Wednesday, June 19, 2019

7 pm – 9 pm

138 West 15th Street, NYC (between 6th and 7th avenues)

Lecture. $20 suggested fee. Buy tickets in advance.

Part of the series “Exploring the Cosmic Purpose of Human Creativity NOW”.

The Battle for Reality

 

JOHN BECK

 

In ancient times the people of what is now India would experience the world of the senses as “Maya,” meaning illusion. They would also speak of the “play of the gods.” The Judeo-Christian tradition and many others also speak of a world creation.

Shakespeare’s As You Like It proclaims that

“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages.”

The reality of the world of the accepted physical senses (touch, taste, smell, hearing, sight) was once experienced as a great drama put on by the gods. And the more recent term for this was “Sensorium,” the collective effects and impressions of our sense experiences.

Today we have rapid developments in a human, technological creation; we call it artificial reality. One might say that it began with stories, with dramas, turned into novels, then radio and TV. The latest established and familiar form of this is “video” games, though they are visual, and audible, and now sometimes haptic, or touch-enabled. The complexity that can be created by these “games” is now so great that the Henry Ford of our day, Elon Musk, has joined those who speculate that the entire universe, the cosmos, is an immense video game.

If that is so, what is the purpose of human life in this cosmic game? What light is thrown on that by Rudolf Steiner, with his remark that human beings at night return to “the architect’s office” from “the building site” to report on progress and receive new instructions? How does the overlay of ancient thought on modern technology strengthen this picture, and reveal the challenging, testing powers that demand that human beings wake up to their true role and potentials as cosmic co-designers?

John Beck edits being human magazine for the Anthroposophical Society in America, and is writing a series of short books called A Millennium Handbook.