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WELCOME TO DIGESTWORLD ISSUE#155 May, 2015== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==Quote for the Jazz Fest Month of May:
Science pours the sensory into the spirit; Art pours the spirit into matter.
— Bobby Matherne, written Feb. 5, 2001 in and inspired by Goethe's Theory of Knowledge, GA#2, page 96.
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DIGESTWORLDArchived DIGESTWORLD Issues
GOOD MOUNTAIN PRESS Presents ISSUE#155 for May, 2015
Table of Contents
1. May's Violet-n-Joey Cartoon
2. Honored Readers for May
3. On a Personal Note
Flowers of Shanidar Poems
4. Cajun Story
5. Household Hint for May, 2015 from Bobby Jeaux: Houdini Opens Locks Like Magic!
6. Poem from Into the Silent Land:"Where's the programmer?"
7. Reviews and Articles featured for May:
8. Commentary on the World
- ARJ2: Karmic Relationships, Volume 4, GA# 238 by Rudolf Steiner
- ARJ2: The Fifth Gospel by Rudolf Steiner
- ARJ2: Awake! For the Sake of the Future, GA#220 by Rudolf Steiner
1. Padre Filius Cartoon
2. Comments from Readers
3. Freedom on the Half Shell Poem
4. 1986: Chernobyl Nuclear Accident
9. Closing Notes — our mailing list, locating books, subscribing/unsubscribing to DIGESTWORLD
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1. May Violet-n-Joey CARTOON:
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==This month Violet and Joey learn about Beauty.
For newcomers to DIGESTWORLD, we have created a webpage of all the Violet-n-Joey cartoons!
"Beauty" at http://www.doyletics.com/images/042215vj.gif
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2. HONORED READERS FOR May:
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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 May, 2015:
Mary Perrin in Erath, Louisiana
Carla Jean in New Orleans
Congratulations, Mary Perrin and Carla Jean!
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3. ON A PERSONAL NOTE:
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Out Our Way:
A RARE RAINY APRIL IN NEW ORLEANS
It's been a cold, snowy winter in the North with Boston getting record snowfall, and locally here we have had an unusual month of rain in April. It's pouring and thundering outside as I write these words on April 27. Huge storm just came through the area, and a strong gust blew the main French doors open in the LR. The top and bottom stays were not firmly in place and allowed this to happen. I have now put screws to keep the bottom from being left up and especially the top ones from sliding down and freeing the doors. This would have been a mess if we had been out of town. The Gretna police would have come and secured the doors due to the alarm, but it's better to know they're secured when we're away.Got as dark as midnight indicating a 50K high thunder head over us. No hail, some lightning, and everything else is secure, so far as I can tell. The Investment Club meeting should come off as scheduled as the rain is slacking already.
After two rain-out days, a good day of weather came for the Jazz Fest on Sunday which allowed Lady Ga Ga and Tony Bennett to serenade the crowd with their duets. With mostly cloudy days, the temperature has stayed in low 70s, and made for a good time to transplant seedlings into the veggie garden, and with the rain, no need to water the new plants. We have 2" cucumbers already and our Irish red potatoes are nearly ready to be dug up. By end of month, we picked an 8" cucumber ready to eat. The second weekend of Jazz Fest is coming up and weather forecast is clear and mild. Should be a great weekend for Fest Goers.
TOURING THE CITY WITH JIM AND CONNIE
For the second time inside 30 days, we've had fun taking out-of-towners around our fair city. To make it fun for us, we went to different places this second time, and we all enjoyed ourselves. During our previous time touring with Jim and Connie we had Viking Tour guides on our Rhine Cruise of last July; this time Del and I were the tour guides, and it was just as much fun. Jim had to visit an elderly aunt uptown, so we planned to drive them around town afterward. Jim called about 1 PM and we drove over to Lambeth House to pick him and Connie up. Since they had come in a taxi down St. Charles to Broadway, we drove to Riverbend and up Carrollton till it got jammed up right before Fountainbleau, so we righted down to Napoleon, then up Broad to Esplanade where we went left into City Park and through it to Marconi Drive, turning right on Harrison Avenue thru City Park and back down to the French Quarter. Parked near Moon Walk and took them down to the Mississippi River to dip their toes in. Then we walked over the levee wall into Café du Monde for café and beignets. While listening to the sax player doing Amazing Grace, I was reminded of the Annual Mass of the Chrism and this was the day on which it had happened, earlier that morning. I had forgotten about it while getting ready for Jim and Connie. I explained how we usually made an Annual Pilgrimage to attend that Mass. On this day we managed to do what we traditionally did after the Mass, go for Café au Lait and Beignets while listening to trumpeter Hock Barthelemew play and sing Amazing Grace. After coffee we walked to the Tabasco Shop, then inside the Cathedral. We walked back through the Square then to our car heading to Bon Ton Restaurant for an early dinner. We were greeted by Wayne, Jr., the owner's son, who sat us at about 5:20 pm.We had drinks, then I ordered their crab-shrimp-eggplant étouffée, and everybody raved over their own selection of food. Jim had the Rum Cocktail featured on the back of the menu; it is a drink whose recipe is owned by Wayne. For dessert we shared the large bread pudding, more than enough for four, with a bit of Jim's butter pecan ice cream. We said hello to Wayne, Sr. who came in shortly before we left. Jim complimented him on the Rum cocktail. We drove the to the Hotel Modern and dropped them off. They loved the hotel; they had asked for a quiet room and got one overlooking a courtyard, very scenic, very peaceful and quiet. Only a few hundred feet from the WWII Museum where they were going the next day. The next day we drove to Hotel Modern about 2 pm to pick up Jim and Connie. We drove through City Park then stopped at Brocato's for an afternoon Lemon Ice. We took them all the way to Lake Pontchartrain and along Lakefront Drive. Then we drove to Timberlane for an afternoon cup of coffee and a quiet visit. Afterwards we headed to Houston's Restaurant on St. Charles Avenue for dinner where we all had great meals. Jim enjoyed looking at the plaque commemorating the restaurant site as the location of the Andrew Jackson Higgins Shipyards. Afterward we returned them to their hotel for our fond goodbyes. We had great fun showing them around New Orleans.
EASTER ON THE ROCKING B RANCH
We started packing for our weekend in Texas at our daughter Yvette's ranch even before Jim and Connie had left town because we had to leave early the next morning. First stop was to be in Beaumont to take Carla, our other daughter to lunch. Left about 8:30 and got to Beaumont at noon. Took Carla to lunch with us at a sandwich restaurant nearby. On the way back to her home, we stopped by Dairy Queen and I got Del and Carla a chocolate-dipped vanilla cone and a strawberry milkshake for myself. Good thing because supper was several hundred miles away in Burton, TX.
On the way to Bellaire, Del took the US 59 shortcut, and she was frazzled by the traffic and confusing signs or lack thereof. When the traffic came to a stop on 59, we followed our Z10's GPS directions and took Newcastle Drive to get to Yvette's the back way and it worked great. Greg and Aidan had stuff locally to do the next morning, so we drove to Rocking B Ranch in Burton, Yvette drove, with Evelyn and Del holding Rigby in the back seat, and me riding shotgun.
As we got close to Brenham, we stopped for groceries, where I got a photo of a bright yellow VW Bug with the License Plate of "JUNE" on it; truly a June Bug. The rest of the way to Burton ranch, we stopped multiple times to take photos of the Bluebonnets in full bloom all along the highways. They seem to love to grow along with Indian Paintbrush flowers which make for a nice contrast in color, the Blue and White Bonnets and the Red, Orange, and White Paintbrushes.The next few days I also got my first photos of Longhorn Cattle along the road and of a Bluebird in Yvette's specially prepared wooden bird box on the Ranch. Also got a jack rabbit as it was running along the property.
Arrived at the ranch about dark and unpacked the car. Yvette cooked a stuffed chicken with wild rice, Tortellini, and some asparagus for supper. Greg and Aidan arrived late but in time for grub. We played Scrabble with Greg, Yvette and us. Greg's first time with Matherne's rules, but he held his own. Bed was comfortable, only two baths, so we had to share one with Aidan and Evie, but no problem till Sunday morning when Evelyn closed the bathroom door and left the light on, so we had to use Yvette's bath all the while unknown to us, Evelyn was sleeping in her mother's bed. Teenagers!
The next day Yvette, Del, and I went to the Antique Rose Emporium in the morning. Our enjoyment of the flowers and displays was cut short by constant texts from her two kids. Teenagers! We soon left needing to meet Greg and Aidan and Evelyn at the Southern Flyer Café at the Brenham Airport. Only open from 11-3, it took an hour for us to get a table after Greg arrived (before us). Our table was outdoors on the rear patio overlooking a small lake (probably a borrow pit dug up to raise the land for the runway).The air was cool, the scenery was great, all of which was fine till it started drizzling, hard at times, and Greg got a bit wet from the drips from the umbrella over our table. That umbrella mostly saved us, but the poor waitresses had to walk through the rain to serve us. Took another long time to eat. I had a grilled cheese and the mushroom soup which was okay.
We stopped by to visit Kent and Reyna at their place, and right as we were leaving, her parents, Warren and Gloria were just arriving for the weekend.
Easter Saturday was a busy day which started with Yvette's baking some delicious banana bread. After eating, Yvette and Del began weeding the front porch area, which had gone unattended as other parts of the Ranch had needed immediate attention. I noticed that the Iris blooms were nearly all gone, so I got the trimmer and lopped off the hundred or so ugly stems, which improved the look of the porch. Del and Yvette pulled up a bunch of thorny weeds and planted the milkweed plants she had bought yesterday at the Rose Emporium. When we were finished with the Ranch Dressing, the front entrance looked a lot better.
After the planting was over, we drove into Burton and met Kent and Reyna at the Burton Café. A German heritage restaurant with the Schnitzelbank song's lyrics in a plaque on the wall. "Ist das nicht ein Schnitzelbank?" etal. Someone said that his father used to call him a "Schnitzel Fritz" and there was a photo of a young German boy to represent the name. Probably like the Cajun "Tee-Bob" for a short or young Bob, "Schnitzel Fritz" translates literally into a cut-off Fritz. (A Wienerschnitzel is a Veal Cutlet, Viennese- or Wiener-style.)
Back to Rocking B Ranch and Bobby got rocking in the fishing pond. Yvette kept talking about there being no fish in her pond and how she wanted to drain and re-stock it. She took two poles and some night crawlers (earthworms) she had in the freezer for a year and they sufficed as bait. Within a few minutes of dropping my hook with a worm into the pond, I pulled up an 8" largemouth bass (green trout). Then I picked up about 4 or 5 bluegills (round black dot behind gill). Then I baited Yvette's hook and showed her how to catch one by watching me. She also caught a small bass which I videoed with my camera. Then I put my rod in her hands and coached her on when to pull up the rod. Soon she caught one, and then another, a small bass. Then another bluegill which I videoed with my camera. (It's on You-Tube.) She loved it! Hard to get her away from the pond as it was getting dark.First time I've ever taken any of my kids fishing and shown them how to catch a fish. Seems that I only spent time fishing with adults when my kids were young, or not fishing at all because I was too busy working long hours.
Had a chance for a good visit during supper with Reyna's parents, Warren and Gloria who drove in from Fort Worth, where he retired from being an oral surgeon. Told him at one point about my stapled tea bag experience after my oral surgery. He said yes, the tannin in tea stanches bleeding. Asked him about the new technology for dentures. He said the usual procedure today is 3-D printing and four implants to hold dentures fixed. Implants for any reason means more pain and dentist visits ad infinitum, and I'll bet the DDS love it. Warren has a great sense of humor. When he ate the last of the banana bread pieces and I asked about it, he didn't apologize, but was proud of having eating the last piece, and congruently so. Gotta love a guy like that.
Warren and Kent were watching Kentucky and Wisconsin when we arrived for dinner, and I joined them till half-time and after our meal, we started playing cards, eight of us, in one Pay Me! Game. Required a third deck of cards. This time, the four oldest of the group of eight finished as the Top Four. At one point, the Queen round, Gloria 74, Bobby 75, and Warren 76. I tried my best to beat Warren on the King round, but he got zero and had lowest score (Winner), Gloria was second best with about 5, I got 11 and was third, and Del was fourth. The second generation set had the worst scores, and I think the one third generation kid, Luke, who acted so proud of his Pay Me! ability (which was good for an 11 year old), may have finished last.
Greg and Aidan had to be in Houston for 6 am to feed the homeless, so they stayed the night at home in Bellaire. We packed up the car and headed back to our car at Yvette's. Stopped at the new PJ's on Durham off I-10 (Katy Freeway), and to see my long-time Barista at my local PJ's Coffeeshop, Long Nguyen, in his first managerial job. When I asked if Long was in, the two cute young Baristas behind the counter said "Long taught us everything", and called him from the office. Long was bright-eyed and proud. I got a photo of him and congratulated him. Yvette asked if they might open a place near her home and he said, "It's possible, if it's in a 5 mile radius." When we arrived, Greg had gone out to buy some veggies, and I wasn't sure what that meant, but he came home with 6 or 7 boxes of take-out and set the table for all the Clarks and Mathernes and we shared a delicious Easter Dinner together. We left for home about an hour later and arrived at Timberlane about 7:30 pm.
Finally got around to adding the fifth monitor that I bought to provide a working fourth monitor. Turned out I only needed the right Mini-DVI adaptor plugs and these made possible the fifth.I needed a bracket that could support two monitors in Portrait or Vertical mode in order to fit five monitors on my desktop. The brackets came in and I drove to Ullo's Hardware to buy the bolts I would need to mount both the monitors and expansion VESA strips to the dual brackets. Chris Ullo came up with the metric bolts I needed, but when I finally unloaded all of the package I found two full sets of bolts! I had planned to use the slide-on clamp to attach the dual bracket to my desk top, but there was not enough clearance, so I had to drill a hole and use the hole-thru-the-desk clamp.
One day I discovered, when Word Prefect balked at doing the HTML conversion of the large review, Awake, that if a review is in an .htm file, Explore would show it formatted in its Preview Pane as if it had already gone to remote! This will be very useful because of the time required to sent a file to remote just to check if an edit to the formatting went as I expected it to.
I found this out by going to Acrobat to convert awake.wpd to .pdf and then save it as .htm at least that's the best I can recall of a chaotic frenzy which resulted in a useful new tool for me. So fine to be able to correct the complicated spacing of poetry and see it immediately on a side screen. No mistake goes unrewarded.
LSU AND PELICANS, HIGH-FLYING AND DIVE-BOMBING
What a night! LSU whipped UNO 11-2 and Pelicans whipped best team in NBA Golden State Warriors 103-100 to move into 8th spot and a playoff berth. The Pelicans also won a huge victory over the ranking NBA champs Spurs, 108-103 thanks to a fast start 21 point lead in first half and great play by every one, an All-Star Pelican team gets to play the Golden State Warriors, the Top Seed, but a team Pels beat earlier. Four of Seven seems doable. It wasn't that way. Warriors swept Pelicans 4-0.
Another dual game set tonight in TSR. Watched LSU whip NSU Demons with 3 homers and great double play 1, 4, 5, 3 Ball scorched Pitcher's glove knocking it to ground, then Jared Foster at 2nd fell towards 1st to grab it and then tossed it while on the ground to Bregman at 2nd who rifled it to first to complete an amazing Double Play!
Watched LSU's entire lineup get a base hit and take a 6 run lead in the bottom of the first on way to 11 run win over Lamar State, Carla's school. Even pitcher Collin Strall got his first hit at his first ever at bat.
Oh, former LSU Tiger Mikey Matook got a home run in his first major league at bat for the Tampa Bay Rays.
On one Saturday afternoon, the capability of my new five screen desktop was stretched. There were three games I wanted to watch: 1 PM: LSU Baseball, 2 PM: LSU Spring Football, and 3 PM first ever playoff game for Pelicans. The Pelicans were on live on ABC, so I could rotate the TV used as Monitor 3 into Landscape mode and switch to TV mode. But how could I get two WatchESPN.com streaming videos on at the same time? I held that as an unanswered question overnight and the next morning a solution arose: run two different browsers. Neither will know that the other is showing a streaming game. I keep Google Chrome as a backup and checkup browser for my standard Internet Explorer 10. Sure enough, I was able to get both games streaming live at the same time. I could even choose whether to listen to either game's audio or both at the same time.
So, it's possible to stream two games at the same time, but I had a problem near the end of the games. The PC got hung up and caused my Internet connection to stop working. Rebooted Cable Modem and WiFi routers twice, then called Cox and they recommended my rebooting the PC, but I simply switched to my laptop in our Screening Room. Since the Laptop's WiFi was working, I was pretty sure that a full PC reboot would solve the problem, but that could well wait till after the games were over.
Watched LSU pitchers 9 of them manage a one-hit shutout of Tulane, 6-0 on my PC while editing and playing with sentences on Awake! It was this time that I learned how Explore shows .htm files fully formatted in its review pane. Since I usually convert directly to .shtml which does not show in formatted form, I had never discovered this useful feature before.
One Thursday night, LSU No. 1 went against Texas A&M No. 2. First top 2 matchup at the new Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field. The Tiger took care of business winning with a walk-double to Left Field by Danny Zardon who had lost his starting job and missed the cut for the bus to Georgia last week, but Manieri told him he'd get his chance. Game ended with LSU at bat at bottom of the ninth with the score tied 3-3 and man on Second Base, one out.
Coach Manieri talked to Zardon while A&M switched pitchers and said to him, "Forget what other coaches told you; I want to look carefully at the first pitch all the way in, don't swing at it, but do swing at the next pitch." He did that and his line drive blooped over the Third Baseman in fair territory. The ball ran into the Left Field along the fence and the Left Fielder fell down when he got to the ball, probably because he saw the Tigers running out on the celebrating the win! It was like winning the College World Series, the excitement and enthusiasm for the pitchers, and especially for Danny Zardon.I switched to watching Pelicans full time at that point, and put "A Night at the Opera" on the left screen because I could see the Pelicans nose-diving in the four quarter, giving up its 20 point lead bit by bit, letting the score get tied at the buzzer, and then losing in OT. Need a coach who knows how to handle such opportunities and turn them into wins.
TIMBERLANE HOME TOUR
Our home was not involved in the tour as in the past two years, but Del was in charge of organizing the name tags and registration on the day of the event. We lined up Armand St. Martin to play for the post-party at Gorge's home. Del registered folks and I took photos at the brunch and later we toured four homes of the tour and made the final stop at the home on Colony Road for the post-party. The day was clear with no rain till well after the event was over, a real blessing.
So much work on Home Tour to do ahead of time that we couldn't go to French Quarter Fest at all this year. Missed all four days: the day before the Home Tour, the day of the Tour, and the next two days because we had to head to Alexandria, Louisiana for the crawfish boil and the Christening of Ben, our latest great-grandson on Del's birthday.
CRAWFISH BOIL, BIRTHDAY PARTY, AND CHRISTENING
Got there as Wes was leaving to pick up four sacks of live crawfish. Enjoyed talking to Jack Doggett at the crawfish farm who helped load the crawfish in Wes' trunk. As we left, Wes stopped for me to get photos of two peahens alongside the road and a bunch of billy goats in a nearby farmyard.
Watched Wes boil the crawfish in his new triple burner rectangular pot. When the crawfish are done, the strainer basket decants into any large Igloo ice chest. (See Inset showing dumping by Thomas and Oday-John) Also, Wes innovated a series of holes in the large metal scoop to help remove crawfish from the pot because the boiling liquid can drain through the holes. Very handy. Got the guy who sold him the burner setup to do it for him and gave him the idea for others.
He didn't put any sausage in this time. Said it was a fad that had run its course. I was glad about that and he invited me to remove a small ice chest of crawfish before the soaking for 20 minutes began. This reduced the amount seasoning that crawfish soaks up and made it much closer to my taste.
Grand-daughter Katie came by with her baby Benjamin and I got a chance to hold him uninterrupted for about an hour. There is nothing more peaceful than holding a small baby as it sleeps. I didn't want to talk or say anything to spoil the serenity.Ben and I both loved that time together. Afterwards I told Katie, who is nursing, about the birth control aspects of breast-feeding. The Kalahari women average about 5 periods in a lifetime. They get pregnant at about 15, nurse for 4 years, have a period, get pregnant again, and after about 6 children, they go into menopause about 35 years old. The prolactins generated by nursing produce a natural birth control substance in the nursing woman's body. This is very handy for Catholics, but few women today would have a baby sleeping with her every night to nurse, something which the Kalahari women do naturally.
We ate crawfish out on the patio. Folks came, Pat, Lucy, and Nancy, plus Thomas's buddies and most of the crawfish went. Later we went inside to celebrate Del's birthday. We put the two birthday cakes together with 7 candles, one for each decade, plus added 7 cupcakes around the top of the two big cakes for the photo and the video of everyone singing Happy Birthday to Del.
After the gang left, Wes, Del, Kim and I sat out on their patio with just enough of a chill for Wes to light one of the two radiant gas heater on tall poles, like the ones Downtown Disney uses. Del and I shared an ottoman as we talked with Kim and Wes about their upcoming renovation plans.
The next morning was the Christening of Benjamin Jerome Upton at the Mary, Mother of Jesus Catholic Church, a small chapel in the small town of Woodworth, just south of Alexandria. The priest did a marvelous celebration of the Sacrament of Baptism. It began when Katie and Stephen arrived with Ben at the back of the church. The priest led the procession and invited all parishioners on the edge of the aisle to make a Sign of the Cross on Ben's head as he passed. It was a traditional water on the forehead baptism, and there was one unique event: during the consecration of the Host, all the five or six babes-in-arms in the church began to cry briefly, as if they sensed directly the presence of the Great Spirit entering the Communion wafers. I also appreciated the priest intoning the Agnus Dei in Latin, which I sang along with him. This was one of the Latin verses which I recited every Sunday for some 17 years before the Latin Mass was switched to the vernacular, which for us is English. I was able to get some good photos of the Christening of Ben even though I was on the opposite of the church. Afterwards we drove to Katie and Stephen's home for the reception. Del and I decided to give the Upton and Duncans have their chance to hold Ben, but she and I did make the Sign of the Cross on his forehead before we left to drive home from a very busy long weekend, the second one in a row.
TERRANOVA'S SUPERMARKET 90 YEARS AT SAME LOCATION
In our New Orleans Advocate Daily Newspaper one morning was a full page article with color photos of my grand-daughter's husband's family business, Terranova's Supermarket. Here is a quote from the article by Mimi Read:
"Terranova's is the place to go if you want to experience what the world was like before money turned into plastic and commerce became anonymous."
That afternoon I had planned to watch LSU baseball game but it was canceled, so I accepted Del's invitation to join her on the Gretna Home Tour.The weather was great and we drove and walked to five different homes, after stopping in the David Crockett Fire Museum which was open, and the German Cultural Center for a droll photo op in Bavarian Lederhosen, and a pop into the Gretna Visitor's Center which is under construction.
MAYOR'S THANK YOU LUNCHEON
Last year Del was invited and went alone to this annual luncheon thinking it was a sit-down woman-only luncheon with our new mayor, Belinda Constant. She found out there were more men than women and that she had over-dressed for the BBQ and Fried Catfish fare, so she invited me to go this year with her. It was held on Arthur Lane at our friend Judge Edwards's home on a short canal off the Intracoastal Waterway in Lafitte. It was a real hoot listening to Sheila, the GPS voice try to pronounce Lafitte; instead of LAH-FEET, it came out more like LUFF-IT rhyming with Jimmy Buffet's last name.
When I said hi to the Gretna Chief of Police, Arthur Lawson, I commented, "I knew you'd be here, since it's being held on your lane." He laughed. No speeches, good food, some glad-handing, and a chance to meet new people and chat with old friends. We enjoyed the event a lot. I did make a plug with the Mayor to get our Timberlane Drive re-paved. Since Jefferson Parish lowered the water level in its canals, the water table dropped causing the collapse of the roadbeds in all of Jefferson Parish. This ill-advised maneuver has left the formerly elegant Timberlane Drive looking like a roller-coaster obstacle course whose only advantage is no one can drive over the 30 mph speed limit without busting a transmission or oil pan. Complete redo of roadbed in the works, Belinda promised. Thank you, Mayor!
REPAIRS AROUND THE HOUSE
Jim and James came to fix the Ice Maker which was howling this morning. The water refill valve is broken and the water pump was running out of water too quickly. Luckily I shut it off right away. It's the reason the ice cubes have been thin. We'll look out for that in coming years. It's been over 5 years since we bought the ice maker. Will cost about $300 to fix but would be another $500 if the pump were to burn out for lack of water. It is an immersion pump, so it requires water to operate. When ice cubes start getting thin, that's a signal to get the water valve replaced. Be sure to go to Holiday mode even for a few days from now on to prevent the pump going dry while we're out of town. The next day, I got a call from Derek at Pro-Appliance that my Ice Maker valve was ready to install. He came over about ten minutes later and is now gone. $287.62 for the repair. Thank God that I heard the noise and turned off the ice maker immediately to save the immersion pump from burning up.
FLOOR LAMP BURNT OUT
The 4-bulb set, in the workstation floor lamp which illuminates my keyboard as I type, burnt out after some 8 years or so. Found a replacement lamp set we had bought with the lamp, but two of the bulbs of the set, all of which need to be good, were broken in the box, probably during our move. Decided not to buy two replacements as I found them on amazon.com and they're easily replaceable, but the one I don't buy now cannot break before I use it! Cost with shipping about $14. Will be here in a week.
GARBAGE CAN FIASCO
I decided after finding out the rain was coming to get the branches I pruned earlier from the driveway's Loquat, the Peach tree, the Pittosporum bushes, and the Pomegranate tree into the garbage can. These were all dead or dying branches with no life in them. I decided to use the large blue garbage can, knowing it was empty and these branches would probably fill it up. So after I did picked up the Loquat branches, I decided to leave the can's cover hanging down as I moved to the other spot. It's heavy plastic and it would save me some time and energy. BIG MISTAKE!!! It was like walking with long shoelaces flopping around. As I moved the can, the cover reached the ground and without noticing that fact, my foot stepped on the cover, causing the can to halt immediately and my forward inertia to propel me forward into the stationary hard plastic can. I hit my right side forehead ( a visible scrape which I immediately put Neosporin on). No sign of a bump, just some dull pain from the contact, and I made an ice pack to place over the area. My right upper arm is sore in two places, with a large rainbow colored area marking the spot of contact.Learned one time-saving trick which is too dangerous ever to try again. My intention was to make sure the cover did not touch the ground as I moved the can, but as soon as I looked up to see where I was going, BANG! Called Del to tell her I had almost knocked myself out picking up pruned tree limbs. Will no longer be funny for me to tell someone, "Knock yourself out!"
Some of you may wonder how Del and I can possibly watch so many movies in one month? Well, we use NetFlix, both in Blu-Ray by post and Streaming Videos for other movies which are not likely in Blu-Ray. We can watch two streaming NetFlix movies at one time in the TSR. One can play through our PS/3 PlayStation of our large theater format screen (KURO) and the other can play on the VIZIO Smart TV which is the bottom right screen. Actually, using my LT, a third could be streamed on the bottom left screen. But there's no reason to ever stream two movies in the same Theater Room, so the other two possibilities are available when some sports event is going on one of the other screens. Watching baseball by myself, I have found it useful to stream a documentary on the right screen while I watch the Baseball game on the center screen.Fills in the many blank spaces in the typical Baseball game, and you can always pause the streaming movie when things get hot in the game. Take for example this month of College Baseball, I watched several movies I would not else have watched: "Monk With A Camera", "Goering's Last Secret", and "Churchill's First World War", to name only three. The other fill-in resource is TCM with its wonderful old movies like "A Night at the Opera" and "Singing in the Rain". If you've enjoyed these movies and you stumble upon a favorite scene like the stuffed stateroom or a song and dance number, like "Good Morning!" you can't help but pause whatever else is going on, if you can, and watching it play out again.
THE BIG BLOW
On Monday, April 27, I made a quick trip to Rouse's Supermarket and came home with some Alstromerias and Baby's Breath and arranged flowers for the Investment Club meeting here today. Also refreshed the fruit bowl. Little did I suspect that the meeting might not take place.
An hour later the sky got as dark as midnight around 10 AM indicating a 50K high thunder head over us. No hail, some lightning, when the huge thunderstorm blew through. A gust of about 120 mph blew the main French doors open in the Living Room.The top and bottom stays were not firmly in place and allowed this to happen. I closed the doors and immediately put screws to keep the anchors firmly in place from now on. Keep the bottom anchor of the right side double door from being left up and especially the top one from sliding down due to vibration from opening and closing the left side double door. This blowing open of the doors would have been a mess if we had been out of town. Probably happened to previous owners who never bothered to warn us of the possibility. If it had happened to us, the Gretna police would have come and secured the doors in response to the alarm, but it's better to know the doors are secured whenever we're away. Everything else was secure, so far as I could tell, but the next day, we found flat pieces of glass indicating a window had blown out. It was the North Dormer's lower pane which shattered. I cleaned up the driveway mess while Del cleaned up the upstairs mess and called Marcello who's coming tomorrow to replace the glass.
Elsewhere in the area was severe flooding and wind damage. Most notably, four railroad cars with containers stacked two high blew over about 100 feet in the air on the downward approach from the Huey P. Long bridge to the East Bank and fell to the ground with a huge crash along Clearview Pkwy behind a carwash. No one was injured.
It was a tough day elsewhere. In Asia, a huge 7.8 earthquake hit Nepal, killing 4,000 and 18 people at Everest base camps. A big volcano in Chili is burying homes. And a riot in Baltimore has nearly killed one cop and wounded 7 others. A busy day for news and weather all around the globe. We finally shut off the blaring news and watched this spooky movie "The Calling" followed by this fun movie "Standby".
"AND SO IT GOES"
was one of the fun movies we had watched earlier this month, and it's a good way to bring these personal notes to a close. Hope you found them fun, edifying, and interesting.
EVERY GOOD THING MUST COME TO A NEW BEGINNING
The past 30 days of April have comprised a beautiful Spring month of greening of lawns and trees and lots of flowers blooming. The frigid weather of March was replaced by rainy weather in April. I know the refrain, "April showers bring May flowers." That works for the northeastern part of the USA, but rainy days are a rare occurrence in April for New Orleans.Our customarily beautiful cool and dry weather made doing my own taxes in the first two weekend of April so maddening for me that I decided each year to file for extensions till the hot, steamy days of August. April began with a visit by our friends Jim and Connie to New Orleans, followed by an Easter weekend visit with our daughter Yvette and her family at her ranch in Texas, and a birthday and Christening trip to our daughter Kim's family in Alexandria. My LSU Tiger Baseball team was playing and I got to watch them win against Alabama on my Z10 cell phone over Yvette's WiFi. Even small ranches in Texas have it these days. A luxury has turned into a necessary utility. LSU is currently Ranked No. 1, but the only ranking which counts is the one at the end of the year when we hope to raise the Championship Trophy in Omaha. Our home basketball teams of Pelicans made the playoffs, but the Warriors had a big Broom and swept the series.One would hope that our Pelicans could match our Louisiana State Bird and come up with a big fish after it takes a dive into the water, but our NBA Pelicans tried four times and drowned. LSU's Tiger Basketball team went to the NCAA Tournament and lost in the first round this year, but they have the Top Rank Recruiting Class and should move closer to Final Four next year. Our artichoke bushes are fruiting and we have already eaten some of the early red potatoes from our Veggie Garden. Cucumbers are appearing on the two vines in the Truck Garden along with a long row of Creole Okra. I have eaten some blackberries from our bushes and the Boysenberry bushes in the Secret Garden may have their first crop this year. Figs tree are lush and we expect a bumper crop of LSU and Celeste figs, meaning a lot fig preserves this year. The petunias along the East Portico are also in lush bloom, helping our home to garner a TWILIGHT GARDEN OF THE MONTH plaque in the East Lawn.IMPORTANT MESSAGE:
Till we meet again in the early summer days of June, God Willing and the River Don't Rise, whatever you do, wherever in the world you and yours reside, be it blustery or balmy, Remember our earnest wish for this bountiful year of 2015:
MAY YOUR WORLD BECOME PEACEFUL AND SERENE IN TWENTY-FIFTEEN
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Quotes Selected from quotes.htm this month:
The kingdom of thought is a proud aristocracy.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 - 1882), 1823 in his Journal
A nation like a tree does not thrive till it is engrafted with a foreign stock.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 - 1882), 1823 in his Journal
Man is a foolish slave who is busy in forging his own fetters.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 - 1882), 1823 in his Journal
One nice thing about egotists: they don't talk about other people.
Teach children to be polite and courteous in the home and, when they grow up, they'll never be able to merge their car onto a crowded freeway.
New Stuff on Website:
Back in the olden days we had a lot of moxie. We could cut a rug, dial number, listen in on party line, stick straw covers on the ceiling of the Soda Fountain, smash old records to pieces by throwing against the wall. Richard Lederer gives us a bounty of uses of words which have blown away since the new millenium.
Thanks to Richard Lederer for writing the content of this Tidbit and to J. A. P. Montz for sending it along to DIGESTWORLD! ! !
From Flowers of Shanidar, A 1990 Book of Poetry by Bobby Matherne
In a small dark cave in the hills of Northern Iraq near the Turkish border the excavator Ralph Solecki found in 1960 the bones of a young man placed in the recess between two large boulders. Analysis of the remains from the cave of Shanidar determined that the burial occurred over 60,000 years ago.
Soil samples collected near the bones were only analyzed several years later and produced a quite unexpected result. Ordinarily a small random assortment of pollen grains would be found in funereal soil samples, but the Shanidar soil analysis revealed thousands of pollen grains from wild flowers of the region. Flowers of rose mallow, hollyhocks, hyacinths, and other indigenous varieties of flowers had been systematically collected and transported to the cave of Shanidar as a funerary tribute.
Astonished, the scientists were confronted with the earliest known evidence of a burial ritual. From the very dawn of mankind a message had come down to us, written in pollen grains from the flowers of Shanidar, of the birth of a new consciousness — the consciousness of death. (Note: scientists with no apparent interest in the evolution of consciousness have tried to evaporate away the meaning of these pollen grains. I pity them.)
How far have we progressed in the knowledge of ultimate destinations in the 600 centuries since that funeral celebration? As we stand before the door to the new millennium, do we dare to knock? Are we ready for the new flowers of Shanidar and the birth of consciousness that will surely accompany our passage into that new era?
These poems are from Bobby Matherne's 1990 book of poetry, Flowers of Shanidar and have never been published on the Internet before. Here in the beginning of the new millennium, we are publishing a poem or two each month until all poems have been published on-line. (Flowers drawn by Artist Maureen Grace Matherne) The rest of the five poems come from Bobby's 1995 book of poetry, Rainbows & Shadows, all of which will be published for the first time on-line.
1. Chapter: Rainbows
This month, as we near the completion of Bobby's first book of Poetry, Flowers of Shanidar,
we continue with a poem from the Rainbows Chapter of his second book of Poetry,
Rainbows & Shadows (1995). Bobby reading while driving a Uber (Poem updated to 'driving a Uber' for Millennials).
This month we read
Get in touch with your Hire self,
Become a Uber Driver!
2. Chapter: Hyacinths
The God of Newton
Could not forget where he left his pipe
Each thing had a time and a place
And the Cosmic Filing Clerk
Could locate it in a thrice.
The God of Heisenberg
Remembers in fits and starts —
Everything happens in an uncertain chance —
His God created a world of observers
To keep track of the cosmic dance.
3. Chapter: Rainbows
This month, as we near the completion of Bobby's first book of Poetry, Flowers of Shanidar,
we continue with a poem from the Rainbows Chapter of his second book of Poetry,
Rainbows & Shadows (1995).
This month we read
I Am As God Created MeI am as God created me
I am His Son eternally.
I see not doubt but certainty
I am as God created me.
There is no will but God's, you see
His holy Grace is given me.
I see the true reality
His legacy belongs to me.I am as God created me
I am His Son eternally.
Miracles are seen in light
All is blessed in my sight.
Today I see God's will for me
Salvation only comes from me.
He turns His loving Face to me
I live in His reality.
All I have is given me
Light and Joy abide in me.I am as God created me
I am His Son eternally.
4. Chapter: Shadows5.Chapter: Rainbows
This month, as we near the completion of Bobby's first book of Poetry, Flowers of Shanidar,
we continue with a poem from the Shadows Chapter of his second book of Poetry,
Rainbows & Shadows (1995).
This month we read
At 37,000 Feet
In the space between and before dreams
Rhyme and rhythm peal and echo
through the footless halls of time.
Here in this endless cavern
ceiling above the mist
Roaming and foaming
the bobbing nutshell
Deep within the center
hoof beats follow
and hollow our skulls,
Thoughts and memories
an afternoon snack
"Follow, Follow!" A seductive voice
oozes from the darkness,
A tangible fullness,
the licorice Jell-O
Of this scare of night lumps.
This month, as we near the completion of Bobby's first book of Poetry, Flowers of Shanidar, we continue with a poem from the Rainbows Chapter of his second book of Poetry, Rainbows & Shadows (1995).
This month we read
I carry all my yesterdays
Both in the things I do
and the person that I be.
Movies we watched this past month:Notes about our movies: Many of the movies we watch are foreign movies with subtitles. After years of watching movies in foreign languages, Arabic, French, Swedish, German, British English, Russian, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, and many other languages, sometimes two or three languages in the same movie, the subtitles have disappeared for us. If the movie is dubbed in English we go for the subtitles instead because we enjoy the live action and sounds of the real voices so much more than the dubbed. If you wonder where we get all these foreign movies from, the answer is simple: NetFlix. For a fixed price a month they mail us DVD movies from our on-line Queue, we watch them, pop them into a pre-paid mailer, and the postman effectively replaces all our gas-consuming and time-consuming trips to Blockbuster. To sign up for NetFlix, simply go to http://www.netflix.com/ and start adding all your requests for movies into your personal queue. If you've seen some in these movie blurbs, simply copy the name, click open your queue, and paste the name in the Search box on NetFlix and Select Add. Buy some popcorn and you're ready to Go to the Movies, 21st Century Style. You get to see your movies as the Director created them — NOT-edited for TV, in full-screen width, your own choice of subtitles, no commercial interruptions, and all of the original dialogue. Microwave some popcorn and you're ready to Go to the Movies, 21st Century Style. With a plasma TV and Blu-Ray DVD's and a great sound system, you have theater experience without someone next to you talking on a cell phone during a movie plus a Pause button for rest room trips.Hits (Watch as soon as you can. A Don't Miss Hit is one you might otherwise have missed along the way.):
P. S. Ask for Blu-Ray movies from NetFlix, and if it says DVD in your Queue, click and select Blu-Ray version.“The Imitation Game” (2014) is creating something to replace what you lost so that you’ll never be alone again, and saving the world in the process. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! !
“Hollywood Homicide” (2003) Harrison Ford plays detective and real estate dealer, closing a big deal during wrong way speed chase in traffic, perhaps the first ever. (See other two reviews, DW072 and DW54)
“In Your Eyes” (2014) amazing story of a boy and girl connected across the country and experiencing and seeing what the other does. Will they ever be able to find each other in the flesh? A DON'T MISS HIT!
“Rewrite” (2015) Hugh Grant did one great movie script and now has to rewrite his life. That’s what Jane Austen would do, Prof. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! !
“Twelve Mile Road” (2003) an estranged family gets together for a big delivery.
“Stuck in Love” (2012) Estranged husband sets an empty place for his wife every Thanksgiving. Will the fourth one be the charm?
“Le Chef” (2012) Jean Reno is super chef and French Justin Bateman is the wannabe chef and they cook up a fun comedy. A DON'T MISS HIT ! !
"Song One" (2015) Ann Hathaway returns from Africa to her brother in a coma and sings him & herself to life. "You must forget or forgive to be free."
"Whiplash" (2014) yes, about a car crash, in a way, can we have a drum roll? Tour de force by J. K. Simmons. A DON'T MISS HIT ! ! !
"Life of a King" (2013) a biopic with Cuba Gooden as ex-con who starts an inner city Chess Club to teach at-risk kids to always think of the ending B4U Move. A DON'T MISS HIT ! ! !
"Mr. Nobody" (2009) lives about four lives, all intertwined like a crossword puzzle, and died multiple times, living to 118 to be the only real human alive, but with no memory consciously, so the sobriquet, Mr. Nobody.
"Unbroken" (2014) an Italian immigrant's son Louie Zamperini became an Olympic athlete, then a WWII bombardier, then a Japanese POW whose life was made miserable by a guard. Would he ever escape the camp and be happy again or would he be broken? A DON'T MISS HIT!!!
"Monk With A Camera" (2014) flaboyant playboy becomes a Buddhist monk but reclaims his passion for taking photos as a way of building a new temple.
"Shooting Iwo Jima" (2009) Bill Genaust get assigned the job of shooting the second flag-raising on Iwo Jima, this time a larger flag, and shot the iconic photograph which FDR adopted and soon appeared everywhere in America. This documentary reveals that the photo was not a stunt, but an actual army order to make the flag more visible everywhere on the small island as the battle raged for almost 7 weeks thereafter.
"Goering's Last Secret" (2013) Albert was anti-Nazi who used his brother Hermann's influence and spent all his own money to save the lives of Jews and ended dying alone and broke in South America.
"Churchill's First World War" (2013) uncovers Winston's early years learning how to not fight a war in the trenches. Germany's idea of the blitzkrieg was stolen from an idea and proposed plan of his.
"A Little Game" (2014) Ten-year-old girl named Max learns chess as a way to connect with people.
"Before I Go To Sleep" (2014) Firth and Kidman star, Nicole loses her memory every night, and needs help to uncover the man who did this to her and learn what happened to her husband and son.
"The Calling" (2104) Is he a serial killer or a compassionate savior? Susan Sarandon is a Jesse Stone head cop sans dog who tracks down a weird series of deaths. Will she be the 12th and final one?
"Standby" (2014) two former lovers separated 8 years meet in Dublin airport. She on standby to return to NYC and he working in Tourist Help kiosk. Can they survive a night in Dublin without falling back in love?
"La Rafle" (2012) about rounding up Jewish families in the Velicodrome, reminiscent of Superdome post-Katrina, before the cowardly Vichy officials shipped them in cattle cars to gas chambers to placate the Nazis, while the brave Parisians sheltered nearly half the 20,000 Jews from discovery, saving their lives. Jean Reno stars as Jewish doctor among those who were gassed.
"The Love Punch" (2013) add a strong shot of Peirce Brosnan into a potent Emma Thompson punch base and you get a love riot with a diamond heist by newbies. A DON'T MISS HIT !!!
"To Write Love on Her Arms" (2015) the first step to sobriety is to eschew your obsessions. This is the hardest step.
"Where the Truth Lies" (2005) among those who practice to deceive. Period 1972 romp in the hay with two comedians who do Telethons, like Martin & Lewis, with a twist. Send the kids to bed for this one.
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."Copenhagen" (2014) son of Danish immigrant returns to trace his roots and sow his oats and neither goes very well due to his angry demeanor.
"The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies" (2014) like playing a video game with no controls. Borrrring!
"Home Sweet Hell" (2015) a hop and chop.
Your call on these — your taste in movies may differ, but I liked them:“And So It Goes” (2014) with Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton. He is unexpectedly saddled with newly discovered grand-daughter whom he depends on her to take care of. Either a disaster or a love story, or both.
“A Walk of Shame” (2014) Blonde News Anchor wants the big-time, but first she must walk, hide, and run the gauntlet through downtown L. A.’s drug ghetto without a car, a cell phone, and drunk in a yellow short skirt hooker’s dress.
"Wild Card" (2015) Strahan as compulsive gambler who never met a thug he didn't punch out, runs low on luck and out of money.
"Mr. Nobody" (2009) lives about four lives, all intertwined like a crossword puzzle, and died multiple times, living to 118 to be the only real human alive, but with no memory consciously, so the eponymous sobriquet, Mr. Nobody.
"The Harder They Fall" (1956) the Giant boxer from SA can't throw punches, but his managers can throw fights. What happened when Max Baer finally met Primo Canero? Art imitates life.
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==Le Boudreaux Cajun Cottage, drawn by and Copyright 2011 by Paulette Purser, Used by Permission. Thanks to Gust Valantasis for the basic story told to him by some Jewish friends.
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==Boudreaux served on the St. Bernard Church Council in Breaux Bridge. One night they discussed how they might get the two guys who ran the Used Furniture Store across the street to join their church. Haimie and Sol were the only two Jews in the small Cajun town, and the Council thought it would be nice to have them become Catholic.
Boudreaux suggested they create a recruitment video and offer five hundred dollars to each of them if they came over and watched the half-hour video whether or they decided to convert. The Council agreed and asked Boudreaux to offer the men the deal.
A few days later Boudreaux saw Sol and Haimie outside their store and walked over to talk to them. He explained how they would each get $500 if they came over to view the video, no matter if they converted or not.
After Boudreaux left, Sol turned to Haimie and said, in his adopted Cajun accent, "Mais, Ah t'ink Ah'm going over dere, me. How bout you, Haimie?"
"No way," said Haimie, "Ah'm staying right here."
Sol walked across the street and disappeared into the church while Haimie got himself a cold Dixie Beer and sipped it while waiting. An hour went by, no Sol. Haimie got another cold Dixie and began sipping on it. Another hour went by and another Dixie. Finally after four fours, Sol comes out the Church and Haimie slams his beer down and rushes across the street.
"Well, did you get the money?" he almost yelled into Sol's ear.
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5.Household Hint for May, 2015 from Bobby Jeaux:
(click links to see photo of ingredients, preparation steps)
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =Houdini Opens Locks Like Magic!
Background on Houdini Spray: My 2000 White Maxima began having trouble with its ignition switch. I would put the key in and the switch wouldn't turn. I would wiggle the key, slide it in and out, move the steering wheel, and nothing would help. I was late for a couple of appointments because it took me 15 minutes before the lock would open. I took it to the Nissan Dealership and they said it would take 3 days and my best bet was to take it to Star Lock in the city. After calling to make sure they could handle it, I drove it to the city on a day I had a meeting so they could fix the lock. After my meeting, they called to say the guy who did the job had a month's long job in Baton Rouge and I should come pick up the car. When I got to the place, a nice guy showed me some spray that he said all his crews carried with them to free stuck locks. It was called Houdini. We went outside and I explained that I had just found out how to keep the lock from sticking by leaving the key in it (with the ignition off) and locking the doors. I didn't want to take a chance of removing the key and it being stuck again, so I asked if I could buy a can, he said in exchange for my trouble with the guy not being there, I could take this can. I did and it worked like magic.
One Can of Houdini 4-way Lock Lubricant
Remove key from switch. Spray a small amount into the key hole. Wait an hour or so. About every couple of months, the key sticks just a bit and I spray some more. Eventually I'll get the ignition switch's lock changed, but I have sprayed this in several balky locks around the house and all them behave well now. It lubricates the tumblers which over time tend to get stuck up when the highest point of the key passes upon removal and stay there. Putting the key back in does not touch that tumbler and that prevents the lock from turning. Houdini lubricates the tumbler and allows it move freely when the key is removed.
Works on all kinds of locks around the house that are hard to turn.
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==
6. POETRY by BOBBY from Into the Silent Land:
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
Where's the programmer?
In his book, Into the Silent Land, Broks is writing using his PC.
[page 126] Both hardware and software are irrelevant to the content of the text. I happen to be writing about minds, brains, and selves, but it could be anything — a guide to sea fishing, a suicide note or a Japanese haiku. Think of the brain as the hardware, the mind as software, and the self as the text on the screen.
In fact, why not a haiku?
A true enigma:
The self looks inward and finds
Nothing but neurons.
Why don't I write a haiku which counters his nothing-but-neurons-dogma haiku? — A haiku which, instead of Broks' blatant statement about an empty self, asks an intelligent and non-dogmatic question. — An unanswered question for materialist scientists to hold onto. My haiku is titled "Where's the Programmer?":
If the brain is hardware and
The mind is software
Where's the programmer?
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==
7. REVIEWS and ARTICLES for May:
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For our Good Readers, here are the reviews and articles featured this month. The first and second reviews this month will be ones which were never published in early DIGESTWORLD ISSUES and will be of interest to our DIGESTWORLD Readers. The rest of the items will be new additions to the top of A Reader's Journal, Volume 2, Chronological List, new additions to A Reader's Treasury, or Essays previously unpublished.
NOTE: some Blurbs may be condensations of long Reviews, possibly lacking footnotes and some quoted passages. For your convenience, if you wish to read the full review or to print it out, simply CLICK on the Book Cover or choose Printer Ready option on the top line of a review page when it opens.
1.) ARJ2: Karmic Relationships, Volume 4, GA# 238 by Rudolf Steiner
We not only live in our body, we live in our karma. Rudolf Steiner
In the introductory lecture Steiner speaks about the Anthroposophical Movement in a way that applies to all the activities that occur on earth:
[page 11] Our conception of the Anthroposophical Movement, however, must be that what takes place on earth is only the outer manifestation of something that is accomplished in the spiritual world for the furtherance of the evolution of humanity.
On Thursday mornings I attend mass with my 80 year old parents — it is my way of ensuring that I visit them at least once a week. After mass we usually fold bulletins and attach mailing labels to each bulletin. For some time I have recognized that there is something special about seeing the names of the parishioners and touching the labels — it is like touching that family's life each time I do it. Steiner says about such seemingly mundane activities:
[page 13-14] It is a matter of grasping the reality of the spiritual life as such and putting it into practice in every detail of existence. Let me speak of one small matter. We decided to issue a new membership card to each of our members, of whom there are now twelve thousand. It was therefore a matter of preparing this number of membership cards, and in spite of an objection made by several people, I was obliged to decide to sign each card myself.This was naturally a task that took several weeks. But what does it mean? It means that my eyes have rested upon the name of the one who receives the card of membership. This is not the outcome of anything like arrogance, nor is it a purely administrative matter. It is the expression of a human relationship, perhaps a seemingly unimportant one at first, but for all that a human relationship.
It is understood in our materialistic time that, since people believe that a normal mind cannot experience the supersensible world, someone who does experience the supersensible world must be out of one's mind. By definition a materialistic scientist can only perceive the material world, so if someone experiences the spiritual world, that person must be irrational, mad, or hallucinating. Hallucination is the name these scientists give to an experience that is not consensual, and by their own definitions, non-consensual experiences are a sure sign of insanity. Thus such scientists can call Rudolf Steiner crazy or a quack, by definition, and feel proudly exultant of that proclamation, as though they have justified the superiority of modern materialistic science. Instead they have merely exposed the hollow tautology of materialistic science.
What if a materialistic scientist could test Steiner in a laboratory — wouldn't that prove that Steiner was not crazy? Such a proposal was made to Steiner and he gave this answer to the proposal:
[page 29] It is of course as absurd as if someone were to produce mathematical results and, instead of testing their accuracy, you were to challenge him to submit to an examination in a laboratory to see whether or not he was a real mathematician. Absurdities of this kind go under the name of scholarship to-day and are taken seriously by learned people!
What "testing their accuracy" would require is that materialistic scientists learn to access supersensible worlds. That is a proposal to which they most likely say, "I'd have to be crazy to do that!" In their earnest desire to keep from becoming crazy, these scientists operate in the world as if the spiritual half of the world does not exist, and this way of being, to a spiritual scientist, is crazy. I'm reminded that the majority of the materialistic scientists in 1492 thought Columbus was crazy because he was sailing to a part of the world that didn't exist for them. Such thinking creates the logical paralysis of a self-consistent tautology, and the only cure for that paralysis is to set sail into the unknown spiritual world. One must cut loose one's secured moorings in the materialistic world before one may experience the spiritual world.
In a previous review I'd mentioned Steiner's insight that nouns are the first parts of language to go after we pass through the gates of death. Nouns are the content parts of speech — they are the reified, nominalized processes. Verbs, on the other hand, point to the pure processes, and in Steiner's discussion of the lives of Titus Livius we can see how Livy's processes survive from one life to the next. In ancient Egyptian times Livy, during an earlier incarnation, was an embalmer of mummies. During his life in Roman times Livy became an historian who "had to write the history of the very same humans who in a previous life he had embalmed." (page 33) In addition, Livy's way of portraying the people of which he wrote histories was like creating a verbal mummy of them, embalming their lives in his words. Same process, but with verbal descriptions instead of corpses.
In further researching the karmic chain of Livy's lives, Steiner finds him in the poet Vogelweide in the Middle Ages, a lyrical poet who dealt only with the "fulness and joy of life." (page 35)
[page 35] It is as though at last he had grown thoroughly sick of embalming dead mummies and he had turned to an entirely different aspect of life.
Steiner tells us that Livy ends up as Ludwig Schleich who is led to meet August Strindberg by a man whose corpse the two men had worked on together to embalm as a mummy back in ancient Egypt. Steiner lays out for us to see this karmic chain of lives from ancient Egypt, to ancient Rome, to the Middle Ages, to the end of the 19th Century.
Steiner decries the cause and effect approach to history — that materialistic method that treats the events of history as so many billiard balls. He denounces this reductionistic approach to understanding history. That approach could be likened to describing how a cue ball hits a red ball that then hits a green ball. That cause and effect description necessarily leaves out the pool player who lined up the cue and caused the motive force to create the sequence of collisions. So too, does a cause and effect approach to history omit the essential motive forces of history as they exist in the spiritual world.
[page 39] It is impossible to comprehend the inner motives of history and life unless we turn our gaze to that spiritual background which underlies the outer, physical happenings.
So he proceeds to show us a series of examples that as a whole illustrate his point. His examples involve the powerful warlike campaigns from 500 A.D. to about 1400 A. D. History treats these as so many battles, recounting when the Arabs won, when the Crusaders won, all very much like one might describe how the balls collided during a pool match. Anyone who's ever played an intense game of Eight Ball (a popular pool or pocket billiards game) will understand how ludicrous it would be to describe that game by a recounting of ball collisions. What really matters is the internal states of the pool players, before, during, and after the game, and a listing of collisions leaves that out completely.
In any intense game what really matters is the internal energies of each player as they learn from the other players. I learned this from playing Othello (a board game based on Reverso, an ancient Chinese game) with Del over the space of a couple of years. I'd win a string of games in a row and then suddenly I'd lose a game using the exact same strategy that I'd used so many times before to win. Then Del would win several games in a row using my own strategy that she'd incorporated into her own playing, and I'd be forced into developing a new strategy. This moving to new strategies happened multiple times over the course of those years: sometimes it was she learning from me, and sometimes it was I learning from her. In a dry recording of the number of games won and lost, the essential thing would be lost: that we were learning strategies from each other. We were fructifying each other, enclosing ourselves within each other.
As we read Steiner's account of Plato, Aristotle, Alexander, Haroun Al Raschid, Francis Bacon, and Amos Comenius, we are led to understand the spiritual fructification that occurred in waves across Asia, Africa, and Europe during the period between 500 A.D. and 1400 A.D.
[page 64] The times and epochs of the earth require teachings to be given, now in Platonic, now in Aristotelian terms. But if our wisdom includes the supersensible life in the background, we perceive the one fructifying the other, the one enclosed within the other.
Our materialistic scientific friends, with their catalogs of materialistic events tell us, like the famous astronomer, "I have searched the whole universe, through all the stars and all their movements, but I have found no God!" To them we can best quote Steiner who tells us how intimately our earthly life is united with the supersensible:
[page 69] For everything that is of the senses is permeated at the same time supersensibly, and everything that is supersensible is revealed somewhere and somewhen in the world of sense.
To ignore the spiritual half of the world is to be half-scientific. We might remind our half-scientific friends, as Hamlet did his, "There are more things on heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy." One of these undreamt of things would be to do research by lying with a book under one's head, and that is exactly what Steiner recommends in this passage:
[page 97] Just as one who researches on the periods of the first Christian centers, in order to facilitate matters may lay the writings of St. Augustine or of Clement of Alexandria under his head for a few minutes in succession. You must not laugh about these things. They are simply external methods to assist one, external technicalities that are not directly connected with the real thing itself.
An important theme of Rudolf Steiner's work is the evolution of consciousness, one that he revisits in the next passage, reminding us how recently drastic changes in that consciousness took place. If you, dear Reader, have trouble recalling exactly how you thought as a child, consider that a similar problem occurs if you would attempt to think as a person of the 4th Century A.D.
[page 122] It was not that men could simply think, but they felt their thoughts as inspiration. He who was sharp-witted felt himself gifted by the grace of God, and his thinking was a kind of clairvoyance. It was still so even in the 4th century A.D., and those who listened as a thinker still had some feeling of the living evolution of his thought.
Will the ability to draw aside the veil that covers karmic truths destroy the reverence with which we might otherwise hold such truths? Steiner thinks that to the contrary it will "fill us with a holy awe." He suggests that we must discover the immortal within us and with a deep faith draw close to deep secrets that we would otherwise with a lesser faith avoid.
[page 126] A German romanticist once had the courage to think differently from all others about the famous saying of Isis: "I am that which was, that which is, and that which is to come, and my veil has no mortal yet lifted." — To which the German romanticist replied: Then we must become immortal, that we may lift the veil! — While others all took the saying as it stood.
In my course in college curriculum recently I adopted a philosopher that supported liberal arts, but never did it occur to me to think of the seven liberal arts as living Beings. When Steiner talked of the goddess Natura, it was easy for me to translate that into the more familiar form, Mother Nature, of whom people still have an faint conception as a living Being rather than as a dried-out metaphor. But the Seven Liberal Arts was a stretch for me, up until now. "For the Seven Liberal Arts were indeed conceived as a living Being, even as Nature herself was described as a living Being." (Page 131) Steiner is referring below to Martianus Capella, who lived about the 5th Century.
[page 130] It was he who first wrote the fundamental work on the Seven Liberal Arts, which were to play so great a part in all teaching and education throughout the Middle Ages. The Seven Liberal Arts were: Grammar, Rhetoric, Dialectic, Arithmetic, Geometry, Astronomy and Music. In their combined activity and influence they provided what was then felt as knowledge both of Nature and of the Universe.
The next subject involves a 10th Century nun, Hroswitha, who Steiner explains, was a reincarnation of Plato in a woman's body. She was to unmistakably carry the spirit of Plato into the Mid-European nature in her plays. The name Hroswitha rang a bell with me, a chiming sounding out of my depths, first only a quarter-hour gong, and soon a full hour's end flourish of callicaphony as I recovered the thread. Actually I recovered The Thread — a delightful book by Philip J. Davis that I'd read and reviewed back in 1997. While tracking down the name Pafnuty, Davis was led to Hrotsvitha, the play-writing nun in the Convent of Gandersheim. From there he discovered a Hrotsvitha Club in Rhode Island, and a Miss Wallace in Greene, Rhode Island. And although the numbers of the club "had been sadly depleted by members passing on and by other distractions of life," she still did a little club work and helped Davis locate a copy of the Collected Plays of Hrotsvitha in English. (Quote from page 66 of The Thread. See ARJ for review.) Well, that's enough of this pafnutying around, which is Davis's word for "pursuing tangential matters with a hobby-like zeal."
The task that Hroswitha (aka Plato) had to perform was one that could only be performed as a woman in that time, in that cultural atmosphere.
[page 150] Had not Plato's being appeared with a feminine character and coloring it could not have received Christianity into itself in that age. But the Roman element too was strong in all the culture of that time which had to be received. Perforce, if I may put it so, it had to be received. And so we see the nun Hroswitha evolving into the remarkable personality she was, writing Latin dramas in the style of the Roman poet Terrence, dramas which are of extraordinary significance.
From this incarnation Plato leaps forward into the personality of Karl Julius Shrörer who was to be an early teacher of Rudolf Steiner at the Technical University of Vienna.
[page 156] . . . I once gave a pretty distorted interpretation of Mephisto merely to refute my instructor Schrörer with whom at that time I was not yet on such intimate and friendly terms.
In Schrörer he was to hear the beginnings of an answer to this question of enormous importance: How shall we bring spirituality into the life of the present time? And with that unanswered question, Steiner closed this cycle of lectures.
Alfred Heidenreich writes of the lectures in his Preface to "The Last Address", a final partial lecture by Rudolf Steiner that was never completed:
[page 159] The living contact from spirit to spirit through the spoken word proved to be the best means of getting over those astonishing discoveries in the spirit-world which he had made in long years of earnest and innermost research.
This is an insight that I came recently: that the real teaching takes place not so much in the content of what the teacher says, but in the "living contact from spirit to spirit" by means of which the understanding is transmitted to the student.
And in his closing remarks Heidenreich speaks of a process that I refer to as the "unanswered question" in which one purposely avoids giving a pat answer or accepting one to a question, so that the answer may grow into fruition within oneself over time.
[page 163] Perhaps this is where we must leave this matter. In some other context Rudolf Steiner remarked with quiet seriousness that it is in certain respects better and more fruitful for the development of a human soul on its path to the spirit, if the soul has to ponder a spiritual problem rather than be furnished with a plain and neat answer.
To that end, I'd like to leave you with my newest Matherne's Rule, number 25:
What is the power of an unanswered question?
2.) ARJ2: The Fifth Gospel by Rudolf Steiner
I've been aware for many years, pre-Steiner, of the power of the unanswered question. Here's what I mean specifically about the unanswered question: Did you ever know anyone whose response to any question was an automatic "Oh, that's just like X!" Not a deep thinking-through by analogy, but instead a flip or canned identification. Such persons likely have few if any unanswered questions, do they? And yet what might happen if such persons were to hold a question deeply in their hearts and allow the answer to develop out of their heartfelt searching?
The first unanswered question that Steiner lays the basis for appears early in the book when he, in effect, asks how it was possible for Christianity to spread so quickly in the well-educated Graeco-Roman age:
[page 5] . . . through these simple, unsophisticated people, who were its first bearers, Christianity spread comparatively quickly through southern Europe. . . . people who emerged as the bearers of the Christian impulse had no understanding at all of the nature of the Christian impulse.
He gives a brief answer that the event at Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles, was the beginning of the pouring out of the Christ power over the Earth. The significance of Pentecost is that formerly humans had to raise themselves up to the Christ spirit, whereas on this day the Christ spirit descended to the apostles.
Steiner recommends that we understand the Baptism of Jesus as the conception point of the Christ, the three years until the Mystery of Golgotha as its gestation in the womb [a growing embryo], and the death of Jesus on the Cross as the birth of the Christ spirit on Earth. Whereas human beings at death leave Earth for Heaven, the Christ spirit during this birth left Heaven for Earth. Whereas a human would live in communion with the spirits [in Devachan] after death, the Christ spirit, by undergoing the events between Baptism and Pentecost, was enabled to "live in communion with human souls" in the Earth sphere.
These three years were undergone without the burden of karma by the Christ, who therefore suffered, even though he was guiltless. In addition, during these three years, the Christ spirit experienced the progressive loss of divine power as he "gradually became a human being." Christ went from the earth-shaking power of his Baptism by John in the Jordan to the powerlessness of his passion in the Garden of Gethsemane. "The pain and suffering gave birth to the spirit that was poured out on the Apostles at Pentecost." [page 43]
In his twenty-fourth year, Steiner reports that Jesus visited a pagan worship site where the people hailed him as a priest come to revive their ancient place of worship. As Jesus neared the altar the people pushed him onto it and demanded he perform an offering service for them. Jesus fell face down on the altar as if in death, and the people scattered in fear. Jesus heard the ancient voice of the Bath Kol saying to him these enigmatic and powerful words on page 51:
The evil holds sway.
Witness of egoity freeing itself.
Selfhood guilt through other incurred.
Experienced in the daily bread.
Wherein the will of the heavens does not rule.
Because man separated himself from your realm.
And forgot your names.
You Fathers in the heavens.
If these words strike a faintly resonant note, read the lines from the bottom up, and you will discover they are the words of the familiar prayer that Jesus taught us to say after he updated the words so that the ears of the people of his time could hear them. "Our Father Who art in Heaven, Hallowed be Thy Name" replaced the last two lines, for example.
In succeeding years Jesus studied with the Essenes and was leaving their place one day when he noticed the figures of Lucifer and Ahriman fleeing from outside the unpainted gates which the Essences used to enter and leave the city. A thought entered his mind that the Essenes by their practices were chasing Lucifer and Ahriman into the lives of the rest of humanity. A dream came to him in which Buddha told him that a great error of his own teachings was not everyone could pick up a begging bowl and follow him because there would be no one left to beg from.
At the age of 29 Jesus shared these thoughts with his mother, of how he came to know that the way to salvation could not be found in the pagan or the Essene way:
[page 68] These words entered into his mother's loving heart with tremendous power. Throughout the talk he had been at one with her, as though they were one. The whole soul and the whole I of Jesus of Nazareth lay in those words.
Both Jesus and his mother were changed after this talk. Jesus left the house in a dazed state, and found himself walking towards the Jordan River where John was performing baptisms, and asked to be baptized. Once baptized, Jesus as the vessel of the newly born Christ spirit walked into the desert to be alone. Whereupon the three temptations occurred. Steiner explains the first temptation was from Lucifer. It was a temptation that the Christ spirit had battled arduously with Lucifer during the old Moon epoch. As such Christ was able to tell Lucifer, "Begone!" During the second temptation, Ahriman comes to the aid of Lucifer, offering to protect Christ from fear. Once more the temptation is easily overcome.
For the third temptation, Ahriman chases Lucifer away, and dares Christ to "turn stones into bread." This is again turned away by Christ with the famous words, "Man does not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God." Ahriman's reply, according to Steiner, was:
[page 73] You may be right. But the fact that you are right and the extent to which you are right cannot prevent my having a certain hold on you. You only know how the spirit acts that descends from the heights. You have not yet been in the human world. Down there you find people who truly need to turn stones into bread. They cannot possibly live by the spirit alone.
Ahriman had been on the Earth much longer than Christ, and had an edge in his practical knowledge of humans, knowledge of the way they actually operated, whereas Christ had knowledge of the spiritual world, the way that humans were destined eventually to operate. Christ was bringing the word from on high, but that word did not live in the souls of humankind at that time. The Achilles' Heel, the vulnerable spot of Christ was laid bare by Ahriman in the third temptation. When the Sanhedrin required someone to identify Jesus, the mechanism they used was pieces of silver [stones of silver that could be exchanged for bread].
Why was Judas's help required to identify Jesus? Steiner's answer clarifies another puzzle of the Gospels for me. The Christ spirit, as it began to reside deeper and deeper in the body of Jesus, at the same time began to inhabit the bodies of the apostles, so that at any one time, the Christ spirit could speak through any one of the apostles, changing his face so as to make him appear to be the Christ. Thus it was necessary for the Sanhedrin to hire someone from the inner circle of the apostles to identify Jesus.
In one paragraph, Steiner lays out for us the power of the unanswered question:
[page 150] We only learn to ask questions when we are able to develop the inner balance that allows reverence and devotion to be retained when it comes to the sacred spheres of life, and when we are able to have an element in us that always seeks to remain independent of even our own judgment in relation to anything that comes to us from those spheres. We only learn to ask questions by being able to develop an expectant mood, enabling life to reveal something to us; by being able to wait; by feeling some hesitation in applying our own judgment especially in relation to anything that should flow in a sacred way from the sacred spheres of existence; by not judging but asking questions, not only of people who may be able to tell us, but above all of the world of the spirit. We should face that world not with our opinions but with our questions, indeed in a questioning mood and attitude.
One of the ways of developing an expectant mood that I find very useful is to follow my statement of a limitation by stopping, taking a deep breath, and adding the words up until now to create possibilities and expectancies where none existed before. Here's two examples [the comma marks the deep breath]:I haven't had an easy way to develop an expectant mood in my life, up until now.
I have lived a life of limited possibilities, up until now.
If we allow and encourage an expectant mood to develop in our life, we thereby encourage life to reveal something to us freely that we probably would have never discovered. This is the power of the unanswered question. Sometimes the unanswered question provides the answer to us by way of a hard lesson in life. That is what happened to Jesus in his betrayal by Judas.
Steiner says on page132, 133: "Ahriman lives in our money. Judas' deed was the question put by Ahriman that could not be fully answered." Here Steiner presents us with an important unanswered question that we humans must answer, not with a flip automatic response, but with deep, heartfelt searching. Only out of such an endeavor can an original answer from each individual I appear for us. That, I believe, is what it is to be human, and anything less is copying, imitation, and kitsch: to be human is to develop an individual answer that suits our I. Call it what you will: free will, freedom, or spiritual activity, is it not a crowning achievement of the quadripartite human being at this stage of Earth evolution?
3.) ARJ2: Awake! For the Sake of the Future, GA#220 by Rudolf Steiner
No one tells someone, Awake!, unless they perceive them to be asleep. Aren't we all awake in our ultra-modern 21st Century? I am awake as I type these words, and you are awake as you read them, are we not? Are we not more awake than the ancient Greeks whose ideal of beauty ignored the realities of the world we know more clearly today? Yes, we can say all that with much justification, but is there an aspect of reality that escapes us that the ancient Greek could inform us about? Gates in his Introduction neatly summarizes the great Imagination that Steiner invites us into:
[page xiii] If we imagine an ancient Greek who could look into the future and perceive the fundamental differences between classical Greece and our modern focus on sense perception, we would have a different point of view. The ancient Greek would argue that the ancient Greeks were awake, and materialistic modern human beings are the ones who are asleep, because moderns are narrow-minded and have lost sight of the search for the essential, the true nature of the human being.
When the ancient Greek used their native clairvoyance, which we would call dreamlike, they felt lively awake, they felt an intensification of their consciousness, they felt themselves connected to the processes in the cosmos by the mirrored processes in themselves, and, as all felt it equally no one argued or discussed it whether it was true. They felt deeply which left no room for doubt that the human being was a spiritual being living in a physical body. The ancient Greek would speak to us this way:
[page 72] You modern human beings are the ones who are asleep. We were the human beings who were awake. We were awake within our physical bodies. Yes, we were awake as spiritual human beings living in physical bodies. We knew that we were human beings, because we could distinguish our humanity existing within the physical from the physical body itself. What you call being awake, was for us being asleep. When you are awake and order your senses within the outer world, and explain something from the point of view of the world of senses, you are asleep in relation to what is the essence of your humanity. You have fallen asleep; we are the ones who were awake.
Should the ancient Greek speak to us today, the message would be Awake! That would be a paradoxical message, as we feel ourselves to be the ones who are awake in our detailed focus on the processes of the sensory world around us. The part that we are missing fills Steiner's lectures in this book, but if I may shape a short poem to you, as an ancient Greek might carve a naked human body in stone, to demonstrate the point.
Should the ancient Greek speak
to us today,
They would say Awake!
Awake to your full humanity of fluids and air
pulsing through your physical body,
coursing through your flesh and bones,
which you see as the be-all and end-all
of your existence, up until now!
Awake from your sleep of materialism
which hold fast your eyelids
shut to the reality
of the full human being, up until now!
Awake, you frogs in a vacuum jar!
Jump out and breathe in soul-permeated air!
Throw off your sleep blanket of materialism,
woven of abstract logical premises —
covering your naked humanity, up until now!
Awake from your millennial sleep, Beauty,
Speak the Ancient Greek,
Live in your full essence from now on!
What the ancient Greek sculptor carved and Michelangelo recapitulated in his statue of David was a naked human body, portrayed in stone, but which revealed the fluids coursing through the flesh and bones, the air filling the lungs, the living spirit filling physical body which shines out at us from its Carrara marble substance. The Renaissance was an attempted rebirth of this ancient understanding of the full human being, to remind us of what the ancient Greek were telling us.The ancient Greek spoke to us in their sculptures about the full reality of bones, flesh, and spirit which filled every human being, a reality which we moderns have mostly forgotten, up until now. Rudolf Steiner is telling us, "The sky is falling!" but his real message is that the spiritual world which many perceive as "heaven" or "up in the sky" or "some place far away" is coming back to us, falling back into our lives, and everywhere we find the primordial Fox offering to protect us from the spiritual world by luring us into His den where we will surely die as physical beings, never having allowed the Light of the Spirit to shine into us. "Modern civilization needs an awakening. But humanity wants to go right on sleeping!" Steiner says. (Page 73)
It is not enough for us to be awake only between arising and going to sleep, but also when we are outside in the cosmos while our physical and etheric body lies in repose in our bed, for it is then we are truly awake and aware of our essential nature as a full human being, feeling as the ancient Greek felt so fully. It is a feeling that we feel so meekly today, sensing that reality weakly when we view their ancient sculptures. How did we get to this sleepy clueless state?
We have listened for 400 years to the Fox who lured us into his lair to protect us from the spiritual world, namely, Francis Bacon, who "had the impulse to justify the sleepiness of modernity".
[page 73] That is, he grasped more deeply than we have been able to do in these past two days what is characteristic of our era. The modern human being cannot reach as deeply into the physical as humanity could in ancient times.
Knowing this, Bacon taught us humans how to cope directly with the physical world outside of us using only our sensory apparatus and ignore the spiritual world completely in our new forms of calculation and thinking.
Steiner came along some 400 years later to tell us that we need to do something different.
[page 72, 73] We need to learn how to be awake when aspects of our being are out in the cosmos. With the same intensity with which the human beings in ancient time were awake within their bodies, the modern human being has to learn how to be awake within their bodies, the modern human being has to learn how be awake when the astral and the I are outside the physical body; when we are actually within the outer cosmos. . . . For modern human beings during sleep do not enter more deeply into their physical body; instead, we go out of our physical body during sleep. But modern human beings must also learn to come out of their body during the waking state, for only thereby can we be in a position to know ourselves once again as human beings.
What is a thought? People have them all the time while talking and watching movies, don't they? Especially today, people want thoughts that are easily grasped, fully explained to them in simple terms, and then they feel justified in claiming they have understood something. If anyone else comments on that understood something, they can say out loud or say to themselves, "I know that." Any mystery, any unknown, any gap, any vacant space in their knowledge of that understood something, can thus be glossed over completely. Such people are asleep to any holes in their knowledge because they appear unable to hold an unanswered question in their mind, immediately wiping away any candidate for one with a pat "I know that" response.
Steiner knew the power of an unanswered question (1) and how people dreamily sidestepped them.
[page 74] Most people prefer to dream about cosmic mysteries rather than to engage them with their inwardly active thinking. The path to waking up, however, begins with thinking, for a thought wishes to become more developed through its own activity (2).
"For a thought wishes to become more developed through its own activity." What a magnificent thought! Thinking is a creative activity. Surely that comes as a surprise to many college students who paste others thoughts into an essay and wonder why the English professor is not impressed. The professor wishes the student to doing some real thinking and show the results in the essay.
Even creative activity itself is debased in modern society (3). Creativity is a spontaneous activity, and to tell someone, "Be Creative", puts them into a Be Spontaneous Paradox (BSP) from which there is no exit. One can only respond by not being spontaneous. "Smile!" is a classic example of a BSP. You can generate a feigned smile, but not a genuine smile. Good photographers know this intuitively and never say, "Smile", but say or do something unexpected which will generate a genuine smile. The English professor well knows the BSP generated when assigning a paper, and expects the student to grow through overcoming the challenge of the BSP by holding a thought until it "becomes more developed through its own activity". No English professor would commit such a folly as saying "Write Creatively, and here's how".
The chemist Kekule held a thought of the benzene molecule until the molecule grabbed hold of its end and became a circular molecule, the first ring molecular structure ever discovered, a discovery which laid the basis of what is called organic chemistry today. Kekule said his idea came from a daydream in which a snake bites its own tail. Here was "a thought which became more developed through it own activity."
Steiner talks about the dream of Mendeleev which resulted in our ability to predict the existence of elements never before encountered in the world of physical substance. For decades after Mendeleev's death, scientists were still filling holes in Mendeleev's Periodic Table with new elements.
[page 76] . . . recall how Mendeleev calculated the existence of a new element in the periodic table of elements. That kind of dream is actually not so difficult to propose, because when there is an empty place in the periodic table, it is quite easy to fill in the space with a new element and attribute a few characteristics to this invention. Nevertheless it is a dream! If the new element does not exist, then the method of its discovery is no different than the example of the dreamer who dreams of something that happens to the dreamer a few days later in a waking state; the event in waking life is claimed to be a verification of the dream.
Steiner offers words from Fichte who says "the world is a dream and everything we think about the world is a dream of a dream" and from Edward von Hartmann who calls the chair we see is only a dream of the chair-in-itself. Steiner scoffs at Hartmann, saying it is difficult to sit on a chair that is only a dream. Why all this talk about dreams?
[page 77] The point we are making is not to persuade you that the world is a dream; the discussion of the idea becomes the spur to awaken within ourselves. And awakening begins with an energetic grasp of our thinking, an active seizing hold of our thinking. An awakened thinking is precisely what leads you into something else.
In Lecture 7 Steiner treats us to an exposition on the deeper meaning of the words, Truth, Beauty, and Goodness. First there is Truth which is like a fabric which connects us to our pre-earthly existence, which we must take care not to sever.[page 81] This connection is a delicate spiritual fabric, if I may say it in that way; a fabric that we have woven during our pre-earthly existence, a fabric that shapes the form and contours of our physical body. I would like to put it this way: it is as if our physical body was connected by many threads to its pre-earthly existence, and when we surrender to untruthfulness, it severs these threads. The purely intellectual consciousness that has become prevalent since the beginning of the era of the Consciousness Soul is so appealing to human beings that we are not even aware of being torn away from our pre-earthly existence. This is one of the reasons why human beings today have so much difficulty understanding how the human being stands in relation to cosmic existence.
[page 83] When we strive for a real experience of truth and truthfulness, we discover this within the physical body. When we wish to develop our feeling for beauty, our experience of beauty in the right way, we discover this in our body of formative forces; that is, the etheric body. Beauty is connected with the etheric body just as truth is connected with the physical body.
Just as truthfulness can be felt in our physical body, beauty can be felt in our etheric body. We each gather forces from the entire forces of the cosmos when we enter this incarnation from our pre-earthly existence. An artist is someone who presents us with a beautiful gift from their pre-earthly experience using their etheric body forces.
There is a saying that "beauty is skin deep, but ugliness goes all the way to the core". The ancient Greek experienced ugliness as coldness, even causing goose bumps in the extreme. Transient shivers are a puzzle, and some people say you have them when "someone walks on your mother's grave" or a "ghost passes through you". These are unconscious responses of our bodies today that in earlier times, people felt deeply as living experiences in full consciousness. We are left with fairy tale explanations which can be called superstitious by people who are afraid of the unknown, which rightly understood means afraid of their unconscious responses. Being able to say, "Someone walked on my mother's grave" provides a quick answer with which to vaporize the otherwise unanswered question, "What just happened in actuality?"
We will feel sadness in the increasing absence of truthfulness of our current age, and the one anodyne which will help us is the presence of beauty.
[page 85] As you develop an enthusiasm for the truth and then experience a certain sadness living in the present age, your soul will be comforted and illuminated by the warmth of experiencing beauty. Through beauty we once again receive joy to balance the sadness that sweeps through us as we try to develop our enthusiasm for truth and truthfulness.
We live as humans immersed in the spiritual world, but as thinkers we cannot form abstract logical constructs of the spiritual world and therefore can miss the very presence of real information arriving from the spiritual world. One sure way to recognize the spiritual world is when we say we "feel something in our bones", something which generates enthusiasm and warms us with its presence.
[page 86] Even though this spiritual world is always there, the human being has a connection to it only in the deepest levels of unconsciousness, when one glows with enthusiasm for truth and truthfulness. And a connection is also made between earthly existence and the spiritual world whenever a human being is warmed by something beautiful, and by beauty itself.
What is goodness? It is similar to beauty in that it provides us a way of re-connecting ourselves with the spiritual pre-earthly life we left when we incarnated into this life. While beauty is something we mostly experience as a result of what someone else has done, goodness can only be experienced as a result of something we ourselves have done to help others.
[page 86] A good human being is one who is able to give something of their own soul to the soul of another human being. The capacity to take something of your own soul and give it to the soul of another is foundation of all true morality. Moreover, no social configuration on earth can be sustained without the element of true morality (4).
We are now in a position to discover, just as truth is related to our physical body and beauty to our etheric body, that goodness is related to our astral body.
[page 87] Just as the feeling for the true is manifest in your physical body, just as the glowing experience of the beautiful is impressed upon your etheric body, so the good enlivens your astral body. Your astral body cannot be healthy, cannot stand upright in the world, when you are not able to be permeated by goodness.
Truth is related to the physical body;
Beauty, to the etheric body; and
Goodness, to the astral body.
Equally important to know is that Truth is connected to the Past, Beauty to the Present, and Goodness to the Future.
[page 88] To be united with the true means that we must remain connected to our spiritual past. For beauty to have meaning, we must not deny that the spiritual and the physical worlds are interwoven [RJM: In the Present]. To be guided by the good means that we shall plant a seed on behalf of the spiritual world for the future.
To summarize: we can now see and come to understand, after some thought, the following relationships:
Physical Etheric Astral
Truth Beauty Goodness
Past Present Future
Now Steiner asks us, some of us new to his work, to make a gigantic leap and accept fairy tales as depicting reality. That would be like asking us to accept the gods of the ancient Greek as reality, would it not? It would seemingly require us all to throw Bacon's way of dealing with the world out of the window, right? Well, not so fast. Bacon would ask us to deny the existence of gods and fairy tales, but we don't have to deny the usefulness of Bacon's way of doing science based exclusively on the sensory world. Steiner certainly never did that, nor did he ever complain that Bacon was in error, only that we moderns following Bacon's advice have thrown out the spiritual world after the cleansing Bacon recommended.Such an act certainly would equal the proverbial act of throwing out the baby with the bath water. Luckily, during this cleansing, some poignant reminders of the existence of the spiritual have come down to us in myths and fairy tales, which remain a puzzle to us. Using Bacon's advice, we have treated these as superstitions, up until now. Following Steiner's advice we can reconcile the existence of the spiritual world and the physical world as equal realities, both being important to our human existence.
[page 91] What used to be understood as the life of nature is now referred to as myths and fairy tales. These myths and fairy tales contain pictures that point to a spirituality that permeates nature. This is an elemental spirituality within uncertain boundaries, but spirituality nonetheless; and one that reveals a still higher spirituality. Humanity in earlier times was not dealing just with plants, stones, and animals; human beings formerly were also in contact with elemental spirits, which lived within the earth, water, air, and fire. As we have lost our awareness of the inner human being, so, too we have lost a living experience of nature spirits.
These elemental spirits made their home within the various organs of human beings and could speak to the human they inhabited. They were the early teachers of humankind. But a time came when humans developed freedom and independence and the elemental beings could no longer live inside human flesh and blood. They will only return to us when we begin to express our gratitude for their early gifts to us. These spirits can enter a packed lecture hall of a university today and feel as though no one were there because the professor is expressing thoughts in a materialistic fashion which communicates nothing to these elemental spirits.
How can we develop a living vision of the natural world, one which will allow the elemental spirits to reach us? Steiner gives us two examples of a living vision of the natural world, using the bird and the fish, on pages 95, 96. He has us notice how the bird's jaw is forced back into the bird's substance, whereas with the fish, its jaw and teeth are surrounded by its flesh. The bird is adapted to fly in the air and the fish to swim in the water. If we begin to experience the natural world in such a manner, we will be able to speak in a language the elemental spirits can understand. We would be able to say:
[page 97] I am a person who feels grateful to the elemental beings who once worked actively in my being, and have made me who I am today. In former times they dwelt within my physical body and spoke to me through my very organs. The elemental beings have lost this capacity to speak to me through my organs. However, if I am able to observe everything in the world in the manner just described, and to recognize that phenomena are formed out of nature in its totality; if I take seriously the characterizations given to me through anthroposophy, then I will be able to speak out of my soul in a language that elemental beings once again can understand. I wish to become a human being who expresses gratitude to these spiritual beings.
"Realities come into being only when they are alive" Steiner tells us on page 103. Writing things down does not create realities unless they arise out of living experience. Otherwise writing becomes as materialistic as a bird molting its feathers. Molted feathers have the look of real feathers, but they are lifeless. Today it is said that everyone is either a writer or wants to be a writer; as such there are many people molting dead feathers into artificial realities and very few actually writing thoughts as living realities. No wonder scientists are trying to create artificial intelligence in computers; everywhere they look they find artificial intelligence in human beings!
[page 103, 104]When people are easily satisfied with writing down molted thoughts and sending dead thinking to the publishers, we are inundated with artificial realities that have nothing to do with true realities. Unfortunately, for the most part, we are producing artificial realities.
Here is a poem about thoughts as molted feathers:
A molted thought is
a feather in our cap
An artifact from a living bird
as dead as yesterday's mayfly.Birds may live
Birds may fly,
Birds may molt,
Birds may die.
A bird may shed a feather
and, living, fly away,
The feather, now dead,
drops away to become
A feather duster, a quill, a Chief's headdress,
but will live on only as an artifact,
not a living feather.
A man may write with a feather
words as lifeless as his quill
Using Bacon's premise as he will
to create words as dead as
yesterday's weather.Birds may live
Birds may fly,
Birds may molt,
Birds may die.
A man may write a book,
quite a feather in his cap,
Using a nom de plume,
a feather for a name.
Words may live
Words may fly
Words may molt
Words may die.
Words that live
Metaphors that molt
ever into words.
Various religions differ on the meaning of the Fall, some call it a fall from grace, others from innocence, others a fall caused by acquiring the knowledge of evil as when Adam is said to have eaten from the Tree of Knowledge in the Garden. Each of these interpretations have some truth, but Steiner's is simpler and more direct as it infuses life into each of the other ways of understanding the Fall.
[page 106] Over the years I have pointed out that the fall encompasses a significant change that has occurred during the course of human development: the growing independence of the human being from the immediate guidance of divine-spiritual powers.
Those Readers who might wish confirmation of this growing independence need only inspect the first sentences of three classics of literature: the Iliad, the Odyssey, and the Aeneid. In the first two, whose origin goes before the beginning of historical times as oral stories, you can find the writer begging for a Muse to speak the words that he is preparing to relate to us. In the third, written in the first century A. D., the writer Virgil uses the word, "I", and says, "I speak of arms and a man." Voila! The divine spirit that was required a millennium or so earlier by Homer is no longer needed by Virgil before speaking. There is some evidence in black and white.
Before this fall from the guidance of spiritual beings, humans were unable to sin, but with freedom and independence come the possibility of sin. The medieval Scholastics, who argued about how many angels can sit on the head of a pin, created the logical concepts which are used by scientists today, but Scholastics accepted that a living spirituality flowed into their concepts, something which is disdained by today's scientists who claim that all ideas are created within our human brain (5).
[page 111] I said some years ago during a lecture in Mannheim that humanity in its present stage of development is capable of reversing the fall of humanity into sinfulness. The fall of the human being was understood first of all as a moral fall, which was extended later to the human intellect in a way that limited the human capacity of knowing to the realm of nature. But let emphasize that the human being can achieve knowledge of the spiritual when it has been filtered through pure thinking. In this way the human being can reverse the moral fall and ascend to the divine-spiritual through the spiritualization of the intellect (6).
When the great Spiritual Being Christ came to Earth he was like a Stranger in a Strange Land (7), and to understand him and his language we need knowledge of his native land, the Cosmos. To understand the Cosmos we must understand the stars and planets of the macrocosm and how we as human beings evolved along with the macrocosm, with a miniature cosmos in ourselves, a microcosm which lives in synchronism with the macrocosm. We can never fully understand the Mystery of Golgotha, but we can approach understanding the cosmic language of Christ.
[page 112, 113] What does this spiritual rising beyond the fall, this spiritual ascendance imply? It means that we must come to a true understanding of the Christ. Those who still grasp something of this understanding (who have not lost the Christ under the influence of newer theology) have said that the Christ is a Higher Being who came to earth and was incarnated into an earthly body. They have drawn upon the written traditions that proclaimed the Christ. They have even spoken about the Mystery of Golgotha.
But now the time has come in which the Christ must be genuinely understood. People resist a genuine understanding of Christ, and the way this occurs is characteristic of our time. You see, even if only a spark of Christ is living within them, what must follow from it? They would have to be clear that Christ as a heavenly Being came down to earth; he spoke to human beings not through an earthly language; rather, he spoke out of a cosmic perspective. We, too, would have to exert ourselves to understand him; we would have to learn how to speak a cosmic language, one that would carry us beyond our earthly experience. We could not limit knowledge to the earthly sphere, for our planet was a new land for Christ. Our knowledge would have to encompass the entire cosmos. We would have to learn to understand the elements, the movement of the planets, and the constellations of the stars and their influence in relationship to what occurs on earth. Then we could draw nearer to the language spoken by Christ.
All of the things Steiner says above that we must do, he has spoken and written extensively about in An Outline of Occult Science, A Philosophy of Freedom, and Macrocosm and Microcosm, among many other places, specifically to help us understand. If we understand only what occurs on Earth and in the sensory data we receive from the planets and stars, we are using only half our human capacity for understanding; we are essentially dimwits living among a legion of other dimwits so no one complains, up until now. To read and grasp Steiner's spiritual science to become full-witted and live as a moral person in moral world from now on. It is our personal way of rising beyond the fall.
[page 113] Expanding our knowledge so that it encompasses the cosmos as well as the earth belongs to our spiritual rising beyond the fall. For why did it come about that the human being felt compelled to understand only what exists on earth? This occurred because of our consciousness of the fall. We presumed that the human being was unworthy to grasp, to know, to understand the cosmos in the spirituality of its existence beyond our planet. That is the reason why it is said so often that the human being only has the capacity to know what is directly related to the earth. I gave you several examples of this yesterday. It is presumed that the human being can understand the fish only as it lies on the table, or the bird in its cage. The consciousness that the human being can rise above a purely earthbound knowledge does not exist in our so-called civilized natural science. Science typically makes fun of anything that is not earthbound. If you begin to talk about the stars, even that draws ridicule from people with the natural-scientific point of view.
Have you ever met someone who proclaimed their simplicity? They sound perhaps like this, "We don't watch TV in our home." "We ride a bicycle everywhere." "We live off the grid." "We drive an electric car." "We don't eat anything with gluten in it." and so on. You no doubt have encountered one or more of these examples of arrogant simplicity. They take pride in their simplicity while humility would serve them and us better.
What can prevent one from becoming arrogant? Becoming devoted to developing one's inner soul is one way.
[page 117] If you are alive with real knowledge and understanding, you know that even the simplest truth can be mastered only with difficulty; and through effort that sometimes lasts for decades. Thus the process of inwardly working through a matter prevents you from becoming arrogant.
Working for decades for understanding doesn't compute for most people today; they prefer instant enlightenment, often willing to walk over hot coals literally or suffer utter humiliation at the hands of a workshop leader to achieve what some call enlightenment.
[page 117] Today the human being needs a strong commitment to truly grasp the Being of Knowledge, so that we are not satisfied with just knowing a few anthroposophic catchwords about the physical body, the etheric body, reincarnation, and so forth, in order to appear to be a model of anthroposophic wisdom. Wakefulness helps us to guard against pride, and it must be cultivated as a new moral quality. It has to be taken into our meditation.
We must become devoted seekers, not loud speakers proclaiming some new life-saving regimen or pseudo-religion. What boots it to save one's life and lose one's soul? With a commitment to grasp knowledge of the physical and the spiritual worlds we take a step in the right direction.
[page 117] Then the rising beyond the moral fall can really come into being; for the experiences that we have in the physical world are the ones that also lead us over into the spiritual world. These experiences must guide us toward devotion to the innermost capacities and strength of the soul rather than to promulgating the "truths" of a particular program. Above all, we must have a sense of responsibility toward every single word we express about the spiritual world. We have to strive to carry the truth that we have first encountered in the sense-perceptible world into the realm of spiritual knowledge. . . . We cannot expect to grow accustomed to truthfulness only after we enter the spiritual world. Truthfulness is something that we have to bring with us.
In the life cycle of the Monarch Butterfly, it lays its egg in the milkweed plant, the eggs become caterpillars which eat all the leaves except the very top ones which metamorphose into the reproductive flowers which keeps the milkweed plant reproducing. The caterpillars form a chrysalis on the milkweed, from which a new Monarch Butterfly emerges to sip from the flowers of the milkweed and then to lay eggs. Note how the caterpillars ensure the survival of their life cycle by not eating the flowers. Steiner on page 118 gives us an example from the animal kingdom of an insect which eats only vegetable material when full grown, then lays its eggs within a different insect which eggs form larvae which then eat the insides of the host insect. Amazingly, like the Monarch caterpillar, the larvae do not eat portions of the host insect that would kill it, and once they leave the host to become a mature insect, they never eat any animal flesh again.
[page 118] You can see in this example that remarkable intelligence holds sway in nature. When you really study nature closely, you will discover this commanding intelligence everywhere. Then with regard to your own intellect, you can think with greate r humility; first of all, your own intelligence is not nearly as great as the intelligence that guides nature; and second, human intelligence is like a little bit of water that you take from a lake in a pitcher. . . . [To claim that human intelligence comes from the brain is like saying] the pitcher has produced the water.
Is the brain a stand-alone computer or is it connected to a cosmic internet of spiritual beings?
[page 118, 119] . . . the human being who thinks that intelligence can come only from within the human being is incorrect, for in reality we merely draw intelligence out of the general sea of intelligence.
I began studying the human brain after working deeply into the design of computers because I came to realize that computers worked the way the brain worked; that we humans designed computers the way our own brains were designed. Now I begin to realize that we humans designed the global Internet after the way the living Cosmic spiritual Internet works in which we live, move, and have our being.
Note the way your personal computer was built, purchased, and only later became part of the global Internet. The Internet existed before your computer was connected to it, was it not? Similarly the Cosmic spiritual Internet existed before we were born, but there the similarity with human-made computers ends. We humans existed in spiritual form before we were born, coming out of the Cosmos into our physical body with an immediate connection to our pre-earthly existence in the Cosmos. This remains consciously with us until we are about three years old. The problem with claiming this is we have amnesia for the time before three. Why? Because our brains are not able form cognitive (declarative) memories permanently and fully until about five years old. That is when the hippocampus becomes fully operational and can send fully fleshed out cognitive memories to the higher cortex regions. Until five years, only emotional states are stored, feelings, proprioceptive sensations, and primitive motor functions associated with creating phonemes, e.g., and these go into the limbic region as real, but unconscious memories (8). The age of three seems to be the upper age at which children have imaginary friends. We can only know about these when the child is old enough to talk about a friend, about 15 months, and these imaginary friends last until the child's direct perception of its pre-earthly existence (its past life experiences) and of spiritual beings begins to fade. Rightly understood, imaginary friends is a misnomer; we should say spiritual friends, as these are real not imaginary, and exist in the spiritual world.
My wife's twin boys around the age of three had a spiritual friend that they both shared, that they both saw at the same time. Hard to call such a spiritual friend "imaginary", isn't it? They called him "Plum-dee-dahl" and she reports hearing them talk about and to this spiritual friend. One day, she was driving with them in the car and John called out, "Hey, Jim! Look! There's Plum-dee-dahl's father!" Of course, John said, "Yeah." To explain this without resort to postulating a spiritual world would create an imaginary world more far-fetched than simply a spiritual one. Yet, no doubt some well-meaning psychiatrist as an expert witness could testify that both Plum-dee-dahl and his father were shared hallucinations having no reality outside the brains of the identical twin boys.
But there is a problem with talking about pre-earthly existence, a problem which began in 1413 A. D. when the Fifth Latern Council stated that it was Church doctrine thenceforth that the soul was created from nothing when it arrived in a human body. That clearly made believing in or claiming the pre-existence of the human being a heresy. After many centuries we humans got in the habit of avoiding talking about it.
[page 125] Humanity in western societies had become accustomed to avoiding the possibility of pre-earthly existence.
With that possibility out of the question, no reincarnation could be discussed, no creditable theories for the metamorphosis of the human being were possible, and no understanding of how a human spirit in the time between death and rebirth seeks a suitable set of parents for their next incarnation, as well as planning to meet the humans from its previous incarnation to balance any karmic debts. If all these concepts sound new to you, even if you have had a full Christian education in the best schools, now you know why: your teachers were forbidden from revealing any of these things, even if they suspected or knew them to be true. These truths were taught in the Mystery Schools, and Steiner was able to perceive them directly with his native clairvoyance. In his early lectures to the Theosophical Society he taught things he knew from his own personal experience and research into spiritual realities which matched in essence what the Theosophical Society taught (using different names), but he studied none of the Theosophical literature. To explain this with a materialistic viewpoint would stretch the credulity of a fool, which is why materialistic thinkers blast Steiner's work as superstitious claptrap without ever investigating him. Those who have actually investigated his work earnestly have become spiritual scientists themselves.
[page 126] We have a natural-scientific tradition that is connected to the fall of humanity; that is, a natural science that emerged directly out of a misunderstanding of the fall. If this perception of natural science were to continue, then the earth itself would not be able to fulfill its true purpose. Humanity would develop a consciousness that is not connected to its divine-spiritual origin; instead human consciousness would be separated from its divine-spiritual origin.
This separation from the spiritual would result in every human being becoming a material-only body which will be vaporized when the Earth dissolves into space. Only by cherishing and preserving our divine-spiritual roots can we prevent this from happening to us in a distant incarnation. We have descended in the fall so far that we must consciously begin to re-discover our divine-spiritual origins and destiny, so that instead of vaporizing into nothingness, we will rise into the spiritual world when the Earth's material existence comes to an end.
What would be the effect on modern science if the influence of the fall had not been there for many centuries? For one thing, the way Darwin evolution is taught would be completely reversed. Human beings would be recognized as having evolved first, followed by the apes, the lower mammals, the fish.
[page 127] The research carried out in the natural sciences today is remarkable, but what the scientists say about the research is not correct. If scientists would grasp the meaning of what they observe, they would reverse the direction of the line of animal and human development:
Human being —> Higher mammals —> Lower Mammals —> Fish
. . . Here you see that the human being is a direct descendant of higher spiritual beings and will continue to take on greater and greater similarities to higher spiritual beings. Likewise, the lower animal beings also have their origins from higher spirituality, but as lower beings they have not assumed higher spiritual natures.
What is pathetic is that the great mind of Darwin was wasted, turned in the wrong direction by a "misguided habit of thinking" due to the influence of the fall, rather than turned into the correct direction, which would have also fit with the results of his scientific field work.
Goethe's mind was turned in the right direction of plant metamorphosis with his concept of the Urpflanze, or Archetypal-plant by which he was able to point us to a way of understanding such mysteries of the plant as how its leaves turn into flowers. But Goethe hit a dry hole when he tried to apply his concepts to the human being. Why? Because one needs to take into account metamorphoses of the human being which occur between successive incarnations, something Goethe was unable to conceive or follow through on. He postulated that the human brain had its beginning in a metamorphosis of the top ganglion of the spinal cord, but couldn't explain how the skull could have come from the top vertebra.
[page 128] However, if we know that the present form of the skull leads back to the bones of the body in one's previous earthly incarnation, then we can understand the process of metamorphosis. Thus we are drawn into the presumption of repeated earth lives by means of outward morphology.
If you find this concept of metamorphosis between incarnations in the human skull hard to understand, consider how the automobile has morphed between each new model. Elsewhere Steiner explains that "the bones of the body" he refers to above are the limbs of our previous incarnation which have helped shape the head of this incarnation.
What is the morphological equivalent of the human head in the automobile? The dashboard, is it not? We can go back to the first automobiles where the function of the dashboard was simply as a board to protect the driver and passengers from the elements by causing the mud and water to dash against a wooden board stretched across the front of the carriage, thus the name, dash-board. If a driver wanted to start the car, turn on the lights, check the temperature of the radiator, check if the tires were low, check if the oil level was okay, etc., he had get out of the car to do all these things. The car had to be hand-cranked from the front of the engine. The gas lamps of the headlights needed to be lit by a match or a flint. Over time, an electric starter was installed and a button provided on the dashboard which could be pressed to start the engine. Electric lamps for the headlights led to a switch installed conveniently on the dashboard. Just like with a human being whose limbs at its periphery in one incarnation moves into its head in the next, items at the periphery of the automobile migrate in succeeding models into a place in the dashboard. Most recently a light has appeared on the dashboard which reveals if a tire's pressure is too high or too low. Like our head with its outer case (the skull) and its inner wiring (the brain), one can see that the dashboard of a car has an outer shell (the display panel) and inner wiring (which today contains multiple tiny computers). Similarly, using computers, humans design automobiles unconsciously based on designs used in human beings.
According to Realism, ideas are real because they represent objects and processes in their essence. According to Nominalism, there exists nothing but sensory-based data to which we give names. One salient result of the Intellectual Fall (IF) is our move from Realism into Nominalism. One can see that Realism (spiritual reality) would support the reality of Christ as a great I am Spirit (IS), whereas Nominalism (theoretical, name-based reality) would claim Christ to be a humble carpenter and teacher. Steiner shows us that the IF can only be redeemed by the IS.
[page 131] In today's theoretically oriented knowledge — a way of thinking that is accepted even in the remotest villages — something lives that can be redeemed only through Christ. We have to understand Christianity if we are to begin to grasp this.
Now, if we expect that a modern scientist should understand that his thinking must be redeemed by Christ, then the scientist would shake his head and say, "The deed of Christ may be responsible for many things that have occurred in the world, but to expect me to say that Christ can redeem natural science from an intellectual fall is not something that I can allow." . . . Nevertheless, today we need — especially in intellectual disciplines — a rising beyond, an overcoming, of the prevailing widespread intellectual fall.
In order for us as humans today to overcome the "misunderstood consciousness" of the Intellectual Fall we must learn to place "Christ as a higher Being in the middle point of the Earth's development, and from there finding our way beyond the influence of the Intellectual Fall." We need to stop playing the Game of Names, i.e., the Intellectual Fall, and deepen our understanding of human development into the spiritual realms. We must stop drinking the Nominalist Tea and switch to Real-i-Tea. (Page 131)
The following poem was inspired by material on pages 137 - 139.
Let's play a game,
the Game of AS IF.
Pretend you can rise
from the Great Intellectual Fall
to the Great I am Spirit,
From the IF to the IS.
Can't do it?
What's the Problem?
It's just the Nominalist Tea.
Now, let your pretending become real —
Immerse yourself in the world of stones, plants, and animals,
In thoughts of quartz, vermillion, malachite,
of irises, of Easter Lilies,
of the wolf, the hyena, and the lamb.In your thought of the divine origins of these,
you connect with the divine in you,
the I am Spirit, the IS in you.
Perhaps you think you cannot do it, up until now.
No problem from now on.
No mas tea. Just Real-i-tea from now on.
As if it were only that simple
to rise from the IF to the IS.
"Life is a puzzle with an enigma on each end." This was my most important unanswered question, the driving force which led me to discover and then dig deeply into Steiner's works. The enigma of pre-earthly life was simply darkness, the unknown, when I started. The enigma of post-earthly life was simply fear, nothingness, when I started. Little did I guess at the time that the Church itself had prohibited anyone to speak about these two enigmas. The pre-earthly was never mentioned. The post-earthly was explained using kindergarten stories of a heavenly bliss for eternity. Only Steiner shed light upon these two enigmas, including the reasons for there being enigmas at all. To speak on either enigma in a convincing way requires speaking of reincarnation, karma, and the spiritual being of Man (which spiritual being was declared non-existent in an 825 A.D. Council of the Church), and all of these three themes became anathema to the Church fathers, with fairy tales taking the place of real knowledge. Those fanciful stories of Heaven and Eternity have in 2,000 years worked their way into our consciousness so deeply it would take an exceptional man to extract us from the deep hole of fear and darkness which we had accepted as our reality, up until now. That man was Rudolf Steiner.
People today seem satisfied to imagine that after they have died, they remain only as a concept or an idea. "I will live in what my children have learned from me," they might say.
[page 137, 138] For example, you could ask a human being who had been educated in a modern way, "would you be satisfied if you existed only as a concept or an idea after you died?" This would make a person feel very unreal after death. In our day this question would seem to imply something completely unreal about the human being after death. That was not so for the Realists among the medieval Scholastics. Concepts and ideas were so real for them that they could still believe in the existence of the World-All; they could have imagined that after having died they would still continue to exist in the form of a concept or an idea. Medieval realism, as we have already noted, did not continue into modern times. The modern worldview is thoroughly Nominalist. And people today who no longer trouble themselves about the inner meaning of concepts and ideas are the ones most steeped in Nominalism.
One could find hints of atheism in the ancient Greeks, but it was only with the collapse of the Realism of the Scholastics that the Nominalist-based theoretical atheism could rise into modern society. (Page 139) "To be an atheist means that a person is in some way physically ill." (Page 142) To be an a-theist is to be a-healthy, in other words, and may lead to justifying your atheism by attacking others claiming they are not healthy. What you are unconscious of in yourself, you project upon others and dislike them for it — that is a well-known psychological process.
Humans are born into this world with concealed gifts they bring from previous lifetimes; it is as if we each contain surprise packages to be opened during our lifetime that no one knows of, especially ourselves. A teacher who coaches us how to utilize our obvious gifts does us a disservice as a human being. In this next paragraph one can hear Steiner talking about the primary goal of the Waldorf School System he inspired into existence.
[page 142] Today if we only attempt to educate the unconcealed gifts of the human being, we will not enable the child to take hold of its full humanity. In order to tap all of the capacities living in the human beings, we must encourage and teach each human being to search the depths of their being, to draw forth out of their innermost being the inner light that, once it has been lit, will accompany them throughout their earthly life.
With an understanding of Realists and Nominalists, it's possible to understand why a Nominalist would reject the idea of the divine Trinity. "They recognized the Father, Son, and Spirit; but to combine them into a unity was simply creating a word or name that denied the integrity of the Three Persons." On the contrary, Realists could draw the three persons into one Idea: "for them composite Idea was Real." (Page 143)
This kind of argument would have no interest to the Philistines of today, those people who, Steiner says, "have no true feeling experience of an awakening spirituality." (Page 144)
[page 144] This person lives entirely within the sphere of habit. Without the presence of the spirit it is impossible to experience the fullness of one's humanity. The philistine prefers to live without the spirit; to wake up without the spirit, to eat breakfast without the spirit, to go to the office without the spirit, to eat midday without the spirit, to play billiards without the spirit, and so forth. The narrow-minded individual wants to do everything without the spirit. Nevertheless, throughout one's life the spirit unconsciously accompanies every human being. In the case of the philistine, however, the presence of the spirit is of no interest.
We have studied the nature of Truth, Beauty, and Goodness and discovered how Goodness comes from a deed someone performs to plant a seed of morality for the Future. Steiner spoke a parable about a Miller's son, about whom all that people could say was that he was the son of the Miller. His father was well-known but the son was only known as the son of the Miller. At the time of the Mystery of Golgotha, people knew the world came from the Creator-Father-God, and they identified Christ as the Son of the Father-God. The Father-God had planted a seed of morality for our Future through the Deed of His Son, Christ. If we are not Philistines we will recognize the Christ as present in our world today and participate in the harvest He has sown for us, as we continue the seeding of Goodness on the Earth.
We must awake from our millennial sleep and feel the fluids and air flowing through our flesh-based body, which is only formed for our time on Earth in this lifetime. We must recognize our words as maps, dead as molted feathers, and learn to live fully in the territory of flowing life they represent. We must rise from the Intellectual Fall to the Great I am Spirit by shedding our Nominalist strait jacket and walking out barechested into the world of living spirit, finding sermons in stones and life in everything.
--------- Footnotes -----------Return to prose directly before Footnote 1.
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Footnote 3.Return to prose directly before Footnote 3.
I once saw these words on a Betty Crocker Cake Mix box: "Be Creative! And here's how to do it! No English professor would commit such a folly as telling their student, "Write creatively, and here's how".
~~~~~~~~~~~Return to prose directly before Footnote 4.
Footnote 5.Return to prose directly before Footnote 5.
This is equivalent to treating the human brain as a stand-alone computer, whereas, rightly understood, the human brain is more like a modern computer linked into a global Internet, the materialistic metaphor for the spiritual world in which we live and have our being.
~~~~~~~~~~~ Return to prose directly before Footnote 6.
The title of a famous Robert Heinlein science fiction novel.
Return to prose directly before Footnote 7.Return to prose directly before Footnote 8.
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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 Walks Through H-E-B Parking Lot in Brenham, TX 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 Spots a Large June Bug:
2. Comments from Readers: <
NOTE: I love hearing from all my Good Readers and including your missives here (slightly edited).
If you prefer any comments or photos you send to be private, simply say so and they will not be published.
- EMAIL from Kevin Dann:
What fun to read your reports on our outings in both your 'hood and mine, and to see all those great photos. I don't think my ugly mug has ever been as conspicuous in an issue of the Digest — the coolest thing was serendipitously appearing across from Foreteller of the Future.
- EMAIL from Patricia Russell:
Dear Bobby, Thank you again for your web letter — I look forward to receiving it monthly and enjoy the articles — it must be a labour of love! I am looking at Steiner education (Waldorf) through the lens of using reflective practice with the learner (student). Are you aware of any passages in which Steiner discusses this? I have been researching and am not having much success. Thank you and I will await your reply and thoughts. Warmly, Patricia
- EMAIL from Tony Celino re: Newfoundland Boat Owner:
The Newfoundland Department of Employment believed a boat owner wasn't paying proper wages to his help. An agent was sent to the fishing village of Burin to investigate the boat owner.
GOVT AGENT: "I need a list of your employees and how much you pay them".
Boat Owner: "Well, there's Clarence, my hired hand. He's been with me for 3 years. I pay him $200 a week plus free room and board. Then there's the mentally challenged guy. He works about 18 hours every day and does about 90% of the work around here. He makes about $10 per week, and pays his own room and board. I buy him a bottle of Lamb's rum and a dozen Labatt Lite every Saturday night so he can cope with life. Also, he gets to sleep with my wife occasionally".
GOVT AGENT: "That's the guy I want to talk to - the mentally challenged one".
Boat Owner: "That'll be me. What'd you want to know?"
BOBBY REPLIES:Great story. Catch this 2013 movie on NetFlix streaming or DVD: "Still Mine" of a farmer with a similar problem with coercive bureaucrats who wanted to tear down his home on a thousand acres of land because "it didn't meet code".
- EMAIL forwarded from Kaisu Viikari in Turku, Finland:
Yes, my case really illustrates current bizzare state of ophtalmological practice in which, even after pseudomyopia was discovered the professors have not done anything to treat it.
I understood everything well and was aware of the burden of close work all my life. Latent hyperopia should certainly be the cause of it.
Yesterday I downloaded Panacea and in short time realized how valuble findings are written. I will certainly read the whole book cause as it is based on the great experience.
I have noticed your chapters in which you refer to occipital and trigeminal neuralgia. Also found you describing the patient with strong pain in upper neck. I'm looking forward to read the whole book.
I bought your "How to prevent Myopia" several years ago which helped me a lot to build all the essential concepts to understanding the problem and advanced reseraching.
I have started using plus for all close work without exception. (1.5 for books, 1.0 for computer. I clearly feel the relationship between accommodation and binocular vision during fogging the moment when I re-adjust both binocular angle and release the focus, and also notice the painful path spreding directly to the top of neck.
Many thanks Kaisu for all your help!
EMAIL from Kate in Ireland:
Thank you for my first copy of DIGESTWORLD Bobby.
I am delighted to have discovered your site yesterday and to know that each month there will be a new digest. Until yesterday I had no knowledge that doyletics and you existed! I found you by a review you had written of Edward Reagh Smith's Book on the two births of Jesus.
Over Easter I had attended a seminar here in Ireland about the Isenheim Altarpiece wherin depictions of the Solomon and Nathan Jesus streams are encoded. I needed to refresh my mind on what Steiner had written...and thus I came to you! Ain't the internet grand!
And aren't you a wonderful man... and your beautiful wife! A great team I am sure... a Karmic marriage.
I hope to find time to read all your Steiner reviews. I have read many of the books, but will be most interested in your opinions and insights.
Although I live in Ireland, I lived for 33 years in Toronto and also spent a lot of time in NYC in the 1990s while I was studying Speech and Drama at the Anthroposophical Branch on W 15th... I am sure that I will have met people you have met... but I KNOW I would remember if I had met you and Del!
Although I haven't met Chris Bamford and Gene Gollogly, many friends of mine are friends of theirs...so there are just a couple of degrees of separation between us, Bobby!
I did 4 or 5 Speed Traces already... fantastic results! I am truly grateful to you.
Wishing you love and peace,
Your New Good Reader,
3. Poem from Freedom on the Half Shell:"C'mon Weal"
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:
Should we follow Jefferson's advice —
For equality depends upon the common weal —
That only when both parties are satisfied
is there basis for a deal.
The cause of queues for food and stuff
Is price fixing by the state:
Equal prices for everyone
Equal merchandise for the masses
Creates not democracy
The official thief says,
"Keep the change in your pocket,"
While lifting bills from your wallet
By taxes and inflation.
Should we look at that silent thief inflation,
We would chase its guardians from our land
And go forth to the day
We lift our wallet with our own hand.
In 1986 I was assigned to the Radiation Monitoring System of a large nuclear plant. A day or so after Chernobyl disaster we found an Iodine peak in our sump monitors located where rainfall is trapped for inspection. We kept Iodine tablets in case of any local radioactive Iodine releases because consuming this tablet overloads the Iodine in the thyroid gland which is the primary focus of Iodine uptake by the body. Thus overloaded any further Iodine uptake was forestalled and any radioactive Iodine would simply pass through the body instead of being concentrated in the thyroid gland. These trace amounts from Chernobyl recorded were far below the level of requiring any Iodine tablets. This was a reverse Butterfly Effect: a LARGE event causing a small effect halfway around the world.
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9. CLOSING NOTES:
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My reviews are not intended to replace the purchasing and reading of the reviewed books, but rather to supplant a previous reading or to spur a new reading of your own copy. What I endeavor to do in most of my reviews is to impart a sufficient amount of information to get the reader comfortable with the book so that they will want to read it for themselves. My Rudolf Steiner reviews are more detailed and my intention is to bring his work to a new century of readers by converting his amazing insights into modern language and concepts.
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