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~~~~~~~~ In Memoriam: Harry Morgan (1915 - 2011) ~~~~
~~~~~~~~ Starred in Dragnet, December Bride, M.A.S.H. ~~~~~
WELCOME TO DIGESTWORLD ISSUE#127 July, 2012== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==Quote for the Freedom Month of July:
I was once a young man, but I recovered.
— Howard Baker, US Senator , [February 1, 1999]
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Editor: Bobby Matherne, Asst. Editor: Del Matherne
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DIGESTWORLDArchived DIGESTWORLD Issues
GOOD MOUNTAIN PRESS Presents ISSUE#127 for July 2012
Table of Contents
1. July's Violet-n-Joey Cartoon
2. Honored Readers for July
3. On a Personal Note
Flowers of Shanidar Poems
4. Cajun Story
5. Recipe of the Month from Bobby Jeaux’s Kitchen: Fruit Smoothie
6. Poem from Three Lectures on the Mystery Dramas:"Karma Spins"
7. Reviews and Articles Added for July:
8. Commentary on the World
- ARJ2: Building Great Sentences: Exploring the Writer’s Craft by Brooks Landon
- ARJ2: The Neuroscience of Psychological Therapies by Rowland W. Folensbee
- ARJ2: The Leopard, A Novel by Jo Nesbø
- ARJ: Transforming the Soul, Volume 1, GA#58 by Rudolf Steiner
1. Padre Filius Cartoon
2. Comments from Readers
3. Freedom on the Half Shell Poem
4. COMING SOON: THE FALL OF THE TIMES-PICAYUNE! ! ! !
9. Closing Notes — our mailing list, locating books, subscribing/unsubscribing to DIGESTWORLD
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1. July Violet-n-Joey CARTOON:
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For newcomers to DIGESTWORLD, we have created a webpage of all the Violet-n-Joey cartoons! Check it out at: http://www.doyletics.com/vjtoons.htm Also note the rotating calendar and clock that follows just to the right of your mouse pointer as you scroll down the page. You'll also see the clock on the 404 Error page if you make a mistake typing a URL while on the doyletics.com website.
The Violet-n-Joey Cartoon page is been divided into two pages: one low-speed and one high-speed access. If you have Do NOT Have High-Speed Access, you may try this Link which will load much faster and will allow you to load one cartoon at a time. Use this one for High-Speed Access.
This month Violet and Joey learn about The Walking Wombed.
#1 "The Walking Wombed" at http://www.doyletics.com/images/061612vj.gif
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2. HONORED READERS FOR July:
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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 July, 2012:
Vesa Salonen in Finland
Ted McGlone in New York
Congratulations, Vesa and Ted!
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3. ON A PERSONAL NOTE:
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Out Our Way:
There's a ditty which goes, "Home again, home again, jiggity-jig!" and that's how Del and I felt back home after being away half of April and half of May on a long cruise. For me it meant getting back to my usual work of reading and writing at my normal workstation with two PC's and three monitors. When one PC is busy, I can switch to doing work on the other one. Comes in handy when doing the last stages of publication of each DIGESTWORLD issue: I can add code to the Issue on my old PC, then instantly display it on the new PC. I can crop and size photos on one monitor of old PC while coding .html on the other monitor. One result of being home for the whole month of June was that I was able to finish reading two books and write reviews for them, plus reviews for two books I finished reading while on the cruise sans a working laptop. Lots of things for my Good Readers to enjoy this month and lots of room for photographs.
For easier navigation, review links in the Table of Contents will now move you to the review included in the Issue; no longer any need to scroll down to find a particular review. If you wish to read a review on-line outside the Issue, you'll find a link to take you to the Review on-line. For those who wish to print the review separately for reading, simply Click on the Book Cover and the review will open in Printable Form (PDF). Remember: if you prefer to print archived reviews, the most recent ones are available on-line in a Printer-Ready version which will minimize the amount of pages you have to print. Simply look in the upper left corner of each review and click on the Printer Ready link, if it's present. It will open a PDF version of the review which can be printed. One other change beginning this Issue will be that photos will accompany each of the five Flowers of Shanidar poems from now on; the hand-drawn flowers which mark each Chapter will move to the left of the pages.
A GARDEN BOON
Due to our prolonged trip, I didn't plant our usual Spring Garden, but shortly before we left a couple of cucumber and watermelon vines had begun growing and we returned home to large Washington Parish watermelons ready to eat and 11" cucumbers filling up the garden. Cherry tomato plants had spontaneously sprung up, which I staked and we began eating them in salads. The day before we left for the long cruise, our gardener neighbor Connie offered me 3 eggplant seedlings which I planted. These are now producing long, white lady-finger eggplants which are delicious and easy to peel and cook. Our LSU fig tree has given a bountiful June harvest this year, after losing its complete crop last June due to the hailstorm. We just filled a dozen pint jars with its delicious fig preserves for ourselves, family, and friends. The green onion crop did well and we dug up several bags of bulbs to plant for the Fall. Our basil and parsley plants have been reestablished and provide an aromatic beginning to any cooking in Bobby Jeaux's Kitchen.We have okra plants established for the Summer garden and expect the okra flowers and delicious pods to be producing any day now. We made a delicious Cajun Stir Fry with items from the garden, but have had to buy the okra from Rouse's Supermarket. Not anymore, we expect okra from the garden for the rest of the summer months. We have two artichoke plants growing in the Secret Garden where there is excellent drainage and expect great things from them of an edible nature. The previous artichoke plants looked great, but the water-logged soil after rains last year did them in.
On the non-edible side, the garden across the front of Timberlane became symmetrical by our transplanting one of the two ten foot high palm trees from the northeast corner to the southeast corner. I wanted the palm that was closer to the house moved to keep squirrels from climbing it onto the roof. It now is situated in a new extension of the garden as far away from the house's corner as its companion is on the other corner.Del quickly added matching flowers to the extended garden space and it now looks as if the palm and garden had been there for many years. She also had the garden extended out from the Meditation Garden and new plants to bring color to that area. She and I bought and planted a new Japanese Yew to replace the shrub which had died across the back of that garden. The yews will soon form a private and shady area for the Meditation Garden.
A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO OMAHA
LSU's baseball team was headed to Omaha and another National Championship in Baseball, its first for this decade. It beat the Oregon Beavers in the regional playoff and headed into the Super Regional only have to wade across a Stony Brook to get to Omaha. Well, you might say they slipped and fell on their face in that brook. The first game of the playoff found LSU down by one run in the top of the 9th inning and LSU hit a home run. Stony Brook tied the game in the bottom. Same thing happened in the 10th inning and 11th inning (no homer, but a run), then the game was rained out.The next day, LSU started its best pitcher, Kevin Gausman, and the Tigers got one run in the top of the 12th inning and Gausman got the other side out. LSU wins! The next game began in 30 minutes or so and Kevin was pitching an excellent game, holding Stony Brook to only one run, until a downpour came down when Kevin was pitching and he couldn't control the wet ball and allowed two runs to score. Lacking that downpour, LSU could have gone to Omaha, skipping right over that slippery Stony Brook.
One can look to an interesting parallel in the Football and Baseball seasons for the past 12 months: each team won the SEC Championship outright by having the best record in the powerful conference, but each one went on to lose a crucial game and missed the National Championship. Which leads us to those very powerful two words: Next Year!
DRIVING ME MAD
Yes, trying to get my driver's license renewed drove me mad this month! I was spoiled by being able to renew it every four years by mail, but this year, I had to renew it in person. I heard about an easy place to get it renewed under the GNO bridge and went there, only to find a line around the corner, so I went back home. The next day I decided to drive to the Hahnville Courthouse where I always got my license renewed while I was working at the Nuclear Power Plant nearby. It was a long drive, but one I hadn't taken in a year or so, and I enjoyed it. But a sign on the door of courthouse said, DMV moved across the street. Well, there's the River Road and two side streets to choose from, but I assumed it meant the River Road, and walked across the street. Saw a Sheriff's office, so I went in and asked for help. I saw another sign that was no help saying DMV not Here.The gal said the DMV has moved down river. "On this side of street?" I asked and got a "Yes, next to the Library", another less-than-helpful answer as the library has moved since I went to Hahnville High School, but I have never been to its new location. I began walking in that direction, past Muller's Garage, but no DMV office. Soon I was too far from my car, so I went back to get in it and drive to find the library, which I did, but no DMV. At least not at first, but I drove through the entire parking lot and on the way out, there was a DMV office with a lady standing outside. I drove up to ask her if this is where I get my driver's license renewed, but before I could open my mouth, she said, "Our cable has been cut, COX is on the way to fix it, but we can't do anything until it's been fixed." [NOTE: a few weeks later, I went to Auto Parts store which had a guy out front to tell me he couldn't sell me antifreeze because their internet was down. Maybe the transit of Venus across the Sun caused these disruptions?] So, it was a nice day for a drive, but after two attempts, I was still without a driver's license which will expire in a month or so. The run-around I was given in Hahnville reminded of a classic story of navigating in a small town that a friend of mine in New England encountered while trying to find a plant in Georgia. His instructions from a native went this way, "Go down to where the old school used to be and turn left." Yes, telling me to go where the new library is was just about as bad as that. Everybody knows where the old school used to be and where the new library is located, except a person who is not from the immediate area!
There was another place located on Scottsdale Blvd where Del had gotten her license renewed, so I was determined to go there and get mine. It was only a couple of miles away, and it had not been moved according to its website. Heck, maybe even their COX cable was not broken! I decided to go there before it opened, thinking there would be no line, but when I arrived at 7:50 am, there was line going out the front door and all around the side of the building as far as I could see. For the third time, I struck out. When I got home, Del said, "I went there at 3 and there was a little bit of a line, but most of them needed to transfer titles, etc, and few needed driver's licenses renewed. So I went back at 3 and you guessed it: another line out the front door! This was a bit unbelievable, so I decided to park and watch it and soon the line had at least gone indoors. So I went in the door and discovered the problem: it was a Courtroom Building and the metal detector was stopping everyone who came into the building; after five people were in the queue, the next one had to wait outside.I went through the detector and into the DMV, got in a queue of six people to get a number to be waited on, then in about one-third of a crossword puzzle, I was called to pay for my license, get my eye test, and wait for my license to be printed. I'm good for another decade or so without having to go through this mess again.
CAT & MOUSE DINNER
This year marked the 12th Anniversary of the Cat & Mouse Dinner. It was begun by Russ Copping, whose wife Susan had been bugging him about why he always got to go to some Black Tie elegant dinner at Antoine's and other places in THE French Quarter, but only with the guys, while she and other wives were never invited. With this inspiration, Russ began this event. After an elegant dinner at Antoine's topped off by Baked Alaska dessert, the guys pay tribute to their wives in some way, a poem, a song, or a memory with their lady and the other assembled couples. Each June for ten years, I have challenged myself to come up with something original and this year it was a poem. Our anniversary is a few weeks after the Cat & Mouse Dinner each year, so the dinner and my poem are my anniversary gifts to Del. The hardest part is that Del is my copy-editor, but she doesn't get to read or hear this one before I recite it in public, as she does with most of my other writing, so how can I know if she will like it? Here's my poem:
So Much More
I wasn't looking for a friend
when you came by
But I have gotten so much more.
I wasn't looking for a wife
when I found you
But I have gotten so much more.
I wasn't looking for someone to cook for
when I cooked that seafood gumbo
But I have gotten so much more.
I wasn't looking for a bookkeeper
when you began doing my bank books
But I have gotten so much more.
I wasn't looking for a copy-editor
when you first read my reviews,
But I have gotten so much more.
I wasn't looking for a mother
for my kids when I met you
But I have gotten so much more.
I wasn't looking for a lifelong companion
when I fell in love with you
But I have gotten so much more.
I wasn't looking for an equal partner
when we first joined forces
But if I try hard, sometimes that happens.
I wasn't looking for a smile from you
when I wrote this poem
But it just might happen.
I wasn't looking for this next stanza
when I started this poem,
But I have gotten it and so much more.
You weren't looking for me
When I wasn't looking for you
But we have gotten each other —
and that is so much more!
It was a wonderful evening and I will share some photos of the event in this issue.
When our grand-daughter Jennifer visited here, she pointed at a large watermelon and said, "That one's got my name on it!" When it came time to pick up the watermelon crop, her melon had grown quite large, so I put it aside to deliver it to her. A Thursday night would be a good time as she works at Terranova Supermarket on Esplanade Avenue, a short distance away from where we attend the Thursday at Twilight Concerts in City Park. The first week we wanted to go, we had a huge thunderstorm and decided to stay home. The next Thursday, it was gray, overcast and raining. so we again canceled. The third week, it was raining again, but I told Del, "We're going anyway. We've got to deliver the watermelon I promised to Jenny." Luckily the rain let up, but it was still drizzling when we drove up to the supermarket and Jenny was standing in the doorway talking to someone. She couldn't believe we had driven out in the rain just to deliver her watermelon, and she was really thrilled to receive it.
Although we missed two Thursdays because of bad weather, we made two City Park events. The first was Bruce Daigrepont and his Cajun Band, and the second was Banu Gibson, the singer, with Connie Jones and David Torkanowski. She announced that Connie had just received an Honorary Doctorate from Loyola University. Joins Doc Severinson as a Trumpet doctor, Doc Conn-eee Jones! Connie told me that at age 82, Doc Severinson still practices his trumpet three hours a day.
LAST MINUTE NOTES
Del spent five days visiting with kids and grandkids in Alexandria, a few hours from here. One of the thrills for her was getting to go the Chucky Cheese for the first time. She loves the video games and you can't go in Churcky Cheese without a kid. Our grandson Thomas was also excited because his younger cousins being along allowed him to get in also. Growing pains for teenagers: no more Chucky Cheese! While she was up there, my daughter Maureen was finished with school for the summer and came to have lunch with me at Timberlane. I had some sand to give her that I had collected at her request from our trip. She didn't specify where, so I chose the sand from Mykonos on the Shirley Valentine beach from the wonderful chick flick, "Shirley Valentine" plus some dirt from the ground around Mary's house in Ephesus.We walked around the grounds of Timberlane, looking at the new gardens and picking figs. She loved the fresh figs and raved about the delicious lunch she had. We talked about the week at the beach we have planned for later in the summer in Orange Beach where all of our Matherne children and their offspring will be joining us.IMPORTANT MESSAGE:
Del was having lunch one day with her girl-friends and Guntis joined me for lunch that day. He wanted to go to the Point Restaurant on Fourth Street near the Harvey Canal Bridge, my old stomping grounds, so I invited him for a short drive through Westwego, past the one house I've lived for 15 years, longer than any other home I've had, from 1940 to 1955. His lady Anne has gone to spend her summer in New England with grandchildren. Been there, done that, and I'll take New Orleans summers over New England anytime. I rode a motorcycle back in the 1970s when I lived in Foxborough, Massachusetts, and I was chagrined to find that there was not a single evening where I could ride comfortably outdoors during the summer with short sleeves on! Heck, the reason I decided to move back was not the cold winters, I loved them, but like avocado pits are too large, New England winters are too long: one February I was sitting beside a window catching some rays of the Sun when I occurred to me that it would be three months before I could wear a short sleeve shirt during the daytime! That prompted me to haul myself back to a place where the weather suits my clothes preferences, New Orleans. Yesterday morning I went outside at 6 am with a tank top on and it felt just right to have bare shoulders with a tropical breeze blowing over them.
This is time of the month when I hope nothing happens for the rest of the month so I can close out my personal notes without have to add anything to them. If these notes seem shorter this month, it's because so much of my time was spent reading and writing and those activities speak for themselves without my having to mention them here.
EVERY GOOD THING MUST COME TO
A NEW BEGINNING, SO UNTIL NEXT MONTH
For the past 30 days June has been a month of warm summer days, visits with and family and friends. The red, white, pink, and purple Crepe Myrtles trees in New Orleans are coming into full bloom everywhere. No June drought like last year so our citrus and fruit trees look to have a great year. Our Bird of Paradise plants have long, lush-green leaves and will likely bloom for the first time. For summer in New Orleans, natives have learned to wear as little clothes as possible and enjoy the cool mornings and twilight times. God Willing and the winds stay breezy and the showers occasional, we will see you next month in DIGESTWORLD. Till then, whatever you do, wherever in the world you and yours reside, Remember our slogan:
Take Care of Yourself in Twenty-Twelve ! ! !
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Quotes Selected from quotes.htm this month:
- People only pay attention to things they discover for themselves.
Tony Perkins in the movie "Pretty Poison"
New Stuff about Website:TIDBITS PAGES:
Household Hints and Cures has a New Series thanks to Candace Reed.
Check it out by CLICKING HERE!
No Pun in Ten Did has a New Series thanks to John Drybred.
Check it out by CLICKING HERE!
Five Flowers of Shanidar Poems, One from each Chapter:
These poems are from Bobby Matherne’s 1990 book of poetry, Flowers of Shanidar. and have never been published on the Internet before. Each month this section will have five poems, one from each Chapter of the book. (Flowers drawn by Artist Maureen Grace Matherne)
1. Chapter: Hollyhocks
Mendeleev did as he was able
To create a periodic table.
He left blank spaces for the elements
And he ignored the Ph D's laments.
"Dmitri," they would wail, "they just don't fit.
Your table has some vacant spots in it."
"Yes, I know," the table maker replied,
"But by their holes, the missing can be spied."
Leave blank spaces in your life:
Ones not filled with toil or strife.
Plan them empty without sin,
Joy will come to fill them in.
2. Chapter: Hyacinths
Circles of ScienceThe paradigms of science
are a worthy lot
They separate the wheat from the chaff,
the kettle from the pot.
But they are the enemy
of any new idea that you've got.
If Reality is formed from ideas
(and few dare say that it's not)
Then science is the enemy of progress
The very thing that
it says it does the best.
3. Chapter: Rose Mallow
Dance of Energy
is in the tub
as I pull the plug.
As she swims,
the water that washes against her shell
has earlier washed
Against every part of my body.
In the ocean
is water that has washed
Every part of Mother Earth's body
and dissolved within itself,
Evenly distributed:Silt of the Mississippi, Nile, and PoAnd when we bathe our bodies in her ocean,
Minerals from the gorge of the Grand Canyon,
the angular outcroppings of the young
Detritus of 3 billion years of
baths and showers
by the Mother of Us All.
we, like you, dear Ladybug,
rub the molecules of our shell
with molecules of our Mother's body
And in the dance of molecules
exchange our fields of energy.
4. Chapter: Shamrocks
Life's what's bringing things together
Life's what's pulling things apart.
Babe and parents grow together
Loving, nourishing each other
Life's what's bringing them together.
The teen goes off to college
Leaving parents with an empty heart
Life's what's pulling them apart.
Left at home's an empty nest
They re-create what they like best
Life's what's bringing them together.
Father gives away his daughter
Into marriage at the altar
Life's what's pulling them apart
With his grandchildren he's a hit
They love for him to babysit
Life's what's bringing them together.
5. Chapter: Violets
Circles of LifeThe caterpillar is a moving warehouse
Gobbling up leaves as it plows
Across the tender tips leaving
Barren twigs in its tenebrous wake.
Green chyme fills the worm-like tube
Which undulates from leaf to leaf
Until the star wave arrives
From a butterfly-to-be.
The message is to begin to spin
A chrysalis, a tomb, a womb
For the butterfly seed within
To sprout and grow and fend.
And in the fending feeding
On the dark spearmint jello
Of its pendulous home
Until the food is gone.
Hungry, with claustrophobic wings,
The flyer nibbles away
The warehouse walls
And blow-dries its feathery appendages.
New Stuff on the Internet:
- [Sent by Kristina in Australia] Get a Line on Some fun: CLICK HERE!
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. 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 ignore.):
P. S. Ask for Blu-Ray DVD movies from NetFlix."Albert Nobbs” (2011) Glenn Close in a tour de force performance as a lifetime waiter in a Hotel in Dublin who hopes to take a wife and open a tobacco shop. Look for ‘Shirley Valentine’ as Mrs. Baker, the hotel owner.
"Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol” (2011) Hunt’s been a bad boy and accused of blowing up Kremlin, so IMF has disavowed him, the Russian forces are trying kill him, and a rogue Russian is trying to start WWWIII by firing a missile at San Francisco where Hunt’s wife lives. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to believe all this crap, like walking up eleven stories on the glass outside of the 120th floor, etc.
"Contraband” (2012) our first 2012 movie of the year, in June, with Mark Wahlberg, starring the City and Port of New Orleans in another "this is my last job” movie, a smuggling job on a cargo container ship, netting him cocaine, 200 million in counterfeit bills, and a 140 million dollar Jackson Pollack, which customs thought was an old painting tarp! No Art-Sniffing dogs! Dark amoral movie, but gripping.
"Get Low” (2009) 2nd viewing, see digest10b; Robert Duval stars as a hermit for 40 years who gives himself a funeral party inviting the whole region in order to tell his story. A DON’T MISS HIT !
"The Wizard of Oz” (1939) see also W. C. Fields wanted to play the Wizard, but kept dickering over his salary too long. Frank Morgan was chosen and played five characters, see if you can spot them. Buddy Ebsen was chosen for Tin Man and during application of aluminum dust to his make-up he was suddenly unable to breathe and took months to recuperate. The list of movies made in 1939 is incredibly long, with every title recognizable. A flawless masterpiece which never grows old. The lyricist thought of Kansas as flat and drab with the only color provided by the occasional rainbow and thus came his inspiration for the timeless song, "Somewhere Over the Rainbow”. I didn’t see this movie in Technicolor until I was 25 or so, kids today are lucky. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! !
"Meet Me in St. Louis” (1944) five years after "Oz” Judy Garland grows up and gets herself a beau in this amazing period piece about the Louisiana Purchase Centennial Fair held in St. Louis. Note how Halloween back then was TRICK only.
"Hemingway” Disk 1 of 2 (1988) lives through Stacy Keach in this excellent portrayal of his life and four wives Disk 1 takes us through to Pauline. A DON’T MISS HIT !
"Hemingway” Disk 2 of 2 (1988) Hemingway moves on from Pauline, skipping one wife, to Mary Welsh. Powerful scene in which he saves her life after a miscarriage by directing a timid newbie doctor how to get blood into her veins. Unfortunately only twenty seconds of their long life in Kenya in the shadow of Kilimanjaro. A DON’T MISS HIT !
"Young Adult” (2011) is Charliz Theron’s writing genre as a successful writer who discovers you can go home again, but home has never changed and neither have you. A nightmare from which she awakes to find that all her friends have grown up back home and she has remained a young adult. A poignant look at the seamy side of success.
“Alex and Emma” (2003) make a delightful pair, the writer and the steno taking dictation and giving suggestions, getting back “I’m writer, you’re the typist” from Alex. Luke Wilson and Kate Hudson aggravate each other into love, thanks to her final suggestion. A DON’T MISS HIT ! !
“Jane Austen’s Persuasion” (2007) will persuade you that Austen was a brilliant novelist and the BBC does her books-into-movies the best of anyone. Anne Williams, will she get her man before someone else builds such expectations of their crowd that he has to marry that someone else. Why wait for proposal to be offered or accepted before announcing it? Was that considered old-fashioned in Austen’s day?
“The Vow” (2012) Great movie! Brought back memories flooding — triggered by a woman who never regained her memories but regained her life. True story of a woman who refused to make a machine of her mind (what Petrarch said about being a lawyer) and had to do it twice before her family would allow her to become an artist. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! ! ! !
“My Week With Marilyn” (2011) what does a third-assistant director do? Sometimes he goes skinny dipping with Marilyn Monroe and writes a memorable tale. First movie where we get to see behind the mask of a famous movie star to the woman herself. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! ! !
"Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" (2011) Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock are supporting staff to the young man who stars in his amazing adventure in discovering the Sixth Borough his father told him about before dying in one of the towers in "the worst day ever". It's a movie you don't want to end, so full of tender emotions and good feelings. A DON'T MISS HIT ! ! ! ! !
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. "My Father the Hero” (1994) is clueless, as is his teenage daughter; they deserve each other but not my viewing of this idiotic puerile farce. A chick flick that doesn’t click.
“The Woman in Black” (2012) watching Harry Potter star, I wondered if he had his scar removed surgically. Starts off sad and ends tragically, as expected. In last scene we see Daniel Radcliffe smiling for the first time.
Your call on these — your taste in movies may differ, but I liked them:"Conflict” (1945) Bogart has a perfect alibi for his staging of his wife’s death, but one tiny slip a rose to do him in.
“The Station” (2001) sells gasoline and stages adventure during a snowy Polish winter with a dying gangster and a bag of money, a Keystone Kops confusion of bad guys and good guys.
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==Le Broussard Cajun Cottage, drawn by and Copyright 2011 by Paulette Purser, Used by Permission Merci Beaucoup to mon frere T-Paul in Opelousas for this story.
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==Boudreaux and Broussard worked part-time for Father Usay, the priest for Our Lady of the Sea, a small church next to the road along the bayouside, repairing the roof, painting, and cutting the grass.
One week, the good Father asked the Cajun duo to put up a message on the Church Sign near the highway in front of the church. The message they wrote read: BEWARE! THE END IS NEAR!
The two friends were standing up by the road admiring their work when a teenage boy drove by, stuck his head out the window of his pickup truck, gave them the one finger salute, and yelled "Idiots!” at them.
Boudreaux looked at his friend and said, "Mais, w’at you t’ink dat was about?”
Before Broussard could answer, they heard a big splash and they both looked down the bayou.
Broussard said, "Ah guess we should have made the sign say, BEWARE! THE BRIDGE OUT, huh, Boo?”
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5. RECIPE of the MONTH for July, 2012 from Bobby Jeaux’s Kitchen:
(click links to see photo of ingredients, preparation steps)
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =Fruit Smoothie
Background on Fruit Smoothie: One of the wonderful features of our original VitaMix is the spout which can fill a glass or two of the smoothie as soon as it is ready. Have extra fruit sitting in the fridge? Pop it into a blender with a few smoothing ingrediants and you'll be sipping cool in no time at all. Made more than you anticipated? No problem, just pour extra into ice cube trays and freeze for gnoshing on later while watching a movie.
Two scooops of small ice cubes (or whatever you have)
Large spoons of Plain Yogurt
Strawberries, pineapple chunks, apricots, etc.
Couple of teaspoons of Honey
An ounce or two of orange or other fruit juice for liquid
One or two fresh bananas
Squirt honey over the pineapple chunks and stir around.
Add one or two scoops of small ice cubes, then the fruit, yogurt and orange juice. Blend until smooth, then pour into glass ande enjoy.
If any left over, pour into ice cube trays and freeze for later enjoyment. One tray as shown fills two tumblers. Allow to sit for about 15 minutes, then it will chop easily with a fork and can be eaten easily for a late night treat in the summer time.
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6. POETRY by BOBBY from Three Lectures on the Mystery Dramas:
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Karma SpinsKarma spins in World becoming
How our lives in one life lives.
How we live and have our being
In this one life that we live,
Spinning knots from out of threads
Forming lives from living circles
Weaving one life where it leads
To where this karma lives in us.
On the shore the waves are lapping
In my soul a tidal surging
Overwhelms me from within
Tossing threads of karma flying.
All my threads become as glimmer
Beings — each one quite unique —
Theodora as a seeress seeing
Reveals to us what humans seek.
With so much light upon the shore
A light pours out from in my soul,
Kindling my own karma as it crosses
With the karma of the world.
With the wings of love I journey
On my way to higher worlds,
With the morning star to lead me
With the blazoned flag unfurled,
My spirit eyes which should awake
Spirit lay as seed within me
And I this deed of heaven take
As my awaited destiny.
A clever cat with crass eclat
Spins endless tales of everyday
And out the dross of nighttime’s hat
Extracts the truth of spirit’s way
And finds that bridge that leads
Along the spirit's hidden way
From human thoughts to living deeds
From nighttime dreams to light of day.
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7. REVIEWS and ARTICLES for July:
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And for my Good Readers, here’s the new reviews and articles for this month. The ARJ2 ones are new additions to the top of A Reader’s Journal, Volume 2, Chronological List, and the ART ones to A Reader’s Treasury. NOTE: these Blurbs are condensations of the Full Reviews sans footnotes and many quoted passages.
1.) ARJ2: Building Great Sentences: Exploring the Writer’s Craft by Brooks Landon
Why am I reviewing my first Transcript Book? Over the past twenty years I have continued my college education, expanding it from Science into the Arts side of Arts & Science with the help of the Teaching Company's courses. They have allowed me to study with eminent professors from Cambridge to Iowa without having to travel long distances to do so, but I did leave home for the lectures because I chose to listen to these audio tapes and CD's in the comfort of my Maxima automobile over its fine Bose sound system. After I retired in 1995 to begin writing full-time, I enjoyed being home all day, writing and reading at my leisure on things I was interested in, and soon I was publishing books and creating a website.
In 1998, my daughter Maureen invited me to attend graduate courses on Education with her at the University of New Orleans where she was working on her Ph. D. Over a couple of years, I received credit for courses, in College Curriculum, College Teaching, etc. and enjoyed being back in college. Maureen and I would meet at PJ's Coffeeshop near the campus and her friend Mary, taking the same class as we were would join us for a latte and some discussion of the upcoming class or the term project we were collaborating on, and then we would drive together in one car to save on the auto registration fee. The double latte would keep me bright and awake during the three-hour lectures which were interesting and exciting enough without the coffee, but I came to enjoy PJ's lattes. After Maureen moved on into Statistics and Administration courses, I stayed home to work once more. But I noticed that during those long days at home, with my wife still working away from home full-time, I missed the Break Room which we had at all my previous jobs, a place where I could get up from my desk, walk over to a place to get coffee and interact with co-workers who might be taking a break at the same time. As fun and free as it was working at my own pace at home, I decided it was time for me to find, to create my own Break Room, and that turned out to be our local PJ's Coffeeshop, about 20 minutes drive from my desk. It was at this time, that I began ordering Teaching Co. courses and listening to them on my way to PJ's for a coffee break. During a round-trip to PJ's in the morning, I could get through one complete lecture or so of whatever course I was taking. Over the past dozen years I have bought and listened to over 60 Teaching Company lectures.(1) One could say that I used to go to PJ's on my way to college and now I go college on my way to PJ's.
Through all the courses, I absorbed the information verbally and rarely had to open the small Summary Book of each lecture, mostly I did so for spelling of unusual words and places, or to look at diagrams and maps. If I wanted to refresh my memory, I would re-listen to the lectures, which has also proved helpful in a few cases. About five years ago, I noticed that the Teaching Company was offering Transcript Books, a complete transcription of the lectures. When I ordered a second copy of "Building Great Sentences" I was offered the Transcript Book for half-price, and I accepted it, thinking this was a course that I wanted to re-study the way I do books, and that means writing a review of it after reading it.
A few words about the lecturer, Professor Brooks Landon, Ph. D., professor of English at the University of Iowa: he is a delight to listen to and the information he presents is congruent in both content and process: if he is discussing the virtue of cumulative sentences, he will be speaking in cumulative sentences as well as offering outstanding examples of other writers doing so. He demonstrates, lecture after lecture, that he has mastered the content he is presenting and is able to demonstrate his mastery in his own speaking and writing. And a few words about the Transcript Book format: each lecture begins with the summary of the lecture in the Summary Book that comes with the CD and then is followed by full lecture. My quoted passages may thus come from either and not noted which. His summaries are as brilliant as his full text, but shorter, more concise. And a few words about how my taking Landon's course has change me: I came to realize that my writing style was better suited for scientific writing than literature: I was as if still in the hobbles of high school English. The marvels of cumulative sentences that he unfolded to me opened my eyes to the possibility of writing a narrative of events, invoking emotions, feelings, and anticipations of readers, pulling the readers into a new reality, grabbing their attention, keeping them rapt in breathless anticipation. And that previous sentence would have been impossible for me to write absent Prof. Landon's lectures.
The good professor was not presumptuous with his title "Building Great Sentences", nor with the subtitle "Exploring the Writer's Craft". The writer's craft is constructed of sentences, no matter what form it takes or what subject it handles. Annie Dillard once told a person who asked her if he might become a writer, "I don't know. Do you like sentences?"
[page 2] "This is what I mean when I call myself a writer," writes novelist Don Daylily, "I construct sentences."
If you don't like sentences, you will be bored with being a writer in short order. If you love sentences, they will become objects of affection: you will play with them in sometimes endless combinations, petting them, coddling them, ruffling their feathers, scalping them, marching them, etc, until at last you find a living sentence that cannot be further improved, up until now. I add that last phrase, because a written sentence can be improved by the next person who reads it; an assiduous writer wants to be that next person.
For myself, after I have written a long review or essay and have turned it over to my copy-editor, the best part is yet to come: the phase of writing that I, after Annie Dillard's lead, call "Playing with Sentences". This phase begins with gestation, which I see as a process of forgetting, forgetting that these words I am about to read were written by me, a process which can happen overnight, but usually three or four days is better. I begin reading the piece of writing as if someone else wrote it, and I find kinks in the wording, a better way of saying the same thing, a new word order, phrases that are redundant, typographical errors, and an amazing zoo of weird animals that have filled my writing. I tackle the zoo by keeping the animals I like and releasing back into the wild of the Text Sea(2) those I dislike. This might seem like drudgery to many writers, but consider how often you read an article or a passage in a book in which you think you could have written it better than the author: Well, here's your chance to do exactly that!
Since I am also the publisher of my work, I have the ability to publish my writing on-line at any time in the process of writing and revision. Since I currently average about 3,000 readers a day of the material on my website, as soon as I publish something on-line, some of those readers may be reading the new material, and that thought creates in me the impetus to re-read the material on-line as soon as possible and go through another level of playing with sentences! Catch that crazy aardwolf roaming in one of my sentences and toss her out before some strange reader catches sight of her. Don't you know about the promiscuous habits of the female aardwolf? One never knows where its offspring might emerge into sight and turn a readable sentence into a risible one.
Okay, all you writers and wannabe writers out there, Raise your hand if you like dealing with grammar! Hmmm, can't see any hands going up — makes sense to me, because grammar ain't no fun, no how! If a centipede tried to parse the order in which his legs move, he could never advance a centimeter, and a millipede nary a millimeter. Parsing, graphing and analyzing sentences is about the boringest job imaginable. Grammar to sentences is as important as learning to pedal a bicycle, how to start it going, and how to stop it safely, but one soon forgets the grammar of bike-riding when the cool air is blowing past your face and shoulder, and thus should it be for a writer. Grammar is important for stopping and starting parts of a sentence, but concentration on grammar will not allow you to create breezy sentences that cool and delight your readers. Professor Landon recognizes this and focuses on rhetorical aspects of sentences rather than grammatical aspects. If you wish to learn about how to create sentences that live, he will help you.
[page 3] We will learn how what is generally referred to as a sentence's style results from the strategies it employs for combining its underlying ideas or propositions. Accordingly, our goal will be to learn everything we can about how the sentences combine ideas. Understanding how sentences put ideas together is the first step in understand how they do things, the ways in which they work, the way they present information, and the ways they unfold their meanings — and to learn how t make them work for us. . . . Because our concern will be with how sentences work, the terms we will use will be rhetorical rather than grammatical, terms that help us understand how sentences move, how they take steps, speeding up and slowing down, how make us feel, rather terms that label the parts of sentence much as we would label the parts of dissected — and quite dead — frogs. This means that we will study the sentence as a thing in motion, a thing alive, considering the strategies that give sentences pace and rhythm, particularly the duple rhythms of balance and three-beat rhythms of serial constructions.
If you are looking for someone who will teach you how to write correctly or fix some problems you have in your writing, Professor Landon is not your man.
[page 8] In other words, this is a course in which we will dance with language, not a course in which will trudge toward remedial correctness. This is a course designed to help you write better sentences.
Write better sentences using the moves and strategies of the cumulative sentence as "employed by professional writers and best understood in terms first laid out by composition theorist Francis Christensen back in the 1960s." (Page 8) Writing better sentences will often include writing longer sentences than you ever wrote before, and this may seem strange to you at first, until you notice the power that a well-constructed cumulative sentence can bring to bear when describing a narrative situation in particularly.
[page 10] Listen to Joseph Conrad's elegantly balanced and extended sentence describing a native woman in the "Heart of Darkness", and I love this sentence, "She was savage and superb, wild-eyed and magnificent; there was something ominous and stately in her deliberate progress."
Gertrude Stein was a master craftsman of words and sentences, often writing sentences longer than a page. Here is a passage from her book I read back in 1984 in which one of her most memorable phrases appears. You likely have heard it, but perhaps never in its original context. These are some of her shorter sentences, but one can see the master at work.
[page 218 from How to Write ] It is natural to suppose that a rose is a rose is a rose is a rose. It is as natural to suppose that everything is why they went. It is also as natural to suppose that they might be inattentive when they had aroused what was why and when it could be lost. Where could it be lost. It is natural to suppose that because inadvertently they were obliged to be careful they might be nearly very often very well inclined to like and admire it here.
On page 39 of the same book, Stein begins her chapter "Arthur a Grammar" with this sentence, "Successions of words are so agreeable." In her entire book, there appears to be not a single question, merely declarative statements and sentence fragments. A sentence fragment is a succession of words that is agreeable. Her book How to Write breaks nearly every rule of sentence construction I was taught in high school and college. On pages 11, 12 Landon offers nine ways Stein might have written her saying using sentences and questions, but none of them got close to her "Successions of words are so agreeable." Nevertheless he distills an important point from her writing.
[page 11] "Why should a sequence of words be anything but a pleasure?" is a saying attributed to Gertrude Stein, and certainly the sequences of words we identify as sentences are capable of providing pleasure, just as surely as they are capable of conveying crucial information. Sometimes the most important information sentences convey is pleasure, as they unfold their meanings in ways that tease, surprise, test, and satisfy. Sometimes the way sentences unfold their meaning is the most important meaning they offer.
To be a writer, it seems to me, is to understand that a succession of words may be agreeable while offering either pleasure or displeasure, something Gertrude Stein famously understood.
To be a writer is to understand what a proposition is and when a succession of words contains one. Landon understands this well, and I very much appreciate his sharing that understanding with me. What I got from his exposition is that the sentence is the visible piece of writing , like the part of iceberg sticking out of the seawater, and the proposition or propositions are the underwater and invisible pieces of the sentence, often not visible and not written out. A simple sentence such as this: "The Titanic sailed." brings up all kinds of hidden meanings we call propositions, very much as the short biblical passage, "Jesus wept." is more that a description of a man weeping.
[page 12] I like to think of the written sentence as the part of the iceberg you see above water, while many of it underlying propositions remain out of sight underwater. To put it another way, propositions are the atoms from which the molecule of the sentence is constructed.
The above passage inspired me to write a litany of propositions, each line is short, but the propositions embedded in each one can create juxtapositions which range from mundane to humorous to nonsense. The writer writes the words and the reader reacts to the propositions which arise within while reading.
What is a Writer?
A writer is:
A blacksmith of words
A mason of phrases
A builder of sentences
An architect of books
A plumber of meanings
An electrician of shocks
A painter of adjectives
Dali depicting dripping metonymy
Monet painting pools of similes
Magritte scratching scrimshaw of metaphors
Picasso penning blockheaded verse
Da Vinci creating a TV Dinner
Michelangelo painting a Cistern
Beethoven composing Be Bop
Mozart reciting the rosary
Bach eating a Zweibach
Arnold Palmer playing Putt-Putt
Jack Nicholson playing Jack Nicholas
Bogart making a double-bogey
Tiger losing his balls in the Woods
A lion tamer going wild
Fred Astaire taking boxing lessons
Esther Williams learning to tap dance
Busby Berkeley repairing kaleidoscopes
Noah opening a zoo
Moses learning to read
Bobby writing propositions.
Want to be a writer? My advice is this:
Become sentence acrobats
swinging on a star,
leaping from one clause to another,
Flying mast-over-beam, mid-air, with
Your only net the moist ground below
Your only tent the night sky above,
Navigating without maps,
Hope as your only compass.
On page 42, Landon offers us a sentence that is jampacked with propositions with the base clause coming first, "He drove the car carefully, his shaggy hair whipped by the wind, his eyes hidden behind wraparound mirror shades, his mouth set in a grim smile, a .38 Police Special on the seat beside him, the corpse stuffed in the trunk." Then he shows in succeeding pages the effect of moving the base clause through the middle of the sentence all the way to the end, "His shaggy hair whipped by the wind, his eyes hidden behind wraparound mirror shades, his mouth set in a grim smile, a .38 Police Special on the seat beside him, the corpse stuffed in the trunk, he drove the car carefully." Note the different in tone of the each possibility of sentence structure, all of which are under the selective eye of the writer. But the first sentence form was the one that Landon liked, the surprise of the corpse in the trunk coming at the end. He says "even Professor Strunk suggests, 'The proper place in the sentence for the word or group of words that the writer desires to make the most prominent is usually the end.'"
During my training in the 1980s for certification as an NLP Practitioner, we were asked to learn the 32 kinds of presuppositions that Bandler and Grinder outlined in the Glossary of their book, Structure of Magic, in 1975. They explained how presuppositions represent hidden propositions lying dormant in the visible statements that one makes and how one must be ready to identify them when in they appear in clients' statements about themselves. For example, a young girl in therapy opens her statement to Dr. Milton Erickson, "My mother got pregnant out of wedlock, and here I am." Two simple statements, but fraught with propositions about the girl's life and the problems she was currently experiencing.
Landon says, " 'I like hamburgers' expresses a thought, but what exactly do I mean by like?" Or what kind of hamburgers, perhaps? A recent movie was named "Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle" — its droll title calling up any number of propositions about hamburgers because of the hamburger chain named White Castle is famous for its hamburgers. The entire movie can be understood like a long suspended syntax sentence with the base clause of "Harold and Kumar go to White Castle" and which sentence is only fulfilled when the two buddies wind up after many adventures in a White Castle outlet to order their hamburgers.
Landon uses the word form as I use the word process, thus the form of a sentence, to my way of understanding it, is the process one goes through in reading or hearing it. It is a live process which everyone does for oneself in a unique fashion and creates the variety of responses that different people have to the same writing. Landon claims that "form is content and style is meaning", and he explains it this way:
[page 17] Another way of looking at this assumption — that form is content, style is meaning — is to say that when we write, we are doing something with our sentences, and what we do unfolds in time, whether to our readers' eyes or ears. The summarizable or paraphrasable information conveyed in our sentences is only a part of their meaning, since what they do to a reader, the way they direct the reader's thinking and unfold information, may be as or more important than the information they contain.
A process is something which only unfolds in time; content is something which is frozen in time. Process is a territory; content is the map of the territory. As Alfred Korzybski famously claimed and proved to be so in his General Semantics, "A map is not the territory; it cannot represent all the territory." If we summarize, we create a map of a process thereby squeezing the life out of the process all the while pretending that we have allowed the reader of our summary to have the vital information of the original. But the very vital, living portion, of the original will likely be in the exact order of the words used in the original and the living effect it has on people reading it.
That is why I chose to emphasize Gertrude Stein's original words, "Successions of words are so agreeable." She apparently, so far as I can discover, did not write her thought as this question, "Why should a sequence of words be anything but a pleasure?" (3) but instead wrote a concise declarative sentence about the subjective agreeable effect that a succession words can have on one; whether or not one's succession of words describes a pleasurable or painful event, one can still find the succession of words agreeable. This aspect of living meaning is the reason that one quotes the direct words of an author whenever possible and distinguishes one's own paraphrasing from the author's original words.
On page 23, Landon quotes John Steinbeck's memorable passage about the Mexican sierra, a fish which will challenge all the strength and wiles of a fisherman and has XVII-15-IX spines in its dorsal fin. One can only count those spines on a dead sierra, however, not on pulsating, thumping fish which lands on board, flashing its colors in the Sun. Spines are content and the live sierra is process. Summarizing a sierra's fins may have a content and scientific value, but the process of catching a live sierra is lost thereby. Sentences are like the live sierra, they thump and pulsate, and our heart thumps and pulsates when a sentence grabs us and won't let go until, exhausted, we come to its end.
[page 24] Sentences are alive. We experience them in time, and we react to them unfolding as they twist and turn, challenging us, teasing us, surprising us, and sometimes boring or confusing us as we read them. Accordingly, whenever possible, I will use terms in this course that focus on the sentence as a thing in motion, an experience, something with which we form a relational reality when we read, rather than as something stiff and lifeless, whose parts can be counted or named. . . . I see this distinction as primarily between viewing the sentence as a grammatical phenomenon or as a rhetorical phenomenon.
To put it simply: grammar deals with content; rhetoric deals with process. Both are important to a sentence, but unfortunately the way English is taught in most places focuses mostly on grammar (content), ignoring the much more difficult aspect of rhetoric (process). Content can be taught, but process can only be learned. Landon equates grammar with the counting of spines on a dead fish (Page 30) and rhetoric with "the best ways of getting and holding attention with language, and shaping that attention to achieve particular outcomes." (Page 31) Rhetoric is like landing a lively sports fish, cleaning it, and preparing an elegant and tasty seafood dish with it, such as Pampano en Papillotte.
Does Prof. Landon suggest that we all write longer sentences? No, he does not.
[page 25] It's far easier to remember the term simple and direct as a summary of Jacques Barzun's advice in his Simple & Direct: A Rhetoric for Writers than it is to remember simple does not mean simplistic, direct does not mean short, and simple and direct does not mean that we should write like Ernest Hemingway in a hurry.
Instead he calls for sentences to be as long as the sentence demands for its fullest understanding, and one can be sure that if one writes a long sentence that is interesting and cannot be easily summarized, that Prof. Landon would likely approve of the sentence.
[page 25] Accordingly, one of the assumptions shaping my approach to teaching writing is that unless the situation demands otherwise, sentences that convey more information are more effective than those that covey less. Sentences that anticipate and answer more questions that a reader might have are better than those that answer fewer questions. Sentences that bring ideas and images into clearer focus by adding more useful details and explanation are generally more effective than those that are less clearly focused and that offer fewer details. In practice, this means that I generally value longer sentences over shorter sentences, as long as the length accomplishes some of those important goals I've just mentioned.
Landon doesn't mince words when it comes to the definition of style, but rather gives us a short one that anyone can remember, "Style is what the writer writes and/or what the reader reads." He adds, "That's about as inclusive a definition of style as one can get." (Page 32) His definition focuses on style as process: what the writer writes — what the reader reads. Yes, content is important, but without style, few will read it.
Landon chooses(4) the final sentence of Joseph Conrad's The Secret Sharer to illustrate a cumulative sentence in which the base clause is in the second position and fourth position (involving the narrator seeing white hat), but the sentence encapsulates the entire story into one sentence.
[page 47 The Secret Sharer] Walking to the taffrail, I was in time to make out, on the very edge of a darkness thrown by a towering black mass like the gateway of Erebus-- yes, I was in time to catch an evanescent glimpse of my white hat left behind to mark the spot where the secret sharer of my cabin and of my thoughts, as though he were my second self, had lowered himself into the water to take his punishment: a free man, a proud swimmer striking out for a new destiny.
We can almost hear the music swell as Conrad's narrator marks the departure of Leggatt, whom the narrator has helped escape formal trial for a murder at sea, having decided that Leggatt's action was justified by an extreme set of circumstances, an early brief for situational ethics.
Landon loves cumulative sentences — as he explains:
[page 49] I like everything that a cumulative sentence does, from the way it allows us to add detail or information to a base clause, to the way its distinctive rhythm calls attention to the sentence as a thing in motion, making it particularly effective for capturing actions. It's no accident that sportwriters and writers of hardboiled detective stories use cumulative syntax for all its worth.
Here is a suspensive syntax, cumulative sentence describing two real events which happened to me, the second event about ten years after the first:
I began to write a suspensive syntax sentence describing a peaceful Easter Sunday morning, one I remember well, the walking outside early to fetch my newspaper to read while drinking my first cup of coffee to be poured shortly from the pot brewing in the kitchen, everyone in the house sound asleep, my wife in our bed, our daughter and her three small children in the guest room and living room, the baskets lovingly prepared and left by the Easter Bunny gracing the buffet a few feet from where three angelic faces were smiling on air mattresses on the floor, my oyster-dressing stuffed turkey newly placed into the oven, the shrimp-stuffed merlitons, green bean casserole, and pecan pies, all in a state of readiness for a grand family meal in a few hours, given no unforeseen circumstances such as the drain pipe from the water heater dripping water, which I noticed as I turned in the breezeway, requiring immediate attention, leading me to run up the steps into the attic to troubleshoot the dripping, which I soon discovered to my chagrin, came from the leaking heater and which I figured might be stopped by tightening a faucet but instead the faucet shot out of my hand, flying across the top of the living room, unleashing a continuous half-inch stream of scalding hot water in its wake with my only recourse to divert the hot water into the drain pan with my foot insulated from the heat by the sole of my deck shoe and to attempt to shut off the water, only the shut-off valve was unreachable without removing my foot, and I began screaming loud enough to waken the dead, or at least fetch my sleeping wife to the ladder to the attic, where I could request she immediately shut off the main water valve, but before I could complete my suspensive syntax sentence, my wife came into our cruise ship stateroom to ask what I was doing.
As a writer of poetry and prose, I appreciate Landon's including this passage from Josephine Miles' 1967 book Style and Proportion: The Language of Prose and Poetry.
[page 61, Miles] While every few feet, verse reverses, repeats, and reassesses the pattern of its progression, prose picks up momentum toward its forward goal in strides variably adapted to its burdens and purposes. Both use steps; neither merely flows; each may be perceived and followed by its own stages of articulation.
Landon introduced me to Ursula Le Guin's fine book on writing, Steering the Craft which I then bought, read and reviewed in 2009. He notes her advice on the virtue of long sentences which end with this quote on page 40 of her book.
[page 71, Le Guin] Teachers trying to get school kids to write clearly, and journalists with their weird rules of writing, have filled a lot of heads with the notion that the only good sentence is a short sentence. This is true for convicted criminals.
He offers us, however, a caveat about constipated sentences with clauses so crammed together that one cannot pull any sense out of them. Here's one example of such a sentence, followed by its version loosened up by Landon.
[page 73] It is encouraging to note the progress made by beekeeping to meet the challenging times, particularly in connection with the difficult problem of pesticides as they relate to the keeping of bees in the highly cultivated areas where bees are needed for pollination.
If your eyes glazed over reading that sentence, so did mine — unfortunately I used similar writing structures when I was writing for scientific publications in my youth. Note the improvement after he administers a cumulative dose of literary Ex-Lax:
[page 74] Beekeeping is making encouraging progress, responding to challenging times, facing challenges such as the difficult problem of pesticides, the problem being to keep bees in the highly cultivated areas where bees are needed for pollination.
Landon excavates John Erskine's contribution to the cumulative sentence, his 1946 essay, "The Craft of Writing". Here's Landon quote of Erskine:
[page 89, Erskine] Let me suggest here one principle of the writer's craft, which though known to practitioners I have never seen discussed in print. The principle is this: When you write, you make a point not subtracting as though you sharpened a pencil, but by adding. When you put one word after another, your statement should be more precise the more you add. If the result is otherwise, you have added the wrong thing, or you have added more than was needed.
As a wood sculptor, artisan of a craft which proceeds by subtracting, I can see now that writing is more like clay sculpting which proceeds by adding and adding until you achieve the precise result you desire with your sculpture.
Here is another quote from Erskine that is insightful, the concept of a noun as a trailer hitch, what you add to the noun is like what you hook onto a trailer hitch determines what kind of activity you are going to participate in.
[page 89, Erskine] What you wish to say is found not in the noun but in what you add to qualify the noun. The noun is only a grappling iron to hitch your mind to the reader's. The noun by itself adds nothing to the reader's information; it is the name of something he knows already, and if he does not know it, you cannot do business with him. The noun, the verb, and the main clause serve merely as a base on which meaning will rise. The modifier is the essential part of any sentence . . . In practice, therefore, the sentence proceeds from something the reader may be expected to know already toward whatever new thing we wish to tell him. we proceed by addition.
Here is a sentence I most admire, written by Landon, illustrating in process what is being discussed in content, a cumulative sentence written to describe the virtues and structure of cumulative sentences while demonstrating an effective example of a cumulative sentence in itself.
[page 102] The cumulative is, as Francis Christensen suggested, a generative syntax in the sense that it encourages writers to add information to their sentences, relying on free modifying phrases after the base clause, each new phrase a step forward for the sentence, each new phrase sharpening the sentence by adding new details or offering clarification or explanation for propositions advanced in the base clause or preceding modifying phrase.
Cumulative sentences can consist of coordinate modifying phrases and subordinate modifying phrases. The example Landon gives below consists of subordinate and coordinate modifying phrases, he shows the subordinate phrases by (2), (3), (4), and (5) and the coordinate phrase by repeating the number like this (2) (2).
[page 133] (1) Cumulative sentences can take any number of forms, (2) detailing both frozen or static scenes and moving processes, (2) their insistent rhythm always asking for another modifying phrase, (3) allowing us to achieve ever-greater degrees of specificity and precision, (4) a process of focusing the sentence in much the same way a movie camera can focus and refocus on a scene, (5) zooming in for a close-up to reveal almost microscopic detail, (5) panning back to offer a wide-angle panorama, (5) offering new angles or perspectives from which to examine a scene or consider data.
If you have any doubt about whether your cumulative sentence works, read it aloud is Landon's prescription. You'll know because if works, the gyroscopic action of the sentence will keep it in balance; your eyes will see the pretty picture the content portrays and your ears will hear and you will feel the balance of the gyro-action.
Here's a masterful paragraph by Landon in which he uses the hand as a simile for the cumulative sentence, using a cumulative sentence to do the heavy lifting. Note the variation in size of his sentences.
[page 163] We should think of cumulative form much as we think of the human hand, which functions in an infinite number of ways, depending on what we need it to do. Sentences are like hands. we use both to meet the needs of particular situations, and the point is almost never how we label or classify either our sentences when we set them to particular tasks, or what a hand does when we use to point or pick up or squeeze or gesture or sort or hold, or do any of the infinite number of tasks a hand routinely performs. the point is simple to get the job done.
Are you a writer or a security camera? I admit that I began as a security camera, simply recording events I saw as accurately as possible. It worked for my scientific writing, but reporting on a meeting of our Lockheed Management Club, which was a congenial get together with a guest speaker, I needed to put some feelings and some fun into the report. Writing up those meeting blurbs for our monthly newsletter became fun for me and I looked forward to the opportunity.
[page 191] One of the most important assumptions of this course is that the most effective prose establishes a relationship between writer and reader. That's a relationship between two people, two distinct personalities. If our writing doesn't offer some glimpses of writers as personalities, it's hard to say that it has a style, much less that its style will appeal to readers. As I noted in the last lecture, if our writing displays no more of the way we think, the ways in which we process information, than does objective technology, such as that we might find in a security camera at a convenience store, it probably doesn't matter that what we write accurately records and reports information. That's the difference between a writer and a security camera: The security camera only records what takes place in front of its lens, while the writer thinks about, reflects upon, forms opinions about, and frequently comments on what he or she is writing about.
One form of objective technology which has become popular is YouTube which provides a security camera view with audio. It has its place, but it cannot take the place of writing because the videos cannot provide what the actor or subject is thinking about, reflecting upon, forming opinions about while being recorded, something in the purview of every writer. I think that Landon has hit on the primary reason why all the jazzy Internet media have not reduced the popularity of magazines, those colorful shiny objects you can handle and open up to find filled with opinion, insightful reflections, informational commentary, and delightful stories. In fact, from what I hear the popularity of magazines have increased since the advent of the Internet!
Alan Turing proposed a way of determining if computers have reached the level of human intelligence: we interact over a keyboard (like via email) and if we determine by the answers coming back that a human being is on the other end, but it turns out to be actually a computer, then computers have reached the level of humanity. I once proposed that a computer writing poetry was no big deal, but if a computer could select great poetry, that would be a big deal — those automatons we call computers would have reached the level of humanity. Unless we write like a human being, including some of what we think, feel, or have opinions about, we might as well be an automaton, because we have lost the essence of our own humanity.
[page 192] The style of our writing is determined by a huge number of variables, but one aspect of that style should always be that our writing present us as individual consciousnesses, as personalities who process the information we pass on in our writing, rather than as automatons who only record, report, or summarize information, as if it were being spewed out by a machine, or even worse, by a committee.
Now, in a transcribed lecture, one might expect to find a typographical error due to a phonological ambiguity, but this one is so droll that it deserves special mention. First, the passage as printed and spoken:
[page 196] Some cumulative sentences place a second-level modifying phrase just after the first clause in a compound sentence and just before the second clause, as in this sentence from E. B. White:They damned the falls, shutting out the tide, and dug a pit so deep you could look down and see China.
Did you pick up the typo? If not read the above passage again. If this was being transcribed by an automaton, like Dragon Naturally Speaking, a Word Perfect product that I fought with years ago before giving up on it, the typo would be natural: it's due to the phonological ambiguity of dam and damn. It's just a damn typo! Or a dam typo! Clearly E. B. White didn't said that damning the falls would shut out the tide. Blame the damn automaton or an inattentive copy-editor who should have caught the transcription error.
Every now and then a marvelous phrase comes along which rolls off the tongue and tickles the fancy, and Edwin Newman, the droll and learned television commentator and writer came up with this one, "microcluster of structured role expectations." Here it is in context:
[page 244, italics added] And Edwin Newman also utilizes this two-sentence suspensive patter to powerful effect in his essay on viable solutions:
The day is not far off when someone about to join his family will excuse himself by saying that he does not want to keep his microcluster of structured role expectations waiting. True, I came upon this gem of social-scientific jargon in London, but that only shows how far our influence has spread and how determined the British are to join the Americans at the kill when the English language finally is done to death.
My wife and I have four offspring each from our first spouse. Each set of four offspring bring with them, singly or en masse, a unique microcluster of structured role expectations and God help the step-parent who unwittingly transgresses upon one of those! In the various chemical, manufacturing, and power plants where I worked, we shortened the process of stepping out of bounds of a microcluster of structured role expectations, by calling it a cluster-f---k. This phrase brought a sense of levity to the chaos and helped those of us involved to maintain a degree of sanity, which we might else have lost.
When building suspensive sentences, one should be aware of what Mark Twain said about German in a speech:
[page 257, Mark Twain] A verb has a hard enough time of it in this world when it is all together. It's downright inhuman to split it up. But that's what those Germans do. They take part of a verb and put it down here, like a stake, and they take the other part and put it away over yonder like another stake, and between those two limits they just shovel in German.
All the English courses I took gave explanations of how to use colons and semi-colons, but none of them were very useful to me as a writer, but finally, after Lecture 16 of Professor Landon, I got it: Use colons to perform the magic trick that you built up to, but which no one expects.
Use semi-colons to build up to the final trick; like in joke-telling where everyone expects a joke to end in a punch line; the build-up happens in-between, separated by semi-colons; then following the colon: the punch-line!
Balanced sentences, we recognize their power when we read them, but may not recognize them as part of the form called balanced sentences.
[page 283] A balanced sentence hinges in the middle, usually split by a semicolon, the second half of the sentence paralleling the first half, but change one or two key words or altering word order. In this sense, the second half of the sentence can be thought of as a kind of mirror image of the first half, the reflection reversing the original image. Balanced sentences really call attention to themselves and stick in the mind, drawing their power from the tension set up between repetition and variation.
Here are some practice balanced sentences I wrote to get familiar with the form:
Did I write this sentence, or did it write me?
Much as he wrote the sentence, the sentence wrote him.
Try to write the sentence; it will then write you.
Write if you will, and will if you write.
And a short poem this meditation inspired:
What Is It To Be A Writer?
To write sentences
To forge them in the fires of will
To ink them upon a page
To abandon them to the surprise
of unsuspecting readers.
Parallelism is another form in sentences, and I am delighted to discover that faulty parallelism escapes the notice of computerized grammar and style checkers as pointed out by Landon here:
[page 294] In similar fashion, The Little, Brown Handbook (5th ed.) Offers this restrained and somewhat redundant definition: "Parallelism matches the form of your sentence to its meanings: when your ideas are equally important or parallel, you express them in similar, or parallel grammatical form," and it offers the understated example, "The air is dirtied by factories belching smoke and vehicles spewing exhaust." The only advantage for parallelism cited in The Little, Brown Handbook is that "it can work like glue to link the sentences of a paragraph as well as the parts of sentence," and it devoted equal attention to warning that computer grammar and style checker "cannot recognize faulty parallelism" because they "cannot recognize the relations among ideas."
This last caveat should cool the ardor of Artificial Intelligence fanatics who claim computers will come to be as smart as a human being, a goal as outrageous as it would be to claim humans will come to be as smart as God.(5)
[page 299] One of the best-known examples of the balanced sentence comes from John F. Kennedy's Inaugural Address: "Ask not what you country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country."
The double beat or duple rhythm of balanced form may derive its almost visceral power from the basic lub-dub beat of the human heart; the double words and forms of the balanced sentence derive their power an ability to stick in the mind from a mirroring effect that asks not what we can do with balanced form but what balance forms do to us.
In Kahlil Gibran's book, Mirrors of the Soul (published 1965, 1915 translation) in Chapter 8 "Ask Not What Your Country Can Do For You," there is an Essay titled "The New Frontier" which contains the following two passages:
[page 60, 61 Gibran] There is in the Middle East an awakening that defies slumber. This awakening will conquer because the sun is its leader and the dawn is its army. In the fields of the Middle East, which have been a large burial ground, stand the youth of Spring calling the occupants of the sepulchers to rise and march toward the new frontiers. . . . Are you a politician asking what your country can do for you or a zealous one asking what you can do for your country.
For President Kennedy's Inaugural Address, his speech writer apparently borrowed the Essay title for the theme for Kennedy's presidency, The New Frontier, and slightly reworded this wonderful parallel construction for his famous imperative statement "Ask not what you country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country" which is remembered and attributed to Kennedy, up until now.
Landon introduced me to William Gass's On Being Blue which I quickly acquired and reviewed. He said, Gass writes sentences that "do things, they are alive, are closely tied to the body's basic rhythms, and, when in the hands of a masterful writer, can be taught steps that dance across the lips and across the page." I will include the last half of the long two-sentence paragraph of Gass's that he quotes below:
[page 333] . . . blue is the color of the mind in borrow of the body; it is the color consciousness becomes when caressed; it is the dark inside of sentences, sentences which follow their own turnings inward out of sight like the whorls of a shell, and which we follow warily, as Alice after that rabbit, nervous and white, till suddenly — there! climbing down clauses and passing through 'a-n-d' as it opens — there — there — we're here! . . . in time for tea and tantrums; such are the sentences we should like to love — the ones which love us and themselves as well — incestuous sentences — sentences which make an imaginary speaker speak the imagination loudly to the reading eye; that have a kind of orality transmogrified; not the tongue touching the genital tip, but the idea of the tongue, the thought of the tongue, word-wet to part-wet, public mouth to private, seed to speech, and speech . . . ah! After exclamations, groans, with order gone, disorder on the way, we subside through sentences like these, the risk of senselessness like this, to float like leaves on the restful surface of that world of words to come, and there, in peace, patiently to dream of the sensuous, imagined, and mindful Sublime.
Professor Brooks Landon is not offering rules for writing, but suggesting what rules we should follow and which rules we should not follow, and should is too strong a word for his suggestions, as he gives us many options to choose from, such as: writing style should be what Richard Graves suggests, "a way of finding and explaining what is true.”
[page 380] I mention all of this as a background for my heartfelt reminder that these lectures are investigations, interrogations, explorations, and celebrations of the sentence and of prose style. They are not meant as a verbal textbook that sets forth yet another set of guidelines or rules for good writing. So much that is wrong with writing instruction is wrong because a single person's beliefs have somehow been elevated to ex cathedra pronouncements and passed along from teacher to teach and from teacher to student through generation after generation, without ever being challenged, without ever being tested against experience, without ever really being though about. In these lectures, I have tried to do some serious thinking about the received truths that have so largely guide dour efforts to teach writing.
So what is style? Richard Graves says that the purpose of style "is not to impress but to express," which seems to me a common foible of writers at an intermediate stage of learning to steer their craft. If a writer can learn to avoid the extremes of technique, somewhere along the way one's own voice will begin to appear and others will call it a style. Style is ultimate gift which keeps on giving, as Landon explains below:
[page 387] As Lewis Hyde has so brilliantly explained the process of gifting in his The Gift, most indigenous peoples believe that the essence of gift-giving is that the gift must remain in motion — that it must keep moving as it is given again and again, passed from hand to hand. In this important sense, style is indeed a gift that keeps on giving just as it is a gift that can and must be passed along.
A popular expression "re-gifting" has arisen, as if we should acknowledge that we are passing along a gift we previously received from someone else, all of which is unnecessary if we rightly understand the gifting process as a living process which continues indefinitely. Brooks Landon's lectures and writing are a wonderful gift which I am honored to have a chance to offer as a gift to others. May you study his work in detail and pass it along to others as well.
---------------------------- Footnotes -----------------------------------------
Footnote 1. The first courses I bought on Video Tape, but soon found that I preferred audio format because of the convenience of listening in my car. Only once since did I buy a course on DVD, because it was only offered in Video format, but after 5 or more years, I have only watched about 10% of the course.
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Footnote 2. A marvelous concept created by Jasper Fforde in his Thursday Next novels. See The Eyre Affair which started the fun.
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Footnote 3. I suspect, but have no proof, that this question was a summary made from memory and not a direct quote from Gertrude Stein, and that the original quote was "Successions of words are so agreeable."
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Footnote 4. Crediting Richard Ohman's 1966 College English for bringing this sentence to his attention.
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Footnote 5. Anyone who claims humans will become able to write computer software to recognize the relations among ideas, in my opinion, does not have ideas worth relating to each other.
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Read/Print the Review at:
2.) ARJ2: The Neuroscience of Psychological Therapies by Rowland W. Folensbee
Genetics is the science of the acquisition and transmission of physical body traits, and has as its basis the fields of physics, chemistry, biology, and neuroscience. Doyletics is the science of the acquisition and transmission of physical body states, which has as its basis the same fields, especially neuroscience, which led me to study this new book by Rowland W. Folensbee. The advances in neuroscience should sustain the insights, theory, and predictions of doyletics, if doyletics is to have any credibility as a science, and if not, one can throw doyletics into the trash-bin of history with other pseudo-sciences which flourished for a time and faded away. Folensbee is interested in how the insights of new advances in neuroscience could help us to understand and improve psychological therapies.
[page 1] Knowledge of brain structure and function has developed rapidly in recent decades; accompanying this increase in knowledge has been the rapid development of our understanding of how brain function relates to human behavior. The roles of specific areas of the brain in specific types of cognitive and emotional processes have been delineated and the complex patterns of interaction between specific areas of the nervous system required for thought and behavior have been increasingly well identified. Processes at the molecular and cellular levels and their relationships to memory, cognition, and affect have been described with increasing clarity. The biological underpinnings of specific psychiatric and neurological disorders have been outlined, and these findings have directly led to improvements in medical, psychological, and behavioral interventions for the various disorders.
The science of doyletics has therapeutic applications, but the science of doyletics provides insights to areas of human health and well-being which have never been considered part of any psychological therapy, providing insights into periodic illnesses, periodic muscular discomfort, as well as specific diseases such as rashes, sea-sickness, and shingles, among other things. The areas to which the field of doyletics can provide help are expanding every year, the most recent being the understanding of the etiology of Post-Traumatic-Stress Disorder (PTSD) and how to provide relief for its sufferers.
For over fifteen years, I have been developing the science of doyletics which is devoted to providing a simple self-help memory technique to provide oneself relief from onerous and unwanted physical body states, as well as providing the underlying scientific basis of all psychological therapies. The title of this book claimed to explain the neuroscience of psychological therapies, and if it did so, it would provide evidence for the groundwork I laid with the science of doyletics, the science of the acquisition and transmission of physical body states, or doyles. Folensbee's book does exactly that, albeit using other technical terms to do so, but if one aligns the terms, one finds that this book supports the theory of doyletics over the decades.
The science of doyletics would not have been possible without the splendid insights and hard work of Doyle Philip Henderson some forty years earlier. The first insight he came upon after a lifetime holding the unanswered question, "What are emotions?" His answer was that "Emotions are recapitulations in adulthood of early childhood events."Doyle was a pioneer in digital electronics design for Berkeley Instruments, and his instrument-design expertise led him to see that feelings, the physical body states which arise in the present, must have been stored in early childhood and triggered by the present situation. From his initial insight he began a life-long study of how to help people remove unwanted bodily states (feelings, emotions). His first methods were long and tedious, requiring a session director to place clients into a state of progressive relaxation and direct them backwards in time to the original event during which the unwanted bodily state was stored. In these often hours-long sessions, Doyle would have the person go down in stages to before the original event and then in stages after the original event, each time noting the presence of affect as the original event was evoked. Sometimes the reactions of the client were violent, a man kicking a hole in the wall, a woman vomiting in Doyle's mouth as he kissed her to evoke the unwanted bodily state. Each time he cycled around the original event, he would have them re-relax and eventually the reactions tapered off until they disappeared entirely. Over twenty years of doing this work, Doyle noticed that if a person were taken back below five years old, the unwanted feelings never returned, but if during the session the person was only taken back to 6, 7, 8, 10 or 15 years old, the unwanted feelings would return. He noted experientially that there was a dramatic difference which occurred at the time of five-years-old, a boundary of a sort.
In the theory of doyletics we postulate that the human brain has a way of storing physical body states in the root brain, an ability which precedes by aeons the higher level of cortical memory which we have currently. These physical body states we call, after the innovator, doyles, and say that they are stored in doylic memory(1). Whenever some portion of an event's doylic memory occurs in the present, the full doylic memory of an event enters in the human's body, bringing with it a complex of bodily states, some of which we will be conscious of because we can feel them, others of which we may not be aware of because they involve internal changes in the homeostasis of our bodily organs and muscles. Whether we are aware of these changes or not, if we are conscious of the any of the effects, we have the option to extirpate the unwanted bodily states by a Speed Trace.
The Speed Trace is a simple memory technique which is easily learned and can be utilized whenever an unwanted bodily state occurs. What does a Speed Trace do? Simply this: it converts the doylic memory into a cognitive memory, quickly and easily. We call it cognitive memory to contrast it from the doylic memory which is non-cognitive, residing as it does in the root brain, while cognitive memory resides in the cortical region of the brain after being passed through the hippocampus. One may say that a Speed Trace extirpates unwanted bodily states because after a successful Speed Trace the bodily states will not recur when submitted to the same stimuli. For example, seasickness, once a Speed Trace is done, will not return. One can say that the Speed Trace converts an unconscious bodily state into a conscious memory of the original event which stored the bodily state. One often gets a glimpse of the original event immediately when a Speed Trace is done, a dim vision of the event or perhaps a question arises in one's brain which offers a clue to the original event. Whether the conscious memory comes or not, the bodily states will disappear. The occasional recovery of conscious memory of an original event provides useful confirmation to otherwise skeptical users of the Speed Trace.
In his Introduction Folensbee claims that in his experience, the range of technical details of connecting brain and behavior is too vast to be grasped by clinicians. In my experience, these same details can be explained to laypersons quickly and simply by using the terms and concepts of doyletics.
[page 1] The host of advances in the understanding of connections between the brain and behavior can support psychotherapeutic conceptualization and intervention (e.g. Cozolino, 2002; Pliszka, 2003). However, it is the author's experience that the vastness of the relevant literature combined with the complexity of the relationships between brain function and behavior, affect, and cognition serve to preclude the use of such understanding by many practicing clinicians. The terms alone are frightening: dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, superior temporal gyrus, ventricular epithelium. The steps and interactions in the brain comprising so basic a task as focusing attention (Posner & Raichle, 1994) can leave a clinician feeling hopeless in regard to ever understanding enough about the brain to apply such information to clinical intervention. During discussions with fellow clinicians, a moment of early interest seen in a colleague's eye quickly glazes over, turning into blank dullness reflecting a brain that has escaped from a task that seems impossible and therefore irrelevant.
Folensbee would be surprised how easily the average layperson is able to use the Speed Trace unassisted to achieve permanent relief, without even understanding the scientific basis of doyletics, much the complex menagerie of terms Folensbee uses in the above passage and in his book to describe the neuroscience of psychotherapy.
Folensbee makes two statements that I would like to discuss:
[page 1, 2] This book has emerged from the author's experiences as a clinician struggling to grasp the implications of "the brain" for psychotherapy intervention. . . . Neuroscience has become one of the primary tools in the author's clinical armamentarium.
Any clinician who wishes to understand "the brain" can do so in minutes by studying the theory of doyletics which explains the how original events are stored as doylic memories, and learning to use doyletics' Smart Bomb, the Speed Trace, which converts doylic memories into cognitive memories (implicit memories into explicit memories). The Speed Trace provides an individual (and any clinician) with a quick and easy method of removing their own (or a client's) unwanted bodily states without having to ever understand the complexities of neuroscience nor explain them to their client. Interested clinicians can spend years studying the complexities of neuroscience at great time and expense, or spend minutes learning the Speed Trace at little time and no expense.
One of the phenomena discovered by doyletics was that of cascading doyles, in which one doylic memory triggers another doylic memory and a continuing sequence occurs like in an avalanche(2). Cascading doylic memories were described back in 2000, and Folensbee describes how neural networks (such as one containing a doylic memory) can cascade into each other: (Page 19) "Shared neurons lead one network to trigger another."
Another phenomenon of doyletics stemmed from persistent concerns that users of the Speed Trace have voiced over the decades, "Can one trace away a good doyle?" They wanted to know if one were doing a trace while feeling good, would the good feeling doyle also go away. From long experience with tracing, my own and many others who have written me, not once has anyone reported tracing away a good doyle. My understanding of this situation is this: bad doyles can be stored by one event, but good doyles are constantly reinforced by hundreds or thousand of events, so it follows that good doyles would be more robust than bad doyles and not susceptible to being traced away. Folensbee puts it this way, using neuroscience to explain what doyletics has found to be true experientially.
(Page 19) Through repeated experience, synapses that connect various neurons in the network are altered to fire more readily, thereby tying together the pieces of the network. It also appears that connections between neurons of a frequently triggered network are strengthened through the development of an increasing number of synapses connecting each neuron to the others.
A doylic memory can be triggered by the slightest sensory input initially and as additional inputs arrive, the doylic memories can home in on a particular good feeling state, e. g., a smell of leaves and a view of a Fall sunset at age 3 years old, might lead to one cherishing a memory of one's girl friend on a similar day while in college, and even decades later that doylic sequence could bring up that vivid memory.
[page 19, 20] For example, input consisting of the smell of autumn leaves combined with the golden glow of the sun at a certain angle can trigger a complete neural network that supports a 30-year-old memory of a college football game shared with a girlfriend wearing a unique brown woven vest.
When events happen to us before five years old, they are most often stored as doylic memories (implicit memories) in the amygdala because the pathway through the hippocampus to the cortical region is not fully operational. The amygdala acts as subcortical storage and any events stored there will continue to feed up doylic memories for the rest of one's lifetime, unless removed by some tracing process. Joseph LeDoux did his major work in this area and reported it in his classic book, The Emotional Brain, upon which much of the theory of doyletics was based.
[page 21] Neural networks are likely to be connected by way of multiple pathways. Some pathways are likely to include areas of the cortex that are available to conscious processes, while other pathways are likely to be through subcortical tracts that offer little likelihood of being consciously identified. LeDoux (1996) conducted research with rats that helped identify a subcortical neural pathway between auditory receptor cells and the amygdala, which houses a primary center in the brain for processing fear. It was originally believed that auditory input must pass from auditory receptors through the auditory processing center in the cortex and then to the amygdala in order for fear learning to be established. LeDoux first trained rats to expect electrical shock whenever a bell sounded. Later, all connections between auditory receptor neurons and the cortex were cut. Experimental rats continued to respond to a bell with signs of fear after the connections were cut. It was discovered that this response remained due to the activity of a previously unidentified subcortical pathway. If a human subject experienced the same removal of cortical connections after developing a classically conditioned association between sound and shock, the subject would continue to demonstrate fear when the bell sounded; however, the human subject would report being baffled regarding why the fear was occurring. Such a fear response to sound might then remain unexplained no matter how many years of psychoanalysis the subject subsequently obtained.
In a human being who was classically conditioned to a fear response before her cortical connections were completely functional, i. e., before five years old, that fear response would continue to plague her into adulthood. The sound of a man whistling in the dark to cover his abusing of a four-year-old girl would continue to send the girl, even though grown up into a 60-year-old woman, into a spasm of terror(3). In LeDoux's work, once he disconnected the amygdala surgically from his rats, the fear response completely disappeared. Of course, all fear responses disappeared and that would not be useful for helping human beings. A memory technique which selectively removes the fear response by moving the doylic memory from the amygdala into the cortical region would be very useful, because the implicit memory would be converted into an explicit or conscious memory. That is what various psychotherapies do, but often requiring years of psychoanalysis, etc. The Speed Trace provides a simple memory technique which can extirpate such memories in minutes and does so permanently.
Neuroscience helps us to understand the flashback phenomena associated with PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
[page 23] During a flashback the visual system is activated as part of the traumatic memory and, as a result, the visual system is not available for use in reception of new visual input. Neural networks associated with the memory of a traumatic event include a high level of emotional intensity derived from emotion centers in the amygdala (LeDoux, 1996; McGaugh, 2004). This intensity gives "power" to the flashback, and this power effectively prevents frontal lobe executive centers from intentionally using the visual system to process current input. As a result, a client may experience a temporary inability to see the external environment even though frontal, decision-making areas of the brain are attempting to override the control over visual processing exerted by the powerful flashback. If a client understands the reason he cannot see the therapist while experiencing the flashback, the likelihood that the client will view himself as "crazy" will be lower.
The above analysis seems to neglect that a flashback is a flash, not a continued image, so if one is unable to see one's surroundings for a period longer than an instantaneous flash, it must be due to the effect of the emotional intensity which prevents one from recording a continuous visual image during the event, allowing only an occasional flashback to be stored. This seems consistent with the revelation that a flooding of glucocorticoids during trauma disables the hippocampus temporarily, thereby preventing conscious recollection of events during the intense extent of the trauma(4). But notice that visual recording by the cortical region is not possible during the original event, something not mentioned in the passage above, something which prevents conscious recall, making the event into an implicit memory instead of an explicit one. Implicit memory we have postulated is identical to doylic memory, and we know from experience that a Speed Trace can convert doylic memory into regular memory, meaning that it can therefore convert implicit memory into explicit memory and allow recording of the visual portions of the original event by the cortical region of the brain, absent the flooding of glucocorticoids into the hippocampus which prevented the recording and conscious recollection during the original traumatic event(5).
[Page 29] Memory can be defined as the process whereby "knowledge is encoded, stored, and later retrieved" (Kandel et ai., 2000a, p. 1245). On its surface, such a definition hints the brain is a static recording device waiting to take in and store the input offered to it. This is not the case. Instead, the brain interacts with the environment, including the external world and the person's own body, in multiple dynamic ways and changes form in response to these interactions. The form the brain takes subsequently influences its interactions with the environment in the future. Stated another way, "Memory is thus the way the brain is affected by experience and then subsequently alters its future responses" (Siegel, 1999, p. 24). Psychotherapy can be viewed as a process of recognizing how the brain has been shaped by its past and then applying this recognition to develop better ways to use the brain in future interactions with the world.
In the first paragraph of his Chapter "Memory and Learning" above, Folensbee summarizes how memories shape the brain and the importance of finding better ways for the brain to interact with the world. My own summary sentence would be written about the Speed Trace, because that is exactly what it does: provides the brain a better way to interact with the world after some traumatic event has prevented the conscious portion of the brain from storing and dealing directly with an event, whether an unpleasant event or an illness before five years old, or an intense traumatic event at any age thereafter. The science of doyletics has explained how the myriad of psychotherapies work and can replace them by a simple memory procedure that anyone can do for themselves.
In addition doyletics postulates that the amygdala functioned as the original storage area of the brain before the evolution of the cortex, providing primitive Man with the ability to have limited memories and a full-range of emotions until such time the cortex arrived to provide a full-range of conscious memories(6). Those of you who lived through the evolution of personal computers will recall the days of the floppy disk, the clunky, slow, and low-storage devices which constituted the only method of storage on the first PC's. With the advent of hard disk drives, the old floppy disks were copied to the hard drives, and only called out if the hard drive failed, as an ultimate backup system. It seems that our amygdala acts as such a backup system for our cortical region. Until our cortical region is fully operational at five years old, all memories and emotions (bodily states) are stored in the clunky amygdala, but after five years old, all memories are stored in the cortical regions so long as the hippocampus is able to provide the connection. If, as in intense trauma, the hippocampus is flooded with glucocorticoids and unable to pass memories to the cortical region of the brain, the amygdala steps in and goes into its original mode of operation under five years old and begins recording the memory and emotions, storing new emotions never before experienced.
There is a problem with the following sentence on page 31, "When two neurons (A and B) both enervate a third neuron (C), the process of long term potentiation can in effect form a bond between them even though they are not directly connected." The verb enervate does not mean to energize or activate, but means exactly the opposite; it means weaken or destroy the vitality of. Enervate is the wrong word to use in that sentence, so far as I can tell — both from the context within the sentence and the context in the paragraph surrounding the sentence, an error which can only be attributed to the author and to the copy editor. No computerized grammar or style checkers can catch an inversion of meaning.
This next passage is very useful because it shows that the neuro-chemicals which disable the hippocampus’s ability to create cognitive (explicit) memories are the same neuro-chemicals which turn on the amygdala’s ability to store doylic (implicit) memories. Simply put, when stress causes the hippocampal function to cease passing cognitive memories to the cortical regions, it causes the amygdala to begin storing doylic memories, thus revealing the backup mechanism we discussed earlier.
[page 37] Research indicates that development of associations between events and emotions is an example of non-hippocampal learning based on simple pairing, even in the absence of awareness and insight. LeDoux (1996) described the process whereby in the presence of severe trauma, the hippocampal system ceases to function effectively, that is, aware learning and memory is disrupted. However, he indicated that memories associating fear with incoming sensory information are made even stronger by the same neuro-chemical events that disrupt hippocampal functioning. The result is that a subject can learn to be afraid of something without being consciously aware of the experience that is being learned.
There is the control mechanism I had been seeking which allowed the brain to move to its backup "floppy disk" when the primary "hard disk" was deactivated! The same neurotransmitters(7) which deactivate the hippocampus (hard disk) activates the amygdala (floppy disk). The effect is to ensure that some record is made of every event, even events that are so intense and traumatic that the cortical region will never receive notice of them due to the temporary non-functioning of its gatekeeper, the hippocampus. The gatekeeper does this by shutting down conscious memory and opening up doylic memory. When the newest type of brain storage, cognitive or conscious memory, is not available, the older type of brain storage, doylic or implicit memory, is made available. After the traumatic event is over, the hippocampus begins to work normally again, and the doylic or implicit memory begins to bleed through to consciousness in brief glimpses we call flashbacks.
These flashbacks indicate the need for converting the intense terror (doylic memory) into cognitive memory, something a Speed Trace can accomplish. How does the Speed Trace accomplish this? By holding the mild doyles (which will later cascade into intense terror) while counting down one's ages from the present age, eventually one will go past the age at which the intense terror occurred, but this time the hippocampus will be working normally, and it will send up to the cortical regions the cognitive memory which it had been unable to send during the traumatic event's time of intense terror.
Folensbee calls doylic memory and cognitive memory "two forms of learning", something I think is unnecessary, but I share his terms so that the next passage will make sense to the Reader.
[page 39] The lack of synchrony between these two forms of learning can be very distressing for clients who believe that continuing to have maladaptive emotional reactions despite the presence of insight to the contrary is evidence of the severity and permanence of their pathology. The lack of synchrony leaves clients feeling very out of control of themselves in a basic way that threatens self-esteem and positive identity.
This lack of synchrony, when seen from the perspective of doyletics, indicates the need for a Speed Trace. When one performs a successful trace, one holds the unwanted "emotional learning", i.e., doylic memory, while counting down one's age from the present until one goes below the age of five, called in doyletics, the Memory Transition Age. Somewhere below that age, one will be unable to hold onto the unwanted implicit memory because it will have been converted into an explicit memory. At that point, if the tracer asks, "What's a plausible thing that could have happened to me at that age?" often a dim vision or some auditory information, perhaps as a question, will happen. In various ways, different for every trace, a hint as to what happened will be revealed to the tracer. What was implicit will be made explicit. What was a doylic memory will be made a cognitive memory. The lack of synchrony will disappear, and the person will be in balance again, possessing new information about past events and no longer beset by the onerous doylic memory.
When one is empowered by having the Speed Trace available, one welcomes the very signal that one previously called "being out of control" because one has a way to remove the signal, the feeling, the emotion, the acting out, etc, by a Speed Trace, and as such one never feels out of control. Contrast that with the reactions to the same situation to a person who has never heard of the Speed Trace.
[page 42] To the conscious brain using declarative or narrative processing, it is difficult to explain how the brain arrived at the subsequent impulse. Too often, the impulse expressed in the emotion may run counter to the declarative, logical decision a person may make. As a result, emotions are experienced as out of control.
The Memory Transition Age of five years old was arrived at through many years of tracing. This is the age one can be sure that, if one went below it during a Speed Trace, one would be able to permanently erase a doyle, that is, convert it into a cognitive memory. From numerous reports, many people have conscious memories which go back before five years old, so the hippocampus gateway is working part-time as early as three years old(8). When any system comes on line, often parts of it work before other parts and the system itself operates in some cases and not other cases. The memory system of which the hippocampus is a part operates that way, and this results in some cognitive memories being stored before five years old.
In the passage below, the concept of infantile amnesia, first postulated by Freud, is a misnomer because even infantile brains have permanent storage of implicit (doylic) memories. The infantile amnesia concept has been useful because over the years since Freud posited its existence, it has provided data about the onset of explicit (cognitive) memories. The phrase long-term memory is also a misnomer as it can be applied both to explicit hippocampal memory and also to implicit (doylic) memories. Doylic memories can be stored for a lifetime, if not traced away. Given those stipulations, note how neuroscience sustains the doyletics postulation of a Memory Transition Age (before which no cognitive memories are saved), but neuroscience moves it a year or two lower, in ignorance of the MTA’s efficacy in a Speed Trace.
[page 43, 44] The concept of infantile amnesia discussed in Chapter 4 is particularly relevant to understanding early affect-laden memories. Long-term memory storage that includes hippocampal memory systems does not come "on line" until around the age of 3 or 4 years old because the neural substrates required for such memory have not yet developed (Squire et al., 1993). A child's memories of emotional experiences during the first 3 or 4 years of life are therefore implicit memories, and it is unlike an adult can have direct, conscious awareness of these events. Applying LeDoux's reasoning regarding early memories in general (1996), it seems likely that conscious awareness of early sensory memories and connected affect stored during these early years may sometime be established as a newly constructed "memory of the memory". As with other early memories, it seems likely that early emotional memories will not be the same as memories of initial experiences stored using hippocampal systems later in life.
Over decades, we have recommended to newcomers to doyletics that they begin their first Speed Trace using a food dislike. Why? It is easy to trigger, it is easy to hold the doylic affect in place during the trace, and it is easy to confirm after the trace that it was successful. Unfortunately we have also found that most people have lost childhood food dislikes by the age to 40 to 50. I recall a food dislike that I had for macaroni and cheese, I would go to bed hungry if that was all that was served for supper, as it sometimes was. As I went away to college, I avoided macaroni and cheese easily, but noticed that there were some cheeses that I liked, and some macaroni that was tasty, so I wondered why the combination would seem so distasteful to me, so about age 26 or so, I would eat a bit of macaroni and cheese at pot luck dinners and found I no longer had a dislike for it. After working in doyletics theory and research for several years, I began to wonder about how that dislike went away "by itself" — meaning without my doing a Speed Trace on it. I remembered spending time thinking back to times when I had macaroni and cheese placed in front of me, but nothing came to me, so far as I knew.
After becoming aware of how common the loss of food dislikes is with advancing age, the thought came to me: Perhaps other people also figured out how to do this process on their own. Perhaps they did traces down their ages, somehow getting back below the Memory Transition Age while thinking of the distasteful food and managed a successful conversion of the distaste reaction (the implicit memory) into an explicit memory, and thenceforth could eat the disliked food, as I could with macaroni and cheese. These traces could be called unconscious Speed Traces, as they were done without being conscious of the procedure but achieving a successful trace anyway. Psychoanalysis does a similar thing as it winds back into client's lives and after many sessions clients declare themselves cured because they have finally recalled what happened to them — this is a true statement, but the cause and effect is reversed: they cured themselves via an unconscious Speed Trace and immediately afterwards were able to recall what had happened to them. The recall came from the process of converting an implicit memory into an explicit or declarative memory, a doylic memory into just a memory. Once no longer an implicit memory, the hangup, the unwanted feelings, disappeared, and instantly they were able to remember what had happened.
[page 44] The amygdala and emotional processing seem likely to serve a central role in the unfolding activation of neural networks. Within the context of psychotherapy, it therefore seems likely that attending to and influencing emotional activity can support understanding of a client's history while also facilitating positive change.
The lesson from this book is that neuroscience is discovering how early life experiences are stored in the amygdala and are fed back to the human being as they grow into adulthood. Unfortunately the focus of the author is on the narrow field of psychotherapy while a vast area of implications of these new findings in neuroscience await to be discovered and investigated that fall outside the purview of psychotherapy. For example, Doyle Henderson mentioned to me over fifteen years ago that what doctors today called illness or disease are usually what would be better labeled healing states. Some bacteria or virus or poison enters the body and the body immediately activates healing states to combat the foreign agent. Chicken pox virus, for example, enters a young boy of 4 years old and immediately he breaks out in spots all over his face and body.The disease is the virus, not the spots — however, when we say he has "chicken pox” we think of the spots which are actually the body’s way of healing itself, those healing states.
Why do I emphasize healing states? Because they can be stored as implicit or doylic memories! And once stored, they can be re-activated later without there being a virus present because the healing states are stored in the same amygdaline region of the brain where other emotions, feelings, and bodily states are stored. If this process is understood, one can deduce that this young boy will be subject to shingles when he gets above the age of 50 or so. Doctors like to claim it is the chicken pox virus which causes shingles, and that the virus lies dormant, but consider this way of thinking of it: it is the healing states of chicken pox which lie dormant and recur at a later date as shingles. If this were so, it should be possible for a Speed Trace to remove the scourge of shingles quickly and easily, and this has indeed happened and is reported here: http://www.doyletics.com/shingles.htm
There is another deduction one could make about a boy who had chicken pox above the Memory Transition Age (5): he would never have shingles! Why? Because no more implicit memories were being stored when he had chicken pox and therefore the healing states were not stored doylicly. The chicken pox, rightly understood, can never recur, but its healing states, if stored doylicly, can recur later in life as shingles. At age 72, I have never had shingles and expect not to have them. Why? Because I loved school from an early age and began school at the age of 7 in the First Grade. Chicken pox was the only childhood disease where I was allowed outside during its course. I could see my Elementary School through the back fence of our yard, and I recall hanging on the fence looking at it, wishing I could be in school. This indicates to me that I likely had chicken pox above the Memory Transition Age and will never have shingles.
Another childhood disease is Red Measles. I had that as a child, probably under age 5 as most children do. At age 35, I was living in New England and came down with Red Measles, something that is not supposed to happen a second time. I thought I had some flu perhaps and my local GP gave me some medicine, but I only got worse. My eyes were light-sensitive and I developed red spots on my chest. I went back to the GP and he sent me to an internist. The doctor examined and excused himself, and a few minutes later I saw him with his colleague looking up something in a large medical dictionary in the hallway — I became very worried. The doctor came back in and said, "Don't worry. It's rare to see a case of Red Measles in an adult, so my partner and I had to look it up to be sure. Go home, stay in dark room and you'll be fine in a few days." Naturally I called my mother to ask her if I had the Red Measles as a child, she raised 6 children and would know it was that kind of measles. She said, "Yes." If I had been aware of doyletics at the time, I would have asked her how old I was, if I were in school when they happened. I didn't ever find out, but I probably would have remembered if I had to stay in bed and not go to school, and I had a near perfect attendance record through school. What happened? Am I saying Red Measles can recur, in violation of medical expectations? No, what I think happened was that the healing states of Red Measles recurred by virtue of my having had them before the age of 5. Many problems were going on in my life, and that enforced week at home allowed me to observe them, so there was a good outcome from the appearance of those healing states.
My wife would have a severe bout or two of bronchitis once a year, usually around the same time of year. One year, after working on the concept of healing states, I suggested that she do a Speed Trace on the bronchitis symptoms. She did, and when the symptoms went away at age 2, she saw herself under a white tent. Later she asked her mother if she ever had bad bronchitis and found out that at age 2, she had bronchial pneumonia and the doctor and nurse had to construct a temporary humidifier tent using a white sheet over her bed. Those healing states stored at age 2 would return around the anniversary of her serious bout and since that one trace, she has not had recurring problems with bronchitis again, the yearly bane has gone.
One more story on healing states, as I think this is one aspect of doyletics which medical science can learn from. My first-born child, my daughter, was the first of my children to learn the Speed Trace, and one year in mid-January we dined together for her birthday dinner. She said her shoulders had been hurting her, and they seemed to do so every year around this time. Having discovered from my wife's annual bout with bronchitis that healing states can be periodic, I suggested that she do a Speed Trace on the pain in her shoulders. I heard back from her the next day that her shoulders were feeling better since the trace. We deduced that the pain in her shoulders occurred as she went through the birth canal and was stored as a doylic memory which came back each year around her birthday. Some 12 years later the pains have not returned.
[page 59] It is now recognized that a child's brain functions much differently than does an adult's brain, but often the extent and nature of the differences between the adult's brain and the child's brain are not fully appreciated. Adequate appreciation should include recognition that children's brains absorb, perceive, process, and respond to experiences in ways that are different from the processing in adult's brains. Adequate appreciation of differences should also include understanding that much of the information held in the mature, adult brain was taken in and integrated when the brain was much less developed and, as a result, much of the information on which the adult brain relies for processing current experiences is immature in structure and activity.
In summary, we have learned from this book that much of our adult experiences stems from events stored in our childhood as implicit or doylic memories and recapitulated in the present. In doyletics, we do not consider these recapitulated experiences as immature, but rather as the holding onto the only form of memory the brain could store at the time of the event, namely amygdaline storage of bodily states of all kinds, waiting for such time as we discover them to be inappropriate or unwanted as an adult, at which time we can trace and erase them, converting them in the process into explicit or cognitive memories in the upper cortical regions, turning them into declarative memories that we can discuss. In doyletics, we have a motto which answers the many questions we receive from new users, "Is this something, I can trace?" and that motto is: When in Doubt, Trace It Out! The only thing you have to lose is the unwanted doyles which are troubling you. Doing a Speed Trace is equivalent to asking your own body, "Is this a doyle?" If the answer is yes, it will go away; if not, it is not a doyle or the trace can be tried again later.
Why use the Speed Trace instead of other some psychotherapy? The Speed Trace is not a psychotherapy, and if one feels they need a psychotherapist, they should find one. The Speed Trace is a memory technique which works on all kinds of bodily states, many of which one would never go to a psychotherapist to be rid of. I had one such bodily state since I was a two years old. Whenever I went to the beach and laid supine on the sand without an umbrella or roof over my head, I would feel as if I were beginning to fly off the Earth. It was irrational and I had learned to control it simply by keeping my eyes closed if I were on my back on the beach. Several years after learning to do the Speed Trace, I was on a beach with my wife, she was asleep on the blanket next to me, and I was on my back and looked up and felt the weird sensation of flying up. I immediately tested it for being a doyle by closing my eyes and it went away. I knew it was a doyle, an implicit memory, so I opened my eyes and with the proprioceptive sensations firing off which were so scary to me, I began the quickest Speed Trace I ever did and when I arrived at the age of 2, the sensations disappeared and have never returned in the ten or so years since. I asked myself, "What's a plausible thing could have happened to me at age 2?" and got a glimpse of me as a young boy of two being tossed face up into the air by my dad or uncle while at the beach. That was the explicit memory created by the Speed Trace when it converted the implicit memory of flying into air in a simple cognitive and declarative memory. Never would I have ever thought to mention this to a psychotherapist, but it was an irrational stored memory of my childhood which my brain held for me until I was able to convert it into a declarative memory.
In pointing out the difficulty of traditional means of psychotherapy, Folensbee writes:
[page 126] Finally the slowness of change in procedural connections has the potential to result in the client giving up when change is not quickly forthcoming. Awareness of how declarative systems can influence procedural systems can offer encouragement and structure that support continuing participation in activities likely to lead to positive change in the long run. Thus, while establishing new connections between declarative memory processes and the old procedural memory is not likely to immediately eliminate maladaptive emotional responses or behaviors, engaging the declarative processing systems offers multiple ways to begin to effectively facilitate positive change.
This is definitely a declarative mouthful and must make sense on some level, but what I know from personal experience is that many of the people who gave up after years of frustration and lack of success with such approaches have come to learn the Speed Trace and solved their problems by removing "maladaptive emotional responses and behaviors" on their own by doing Speed Traces.
---------------------------- Footnotes -----------------------------------------
Footnote 1. The term doylic memory refers to what is labeled implicit memory by Folensbee and others. The term cognitive memory is the same as explicit memory.Return to text directly before Footnote 1.
Footnote 2. Details on cascading doyles can be found in several places on the website by using any of the Google Search boxes on any Review or DIGESTWORLD page.Return to text directly before Footnote 2.
Footnote 3. Read the experience of a woman who went through such an experience and was helped by a Speed Trace at http://www.doyletics.com/sandyth.htm .Return to text directly before Footnote 3.
Footnote 4. Reported by Dr. Robert Sapolsky in his Lecture Course, Biology and Human Behavior, 2nd Edition, The Teaching Co.Return to text directly before Footnote 4.
Footnote 5. The other important implication is that doylic memories can be created above 5 years old, if and only if they occur during a traumatic event. This capability was postulated by Doyle Henderson's friend and associate Clovis, who reported suffering from doylic memories recurring after he was hit by a lightning bolt.Return to text directly before Footnote 5.
Footnote 6. From page 42, "There is evidence that suggests it is reasonable to conceive of the affect system as an early, primitive form of information processing and memory that now works both independently and in conjunction with the newer hippocampal memory system (LeDoux 2002; MacLean, 1990).Return to text directly before Footnote 6.
Footnote 7. The particular neurotransmitter appears to be noradrenaline, per page 43, ". . . when stress is chronic, or when the stress reactions becomes extreme, as in the case of trauma, the higher noradrenaline levels lead to reduced functioning in the hippcampus while facilitating processing with the amygdala."
Return to text directly before Footnote 7.
Footnote 8. Three years old is the age at which the brain reaches full-size, almost doubling in weight after birth. From then on, few neurons are created, but the interconnection of neurons begins apace, making possible the storage of cognitive memories in the cortical regions of the brain. Return to text directly before Footnote 8.
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3.) ARJ2: The Leopard, A Novel by Jo Nesbø
Fans of The Snowman will be delighted to find that Harry has crawled out of his Hole and returned to Oslo to track down another serial killer. Victims are found to have drowned, not in water, but in their own blood. As we discover, most of the deaths could be categorized as either murders or suicides. A bloody mess awaits our hero as he is dragged away from his penurious existence in Hong Kong, where he bet everything he had and didn't have on a horse-race and his debtors must be paid off to secure his release to return to Norway.
Katrine Bratt from The Snowman returns to serve as Harry's computer search expert, but must do so while she is in locked in a mental institution. The police in Oslo have paid for Harry Hole's return and assigned him a dungeon (abandoned prison) and a couple of people to help him, but a fight is underway between the official government police and the private firm hired to do police work, and there seems to be a leak between the two competing organization which makes Harry's already impossible task a lot harder. No one can establish a connection between the first two random killings, except the pattern of death, when suddenly a prominent member of Parliament is murdered similarly.
The tracks lead to an isolated alpine resort where eight people were together at one point in time, but by the time Harry finds this information several of the eight have been killed and the rest are both possible suspects and possible victims, one of them in the Congo and another in Australia. All these conditions would have challenged Harry in his prime, but he is emaciated and has a fractured jaw barely held together when he arrives back in Oslo. In addition, his father is dying in a hospital when he arrives, and he must spend time with him, and listen to him give him reminiscences from his childhood and tips on life such as what one might do to survive in an avalanche.
To get anything done, Harry must break rules and not get caught, thus Katrine Batt proves useful to him as she is certifiably crazy.
[page 93] Katrine Bratt laughed. Her other laugh, the evil-witch variety. "I'm beginning to see. Katrine Bratt, the brilliant detective, is not my strongest qualification here, but" — she threw up her hands — "Katrine Bratt, the patient is. Because she, being of unsound mind, cannot be prosecuted."
"Correct." Harry smiled. "And you're one of the few people I can trust to keep your mouth shut. And if you're not a genius, you're definitely smarter than the average detective."
"Three smashed nicotine-stained fingers up your tiny little asshole."
"No one can find out what we're up to. But I promise you we're the Blues Brothers here."
" 'On a mission from God'?" she quoted.
A female John Belushi working search engines illegally from a mental hospital's recreation room is Harry's Ace-in-the-Hole, if you will. Katrine comes through with a startling revelation, there was no connection between the three murder victims, but she searched all missing people and found a fourth potential victim who would tie all four together, putting them on the same train to the mountains.
Soon a plot to trap the killer is engineered announcing that the witness from Australia will be taken to the isolated cabin in the snowy reaches of the mountain to identify all eight people who were there. Instead it is only Harry and Kaja, the friendly gal who is sharing Harry's bed, and they are trapped in an avalanche. Here is a scene that works in a novel, but will cause great problems for movie makers: "How can you film a scene in which Harry is completely surrounded by packed snow inside a cabin and has to find some way to get air before his body heat melts the snow touching his body, allowing it to re-freeze and become an air-tight ice chrysalis suffocating him. His father's words of advice become a life-line to save Harry, but can Harry also find and save Kaja who is nearby in the cabin.
But Harry is a consultant, which he defines as "an overpaid, overrated guy who thinks he knows something you don't." (Page 293) And time and again Harry extricates himself from dilemmas which have killed lesser people.
The closer we get to the end of the novel, the more possibilities arise for who might be the killer. Finally a man is arrested and claims that he was only revealing the identities of the other members of the party of eight to someone who was doing the killing, but now this someone has completely disappeared. A trip to the Congo puts Harry and Katrine's life in jeopardy, again, and there is no way out, they will both die. Can the author be killing off the hero and herostratic Harry Hole? This book is a page turner and will have you skiing downhill like an Olympic racer flying over moguls, spraying snow in every direction, schussing breathlessly to the very last page, to the finish line.
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4.) ARJ: Transforming the Soul, Volume 1, GA#58 by Rudolf Steiner
Rudolf Steiner says that every time in which we live is a "time of transition", but there are times of huge jumps in spiritual life. (Page 2) This is certainly true of the early part of the 21st Century in which we currently live, but these transitions are never noticed until they have happened and passed; when we are living through a transition, we are scarcely aware of it, hardly notice the incipient changes which will be so noticeable in retrospect. To give a familiar example, take the decade of the Roarin' Twenties — everyone was having too much fun to give the decade a name before it had passed into history. It was only the onset of the Great Depression which called our attention to the spectacular fun the previous decade had been.
[page 2] People living between the sixteenth and the nineteenth centuries, and in our time, have needed to relate differently in their soul and spiritual life to the world about them than humankind did in earlier times. And the further back we go in human evolution the more noticeable it becomes that human beings had different longings, different needs, and gave different answers from within themselves to questions concerning the great riddles of existence. We can gain a clear impression of transition periods such as these by acquainting ourselves with individual people who had retained certain qualities of feeling, knowing and willing from earlier periods, but who nevertheless felt the urge to meet the demands of a new age. Such historic characters can be found in most of the epochs of human evolution.
In particular Steiner singles out one great thinker, Francis Joseph Philipp, who pointed out how important it was for Man to know his inner being. (Page 3) Steiner's spiritual science was called anthroposophy for exactly that reason, to become the science of knowing the full human or anthropos, both in body and inner being (spirit and soul). People today ridicule the very idea of a spiritual science, boldly claiming without bothering to examine the issue, that it is irrational to speak of a world lying beyond our senses. Steiner himself did examine the issue as he explains here:
[page 6] Are there then any rational grounds for saying that it is nonsensical to speak of such a spiritual world, of a world lying beyond the sense-perceptible? A glance at the progress of our ordinary science should be enough to justify this question. But precisely by considering impartially the course of this progress and the wonderful advances that have been made in unraveling the secrets of external nature, we should become aware that a higher, supersensible knowledge must exist. How is that?
Clearly not many people bother to consider the issue at all, and if they do, they bring scientific prejudices with them and by virtue of those preconceived notions, act very non-scientific. Shouldn't a scientist act without prejudice when examining the basis of science itself, not accept some premises laid down by Bacon centuries ago as if they were the God's truth, namely, that a scientist must only accept what arrives from the senses? If that were so, one would be unable to explain why people before the Copernican revolution had the same data arrive via their senses as the people after that revolution. The revolution was a turning-about of a way of thinking, a new way of interpreting the data which arrives at our senses when we view the Sun's passage in the sky during the course of a day. That revolution was an evolution of thinking and our thinking is not data that reaches us from our senses, is it? This change from saying the Sun crossed the sky to saying the Earth rotates was made possible by an evolution of human consciousness.
[page 7] Anyone who studies these changes without prejudice must say to himself: Human beings have acquired something they did not have before. They have learnt to see the outer world differently because with regard to the forces of cognition they apply to the sense world there has been a further development. Therefore it became clear to them that the sun does not revolve around the earth; for their new cognitional faculties compelled them to think of the earth as going round the sun. In other words, in our time human beings have other forces at their disposal than they had in earlier times.
Saying the Earth rotates and the Sun only appears to move is thus a way of saying we as human beings have developed a new way of understanding the world which did not exist before, in fact, a way in which we were incapable of understanding the world before. In the geocentric fashion, earlier humans understood the heavens to be organized in the way that humans move spiritually through them at night when asleep and in the time between death and a rebirth, we examine outward from the Earth, encountering first the Moon, then Venus, then Mercury, then the Sun, then Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. In our heliocentric fashion, today's humans understand the heavens as the Sun being in the center of the Solar System and the various planets revolving around it. Our Moon is demoted from a planet to satellite of Earth, just as Earth is a satellite of the Sun. The geocentric way is useful for navigating the heavens at night with our spirit; the heliocentric way is useful for sending rockets into orbit around various celestial objects. Both are useful, and neither deserves the derision of any rational person who would examine the issues involved.
[page 7, 8] No one who is proud of the achievements of physical science and who studies progress impartially can have any doubts at all that human beings are capable of inner development, that we have more in us than natural forces, and that our powers have been remodeled from stage to stage until we have become what we are today. But we are called upon to develop more than outer powers; human beings have in their inner life something which enables them, in the new light of their inner capacities, to bring the world to life once more in knowledge.
We humans have understood the world of the senses, examining carefully the dead objects under the microscope, the flight of rockets and other dead objects in outer space, the design and manufacture of computers using dead objects made of silicon and various other mineral elements. We have paved our cities with dead concrete, built huge skyscrapers of dead steel and glass, constructed autos and planes similarly to move us around the surface of this planets and off it at times in orbit, to the Moon, Mars, and other planets. We have brought dead objects to the world and now it is time for us to bring life once more into the world, the same life of the living spirit which once filled human thoughts and perception via the various myths and symbols of earlier times. We will achieve this differently this time because we are different people, our consciousness has evolved and we can only get glimpses of how we will proceed from now on from such visionaries as Goethe.
[page 8] 'Man, placed at the summit of nature, is again a whole new nature which must in time achieve a summit of its own. He ascends towards that height when he permeates himself with all the perfections and virtues, summons forth order, selection, harmony and meaning, and attains in the end to the creation of a work of art.'
This is not a plan for skyscraper, an interplanetary rocket, or an electric automobile, but rather a design for a whole new human being which each of us has the possibility of being involved with, and those who are oblivious to this possibility are also involved, but their involvement may be a hindrance rather than a furtherance of this end.
Goethe allows us to glimpse a new human ability currently evolving as our ability to finely observe the surfaces of things with our sensory apparatus evolved from Bacon's time to today. Our next evolution will allow us to finely observe the inner spirit of living things.
[page 9] Is there not the possibility that human beings can apply their inner forces not only as a mirror of the external world? May it not be that if they developed further forces within themselves that were once slumbering within them these might light up spiritually, so that their spiritual eyes and spiritual ears — as Goethe calls them — might be opened, enabling them to perceive a spiritual world behind the sense world?
Rudolf Steiner can ask these questions because he was born with spiritual eyes and ears as Goethe predicted, so he knows what it means for human to perceive a spiritual world behind the sense world, and being able to do so allows him to perceive that such a capability is on the way to becoming a widespread humanity capability. He understands that human cognition is a supersensible faculty already present in human beings, even though it has been mostly used for manipulating the world of the senses, up until now.
[page 10] . . . in human beings themselves there is something that cannot be perceived by physical senses. For how could it be thought that human reason, for example, is a visible entity? What sort of impartial thinking could fail to admit that human cognition is by its very nature a supersensible faculty?
Immanuel Kant had that sort of human cognition, even though he considered it blatantly for human to penetrate with spiritual vision the sensory world.
[page 10, 11] One particular thinker reduced this faculty to the smallest limit; it was impossible, he said, for human beings to penetrate by any kind of supersensible vision into a world that is as real to us spiritually as are animals, plants, minerals and physical human beings in the world of the senses. Yet even he had to recognize impartially that something supersensible does exist and can never be denied.
How could anyone say that about Kant? Does Kant not claim that there is no way for human beings to observe and experience the spiritual world, That one cannot know the ding an sich, the thing in itself? Yes, but Kant allows for a loophole, and a loophole in a logical argument can be big enough to allow any size physical object, the metaphorical Mac Truck, to drive through. What is the loophole?
[page 11, 12] Kant had to recognize that human beings do not follow only instinctive impulses, as lower animals do; they also follow impulses from within their souls which can raise them far above subservience to mere instinct.
But the loophole, Kant claimed, only gets us to the boundary of the supersensible world, and no further.
[page 12] Kant's philosophy prohibits human beings from going any further than to the boundary of the supersensible world. Everything that is actually within these realms from which come the voices of conscience, duty and the categorical imperative is withdrawn from our observation, despite the fact that it is of the same supersensible nature as the soul. According to Kant human beings cannot enter that realm; the most they can do is draw conclusions about it.
If Kant sounds as silly to you as he does to me, remember that his viewpoint is the commonly accepted one by all materialistic philosophers today. Rudolf Steiner counteracted Kant's silly but serious philosophy with the equally serious, but not silly, philosophy of Goethe. What did Goethe have to say to Kant?
[page 13] Kant, says Goethe, claims that human beings have only an intellectual, conceptual power of judgement and not a pictorial faculty which could have experiences in the spiritual world. But — Goethe continues — anyone who has exercised himself with the whole force of his personality to wrest his way through the sense world to the supersensible, as I have done, will know that we are not restricted to drawing conclusions, but through a pictorial power of judgment we are actually able to raise ourselves into the spiritual world!
Goethe visualized the full progression of any plant's growth from its seed to its fruiting stage, quite an adventure out of which he found what he called the Urpflanze or archetype for all plants. Goethe clearly "passed the adventure of reason with flying colors!" (Page 13) Building upon Goethe's pioneering work, Steiner claims his own spiritual science is transforming the souls of people so that they can enter the spiritual world, going past Kant's so-called impenetrable barrier.
[page 14] The pictorial judgement that Goethe had in mind when he spoke out against Kant is in a certain sense the beginning of the upward path which is by no means unknown today. Spiritual science is therefore now reaching the position, as we shall see, where it can show that there are hidden faculties of knowledge which in ascending order penetrate ever further into the spiritual world.
In the past people who could see into the spiritual world were called initiates and what they saw they transformed and preserved as myths and symbols, myths and symbols which we do not understand today because we interpret them out of our sensory-based experience of the world. In those days, people understood the spiritual world and grasped the meaning of the myths and symbols directly, but we today are separated from this way of thinking by an evolution of consciousness of which we are not aware, up until now.
[page 17] We come to understand legends and myths only when we take them as symbols expressing a real knowledge of the spiritual world. In those times these very symbols were the way to speak to the widest circles of the people. It is a mistake to assume — as it so often is nowadays — that the human soul has always been just as it is in our century. The soul has changed; its receptivity was quite different in the past. When people were given the symbolic picture in the myth they were inwardly satisfied, for they were moved to see in the visible picture a much more immediate impression of the reality behind it. Today myths are regarded as fantasy, but when in former times the myth was received into human souls secrets of human nature opened to them. And when people looked at the clouds, the sun and so forth, they understood as a matter of course what the myth had told them. For a smaller number of people the symbol brought them what we can call higher knowledge.
The Star of David, Mogen David, and Solomon's Key are different names for two interlocking triangles, one facing up and one facing down. What does this symbol mean? Gazing upon it was a means of enlightenment in ages past, an instrument of looking into the spiritual world as surely as a microscope is an instrument of looking into the material world today(1).
[page 18] Today the humans soul is different. In the age when we have to develop so as to be able to give modern answers to questions about nature and life, we cannot respond in the old way to such things as the interlocked triangles, the one pointing upwards, the other downwards. In former times this picture stirred something in people's souls, and they could see into something beyond it. Just as nowadays we can look through a microscope and see plant cells that cannot be seen without it, so did these symbolic figures serve as instruments for the soul. Those who held Solomon's key as a picture in their mind's eye could see into the spiritual world in a way that they could not have done without the picture.
When people ask what we see in a microscope, we must explain using the logical terms of biology; similarly when people ask someone to explain what they see when contemplating the Solomon's Key, we expect them to explain using logical concepts of external science. This is how spiritual scientists must speak today, Steiner said, and followed his own advice when giving over 6,000 lectures to a wide variety of people of different backgrounds. Today his lectures in print require a certain exegesis in order to be palatable to the modern ear and cognition, but his deep truths ring true if one's ear is rightly tuned.
[page 21] The spiritual researcher is in fact speaking of realms that mean something to present-day understanding. And we shall see that the symbols that were once a means to gaining knowledge of the spiritual world have become an aid to spiritual development. For instance, Solomon's key which once called forth in the soul real spiritual perception does so no longer. But if today souls allow themselves to be acted upon by what the spiritual researcher can explain concerning this symbol, something in the soul is aroused that can lead them by stages into the spiritual world. Then when they have acquired vision of the spiritual world they can tell other people about it in the same logical terms that apply to external science.
Spiritual science or esotericism must therefore speak today in a way that can be grasped by anyone who has a broad enough understanding. Whatever spiritual researchers have to impart must be clothed in conceptual terms that are customary in other sciences, otherwise they would not be paying due regard to the needs of the times. Not everyone can straight away see into the spiritual world but, because the appropriate forces of reason and feeling exist now in every soul, spiritual science if rightly presented can be grasped with ordinary understanding by everyone.
When we are small children, we want books with photos and drawings in them, but as we age, we progress gradually over the years to enjoying reading books with no pictures in them, preferring the images we see in our mind which are conjured up by the words to the images some artist sees in their mind. Often when we view a movie of a book we enjoyed reading, we are disappointed by the visual images presented by the movie because they are not as vivid as our own images while reading. Human beings as a whole went through a stage of being entranced by the visual images of symbols, and now we want a new level of understanding and reasoning to be provided as the symbols no longer grab our attention. Jean Piaget said about our development through childhood, "Everything we know we base on our current frame of reference." This dictum is equally true about the development of humanity over the ages, what I call the evolution of consciousness, and it explains why we do ill to criticize people of ages past using our current frame of reference: if these people had had our current frame of reference, they could not have behaved the way they did. In the future of humanity, people who have not learned this lesson will likely look back and criticize us for our current frame of reference.
[page 22] If we now consider the relationship between the spiritual researcher and his public and look once more at the difference between the past and present situation in regard to spiritual science, we can say: The symbolic pictures used by spiritual researchers in the past acted directly on the human soul because what we today call the faculties of reason and understanding were not yet present. The pictures had the effect of giving direct vision into the spiritual world without the people receiving them being able to test with their reason what the spiritual researcher gave them. The pictures acted with the force of suggestion, of inspiration, and the people subjected to them were carried away and unable to resist them.
If an evil person were to give them a false image, the people would be likewise enthralled and led into evil deeds. Our history as a human race is filled with periods of both goodness and degeneration. Today, if we avoid having blind faith and instead apply our unbiased judgment, which requires us to recognize our current frame of reference, we can see through the evil charlatans' ruses and rightly understand the true mission of a spiritual science researcher.
[page 23] From now on this will be the mission of spiritual science: to ascend, through developing hidden powers, into a spiritual world, just as the physiologist, by means of the microscope, descends into a realm of micro-organisms invisible to the naked eye. Ordinary human powers of reasoning will be able to test the findings of spiritual research as it can test the findings of physiologists, botanists and so on. Ordinary common sense will be able to realize that it is all thoroughly consistent.
People have asked me how could I as a physicist accept the teachings of Rudolf Steiner, and when I answer them, it comes down to his work and writings being thoroughly consistent, internally and externally, meaning this: his content and process match up at all levels. Nowhere is this so clear as in his classic book, The Philosophy of Freedom where he talks about the twelve ways of understanding the world (World Outlooks) and writes out of each of the twelve ways(2). Steiner understood that Goethe was telling everyone lost in the labyrinth of the material world that help was on its way.
[page 25 from Faust I, sc. 1, 11.443-6]
The spirit world is ever open,
Dead is thy heart, thy sense-veil closely drawn!
Up, scholar, let thy breast unwearied
Bathe in the roseate hues of dawn!
In the dawn glow of the spirit!
In Lecture 2 Steiner explains how anger is a part of our evolution as a human being, taking time first to explain how our various human components are formed.
[page 29, the physical body] Referring . . . to our physical body, which harbors the same physical and chemical laws as does the external physical-mineral world, we can ask when do we see the actual nature of these laws. We see them when a human being has ceased to have life. When a human being has passed through the gate of death, then we see what the laws that govern the physical body are really like. They are the laws that lead to the decomposition of the body, and their effect on it is then quite different from their action during life. They are always present in the physical body, but the reason why the human body does not obey them is that between birth and death an antagonist of dissolution is active there — the etheric or life-body.
[page 29, the etheric body] As a result of observation, however, and not merely on the strength of logical inference, spiritual science recognizes over and above the physical body a second member of the human being, what we call the etheric body or life-body. Only brief reference can be made here today to the structure of the human organism, for on this occasion our task is quite a different one — but knowledge of this underlying structure is the foundation on which we have to build. Human beings have an etheric body in common with everything that is alive.
[page 30, the astral body] We can distinguish a third member too of the human organism, the carrier of pleasure and sorrow, joy and pain, of urges, desires and passions — of everything we call our psychological and mental life. The carrier, please note, but not the actual soul itself. Human beings have this in common with all those creatures who possess a certain form of consciousness, namely, the animals. Astral body or body of consciousness is the name we give to this third member of the human organism.
[page 30, the "I"] Within these three members we can distinguish further the spark which makes man the crown of creation, and which he has in common with nothing else. It has often been remarked that our language has one little word which points directly to this inner core of man which makes him the crown of earth creation. These flowers here, the desk, the clock — anyone can name these objects. But there is one word we can never hear spoken by another with reference to ourselves. It is expressed by the little name of 'I'. Think for a moment about whether the word 'I' can come to you from outside if it means yourself. If you want to call yourself 'I' this 'I' must sound forth from within yourself and designate your inmost being. This is why the great religions and world views have always regarded this name as the 'unspeakable name' of that which cannot be named from outside. Indeed, with this designation 'I' we reach the innermost being of a person, which can be called the godlike element in him.
Francesco Redi narrowly escaped being burnt at the stake when he proclaimed, "Life can only arise from the living." Steiner with his spiritual science which proclaims that "soul and spirit can only issue from soul and spirit" has not escaped being burnt at the stake of modern scientific opinion for his claim because it presupposes reincarnation to be a fact of our existence. (Page 33) When I came to see my life as a riddle bordered by an enigma on each end — birth, life, death — I began searching for answers to the riddle and enigmas and found them in the works of Rudolf Steiner.
[page 33] Whereas Redi's statement is of restricted interest, the statement by spiritual science, 'soul and spirit can issue only from soul and spirit', concerns everyone. That a human being does not live once only but passes through repeated lives on earth, every life being the result of earlier lives and the starting point of numerous subsequent lives, is the kind of knowledge that interests everyone. All confidence in life, all certainty in our work, the solution of all the riddles facing us — they all depend on knowing this. People will draw more and more strength from this knowledge for coping with their lives, and for confidence and hope in facing the future.
It is the "I" which is at work in one incarnation after another, going from life to life, and evolving each time. In our time our individual "I" is working on our three bodies, astral, etheric, and physical to cleanse and purify them into Spirit Self, Life Spirit, and Spirit Man(3). This working is a conscious working, requiring volitional involvement of our "I", our ego.
[page 34] But how does this evolution proceed? By the ego working on the three lower members of the human being. There is the astral body, the vehicle of pleasure and pain, joy and sorrow, instinct, desire and passion. Let us look at a person on a low level, whose ego has done little as yet to cleanse his astral body and so is still its slave. In a person on a higher level we find that his ego has worked upon his astral body so that his lower instincts, desires and passions have been transformed into moral ideals, ethical judgements. From this contrast we can gain a first impression of how the ego works on the astral body. In every human being it is possible to distinguish the part of the astral body on which their ego has not yet worked and the part which the ego has consciously transformed. The transmuted part is called Spirit Self or Manas. The ego is able to become even stronger, and it will then also transmute the etheric body. Life Spirit is the name given to the transformed part of the etheric body. And if the ego acquires such strength that it is able to extend its transforming power as far as the physical body, we call the transmuted part Atma, or the real Spirit Man. This is how evolution takes place. The outer members of the human being, which are not actively acquired but given, are transformed by the ego.
The process of evolution described above is happening right now with each person's "I" or ego working on the three bodies to some extent. The more evolved the person is, the more the astral, etheric, and physical bodies have been purified into the Spirit Self, Life Spirit, and Spirit Man. As the "I" works its way through astral to etheric, the work gets harder, and the physical body is the hardest of all, so at any one time, there will be the most progress made on the astral, less on the etheric, and the least on the physical body (which will be completed last). This is our present and our future, whether we are aware of it now or not, at some point we will become aware of it, and the sooner this happens the easier it will be for us as an individual.
The next process of evolution is one that we have almost finished, as the major portion of this development took place in our past without us in previous lifetimes being aware of it. The "I" or ego worked on the astral body to produce a Sentient Soul, on the etheric body to produce an Intellectual Soul(4), and on the physical body to produce a Consciousness Soul.
[page 34, 35] So far we have been speaking of the conscious transforming of the astral body. But in the far distant past, before the ego was capable of working in this conscious way, it worked unconsciously — or rather, subconsciously — on the three outer human sheaths, beginning with the astral body, the carrier of our emotions, desires and instincts. The part of the astral body that the ego worked on in this way, this transmuted part of the astral body, we call the first member of the human soul, the sentient soul. This is how the ego lives in our inner being, and it created the sentient soul at a time when human beings lacked the requisite degree of consciousness for transforming their instincts, desires and so forth. In the etheric or life body the ego created, before the age of consciousness, what is called the intellectual soul. And in the physical body the ego created the inner organ we call the consciousness soul. For spiritual science the human soul is not a vague, nebulous entity, but an essential part of our inner being, consisting of three distinct members — sentient soul, intellectual soul and consciousness soul — within all of which the ego is actively engaged.
Animals, lacking an "I", are unable to create any of these three bodies, and anyone who treats animals as if they had a soul are simply projecting onto animals a human frame of reference which they do not have. Steiner clearly describes the evolution of minerals, plants, animals, and human beings, and in that evolution one can rightly understand that human beings are a separate entity from animals, that animals completely missed a stage of development which humans underwent. Humans did not evolve from animals, rather animals remained behind during a stage of evolution. Humans are not higher apes, but rather apes are examples of the highest stage an animal can reach as an animal.
To understand the difference between our sentient body which any animal has and our sentient soul which only a human has, one needs to make the distinction between a percept and a concept. Humans are like the captain of a large ship traveling at seas which is dividing the water into percepts and concepts: when the Captain looks to the right side he sees only percepts arriving from the sentient body side of the ship, when he looks to the left side he sees only concepts which are arriving from the sentient soul side of the ship. If you look at a rose, you receive a percept; ; if you look away from the rose and recall it, you are receiving a concept of the rose.
[page 36] Perception brings us into communication with the external world, concepts belong to the soul. The boundary between inner experience and the outer world can be precisely drawn. Directly we begin to experience something inwardly, we owe it to the sentient soul — as distinct from the sentient body which brings us our percepts and enables us to perceive, for example, the rose and its colour. Concepts are located in the sentient soul, which is also the bearer of all that we call our sympathies and antipathies, of the feelings that things arouse in us. When we feel the rose to be beautiful, this is an inward experience belonging to the sentient soul.
The second step is to understand the intellectual soul and how we operate through its use.(5)
[page 36, 37] The higher principle brought into being by the work of the ego on the etheric body is what we call the [intellectual] soul. Through the [intellectual] soul human beings are enabled to do more than carry about with them the experiences aroused in them by their perceptions of the outer world. They take these experiences a stage further. Instead of merely keeping their perceptions alive as images in the sentient soul, they reflect on them and involve themselves with them until these form themselves into thoughts and judgements, into the whole content of a person's inner life. The inner cultivation of impressions received from the outer world is the work of what we call the [intellectual] soul.
The third step is to understand the consciousness soul and how we have come to know and explain the world in which we live by dint of its presence in our current frame of reference.
[page 37] A third principle is brought into being when the ego has created in the physical body the organs whereby it is enabled to go out from itself and to connect once again its judgements and ideas with the external world. This principle we call the consciousness soul because the ego is then able to turn the inner experiences aroused in it by the stimuli from outside into conscious knowledge of this outer world. When we give form to the feelings we experience so that they enlighten us concerning the outer world, then the content of our minds becomes actual knowledge of the outer world. It is by means of the consciousness soul that we fathom the mysteries of the outer world, that we become knowledgeable people.
At this point some of you may be wondering why Steiner uses the word "ego" which has so many dreadful connotations today. He is aware of the ego being a "two-edged sword" (Page 37), one which cuts for good and one cuts for bad, one edge is selfless and one is selfish. Steiner explains that those who enrich themselves risk hardening their ego and losing thereby the riches of the world(6).
[page 38, 39] This is one aspect of the ego; and we are duty-bound to endeavor to make our ego as rich and as many-sided as we can. But there is also a reverse side of this progress of the ego, and this is called selfishness or egoism. . . . It is indeed the task of human beings to enrich themselves inwardly, but this does not imply a selfish hardening of the ego and a shutting off of themselves and their riches from the world. In that event human beings would indeed become richer and richer, but they would lose their connection with the world. Their enrichment would signify that the world had no more to give them and they nothing to give the world. In the course of time they would perish, for while striving to enrich their ego they would be keeping it all for themselves and would become isolated from the world. This caricature of ego development would impoverish the human ego to an increasing extent, for selfishness lays waste a person's inner being. So it is that the ego, as it works in the three members of the soul, acts as a two-edged sword. . . . The ego has to work on each of the three soul members in such a way that in both these directions justice is done where human evolution is concerned.
The next topic could be called "Anger as an Educator", a title that educators might get angry over, as they deem any anger as wrong and evil. But what is evil? Rightly understood, "evil is a good out of its time", in Steiner's own words. Lucifer's deed of bringing light to humankind was a good out of its time, something that would be good, namely light, humankind was not ready for, so it was something out of its time, and evil. A good out of its time, evil, will always be balanced by an equal good later, as Lucifer's deed was balanced later by Christ's deed in the Mystery of Golgotha.
How does anger arise? It arises as an impulse in the sentient soul which the intellectual soul is not prepared to deal with. Any parent who's raised children, knows that their teenage years are filled with anger of some kind, and rightly so, as teenagers are bombarded with impulses from their sentient soul which their intellectual soul is not prepared to deal with. So the teenager gets mad at one or both parents, often simply because they are the only ones who will listen to the teen's ravings, after all, parents can be blamed for almost anything that upsets a teenager, can they not? After all, if they had raised the teenager better, this would not have happened, right?
[page 41] First, we judge an event in the outer world by getting angry; then, having first learnt unconsciously to disagree with something that is not right — learning unconsciously by way of anger — we learn, through this very way of judging, to become more and more ready in the higher part of our souls to have enlightened judgement. So in a certain area anger is an educator. It arises in us as an inner experience before we are mature enough to form an enlightened judgement about something unacceptable to us. This is how we should look at the anger which can overcome young people, before they are capable of considered judgement, at sight of an unjust or foolish action which violates their ideals; we are justified in calling this righteous anger. It is a dimly recognized judgement made by the sentient soul before we are mature enough to pass enlightened judgement.
Jesus himself was moved to anger by the money-changers in the temple, was he not? Steiner says it is by anger that we are enabled to move into "light-filled clarity". (Page 41) Each human being must operate on the world out of their own frame of reference, doing what they can do at their current level in the process of moving to a higher level.
[page 41, 42] For no one does better at acquiring self-assured judgement than a person who, starting from the right feelings, has passed through the stage of being moved to righteous anger by anything mean, immoral or senseless. This is the mission of anger. Anger has the mission to raise the human ego to higher levels. Before we can master ourselves and judge clearly, it leads us by means of what we can do to what we cannot yet do.
But anger can become rage, and certainly that is not good for anyone? I can hear some of you thinking to yourselves, as I have thought that to myself on many occasions. Anger can become rage because of free will: being free, anything can degenerate, even anger.
[page 41] Anger can degenerate into rage and serve to gratify the worst kind of egoism. This must be so, if human beings are to be able to develop freedom. But we must not fail to realize that the very thing which can become evil may, when it shows its proper nature, have the mission of assisting our progress. It is just because human beings can allow good to turn into evil that something which has been developed into a good quality can become a possession of the ego. Therefore anger is to be understood as the herald of the force that can raise a human being to calm self-possession.
Jesus' anger at the money-changers in the temple gives us a model for righteous anger, which we can model when we encounter injustice or stupidity in our world today. Jesus got angry and he took immediate action by overturning their tables and chasing the changers from the temple, saying they had changed the temple into "a den of thieves." In German the vernacular phrase for being furious is to "poison oneself" (sich giften ), but a little poison used homeopathically can help one who is ill become well, and anger works the same way. Anger is a two-edged sword: it can reduce awareness (if suppressed internally) or it can promote selflessness (if expressed externally).
[page 43] Anger which eats into the soul is a poison which damps down the ego's self-awareness, yet the very expression of it points to the other factor it promotes, namely, selflessness.
Steiner says that "we would just melt into nothing if we had to remain indifferent to everything around us, and we could not judge it calmly." In addition we would be free, but without an ego and with no chance of acquiring enlightened judgment. (page 43)
[page 43] Life shows us that a person who is unable to flare up in righteous anger at injustice or stupidity will never acquire real love and kindness, whereas a person who educates himself through righteous anger will acquire a heart aglow with love, a heart that leads to the doing of good deeds. Love and kindness are the obverse of righteous anger. Anger that is conquered and purified becomes transformed into love and kindness. A loving hand is seldom one that has never clenched in response to injustice or foolishness. Anger and love are complementary.
We move now into the next lecture where Steiner promises to show us "how the ego becomes mature enough to educate itself in the rational or perceptive soul by understanding the mission of truth on a higher level." (Page 48) We can lead into this revelation by asking, "Which kind of teacher did you learn more from in grade school: the cold fish dictator who made you write sentences on the board like "I will do my homework" after school for an hour, or the one who got red-faced in anger at if you missed an important homework assignment? Think about that.
[page 51, 52] To visualize the way anger works in the soul let us imagine two teachers faced with children who have done something wrong. One teacher will lose his temper and immediately punish the child. The other teacher may not be capable of letting go in anger, yet neither is he able to do the right thing out of full self-control from out of his ego. . . . An outburst of anger involves more than the punishment imposed on the child. Anger stirs the soul, working upon it so as to destroy selfishness. Anger acts like a poison on selfishness, and we find that in time it gradually transforms the powers of the soul, making it capable of love, whereas the teacher who has not yet attained inner tranquillity and yet inflicts a coldly calculating punishment will, since anger does not work in him as a poison, become an increasingly cold egoist.
Which of the two teachers will have the respect of their pupils? Remember back to your schooldays and you will find the answer. You may have disliked the cold-fish Victorian spinster and the hot-tempered Irishman, but you respected the one who openly got angry when you fell short of your own potential. We also learned from him that it was okay to get openly angry at others ourselves, and that is an important lesson in becoming more mature. From the spinster we got that message that becoming old was a sad and lonely proposition, one to be avoided. We did what she demanded of us in class, but at recess on the playground we vented our anger at her, and only in this indirect way did her stoic disposition provide us a lesson in maturity. Anger weakened the ego of the Irishman and prevented him from becoming a stone-cold egoist.
But neither self-composure or fiery anger can get us very far without truth.
[page 57] Truth has this unique characteristic: we can strive for it while remaining entirely within ourselves yet — while living in our ego — we can acquire something which fundamentally speaking has nothing to do with the personal.
In my lifetime I have met many original thinkers and inventors and they all had this one distinguishing feature: anger at those who didn't believe in their creations. They demonstrated a strong combination of egoism and a search for truth, which invariably led them again and again to anger at skeptics who were unable to see the truth they had uncovered. Considering that their truth was not as yet known commonly by the world, this was not at all surprising, but the anger was always there.
[page 57] Whenever people are driven to have their own way, what drives them is egoism. When they want to do something they think is right, but someone stands in the way, they get angry, which is an expression of self-seeking. But if they are bent on attaining truth, this self-seeking must be subdued.
Steiner points to mathematics as the one field where humankind has "curbed their passions and desires, and do not permit them to have a say." One cannot argue that 2 and 2 equals 4. Whatever disputes arise in mathematics, eventually someone will provide a proof, and the dispute goes calmly away.
[page 59] By opening ourselves to truth, truth becomes all the stronger and we are released from the self. Whereas anger weakens us, truth strengthens. Truth is a stern goddess; she demands to be at the center of a unique love in our souls. The moment one fails to get away from oneself and prefers something else to her, she takes immediate revenge.
Some time ago I came upon an interesting interpretation of the myth of Pandora who had two brothers, Epimetheus and Prometheus, whose names can be seen to mean "hindsight" and "foresight" or what is translated as reflective thinking and creative thinking in this book. Steiner points out forcefully that spiritual science comes from creative thinking.
[page 61] So there are two kinds of truths, and they must be kept strictly apart, those that arise from external observation, by means of reflective thought, and those that arise through 'creative thought'.
How can truths of this kind be verified? What makes them true? The inventor of a clock can spend a lot of time giving us proof that he thought it out correctly. But we shall only give him our confidence if he can show us that the clock does what he expects. Anything we think out in advance must prove itself in practice, and yield results that can be recognized. The truths of spiritual science or anthroposophy are of this kind. We cannot learn about them in the first place from our outer experiences.
We cannot come to understand that each human being appears in successive incarnations by examining the external world with reflective thought, but only by proving it in our own life.
[page 62] If we look at life with the knowledge that the soul repeatedly returns and ever and again goes through a series of events and experiences between birth and death, we shall find how much satisfaction, how much strength and productivity these thoughts can bring. Or again, if we ask how the soul of a child can be helped to develop and grow stronger, presupposing that an eternally existent soul is here working its way into a new life, then this truth will shine in on us and give proof of its fertility in outer reality. Any other proofs are false. The only way a truth of this kind can be confirmed is by proving it true in daily life. Truths that have been actually arrived at in thought and not through external observation cannot be proved in the same way as reflective truths. They have to prove their worth and show their fruitfulness in life itself. There is a vast difference between these two kinds of truth. Those of the second kind are grasped in the spirit and verified through outer observation.
My academic career began as a physicist, and I spent a lot of time in reflective thoughts which investigated how the external world works. I was well on my way to becoming a cold egoist, as Steiner explains in this next passage.
[page 63] The creative power of the ego is lamed and devitalized; the self loses strength and can no longer stand up to the world if it is concerned only with reflective thoughts. Nothing does so much to isolate the ego, to make it withdraw into itself, and to look with hostility on the world, as merely reflecting on it. People can become cold egoists if they are intent only on investigating the outer world. What do they want this knowledge for? Do they mean to place it at the service of the gods? If people desire only this kind of truth they want to have it for themselves, and they are on the way to becoming cold egoists and misanthropists in later life. They will become recluses or will sever themselves from humanity in some other way, for they want to possess the content of the world as their own truth. All forms of seclusion and hostility towards humanity can be found on this path. Souls become increasingly dried up and lose their sense of human fellowship.
Gradually I began to move toward a study of the spiritual world, because nothing in the field of physics allowed me to comprehend the riddle which is life and the two enigmas, birth and death, which embrace this one lifetime. I had devoted the first half of my life to the study of science and I began to devoted the second half of my life to the study of the arts — for myself, that meant to begin viewing the world as an artist does in my every endeavor. Suddenly I discovered what feelings were, a discovery which brought me out of my incipient isolation into the connected world of people. Here's how Steiner describes the artist:
[page 64] Now an artist comes along, and his soul confronts the picture that nature sets before him. He does not merely reflect on it but lets nature's creative power work upon him. He creates a work of art which does not contain merely a reflective thought but a productive force. . . . In this realm human beings relate in a different way, as they themselves are productive. They bring their thoughts to realization in life; here they are working according to nature's own example. This is how it is with us when we go beyond mere observation and reflective thinking, and make space for something to arise in our souls that we cannot get from mere observation.
We see there are two distinctly different kinds of truth, the Epimetheus-kind of reflective thinking and the Prometheus-kind of creative thinking.
[page 65] This is how different the two kinds of truths are, the one reached by creative thought and the other by reflective thought. The latter kind, derived from investigating existing things or current experience, will always lead to abstractions, and the soul will be deprived of nourishment and dry up. The truth that is not acquired from outer experience, however, is creative and by the force of its own strength it assigns human beings a place in wider existence where they can cooperate in shaping the future.
One kind of truth can be called hindsight and the other kind foresight; one looks back over the past, the other looks into the future; one is filled with regrets, the other is filled with optimism; one will starve on the abstract, the other thrive on the creative; one sees the world as it was, the other sees the world as it can be. This is a personal choice each person makes, whether or not one is a aware of it being a choice or not.
[page 65, 66] Those people who are active in their striving for truth will soon find how much reflective thinking impoverishes them. And they come to understand that the devotees of reflective thinking are filling their minds with phantom ideas and bloodless abstractions. Such people may feel like outcasts, condemned to a mere savoring of truth, and may come to doubt whether they have any spirit to playa part in shaping the world. On the other hand, if we experience a truth acquired by creative thinking we shall find that it nourishes and warms the soul and gives it new strength at every stage in life. It fills us with joy when we are able to grasp truths of this kind and discover that in connecting them up with the phenomena of life we can say to ourselves: Now I not only understand what is going on there but I can now explain it in the light of having known something about it previously.
Epimetheus opens Pandora's Box, all the ills of the world based on reflective thinking is let loose and only Hope remains behind, showing what is the last refuge of the abstract reflective thinker.
[page 72, italics added ] Only one thing is left to the merely reflective thinker. While creative thinkers unite their ego with the future and break free from themselves in living for the future, reflective thinkers, with regard to the future, only have this one thing left them: to hope that things will happen, for, not being creative thinkers, they will have no part in shaping it.
Epimethean reflective thinkers are the ones who fill Ayn Rand's famous novels, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, who are systematically regulating and stifling the productivity of America; they can only hope for the best. Her heroes are promethean creative thinkers who make things happen to create a better future for all of humanity. If you ask them, they will answer, "I hope for nothing."
[page 72] If a promethean person were to speak of the future he would say: 'I hope for nothing, but will work out of my own forces to shape the future.'
Earlier we discovered how anger is in effect the tutor of the sentient soul. In Lecture 4 Steiner reveals that truth is the tutor of the intellectual soul.
[page 82, 83] This describes briefly the content of the intellectual soul. We have seen how untamed passions, such as anger, educate the soul if they are overcome. We have seen also that the intellectual soul is really educated by truth, when truth is understood as something one has to take hold of completely within oneself and which one should take account of at all times; something which, despite being an inner possession, leads us out of ourselves, enlarging the ego and making it stronger and stronger and more selfless in its own right. These then are the means of self-education for the sentient soul and intellectual soul.
Which leaves us wondering what about the consciousness soul? From where does it gets its stimulus into being? We cannot gain knowledge of the spiritual world merely by hoping and waiting for it or expect our sensations and perceptions of the physical world to allow us to acquire more than the knowledge of the physical world. So where does it come from?
[page 83] There is something that reaches out from the intellectual soul to the consciousness soul, and this is thinking — thinking with its strength and cleverness. The consciousness soul can develop only because human beings are thinkers; for the consciousness soul, with its self-awareness, has to know both the world and itself.
We are so used to the phrase "cold, hard logic" that we are led to assume that all logic is cold and hard, but logic gets its very beginnings in feeling which provides us a direct connection to the spiritual world. Yes, we can act as if logic, once accepted and proven, exists separately from its origins in feeling, but, rightly understood, that is not the case.
[page 84] Logical thinking cannot be proved primarily by logical thinking, but only by feeling. In fact, everything that constitutes logic is in the first place proved through feeling, by our soul's infallible feeling for truth. . . . What kind of feeling do we need if it is to provide the drive not only for thinking in general, but for thinking about worlds with which we are at first unacquainted and cannot survey?
Feeling of this kind must be a force that strive from within towards an object as yet unknown. When the human souls wants to encompass with feeling some other thing, we call this feeling love.
I have a feeling that this next statement of Rudolf Steiner is true:
[page 85] To love the supersensible before we are capable of illuminating it with thought is not only possible but is indispensable.
When our will gets involved, it can lead us to reach out to the supersensible world before our thinking can achieve it, and this quality of will we call devotion. When love and devotion appears together, we call it reverence. We have seen previously that anger is the tutor for our sentient soul, and now we can see that reverence is the tutor of our consciousness soul.
In the transformation of the soul, the eponymous theme of this book, the ego, our "I", is the essential ingredient.
[page 86] Anger needs to be overcome and discarded; a sense of truth has to fill the ego. Reverence has to flow from the ego towards the thing that needs to be known. In this way the ego raises itself out of the sentient soul and the intellectual soul by overcoming anger and other passions and by cultivating a sense of truth, and now it is increasingly drawn towards becoming a consciousness soul through the influence of devotion.
In Steiner's metaphor below he reckons our three souls as the three strings of a musical instrument like a balalaika, and the ego, our "I", as a musician who tunes these strings, adjusting them, not too loose, not too tight, causing them to vibrate in harmony, producing the music of life. A child scrapping a bow across a balalaika will produce a chaos of cacophony because it does not yet understand the unique nature of the three strings.
[page 98, 99] We must also remember that the human soul embracing the inner life of man, is not merely a chaos of intermingling feelings, concepts, passions and ideals, but has three distinct members: the sentient soul, the lowest; in the middle the intellectual soul; and the highest, the consciousness soul. There three soul members are to be clearly distinguished, but they must not be allowed to fall apart, for the human soul must be a unity. What is it then that holds them together? It is the ego, it is what, in the true sense, we call the human "I", the bearer of our human consciousness of self, the active element within our soul, which plays upon its three soul members as a musician plays upon the strings of an instrument. And the harmony or disharmony is the basis of human character.
Through more than 15 years of discussing Rudolf Steiner's works with others, I have on rare occasions found someone saying or claiming something was true because Herr Doktor had said it or written it. That never seemed to be the case for me because I questioned everything Steiner wrote, accepting it only if it made sense for me, not accepting it merely because the Master had said it. In Lecture 6, Steiner himself spells out clearly for us and for all time how we are respond to what he or anyone else has said.
[page 135] . . . we are told that in the old Pythagorean Mystery Schools there was a familiar phrase: 'The Master has said.' But this never meant: 'The Master has said, therefore we believe it!' For his students it meant something like this: 'The Master has said it; therefore it presents us with a challenge to reflect on it and see how far we can get with it if we bring all our forces to bear on it.'
In the first ten books I read of random lectures given by Steiner, I didn't get very far as I had few forces to bring to bear on them. Not until I read his basic works did I begin to develop forces with which to draw meaning from his lectures. The first time I read "An Outline of Occult Science" I wrote a single page review of it; the second time I wrote a 127 page review of the first five chapters and I haven't completed the last three chapters as of now(7). My Steiner reviews represent my application of my full forces upon understanding his work at the time I read and review a book of lectures. My reviews represent my own evolution of consciousness, the progress my ego, "I", has made to date on the development of my sentient soul, intellectual soul, and consciousness soul. It delights me to have people share with me that when they get stuck while reading a Steiner book, they say to themselves, "Let me go see what Bobby Matherne has to say about this book." Perhaps through watching me stumble through to an understanding of what Steiner has to say to modern readers, they can come to develop their own forces to establish their own view. "People only pay attention to things they discover for themselves," as Tony Perkins spoke in the movie, "Pretty Poison", an old B-movie — i. e., what we discover for ourselves is more important than what some respected authority figure has to say.
So far I can determine after reading and reviewing over 197 books of his, one can never discover in Steiner's works anyplace where he claims vegetarianism is a requirement for understanding the spiritual world. On the contrary, he goes to great lengths to counteract the tendency of his followers to argue for a vegetarian diet. One night after a meeting where vegetarianism was discussed, members of the class went out to a small local diner with him. As they ordered, each one spent a lot of time hassling the owner of the diner to find some vegetarian dish they could eat. When it came time for Steiner to order, he told the owner, "I'll have the Special." The Special was a meat dish, and you can imagine the gasps which must have gone around the table. In Lecture 6, he gives his guidance to those who might otherwise harm themselves by switching to vegetarianism.
[page 140] Vegetarianism will never lead anyone to higher worlds; it can be no more than a support for people who think to themselves: I will to open for myself certain ways of understanding the spiritual worlds; I am hindered by the heaviness of my body, which prevents the exercises from having an immediate effect. Therefore I will help myself by relieving my body of a certain amount of strain.
He adds that if one simply turns into a vegetarian to acquire certain spiritual powers, they will likely find their soul stays the same, their body weakens, and they will achieve only a false asceticism which allows them to see into a pseudo-spiritual world, not the real spiritual world. (Page 141)
[page 141] When you have stopped enjoying eating meat then refraining from eating it is of some use with regard to the spiritual worlds. Until then, breaking the meat-eating habit can be helpful only in getting rid of the desire for meat. If the desire persists, it may be better to start eating meat again. For to go on tormenting yourself about it is certainly not the right way to reach an understanding of spiritual science!
A Sufi saying goes, "Counterfeit gold exists because real gold exists." That will help us to understand how it is that false asceticism can exist.
[page 141] From all this you can clearly see the difference between true and false asceticism. False asceticism often attracts people whose sole desire is to develop the inner forces and faculties of soul, for it will not matter much to them whether they gain real knowledge of the outer world. Their aim is simply to develop their inner faculties and then to wait and see what comes of it.
Basically their ego remains as it was to begin with and no higher powers are attained. Another problem comes if people strive for humility and surrender and become so involved with themselves that they become egoists in the worst sense, which can degenerate into ambition and self-aggrandizement. (Page 142)
In Lecture 7, he elaborates on how the ego can affect us in good ways and bad ways.
[page 161] How does egoism affect the consciousness soul through which human beings acquire knowledge of the world around them? In other words, when can a piece of knowledge be really fruitful? It will be truly effective only if it brings a person into harmony with the rest of the world, which means that the only concepts and ideas that can enliven the human souls are those that are drawn form the outer world, from a living understanding of the worlds, and then only if we relate to the world in harmony! This is what all knowledge selflessly pursued, where we seek step by step to reach the great truths of existence, are so health-promoting for the soul, which then passes this on to the physical body. On the other hand anything that draws us out of a living connection with the world, as inner brooding does, or anything that brings us into discord with the world, will have a hardening effect.
In Lecture 8, Steiner strongly rebuts any claim that spiritual science's view of one's incarnating into serial lifetimes on Earth means it has adopted Buddhism.
[page 180] By now people should have grasped that spiritual science is not concerned with names but with actual truths that can be researched independently of any name that may be given to it. . . . At the same time it is essential to point out that spiritual science provides a means of testing the spiritual sources of every religion — including Christianity, the basis of our European culture on the one hand, and Buddhism on the other.
For those who wish to understand how two diverse religions such as Christianity and Buddhism can deal with reincarnation, he provides this antistrophe:
[page 186] If as spiritual scientist we stand for reincarnation we must say:
For Buddhism, the central unifying element in a person's life on earth does not endure; only his actions have effects for the next life.
For Christianity, the unifying element in a person's life is his ego with its contents. This ego endures, and carries over into the next life all the fruits of the preceding one.
He compares the ends expected by the two religions thusly:
[page 190] While Buddhism sees release from earth existence in terms of ascending to Nirvana, Christianity sees its aim as a continuing process of development whereby all the products and achievements of the various incarnations shine forth in ever higher stages of perfection until, spiritualized, they are resurrected at the end of earth existence.
The turning point in Earth evolution was the Mystery of Golgotha when Christ Jesus died on the cross and his great Spirit entered the Earth, and this turning point led humans to a new way of perceiving which no longer required long training in Mystery Schools to be an initiate. What initiates learned through their arduous training, humans could acquire on their own from then on, with Christ's help. One must understand this to be the basis of John the Baptist's loud proclamation at the time, "The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand."
[page 196] . . . [The Baptist] was simply using a technical expression for abilities human beings acquired when they began to obtain knowledge of the world in conscious self-awareness and no longer through [the Mystery School] inspirations. The Baptist's call means that knowledge of the world in concepts and ideas is approaching. Human beings are no longer dependent on the old clairvoyance, but can investigate and understand the world for themselves. And this mightiest of impulses to obtain knowledge by way of their 'I' and not through inspirations was given by the Christ.
One of the Beatitudes that is often not clearly understood is, "Blessed are the poor in spirit for their's is the Kingdom of Heaven" [Matt. 5:3] and Steiner explains its meaning. By those who were poor in spirit Jesus was speaking of those who no longer had direct spiritual experience through their loss of the old clairvoyance, but they are truly blessed because they will find a new way to the spirit by dint of His Deed on Golgotha.
[page 197] Blessed are they, for their's is that which will be revealed to them through their own ego, and can be achieved by way of ego-consciousness.
For some of you who still ponder the question, "Why read Rudolf Steiner?" I think the best answer I can give is what the Greek philosopher Heraclitus is reported to have said in this next passage.
[page 48, 49] Our study today has shown us, too, that the practical presentation of the Greek legend also bears out the words of Heraclitus: 'You will never find the boundaries of the soul, by whatever paths you search for them; so wide and deep is the soul's being.' . . . The boundaries of the soul are so wide that you may search along every path and not reach them, so comprehensive is the being of the soul.
From my extensive studies of his works, I can say that Rudolf Steiner explored the boundaries of the soul so much that every book of his lectures I delve into becomes a source of new and mind-boggling concepts which lead further to the wide, deep and limitless boundaries of the soul.
---------------------------- Footnotes -----------------------------------------
Footnote 1. Edward Reaugh Smith devotes two pages of his Burning Bush to Solomon's Key, explaining how Steiner received the information on its spiritual uses. (Page 672) Also called the Mogen David, I received one made of PVC pipes from my friend Warren Liberty. It contained only right angles, but, when viewed from over 30 feet away it will turn into the double-triangle figure, as seen in the photograph.
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Footnote 2. Tom Last, who read this book several dozen times shared his insights with me and we developed this set of web-pages to help earnest students of Steiner's work to decipher the many levels at work in his The Philosophy of Freedom.
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Footnote 3. These spiritual scientific names were coined by Steiner to replace the older esoteric names of manas, buddhi, and atman.
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Footnote 4. The translator renders the German phrase into "rational soul" or "perceptive soul" while most other translations use Intellectual Soul, but it will be useful to remember the perceptive attributes of the Intellectual Soul.
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Footnote 5. To avoid confusion, in all quoted passages the word "intellectual" will replace the phrase "rational or perceptive" which seems to point to two different souls instead of the one intellectual soul.
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Footnote 6. The effects of hardening the ego is magnificently portrayed by Charles Dickens in his classic tale, A Christmas Carol.
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Footnote 7. First review is here: http://www.doyletics.com/_arj1/oc96rvw.htm ; second review begins here http://www.doyletics.com/arj/occsc123.htm .
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Read/Print the Review at:
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I hear often from my Good Readers that they have bought books after reading my book reviews. 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 converse 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 Reads the Los Angeles Times this Month:
Padre Filius, the cartoon character created by your intrepid editor and would-be cartoonist, will appear from time to time in this Section of the Digest to share with us some amusing or enlightening aspect of the world he observes during his peregrinations.
This month the good Padre reads a Headline about Actor Rip Torn Breaking into a Bank.
2. Comments from Readers:
- EMAIL from Christopher Tidmore on his Trip Around the World by Land:RJM: I have mentioned Chris' trip to many people, saying that he is traveling from England to Australia by Land and their mouths have dropped open. Here is his description of the vehicle he is riding during his Mad Adventure through Asia, down the Malaya Peninsula, and, yes, by water to Australia.
We are driving during through a rain storm, having loaded the bus mere moments before the torrents fell upon us. To call our conveyance a bus, perhaps, is an inaccurate statement to say the least. Will, who is the CEO, owner, driver, mechanic, sometimes dishwasher, and chief intellectual father of Madventure Travel, designed the myriads of parts of the odd and wonderful vehicle. Image the world’s largest SUV mating with a Winnebago. The all-terrain 18-Wheeler holds a travel cabin on top seating 40, toilet and firewood strapped to the back, features complete lockers of kitchen, storage, and tools below, with water and petrol tanks strapped to the bottom, all guided by driven by a trucker’s cab.
On the front stands a balcony, with two seats, but thanks to active (and intrusively regulatory) European police, no one can sit upon it until we go off road in Asia. There are slots for the tables that we eat upon in evening to be slid into groves between the cab and the "structure”. Cubbyholes for every assortment of good that a six month trip might need. Food storage (and a safe, euphemistically called the freezer) rest under the passenger floorboards of the upper story), and an actual freezer near the back.
It suffices to say that Madbus (henceforth my name for our conveyance) fits no approved definition of Eurotravel, despite its obvious comforts and utility. We travelers were warned of the dangers of curious traffic cops flagging down our vessel, for a look. If questioned, due to the oddity, we must tell the truth, as stated in our booking agreement. "We are traveling, for free, through Europe."
Or as one customs agent wondered at the Port of the (Cliffs) of Dover, "What you’re doin’. Runnin’ a charity car?" He looked upon the group that ages usually from their late 20s to late 30s, with a few quite above that into the range of pensioners, with just a bit of skepticism. In collared shirts and fleece jumpers, we did not fit the Bohemian image of wanderers, one supposes. Just call us Gypsy Preppies.
- EMAIL from Gary:
Can you answer a question; do all doyles happen before age 5 and can we get rid of learned responses after age 5?
Regards, Gary ~~~ REPLY ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Dear Gary,According to our research, doyles are formed during five and under ages, going back to early womb periods. There is a prominent exception which puzzled me and Doyle Henderson for years: his long-time friend Clovis felt that he had doyles that were created during a lightning strike. Recent research in neuroscience shows that during intense trauma, like a lightning strike or battle-field explosion, the hippocampus is flooded with noradrenaline which effectively blocks its ability to transmit cognitive memories to the cortical region while at the same resurrecting the amygdala's ability to store doyles. This is switched during the height of trauma and switched off thereafter.
If there is no history of your having undergone a severe trauma, the best thing is for you to assume you must trace down below five years to extirpate a doyle. Doyles are doylic memories and not really 'learned responses' as they can be stored by one event and last a lifetime. A Speed Trace is a memory technique which changes a doylic memory into a regular memory. A doyle should not be called a learned response, as no consciousness or repetition is required for a doyle to be stored.
P. S. Read the new review The Neuroscience of Psychotherapy for additional details about how neuroscience research is confirming the theories of doyletics.
- EMAIL from Salvo in Australia:
I too, had wondered, what had happened to your regular DW. No biggie. Enjoyed reading abou the trip.
Hope all is well.
3. Poem from Freedom on the Half Shell:"The Pledge of Freedom"
Give me your poor, huddled masses 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:
The Pledge of Freedom
NOTE: These United States have a rich history, but the Pledge of Allegiance was written by the Socialist Francis Bellamy who saw these United States as a capital R-type Republic which France had. This Pledge of Freedom was written by a native-born son of one of these United States and an American.
I pledge allegiance to this Land
and to the Freedom for which it stands,
One Country Under God,
with Liberty and Justice for All.
4. COMING SOON: THE FALL OF THE TIMES-PICAYUNE! ! ! !
"TP to Have Largest News-Mangling Team in Louisiana" HEADLINE, page A-7, Sunday June 17, 2012 (edited for clarity)
What Ricky Matthews really said about the Times-Picayune dropping its daily newspaper publishing busines is this, "We will have by far the largest and most experienced news gathering team in Louisiana." Hmmm, rather interesting that Matthews never mentioned that the Times-Picayune already has the largest percentage of readership of any large daily newspaper in the country and is earning 11% profit in its current configuration as a daily newspaper. All of which could go out the window if the TP begins publishing only three newspapers a week in the Fall, as announced recently.
From what I hear, the Morning Advocate is poised to begin delivering daily editions in the New Orleans area and as soon as that happens, I'm poised to throw the TP down the toilet where its news-mangling New Jersey-soiled editions belong, and subscribe to the newspaper that won my heart during my four years of residence in Baton Rouge. A local paper, owned by local people, a Louisiana newspaper for Louisiana people, which reports, managing news instead of mangling news.
Sports-mangling: for most the 50 years since I graduated from LSU, I have read the sports pages of the TP mangling the results of LSU and Tulane sports contests. If LSU won the SEC Baseball Championship and Tulane lost a game 10-0 on the same weekend (as they did in 2012), LSU got 3 column inches and Tulane almost half a page. Fifty years of this kind of news-mangling without a choice is enough for me. Flush the TP! Bring on the daily Morning Advocate!
If the TP's New Jersey owners think seat belts and helmets should be forced on drivers, the TP blasts off its Editorial pages in locked step. In a Republican and Conservative State, the largest daily newspaper has time and again pushed its Liberal biases and agenda upon unsuspecting readers as it were God's truth, and the people of New Orleans have not had any option but to pay for it and ignore it because the birds and the crawfish didn't care what was written upon what they shat or decomposed upon.
I haven't weighed how much junk mail is stuck between the issues of the soon-to-be non-daily editions of the TP, but my guesstimate is about 30% percent of the weight of the paper over seven issues is pure junk, stuff I never clip, read, or look at, simply extract and toss in the garbage can. When the TP goes to three issues a week, I predict the percentage of this dead weight will increase to about 50%, and I strenuously object to paying for throw-away junk mail. Lord Knows, enough of it comes free in mail box in the course of the week, so why should I pay for a newspaper subscription to have another large volume of it delivered? Come the FALL of the TIMES-PICAYUNE, I will save our garbage collectors a lot of heavy lifting by canceling my subscription.
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9. CLOSING NOTES:
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