We’re the prediction

By Henning Kullak-Ublick, June 2019

“Prediction is difficult – particularly when it involves the future.” Be it Mark Twain or someone else who said these nice words: if we ask ourselves today where we will be in a hundred years, the prediction is certainly difficult.

The Waldorf schools are in a phase of development in which everything depends on the ideas and drive with which they grasp the challenges of the present and foreseeable future. The year 2019 is by no means a “year of jubilation” as which it was described by my columnar colleague Henning Köhler in the March issue of this journal. Rudolf Steiner seems to me to have put it more accurately: “May what is to come rest on what has been. May what has been sustain what is to come!” Köhler is right, however, in his warning to reflect back on 1919, the post-War year in which the question about the future was anything but intellectual frippery. 

This year two anthroposophically inspired streams will come together in many events: Steiner’s decades of anthroposophical research into the nature of the human being on the one hand and the political campaign he initiated for a “threefold order of the social organism” on the other. While the former looked at the development of the human being in the complex interrelationships between their spiritual, mental and physical realities, the latter was about the conditions for a free, democratic and public-interest oriented civil society for the realisation of which Steiner demanded an intellectual and cultural life independent of state and economic interests, a legal and political life based on the principle of equality, and associatively (not-for-profit) organised entrepreneurship.

Today we are witnessing unfettered global financial capitalism in which international corporations are subjugating whole economies, we see the growing influence of industry and the state on education and we see a worldwide erosion of human rights. In 1919 Steiner responded to the signs that the political parties were appropriating the fledgling democracy by expressly working with the teachers of the first Waldorf school on the question of how they could encourage young people to be free in their thinking, enable them to be socially perceptive and guide them to so many encounters with the world and the riddle of themselves that they see themselves as being involved in shaping the world. 

This is not about utopias but the courage to fight for an education system which takes our children seriously as thinking, acting and feeling beings instead of turning them into objects of political or economic education programmes. Waldorf 100 could also mean: we are the prediction.

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