Love is

Mathias Maurer

Yet there is nothing doing without ideas: no exchange, no conversation, no discussion about myself and the world would be possible. The transition often takes place unnoticed: ideas turn into fixed ideas, fixed images, delusions, preconceptions which can quickly lose their grounding in reality. That happens every day, quasi automatically.

What is not automatic is the ability to let go of ideas, particularly ones of which we have grown fond because we think that through them we can best understand the other person or the world – and their problematical sides in particular. That can go as far as the facts quite clearly contradicting such preconceptions, but we nevertheless continue to nurture them: about a difficult child, stupid neighbours, foreigners in general, Putin in particular or the Islamic State ... not least about myself and my weaknesses. And that has consequences in real life. Studies show that even just the forename of a pupil can influence the marking of the teacher. Numerous psychological studies (incl. Rosenthal & Jakobson, Heckhausen) underpin the connection between ideas and actions even to the extent of the self-fulfilling prophecy effect: something we only imagined actually happens. A vicious circle of stigmatisation is set in train.

Yet people undergo development. They change. And granting everyone the right to change is what makes us into human beings in the first place, turns us into a community which is committed to humanity. Everyone can turn from Saul into Paul, even if there appears to be no way out and all experience contradicts it. The potential exists in each person to become something different.

That is the core approach of Waldorf education. No child is pre-determine, held fast in a status quo of behaviour or performance – developmental windows are sought which leave everyone “full filled” in their abilities.

Giving up an idea is hard work because we leave behind territory that gives us inner orientation, embark on something new which maybe has not even come to appearance yet. Holding fast to ideas is not something that corresponds to the person who has a talent for development, and it makes us angry. Hate is the result of love for human beings which has not become part of our life.

In the great song of love (1 Corinthians 13) it says: “And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not love, I am nothing. Love suffereth long, and is kind; love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up. It ... thinketh no evil. Love never faileth.”

Love is timeless.