Mind The Gap!

Paul Klee And The World We Live In.

“The more horrifying the world, the more abstract becomes the art. A happy world, on the other hand, brings forth an art of the here and now.” 

Paul Klee, 1915

The train from Berlin that I was travelling on.

This evening, I was returning from Hengelo in the far east of the Netherlands, when a report came through on the train’s tannoy. It was to the effect that a suitcase had been found at Hilversum Railway Station, and the police thought to treat it as a bomb threat. (Had they been told to, I wonder?)

,,We zijn superalert op dit moment en nemen dus een melding van een achtergelaten tas in de trein heel serieus.’’ [We are super-alert and so take this incident of a forgotten suitcase very seriously.] Obviously, the Police are in as much of a panic here in the Netherlands as the poor Police of Brussels after someone suggested to them that there was a terrorist threat.

Threats, not terrorists, not bombs. This must be remembered, subconscious fears do extra-ordinary things to a person’s mind when it comes to supposed threats (1). It’s as if the imagination is let loose to imagine every worst-scenario possibility imaginable.

Anyway, the train I was on was diverted via Zwolle and thence to Amserdam via another route. All of which meant that I had to change trains to take one that would end at Amersfoort, the station just before Hilversum.

So why am I beginning this essay with a thought from Paul Klee, that on the face of it, has nothing to do with bomb threats? Yet his statement about modern, abstract art, is in fact the key to understanding our modern, abstract thinking. After all, abstract art wouldn’t exist without abstract thinking, would it? The two are one and the same thing – and abstract thinkers have as easy a time of  communicating with those around them as do their paintings.

P 511i Paul Klee And The World We Live In - Spoorboom en trein
Hilversum Station this evening
Photo: Gooi en Eemslander

Quite as importantly, the abstract thinker is only happy when they are in the company of those who agree with them. The abstract painter is only happy in the company of those who like his paintings.

In both cases it matters not a jot if their interpretations are totally different: neither of them are in possession of the ability to express what they really think… which is as good a reason for them not wanting to express their own ideas to their friends. What we have here is a situation where the person is limiting themselves, so as to protect them from what their so-called friends might think.

Because if they ever did express themselves to their friends, they’d discover that their friends think very different thoughts to the ones they do. But this is the reason people like living a life that is barely awake. It leads to a situation where fear rules their lives.

Paul Klee’s Warning.

When Paul Klee realized that ‘‘The more horrifying the world, the more abstract becomes the art’’, he gave us all the keys to understand the challenges the intellectual mind faces. Because  any abstraction – that is to say, distancing – from reality is the direct result of trauma. That is to say, someone was horrified by the things they saw around them. Not surprising in a world where cities like Stuttgart have a six–lane highway between the main railway station and the high street shops. I didn’t like it in the eighties, and I don’t like it now. But this is our modern world, and a person’s repulsion of it is the very thing that creates more of it.

This essay is being written in a mood of sadness. Because the world didn’t have to be like this. If, after the horrors of the First World War, we have another hundred years as a species, I will be more than surprised. After all, if someone is repelled by the things they witness in our industrialized world, and that very repulsion leads to more abstract thinking (which is to say, more technology), what kind of future do you imagine us having?

The only happy people are those with dementia.

Rudolf Steiner was clear on the point that the First World War was a cataclysm, and we are going to see it unfold before our eyes within our lifetime. If you have any doubt of this, please remember that the Pacific salmon and sardine fisheries are both extinguished. We can live without salmon, and we can live without sardines on our plates, but we cannot expect to have anything on our plates if we continue to pollute the world in the way we are doing today.

Without food, we are dust.

So What’s All This About Suitcases?

The point I wish to establish in this essay is the result of a hundred years of horror on our societies. Seen through the lenses of modern art, we have become so abstracted that the painters themselves don’t know what they’re saying. To them, ‘‘it’s just nice colours’’ or ‘‘it seemed like a good idea at the time’’. What fucking nonsense! Yet the authorities buy this crap, both conceptually and in a manner where they can hang the paint splattered canvases on their walls.

But underlying this is the real danger. These authorities – and our society at large – is unable to discern what is (and what is not) reality. They are unable to tell if a lost suitcasse belongs to a terrorist or an unhappy passenger – after all, what is the likelihood of a terrorist bomb in a suitcase?  The problem is that such people who work in the authorities can only make a decision for themselves when they have evidence.

So I’ll put it the other way around: if a person needs evidence to make a decision, the one thing they cannot do is make decisions for themselves! After all, evidence is a human construct (2) and is part and parcel of abstracting oneself from reality.

So What?

Indeed, so what. So I want to describe to you what is going on when people are told that there are bombs everywhere, or that they are alluded to. It will create panic. Because panic is a direct result of not being able to deal with reality of a situation one is faced with – and without anybody to tell you what to do. In this instance, the authorities look at the surface of the suitcase and were helpless to do anything about it. All they could do was to imagine the worst… and being unable to deal with the suitcase, they shut down the entire railway line instead!

When faced with a folorn suitcase, all they could do is the three-year old option: to over-react and wet their pants in panic.

I will explain: if you need evidence to make a decision – or any form of guidance – you won’t be able to make a decision without it. The experience is of complete and utter helplessness. It is the fear of this state of affairs that keeps people on the straight and narrow, enjoying being told what to think and do. Not unreasonable in the circumstances, don’t you think?

But these circumstances would not exist if we all lived our lives with a teaspoon–full of reality every day.

Which is why I am sad. The War continued after July 1916, and despite a few super–weapons in the hands of the Germans, they wasted them on propaganda exercises instead of sorting out Britain’s shaky supply lines to the continent. But the Americans would have thought of an excuse to have another war, just as they did in reality.


(1) In my post entitled ‘‘Milena Sees Witchcraft Everywhere’’, I describe a soul who is so pained by what she saw around her that it was all horrible witchcraft. Even little dollies.
(2) My post ‘‘Facts Do Not Grow On Trees’’ deals with the nature of evidence.


6 thoughts on “Paul Klee And The World We Live In.

  1. A moving text.

    I would like to quote 3 words from your text:

    “… if we continue …”

    Who might “we” be? ; – )

    Some / perhaps a large majority may try to “continue” their routines.

    Others have put their energy into developing a path to a future through beginning

    as best as they could (or better ; – ) ) true communication with ALL parties

    envolved, also the invisible ones.

    Socrates, Jesus-Christus, Rudolf Steiner to name a few workers in that field.

    – I would like to mention two books, which take some digesting, which contain no

    ‘easy solutions’, but which might be of some help in cheering you up.

    1) Wladimir Solovjev, A Short Story of Antichrist

    2) Hans Blüher, Die Aristie des Jesus von Nazareth

    The first one was recommended by Rudolf Steiner.

    The second one is recommended by myself. Not because I endorse every sentence

    in it, far from it – but because some passages in it helped me a lot.

    It was written around 1922 by a man who the Nazis forbade to publish – and who

    died shortly after the Second World War.

    Best wishes,
    Clara Stoervall

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thankyou for your comments, and your reading suggestions – it’s always nice to find other points of view. I have heard of Soloviev, but know nothing more of him than his name. In fact, what does cheer me up is something to truly think about – my post ‘A Humiliating Position To Find Oneself In’ is a case in point. I have regular conversations with the young lady in question as we are both trying to understand each other’s perspective, hers being very different from my own.

      And the ‘we’ I speak of is us all. I know of few who can live a life that does not add pollution to our world in one way or another: it is a fact we must now all accept. In our modern world, we simply cannot now avoid it. That does not stop a rare few from striving for a real future, but we must accept that our time on earth is now limited.


      1. Thank you for your reply!

        A conservative German politician reportedly once said: “The situation is hopeless, but not serious.”

        Meanwhile that might have changed and the situation could be regarded as being hopeless and serious. ; – )

        “… ,but we must accept, that our time on earth is now limited.”

        Why ‘now’?

        Hasn’t our time on earth always been limited? Be it the time of the incarnation on it of an individual or of mankind?

        I accept that our time on earth has always been limited and that there are threats of an early termination through thermo-nuclear war or through continuing pollution…

        Can this situation be “healed”?

        Finding practical answers to this question has kept me busy working for the past 40 years of my adult life.

        I think humans cannot manage the “healing job” on their own – it can only be done
        with the help of the Gods, so to speak. In cooperation and through communication with each other, cooperation of beings of all realms of “Wirklichkeit”.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. For me, it has to be through co-operation and communication.

        My test when speaking with someone is to introduce something a little risky: their response to it will tell me whether they can handle something that takes them to the edge of their comfort zone (or beyond it)*. The point is that if they harbour any kind of reticence when dealing with something risky, that implies they have to address this problem in their psychological make-up. Since they cannot be aware of this as something within themselves – none of us can – they naturally see it as a threat to their safety. ‘Milena Sees Witchcraft All Around Her’ is a post that discusses this in detail.

        There are those who almost naturally don’t regard such things as threats, but more as things to question. They are far from common, they are well worth upsetting and losing a few supposed friends to find.

        “Can this situation be “healed”?” If the problem lies in people who see their challenges as threats, then it is a problem that is all but impossible to heal. Sorry.

        You are right in that it is not something one can do on one’s own, but then, humans are not creatures that should spend their lives in isolation.

        *(I have a lot of posts on this topic, on this blog – and a private blog that deals with the deeper esoteric aspects – using the kind of language that scares anthroposophists. Or enrages them.)


      3. Hello Gemma,

        thank you for your reply.

        Where you are sorry as you do not see a possibility of healing – perhaps the Gods

        may find one? In the course of incarnations, not necessarily in the short time of a

        single incarnation?

        You write:

        *(I have a lot of posts on this topic, on this blog – and a private blog that deals with the deeper esoteric aspects – using the kind of language that scares anthroposophists. Or enrages them.)

        That made me smile. Not being an “anthroposophist” myself I cooperated with

        a leading researcher from Russia in the field of “anthroposophische

        Geisteswissenchaft” who has understood central structures of Steiner’s findings

        in a depth I never met with in any person or author in central Europe.

        The name of the Russian genius is Gennadij A. Bondarew and he truly scares and

        enrages “anthroposophists” to such an extent, that they even excluded him

        from their “Anthroposophical Society”.

        Most of his works were originally written in Russian, some have been translated

        into German, and I helped him by lecturing the German print edition for an

        improved second edition, which may perhaps never be printed.

        It’s a book of around 1.000 pages which is being translated into English right now,

        the first two volumes of a 4 volume English edition are available as far as I know.

        I give you the title of the book in its English edition:

        “Rudolf Steiner’s ‘Philosophie der Freiheit’ as the Foundation of the Logic

        of Beholding Thinking

        Religion of the Thinking Will

        Organon of the New Cultural Epoch”

        – There you are. ; – )

        Herzlichen Gruß,
        Clara Stoervall

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I have come across the name Bondarew, but if anybody uses the term ‘anthroposophy’ they raise my suspicions. I think you can imagine why!

    But then, my questioning conversational manner has an equally acidic effect on the weak willed. What I am looking for is an understanding of what I came to call ‘the disconnect’ – that is to say, that the things one says have no relation to the effect they have on others. I can say something quite modest – and yet on occasion it has led to a person all but exploding in emotional terms. On other occasions I mention something profoundly meaningful and it slips through their perceptual ‘net’ as though it were nothing of note.

    By the way you speak, you have some experience of this, at least. Which leads me to my question: does Bondarew understand Goethe’s Farbenlehre in terms of ‘the disconnect’? I guess I could take a peek at the things he says and tell you… 😉


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