Wise and Happy

Hanns Dieter Hüsch was a German poetic cabaret artist, book author, and actor. He was born the year Rudolf Steiner died [1925] and went on to narrate the century on a thousand small stages and late-night TV programs. The titles of his books portray his spirit: Das Schwere leicht gesagt [The Difficult Made Easy] or Mein Gott lehrt dich das Lachen [My God Teaches You to Laugh].

In one of his last performances, around the turn of the century, in Theater Fauteuil in Basel, he muses about a young woman named Charlotte, saying, “She’s an anthroposophist, on her mother’s side.” The audience laughs, getting the joke that anthroposophy is hereditary. After the sold-out performance, I stand at the artist’s table while he signs autographs and mention that a number of anthroposophists are in the audience tonight. Hüsch catches me with his kind eyes and says, in his Lower Rhine accent, “I know, I saw them. They are wise and happy people, wise and happy!” Repetition and didactic emphasis are Hüsch’s trademarks. He sees me stuttering to answer and adds, “It’s true; you can’t get both together so easily—they can. Wise and happy”; again, all the emphasis on “and.”

On the way to the tram, I nod in agreement at the cabaret artist’s accolade. True, esotericism makes you “wise,” and bringing it to schools, stages, and communities and putting it into practice makes you happy. Hüsch puts the idea of the Christmas conference “uniting esotericism and exotericism” into the simple formula “wise and happy.” But, beware! Hüsch is a fool, a jester, and fools disguise advice as praise and instruction as a compliment. Unwrapping these gifts from the jester is a very personal thing. That’s what makes humor so human—everyone has their own personal take. So, I am truly wise when I don’t think I am, but I try to understand with all my might, and I am happy when I know nothing of my own happiness because I am entirely set on wanting to make the whole world happy. Hüsch: “That’s what I said, wise and happy!”

Translation Joshua Kelberman
Image Hanns Dieter Hüsch (1979); Photo: Gerd Eichmann, Wikimedia CC 4.0

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