Contexts: The GesundNet Saxon Switzerland project by Andreas Mascha
First and foremost, the basis of every practical art of living and meaning-oriented self-management1 is to visualize meaningful contexts and to participate in their creation. Man is – as also clearly stated in the philosophical anthropology Viktor E. Frankls2 – primarily a being seeking meaning. Since the sense dimension or “noetic dimension” (Frankl) of the human being is also the primary source for healing and integral personality development, it is also indispensable for the realisation process of a holistic health, which in turn also represents the ideal and central understanding of health of the GesundNet project.3
The sense orientation4 is the inner compass for a conscious lifestyle (especially in the sense of Max Weber’s sociology) in order to realize a dynamic order of life – also as the most important pillar of naturopathic Kneipp medicine5 – in the sense of the continuous process of further development in one’s own concrete life.
In the Logos, in the spiritual or sense dimension of the human being, the information of the individually correct order of life, i.e. existential health, is potentially already present and can be “discovered” again and again, as Frankl emphasized. This discovery of the often still hidden meaning also corresponds to the discovery of the still hidden truth (Greek aletheia – the non-hiddenness) to which Martin Heidegger referred again and again. Through his spiritual dimension man has in principle direct access to the Logos, to the SINN and/or the SPIRIT, but in order to do so he has to use his intuition (in the sense of Henri Bergsons), his intuitive mind (“intuitive mind” in Sri Aurobindo), i.e. to develop his latent capacity for spiritual showmanship. This in turn is tapped and refined through integral personality development and holistic health promotion. The realization of the meanings of a question or a project is not only an abstract, even bloodless ‘theory’ – where theoria itself is already a view – but also possesses and supplies the (meaningful) energy as (self-)motivating force for the life-world implementation.
Against the background of these theoretical considerations, we now want to turn to the meanings of the GesundNet project.
GesundNet Saxon Switzerland
The LEADER-sponsored6 GesundNet project is a networking, information and cooperation project for the development of a “competence, education and experience region of holistic and intercultural health tourism in Saxon Switzerland” under the auspices of Integralis e.V.7 with Andreas Mascha as project and network manager.8
The starting point for the GesundNet project was the system and feasibility study commissioned by the city of Bad Schandau and carried out by Andreas Mascha in 2017 with regard to the best possible use of the “former grammar school” (Bergmannstr. 4 b, 01814 Bad Schandau), a municipal property that has been vacant for over 20 years, with a view to expanding the basic tourist infrastructure.
Following the discussion of several different uses for this centrally located and cityscape-forming double building, as well as against the background of a systemic and historical consideration of the touristic potential of Bad Schandau, the concept for using the former grammar school as an intercultural naturopathy centre – project name: WORLD LIFE CENTER (WLC) – was a result of the study.
While the WLC is primarily concerned with the creation of a tourism attaktor and the strengthening of the (health) tourism profile in the destination competition, GesundNet focuses on the synergy and further development of the regional health service providers. “The objective of the project is to develop and establish a supra-regionally attractive network and centre for holistic and intercultural health tourism by networking and consolidating the existing health, cultural and tourist offers and providers, as well as by means of complementary innovations in the Bad Schandau region and Saxon Switzerland (i.e. with a focus on the eastern half of the Saxon Switzerland – Easter Erzgebirge district). (GesundNet project description)
While the WLC represents the museum educational knowledge store of the Great Healing Traditions and the walk-in health science world medical archive, the offers of the GesundNet network partners offer the opportunity to get to know the exhibition contents of the WLC on one’s own body and to experience them directly, e.g. through treatments, applications, cures, etc., in the form of a museum education. This enables an intelligent and synergetic interaction of aesthetically prepared theory (especially in the sense of the theoria as a view) and concrete health and healing practice by doctors, cures, etc.
Offers, which go far beyond the narrow definition of medicine, also take into account the trend-setting idea of cultural medicine, as it was mainly developed by Prof. Dr. Hartmut Schröder, the linguist, professor for therapeutic communication at the Viadrina Europa-Universität in Frankfurt/Oder, doctoral supervisor of Marco Bischof’s grandiose Salutogenesis-Werk and scientific advisor of the WLC.
The GesundNet Saxon Switzerland networks the health professional actors in this broader sense on a virtual level and thus represents not only a helpful Internet portal to health concerns for the regional population, but is primarily a valuable orientation aid especially for the area of health tourism in Saxon Switzerland. On the one hand, GesundNet supports regional cooperation with regard to a competent and strong expert alliance in the health sector and promotes the integration of the WLC into the extended regional health system of Saxon Switzerland. In addition to its general attraction function, the WLC also offers the cultural, humanities, natural and health science knowledge pool as well as world medical orientation for the GesundNet partners.
The WORLD LIFE CENTER (WLC) as the heart of GesundNet
The core idea of the WLC – a modern Health Science Center or World Health Experience Park – was conceived by me together with the cultural philosopher Maik Hosang many years ago and has since been further developed conceptually under working titles such as “SonnenPark” and “Quellen des Lebens “9 . With Bad Schandau, the spiritual idea has found its harmonious place in the world of life, and in doing so it naturally and directly follows on from the city’s history and historical tradition as an intercultural health resort. But what makes Bad Schandau so special?
It really was love at first sight! The beauty of the nature of the Saxon Switzerland National Park – and in particular of the (primeval) forest – enchanted me from the very first immersion or “forest bathing” (Japanese: shinrin yoku) in a truly romantic sense. A region blessed with such natural beauty is also predestined to use its great therapeutic potential in the spirit of naturopathy. It is no coincidence that it was here in the region that romantic natural painting was created and found its climax in the works of Caspar David Friedrich, for example. The picturesque natural scenery of the Elbe Sandstone Mountains is clearly one of the most beautiful spots on earth – and here speaks to me the cosmopolitan, who has travelled many countries on all continents over many years and knows many faces of our beautiful home planet. The “cosmic feeling” of which Nietzsche spoke is greatly simplified for the wanderer (not only over the sea of fog) by the intense atmosphere of this Elysian NATURE (natura naturans): “The stars’ nest of recognition then, and when nature teaches you how to run, then the power of the soul opens up for you” as Goethe wrote. Yes, here nature instructs the eavesdropping and seeing, whereby this (neo-)romantic view is not a projecting daydreaming alien to reality, but a deep view that is able to penetrate to the essence of things or “to the things themselves” (Edmund Husserl). Tom Blue Wolf, a widely travelled elder from the Muscogee indigenous tribe, can only be agreed when he says: The Elbe Sandstone Mountains are “one of the sacred places there are. “10
Rudolf Sendig (1848-1928), probably the most important citizen and most influential entrepreneur and hotelier of Schandau, who was awarded the title “Bad” in 1920, wrote about Schandau also as his “eternally young lover “11 In general it was already at the beginning of the 20th century Sendig’s vision to make Schandau the international meeting place of world cultures about sport, physical education and health. His preparatory work for the “World Sports Field “12 including a “Pleasure and Health Resort Schandau” on the high plateau of the Ostrava Disc, approx. 100 metres above Schandau in the planned “Neu-Schandau“, had progressed far up to the outbreak of World War I in 1914. He already had the then relevant actors on board – in addition to planners, coaches, investors and sports officials, personalities such as Karl August Lingner, the founder of the German Hygiene Museum in Dresden, or the artist Sascha Schneider, who in Bad Schandau in 1922 not only created the unusual, symbolist fountain mosaic of the “Allegory of the Healing Spring “13 , but also planned a “Regeneratorium “14 conceived by him in Schandau. But the Great War destroyed the plans and the world sports field could not be realised at that time. But what a great vision for the small town of Schandau: The world as a guest in matters of health! The WORLD LIFE CENTER (WLC) also follows this vision in several respects and, as the name suggests, it is all about LIFE as a whole. Similar to the Indian health system of Ayurveda, the knowledge of life (Sanskrit: Ayus = life and Veda = knowledge) or with regard to the ancient ideal of the “good life” (Greek: eudaimonia), the WLC is also about the good and integrally healthy lifestyle in the context of the real world of the 21st century, in addition to the inspiring holistic health education.
Lebensreform 2.0 would also be a further heading and a suitable motto for the WLC, because with its manifold references to Dresden/Hellerau, among others, one of the hot spots of the life reform movement15 was here. The conscious reformation of the way of life in view of a “great health” (Nietzsche) is also the great vision, the Telos and the actual sense of the WLC and Bad Schandau is not only for historical reasons the coherent genius loci. As the Update and Upgrade Lebensreform 2.0 already suggests, it is not only a matter of looking back, but also of the harmonious interplay of tradition and innovation. Apart from the natural resources, Bad Schandau also offers a considerable health tourism infrastructure – apart from the Kirnitzschtal and Falkenstein Clinics, the Tuscany Therme Bad Schandau is just one example.16
We are in today’s 21st century, we live in a globalised world, yes, as the media philosopher Marshall McLuhan said with regard to telematic possibilities, we live in a “global village”. The world knowledge – and here especially about the Great Healing Traditions and the human health knowledge – is at our disposal. The WLC is a wonderful place to enter into a vibrant resonance and to discover and follow the path of one’s own personal life reform. These are some of the essential meanings of the project, but it is also itself a great adventure, a departure to new shores of Integral Health and New Quality of Life, an “adventure of consciousness and joy” as Sri Aurobindo says in his great poem Savitri with regard to evolution itself.
1 Cf. also here: Andreas Mascha: Sinnorientierte Selbstführung. ISF publications volume 1, Verlag Andreas Mascha, Munich 2009. In this context, reference should also be made to the work of the Institute for Means-Oriented Leadership (ISF), which was founded in 2008 by Andreas Mascha in cooperation with the South German Institute for Logotherapy and Existential Analysis (SILE) in Fürstenfeldbruck: www.I-S-F-online.de
2 The doctor, neurologist and founder of logotherapy, Viktor E. Frankl (1905-1997), bases his teachings on the philosophical anthropology of Max Scheler. Cf. Viktor Frankl: The suffering human being. Anthropological Foundations of Psychotherapy, Hans Huber Verlag, Bern 1984
3 Cf. Walter Böckmann: Psychologie des Heilens, Littera Publikationen im Verlag Andreas Mascha, Munich as well as the work of Marco Bischof which is decisive for the GesundNet understanding of health: Salutogenese – Unterwegs zur Gesundheit, Drachen Verlag, Klein Jasedow 2010. In Marco Bischof’s brilliant doctoral thesis I see the standard work of the health sciences for the 21st century and a milestone of the salutogenetic turn. Reference is made here in particular to Bischof’s remarks on the concept of health of the WHO (loc. cit. chapter 7), his Medical Anthropology and Psychosomatics (loc. cit. chapter 8) and chapter 5 which he dedicated especially to Viktor E. Frankl. In a nutshell, the salutogenetic understanding of health of Bishop reflects most clearly the understanding and the concept of health in the GesundNet project.
4 In his 1786 work “Was heißt: sich im Denken orientieren” (“What does it mean: to orient oneself in thought?”) Immanuel Kant also refers to reason in his analogy to the orientation-giver of sunrise (Greek logos i.S.v. Weltvernunft, SINN). One could also speak of the sense compass to thought orientation. See also my Littera series Sinn-Orientierung published by Andreas Mascha: www.AndreasMascha.de/VAM-littera.pdf
5 Bad Schandau is the second oldest Kneipp health resort after Bad Wörishofen. Bad Schandau offers an optimal environment for all 5 pillars of Kneipp medicine – and with the Toskana Therme especially for hydrotherapy.
6 Support programme according to the guideline of the Saxon State Ministry for the Environment and Agriculture for the implementation of LEADER development strategies (support guideline LEADER – RL LEADER/2014)
7 Not least through the Homo-Integralis Institute and the affiliated Institute for Integrated Social Ecology (IFIS), the project-executing agency has special expertise in the field of regional development; cf. e.g. the SOENNOVA project in Upper Lusatia => http://www.homo-integralis.de/Institute/ifis/IFIS.html
8 Parallel to the project development, Andreas Mascha initiated the FORUM HEILKULTUR in Bad Schandau in 2017, which emerged from the Working Group for Integral Health (AIG) and offers both a platform for meeting and exchange for the GesundNet network and accompanies the implementation process of the WLC with experts and co-designers. Current dates can be found at: mascha@IntegralManagement.de
9 Cf. the project outline on “Sources of Life” in: Maik Hosang: The integral human being. Homo sapiens integralis, Hinder + Deelmann, Gladenbach 2000, p. 215 ff.
10 Cf. Tom Blue Wolf in: http://www.salve-tv.net/videos/de/2015/IPAD/Saxon_Switzerland_Discovery_Tour_deut_p.mp4
11 See also: Rudolf Sendig: In the hotel. Discreet Indiscretions, Selbstverlag Rudolf Sendig, Georg Stilke Verlag, Berlin 1920, Chapter 1.
12 Cf. Rudolf Sendig: In the Hotel. a.a.O., p. 168 ff.; and with Katrin Koritz: Die Welt zu Gast. Rudolf Sendig and his high-flying plans for Schandau, in: Luftschlösser in der Sächsischen Schweiz, edition Sächsische Zeitung, Dresden 2008, pp. 16 – 31; and online at: http://www.rudolf-sendig.de/vorhaben.htm
13 This impressive large-format glass mosaic (3 x 5 metres) can still be admired in the Brunnenhalle of the Kirnitzschtalklinik in Bad Schandau or here as the cover picture of this article.
14 For Schneider’s plans for gymnastic ‘regeneratories‘ for “people who don’t belong in the sanatorium, but who should strengthen themselves prophylactically for further work” and in the extension of his Kraft-Kunst-Institut (which was opened on June 1, 1919 in Dresden) see: Hans-Gerd Röder: The Kraft-Kunst-Institut by Sascha Schneider, in: Dresdner Hefte Nr. 57, Beiträge zur Kulturgeschichte, Dresden 1999, pp. 22 – 30; as well as: Christiane Starck: Sascha Schneider. An Artist of German Symbolism, Marburg 2016, p. 246
15 Even though the beginnings of life reform in Germany go back about 150 years, the central ideals of a conscious and self-designed renewal movement (in the sense of an Apokatasthase) are still highly topical. Real reforms can also include revolution(s), therefore the strict opposition “revolution or reform” as expressed stereotypically in the confrontation between Herbert Marcus and Karl Popper (cf. Kösel Verlag, Munich 1972) is not necessary. Life reform through practice is also Peter Sloterdijk’s central answer in his anthropotechnical-philosophical work, respectively
to the imperative “You must change your life” (Frankfurt 2009). The “anthropotechnical turn” (Sloterdijk) also defines the historical Kairos of this New Life Reform – a contemporary Life Reform 2.0 +. On the salutogenetic aspects of Sloterdijk’s programmatic you-must-your-life-change-philosophy see also the own chapter in Marco Bischof’s Salutogeneese book (loc. cit. chapter 17.4).
16 In addition to the innovative Liquid Sound concept and the Aqua Wellness offerings, the Toskana Therme in Bad Schandau offers good opportunities for approaches to neohydrotherapy such as hydrokinesis and floating.