Writings by Marion Schneider:


Love is an overwhelming power. It can be the cause of the greatest miracles and deepest sorrow. Love is a gift and cannot be earned. It is in the nature of love to refer to an other. Love’s fulfilment is mutuality and the force of its destruction is one-sidedness.

When we love, we exceed ourselves. We are prepared to leave behind the familiar and the well-known. We solve problems we have never solved before, we jump across the abyss, bear pain we previously could not bear, and even the fear to love vanishes when we love.

Love develops with the people, it adapts to them and takes on the characteristics of the current time. But it’s nature remains, the nature of love, which can be felt only for another being.

There are many groups, societies and times in which love has been forbidden, totally or in part, where power, ownership, laws and rules have tried to control it. Many poems, novels and biographies testament to this. Slavery and serfdom, still a problem not eradicated to this day, pervert the course of love.

The Renaissance and the thunderous break of the French Revolution saw the revival of the self. Parallel to this a second idea began to develop, that of the nation, a common self, the definition a common profile and differentiation of larger groups of people from one another. Private property and civil rights developed, and the church, feudalism and the state had an ever decreasing influence on the private sphere.

The ideal of personal liberty began to become generally accepted. Dostoyewsky’s “Devils” provides a vivid description of the development of freedom from an idea into practice. If liberty becomes reality then everyone has the right to decide over life and thus also over death, an idea that has lost none of its relevance to this day.

Society and politics saw an increasing need and awareness for more rights for the individual. However, within the family and economic structures the authoritarian patriarchal structure remained and was even reinforced through the advancing industrialisation. This inconsistency was bound to be a cause of conflict. Within home boudaries it was the women and workers who increasingly demanded equal rights, outside of the country in the colonies it was the repressed peoples and races. Seen within this context the development of the idea of supremacy whether through gender or race was a necessity in order to legitimise and maintain existing privileges. If one gender (in this case male) or a race (in this case white) could be deemed superior, the idea of a nation being superior was not far off. No longer bound by rank, clergy or law, middle-class society could remodel itself in terms of race, politics and/or gender, exploitation in boundless freedom. Not only the individuum but also the nation swelled to an all-consuming ego, a situation not self-sustaining over a length of time.

In Germany, Hitler, amongst other reasons, gained the majority by assuring a selected group of society, the so-called Aryans, that they were, by their very being, the natural rulers of their world. The price of this privilege was subordination to a rule that would secure their supremacy. The short 15 year period of democracy of the Weimar Republic were followed by 12 years of domination, in which the rulers systematically became murderers and in the process of murdering often also the murdered.

This did not fail to leave its mark on the German woman: On the one hand contempt, mistrust and rejection of the murderers, of the cannon-fodder, on the other, anxiety, fear of death and submission. During the six years of war, the women of Germany became responsible for everyday life and the economy of the country. After the end of the war, a part of the country’s women were expected to return to the kitchen stove and to serve their menfolk as before, even if they could no longer be forced to. Women who really wanted to could pursue and achieve personal non-domestic goals. The other half of the country expected them to do this. A different political concept saw it as central goal, and it worked, the women continued with that which had become commonplace in the six years before.

The men had become just as lonely through this process as the women were. They had to live with their past, inglorious and so painful that they often preferred to remain silent. They had to bear the pain of their misuse, they had been seduced and exploited. And they had to live with women who now instinctively distrusted them, sometimes even their own sons, who maybe rejected them and did not confide in them, an incomparable pain for a man. It is difficult to make such women feel happy and loved, and it is just as difficult for the women to be happy and to love in return.

Throughout the history of mankind, women have always borne children and usually provided for them. Only with the development of a society based on personal liberty has this become a systematic disadvantage, barred from equal rights due to their gender. What a contradiction this is. During this phase of political development gender became more important than social position or even achievement. This has affected the pattern of love and continues to do so today. The process of the development of personal freedom has not yet reached a satisfactory condition: that of equal rights and tolerance.

Parallel to the development of individual liberty through industrialisation and mechanisation, and of late of information and communication, the converse process of the total subjugation of nature can be observed. Nature has become raw material whose internal rules and balance one can ignore, a means to a purpose. Mankind makes itself and others to objects. Only now, as the last reservations of nature are under threat, do more and more people demand their protection and are prepared to take responsibility for it into their own hands.

Responsibility always begins with ourselves. How do we behave with respect to our very own most important piece of nature, to our own body? If we want to return to paradise, as the Bible describes, rich in realisations planted, grown and harvested with our own hands, we should try and rediscover the harmony that God once gave us. Harmony with nature is harmony with ourselves and with one another. Everything and everyone has their rightful place and everyone and everything is valuable and to be respected. That is the turn of an era.

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