Bernard Lievegoed - The battle for the soul



Bernard Lievegoed - The battle for the soul
The working together of three great leaders of humanity

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Bernard Lievegoed dictated this book in the months leading up to his death on December 12, 1992. The literal translation of the original Dutch title is Concerning the Salvation if the Human Soul. He saw this work as a spiritual legacy which gave a call to humanity and to tbe members of the Anthroposophical Society to prepare themselves for the turn of the century; for tbe decades to come. In a highly personal and direct way Lievegoed shares a profound inner question and in exploring it illuminates our present and our future.
Bernard Lievegoed was born in Sumatra, Indonesia in 1905. Throughout his childhood he had a dream about a temple set on a hill which he was always seeking to reach but never did. When at the age of nineteen, in 1924, a family friend told his parents about the burning of the first Goetheanum in Dornach, Switzerland, he understood his dream and why he was never destined to reach this house of the spirit.
He studied medicine in Holland, met Rudolf Steiner's work, and developed a friendship with both Willem Zeylmans van Emmichoven, the young head of the Dutch Anthroposophical Society, and Ita Wegman, Rudolf Steiner's collaborator and the founder of the clinic in Arlesheim. In the 1930s he began a remarkable career as a founder of initiatives, starting the Zonnehuis, a curative home for children; the Netherlands Pedagogical Institute (NPI) - an international organization development, research and consultancy group in the fifties; and the Vrije Hogeschool (Free High School) for young people in the seventies. In addition he practised as a child psychiatrist, later held a professorship in Social Pedagogy at the University in Rotterdam, and was for many years the chair of the Dutch Anthroposophical Society. This remarkably creative external life was balanced by intense inner creativity and led to a large · number of books.
Bernard Lievegoed's deep interest in society, in our times, and in people led him to always ask his visitors what they were doing, thinking, and experiencing. If you then asked him for advice on whether to start something, expressing concern about your ability or readiness - he would gaze out of his deep-set eyes, smile slightly and tell you that you would probably never be ready but to go ahead anyway. This recognition of human frailty coupled with an unshakeable belief in the good power of the human spirit comes to clear expression in The Battle for the Human Soul.

Christopher Schaefer, Ph.D.
Chestnut Ridge, NY
February, 1994

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