COLUMN – Frontiers open or closed? A third way? – EN

In recent months, the solidarity between the various countries of the European Union is under pressure. This of course has to do with the ‘refugee crisis’. Again it seems to be about a longstanding issues associated with community building. Do we go for In pluribus Unum or for E pluribus unum? In the United States the official choice has been made for E pluribus unum. This saying symbolizes the desire to get out of multiplicity and diversity to unity. The risk is that the quest for unity is translated into efforts to equalize (‘making the samel’), in which all diversity is sacrificed to the sacred goal of being one and the same. In other words, to eliminate diversity. In practice of daily life one also may see in the United States the other movement working. In pluribus unum It symbolizes the desire to properly cultivate the variety and the diversity in a kind of transcending or elevation (Steigerung Goethe would have said) to constantly bringing about and create a Commonwealth, Being-One. The ONE not as passive goal, an end state, but unity as a constantly active and conscious endeavor. Also, in a living organism the polarities of oneness (body, wholeness) and plurality (cells, particles) go for a continuous and fruitful dialogue of entirety. This is not meant to be the sum or passive product of the many or the particles. But Being-One, wholeness as a transaction and thus the polarity of the parts and the many. Ovum and sperm, both are necessary but not sufficient conditions to achieve unity and wholeness.

So with borders. How often is not said that the human body is made up of three so-called germ layers. There is an ectoderm, endoderm and mesoderm and the organs are categorized as being derived from or arising out of one or the other. But that’s not my view. Our organism creates two boundaries at the world. On the one hand what I call “outer body wall (parietal)”: there it is the ectoderm with all its associated organs that so to say delimits our body and innerness from the world, the environment. In our inside, our “guts” there is working another principle, which is the endoderm. There too we create a boundary to the world but how different we adjoin here the world? Here we interact with her in intimate and direct communication, we nearly come into a symbiosis with our environment. And between the boundaries, the frontiers, the “walls”, there is the Meso, Middle, the real “innerness” (“inside”) which therefore as a consequence and by definition cannot be mesoDERM. Two derms, two skins, two borders to the world is enough (more is not possible) and between them we exist and we live in the inter-Esse, in the IN BETWEEN, in the Meso.

So I learned of the embryo which that a wall or border can be boundary a limit in two ways. The border between the two countries may be closed, there is no communication and exchange creating split and separation. This duality can lead to war. But borders can open. Then the border with another country enables open exchange, communication, interaction, connection occurs. The risk is losing your independence, individuality but not necessarily. Similarly, the ectoderm and endoderm. On the one hand your outside border that may make you independent from the environment so that you can see, hear, perceive, so that ‘awareness of’ is possible. Alternatively, the endoderm, with which we intimately interact with the world and metabolize with her so that she feeds us and makes us possible. And in between the Meso, the middle, there we exist. Perhaps a lesson on how we could deal with our borders in Europe? You should as an organism, as a country never deal with the absoluteness of the one or the absoluteness of the other. You should try that you can live both and ‘delimit from’ but also ‘open to’. I once more feel that we as a social organism, as a country, as a community, also maybe as a continent can learn from the biological organism. A social organism might have the same laws of life as a living organism in its biology.

These embryonic thoughts were summoned by this passage in Motief, a magazine for anthroposophy in the Netherlands (February 2016) “Open borders or borders closed? ushered in the recent months. Both are impossibilities. Because they endlessly will demand more and more restrictions. However, there is the possibility to escape and transcend above this ‘either-or’. This rise above the dual conceptual model is a theme suited for the contemporary human mind and consciousness. The jump from the dual to the polar ‘both … and also’, in this intention the human I am can make itself known. Precisely there! The possibility to choose neither for the one nor choose the other side, but to keep both open, just as long as until a third possibility can manifest itself” (Christine Gruwez, De neiging tot het kwaad in ieder mens. In Motief – Maandblad Antroposofie in Nederland, Nummer 199, februari 2016, pag. 12 -15).