2020/21 Annual Report

2020/21 Annual Report

28 April 2021 Sebastian Jüngel 77 views

The General Anthroposophical Society and the School of Spiritual Science explain their work motifs in the annual report for 2020/2021.


The official interventions against Covid-19 have meant that the Goetheanum has to constantly be flexible, adapt to changing circumstances and create, at short notice, ways of staying active and in contact, mostly via digital media.

In the Section for Performing Arts the artists also received the diagnosis that “if your work place breaks down, your sense of life is under intense attack”. A way of dealing with uncertainty and anxiety needs to be found. The exhibition Breaking Into the Unknown, curated by the Visual Art Section, illustrated that “hope, inspiring encounters with nature, inner peace and concentration can express themselves as intensive experiences, the opportunity for a change of consciousness and the wish for social transformation”. And yet, this crisis also has devastating consequences for many countries, for instance when children are starving because they “no longer have access to regular meals since kindergartens and schools are closed” (Education Section). Essential human requirements such as “encounters, touch, closeness and warmth” are suddenly seen “as threats” (Section for Social Sciences).

Forming relationships

Justus Wittich (Executive Council) related how anthroposophy was attacked in some media in Germany, one of which reported on “an unpalatable right-wing protest movement made up of Coronavirus deniers, anti-vaxxers, Reichsbürger, esoterics and anthroposophists”. Given these divisive tendencies it is important to foster what connects us. From the Humanities Section came the observation that “only in the pictorial, in the moved image, does the spirit come to life.” Constanza Kaliks (Executive Council) described the Anthroposophical Society as the place where “a relationship with the spirit” can be found.

In order to find a way forward for the phenomena described and the endeavours of the Anthroposophical Society, Matthias Girke (Executive Council) outlined tasks including “making Rudolf Steiner and anthroposophy more visible” and meeting the “countless assessments of the pandemic that become autonomized and partly collectivized without there being sufficient exchange.”

Ueli Hurter (Executive Council) described the task of forming relationships within the General Anthroposophical Society in a project aimed at updating and strengthening membership.

Many Sections have been occupied with the relationship we have as human beings with the earth. The Youth Section summarized the mood in the statement, “Is the human presence a disturbance to the earth?” The Section for Agriculture points out that since the BSE crisis in 2000 “a new epidemic disease has appeared almost every year in animal farming or plant growing”. The goal was to live “in partnership with nature”, an “inclusive ecology and agriculture”. From the Natural Science Section it emerged that “courage is needed so that personal responsibility is not constantly belittled.” The General Anthroposophical Society creates opportunities for dealing individually with questions of knowledge and experience. And from the autumn onwards there will be a newsletter that aims to connect the members of the School of Spiritual Science.

Practical orientation and old forces

New beginnings are not always easy. The Section for Mathematics and Astronomy shared the view that “when new tasks are waiting to be taken on by people out of freedom, it is only natural that […] old forces try to occupy the new territory or that at first distorted images of the new tasks prevail”.

Within the Medical Section therapies for Covid-19, including medicines and external applications, have been developed and are continually optimized: they can be adjusted to the stages of the disease and used integratively.

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Motifs for the working year 2021

Looking at the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic, the Executive Council and Leadership of the Goetheanum have chosen courage for knowledge, individual responsibility and world affirmation as the motifs guiding their work in 2021.

Courage for knowledge is needed to pierce the veil that has been placed over everything with the Coronavirus situation. On the physical level, it is about a sober and evidence-based view of the facts. For the soul, courage for knowledge can mean walking the path to the source of human dignity within oneself, between resignation on the one hand and overestimation of one’s own worth on the other. Spiritually, may the challenge be to courageously take seriously the small glimpses from beyond the threshold, which we all know in their fleetingness, and to work resolutely on a change of perspective.

Self-responsibility means three things: responsibility to myself, responsibility for my immediate social environment and my co-responsibility for the greater common good. Self-responsibility is polar to collective responsibility. If the latter is imposed by the state, the opposite, self-responsibility has to be given special attention and the question then arises: How can a healthy social responsibility for the times arise with and out of self-responsibility?

The third theme, affirmation of the world, is intended to address the fact that the present calls us to seek and manifest the spirit, in and with the world. Not to flee or bury our heads in the sand, but to take the circumstances as they are and make the best out of them.

Justus Wittich, Constanza Kaliks, Matthias Girke und Ueli Hurter

Source Extract from the Editorial of the 2020/2021 Annual Report of the General Anthroposophical Society and the Goetheanum as the School of Spiritual Science


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