»If music be the food of love, play on!«
(William Shakespeare)

The Sophia workshop is important to us.

It is a symbol of creativity, sociability and enjoyment, of shared education. Education, the essence of enlightenment. This year, Sophia took place in spaces that could not have been more different. There was Haus 3 of Praterinsel: shabby bohème. Then there was the four-star hotel: conventionally dignified. Finally there was the concert hall – wooden bourgeois – and the Arena – excitingly sober. The spaces have colours that diffuse within us as feelings. While one person will experience a given space as cloudy warm, another person will find it crystal blue. That is the moment where we meet.

Ulan & Bator aka Sebastian Rüger and Frank Smilgies used improvisation theatre to show us that the spirit is energy and can be directed by us. They taught us to play, to take care of each other, to ground ourselves, and at the same time pay attention to our opposites. We learnt to consciously perceive our own views, positions and positioning – as well as those of others –, to understand them and actively encounter them.

The Sophia program is varied, agile and creative. Workshops on effectuation, person and personality, feelings in groups, participation, cyclic intelligence, tribes and a scrum plan game gave us the opportunity to explore new dimensions of the notion of agility. We learnt that agile methods of work do not necessarily immediately result in agile actions.

A stupefying mixture of historic and monumental composition

On the evening of November 13, 2015 we were seated in the Munich philharmonics’ concert hall. The orchestra flooded the room with the sounds of Schönberg, Skrjabin, Wagner. A stupefying mixture of historic and monumental composition. Gergiev’s decided reticence had an unexpectedly exhilarating effect.

At the very same time, the heart of enlightened milieus was hit. We are grieving, full of bitterness, appalled. Before any real insight has come to pass, the world begins to position, make diagnoses and assign guilt. Adorno once said that it was an almost unachievable task to allow neither others’ power nor our own lack of power to dumb us down.

The development of humans and organisations needs forms of learning, to open up perspectives and shift standpoints. It needs inquisitive amazement and true joy in the other. With Sophia, we position ourselves and use the entire range of cultural potential in order to design lively learning. Culture and art make insight possible.

Sophia is wisdom

Our lives are shaped by freedom, even if it cannot protect us now. We pledge our allegiance to humanism, we will not be stupefied. Be it in my company, my circle of friends, my family, myself: there shall be spaces in which we can name joy, shame, fear as feelings so that there shall develop a sense and spirit for community. We will not be shamed. In these days, Sophia attains a new level of significance for solidarity.

Hanna Göhler