Welcome to the Easter/Spring issue of New View. I am writing this editorial in ‘lock down’ due to the government’s instructions for dealing with the coronavirus.
Many people who are not able to be in their normal workplace, let alone their usual favoured habitats, will find themselves with time on their hands. To that end New View finds itself as a larger issue than usual, not because I wanted to give you, the reader, so much material, but because the make up of the contributions and the time constraints I have had to work with this time rather demanded a slightly larger issue than normal. So while the world has been contracting, New View decided to expand in response; perhaps to create some balance!
Our ‘in house’ artist and illustrator, David Newbatt, who has been available to me since I began as editor just over 21 years ago (and who produces images and sketches with barely 24 hours notice at times) sent me an image, from a painting exercise, that he names ‘when the green blade riseth’ – a diving into the depths to meet something, make a decision and – overcoming, changing direction – ‘springing’ into the light once more, renewed. An Easter theme.
I was very moved by the fact that for the first time in living memory all the churches are closed, especially at Easter time. As a gesture it seemed to carry a challenging ‘signature’ for our time (notwithstanding the logic of virus containment) and I have therefore attempted to bring something of the Resurrection mood of Easter Sunday to you with this issue. That will explain, in part, the images on the front and back covers.
The confrontation with the coronavirus is a meeting between a pathogen and our immune systems. Those with a strong and vital response are little affected, others are overwhelmed. With sombre understanding, getting older will always lead to the eventual crossing of the threshold of death. What each person finds inside to meet this event is so very personal to each one of us. The knowledge contained in anthroposophy brings a very different perspective to all of life’s profound experiences. Gradually one can come to understand why Rudolf Steiner called it “living knowledge”. Which brings me back to the immune system. What is it? Steiner spoke about the human physical body as not at all made up of matter, the material (flesh, blood, bone and so on) only resides within the form of the true physical body; which he calls the phantom; a special use of the word in this instance and not at all to be confused with unpleasant entities of the same name. For Steiner, the Human Phantom is that physical part of the human being that was pure in the Garden of Eden. But now, in life on Earth, it is corrupted with all we have done over time. That is why we do not emanate light through the physical body, it is encrusted in matter, but a matter that can, over time, be transformed by us who receive matter into ourselves; we have a meeting together. Through our actions and thoughts, we and the matter within us can be resurrected, as it were, made new. This points a little to the understanding of how Christ shines light from his body in Grunewald’s depiction of the Resurrected Christ on the front cover of this issue.
When the coronavirus meets the human phantom, in its present state, it is a question of how far down the road we are on this long journey of transforming ourselves. There should be no judgements here, only, ultimately, a profound compassion for the trials and journeys of each of us.
You are now invited on a journey though the contributions of New View’s community of authors.
Richard Ramsbotham endeavours to shine a light on the current world ‘crisis’ in this issue with Coronavirus Parallels: An Easter Article; leading to Alfred Heidenreich, (who died in 1969) a contemporary of Rudolf Steiner, who explores The Fall from Paradise and its Redemption by Christ.
Writing from Taiwan, Benjamin Cherry tells us A Story from the Childhood and Adolescence of Waldorf Education in China, himself a pioneer for Steiner education in that country.
Following the closure, early this year of Wynstones, a long-established Steiner School in Gloucestershire, parents are preparing to take to the courts Ofsted, the schools inspectorate, the reason being set out in Defending Waldorf Education in England’s Courts: Some Background by Arthur Edwards and Jonathan Swann. This is complemented by letters from two Wynstones parents, Ruth James and David Fuller, giving a personal picture of the effect the closure of the school has had in their families.
Brane Žilavec then returns to one of the themes in this issue with The Spiritual-Scientific View of Some Causes behind the Present Coronavirus Pandemic.
Benjamin Cherry was moved to write on this subject from his perspective in Asia and so makes a second contribution with Seeds of a New-Born World.
Jill Taplin offers a thoughtful interlude on this New View journey with A Personal Story – Searching for the Balanced Life, before Boyd Collins, writing from the Philippines, explores aspects of artificial intelligence in Uncaging the Senses. Karin Jarman then introduces another reflective piece, sharing the work, that she is also engaged with, of a colleague, Dr. Susanne Hofmeister in Understanding the Voice of Our Inner Child.
By invitation, scientist Peter Taylor presents an update of the climate change picture, since he published his book on the subject in 2009, especially for the readers of New View in Chill Revisited.
The understanding of World events, out of the indications for doing so by Rudolf Steiner is explored in The Study of World Events – Cosmology and the Coronavirus by Terry Boardman.
Finally, in _A Moving Picture at the National Film Theatre, Malcolm Gluck brings to light a rare piece of work.
We also feature timely contributions from poets around the world: David Donaldson and Joseph Marinus (England), Theresa Roach Melia (USA) and Steve Devas (Australia).
As for New View, it keeps going, but due to the coronavirus containment measures we have lost well over half of our advertising revenue that has a serious impact on meeting the printing, mailing and running costs. (We still produced this special larger issue because it felt the right thing to do this Easter). So we invite any donations to help us bridge a widening gap.
Wishing you well, wherever you are, and courage for the time ahead.
Tom Raines – Editor