“The mysteries make us all equal”. Before the mystery of existence we are all “equally wise, equally ignorant – whether old or young, unskilled or highly trained, teacher or pupil.”
One of the basic ideas behind the Danish folkehøjskole, is that no one can claim to hold the key to the mystery of life. The only way in which we can come closer to the truth is through dialogue with one another, throwing light on the question through living encounters with others as we each pursue our own lives. So the crucial question asked of a student in the folkehøjskole. context is not “What can you do?” but “Who are you?”. What is the cardinal element in human existence, the essential in human life? How can we live life more truly? What does it mean, in the everyday world we share, to say that “we humans hold part of each other’s destiny in our hands”, as the prominent Danish philosopher K.E. Løgstrup put it? All these questions play a large part in shaping the distinctive atmosphere found in a Danish folkehøjskole. But that does not mean that they are actually voiced explicitly in the
daytoday course of school life. The idea is not to furnish ready answers, but to nurture a climate where they can emerge.
It is in this light that the schools’ teaching of the various subjects has to be seen: as an indirect doorway to personal maturity and self-knowledge, so that people do not simply become experts in one narrow field and illiterate in every other area of human life. The intention is to help students to grow wiser – both about themselves and about the world.