An Open Statement by the Chief Editor of Der Europäer and The Present Age
Recently, several anthro-media put out an article “Open Anthroposophy and its Opponents”, consisting of short texts by eight authors. The article represents a collective declaration of intent (see the article by Arnold Sandhaus on page 25).
The authors take the field like heroic warriors against the poison of “conspiracy theories”. Except for well-known slogans and all sorts of insinuations, they have nothing substantial to offer. The editor-in-chief of Info3, Jens Heisterkamp, even has the audacity to label two apparently awkward competitors to his Frankfurt magazine as opponents of his “Open Anthroposophy”: Ein Nachrichtenblatt, (A Newsletter) published by Roland Tüscher and Der Europäer. The latter he also imputes to be “neo-nationalist”.
Since we are now – even by the editorial board of the Dornach weekly Wochenschrift für “Anthroposophie” – openly denounced as opponents of “open” Anthroposophy, we do not want to miss this opportunity to state openly that we consider this an – albeit unwanted – compliment. Let me explain myself briefly: since its birth in Frankfurt many years ago, this “open Anthroposophy” has demanded in a dictatorial manner openness towards almost everything that blows around one’s ears from the “zeitgeist” – yes, but which one? Names such as Ken Wilber, Andrew Cohen or info-standard bearers like Felix Hau and Sebastian Gronbach may suffice to indicate the openness of this Anthroposophy. But in a spiritual movement, someone who throws open all the windows simply creates a spiritual draught. We actually wish to have nothing to do with such a draughty Anthroposophy. It can only lead to catching spiritual colds with simultaneous or subsequent fevers. We are proud to be opponents of such an Anthroposophy. Certainly, we love Frankfurter sausages, but the draughty Anthroposophy prepared in the city of Goethe (!), an Anthroposophy that is greedy for worldwide export via the intermediate station of Dornach, we consider – based on true Anthroposophy – to be simply a labelling swindle that consists of fine, high-sounding, but mostly completely empty words.
Is that open enough?
If all this seems exaggerated or even unjustified to anyone, let them read the best self-portrayal Info3 has ever provided. The paper and its circle see its task in conveying to humanity an “Anthroposophy” that is comprehensible and contemporary, which it simply denies to the Anthroposophy of Rudolf Steiner. Under the headline “Simply let in some air”, a preview of a hitherto unpublished article by Mathias Wais appeared in the June issue; the preview included some of his words; one can read it and be amazed: “Rudolf Steiner overwhelmed us. The colossal nature of his remarks is far from comprehensible. So we are called on to go our own contemporary ways. Mathias Wais with thoughts on Anthroposophy between yesterday and tomorrow.” First it is trumpeted that, objectively, Anthroposophy is scarcely comprehensible and contemporary, then one puts oneself up as its appointed reformer, so that it can finally become what it in fact always was for people who seek to exercise a certain willed thinking: understandable and contemporary. We can well believe that some people feel overwhelmed when studying Anthroposophy, but this does not entitle them to raise their own subjective incomprehension to a general norm.
Finally, one of the ‘Glorious Eight’, Henning Kullak-Ublick, board member of the Federation of Free Waldorf Schools, speaks in his statement of the conspiratorial tendency to laud the irrational principle “Nothing is what it seems”. It is well-known that Kullak-Ublick has for years sought to prevent, on principle, people like the former Waldorf student Ken Jebsen from giving talks to upper school pupils at Waldorf schools. This year, a book by the Tübingen academic Michael Butter has appeared, which could become the Bible of the ‘Glorious Eight’ and all those who are impressed by them; the title is Nichts ist, wie es scheint – Über Verschwörungstheorien. (Nothing Is As It Seems – On Conspiracy Theories.) In it there is a very pregnant “case study”: Daniele Ganser, who was also once a Waldorf student and a friend and colleague of Ken Jebsen, both of whom appeared at an event in Basel on 3 March 2018, is presented in the book as a typical conspiracy theorist. One asks oneself where the anti-Ganser fury comes from. Is he envied because no less a person than Noam Chomsky has praised his book on NATO?
Yes, nothing is what it seems. This phrase must also be applied to the declaration of intent by the ‘Glorious Eight’. They seem to be concerned about Anthroposophy – and have their opponents. Really?
No, not even us. We have, strictly speaking, no opponents, not even these people. We are simply not concerned about them. We respect their freedom to find Anthroposophy incomprehensible, outmoded and in need of reform, and we continue to dedicate ourselves to the effort to understand and realise it more and more.
1 See his striking essay “Besinnung in Brüssel”, in Die Christengemeinschaft 5/2018.
2 See also the Brussels chapter in my novel Der unverbrüchliche Vertrag.