Paths to Maturity: Meeting Today’s Youth

Paths to Maturity: Meeting Today’s Youth

21 November 2023 Gerald Häfner 945 views

At this year’s Youth Society Parzival’s gathering, “Principles of Healthy Social Life”, held in August in Georgia, Gerald Häfner talked to Em Watson and Charles Cross about his experience in working with young people and as a young person himself, and his thoughts around helping humanity mature into its task with the Earth.


Em: What brought you here? Why did it feel it was important for you to come?

The Parzival Youth Initiative that built this house and wants to transform society brought me here! [During the pandemic the Youth Society had stayed active, building a schoolhouse which was the venue for the conference.] They work on these questions, “What can I do? What can we do to make this world a better place?” They asked me to come, probably because of my knowledge and experience in transforming the world in different ways. They invited me three years ago, and I wanted to come, but then there was COVID-19, and the whole world froze. However, it was an important time because that was when they decided to build this environment and this house and to invite young people to gather. I’m one of the oldest here. Mostly, this is young person’s meeting—people at a certain stage in their life where it’s about, “Okay, there are the ideas—what am I going to do out of them? Where is my place in the world?”

Charles: What is it like for you to be around so many young people?


I have to admit that I’m a little bit older now—over 60. For me, this means that I’ve entered a phase in my life where the most important task is not to build the next organization but to share my knowledge and experience and to support and help young people to find their way into life and into society—to do on Earth what they brought from the spiritual world as their task. Usually, we don’t know what that is. We have to find out through our life.

I’m the leader of the Social Science Section at the Goetheanum, which is worldwide work. I mostly work with young people, but in the Goetheanum, there are mostly older people like me. The real work, my real work, is not in the Goetheanum: it’s in Finland, in Brazil, in Belgium—wherever I go, I mostly meet young people who say, “Can we meet? We have this and that idea. We have this initiative. What can we do? Can you help us?” So I’m extremely lucky and grateful to be asked like that and to be serving, to help.

This excerpt comes from an article originally published in the (online exclusive) English Edition of the weekly Newsletter ‹Das Goetheanum›. You can read the full article on the website of ‹Das Goetheanum›.

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Title Image The group of conference attendees in front of the Parzival centre in Georgia, Photo: Emily Watson