Thursday, September 6, 2012

On the Author Herbert Witzenmann and His Work

Herbert Witzenmann was born in Pforzheim, Germany on February 16, 1905 and died in Heidelberg on September 24, 1988. In his youth he had a decisive meeting with Rudolf Steiner, the founder anthroposophy or science of the Grail, and founder and first president of the General Anthroposophical Society, which determined the course of the rest of his life. He gave up his ambition to become a concert pianist and, following the advice, went on to study philosophy under the German philosopher Karl Jaspers in Heidelberg, but the rise of the Nazi’s prevented him from getting his doctorate, During the Second World war, which almost saw him sent to his certain death at the Eastern front in Russia, his thesis on the concept of work by Hegel and Nietzsche as well as many of his other writings were destroyed by bombing raids on his hometown of Pforzheim, in southern Germany. He also studied mechanical engineering and art history, and was active as a director in the metallurgical firm of his father and grandfather. He became well known as a lecturer and editor of the anthroposophical organ of the Anthroposophical Society in Germany "Die Drei" (The Three), and in 1963 became Council member of the General Anthroposophical Society in Dornach and head of the Youth Section and later the one for Social Science at the Goetheanum, Free School of Spiritual Science in Dornach, Switzerland.  Around 1970, however, this position was taken away from him by a majority decision of the Council (in connection with the so-called, still unresolved book question dealt with in this essay) when in 1979 his chair was occupied by the late Manfred Schmidt-Brabant, who in 1984 also became president of the Society.

This first of four social-aesthetic studies Herbert Witzenmann was to write is translated from the second, revised and enlarged edition entitled Die Prinzipien der Allgemeinen Anthroposophischen Gesellschaft, which appeared in 1984 in Dornach, Switzerland as the first in the series of publications entitled Sozial√§sthetische Studien (Social-Aesthetic Studies). The first German edition appeared in No. 9/10 of the Mitteilungen (Bulletins) published in 1969 by the Arbeitskreis zur geistgem√§ssen Durchdringung der Weltlage (Working Group For A Spiritually Commensurate Penetration Of The World Situation) in Dornach. Of this first edition a translation in mimeograph form was done by G.M. Kealy, J. Lodder and S. Walsch, which was issued in 1969 by English-speaking members of the above-mentioned group and on which this translation is partly based.

In the appendices a new translation is offered of the ‘principles’, with added footnotes, and of the Foundation Stone Meditation by Rudolf Steiner given during the Christmas Conference 1923 in Dornach to refound the Anthroposophical Society in the presence of some 7-800 anthroposophists from around the world.

This “Study Material for the Spiritualization of the Principle of Civilization”is made available for members and friends of the Anthroposophical Society, the Herbert Witzenmann Foundation and of the Willehalm Institute for Anthroposophy as Grail Research, Royal Art and Social Organics based in Amsterdam.

It is a supplement to the blogs "The Just Price - World Economy a s Social Organics" and "The Virtues - Seasons of the Soul" both by Herbert Witzenmann. See also the blogs of translations in progress of The Philosophy of Freedom as a Basis of Artistic Creation and "To Create or to Administrate - Rudolf Steiner's Social Organics: A New Principle of Civilization". 

Willehalm  Institute Press Foundation 
Kerkstraat 386A, Nl - 1017 JB Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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