Current fifth cultural age
The current cultural age describes a period between 1413 and 3573 characterized by the German and Anglo cultures, it is the fifth cultural age in the Current Postatlantean epoch.
- development of the consciousness soul, see Development of the I
- related topic pages
- transition from previous fourth to current fifth cultural age:
- different substreams, currents or influences in the current age
- transition from current fifth to next sixth cultural age:
- task to come to grips with evil as an impulse in world evolution (1917-11-19-GA178), see a.o.
- spiritual guidance of Mankind by angels (GA015), an intellectual age focused on thinking (1911-11-10-GA130) see Schema FMC00.047 on Current Postatlantean epoch)
.. on the one hand that we are now living in the materialistic age, to which is added abstraction in the sense we have come to know it, namely estrangement from reality; furthermore, all that must break into our age catastrophically is connected with this divorce from reality.
On the other hand, however, it may also be said that compared with the other cultural ages in this epoch, our current fifth period is in a certain respect the greatest age, one that brings most of all to humanity, one that harbours within it immense possibilities for the evolution and existence of mankind.
In this fifth postatlantean age Man has the greatest possibility of making himself spiritual. No age has been so favourable to spirituality as this fifth cultural age. Courage must only be found to drive the money-changers out of the Temple. Courage must be found to confront with the real, abstractions and things estranged from reality, to set against them full reality and therewith the spiritual reality.
Schema FMC00.438 illustrates the essential agenda for humanity in the Current Postatlantean epoch to develop the first spiritual principle of Man's higher triad, the spirit-self (or manas) - see Schema FMC00.130. This will be achieved for a large part of humanity in the sixth cultural age (light yellow) as the fruits of the fructification of the consciousness soul by the Christ Impulse (see text in red, and the two mini infographics - see also Schema FMC00.428A).
This critical period of the fourth to the sixth cultural ages was prepared in the first four cultural ages (see Recapitulation - Schema FMC00.168), in parallel in a Southeastern and Northwestern stream (see Two streams of development). Both streams relate to the Atlantean migrations and the development of body and soul in the different populations (see also Human races). The Northwestern stream was in a preparatory waiting mode for four ages, see what is discussed on the topic pages available from both Germanic mythology and Mystery School tradition, a.o. but not limited to Ragnarok, Nibelungen, Druidic and Trotten Mysteries, Wotan Impulse, etc). The two streams met in the fourth cultural age, see Christ Impulse - meeting of two streams.
The spiral below (see also Schema FMC00.169) illustrates how evolution proceeds in discrete jumps, and the whole Schema is a concrete example of that in more detail. The central node of the spiral happens between the fourth to sixth cultural ages, of which the fifth is pivotal or central.
This positions the truly pivotal nature and importance of the current times, as the Christ Impulse is to fructify the consciousness soul so as to get the fruits required for this whole epoch in the next cultural age (Schema FMC00.169A). See also Schema FMC00.052: the next three millenia are crucial, and the current (and next) incarnation(s) is and are therefore pivotal.
Additional schemas that complement this schema: Schema FMC00.432, Schema FMC00.205B and Schema FMC00.441 below
Last, the Mystery of Golgatha in the center of the spiral is not just central to the current epoch, but to the whole Earth cycle and the evolution of the solar system cosmos: it is the start of a new creation, see Schema FMC00.400 on Cosmic breath of Brahma. For perspective, see also the PDF file The great journey of humanity.
Schema FMC00.428A adds the explanation from Rudolf Steiner's narrative in the sources listed, against the background of Schema FMC00.428.
It shows how "the Christ Impulse triggered a reversal of the influences of the two crossing streams", and gave Man independence in love and allowed for a spiritualization of love, as love without true freedom is not love.
Note: all texts originate from the GA244 sources listed, but were aggregated into a single schema explanation.
Schema FMC00.052 shows the dephased Christ solar impulse in red (dephased versus the cultural ages and timing of the regular hierarchies, called lunar/stellar astronomy). See Schema FMC00.052A for the original BBD (blackboard drawings). The timebar shows an interesting correlation between these impulses and two key periods for humanity: the first the next future Oriphiel age which will be a hardship test for humanity, and then the period in the next sixth cultural age where we have the Michael age and the impulse of the Maitreya Buddha .. a key period for the cohort of human beings that will provide the foundation for the next great Sixth epoch.
These two key periods are put in perspective to show - in yellow bars - the fact that "the fifth and sixth cultural ages are decisive" (1910-GA013), as "only a third of the population reaches the developmental goal at the end of the fifth epoch" (1904-10-24-GA090A).
To overlay schemas with a similar time-chart layout as below, see also:
- Schema FMC00.013 on this page, which uses the same layout
- Schema FMC00.167 on Transition between 4th and 14th century
Schema FMC00.239 shows the archangelic rulers of approx 354 periods for the current cultural age (plus and minus a cultural age). See also Spiritual hierarchies and their eigenperiods for more info on the 354 period. Rudolf Steiner uses this period to describe the nature of current Michael age and the Future Oriphiel age.
Lecture coverage and references
Thus you see that with the densification of man in the cosmos is connected a descent into the world of matter. And another force is connected with it which could never have developed without it: — egoism. Egoism has a good and a bad side. It is the foundation of human independence and freedom, but in its reverse aspect the foundation too of all that is bad and evil. But man had to go through this force of egoism if he was to learn to do good of his own freewill. Through the forces which had guided him previously, he would always have been impelled to the good; it had, however, to be possible for him to go his own way. Just as he has descended he must now ascend again to spirituality; and as the descent is linked with the predominance of egoism so does the ascent depend on men's selflessness, their feeling of sympathy for one another, becoming stronger and stronger.
Mankind has evolved through various epochs, first through the old Indian, then the Persian, the Egyptian-Chaldean-Babylonian, the Greco-Latin to the present Fifth epoch. And this will be replaced by a sixth. And as human evolution is working towards this, it is working at the same time at the overcoming of the principle which has been strongest since the time when the etheric body united with the point in the brain of which I spoke to you yesterday. That was the time of the fall into the deepest egoism.
Man was also egotistic in his earlier evolution, but it was then in a different way. The egoism which enters so deeply into the soul as in our present age is inseparable from the predominating materialism; a spiritual age will denote the overcoming of this egoism. Therefore Christianity and all movements imbued with genuine religious life have worked consciously towards breaking through all the old blood-ties.
I have mentioned in the course of these studies that every cultural age in the Postatlantean age has its particular task. I have characterized in general the task of the fifth cultural age, indicating that it is humanity's task in this period to come to grips with evil as an impulse in the evolution of the world.
We have frequently discussed what this means. It cannot be otherwise than that forces that appear at the wrong place appear as evil. They can be conquered for humanity, however, through the exertions of human beings in the current fifth cultural age, so that with these forces of evil something good for the future of the evolution of the whole world is in the position to unfold.
For this reason, the task for the fifth Postatlantean period is a particularly difficult one. As you see, a great many temptations face humanity. When the powers of evil gradually appear, it is natural that Man is more likely under the circumstances to give in to this evil in all realms, rather than taking up the struggle to allow what appears to him as evil to be put in the service of the good in world evolution.
Yet this must happen: the evil must to a certain degree be placed at the service of the good in world evolution. Without this, it would be impossible to enter the sixth cultural age, which will have a completely different task. It will have the task of allowing humanity to live above all in a continuous contemplation of the spiritual world, of spiritual impulses, in spite of the fact that it is still connected with the earth.
Just this task in the fifth cultural age, that of opposing evil, is connected with the new possibility of a certain kind of personal darkening for humanity.