Georg Kühlewind was born in 1924 in Hungary.
In a letter destined for his volume 'Stages of Consciousness', he writes of himself, in English, as follows:
My first interests, at the age of fifteen, were psychoanalysis, Jung, and the history of religions and culture. At seventeen, I became a student of Karl Kerenyi. My tendency was to become a classical philologist in his sense and to learn Latin and Greek. Freud and Jung convinced me that life was not to be understood rationally. I studied economics. I tried to erase all habits, traditions and conventionality in me. I succeeded. There remained only a desert. (At the age of five, I had a very powerful experience of being an I – an experience like Jean Paul's, described by Steiner in Theosophy.)
I first met Anthroposophy at the age of eighteen. My feeling was: ”That's interesting, but I know it all – it's alive in me.” After the War, there came a second meeting: Truth and Science and Goethe's World Conception. Following this, the cycle of lectures on St. John's Gospel (given in Hamburg) inspired me. I began to read one book after another. And continued to do so for about ten years. Then I felt: this is sterile, I'm not succeeding on the path of inner work (praxis), and this ”pile” of knowledge I've been amassing only seems to be a ballast – as indeed it was!
At this point, I nearly threw out the whole of Anthroposophy, but I had a significant dream, and I remembered on of Steiner's books which I knew I had not understood – the Philosophy of Freedom. And so I began to study this book and all of Steiner's other epistemological works. I wanted to give these ”a last chance.” Strictly without looking into the more esoteric works, I wanted to understand these epistemological works by themselves alone. After about half-a-year, I knew what direction I had to take. I saw the errors I had made and the misunderstandings (felt as understandings) I had committed. I realized that the level of real understanding is not the level used in the other sciences but is, minimally, the level of living, experienced thinking, i. e., the process not the thought. From this moment on (about 1958), I slowly began on the path of inner schooling. In 1969, I met Massimo Scaligero, the Italian anthroposophical thinker. As a matter of fact, our real and effective meeting did not occur personally, but only through his books after personal acquaintance. Out of this, a deep and helpful friendship emerged which still lasts after his death – he died in 1980 – altrough there was more than one question on which we did not agree. Our agreement was perfect, however, concerning questions of knowing and the inner path.
Beginning in 1965, I began to work with groups of friends and, in 1966, I began to lecture in Austria, Switzerland and Germany.
I should mention one other great and, for me, important friendship. In 1979 I made the acquaintance by mail of the eminent French anthroposophist, Mme S. Rihouet-Coroze. Our acquaintance began when, at eighty-eight years of age, she decided to translate into French my book, Becoming Aware of the Logos. Our friendship lasted only two-and-a-half years on earth: she died in 1982.
From the beginning my interest in Anthroposophy has been in the study of consciousness and related themes. Very soon, therefore, I was led to the idea of the Logos. For the past twenty or twenty-two years the Prologue to St. John's Gospel has been my central meditation. Hence, all the books I have written have to do with this theme.
After the War, I had to decide to study something, but it was unclear what I should choose. I made my decision by looking towards those subjects with which, at that time, I had no relation. In this way, I chose natural science and, in particular, chemistry. I became a physical chemist and worked for thirty years in a Technical University, teaching physical chemistry - especially colloid chemisty – and doing research in the fields of adsorption, catalytic processes, surface chemistry and chemical engineering. I also have some inventions to my credit.
At the age of fifty-seven, I retired. I am now working mostly in the fields of linguistics, psychology and epistemology. These I consider to be the characteristic sciences of the consciousness soul. I am happy to have had the opportunity to have studied natural science. One can certainly learn thereby to think scientifically – and to constructs a true science of the spirit such thinking must clearly be at work. Spiritual science, as sketched by Steiner, still awaits scientists able to practice science on a higher level than the known sciences. I feel it to be my task in life to convey the fundamentals of this new science.
When I way young, I studied music – the piano – and wanted to be a musician. But this has remained only a wish. My greatest musical experience has been to hear Kathleen Ferrier sing – alas, I never heard her sing when she was alive! Among composers, excluding those of the classical and romantic periods, Bartok is most important to me. For me, he represents the music of the consciousness soul. In literature, I learned a great deal from Aldous Huxley – perhaps things he did not intend – bu I have, anyway, a great inborn sympathy with him. As for poets: Hölderlin, Rilke, above all, and then Celan, with a special love for Dante, to read whom I learned Italian – which led me to Rome and to the meeting with Scaligero.
About 1967, I met Zen Buddhism – a meeting which affected my life most powerfully. I think Anthroposophists could learn much from ancient and Japanese Zen. About the contemporary Zen of the White Man, however, I think differently.
Finally, let me mention two other authors who have influenced me: Tolkien and Michael Ende, whom I know personally. Of course, I have read everything that any seeker reads – philosophy, the esoteric traditions, linguistics, mythology, ethnology, history of religions, etc. - but I don't think any of it has had a special influence on me as I am today.
Anything else? This is the largest and most important question but it is precisely the one that I cannot answer here. My consolation is that I am not alone in this. A bird singing and sitting in my window, the snow glittering in the garden, the sea on a stormy morning, the sound of a hawk, the smile beginning on a beloved face, the first caress of a hand, surely all of this and so many other ”small” events had perhaps a greater bearing on my life than all that I could say. You the readers must be contented with the results. I am grateful for your interest.
13 March 1984