NEWLY NORMATIVE MIDLIFE: EMANCIPATORY NAVIGATION
DEPARTING FROM EUROPE What is Your Destiny?
"Wouldn't you like to come with me on a journey to Egypt?", Martha Werth asked Ibrahim one day. She wanted to know if he had come across Ancient Egyptian cultures? So he decided to take the opportunity, and to go with her.
They started out in 1974, and visited Aswan, Luxor, Karnak and the Valley of the Kings. She gave him a new enthusiasm for Ancient Egyptian art and mythology. Ibrahim was shocked by the contrast between the greatness, wisdom and elevation shown thousands of years ago by the pharaohs, and modern Egypt. In the evenings he discussed his experiences and thoughts with Martha. She listened and asked him what he wanted to do? "What is your destiny?"
Biodynamic Agriculture Could Transform Egypt's Agriculture
On the return journey he thanked Allah that he did not live in Egypt, but in beautiful Austria with his wife and children, a son and a daughter, with his successful career, as now head of research for an Austrian pharmaceutical company. And yet he could not forget the images and encounters he had experienced. Every morning he awoke and realized anew how the events of the journey had transformed him. At the same time he continued to work with anthroposophy and became acquainted with its practical applications in many walks of life. The deeper he was able to penetrate into the matter, the more answers he received for his persistent questioning and inner restlessness. He repeatedly found life-changing solutions suddenly presenting themselves after intense contemplation. Biodynamic agriculture, which was a product of anthroposophy, particularly fascinated him. One day Werth told him about a lecture, being given locally, by a disciple of Steiner's, George Merckens, an advisor to biodynamic farms in Austria and Italy. At last he found a friend who understood that biodynamic farming could transform Egypt's agriculture.
Ibrahim's subsequent Italian journey with him was an important step along the path toward his decision to return to Egypt. He developed a vision of a holistic project able to bring about a cultural renewal. As well as the farm it would need several economic projects, a school, and cultural projects as well as a hospital. His first priority was to educate people. Meanwhile he was certain that a cultural meeting between Egyptians and Europeans could become a healing force in this oppressed country. Most especially in fact the relationship between Germany and Egypt is a very strong one.
Farewell to Europe – I Could Liberate Egypt from Its Misery
Ibrahim then told his children the story of a man who decided to move to the desert with his children and who created a big garden there. Once he had painted the picture in great detail he suddenly asked: "And what would happen if we were that family?" Spontaneously there were shouts of joy. His son was 16 and his daughter 14. His son would ride a motorbike across the desert and his daughter would ride horses. To Martha Werth he wrote a farewell letter:
For my soul Austria was like a spiritual childhood garden. Now I hope the souls of Egyptian people can be revitalized by a garden in the desert. After establishing a farm as a healthy physical basis for soul and spiritual development, I will set up further things, following the example of human development: a kindergarten, a high school, vocational education, a hospital and various cultural institutions. My goal is the development of humans in a comprehensive sense. I want to pass on this richness of nature and spirit to Egypt, to sow the seeds I have been given.
In another letter he wrote to a scientist friend, Dr Zwieauer in Vienna:
My soul has begun to separate into two parts: an ambitious, successful part and a seeking questioning one, willing to see things in a new light, and to transform and elevate them to a new and higher level. I am consciously leaving the successful part behind me and am giving myself up to the questioning one. With this I am uniting my soul with its spiritual home and am liberating the rigidity of ambitiousness so that I am open for new tasks, encounters and goals.
Ibrahim then was in the process of giving up a successful career as a scientific researcher in Austria to exchange it for an incredibly unpredictable future in Egypt. He was also in a state of sorrow for the loss of his chosen spiritual, European home. On his last journey through Egypt he had experienced a deep sense of hopelessness caused by the way of life of the country's population. This had deeply moved him, and his work with anthroposophy led him to sense a way in which he could liberate them from their misery. Meanwhile his faith in God gave him inner strength which had grown out of years of meditation on Allah's qualities in particular. Ibrahim asked himself what the Qur'an meant by stating: "He is the representative". He felt this spiritual emptiness in his soul as he travelled in Egypt, and he experienced himself as the people's representative. Because of this awareness he wanted to establish new social forms for the Egyptian people. The Qur'an goes on to say: "He is the initiator, the originator, the strong one". Ibrahim felt power in him for this new start, able to develop inner peace through his devotion to Allah and to this day he can still submerge himself in its depths.