Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925) was an Austrian philosopher and esotericist and founder of one of the key modern spiritual movements in the West. He is best known for his books and lectures before and after World War I, when he founded the Anthroposophical Society with its present-day headquarters in Dornach, Switzerland. After World War I, Steiner and his work were criticized viciously by right-wing nationalists in Germany, which caused him to give up his residence in Berlin. Among the critics was Adolf Hitler, who attacked him in print as a traitor to Germany for his efforts to promote peace.
The work of prophetic thinkers like Rudolf Steiner makes clear that the history of humanity proceeds through the evolution of consciousness, where changes take place in the psyche of people well in advance of their outward manifestations. Thus an understanding of what is happening before our eyes is never simple, nor can it be taken at face value. Discernment requires a level of knowledge that can only be achieved through study and insight.