April 14, 2022
Dear friends of the conference “The Soul of Europe”
The present world situation does not allow us to meet as planed in July in Yekaterinburg for our conference “The Soul of Europe”. We investigated the possibility to meet in a online conference. But such a virtual meeting does not at all correspond to our initial intentions to get to know Russia, to meet face to face with friends from all over Europe, as well as to have real experiences and perceptions.
We therefore decided to cancel the conference. However, our friends in Yekaterinburg will organize a meeting for participants from Russia around the same questions “Europe – Experiencing Thresholds. Europe between the Urals and the Atlantic.” The next conference “The Soul of Europe” will take place in London from August 2nd to 6th, 2023.
Nevertheless we request our friends who agreed to contribute to the conference to write down their thoughts. W’ll publish these papers at the latest in July in order to enable an ongoing conversation about our theme in spite of the difficult circumstances.
Gerald Häfner, Olga Kornienko, Paul Mackay and Hans Hasler
To the theme of the
11th conference «The Soul of Europe – Experiencing Thresholds»
July 14 to 17, 2022
Two years of corona crisis and the actual international situation have left deep tracks in one’s personal life as well as in social life and in a political way. Borders and abysses have manifested themselves as never seen before. Against this background the theme „Experiencing Thresholds“, which we had already chosen for the conference has become even more relevant. Our conference had the intention to focus on Europe between the borders of the Atlantic and the Urals.
Two streams of conferences come together. On the one hand it will be the 11th conference «The Soul of Europe», which started in Amsterdam, then went through East-Central European countries, and finally to Kiev and Tbilisi. In 2019 the conference came back to the West, amidst the core of the European Union institutions.
The other series of conferences took place each summer since 2013 in the region of Yekaterinburg, organised by the local section of the Anthroposophical Society in Russia. The theme «Borders» chosen for these gatherings has a particular significance for people on the edge of Europe with Asia. The lecture «The Imagination of Europe» given by Rudolf Steiner on July 15, 1923 (GA 225) was the basic study material of these conferences. He describes there a fine astral wall along the Urals, the lower Volga, the Caucasus to the Mediterranean Sea which protected Europe from decadent influences coming from Siberia and Central Asia in order to develop within this protected space a particular thinking and consciousness. After the breaking up of this wall bad ahrimanic beings flowed towards West and met luciferic beings striving from West to East and connected to each other like in a fervent marriage. This found expression in bolshevism.
We want to pick up the theme of the «borders». On the one hand there are geographic borders of Europe, the one towards East has been already mentioned, but there is also another one towards West where Irish monks protected Europe from influences coming from America; the catholic church raised a further wall by extinguishing all recollections of a former knowledge of America among old Vikings. Thus within these borders thinking and consciousness of oneself could develop and find expression in the Scholastic schools. Both borders started to dissolve with the invasion of Mongols into Russia and the new discovery of America. Since then, Bolshevism and nationalism on the one hand, and Americanism, globalisation and modern communication on the other hand, have been invading Europe.
But there are also borders within Europa which are deeply connected to the spiritual history of the European space. The separation into the orthodox church of the East and the roman-catholic church – approximately the border of the actual European Union to the East – is one aspect. Another aspect results from the separation of the kingdom of Charlemagne into the West, Central and East kingdom.
In addition, we are confronted with diverse borders within the soul of human beings without any connection to outer borders. What does «Europe» mean? The idea of Europe, the qualities of Europe notwithstanding the borders of Europe? Where is the responsibility of Europe for the worldwide consequences of the philosophy and ideology which arose in Europe? Which are the borders and the connections between people? Also in the social sphere? Where is it justified to set borders and where borders have to be overcome?
These are only some of the thoughts to the theme of the upcoming conference so far.