Technology as a Necessary Evil: Rudolf Steiner’s Ahriman and the Rollout of “5G”

Aaron French


From “gang-stalking” surveillance capabilities to energy-directed mindcontrol techniques, the image of a sinister advanced technology often appears in the explanatory tropes we now label as “conspiracy theories.” Perhaps less known is the relationship between such fears and the history of esotericism. At the beginning of the twentieth century, the German esotericist Rudolf Steiner detailed a complex spiritual cosmology, in which a spiritual lord of materialism and technology called Ahriman worked to mechanize human beings and nature and ensnare the entire globe in a spiderweb of electrical frequencies, imprisoning it. However, according to Steiner, this “activity” of Ahriman was a necessary development that would cause humanity to evolve spiritually into a new species of advanced beings, whose job would be to love and support those human beings who fell a victim to Ahriman and proved unable or unwilling to advance along the spiritual path. Steiner’s ideas live on today among his followers, known as the anthroposophists, and have even gained more attention as the current world increasingly resembles apparent technological dangers of which Steiner warned – for example, the concern over the rollout of “5G” technology across major cities
and its “conspiratorial” connections to the 2019-2020 pandemic of Coronavirus (COVID-19). This paper describes Steiner’s cosmology in relation to Ahriman and technology, illustrating how his esoteric ideas have become entangled with certain conspiracy theories. The goal is to show that the reason anthroposophists become involved in such narratives is a) because of Steiner’ views on technology – which are, in fact, prescient and important, but often overblown by his followers – and b) because of the real concerns over the introduction of new technoscientific creations and materialized logics into modern society and the health of the general public. 

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