Welcome to the Holy Nights issue of New View. The Holy Nights is a very special time in the year; an opening created consciously to the spiritual world that can bring real insights for the time ahead, not only for those who follow a Christian path; this is a doorway open to all. This year that doorway opens at a time when the spiritual and religious dimension of Life is being compressed towards one’s inner sanctuary, a place where Rudolf Steiner indicated a century ago would be the only place ‘in the future’ where a human being would be truly free. For Christianity, Western governments managed to cancel last Easter, at least outwardly, with the closure of Churches as part of their policy measures to deal with their interpretation of covid-19 and are clearly trying to suppress Christmas as well. Of course all religious faiths suffered similarly.
In spite of a huge amount of information and insight from scientists and medical doctors around the world showing that lockdown, masks, social distancing, preventing the elderly and dying having visits and comfort from loved ones – particularly in care homes – are quite inappropriate for this so called pandemic, any real discussion in government and mainstream media has been ‘compressed’. A new era of censorship is upon us and it is not at all far fetched to warn ourselves of an Orwellian nightmare breaking over us. What is to be done? Well, as mentioned, the inner life is sacrosanct. But we have to access it calmly and tend it. There is so much fear and misunderstanding that many folk find it difficult to orientate to what is happening. Of course, crisis is also an opportunity for change.
Now no one would deny that in the face of health issues we should do all we can to help one another. But there is clearly something not right at work in the way we have been ‘commanded’ to act in this time. If you calmly view the gesture of government responses and edicts (what would Goethe have made of all this with his phenomenological approach?) one can see within it the isolating, and covering up, of the human individual from one another. It is anti-community, whatever justifications are claimed. And the damage done to many people’s lives will not be fully understood for some time to come. The battle to gain and rightly interpret information, that would allow common folk to properly navigate these stormy waters, is waging. Which brings with it the challenge to truly discriminate what comes towards us. New View’s raison d’etre remains as it always was, to bring Steiner’s anthroposophy alive for the wider world through the insights and contributions of its contemporary authors. Are we well informed? For in that lies the ground for healthy, moral, decisions.
The cultural life is under great threat; not only individuals’ wish for spiritual/religious expression but the arts generally have been pushed aside as ‘science’ dictates, through government policy, how we are to live. It is with this in mind that the first contribution in this issue of New View appears. The Importance of Freedom and the Future of Culture: Who was the original Johannes Thomasius? Part 1 by Richard Ramsbotham . This article has been written in two parts, the second of which appears at the end of this issue as it then focuses on a character from Steiner’s Mystery Dramas that may be a unique insight and will surely be a study for many people.
2021: Where Next? by Michael Warden (living in Spain) addresses in a comprehensive, original fashion, the renewal of society (rather different to the one being pushed on us at present) based on Steiner’s insights.
Who Stole the Rainbow? by Karin Jarman brings a sense for colour and wonder into our lives.
The Human Countenance Divine by Jeremy Naydler reminds us of who we are and how we meet each other.
The Spiritual Power of Naming finds Benjamin Cherry (writing from Taiwan) offering insights also drawn from the imaginal realm.
Shindig in Lockdown by Shindig Rhymer is a welcome return for our correspondent who always offers his intimate, insightful views on current affairs.
From Inoculation to Indoctrination: A Review Essay on Vaccination, ‘Science’ and Ideology by Richard House does what its title states and is complemented by Are Viruses and Microbes the Real Culprits in the Emergence of Deadly Epidemics? from Brane Žilavec.
Frances Hutchinson shows us how we can engage in a practical way towards a better understanding for the basis of true human community in Towards a Threefold Commonwealth.
Peter Taylor offers a personal insight into spirituality and attitudes to death in Awakening the Dream. This theme also resonates in Terry Boardman’s own sharing, Three Friends Across the Threshold.
Finally, we come to The Importance of Freedom and the Future of Culture: Who was the original Johannes Thomasius? Part II by Richard Ramsbotham.
The hard future New View also faces… Due in large part to covid measures we have lost a huge amount (in the region of £12,000) of income from advertising this last year. As things stand it will be difficult to continue operating much beyond the Spring/Easter issue. We need assistance to resurrect our financial situation. Any help would, of course, be gratefully received. (Readers living in the UK can pass any donation via Hermes Trust, as Gift Aid may then be available to increase their donation). We have always had to fund raise to make ends meet and readers have been very generous over the years. I am sorry to have to ask, but it is becoming rather critical.
For 2021, and all that lies ahead, I sincerely want to wish you the reader well, wherever you may be,
Tom Raines (Editor)