Georg Kühlewind – Gyorgy Szekely
March 6th 1924 – January 15th 2006
For more than a decade, Georg Kuhlewind has been a frequent lecturer at the New York Branch, and indeed in celebration of his eightieth birthday, became our first "honorary member". Georg has given at least thirty lectures at the Branch, and each one finely crafted, carefully delivered, and sensitively explained. Yet when I think back on this remarkable contribution to our spiritual life here in New York, I recall not only the many gifts that Georg gave to us, but also I recall - The Introductions!
In the early 2000’s, I was asked to introduce Georg when he gave a lecture at the New York Branch. I was contemplating his assertion that his work always remained at the intersection of three fields: linguistics, epistemology, and psychology. His persistence at this intersection seemed to me like the stubbornness of those Hindu gods and goddesses who would go on hunger strike or fold their hands in protest and maintain their abstinence until the universe gave them what they asked for. So my introduction took the form of the following poem.
“Beware when the great God lets loose a thinker on this planet,” wrote Emerson. He might almost have been speaking of Georg Kuehlewind (1924-2005), the Hungarian chemist, linguist, philosopher and mystic who shocked heavenward all those fortunate enough to meet him.
There was always something a bit dangerous about Georg’s presence. It was not ill will: no one could be more compassionate. It was not a dark mood: no one could have a lighter wit, even in the face of horror. It was nothing unbalanced: no one could draw on healthier psychic roots. Yet there was a sense of things on the move, of discoveries that might take you who knows where, of having to put down your baggage and for once run free. Freedom: that was the danger in Georg’s presence, threatening to everything in us that wants stasis and self-protection. It included a great sense of liveliness, like pure oxygen, and this miraculous spaciousness occurred even in the simplest of conversations. As Georg’s beloved poet Rainer Maria Rilke wrote,
See, I live. But from what?