TPA Editorial

The War on Terror and the Fear of the Spirit

Some thoughts about the present world situation

Humanity is steeped in a permanent war – the “global war on terror”. It terrorises in fact a great number of souls trying to make their living in peace and to find a purpose in life. Living has become a daily danger. Over the present situation a dark cloud seems to hang, stretching from West to East, enveloping and overshadowing everything below it and threatening to cast down storms, lightning and thunderbolts. This cloud makes the stars beyond the clouds invisible and fills all souls with fear. This fear is nourished daily and kept alive by the continuous onrush of ever new terrible events.

For a few weeks the world was in shock because of the atrocious murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi embassy in Istanbul. Others have been shocked by the fact that President Trump recently announced the cancellation of an atomic treaty with Russia which has limited the danger of nuclear war for over thirty years. On 25 October NATO embarked on the largest military manoeuvres in its history – in Norway, which has a northern border with Russia. This no doubt will strengthen the fear of “aggressive” Russia in many people. Many Europeans fear the social effects of uncontrolled immigration in their countries. Others fear the sudden crash of the economy and the loss of their money and pensions. Addicted users of the Internet fear the sudden global blackout of this tool of information and communication. The list could be continued almost without end.
Apart from natural disasters like earthquakes, volcano eruptions or tsunamis, most of these fears seem to be connected in one way or another to global terrorism, and global terrorism has a standard origin: the media tell us that we have to be afraid of something dark and terrible out there, in some “terrorist” people, mainly of an Islamic background. This fear of Islamic terrorism is the red thread within all the other particular fears pressuring the present age.

Americanism and the fear of the spirit
But there is one fear which is usually completely overlooked, though it is of a more fundamental nature than the ones mentioned: this is the fear of the spirit. This fear is not somewhere “out there”. It sits in the depths of every single human soul in our age. It is high time to find and paralyse this root fear within us. Otherwise we are doomed to continue to be terrorised by this very root fear.

Rudolf Steiner, the founder of the modern science of the spirit, once characterized three movements full of destructive forces for our time: Bolshevism, Jesuitism and Americanism (GA 181, July 30 1918). About the latter he says: “Everything which may be called Americanism has the ever-increasing tendency to produce a fear of the spirit and to make the world merely an opportunity to live in it physically – a world in which you can live in comfort and wealth. Under the influence of this stream, the connection with the spiritual world is bound to be destroyed.” This deeper layer within modern Americanism – not meaning by this term what was and is in America of high value in Western civilisation – is behind what since 9/11 has been imposed on the whole of mankind as the “war on terror”. It is in its deepest roots born out of the fear of the spirit.

A proxy war and the courage of cognition
In this sense the whole “war on terror” is the real proxy war of our time – and this war is in reality directed against the spirit and the awakening of the soul to it. The “war on terror” is designed to keep mankind in the state of sleeping, drugged prisoners who are paralysed by the fear of the spirit. The war on terror strengthens this weakness in every present soul – instead of helping it to overcome it and to wake up to the spirit, and thereby to find the real purpose of life.
To achieve such an awakening, we need the courage of cognition. This courage is a real jewel within the human soul potential. But it is covered by thick layers of fear, of hate and doubts. To polish this jewel and make it shine is to wage the real war on terror and to stop being terrorised by the fear of the spirit. We start to actively engage in a battle between Michael, the true spirit of our time, and Ahriman, the spirit of darkness and of hyper-materialism of all sorts. Then the stars beyond the black cloud can once more begin to become visible – under any circumstances.

T.H. Meyer