“Try to become one with the world—that will be the best and most important ‘program.’ It is something that cannot be contained in statutes but needs to burn in our hearts as a flame.” —Rudolf Steiner
In 1923, Central Europe was still in disarray and social chaos created by the polarizing events of World War I. In volume 6 of his seven-volume biography of Rudolf Steiner, Peter Selg focuses on one of the most tragic years for the anthroposophical movement, including especially the rise of nationalism and the seeds of hatred spawned by Adolf Hitler and his followers.
The very beginning of that pivotal year began with the destruction of the nearly finished Goetheanum building in Dornach, Switzerland, delivering a heavy blow to the Anthroposophical Society and to Rudolf Steiner, both spiritually and on a personal level. It was evident that the fire had been caused by arson, and Steiner immediately expressed determination to rebuild and move forward, despite the friction in the Anthroposophical Society and the movement as a whole. Steiner noted, “It will not be viable if things continue as before,” suggesting that the Society needed to be suffused with the “will to wake up…because then it can inspire an awakening of the present civilization as a whole.” He devoted the remainder of 1923—indeed, his life—to that cause.
Rudolf Steiner, Life and Work, Seven Volumes
Vol. 1. (1861–1890): Childhood, Youth, and Study Years
(ISBN: 9781621480822 Pbk – ISBN: 9781621480839 Hbk)
Vol. 2. (1890–1900): Weimar and Berlin
(ISBN: 9781621480853 Pbk – ISBN: 9781621480860 Hbk)
Vol. 3. (1900–1914): Spiritual Science and Spiritual Community
(ISBN: 9781621480884 Pbk – ISBN: 9781621480891 Hbk)
Vol. 4. (1914–1918): The Years of World War I
(ISBN: 9781621481577 Pbk – ISBN: 9781621481584 Hbk)
Vol. 5. (1919–1922): Social Threefolding and the Waldorf School
(ISBN: 9781621481935 Pbk – ISBN: 9781621481942 Hbk)
Vol. 6. (1923): The Burning of the Goetheanum
(ISBN: 9781621482192 Pbk – ISBN: 9781621482208 Hbk)
Vol. 7. (1924–1925): The Anthroposophical Society and the School for Spiritual Science
(ISBN: 9781621482321 Pbk – ISBN: 9781621482338 Hbk)
About the Author
Peter Selg was born in 1963 in Stuttgart and studied medicine in Witten-Herdecke, Zurich, and Berlin. Until 2000, he worked as the head physician of the juvenile psychiatry department of Herdecke hospital in Germany. Dr. Selg is now director of the Ita Wegman Institute for Basic Research into Anthroposophy (Arlesheim, Switzerland) and professor of medicine at the Alanus University of Arts and Social Sciences (Germany). He lectures extensively and is the author of numerous books, including Seeing Christ in Sickness and Healing (2005); The Therapeutic Eye (2008); A Grand Metamorphosis; (2008); The Figure of Christ (2009); Rudolf Steiner as a Spiritual Teacher (2010); and Rudolf Steiner and the Fifth Gospel (2010). He is married with five children.
Margot M. Saar studied at the Universität des Saarlandes, at Open University, UK, and at Institut für Waldorfpädagogik Witten Annen, Germany. She is an experienced translator and interpreter in specialty fields (education, medicine, philosophy, anthroposophy, homeopathy, anthroposophic medicine, general science). She has been a foreign language teacher at Michael House School Derbyshire, UK, a teacher of foreign languages and philosophy, exam officer, and upper school mentor at Michael Hall School, East Sussex, and translator of technical manuals and legal contracts, international correspondence, office management at Hüls Troisdorf AG Witten Germany. Margot has translated numerous books for SteinerBooks, including Peter Selg’s 7-volume biography of Rudolf Steiner.