QUESTION: Is it permissible to preserve bales of fodder by means of an electric current?
ANSWER: What would be your object in doing this? It is necessary at this point to consider the part played by electricity in Nature. Now it is comforting to note that in America, where people are more observant than they are over here. voices are heard to say that man cannot go on developing in the same way in an atmosphere which is continuously being pierced by electrical currents and waves: it has an influence on the whole development of man. Man’s inner life will become different if these things are carried further and further. It makes a difference to a district whether it is provided with steam trains or electric trains. The action of steam is more conscious: the action of electricity is extremely unconscious, so that people simply do not know how certain things happen.
No doubt there is a development going on which must be reckoned with because electricity is being used above the surface of the soil as radiant electricity (wireless) and also as conducted electricity (cables) for transmit-ting news as quickly as possible from one place to another. The result of this will be that men and women living in the field especially of the radiant electricity can no longer “take in” the news they obtain. The electric radiations used to ensure quick transmissions tend to blot out the capacity for understanding. This can already be observed. People have far more difficulty in taking in what comes to them than they had several de-cades ago. It is a comfort to find that a glimpse of the truth of this matter is beginning to dawn at least from America.
Whenever anything new appears, it is usually regarded at first as “a remedy.” Then the prophets come in and use the thing. It is strange how, when something new appears, clairvoyant perception is so often brought down to the human level. For instance a man who had never before thought about it, begins to prophesy wildly regarding the healing power of electricity, and the idea is taken up not merely because electricity is there, but because it is in the fashion. Electricity in the form of radiations is no more a remedy than pricking with small thin needles can be a remedy. It is not the electricity which heals but the shock it produces.
It must not be forgotten, however, that electricity has a particularly powerful effect upon the higher organisation in living beings, i.e. upon the head in men and animals and upon the root in plants. An animal that eats food that has been preserved through electrification will therefore gradually tend to grow sclerotic. The process will be slow and will not be noticed at first. All that will be noticed is that in one way or another these animals die too soon. No one will attribute this to the electricity: all sorts of other reasons will be found. I cannot help it, but electricity is the last thing in the world which ought to be introduced into a living being to promote its life! It cannot promote life. Electricity is at one level lower than life, and the higher the level reached by life, the more it tends to rid itself of electricity; and if you induce the living organism to take repulsive measures when there is nothing to be repelled, the organism becomes nervous and fidgety and gradually sclerotic.
4th discussion – Agriculture Course, Steiner, June 1924