Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Brothers of the Shadows

Brothers of the Shadows: A Perspective on Conspiracies

By Sevak Gulbekian

In his book Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace Gore Vidal suggests that the American public has been conditioned to respond to the word ‘conspiracy’ with a smirk and a chuckle. Conspiracy, in other words, is for the nuts and the loners, and is not to be taken seriously. In this way, he argues, through the media’s association of the concept of conspiracy with fringe or extreme elements, the real conspirators go unnoticed.
It is a vital point, and Vidal courageously chases and exposes genuine conspiracies by politicians, the FBI, lobbyists for the tobacco companies, and so on. But the flip-side of the conspiracy coin is the proliferation of fanciful and fantastic theories that now crisscross the globe in seconds with the help of electronic media.
The spread of the internet has democratised conspiracy theory. Millions of people now have the means to publish their own unique analysis of what is going on. A necessary consequence of this massive growth in personal digital publishing is that it is getting to be much more difficult to find the pearls among the rubbish. Someone even observed that, in the age of the internet, if you want to keep something secret you make it public…
Amidst the more fantastic theories of UFOs and intergalactic lizards, certain core themes do persistently reoccur in the mass of ‘conspiracy theory’ material now available. Principal among them is the idea that a shadowy elite is seeking to enslave humanity under the auspices of a single, centralised world government. The name of the mysterious ‘Illuminati’ is most often associated with such a group, although what is meant by it is frequently ill defined. The Illuminati are, supposedly, a cabal of top bankers, politicians and businessmen seeking to create the aforesaid all-powerful government.
What is the truth of all this? I do not propose to give a full answer here, but would like to introduce a perspective on the theme – one that has generally not been given serious consideration – taken from the research of Rudolf Steiner. In the second part of the article I will try and relate Steiner’s ideas to other more familiar conspiracy research.
So why Steiner? Because, if for no other reason, his pronouncements and indications on practical areas of life have borne such remarkable fruit, testimony to which are thousands of Waldorf schools offering a new kind of education, farms successfully practicing bio-dynamics, clinics dispensing anthroposophic medicines, and so on.
As a profound clairvoyant, Steiner claimed to investigate other dimensions of reality for insight into the human condition. His legacy is hundreds of volumes of published talks and written works on a cornucopia of themes. However, as mentioned above, his work – in contrast to that of many other spiritual teachers and gurus – has shown itself to have practical applications in all areas of life. This in itself does not provide ultimate evidence for the truth of his work, but it does correspond to the biblical dictum: “[B]y their fruits ye shall know them.”
In 1916 and 1917, in the midst of the catastrophic First World War, Steiner gave a series of 25 lectures to a group of his followers who gathered together at their centre in Dornach in neutral Switzerland. These lectures, since translated and published in English,1 offer a unique reading of contemporary events.
Behind the outer façade of world affairs, suggested Steiner, the machinations of occult groups or ‘brotherhoods’ were at work. Certain of these brotherhoods had wanted the Great War to take place, and had manipulated events to bring it about. In doing this, they sought to protect the dominant economic position of the English-speaking world, and in turn to crush the ‘mediating’ role of Central European powers such as Germany, the Austro-Hungarian empire, and so on.
These occult brotherhoods – small groups of men who met together in ‘lodges’ and practiced ceremonial magic as a means of achieving certain goals – originated from the English-speaking (Anglo-Saxon) world and were allied, in particular, with Anglo-American interests. Their aim was to extend Anglo-American influence across the globe, and to ensure the predomination of Anglo-American culture. Furthermore, they sought to extend its superiority into the distant future; essentially to ensure that the present state of affairs continues evermore.
According to Steiner’s research, human evolution goes through ‘great periods’ of development. During each of these periods, a particular people is given the task of leading humanity in a spiritual sense. Over the millennia, it has been the destiny of different peoples to bring specific qualities, in a benevolent way, to the whole of humanity. Particular periods of history are thus led by particular nations. This does not imply a form of political control or empire – and is certainly not a theory of national or racial superiority – but is referring to a spiritual form of authority.
Steiner suggested that the Western world, and in particular the English-speaking peoples, have been given the task of getting to grips with the material world – of becoming comfortable on Earth and developing in harmony with it. In this specific sense, the West was to introduce a certain kind of (beneficial) materialism into human development. But this materialism was only meant to be developed up to a certain point. It was necessary in order for humans to become fully part of the earthly world, and to help introduce an individualised consciousness (the ‘I’). But beyond that it had the potential to be destructive. Materialism as a philosophy, which shuts out the possibility of soul and spirit, is retrogressive, asserted Steiner, and works as an evil in human evolution.
The Anglo-American brotherhoods that seek dominion over mankind know this, and hence today are deliberately sponsoring various kind of materialism in the hope of halting and trapping humanity at the present stage of its development. They don’t want humans to progress beyond the present stage of immersion in the material world. In other words, they don’t want us to reconnect in a free way with our spiritual ‘I’, because they know that their grip over humanity would then be lost. Human progress is dependent on spiritual knowledge, and thus the occult brotherhoods work against it.
Steiner explained further the brotherhoods were aware that the Slavic peoples were to be given the task of leadership on behalf of humanity during the next ‘great period’ of history. For this reason, the Anglo-American brotherhoods not only sought to dominate the present great period of human development, but – knowing that the Slavs had an important mission in the future – sought to gain control over the Slavic peoples (Russia in particular) in the present, in order to interfere with or even put a halt to their coming task. In this way, the Anglo-American brotherhoods could extend their control over human development into the distant future.
Steiner later claimed that the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, which led to the creation of the USSR and the 72-year cultural, intellectual, economic and political repression of the populations of its various peoples, was masterminded and sponsored by these same brotherhoods as a means of controlling the region and its peoples.2
What is the evidence for Steiner’s analysis? Apart from anything else, it is interesting to note the present state of world affairs, and how – since Steiner spoke about this topic in 1916-17 – Anglo-American culture has come to dominate the globe in tandem with American economic and political influence (with the enthusiastic support of British politicians). The assertion of unilateral military action by the United States and Britain in the 2003 invasion of Iraq – in the face of almost total global opposition – was a good example of this formidable power at work. However, admittedly these observations do not provide ‘proof’ in a strict sense.
Another source of evidence is the remarkable research of Prof. Carroll Quigley (1910-77) who wrote two substantial volumes, The Anglo-American Establishment (1949) and Tragedy and Hope (1966),3 on the secret network which emerged from the enterprise of Cecil Rhodes. Quigley characterised the power of this group through its influence in politics, culture and social life as “terrifying”.
It is important to note that Quigley was no crazed and paranoid conspiracy nut, but a respected Georgetown professor, and even the teacher of Bill Clinton. (How such networks might be related to the brotherhoods Steiner is talking about will be considered later.) Other authors have followed Quigley’s lead and complemented his studies with contemporary observations. A few have even related Steiner’s ideas to Quigley’s research.4 In this context, however, I would like to mention only two external ‘symptoms’, which, at the very least, offer circumstantial evidence for Steiner’s diagnosis.
In 1893, an Englishman called C.G. Harrison delivered six lectures to the Berean Society, a mysterious group of ‘Christian esotericists’. A record of these lectures is to be found in Harrison’s remarkable book The Transcendental Universe. Little is known about the Berean Society or Harrison, although he wrote two further books in his lifetime. What is clear is that Harrison, who speaks in defense of the “high” Church, had access to a phenomenal store of esoteric thought, and was furthermore privy to a certain amount of inside knowledge. In his second lecture, he spoke not only of “the next great European war”, but also of the “national character” of the Slavic peoples and its ability to “enable them to carry out experiments in Socialism, political and economical, which would present innumerable difficulties in Western Europe”.5 Remember that these lectures were given in 1893, 21 years before the First World War and 24 years before the Bolshevik Revolution!
While Harrison claimed to be a “theoretical occultist” as opposed to a “practical” one – i.e. he did not practice magic or ritual, with the implication that he was not a member of a “lodge” himself – from his work it is evident he represents an esoteric strain of thought which clearly defends the English establishment. How could he know about the forthcoming War as well as the “experiments in Socialism”, which would take a grip on Russia and its surrounding states for most of the twentieth century? If he was not, as he claimed, a “practical occultist” himself, it is reasonable to assume he had contact with people who were, and who had access to the malign plans of such secret groups referred to above.
The second significant piece of evidence which offers some backing for Steiner’s claims of occult interference in world politics is to be found in a special edition of the satirical weekly The Truth, published at Christmas 1890. Under the heading ‘The Kaiser’s Dream’, the magazine featured a cartoon map of Europe together with a humorous commentary. Many observations can be made of the map, but the most pertinent point to note in relation to the above is that all the countries of Europe are shown as republics with the exception of Russia and its neighbouring states, over which are written the words “Russian Desert”. In addition, Germany is identified with the words “German Republics”! This map signifies not only a foreknowledge – similar to Harrison – of the fate of Russia to become a cultural as well as an economic ‘desert’, but also of the future splitting of Germany into ‘republics’. The magazine’s editor, Henry Labouchère, was a Freemason. Was his remarkable foresight pure luck, or once again did he have some inside knowledge of future plans to shape the world?
It is of course possible that the above examples are merely coincidences and happy flukes, but surely it is unlikely. Do these examples offer evidence for the existence of occult brotherhoods with pernicious plans for political manipulation? We may never know for sure, but it is evident that Steiner’s perspective offers much serious food for thought, and opens up important new vistas for understanding current world events.
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