This winter semester, the Korbinians-Kolleg on questions of our time will address issues and questions that we are happy to leave to others, as long as we are not affected ourselves, or whose answers we expect from women and men who are supposed to know (who is to be saved - how to continue economically after Corona). Behind these difficult but vital questions are other questions. These questions, however, usually seem to us too difficult, too remote and theoretical or answered long ago (what is true - what is valid - how does truth initiate - what is its significance in politics).

We should not deceive ourselves. Some questions are closely related to others, and the answers are only convincing if they are all discussed and properly answered. The Korbinians-Kolleg wants to find out what answers there are to those questions.

Rest and Recreation through Contemplation.

Wilhelm Vossenkuhl on his friendship with Korbinian Kohler

Surely, we could not have launched Korbinians Kolleg if we had not become friends. The meaning of 'friendship' has become dubious and devalued with social media. Friends on the internet are acquaintances without obligations. Anyone and everyone can become a kind of 'friend' with anyone and everyone around the globe. It's quick, like everything that is superficial and commits to nothing. It has nothing to do with friendship. Aristotle, whom Korbinian and I hold in such high esteem, described friendship as a very special virtue. It is a firm bond that holds people together in such a way that community can develop from it. Friends not only feel affection for each other, they support each other without taking advantage. It is particularly difficult to understand this idea in our time, when communication is fuelled by the pursuit of advantage and profit. Friendship just for its own sake, without advantages, enriches everyone who participates in it. This is how mutual trust is built. Friends can rely on each other. Friends stand up for each other, help each other without being asked, forgive each other's mistakes and stupidities, take responsibility for each other.

People look for a peaceful and calm experience in hotels, to recover from everyday life, to find a relief from stress and the constant rush. Rarely is the need for rest only of a physical nature. The centre of restlessness is mostly in the mind and what is going on it, the constant churning of thoughts accumulating into worry. Calmness of mind can be achieved in yoga, meditation and sport, but also in concentrated reflection and contemplation sparking a reorientation, a readjustment of thinking. Ideal is a combination of both, the physical quieting and the mental focus on something new, something different. The mental powers, like the physical ones, can become stronger with activity, in active contemplation.

Korbinian Kohler told me during the winter semester 2015/16, when we met at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich in a seminar on practical philosophy, that he would like to offer something in his hotel that serves a person holistically, not only the physical well-being, but also the mental well-being. His question was how he could introduce philosophy, something like the philosophy of Aristotle, in his hotel. Korbinian was particularly enthusiastic about Aristotle's doctrine of virtue. We thought about it together and a plan developed: Korbinians Kolleg on questions of our current time. It soon became an event of interest not only for the guests of the hotel, but for the people of Tegernsee. Renowned academics talk about current issues, that are on everybody’s mind, that preoccupy our thinking, that we sometimes feel overwhelmed by without competent explanation and an orientation. It turned out that the guests did not only want to listen, they also want to have a discussion. That is good, because mental powers are strengthened much more by active participation than by passive listening. It is amazing how lively and enriching the discussions are in every Korbinians Kolleg.

At the centre of every friendship there is great calm, the peace and certainty that one can rely on the other at all times. This calmness suits Korbinians Kolleg perfectly, is the centre around which the event can evolve. The Kolleg, which is always a winter semester, offers something from which the hotel draws no advantage, on the contrary. The guests are invited. They do not pay to attend. Of course, this can be interpreted as a particularly clever advertisement. But that would certainly be a misunderstanding, the majority of the Kolleg’s attendees live in the region and not in the hotel. They go home after the event. Some travel from far, enjoy the hotel's exquisite cuisine and then stay overnight.

Korbinians Kolleg represents an exceptional, time-critical hotel concept: the hotel as a location to find peace by learning to live in the present again. Nothing is more challenging for us humans today than to be present in the present. We tend to get lost in thoughts about tomorrow, about what is to come. We are driven, wondering and worrying about tomorrow and the day after tomorrow. We try to be magicians of the future, knowing full well that these incantations won’t succeed. We must learn to be present in the present, to focus on the now. Goethe expressed this contemplation in his tragedy "Faust" with the infamous verses: "If ever I to the moment shall say: Beautiful moment, do not pass away!Then you may forge your chains to bind me, then I will put my life behind me." Goethe wrote these verses foreseeing the challenges of the industrial age, the great restlessness of "ever onwards", "ever faster" coming, the fate of modernity. "Faust" is a tragic figure who is driven by acceleration and perishes because of it - at the end of "Faust II".

Learning to live in the present is a practice for mental recovery. It can begin at the Hotel Bachmair Weissach, by participating in Korbinians Kolleg.

WILHELM VOSSENKUHL

Get in Touch

Our Event Team is happy to answer your questions and takes care of your requests by e-mail event(at)bachmair-weissach.com or by phone +49 (0) 8022/278-566.

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