Per Occult thinking: Materialism emboldens the force of Ahriman (who rules the force of logic). When given too much power Ahriman seeks to stamp out individuality.
In turn, as people grow more and more disillusioned (because of economic hardship or lack of options, for e.g.) this emboldens the forces of Lucifer (who rules imagination). Imagination is good but not when it descends into fantasy and decadence.
Materialism perverts logic and dulls feelings.
Rudolf Steiner believed in the “Christ Impulse/Christ Consciousness” – A force meant to keep the pendulum between Logic and Imagination in check. (See also Mystery of Golgatha). In his opinion World War 1 was materialism confronting its Karma.
6000 years ago, men begin to plunder and take slaves. Exploitation and plunder lead to a sense of inward becoming.
Roots of conflict lead to contradictory desires (imagining a better life – living in a fantasy on the one hand and plunder/exploitation which builds EGO on the other).
Industrial Revolution finds a split between Science and Philosophy. Science becomes the servile nursemaid of technology with the development and employment of mechanization.
Industrial revolution coincides with mechanistic conceptualization of the natural order – which sought to increase material profit at the expense of the human spirit.
Negative consequences include: Ecological imbalance, materialism, varied effects of personal greed, disintegration of human values, decline of the arts, lack of interest in personal excellence, lack of balance and an inability to see parts in relation to the whole.
The Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution are linked – both expressions of the same cultural paradigm shift.
The investment banker class emerged as the new royal class. Non productive; parasitic; unlike royalty they know how to maintain tentacles of power in the face of changing circumstances. Elite establishment becomes aligned with political hierarchy and people are a flock to be managed.