Rudolf Steiner, Dornach, Switzerland, November 18, 1917:
We know that we actually live in the age of materialism. We know that since the middle of the nineteenth century this materialism has reached its climax. In reality, however, polarities must converge. It is exactly this climax of materialism within the evolution of humanity that must converge with the intensification in human evolution that leads to truly beholding Christ in the etheric. One can grasp that just the announcement of the mystery of beholding Christ, of this new relationship with humanity into which Christ will enter, would arouse ill-will and resistance from some human beings. These would be members of certain brotherhoods who wished to exploit the event of the twentieth century, this event of the appearance of the etheric Christ, who wished to use it for their own purposes and not allow it to become general human knowledge. There are brotherhoods, and brotherhoods always influence public opinion by allowing this or that to be publicized by such means as would be least noticed by people. There are certain occult brotherhoods who spread the message that the age of materialism has almost run its course, that in a certain way it is already past. These poor, pitiable, “clever people” — in quotation marks, of course — spread the doctrine in numerous assemblies, books, and societies that materialism has exhausted itself, that one can already grasp again something of spirit, but they can offer people nothing more than the word spirit and single phrases. These people are more or less in the service of those who have an interest in saying what is not true, that materialism has been “ruined by bad management,” as it were. This is not true; on the contrary, materialistic thinking is in the process of growing. It will thrive most when people deceive themselves by believing that they are no longer materialists. The materialistic way of thinking is in the process of increasing and will continue to increase for about four or five centuries.
Source: November 18, 1917