point in the post-Atlantean age, as well as a pivotal moment in establishing the Christ Impulse and the new equilibrium it has brought to humanity, allowing people to gain wisdom through their own efforts. Such wisdom enables insight into three key areas: suprasensory knowledge of birth and death; understanding an individual’s life; and the conscious ability to confront the adversarial beings, Lucifer and Ahriman.

Steiner addresses a host of additional themes, including occult Freemasonry in Anglo-American countries; materialism in the Roman Catholic Church; prophetic and apocalyptic vision; dualism and fatalism in pre-Christian times; and the delusion of time and space. Seeking to awaken his listeners to the urgency of the tasks ahead of them, he urges them to enliven spiritual understanding with enthusiasm, fire, and warmth of heart.

This volume is a translation from German of Die Polarität von Dauer und Entwickelung im Menschenleben. Die kosmische Vorgeschichte der Menschheit (GA 184).

Related Titles

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  • Secret Brotherhoods : And the Mystery of the Human Double (CW 178)
  • The Karma of Untruthfulness : Secret Societies, the Media, and Preparations for the Great War, vol. 1 (CW 173)
  • Rudolf Steiner and Christian Rosenkreutz
  • The Human Spirit : Past and Present – Occult Fraternities and the Mystery of Golgotha (CW 167)

    Related Titles by Subject:

    Collected Works ; Anthroposophy: Esoteric Studies and Anthroposophy: General