Social Initiative Forum Project Leader Joan Sleigh highlights three questions emerging out of the COVID-19 pandemic and current events worldwide in this 4-part series.
Text: Joan Sleigh [ZA] | Photos: KaGPWD [UG], Koberwitz 1924 Inc. [PH], Kfar Rafael [IL], TAPWA [IN], Kamah Curative Community [IL], WOGOUD Studio [EG]
Unemployment due to the shutdown of industries and services during the lockdown has become a life-threatening reality for millions of casual workers in poorer groups and countries. It brings with it hunger, despair, lack of purpose, and fulfillment – spiraling into violence and the pursuit of unhealthy self-satisfaction.
The incentive to engage in purposeful work is an innate part of human dignity. Once the basic necessities for survival are covered (food, housing, personal care, etc), the incentive for personal gain shifts to the continual development of new abilities. This results in the will to work in the service of the community.
The love of working in collaboration with others – and therefore the profitability of the wider society – becomes the personal gain and added value in a worthy lifestyle.
The World Social Initiative Forum (WSIF) sees its current and future work in the empowerment of individuals and engaging them in dialogue to become co-responsible for the dignity of being human, the health of society, and care of the environment.
In the Forums, WSIF strives to witness and learn from the needs and challenges of the current global situation in order to support social transformation. These gatherings aim to design and facilitate spaces in which each individual can grow beyond themselves through the presence and interaction of others.
Such spaces of transformation grow out of the abundance of life which is innate in every human being and in every geographic location. This force of life inspires active engagement and the will to participate in an ever-changing world. Individual abundance is shared in commitment to continuously transform social resources within a common purpose.
As a project under the Section for Social Sciences at the Goetheanum, WSIF invites an understanding and practice that “work is love made visible” |1| – that human capacity can transcend personal needs, fear, and isolation through the joy of contributing to the common purpose of human interconnectedness and a sustainable holistic future.
As a global agent of transformation, WSIF builds alliances and creates spaces of dialogue with others to:
||| unfold individual potential freely;
||| practice empathy and a genuine interest in another;
||| contribute to a generative economy in service of a healthy inter-relational society; and
||| sustain the vitality of the earth as a living organism.
The social impulse of WSIF as described above could be loosely summarized in Rudolf Steiner’s maxim of the free human being: “To live in love of action and to let live in the understanding of the will of another, this is the fundamental maxim of the free human being.” |2|
1 Khalil Gibran. 2017. Der Prophet (12 Aufl.). München.
2 Rudolf Steiner. Philosophie der Freiheit GA 4.