Tuesday 13 September 2022

Why did prophecy work in the past, but not any more?

Prophecy - in the sense of inspired and accurate prediction of the future - clearly worked in the past: history is brimming with examples. 

Yet nowadays most people don't believe in prophecy, nor are there any recognized prophets. 

That's a pretty big change in assumptions - and indeed experiences! How could it have happened? 

The usual modern explanation is that prophecy never did work, but people in the past were (some combination of) gullible and manipulated, whereas (implicitly) modern people are not.... Yaas, well...

Setting that aside; I think it reasonable to assume that people in the past were indeed capable of inspired and accurate prediction of the future; but modern people are not. 

The answer, I think, is due to changes in human consciousness. OK, but what changes?

Firstly; modern people are not often capable of inspiration - but even among those who are, accurate prediction of the future is very rare, and I would guess that no self-described prophet has much recognition... Or at least, not for long.

Personally, I think there still is some capacity for the not-many-people who are genuinely inspired to prophecy accurately about themselves; when they are inspired - but this kind of modern prophecy is not socially-generalizable in the way that prophecy used to be.

In other words; modern prophecy (insofar as it exists) is individual not social; and this is one reason why people do no believe-in prophets.    

My best explanation of the loss of prophecy and the role of prophet is that in the past (and the further back, the more this was the case) Men were mentally-immersed-in human society and nature, and were in communion with the world of 'the gods' and spirits. 

Therefore, prophecy was both from this immersed-state of knowing where the whole of creation currently-was, and was-going; and also the prophecy concerned a much-less-free creation. In the past; nothing was significantly insulated-from creation, or exempted from the insights of prophecy; because for the ancients nothing was independent-of or alienated-from creation. Men were unfree.  

In other words; the prophet knew where things were going, and nobody was sufficiently independent of the 'group mind' to resist or reject 'where things were going'.

Everybody shared this knowledge implicitly, unconsciously (and spontaneously) - and the prophet was ('simply') someone who was aware of this general knowledge, and could articulate it - and once articulated by a prophet, the knowledge could be recognized by others.  

But in modern consciousness (what Steiner called the Consciousness Soul); from adolescence onward Men are no longer immersed-in 'the world'; and Men are instead (like it or not) cut-off from spontaneous knowledge of the group, nature, the gods and spirits... 

Modern Man is compelled to be free, and therefore compelled to choose. 

This is why Modern Man is now controlled by bureaucracy and the mass media, and by 'incentives' - this is 'necessary' because he lacks the old, spontaneous and mostly-unconscious immersive sociality and connection with the world. 

Now cohesion is from control, and control is top-down; and a matter of propaganda, bribes and threats - channeling choices (including denial of the reality of choice). 

Prophecy is lost because Men are no longer immersed in a common world, and prophecy is impossible because Men are all cut off from that communion with life and the world which used to enable prophecy - and which made it (all but) impossible for individuals to opt-out.

Now, we find our-selves already opted-out; and the necessity is to opt-in - and to choose that which is opted-into

1 comment:

john said...

Prophets are now called conspiracy theorists and they keep being proven right. Prophecy moved from the realm of religion to politics....but in reality always was politics. Ancient prophets primarily predicted wars.