What follows may be one of the weirdest things I have written! Nonetheless, I am sure that it is on the right lines and there is something behind it.
It derives from my personal interpretation, my decoding, of Rudolf Steiner's lectures published in 2016 as The Electronic Doppelganger; and particularly a lecture from 16 November 1917. Steiner's speculative essay, and this one, addresses the question: What happens to damned souls in an age of materialism? Where do they go, what do they do?
The matter is interesting because this is an age of Materialism in which the dominant form of evil is 'Ahrimanic' - that is, coldly-cruel, materialistic, controlling, bureaucratic; an 'Antichrist'-type of evil that pretends to 'good' (i.e. altruism) and does its work of damnation behind a facade of 'caring' (healthism, antiracism, environmentalism, sexual liberation and rights, etc.)
So - Materialism is the dominant ideology in our world - indeed, the only working ideology in public discourse. And Materialism has it that there is no God, no soul, no spiritual, no afterlife, no Beings, no love; the really-real is only that which is perceived by senses and physics, and modelled by mathematical and symbolic abstractions.
Materialism mostly says that death is annihilation. We die and nothing of our 'self' is left-behind. But there is another possibility, a 'loophole' - not offered to all, but aspired-to by groups with the character of initiates ('secret societies', one might call them). I mean the transhumanist project of the abolition of aging and death by technology, of indefinite 'life extension' of a material kind.
This combines with another strand of transhumanism which aims to combine Man and computer - in a cyborg fashion; which aims (in various ways - surgical, electronic, genetic etc.) to 'integrate' the electronic and digital world of the computer, with the living flesh of Men.
This technological pseudo-salvation has been taken-up by some strands of explicit transhumanism; and also, but without that name, is now (2020) mainstream, dominant, global public policy; being a strategy for the Ruling Establishment in their UN Agenda 2030, the Great Reset idea and others.
This idea of what might happen to sustain 'life' (or personal identity) after death, has been propagated in various ways; such as the mind being like a computer, and therefore down-loadable onto a computer; the cryogenic idea of preserving a brain for future reanimation; and even the common Hollywood (hence presumptively evil-motivated) trope that 'we live-on' after biological death, 'in the memories/ hearts of those who remain alive'. This trope may - deceptively - have a literal meaning intended; behind the sentimental metaphor.
Ancient Greeks and Hebrews, and probably others unrecorded, had an understanding that death was (mostly) a matter of the spirit being severed from the body; and surviving in an Underworld (Hades, Sheol...) as witless, gibbering, demented ghosts without consciousness or free agency or sense of self - but not suffering.
Perhaps those materialists who want to live forever in a material way, are offered a 'deal' whereby instead of going to the underworld (or to Heaven, which they usually disbelieve; and mostly wouldn't want if they did believe it) - they instead remain on earth and involved with earthly life in return for serving the Satanic agenda.
This is achieved by these 'ghosts' living-on in the material 'minds' ('brains', 'hearts') of the secret societies, and of any other men who the secret brotherhoods persuade ('brainwash') into providing brain-space' to these spirits.
This may be one actuality of Biblical Hell; which is often referenced to being on earth, with demons being ghosts of the evil-affiliated deceased, still active among living people - i.e. the 'principalities and powers' - serving the agenda of Satan who is thus a 'ruler' of the earth in a literal sense.
This would mean that the Satan and the demonic powers recruit not just living Men to their side - including in secret societies dedicated to evil; but that some of these same Men, when they die, desire or consent to become 'evil ghosts', remaining on earth and still active in this world, in a form of perpetuated, materialistic (but not embodied) life; a 'reward' for which they pay by being bound to the service of Satan.
The idea is that these spirits of the evil and deceased are materially instantiated in the brains, minds, symbols, rituals etc of living Men. These 'evil ghosts' live-on in the minds and brains of Men of the secret societies - Men who believe-in, know, and side-with Satan: the servants of Satan, in other words. These Satanic servants are are aware of the doppelganger, consent to it; and use the evil-ghosts in their evil strategies - e.g. for gathering information and covertly influencing other men.
And the evil-ghosts also live-on among the masses of materialistic unrepentant sinners, who have taken Satan's side against God. These masses are unconscious of being hosts of evil-ghosts; indeed they do not believe in ghosts, do not believe in Satan - and are standard, unthinking dupes to the incoherent ideology of Materialism.
These masses of un-conscious, ignorant, God-denying, Satan-affiliated yet Satan-Disbelieving Men; are therefore acted-upon by the evil-ghosts of self-damned Men. This is what Steiner meant by his term 'doppelganger' - he meant the evil-double, unconsciously hosted, and unconsciously influencing the minds of those who host it. These are the dupes of Satan, rather than his servants.
(As always, the spiritual 'law' is that evil must be consented-to, must be - like an archetypal vampire - be 'invited-in', invited to cross the threshold into the mind. This, at least, must be a conscious decision. It corresponds to what some people call 'taking the ticket' - the Faustian bargain which is presented to almost everybody, nowadays sooner rather than later; of knowingly consenting to do evil, in return for some worldly advantage. But then most people explain-away, bury and deny this decisive corrupting-event - saying to themselves that they 'did nothing wrong'; and therefore they never repent it and must take the consequences. Of course, repentance would immediately negate the damnation, and anybody can repent at any time (albeit on certain conditions); but typical modern people do not believe in the reality or possibility of repentance.)
Evil ghosts may also live-on after biological death by inhabiting electronic devices, such as computers and the internet. This is possible because of the pseudo-brain/ nervous system, quasi-intelligent, cognitive-processing qualities of modern electronic media.
Of course, 'electronic media' are not distinct from (not separable-from) Men's thinking - indeed nothing is distinct from Men's thinking (except primordial chaos). In other words, God's creation is made by thinking, as well as from 'stuff'. Our thinking is inextricably part of the world.
(This is another insight of Rudolf Steiner's - articulated in his early philosophical books Truth and Knowledge and The Philosophy of Freedom.)
What this means is that we should think of electronic media, computers, the internet etc as part of the web of human thinking, continuous with human thinking, and indeed sustained-by human thinking.
And this is the inverse of the transhumanist ideology, which considers human thinking to be wholly a matter of brain activity; and brain activity to be wholly abstract mental processing, which processing can then be instantiated in electronic media. This ideology makes the possibility of its own validity.
To conclude, Hell on earth is the hosting of evil-ghosts (who are the post-mortal spirits of evil men) by the minds of Men who have joined-with the agenda of Satan; and by the electronic media that are manifestations of materialistic, hence Satanic, thinking.
Hell lives in the mind of evil-affiliated (unrepentant) materialistic Men, who may well be a large majority of Men in this year of 2020.
These evil-ghosts can only influence by consent; so the doppelganger must be 'invited-in'. A few Men (servants of Satan) are aware of this 'double' and manipulate it, for evil purposes; but most (dupes of Satan) are unaware or in denial - and are therefore open to manipulation by their doppelganger.
The vast modern world of electronic media also provides a dwelling place for these evil-ghosts; but again they can only influence those who 'invite them in' to their minds, for example those who are willingly addicted-to, and who subordinate themselves to, the ideology, propaganda and manipulation of the mass media.
But those who know the reality of Satan, and can discern his influence, and who have chosen to follow Jesus and accept his gift of resurrected Life Everlasting in Heaven - such Men are immune to the evil doppelgangers of mind and machine.
You might be onto something. I was reminded of the nowadays-common funerary banality that 'X will live on in the hearts of (friends / family members / work left behind on earth)' and started to wonder about its origins.
The materialist "cognitive scientist" Douglas Hofstadter believes that his late wife literally lives on as a separate mind sharing the hardware of his brain.
Anneliese Michel, a famous German exorcism case, was believed by the Catholic priests who performed the rites to have been possessed not only by conventional demons but by the spirits of several deceased human beings -- including, if memory serves, Judas, Nero, and (but of course!) Adolf Hitler.
Shakespeare reinterpreted the sinister doppelganger ("evil genius") who confronted Brutus shortly before his death as being the ghost of Julius Caesar.
For me, the most useful part of this post was the line "the common Hollywood (hence presumptively evil-motivated) trope" -- a very good rule of thumb!
Brilliant! I have the book and failed to grasp what its message was. I will now re-read it with your insights to hand.
@Ama - Well, I am not a reliable guide to Steiner's intent. I find him very stimulating, (RW Emerson advised we should read only to 'start your own team') and therefore I acknowledge this influence - but I am 'not even trying' accurately to summarise the totality of Steiner's ideas; which is why I always try to provide a link to the actual source.
Your best dig into the fabric. Reading again...
A few years ago, before my conversion of course, I had a poster with an old 90s style computer with a pentagram on the screen and it read "SATAN IS A COMPUTER". (Image search "Perturbator Satan Is A Computer", Perturbator being the name of a musician). At the time I suppose I just figured it was a "cool" poster.
I am fascinated with the way popular culture will seemingly drop hints, knowing that the vast majority will overlook it no matter how literal and direct the statement.
Comment from Nathan "Brilliant. Heraclitus said "Because it is so unbelievable, the Truth often escapes being known" I find that fitting for this post"
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