GB No. 12, winter 1994


A booklet entitled Through the windows of time (Przez okna czasu) by Stanisław Hadyna (journalist, writer, and founder of the folkdance group Ol1sk) recalls two famous people of the 1930's who can justifiably be considered to have been the Polish precursors of a phenomenon called the New Age. The New Age, or the Age of Aquarius, is classified by social scientists as a parareligious movement. This "movement" actually consists of several movements that differ from each other considerably, though all of them are inspired by esoteric and Eastern sources. I will not go into the details here, but it is worth learning a few things about the New Age movements' Polish precursors, because these movements influence numerous environmental movements and organizations, including the Polish ones. While talking about Hadyna's book I shall stress its ecological aspects.

The people discussed in the book are Agnieszka Pilchowa, a clairvoyant and biotherapist from the town of Wis3a in Ol1sk Cieszynski, and the author's uncle Jan Hadyna, a famous expert and propagator (as a journalist and editor) of the problem of paranatural phenomena. From 1934 to 1939 Jan Hadyna edited a Kraków monthly newsletter entitled Lotos, which dealt with parapsychology, the occult, astrology, clairvoyance, hermetic medicine, and other issues. Apart from Lotos, his publishing house also edited books on these topics. Jan Hadyna died in 1971, but during Communist times it was not possible for him to continue his work, so he worked as the secretary of the Polish-Indian Society founded in the 1960's.

Lotos contained many innovative ideas about a healthy life and diet (vegeterianism, phytotherapy, the destructiveness of excessive interference of technology in food production and processing as well as in hygiene and life style). These bibliographical rarities contain unusually sound remarks and information, dozens of years ahead of their time.

Agnieszka Pilchowa died in the Ravensbruck concentration camp at the end of the Second World War. The main subject of Hadyna's book is the proof of her powers of precognition (thus the title "Through the windows of time"). Pilchowa's ability to see events before they happened was observed in many different places and under many different circumstances (some of them were described in Lotos and other magazines before the war). The majority of her prophecies dealt with a kind of "ecological apocalypse" that threatens all mankind.

Pilchowa's most interesting vision of the Apocalypse is contained in the prophecy which Stanis3aw Hadyna has reconstructed on the basis of documents left to him by his uncle (some of Pilchowa's prophecies were published before the Second World War, but the subjects they dealt with were mostly political events). Through the windows of time contains large excerpts from these preserved notes (pages 101-107). The excerpts are preceded by references to well-known works on the ecological crisis (such as the U-thant Report, or The Closing Circle by B. Commoner). The main factor contributing to the ecological crisis is the increase in the birth-rate, which leads to a dehumanizing and pathological urbanisation and industrialisation, as well as to pollution and destruction of the natural environment. What is especially stressed here are pathological phenomena in society and its culture (crime and violence and their glorification, drug addiction, the increase in the rate of morbidity and decrease in medical care, the alienation of science from society). While commenting on these prophecies the author mentions not only the work of researchers and analysts of the problems of the contemporary world, but also the words of Gandhi, who was very critical of industrial civilization (pages 113-120). Gandhi, who was killed in 1948 (that is, before societies whose primary aim is consumption were formed), seems to have been a critic of urbanisation in the context of these quoted words: "you cannot fully satisfy your desires. The more you give in to them, the more they demand, and they can never be fulfilled" (page 114).

When we talk about these early ideas of the New Age in Poland, it is also worth mentioning some of their contemporary Polish critics. Jan Maria Jackowski, a journalist who displays a definitely native, Catholic orientation (that of the so called "True Poles"), made quite a lot of critical remarks about the New Age in his book Bitwa o Polske ("The Battle of Poland," Warsaw, 1992). Chapter XV is entitled "The Age of Aquarius." I am not going to deal with the critical and polemical discussion of the New Age itself, but I just want to mention Jackowski's attacks on some of the ideas propagated by environmental and animal rights movements of the New Age. He mocks efforts to promote the legal protection of animals (it would mean "Pushing the Ten Commandments Out Of Life," page 110), and he calls the movement for the rights of animals "a part of the strategy to degrade humanity"(!), because it is aimed at making people and animals equal (page 112). Sodemoliberalism is savagely attacked. He says it is hostile to Religion (the only true religion), Nation, and Family, and it pollutes society with ideas of consumerism. He also seems to hold it responsible for the ecological threats which are present in almost half of the area of the country and which destroy Polish families (page 166) -- though it is commonly known that the current state of the environment is a legacy of the Communist regime, which can be reversed only by a quick and consistent transformation of the country's economy, and especially by restructuring the country's industry. Still, it is the impact of this transformation on society that the author grieves most, laying the blame on the satanic sodemoliberal powers that act upon the concept of Sachs-Balcerowicz (page 156). It is a true muddle, which results from a complete ignorance of economic and social phenomena -- or maybe just from an unwillingness to learn anything about them.

Pismo młodzieży katolickiej i patriotycznej: BASTION ("STRONGHOLD; a Magazine for Patriotic Catholic Youth"), a magazine with an orientation similar to that of J.M.Jackowski, is also ill-disposed towards environmentalists. The cover of issue number 12 (it is a bi-monthly) bears the inscription "The Green Are the Unripe Red," illustrated by a picture of a tree with green leaves and red roots concealed under the ground. In the book you can find malicious remarks about empathy with beings other than human (especially about vegeterian ideas, ant-fur protests, protests against experimenting on animals), supported by the opinion of a famous Catholic intellectual, Father Inncenty Bochenski of the Dominican order. His views, presented in the book Sto zabobonów ("One Hundred Superstitions"), advocate the idea of the subordination of one species to another, according to which one class satisfies the needs of other classes. The above-mentioned bi-monthly mocks deep ecology, the recent conference in Rio, and portions of the "Green Lungs of Poland" program.

Andrzej Delorme
translation from Zielone Brygady 7/93

GB No. 12, winter 1994 | Contents