At the Limits of Human Nature

Gerald Häfner, head of the Section of Social Sciences, had a Zoom conversation with Andrej Ziltsov, priest of the Christian Community, who lives in Odessa.

«I feel safely insecure, or insecurely safe,» says Andrej Ziltsov at the beginning of the conversation. Although military targets in the vicinity of the city are shelled regularly, today, Odessa is not one of the cities directly besieged by the Russian army. However, its history and geographical location make it a possible strategic destination. Its population lives in anxious anticipation.

Andrej Ziltsov

The tension is so enormous that even for people who work with anthroposophy on a daily basis, it is very difficult to calm their feelings. «One of the events of the war is that, unusually, a slight joy rises when one hears that, for example, the enemy’s planes have been shot down … Then you realize how weak this peacefulness was, yes, that you don’t see people behind the enemy so easily.»

Through Andrej’s words, it becomes clear that such a situation explores the limits of human nature and reveals the abyss of inhumanity both externally and internally. A particularly opportune moment of self-knowledge for those who can muster the strength to do so. «That would be my hope that this war will be the occasion for a great awakening,» says Andrej. This awakening is especially associated with the consciousness of death. When asked where he and his friends find the strength to survive internally in this situation, Andrej answers in three stages. It is first of all about learning to live with the consciousness of death, knowing that death is inherently unpredictable. In the face of these trials, the interpersonal space then becomes indispensable: «You can tell that we are helping each other to remain human.» And finally, the power of hope plays a central role: «We believe that there is a peaceful future, […] this peaceful future allows us to make the world even better than we have been able to do so far.»

More You can watch the full interview on or Die Welt gestalten (Shaping the World).

Andrej Ziltsov was involved in the establishment of the Sophia Foundation, which today can accept donations in support of people active in the anthroposophical movement.
Account holder: GLS Treuhand
IBAN: DE63 4306 0967 0013 0227 10
Intended purpose: Sophia Konto 3502 4004 – Solidarity

Cover PhotoAndrej Ziltsov in zoom conversation with Gerald Häfner; Source: Screenshot Goetheanum tv/‹Die Welt gestalten› (Shaping the World)

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