In conversation with Institute director and educational writer Horst Költze
by Maria Teresa De Donato
Today I am delighted to have my dear friend, the director of the institute, and educational writer Horst Költze as a guest again. Born in Pomerania in 1932 and after fleeing the invasion of the Red Army in 1945, Horst Költze “has dedicated his life to teaching and with his numerous publications has emphasized concepts such as learning in freedom,” “learning and awareness.”
In our first interview, we looked at his life and career as a teacher, rector, and director of the institute, and we took care of his first publications. Today we will focus on others as we continue this fascinating conversation about the world of teaching and learning.
MTDD: Dear Horst, welcome to my virtual culture hall.
It is a pleasure to have you as my guest again.
HK: I, too, am happy, dear Maria Teresa, for allowing me in your cultural hall to present in more depth the evolutionary and globally significant message of education.
MTDD: Horst, the list of your publications is very long and would require numerous interviews to have the time to delve into the content. So I thought I’d focus on some of them with you.
I wish to start with the Training Course for Anthropological Orientation Teachers (1981).
“This book focuses on teacher training on personality development by implementing a training seminar in the trainee stage instead of the specialist socialization of the study stage. The anthropological foundation is the definition of SELF according to Søren Kierkegaard.”
For those unfamiliar with pedagogy or philosophy, could you explain who Kierkegaard was and what was his view of his SELF?
HK: Sören Kierkegaard lived in Copenhagen from 1813 until he died in 1855. He was a theologian and philosopher. They call him the Socrates of the North. Kierkegaard is the leading Danish philosopher and founder of existential philosophy. The diary entry of August 1, 1835, is intended as the beginning of existential philosophy: “It is vital to understand my destiny, to see what the divinity actually wants me to do; there is a truth to find, which is truth for me, to find the idea for which I want to live and die.”
At the heart of existential philosophy is the human being as an authentic being, as a SELF with moods such as love, fear, and despair. Kierkegaard understands the SELF as a responsible, free, self-designing being, not a fixed being.
In SELF-Confrontation, Kierkegaard analyzed the phenomenon of ‘despair.’ The result is a structural definition of SELF, which he presents in his essay “Illness until death.”
I am citing: “The self is a relationship with itself. … The relationship is not the self, but rather refers to itself.”
The primordial anthropological phenomenon of ‘re-representation’ is clearly defined by the awareness “that the relationship refers to itself.”
Kierkegaard interprets the SELF as a dynamic system of three relations.
In my writings, I exemplify this system as “Anatomy of the SELF.” I present the three relationships in Kierkegaard’s definition as a psychosomatic, dialogic, and meaningful dimension.
MTDD: How did your publication try to use this material for educational purposes?
HK: Kierkegaard’s knowledge of the SELF as a structure of three relational dimensions legitimizes the SELF as the basis of any educational process whose educational goal is regulating the SELF.
The basis of this educational process is the ontic image of a man with the spiritual structure of the SELF, which is part of the constitution of every human being.
Just as every human being on planet Earth is endowed with the same body structure of head, torso, arms, and legs, so every human being is endowed with the mental structure of the psychosomatic, dialogical, and sensory dimensions.
This realization is evident. Through introspective self-reflection, people can recognize the psychosomatic dimension, the interaction between body and soul, within themselves.
Man experiences the dialogical dimension as soon as he develops awareness of his inner processes. Then he becomes aware of how he decides between YES or NO in an internal dialogue.
People experience the dimension of meaning when they are aware that they justify their decision with the answer to the question, “what makes sense .” The sense factor is his decision-making factor.
This primordial constitutional anthropological phenomenon follows that the SELF is the basis of the educational process.
MTDD: Another publication of yours is Education Abuse – Or: What is your heart beating for? Mother! Father!
“This booklet is an invitation to parents to stop tolerating the degrading exploitation of their children through PISA education, in which they must provide learning products for the international ranking of the educational planned economy.”
Could you explain the concept of “educational design”?
HK: The concept of a “planned educational economy” is based on standardized learning products.
The pupils’ minds must provide learning products in prescribed time units corresponding to the adaptation of so-called educational standards.
Learning products are marked with indicators of a quality scale for empirical evaluation. The quality benchmark is derived from economic usability in work and the economic process.
Directors and teachers are programmed as modules in planned educational economics.
The technocratic tool that motivates the provision of prescribed educational products is at the top of the PISA study, which monitors the education of young generations in 79 countries around the world like an octopus.
A study by the German Employee Health Insurance Fund (DAK) revealed the pathological consequences of the “educational planned economy”: 55% of school-age children complain of headaches, 51% stomach aches, 43% backache, and 35% have trouble sleeping. 70% of 8th-grade students drink energy drinks, compared to 84% of those in elementary school. “School Anxiety” is a standard theme. The school’s principle of achievement and competition is the main reason for this fear of school.
MTDD: In my opinion, this work has a particularly noble purpose. However, the question arises of how to reconcile this need with the fact that, unfortunately, parents are not always prepared, educated, and aware of these realities and dynamics, but on the contrary, they tend to confide almost blindly in the school to which they delegate the task of selecting programs and raise their children?
HK: Yes, this is the situation of mothers and fathers, which you describe appropriately.
This frame of mind motivated me to write several books for parents with titles that could be evocative, such as the subtitle “What is your heart for? Mother! Father! “Or:” Who will stop the PISA roller? “,” Parents don’t know, ” “The other education,” “The educational compass for parents: a controversy to overcome the educational dictatorship.”
In addition to ignorance, another obstacle is professional work, which exhausts mothers and fathers. After a stressful day at work, they no longer have the strength to go about their education.
However, nothing should be left unturned to dialogue with mothers and fathers interested in “education and freedom.”
MTDD: Your essay “The Evolutionary Spirit Transforms Educational Consciousness” highlights an exciting aspect: the dominance of male thought structures in education. This negative element creates serious problems, such as lower education rates for women and lower pay than their male counterparts.
So let’s start with what seems to be the root of the problem: the school for children.
HK: In my subjective opinion, the patriarchal rule that has prevailed for thousands of years is fundamentally caused by the understanding of people and life.
The multifaceted Greek, one of the most influential philosophers and naturalists in history, e.g., Aristotle, formulated his understanding of women in this way: “A female is like a crippled male.”
This mental attitude results in the fixation on patriarchal thought patterns that reject the female potential in the morphic unconscious of the male world.
The first fundamental condition for changing such destructive thought patterns is the self-knowledge of the “patriarchs” that even their feminine potentials belong to the completeness of their humanity, such as, e.g., receive, sense, surrender, and let go.
The second fundamental condition is the appreciation and acceptance of the feminine potential of her heart and her brain womb, which acts through the impulses of her intuition.
As soon as the “patriarchal” decision-makers of school education recognize how ignorance of female potential limits their humanity, they have the opportunity to integrate it into their virtual cosmos. If they are ready for this change, they will also demand and promote the integration of female potential in the educational process in school education.
MTDD: The symbol of the Tao represents the perfect integration between masculine and feminine qualities and the harmony that creates opposites.
Why do you think this basic concept developed in the Eastern world but not the Western one?
HK: In the Eastern world, the understanding of life is based on the principle of polarity in unity. The pairs of opposites Yin and Yang symbolize the holistic harmony of opposites, for example, sky and earth, day and night, ebb and flow. Chinese philosophy states: that there are always two opposing forces in harmony with each other. This phenomenon is evident and has high persuasive power.
Western dualism is based in particular on ancient Greek philosophy. The philosophers Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, emancipated themselves from the Greek world of the gods.
In my opinion, their emancipation is based on psychological and political factors. After Athens lost the Peloponnesian War, the Athenians’ faith in their gods was shaken. They didn’t help them win. The high self-confidence of the Athenians as the largest and leading polis of the Greek world was destroyed.
Socrates, who participated in the war himself, recognized that the Athenians’ self-confidence could only be rebuilt if they learned that they could find the truth within themselves. This is what he campaigned for. His art of interrogation became world-famous as “the art of obstetrics.”
This spiritual situation followed that neither gods nor emotions show the way, the only reason. The works of the great Greek thinkers Plato and Aristotle became fundamental to the Western understanding of life and science.
MTDD: In your publication, you state, “the young as material for students is exploited for the interests of the powerful in politics and business. Learning products have the highest priority for education ministers, not future young people. The student-person counts only as a school worker who has to develop learning products for school rankings.”
The concept you have expressed is evident, even if it makes you shiver, because it highlights that educational systems are not only lacking in the feminine principle and, therefore, in aspects such as cooperation, empathy, and the voice of the heart. In fact, we experience total standardization and complete suppression of the individual’s imagination and creativity from an early age.
How do we get out of this situation?
HK: As already explained, significant impulses come from the change of conscience of the patriarchal decision-makers.
As soon as the patriarchs, mothers, and fathers recognize that ignorance of female potential limits their humanity, hinders creative-economic growth, and endangers the existence of our democratic society, they will work to integrate the development of the heart and soul-brain in school education.
To bring about such a shift in consciousness, actions should take place on several levels:
– Be aware at all times that school is an “outpatient school prison” where children are conditioned to conform, just like rats in a Skinner box, with rewards, with good grades, and with punishment, with bad grades.
– It is essential to motivate parents to take their children’s psychosomatic symptoms seriously. Hence abdominal pain and headache are signals that indicate their children’s suffering at school.
– Conferences on “Education and Freedom” should be organized as an opportunity to bring together like-minded people who will stand in solidarity for action.
– Above all, journalists need to be motivated to discuss “education and freedom” as a continuous column in parenting magazines.
– And not to be ignored means getting in touch with decision-makers and being in a continuous dialogue on the educational value and principles, addressing the lack that society has to face through ignorance of the heart and the gut.
MTDD: With this publication, you are also, and above all, addressing parents. What can and should be done to educate, raise awareness and involve parents in this process so that they can help their children develop the full intellectual and creative potential that school seems to be hindering?
HK: As explained, the non-critical mass of parents is reached through the public media. Here, critically educated journalists are needed who can present the effects of functionalist and economic school education on their children and society understandably.
The headlines of tabloid newspapers and well-known newspapers influencing the neglected and untapped resources of the younger generation could bring this socially significant topic to the public’s attention.
MTDD: In the pedagogy of autogenesis, you refer to the representative ontic SELF in the sense of the existential philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, which was developed by the evolutionary spirit over the ages of humanity’s consciousness.
Can you please elaborate on this thought?
HK: The representative ontic self in Kierkegaard’s sense is the basis of autogenesis.
As already explained, the virtual constitution of the ontic SELF can be recognized by its anatomy, which consists of the psychosomatic, dialogic, and meaning dimensions.
Through introspection, this structure can be experienced and recognized by everyone in the East and West. Consequently, the constitution of the ontic SELF is just as evident as the physical body structure of the head and torso, arms and legs, with which every person in the East and the West is endowed.
Kierkegaard recognized this virtual anatomy of the SELF through self-confrontation in analyzing the “despair” mental state and presented it in his essay “Illness to Death.”
Intercultural evidence of the anatomy of the SELF legitimizes the ontic SELF as the basis of a pedagogy of autogenesis.
The dialogic and meaning dimensions are basic conditions of re-representation in the process of SELF-regulation.
If we take a look at this cognitive process, we recognize the following stages:
– A person is stimulated by material or mental impulses,
– they stop,
– they reflect on how they want to react,
– they anticipate the consequences of their imagined reaction,
– they decide based on their conviction, which is characterized by the factor of meaning with the quality of mental coherence.
The founder of logotherapy, Victor Frankl, recognized the virtual space of the interval as a fundamental condition for this cognitive process, which distinguishes Homo sapiens as a human being:
“There is a space between stimulus and response. In this space, we have the freedom and the power to choose our answer. Our answer lies in our growth and freedom.”
In this re-representative act of consciousness, the human is aware that he is the person who performs these virtual phases; he looks at himself as if standing in front of himself on an inner stage – he re-represents himself.
The evolutionary spirit has developed this ability of Homo sapiens in the sequence of the ages of consciousness in human history.
With this capacity for self-regulation, Homo sapiens has the ability to help shape their inner cosmos and environment as a co-creator of the evolutionary spirit, taking responsibility for themselves, their fellow men, and Mother Nature.
Quantum mechanics has recognized the potential of the power of thought:
the spiritual energies of the human being resonate with the potential of the quantum field, with the “sea of inexhaustible possibilities,” and create material reality.
MTDD: In your latest publication, School in the Education Earthquake (2021), you examine education in the digital age. In it, you highlight some fascinating aspects, such as becoming self-regulators and co-creators of one’s own reality, of one’s world. However, these aspects hinder an economized and functionalist and, therefore, undemocratic education.
Your publication appears to offer a “dignified and humane alternative.”
Do you wish to tell us about this?
HK: It’s obvious:
Humanity is in a fundamental evolutionary change process, transitioning from the mental age to the integral age of consciousness. The principles of prior thinking and patterns of action lose their effectiveness during this stage of development. The principle of competition gives way to cooperation, team spirit, and egomania; patriarchal domination is the integral function of feminine and masculine potential.
In this upheaval, the undignified functionalist education of the younger generation is replaced by a species-appropriate human education focused on self-regulation. The primary condition of species-appropriate human development is equipping Homo sapiens with the virtual interval space for autogenesis. In the future, the parameter of goal orientation will be an orientation to a mental attitude that promotes a cohesive balance in the organismic and virtual inner cosmos of Homo sapiens.
In such an educational process of the integral age of consciousness, Homo sapiens develops his co-creative potential, resonates with the potential of the quantum field, and creates his world with a sustainable quality of life worthy of human beings.
The current undemocratic education of the younger generation through the perfecting of the planned economy-oriented educational economy with the exploitation of the brain cognitive potential of the younger generation produces effects similar to the agony of the last stage of life. This is indicated by the increasing number of patients in pediatric studies due to school stress. The same is true of the growing number of early school leavers coming out of compulsory education, just as the millions of “flat strata” in China are battling the ever-increasing pressure to perform and are trying to find their way for themselves.
Despite perfection, the principles of planned educational economics will lose their persuasive power in the long run, as will the thought patterns that have been overtaken by evolution and have not been filled with the spirit of love and truth. The spirit of evolution with its teleological dynamics cannot be stopped.
MTDD: Many thanks, Horst, for these two exciting interviews. The topics you have explored are numerous and equally profound and would deserve much more time to explore.
Those who would like to get in touch with you – students, parents, and/or teachers of all levels – and order your publications, how will they do so?
– They can contact me via my homepage under the title WHO I AM
– My books are available in all online and local bookstores.
– My essays are published on
They are free to download.
MTDD: Thanks again for being my guest. It was an honor for me.
HK: Thanks to you too, dear Maria Teresa, for your invitation. I am very grateful to you for including EDUCATION AND FREEDOM in your Cultural Salon and thus informing a large audience about the concept of “human education adapted to species.”
(Title: Parents Don’t Know That)