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Die Lebensgemeinschaft und die Zukunft der Arbeit (Community and the Future of Work)
|Date||January 01, 1920|
Community and the Future of Work
[Arnold, Eberhard and Emmy papers – M.S.]
[Draft Translation by Bruderhof Historical Archive]
Community and the Future of Work
Life-community presupposes life. We know that life is community of life. There is no life that is not living community. We can see this clearly from what is familiar to us from childhood--our living body. We do not need to be deep-sea research scientists. If we were, we would point to the community the hermit crab enjoys with the sea urchin in the depths of the sea. We would see how these remarkable crabs with soft and sensitive backs crawl into the shell of a dead snail. But they are not yet safe from the polyps, those extraordinarily dangerous and ravenous creatures of the deep sea, for these could pull them out of the snail shell with their tentacles and devour and destroy the defenseless hermit crabs. So the hermit crab forms a settlement community with the urchin, which fastens itself to the back of the snail shell in which the crab lives. This urchin with its prickly arms, this remarkable animal creation that looks like a plant, clutches the whole shell so firmly that it seems absolutely impossible to loosen it. When a threat approaches the hermit crab, the urchin protects its friend and comrade for life from the threatened danger. But the crab also does his bit in the mutual relationship. He undertakes to move the common dwelling, since the urchin naturally has to stay in the same spot always. The urchin's gorge is always ready to catch everything that crosses the path of the wandering crab. This nourishment is so plentiful that one of the two can always give its surplus to the other--so these two completely different creatures have had a common household from time immemorial. They are so inconceivably different in their genus that no sexual relationship can exist between them — only life community as a community of work.
But we do not need to descend into the depths of the sea — in our own woods we see the same kind of thing. In mountain forests, for example, we can find strange lichens, which give a tree a wonderfully old, romantic appearance. As children we used to stick them to our faces for giants' beards, or if we were of a wilder nature, devils' beards. These lichens also present a life-community of mutual help. It was a long time before it was discovered that these lichens form a working community between two quite different plants and kinds of life, between a type of algae and a type of fungus, because these two members exist only together. They never live alone: they have lost all wish to be alone, all pleasure in it. Through inheriting life in community they have forgotten they could not live at all in solitude. Only in community are they capable of life.
If we look from the tall trees to the earth, we find a colony of ants, a tribal or racial unit that lives in a wonderfully developed social feeling of community. In these colonies of ants, bees, and other insects we find most powerfully represented something extremely primitive and undeveloped among human beings--something in which human beings with their desire for progress show such miserable weakness: it is the social instinct for the context of life and the common challenge. In ants we see how the life of the state is organized, and the work. The whole host of individual living beings is ready to sacrifice its own interests--almost all the females sacrifice their own feminine nature. The enjoyment of their sexual urge and the urge to propagate the species is sacrificed for the common life of the great ant world, and they devote themselves completely to the whole as worker ants and worker bees. Indeed we find that mutual service in mutual work also observes a quite definite division of labor, not only for procreation, but also for the erection of enormously large buildings, which considering the diminutive size of the ants must appear greater than the Egyptian pyramids or the Eiffel Tower-- higher than our tallest buildings.
But looking more deeply into the life of the ants, we recognize something which leads us far beyond the mere community of interest of a state or nation, beyond the mere blood relationship of one species. We human beings have no cause to be proud of having domestic animals. Ants have long ago adopted this custom. The ant has milk cows which secrete a certain nourishing juice. They use two kinds of milk animals to serve them--one gives them a kind of sugary nourishing juice and the other a refreshing, intoxicating juice. The teetotal movement does not seem to have caught on in this society. The remarkable thing is that one of these two creatures does not appear anywhere except in community with ants. One might perhaps say of the other creature that it is simply exploited by the ants, just as one might also maintain that we exploit cows for our selfish interests--something about which one might speak seriously--but we see how strongly mutual this service for life must be, for one of these creatures has never been found apart from the ants, and the ants care for this member of their household; they take it to pasture, pick it up and carry it to the leaves it needs in order to live, and then take it back to its stall. All this shows clearly how reciprocal this service of life is.
We can cite many other examples from the practical life of the animal world. But we do not need to look for extraordinary and interesting examples of mutual help-in-work like the hermit crab and the ants with their domestic animals -- we can find many simpler and much better-known instances of mutual help in work as the main secret of life.
Propagation does not always take place through the mutual enjoyment of both sexes. We see how a flower attracts a butterfly or some similar creature through its message of love --its color and scent -- and this creature receives a drink of nectar from the flower. In return, in its joyful flight, it undertakes to carry the fertilized pollen to the female flower. Without it there could be no fruit.
We can become still simpler and remember that our breathing-in and breathing-out is just a service of love between the plant world and the world of men and animals. Here the service of love does not consist in one sacrificing itself for the other, or even one being devoured by the other. On the contrary, what is breathed out by the one as already used is thankfully sucked in by the other as air rich in ozone, and vice versa. (There are still other familiar examples and illustrations from daily work on a farm, perhaps unfitting for this audience--examples of mutual service, like the excretion of animals fertilizing fields and meadows). Look where we will, a host of examples from nature show us that each herd of wild horses or wild buffalos or any other animal proves that the solidarity of standing together is the primeval principle of existence. The principle of mutual help is the strongest force in the animate world. It is the will to love. And when we mention that Nietzsche asked Schopenhauer, "How can will be something, if I do not know what I want? After all, if I will to want life, I need a clear knowledge of what life is." Today we must go a step farther and say that even the answer Nietzsche gave Schopenhauer--the will to power, the strength to expand, the unfolding of energy is the will to life--requires the further question, Yes, but what power? What is the purpose of this unfolding of being? Really victorious life does not launch into overpowering and killing other life; life's truly seething power to expand embraces all living beings and all physical worlds in one comprehensive unit of consciousness. The will to love is that will to power which is the elemental force of life.
This we can see in the decisive example of the astronomic heavens too, just as in the microscopic cosmos of atoms and electrons and in the structure of all living bodies: one thing holds the world together at its core: the power of love in the rhythmic cycling of one around another, rhythmic movement arising from the tension between two poles living and operating together, love at work in moved circles and mutual help in constructive building up.
There is no life without movement. And there is no movement without a strong relationship that is mutual. Unity of consciousness, the all-embracing Spirit of unity, is the goal and the real law of life of the whole of animate nature, in the individual as well as in the whole! But, of course, we see clearly that in the unlimited strength which lies in the urge of this consciousness to expand, in the tremendous energy given in the power of this love to unfold, lies the danger inherent in every tension.
In sexual love the tension between the two sexes leads the genus [type] man, either to tremendous heights or to final destruction, to the final decline of man worthy of life, the same is true of life in general. The tension between the desire to come together and the desire to separate, which leads to circular movement around each other and with each other, the tension between the absolutely necessary distance and the deep relationship of belonging completely to each other--that is the agony of life in which we stand today. The danger of death lies hidden in the will of love to the power of love. The principle of mutual aid is confronted by the principle of killing and demolishing, of suppressing and entangling, of desiring and overpowering--mutual aid and the struggle for existence! Life and death are the two primeval powers we have to reckon with.
This, then is what we maintain: the struggle for existence, this indisputably powerful factor of our present existence, is nothing else than devaluation of the will to life, to the power and unfolding of the love that wants a give and take existence. Of course, we mean in this pair of opposites, this fight for existence, the task of mastering, ruling, and forming matter, of mastering hindrances and overcoming one's own signs of fatigue. All that must be, as long as life and life's tasks exist. But the struggle for existence as the war of all against all (as so many followers of Darwin have one-sidedly understood, declaring it to be the only principle of life) is a degeneration of life, which must be stopped. Instead of circling around each other, the stars collide and destroy one another here. The funnel-shaped crater in the dead body of the moon shows us at night the shattering drama of this direct collision also in the astronomic heavens, for we no longer believe today that the mighty crater on the astronomic dead body of the moon came from volcanic activity. We have found out that it is the funnel caused by large and small meteors and other disintegrating particles that once circled the earth like the moon. The greater moon swallowed the smaller planets of the earth and in so doing killed itself by robbing itself of its store of air and water--the only known conditions for its life. Among the living creatures of the earth, mutual relationship is similarly exposed to continual danger of repression and destruction, of exploitation and murder, of being robbed of air and land.
Death is a fact of our present life. Just as we see the mystery of life in electrons circling round atoms in our bodies, in the organic members of a body building each other up to one whole consciousness of a living body, we may not in all honesty be silent about the dark side--that wherever we go we always carry death with us. Even the healthiest body is full of deadly bacteria, so we are all being continually poisoned.
We have to think once more of the comparison of an individual to a whirlpool in a swiftly flowing mountain stream. Just as this whirlpool continually gives away its water, all living beings constantly give off poisonous matter and get rid of what is no longer needed for life. Life must be constantly sacrificed in our living bodies. At the same time as we build up new life cells by breathing and eating, we cast off the life cells which have grown old and are ready to room to the new youth. And just as in the single body of an individual human being, the same is true of the whole, composed of many living beings.
Death is an indisputable fact. None of us knows who will be the next one to be accompanied to the grave. But we know we will have to part from one another as long as the present world exists as it is. This parting from life, this separation, is the constant sacrifice of individual beings to make room for more viable life. The final dissolution of the living unity which previously had a soul is decay. We document this by carrying the decaying corpse far away from our midst and committing it to the earth, fire, or water. Ultimately, the agony of the world is revealed as the death of life.
On the first evening we saw that mammon with its lies, its falseness and impurity, is a constant murderer of life-- a murderer from the beginning. Death belongs to the way of life of this earth, and there are always people ready and willing to serve death--not only those who as a guard of honor carry the coffin, sink it into the grave, and throw three handfuls of earth on it--everywhere there are always people ready to transport (put?) living beings to death. There is no healthy, world-wide society.
We do not yet live in a community which populates this earth and accords with man's being as man as in the wonderful mutual help in the world of animals. We face the really dreadful fact that in the midst of the world of community and mutual help, it is just among the highest living beings, the human race, that there is the most intense mutual enmity, killing, and murder.
The struggle for existence is always present as deadly hate -- such a mighty power in our midst today that we can all understand when many become pessimistic and despair. They can no longer believe in anything but the power of evil, and they always say one thing--"Love is a lie and only hate is genuine."
We can understand when we find again and again among our brothers and sisters some who can trust no good deed and no good word, who always assume in their tortured and despairing hearts that some evil secret must be behind everything good, some evil self-interest must always destroy the interests of others. We understand this pessimistic view of life. Only one thing we cannot understand --how these fellowmen of ours can endure life. We are at one with the terrific world suffering and despair and need, with these brothers of ours, especially when in their fear of hidden evil they have to hate us and do so all the more, the more we speak of love. We are at one in that we want to bear with them the mortal anguish of the struggle for existence as the most frightening and horrible thing that man can encounter.
Everywhere we experience the dreadful fact of what power, hate, and the will to death possess among us human beings: in the wars of the nations, in the class struggle, in the struggle between the sexes; in the power of possession and the hate arising from envious, agitating desire; in competition in work, in the exploitation of subjugated workers; in the bloody uprising of those who also want power, and not least in the frantic rage of theological, religious and party intolerance, in wave after wave of seething, polluted waters.
Death and catastrophe seem to be the fate of this earth and its people. We see before us a horrible end. Gustav Meyrink (who in spite of everything is more than a writer of mawkish, sensational fiction) wrote of a terrible experience he once had before the war (WW1). He had a vision in which he was transported from Germany all the way to the farthest east. There he stood before a devil's priest who, swathed in red from head to foot, was sternly turning him away. But Meyrink, in his insatiable desire to grasp anything supernatural--even of the Devil himself--asked the Devil's priest to initiate him into his vision. Every time the red priest tried to reject his pleading, he asked again, "Just once, one single time, show me your horror." He did not know what he was asking for. But he kept on clamoring until the servant of evil took his instrument, a small, quiet flute, and began to draw enticing notes from it.
The devil-worshipper had already taken a piece of white paper from Meyrick's hand, and now he laid it on the ground, the only white thing to be seen. It was a map of Europe. He blew on his flute, and crowd upon crowd of grasshoppers came hurrying and gathered on the map. They stood in opposite ranks as if in rigor mortis, a demonic paralysis. When huge crowds had gathered, the priest blew a shrill note on his flute, and they immediately threw themselves on each other, tearing each other to pieces in endless mutual destruction. New crowds rushed in continually, and countless thousands of unhappy beings killed each other until finally the map of Europe was covered with an immense heap of corpses.
At last the tortured man could no longer bear the horror that had been conjured up, and the meaning of the devil-possessed grasshoppers dawned on him, yet the priest of the demons continued to blow on his murderous instrument. The horror came to an end only when there were no longer enough left to kill or be killed.
Is this to be the end--this creation of death? Is this the fate we are going to meet? There is no doubt that the time of judgment is not yet over, and more atrocities face us. Yet I am certain this is not the ultimate end; the Devil does not have the last word. The power of evil is darkness. We must go through the darkness of death and emerge beyond it. In the darkness we experience today--the injustice of murdering each other, the hostility to life, the breaking-up of all community and all trust--it does not surprise us that the war of all against all is the slogan of the day.
The suffering of the world in its misery must be revealed. Judgment is passing over this world now, at this hour, and in the days to come. What we have to go through, and what no one--not even the most superficial--is spared, corresponds to that original conception of the world which Schopenhauer compared to a pendulum and a balance. Like a pendulum swinging from side to side, our existence swings between desire and repugnance, between repugnance and desire. And if one could place the misery of mankind on one scale and the guilt of man on the other, the pendulum would stand still! Judgment is going over this earth. Death is the wage of sin and is at the same time the last enemy to be overcome. Only when sin is attacked at the root can death be overcome! Only when the poison is attacked and detoxified at its source is it possible for life-community to come into being! Never otherwise.
Of course, we know that even today many still do not understand this. The god of this world has blinded their eyes so that in their darkness they cannot see what light the news of the great future has for them. Gustav Landauer, who was trampled to death on the streets in the Revolution was one of the profoundest authorities on German mysticism and one of the most powerful interpreters of Shakespeare. In his book Call for Socialism, he said something about Jesus which should make many think today:
Place a Philistine face to face with Jesus, who in the richness generosity of his inexhaustible personality, as well as in his significance for the spirit and for life, is also a socialist --put him before the living Jesus on the cross and before a new machine for transporting people or freight, and, if he is honest and not a hypocrite aping culture, he will find the crucified Son of Man completely useless and run after the machine. And yet, how much more has this quiet greatness of heart and spirit truly moved than all the transport machines of these times! Where would all the transport machines of our times be without this quiet, calmly suffering great One on mankind's cross? [Aufruf zum Sozialismus, S.47.48, 2 Auflage bei Sassierer Verlag, Berlin].
Here we face the great decision-- the call to life has come! Here is the death of the One who overcomes the death of all. Here is the living One, the One who is truly risen. Here is life out of death! Here the life that was from the beginning has become revealed--just as out of the collision of two star worlds a new star world arises, a new star-child of the first magnitude flares up. The one body is broken. It bleeds on the gallows. The other body comes into being. It lives, as the one comprehensive organism of living unity on this earth, true community, a unity of body and spirit in the midst of the human race. There is no earth-wide community yet. Humanity is still divided. And yet there is a church-community on this earth.
It cannot be confused with a church of whatever denomination. Just as little can it be regarded as a sect of whatever name. But the fact that this church-community exists is the only reality on this earth. If we want to understand life-community and the future of work, the mystery of this emerging, growing church-community must dawn on us.
The only way to the community of mankind is through stronger intensity of spirit, deeper spiritual life: fighting through the innermost tensions and secret inner longings in that primeval ground of soul and spirit undetectable by any microscope. Where God's Spirit testifies to our spirit; where all words are silenced , where everything we can do comes to an end--that is where something decisive has to happen. Community can come into being in no other way. The Spirit who unites wants to draw mankind together to such a consciousness of unity, just as we become a personality in a unit of consciousness in our body. We can attain this unity only when each of us receives this Spirit in his own inmost depths. Only those who receive the Spirit can live in community of spirit. Whoever is without the Spirit cannot live in community of spirit. We cannot achieve a community of work and a true, world-wide society of mutual relationships until we have become one in spirit.
Conscious unity in the human body is a symbol of the great coming unity of the universe with God. And even this is a symbol, a picture expressing the artist, a creation expressing its Creator. In the same way, man is called to be the image of God. Each individual, as a conscious unity, should bring forth a new symbol, receive a new image of God: the conscious unity of the church community, the unity of the kingdom that is to be-- community in spirit and in truth, unanimity in all things, penetrating from the depth of spiritual experience into all material things.
The sun can send forth the rays that sustain us all only if the white heat of its core is undiminished. Only if we are reborn in the deepest glow of our souls, (12) baptized with the Spirit, and placed in the Spirit in fire and storm, can we give warmth and light to one another, moved by mutual love and life. Human beings need a unified human soul, a unified human spirit. The Spirit is the only hope for the future. One body with one spirit! That is the only way for us to become an economic unit, a social unit, and a community of work. The quintessence of life, the deepest mystery of revolving around a center and of tension in the hiddenmost powers of the soul--that has to be as we begin a new life toward the new humanity. Then we shall come together to the one whole also in justice, peace, and joy.
Of course, what we call spirit here, and testify to as spirit, is unknown to most people. We are not talking about an intellectual endowment of the brain or an exaggerated phantasy. We are speaking of the inmost and deepest each man can experience in his personal life, in the most secret hours of his development. It is the spirit as a gift, as daring, as free willingness, as joy and work, as relationship, as union, as bond, and at the same time as freedom, as cheerfulness, as power, enthusiasm and courage, as the will to do. It is the spirit common to all, the spirit that is the unity of consciousness of all in one: the spirit as bond, as covenant, as unity; the spirit as unity of consciousness of all in one, that is, the inner freedom of the deepest calling, in inmost unity with all who know the same calling and the same experience; it is a matter of faith.
Our civilization is doomed, that is certain, for it has fallen prey to the evil spirit. There is no community in spirit to be found in it anymore, and consequently no more community in work. But out of this death new life must arise--life in the spirit of community with a social emphasis and work that unites. Only one thing must be clear to us: this Spirit, the same Spirit of life who moves the stars and forms our life cells, this creative Spirit who has been from the beginning, can bring about this new creation of the Church of the spirit only according to the same laws of life that brought unity in the astronomic cosmos.
Thus the work of this Spirit toward uniting all people in a real church-community and in an actual kingdom must be the same that brings about unity in the astronomic cosmos and unity in the seclusion of the simple cell with its atoms and electrons. Motion and freedom, tension and mutuality--that is the mark of this new unity in the Spirit on the earth as it will be. The mark of the emerging church and the coming kingdom must be the building up of quiet, tiny, hidden life relationships circling round each other, building up, beginning with tiny cells in constantly renewed relationships with each other, becoming organs and members, and then again community in a single body.
This church cannot be brought about by authoritative decisions, laws, or regulations. No human efforts or laws can bring this kingdom into existence. No dictatorship, either monarchist or proletarian, can prepare for it or create it. This kingdom is far from anything our self-will can achieve--far from all the efforts of self-seeking, power-hungry men or groups. This kingdom is a kingdom which can come only as a gift of the Creator's spirit of love, as ultimate unity.
But for this very reason, we must guard against the false notion that God is a purely transcendental power, far from matter and the stuff of this earth. It must be clear to us that the coming community of life, according to the testimony of all the prophets who have had a taste of the Spirit of God, will be a kingdom of work on this earth. Work will be the binding factor in these cells of human community. The only work a man can do with his whole soul, work full of spirit and pulsing life, comes from love. And there is no love that does not get to work. Love is work, practical strenuous work of muscle and mind, heart and soul. This kingdom of love. Therefore, this kingdom of the church and of the coming rule of God must be a kingdom of work. Work, truly unselfish work, animated by the spirit of brotherliness, will be the mark of the future, the character of the mankind to be. Work as spirit, work as living reality, such as we all have lost, work as dedication in enthusiastic love of togetherness--that is the fundamental character of the future. Joy in togetherness will show as joy in work. And there is no other joy in work than joy in togetherness. It tests the strength to dispose of hindrances and difficulties of a material nature and brings about joy in activity and dedication in work. The soul can be in the work only where the Spirit has brought work into relationship with beloved people, beloved mankind, and finally with God himself. Where all the senses are consecrated and all tools dedicated; where everything physical becomes holy and all activity in manual work a joy; where there is zest, the bubbling vigor of enthusiasm in work, there is the kingdom of the future!
Since we today have only a faint conception of the possibility of such a common life, we will be troubled again and again by pessimism, like a shadow from the abyss. How infinitely remote present-day mankind is from work like this! Leo Tolstoy, in his simple stories of country life in Russia, has shown us wonderful pictures of such work in his Tales.
With every genuine country child, we can have an intuition of this life of the future when we love the country, when we have a relationship with the soil, when we have joy in the rising sun, in slowly growing, shady trees, in grazing cattle, flying birds, sweetly smelling flowers; and when we love people, as the finest creation in the midst of this nature, when we work outside in field or garden for this nature--blossoming, fragrant and so full of life-- for all creatures, human and animal, always springing up in beauty; when we have learned to work for the life and the community of life outside in nature--to work with joy in the sweat of our brow in such work community, and have found community, real community of mutual trust.
And if in honest search and struggle of spirit, we read the ancient testimonies of eternal truth, if we become absorbed in the writings of the prophets and envoys of that great future kingdom, testified to again and again from far-off centuries and millennia until today, if we steep our mind in this spirit of truth from the first beginnings of human history--in this way, too, we shall gain an inkling, an expectant hope of this great future.
Soil and mind, mind and soil must come together so that the future can materialize! The creative spirit looks for matter. The spirit of work must move the soil. The culture of the mind must apply itself to the land. And life on the land must bring rebirth and renewed youth to the effete and dying culture of the cities. This must be the work of the future: possessing the earth and the spirit in common so that land and work become common to all men--land becomes the common possession and work the common task of all men; so that, along with strenuous physical activity--work on the land-- we may take in all the movements of the spirit, carry them into the farthest distances and communicate them to everyone. That must be the work of the future. And adapting all other kinds of work with tool and machine, creating real values from raw materials into forms consistent with the spirit of the coming community of man--all this must be combined with the work of cultivating the land and cultivating the mind.
Nothing of the mechanical and technical achievements of the last centuries and millennia should be lost!. For man has been appointed to rule this earth, to move the earth with his tools and shape matter for this work. But the degrading and brutalizing of the working man clings like a blight, a curse, to the tools, the factories, the machines and the industry of today. Man is made to perform soulless labor for which he has no heart or quickening of spirit, in which no community of heart results. When the new kingdom comes that will be overcome and done away with.
Today we cannot yet tell in detail how this communal love of work with its voluntary nature and joy in creativity will become practical reality. We do not know to what extent mechanized industry will be struck when the works of the Devil are destroyed. The evolution of work has arrived at a deadlock: division of labor and victimization of man, which can perhaps be overcome by new inventions and discoveries. Love must also become inventive in the technical area, so that(16) soul, oversight and unity are brought into every piece of work once more.
Just as patriotic love, limited by and bound up with hatred of the enemy and motives of gain, has stimulated the discoveries of military technology in gigantic proportions, in the same way all-inclusive love will be able to banish all enslavement and inhuman drudgery from industry. Making an effort in work, exerting one's powers, is a good thing, even if it makes one sweat. But breathing sulphur, swallowing coal-dust, getting lead poisoning, and becoming mentally stultified is infernal slave murder, which we must abolish if we are to become men.
Justice and love, however, demand such community in healthy work that everyone will be prepared to lay hand to the simple operations of daily practical work at a machine, with a spade, hatchet, rake or anything else. Everyone should be ready to spend a few hours every day doing practical work, either in the garden, or digging and spreading manure on the field, plowing, or hoeing potatoes, or on the reaper, at the circular saw, at the printing press or in the mine, road making, burning bricks, in a locksmith's shop, in a joinery or whatever it may be. If physically fit, everyone should be ready to devote a few hours every day to this practical work. Especially those doing purely mental work would feel its humanizing effect.
In this way it will be possible to allow the special gift to be kindled, the special little light that flickers in each person. Whether this fire exhibits its hidden glow in gifts for scholarly research or the art of music, in the power of expression in words, or in plastic art in wood, stone, or color, or whether it shows its strength as the simplest and best thing, as love of nature seen in farm and garden work--free-time work will reveal the kind of joy in life that is in each man. Here we see how far life is determined by helpfulness, free willingness for the whole, and love. Only death knows idleness and tedium. Where there is life, the mind's creative will remains alert and comes to expression in the service of the whole by dint of mutual aid.
This is not some fantastic, unattainable future; on the contrary, it is the quiet reality of a church already emerging today as it becomes reality in each free hour in cities and in the country. God is-- everywhere and always. We cannot make the kingdom of God--that is impossible--but we can live in God's kingdom all the time. Christ comes to us. And as certainly as this is true for individuals, personally, it will be fulfilled as a fact in world history.
The moment is near when God will intervene decisively with catastrophic judgment and his reign of light will break in; then the era of joy on earth will begin, so foreign to us today. The moment is near when out of the dark night the morning star will arise and herald the rising sun, as the beginning of a new day of creation.
This moment before the decisive event might be compared with the great turning point on earth before the ice age, when man appeared, and the old dinosaurs, the gigantic dragons of the deep and of sinister flight declined and died. The time of the dragon will once again be of the past. Man will appear as the man of the future. The descendant of man, the Son of man, the real man, the true man of the future will take everything in hand.
Present-day man is like a rope stretched tautly between beast and superman, between the mankind that is declining and the Son of man of the future. Let us walk out on this rope toward that other land we long for on this earth! If we believe this kingdom is approaching, if we are sure this transformation of all things will be the last word of earthly history, then let us live now in accordance with the spirit of this future.
Just this is the mystery of the emerging church, germinating and blossoming among us in secret--that we can already live and work now, here and everywhere in the community of this Spirit. Faith in God, faith in Christ, is the power that makes this possible. Where alienation and hostility prevailed, men will find the relationship to one another which is community.
Only one thing is necessary: the faith which is love, vision, life, so that where we saw only deadness we discover the heart. Here each of us finds the spark in the other, each feels the calling of the other in him, each knows the (18) longing in the other, each finds a brother in the other, we can believe together. Then it will no longer be so hard to find the way to practical help, immediate service, true community in work. This is the only way of forming working communities that help one another in daily practical work and daily mental stimulation and deepening: One heart, one soul, one work, serving one cause!
Admittedly this church of common and mutual faith is the most delicate, living creation earth ever saw. A human child must be much more protected than the offspring of any animal, which perhaps leaps about and plays immediately after birth. The human child must be slowly and carefully borne, fed by the mother and gently reared if the tender and delicate organism of his physical being and growing mind is not to be harmed. Church community with its unity of faith, the noblest of all possible communities on earth, is likewise the most delicate.
But even this organic comparison is powerless to pinpoint the real difference. Everything about the church-community--and this is the worst--each of the members within her is alien to her and at odds with her nature. She is not only better and nobler than anything else that unites. Her union is so completely different from all attempts at community of any description, that from all sides, from within and from without, by its enemies--and worse, by its friends--it is constantly brought close to dissolution, to degeneration into its opposite. As long as the church-community exists, it is in imminent danger of death; one could think its destruction was already sealed.
It has been like this from the very beginning, since the church appeared in Jerusalem, brought among men by Christ. All the power alive in Jesus' words was revealed in the tremendous new reality of this life of the church. These first Christians lived in the power of the Holy Spirit that Jesus had given them. This Spirit of Jesus showed as overflowing abundance of life, love and dedication. Everyone who came under the influence of this Spirit felt it speak to his heart as though his mother tongue was revealing it to him. The power of this Spirit was so tremendous, that all the evil powers of hostility, sickness and death were overcome. The mighty Spirit of the holy, saving, helping energy of love proved itself the strongest of all powers, over physical nature too.
This spiritual power of the first church was revealed within it as the simple unity of genuine brotherhood. None of them could say of anything he had that it belonged to him, but they held all things in common. If anyone had a field or possessions, he sold everything and laid it at the apostles' feet. So there could be no needy or poor among them. Their love was action. The consequence was an abundance of gifts and services freely given without rules or regulations.
And yet the worm of death was at work from the beginning! Discord, insincerity, self-seeking, and a self-centered spirit of worry had never completely disappeared. This church also died. Jerusalem was destroyed; its poor yet hospitable community of Christians was scattered to the winds.
The churches Paul founded had an essentially different structure, corresponding to the fundamentally changed task, a quite different kind of construction from that one primitive church, once a shining example of the coming morning. Only the Spirit of building up, love as the way, remained the same.
But again and again in the course of the centuries the life of the church has broken through in that primitive power alive in the first church. It was inevitable that the original light, as unity of life and community of the circle, proved victorious over everything else. Out of the depth of spiritual love, mission into the world arose again and again, the symbol of the future that is to come. Always, and everywhere, failure and ruin through misinterpretation, persecution from outside, weakness and guilt within the ranks, death and the cross been inevitable in this life of Church community. But faith, as the one power to love, always shines in it, the spirit of faith as the one living pointer to the Church herself and to the kingdom itself.
Again and again faith in the Spirit of the future rises up, faith in the power of fire, in the rhythmic movement of suns, in the formation of welling springs, in the structure of cosmic worlds in motion, in the cellular arrangement of living atoms, and in the most delicate and eternal reality of the blowing wind of the Holy Spirit.
What this tremendous Spirit does is stronger than anything the powers of soulless matter can do. This Spirit will inform all matter, however estranged it has become. He will conquer this earth and give it new form:
Man builds with solid stone——
God moves, grows,
More ageless than the stone.
Springs of God plunge steeply down
Like lightning hurled.
Never hard like steel,
Where flames roar high, white hot,
Where water wells in streams.
God is spirit: blowing,
Stirring all that moves.
God is love,
Is free to all!
Christ liberates, makes new!
Die Lebensgemeinschaft und die Zukunft der Arbeit
[Arnold, Eberhard and Emmy papers – M.S.]
(GBD II, #159)
Die Lebensgemeinschaft und die Zukunft der Arbeit
Lebensgemeinschaft setzt Leben voraus. Es gibt kein Leben, das nicht in Gemeinschaft lebt. Wir können in der Natur diese Tatsache an allen organischen Lebewesen feststellen. Als Tiefseeforscher heben wir aus den Untiefen des Meeres Einsiedlerkrebse mit Seerosen empor, die sich mit ihren zartempfindlichen Hinterleibern in Schneckengehäuse abgestorbener Schnecken verbergen. Aber auch in ihnen fühlen sie sich vor den Polypen, diesen gefährlichsten Raubtieren, der Abgründe des Meeres, nicht genügend gesichert. Sie könnten mit ihren Fangarmen den noch so sehr widerstrebenden Krebs aus der Schneckenschale hervorholen und vernichten. Hier muß ein Lebenskamerad helfen. Deshalb verbindet sich der Einsiedlerkrebs in Siedlungsgemeinschaft mit der so ganz anders gearteten Seerose. Diese setzt sich auf die Schale des Schneckenhauses; in dem der Krebs lebt. Die Seerose, ein Tiergebilde von dem Aussehen einer Pflanze, umklammert mit ihrem stachlichen Armen das ganze Schneckenhaus des Krebses so fest, daß eine gewaltsame Ablösung unmöglich wird. Naht dem Einsiedlerkrebs eine Bedrohung, so verteidigen die stachlichen Arme der Seerose den Lebensfreund.
Der Krebs bleibt seinen Gegendienst nicht schuldig. Er übernimmt die Fortbewegung des gemeinsamen Wohnungswagens. Die Seerose würde für sich allein für immer auf denselben Fleck verbannt, verhungern müssen. Nun aber macht sich ihr Freßmund bereit, alles, was ihr auf dem Wanderwege des Krebses zufällt, aufzufangen und zu verschlingen. Die zuströmenden Nahrungsmittel begegnen dem ungleichen Wander-Paare so reichlich, daß die Rose dem Krebs beständig von ihrem Überfluss abgeben kann. Diese so ganz verschiedenartigen Lebewesen leben so seit urdenklichen
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Zeiten in Hausgemeinschaft und Tischgemeinschaft. Bei völliger Unmöglichkeit jeden näheren Verhältnisses wirkt sich ihre Lebens-Gemeinschaft als eine reine soziale Arbeitsgemeinschaft aus.
Aber wir brauchen nicht in Meeres-Untiefen hinabzusteigen, um dieses Phänomen kennen zu lernen. Wir finden in unseren heimatlichen Wäldern dieselbe Lebenstatsache. Im Gebirge halten sich an alten Baumästen merkwürdige Flechtengebilde angeheftet, die dem Baum ein wundersam altertümliches, romantisches Aussehen geben. Als Kinder haben wir uns wohl "Rübezahlbärte" oder gar "Teufelsbärte" aus diesen uns damals grausig erscheinenden Flechten vors Gesicht gebunden. Es ist lange unentdeckt geblieben, daß diese Flechte eine Arbeitsgemeinschaft gegenseitigen Dienstes zwischen zwei ganz verschiedenen Lebensarten ist. Diese eine Alge und dieser eine Pilz finden sich nur in dieser gegenseitigen engen Verbindung. Sie leben niemals allein ohne den anderen. Sie haben durch ihr Urerbe des gemeinsamen Lebens das Alleinsein so gründlich verlernt, daß sie - künstlich in Einsamkeit gesetzt -, nicht weiter leben könnten. Nur in der Gemeinschaft gegenseitigen Dienstes sind sie lebensfähig.
Der Wald birgt mehr als nur ein Geheimnis dieser Art. Wenden wir den Blick von den hohen Bäumen auf die Erde und heben einen Stein auf, so können wir auf ein merkwürdiges Ameisenvolk hochentwickelten Gemeinschaftsgefühls treffen. Was unter den fortschrittsfrohen Menschen so beschämend schwach und unentwickelt ist - der soziale Instinkt des Lebens-Zusammenhangs - finden wir bei diesen Insekten-Völkern als stärkste Lebenskraft. Das Staatsleben und Arbeitsleben bedeutet bei diesen Ameisen eine so radikale Forderung für das Leben des Ganzen, daß ganze Scharen der Einzelnen zur größten Opferung ihrer eigenen Interessen bereit sein müssen. Fast alle weiblichen Wesen opfern als Arbeits-Nonnen ihren Geschlechtstrieb und Fortpflanzungsdrang für die Gemeinsamkeit des großen Volkes. Auch der gegenseitige Dienst der gemeinsamen Arbeit hält die bestimmteste Arbeitsteilung inne, in besonderer Weise für den Bau der Gebäude, die im Verhältnis zu der Kleinheit der Ameisen
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größer ausgeführt sind als die ägyptischen Pyramiden, höher als der Eiffelturm, gewaltiger als unsere größten Gebäude.
Das Kulturleben der Ameisen führt sogar über die Interessengemeinschaft der Staats- oder Volksangehörigen, über die Blutsverwandtschaft der Artzusammengehörigkeit weit hinaus. Wir Menschen sind nicht die einzigen Wesen, die sich Haustiere halten. Auch die Ameise hat diese Lebensgewohnheit - wohl längst vor uns - angenommen. Auch die Ameise hat Milchkühe, die ihren Versorgern ihren Nährsaft schenken. Sie stellt zwei ganz verschiedene Arten von Melktieren in ihren Dienst, von denen die eine zuckrigen Saft, die andere ein berauschendes, erfrischendes Getränk gibt. Das eine dieser beiden Tierchen kommt auch hier, ohne die Gemeinschaft mit der sie beherrschenden ganz anderen Tierart, nicht vor. Die Ameise sorgt so treu für diese ihre Hausbewohner, daß die als "Schweizer" arbeitenden Ameisen die Melktierchen auf die Weide führen, sie aufnehmen und zu den nahrhaften Blättern tragen, die das Tierchen zu seiner Ernährung braucht, um es nach der Sättigung wieder nachhause in den Stall zu bringen.
Alle Naturfreunde kennen die Gegenseitigkeit als ein Hauptgeheimnis des Lebens aus näher liegenden und bekannteren Vorgängen. Die Fortpflanzung des Lebens kommt durchaus nicht immer durch die unmittelbare Vereinigung beider Geschlechter zustande. So zieht die Farbe und der Duft der Blume Liebesboten an sich, Schmetterlinge, Bienen oder ähnliche beflügelte Boten, die der Blume ihren kostbaren Nektartrank entnehmen, um als Gegendienst in frohem Flug den befruchtenden Samen zur weiblichen Blume hinüberzutragen, die sonst keine Frucht tragen könnte.
Die alltägliche Arbeit der Landwirtschaft und das Leben der Herdentiere, die Nahrung brauchen, enthält eine weitere Fülle von Wirklichkeitsbildern des gegenseitigen Dienstes. Überall werden Gärten, Äcker und Wiesen durch die Ausscheidungen der Tiere fruchtbar gemacht. Das tapfere Verhalten der Hengste und Stiere in jeder irgendwie gefährdeten Herde wilder Pferde, Zebras und Büffel zeigt immer wieder dasselbe, daß die Solidartät als das gemeinsame Einstehen für einander, als Gegenseitigkeit heroischen
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Verschenkens von Lebenskräften, das Urprinzip des lebendigen Daseins ist.
Die Gegenseitigkeit des Lebensdienstes ist in jedem Atemzug eines jeden Augenblicks verborgen. "Das Einfachste" und "Alltäglichste" also offenbart uns dasselbe Geheimnis des Lebens: Alles Einatmen und Ausatmen ist nichts anderes als ununterbrochene Gegenseitigkeit des Lebens zwischen Pflanzenwelt und Menschen - Tier - Welt. Hier opfert sich nicht der eine für den anderen auf. Hier wird nicht der eine von dem anderen geschädigt, oder gar getötet und aufgefressen, sondern Stoffe, die von dem einen als verbraucht und abgetan ausgeatmet werden, saugt der andere als "ozonreichste" Luft dankbar ein - und ebenso umgekehrt.
Das Prinzip der gegenseitigen Hilfe offenbart die stärkste Kraft in der lebendigen Welt. Es ist der Wille zur Liebe, den wir als das Geheimnis des Lebens erkennen. Die Natur verweist auf die Offenbarung der Wahrheit als Liebe. Der Lebenswille ist Liebeswille. Das Leben will Leben. So kann Lebensvernichtung nicht der Wille des Lebens sein. Der zerstörende Kampf ums Dasein weicht der gegenseitigen Hilfe. Wenn Nietzsche nach der Erkenntnis fragt, was der Inhalt des Lebens ist, den mein Wille wollen muß, - so nötigt auch "der Wille zur Macht", der nun nach Nietzsches Wort als Ausdehnungskraft den Willen zum Leben inhaltlich bestimmen soll, zu der weiteren Frage: Welche Macht will das Leben? Um welches Willensziel handelt es sich in dieser Energieentfaltung? Welchen Charakter hat das Leben in seinem Willen zur Ausdehnung und Ausbreitung?
Was erstrebt es in seiner Umspannung bis ins Unendliche? Lebendiges Leben will nichts als Leben. Seine Entfaltung kann nicht dem Sinn der Überwältigung, Verdrängung oder Tötung anderen Lebens haben. Wahrhaft lebendige Ausbreitungskraft des Lebens will die freudige Umfassung aller lebendigen Wesen und aller Lebenswelten. Das Wesen des Lebens ist Freude am Leben und an allem Lebendigen. Der Lebenswille sucht letztlich die Macht der Liebe, die das überströmende Leben für alle will. Wille zur Liebe ist jener Wille zur Macht, der die Urkraft allen Lebens ist.
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Wie an der Lebensgegenseitigkeit zwischen den Pflanzen und Tieren sehen wir es am astronomischen Himmel ebenso wie im mikroskopischen Kosmos der Atome und Elektronen: Wir erkennen es an dem organischen Aufbau aller lebendigen Körper. Überall ist es das Eine, was die Welt im Innersten zusammenhält, jene Kraft der Liebesumspannung in der angespannten Kreisbewegung um einander, jene lebendige Beziehung rhytmischer Bewegungen, die aus polarer Spannung heraus Gemeinsamkeit des Lebens und Wirkens bedeutet; Liebe als Kreisbewegung, als Gegenseitigkeit bewegten Aufbaus!
Es gibt kein Leben ohne Bewegung. Es gibt keine Bewegung, die nicht Kraftbeziehung der Gegenseitigkeit wäre. Bewegter und bewegender Einheitsgeist ist Ziel und Wille der gesamten lebendigen Natur im Einzelnen, wie im Gesamten! Aber Setzung des Zieles und Anspannung des Willens ist noch nicht Erfüllung. In der ganzen, unserem Forschen zugänglichen Welt, ist das gesetzte Ziel der Einheit verdunkelt, ist der angespannte Wille des Einheitsgeistes niemals ohne Ablenkung. Die unbedingte Forderung des Expansionsdranges jener Lebens-Umfassung, die unmittelbar gegebene Energie des Liebeswillens läßt lebensgefährlichste Spannung offenbar werden. Wie die Liebesspannung zwischen den Geschlechtern entweder zur Erhöhung des Typus Mensch oder aber zur Verderbnis des Menschseins, zu schmachvollem Untergang des Wortes Mensch führt, so steht es um unser Leben in jeder Hinsicht. Jene Spannung der Lebensbewegung, die zur Kreisbewegung um einander und miteinander führt, - jene Spannung zwischen dem Zueinanderwollen und dem Voneinander wegmüssen, der notwendig bedingten Distanz und der tiefsten Einheit des Zueinander-Gehörens, macht die Not des Lebens offenbar, soweit es in unserem Dasein in Erscheinung tritt, weil hier in dem Kampf um die Einheit schwerste Widerstände aufbrechen.
Spannung setzt Polarität der Gegensätze voraus. Ihre Not ist von vornherein in ihr selbst gegeben. Auch in dem Willen zur Macht der Liebe liegt für uns Sterbliche der Tod verborgen. Dem Prinzip der gegenseitigen Hilfe steht überall, wohin wir sehen können, das Prinzip des Tötens und Verzehrens, des Begehrens und Überwältigens, des Verdrängens Und Verschlingens, des Verderbens und Ermordens entgegen.
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Leben bringende gegenseitige Hilfe und Leben zerstörender Kampf ums Dasein, ist unser Leben! Gegenseitige Hilfe und Kampf ums Dasein ist unser Leben! Leben und Tod sind die beiden Urmächte, mit denen wir es zu tun haben. Aber der tödliche Kampf ums Dasein, dieser unbestreitbare machtvolle Faktor unseres augenblicklichen Daseins ist nichts anderes als Entartung des Lebens, tiefste Erkrankung jenes Lebenswillens, der Lebensmacht und Lebens- Entfaltung in Liebe und Gegenseitigkeit will. Die Aufgabe der Bewältigung, Beherrschung und Formung der Materie, die Aufgabe der Überwindung der stofflichen Hemmnisse und der durch sie bewirkten Ermüdungserscheinungen, darf mit dieser Entartung nicht verwechselt werden. Die Spannung zwischen Stoff und Geist gehört zu den lebendigen Aufgaben des schöpferischen Geistes. Nur der mörderische Kampf ums Dasein, der als Krieg aller gegen alle von so vielen, die Darwin einseitig verstanden und mißverstanden haben, als das einzige Prinzip des Lebens gefaßt wird, weist jene Lebensentartung auf, die beseitigt werden muß und wird. Statt des Einander-Umkreisen stürzen hier die Lebens-Gestirne zur gegenseitigen Zerstörung ineinander.
Jener Einschußtrichter in der Mondleiche zeigen uns am Nachthimmel das erschütternde Drama dieses distanzlosen Ineinanderstürzens auch in der Gestirnenwelt; denn wir glauben es heute nicht mehr, daß alle jene großen, gewaltigen Krater auf jenem astronomischen Leichnam von vulkanischen Ausbrüchen herstammen. Als Einfallstrichter der großen und kleinen Meteorsteine und zerberstenden Auflösungspartikeln verweisen sie auf den dunklen Tod der Zersplitterung und Zerstörung. Wie so der Mond die kleineren Trabanten der Erde verschlungen hat und dadurch selbst zum Sterben gebracht, seiner Leben bringenden Luft- und Wasserhülle beraubt wurde, so ist ebenso unter den Lebewesen der Erde die lebendig kreisende Gegenseitigkeit der Lebensbeziehungen vernichtendem Verschlingens, und Aneignen, Verdrängens und Tötens dem Kraftraub, Nahrungs-Raub und Land-Raub ausgesetzt.
Der Tod ist eine übergewaltige Wirklichkeit unseres gegenwärtigen Lebens. Wie wir in unserem Körper das Geheimnis des Lebens in der Umkreisung der Atome durch die Elektronen, in dem
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gegenseitigen Aufbau der organischen Glieder des Körpers zu einheitlich beseeltem Leib erkannt haben, so tragen wir zugleich immer und überall den Tod mit uns herum. Auch der gesundeste Körper ist mit tödlichen Bazillen behaftet: Wir werden alle fortgesetzt vergiftet.
Wir denken von neuem an den Vergleich des Einzelwesens mit einem Strudel im stürzenden Gebirgsbach. Wie dieser Strudel immer wieder und ununterbrochen sein Wasser weitergibt, so daß es von ihm wegströmt, so scheiden alle lebendigen Wesen ununterbrochen Giftstoffe, sich ablösende, dem Leben verlorengegangene Ausscheidungsstoffe aus. In dem Leben unseres lebendigen Körpers muß ununterbrochen Leben geopfert werden. Wenn wir neue Lebenszellen aufbauen, indem wir atmen und essen, stoßen wir zugleich veraltete Lebenszellen von uns weg, die der neuen Jugend des Lebens Platz machen.
Und wie es in dem Einzelleib des einzelnen Lebewesens zugeht, so steht es um die Gesamtheit der Lebenswirklichkeit. Niemand von uns weiß, wer der nächste sein wird, der von den anderen zu Grabe getragen wird. Wir müssen uns von einander trennen, solange diese gegenwärtige Welt so bleibt, wie sie ist. Diese uns alle bestimmte Trennung vom Leben ist Opferung immer neuer Einzelner, die immer von neuem lebensfähigerem Leben Platz machen müssen. Die schließliche Auflösung der Lebenseinheit des vorher beseelten Körpers erweist sich als Zerfall des Lebens, als seine Verwesung. Wir Menschen dokumentieren diese dunkelste Tatsache unseres Daseins, indem wir die zerfallende Leiche aus unserer Mitte hinwegtragen und sie fern von uns der Erde, dem Feuer oder dem Wasser übergeben. Die Weltnot offenbart sich letztlich als Sterben des Lebens. Die hier riesengroß erstehende Frage religiöser und sittlicher Entscheidung ist nur die eine, ob wir angesichts dieser Tatsache dem Leben oder dem Tode dienstbar sein wollen.