Edited from a lecture by Rudolf Steiner at Bern, Switzerland - 4th November 1919 concerning the influences of Lucifer and Ahriman.
The phase of evolution beginning in our own time has a very special character. The present phase may be characterized in a general way by saying that all the experiences confronting humankind in the physical world during the earth's further existence will represent a decline, a retrogression.
The time when human progress was made possible through the constant refinement of the physical forces is already over. In the future, too, humankind will progress, but only through spiritual development, through development on a higher level than that of the processes of the physical plane.
People who rely entirely on the processes of the physical plane will find in them no source of satisfaction.
We are heading for the “War of All against All”; its implications must not remain in the realm of theory but also come to expression in the actions, the whole behavior of human beings.
The fact that people in the future are not going to get much fun out of developments on the physical plane, will bring home to them that further evolution must proceed from spiritual forces.
Comment: A hundred years later and we can see that Steiner was absolutely correct. Four generations of (mostly) development in the refinement of physical forces, clearly has Not brought about human progress.
(Indeed the prevalent - and explicit - idea among the (demonically-driven) Global Establishment is trans-humanism, transcending the human; the abolition - and eventual genocide - of all humans, and their replacement with 'cyborg' human-computer hybrids. Why not? Does Satan care for humans?)
And the war of all against all has advanced so rapidly in recent years - and with unprecedented swiftness in 2020 - that implementing exactly such a Life has become the main plank of global public policy with barely any recognition and even less murmer of disconent that this should be.
(Disguised merely by the flimsiest and least coherent of Big Lies, blatant fakery, and terrible consequences evident in the personal experience of every single individual on the planet.)
Steiner knew and prophesied that the immediate post-1914-18 world war was the last chance for the dominant Western world to change its trajectory; but instead materialism/ reeductionism/ positivism was embraced and enforced with teh promise of a life without suffering and of greatly enhanced 'fun' - as was evident in the Roaing Twenties and the Swingin Sixties.
Yet the underlying reality of the 20th century was unprecedented world was and atheist socialist/ communist (anti-Christian) regimes of staggering human destructiveness. And the self-destruction of The West primarily by increasing value-inversion with sub-fertility, and deliberate strategy social and suicide - which seems to have reached a decisive climax.
Rudolf Steiner's great strength is not his analysis of distaster - but his pointing forwards towards The necessary, fundamental and potentially effective (Christian and spiritual) solution; which is why (for all his many faults) he remains one of very few genuinely vital thinkers of the past couple of centuries.