Commitment to freedom

By Mathias Maurer, February 2022

One can have ideas even though they do not correspond to the facts. But one can also postulate something as a fact and form false ideas about it. For example, that there is no spiritual world.

But Waldorf education “reckons” with this independent world, it is essential for it – not just personal opinion or an anthroposophical conception. The spiritual world hardly seems accessible in its essence to today’s rationalism any longer, even to “spiritual materialism”. It is banished to the realm of serious but beautiful sentiment, children’s story time, churchgoers or religion lessons.

But life itself often speaks a different language. Extreme situations and strokes of fate can break open familiar worldviews, shake up our routine perception and imagination, startle us in our intellectual comfort and give us sudden insights into human abysses and heights, as well as into superhuman forces at work. We don’t have to go from being Saul to Paul, but we emerge from the shocks and hardships like someone who has recovered from an illness, our mind and senses expanded, our gaze sharpened for the essential.

In his short-story about the Antichrist, the Russian writer Vladimir Soloviev (1853–1900) sketched a prophetic picture of modern rule clothed in altruism and modesty for the benefit of humanity. It is characterised above all by one feature: anti-individualism. The Christmas story that begins with the census of the population, the birth of the infant Jesus, his adoration by the shepherds and the Three Kings, his bloody persecution by Herod’s henchmen and his flight to Egypt – if it contained a universally valid, modern message, it could be read as a radical declaration of the freedom of the individual by people who, contrary to all the rules and regulations of the world of the time, courageously and fearlessly followed their star and their hearts – in accordance with cosmic laws – to protect the child. They would pose a danger to any ruler even today.

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