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~~~~~~~~ Childhood Friend ~~~~~
WELCOME TO DIGESTWORLD ISSUE#158 August, 2015== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==Quote for the Holiday Month of August:
Always the man of genius dwells alone, and like the mountain pays the tax of snows and silence for elevation.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson, in his Journal April 10, 1837
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DIGESTWORLDArchived DIGESTWORLD Issues
GOOD MOUNTAIN PRESS Presents ISSUE#158 for August, 2015
Table of Contents
1. August's Violet-n-Joey Cartoon
2. Honored Readers for August
3. On a Personal Note
Flowers of Shanidar Poems
4. Cajun Story
5. Recipe or Household Hint for August, 2015 from Bobby Jeaux: Hard Soap vs Soft Soap
6. Poem from The Destinies of Individuals and of Nations:"The Avocado Prophet"
7. Reviews and Articles featured for August:
8. Commentary on the World
- ARJ2: Karmic Relationships, Volume 7, GA#239 by Rudolf Steiner
- ARJ2: Come What May, A Novel by William Harman
- ARJ2: The Presence of the Dead on the Spiritual Path, GA#154 by Rudolf Steiner
- ARJ2: The Karma of Vocation, GA# 117 by Rudolf Steiner
1. Padre Filius Cartoon
2. Comments from Readers
3. Freedom on the Half Shell Poem
4. Grief and Phobias
9. Closing Notes — our mailing list, locating books, subscribing/unsubscribing to DIGESTWORLD
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1. August Violet-n-Joey CARTOON:
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==This month Violet and Joey learn about Wizardry.
For newcomers to DIGESTWORLD, we have created a webpage of all the Violet-n-Joey cartoons!
"Wizardry" at http://www.doyletics.com/images/150719vj.jpg
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2. HONORED READERS FOR August:
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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 August, 2015:
Edward Reaugh Smith in Lubbock, TX
Robert Hilman Matherne in San Anselmo, Calif
Congratulations, Ed and Robie!
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3. ON A PERSONAL NOTE:
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Out Our Way:
LSU FIGS A BIG SUCCESS
What LSU couldn't do in Omaha, its hybridized figs did at Timberlane this summer: hit the ball out of the park! With rain showers every other day, our figs grew large and ripe. The Celeste fig tree, which was given to us by Cindy our garden helper when we moved in six years ago, has finally gone into full fruit and we enjoyed picking and eating its ripe figs each morning for breakfast. I like peeling and eating them cold from the fridge. I recall my sitting with my Grandma Babin in her kitchen as she peeled the figs for me when I was five or six. They have always tasted better to me that way. The LSU figs have filled in nicely while waiting for the Celeste tree to mature. While I don't like the fresh-off-the-tree taste of the LSU figs as much as the Celeste, they do make great fig preserves. Figs and Orange Beach fills up the first part of July for us every year. When we chose a week for our condos on the beach, we weren't thinking figs, how they are in full ripening mode just as we have to leave for the emerald green waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
Several years ago, we had a bad experience with the thin stock pot when cooking up figs. It was larger than our largest pot, but our figs tasted smoky, not the best flavor, and had to be trashed. We threw away the thin stock pot and vowed to get a suitable large fig pot. My brother in Opelousas told me that Sandoz Hardware there had the kind of pot I was looking for and I bought one: a large stainless steel pot with a thick bottom for absorbing the heat. It worked perfectly. Last year I didn't get to use our new pot because we left on a Rhine River Cruise the day after we returned from the beach. All our figs were enjoyed by our neighbors. Connie cooked up some LSU figs and gave them to us when we returned. This year my plan was to fill up the new larger pot with LSU figs and make preserves.
My procedure is simplicity in itself: each day I dump the figs I pick into the large pot and cover the figs with some sugar. Then the pot goes back into the fridge. When the pot is full of figs, usually a week or so of picking, I top up the sugar to about 5 lbs and turn on the burner. I have noted over the years of doing preserves that the figs cook down to a smaller volume within the first hour, so this year, I picked a trug full of figs the same morning that I turned the pot on. When the figs had reduced in size, I dumped the newly picked figs into the pot, adding several jars of preserves, no doubt. We sterilized the jars the normal way, adding a quart Mason jar, and as many pint size or 12 oz jars as we had saved. When I had finished filling the sterilized jars, there was still a lot of fig preserves left in the large pot. I quickly pulled three quart-sized Mason jars that had been sterilized before going into storage and filled them, putting those 3 jars into the fridge to keep cool until they are eaten.We made about 12 quarts of fig preserves and next year I will be sure to have at least that many jars available for our fig preserves.
BROKEN CAMERA AT WARRANTY REPAIR AFTER 6 MOS HASSLE
This is a cautionary tale. Should be read by anyone who buys an Amazon Warranty on a SONY product. ALWAYS ship any device directly to Amazon Warranty if it's not obviously a SONY defect in workmanship. (Good luck with figuring that out! I guessed wrong.)
My Sony HX-50 is so great, that I can't imagine ever buying a different camera. First, it fits in my pocket, so I always have my best camera with me. It takes marvelously clear 30X telephoto shots, great indoor shots with or without flash, excellent Macro shots (very close close-ups) of tiny flora and fauna, has a long-life battery and holds 10,000 photos in its 64 gigabyte memory stick.When its display screen got damaged during a fall in December of 2014, I immediately bought a new identical camera for our upcoming Caribbean Cruise and when we returned, I sent the broken one off to SONY for warranty repair, figuring they would fix it, charge me for it since it likely wasn't covered (being from an accident). I figured (wrongly) the Amazon Warranty I bought from SmartGuard would cover my SONY expense. Paid $30 to ship it to SONY, BIGGEST MISTAKE I ever made! Months went by, four or five horrendous phone calls, repeating the same information each time (SN, Model#, Date of Purchase, etal) and finally they told me: we can't find your camera. Later they called and said: we found it but we can't repair it, you'll have to buy another newer one for a discounted price. I told them, ABSOLUTELY NOT! Send me my camera back!Eventually they found it at their remote Precision Labs and mailed it back several months ago. At right is a photo taken with my SONY HX50 camera at 30X Zoom of a waterspout some 25 miles offshore of Orange Beach. Note how you can see the water roiled up where it touches the Gulf waters. As an example of its macro (closeup) capabilities, look at the tiny white spider and notice how large the fine grains of the white sands of Orange Beach looks in the blue dustpan. Click here to see spider.
Then my adventure with my Amazon.com warranty vendor, SmartGuard, began. Seems that I had bought an "Electronics Warranty" from them for this camera, so I had to buy a "Camera Warranty" and they would refund the money on the other warranty. Then I had to wait for all that paper work to get straightened out. At least I was dealing with the same person each time with them, not dialing into the Black Hole of SONY.I was told everything was ready, so I spent an hour trying to log onto SmartGuard's website to no avail. After several days of frustration, I begged for help and finally in Mid-July, my camera was ready to ship to them. I attached the PrePaid sticker on the box and went to find the FedEx drop off place.
Del told me: just use the UPS place on the corner nearby, they accept FedEx packages. That place was gone when I drove there. My next stop was at Regions bank, and after cashing a check, I asked the teller if she knew where the UPS had gone to. She directed me to a spot several miles away in the opposite direction and once I finally located that spot, the UPS guy said, "We don't take FedEx." But he directed me several more miles away back in the other direction to a place called PAKMAIL which accepts FedEx packages near Gambino's bakery on Lapalco.Earlier I had read the words on the Prepaid Address label and it said it would only be insured for $100, unless I added insurance. Well, guess what? The gal at the FedEx office couldn't add insurance! Worn out by this six months delay already, I just shipped it! I hope it comes back before our next cruise! If so, I will take both cameras with me. Carry one and keep one in my luggage on the boat as a back up.
I made Del and me some Crawfish Eggplant Dressing (CED) omelettes before we hit the road for Orange Beach. My plan was to bring all the fixings for CED Omelettes to Orange Beach with us. We did so, but forgot the frozen tubes of CED designed for omelettes, leaving them in the freezer at home. So on the road, my first thought was no CED Omelettes, then after further consideration, I realized we could buy the fixings and make some the dressing in our condo with our guests. Carla Bryant wanted learn how to cook it, and this would be her chance to do so.
On the trip to the beach we ran into rain right away, and by the time we hit Gulfport, it was so heavy, we kept delaying eating. Well, the rain continued till we reached Orange Beach, and we didn't eat lunch we only snacked till we went out to dinner. But first we had to buy our groceries at Winn-Dixie and then get into our room which was not yet ready for us to check in. Suddenly we realized we had Breyer's Ice Cream in car and it might take an hour to get into room, so Del knocked on door of our condo and the cleaning man allowed her to put the frozen stuff in the Fridge. We basically got in for 2:15 and began unpacking the car as soon as the cleaning man left.
CHRIS & CARLA BRYANT
Chris and Carla came about 7 and we decided to eat at the Crab Trap Restaurant about 12 miles down the road, right across the Florida state line. We parked in the last slot in the back and walked through the back door. Hostess said inside tables were quicker to get than outside and she sat us immediately. I noticed, for the first time, the large row of wooden pelican sculptures which line the low wall next to our table. I was taking a photo of the pelicans and when I got back to our table, I noticed I had taken a photo of a couple kissing between the first two pelicans.
The Bryants had stopped for a short visit at Timberlane on the trip from their home in Corpus Christi to their son's home in Jacksonville. This was their trip back and we invited them to join us for a couple of days in our large two-bedroom beach apartment. Chris took the scenic route I had suggested, along the coast from Pensacola Beach with no problems. They said they saw the Crab Trap as they passed it coming into Orange Beach. I had the Grouper Sandwich and it had a full slice of grouper and was delicious. The sandwich was just as I wanted it, having almost as much Grouper as the entree dinner. The previous time I ate at the Crab Trap I suggested that they should include a larger piece of Grouper on the sandwich, even if they had to charge more. Glad they did it!
When we came back we had some Breyer's ice cream but I discovered that it was too soft, partly due to the wait for the room, but mostly because the Freezer setting was only at 4, with 9 as max cold. The ice cream was a bit too hard after that, which always happens if you allow it to get soft and then re-freeze.
COOKING ON THE BEACH
Well, it was warm and sunny the rest of the week, the rainy weather never quite reaching us, and the sea breezes kept our bodies from "cooking on the beach". The only cooking on the beaach we did was in our apartment near the water. There was a bit of excitement one day along the water's edge when a water spout, a tornado over the water, appeared offshore about 25 miles out. It was to the left of a large rainstorm, and the tilt of the rain line told me it was moving to the West and away from us. The guy who pointed out the water spout volunteered to get a photo of me and Del and he managed to center the water spout between our heads.
Chris helped me erect our canopy. He and I carried chairs and canopy from the car to the beach; he carrying the heavier canopy. We set them up in the first spot between the rental chairs and another canopy and had no problems. Del and I walked along the beach several times to inspect the Jewelry Store of the Sea and we picked up a bunch of shells from its shelves on the shore. We found two vertebrae from some large fish which looked like elfin cups; I wondered how they might look plated with silver.
I began about 10 AM with cooking the Crawfish Eggplant Dressing and Carla acted as my sous chef de cuisine. Chris videoed us until his Smart Phone ran out of memory, but we were nearly done by then. At one point he asked if I had a few Cajun jokes ala Justin Wilson, and I obliged. We four enjoyed a small bowl for lunch, after which Carla went to buy some salad fixings for our evening banquet, which consisted of this:
A large salad with avocado, cucumbers, tomatoes from my garden, and greens. We had no dressing, so I improvised a Ranch Dressing with our available ingredients: Mayo, yogurt, chopped garlic, parsley, shrimp powder, and it was delicious. Del made the Renelle's famous Cornbread and Chris had an OOTL, an Organism Of The Lips, when he tasted his first bite of the special cornbread. At first he told me that he'd put his cornbread aside, planning to save it for later with some honey. I insisted, "No, you have to try some now!" He did and loved it, said exuberantly, "No way this needs honey!" Then we ate the Crawfish Eggplant Dressing as our main course, and strawberries with Breyer's for dessert later. A veritable feast de resistance. After dinner I created four tubes of leftover CED to make omelettes with the next morning before Chris and Carla left for home.
Our daughter, Kim, came in while we were fixing dinner and I asked Chris if he would help her get her stuff from the car to her room, which he did. After dinner was over the four of us played Pay Me! Del and Chris lost and I kept my score down to 4 till the last three hands and won the quarters handily. It was to be the last game I won for the rest of the week.
On Tuesday Del made tunafish salad for us for lunch, and she asked me to make red beans and rice for supper. In the afternoon, I typed in my journal notes on my laptop and processed photos to date while the three of them went grocery shopping. We ate dinner with Chris and Carla, having a big salad, red beans and rice, and then we played several more games of Pay Me! during which my luck dried up and Carla and Chris had some success winning.
Final cooking event was the CED omelette the next morning. There were only 7 eggs left, and I needed 10 eggs for four omelettes, so I made extra-large omelettes for Chris and Carla using all seven eggs, and they loved it. They packed and left shortly after breakfast and headed home to Corpus Christi.
ON THE BEACH: SAND CRABS, OK CORRAL, WATERSPOUT
The cooking events over, Del and I went out on beach for a while, raising the roof of our canopy for shade to sit under. I had been reading Ralph Waldo Emerson's Journal, Vol. 1, 1820-1841 and almost finished it on the beach. Sitting in canopy this morning Del spotted a white sand crab running along the sand near us and it dug itself into sand and disappeared. I turned on my Sony Camera and walked to the spot where I saw it go under and took a photo of it almost covered with sand, with only glimpses of its claws showing. As I put my foot to one side of it, I noticed its eyes revolved to spy my foot. As I spooked it out of the sand I followed it to get more photos. I found out later that these crabs can rotate their eyes 360 degrees, but cannot look up, so they must bury themselves in the sand far enough to camouflage their appearance to hungry sea gulls and such. Amazing how their eyes are on a long pivot and can nest safely back into their shell. (See Crab photo above for details of eyes.) We came back in and we ate a light lunch of CED.
I went back alone to the beach canopy to read and when I came in, Del said Kim was in the pool and invited me to come in. I put on my bathing suit for the first time and got in the pool and talked to Kim in the shade on the side of the pool after I got out the water. My eyes suffered from being in the chlorine most of the evening until I went to sleep with wet rag on my eyes. Okay next morn. I have never had eye allergies before, so I'm thinking it was a leftover from the pool's chlorine. Kim, Del, and I had dinner at Wintzell's the next night. We chose their versions of Galatoire's specials: Oysters Bienville, Rockefeller, etal. I had the Red Snapper myself but wished I'd ordered it with crabmeat topping. Kim treated us and then beat us both in Scrabble — I would have preferred it the other way around. I fought to get within 3 points of Kim near the end and she made a quick 30+ with a Q or X to whip me and Del. Our points totaled over 1100 for the three of us. Nobody got stuck with too many vowels or consonants this game, everyone came out firing away, like the Gunfight at the O. K. Corral, from the first play to the last one. Could have called it the O Kim! Corral.
The next morning there was a little excitement on the beach. As I walking to our canopy, I overheard a Ranger on a four-wheeler who had just stopped to talk to the rental chair guy. All I heard was some weather condition and it was 25 miles away. Her tone told me "nothing to worry about." On our way to the water's edge of the beach, Del and I were greeted by a large white sand crab, moving slowly. I shot a photo of it and left it alone. Then a guy from North Alabama came along and directed our attention out on the horizon to the waterspout. I asked him to take our photo and his shot missed the state's name at the bottom of Del's Orange Beach Tee Shirt. I said, "Thanks for missing the Alabama part." He said, "I'm from North Alabama but not a native, and I like it as little as you do." His photo captured the waterspout between my head and Del's. I got a 30X shot later showing the water being stirred up at the base of the waterspout. (Shown further above.)
Walking on the beach near the water later, we saw a tall crane or heron which wasn't moving and I got shots of it. Rare to be able to get such a closeup shot of the head of a heron, but this one seemed to have died standing up. Later on our way back, I walked towards its rear to test if it were alive, and it began moving. Also spotted a tiny 2inch long white crab which sped very fast across the sand, then stopped. He was almost invisible to the eye. My only photo of him caught him as he was disappearing out of the frame of the photo.
WAFFLE HOUSE, SANROC
Del and I decided to go to Waffle House for breakfast, to have someone else cook and clean up for us. When we came back I looked up Pirate's Cove in Josephine for a schedule. Music at 1 PM and again at 6 PM on Saturday. I made plans to take Wes and Kim there for a treat. After our late breakfast Del and I drove down to find a shop called "Jane Loves Shoes". A woman in her Garden Club had a purse identical to Del's favorite everyday purse and said she bought it there in Orange Beach. We found its address on the internet, but our GPS sent us in the wrong direction, toward Gulf Shores instead of Orange Beach. Finally we just followed the numbers on the outside of businesses till we got close and decided it must be in the SanRoc Shopping district. Walking around we located it and Del was able to buy two new versions of her favorite purse.
I spent some more time on the beach and my right eye began bothering me again. Came in and took a nap with cold wet rag over my eyes and it got better. Later it bothered me again and Del gave me a Benadryl tablet which seemed to help. I had been sneezing and my nose dripping, so perhaps it was some allergic reaction, but I have never had that before, so I think it was due to excess chlorine in the pool.
Wes, Kim's husband was coming tonight on Thursday, but our daughter Maureen who we were also expecting had a good reason for not coming. As usual she didn't share the reason with us.
I checked my doyletics website statistics and it was still going good, down only slightly to about 10K visitors per day visitors. July typically is a slight slowdown on visitors. Too many people enjoying the beach, no doubt. Spent a lot of time trying to transfer photos from my Sony HX50 camera via Wi-Fi to my Z10 Blackberry, but without success. Later I spent some time downloading the HX50 Instruction Manual, but it was no help with the Wi-Fi transfer of photos. It did help me to move the photo I shot in Temporary Memory to the memory stick in the HX50 a photo. I had shot this photo earlier when my memory stick was not in the camera! Didn't know that was possible and then didn't know where the hell the camera stuck the photograph! Camera has about 40 megabytes of spare memory left from its operating system apparently, which will hold about 8 hi-res photos in the cameras if there's no memory card installed. But getting the photos into normal displayable memory required reading a special tutorial, which is what I found, and when I did what it said, it worked.
Wes drove in to Orange Beach. He and Kim have our second condo this year. He and Kim went out to dinner together. We had our delicious red beans and rice and played Scrabble the two of us. Del shot out to a quick lead and I caught and passed her when she played ZONE with a triple Z and I OZONED it with an O which crossed to a triple word to make ORT. By Matherne's Rules for Scrabble, a double or triple score is counted every time it is used in a word, even if only by adding an S on the end of a word. Thus, an S becomes a very popular tile for making a cross at the bottom of a word.
The next day I was out under the canopy on the beach when I heard from the neighboring canopy the sentence which formed the basis for this month's Cajun Story. My eyes were no longer bothering me, but just in case I did spend most of the day away from the beach and pool. Wes and I went to the SanRoc Marina dock to watch them cleaning the mangrove snappers and Spanish Mackerels. Kim and Wes took us to the Cobalt restaurant. No eye problems, which with all the bright Cobalt blue around the place, I was glad that bright colors didn't aggravate my eyes. After dinner at Cobalt, the four of us went out on the beach to visit as the sun reddened and eased its way slowly below horizon. That was our signal it was time to come in. There was a wonderful evening sea breeze blowing in from the Gulf and it was a lot of fun being alone with our daughter and her husband. Reminded me and Del of the old days before their kids were born when we had that kind of time alone with them in Mobile.
THE WHARF AND THE PIRATE'S COVE YACHT CLUB
I went with Wes to check out the Wharf where the Blue Marlins would be brought in to be weighed for their annual rodeo. Wes took me to Bimini Bob's a classy bar and restaurant near the dock where the marlins are hauled ashore. A place owned by his favorite Dolphin, a member of the famous Killer Bees of the Miami Dolphins. While talking to the nurse from N. O. tending bar, Wes was told that the best place to watch the boats with marlin catch coming in was Pirate's Cove in Josephine. She gave him instructions on how to get there by the boat we don't have. But I knew how to drive there and that's where I planned to take Kim and Wes on Saturday afternoon, after which they could stop back to watch the weigh-in of the big fish. The winner this year topped 750 lbs. When Wes and I were there, the big crush of people hadn't started, so I suggested we walk down to find the Coffee Shop I remember as Dizzy Beans. Its new name is Southern Grinds and its dark blue nautical colors suck for a Coffeeshop, which needs to have some dark brown, coffee beans colors, and not look like a ladies dress shop. But I was able to get my first latte since we left PJ-Land in New Orleans. So we went back to the condo. Del and I packed up our car for an early drive home the next morning. Wes and Kim came by to pick us up and we and drove to Josephine over land. I knew it's always a party at Pirate's Cove, and this evening it was to be Dr. Bill and the Band-Aids playing as we ate our pizza and hamburgers.
We drove to Pirate's Cove and it was SPLISH! SPLASH! How was I to know there was a party was going on? (Thru the internet, thank you very much, Bobby Darin.) Everyone was reeling with the music, noshing on the food, feeling the delightful sea breezes coming in off Perdido Bay. People were scantily clad, swimming, sunning on the beach, boats coming in and out, carrying gals in skimpy bikinis. Some regular patron told me that this band has played there regularly for over 30 years. Worth getting a photo and a short video clip of these guys, which if luck holds, I will be able to share a bit of the music and ambience with you.
I decided to buy a Tee Shirt and found a nice 100% Cotton Tank Top printed front and back with a nice aerial view of Pirate's Cove Yacht Club from the point of view of two large pelicans shown flying and looking down on the fun below. As I stood in line to buy my Tee, a cute blond in a skimpy bikini top said, "He's paying for mine, too." Wonder what might have happened if I'd agreed. Tees were $21. I came back and asked Wes what his size was and found him a bright green one with a pirate's skull on the back wearing shades with bright orange rims. We both doffed our city shirts and went Pirate's-Cove-crazy with our colorful tank tops.
Del custom-designed a pizza for us and we ate and enjoyed the music. Pirate's Cove Yacht Club is like a saloon from the Old West: no rules except one: you can't bring liquor in from your boat. There were dogs of all kinds, from toy poodles to a Great Dane and they had free run of the place. There were wooden table and benches and no screens on the windows. You could sit on the window sill and look at the skimpy bathing suits if you liked. You ordered what you wanted and someone came around with it yelling your name. The restroom for the men had four urinals, custom-made from stainless steel Abita Beer kegs. We drove back to the condo and Del and I went to sleep, while Wes and Kim went back to the Wharf area of SanRoc Marina in time to see the winner of the Blue Marlin trophy have his 750 lb Blue Marlin weighed in. It was just another fun-filled day at the beach.
HOME AGAIN AND FIG PICKING
Del and I left about 8 am Sunday with everything all packed. We did the packing of our condo the previous afternoon, knowing we were having a late night at Pirate's Cove. We drove to the Waffle House for a quick breakfast and headed home. No traffic. Got home about 11:15 am. Began unpacking after my quick trip to PJ's. Got everything turned back on: Coffee pot, Ice Maker, washing machine faucets, etc. Went outside and picked the last batch of Celeste figs. Watered ferns and plants. Del's new peach vincas across the East Portico were still looking good. I picked and ate the last white peach from our tree. Delicious. Our friend Pepper came by to pick the LSU figs with her dad. Del took Pepper's grand-daughter Sidney, an 8 year old, around and showed her our house. Pepper and her dad, Marlin, picked figs from the LSU fig tree which was still producing. It has been uncommonly hot and dry this July. After they left, I processed the last of the photos which were from our Pirate's Cove splishing and splashing last evening. For supper Del and I enjoyed the last of the red beans and rice we'd cooked in Orange Beach. We watched American Sniper on Blu-Ray before going to bed. This movie, which celebrates Chris's life, must have been in the process of being made when he was shot by an ex-GI that he was helping in 2013. Chris wrote the book, but someone had to write the sad ending. We needed to watch our favorite up-lifting shows, which we call our palette-cleansers, before going to bed after that movie.
MOVIES AND REVIEWS
After being away for a week, our NetFlix DVDs and Blu-Rays piled up and we enjoyed a bunch of good movies in the first week home. Amazingly this month we have had no Avoid At All Cost movies at all! Let's hope this keeps up. I finished a Steiner review that I had started the previous month and Del copy-edited it. We went out to Twilight Concerts in City Park as much for me to get some flower photos as to hear the Hot Club of New Orleans with their jazz stylings. July is not a great month for most flowers in this area. Apart from Crepe Myrtle trees with their luscious blooms in red, white, pink, lavender, and purple, there's not a lot of blooming flowers outside the City Park Arboretum. We left home early so we would have some time to walk through the Katz&Besthoff Sculpture Garden while it was still open before the music started. It was the day of our 37th Wedding Anniversary, and we celebrated by taking a selfie during the intermission of the concert by the Hot Club. Of course, I gave Del a lot of flowers that day, in photo form, of the blooming flora of the Arboretum.
AIR-CONDITIONING DOWN FOR MY BIRTHDAY
When Del went to our bedroom on Saturday night to turn down the bed, she returned to say that the temperature was 82 and the AC was set to 78. We knew what that meant. I sprang into action and implemented a plan that I had been concocting in my head. I had been hearing some clanking when the compressor started up for several weeks, so I was ready for it. I set up the pedestal fan to blow into our bedroom from the great room, lowered its AC by five degrees, and with the fan blowing the cool air down the hall to our bed area, it went past the intake for the Master Bedroom's circulating fan which was still working. It picked up the extra cold air and blew it into the bedroom area, the bath area, and the TV watching area in the Screening Room. (We may have been warm, but we were better off than the guy who was fooling around with the alligator at left.)
It was late Saturday night, so we couldn't report it till Monday and with luck it will be fixed by Tuesday. My setup worked to keep the bed room around 80 each night, only 2 degrees higher than we like to keep it, so with appropriate adjustments to our sleeping wear or lack thereof, we were fairly comfortable each of the three nights. Bill Castor, our AC super-hero, showed up early Tuesday morning and replaced another defective China-made electrolytic capacitor. He told me he gave us a 440 volt-rated cap to replace the old 350v rated one and he's found them to be more reliable. Thus it came to pass that for my birthday on Monday I got to sleep in my Birthday Suit.
I always wanted there to be some special event which happened on my birthday as a kid, but alas, my birthday was always empty of such an event. Washington wasn't born on my birthday, neither my namesake Robert E. Lee whose birthday I celebrate every January 19, nor any recognized holiday ever fell on my birthday, up until 1969! On that night Man first set Foot on the Moon, and in coming decades that event will be noted on every Calender. My friend Chris Bryant called and he told me that in 1976 on my birthday, the first Successful Mars Lander send by Man landed on Mars. I didn't know that. I was too busy celebrating: 1) living in New Orleans again after seven years, 2) being single for the first time as an adult, and 3) the 200th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence to take notice of the Mars Landing happening on my birthday. It makes sense to me that these two great events would happen on my birthday. Here's how I figure it: by the time I was 15, I calculate that I had spent so much time reading science fiction that I had spent more time on the Moon and Mars than I did on the Earth.
According to this report I found on gizmodo.com, it took an extraordinary event for the Mars landing to have to wait two extra weeks to set down on my birthday. Thanks, Johnny! (That's my guardian angel who I always thank when things go well. Something I learned how to do only about 8 years ago, so this is my first chance to thank him for his actions back in 1976.)
After 10 months of interplanetary travel, Viking 1 entered orbit around the planet Mars on June 21, 1976 and began preparing to send its lander down on the Fourth of July. However, closer inspection revealed a landing site too treacherous to safely put down on so Mission Control was forced to delay the descent for over two weeks while a new one was found. On July 20th, the new site had been confirmed, the lander separated from the Orbiter portion, and America's first attempt to put a machine on Mars was underway.
To celebrate my birthday, Del took me to DiMartino's Deli where we shared a large, delicious oyster poorboy together. That same night was my Book Club's meeting. I brought a bottle of Black Label Jack Daniels in a special bottle to share with the book club members who are always bringing some special liquor or favorite treats. We toasted my birthday then settled down to Book Club business, including the semi-annual selection of the next six books to be read over the next six months. I submitted a book someone gave me, promising if it was selected, I would read it, if not, I shelve it. Shelving in my library of over 3,000 books is equivalent to the legislative vote to Table a Motion. For all practical purposes it wouldn't get read. Know what? It was the first one drawn out of the Ceremonial Spittoon, so now I have to read it.We had planned to have dinner with Del's brother Dan and his wife Karen on our Anniversary, but they were unavailable so we rescheduled for a week later and went to Houston's Restaurant on St. Charles Avenue with them.
AND SO IT GOES
The last week of the month we had a few problems. Bobby's Laptop he uses for traveling broke completely. We were driving to Lakeside Shopping Mall to look for a new laptop when Barry at Designs in Jewelry next to the Mall called to say Bobby's torquoise ring had been repaired. We ate at Red Lobster then Del got her new pants at Chico's while Bobby picked up the ring from Barry and then investigated 2-in-1 LT's at the Microsoft Store in the Mall. On the drive home, Del's Maxima got a nail in the driver's rear tire and it had to be replaced.Fix a few things and a few other things break, it's law of entropy at work. During the night a voice in my head reminded me of my own advice to others: "If it takes money, Use it." Which meant to me: "Buy the new Laptop!" After inspecting all of Best Buy's PC Lap Tops, the most impressive one to me was the Lenovo which was the thinnest and with no hard drive will likely be the longest lasting LT that we've owned. I have suspected the rotating hard drive to have been the cause of the failure of our two HP and two Toshiba LT's. The Lenovo has a Solid State Hard Drive with no rotating or moving parts other than electrons. Instead of paying $500 for an extended warranty, I paid the same amount to upgrade to a non-failure-prone component.
It was sad to lose two esteemed members of my club, Howard Schmaltz and Norman McSwain, during the last week of July. Life goes on for the rest of us, so let's make our time in the flesh count as both Howard and Norman did.
EVERY GOOD THING MUST COME TO A NEW BEGINNING
For the past 31 days, July has hot and dry, but in a centuries-old New Orleans tradition, never exceeding 100 degrees on a single day. (Only happened about 17 times in our long recorded weather history) We got a few showers, our okra, grape tomatoes, and eggplants growing and being harvested. Yesterday on the 22nd Del and I agreed we felt the peak of summer pass us by. The grass is no longer growing 6" a week, more like 4". I like to say that I love summer in New Orleans, and even when one of our AC units goes down, I never complain about the heat, only dress down till I'm comfortable inside and outside the house. In July I rarely work outside in the garden unless at dusk or when thunderclouds are overhead and the air is slightly chilled. We hired Rene to clear away the okra, big tomato plants and the vagrant blackberry vines from our two mulch beds. The one I have called the Truck Garden seems now ready to be tilled and planted again. It smells rich with nutrients and loam. Our LSU fig tree has some leftover figs on it which I ask the birds and our friends and neighbors to enjoy. I'm waiting now for the White Crepe Myrtle tree given to us as a seedling by Gail Kelley to begin blooming. Till we meet again at the end of August, God Willing and the Winds stay cool and fresh, whatever you do, wherever in the world you and yours reside, be it warm or freezing, Remember that peace and serenity can only be found within, and so our earnest wish for you, in the middle of the year:
MAY YOUR WORLD BECOME PEACEFUL AND SERENE IN TWENTY-FIFTEEN
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Quotes Selected from quotes.htm this month:
- Think me not unkind and rude
that I walk alone in grove and glen
I go to the God of the wood
to fetch His word to men.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 - 1882)
Either you think — or else others have to think for you and take power from you, pervert and discipline your natural tastes, civilize and sterilize you.
F. Scott Fitzgerald
All big things in this world are done by people who are naive and have an idea that is obviously impossible.
Dr. Frank Richards
Many people would rather die than think; in fact, most do.
Then you'll remember your life
as a book of candles,
each page read by the light of its own burning.
New Stuff on Website: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.
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
You cannot be unfairly treated —
the belief you are being
Is but another form
of the idea that you can be deprived
Other than yourself.
2. Chapter: Hyacinths
(Inspired by Evan Soule, Jr.)
My poems are like verbal cartoons
As zany as inebriated loons.
The words create the pictures and
The sounds create the flow.
The rhymes create the beach's sand
The ideas create the undertow.
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 a poem inspired by the malapropisms of Calvin Preston:
Idyll of March, VI and VII of IX.Inside of the well-curvature of space-time
An over lapse of rain
On the other opposite side
Has produced a dry rout
Of war sensing conditions.
But surrounding me is
A goal mine,
Where acres of diamonds
Cluster about my feat.
This bottles the mind!
I will keep my mouth silent . . .
No more words will wander from these lips . . .
My lips — where I do my thinking —
I will cut you no mercy,
But keep the humor up
While I slip messages to you
Straight to your intimate self-conscious.
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
with its demand for explanation,
does to the Government
with its demand for explanation,
does to the People as a Whole.
No wonder the Country is foundering
in paperwork and red tape.
It's a wonder that
The People as a Whole
aren't demanding an explanation.
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).
It's not surprising one and all
That as we walk we do not fall,
We look behind us as before
And navigate right through the door.
Yet though it's true in every clime,
No one suspects it's true of time:
Memories of the past and future
Present us with unconscious lure.
New Stuff on the Internet:
- American PieVideo Clip sent by Jeff Parsons:You've heard the song, now listen to numerous references in the lyrics displayed as you listen again. Once more, with feeling. Two-tissue Event. CLICK HERE!
- Watch this guy allow his pet bird to take a shower in his hands under the faucet. CLICK HERE! Thanks to Tony Spatafora for sending this along!
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 Theory of Everything" (2014) A movie full of abstract logical thought and a warm helping of human love. A DON'T MISS HIT ! !
"The Way Way Back" (2013) Life looks better in the way way back after a long water wizz. Sam Rockwell in a lovable zany role. This is the most fun movie we've seen in a while! A DON'T MISS HIT ! ! ! ! !
“Get On Up” (2014) an entertaining Biopic of James Brown highlighting his innovative funky music which inspired pop musicians everywhere. Where did his energy, verve, and style come from? Put your hands together and take a trip down the aisle with Mr. Brown. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! ! !
“Worricker: Turks & Caicos” (2014) Bill Nihy vies with Christopher Walken as UK-USA undercover spies in this island of dirty money and pretty women potboiler unwinds. A DON’T MISS HIT !
“Little Big Man” (1970) At Little Big Horn were two men: a little big man who was a big man and a big man (General Custer) who was a little man with an overblown ego who got his men slaughtered.
“Angel in the House” (2011) about a couple who lost a son in an accident and wanted another child, but none came. Then Eli shows up from the Adoption Home and brightens up their life in several ways. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! !
“American Sniper” (2014) cowboy sharpshooter served four tours in Iraq, became known as Legend for his skills, but didn’t have the skills to survive back home after his last tour. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! !
"Oxford Blues" (1984) Young Rob Lowe goes from Las Vegas car parker to Oxford University and gets stuck between two buildings and two cultures, but with his oars in the water, comes out a champion.
"How Do You Know?" (2010) when you're in love?
"In the House" (2012) every house has a story. To be continued. A DON'T MISS HIT !
"A Christmas Story" (1983) a perennial classic made from Jean Shepherd wonderful story. A DON'T MISS HIT ! ! ! ! !
"The Drop" (2014) Gandolfini's last movie; Girl With Dragon Tattoo's first English-speaking Movie; dark, moody neighborhood bar with nefarious money drop.
"A Walk Among the Tombstones" (2014) with Liam Neeson seeking vengeance for the wife of Matthew from Downton Abbey from the two guys who had dismembered her after receiving a half mill in ransom. Liam seems in this movie to out Willis Bruce Willis. Dark, foreboding movie but worth a look see. Less bloody than average NCIS.
"The Heartbreaker" (2010) a quirky gigolo paid to break other's hearts, come close to breaking his own heart.
"A Late Quartet" (2012) What happens when a string quartet tries to break up and becomes stronger. Beethoven's String Quartet Opus 131 is the real star of this flick. A DON'T MISS HIT !!!!
"Tea with Mussolini" (1999) a coterie of plucky grand-dames of film: Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, and Joan Plowright, plus Lily Tomlin and Cher expect Mussolini to protect them during WWII and deal with the reality which ensues. A fun movie as the ladies rebuff soldiers and get away with it. A DON'T MISS HIT! ! !
"Midnight in Paris" (2011) wonderful movie to prepare for a trip to Paris. See it through Woody Allen's eyes. Hobnob with Cole Porter, Scott and Zelda, Papa, Gertrude Stein, Picasso, Toulouse and friends in the '20s and '90s along with Owen Wilson. A DON'T MISS HIT ! ! !
"The Jane Austen Book Club" (2007) can life imitate art or vice versa? Jane Austen proved it in her art and two centuries later life proves it so. A DON'T MISS HIT! !
"A Bronx Tale" (1993) of Calogero growing up during a time of change in the Big Apple. A DON'T MISS HIT!
"Worricker: Salting the Battlefield" (2014) about how Johnnie maneuvered the PM into resigning and got his old MI5 job back, no small feat. A DON'T MISS HIT! !
"Chinese Puzzle" (2014) whose solution created a convoluted French and American film which amazingly unwound into a happy ending. It's Believe it or Not! time. A DON'T MISS HIT! !
"If I Stay" (2014) things will get better. EAT-O-TWIST! A DON'T MISS HIT! !
Misses (Avoid At All Costs): We attempted to watch these this month, but didn't make it all the way through on most of them. Awhile back when three AAAC horrors hit us in one night, I decided to add a sub-category to "Avoid at All Costs", namely, A DVD STOMPER. These are movies so bad, you don't want anyone else to get stuck watching them, so you want to stomp on the disks. That way, if everyone else who gets burnt by the movie does the same, soon no copies of the awful movie will be extant and the world will be better off.What a LUCKY MONTH! No AAACs!
Your call on these — your taste in movies may differ, but I liked them:"Malificient" (2014) was not magnificent, though Disney tried hard to improve on the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale, viewers woke up to the failure long before the movie ended.
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==Le Boudreaux Cajun Cottage, drawn by and Copyright 2011 by Paulette Purser, Used by Permission
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==Boudreaux's First Name Revealed! !
This month, I was sitting under our canopy on the sands at Orange Beach, and I noticed our neighbor's canopy had a University of Louisiana at Lafayette (ULL) emblem on its cover.
They were a well-behaved and friendly lot, but one afternoon, my attention was drawn to a twenty-something man in a beach chair who was speaking. I only heard this one sentence, so I can't tell what came before or after it, but in it he revealed Boudreaux's first name!
"Mah name is Pierre Boudreaux de T'ird. Dey call me 'de Little T'ird'."
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5. Household Hint for August, 2015 from Bobby Jeaux:
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =Hard Soap vs Soft Soap
Background on Hard Soap vs Soft Soap:
When I worked in Process Control in the 1960s and 70s, one of the justifications for the expense of adding a computer to control the manufacturing process of soaps was that the computer could do a finer control of the amount of moisture in the soap powder. All laundry detergents were sold in powdered form at one time, and there was a Federal Law limiting the percentage of moisture in the laundry powder to 5%. A good human operator would have to keep the percentage low, maybe under 2% to ensure the powder would not exceed the 5% limit. A process computer could control the percent of water to a fraction of a percent, so companies who used computer process control of their laundry powder production lines would run them at 4% and never exceed the Federal Limit.
What's the big deal, you may be thinking? I'd never notice the difference between 2 and 4 percent water in my laundry powder. But, think again, think like a manufacturer which produces perhaps 100,000 pounds of the powder a year: 2% of 100,000 is 2,000 pounds and being able to sell 2,000 pounds of water at the price of laundry powder is a big deal.
This was what technology could do to increase the profit margin for these companies. But every year brings a new crop of MBA marketing graduates into the work force. What did they do over the past 60 years? They decided if the amount of liquid in soap powder was limited, why not convert to liquid soaps and detergents? No controls there on the percentage of moisture in a liquid soap. Consumers seem to be getting a bigger amount of product, but most of it is water, which is almost free from the tap!
Think of it this way: if you buy a bar of hand soap, water is always available and almost free. Why buy the water at the Supermarket and have to carry it home to wash your hands?
Marketing experts get paid for increasing sales of products. They can do this by suggesting improvements to the products or they can create the illusion of improvements by designing new labels. Guess which way is cheaper and easier to accomplish? New labels. They can add words to the label of a product to tempt customers to choose their product. One example is "Sodium-free". What is curious is that this label gets added to products which never had any salt in them ever. The other curious label is "Antibacterial" added to the label of these expensive, water-filled soaps. Soap, by its very nature kills bacteria, did you know that? Because soap removes surface tension from the water, it's able expedite the removal of dirt from clothes. But surface tension is the very thing which protects the skin of bacteria from liquids getting into the body of bacteria. When water gets into the body of bacteria the bacteria dissolve into the liquid. No need to add some bacteria killing chemical to stab each and every bacterium, the soap kills them by dissolving them into a useless mass. But, here come a new batch of Marketing Graduates and they suggest putting "Antibacterial" on these bottles of soaps.
This is a new trend in recent decades: Fancy Names and Labels for liquid hand soaps. I don't know about you, but when my hands are grimy from changing the oil in the car or harvesting potatoes, I do not want to smell Iced Gingerbread or Vanilla Bean Noel on my hands! I want a bar of soap that will clean my hands quickly without assaulting me with the latest illusions, flavors, and cutsie labels created by some Marketing Department. In case you might think I made up the above two names, I have included photos of them. The "antibacterial" claim is likely on the back sides.
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==
6. POETRY by BOBBY from The Destinies of Individuals and of Nations :
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
The Avocado Prophet
If we plant an avocado seed
and predict an avocado tree
Are we prophets?
If we can see our dreams as seed
and predict our future
Are we prophets?
An avocado seed becomes immersed in dust
and grows into an avocado tree.
A fruitful dream becomes immersed in us
and grows into a future we.
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==
7. REVIEWS and ARTICLES for August:
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
For our Good Readers, here are the reviews and articles featured this month. The first and fourth 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 are two 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 7, GA#239 by Rudolf Steiner
We not only live in our body, we live in our karma. Rudolf Steiner
Before I began reading Volume 7, I'd heard that there was repetition in the 8 volumes, but I can truthfully say that I found no exact repetitions and that the areas of content that Steiner went over a second or third time were most welcome to me. He always did it with a different angle of view so that his readers might come to see and comprehend the entire "tree" that he was describing, rather than just see one view of it. He was speaking not to convince his audiences of the reality of karma, but to help them to re-cognize its existence and to take note of how it plays out in their everyday lives.
[page 9] And so in these lectures I shall speak from many different angles of the anthroposophical basis of those ideas and conceptions which enable karma in human life to be more clearly recognized.
Steiner talks about how a corpse of a human being does not make any sense unless we understand it as matter that has been abandoned by something else. The corpse only makes sense because real living humans exist somewhere else. He says on page 12 that, "Abstract thinking is the corpse of what was once living thinking." This is similar to what the Sufis say about counterfeit gold, "It can only exist because real gold exists somewhere."(See photo at the left of the corpse of an Assassin Bug which had been moving in the wind and looked so lively on the Celeste Fig Leaf that I took a photo of it. Compare this to some lectures you may have heard.)
[page 12] The thoughts were once alive in the soul; the soul has died to the spiritual world. We bear within us not the living thoughts but the corpse of the thoughts.
Steiner says we speak more correctly than usual if we say, "The spiritual in man dies through birth, the physical part of man dies through death." This quote highlights the folly of the materialistic scientist who attempts to plumb the depths of humanity by analyzing only the material aspects of human existence. Such a scientist is examining but the corpse of the spiritual human by attempting to apply the laws of Nature to the human body. Laws of Nature have their cause and effect which are identifiable and understandable during the lifetime of the scientist. Karmic consequences are not identifiable and understandable by studying a single lifetime, so the materialistic scientist is unable to address or relate a myriad of effects to causes that lie in previous lifetimes. Instead of an Anthropologist, such a study requires an Anthroposophist. Instead of a materialistic-only Anthropologist, an Anthroposophical scientist who understands the material and the spiritual world is required.
Scientists of the physical world may be clever, but without being capable of identifying and understanding the processes of karma, they are not truly wise. The wisdom to do this has been available since early times through the great Teachers that moved about the Earth in their etheric bodies and inspired early humans with their inspirations and truths. After the separation of the Moon from the Earth, these great Teachers took up residence on the Moon, where during our stay in the Moon Sphere, they assist us once more. During our life on Earth between birth and death, our days seem to be brilliant pearls held together by the prosaic string of nights that link our days. In the time between death and a new birth, however, our nights are like brilliant pearls linked together by the prosaic string of days. We gaze into these night-time pearls and see the reflections of our quotidian lives.
[page 17] This robust earthly life seems like a dream, for entry into the Moon sphere brings us into an existence where everything seems to be much more real, much more saturated with reality than can ever be the case on Earth.
Like the Moon reflects the Sun, our nights in sleep are reflections of our days in waking life. During sleep the reflection is in the form of pictures or images, but in the time we spend in the Moon sphere, the reflection is in a greater reality than the experiences of our daily life due to our being permeated by the beings of the great Teachers.During our time in the Moon sphere, what was formerly our inner moral life becomes our outer life. The effect is that what someone else experienced from my actions, I must now experience as the other did, only with a much greater force. If we caused harm to someone, we experience the same harm, only to a much greater extent. This understanding is absolutely essential if we are to understand how different are the karmic laws from those of the Nature.
[page 19, 20] Out of the experiences we undergo after death in the realm of the great primeval Teachers of humanity, the first seed of karma is formed. For there we resolve to make compensation for what we have done. Resolves, intentions, here take actual effect. On Earth the good does not always seem to be followed by good, or evil by evil. But the resolves taken in a world of far greater reality than the earthly world, the experience that we ourselves must make compensation for what we have done - these resolves will lead in the later life to actual adjustment.
In our movement from one earthly life to another we are guided by the Angeloi, our Angels, who operate from the Moon sphere. Expanding further we move into the realm of the Archangels as we enter the Mercury sphere. With the help of the Archangels we lay aside the physical infirmities of our previous lifetime.
[page 22] Surprising as it may seem, it is the case that in the life between death and a new birth, man lays aside his moral failings first and his physical infirmities only later, when he enters the Mercury sphere. In the Mercury sphere his soul is purged of the inner effects of those morbid processes which came to expression in illness during his life on Earth and in his soul he becomes completely healthy.
Ancient wise men re-cognized that the art of healing came from the Mercury sphere and called the Beings that came to their healing altars the God Mercury. No wonder that the period between seven and fourteen-years-old of a human, which period is ruled by Mercury, is the healthiest period in a human life. By casting off one's inequities in the Moon sphere and one's infirmities in the Mercury sphere, a spiritual human shrinks to somewhat less than a whole being at the Venus sphere. In this sphere the Archai, the Primal Beginnings, the Spirits of Personality, with their element of Pure Love prevails. This Pure Love of Venus will now bear the truncated human spirit forward into the Sun sphere.
In the Sun sphere we spend three times as much time as in the other spheres. In companionship with the Exousiai, Dynamis, and Kyriotetes (Mights, Powers, and Dominions) and karmically connected human souls, we plot out the karma for our next life. Thus whenever we try as earthlings to figure out our life, we are trying to re-cognize the karmic plan we made earlier, before this life. Whether we can pysche out (an interesting manner of speaking) what our earlier plan or not, we know that it was in fact our plan that we are now living out. If it's not working out as we wish, to whom are we to complain? To ourselves? My only comment about that is: If learning this causes you to have nothing to complain about, don't complain to me.
[page 27, 28] During the second half of the Sun existence, in union with the Exousiai. Dynamis, and Kyriotetes, and with human souls karmically connected with us, we are concerned with the preparation of the moral side of karma, the moral qualities which will then be present in the next life. But this moral part and the spiritual part of karma — for example, specific talents in one direction or another — are then further elaborated in the Mars sphere, in the Jupiter sphere and in the Saturn sphere. And in passing through these spheres we come to know what the 'physical' stars are in reality.
I haven't seen any of these new bumper stickers around on the back of cars "Have You Got Your Hug from God Today?" — but it illustrates what Steiner tells us we experience when we look out into the starfields of the Cosmos — the experience is that of a caress that you feel in your soul.
[page 28] So it is when we look outwards into the spheres of the Ether. The Gods in their love caress the world. But the caress lasts long, because the life of the Gods spans immense reaches of time. . . . To gaze at the stars is to become aware of the love proceeding from the divine-spiritual Beings. What we must learn to realise is that the stars are only the signs and tokens of the presence of the Gods in the Universe.
How do we go about making such observations as Steiner just made? He tells us that using the techniques of Knowledge of Higher Worlds and its Attainment we encounter a series of panoramas spread out before us. In the first panorama we inspect the period of seven years leading up to our second dentition. If we further let go of all the pictorial representations we can behold in Inspiration "the living, weaving activity of the Moon sphere." From there we go to observing our life between seven and fourteen together with the beings of the Mercury sphere. At the age of fourteen, love is born, and as we gather our experiences between fourteen and twenty-one, we operate in the Venus sphere.
[page 31] When the experiences occurring between the twenty-first and forty-second years of life are eliminated in the consciousness of Inspiration, we are led to the Sun sphere. . . . a period three times longer than that of the periods connected with the other planetary bodies.
In succeeding fashion we may examine the experiences from forty-two to forty-nine in the Mars sphere, the period from forty-nine to fifty-six in the Jupiter sphere, and the period from fifty-six to sixty-three in the Saturn sphere.
[page 32] It is not until the period between the fifty-sixth and sixty-third years can be included in this retrospective vision that we are able to survey the whole range of experiences and to speak out of our own inner knowledge. For then we can gaze into the profoundly significant secrets of the Saturn sphere.
Rudolf Steiner was born February 27, 1861, so when he spoke these words on the 8th of June, 1924, he had just turned sixty-three years old. With his new-found wisdom from the Saturn sphere, Steiner penned the following words to remind us forever that "Human self-knowledge is world-knowledge."
If thou would'st know thy Self,
Look out into the Cosmic Spaces.
If thou would'st fathom the Cosmic Spaces,
Look inwards, into thine own Self.
Steiner tells us that while number has meaning in the physical world, in the spiritual it has none. The entire cosmos is inside of one. One is a Universe. How can we each contain the Universe inside of us and not know that to be the case? To paraphrase a song from South Pacific, we "have to be carefully taught." Some human beings possess an ability to resist teaching and are thereby able to perceive the world in ways the rest of us cannot. We call these people artists and philosophers.
[page 57] The fact that when I was fifteen years old I was still unable to spell accurately has certainly been a shock to others, but never to me personally. . . . and I owe much to this fact. For it meant that I was protected from many things against which there is no protection if by the age of fifteen one's spelling is orthographcially perfect. Many things that are the outcome of the materialistic education of our day sever the human being from the spiritual life.
For example, a person who paid attention in class and absorbed the academic theories of geology and evolution would be unable to consider the relatively short time-span of the Earth's existence. They observe the physical construction of the strata on the surface of the Earth and predict an existence billions of years old. They do this by testing the physical structure of the layers of minerals in the strata of the Earth. If a Martian, not trained in Earthling ways, were to come to the Earth and apply those exact same principles to a strata consisting of a large concrete slab poured by humans mere decades before, the Martian's tests would give a life-time for the formation of the concrete slab of millions of years. On the other hand anyone who watched the slab being poured could date it correctly without any training. Being able to correctly spell at the age of fifteen, the average geologist on Earth will date the ages of Earth's strata exactly as they were taught and they will be accurate but not correct. The geologists make measurements using certain assumptions and their measurements confirm their assumptions. They use fossils to date the age of strata and turn around and use strata to date the age of fossils. This house of cards is built on the only outside evidence, uranium decay which is based on many assumptions of uniformity over aeons of time for which the only evidence is the scientific hope that the assumption is correct that the rate of radiation of radioactive carbon does not vary significantly over time. This is an unproven but widely accepted assumption. It assumes that uranium arrived in the Earth fresh and undecayed.
In a similar way historians use events before a fact to explain events after a fact as though there were some magical connection other than mere succession. Only a historian who is trained in anthroposophy would consider viewing history as a succession of cosmic waves of human souls arriving together on the Earth to carry out their plans of destiny.
[page 69] We come into earthly existence just when we do, because together with other souls who are karmically connected with us we have prepared our karma for the time when we are to descend to physical existence on Earth.
In life there is seldom anything more distressing than to have the energy that one spends later turn out to have been a complete waste of time. What if, to our regret, we discover that all the time we spent regretting was a waste of time? My reminder to myself of this possibility is EAT-O-TWIST, an acronym that stands for Everything Allways Turns Out The Way It's Supposed To. When I say EAT-O-TWIST! with elan after some event, I remind myself that regret is the illusion that things could have worked out differently and yet I could still be the same person I currently am. I remember that regret is both an illusion and a waste of time and energy. How much better spent my time would be if I stopped fussing and fuming over the cards I'm dealt in this life and instead used my time endeavoring to understand how best to play the cards I dealt myself before arriving in this life.
[page 99] Though much of what life has brought us may be deplored, yet in many respects the regret is the expression of a complete error. For if what is regretted had not taken place we should not be what we actually are.
How are we to understand such events in our lives? We can only become like the empty teacup and wait for our guardian spirits to pour the answer into us. Otherwise our speculations will come to naught — only our being empty and ready to be filled will prepare us for the revelation from the spiritual world.
[page 104] One must never speculate about the spiritual world in research, never invent anything, but only make the preparations for enabling something to reveal itself from the spiritual world. Anyone who believes he can force the spiritual world to reveal this or that to him will be very greatly mistaken; nothing but errors will come of it. Preparation must be made for what one may hope to receive out of the spiritual world more or less by grace.
"Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me," was written by a slave trader to whom grace had come from the spiritual world and saved him. We can best prepare for the receipt of this grace in ourselves by thanking our Guardian Angel in advance. In the parlance of the times, one simply thanks God in advance for the blessing we desire.
Is being an anthroposophist today an easy matter? Certainly many have the cleverness and intelligence to grasp Anthroposophy.
[page 107] What hinders them in our time from coming to Anthroposophy is that in their souls they take life superficially, letting life flow past in its depths, its superficialities, its banalities.
On the other hand, one who comes to a serious study of Anthroposophy opens oneself to the charge of studying warmed-over Gnostic Christianity. What do we know about Gnostic Christianity? Only what remains of the writing of those who were opposed to it! Imagine if all that remained of Steiner's lectures and writings was what his opponents wrote about him! Could we come to an understanding of his works at all? I think the answer is clearly no. And yet it seems clear that the current folks who are the least apt to study anthroposophy, those who spend their time watching sitcoms, for example, spent a previous lifetime in a world in which Gnosis had been carefully rooted out as if it were but unwanted weeds. What can they do when they watch someone stumble through life, but laugh?
[page 109] In that previous incarnation, when they were already clever and intelligent the culture of the age prevented them from knowing anything about the Earth's connection with the spiritual life in the Cosmos. It was because they stumbled, as it were, through life, thinking of the Earth as enclosed in itself with nothing but physical stars to be seen outside that in the next incarnation they can only turn to meet the impacts of real life with stumbling steps.
How will the people of Earth survive and thrive if the masses continue to stumble forward in the dark shadow of Gnosis eclipsed by the intellect of clever humans? Steiner leaves us with that question:
[page 109] How will it be in the future, if to the inability to grasp the Spirit in the Cosmos is added the inability to grasp earthly life, if men's attitude to the trivialities of life is no different from their attitude to the deep realities of life? Then indeed the study of karma becomes a serious matter. It can thrive among us only if pursued with the greatest earnestness.
Steiner tells us on page 126, that "The bad can be fortunate, the good unfortunate." These two statements summarize what makes our earthly life seen only between birth and death incomprehensible and yet that same life when viewed from the perspective of several lifetimes with a karmic telescope suddenly becomes comprehensible and makes the best sense possible. First one must be willing to look into the Steiner's telescope of karmic relationships. One can look into Steiner's karmic telescope and not be afraid of being burned on the stake as Giordano Bruno was when Criminino refused to look into Bruno's astronomical telescope a brief four hundred years ago. We are prepped for a trick question when Steiner asks us:
[page 127, 128] For what should be if in earthly life we could bring to direct fulfilment the moral content of our soul? We should not be typical men of terrestrial life! . . . [but] magicians . . . he is a magician when, together with the Beings of the Hierarchies, he is active between death and a new birth and is able to continue these activities when he again descends into life on Earth.
In the life between death and a new birth we are all magicians, and our current life is the result of the magic we ourselves wrought during that time. Steiner says on page 130 that "All clairvoyance in the best sense of the word actually means going back into earlier earthly lives." Since we were clairvoyant during our previous earthly lives, we recover that clairvoyance in the process of inspecting our previous earthly lives. We merely need a bootstrap to make it possible. We merely need to re-cognize that the bootstrap already exists inside of us, that it never really went away. This is difficult to do for we have not used the capability for so long because we have been convinced of its non-existence in us, up until now. What usually happens instead?
[page 134] Now just consider for a moment: are people to-day always what they would like to be? They do not often think about this; they deceive themselves about the disharmony between what they are and what they would like to be.
EAT-O-TWIST can be a bootstrap into an evolving harmony between where we are and where we would like to be. As someone once said, "Success is getting what you want; happiness is wanting what you get." These eight volumes of Steiner's Karmic Relationships lectures can become the seed of a bootstrap in which you, dear reader, develop such a harmony between what you perceive yourself to be and what you would like to be. I had the thought long ago about doing "Want Development" seminars in which I help people to develop more appropriate wants in their lives. Wants that were much closer to things they already had, but things they never knew how to appreciate properly, up until now. They never once considered that the life they are complaining about so loudly is a life that they had clearly planned out karmically for themselves. As the quote at the top says, "We not only live in our bodies, we live in our karma."
2.) ARJ2: Come What May , A Novel by William Harman
"It's time to call hospice" is the powerful first line of this novel, launching Rick within twenty pages into his post-Sarah life which fills the rest of this book.
[page 7] It was the coming of Christmas and the knowledge that it would be Sarah's last that finally got to Rick. He felt melancholy and depressed, yet he had always tried to be positive for Sarah. It was she who was terminally ill, not Rick. If Sarah was able to accept her condition and able to do it with grace and occasional humor, then Rick could surely find the strength to be tougher. Sarah needed that.
One does better to prepare for a transition than for a loss. There is no way to prepare for a loss; a loss is a negative thing, a non-thing, and attempting to do so can lead to a melancholic depression. Preparing for a loss can mean seeing oneself with one's loved one from a distance and feeling bad because that can never happen again. This would be accompanied by pain and grief and the fall into depression is likely. If one prepares instead for a transition, however, one accepts that one's loved one has transited into their new life in the spiritual world, and with that attitude, one can do one's best to adjust to that new reality. That can expedite one's own transition into a new reality, a life without the loved one in the physical world. Rightly understood, the departed loved one suffers immensely if their life in the spiritual world is not acknowledged by the grieving ones who remained behind, especially if they sob constantly about the death of their friend and loved one. Death is only properly understood as a transition point into a new life, not as a permanent nothingness, as materialist scientists would have everyone believe.
How can you deal with the transition in a life-enhancing manner? By remembering the departed one when you two were together in some really good time, to place yourself into that memory next to your loved one, and feel how you felt next to them as you dwell on the memory. For Rick, he could imagine Sarah, whom he later referred to as his Auspuffengel, exhaust-pipe Angel, which is what Germans called their lady riding behind them on their motorcycle. (Page 38) If one has such a memory, holding onto the handlebars and feeling your Angel holding onto you with her hands around your waist, you will certainly feel good; you will have brought good feelings into a memory of your departed Angel.
Remembering good times in the first person will have two salubrious effects: your own grieving will move to good feelings when something reminds you of your loved one, and your departed loved one will be pleased when you acknowledge their continued existence as alive in the spiritual world. Know that whenever some item around the house, a photo or piece of furniture perhaps, brings your loved one to your mind, that loved one is there immediately, as soon as you think of them, and your thoughts will flow to them.
The alternative to the above is a deep, dark depression, and a possible spiraling into ill health triggered by the constant wish to be with the loved one again. Most people don't realize they have this choice in their way to respond, but there are two ways: treat it as a loss, or treat it as a transition.
Rick was preparing for a loss and a deep depression apparently, and it will take us the rest of the novel to find how he met the very challenges he set up for himself.
[page 15] Rick had known that that moment was coming. There was nothing he could do about it. Anyway, how does one prepare for such a loss? Rick didn't know. Does anyone? Still, life during the past several weeks had been anything but real. Now reality would begin, and certain things required immediate attention. Better to stay busy, he realized, because the black cloak of depression was waiting to envelop him at any moment.
Rick and Sarah's Christmas tree always had an electric train, a passenger train, which was pulled by its steam engine around the tree's base. Sarah always insisted on a caboose even though a caboose is only necessary for a freight train, to house its crew. Soon Sarah was gone from the passenger compartment of life, moved into the caboose of death, and it tugged at Rick's heart to see the little caboose sitting still as he picked up the train set to pack it away with the other Christmas decorations.
Living along the lower east coast, Rick apparently knew of The Great Dismal Swamp as a marshy area in the Coastal Plain Region of southeastern Virginia, and it seemed an apt metaphor for his upcoming challenges, especially when the busy-ness of answering condolence cards, etc, had waned. He answered them all.
[page 20] That was pure Rick. But those time-fillers would run out quickly. The void continued to expand. Rick felt that he was no longer living, just existing in a state of limbo. He began to refer to his life as being in The Great Dismal Swamp, a reference eventually shortened to simply "the swamp." Was that a right-of-passage for all widowers, he wondered? How does one deal with that new world, one that is unwelcoming and uninviting.
A new friend, Gwyneth, joined the board of directors of the art center that Rick served on. Her arrival in Rick's life provide his first distraction as they began dating. She and Rick loved Philly Cheese Steaks, and with her as company Rick began his trip into reality again.One day, Gwyneth suggested a day trip down to Boca Grande.
[page 28] One Saturday they packed a picnic lunch for an outing to Boca Grande. Gwyneth spread a checkered cloth on a picnic table near the lighthouse and opened a half-liter bottle of Chardonnay and a small cooler of finger sandwiches. The only thing missing was a candelabrum, Rick observed.
Next step for Rick was the drive up north for the final service, a scattering of Sarah's ashes in the sand dunes of the Outer Banks of North Carolina. He called Nick and Mary to schedule a few days visit during which the service would be held. Both of his kids had to travel long distances so he booked a room at the Sea Oats Bed and Breakfast for them. He stopped for the night on the ride north at New Bern, where he and Sarah had looked at a boat called Tristan. The clerk suggested he try the Angus Grille, and Rick found a young and enticing heifer there that he liked, Catherine, and they enjoyed a meal together and shared phone numbers.
Arriving further north, he and his children held a brief ceremony and deposited Sarah's ashes into a Hatteras sand dune. Later he returned alone to the sand dune to be alone with his thoughts. The dune became a place for him to connect with Sarah's spirit.
[page 60] "Good-bye, Sarah. I love you. Peace be with you."
Rick turned from the dune, walked down to the ocean and looked out as far as he could see. Sarah was with him now, in the dune, a part of the land he stood on, he said to himself, and someday she would be out there. As the cold surf washed his bare feet, for a moment they were together again.
The trip back home raised Rick's spirits because he anticipated a reunion with his new friend Catherine in New Bern. She invited him to a home-cooked meal at her place, and Rick was treated to a chicken piccata prepared by a master chef and served in a warm and intimate setting.
[page 66] The chicken practically burst with flavor and tasted more like expensive veal scallopini. The maestro had performed masterfully. The dessert, which Catherine had kept as a surprise, was a French apple tart.
The supper was great and only one bedroom was needed for the rest of the evening — as they wrote in old novels, "you can guess what happened next." The ride home to Sevilla in Florida got Rick thinking of what he would do next. No more pressing engagements, so the world was open to his every wish.He thought of his old friend Hans Reichenbach in Germany, of the summer he spent with Hans and his family on a student exchange program. Was Hans still around and would he be open for a visit? This led to Rick visiting Hans and his wife in Starnberg in the outskirts of Munich. Bavaria in the summer time is wonderful, much more comfortable than the bitter cold winters there.
After several days of touring the Bavarian countryside with Hans, his wife Ursela arranged a dinner party at which Karin, a widow from Gautig came. Rick and Karin became friends, both being of German ancestry. Karin was born in Koblenz and told Rick of the devastation her city experienced during the war. Rick shared that his grandparents left Bremen after the First World War and settled in the Philadelphia area where his grandfather worked as a machinist.
[page 104] "So you are Norddeutscher and I am Rheinlanderin, and now we are both Bavarians," said Karin, smiling.
"Yes, a common heritage with good common friends, the Reichenbachs."
If you guessed what happened next, think again, this was not Catherine and not America, but rather it was Karin and it was post-war Germany. A large ocean divided Karin and Rick.
[page 141, 142] As they stood together for the last time, Karin told Rick that she could fall in love with him. She wanted him to know that no matter what the future might hold, she too was consumed by the ambivalence and uncertainty of another intimate relationship, one that he probably felt. But she knew, deep down, that she did want him to return. She was absolutely certain of that. Rick told her that he had found peace — inner peace — while he was with her. He would return. The embrace was long and passionate, as if he were going off to war. Neither wanted to let go. Karin got into the car, started the engine, and said, "Come back, Rick." And drove away.
Arriving at the airport back home, Rick's head was probably still spinning with possibilities, Karin, Catherine, and Gwyneth, as he lifted his bags into Gwyneth's Jaguar, but her comment, "You really should get new suitcases", definitely stopped the spinning. In the spin of a roulette wheel you can win with your bet on either Red or Black, but there's also the 00 slot where nobody wins, and Gwyneth's ball had just dropped into that losing slot. That left Karin or Catherine for the next spin of the wheel of Rick's life. Which one will find a slot in Rick's heart? Will it be Catherine the sexy gourmet chef on the Atlantic Coast? Or Karin the gentle Frau in Bavaria? Will he choose a pièce de résistance meal or a Bavarian peace?
3.) ARJ2: The Presence of the Dead on the Spiritual Path, GA#154 by Rudolf Steiner
What is the difference between dreams and hallucinations? In his first lecture devoted to Understanding the Spiritual World, Steiner explains the difference this way on page 2. In dreams "we look back from within our astral body and I to what we have left behind in sleep" in our etheric body. Our etheric body operates as a continuous recording of our lives, not just what happens in the sensory world but also inside our body. At the end of our life, our etheric body contains everything which happened to us in this lifetime. This is what people in near-death experiences call seeing their entire life pass in front of their eyes. When we dream one short episode of our etheric recording is played for us.
In hallucinations, a diseased(1) part of the nervous system prevents the etheric body from entering it and as a result that part radiates out toward the etheric body and we experience this part consciously as a hallucination. If the diseased part is due to a physical injury such as a bump or a bruise, the etheric body is displaced and we experience consciously the process of pain at the spot of the injury until the healing is completed. I have suspected for some time that when a mother kisses a hurt knee, for example, her etheric body infuses the hurt spot and removes the pain for awhile. Healing by laying on of hands seems to me to work in a similar way. But what if the injury is psychic and not physical? In that case the diseased part which exists throughout the nervous system is projected out to the etheric body and we become conscious of it as a hallucination.
The process of clairvoyant Imagination described elsewhere in detail by Steiner is a human capability which requires great strength of soul to develop in this stage of human evolution. Without it we cannot perceive the etheric world, but only what effects us directly by way of dreams and hallucinations.
[page 4] True perception of the etheric world after death or here on earth in clairvoyant Imaginations requires greater strength than we usually have between birth and death. We need greater inner strength of soul. We do not perceive the etheric world around us during earthly life because we lack sufficient strength of soul. To perceive the etheric world we must become much more active, work much harder than we do in ordinary life. After death, too, the soul must be filled with much more active strength than in ordinary life to relate to its environment. Otherwise we do not perceive the etheric world, just as we wouldn't perceive anything if we lacked all senses in the physical world. Thus, we need a more active strength of soul to find our way after death and not to be deaf and blind, figuratively speaking, to the world we enter then.
When we write down words on a page, we know what we writing and afterward know that we wrote the words. When we are dreaming or hallucinating, it seems that these are being generated separately from us as some passing scene on a street or from a railway car; they seem to be just happening to us, out of our control. What if these dreams and hallucinations were coming from us just as much as the words we write on paper?
[page 5] Now, let us return to dreams. When we dream, we usually feel the dream images "weave" and simply unravel on their own. We should think of these dreams as images that float past the soul. Now suppose you were thinking that you yourself place the dream images in space and time just as you set down letters on paper. This is not what we normally associate with dreams or hallucinations, but it is the type of consciousness required for imaginative thinking. You must be aware that you are the determining power in your dreams. You put down one thing after another just as you do when writing something on paper. You yourself are in control. The same power is behind you that makes what you write true. The great difference between dreams or hallucinations and true clairvoyance is that in the latter we are aware that we are the esoteric scribes, as it were. The things we see are noted down as an esoteric script. We inscribe onto the world what we perceive as expression, as revelation, of the world.
With true clairvoyance, things get a bit tricky. When we write in the physical world, we know what we want to write as we go along. We perceive things and we write about them. In the spiritual world the being of the next hierarchy is doing the writing through us and we discover what is being written as we write it.
[page 6, 7] The only difference is that when we want to write in the physical world, we need first to know what is it we want to write down — at least it usually helps if we do. By contrast, in spiritual perception we allow the beings of the spiritual hierarchies to write, and only then, while we are writing, do the things appear that we are to perceive. Real clairvoyance cannot come about without our active involvement in every single aspect of our perception.
In the physical world, the type of thinking we do is useless for perception after death in the spiritual world.
[page 7] We need a stronger kind of thinking, one that is inwardly active of its own accord. We need thinking that forms thoughts which do not merely mirror the outer sense world. We must develop this inner capacity to form thoughts independent of anything external, thoughts that arise, as it were, from the depths of the soul, or we cannot have a corresponding capacity after death.
Does this mean that people who write science fiction stories about super heroes and monsters are developing the kind of thinking needed after death?In a sense the answer is yes, but it is not a useful skill for developing true impressions of the spiritual world, only false ones.
[page 7] It cannot be denied — people who do this will have greater faculties in the world after death than those who do not. However, they would perceive only false images, distortions, just as people with impaired vision see a distorted image of the physical world and those with damaged hearing have a false impression of its sounds. People who follow this course of action sentence themselves to perceiving nothing but grotesque things in the etheric world, instead of what is truly rooted there.
People reading this will likely say, "I cannot believe this stuff." And they would be right; no one can believe it, nor is anyone expected to believe it, especially not by Rudolf Steiner. No one is expected to "believe this stuff", the stuff that comprises spiritual science or anthroposophy.
[page 9] I have often emphasized that it is a complete misunderstanding to say spiritual science must also be believed. When people say this, it is because they are so crammed full with materialistic prejudices that they do not look at what spiritual science really has to offer. As soon as it is examined, everything becomes understandable One does not need clairvoyance for this; our ordinary understanding is enough to really grasp and comprehend all this gradually — of course, "gradually" will be inconvenient for some people.
Ancient spiritual leaders gave human souls something that awakened them spiritually so that they could perceive in the etheric world and have a conscious life after death. With the recent advent of Baconian thinking which focuses our thoughts only on sensory perceptions, we need a way of consciously developing these powers while we are alive or we will not have perceptual capability after death. Curiously, that is when materialists who claim that the spiritual world does not exist, will prove themselves to have been right, but only right for themselves and other human souls who think materialistically.
[page 10] Only one type of person will have difficulty in finding his or her way after death. In fact, this type will frequently not even experience a life after death, because it will have become so dulled and obscured. This sort of person is the dyed-in-the-wool materialist who clings to images of the physical world and does not want to develop any strength to perceive the world we enter after death. In terms of the soul-spiritual, to be a materialist really means the same as wanting to destroy one's eyes and ears in the physical world, gradually deadening one's senses. It is no different from someone saying, "These eyes — they can't be trusted, they provide only impressions of light. Away with them! These ears — they perceive only vibrations, not the one single truth. Get rid of them! Get rid of the senses, one by one!" To be a materialist in regard to the spiritual world makes as much sense as this attitude in regard to the sensory world. It is basically the same, as will be quite easy to see when we consider the reasoning presented by spiritual science.
When we are facing a difficult problem, we are often told to sleep on it. What is the magic of sleeping on something? In our dreams we have access to information stored in our astral body that we are not conscious of while awake. When doing difficult crossword puzzles, I evolved a pattern of not looking up the answers in the external world, eschewing the dictionary and Google for an answer. That leaves me on my own resources and one of those resources is my astral body which works to find solutions to things that otherwise seem insoluble to me. If I am unable to complete the Saturday stumper, the hardest puzzle of the weekday editions of my newspaper, then I put it aside until Sunday morning and easily fill in answers which were completely unknown to me the day before.(2)
[page 11] There are also other dreams where we face ourselves objectively. And beyond simply seeing ourselves, as sometimes happens, we can also have the dream students often have, of sitting in school, trying to work out an arithmetic problem, but unable to solve the equation. Another person comes and easily finds the solution. The student really dreams that this happens. Well, you will understand that it was he himself who came and solved the problem. Thus, it is also possible that we face ourselves in this way without, however, recognizing ourselves. But that is not the important thing. In such a situation the I divides in two, as it were. It would be nice, wouldn't it, if in the physical world as well, the other ego appeared and immediately produced the right answer when we do not know something. Well, it does happen in dreams.
This double of ourselves can happen in dreams because we are in our astral body and I while we are dreaming, and what we see as another person in a dream is an image formed out of our astral body. The process of dream work made popular by Fritz Perls in his Gestalt Therapy involves retelling a dream and becoming each part of the dream. Since each part of the dream is information from your astral body, becoming that part allows you to become aware of the information your astral body has prepared for you in the dream. Once a trainer suggested that I stand up and slide around the room like the roller skater which vexed me in a dream. As soon as I began imitating the skater, I got the revelation of what I needed to do in the novel conditions of my life at the time. I needed to free myself from overweening responsibility that was burdening me down without my being aware of it. Sometimes the astral body can reveal things which are coming to you from the future, as if you contained a fortune teller inside of you, an Oracle like the ancient Greeks beseeched for advice. Curiously the answers they received were often as convoluted as many of our dreams are. What the Greeks sought outside themselves, we have inside ourselves via our astral bodies, if we only knew it.
That is what Steiner is hinting at in this next passage.
[page 11, 12] We do not perceive the astral body in ordinary life, but we can quite easily see part of it in sleep. It contains things we are not at all aware of when we are awake. I spoke earlier about the nature of the etheric body; it contains everything we have experienced. But now I have to tell you something quite strange — the astral body contains even those things we have not experienced. You see, our astral body is a rather complicated structure. It is in a certain sense built into us out of the spiritual world, and it contains not merely those things we already have in us now but also those we will learn in the future! They are already present there as a disposition.
One piece of Gestalt work I recall vividly. It involved a man who had lost his job, his wife, his car, his apartment, he was friendless, his life was a complete mess, and he felt hopeless. After the work, he felt much better and hopeful and ready to tackle all his problems. I saw this type of thing happen many times during my training, but this time the man did something unique. He shared with us, "I just realized that all my problems out there are still out there, completely unchanged. What's different is that I now feel capable of handling them!" What he had experienced, as I understand it now, was a time wave from the future(3), a time wave of feeling from a future time when all of his problems have been solved. Riding on the wave feeling, it was now possible for him to do the things necessary to bring that feeling into everyday reality for himself.
We learn from this how inspiration comes to us from the astral world, via our astral body. Steiner says that our astral body contains all the mathematics that has ever been discovered or will be discovered. He also warns that giving oneself over to hallucinations which offer us advanced insights because Lucifer can takeover us. This taking over is vividly displayed in the movie, "A Brilliant Mind" about the famous mathematician John Nash who had to fight a fierce battle against his luciferic hallucinations to survive.
[page 12] For example, the astral body contains, believe it or not, all of mathematics, not only as far as we know it today, but also everything that still remains to be discovered. Nevertheless, if we wanted to read the mathematics contained there and read it consciously, we would have to do so actively by acquiring the necessary faculties.
Thus, it is a revelation of part of our astral body when we come face to face with ourselves in a dream. And many of the things that come to us as inner inspiration spring from these revelations of the astral body. In the same way hallucinations can occur under the circumstances I described earlier. The part of us that is cleverer than we usually are can, through a special disposition in our constitution, take on a voice of its own. Then we can be inspired, which would not happen if we used only our ordinary judgment in our physical body. But it is dangerous to give ourselves over to such things, because we cannot control them until we are able to penetrate them with our judgment. And since we cannot control them, Lucifer has easy access to all these developments, and we cannot keep him from directing them according to his intentions, rather than in accordance with the aims of the proper world order.
One more insight from this amazing lecture: if you lie, you are giving yourself a raspberry! If you tell an untruth, it appears on your face, poker face or not, your skewing of the spiritual world becomes be readable on your face to spiritual sight. This next passage is a difficult text to sort out, but it brought to mind kids of my childhood who would taunt each other with lies, saying, "blah, blah, blah!", and end by sticking their tongue out. Seems that small kids still have memories enough of spiritual sight to know that people who act that way appear in the spiritual world with their tongue sticking out.
[page 13, 14] If we are in the spiritual world and perceive something is incorrect, that means we are using the esoteric script incorrectly. Well, if we use the esoteric script incorrectly but perceive ourselves as the center of everything going on, we experience in our own being: You look like this because you did something wrong; now you have to put it right! We can see how we have acted by what we have become. We can compare this to how you would feel here in the physical world if you were not inside but outside yourself. For example, if you said to someone, "It is now half past eleven" -- something that is not true — and look at yourself, you see how you stick your tongue out at yourself. You say, "This isn't you!" And then you start to correct yourself and say what is true, "It is now twenty past nine." At that moment your tongue goes back in. Similarly, you can tell whether you are acting correctly in the spiritual world by looking at yourself.
Some of you are probably thinking only stupid, superstitious people with vivid fantasies would speak about the spiritual world. Rudolf Steiner quotes a famous 18th century philosopher who would disagree with you.
[page 18] Out of his conviction that we live in and are always surrounded by the spiritual world, the German philosopher Johann Gottlieb Fichte said: "I do not need to wait until I am removed from the things around me in the physical world to gain entry into the spirit realm. I already exist and live in the latter much more truly than in the former. It is my only firm basis, and the eternal life I took possession of long ago is the sole reason why I still wish to continue the earthly one. Heaven does not lie beyond the grave; it is here already, pervading all of nature and its light rises in every pure heart."
Anyone who studies Steiner's spiritual science, anthroposophy, will find themselves acquiring new concepts, ones they will not have brought with them (although some may seem familiar to them). Here is a new concept in a nutshell: We perceive the physical world; the spiritual world perceives us.I cannot recall ever encountering this concept before anywhere before reading Lecture 2, pages 18 to 32. I was aware of my Guardian Angel, but I cannot say that I perceived him. Through these new concepts I have come to understand we don't perceive our Angel but rather feel him perceiving us. That makes eminently good sense to me.
We humans can perceive a stone, a plant, or an animal, but those lower hierarchical beings might say they experience being perceived by we humans who are in a higher hierarchy than they are. For our part, we can say we experience being perceived by beings higher in the spiritual hierarchy than we are. A famous painting of a Guardian Angel illustrates this because the Angel is not being perceived by the young girl and boy because it is behind them as they walk along the broken wooden bridge. Notice how the girl and boy can feel the Angel perceiving them and feel Angel protecting them. What gives veracity for to Steiner's words is the numerous times I have received a new concept from him, only to find examples of that new concept in my everyday experience through things I have seen many times before but never understood the deeper meaning of them, like the Guardian Angel painting.
[page 21, 22] By looking at things, we perceive the human realm, human beings as physical beings, the animal, plant, and mineral kingdoms, clouds, mountains, rivers, oceans, stars, sun, and moon. We perceive these things to the extent that they are physical entities. We look at them, see their colors, hear their sounds, feel their warmth -- in short, we perceive them. This is a perfectly correct description of our relationship to the physical world. But as soon as we look at the world of the spirit, we should feel the need for another expression than "I perceive," because it is not quite correct to say "I perceive the beings of the spiritual world." We need to understand that all so-called perception of the spiritual world is quite different from that on the physical plane. As we grow into the realm of the spirit and approach it, we have the impression that we are perceived. Here on earth we are, in a certain sense, the highest physical beings. A stone, a plant, or an animal might say they are perceived by human beings. And in terms of our physical body, we can say we are perceived by beings of our own kind. We are also perceived from the moment we grow into the spiritual world. The spiritual beings look down at us, and in a certain sense we become objects to them. It is indeed a first sign of having entered the spiritual world when we are perceived.
Each person has a Guardian Angel, but Archangels, being one step higher than angels, rather than having charge of protecting one human, are charged with protecting a whole people, a country, or a region of the world. When an Angel perceives you, you feel its perceiving you, but when an Archangel perceives you, it moves you into action, into performing a deed. The most well-known example of this in history, although similar deeds may have happened many times, is the deed of Joan of Arc, the young maid of Domremy, who was driven single-handedly to save her country of France from becoming an English-speaking country ruled by the King of England. Without Joan's deed, the language of French and the country of France could have been obliterated from the world by the end of the fifteenth century. From various written records we know that an Archangel was hovering over Joan, speaking to her, prompting her to action. Steiner notes in other places that Joan's Archangel was likely not Mi-cha-el, but instead it was the Archangel of the country of France whose forces flowed into Joan and gave her the courage and stamina to act in such a decisive manner to save France.
[page 22, 23] We learn to see ourselves grow into a state of mind allowing us to feel we are perceived by the higher beings of the hierarchy of angels. Then as we develop further, we are perceived by those of the hierarchy of archangels, and so on. This feeling that we are looked at, that the will of spiritual beings is affecting us, is what I mean when I say "We are perceived." We have to be quite clear about this and must not think that growing into the spiritual world is just a continuation of the panorama surrounding us in the physical world. Our whole soul mood changes because we become aware that we are living in the spiritual world, and that what we experience there is the feeling that the beings of the higher hierarchies perceive us. Their forces flow into us and are at work in us when we do something, when we act.
Why not concentrate on the physical world while we are in it and worry about the spiritual world when we are in it? This is a great question. It is often put forward by materialists who want nothing of the spiritual world, most of them claiming that they are certain no spiritual world exists. This is a great question to ask because, rightly understood, everyone enters the spiritual world every time they go to sleep! Even materialists enter the spiritual world during sleep, materialists who would be chagrined to discover that truth about human beings, after all, some of them are human beings!
It is a great question because every human being is constantly immersed in the spiritual world, as Fichte clearly stated in his Page 18 quote. Materialists have blinders on to protect them from perceiving the spiritual world as they walk the hard structures of material reality. Like a horse pulling a cart through a city full of dark shadows which would spook it, materialists wear blinders to keep them focused only on the here now of physical reality while they are conscious. The intimate relationship between sleep and death escapes them entirely, up until now. As a result, materialists are spooked by the thought of death, by the thought of ultimate non-being, a concept created by human thinkers. They should be equally spooked to learn that they are in the spiritual world even when they are awake.
[page 34, 35] We know from our studies in spiritual science that when we fall asleep, two members of our being, the ego and the astral body, leave the physical and etheric bodies. Where are the ego and the astral body when we are asleep? To begin with, we can say they are in the spiritual world. Of course, we are always in the spirit realm, because the latter is not separated from the physical world, but surrounds us just as air envelops us everywhere. We are always in the spiritual world, even when we are awake.
In this lecture, Steiner makes an important revelation that while the astral body and the I leave the blood and nerves by night, they remain in and vitalize the remainder of our organs by night.
[page 35, 36] Our ego and astral body do just what the sun does, which shines here during the day and when it sets for us, it rises for the people on the other side of the earth. When ego and astral body "set" for our blood and nervous system, they rise for the other organs and are linked all the more strongly with them.
These other organs, to which our ego and astral body are connected when we sleep, have been constructed out of the spirit, as has everything else in the world. And the remarkable fact is that while we are sleeping, we strongly influence these other organs of our body with our ego and astral body. During the day, our ego and astral body work strongly upon our blood and nervous system, but they influence our other organs, all those not part of the blood and nervous system but which affect the blood from the nerves, when we are asleep.
Ever since Louis Pasteur discovered germs, doctors everywhere have set about trying to kill the germs that Pasteur said made us sick. Claude Bernard, a colleague of Pasteur, acknowledged the presence of germs but spoke of a holistic approach in which some germs were good and some were bad and health consisted of keeping the good and bad germs in balance. On Pasteur's deathbed he said to those near him, "Claude was right." In this next passage Steiner equates the medieval fear of ghosts to our present fear of germs in all forms, bacteria, viruses, etc. He echoes Claude Bernard's sentiment and gives some practical advice on how to maintain one's health, advice sure to be missed by materialists with their blinders in place.
[page 36] However, the important point we want to make today is that germs can become dangerous only if they are allowed to flourish.
Exactly what both Pasteur (at the end of his life) and Bernard claimed to be true. But Steiner goes further in explaining how germs can be encouraged to flourish by thinking materialistic thoughts before going to sleep and giving into thoughts of fear while around sick patients. How did Mother Teresa survive among the many sick patients she nursed? By actively loving her patients and thinking only healthy thoughts as she prayed for their recovery.
[page 36, 37] Germs should not be allowed to flourish. Even materialists will agree with this statement, but they will no longer agree with us if we proceed further and, from the standpoint of proper spiritual science, speak about the most favorable conditions for germs. Germs flourish most intensively when we take nothing but materialistic thoughts into sleep with us. There is no better way to encourage them to flourish than to enter sleep with only materialistic ideas, and then to work from the spiritual world with the ego and the astral body on those organs that are not part of the blood and the nervous system. The only other method that is just as good is to live in the center of an epidemic or endemic illness and to think of nothing but the sickness all around, filled only with a fear of getting sick. That would be equally effective. If fear of the illness is the only thing created in such a place and one goes to sleep at night with that thought, it produces afterimages, Imaginations impregnated with fear. That is a good method of cultivating and nurturing germs. If this fear can be reduced even a little by, for example, active love and, while tending the sick, forgetting for a time that one might also be infected, the conditions are less favorable for the germs.
Steiner is not trying to get us to believe something, he is merely describing how the spiritual world works, and how those who are successful with working with sick patients are able to keep themselves healthy in spite of being surrounded by germs. Wearing the blinders of materialism and working with very sick people is a prescription for short careers for doctors, rightly understood.
[page 37] These issues are not raised in anthroposophy merely to play on human egotism, but to describe the facts of the spiritual world. This concrete case demonstrates that in real life we cannot avoid dealing with the spiritual world, because it is the basis for our actions between going to sleep and waking up. If people were given thoughts that lead them away from materialism and spur them on to active love out of the spirit, it would serve the future of humanity better.
As more and more medical doctors take off their blinders of materialism, they will find ready answers in anthroposophical-based medicine and practices. A century after Steiner spoke these words, medical doctors everywhere are turning into anthroposophical practitioners and replacing drug company compounds with natural remedies available from the Weleda Corporation whose founding was inspired by Rudolf Steiner and his colleague, Ita Wegman, MD.
[page 37, 38] Then infinitely more productive work could be achieved than through all the preparations now being developed by materialistic science against germs. In the course of this century, the insight has to spread more and more widely that the spiritual world is by no means irrelevant to our physical life, but is of essential importance to it because we are in the spiritual world between going to sleep and waking up, and continue to affect the physical body from there. Even if this is not immediately obvious, it is nevertheless true.
Germs and parasites of various kinds are creatures of the materialistic world, or the world of Ahriman. When we think materialistic thoughts, we encourage the creatures of Ahriman to flourish within our bodies. All around us in the open air are animals, plants, and various creatures, many of which are useful and helpful to human beings and some of which are occasionally harmful.
[page 38] But in the case of germ-like creatures resident and active in other living beings, in plants, animals, or humans, we are dealing with creations of Ahriman. To understand the existence of such creatures correctly we must know that they express spiritual facts, namely the relationship between human beings and Ahriman. This relationship is established through a materialistic attitude and purely egotistical states of fear. We see the conditions allowing the existence of such parasitic beings correctly if we realize that they are a symptom of Ahriman intervening in the world.
Steiner says, "we can no longer claim it is irrelevant whether or not we know of the spirit in this world." It is important for all humans being in the coming centuries to take off their blinders of materialism.
[page 39] It will become increasingly clear to us how this earthly life is connected with spiritual life. We rely on nature, which is on a lower level than we are, for our nourishment. For some time after death, the dead derive their nourishment from the ideas and the unconscious emotions that we here on earth take into sleep with us.
My hope for each of you, Dear Readers, is that you may become an ever fruitful pasture for the spirits of the newly dead, many of whom will be our own dearly loved ones who have transited into the spiritual world. The only alternative is to become a barren ground and starve our loved ones if we take only materialistic ideas and attitudes with us into sleep. (Page 39 paraphrase)
[page 41] Illuminating thoughts must flow up to those regions where the dead dwell, just as rain streams down from the clouds as a blessing to the physical world.
I think of a materialist as a rich man of Jesus' time who tries to enter the city walls through a restricted gateway known as a needle. He has piled upon his camels his possessions to such a height that he and his camel cannot pass through the needle unless all his goods are stripped away. A materialist is someone who loads his camel's back with a pile of clever and important thoughts and feelings, only to find when he enters the spiritual world, all his possessions are gone! Not only that, but he who wore the blinders of materialism while alive, now is functionally blind in the spiritual world. (Page 44)
Are there not those who refuse to believe that Jesus lived because they can find no material evidence to prove he lived? Steiner gives us on pages 46, 47 a beautiful metaphor. He has us imagine that Jesus had chiseled into a rock the words, "I was here", for all future peoples to see. It would prove him to have existed and no one would have to believe it.
[page 47] His deep significance, the possibility of redemption, is precisely that this was not the case, that we cannot comprehend him through our senses but have to accept him with the forces of the spirit. Seen in this light, we find Christ intimately connected with those things that even here on earth lift human beings beyond the sense-perceptible world into the spiritual realm.
Ahriman is likewise invisible to us and that suits his purposes just fine. Steiner imagines Ahriman talking to us modern humans this way:
[page 47] Yes, think only with the power of your science, with all those things you can discover through science applied to technology, industry, and also use only those things for your thinking and apply them to nothing but physical experience; that suits me fine. It fits in well with my aims, if you are unable to see me.
We begin to perceive our Baconian madness as Ahriman continues:
[page 48] You might well despise reason and knowledge, the supreme achievements of human beings; thus you are absolutely mine — at least as long as you do not see me. I will instill the drive in you to use reason and knowledge only for earthly things!
Human beings seduced by Ahriman into Baconian modes of thought based on the senses will be chagrined to learn that they have likely shut the most important sense of all to a full human being, the sense of feeling.
[page 54] If we allow our feelings to accompany [someone's] actions, ignoring the individual's appearance, we will get a sense in the depths of our soul telling us what being we are actually dealing with.
Information reaches us from the spiritual world in the form of feeling, a feeling which, rightly understood, is as real as any visual or auditory image and as useful. Remember earlier when we learned that we do not perceive an angel, but rather feel an angel perceiving us. This feeling was so strong in Joan of Arc that she left her home alone as a 19 year old to fight the English army trying to take over her beloved country of France. But for Joan there might be no France nor any french language today.
Steiner lost a good friend named Maria who transited in 1904 and whose impulses from the spiritual world poured into her artistic work on the Munich plays. He explains the difference between how such impulses are experienced by someone who had an egotistical love and someone who had a selfless love.
[page 57] Let us assume such a person would want to help us after her death, but we cannot develop true selfless love for her. Her spiritual gaze, her spiritual will streaming toward us would then be alike a burning sensation, causing a piercing, burning feeling our soul. If we can feel and maintain a selfless love, this stream, her spiritual gaze as it were, flows into our soul like a feeling of warm mildness and pours itself into our thoughts, imagination, feeling, and willing. It if out of this feeling that we recognize who the dead person is and not on the basis of their appearance, because the dead may manifest in the guise of a person we feel close to at the moment.
The above forms itself into an unanswered question in my mind. Is it possible that the sales of much Maalox, Tums, etal stem from such spiritual gazes from departed friends for whom one does not have a selfless love? A person, who lacked understanding that feelings can have a spiritual source, would likely take Tums or Maalox to stem the burning sensation in their soul, might they not? Perhaps the burning sensation resulted in an imbalance in stomach chemistry which the anodynes could cure on a temporary basis. If the spiritual source of the burning feelings remained unacknowledged, could not an ulcer be generated? This reminds me of the words spoken by John Ciardi, "An ulcer, gentlemen, is an unkissed imagination taking its revenge for having been jilted. It is an unwritten poem, an undanced dance, an unpainted watercolor. It is a declaration from the mankind of the man that a clear spring of joy has not been tapped and that it must break through muddily, on its own." When one begins to understand the spiritual reality which shapes physical reality, many medical enigmas can be revealed in their true light.
[page 57, 58] The form in which the beings of the higher world appear to us — and after death we are all beings of a higher, spiritual world — depends on our subjective nature, on what we habitually see, think, and feel. The reality is what we feel for the being manifest before us, how we receive what comes to us from this being. Regardless of what Joan of Arc said about the appearance of the higher beings in her visions, the occultist who is able to investigate these things knows that it was always the genius of the French nation who stood behind them.
In a dream we are in the spiritual world and we can often encounter words and not be able to make sense of them. We do best to focus on feelings rather than reading the words. We can feel the gaze of spiritual beings during dreams, but to try to describe the visions is as silly as trying to describe the shapes of letters forming words. As a child we learned to read, to convert those shapes into words with meaning. Steiner exhorts us to learn how to feel the gaze of spiritual beings and their will flowing into our souls if we would extract meaning from our dreams and our later life in the spiritual world.
[page 58] I described how we can feel the gaze of spiritual beings resting upon us and their will flowing into our souls. To learn this is analogous to learning to read on the physical plane. Those who merely want to describe their visions would be like people describing the shape of the letters on a page rather than their meaning. This shows you how easy it is to have preconceived notions about the experiences in the spiritual realm. Naturally, it seems most obvious to attach great importance to the description of what the vision looked like. However, what really matters is what lies behind the veil of perception and is expressed in the images of the vision.
We must learn to read in a new way when we enter the spiritual world and that new reading reveals to us that thoughts appear as real beings around us. This happens in our everyday physical life, but we are unaware of creating thought beings, thought elementals, whenever we think; in the spiritual world, this will be our very environment, filled with thought beings.
[page 59] When we speak on the physical plane and tell our thoughts to someone, we have the feeling that our thoughts come from our soul, that we have to remember them at this particular moment. Speaking as a true occultist and not someone who just tells his experiences from memory, we will feel that our thoughts arise as living beings. We must be glad if we are blessed at the right moment with the approach of a thought as a real being.
To speak spontaneously one must wait for the words to arrive, or else one is simply speaking words out of rote memory. There is no such thing as memory in the spiritual world. Speaking out of the spiritual world is like waiting for thought friends to arrive at a party, as they arrive the party begins, and no one can predict what will happen. It is what makes a party fun, the spontaneity, is it not? Is there any duller than a predictable party full of predictable people? Or a lecturer reading from a prepared lecture at a podium? Rudolf Steiner gave over 6,000 lectures in 25 years and rarely repeated himself for more than a few sentences. Every lecture of his reveals new and often mind-boggling and unpredictable thoughts, concepts, and revelations. He often seems to deviate from the topic of the lecture, but reports from people attending his lectures reveal a theme, "He spoke about things that concerned me deeply as if he were reading my thoughts and answering my questions." It was this feeling that was apparently pervasive even in his early lectures because people, voluntarily and without prompting, began to record his lectures in shorthand for later transcribing.
[page 59] When you express your thoughts in the physical world, for example, as a lecturer, you will find it easier to give a talk for the thirtieth time than you did the first time. If, however, you speak as an occultist, thoughts always have to approach you and then depart again. Just as someone paying you the thirtieth visit had to make his way to you thirty times, the living thought we express for the thirtieth time has to come to us thirty times as it did the first time; our memory is of absolutely no use here.
If you express an idea on the physical level and someone is sitting in a corner thinking, "I don't like that nonsense, I hate it," you will not be particularly bothered by it. You have prepared your ideas and present them regardless of the positive or negative thoughts of someone in the audience. But if as an esotericist you let thoughts approach you, they could be delayed and kept away by someone who hates them or who hates the speaker. And the forces blocking that thought must be overcome because we are dealing with living beings and not merely with abstract ideas.
Joan of Arc apparently lived in a clairvoyant world of living thoughts and she could feel the hierarchy of angels around her. She did not have abstract ideals which drove her into battle against the English; rightly understood she detested fighting, and yet she donned fighting clothes and did battle. How can we possibly understand her actions? The Church fathers who later condemned her to be burned at the stake in Rouen certainly did not understand her actions. Joan tried to explain that she had to do what she did because of the angels. In the physical world one can ignore an ideal, but in the spiritual world which Joan lived in, the ideals there were real beings and could not be ignored. The "genius of France" which Steiner mentioned earlier was an archangel whose gaze drove Joan to save the country of France from extinction.
[page 59] Now, in our earthly life, we have certain ideals and think about them abstractly. As we think of them, we feel obligated to pursue these ideals. In the clairvoyant sphere, however, there are no abstract ideals. There ideals are living beings of the hierarchy of angels and flow through spiritual space, looking at us with warmth.
In the physical world, we may have ideals, know them well, and yet we may not do anything to apply them. Our emotions, and perhaps passions, can tempt us to shirk them. However, if we knowingly ignore an ideal in the clairvoyant sphere, we feel the spiritual gaze of a being of the hierarchy of angels directed at us with reproach, and this reproach burns. In the spiritual world, ignoring an ideal is thus a reality, and a being of the hierarchy of angels reproaches us. Their gaze makes us feel the reproach; it is the reproach we feel.
It is likely Steiner spoke often about Joan of Arc because her lifetime revealed spiritual realities in sharp relief, realities often blurred over and obscured in others' lives. The reproach she felt from the "genius of France" led her into battle time and again, and in time the burning within her became so great that she recanted her false confession and accepted the burning at the stake; the external burning had become preferable to the burning within.
Joan had risen to the level of the hierarchy of archangels and could feel the archangel's reproach which forced her I into action.
[page 61] Through continued esoteric training, we can rise to an even higher level, that of the hierarchy of archangels. If we ignore the angels, we feel reproach. With the archangels we feel reproach as well as a real effect on our being. The strength and power of the archangels works through our I when we live in their world.
Before I had studied Antonio Gaudi's cathedral in detail, I thought his organic design was similar to Rudolf Steiner's design of the Goetheanum in Dornach, Switzerland. Gaudi consciously took his designs from Nature, especially the tall spires which reminded him of the shape of the mountain peaks surrounding his childhood home near the Benedictine retreat of Montserrat. Steiner's architectural designs did not come from Nature, but from the Spiritual world.
[page 67, 68] ] If anthroposophy is to be represented in a building the next step must be to bring to life the living and weaving thought patterns themselves, flowing and pouring into space. Then we will see in physical form what Imagination and Inspiration reveal directly of the spiritual world. That is why the forms of the Dornach building are such that it is pointless to ask in materialist fashion what they symbolize and what their shapes stand for. They have to be taken on their own merit, since they are nothing more than immediate spiritual experiences poured out into spatial forms. We have attempted to transform everything that can be seen and experienced in the spirit into artistic form. So if people ask what a form stands for, they have misunderstood the building; for every form signifies only itself, just as our hands or head stand only for themselves and nothing else. Such a question also indicates a complete misunderstanding of our position in regard to occultism. We will be glad to leave behind the old theosophical nonsense of examining every fairy tale, every figure, and every myth for what it signifies and symbolizes.
Already in 1914 Steiner was leaving the Theosophical Society behind him like a snake sheds its old skin. The building of the Goetheanum will not have detailed explanations for every architrave, column or sculpted feature.
[page 68] Our building will be understood if people stop asking what it symbolizes and instead think about what it is. They will understand our building when they realize it is better not to use any of the usual terms and the old verbal images to help our materialist age comprehend it. Spiritual science can at most be a synthesis of religions; unlike the ancient religions, it does not build temples, but rather a structure that expresses its innermost nature. This building can only be understood gradually, and only if we do not apply old words to this new development.
In Lecture Five, Steiner explains that we are in a stage of development with spiritual science that the study of physical sciences has been in since Bacon. The revolutionary concepts of Giordano Bruno, Newton, Copernicus, and Einstein among others, will find modern companions in the revolutionary spiritual revelations and concepts of Rudolf Steiner's spiritual science. As a physicist, I always wanted to visit other planets. I've told people that I read so much science fiction in the 1940s and early 50s that I spent more time on Mars than on Earth. As a spiritual scientist today, I find the idea of taking one's physical body along on a tour of the planets when every time I fall asleep my spirit encloses the entire universe within itself instantly, all the planets, all the stars and billions of galaxies. Put another way: Bruno taught humans to look through the firmament of our blue sky into infinite space beyond; Steiner taught humans to look through the firmament of our time between birth and death into the infinite time beyond.
[page 85] The time will come when people will see the lack of substance and precision in such logic, when they will understand that something can be irrefutably correct as philosophical argument, and yet be completely refuted by life. After all, before the discovery of the microscope or the telescope people might very well have "irrefutably" proven that human eyes can never see a cell. Still, human ingenuity invented the microscope and the telescope, which increased the power of our eyes. Similarly, life has outdistanced the irrefutable proof of the philosophers. Life does not need to refute the arguments of this or that philosopher. Their proofs may be indisputable, but the reality of life must progress beyond them by strengthening our cognitive capacity and spiritual understanding through spiritual instruments.
Okay, there are as few people who want to look through Steiner spiritual telescope any more than Criminino wanted to look through Galileo's telescope to see proof of mountains on the Moon. To ordinary scientists today, Steiner's claims of the spiritual world are as ridiculous to ordinary scientists today as Galileo's claim of mountains on the Moon was to people of his time. But the times they are a'changing as a poet of the 1960s wrote.
[page 85] In the present state of our culture with its prevailing belief in the incontrovertibility of the philosophers' proofs, these things are not generally or readily accepted. However, as our culture continues to develop, it will reach a higher logic than the one supporting these proofs of purely external philosophy. This higher logic will be one of life, of life of the spirit, of insights based on spiritual science. A time will come when people, while still respecting the accomplishments and discoveries of the natural sciences as much as we do now, will nevertheless realize that for our inner life these marvelous achievements have brought more questions than answers. If you study biology, astronomy, and so on, you will see that they have reached their limits. Do these sciences provide answers? No, they are really only raising questions. The answers will come from what stands behind the subject matter of the natural sciences. The answers will come from the sources of clairvoyant research.
My quest to find the answer to the two great riddles of the world, what happens after death and what happens before birth, led me to Rudolf Steiner and I have never been disappointed by what I have found in his font of lectures and spiritual knowledge. Not even disappointed to find as Steiner indicates on page 86, "the solution to the world's riddles will never be solved completely."
Along with finding Steiner I found my life's goal which is to ensure that human beings will discover the importance of the spiritual world to our progress as humans, to learn in no uncertain terms that without the spiritual world nourishing our physical world, it will die away, leaving behind no spiritual progeny as the Earth disappears.
[page 91] That is why the founders of our religions provided ideas they had received from the spiritual world. These truly spiritual thoughts nourish our soul and maintain it. It would be the death of our soul if it always had to live in thoughts taken only from the physical world. In earlier times, religious beliefs were such spiritual thoughts human souls need. That phase of our development has been completed, and we live now in a time when we on earth will gradually lose the ability to take in what speaks only to our emotions, our faith. We can still preserve this faith for a time, galvanizing it, so to speak, but we cannot keep it for the future. The principle "I believe" has to be replaced with "I believe what I know." People will begin to feel that this new principle must be applied. Otherwise we deny ourselves any possibility of knowing something about the life between death and a new birth. Then we would return to pitiful conditions in our next incarnation. Enthusiasm for other ideals, all clearly justified, is certainly a good thing and has to exist. However, in comparison with the foundations of spiritual science, these ideals cannot be put into practice directly. Lacking its knowledge, they can only be precursors of spiritual science.
I believe what I know! A great mot d'ordre or motto for the future! In Latin it can rendered as Credo quod Novi. And yet, Steiner tells us to remain silent unless it is to further our goal of freedom.
[page 91] As we progress in our spiritual research, we will feel the need to remain silent rather than to speak. If we speak nevertheless, it is out of insight into the conditions necessary for our time. Knowledge alone will make us free, and it is the task of the future to win the freedom of the human soul.
Angels might help us in this endeavor to win freedom for our soul, but they will not come down to Earth to speak to us, nor will they tell us what to do. They won't let us see them either, so what are we to do?
[page 92] A great contemporary scientist, Max Müller, said that if an angel were to come down and proclaim news of the spiritual world, people would not understand or believe him.
We would not perceive the angel doing so, because as adults in this stage of evolution, we cannot see angels, cannot perceive angels, no, we can only feel some mild warmth when an angel is perceiving us. Like so many other people, as I grew up, I forgot how to feel an angel perceiving me. One day after a hurricane, my only source of electricity at home was from a portable generator, and after five days, I was running out of gas for it. I had heard that no gas stations were open, but early one morning, I drove to the corner and looked left up the highway and saw no lights on, then looked to the right down the highway and there in the distance was a couple of red lights which meant power and probably a station pumping gas. I drove down there and found the station was open and as I was pumping gas into my automobile and my generator's gas cans, the speakers overhead were pumping these lyrics of a pop song from the 1950s into my ears , "Johnny Angel," and I suddenly felt the presence of my Guardian Angel and the need to thank him. "Thanks, Johnny," I said aloud, and from that day on, I can feel the deeds of my Guardian Angel and remember each time to thank him personally.
After reading the quote from page 92 above, I was inspired to write this poem. Since many people wear flak jackets of materialism to protect them from the spiritual world which make them angel-proof, I call this poem ironically, "Angel Proof."
I had forgotten how to feel
my Angel perceiving me.
I looked and looked
and still the wonder grew,
Where was the Angel that,
as a child I knew.
The Angel who looked over me,
that once I knew was real,
Is still around and strains my sanity —
What once I saw, I can now only feel.
Can only feel my Angel
As assuredly as I feel
this steel with which
I pen this poem.
I feel my pen a worthy friend —
I feel my Angel likewise so —
So, ask not where my angel is —
'Tis nowhere but out there —
Looking over me
and my only proof
Is that I feel it so.
Zombies and vampires are all the rage now, in novels, movies, Halloween costumes, etc. Ever wonder why the living dead seem to becoming more popular than the actually dead? I suspect that it's because so many people think dead thoughts these days and so few realize that live thoughts live!
[page 95] Completely different thoughts have to take hold in our soul, in our astral body, and all our feeling, willing, and thinking not limited to the physical plane. Otherwise we will remain inwardly dead. All thoughts that represent objects are meaningful only on the physical plane. This is implied in the very question, "Are thoughts that do not represent objects justified?" Only with the thoughts living freely in the spirit, living freely in the astral body and the I can we gain insight, only with those thoughts can we live. These thoughts not only represent things, but are also inwardly active and alive; they create something out of themselves and out of us.
How do we keep our thoughts alive? One way is by holding an unanswered question in our mind. Why? One possible answer is that doing so keeps our astral body agile. A kerosene lamp will grow dim if the wick is not trimmed and soot deposits form. Our soul can become like a sooted lamp and when we take it with us into the dark of death we will have no illumination.
[page 96] If people do not develop thoughts that keep the astral body inwardly agile, they will suffer from mineral deposits even in childhood and as a result become ill later in life. And the world they enter after death will remain dark, because they do not radiate any light themselves. The rays of the sun strike a surface and that is how we see things. But in the spiritual world we are the source of light; we illuminate the surroundings we are supposed to see. Souls feeling the need to pursue spiritual science may not be aware of these circumstances, but they live in the depths of the soul. Just as in the physical world sunlight comes from the outside, so we must make ourselves sun-like in the spiritual world. We have to light in ourselves the spiritual fuel, the inner flame, to illuminate the realm of the spirit.
Imagine for a moment that Rudolf Steiner is speaking to us at our graduation. We have studied all the physical sciences and are preparing to go out into the world to change it for the better. Are these the exhortations that we want to hear: Keep your astral bodies agile. Light within yourselves the spiritual fuel. Illuminate the world with your inner flame. What do they mean? They form great unanswered questions, don't they? Let us hold them in freedom and love as we toss our graduation caps into the air and go out into the world with our new living knowledge, keeping our astral bodies agile and fueled by these unanswered questions.
----- Footnotes -----
The use of diseased or dis-eased is a way of acknowledging an abnormal perturbation of the nervous system. Such perturbations can result in hallucinations. Drugs such as LSD can produce hallucinations. A hypnotist can perturb the nervous system and produce a temporary hallucination. Return to text directly before Footnote 1.
Footnote 2.Return to text directly before Footnote 2.
The process I call Matherne's Rule#25 What is the power of an unanswered question? taps into one's astral body to produce an answer in its own time. Yes, it would be nice if the answer came immediately, but what could one do with such an ability but become a circus or TV Talk Show freak?
Footnote 3.Return to text directly before Footnote 3.
Here is Matherne's Rule #36: Remember the future. It hums in the present. In other words, time waves from the future arrive in the present as feelings.
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4.) ARJ2: The Karma of Vocation, GA# 117 by Rudolf Steiner
In this series of lectures, Steiner confronts directly the pervasive dissatisfaction that people have yet today some 80 years later in connection with their vocations. So many see their vocations as a drudge and wish to be doing something other than what they do to earn their daily bread. Whether one is a lowly shoemaker, as Jacob Boehme was, or patent clerk, as Albert Einstein was, or a simple janitor, as we find in our office buildings today, one's vocation is connected to one's distant future. When one goes to a museum one finds old paintings whose value is accepted by all, not new paintings of beginning painters. It is a human condition that beginnings are minimized and the old and familiar are highly valued. In a similar vein, people generally do not value the beginnings that inhere in their current vocations.
To add concreteness to this metaphor, Steiner reminds us of our cosmic evolution which proceeds from Saturn through the successive stages of Sun, Moon, Earth, Jupiter, Venus, and Vulcan [See the Table of Evolution ]. Those beginnings in us today will flower in the Vulcan stage of our evolution similar to the way the beginnings in us during the Saturn stage are flowering today. Boehme was a great mystical writer who also worked in the vocation of shoemaker.
[page 67] For Boehme to write his mystical-philosophical books on earth, it was necessary for something to have happened on Saturn that was similar to what he has done on earth in making shoes. Likewise, Boehme's shoemaking here on earth has the effect that something may be done on Vulcan that will be similar to his writing mystical philosophy here on earth.
[page 67, 68] There is something extraordinary in all this. Here is an indication of how what is often given little value on earth is so little esteemed because it is the beginning of something that will be prized in the future. In their being, humans beings are, of course, much more intimately bound up with the past since they must first familiarize themselves with what is a beginning. Therefore they often care much less for something that is a beginning than for something that has come over to them from the past.
We live in the 21st Century in a world in which the children of today will likely grow up to take their vocation in a field that hasn't been created yet. I grew up in the 1940's when the job of computer programmer I held as an adult didn't exist yet. While the service jobs of fire-fighting, police work, and teacher will always be with us in one form or another, most of the jobs our children will do as adults haven't been invented yet. When the jobs we do as adults are brand new, we tend to minimize as insignificant the work of our profession and exult in other, non-vocational, high achievements in our life. Here's how Steiner tells us to hold these two aspects of our work:
[page 69] Superior achievements are an end; the most insignificant work is always a beginning. . . . A seed often appears quite insignificant beside the beautiful flower of the future. Using human work as a case in point, I wanted to show you today how seed and flower are bound up in the evolution of mankind.
For several years I have been reading the Soul Calendar verses by Rudolf Steiner both in the original German and the English translations. Friends have asked me why I read them and it's not easy to explain to them why I do so. His verses remind me of the breathing in and out cycle of the Earth as it wends its way around the Sun going through its seasons. In the following passage he gives us a hint at understanding the breathing cycle of the Earth.
[page 71] I have explained how the earth is awake during the winter and that Christmas time is one of the most brilliant points of this waking state. At that time the aura of the earth is permeated, interwoven, with thoughts. We may say that the earth ponders the outer universe, just as we men, while in the waking state of day, reflect in our thought on what is around us. In summer the earth sleeps, so it is not possible then to find certain thoughts in it. In winter the earth is awake, and most wide awake at Christmas; then the earth's aura is interpenetrated with thoughts, and it is possible to read the will of the cosmos for our earthly events from them.
Most sophisticated persons today consider work in a job as dull and demeaning. They see workers as people caught on a treadmill from which there is no escape. They do not see with the eyes of spiritual science that elemental beings, primitive spiritual beings, are incarnated when people work in their vocations.
[page 118] We have made it clear that what the human being achieves for the world in any vocation is by no means something to be set aside as being prosaic, but that, as we have seen, it is most intimately related with his remote cosmic future. . . . It is precisely the mission of our spiritual scientific endeavors not merely to communicate pleasant sounding theories. Rather, we must let our souls be touched by what is suitable to place us correctly in life so that each person is in his or her own place in accordance with the spirit of our age, with the arché of our time. [Ed. note: Arché is the singular form of Archai or Time Spirits.]
This passage reminds me of EAT-O-TWIST, an acronym I created to remind me that Everything Allways Turns Out The Way It's Supposed To, where in this case the supposing goes on during the life between death and a new birth. To understand the impact of a vocation on one's future life, one need only attune to the way one looks and acts in this incarnation to discern the effects of one's vocation during one's previous lifetime.
[page 121] We know that, as a residue of the processes between death and a new birth, all that results from a previous vocational life manifests itself in the physiognomy, gestures, and in the entire hereditary tendency. Thus, it is really possible to see in the human being during this period of time, in the way he walks, in the movements of his hands, in his general bearing, the result of his vocational life during his previous incarnation.
This infusion into one's life of a previous vocation occurs during the development period between the ages of seven and fourteen years of age. After that time, the impulses begin to work on the task of leading us to our new vocation. Thus we are always in immersed in the paradigm of our former vocation while we create a new vocation for ourselves. Is it any wonder that so many people don't seem to physically fit our ideas of what vocation they should be in - their bodies, movements, and gestures are holdovers from their previous lifetime's vocation!
[page 122] You will see what infinitely fruitful thought for future education will result from these reflections if only external world culture can decide to reckon with repeated earthly lives, rather than taking fantastic ideas as truths - fantastic because they only consider a fragment of reality, one that encompasses only the present life between birth and death.
In the play and movie Oklahoma there's a song that goes, "The farmer and the cowhand should be friends." The lyrics highlight the difference between the free-ranging cowboy and the fence-building farmer, a difference that was first noted in Adam's sons Cain and Abel in the Old Testament. Today these two archetypes are seen in the wandering mendicants of the East and middle-class business professionals of the West. Steiner called these two the pilgrim and the bourgeois.
[page 124] These two ideals, the bourgeois and the pilgrim, face each other and, unless we realize the significance of this for life, we cannot possibly develop the understanding that is growing within us. In earlier ages men could face life without understanding since they were guided by divine spiritual powers; today, however, as we develop toward the future, we must have understanding.
Steiner points out that we are beginning to perceive these things, but without an understanding of what happens during the time between death and a new birth, we are unable to "comprehend the very thing" that we perceive. (Page 125)
This country was founded on the principle that "all men are created equal" but that ideal seems more like a social goal of the bourgeoisie, one that will replace the great souls of Davy Crockett, Daniel Boone, Buffalo Bill with Harvard Business School MBA's. Steiner looks at what John Stuart Mill wrote about the rise of the bourgeoisie.
[page 126] On the other hand, the bourgeois type works toward levelling and rendering all men equal in the social order. But what, asked Mill, is the result of this process of becoming equal? Not the result of becoming equal in the greatness of the human soul, but of becoming equal in its nothingness. He thus indicates a future for humanity during this fifth post-Atlantean epoch in which men in their social life would become ever more the "pressed caviar" of bourgeois nothingness, and he felt this to be a tragic knowledge.
Steiner tells us that the Russian Merezhkovsky said that "the yardstick has taken the place of the scepter of earlier time, the account book has usurped the place of the Bible and the sales counter replaces the altar." Spencer Heath provided a similar analysis in his fine book, Citadel, Market, and Altar.
[page 128] The yardstick, the account book, and the counter do have a place in our fifth post-Atlantean epoch. We know that it must be so and that it is in accord with irrevocable world karma. What is needed is not merely to condemn these things, but to pour into this world of the yardstick, the account book, and the counter the spirit that is alone the equal of them; this is the attitude of spiritual science.
Steiner originally belonged to the Theosophical Society, but soon recognized that bourgeois elements were infiltrating the Society and fostering attitudes that were appropriate to what Mill called "conglomerated mediocrity" or what Steiner called the "pressed caviar of bourgeois nothingness" above. To illustrate his point, Steiner tells us what a representative of the Society told him when he arrived to give lectures in her city, "We shall gradually give up the lectures because they do not have the right objective. We must arrange afternoon teas and invite people to become mutually acquainted." It is easy to see how lucky we are that Steiner left the Theosophical Society with his view of spiritual science intact.
To illustrate dramatically the difference between the "pressed caviar" of the Theosophists and the spiritual science of Rudolf Steiner, let's look at their respective attitudes about the "8th Sphere". First this long quote from a theosophical encyclopedia:
[See: http://www.theosociety.org/pasadena/etgloss/ea-el.htm .]
Eighth Sphere or Planet of Death: Both a globe and a condition of being, where utterly, irredeemably corrupt human souls are attracted, to be dissipated as earth entities. These "lost souls" have through lifetimes lost their link with their inner god, and so can no longer serve as a channel for those spiritual forces. Too gross to remain in kama-loka or avichi, they sink to this slowly dying planet of our solar system, invisible because too dense, which acts as a vent or receptacle for human waste."The Eighth Sphere is a very necessary organic part of the destiny of our earth and its chain. . . . in the solar system there are certain bodies which act as vents, cleansing channels, receptacles for human waste and slag. . . . [the lost soul] therefore sinks into the Planet of Death or the globe of Mara to which its own heavy material magnetism drags it, where it is dissipated as an entity from above, which means from our globe, and is slowly ground over in nature's laboratory. . . . However, precisely because the lost soul is yet an aggregate of astral-vital-psychical life-atoms connected around a monad as yet scarcely evolved, this monad, when freed from its earth veil of life atoms, thereupon begins in the Planet of Death a career of its own in this highly material globe.
Compare this with Steiner's words on the 8th Sphere:
[page 199] As I have shown you, what is called the eighth sphere was introduced into earthly evolution in ancient times. As one of its aspects, the eighth sphere consists of man's acquiring such a preference for and attachment to his lower nature that Lucifer is not able to remove the higher nature from it. Every time Lucifer endeavored to spiritualize human beings, they were too strongly habituated to the flesh to follow him. If they had not been possessed by this cleaving to the flesh, to the physical nature, they would have followed Lucifer. This is one of the great mysteries of cosmic existence, that a divine element was actually implanted in human nature so that it might have, as it were, a greater heaviness than it would have possessed if this divine and necessary element had not been implanted in it. If it had not been implanted, human souls would have obeyed Lucifer.
In other words, in ancient times, humans were exhorted to revere the things of the Earth so that they would not be led off the earth by Lucifer. With a brilliant insight, Steiner then relates how the revolving of the Moon around the Earth mirrored in the physical world what was happening in the spiritual world to bind humankind to its home on Earth. There is a popular brand of playing cards in South Louisiana called Bulldog Squeezers and the design on the back of the cards shows two bulldogs, each chained to a separate doghouse, pulling against their chains. One dog is named Trip and the other Squeezer. Prominently above them in the sky is a full moon with a clearly drawn face of the Man in the Moon looking down. At the very bottom of the image is the statement in quotes, "There is a tie that binds us to our Home." The image on the backs of those cards has haunted me since the time as a child I first saw my great-uncles playing Pedro with them. Only now with the insights of Steiner's spiritual science am I able to understand the soul impulses that attracted me to that image.
[page 199, 200] What does it mean that the earth has a moon as its satellite? It means nothing more than that it acquired a force through which it can attract and hold the moon nearby. Should the earth not possess this power to hold the moon, then the spiritual correlative of this force would not be able to chain man to his lower nature because this force, from the spiritual point of view, is the same as that with which the earth attracts the moon. It may be said, then, that the moon is placed in the universe as an opponent to Lucifer in order to hinder him.
The tea party attitude with its "pressed caviar of bourgeois nothingness" we find pervasive today as a substitute for real spiritual thinking. It shows up as Luddite-like opposition to machines of any kind, whether they be automobiles, television, or computers. The mothers rush home from their tea parties to announce to their children that there will be no more TV for them. In contrast to this one-sided anti-machine attitude, read what Steiner says.
[page 206] What was symbolically practiced in the ancients cults of Christianity and was once performed only on the altar must take hold of the entire world. Humanity must learn to deal with nature as the gods have done; it should learn not to construct machines in an indifferent way but to fulfill a divine service and bring sacramentalism into everything that is produced.
And the first way we can do that is in the education of our children. He says that we can bring this "sacramentalism to fruition" when we look upon and make "the educating and teaching of our children" into a "divine service." The second way is for us to fill our souls with ideas of the spiritual world and to begin to understand thinking as a true sacrament, as Goethe did when he wrote, "Thinking is the true communion of humanity." (Pages 205, 206)
The other day I was writing my review of The Process of Education at my workstation when I discovered that there were two ways of looking at a particular arrangement of concepts. Should the highest form of "Unconscious Competence" be equated to the "Articulate Genius" or to the "Inarticulate Genius"? As I engaged in this debate, I found myself split into two persons who engaged in examining the issues from two very different angles. Later when a colleague read the review, he said that he thought that the order should be the opposite of the way I had settled on in the review. I told him immediately with a sureness that surprised me at the time that I had already had this conversation with him at my workstation as I debated the two different ways, and that the "Him in my Head" had won the debate over the "Me in my Head" and that's how it came to be settled the way I wrote it. Later I was amazed to find Steiner writing about Goethe and Schiller in a similar vein in an endnote. Steiner tells us about the relationship between Goethe and Schiller with this excerpt from a Grimm lecture.
[page 223] 34. Hermann Grimm in the 21st "Goethe" lecture: "When two superbly gifted men combine in common endeavors, their strength is not doubled but multiplied fourfold. Each one has the other invisibly next to himself. The formula would not read G + S, but (G + S) + (S + G). The strength of one accrues to the strength of the other."
When we come to understand how "thinking is the true communion of humanity," the tenets of spiritual science will enrich our lives, bringing spiritual nourishment to replace the bourgeois emptiness of the afternoon tea parties.
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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 Recalls Dr. Galambos saying,
"The Inventor of Fire was Probably Burned at the Stake."
Padre Filius, the cartoon character created by your intrepid editor and would-be cartoonist, will appear from time to time in this Section of DIGESTWORLD to share with us some amusing or enlightening aspect of the world he observes during his peregrinations.
This month the good Padre watches an Inventor Being Killed by his own Invention this Month:
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 Stewart Lundy:
Your site is a great resource.
Please Send me the Monthly DIGESTWORLD Email Reminder. Thanks.
- EMAIL from Barry:
GREAT website!!! But when do you have time to eat & sleep?
- EMAIL from Carol Fleischman:
Great to have you at my party and to read your article. Did you take any other pictures?
Have a happy 4th!
Yes, here's one of you!
- EMAIL from Speed Trace User in the UK:
Hello Bobby, I came across doyletics last night and had phenonemal success tracing a few memories. [followup email] Thank you so much for getting back to me. After I emailed you yesterday I found a lot more information on doyletics so I understand it better now. Last night I did a different trace and discovered a different earlier memory which explained why I couldn't get rid of my cheese repulsion (ie. it was a different aspect). And it worked - the feelings went away without the need for any tapping.
Thanks so much for all the information Bobby.
A Good Reader
3. Poem from Freedom on the Half Shell:"Springtime in Freedomland"
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:
Springtime in Freedomland
It is springtime in Freedomland
We take our capitalism straight
and our socialism sneaky.
It is springtime in the Evilempire1,
They take their socialism straight
and their capitalism sneaky.
We vote Democratic
They vote Socialist
We both get moralizing and promises.
We buy property
and the State takes it away
when it needs it.
They rent property
and the State takes it away
when it needs it.
EAST and WEST
Our freedoms have been whittled
Until there's not one whit's
Perhaps you have never thought of grief and phobias as being processes, but it can prove useful to you to learn that the processes of grief and phobias are the inverse of each other. What this means is that if you are subject to intense grieving, you may have few if any things which scare you, and vice versa, makes sense?
Richard Bandler and John Grinder back in the 1970s reported on a study they had done of cancer patients at the Simonton Cancer Institute in Dallas. They were particularly interested in this process: when a spouse died, the remaining spouse usually died within 6 months, often from cancer. This didn't happen to every couple, but to a considerable portion of the couples, so they interviewed the remaining spouse in a bunch of cases and noted which kind of grieving process each had. A year later they returned for a followup and most of the spouses with one particular grieving process had died, with six months to a year of their spouses passing. Those spouses with the other kind of grieving process were mostly alive.
Those that were still alive had a process which is usually associated with phobias. Here is the is an example of the phobia process: you walk down a dangerous part of town and imagine that a robber will come up and grab you and shoot you. You see yourself in your skin and feel the robber grabbing you as he points a gun right in front of your eyes. This process can cause your heart rate and respiration rate to speed up and get adrenalin flowing in your body as part of a flight response. You are scared and fearful even though no one is threatening you; it's all happening in your mind. These fear states are the most painful part of the phobia process, but it works well as a grieving process. How so?
If you have lost a loved one and imagine the loved one right in front of your eyes, holding you and preparing to kiss you perhaps, you will feel very good, won't you? And that good feeling is the result of a very good process for perceiving a lost loved one. You are directly in the remembered event with them. Your good memories of the loved one can become a source of good feelings in the present time, if you use this process of remembering their presence.
What about those that had died six to twelve months later — what kind of process did they have? This is the process usually associated with heavy grief, those people who suffer for a long time after losing a loved one. Here is an example of the Grief Process: Mary lost her husband Franklin and every time something in her home reminds her of him, she creates a memory of them being together, but she sees the two of them together from a distance and wishes she could be with him. All Mary needs to do is get inside of the image of herself in her imagination and she will no longer feel the heavy grief she did before. Let's apply this process to the example of the person walking down a dark street. This time the person might think of a robber coming up but sees themself and the robber at a distance, and no heavy phobic responses will occur. The person can imagine the so-called robber had only come up to ask for a light, perhaps. It's your imagination, so you change it, especially if you're not distracted by a pumping heart and heavy breathing, etc.
Good versus Bad Processes:
Grief: Good Process: See yourself in the image with the loved one so you can feel good feelings when you think of them. If it's a bad situation, see yourself and the loved one from a distance, maybe together next to the sick bed, and you can observe without getting any heavy feelings. (The Bad Process is to view, from a distance, you and your loved one enjoying each other's presence. You see the two of you together and feel bad because this "can never happen again." You so want to be with your loved one that you unconsciously send signals to your body to make that happen.)
Phobias: Good Process: See yourself in the distance in the fear-causing event and observe yourself during the event and learn from what you see. This is especially helpful for people who have had some dreadful event occur to them because this calm observing from a distance will neutralize the heavy phobic responses. (The Bad Process comes when imagine yourself in in your body in the event as bad things are happening to you. Then all the bad feelings will re-surface in you).
Below is a short story I wrote about a boy and his dog which illustrates these two types of process, both Grief and Phobia processes and may help you understand how they are inverse processes, i. e., the process you do with grief to make yourself feel bad can be used with a phobia to remove your bad feelings. This story is extracted from Chapter 5 of my novel, "The Spizznet File", in which Ingrid wakes up after a dream of seeing her son bitten by a rattlesnake:
Later that night Ingrid awoke with a start and Robert turned to see her gasping for breath, her eyes wide open in terror. "What's wrong?" he asked.
"Denny!" she cried between gasps, "a dream," took a quick breath, and continued, "I just had a nightmare. We were hiking down the Grand Canyon when a rattlesnake struck Denny's leg. I ran to Denny and he fell into the canyon just out of my grasp. Whew, that was scary. I keep seeing that snake strike and I can feel the fangs going into my leg."
He went to the kitchenette and poured her a large glass of burgundy from the half empty wine bottle they had shared the night before at the canyon's rim. After taking several large swallows of wine, she had calmed down a bit, although she was still shaking slightly.
"Did I ever tell you about my dog, Alfie?" he asked.
"No, I don't think so. I didn't know you ever had a dog."
"I did once, when I was nine years old. Alfie was a beautiful white Lhasa Apso. We were constant companions for the two summers we had together before he died."
"How did he die?"
"We were walking in the woods one day and I had stopped to inspect a large garden spider's web stretched across the path. Alfie had gone off as he usually did, and I had forgotten him until I heard him barking frantically. I ran over to where he was and saw a large diamondback rattler ready to strike. I froze and as I watched in horror the snake lunged forward, striking Alfie on the front leg. I ran over to Alfie and picked him up. As I carried him home, his gentle yelping stopped, and I felt his body go limp in my arms. He was dead by the time I reached home.
"After that day I was scared to go into the woods again, afraid I would get bitten by a snake. I would imagine a snake coming out of a bush, lunging at me, and biting me on the leg. My appetite disappeared completely, and I mostly stayed in my room thinking about Alfie. I felt lonely all the time and wished Alfie were back with me. Every time I thought of him I felt bad. Every memory of the two of us together had become a trigger for bad feelings. My dad came in my room to tuck me in one night, and I asked him if I would ever get over feeling bad about losing Alfie. He told me that 'sometimes answers to serious problems come to you in dreams.'
"That night Alfie appeared in a dream and talked to me. He showed me that I was doing things backwards, using these two experiences to make myself feel bad."
"How's that?" Ingrid was intrigued by the story and very curious. He took a sip from her nearly empty glass of wine and continued.
"Alfie showed me how to create good feelings when I thought of him and good feelings when I thought of the snake. He told me, 'Robbie, when you think of me, you've been seeing yourself playing with me and feeling bad because you can't have that again. If you would do that same thing with the snake, you would feel good. I'll show you. Watch!' As I watched in my dream, I saw a movie of me walking along a path. A snake came out of the bushes and passed in front of me. 'Watch your face as the snake disappears into the bushes. What did you see?'
"'Wow!' I said, 'I was scared at first, my face showed a look of surprise, then relief as the snake slithered away from me. I took a deep breath and felt good as I watched the movie you showed me.'
"'Great,' Alfie said, 'you see, before when you've thought of the snake, you've always imagined it coming up to you and biting you, isn't that so?'
"'Right,' I answered, 'that's exactly what I used to do, up until now. And I will see it happening this new way from now on.'
"'Good, and, since you could do it the other way for the snake, I want you to do it with me.'
"'Huh?,' I said, I was really puzzled by this suggestion. 'What do you mean by that?,' I asked Alfie.
"'When you think of me from now on,' Alfie said, 'imagine you're seeing me barking, seeing my tail wagging, and feeling my soft fur. Sit here.' I followed Alfie's instruction and he jumped into my lap. I began running my hands through his soft fur and could feel him panting as he did after running a bit.
"'This feels wonderful,' I told him.
"'Yes, you feel wonderful because you are imagining me here with you right now and you are feeling exactly as you do when I'm with you.'
"I suddenly realized that I had been seeing the snake that way and frightening myself by doing so. From now on I could see Alfie that way — every memory of Alfie could become a good feeling memory. What better way to respect the memory of a deceased loved one than by creating good feelings in the present when you bring up their memory?
"When I awoke the next morning I felt great! My appetite had returned and I ate heartily at breakfast. Afterwards I went for a long walk in the woods, no longer afraid of snakes and full of good memories of Alfie."
He looked over at Ingrid and noticed she had shut her eyes and dozed off. He gave her a soft kiss over each eyelid and turned off the light to go back to sleep himself. Did she hear all of the story? he wondered to himself. Remembering that her unconscious mind received whatever part of the story her conscious mind may have missed, he soon drifted off to sleep.
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