ONLINE PRESENTATION BY BEN CHERRY
In Lecture 9 of his course for teachers known as the Foundations of Human Experience, Rudolf Steiner refers to children as “a human race who still believe in the morality of the world, and therefore believe they may imitate it.” He speaks too of the central task in high school of enabling students to make healthy judgments, based on a capacity for imagination and a striving for truth. Between these two age groups is the longing to experience the world’s beauty during the primary school years.
The failure of contemporary education to respond to these essential needs has been palpably demonstrated by the divisiveness within human society worldwide over the past few years. The need for us as adults to separate out truth from falsehood – or, more exactly, to develop a sense of truth within the falsehood – will continue with ever more intensity in coming years. It is an unavoidable requirement in this modern world, where very different kinds of so-called “reality” vie for our attention.
Ben Cherry’s contribution will be based on his own life experience, culminating in a 3-week Main Lesson he gave recently to Grade 10 students in a new Waldorf High School in Taipei. Central to this work was the thought that it is only through great trials that new inner capacities can be born, and that there are many great souls who have demonstrated this.
It is on this basis (and on the ground of his whole life experience) that Ben feels ready to share thoughts about the inner power that can arise, through daring to seek and recognize truth. And in doing so, to become more capable of making healthy judgments.
Ben Cherry, born and brought up in the UK, has spent most of his adult life in other parts of the world. During the past fifty-four years, he has worked in or traveled extensively through Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, and North America, and has visited or taught in schools on all five continents. He has an MA (Cambridge), 1st MB (Birmingham), Diploma of Education (Australia).
Through his search for peace and for answers to the huge social, cultural, and environmental issues, he encountered as a young man, especially through his experience as a teacher and journalist in Vietnam during the war, led him through many spiritual streams to the work of Rudolf Steiner forty-six years ago, in a school for severely disadvantaged children in England, where he worked as a gardener. He was later invited by the UK government to found and co-lead a center for refugees fleeing from Vietnam in the aftermath of the war.
Since then, his way has been through education, and he later co-founded a Waldorf school in Australia, in which he taught for twenty-three years, both as a class teacher and in high school. During the past twenty-four years, he has been mentoring and giving courses in schools and education centres in many parts of Eastern Asia. He was for seven years the leader of the China Waldorf Forum, which carried the task of protecting and enhancing Waldorf education in China. He is currently living in Taiwan.
Woven through these experiences has been a commitment to social renewal through the picture of humanity received from anthroposophical spiritual science. During the past three years, he has been writing for the UK magazine New View and other independent journals, about what he perceives to be taking place behind the traumatic events of our time – and of what this is calling on us to develop within ourselves. He is also writing a book on this theme, which he hopes to complete by the end of the year.
Up-Coming Café Guests
Please watch for special Saturday Cafés
as we periodically will hear from Café Guests outside of North America!
November 17: Kimberley Lewis
November 24: Patrick Kennedy
December 2: Tobias Kaye (Special Saturday Café @ 11 a.m. U.S. MT)
December 8: Adam Blanning
December 15: Christopher Schaefer