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~~~~~~~~ In Memoriam: Jerry Lewis (1926-2017) ~~~~
~~~~~~~~ [ Comedian, Famous for his early Movies with Dean Martin and later for his Labor Day Telethons ] ~~~~~
WELCOME TO DIGESTWORLD ISSUE#17a October, 2017== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==Quote for the Fall Color Month of October:
Since we each did certain things in previous lifetimes that have led to the working-out of those things during this lifetime, we may consider ourselves as slaves to our past, but at the same time we may remind ourselves that we are masters of our future.
— Rudolf Steiner , Mystic, Philosopher, and Educator
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GOOD MOUNTAIN PRESS Presents
ISSUE#17a for October, 2017
Archived DIGESTWORLD Issues
Table of Contents
1. October's Violet-n-Joey Cartoon
2. Honored Readers for October
3. On a Personal Note
Rainbows & Shadows Poems
4. Cajun Story
5. Recipe or Household Hint for October, 2017 from Bobby Jeaux: Toaster Alarm
6. Poem from All the Light We Cannot See: "A Tale to Grow By"
7. Reviews and Articles featured for October:
8. Commentary on the World
- ARJ2: The Rent Collector by Camron Wright
- ARJ2: Education for Adolescents, GA#302 by Rudolf Steiner
- ARJ2: The Thirst — A Novel by Jo Nesbø
1. Padre Filius Cartoon
2. Comments from Readers
3. Freedom on the Half Shell Poem
4. Think — the One Word Phobia Installation
5. Louisiana in the News
9. Closing Notes — our mailing list, locating books, subscribing/unsubscribing to DIGESTWORLD
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1. October Violet-n-Joey CARTOON:
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==This month Violet and Joey learn about Experts.
For newcomers to DIGESTWORLD, we have created a webpage of early Violet-n-Joey cartoons!
"Experts" at http://www.doyletics.com/images/170918vj.jpg
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2. HONORED READERS FOR October:
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Each month we choose to honor two Good Readers of our DIGESTWORLD from those all over the World. Here are the two worthy Honored Readers for October, 2017:
Jo Huey in New Orleans, LA
Carol Raulston in Massachusetts
Congratulations, Jo and Carol!
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3. ON A PERSONAL NOTE:
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Out Our Way:
September has been a quiet month for us with no trips and few social engagements to report on. This has given me time to complete three new reviews for my Good Readers this month. Two novels, The Rent Collector and The Thirst and one Steiner book: Education for Adolescents. If this month's Issue seems to have fewer photos, we apologize, but we had only a few photo opportunities this month away from our home. I will include a few photos left over from our Harrogate trip last month.
HARVEY AND IRMA
But it was not a quiet month for our friends and daughters on the Texas coast and for our friends on the Florida coast. We spent the first two weeks of the month in front of our TV's for an hour or so each day, checking on national news and the weather channel. First week was the end of the horrendous flooding in Houston due to Harvey sitting on top of the city for almost a week before finally moving south and looping back north over the heel of Louisiana's boot in Lake Charles area. Our Cajun Navy consisting of Louisiana hunters and fishermen had their boats staged in Lake Charles.They were ready to head to Houston to help rescue homeowners whose homes flooded.
Our friends Chris and Carla Bryant's home on the coast of Corpus Christi was spared and they returned home a couple of days later with power already restored and minimal damage. Our daughter in Bellaire on the western edge of Houston had water come into her garage and up to the top step of her home, but no water entered her home. Other older homes that had not been built up as high had water damage and Yvette helped them out, sheltered one group for a week or so. Carla in Beaumont, a heavily flooded city east of Houston, had no flood water in her home, but she lost power for a few days and lost city water supply for almost a week after Harvey.
Almost seamlessly, we went from watching Harvey to watching Irma. Photos of flooding in Houston and Beaumont were replaced by Irma bearing down on Miami, Key West, and Naples, Florida. Our friends in Orlando and Jacksonville hunkered down and we prayed for them and our Orlando and Naples area friends and family. We watched to make sure that Irma turned north as scheduled and thankfully she did, keeping her winds and rain far east of us in New Orleans. Maddie and David weathered the storm in their concrete block beach home in Jacksonville and made out okay. Gust and Janet lost the screens from their pool in their Orlando home, but the power stayed on and they were okay.
One of our few outings this month was to have lunch with Del's brother and wife at Middendorf's Restaurant in Manchac. Its property borders on the west edge of Lake Pontchartrain; it was heavily damaged by flooding from a storm a couple years ago. We wanted to see how it was rebuilt, and since the restaurant is about equidistant from our homes we drove there separately. The four of us enjoyed their famous catfish dinners. Walked around outside to see their patio overlooking the railroad bridge and Lake Pontchartrain where Lake Manchac flows into it.
Our Two Printers: Last month, on the day before we left for England to the Gilbert & Sullivan Festival, our two printers stopped working. Del and I had decided to get our two printers off the local network due to multiple service calls on them. My nephew Randy of Bell Machines sent his tech Mike out and he did exactly what we wanted. Got my HP Duplex working again. The TrendNet device had changed its IP address after I had to remove it to check the Duplex mechanism for a stuck page. Mike showed me how to check the IP address and update it if that happens again. My black & white Duplex printer is working again. Del's versatile HP Color and B&W laser printer is now connected only to her machine and working great. Thanks, Mike.
Once my printer was working, I printed all of 2017 reviews in duplex for the two paper archives and the back of each book.
SQUIRRELS AND RACCOONS
Squirrels: In our previous house we had a leak in a bathroom and we could not locate the problem causing it. Finally I inspected the roof and found that squirrels had apparently been eating the bottom plate of out lead plumbing gas outlet pipes on the roof. One of the plates was so eaten away that rain water would leak down the pipe into the bathroom. I resealed the plates with aluminum tape and sealant and the problem never recurred. When we moved into this new house eight years ago, I made sure to trim away any tree limbs from which a squirrel could reach the roof. This month I noticed a squirrel scrambling to get off our roof. Up in the sky was a large marsh hawk looking for a bit of lunch. But I can't depend on the hawk to keep the roof vents solid, so I had trimmed away the Bald Cypress branches closest to the roof, and similarly the limbs of the Live Oak off the West Portico.The roof inspector reported no nibbling visible on any of the vents. Note: the squirrels do not eat the lead, but instead use the nibbling on the lead to sharpen their teeth.
Raccoons: Our birdbath was recently relocated to be more visible spot on the right edge of the Meditation Garden. One morning we noticed the bowl of the bird bath had been knocked off. We suspected by a raccoon trying to get water from the bowl. It either tried to climb up the pedestal to the bowl or jumped down the Bald Cypress limb into the bowl. There was a 6 inch edge of the bowl chipped away, which I re-glued. With no water in the bowl overnight while the glue set, the bowl stayed on the pedestal. The morning after I had refilled the water, the bowl was knocked over again. I immediately trimmed away the overhanging cypress limbs, and glued the bowl to the pedestal. Will a raccoon knock over the bowl if it's securely attached to the pedestal? I don't know.
I hate to have to start leaving water on the ground for raccoons, when there's a bayou across the street where they can get water.
VEGGIES IN BABE GARDEN
After we had the landscapers mow away the weeds from the Spring Garden, I noticed some green onions re-sprouting and a large number of cucumbers sprouts. The cucumbers which I planted in the spring I selected carefully to be mid-sized variety, about 6" long Dashers. The previous years, my 11" long Dashers were just too big and too many. We had more than we could eat and give away. Unfortunately due to being away in Nebraska and Colorado when the spring cucumbers came up, the few cucumbers the vines produced were left to die in place uneaten. I noticed the sizes of the yellowed cucumbers, about 6" and was chagrined that we didn't get to harvest them in time. Well, they're back! These same cucumber sprout are now growing and making a lot of yellow flowers. For a week or two, there were no cucumbers among all those flowers. I suspected a lack of pollinators. Then one morning Del and I went in the garden and there so many bees that we decided to leave them to their work. Now we're getting at least two nice size 6" cucumbers a day, just enough for a cool cucumber salad with salt, pepper, and a dab of white vinegar. Talk about good! These are the sweetest cucumbers we've ever eaten. A great crop of cucumbers with no planting or weeding necessary, just a long stick to help find the well-hidden cucumbers. Use it to move the leaves away to reveal the green bounty or probe with the stick till you feel it hit something.
TWILIGHT CONCERTS IN CITY PARK
Tim Laughlin, David Bodenhouse, etal
Probably the best combination of clarinet player and piano player alive. Tim Laughlin plays on a clarinet broken in and loved by Pete Fountain and he brings the spirit of Pete alive when he plays it in his own inimitable fashion. David Bodenhouse played on our Jazz Cruise of the Caribbean last Fall on the Crystal Serenity ship, and together with greats like Rick Trulsen, Tom Fisher, and Banu Gibson kept me awake on many late nights in various venues on the ship to enjoy great New Orleans improvisational jazz. Tim asked how people in the Two Sister's Pavilion were not from New Orleans and only a handful of hands went up. "There!" he said, "that's why I love to play for the Twilight Concerts, "you New Orleanians love my music!"
He played a familiar song and asked us the name of the tune. Everyone said, "Up a Lazy River", but he said it was really, "Lazy River", composed by Sidney Arodin and lyrics by Hoagy Carmichael. "This is backwards." he added, "usually Hoagy composed the melody and someone else did the lyrics." What he didn't point out, and I wish that he had, was the composer of "Lazy River" was born in Westwego, Louisiana, just across the river from where we were sitting, and my home town. I became aware of this fact when I visited the Westwego Museum in the old Bernard Hardware store on Sala Avenue several years ago. If you've thought it was Hoagy who composed this song all these years, you were half-right. If addition to old favorites Tim played a couple of his own songs. The Gert Town Blues was a memorable one, sounding like an old classic, but fresh out of Tim's creative mind, his talented fingertips and his Pete Fountain clarinet.
John Boutté from the Foot of Canal Street
Not actually from the foot of Canal Street, but in the Two Sisters Pavilion of City Park. The foot of Canal Street, City Park Avenue, and Canal Boulevard, where the three large streets meet, is under construction for about a year. When completed, the Buses will have a new place in the wide Canal Blvd median to let off and board riders. Riders will be able for the first time to walk to board the Canal Street streetcar without walking across a busy intersection. So, getting to City Park to hear John Boutté sing his famous song, "At the Foot of Canal Street" will require folks coming from Metairie to take Canal Blvd exit south from I-610 and then turn left on Navarre to get to the venue.Or coming from New Orleans, use Esplanade and take the north loop around NOMA (Museum of Art). But John was worth the trip. Dan and Karen came from Mandeville to join us for this performance. They have recently moved back to New Orleans area and not have been to a Twilight Concert before.We got there early, sat on the front row and enjoyed John's performance immensely. Hi back-up quartet was filled with stars, the bass, the trombonist, the saxophonist and the guitar played great solos. I think the guitar player was my favorite. I could imagine him as a young Chuck Berry in some of his imaginative riffs. As for John, his voice is indescribably beautiful, so good he often sings away from the microphone so that the amp doesn't add some treble, making it a good thing we sat close up to the stage. He joked about being surprised to find himself a little taller than Paul Simon, "even with Paul wearing boots."
LAST MINUTE EVENTS
Had lunch with Barbara Louviere and Del at O'Brien's Restaurant near here. We usually meet at Houston's on St. Charles, except when Barbara is returning from shopping at the post on the Belle Chasse Naval Air Station, then O'Brien's is closer to us. I gave her two cucumbers from our garden, since it is now producing more than we could eat and she loves cucumbers.
EVERY GOOD THING MUST COME TO A NEW BEGINNING
The past month of September has brought hurricanes to our neighbors on the Gulf Coast, but left us, still-Katrina-weary, alone in New Orleans. We had a full week of great Fall weather with highs of 74 degF each afternoon. Great for reading on the West Portico swing. This was followed by a week of steamy 80s, our Indian Summer time. But October with its cooling weather is coming fast. Footballs are flying and our local teams of the Saints, the Wave, and the Fighting Tigers are hungry for wins, which are hard to get, up until now. But hope, even in the Fall, Springs eternal. Will our Tigers squeeze a win out of the visiting Syracuse Orange? (Yes, they did!) Can the Saints finally eke out wins in Charlotte and London? (They managed a great win over Charlotte. Miami in London is next.) One can hope so. The football season is not a sprint, but a marathon. But we have a Plan B if football fails us: in October our NBA Pelicans and LSU Basketball Tigers will be slamming and dunking basketballs in new and exciting ways.
Hope you will have a wonderful October with lots of Halloween fun Tricks and sweet Treats. God Willing, and the River Don't Rise, and the Temple's Columns hold up, whatever you do, wherever in the world you and yours reside, be it glorious Fall Color days or greening Spring days,
Remember our earnest wish for the rest of this amazing year of 2017:
MAY THE WORLD REMAIN PEACEFUL AND SERENE IN TWENTY-SEVENTEEN
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Quotes Selected from quotes.htm this month:
- Foreign aid might be defined as a transfer of money from poor people in rich countries to rich people in poor countries.
— Douglas Casey
- Some people get lost in thought because it is such unfamiliar territory.
— G. Behn
New Stuff on Website:From Rainbows & Shadows, A 1995 Book of Poetry by Bobby Matherne
My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky.
What is your substance, whereof are you made,
That millions of strange shadows on you tend?
William Shakespeare, Sonnet 53
Why rainbows and shadows? One reminds us of joyful occasions and the other of things that go bump in the night. First, rainbows.
In 1995 I stood in the open doorway of my garage before driving to work on my last day before retirement from the Waterford 3 Nuclear Power Plant, and I saw a beautiful double rainbow in the morning sky before me. My heart lept up like Wordsworth's when I saw that omen. I remembered that the source of the rainbow is in my heart, and was in the heart of everyone who took the time to observe a rainbow that morning. We each saw a different rainbow, and each one we saw was truly our own rainbow.
In 2015 a double rainbow appeared as I looked out my garage door in the morning of the same day I celebrated twenty years of working full-time as a writer, publisher, photographer, cartoonist, and poet. The beat goes on . . .
Likewise, each shadow we encounter is truly our own shadow, created by the materialistic stuff of our world blocking the light of the Sun. Shadows are the dark colors of the artist's pallette of our lives, without which there would be no texture, no structure, no light. As I reviewed my poems for this volume, I found some were naturally rainbows and some naturally shadows, and I separated them into one section called Rainbows and one called Shadows. My wife Del likes me to read to her one Rainbow followed by one Shadow — they seem to complement each other, she says. I have put the section titles in the header to facilitate such a manner of reading.
In addition to the poem, I have included a short note (where available), which notes altogether contain a panoply of information about my poems: when they were written, what I was doing at the time, what I was reading that inspired them, and on what scrap of paper I wrote them. Poems do not "form in their own water" (as my friend Calvin said of volcanoes), but they may form in the water of ideas suggested by others and completed in some fashion by me. In gratitude, I include in many of the Notes the authors' names and sometimes a brief reference or quote of the source of the inspiration. By reading the Notes, one may readily discern my favorite authors and assorted sources of inspiration during the five-year period of writing this book.
There is an ambiguity in the phrase driving to work that leaves unspecified whether I was alone in the car at the time. Believe me, I could never think these thoughts if I were not alone in the car. Sometimes I listened to jazz on WWOZ, sometimes to classical on WWNO, and sometimes only to the thoughts of the writer of the book I was reading and my own thoughts, but always moving on. Like rainbows and shadows are always moving, so was I.
You may have a moving experience also as you join me in my carpool of one on the highway of life. Welcome Aboard! What would you like on the radio, classical or jazz?
These poems are from Bobby Matherne's 1995 book of poetry, Rainbows & Shadows, most of which have never been published on the Internet before. Here at the beginning of the new millennium, we are publishing five poems until all poems and notes have been published on-line. Some of these poems have appeared in earlier DIGESTWORLD Issues and are being republished here with their associated NOTES above each poem. Next month we will being published poems from Bobby's "Yes, and Even More" collection of unpublished poems.
This month we end our on-line publication of poems from Bobby's second book of Poetry, Rainbows & Shadows (1995) with five Random Jots. Leader:This poem was originally written in 1995. Canadian gallons, or Imperial gallons, are five U. S. quarts. Thus a U. S. quart of whisky contained a fifth of a Canadian gallon. That was the origin of the word 'fifth' when referring to a bottle of whiskey. When the U. S. bottlers made fifths, it was a fifth of a U. S. gallon. I don't know the exact origin of the word 'fifth', but this is my best guess. With liquor bottles marked in milliliters now, a new level of confusion begins. Not sure if Canada still sell gasoline in gallons, but, back in 1975 during my motorcycle trip through Nova Scotia, buying gasoline in Canada since I had differences in both gallon size and currency to account for. Forget doing cents per mile calculations! (I added 'Canadian' to the front of 'President' because of the opinion expressed by several Canadians I met in 2016.)
"The Canadian President is a terrible leader."
"He's a half-pint, not a liter."
"A Canadian gallon is bigger
than a U. S. gallon."
"But a liter is still a liter."
2. Chapter: Shadows
This month we end our on-line publication of poems from Bobby's second book of Poetry, Rainbows & Shadows (1995) with five Random Jots. Baseball Mantra: Baseball catchers, who crouch behind Home Plate when on the field, are known for their droning chatter to encourage the pitcher and distract the batter, e. g., "C'mon baby, put it right here! He can't hit it! . . . " sounding much like an Indian mantra.
Listen to the Catcher at OM plate.
3. Chapter: Shadows
This month we end our on-line publication of poems from Bobby's second book of Poetry, Rainbows & Shadows (1995) with five Random Jots. Koan Heads:A koan is an unanswerable question given by Indian gurus to novices to break their dependence on logical thinking. Most famous one: "What is the sound of one hand clapping?"
Koan Heads"What's a koan?"
"An ice cream cone?"
"No, the Eastern kind."
"Oh, from Coney Island."
4. Chapter: Shadows
This month we end our on-line publication of poems from Bobby's second book of Poetry, Rainbows & Shadows (1995) with five Random Jots. Safe!:The treasure is always separate from the vessel in which it is placed, isn't that so? Our physical bodies are the only vessels for the treasure of the spiritual world which has been placed in us.
God placed His treasure
In earthen vessels,
Adam and Eve,
You and me.
5. Chapter: Shadows
With this poem we end our on-line publication of poems from Bobby's second book of Poetry, Rainbows & Shadows (1995). Quite, Please:I thought this Random Jot was an appropriate way to end my book and my on-line publication of "Rainbows & Shadows".
Quite, Please"Listen, nobody's talking!"
"It's quite alright."
"It's quiet, enough."
"That's quite enough."
Movies we watched this past month:Notes about our movies: Many of the movies we watch are foreign movies with subtitles. After years of watching movies in foreign languages, Arabic, French, Swedish, German, British English, Russian, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, and many other languages, sometimes two or three languages in the same movie, the subtitles have disappeared for us. If the movie is dubbed in English we go for the subtitles instead because we enjoy the live action and sounds of the real voices so much more than the dubbed. If you wonder where we get all these foreign movies from, the answer is simple: NetFlix. For a fixed price a month they mail us DVD movies from our on-line Queue, we watch them, pop them into a pre-paid mailer, and the postman effectively replaces all our gas-consuming and time-consuming trips to Blockbuster. To sign up for NetFlix, simply go to http://www.netflix.com/ and start adding all your requests for movies into your personal queue. If you've seen some in these movie blurbs, simply copy the name, click open your queue, and paste the name in the Search box on NetFlix and Select Add. Buy some popcorn and you're ready to Go to the Movies, 21st Century Style. You get to see your movies as the Director created them — NOT-edited for TV, in full-screen width, your own choice of subtitles, no commercial interruptions, and all of the original dialogue. Microwave some popcorn and you're ready to Go to the Movies, 21st Century Style. With a plasma TV and Blu-Ray DVD's and a great sound system, you have theater experience without someone next to you talking on a cell phone during a movie plus a Pause button for rest room trips.Hits (Watch as soon as you can. A Don't Miss Hit is one you might otherwise have missed along the way.):
P. S. Ask for Blu-Ray movies from NetFlix, and if it says DVD in your Queue, click and select Blu-Ray version.“The Zookeeper's Wife” (2017) and her husband saved over 300 Jews by sheltering them in their bombed-out zoo in Warsaw during WWII. The Zabinski Zoo was the best in the world and is now restored to its former glory. Amazing story of how she came up with the idea of how to extract Jews from the Ghetto under the eyes and noses of the Nazi guards. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! ! !
“Once Upon A Time in Venice” (2017) Bruce Willis plays loose with the law and has fun with John Goodman surfing the breakers in Venice. A DON’T MISS HIT !
“Danielle Steele’s Safe Harbor” (2007) good old-fashioned romcom with a straight-line plot.
“Allied” (2016) Anna is conceived during a sandstorm in the desert, born in a London street during an bombing raid, grows up in Medicine Hat. This is the story of her parents undercover lives during WWII. Beautiful cinematography! A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! !
“Fugitive Places” (2008) a hopalong-in-time movie of Jakob's life as Polish, Jewish, Greek, and Canadian who must recover places of his fugitive life before he can peacefully live his current life.
“The Great Gillie Hopkins” (2016) roams from foster family to foster family looking for a home.
“Love Finds You in Valentine” (2016) good old-fashioned romcom with clean shaven good guy and scruffy bad guy.
“Mechanic: Resurrection” (2016) with Jason Strahan settling a score with a former employer would rather die than take no for an answer.
“Loving” (2016) Rich Loving was rich in loving for his wife Mildred and knew his marriage to her was right, but he needed the Supreme Court to confirm his marriage was legal in Virginia and every other state by overturning anti-miscegenation laws. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! !
“Carrie Tilby” (2016) A little professor becomes a Harvard grad at 18, a grown woman at 19.
“Girl on the Train” (2016) watched the world go by in a drunken blur, but managed see many things clearer than anyone else in this hop-along mystery drama.
Misses (Avoid At All Costs): We attempted to watch these this month, but didn't make it all the way through on most of them. Awhile back when three AAAC horrors hit us in one night, I decided to add a sub-category to "Avoid at All Costs", namely, A DVD STOMPER. These are movies so bad, you don't want anyone else to get stuck watching them, so you want to stomp on the disks. That way, if everyone else who gets burnt by the movie does the same, soon no copies of the awful movie will be extant and the world will be better off.“The Ticket” (2017) Matthew Crawley of Downtown Abbey, we barely recognized you as the blind-bearded-skinny telemarketer! Then you regained your sight and lost everyone who loved you. Wow! When you were driving a car with your sight going away again, we thought, “Oh No! Not dead in the ditch again!” A painful movie to watch: ugly music, titling and ending credits disappear before one can read them, and the eponymous ticket story doesn't work!
“Chronically Metropolitan” (2017), dysfunctional, and borinnng!
“Day of Days” (2017) Tom Skerrit plays 90-year-old so convincingly that we couldn't bear to watch more than the first part of this excruciatingly slow movie with a screechy voiced Cuban caregiver.
“Alien Arrival” (2017) is a dirt-bag sci-fi turkey!
Your call on these — your taste in movies may differ, but I liked them:“The Wall” (2017) a lugubrious battle on a post-war Iraqi pipeline. Our sniper against their sniper. Ours was dumber. Lots of battlefield lessons for soldiers. Never get friendly with a sniper who can talk English as well as you do.
“Camera Store ” (2016) Ray has got his finger in the dike trying to stop the flood of digital cameras from destroying his job in a camera store in 1994, but he gets what he tries to avoid.
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==Le Broussard Cajun Cottage, drawn by and Copyright 2011 by Paulette Purser, Used by Permission Thanks to Rep. Mark Meadows for the inspiration for this Cajun joke in a story he told on C-SPAN on July 24, 2017.
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Broussard's cousine, Camille, taught school down in Golden Meadow, and was driving to a parish-wide school board meeting in Thibodaux. It was a long drive up Route 1 along Bayou Lafourche with only a gas station or two along the road.
When she got out to get gas for her car, she noticed a run in her panty hose. There was only one place to buy panty hose along the bayou and that was WalMart in Raceland. She stopped there, ran in and quickly bought some new panty hose because she was going to be late for the meeting. When she got back in the car, she realized something.
"Bon Dieu, dere's no place for me to change at the board meeting, so Ah better put dem new ones on now."
She was busy changing her hose in the front seat when she felt someone looking at her. With her panty hose only halfway on and her dress up to her waist, she opened the door and shouted at the man, "Wat you staring at, you pervert!"
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5.Recipe or Household Hint for October, 2017 from Bobby Jeaux:
(click links to see photo of ingredients, preparation steps)
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =Toaster Alarm
Background on Toaster Alarm:
I love English Muffins. Those of you who also love them have probably noticed that they require extra toasting. When I order them for breakfast on a cruise ship I ask for them to be double-toasted. If I don't do thia, they will have no tasty, crispy-brown top when they arrive. This hint explains how I found a way to do this home without causing problems with regular toast.
White Correction Tape
Red Sharpie Marker
For normal toast we use 2.5, halfway between 2 and 3. But if I use the 6 for toasting an English Muffin and forget to return it to 2.5, the next toast will be so dark, that it will have to thrown away.
Place a small piece of white correction tape over the darkest setting of your toaster. On ours it is the number 6. Then with the red tip permanent marker, place a RED EXCLAMATION POINT on the white tape like shown above. This will alert whoever tries to make regular toast and they can move from the darkest position to whatever the usual toast position is. This only takes a few minutes and has saved us a lot of expensive bread in the couple of years we have used this Household Hint.
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6. POETRY by BOBBY from All the Light We Cannot See:
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A Tale to Grow By
"Stories grow like diamonds,"
"My Iliad was a simple story about a silly lad
that I named Achilles.
"An invincible lad who
had been dipped in the River Styx
to give him immortality
while being held up by his heel.
"That was my tale and
all that I had to regale
my friends around the fire at night.
"Each retelling of my simple tale
added a detail or so
another foe to best,
"And soon the boy
had grown into a man
on the battlefields of Troy.
"Like a diamond adds a dozen new layers
My tale added a dozen new words
And Achilles grew in timé and kleos.
"When Agamemnon loses his concubine in one telling,
he takes away Achilles' concubine in the next.
How will Achilles respond to the theft, to the crime?
"Another layer adds the wrath of Achilles
to the end of my tale and to its beginning.
"A nice touch,
which I liked a lot —
I could have opened the story by asking
the Muse to speak to me
of the wrath of Achilles!"
As Homer grew old his tale grew longer,
and as he listened to it being re-told
around the fire by others, he wondered,
"What have I begun?"
and a chilling thought came to him,
"I am an old man and I will never hear
how my tale will end."
On his deathbed, a storyteller relates to him
how Achilles withdraws from battle,
in John Galt fashion
and the Greeks begin to lose battles
to Hector and the Trojan armies.
"Ah, if only I could hear the ending of my tale,"
was Homer's last words.
So the story grew
from the seed of Homer's tale,
which he had strewn upon the storytellers.
And like from an acorn
a mighty oak began to grow
And how could anyone know
from where the leaves had sprung
but from the mouth of Homer
and the echoes of his voice
down through the ages of unwritten time.
There are no more echoes of Homer's tale
to be heard by living ears,
Only the recording of the tale
of the last storyteller
Which was written down
when the voice and echoes of Homer's voice
faded away and
writing arrived to replace memory.
Each new generation
awakens to hear, to read, to appreciate
the ageless and indestructible diamond of the Iliad,
as if it had arrived in finished form,
instead of growing over centuries and centuries,
accumulating over millennia of unrecorded time,
revealing to us the sparkling facets
of the wrath of Achilles.
The Iliad — a tale cooked up to deter thievery.
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7. REVIEWS and ARTICLES for October:
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =For our Good Readers, here are the reviews and articles featured this month. The first and second reviews this month will be ones which were never published in early DIGESTWORLD ISSUES and will be of interest to our DIGESTWORLD Readers. The rest of the items will be new additions to the top of A Reader's Journal, Volume 2, Chronological List, new additions to A Reader's Treasury, or Essays previously unpublished.
NOTE: some Blurbs may be condensations of long Reviews, possibly lacking footnotes and some quoted passages. For your convenience, if you wish to read the full review or to print it out, simply CLICK on the Book Cover or choose Printer Ready option on the top line of a review page when it opens.
1.) ARJ2: The Rent Collector by Camron Wright
This novel is meta-literature, a feature which only becomes clear in the middle of the book. It fits the genre of two novels I very much enjoyed: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr and The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker. Doerr takes us into the body of a pre-teen blind girl who reports the dramatic events of her WWII life to us. Sendker combines a young boy who can't see with a young girl who cannot walk and form them into a seeing-walking team with her on his shoulder: he became her legs and she his eyes. In this novel, Wright introduces us to Sang Ly who is blind to writing and consigned to eke out a living with her husband Ki Lim, picking trash from Stung Meanchey, the monstrous dump in which they live with their chronically-ill baby boy.
Their home is a cardboard structure with cardboard floors and a canvas flap for a door. Li works the trucks as they show up each morning to dump their garbage, which gives him a good chance at salvaging enough items to buy food for the day. Sopeap is a cranky old lady who shows up drunk to collect rent from them each month. Their toddler son, Nisay, has perpetual diarrhea, whose smell is barely perceptible over the stench of the brown rivers of the dump which surrounds their hovel, making a mockery of the dump's name which means River of Victory. Hopelessness hangs in the air like the thick haze of the smoking methane-fueled fires of the dump.
Ki Lim brings home a children's book for his son Nisay and is proud they will have rent money for the Cow, Sopeap the rent collector, who milks the rent money from them. Sang Ly cannot read to her son, but only tell a story she makes up from the colorful pictures, but he grabs the book from her and begins to nibble on the pages. That day Ki Lim is beaten and robbed by the thugs who roam the dump, and Ki uses their rent money for a knife to protect himself.
The Cow is upset when Sang Ly has no rent money and tells her, "Be gone by tomorrow!" As the Cow turns to leave, she is startled by the boy's book lying on the floor, examines it, and the normally brusk and unfeeling Sopeap Sin is speechless, trembling silently. Sang Ly ponders the event.
[page 21] How can a woman so empty and beyond feeling become so overcome with emotion that she can't speak? But there is more to the picture. In my mind, as I watch her study again each page of Nisay's book, it finally hits me.
"That's it!" I exclaim aloud.
I pause to let my head absorb, process, and ponder my discovery.
It was Sopeap's eyes, the way they darted at every picture, the timing of each turn of the page, the soft movement of her lips. Is it possible? Yes, I'm certain of it. Sopeap Sin, the woman we call the Cow — she can read!
The Cow can read! Can Sang Ly ride the Cow and learn to read from her? A plan forms in her head. She gives the book to Sopeap, who wants to pay for it, but Sang says, "I gave you the book." Sopeap says, "Thank you." followed by, "I will mark your rent for this month paid in full."
[page 28] I choke, stumble, and the grab at my ears. Sopeap Sin, the Rent Collector, the greediest person I have ever known, has never been concerned about our well-being, and she has certainly never forgiven any rent.
Sang Ly dares to ask her, "Will you teach me to read?" The Cow is taken aback and wants to know why she wants to read. Sang expresses a hope of escaping the dump. The Cow says, "If you're looking for hope, you should know that it died at Stung Meanchey." But Sang persists and Sopeap agrees to teaching her on two conditions, 1. Sang does her homework assignments, 2. Sang gives her premium rice wine each Friday on class day.
Sang's husband is outraged that his wife wants to learn to read and suggests that the Cow is just pretending to know how to read, aiming only to get rice wine to drink. She plans to tell this to Sopeap.
[page 42] I wonder if she'll be angry, but instead the notion brings her obvious pleasure. "Sang Ly," she answers, "I have been called many names in my life. Some call me Sopeap Sin. Here at Stung Meanchey many call me Rent Collector. Still others call me Cow. But my most cherished title, the one I most revere, was a long time ago in the Department of Literature at the Royal University of Phnom Penh. There, for nine wonderful years, the most cherished of my life, my students called me Teacher.
Have you ever taught yourself how to read a foreign language? I did so with Greek. I knew how various letters of the alphabet were pronounced. "Alpha and Beta" formed the very name alphabet. In mathematics I learned theta, omega, sigma, and in physics, delta, gamma, kappa, psi, phi, rho, and so on. But knowing how to say phi didn't help me say the letter when used in a Greek word. I was reading Carl Jung and he gave footnotes in Greek, so I tried to decipher the various words, unsuccessfully, for a long time. Then, one magical day, I transliterated the Greek word φαρμακων into pharmacon,and I knew how to say that Greek word for the first time! Our English words, pharmacy, pharmacology, etc, all came from the Greek word, φαρμακων! The letter phi sounds like our f. When Sang Ly successfully reads her first word, I celebrate along with her, experiencing her jubilation as I did when I had read my first Greek word.
She is examining a wrapper for an American Hamburger and trying to decode the word that was translated into her native language.
[page 53] I am about to toss the wrapper and resume working when my eyes roll across each of the letters that follow. I have been repeating the tones of the individual letters for so many days that my head doesn't realize it should quit. As my brain stitches the sounds together, my tongue and mouth work in unison to pronounce them. It's a short word, and in an instant, I understand that the letters grouped together spell the word smanang — meaning luck.
I am so astonished, I speak it aloud a second time, emphasizing each sound as my eyes pass over the letters, forcing my mind to confirm what my lips have already declared. "Sam-na-ng."
Without any help from Sopeap, I have read my very first word!
I glance around for someone with whom I can share this amazing moment. Ki is picking. Nisay sleeps. Other gatherers work at a distance. I alone am aware of the miracle that has just occurred.
I have read my first word!
What Rudolf Steiner said in The Spirit of the Waldorf School about never giving explanations to children after telling them a story made very good sense to me. Here are brief excerpts from my review of this series of lectures:
If we tell a story to our children before bedtime, they will have all sorts of feelings arise in them and we do best if we allow them to take these feelings to sleep with them. Steiner says we should avoid giving explanations after telling children stories, but rather we should allow them to take those feelings home with them.
[page 38] You destroy everything you want to achieve through telling the story by following it with interpretations. Children want to take stories in through feeling. Without outwardly showing it, they are dreadfully affected in their innermost being if they must listen afterwards to the often quite boring explanations.
If the teacher wishes to give helpful explanatory material, they do best if they give this material before the story. After the story each individual child will leave for home having had different reactions to the story which will live inside of them. Giving explanations after telling the story squelches the feelings, the delight, and all the various sensations, replacing them with some abstract explanation. This is a disservice to the children and quite the opposition of education, the very essence of which is educare — to draw out of the children their individuals feelings, reactions, and understandings.
[page 38, 39 italics added] When they hear the story, you must bring them to the heights of their souls for them to understand it. This process must conclude in reading the story, telling the tale, doing nothing more than allowing the children's sensations, already evoked, to take their course. You must allow the children to take their feelings home.
Sopeap, as the Teacher, fully understood this process and Sang Ly explains her subjective reaction to her Teacher's approach to stories, and an important lesson she learned about how literature differs from other writing.
[page 101] Since I am new to learning and still trying to grasp the depth of the stories we read, on occasion Sopeap will explain what is going to happen beforehand, so that when I come to relevant passages, my brain will click and whir, my eyes will light up, and I will make her feel as though she is doing an adequate job.
"In this tale today," she begins, "some say Captain Ahab represents evil as he seeks revenge. The while whale, on the other hand, is said to represent good."
"Does everything always have to mean something else?" I ask before we get started. Who knew that literature was so tangled and complicated?
"That is a wonderful lesson, Sang Ly. Remember it."
"What was it again?" I ask, not certain to what she was referring.
She repeats it for me. "In literature, everything means something."
After Sang Ly reads Sy Mao's Advice for Growing Rice, she notices a scribbled addition to the title "and Children". Suddenly the mundane instructions for rice farming take on a new aura of meaning. She re-reads the Advice aloud to her mother, replacing the word rice with children, and soon her mother is smiling in acknowledgment of the new meanings. Her mother asks, "Do two written words turn ordinary instructions into literature?" Sang Ly said that the effect seemed to be quite magical. When Sang Ly shares the Advice with her, the Teacher says "Words are not only powerful, but they are more valuable than gold." (Page 106)
Sang Ly, for whom gold is so valuable, doesn't quite take her meaning, so Sopeap gives examples, ending with this one:
[page 107] "If you want to tell your husband how much he means to you, what do you do? Do you give him gold?"
"He would no doubt prefer that."
"If you gave him garbage trucks filled with gold, you would give only empty riches. To convey true love, Sang Ly, you whisper . . ."
She waits for me to fill in the answer, "Words."
"What words? What would you say to him?"
"I guess I would say, I love you."
"Three words, Sang Ly, three simple words that communicate more, mean more, than worldly riches. Words provide a voice to our deepest feelings."
Sang Ly is beginning to question why Sopeap, who is such a wonderful teacher, is living in a garbage dump and collecting rent for a living. The teacher tells her the beautiful story of Sarann and her beautiful skirt. As the story unwinds we recognize it as a Cambodian story of Cinderella, a story whose plot appears in many cultures under different names. This is a pattern which Sopeap explains to Sang Ly.
[page 125, 126] It's not just Sarann and Cinderella. Look at all books, plays, movies — we keep writing the same plots, with the same characters, teaching the same lessons. Why do you suppose that is?" . . .
"I'm suggesting writers can't help themselves," she says. "Our trials, our troubles, our demons, our angels — we reenact them because these stories explain our lives. Literature's lessons repeat because they echo from deeper places. They touch a chord in our soul because they're notes we've already heard played. Plots repeat because, from the birth of man, they explore the reasons for our being. Stories teach us to not give up hope because there are times in our own journey when we mustn't give up hope. They teach endurance because in our lives we are mean to endure. They carry messages that are older than words themselves, messages that reach beyond the page."
Sang Ly is moved by her words and says, "Your words today are all so beautiful. Why did you ever quit teaching? Why would you give up on literature?"
[page 127, 128] "We all want to be Sarann, to have hope for our future. While I also want to have my story end happily, there's a problem that keeps getting in my way — I wake up most days to find I'm just another ugly stepsister . . . drinking rice wine at the dump."
Only when Sopeap forces a smile do I understand that her last comment is meant to be funny. "Besides," she adds, perhaps to relieve us both from an awkward moment, "if every story ended with a handsome prince, there wouldn't be anybody left in the kingdom to stand around and cheer."
Sang Ly gets confused about the stories she and Teacher read together, and is not sure how to take their meaning. As so often is happening now, Teacher jokes, and then answers her request for help with a quotation.
[page 174] I smile, and then, in true Sopeap fashion, she answers with another quote. "The poet Hunt said, 'There are two worlds: the world that we can measure with line and rule, and the world that we feel with our hearts and imagination.' I think if you follow his advice, you'll do okay."
Engineering is the world we measure with line and rule. Literature is the world we feel with our hearts. The former is the material world; the latter is the spiritual world. What works in one world is useless in the other.
When Sang Ly first expressed interest in learning to read, Ki Lim said it was useless. But when they leave to visit her uncle and are dumped on the streets of Phnom Penh, Sang Ly can read which buses to take. She is approached by an elderly woman who asks, "Can you tell me which bus leaves for Seim Reap?" Sang Ly finds the sign and confidently points out the bus for the woman.
Later on the old bus that the author describes as "a rickety old thing that bears the scars of boisterous children who long ago grew to adulthood," Sang Ly reads a long story to comfort her son, and soon everyone on the bus is listening to her. When the bus arrives before the story's end, one man keeps the driver busy for a few minutes so Sang Ly could finish the story. The man insists on paying her for telling the story. As she waits with her family as the bus leaves, everyone on the bus is waving goodbye to her. Ki Lim wants to know what the man told her.
[page 184] I pull out the folded money and look at the amount. It's enough to cover all of our fares and then some. "He said I'm better than buk-on-tape," I tell him.
Ki wrinkles up his nose. "Who is buk-on-tape?"
When they arrive back at the River of Victory, Sopeap is nowhere to be found. Sang Ly puzzles over where she might have gone. Then she remembers the elephant story and knows where to go. When she arrives there, we learn the rest of Sopeap's story, as the people show up to thank her for the many blessings she bestowed upon them, a story which will leave you with renewed faith in humanity and good feelings for a long time.
2.) ARJ2: Education for Adolescents, GA#302 by Rudolf Steiner
In his Introduction, Mattke says that Steiner did not treat the adolescent period as comprehensively as the second seven-year period. I have found this to be the case in the twenty volumes of Steiner's works on education I have studied and reviewed: most of his effort went to the first and second seven-year periods of growth. His focus here on the third seven-year period makes this volume of lectures especially valuable. Mattke says:
[page 10] We should not view puberty and adolescence as an isolated age but as a condition for transition, as a transitory state of being, paradise having been lost and not yet regained. We could also refer to this third seven-year period as a river flowing between the banks of childhood and adulthood — appreciating its connection with both the preceding and following seven-year periods.
One of the aims of Waldorf Education is to allow to bloom out of children the goals they have brought into their life from the spiritual world, a world from which they have so recently arrived. They bring spiritual limbs, if you will, which must grow as they grow physically, so teachers do best to provide spiritual activities which foster the growth of ideas and feelings of their students, just as they provide physical activities which change as their physical limbs grow. Unless feelings and ideas mature as limbs do, they may grow into adults with fully developed arms and legs and stunted ideas and feelings more appropriate to pre-adolescents.
[page 16] We must see to it that our teaching does not remain rigid, static, but that it can grow with them, change as they change during the course of development, so that at the age of thirty or forty they will still have the benefit of what they learned at seven or eight, because the learning has grown and developed as their complicated limbs have developed, because it has slowed down at the appropriate time, and so forth.
Why are feelings important in the education of children? Feelings allow us to remember events of the past. Children are not robots to be filled with facts and data; they are full human beings of body, soul, and spirit. Data stored without feelings get as lost as valuables put into a bank safety deposit box when no record is kept of the box's location. Feelings provide our access to our vast vault of memories and allow us to retrieve the data stored in those memories.
[page 18, 19] It is our life of feelings — with its joys, pains, pleasure, displeasure, tensions, and relaxations — that is the actual vehicle for the enduring qualities of the ideas and mental images that we can recall at a later stage. . . .
If in line with the convictions of most teachers today, we merely present to the children things to be looked at, to be accurately perceived by the senses, we are not giving them anything that will help them to remember later in life. Their memory will be greatly enhanced, however, if we put feelings into our words, if we teach with warmth, if we spice our lesson with the possibility of allowing the children to experience corresponding emotions, if we make them smile or feel sad, if we endeavor to go beyond the merely intellectual aspects to the life of feeling.
Always the teacher should point to the unknown, to draw out the curiosity of the students by asking, "What might happen if?" or saying "Tomorrow we will do this." Every question the teacher raises without answering will plant a seed which will bring fruit in the child some days, years, or decades later when an answer appears in the child's mind. A librarian scanned through one book before letting me check it out at the age of ten. She never explained why, but allowed me to check out the book. The unanswered question spurred by her actions stayed with me a decade or so before I realized the adventures of the character Spiro, drawn in the pages of text (which I was unable to comprehend), involved the life cycle of the syphilis bug.I absorbed information about how the bug enters the human body, affects the eyes, and so forth at the tender age of ten and understood its importance at age 25 or so. The feelings that librarian stirred in me without saying a word led me to a revelation a long time later. Steiner suggests a teacher "add tension, expectation, and relaxation that will permeate and benefit the thought process." (Page 19) This is how teachers can provide a key to locating and unlocking important memories of our childhood education.
[page 19, 20] We ought to make use of the unknown or half known in order to facilitate the children's effort at fitting the details into a totality. We really must not ignore such matters.
There are two parts to teaching which I call process and content. Process involves activity and content involves contemplation, the first is external and the second is internal. Steiner emphasizes that these two must be intertwined with each other.
[page 20] Essentially our lessons consist of two interacting parts. We instruct, we exhort the children to participate, to use their skills, to be physically active. Be it in eurythmy, music, physical education, even writing or the mechanical processes of arithmetic — we try to engender activity. The other part of our lessons is concerned with contemplation. Here we ask the children to think about, to consider the things we tell them.
To focus only on contemplation in children creates "benumbed, confused adults." The teachers of history who must focus on content owe a lot to music teachers for the lively process which provides the balance needed in their children.
[page 21] In children who are merely listening to stories, organic processes are called forth that are identical to those occurring during sleep, when the metabolic processes ascend to the brain. Making the children sit and listen, we engender in them, in the organism, a delicate sleeplike activity.
Teachers always seem to want their children to sit and listen, unknowingly creating a sleep-like activity in their students. Sleep allows what is right or what is amiss to arise in the organism. What's a teacher to do if that's the case?
[page 21] And this rising upward of what is amiss in the organism is continuously engendered by our insistence on making the children listen, think, and contemplate. When, on the other hand, we teach them eurythmy, when we make them sing, or play instruments, when we employ them in physical activities, as in handwork and gymnastics, even when we make them write something — when they are in fact doing things, the organic processes thus stimulated are an intensification of waking activity.
Even in objective subjects, especially in objective subjects, we must find a way to relate the objective outside world to the inner human world of the children; only thus can we stimulate their feelings, helping them to incorporate the important objective material into themselves.
[page 24] We should always try to find such connections, and in fact, the most objective subjects are the ones that lend themselves most easily to our doing so, because all the world can be found within the human being.
If you, as an experienced teacher wonder how the world can be found within the human being, you would do best to study anthroposophical works on the evolution of the cosmos, and soon you will be able to discern the human being as a microcosm of the macrocosm in which we all live.
Ever have something happen to you about which you said, "I cannot stomach that." Deeply sad experiences paralyze our digestive processes causing food to feel like a lump in our stomach. Look at unhappy, sad, and depressed people: they look like people with bad digestion because they are having trouble absorbing the events of their life and this trouble disables their digestion. What's the cure? A good laugh will help! Norman Cousins was diagnosed with a deadly disease and he fired his doctors and sat home watching Marx Brothers movies. He healed himself by extended courses of belly laughing.
[page 25] In a healthy digestion, the food passes naturally from the stomach to the intestine, is absorbed by the villie, passes into the blood, then penetrates the diaphragm, so that it can be distributed in the upper organism. This physical process is, qualitatively understood, identical to the effect of laughing, when we artificially induce the vibrations of the diaphragm. Laughing is a process that makes us organically healthy; its effect is similar to that of a healthy undisturbed digestion.
An old saw is, "He who laughs last, laughs best." I prefer to state it this way, "He who laughs, lasts!"
How can a teacher relate the physical objective processes of rain, thunder, and lightning to the human being, some skeptics may be thinking. Steiner explains it simply:
[page 26] As soon as we imagine — when somebody is laughing, when somebody experiences laughter in the soul and spirit — that the event is connected with the diaphragm, we shall also gradually arrive at the idea of the effects of spirit and soul in rain, thunder, and lightning. We are led to these realizations by relating everything to the human being.
We cannot live forever in rain, thunder, and lightning, can we? No, there must be some alteration, some rhythm between violent forces and calming forces and where better to experience this flow and ebb than in music?
[page 27] The concepts we teach our students about stomach, lungs, and liver will produce in them a disposition that will again be offset in singing, in the way hunger alternates with eating — a rhythmic process. Only rhythm maintains life. The correct handling of the contemplative subjects will produce faculties that will correspondingly manifest in the other subjects.
The only way I could endure long teaching sessions without a lick of imagination or humor in grade school and high school through was through my doodling. I got a 'C' in conduct in the second grade, and my mother was so furious with me that I had to find some way to survive without disrupting the class from then on. Writing on a pad did not disrupt the class and was one of the few things teachers did not frown upon during a lesson. They assumed I was diligently taking notes on what they were saying, but if I had been taking notes on dull material, it would doubled my discomfort! No! I was drawing silly faces or war planes in dog fights in the sky. One technique I developed was to draw a long fractured and continuous line on the right side of the page and then, beginning at the top of the line, finding a person's face in a couple of the zigzag segments and complete the face. In the course of some delightful minutes of creativity, I had drawn 7 to 10 faces all connected along the randomly drawn line.If there was more dull class time to be filled, I could begin another line. I often chuckled silently at the funny faces which grew out of the randomly drawn line. Yes, occasionally I wrote down important points the teacher made, but always there were a lot more doodles on my page than notes about the teacher's lesson.
Even the dullest exercise given during class by the teacher, I could convert into fun. I remember Mrs. Dixon in my eight grade English class giving us this exercise: Write a sentence with each of these 17 words. She obviously intended us to write 17 sentences, one with each word, but I decided to write one sentence which incorporated all 17 words. Amazingly, she accepted my unique approach to following her instruction and appreciated the ingenuity it required.
I remember Carl Jung saying that a peptic ulcer is an unexpressed imagination. No one ever gave me a peptic ulcer, but unknowingly I may have given others one. There is apparently a mysterious connection between expressing one's imagination and being free of ulcers. Perhaps the laughing and even minor chuckling I did at my funny face doodles was enough to keep pepsin from getting stuck in a fold in my stomach.
[page 28] Such connections are as mysterious as those between hunger and satiation. Ignoring the connections produces different results. For example, if we teach for an hour without stimulating the imagination of the children, their stomachs will be filled with acid, will have excessive pepsin. This cannot be avoided in a contemplative lesson. It is, however, not only a matter of acidifying the food in the stomach; there is also a spiritual dimension. All matter is at the same time spirit. When the children are singing, the pepsins role is to produce in them the inner prickling they should feel during singing. This prickling cannot occur if the pepsin remains stuck in the folds of the stomach. And it does remain there if one only talks, without stimulating the imagination. When the imagination is stirred, the pepsin is distributed throughout the body, with the result that the singing teacher will be confronted by children whose organs are permeated by this prickling, this effervescent sensation. Without such experience — especially in the speech organs — the children will be lethargic and lazy, and they will sing without enthusiasm.
Is Steiner's spiritual science only a fantasy as many claim? Or does it reveal secrets to living as a full human being? Those who have studied Steiner's work to debunk it have often become great supporter of his spiritual science, often taking on a new career path as they came to understand the reality of matter and spirit revealed in his works. And nowhere is his work more revealing and important than in the field of education of our youth.
As a teenager, I delivered newspapers and it gave me many chances to enter subscribers' homes when I collected on Saturdays. Usually the woman paid me in her kitchen and so often I would notice these beautiful wax fruit in a bowl. They were pretty, but completely lifeless, a state which one never had to test by biting on the fruit because the slightest touch revealed its dead state. Unfortunately human anatomy and physiology is often taught in a way that one might use wax fruit to teach botany: using leathery, lifeless corpses.
[page 29] You must actually become pioneers in a certain sphere, must tell yourselves: "We have today, on the one hand, the abstract sciences — history, geography, even physics, and so on. They are practiced in the most abstract ways. People acquire concepts. On the other hand, we have the sciences of the human being — anatomy, physiology — by means of which we learn about the human being, as though the organs were cut out of leather and reassembled." Truly, as cut from leather — because there is really no difference between the descriptions of living organs presented by our anatomists and cut-out leather pieces. The human being is not described as a totality. The spirit is ignored.
Steiner closes Lecture One by explaining that you as a true teacher must have weight and wings, both in the wordy content you load upon them and the lively processes you lead children to experience as they acquire skills. This requires detailed advance preparation before a class begins. You must know the material all the way through, so your words are simply a road map you follow through your internal understanding of the material and that internal understanding flies from your soul to the soul of your children.(1)
[page 30] Thus you may enter the classroom in such a way that your words carry weight and, at the same time, acquire wings. You will not torture the children with words that merely fly away, nor will you teach them skills and aptitudes that weigh them down.
In Lecture Two Steiner reveals the process by which we as full human beings reach conclusions. We go through this process in three stages: 1) mental images, 2) judgments, and 3) conclusions. The mental images portion of the process happens in our head via our thinking process. The judgment portion of the process happen in our arms and hands via our feelings. The conclusion portion of the process happens in our legs and feet via our willing. Consider how we might speak about a man making a difficult decision: First, he mulls over all the possibilities (etheric memory function is active in his head). Second, he wrings his hands as he struggles with the alternatives; the decision is in his hands, we say, he's got a good grasp on it (astral function is active in his arms and hands). Third, he comes to a conclusion and stands up to put it into action (his I activates his will to implement the decision).
[page 31, 32 Head] Of the three stages — mental images, judgments, conclusions — only in the first is the head involved. We ought to be conscious of this: The head is concerned only with the forming of mental images, of ideas, and not with judgments or conclusions. . . . It is really only the etheric body — besides the physical — that is fully active in the head. . . . We really must get away from the materialistic view of the head that attaches too much importance to it. We need our head as a reflecting apparatus, no more.
[page 32, 33 Hands and Arms] The forming of mental images and ideas is indeed connected to the head. But not our judgments. These are actually connected to arms and hands. It is true — we judge with our arms and hands. . . the processes leading to judgments are carried out by the mechanism of arms and hands.
It is only the mental images of the resulting judgment which, as a reflection, take place in the head. The hands and arms are connected to the rhythmical organism residing in the middle of our body which mediates the world of feelings. Steiner says, "Judgments are, you will agree, deeply related to feelings, even the most abstract of judgments." We can hardly be aware our feelings because the feelings of confirmation or negation leading to a judgment are deeply embedded in our subconscious. (Page 31)
[page 33, 34 Feet and Legs] In considering conclusions, the drawing of conclusions, we must understand the connection to legs and feet(2). Our contemporary psychologists will, of course, ridicule the idea that it is not the head that draws conclusions but the legs and feet. But it is true. Were we, as human beings, not oriented toward our legs and feet, we could never arrive at conclusions. What this means is that we form ideas and mental images with the etheric body, supported by the head organism; we make our judgments — in an elementary way — with our astral body, supported by our arms and hands; and we draw conclusions in our legs and feet — because we do this with our ego, and the ego, the I, is supported by legs and feet.
In many places Steiner explains that our head is a product of our previous lifetime, arriving from the cosmos, formed out of our previous life's arms and legs. Our current life's arms and legs are inherited from parents and grandparents. We learn how our head, arms, and legs are involved in the three processes of choosing among options, making a firm decision, and effecting a follow-through.
This next passage is remarkable because Steiner pulls the rug from under materialists by accusing them by not studying material phenomena adequately, saying that if they did, they would recognize the absurdity of their own position and the reality of the spiritual underpinnings of the material world.
[page 37] When one stands firmly on the ground of spiritual science, of anthroposophy, it no longer matters if one is a materialist or a spiritualist. It really doesn't matter. The harm done by materialism is not the study of material phenomena. If this study were performed thoroughly, the phenomena would transform into spirit and all the materialistic concepts would be recognized as absurdities. The harm done is the feeblemindedness that results when we do not complete thought processes, when we do not concentrate enough on what the senses perceive. We thus lose sight of reality. If we were to pursue thoughts about the material world to the end, we would arrive at the picture, the idea of the spirit.
Similarly the spiritualists come under a similar criticism because they also accept incomplete thought processes.
[page 38] Be one a materialist or a spiritualist both perspectives will lead to the same result, provided the thought process is completed. Again, it is not the spirit that is the problem in spiritualism but rather this uncompleted thought process that so easily turns the spiritualist into an idiot, a nebulous mystic, a person who causes confusion and who can only vaguely come to grips with reality.
As Steiner closes out Lecture Two, he reinforces what he said earlier that teachers must work out of the totality of the human being to reach their children effectively. I see him pointing to how meanings fly from soul to soul on the wings of words(3), and teachers are most effective when they absorb material into their souls so that meanings can fly to their children in the classroom.
[page 44, 45] Again and again you will find that when you have spent long hours in preparing a lesson, when you have grappled with a subject and then enter the classroom, the children will learn differently than they would when taught by a "superior" lecturer or instructor who spent as little time as possible in preparation. I actually know people who on their way to school quickly read up the required material. Indeed, our education and teaching are deeply affected by the way we grapple not only with the immediate subject matter but also with all the other things connected to skills and methods. These things, too, should be worked and grappled with.
There are spiritual connections in life. If we have first heard a song in our mind, in the spirit, it will have a greater effect on the children when we teach it to them. These things are related. The spiritual world works in the physical. This activity, this work of the spiritual world, must be applied especially to education and didactics. If, for example, during the preparation for a religion lesson, the teacher experiences a naturally pious mood, the lesson will have a profound effect on the children.When such a mood is absent, the lesson will be of little value to them.
People learn about the Waldorf School system of covering a single subject over the course of several weeks to exclusion of all other subjects and they discuss this practice. Is it healthy? Is it good for the children? Do they learn more? And they never come to a conclusion. One cannot come to a conclusion by discussion, only by absorbing knowledge. Steiner famously declared, "Discussion begins when knowledge ends." We could re-state it this way: "Knowledge makes discussion meaningless." The knowledge of the reasons for the single subject approach to education will make all discussion about it meaningless, rightly understood. I will do my best to summarize this knowledge which Steiner presents in Lecture Three.
When we sleep we learn deeply what we only experienced during the day. If our day experiences have been focused on one subject, the deep learning will be more powerful. What goes on within a child to create this enhanced learning?
[page 47] The children go home, they go to bed, they go to sleep; their egos and astral bodies are outside their etheric and physical bodies. What you did with the children in this roundabout way through the physical body and also the etheric body continues in the astral body and the ego. But the latter two are now, during sleep, in a quite different environment. They experience something that can only be experienced during sleep, and everything you taught the children participates in the experience. The effects of the lesson that remain in the astral body and ego are part of the experience during sleep. You must know that you let flow into the astral body and ego what you teach the children through this detour of the physical body and that you thus affect the children's sleep experience. The children will present to you on the following morning the results of what they experience between falling asleep and waking.
Waldorf education is the only one which can understand what happens in a child during night time after a day's worth of learning because it incorporates knowledge of the four bodies of the full human being: physical, etheric, astral, and I.
Next Steiner explains something that may seem counter-intuitive: that what we resist we absorb deeply. When I first learned this truth, I created a simple acronym to help me remember the process: EAT-O-TWIST(4). It's easy to say, eat-oh-twist, and it means everything always turns out the way it's supposed to. Resisting something is a strong way of supposing it to be true, so whatever we resist we systematically reinforce and make it stronger within us. Here's the process he explains: the astral and ego body (I) resist the movements of the physical and etheric body, and during sleep at night, they repeat the resisted activities, causing the child to enter school the next morning having deeply absorbed the experiences of the previous day.
[page 47] Let us think of a child who is doing eurythmy or singing. The physical body is active, and the active physical body and the etheric body impress this activity on the astral body and ego. The ego and astral body are forced into participating in the movements of the physical and etheric bodies. But they resist, because actually they have other forces to concentrate on. These forces must now, in a way, be subdued. And although the ego and astral body resist, they must accept what their own physical and etheric bodies mediate to them — in eurythmy it is more the physical body; in listening to a piece of music, it is more the etheric body.
Ego and astral body then enter the world we live in between falling asleep and waking up. Everything that has been impressed on them continues during sleep to vibrate in them. Ego and astral body actually repeat — in the more intricate and spiritualized way peculiar to their nature — what they experienced in eurythmy and music. They repeat all of it. And what they thus experience during sleep, this the children take with them to school on the following day.
Even in a materialistic science like physics, there is a spiritual component of learning which goes on overnight as a child sleeps.
[page 51] Yesterday I experimented, and in reviewing the experiment I then appealed to the children's imagination. In today's lesson I add the contemplative element. In doing so, I not only meet the pictures in the children's heads, but also help to bring the pictures into their consciousness.
First you teach the experiment with the apparatus in class, next you review it without the apparatus, then you add the thinking dimension. Steiner explains.
[page 51, 52] Remember the progression: I teach a physics lesson, make an experiment, then recapitulate the stages of the experiment without the apparatus. On the following day, we discuss the previous experiment, contemplate it, reflect on it. The children are to learn the inherent laws. The cognitive element, thinking, is now employed. I do not force the children to have mere pictures in their heads, pictures they have brought with them from sleep, pictures without substance, without meaning.
Imagine a conventional school classroom, where physics is nestled between literature, history, geometry, and biology classes, each one hour long, imagine the chaos this creates in a child's head, a chaos which may be expressed outwardly as, "I hate school!"
[page 52] Just imagine the children coming to school with these pictures in their heads, of which they have no knowledge. If I were to immediately start with a new experiment, without first nourishing them with the cognitive, contemplative element, I would again occupy the whole of their being, and the effort they would have to make would stir up these pictures; I would create chaos in their heads. No, above all, what I must do first is consolidate what wishes to be there, provide nourishment. These sequences are important; they adapt to, are in tune with, the life processes.
The Waldorf system of concentrating on one subject each morning for several weeks eliminates the chaos because it harmonizes with the child's life processes.
[page 52, 53] When I make an objective, characterizing approach on the first day, I shall allow the three parts of the threefold human being to interact, to harmonize in the right way.
Steiner told this story in an earlier lecture: One new Waldorf teacher gave a child a punishment: he was ordered to remain after school to do math exercises. The other students asked the teacher if they could also stay over to do math exercises. This interest in school work is the sign of a teaching which harmonizes with the life processes of the students. One can begin to comprehend the rationale behind the Waldorf system of focusing on a single subject for several weeks and then moving onto the next subject.
[page 53] These examples show what can be done if the lessons are properly structured, if they are adapted to life conditions. The structuring and adaptation are only possible in our curriculum, which allows the teaching of a subject for several weeks. They are not possible in the traditional schedule, wherein physics is taught on one day and, perhaps, religion on the next. How could one thus consider what the children bring with them? It is difficult, of course, to structure all the lessons in this way, but one can at least come close to doing so. And by taking a good look at our schedule, you will see that we have attempted to make that possible.
Metabolic changes occur in children when they are reading with comprehension. Small spikes of salts are formed which will be re-absorbed by glandular secretions if a child is interested in the material. Lack of absorption of these salt spikes can create migraine-like symptoms.
[page 63] Genuine interest is connected with a delicate feeling of pleasure that must always be present. That feeling expresses itself physically in very subtle glandular secretions that absorb the salt deposits caused during reading and listening. We must endeavor never to bore the children. Lack of interest, boredom, leads to all sorts of metabolic problems. This is especially the case with girls. Migraine-like conditions are the result of a one-sided stuffing of material that must be learned without pleasure. The children are filled with tiny spikes that do not get dissolved. They tend toward developing such spikes. `
Whenever we were asked to do rote memorization, we were told to memorize the passages "by heart". It never occurred to me the importance of the phrase "by heart" until reading Lecture Four where Steiner emphasizes the importance of evoking a heartfelt enjoyment in the child for the passage being assigned for memorization. A mood of reverence for a prayer and a mood of enjoyment for a poem is important for a child.
[page 69] The children must never be asked to learn anything by heart before they have a deep feeling for all the details contained in the words — especially a feeling that allows them to relate to the content in the right way.
Let us consider an extreme case. Let us think of a prayer. The children should, when asked to learn a prayer, be urged to be in a mood of devotion. It is up to us to see to this. We must almost feel a horror if we teach the children a prayer without first establishing this mood of reverence or devotion. And they should never say a prayer without this mood. We should thus not make the children recite a lovely poem without first arousing in them a faint smile, a pleasure or joy; we should not order them to have these feelings but rather allow the content of the poem to awaken them. This principle applies to other subjects as well. . . . It is essential to prepare the children correctly for such things that are to be learned by heart: prayers and poems. Their feelings must be engendered, the feelings they must have when they listen to themselves.
During the adolescent years from 14 to 21 the astral body is especially active, and the amount and type of activity is different between boys and girls. Boys tend to be more bashful and girls seem to be more mature: these are a couple of the usual observations made about adolescent teens. In Lecture Five, Steiner gives us an insight into what is happening with the astral bodies in teens.
[page 75] What we see initially is that the astral body has a stronger influence in girls than in boys. Throughout life the astral body of women plays a more important role than that of men. The whole of the female organism is organized toward the cosmos through the astral body. Much of what are really cosmic mysteries is unveiled and revealed through the female constitution. The female astral body is more differentiated, essentially more richly structured, than that of the male. Men's astral bodies are less differentiated, less finely structured, coarser.
Why do girls seem more mature? Their egos are strongly affected by their astral bodies. They seem more confident and capable than boys of the same age.
[page 75] Girls between the ages of thirteen or fourteen and twenty or twenty-one develop in such a way that their egos are strongly influenced by what goes on in their astral bodies. We can see how the ego of a girl is, one could say, gradually absorbed by the astral body, with the result that during her twentieth and twenty-first years there is a strong counterpressure, a strong effort to come to grips with the ego.
Boys have less penetration by their egos into their astral body, leading to a certain lack of confidence often masked by an overweening bravado. Steiner says on page 80, "It is a strange fact that in spite of the children's outer manifestations and behavior, everything they do is nothing other than a modified feeling of shame or embarrassment".(5)
[page 75, 76] The process is essentially different in boys. Their astral bodies do not absorb their egos so strongly. Their egos are more concealed, are not as effective. The ego of the boy between the ages of thirteen or fourteen and twenty or twenty-one remains without the strong influence of the astral body. Because of this, because the ego of the boy is not absorbed by the astral body and yet lacks independence, boys at this age are less forward than girls. Girls are freer at this age, more at ease in their outer confrontation with the world than are boys. We can notice in those boys especially endowed with these qualities a reserve, a withdrawal from life, the result of this special relation between astral body and ego.
In the "Our Miss Brooks" radio and tv shows, Eve Arden played a teacher who always used humor in confronting teenage boys or even teenage-like adult suitors of her, both of which were embarrassed to reveal their inner feelings. Steiner would have loved Miss Brooks.
[page 81] The worst thing a teacher can do at this time is to confront teenage boys without humor. The proper humor consists in showing an interest in what they are up to, yet making it clear to them that you, the teacher, do not take it too seriously.
How many people today use gadgets whose internal operations they are completely blind to? A computer, a smart phone, a microwave oven, a LCD monitor, a TV set, a remote control, etc — few people understand them, or only one or two of them. Many erroneously avoid microwave ovens because they think they emit ionizing radiation, eg. This is a kind of blindness of soul and spirit which Steiner decried in his own time, and a hundred years later in our time it is even more prevalent.
[page 85] Traveling in a car, plane, or bus, using an electrical gadget without understanding at least the underlying principles, means blindness of soul and spirit. Just as a blind person is moving through life without experiencing the effects of light, so do people move blindly through the cultural life, because they cannot see, did not have the opportunity to learn to see and understand, the objects around them This is a defect of spirit and soul. And the damages we see in our advanced civilization are the result of people's blindness in regard to their environment.
In Lecture Six Steiner lays out the important task of the Waldorf School education: "to place human beings into the world". (Page 93) Rightly understood, he is talking about full human beings, not papier mache humans such as he says Swedish and German physical education programs create, not the little professors that precocious children become as they walk around spouting reams of facts about the world they have read or heard about, not materialistic pedants who are completely blind to the effects of the spiritual reality upon which their world is supported; no, not these, but full human beings in body, soul, and spirit who come to understand the world in terms of body, soul, and spirit, and consider education as a continuing journey, the real commencement of which begins when you graduate from formal education provided by external teachers.
[page 93] Without this experience of our task, our Waldorf School will be no more than a phrase. We shall say all sorts of beautiful things about it, until the holes have become so large that we shall lose the ground under our feet. We must make it inwardly true, and we can do this only by getting ourselves to the stage at which we can have a thorough understanding of the teaching profession.
We all remember the large periodic table of the elements from one or more of our school classrooms. Over a hundred elements! Know all of these elements and you will know how to make everything else by some combination of the elements. Probably no teacher made such a bold statement, but there was no need to: it was presumed by displaying all the elements on this chart, was it not? So, we can hardly withhold a chuckle when someone would dare say there are only four elements, right? What a ridiculous concept!Only the four elements of earth, fire, air, and water make up the world! Don't make me laugh. This, dear Readers, is our legacy of materialism as it has become infused into our culture, our science, our ethics, and every aspect of our life, up until now. It belittles the spiritual truths of the past and then claims to give me 100+ elements with which I can create anything, even a human being! Well, maybe not.
[page 99, 100] We don't just think that the world consists of one hundred elements. We carry this feeling into everything we do during the day — even when we wash and dry our hands. The fact that it is possible for our head to have such an inhuman world conception while we wash ourselves — thinking in this way impresses a definite quality into our feelings. And then — when we can think and feel in this way, when there is no room for the human being in such a world conception — when we then confront the fifteen-year-old girls and boys with this thinking and feeling, it should come as no surprise that we cannot reach them, that we don't know what to do with our feeling and thinking.
This is the world concept we are taught in universities and with this knowledge we are fit to teach in universities and not much else. When I graduated from college in Physics, I knew a lot about a lot of things, but I didn't know enough about life: what it was to be a living human being in the world. I'm still searching for answers to that question, and there are no college courses that can help me. My large Physics Handbook is a handbook of death, not a handbook of life.
[page 100] With this world conception we can lecture in universities and colleges, teaching what we believe to be right, but we cannot live with it. The graduates of our universities then become teachers who have no idea of their connection with the young. This is the terrible abyss that has opened up before us.
This is an abyss that cannot be filled by the 100-plus elements of our so-called modern science, but can be filled by the four elements of the Greeks. Indeed, thanks to our being skewed by the abstract concepts of today's science, we have lost our intimate connection to the real world, the world Greeks connected with using their four elements.
[page 101] Yes, the Greeks would have considered our talk about the elements nonsensical. What did they say? They believed not that the structure of the world consists of some one hundred elements but that four elements — earth, air, fire, and water — are interacting in it. Our academics, our professors, the leaders of our culture and education will tell us: "This is a childish world conception. We left it behind and no longer bother with it." Someone who has begun to think a little will tell us: "Oh well, we too are working with these things. Today we call them aggregate conditions — solid, gaseous, liquid. We see warmth differently from the naive way the Greeks did. Yes, we have them all, but we have developed them correctly. Of course, we admire the Greeks for their knowledge." This is a benevolent, patronizing, condescending attitude: "We are fortunate in having progressed so far, in having discovered all these elements, whereas the ancients used to practice all sorts of animism and talked of earth, air, fire, and water."
There they go again: academics discussing things they have no knowledge of, not even aware that this knowledge was once common to all humans but has now been lost to them. They are wrong.
[page 101, 102] But these leaders are wrong. There is a deeper meaning to the conception of the Greeks. When the Greeks spoke of earth, air, fire, and water, they did not look at them as we do today.
They thought of fire as being warm and dry, of air as being warm and damp, of water as being cold and damp, and earth as being cold and dry. These are elements that any human could experience, and they did not need a Physics Handbook to look them up.
[page 103] Think about it. People are growing up, are told that the world consists of one hundred or so elements — iodine, sulfur, selenium, tellurium, and so forth — all whirling into each other. This affects our feelings, to the extent that we, as human beings, are removed from the process. The elements are there, and we are not part of any of them.
Think of the vast abyss that exists between the ancient Greeks and us, between the world of elements we are now taught about as reality and the abyss we feel between those 100-plus elements and our human selves. Is there another way to be a modern human?17abwing
[page 103] One could have the justified idea of being a part of the other way of looking at the world, of looking at the four elements — earth, air, fire, and water — in the ancient Greek way: earth as cold and dry, air as warm and damp, fire as warm and dry, water as cold and damp. When one imagines these qualities and makes them live in oneself, they grip one — qualitatively. One becomes permeated by them, they take hold of the limbs; they take hold of us. Such ideas that reach as far as into the limbs make us into beings different from beings for whom the ideas affect the limbs only after death. The corpses in the graves may well feel in line with the one hundred or so elements that combine according to chemical laws. But such a concept does not do anything for the life of human beings. By contrast, in having this idea of the four elements, we perceive ourselves in our etheric bodies.
What Steiner offers us in his spiritual science, his anthroposophy — the science of the full human being, is a chance to be connected with the reality of our world in an intimate way again. We do not need to lose our university-taught knowledge which is so useful for dealing with dead things, but our children are living beings and we need to help them learn about living things, especially their own human bodies consisting of body, soul, and spirit. They do not need to learn about the etheric body, for example, but they need teachers who can recognize the effects of the etheric and astral bodies on the children's human bodies and foster a harmony of these living bodies during the educational process. We need a living education that reaches to our limbs, not a dead one that gets stuck in our head, in the intellect.
[page 104] Head knowledge has no meaning for the inner life. This is the reason for our impotence in relating to the young at the important time in their lives when they are supposed to connect the spirit and soul to the physical/corporeal, to bring them into a reciprocal relationship. What indeed are today's adults to do with the young who wish to relate spirit and soul to the physical, to the life around them?
One answer is to give them a Waldorf education, which Steiner designed specifically to create adults who would accept the easy truths of his anthroposophy because they will have been taught as a child both the material and the spiritual realities of the world.
[page 104] This is the situation we shall take as our starting point in tomorrow's talk, when we shall further acquaint ourselves with this problem. My intention today has been to evoke in you the feeling that as soon as we are supposed to find a way to the hearts of children at a definite and important time in their lives, we are dealing with the important issue of a world conception.
When I was planting flowers back in the 1960s, I bought a soil analysis kit. Biggest waste of time and money I ever spent! But it was indicative of the approach to plants fostered by the 100-plus elements school of thought of so-called modern day scientists.
[page 110] The Greeks, on the other hand, even though they did not express it concisely, said: "When a plant grows, the cold and dry qualities of the earth are working from below upward. Once the plant has emerged from the earth, when it grows leaves and blossoms with their beautiful colors, we see all this as the effect of water and air, in the way we imagine their qualities; and permeating all of it is the effect of fire. Everywhere in the environment there is this interaction, this intermingling of warm and dry, cold and damp, warm and damp, and all of it, all this qualitative interweaving and interwhirling of dry, cold, damp, and warm across the surface of the earth affects the plant life."
Not only did the Greeks see plant life this way, but felt these elements operating within themselves. Any modern scientist who can suspend this disdain for the four elements can do likewise.
[page 110] We just have to see this. If we do, and then if we look away from the plants to the human being, to the way the etheric body is active within the human being, we shall there see something that is similar to plant life. When we look at the total life of the plant, we are inwardly stirred and stimulated, let me say, to participate in this life of the plant, in this objective life. The Greeks felt this. Outside, they said, "everything is blossoming, thriving, growing, and ever changing. All this is also working in me." The activity of the Greeks own etheric body, imagined in this way, was not beyond experience. The Greek reflected: "I am no stranger to what constitutes the etheric body in me. Certainly, I cannot see it. But by looking at everything that is growing around me, I experience these activities also within me."
A so-called modern scientist would ridicule, would lambast such a Greek with words like this, "Your ideas are nonsensical, childish ones! We have left them behind, and discovered not four, but some hundred plus elements — hydrogen, oxygen, chlorine, bromine, iodine, and so on." (Page 110) If we gave a Greek such an argument in favor of our view of elements:
[page 111] The Greek would have responded by saying: "I have no quarrel with this, there is no harm in it. But it is no more than a specialized, detailed study of my understanding of the cold and dry qualities of the earth. You have not got beyond the knowledge of the cold and dry properties of the earth. You know nothing of water, fire, and air. You haven't got the faintest idea of what goes on in the world of plants, of the etheric life in yourself. You cannot even speak about the plants, because your knowledge of the elements cannot give you any idea of life, of what is working in the life of plants."
The Greek would also add this, "The things I know about the earth, that it is dry and cold, that it affects plant growth, this you specialize for me. To learn about the details is interesting. But you have no knowledge of the totality of life; you merely know a quarter of it." (Page 119) That is the truth of the matter! And I winced when I wrote matter in the previous sentence, because matter, also known as the element earth, represents a dead world, yet matter is all that our so-called modern science knows about the living breathing world in which we full humans have our being, up until now.
With my academic infusion of details into the dead world of matter came an existential challenge as Hamlet phrased it well, "To be, or not to be." How could life have a meaning if we die into non-existence?" I was beginning already in my twentys to think as Steiner says at the beginning of Lecture Eight:
[page 120] Life must have a meaning! This is a deeply seated conviction for the human being. And we have to reckon with this "Life must have a meaning, a purpose!"
For me, seeking for an answer to my unanswered question about the meaning of life, I was led to consider life as a puzzle with an enigma at each end. What happens before we are born and after we die? In my search for answers to these two questions, I frequented occult bookstores and read many famous works.Each time I went to this one store, I noticed thin volumes by a writer named Rudolf Steiner. I bought several and read them, but, while everything he said made sense, I kept feeling I wasn't getting the full meaning of his words.
Then I discovered Owen Barfield and read all of his works. When he talked about Steiner's works with respect, I knew it was time for me to delve more deeply into Steiner. I had bought and read about ten of these small books of Steiner lectures, but these, as I later discovered, were written for people who already knew his basic works and thus the lectures made minimal sense to me. When the Internet bloomed into existence, my first question for the world was, "Who is Rudolf Steiner and what of his works should I read first?"
I met thereby a group of Steiner afficionados who advised me to read, An Outline of Occult Science, Theosophy, Knowledge of Higher Worlds, Philosophy of Freedom, and other works, all of which I quickly acquired and read. Soon an answer to my two questions rose in me, "We live as immortal spirits who dip in and out of serial lives in the physical world." We live serial lives to learn and grow as moral beings so that we may be accepted into the spiritual world when our Earth is no longer here. That was a meaning of life which gave purpose to my existence, and I doubt I would have found it but for Rudolf Steiner, a true prophet in the twentieth century. He wrote as if he were writing specifically to me, a physicist, without using obscure polysyllabic Oriental words, writing out of his own deep experience of the spiritual realities which he shared.
When I learned that he devoted the last six years of his life to educating children, I decided that I should study the twenty-five works of his on Waldorf education(6), absorb their contents, and share them with others. I realized that he knew that the long-term existence of his spiritual science of the full human being, anthroposophy, depended on reaching children who will grow into adults as full human beings via Waldorf school education.
But what does our so-called modern scientists seek? To create human life in a test tube by analyzing and synthesizing the chemicals of organic chemistry. To create artificial intelligence in soul-less machines, which these scientists claim will exceed the capability of human beings(7).
[page 122] The science of this age sees the chemical, the physical world, how the elements, enumerated in chemistry, analyze and synthesize; it discovers, in progressing to the sphere of life — but working with it in a synthetic and analytic way — processes that correspond identically with those in the human corpse. Such a science, applying the same process that can be observed during the natural decomposing of the corpse, finds the same elements in the living organism: carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, and the rest. And it discovers these elements living in the form we know as albumen. The scientists now try to discover how the carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen, and oxygen in the albumen can be synthesized in a living way.And they hope to discover one day how these elements — C, N, H, and O — develop a definite structure by virtue of being together in albumen.
A hundred years after Steiner wrote these words, with all our knowledge of DNA, they have never found a way to create human life forms, only modify them, exactly as Steiner predicted.
[page 123] Natural science will never comprehend the nature of albumen as long as it endeavors to find in the organic molecule a structure that is simply more complicated than that which occurs in the inorganic molecule. Today's chemistry and physiology are mainly concerned with discovering the structure of atoms in different bodies, atoms which assume ever more complex forms, culminating in that of the albumen. The molecule of albumen does not tend toward greater complexity, however, but toward the dissolution of mineral structure, so that extraterrestrial — and nor terrestrial — forces can influence it.
By extraterrestrial, he does not meant some alien forces, but instead very familiar cosmic forces out of which our terrestrial bodies were formed.
[page 124, italics added] Our thinking is here confused by modern science. We are led to a thinking that is — in its most important aspects — in no way connected to reality. Our modern knowledge of the properties of albumen prevents us from raising our thoughts to the reality that something enters the human being that does not come from heredity but via the detour from the cosmos.Today's idea of albumen leaves no room for the concept of the pre-existence of the human being.
We cannot expect any help from universities in understanding the nature of living human beings, nor in understanding the pre-existence of human beings. Universities are as closed to these ideas as any guild in the Middle Ages was to progress. The guilds are gone today (except in the form of unionized labor), but their closed thinking processes remain in universities.
[page 124, 125] Our universities are the last remnants of the guilds. And since those concerned with these things have no longer any knowledge, any feeling about this development, they enlist the help of show business, especially during such highlights as graduation ceremonies — caps, gowns, and so forth. It is important to see behind these things.
What is one to do if one wishes to become a true human being?
[page 125] One who today wishes to educate and teach must find other ways in which to become a true human being; one must acquire new ideas of the basic principles. Then one will arrive at the correct understanding of the nature of imitation during early childhood.
Here Steiner homes in on what teachers need to know about children who arrive in the world imitating everything they see about them.
[page 125] During the time in the spiritual world, before conception, the child's soul accepts everything from its spiritual surroundings as a matter of course. After birth the child continues this activity that the soul became used to in the spiritual world. In the child's imitating we can see that this habit from before birth has not been lost; it has only taken a different turn. Before conception the child was concerned with development from within; now the world outside is confronted.
Children arrive with a sense of truth from the spiritual world and it is the teacher's job to foster that sense and not hinder it in any way.
[page 125, 126] During these early years, the child develops a sense for the true and, connecting to the world in this way, arrives at the conviction: "Everything around me is as true as the things I so clearly perceived in the spiritual world." The child develops the sense for the true before beginning school. We still observe the last phases of this conviction when the child enters school, and we must receive the child's sense for the true in the right way. Otherwise we blunt it instead of developing it further.
Our modern way of writing is so abstract that we blunt the child's development if we ask it to copy a letter of the alphabet like an "X" or a "Q" for example. Allowing children to draw flowing forms from which the abstract letters of the alphabet can be recognized helps them enormously. Singing and eurythmy are also helpful. Eurythmy allows the child to write into the world with their entire body instead of scribbling some abstract form on a piece of paper.
[page 127] When we let children do eurythmy, what are we actually doing then? Instead of giving them sticks of crayon with which to write an "A" or an "E" — an activity with which they have a purely cognitive connection — we let the children write into the world, through their own human form, what constitutes the content of language. The human being is not directed to abstract symbols but allowed to write into the world what can be inscribed through his or her organism. We thus allow the human being to continue the activity of prenatal life.
We accept children from the spiritual world as babies and in the earliest education, must let what the child brought from the spiritual world show itself, and stifle our expectations of what the child should or should not do. Teachers in Waldorf schools have a delicate task of dealing with the expectations of parents for their child, expectations which will often sin against their child's spirit.
[page 128] Children whose writing and reading activities are balanced by something else will grow into full human beings. We have to be gentle with today's grown-ups, who have been influenced by modern culture. We must not shock them; that would not help our cause at all. But we must, tactfully and gently, find a way to convince them that if their child cannot yet read and write fluently at the age of nine, this does not constitute a sin against the child's holy spirit.
A dramatic change takes place in a child around the age of nine to ten: it begins to see itself as an "I", an individual. Steiner compares a child this age to a monkey which will play with a mirror but go away unaffected by the experience, whereas the child will be affected by the same activity.
[page 129, 130] The immediate sense impression of the reflected picture fascinates the monkey, but the experience does not metamorphose into anything. As soon as the mirror is taken away, the monkey forgets the whole thing; the experience certainly does not produce vanity.
But a child at the characterized age looking at his or her reflection would be tempted to transform his or her previous way of feeling, to become vain and coquettish. This is the difference between the monkey, satisfied with just seeing itself in the mirror, and the child. Regarding the monkey, the experience does not permanently affect its feeling and will. But for the nine-and-one-half-year-old child, the experience of seeing himself or herself in the mirror produces lasting impressions, influences his or her character in a certain way.
We could make an experiment to confirm this, but experiments done with living humans can change them forever and are best avoided. If we wanted to perform experiments to determine the moment of death, this would not be allowed, but in the realm of psychology, experiments are allowed, up until now. This is a point lost on the well-meaning psychologists and pedagogical experts who experiment with human subjects.
[page 130] In order to get answers, we must decide on killing somebody every year, in order to discover the secrets of life at the moment of death. Such scientific experiments are not yet permitted in the physical, sense-perceptible world. But in the realm of soul and spirit, we have progressed to the point that experiments are allowed which paralyze the unhappy victims, paralyze them for life — experiments that ought to be avoided.
This prohibition should include all pedagogical experiments which include human beings. Frederick the Great wanted to determine which language a child would speak if allowed to grow without hearing any language. His experiment's results should serve as a wake-up call to pedagogical experimenters everywhere: all the babies included in his experiment died! They could not survive without the human contact they had been artificially deprived of.
Children in Waldorf schools are taught to see meaning and beauty in their lives. In other school systems, there may be little beauty and all their experiences of meaning pass into their head and body and not into their consciousness. What is the result of such materialistically-based teaching?
[page 131, 132] People move about in life without being able to connect with it, without discovering anything in it. This is the characteristic of our time. People do not observe anything meaningful in life, because they did not learn as children to see the beautiful in it. All they are to discover are things that in the driest possible sense somehow increase their knowledge. But they cannot find the hidden, mysterious beauty that is present everywhere, and the real connection to life dies away.
In Waldorf schools, the important changes to children at the ages of 9 to 10 are respected and encouraged by teachers.
[page 132] We prepare the children for this process by getting them at the age of nine and ten to the point that they can look at the world in wonder, astonishment, and admiration. If we make their sense of beauty more conscious, we prepare the children for the time at and after puberty in such a way that they learn to love correctly, that they develop love in the right way. Love is not limited to sex; sex is merely a special aspect of love. Love is something that extends to everything, is the innermost impetus for action. We ought to do what we love to do. Duty is to merge with love; we should like what we are dutybound to do. And this love develops in the right way only if we go along with the child's inner development. We must, therefore, pay attention to the correct cultivation of the sense of beauty throughout the elementary school years. The sense of truth the children have brought with them; the sense of beauty we have to develop in the way I have described.
With the advent of puberty, students become sensitive to the judgments of their teachers, recognizing their teachers' failings. The teacher can no long represent the ideal for their students as they did in earlier grades. We teachers, Steiner says, must change.
[page 135] We must consciously expose ourselves to this change, must be aware of the students' criticism of their teachers' unwarranted behavior. They become especially sensitive at this age to their teachers' attitudes. If, however, our interest in the students is honest and not egotistical, we shall educate and teach with exactly these possibilities of their feelings in mind. And this will result in a free relationship between us and them.
Rightly understood, it is the teachers who refuse to change whom students openly hate and learn nothing from. The teachers who in the Teacher's Lounge who complain the most about their bad students are revealing themselves as being unable to change, unable to develop a good relationship with their near-adult students. Those teachers who do change will foster a healthy growth of their students into adulthood.
[page 135] The effect will be the students' healthy growth into the true that was given to them by the spiritual world as a kind of inheritance, so that they can merge with, grow together with, the beautiful in the right way, so that they can learn the good in the world of the senses, the good they are to develop and bring to expression during their lives. It is really a sin to talk about the true, the beautiful, and the good in abstractions, without showing concretely their relation to the various ages.
Steiner ends this series of lectures calling for everyone present to be conscious of a living cloud filled with soul and spirit and to feel that living spirits are called to their aid when they speak this prayer at the beginning of each school year:
[page 136] We resolve to do our work by letting flow into it what from the spiritual world wishes to become human being in us, by way of the soul and spirit as well as of the corporeal-physical organization.
If you have read many of Steiner's lectures on Waldorf education and were disappointed in finding little help for your job teaching high school children, this is the series of lectures for you to study in depth. The unique requirements for teaching children of the upper grades of 8 to 12 are laid out carefully in these lectures. If you are a Waldorf teacher, chances are you have received children who have been prepared through earlier years of Waldorf education to deal with you in truth, goodness, and beauty, all of which will make your job a pleasure. But you must be ready to be challenged by adolescents who will question what you do, who will call you on your shortcomings, and who will stretch your to your limit as a human being. It is all in a day's work for a teacher.
---------- Footnotes ----------
In a dramatic demonstration of the importance of feet in coming to a conclusion, a song by Nancy Sinatra warns a lover, "these feet are made for walking, and one of these days these feet are gonna walk all over you."
Return to text directly before Footnote 2.
Question: how can materialistic scientists claim to create something that exceeds the capabilities of something they have yet to fully understand?
Return to text directly before Footnote 7.
3.) ARJ2: The Thirst — A Novel by Jo Nesbø
An old adage says, "Keep your friends close and your enemies closer." Something that nearly costs Harry Hole his life, in the end, in the second ending actually, something you'll have to read about yourself. But long before that we get to find out how the Oslo police will coax Harry out of retirement, his second or third attempt to retire. He would probably prefer to play music, write songs, or study economics, but duty calls what with his famous novel The Snowman due to hit the big screens in a few weeks from now. Yes, I've switched to talking about the author, Jo Nesbø, who has written a character that makes Clint Eastwood's Dirty Harry look like Snow White by comparison. But the Oslo police, faced with a serial murderer at large, need Harry Hole and give into his demands for a hand-picked team of three working with him, separate from the police department. As usual, Harry has murders happening while he's trying to solve the ones that have already happened.
For myself, I rarely buy murder mysteries, and received this one from my son-in-law for my birthday. He first introduced me to Nesbø's novels, and I've read a few of them since. This one will help get me ready to watch the first movie of a Nesbø work, The Snowman, so I welcomed a chance to read it. Downside to reading Nesbø is he shows us the seamy underbelly of Oslo, making it a place one would not want to visit, especially if, like me, all your information about the city comes from Nesbø's dark novels.
The first murder victim was found with the front of her neck eaten away and her blood drained away with apparently some of the blood removed from the scene, possibly by the killer drinking her blood. The police are on the case looking for someone the victim had used a social app to meet at a bar. While they search for clues, the killer muses over his counselors who deemed him mad.
[page 44] Mad? They were incompetent idiots, the whole lot of them. He had read the definition of personality disorder in a dictionary, that it was a mental illness that leads to "discomfort and difficulties for the individual concerned and those around them." Fine. In his case that merely applied to those around him. He had just the personality he wanted. Because when you have access to drink, what could be more pleasant, more rational and more normal than feeling thirsty?
We are introduced to the title by the killer and the theme of the search for him which involved looking for vampirists, humans who had a thirst for blood. Before this book will be over our hero Harry will come to know the taste of human blood.
Katrine Bratt was heading the team early on.
[page 46] She could feel how tired she was. And thrust her weariness aside. Because she had a nagging sense that this was only the beginning. Iron dentures and no DNA. Half a liter of missing blood.
Police Chief Bellman knew it was time for Harry Hole to be brought in: a serial killer who chews open the neck of victims with sharpened iron dentures and leaves no evidence.
Harry was waking up and musing over the three kinds of waking: 1) to go to work, 2) waking up alone, and 3) full of angst after three days of being drunk. In the second kind, Harry experiences a materialistic view of life.
[page 60] The second sort was waking up alone. That was characterized by an awareness that he was alone in bed, alone in life, alone in the world, and it could sometimes fill him with a sweet sensation of freedom, and at other times with a melancholy that could perhaps be called loneliness, by which was perhaps just a glimpse of what anyone's life really is: a journey from the attachment of the umbilical cord to a death where we are finally separated from everything and everyone. A brief glimpse at the moment of awakening before all our defense mechanisms and comforting illusions slot into place again and we can face life in all its unreal glory.
This was Harry Hole's philosophy in a nutshell, and the man deals with a lot of nuts! On this one morning he woke up feeling content, knowing that Rakel, his wife, was near him in bed, but even then, his metaphor waxed dark, "Her hair lay spread out on the pillow, like the rays of a raven-black sun." (Page 60) Naturally he turned down Bellman's attempt to blackmail him into investigating the serial killer.
But Bellman made Harry another offer he couldn't refuse. One question came up, "Are you still dry, Harry?" meaning was he off the booze and sober dependably. Harry's answer was direct.
[page 78, 79] "As a Norwegian oil well, boss."
"Hm. You do know that Norwegian oil wells aren't dry, don't you? They've just been shut down until the price of oil rises again."
"That was the image I was trying to convey, yes."
Hagan shook his head. "And there was me thinking that you'd get more mature with age."
"Disappointing, isn't it? We don't get wiser, just older."
One morning he and Rakel are about to have sex by the windowsill when the buzz from his cell killed the moment. It was another vampirist murder. Harry was needed immediately. Rakel knew the drill.
[page 107] He walked quickly past Rakel without looking at her, without a word of farewell. She was already sidelined, pushed from his consciousness by one of his two lovers. Alcohol and murder. And this was the one she feared the most.
When Harry arrives at the scene with the newbie detective Wyller, Harry explains his method to him, cheaper than answering all his questions later.
[page 110] "OK," Harry said, "everyone has their own method. Mine is to try to get in touch with the thoughts that go through your brain the first time you enter a crime scene. All the apparently insignificant connections the brain makes automatically when we absorb impressions for first time we visit a place. Thoughts that we forget so quickly because we don't have time to attach meaning to them before our attention is grabbed by something else, like a dream that vanishes when you wake up and start to take in all the other things around you. Nine times out of ten those thoughts are useless. But you always hope that the tenth one might mean something."
Reminds me of Father Brown who similarly placed himself in a scene with all his intuition and senses working intensely. What Harry picked up from this crime scene was that the murderer had a thing about cleanliness. The other thing was that he didn't like blood. Why? Because he put lemon juice in it to paralyze his taste buds, one of the reasons they sold cod liver oil better when they added lemon juice.
Harry Hole loves to give advice, and this one about following the habits of old men tickled me.
[page 157, 158] He was wearing a thin woollen sweater and leaning against the door frame as he pulled on a pair of thin woollen socks. She had teased him about that, saying that only old men insisted on wearing wool all year round. He had replied that the best survival strategy was always to copy old men, because they, after all, were the winners, the survivors.
When Harry runs off to his other love, murder cases, Rakel teases him, saying she'll 3-D print herself a husband to replace him. This gives Harry the key to the keys which the murderer seemed to have to the victims's apartments even though he did not seem to have met the victims before. How else could Elise's safety chain have been on except that the murderer was already in her apartment when she came home?
Why did Harry want a team of four independent from the police department? Well, it's like his choice of office in the cellar of the department that no one else wanted. Since it wasn't officially a police office, Harry could smoke in there without breaking the rules, and he smoked about as often as he broke rules anyway. Here's the why of the independence as Harry explains to his new team, not the whole of the reasons, but enough to convince them:
[page 190] "And that's why we're here," Harry said, leaning forward on his chair. "We're supposed to think differently, look at possibilities that Katrine's investigative team don't touch. Because they've created a scenario of what happened, and the bigger the group is, the harder it is to break free from prevailing ideas an assumptions. They work a bit like a religion, because you automatically think that so many other people around you can't be wrong. Well." Harry raise his unnamed mug. "They can. And they are. All the time."
Harry has a conversation with Steffens which reveals Harry's view of his job. Steffens speaks first then Harry replies,
[page 242] "And the lie is that there's a reward for someone who follows a calling."
"Perhaps sometimes the work in itself is reward enough."
Mikael Bellman offers a bit of insight into the drinking of high-priced Voss water and the wearing of high-priced Omega wristwatches.
[page 300] He drank from his glass of water. Grimaced and looked at it. Voss. Why were people prepared to pay good money for something that tasted no better than what they could get from the tap? Not because they thought it tasted better, but because they thought other people thought it tasted better. So they ordered Voss when they were out at restaurants with their far-too-boring trophy wives and far-too-heavy Omega Seamaster watches.
The vampirist gives Harry a lecture with several prescient predictions during the middle of a hurricane passing over them.
[page 335] "You've been waiting for your turn to be a vampire. You recognize the thirst — just admit it, Harry. And one day you too will drink."
"I'm not you," Harry said, and swallowed. He heard the roaring in his head. Felt a fresh gust of wind. A new, shattered raindrop against the hand that was holding the pistol. That was that. They would soon be out of the calm eye.
"You're like me," he said. "And that why you're also being fooled. You and me, we think we're clever bastards, but we all get fooled in the end, Harry."
He pulls his gun and aims at Harry, but before he can pull the trigger, Harry had gotten off two well-placed rounds with his Glock. The villain was truly dead, but there was a problem which any reader will be aware of: there were over 130 pages left in the novel. Apparently Harry will be fooled in another ending, because he thought he had ended the case with his Glock.
Thereupon hangs another tale which will tie up a couple of loose ends and imperil Harry's life. Harry told us the story early in this book of the lion and the water buffalo. A lion cannot outright kill a water buffalo, so the lion clamps his jaws on the buffalo's neck so it cannot breathe and must hold on till it suffocates. Like the letter on the desk in any detective story: Readers know that if it gets mentioned, it will be important later. Need I mention there are no water buffalos or lions in Norway?
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I hear often from my Good Readers that they have bought books after reading my book reviews. Remember: A book is like a 3-D kindle. Keep reading, folks! As I like to remind you, to obtain more information on what's in these books, buy and read the books — for less information, read the reviews.
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= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =In this section I like to comment on events in the world, in my life, and in my readings which have come up during the month. These are things I might have shared with you in person, if we had had the opportunity to coverse during the month. If we did, then you may recognize my words. If I say some things here which upset you, rest assured that you may skip over these for the very reason that I would likely have not brought up the subject to spoil our time together in person.1. Padre Filius helps out Salvador Dali:
Padre Filius, the cartoon character created by your intrepid editor and would-be cartoonist, will appear from time to time in this Section of DIGESTWORLD to share with us some amusing or enlightening aspect of the world he observes during his peregrinations.
This month the good Padre returns Dali's leopard after taking it for a walk in Bruges:
2. Comments from Readers:
NOTE: I love hearing from all my Good Readers and including your missives here (slightly edited).
If you prefer any comments or photos you send to be private, simply say so and they will not be published.
- EMAIL from Paul Werner of New Orleans:
Thanks, I have been waiting for this Gilbert & Sullivan issue!
- EMAIL from Barbara Louviere of New Orleans:
A grand issue of your DIGESTWORLD ----- always enjoy reading about your travel adventures ---- your photos of England, Festival events, and the flowers are really marvelous.
Enjoyed listening and seeing the video you included of Ian Smith telling your joke to everyone at the Festival ----
Have Marvelous Labor Day Weekend --- Barbara
- EMAIL from Carolyn and Sid in England:
Hi Adele and Bobby
It was good to meet up with you at Harrogate this summer and we hope that you enjoyed the rest of the festival. We went over to Spain for ten days after we got back home.
We've been following television reports on Hurricane Harvey and the devastation in Texas but couldn't make out what part of Louisiana was affected. We hope that neither you nor any of your family were affected by it. The people who were relocated to Houston after Katrina had it all over again.
We're hoping to visit New Orleans again next year, probably in May but haven't made any firm plans yet. If we do come it would be nice to meet up and enjoy some good Cajun music!
Very best wishes to you both
Carolyn and Sid Pritchett
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ REPLY from BOBBY ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
We're always ready to laissez bon temps roulez!
EMAIL followup from Carolyn and Sid in England:
We enjoyed your account of your stay in Harrogate. You went to see a lot more things than we did! I'm pleased you managed to get to York. We spent a few days in York for my birthday last year and thought it a beautiful city with so much history. We loved the Shambles!
Our next Gilbert and Sullivan experience will be next month for my birthday when we go to Gilbert's former home, Grim's Dyke - the picture above - which is now a Best Western Hotel in Harrow near London. We book for a special meal and afterwards there is a semi-staged performance of a G & S operetta in Gilbert's former music room. This year we're seeing The Gondoliers. It'll be the tenth time we've been and we've always thoroughly enjoyed it. There's something very special about being in the house where Gilbert wrote many of the operettas. The bar is in Gilbert's library where he sat to do his writing and in the grounds you can see the remains of the lake where he died. He loved to go for a swim and one day invited two local girls to visit. One got into difficulties and Gilbert swam to help her and suffered a fatal heart attack.
We'll let you know when we've firmed up plans for next year.
Very best wishes
Carolyn and Sid
EMAIL from Carol in Massachusetts:
I still like reading this [DIGESTWORLD Issue#179]. . . I probably haven't told you in a while,
EMAIL from Ian Smith in England:
Great to hear from you and congratulations on your interesting journal.. I have just sent birthday greetings to Barbara and it was good to hear from her. Thank you also for advising your friend of our potential interest in a cruise. We are busy at the moment with Portugal next month and then the cruise up the Nile in February. It keeps us all out of mischief! Great to see you at the festival. Hope you and your good lady come back to next G&S festival in Harrogate.
EMAIL from Barrett Chevalier in Canada:
[Barrett sent a cartoon of Uncle Sam motoring into Houston in a Cajun Navy Boat to help flooded people. The caption read: "Because what unites us is much stronger than what divides us."]
Amen, Barrett! That goes equally for our two countries!
EMAIL from Gary in Canada re Autism:
During the year before I retired, in one of my drawing classes, I had a student with a severely autistic condition.
His neurological dysfunction was auditory processing — he couldn't speak coherently at all, and his hearing/listening abilities were very poor and having him hearing only distortions. At these levels of behaviour, his resembled the stereotypical retard.
He obtained a very low grade at mid-term (borderline pass) and he emailed me about it, asking me how he could improve. His email was literate — impeccable spelling and grammar — and it was also very courteous, respectful and sincere.
I realized that visually, he was very literate and that I now had a working communications channel open between us. I emailed him and told the student where the strengths and weaknesses were in his approaches to learning how to draw.
I also explained that I would print out everything that I would be saying to an entire class for him to read and my personal critiques of his work in the drawing studio would be provided to him in writing and that if I had particular comments to make to him, these I would also email to him.
Throughout the exchanges that followed, he maintained the initial courtesy, clarity and coherence of his first email to me. The student finished the semester with a B+, which was not a grade that was easy to get from me.
On Sep 19, 2017, at 13:06, Bobby Matherne
Good job on the kid who got the B+! I've come to understand autism as a human mutation: an advancement, not a retardation. More on the reasons for that below.
If you will read Jean Auel's Clan of the Cave Bear you can see how human mutations are treated when they appear among a population of normal humans. The normal humans far out-number the mutations and treat them as retards! That has been happening regularly, up until now.
I first met an autistic child when I was 26. She was 16 and spent her days rocking back and forth on a rocking chair in the driveway of the house across the street from us, barely talking, mostly grunts. I talked to her parents and they were stumped about how to help her. Eventually they moved to an area near Duke U. where an expert was working on autism. Never got a followup on what happened.
Since then I have met one functional autistic man who did great pen and ink drawings and had other accomplishments. He was an only child which saved him the fate of the girl in the rocking chair, in my opinion, having educated parents who taught him how to respond appropriately in social situations, when to smile, etc, even though he seemed to lack all internal feeling states, having converted them into cognitive states.
[NOTE on Mutation: He shared with me cognitive memories of his birth, and the presence of such memories indicate he had a very early Memory Transistion Age. That led to the lack of storage of his bodily feelings because all events which happened to him were converted into cognitive memories, never stored as physical body states (doyles). The hippocampus sends events to the neocortex to become cognitives memories. He likely had a completely functional hippocampus at birth, whereas in normal humans the hippocampus ramps up to full functioning at five years old, the normal Memory Transition Age. This indicates a human mutation.]
Bobby! Thank you!
I shall make a point of reading 'Clan Of The Cave Bear' by Jean Auel.
A notion of 'mutation' has crossed my mind many times, however, this hasn't been entirely specific to Autism, although I have considered it.
Your anecdote about the only male Autistic child seems to provide some corroboration of Mr. Henderson's statements about brain developments being different in Autistic individuals, with respect to duration of amygdalin functions in relation to neocortex and hippocampus memory processes.
Your example suggests that the autistic man at a very early age was processing semantic and aesthetic information content that arrived through sensory organs prior to the usual Memory Transition Age of five years old.
3. Poem from Freedom on the Half Shell:"Growers and Mowers"
Give me your poor, huddled masses, your basket of deplorables, yearning to breathe free and I will give them taxes, regulations, restrictions, and every manner of unfairness ever created by persons saddled with the illusion that they can decide what is best for someone else's welfare. The individual, like the business professional, knows what's best in a given situation and, given the freedom, will take that action. The forces of coercion are prying open the shell that contains the living muscle and spirit of the American people — will we resist those forces and keep our muscles and spirit alive, free to open at will, or will we give up like the oyster and settle for "freedom on the half shell?" Here is another poem from Freedom on the Half Shell:
Growers and Mowers
There are two groups I know
that have diverse opinions:
The Pro-Growers and Pro-Mowers,
both filled with marching battalions.
Pro-Growers picket lawnmower shops
holding pictures of new mown hay
They taunt and tease and traffic stops
to take in what they have to say,
"Grass is a natural product
and must be allowed to live
For that is God's code of conduct
and none of us escape that sieve."
Pro-Mowers want their grass
cut as low as the mower can,
No blade of grass will they let pass,
left uncut by the Scyther's hand.
"The right belongs to us, you see,
and ne'er will we let you forget,
This land is bathed in liberty,
so on we mow without regret."
When on the horns of a dilemma
it's best to overthrow the bull,
Each side has a half-truth lemma
that doesn't satisfy us at all.
I let my grass grow long's I want
and thus escape the grower's taunt,
And let mowers mow as they will
deprive their life of living's fill.
~^~5. Louisiana in the News
In the 1970s I studied Phobia Cures with Bandler and Grinder. It was an easy process to learn and apply. They also explained that if you wished to give someone a phobia, you could simply run their process backwards. That didn't seem like much use to me: installing a phobia in someone, but over the years since I have become aware of people who go around giving other people phobias, and I do my best to avoid staying in the presence of such people, or deflecting the phobias they seek to install.
During this past month there were two huge areas of the South affected by hurricanes for about three solid weeks. Out of concern for our loved ones along the Texas coast and the Florida coast, we watched the Weather Channel and news channels about one or two hours a day. It was during one of these days when I encountered the "One Word Phobia Installation" on the Weather Channel. Pointing to a large red blotch on the screen representing a hurricane, the weather guy said, "THINK!" And with that one word, millions of people, unprepared to defend themselves from a phobia installation, suddenly felt a deep fear inside. This was not a one-time event nor was it restricted to male or female announcers, over and over again they led people to imagine themselves helpless inside of a horrendous hurricane by saying emphatically the word, "THINK!"
Never once did they themselves think of the damage they were doing. Just a switch from Think! to Prepare! would have had a more beneficial effect. But Think! acted to multiply the number of their viewers as those who ingested the phobia called all their friends and installed the fear in them so that they would watch the Weather Channel et al.
If you prepare, you are able to imagine the hurricane coming and yourself escaping the worst of its effects, either by evacuating or by keeping yourself safe. But escaping the installation of a phobia in themselves is the one thing most people don't know how to do, up until now. For that reason, these talking heads are experts at installing phobias in others who will listen to them or will look where they point when they say THINK! and imagine themselves inside a disastrous event.
If you wish to avoid the phobia, simply imagine youself outside of the disastrous event they are pointing at. Either it will have moved, or it will be much lighter when it arrives where you are, or you will be well-prepared for its arrival, or all three. It is much easier to prepare when you are fear-free than when you are fearful. Know how to recognize phobia installations and you can choose to be fear-free.On September 28, 2017 Louisiana was in the news because of two events:
Our LIGO (gravitational wave detector) in Livingston Parish helped record the merger of two black holes of 31 and 25 solar masses, 1.8 billion light years away, and place its spot in the heavens just above the Magellanic Clouds..
Our local congressman Steve Scalise returned to his seat in the House of Representatives today to thunderous applause and many standing ovations as he thanked God and the many people who acted as his angels: the Capitol police squad assigned to his protection, and a former Marine doctor who was first to rush to his side and apply the tourniquet which saved his life, among others, his wife Jennifer, the two doctors who performed multiple surgeries on him, et al.
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