• Michael Martin

Smash the Technocracy

Sophiology is about as far away from the idea of a technocracy as is conceivable. In my book Transfiguration I discuss this polarity in terms of Sophia and Ahriman. Sophia, as anyone familiar with my books or this blog knows, is the handmaid and coworker of the Lord, revealed in scripture, among other places, in Proverbs 8 where she describes herself in intimate terms with him: “when he marked out the foundations of the earth, then I was beside him, like a master workman”(19-20) and in Luke 1 when the Virgin responds to the archangel that she is the “handmaid of the Lord” (38). Ahriman, on the other hand, is the Anti-Sophia who hates the Lord and wishes to turn everyone and everything into a data set ready to optimized and subsumed into the anti-cosmos. Rudolf Steiner, who used the Zoroastrian name “Ahriman” to identify the spirit working through the technological, described this phenomenon in these words:

In his technical machines of the economic sphere the human being will perceive that, although he constructed and made them, they nevertheless gradually take on a life of their own—a life certainly which he can still deny because they manifest themselves to begin with only in the economic sphere. But he will notice more and more in what he himself creates that it gains a life of its own and that, despite the fact that he brought it forth from the intellect, the intellect itself can no longer comprehend it…. People will discover, in fact, how the objects of their industry (Wirtschaft) become the bearers of demons.” [1]

In recent news, transhumanism, which had been percolating under the cultural radar for decades, has been rebranded as a societal good, whether through various medical interventions to combat viruses, through similar medical interventions devised to alter one’s identity, or through other applications that seek to permanently connect human biology to the “internet of things.” Strangely, these developments are being proposed by the very powerful, and many people seem to be going along with it—ironically, these are the same people who were blaming these powerful figures for all the evils of Capitalism and the instrumentalization of human beings for control and profit not two years ago. For my part, I have rather a hard time believing that the people who’ve been destroying the planet and human societies for the past century will be the same people to save us from their disastrous projects. Only a fool could buy that. We have no shortage of fools, alas, but fear can make even the best of people do foolish things

In Transfiguration, I note that “as the World of Ahriman more and more encroaches upon the business of being human, more and more compromises being human and turns it into a business, the World of Sophia, the Wisdom that God poured forth upon all his works (Sirach 1:9), more and more reveals itself as the antidote to his madness.” But how do we access the World of Sophia?

First of all, by extricating ourselves from the World of Ahriman. Let’s turn the non serviam back on him. Extrication happens by non-participation, as our Amish brothers and sisters exemplify so well. The Amish, contrary to popular stereotypes, use telephones, even cellphones (the Amish carpenter who put my roof on has a nicer cellphone than I do). The difference is that they don’t let their phones use them.

Another method is by returning to the Creation. When we’ve been herded into virtual spaces, it’s easy to forget our connection to Natura. Learn how to pay attention to the Real. Develop an awareness of where the planets are in the heavens at any given moment of the day. You can start with just the moon. Where in the heavens above or below the earth is it right now? Do you know? What phase is it in? Note the subtle changes in your consciousness after doing this for a few weeks.

Attending to the subtle changes in the flora and fauna in your area works in a similar way. How is the apple tree (or grape vine, or rose bush, or lilac bush, and so forth) different today from yesterday? from last week? How does your attention alter your being?

Not participating in the World of Ahriman is the best medicine, though, of course, in this day and age, it is nearly impossible to completely divorce ourselves from the “net” (perhaps the perfect metaphor). But participation in the World of Sophia is without a doubt the antidote to the World of Ahriman. Maybe if we called the World of Sophia a vaccine more people would try it. At least post-menopausal women wouldn’t start having miraculous periods again (is anything more fitting an image of the diabolical parody of fertility, this anti-fertility?).

Another way, and perhaps one of the most practical, is to not participate in the “food” distributions system of the World of Ahriman. Join a biodynamic or organic CSA. Buy a stake in a herdshare to give yourself access to milk that’s still alive. Get to know farmers. Buy as much of your food as possible directly from them (farmers markets are okay, but they’re often of more benefit to the municipalities hosting them than to the farmers, who get fee’d to death by participating). Start a garden.

Once you start doing these kinds of things, you’ll notice you are less and less a part of the World of Ahriman and more and more a part of the World of Sophia. Sophia’s world is inhabited by people in community with animals, plants, and the land; by community with saints, angels, and God. Sophia is the bridge between these worlds.

The Ahrimanic, however, becomes enraged by such things. It wheels out various methods of curtailing life: taxes, regulations, any number of proscriptions intended to disable or destroy the wholesome and deliver the unwary into the waiting tentacles of the technocracy.

This way of smashing the technocracy boils down to generally ignoring it, or ignoring it as much as possible, and by loving each other, the land, and the beings which inhabit it in a gesture of absolute generosity and care. By so doing, we return to the place promised in Proverbs 8, when Sophia was “by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him; Rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the children of men. Now therefore hearken unto me, O ye children: for blessed are they that keep my ways” (30-32).

Michael’s latest books are an edition of The Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz and Transfiguration: Notes toward a Radical Catholic Reimagination of Everything. He can be reached at director@thecenterforsophiologicalstudies.com See also The Center for Sophiological Studies' available courses. Also check out the latest volume of Jesus the Imagination: The Garden.

1. Rudolf Steiner, The New Spirituality and the Christ Experience of the Twentieth Century, trans. Paul King (London / Hudson, NY: Rudolf Steiner Press / Anthroposophic Press, 1988), 82.

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