Being oneself

Being oneself

- but not being self-contained.

One of the underlying ideas in Grundtvig's work is that man has to know himself before he can know others. One must be able to say "we" and mean "I" at the same time. It is important for every individual to understand that he is unique. It is also quite reasonable to feel oneself "interesting" as an individual - but without making the mistake of believing oneself to be the only individual who is interesting. We all are? Important as it is "to be oneself", so it is important "not to be self-contained". We must not flee from reality and retreat into ourselves, but stand and face it side by side and play our part in it. "Day and deeds go hand in hand" runs the text of one of Grundtvig's many songs.

One of Grundtvig's fundamental educational ideas is that love generates understanding and insight. However, the important thing is not that the idea was his, but that he found a way to remind us with brilliant simplicity of something we all know-something that every human being will be able to accept if only he lets his heart speak. We began on the subject of love - and we end on the subject of love. Love is inexplicable, and so too is the Danish Folk High School

But perhaps it is not so very vital to have an explanation. Perhaps the most important thing is that we are here and that life is lived with all that it entails - the good and the bad.

Ultimately it is the elemental thrill at the teeming variety of human life that lies at the heart of the Danish Folk High School in general and Testrup Folk High School in particular.

JØRGEN CARLSEN, Principal of Testrup Folk High School