Life and Death

1181 895 World Social Initiative Forum

Human nature is a potentiality, manifesting now as one state, now as another. As such, the essential unity of human nature is ‘a simple nature, free from all compound.’ …. Naturally simple then, the soul passes through different states and is called by different names: mind, spirit, or intellect, when it contemplates diversity; reason, when it considers created things; sense when it perceives and acts in the world of the senses; life when it endows with life…” [1]

Article by Joan Sleigh (World Social Initiative Forum) | Photo by Nicole Asis (World Social Initiative Forum)

© Nicole Asis

Simple in its complexity, the human soul craves and endows life – through the thinking mind, intelligence in diversity, and understanding of the world around. The human soul endows itself and others with life through the unlimited potential of integration. Equally, it craves life as its inheritance in its tendency towards self-separation and isolation. The human soul –  naturally simple in its childlike interaction and behaviour while complex in its potentiality – must live into the realities of integration and separation; fear and hope; and ultimately, life and death. 

The main challenge of the current global pandemic seems to be a pandora’s box of fear and hope and contradicting information –  the story of life and death. 

Easter is such a story  – a life that awakens out of death through knowing death and transforming it anew. 

Nature in its seasonal cycles indulges in these polarities  –  knowing that they are conditional to each other. 

The interrelatedness of life and death is a story that belongs to us all. Whether northern spring warms the dormant seeds into tender growth or autumn brings fulfilment in ripening fruit or whether storm winds shred the lands or flood rains saturate the earth, each tells the story of transitions. 

How can mind and spirit, reason and sense accept and overcome fear and anxiety as part of the complex soul? How can isolation and separation compost the soil to generate resilience and life within a troubled society? 

The human being is a social being, dependent on others for bodily health, soul well-being and spiritual integrity.  It creates and knows itself in relation to others, just as the resurrected Christ knew Itself in the presence of Its disciples. Can we be present for each other? Can we show up wholeheartedly and welcome the differences and similarities we encounter? Can we be the life that we long for? 

The mystery of Easter offers a solution to the human soul to engage with death and to discover the beginnings of new life. This capacity grows within the individual, between individuals.

“Rather than protecting and hiding our heart behind bullet-proof glass, wholeheartedness is about integration. It’s integrating our thinking, feeling and behaviour. It’s putting down the armour and bringing forth all of the scraggly, misshapen pieces of our history and folding in all of the different roles that, when falsely separated, keep us feeling exhausted and torn, to make a complex, messy awesome, whole person. …the Latin root of the word integrated is ‘integrare’ – to make whole”. [2]

About the Contributor Born 1962 in South Africa, Joan Sleigh has extensive experience in Waldorf Education as a class teacher and mentor. She served in the Executive Council at the Goetheanum from 2013 to 2020 in Dornach, Switzerland. She is the project leader of the World Social Initiative Forum since 2015.


Christopher Bramford. 1990. The Voice of the Eagle

 2 Brené Brown. 2018. Dare to lead. p.72-73


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