A philosopher’s view on «The future of DNA»

An international conference about presappositions in science and expectations in society, Dornacb 2-5 October 1996
Elemente der Naturwissenschaft 65, 1996, P. 58-59 | DOI: 10.18756/edn.65.58


For the first time on my way to the Goetheanum, and even invited as a workshop leader: a true honour. A trip in good company already brings the subject of the conference right up to my ears before arriving in Dornach. To start off with I must learn to understand the building. I have been acquainted with it through photographs for a quarter of a century: a holy bastion, centre of a vast web of beneficial radiations. For one, it looks like a concrete toad-stool, for another it represents something between a temple and a bunker. Once landed on the first floor of the double staircase - where a door, with windows like eyes, gives way to the balcony - I know for sure: I am standing in the frontal sinus of a Skull and can take a glance through the orbits at the surrounding woods on the hills. I thus find myself on the place of the Skull of the old Adam. A bit more frivolous, this image calls up in me the cranial mountain on the island of Peter Pan. There, Captain Hook escapes from a crocodile, which let its presence be known because of a ticking alarm clock in its stomach: a symbol for the onward pressing genetic technology? The conference participants streaming together all find themselves on strange grounds. The scientists feel a bit uncomfortable in this entourage where academic titles may not on their own call for the usual respectful treatment that they are used to in chromium—plated conference centres around international junctions. The anthroposophists are very hospitable, but at the same time do not quite know how to deal with this unknown invasion of scientific outsiders in their - so far - rather protected world. Because nobody wants to inflict his or her standard on the other, everybody becomes a bit «odd». Such a heterogeneous crowd can go into two directions: either people will form interest groups among themselves, [58] or they will find ways to let everyone speak for him or herself and to deal with the other respectfully, because we all are in the «same boat» and cope with the same concerns. The latter asks for mutual trust. [...]