“One of these great problems will be concerned with finding out how to place the spiritual etheric forces at the service of practical life. I have told you that in this epoch we have to solve the problem of how the radiations from human states of mind are carried over into machines; of how human beings are to be brought into relation with an environment which must become increasingly mechanised. The welding together of human beings with machines will be a great and important problem for the rest of the earth-evolution.
"Human consciousness depends on destructive forces. In our nerve-system we are always in the process of dying. These forces of death will become stronger and stronger, and we shall find that they are related to the forces of electricity and magnetism, and to those at work in machines. A man will be able in a certain sense to guide his intentions and his thoughts into the forces of the machines. Forces in human nature that are still unknown will be discovered – forces which will act upon external electricity and magnetism. That is one problem: the bringing together of human beings with machines, and this is something which will exert ever-increasing influence on the future.”
-Rudolf Steiner, The Wrong and Right Use of Esoteric Knowledge, Lecture 3, November 25, 1917
"A driving force which can only be moral, that is the idea of the future; a most important force, with which culture must be inoculated, if it is not to fall back on itself. The mechanical and the moral must interpenetrate each other, because the mechanical is nothing without the moral. Today we stand hard on this frontier. In the future, machines will be driven not only by water and steam but by spiritual force, by spiritual morality. This power is symbolized by the Tau sign and was indeed poetically symbolized by the image of the Holy Grail.”
Rudolf Steiner, The Temple Legend, The Royal Art in a New Form, Berlin, Lecture 20, January 2, 1906
"In steam engines, Ahrimanic demons are brought right down to the point of physical incorporation. This means that while the cosmos with its spiritual element has descended through what has been poured into human evolution, the spirituality of the cosmos is driven out through what is created in the form of demons. This great and wonderful modern progress has in fact brought about not only a demonology, but a demon magic; and in manifold ways modern technology is demon magic. Here you can see quite directly how vibrations are given over to the demon, so that he can develop his activity outwards into cosmic space.
"Wherever electricity and much else is used, there is far more demon magic, for electricity operates with quite different forces which have a different significance for the cosmos. Anyone who understands Spiritual Science will naturally know clearly that these things are not to be done away with; that we cannot be reactionary or conservative in the sense of opposing progress. Indeed, demon magic signifies progress, and the earth will make more and more progress of this kind. A stage will even be reached when it will be possible to produce great effects outwards into the cosmos.
"Humanity must learn to deal with nature as the gods themselves have done: not building machines in an indifferent way, but doing everything as an act of divine service and bringing the sacramental into everything. The real demons have to be really driven out by treating the handling of machinery as something sacred.”
The Karma of Vocation, Dornach, November April 27, 1916
“The whole way in which people construct machines varies greatly according to the nature of the machine in question; but everything tends towards the gradual development of these still imperfect, primitive machines into a kind of machine which depends upon vibrations, and where the aim is to make the machines effective by means of vibrations or oscillations, by means of movements which run a periodic course.
"Everything is hastening towards such machines. But if once these machines in their coordinated activity could be constructed in such a way as can be learned from the distribution of foodstuffs in the organization of the cow, then the vibrations which would be conjured up on the earth-globe through the machines, these small earth-vibrations, would so run their course that what is above the earth would sound together with, vibrate together with what is happening on the earth; so that our planetary system in its movements would be compelled to vibrate with our earth-system, just as a string tuned to a certain pitch vibrates in sympathy when another one is struck in the same room.
"That is the terrible law of the sounding in unison of vibrations which would be fulfilled if the alluring call of the cow would so decay in the orient [correction needed] that it would then be able to penetrate in an absolutely convincing way into the unspiritual, purely mechanistic civilization of the west and center; and thereby it would become possible to conjure up on the earth a mechanistic system fitting exactly into the mechanistic system of the universe. Through this everything connected with the working of air, with the forces of the circumference, and everything connected with the working of the stars, would be exterminated from human civilization.
"What man experiences, for instance, through the cycle of the year, what he experiences through living together with the sprouting, budding life of spring, with the fading, dying life of autumn – all this would lose its import for him. Human civilization would resound with the clattering and rattling of the vibrating machines and with the echo of this clattering and rattling which would stream down upon the earth from the cosmos as a reaction to this mechanization of the earth. A part of our present-day civilization is actually on the way to having this terrible element of degeneracy as its goal.”
Man as Symphony of the Creative Word, Lecture II, October 20, 1923