What people believe gives them certainty and a worldview hence is like an 'operating system' for a person and society.
It is therefore also the basis for stability of power structures.
Therefore, what people believe has always been the basis for conflicts and wars, and we can learn a lot from it.
We can distinguish two main areas:
- scientific beliefs of how the nature of the world and cosmos
- happenings in the world, the reality of events, political facts and motivations
In the previous fourth greco-roman cultural age (747 BC to 1413), the the greek culture was followed by the huge power of the Roman empire. After the fall of the Roman empire, the position of power was taken up by the Roman Catholic church that became the largest power structure in Europe and the world (certainly between the 4th and 14th century).
Examples of extreme actions by the Roman Catholic Church were:
- the college for destruction of initiation, gnosis, spirit'
- whereby 'Everything that this college did not allow was thoroughly swept away and what remained was modified before being passed on to posterity' .. “For as long as possible nothing new shall be seen in the spiritual world” - so decreed this college. “The principle of initiation shall be completely rooted out and destroyed. Only the writings we are now modifying are to survive for posterity.”
- See the quote 1922-07-23-GA214 on Christ Impulse - meeting of two streams
- the abolition of the spirit, made official by decree by the fourth council of the Catholic Church in Constantinople in the year 869
The crusades are examples of religious wars, but with war we mean not an armed conflict but a long-standing collision of belief systems.
Not agreeing to the commonly accepted truths, called heresy, led to torture, imprisonement, being exiled, or burned.
The most famous case of a conflict with the church was that of Galileo (1564-1642) in the period 1610-1633. At first he escaped the Inquisition but later he was still sentenced to indefinite imprisonment and put under house arrest until his death.
Others were less fortunate, examples of people who got killed or burned this way are:
- Hypathia (360-415), Pietro d'Abano (1257-1316), Giordano Bruno (1548-1600), Tommaso Campanella (1568-1639)
The church had an index of forbidden literature and banned books, called the Index Librorum Prohibitorum, or 'Index' in short. Viewing this list with a 21st century perspective, the following authors found their books on the index:
- Blaise Pascal, Rene Descartes, Francis Bacon, Baruch Spinoza, Voltaire, Immanuel Kant, Henri Bergson,
- and for sure people with a spiritual perspective like Johannes Scotus Eriugena, Emanuel Swedenborg.
Some books were on the index of banned books for centuries but later removed, eg the works of Dante Alighieri, Nicolas Copernicus De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (1543) from 1616 to 1835, the three books by Johannes Kepler (1609 to 1835), and Victor Hugo upto 1959.
Note Rudolf Steiner mentions the examples of Copernicus and Kepler, because of the 200 years that the books with worldview impact were not allowed to be read widely in society without a 'ban' by the authority of the roman catholic church.
Current 20-21st century
1/ scientific worldview or belief system
A large category of topics are being scoped out, certainly that is to be expected in the area to do with human consciousness:
- coincidence, synchronicity, serendipity, epiphany, premonition, etc
- remote viewing, lucid dreaming, out-of body experiences (OBE), near death experiences (NDE), astral travel, etc
but also findings that contradict the paradigm cause anger in the scientific community:
- for example the work by scientists who made discoveries that didn't fit the scientific paradigm, eg Samuel Hahnemann, Albert von Herzeele, Jacques Benveniste, Rupert Sheldrake
- the work by Nicolas Tesla or John E.W. Keely
2/ happenings in the world, the reality of events
media control -> public opinion
-> information war, ao spreading dis-information,
information which is not true but purposely broadcast to distract or confuse people, whereby they are not aware or are not able to find the truth any more. This in term can be used to the advantage by the parties who organize such information campaigns.
see the Rudolf Steiner's Karma of Untruthfullness lectures (GA ..)
It is the mainstream view of science and history that is taught at schools, the rest is ridiculed. Researching wikipedia gives plenty of examples of what is called 'pseudo-science', whereby it is shown with all possible means that the findings are impossible or erroneous.
The importance is that society organizes to try and weed out all that does not fit, as illustrated with a few examples:
- in some countries, homeopathy is not reimboursed by the governmental health care system because it is a sham (and working against the stakes of established pharmaceuticals industry and lobby)
- many countries still have legal government restrictions on religion or social and societal rules involving religion
- even a recent modern western-european example - the last twenty years more than fifteen countries rolled out laws regarding opinions about an event of the 20th century
Still today people are being imprisoned because they hold a different belief.
This illustrates that the above principles are of all ages and are everywhere, today just as in the past - albeit just in different forms.
- mineral science versus spiritual science
- there's a crack in everything
- Meaning of life
- Man's most important questions