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November 2000

Michaelmas Conference 2000

Collaborating to Meet the Destiny of Our Time As Pupils of the Spirit at the Goetheanum
Sculpture and photo: Eugene Renggli, Lucelle, Switzerland

A New Social Spirit

From nearly fifty countries a thousand of us gathered in the Goetheanum for the Michaelmas Conference. Something of the spirit of the opening evening, composed as it was of conversation and a meal, moved through the entire conference. Everyone felt it. With every turn another companion for the journey was met and with each meal a new initiative dawned. From the outset a social intelligence seemed to walk through the throng whispering to each the appropriate words. From an outer viewpoint one could say that little was accomplished at the conference. No bold new vision was announced by the leadership, no major initiative begun. The lectures and performances were uniformly excellent, but again and again people commented on their meetings, not on the lectures. The Goetheanum at Michaelmas was a festival place of encounter. Every effort had been made by the Executive Council and staff to truly host all who came, including translation of all plenary presentations into five languages. The effect was palpable. We should not underestimate the significance of this new social spirit of the Goetheanum. Unlike the Masons who built in stone, the new Royal Art will be a social art that structures community, says Rudolf Steiner. It is the core of the Grail impulse. Another characteristic of that art is selflessness. I felt we often spoke not only of our internal concerns, but also of the sufferings of others, of our time, and not despairingly but with compassion. Again and again the Parzival question hovered in the air, What ails thee? In the presence of that question the burden of spiritual knowledge was lightened. I sensed we moved from a culture of knowledge towards one of interest in the other, and love for our time. Rudolf Steiner spoke of how Anthroposophia should be felt as a being who walks among us. I felt her in the halls of the Goetheanum at Michaelmas. We promised each other and her that we would not only think and work as bold individuals, but I heard a promise to work together, across nationalities and temperaments, between center and periphery, as never before. The sheath woven from the social intelligence of our meeting felt to me like a true reflection of and an invitation to the Cosmic Intelligence that weaves between the diverse hierarchies. In the absence of each other, may we remember the promise given, and listen for the gentle promptings of our common inspiring spirit. Arthur Zajonc, U.S.A. 1

Becoming aware of ourselves as an anthroposophical movement Selfless, vulnerable, thankful Goetheanum Executive Council to be expanded
Forum Violence and Technology in Our Time Reports, Initiatives, Comments Tasks of the Sections Review by the Conference Organizors 2 3 4 10 12

Hearing the Other Person
To what extent does anthroposophy live differently in different cultures, and to what extent does it represent a cosmopolitan element in humanity? Several contributions in Anthroposophy Worldwide no. 8/2000 raised this question. Traute Starke responds. Your question, How can we learn to value the contributions of others if we do not perceive and understand each other? is multilayered. When I hear another person, when I listen to him, I will value his contribution if I can perceive that it comes from a person who lives anthroposophy. If I do not understand the other persons language I cannot follow the content of the spoken words but I can sense whether the speaker is merely transmitting words or whether there is more streaming from him. Fundamentally I have to pay attention, not comparing my knowledge with the other persons knowledge but experiencing what lives within him. We were able to experience this at the Goetheanum summer conference, particularly during the contributions on Buddhism and Shintoism. They enabled me to experience how the world-encompassing, deep wisdom of anthroposophy can come to us through people whose cultures are foreign to us. These speakers gave not only knowledge, but also a gift. If we never hear what lives in the other person, we will experience only our own path. And we will not encounter things that we do not yet know. Jan Bouzek says it so clearly in his article. If I perceive anthroposophy only in my own country then I know it only in terms of my own path. Also, because anthroposophy lives in another country, I can learn how those people are. They must be different from me. Aban Bana, someone from the East, has a very free manner of demonstrating what is possible in Mumbai. Thus we learn that nothing constricting must be allowed anywhere. I believe this summer conference pointed the way; it revealed necessities. It also enabled many, many people to experience that a Christian element encompasses the globe. And we are all human beings within this cloak of Christ. This was like a jewel that entered the hearts of many people. Therefore, please, continue bringing contributions from other continents, from other cultures. This is the only way that we will be able to come near to each other. Traute Starke, Germany

Reference to Legal Status

Waldorf Schools in Japan In our interview with Michiko Koyasu in Anthroposophy Worldwide no. 8/2000, an existing Waldorf school in Japan was indirectly made to appear not a true (or real) Waldorf school. This was not a misprint this time but probably a language problem. As this confused several readers it seems necessary to explain it more precisely here. Michiko Koyasu says that in the sentence the first real, state accredited Waldorf school will probably open in Tokyo in 2002 the word real is meant only in reference to the schools legal status in Japan and not as a judgement of how true the school is. Tokyo has had a Waldorf school since 1987, which Michiko Koyasu helped found within the framework of Rudolf Steiner House. So far the school has not gained state recognition, however; it is merely tolerated by local education officials. Seventy children in classes 16 are taught there. Classes 78 are to be added in the coming years. M.S.

Anthroposophy Worldwide
Life in the Anthroposophical Society Anthroposophy Worldwide is published monthly. It is distributed by the regional Anthroposophical Societies in some cases augmented with independently edited news and articles. It also appears as a supplement to the weekly paper Das Goetheanum. Publisher: General Anthroposophical Society, represented by Paul Mackay Editors: Carol Brousseau (responsible for the English-Language Edition), Sebastian Jngel, (responsible for this issue), Dietrich Rapp, Ursula Remund Fink, Michaela Spaar, Stephan Stockmar, Justus Wittich, Falk Zientz Correspondents/News Agency: Jrgen Vater (Sweden) Marianne Mller-Nielsen (Denmark) Andrew Wolpert (Great Britain) News Network Anthroposophy (NNA) We expressly wish for active support and collaboration. To receive Anthroposophy Worldwide, please apply to the Anthroposophical Society in your country. If questions with the distribution arise, only the subscribers to Das Goetheanum should contact the address below. For all others the address is the address of the Anthroposophical Society in your country. Address: Weekly Paper Das Goetheanum, Box, CH4143 Dornach 1, Switzerland, fax +41/61/706 44 65 e-mail: Copyright 2000 General Anthroposophical Society, Dornach, Switzerland Printing by J.W. Arrowsmith Ltd. Bristol

Dear Reader Have you ever tried to explain a very impressive experience but felt that your words made it sound trite? I felt this way while compiling the many ideas, initiatives and comments that came together during the Michaelmas Conference. As we sought ways to describe and publish the rich events of the conference, the material grew and grew until all the pages of this issue were filled. The various contributions seemed to flow naturally into our usual categories, so the conference evidently turned out to be its own complete cosmos of worldwide anthroposophical endeavor. The conference cannot be mastered journalistically. Please regard the documented insights as being just what they are. Total coverage is impossible. Perhaps we could cover everything, but then only superficially by means of general summaries. So whatever you find here is meant to represent the other, unpublished part. The contributions chosen are not representative because of their content or special importance relative to other 2 contributions; they are representative only insofar as individual thoughts and initiatives can stand for totally different individual thoughts and initiatives. In particular, the questions surrounding the School of Spiritual Science have not been dealt with as thoroughly as they deserved. But these and other matters can find space at a late date. Too little space was devoted to thanks, as well. Speakers and artists did not get mentioned by name. Let us at least mention our tireless interpreters: Ilia Akoulenko (Russian), Luigi Fiumara (Italian), Gudula Gombert (French), Anna Meuss (English) and Ines Spittler (Spanish). Virginia Sease reminded us that our current Michael epoch prepares the conditions for the coming Oriphiel epoch. Our tasks with respect to the destiny of our time thus will have consequences reaching far beyond the present. We need to remember this responsibility. Filled as I am by trust in and gratitude for the initiative potential of others (who enable us to work within our own limited field of activity) I would actually prefer to remain silent. Sebastian Jngel

Anthroposophy Worldwide 9/2000

Signs of the Times

Meeting Violence, Accepting Noble Thoughts
Two Motifs from Colombia and India
In Spite of Violence: Courage, Tolerance, Forgiveness and Love
Silvia de Castro and her husband had to sort out many difficulties in order to attend the Michaelmas conference. They were thus particularly happy and grateful to be able to share in the conference and bring back impulses for their work in Cali, Colombia. Silvia de Castro felt it important to contribute to a comprehensive picture of the world today by telling us about Colombia. She was born in Mexico but has lived in Colombia for more than twenty years. I would like to share with you the experience of beholding new impulses for the future according to the Spirit of the Age as it arises from a painful destiny such as Colombia has to bear. Most people have heard the external news about Colombia. It may suffice to say that we live in one of the most dangerous countries in the world because of the narcotics traffic, guerillas and, above all, corruption. This brings fear, pain and uncertainty, of course. But what I want to speak about is its silent counterpart. Suffering and pain can destroy but also purify, can make you lose your center but also find it, can make you a coward but also help you find your inner strength. Through suffering you can awaken to a new consciousness. You can also learn to face evil in a desperate attempt to understand it because its presence is always there as a question. Silently, imperceptibly, a transformation is taking place among many people in Colombia. I would like to give some examples. A 14 year-old boy had by chance to teach reading and writing to the man who had killed his brother to steal a gold chain. After the boy discovered this fact he kept silence and only on the last day of his teaching did he reveal his identity. He said later that the way to forgive the man was teaching, because the man was not his brothers killer anymore but his pupil. Recently guerillas threw gas cylinders at the civilian population of a small town. Many people died and among them was the mother of four children. Her sister declared that the only way for these children to face the future was forgiveness. Two young men came to our school to sell sweets. They had been sicarios, people who kill anyone for money. They told us that there came a moment of consciousness in their lives when they decided to exchange death for life. The widow of a man who had worked tirelessly for peace in ColomAnthroposophy Worldwide 9/2000

bia said, right after her husband was killed, This country has no more space for hate. I have just pardoned him. This year about 100 people that had been uprooted from their place of origin (some because of the guerillas, others because of paramilitaries who make enemies of them) decided to live together. They made some decisions: Not to ask about each others origins; share the little food they have, giving priority to children; teach each other their skills. When the question of building a church arose they decided to build only one. So Catholics go to church on Saturdays and Protestants go on Sundays. Many circles of prayer have formed. This seems natural in these circumstances, but what is striking is that many are not praying for their own protection anymore; they pray lovingly for the protection of those
Photo: S.J.

who are making violence the guerillas, the sicarios, the delinquents... I have quoted only a few examples but there are many, many people, some of whom I know personally, who bear very difficult destinies and face them with tremendous fortitude. Not by natural resignation but through daily struggle to maintain confidence, striving towards spiritual realities. The Santiago Apstal Branch in Cali is asking itself in earnest what is the task of anthroposophy in this particular context. What is our responsibility? What do we have to learn from this specific situation? First of all we are trying to be aware of the human striving around us, keeping in mind that we are just a small circle among much bigger ones that are struggling to find new ways for the future. So we can be inspired by others in our quest for courage, tolerance, acceptance, forgiveness and love. In the past two years we offered public lectures on death and crisis, for instance. These themes arouse great interest and thankfulness in people, because every modern person longs for conscious understanding. It is true that at this moment pain and uncertainty are part of the destiny of our branch, but also the possibility to learn together about forgiveness and love as forces for our future work in faithfulness to the Michael impulse. Sylvia de Castro, Colombia
From a plenum contribution on 24 September

Taxed to their Absolute Limits

The human being of today seems to be cut off from heavenly forces, having increased access to the physical world. This gives him great potential for spiritualizing himself and carrying this force back into his surroundings. Nowhere is the physical body more strained and glorified than at this years Olympic Games in Sydney. Not only the physical body, also concentration and endurance are taxed to their absolute limits. Steroids and supplements are used to try to increase performance in addition to hightech clothing. This tendency to try for the best possible results through technology is global today. In India, for example, where early private education is usual, children begin to read, write and calculate at age 3. As if on a production line the children move from one exam to the next, preparing to enter working life as soon as possible. And there is hardly a job that would be complete without computers. So the little ones sit before computer screens from class one onwards. Bangalore now calls itself Silicon City and Hyderabad is sometimes called Cyberabad. Something that once was a part of ancient Indian tradition now appears in a new form. Many Indians consider Rudolf Steiner a European Rishi. For thousands of years India has accustomed itself to assimilating spiritual impulses. An important guiding principle in India is Let noble thoughts approach us from all directions. Let us ask ourselves how many incarnations we still have before the end of the post-Atlantic cultural epoch (the light of the ancient Indian cultural epoch must shine that far). We do not have many. Aban Bana, India
From a plenum contribution on 25 September

Anthroposophy around the World

Active Together for the World, Each in Our Own Way Entering Public Debate
Alliance for Childhood, Integrity of the Living Organism Symposium Our time confronts us with vital questions calling for public debate. Two current topics concern computers and genetic engineering. We need not merely observe educational trends with consternation; we can exert an active influence. The international Alliance for Childhood offers an example. Its initiators realized that children are increasingly subject to unhealthy influences, suffering from symptoms such as stress, allergies, asthma, hyperactivity and depression. Medicine prescribed for this, as well as the use of computers in early childhood education, seriously interfere with the incarnation of an amazing generation, according to Joan Almon. The U.S. Alliance placed itself squarely in the public eye with its study, Fools Gold A Critical Look at Computers in Childhood, highlighting the use/cost factor and health hazards of computers. It is part of the Alliances aim to collaborate with other experts. Recent publicity elicited a few objections as well as widespread acclaim. Joan Almon would like to see this lead to more discussion rather than to confrontation.
U.S. Contact: Alliance for Childhood, P.O. Box 444, College Park MD 2074, USA; tel./fax +1/301/513 17 77; e-mail info@; Internet www.

Impressions from the Michaelmas Conference Collaborating to Meet the Destiny of Our Time As Pupils of the Spirit 2430 September 2000 at the Goetheanum The fourth Michaelmas Conference probably received more comprehensive preparation than any anthroposophical conference before it. Besides the sequence of major conferences in 1979, 1986 and 1993 there had been recent preparation conferences at the Goetheanum, other associated conferences elsewhere in the world and ongoing information in Anthroposophy Worldwide. Nearly 1000 people active in the anthroposophical movement came together from nearly 40 countries to discuss the existential conditions facing anthroposophy in our time. Introductory lectures each morning served to remind us of fundamental anthroposophical ideas concernig the path of schooling and the Michael stream, while plenums were devoted to suggestions or spontaneous contributions from specific initiatives in all fields. More than 50 smaller groups met additionally to discuss, learn and do artistic work relating to the theme Collaborating to Meet the Destiny of Our Time. The content of the conference was so rich and the social interaction so complex that they can only be sketched here. Much, including substantial contributions of importance, cannot appear here or must be postponed (not least due to lack of space). If, however, our report conveys the impression that the conference ended with our awareness of ourselves as a dedicated, worldwide anthroposophical movement, then we will have succeeded a little in conveying one central impression from it. We feel the social tremors coming from Seattle, Davos, Bangkok, Havana, Washington D.C., ChengMai, Melbourne and this week Prague. As we meet, we cannot be asleep to the fact that millions are demanding a new planet, a new civilization different from the one we are now in, with its poverty, its violence, wars, drugs, the destruction of nature and the imminent cloning of human beings Nicanor Perlas thus summed up our current time, the background for our week together at the Goetheanum. This was the week when the Olympic Games drew the attention of an alleged three billion people, tens of thousands demonstrated in Yugoslavia for the recognition of Vojislav Kostunica as president, and young people demonstrated in Prague against the one-sided globalization of power. The conference themes of spiritual pupilship and the destiny of our time thus required no further external explanation. It was clear that these external events all concern the autonomy of the human I, the freedom to develop with dignity and the dangers of anti-spiritual tendencies today. Destiny of Our Time Inner Drama Conference speakers did not describe the destiny of our time solely in relation to economic, political or scientific developments, however. They spoke of it on still more fundamental levels. Worldwide, people are searching for their true selves, for their own unique biographies. This search a path of spiritual development is simultaneously a development towards individuality: individuality arising out of ethical individualism that bases on the universal human Christ impulse. What is this individual element? We can approach it by asking what people give their attention to and what they

In the Netherlands, public discussion on the use of genetic engineering had stagnated. To revitalize it, the Anthroposophical Society in the Netherlands organized a public symposium on the theme, The Integrity of the Living Organism (27-28 October 2000). Contributors included Cees van Woerkum, former president of a government biotechnology commission; Michiel van Well, parliamentary commissioner for the communication of technological progress; and Egbert Schroten, president of the Biotechnology and Animals commission. S.J.
Contact: Antroposofische Vereniging in Nederland, Boslaan 15, NL3701 Zeist, the Netherlands; tel. +31/30/691 82 16; fax 691 40 64; e-mail

Anthroposophy Worldwide 9/2000

Photos: S.J.

feel responsible for. Destiny occurs within the soul as inner drama. This raises questions of spiritual pupilship, which conference speakers characterized from many viewpoints. Spiritual Pupilship Meeting the Demands of Our Time The destiny of our time is not only an inner matter or an external event it becomes concrete when people actually meet. Our search for the I is not limited inward, we also direct our attention outward, to the other person. This requires engaging with something foreign that may irritate. However, it is only within such combinations that the possibility arises of performing deeds that go beyond a merely personal level. The Anthroposophical Society is thus an important union of people. Spirit requires form; otherwise it remains inactive in the earthly realm. We must also remember that Christ can join with communities. Michael pupilship has created a special community reaching far beyond any current union. It reveals karmic relationships reaching far back in human history. This communitys earthly location may be seen as the School of Spiritual Science. However, there are adversary forces that oppose this activity, with consequences more far-reaching than the trials of the striving individual. Here the concept of spiritual imprisonment was introduced. Spiritual imprisonment can hinder our work in the world either partially or entirely. It can arise when certain thoughtforms enter the spiritual world that stem from one-sided scientific denial of the idea of development. Still another union needs to be considered. The demands of our time are so complex that they require the forces of all of us who are actively working to resolve them. So speakers repeatedly mentioned the need for collaboration with others beyond the boundaries of the anthroposophical movement. Humility rather than pride

is appropriate. Several speakers referred to the Alliance for Childhood as a prime positive example (see column on page 4). We also need to speak a language that our contemporaries can understand. Before I turn to social aspects of the conference, I would like to note that different participants had different expectations as to the goals of the conference. Eileen Bristol (U.S.A.), evidently feeling a need to discuss concrete issues, offered five suggestions: (1) strengthen the authority of the Circle of General Secretaries to act, (2) establish an international board, (3) create opportunities for collaboration among anthroposophical organizations worldwide (in the spirit of the Council of Anthroposophical Organizations in the U.S.), (4) redesign the forms of the School of Spiritual Science and (5) establish a separate board to manage the Goetheanum as a conference and administration center. Manfred Schmidt-Brabant announced that the Executive Council will expand to be better able to fulfill its international tasks. He also spoke of the need for clarifying the tasks of the Circle of General Secretaries as an international body, introducing a new approach to handling the first class, making the work of the School of Spiritual Science more concrete, giving further attention to the Annual General Meeting as a mirror of a worldwide society, creating roundtable discussions in specific fields and providing technical aids such as the interpreter system (which, thanks to the interpreters, enabled participants to follow the course of the conference in English, French, German, Italian, Russian and Spanish). Johannes Khl, who co-chaired the conference with Michaela Glckler, left it open whether there would be another conference of this kind in 2007. Instead he spoke of the prospect of holding international meetings on specific themes and local conferences on the needs of our times. S.J.

Deeds and Advice

Ibrahim Abouleish Answers Questions about a New Free World Association

What is the free world association? It is a way for all initiatives that have been working successfully with threefolding to learn about each other and create an association. Not an association in the ordinary economic sense, but a kind of network? Yes, but when people form an association they also have certain obligations to support their partners in an ongoing way. They accept obligations, including economic obligations. In an economic association they purchase commodities, they produce for the purchaser, etc. This is what I mean by an association between active institutions. If our networking succeeds we might meet once a year. The aim would be to help each other as well as new initiatives that intend to base their operations on threefolding. The free world association may be able to support a current threefolding idea that would like to start in Uganda, for example (with deeds, contacts, etc). So it is not a club that merely discusses threefolding as a theoretical possibility? Exactly! We all know the theories by now and have studied them enough. It is time to put them into practice, so that words can become deeds. It is often said of threefolding groups that they are incapable of collaborating with other groups and individuals but when they join this association they will become absolutely social and good. Who belongs to the association? Sekem initiated it. Today, September 27, we received an immediate positive response from Michael Fields in the U.S. and Harduf in Israel. I hope for more.
Contact: Ulrich Rsch, c/o Goetheanum, Social Science Section, Postfach, CH4143 Dornach 1, Switzerland; tel. +41/61/706 43 11; fax 706 43 14; e-mail sektion.sozialwissen

Photo, questions: S.J.

Anthroposophy Worldwide 9/2000

One World Anthroposophy

Platforms for Burning Topical Questions I have been in Europe now for nearly six months . . . and I have more and more questions, more and more concerns. Youth, mature on the one hand, yet individualistic and oriented towards economic yields on the other. . . . I realized more and more that the First World needs the Third . . . I realized how much we each need each other. How much Europe needs the U.S., Asia needs Africa, and all need each other. If we transfer this to the anthroposophical way of working, we see that we need to become clearer about the fact that . . . the anthroposophical movement as a whole can only be effective if its parts are viable. Ute Craemer (Brazil) recently wrote these words to Waldorf teacher Thomas Stckli (Switzerland). Ute Craemer and Truus Garaets (U.S.) in view of religious wars, hunger epidemics, criminality, drug dealing, slums, suicide and sex crimes asked each other nine years ago what anthroposophical and perhaps other social initiatives could collect in the way of concrete solutions. The idea ripened into a plan to organize platforms for burning social questions in various countries that could then join for a world forum at the Goetheanum. All of us can learn from each other whether we are social workers, entrepreneurs, European anthroposophists or slum dwellers working in Waldorf kindergartens so that the areas in which anthroposophy has proved fruitful can be highlighted in the media. Also, social work is dependent on funds from businesses, foundations and taxes; we need to develop more far-reaching ideas for long-term fundraising. These are all tasks for the planned platforms. S.J.

Encounter Exercise Transforms the Mood of the Conference

On 25 September, Elizabeth Wirsching, Benjamin Kolass and Jesse Osmer of the Youth Section surprised us with a startling idea. They gave the participants a task. We were asked to leave the hall silently and stroll around the terrace until a gong sounded, then approach the person we happened to be looking at and ask him about his most important question. It is a joy to see that everyone is participating, including the Executive Council. Even the rustling of papers seems to subside. I am moving quietly through the auditoriums West exit with several hundred others. I am met by the unexpected sight of a carpenter sitting on the bench under the red window, observing with astonishment the many anthroposophists emerging silently from the oak portal. Everyone gives him a friendly nod, but no one says anything. This picture amuses me. A wandering carpenter with his typical black outfit and slouch hat, sitting beneath the Christ image irradiated by the evening sun. This is threshold it could not have been arranged better. Accompanied by this picture I try to think of my life question. Much too soon the gong sounds and I am standing in front of a young German doctor who works in New Zealand. A little embarrassed, we grope gradually towards our questions, while the under 30 year-olds help break the ice by coming around with baskets of chocolates and cookies provided by the youth section. After the exercise, our conversation hesitatingly comes to an end. We notice how engaged everyone around us is, still speaking with their partners. In the West I see some friends and approach them. Nearby I discover the carpenter, who is involved in a lively discussion, too. Curious about the mysterious ceremony, he had followed us onto the terrace and someone must have been looking at him when the gong sounded What an act of providence, to encounter anthroposophy in such an exceptional situation. Konstanze Brefin, Switzerland
From Mitteilungen aus dem anthroposophischen Leben in der Schweiz, November 2000

A Definite Will to Transformation

Unrest, criticism and many unresolved problems have beset the Anthroposophical Society for years and they endanger its future. Many members feel that todays circumstances can no longer be adequately met by the forms of co-existence, leadership structures and certain attitudes regarding fundamental questions that arose during forgoing decades (in an effort to remain true to Rudolf Steiners intentions at the Christmas Conference of 1923/ 1924). In Germany the constitution question has caused a stir. Various views and opinions collide, seeming to permit no agreement. This was the mood of many participants as the conference began. Yet there was also great joy in meeting old and new friends, and much expectation. With the Parzival Question in Our Hearts On Thursday, but especially on Friday and Saturday, there was a reversal. Significant words were spoken and then repeated often, namely Parzivals question, What ails thee? (Arthur Zajonc introduced them in English). Rather than approach the world with a certain arrogance, as if we knew the answer to everything and were thus convinced that we know what to do about it, we should better approach other people with the Parzival question in our hearts.

Contact: (for South America) Ute Craemer, Monte Azul, av. Tomas de Souza 552, BR05836-350 So Paulo, Brazil; fax +55/11/58 51 10 89; e-mail ute.craemer@ (for USA/South Africa) Truus Gaerets, 1347 Ontario Ave., Pasadena CA 91103; USA; tel. +/626/578 17 43; email (for India/Nepal) Aban Bana; 5 Proctor RD/Grant Rd., INMumbai 400 007, India, tel./fax +91/22/386 37 99 (for Europe) Ulrich Rsch, see bottom of page 5 (for Oceanian) Thanh and Ben Cherry, P.O. Box, Bowral NSW, Australia tel. +61/248/7 22 52; e-mail

Anthroposophy Worldwide 9/2000

If we were to practice this attitude (interest, compassion, love for the world and humanity) also with other members and leaders of our Society and movement, then mutual criticism would make way for true tolerance. Such insights were expressed many times during the conference, for example during the discussion groups I attended. Another inner transformation was expressed. People realized that it is very easy to notice mistakes and abnormal attitudes in others but that they are actually present in all of us, so we cannot blame only the Executive Council or the Collegium or other leading personalities for all of the weaknesses and imperfections of our Society. We must always begin with ourselves, conceding that the other person is striving as best he can. Feelings of Joy and Hope It became ever clearer that all of us, including the Executive Council and Collegium of the School of Spiritual Science, agree that we need to change many old forms and ways of judging things. The final contributions expressed this particularly. A feeling of joy and hope arose, hope that something really can change and that a new beginning will be possible. Of course it still must be done. A great expectation arose that this might happen with speed. The future form would have the center as an organ of perception, with the work being done on the periphery. However, it will not be a simple matter to actually put this into practice! So we will need to relinquish many habits, but we will gain in thankfulness, initiative and forward motion. Was This the Most Important Event Since the Christmas Conference? I have the impression that the importance of this conference will only emerge with time. It has the potential to become the most important event for the Anthroposophical Society since the Christmas Conference. It has an opposite gesture, however. During

the Christmas Conference Rudolf Steiner created a form that has been experienced as being in a certain way authoritarian, with a strong impulse from the center. The structure of the School of Spiritual Science in particular has seemed top down, to use a modern term. When we consider that the spiritual leaders of our movement (Rudolf Steiner himself, Michael and his multitudes) are working from the spiritual world today, we realize they can be heard in the hearts of every serious Michael pupil and not just from the Goetheanum leadership. This provides an appropriate basis for establishing work from the periphery to the center. The question arises as to what, in such a new structure, would be the role of the Executive Council, General Secretaries and especially the Collegium of the School of Spiritual Science and class holders (as well as any new leadership bodies). We should be conscious of the dangers of two extremes: Paralysis through clinging to old forms that no longer contain any truth, and formless chaos into which the Society could disintegrate if we abandon all forms. We need to continually ask, How can we daily create a healthy middle force as we work to create the living garment of Anthroposophia? To collaborate on this appears to be a main task. This conference could be regarded as a first beginning. Of course we must not forget that the conference was made possible by the tireless work of the organizers during it and the long, careful preparation beforehand. We must also not forget the moderators,* speakers, artists, interpreters and Goetheanum administration, who deserve our great thanks. The conference ended with impulses for many fresh initiatives. May they provide incentive for us in the coming years! Martina Mann, U.S.A.
* Giancarlo Buccheri (Italy), Jrgen Schrholz

Bestowing Dignity through Gifts

ISIS and the House of Giving A friend asked Monica Gold in 1988 whether she had done anything social recently. Gold had to admit that she had not. But she did have a vision to strengthen the force of love in the world by giving gifts. This was the birth of ISIS Cultural Outreach International Society. Ever since, ISIS has been collecting gifts and distributing them, including a dentists chair that traveled all the way from Canada to Mongolia. ISIS also mediates social gifts. Prisoners in Moscow exchanged their own artwork with prisoners in Australia. Today ISIS supports seven centers in Russia that provide courses in anthroposophy and help for Waldorf schools. These are only a very few examples of the gifts that have been spreading joy.
Contact: ISIS Cultural Outreach International Society, 560 Stevens Drive, West Vancouver, BC V7S 1C9, Canada; tel./fax +1/604/926 64 42.

(Germany), Peter Zimmermann (Finland).

A House of Giving is to be built on the grounds of the Dutch Embassy in Berlin, Germany. This opportunity arose through contacts mediated by the AIDS researcher Robert Gorter. The architect will be Rem Koolhaas. Plans are to create a stimulating center for non-profit projects in the midst of the citys administrative quarter. To join profit and non-profit initiatives, there will also be a Creative Center Monastery Quarter organized in collaboration with Berlin officials. Ideas for developing the city have already led to a meal project for the homeless. The House of Giving itself still requires help, however. The property alone costs 6.7 million German marks. Of this, only 3.1 million have been raised so far. S.J.
Contact: Haus um die Schenkung, Spreeufer 5, DE-10178 Berlin, Germany; tel. +49/30/ 24 72 74 57; Internet; account Deutsche Bank, acct. no. 42 44 000, BLZ 100 700 00.

Anthroposophy Worldwide 9/2000

Understanding Each Other

A Selection of Plenum Contributions, Discussion Groups and Comments
Impressions, Plans, Understanding
Great! Expand Collaboration This conference was great! though Central and Eastern Europe sometimes seemed to be forgotten during this very international gathering. . . . So it is very important to us to continue deepening our collaboration with neighboring countries . . . (we already conduct annual Central European meetings, for example). Very important for me is our collaboration on the medical impulse with Romania, Bulgaria and the Ukraine so far. Especially close to my heart is our collaboration with Russia. Eva Vasnievska, Poland
Response to questions by F. Z.

Responsible for Our Ideas Also important to me during the last few days were our meetings of young people from Europe and the U.S., where we endeavored to take concrete steps towards new youth projects. . . . Previously vague ideas acquired form and now we are responsible for these ideas and for developing them in our countries. In the Ukraine this will include a major agricultural project encompassing various economic ventures and the youth conference on threefolding in Kiev at Easter 2001. Vladimir Kotshetkov, Ukraine
Response to questions by F .Z.

Effective Develop Social Intelligence I feel strengthened for collaborating more closely with our brothers and sisters in Europe, the Pacific and on the American continent. We need to overcome our national self-preoccupation and develop social intelligence. . . . This applies also to our relationship to Canada, for example. When we only work within our own groups, such impulses will hardly arise. For me as a treasurer this was a very effective event for meeting people from other countries. Size is certainly not decisive; what matters is how much concrete collaboration is actually practiced. Jean Yeager, U.S.A.
Response to questions by F. Z.

Generally Exemplary Plenums Lacked Flexibility This conference could serve as an example for our branches in terms of how to work. Besides lectures, to have roundtable discussions where we can mutually inspire one another through our questions with people from all ethnic groups and classes who seek anthroposophy. When you have understood the least of these, your brothers, you have understood me (Rudolf Steiner). However, this element was a bit too weak during the evening plenums. It would have been good to have sequences of open discussion to alternate with the pre-composed, unrelated votes to have a process of free rhythm in which something unforeseeable might arise. Claire Niggli, (Switzerland/France)
Response to questions by F.Z.

Cultivate Our Consciousness of the Dead In Israel the dead are remembered twice a year with one to two minutes of standing in silence. Sirens signal the begin throughout the land. When I first experienced this moment, I was deeply moved by the immediate brightening and strengthening of the etheric space. I realized what a great task anthroposophy has, especially in Israel, in cultivating the consciousness of the dead. Because the support of the dead that reaches us is so strong, I would like to give you a minute to think in silence of our deceased friends and simultaneously to ask them whether they can help us in our search for the essential. [One minute of silence] Ja. In Hebrew this is one of the names of God. And what we can learn from the dead regarding initiative is that when we ask them for help, the answer is always a loving and enthusiastic Ja. (German for yes). Jan Ranck, Israel
Excerpt from a plenum contribution 29 September 2000

Great Expectations Disappointments A Sudden Change in Perspective It is often not easy to extract oneself from the duties and joys of everyday life for a whole week. A lot has to be organized; colleagues need to take over the work. This can weigh upon us while enjoying the privilege and it results in high expectations: Something should happen at this conference, results and decisions should become visible, a breakthrough achieved. It was just such an attitude of expectation that led to disappointment and frustration as the week progressed; some of the morning contributions transmitted too little; strong impulses were lacking. The afternoon plenum included some very interesting contributions but, unfortunately, it was also misused for self-presentations. It was just this resignation, this reduction of our own expectations, that made space for an unexpected change in viewpoint. Suddenly we no longer saw the conference as a momentary event; we expanded our consciousness to the periphery, thereby gaining new views and insights. We were able to experience how very individually people work with anthroposophy in the world and how fruitful and effective it is in many places on the globe. . . . We realized that we are a world society. 8 The periphery reports and the Goetheanum listens. The awareness of this reversal had something liberating and inspiring. Rolf Kerler spoke of open closeness, with all its vulnerability. He also stressed that listening will not suffice deeds must follow. The gesture of this Michaelmas conference indicates that the results and the breakthrough will appear perhaps only in the aftermath that the perception of so much individuality on the periphery will lead to an answer by the center as it digests these experiences. Andreas Fischer, Switzerland
From Mitteilungen aus dem anthroposophischen Leben in der Schweiz, November 2000

Christmas Conference Society and the Sphere of Rights One impulse that I will take with me . . . is to deepen my occupation with the Christmas Conference Society. It is important to notice that the Foundation Stone is a spiritual foundation in the sphere of rights. From this the possibility arises of creating freedom in the sphere of rights in a new way. . . . People often think that the sphere of rights is merely a matter of civil law having nothing to do with anthroposophy. . . . The peaceful revolution in Germany in 1989 shows what can happen when many people are filled by an idea. I am not primarily concerned with politics but with awareness of the fact that our spiritual efforts and omissions affect our work relationships, indeed they affect even the sphere of rights in human society! Michael Wiesemller, Germany
Response to questions by F.Z. (first part) and e-mail to the editors (second part) Anthroposophy Worldwide 9/2000

My Attitude towards Myself and the World

Practice Humility The path to freedom of the higher Ego, to ethical individualism, calls for the practice of humility above all, as a continual battle against all forms of possible hubris. . . . Thinking stands in danger of extrapolating into extremes . . . Good feeling itself has seduced many a false prophet in the past . . . The most careful watchfulness must ever guard against the overgrowth of will, lest our deeds harm another. . . . The spiritual imprisonment of materialistic, so-called scientific, thinking is a serious danger. . . . However, there is a another kind of spiritual imprisonment our inability to enter into dialogue with our surroundings. . . Jan Bouzek, Czech Republic
Plenum contribution of 24 September 2000

Far Eastern Culture It is not easy to comprehend ethical individualism in Asia because community consciousness is stronger than individual consciousness there. Also, the ego configuration of people in Asia is different than in the West. This is evident from the way the word I appears in Korean and Japanese. . . . Eurythmy conveys anthroposophy much more easily in Japan than does mere theory. . . . Platonians and Aristotelians can be found in Asia as well as in the West. Michael belongs neither to Europe nor to Asia but to the spiritual world. . . . Service of Michael and service of Maitreya work together to bring knowledge of Christ to human beings. Yuji Agematsu, Japan
Discussion group The Task of the East in the Age of Michael

We Have Michaels Attention Only When We Confront Ahriman If we wish to get Michaels attention, we must place ourselves in the world in such a way as to stand before and in conflict with Ahriman. When we then ask the Parzival question, What ails ye? Michael becomes interested and our work will be received by the world and make a difference. Bill Warnock, U.S.A.
Excerpt from a plenum contribution 27 September 2000

Leaving Vanities Aside At first it was important to me to hear more about the history of the Anthroposophical Society. A lot was new to me as a very young member. This is essential, however, to understanding the current efforts of many members who want to renew the Society. How can these different will impulses grow together? How can we leave personal vanities aside as we do this? What are our true, inner impulses? I felt solemn effort towards this in everyone who was here, effort that springs of pain: Our Society as it exists today this is not yet what we really want; we still need to work on it, together. Something similar could be said of the artistic contributions. On the one hand we need to develop understanding for and identification with the existing forms. On the other hand we also need to take impulses seriously that say, I want to do it differently. Berpke van Oers, the Netherlands
Response to questions by F. Z.

A New World Day This Goetheanum opened 72 years ago. Now a new world day is beginning a day of encounter. Each one of us a world, and each one for a world.
We find ourselves here where a man in worlds taught the Spirit of Man conveying this existence to all. I will seek for ways for people to join in a vessel in which the Spirit of Man can unfold in freedom. We come from All I am becoming in Purity my Being for All.

Careful Use of Quotations I realized that the use of quotations can draw a veil over truth and even prevent people from communicating honestly with one another. Quotations can have the effect of paralyzing our will to initiative. I intend to handle quotations very carefully in the future, only using them if I have the feeling that they are appropriate in any particular encounter. . . . I intend to grapple much more intensively with the Michael festival. How do we create a mood in which people from the most diverse occupations and nations can hold a spiritual/religious/artistic celebration? Christopher Marcus, Great Britain
Response to questions by F. Z.

Gnther Aschoff, Switzerland

Plenum contribution of 30 September 2000

Matters That Still Need Our Attention

Standards for Supersensible Experience A flood of supersensible experiences is breaking in upon many people today. . . . People experience insistent pictures and memories that they do not seek. People also have experiences attained by questionable means. In addition, there are research results by anthroposophical scientists that deserve to be taken seriously . . . One of the tasks of the School of Spiritual Science should be to develop standards in dealing with supersensible and sub-sensible phenomena. . . . Many anthroposophical friends participate in meditation exercises with Zen masters or in Catholic monasteries because we do not offer courses in spiritual development (e.g., meditation). Help is needed. Elisabeth Bessau, Switzerland
Plenum contribution on 27 September 2000 Anthroposophy Worldwide 9/2000

Finding the Etheric Christ in Music Various efforts in working with music have been ongoing in the anthroposophical movement since Rudolf Steiners days. Nevertheless, we still have much to do. Rudolf Steiner said the following in August 1924: The approach of Christ, a highest aspect of human development, will one day need to be found through the element of music. This is not a task for musicians alone; it is a task for all of us. We are bound today by our ordinary feeling for music. . . . The first step might be to open ourselves . . . so that we can hear within ourselves music in which the Christ impulse lives. Kazuhiko Yoshida, Germany
Plenum contribution of 29 September 2000

Countering Sorath: Penetrate Materialistic Thinking with Spirituality Using people for my own purposes in such a way that this can lead to their downfall, and experiencing a perverse pleasure in it this is the domain in which the beast with the two horns, Sorath, can live. We came up with this description of the working of Sorath . . . after four days. We considered how Sorath had already . . . been active in Bolshevism and Fascism during the first half of the 20th century. . . . Is there no therapy . . . ? we asked. We can permeate materialistic thinking with spirituality. . . . We can strive to permeate our own intentions with consciousness, so that we recognize any inclination to use the other person. Jan Borghs, Belgium
Discussion group The Two-Horned Beast in the 20th Century

School of Spiritual Science

Please Contact Us!
Family Culture and Puppetry Initiatives Wish for International Dialogue Family Culture Initiative. The first homemaker conference 8 years ago was the initiative of several mothers. Previously there had been no separate discipline for mothers within the Anthroposophical Society, no forum for applying spiritual scientific research to the field of household and family. Family life is not carried by tradition any more. A totally new art of living is required, along with ideas that give meaning. People need love, warmth and attention, of course, but we often forget the need for recognizing and cultivating things and activities (our households). My attitude as I do the housework is of great importance for the climate in my home, for the people who live there. And let us remember the unborn children. How do we prepare a place for the children coming down to earth with such amazing courage and trust? The initiators are greatly interested in how the theme of family culture lives in different countries. They would like to suggest more international exchange. During the Michaelmas Conference spontaneous contacts arose with Finland, Italy, and England. Birgit Kohlhase
Note: The next conference, Family Culture A Challenge for the Individual, will be held 2729 April 2001. Contact: Birgit Kohlhase, Ruffweg 13, DE70619 Stuttgart, Germany; tel. +49/ 711/479 37 73; fax 479 37 72.

Creating Places for Archangels

Thoughts on the School of Spiritual Science and its Sections The School of Spiritual Science was incomplete, or a seed, when Rudolf Steiner died. This seed quality applies both to its division into three classes and to its division into sections. Manfred Klett speaks of the principle of the consciousness soul in this respect divide so as to be able to work together all the better. The sections of the School of Spiritual Science serve as pillars of support to the Michael School and receive their supporting force in turn from the Rosicrucian School. Klett refers to future places of work for the Michaelic archangels, using the example of biodynamic agriculture. The School of Spiritual Science as it was formed by Rudolf Steiner remained a seed, a legacy to be developed further by us. If we look at it today we must ask the uneasy question of how we can renew it and the joyful question of what it will become. The question of its renewal is uneasy if we ask from a sense of continuing the past. We contemplate the Christmas Conference, the all-encompassing seed; we contemplate what has grown out of it, what has been achieved, what failed; we look further at ourselves, at our own relationship to it and our understanding of it. Seeking answers, we feel powerless; we feel thrown back upon ourselves. The question becomes joyful when we pose it afresh, thinking of spiritual pupilship within the destiny of our time. Everything is possible in our destiny of today. Humans are being released more and more from folk-spirit guidance. The I is floating without a safety net between heaven and hell. Everything can be formed, changed, and developed if we want it in consciousness of the I. But everything can also be manipulated, destroyed and ruined if we want it without consciousness of the I. The School of Spiritual Science as a Mediator The School of Spiritual Science requires a supporting pillar for its renewal. Its future from now on will consist in our building a supporting pillar relevant to our times. A pillar has a wider part at the bottom for support, and a wider capital above to support what rests upon it. I see this task for the sections. They should have a supporting function for the School of Spiritual Science. The sections form themselves in a vertical direction, into a spiritual rod that joins the highest spirituality with practical life. This spiritual rod would like to grow into a living pillar, like the trunk of a tree. A tree is rooted in the earth, raises its trunk vertically and broadens above into the crown. There in the canopy of leaves under the sun, a revitalizing stream of life forms that then flows perpendicularly down the trunk, outside of the cambium, down into the roots and even beyond into the earth. Starting from below, in contrast, the earths juices (or the salt of the earth) collect in the roots and flow within the cambium vertically to the top where, broadening into the canopy of leaves, they create earth-like the crown of the tree under the sun. Sections As Organs of Perception Apart from the task of providing a forum within a particular field of work, for esoteric questions and mutual help with esoteric needs, another task is emerging more and more: To perceive and focus the activities and initiatives scattered around the world and to bring this into a relation with the other sections. The individual section thus expands to become part of the canon of all the sections. The section also conveys the fruits of the mutual work to all. Representation from Consonance Thus if we place our initiatives consciously onto the ground of the section, we dive directly into life with the obligations of a spiritual pupil. We immediately stand (as we strive on the path of self-knowledge) within the tension between our own karma that speaks from the past, and a spiritual goal that contains the future and will eventually prove to be identical with the goal of the section. As a biodynamic farmer, for instance, I seek my identification with the objectives of the School of Spiritual Science out of the conditionality of my karma. If I join my efforts at spiritual pupilship (first obligation) with this spiritual goal (to work a biodynamic farm, for example, which is a world goal) then I realize very concretely how I should seek consonance with those who are striving in the same direction (second obligation). From my consciousness of the spiritual goal we can also call this section consciousness I gain the strength to transform my karma in such a way that I can find consonance with the
Anthroposophy Worldwide 9/2000

Puppetry. Co-workers in the Puppetry Department of the Section for the Arts of Eurythmy, Speech, Drama and Music are realizing how important puppetry can be for the future as a cultural impulse for both children and adults. So they would very much like to hear from puppet workers wherever they are in the world, and however modest their work might be. Monika Lthi
Contact: Monika Lthi, c/o Goetheanum, Puppetry Dept., Postfach, CH4143 Dornach 1, Switzerland; tel. +41/61/706 43 49; fax 706 42 51.


The Farm As a Point of Crystallization for New Forms of Community In biodynamic agriculture we work at revitalizing the earth, or, more precisely, at revitalizing the solid, earthly element itself. Thus biodynamic agriculture deals with what has fallen out of the world, evolving as dead, mineral substance. Revitalization deals with the transformation of substance, using technology in the realm of life, which is something Rudolf Steiner invented from out of spiritual science. One aspect of the transformation of substance in biodynamic agriculture has to do with social renewal, with creating new communities. A supporting pillar for the School of Spiritual Science can grow out of this subsoil. In the first place it is striking that, since the end of the 1960s, more and more biodynamic farms are becoming crystallization points for new forms of community. This is not limited to the creation of production communities. A lively life of culture has unfolded, legal relationships are beginning to change and people are beginning to take charge of economic conditions together with others in their vicinity. Much is developing in a pioneering way, and some initiatives get shattered and resurrected again in a new form. It is a rising path of development, of dying and becoming, finally leading to new communities. Reckoning with Freedom: New Community Spirits Are Coming I feel that these are the birth pangs of the coming into force of new community spirits from the hierarchy of the archangels. These new community spirits must bring quite different capacities than were needed by the
Anthroposophy Worldwide 9/2000

The destiny of our time offers clear indications of how the old folkspirit guidance is coming to an end now. It is up to each individual person to choose to collaborate with others and, drawing from the fund of Michaelic ideas, give a being from the hierarchy of the archangels an opportunity to join such a developing community. But how do new connections with such high spiritual beings come about? In seeking an answer we must consider both a cosmic and an earthly aspect. From a cosmic point of view, thinking of Michaels mission and his nearness to humanity, we can place the following picture before our souls. There is Michael, surrounded by crowds of loyal archangels. These beings learn about Michaels virtues from Michael and Christ: a waiting attitude, a directing gaze, living in and with the consequences. Only archangels who have gone through such schooling and have acquired such virtues can join the newly forming communities. If this were not so, there would be little hope for the freedom of the individual within the group. The result would be a distorted form of collective guidance such as we have all too often experienced in the totalitarianism of the present and recent past. Creating Incarnation Conditions for Michaelic Archangels From the cosmic point of view it is no longer a matter of archangel guidance in the accustomed folk-soul sense. It will much rather be archangel accompaniment, pointing the way and watching over the spiritual goals that the community has chosen. The earthly aspect of this new kind of archangel activity connects

A small beginning has been made. Much on a large scale is still needed if the sections are to become supporting pillars of the life of the School of Spiritual Science within the destiny of our time. The section pillar unites the heights and the depths. Spreading above, it carries the Michael School, spreading below, it receives its supporting strength from the Rosicrucian School. It is up to us from out of the Rosicrucian School to help build the pillar that bears the Michael School. Then the School of Spiritual Science will be able to grow strongly into the future as the connection between above and below. Manfred Klett
Excerpts from the authors talk on The School of Spiritual Science and the Tasks of the Sections

Photo: S.J.

other person. And if I find conso- previously leading folk spirits. The nance, then I do not represent my per- folk spirit acted upon the totality of a sonal affairs as anthroposophy but I folk configuration in which the indibegin to represent anthroposophy out vidual was subordinate to the whole of the consciousness of consonance folk community. The new community that I have won (third obligation). spirit must reckon with the freedom Spiritual research as a task of the of the individual. He must act upon School of Spiritual Science is not con- the community in such a way that the fined to penetrating Rudolf Steiners community can freely place itself into work in thought. It is real only when the service of the individual. we become aware of the active force, the fruitfulness, of Michaels ideas in our own hearts, and in social life on earth. It is only this kind of research which recognizes truth in the fruitfulness of ideas that provides substance for Spiritual research . . . the building of a section pillar is real only when we that will support the School of become aware of the Spiritual Science. The three active force, the fruitfulobligations mentioned above ness, of Michaels ideas in our own hearts, and are prerequisites; they are a in social life on earth. method of research, as it were.

directly to the mystery of the transformation of substance through biodynamic fertilization. We know from Rudolf Steiners portrayals that archangels have no physical body. If an archangel wants to incarnate into an earthly mission, therefore, he avails himself of the part of the earth in which the human beings live with whom he wants to unite. That is his physical body. However, the physical body of the earth, solidified as Gods handiwork and now grown empty, is becoming alienated from its original wisdom-filled order by the hand of human beings. The garbage of civilization infiltrates the earth and its layers of water, air and warmth. Can an archangel that has passed through Michaels school still incarnate into this? We must say no to this question and pose it differently. We have the power to separate the earth from the cosmos by handling its substance in an exclusively physical manner. What are the conditions that will enable us to re-open the earth to the cosmos? Well, the answer can only lie in a technology of life, in the revitalization of the earth. It is a question of our freedom whether or not we prepare a physical body for the archangels (with the help of the same Michaelic thoughts that the new community spirits can feel related to). This task of revitalizing the physical body of the earth is happening at certain points wherever the most spiritual is being implanted in the earth through the fertilization mentioned. In the revitalization of the solid, earthly element itself, we can see the territorial preparation of a physical body through which an archangel can enter his new earth mission


Very Significant Processes of Consciousness
Johannes Khl and Michaela Glckler Chaired the Conference, What Do They Think of it Now? A great deal of outside participation went into preparing the Michaelmas conference. A few self-appointed participants joined the assembly just days before it opened. And once it began, free contributions and initiatives were welcome. Was the structure of the conference satisfactory? Opinions diverged remarkably. Johannes Khl and Michaela Glckler chaired the conference and planned it together with Virginia Sease and Manfred Schmidt-Brabant. How do they think it went? Great expectations were attached to the Michaelmas Conference, by you and by others. How did the conference turn out and was there anything that surprised you? Glckler: My greatest hope was fulfilled. I had hoped it would become clear that we share a common determination to give new direction to our work in the anthroposophical movement and Society, in spite of the great diversity in our intentions, attitudes and actions, and that we want partnership as a working climate, we want mutual support and task-oriented forms of collaboration. I was surprised by how differently people reacted to elements of the conference. Of course I knew that we anthroposophists are quite individual in our views, but the difference in our evaluations of things that we all experienced together really did surprise me. Khl: As with previous conferences, break-time encounters and the discussion groups were particularly important. This included encounters with the Goetheanum. Many experienced the Goetheanum in a very positive way; they valued the warmth and openness. This was thanks to our co-workers in Dornach above all. Some of my friends and I were surprised that one particular Michaelic task did not get mentioned in any plenum: To read in the book of nature, cultivate our relationship to the world of the senses (and to science), and to take further steps. There is much to indicate that the relationship between man and nature will be one of the themes of the 21st century. Never Did People Feel So Welcome at the Goetheanum What echoes have you received? Khl: Many people thanked us afterwards, especially for the openness, the mood, but also for specific contributions. For the organization there was only praise. People tend to speak only of what is positive, however. Glckler: I, too, received much thankful echo. Someone said that they had never felt so welcome at the Goetheanum before. We received many letters afterwards. One normally very 12 critical participant wrote, But I would like to honestly say that the Michaelmas Conference engendered very significant processes of consciousness in me. Suddenly every demand, every criticism yielded before your incredible courage, carried by love and hope, your willingness to face us and cope. This struggle for understanding, this tolerance for all of my (and our) shortcomings, won the day for me. Some English-speaking participants felt that the conference failed to achieve a working character. Was the structure of the conference perhaps a little too limited? Khl: I do not think this was due to the structure of the conference. A working atmosphere is difficult to create in our auditorium with such a mixed group. It requires real discussion. Glckler: I hope that the working character of the conference will emerge as a follow-up of the conference. Each one of us, wherever we are, can act upon the insights and decisions that developed for us during the plenums, discussions groups, free initiatives and break-time discussions. School of Spiritual Science More Than Class Lessons There was one closed working group on the subject of the School of Spiritual Science. What perspectives were you able to develop there? Glckler: We had wanted to continue working with the questions that we had already begun discussing during this years Goetheanum Easter conference. We had intended to report on our results during the final plenum. However, there was no time. Instead we plan to publish a report in one of the next issues of Anthroposophy Worldwide. I hope that similar working groups concerned with the way we work in the School of Spiritual Science will form elsewhere. Khl: We realized how differently the School of Spiritual Science lives in different places and how differently the class holders regard their tasks. We are
Photo: S.J.

truly far from having a unified modus. I believe we must work on the conceptions that the people responsible have of their work, so that we can make real the difficult combination of openness and seriousness (honestly and without pretension). Not everyone seems to realize that the School of Spiritual Science is more than class lessons. We also need to continue to discuss what the leadership of the School of Spiritual Science in Dornach can be today, and what it should be. It Depends on Me What impulses and perspectives emerged from the conference? Khl: We have not yet had an opportunity to evaluate the conference in the Collegium. We will do this, and we will also discuss it with the General Secretaries. Many people left the conference with the mood: It depends on me, not on what I expect of others. We need more of the attitude that we are working because want something from the depths of our being, and less of the attitude that we work because we should. Two directions of work are especially important to me. One is to continue to strengthen international collaboration (more intensity and responsibility in our collaboration with the general secretaries, for example) and to cultivate the worldwide spiritual Goetheanum as our common concern, with the Goetheanum in Dornach as a point of crystallization. This raises a financial question. The other is to continue to work on the form of the School of Spiritual Science. Certainly one might ask whether we did not know this before. In a way we did. But I hope the conference strengthened our common awareness of it and that it helped overcome resentment against the Goetheanum. If that succeeded a little, I will be very grateful.
Questions by U.R. Anthroposophy Worldwide 9/2000