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~~~~~~~~ In Memoriam: Norman McSwain (Age 78) ~~~~
~~~~~~~~ Famed Trauma Surgeon and Friend ~~~~~
WELCOME TO DIGESTWORLD ISSUE#159 September, 2015== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==Quote for the Football Month of September:
It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere.
Voltaire, French Writer and Philosopher
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DIGESTWORLDArchived DIGESTWORLD Issues
GOOD MOUNTAIN PRESS Presents ISSUE#159 for September, 2015
Table of Contents
1. September's Violet-n-Joey Cartoon
2. Honored Readers for September
3. On a Personal Note
Flowers of Shanidar Poems
4. Cajun Story
5. Household Hint for September, 2015 from Bobby Jeaux: Easy Shoelaces Loosening
6. Poem from Cosmic New Year: "Day-Night Knowledge"
7. Reviews and Articles featured for September:
8. Commentary on the World
- ARJ2: Karmic Relationships, Volume 8, GA#240 by Rudolf Steiner
- ARJ2: Emerson's Selected Journals 1820 - 1842 by Ralph Waldo Emerson
- ARJ2: The Archangel Michael, GA# 67, His Mission and Ours by Rudolf Steiner
1. Padre Filius Cartoon
2. Comments from Readers
3. Freedom on the Half Shell Poem
4. I REMEMBER BETSY
9. Closing Notes — our mailing list, locating books, subscribing/unsubscribing to DIGESTWORLD
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1. September Violet-n-Joey CARTOON:
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==This month Violet and Joey learn about Being Nice.
For newcomers to DIGESTWORLD, we have created a webpage of all the Violet-n-Joey cartoons!
"Being Nice" at http://www.doyletics.com/images/150809vj.jpg
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2. HONORED READERS FOR September:
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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 September, 2015:
Rose Ann Loupe in Luling, Louisiana
Patricia Russell in England
Congratulations, Rose Ann and Patrick!
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3. ON A PERSONAL NOTE:
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Out Our Way:
GOLDEN WEDDING ANNIVERSARY
My brother Paul and his wife Joyce celebrated their Fiftieth Wedding Anniversary with their family in Opelousas to kick off this busy month of August for me and Del. All of my brother Steve's and Paul's kids and most of their grandkids were in town for the event, including Andrew Matherne from Alexandria, Virginia, whom we met for the first time. I enjoyed looking at the photos of Paul's wedding in 1965, seeing what we all looked like, me as his Best Man, Paul as the groom, and Joyce in her white wedding gown. There was a lot of food during a pleasant sunny day as we sat and enjoyed each other's company out on Paul's outdoor covered patio area.
Del and I didn't eat much because we had to leave for a fish fry at our grand-daughter Katie Upton's home about an hour north of Opelousas. Her husband Stephen fried the fish and his father-in-law Wes cooked the shrimp creole. Two feasts in one day required a bit of advance planning to survive without a bulging waist-line.We drove to Alexandria where Wes said he had a surprise waiting for me, and sure enough there was Oday Laverne and his wife Julie all dressed up, coming from some function I suppose. Hadn't seen Oday in months or a year, so this was a pleasant surprise. Our daughter Kim and her husband Wes have just completed a renovation of their home and this was mine and Oday's first time to view the changes. The new bath has an automatically heated toilet seat with a remote control. (I wondered what it will be like to call the Geek Squad to ask them, "Can you come out to fix my toilet seat?")All the house was repainted, the oak block floors re-done and all the bathrooms were upgraded with new fixtures, toilets, and bathtubs with showers. This was their way of celebrating their new status as "empty-nesters". Katie's bright blue wall with pink and orange teenage stuff on it everywhere has been morphed into a light beige Holiday Inn Express room. Kim's empty-nest status took a minor U-turn when Katie had a baby and needed some help with Benjamin when Katie went back to teaching school. With help three days a week at a nursery school, Kim is adjusting well, and seems to be enjoying spending time with her first grandchild as she watches him.
The other big renovation was at Oday and Wes's Red River Camp outside of Alexandria. First, the flooding of the Red River has brought needed ground water to their dock area. They added a porch on the back side of the cabin facing away from the river and we enjoyed sitting there. Oday showed us their plans to dig a pond fed from the cypress swamp. They have already cleared the area for the pond and they are faced with a large tree trunk removal and excavation task to make the pond area beautiful and useful for walking around and fishing from. Oday's Daughter and her friends were sleeping in the cabin area, but we met Oday on the road in his large John Deere mowing machine.He was heading to the north side of their lake area to cut down the brush to give them access if the water were to go down during duck hunting season, and require a trip around the lake to access it.
I had time to play on the cabin's pool table and noticed that my balls were going where I hit them, a pleasant change from the wayward balls which seemed to go their own way instead of where I pointed them. It has taken me some time to recover my pool stroke and I had the thought it was time for me to buy my own pool cue and begin playing with the guys at the club on pool nights once a week. I learned that pool was invented by a king who loved to play bocce, but couldn't when he became ill and house-bound, so he instructed his carpenters to build him a table that he could play indoors. That was how the game of pool came into existence. And why pool tables traditionally have a green felt cover, to simulate the grass of the bocce ball court.
MORNING DOUBLE RAINBOW
Twenty years ago on the morning of August 1, 1995, I walked out to my garage to get into my car and I was greeted by a large double rainbow! Why would I remember that exact date? It was the last day that I drove to the Nuclear Power Plant; the next day my retirement at age 55 began, and I hired myself full-time as a writer. On the morning of August 4, 2015, I opened my garage door heading to the new breakroom for my current job, PJ's Coffeeshop. I looked to the east and saw a light drizzle falling and took a photo of it. Nothing remarkable, but when I turned to the west, there was a brilliant double rainbow going from horizon to horizon over the fairway behind our estate! It gave me chill bumps. This was only the second time I have seen a big morning rainbow, and I immediately recalled the one twenty years earlier. That first one was a covenant that my life was going to change for the better, and it did: I worked for myself from that time on. This second rainbow is a reminder of that covenant. I recall my last day when I was informed that I would receive a 40-year pension.The first thought that went through my mind was this, "You mean at 95 I will have to go back to work?" It was an automatic response, a result of a lifetime of positive thinking and possibility thinking I learned from Norman Vincent Peale and Robert H. Schuller, and now I am entering the second half of that 40-year span with another double rainbow to remind me of my covenant.
Why was I anxious to retire at the early age of 55? I wanted to write full-time. Plus, Del and I called Waterford, Nuclear Prison or the Unclear Power Plant ,which surrounded me everyday, sometimes for 12 hours, by razor wire topped fence and armed guards like a prison. Yes, I got paid well for being within this confinement, but unlike real prisons, they didn't allow reading material for pleasure and watching cable TV. I survived by teaching myself how to drive safely while reading, an hour each way. After the first few years where I was heavily involved with startup, I had to be there, but the work didn't fill the required time of my confinement.So, for me, it was Boresville, or maybe Boorsville. Had a few friends I actually enjoyed being with and around, but most were too serious and un-fun, making for long shifts of 7-12s, 6-10s, and weekend work every 18 months during outages. After I retired I started a count of the Outages I was spared. Must be up to about 15, but who's counting anymore?
Back to my 20th Anniversary Retirement Suprise: My camera was barely able to photograph the full extent of the rainbow, so I tried shots from several locations, including one which ended on the roof of our Timberlane home, in which my Pot of Gold resides. The best wide shot can be seen by Clicking Here. Where will I be living when I walk out of my garage in 2035 to be greeted by my next double rainbow? God knows.
Looking back, it took me about five years to arrive at my current occupation. Along the way I wrote and published several books of poems, reviews, and a novel. The publishing part included printing the poem and review books and paying a bookbinder to create hardbound copies. Then for the novel, I wrote it and then designed the entire book, including the artwork for the book jacket, then arranged to have it printed for me. I used Random House's Xlibris service, one of the first print-on-demand services provided. I was delighted to have my book available to anyone anywhere anytime upon order. No five hundred copies stuffed in an attic, as Henry Thoreau had to endure with his first publication of Walden. No remainders to be sold at cut-rate prices, all books to printed only after they are sold. Very efficient and trouble-free for me.
By the end of those first five years, I had my fill of publishing dead-tree books; I decided that I would thenceforth publish my work only using recycled electrons, namely on the Internet. I decided to use the name Good Mountain Press without any conscious awareness that the phrase "good mountain" translates into German as "Gutenberg", the inventor of the first moveable type press in 1456, an invention that made books available to everyone. No longer did books require an individual transcribing by hand for each volume; instead a mechanical printing press could create hundreds and thousands of copies. By the year 2001, it was clear that the Internet would provide a means of publishing that could reach millions of people all over the world within seconds of the act of publishing. For me Good Mountain Press has become the symbol of this 21st Century method of publishing.
THE SPIRIT OF STEVE MIZERAK
When I returned home from the Red River camp, I put my plan into action for buying a pool cue, something I have never owned before, always considering it an unnecessary expense, up until now. A friend of mine, Stan, from PJ's Coffeeshop, has been working for several months at Dick's Sporting Goods in the Golf department there. I decided that he could probably help me pick out a pool cue and we could visit for a while. I got there early in the morning just after it opened. The first one he showed me was a Steve Mizerak cue and I fell in love with it. Here's Wikipedia scoop on him:
Steve Mizerak (October 12, 1944, in Perth Amboy, New Jersey - May 29, 2006), nicknamed "the Miz", was a world champion pool player dominant during the 1970s and early 1980s
This cue was originally sold for $24.95, but had been marked down to $18.95 and finally to $4.95 when I bought it. Stan told me they were closing the pool supplies area and that's why the sharp discounts. When the gal at the register checked me out, she gave me the receipt which had a website address for a poll which if I filled it out, would save me $10 on my next purchase at Dick's! Thus, the pool cue will have only cost me -$5 when all is said and done! This is a process which happens so often to me: I go to buy something and it's on sale. Just the other day, I picked up some capsules at Walgreen's and the bottle was offered at a Two-for-One price. Didn't need two, but I bend down to my knees to find the second bottle and there was none. So I took the one bottle and got the bottle for half-price.
When I got home with my new pool cue, it took about 45 minutes to get all the stickers and especially the yucky glue they left behind on the wooden portion of the cue. Used Old Spice, then Vodka, and finally Hydrogen Peroxide to remove the sticky glue. Then our Natchez Solution to polish the wood back to a nice sheen. I have not undone the cue into two parts as I have no bag to carry it in. So I will keep the cue assembled to carry from my car to my club once a week.
Went to my club and was the first one there. Uncovered the first table. I lost the first two games of Eight Ball, and then won the next four games. My strategy seemed to be blocking shots for the other guy and picking up easy ones for myself. My stroke is slowly progressing, but my new cue stick seems to be helping me along. Perhaps the spirit of Steve Mizerak is living in my pool game.
CAMERA ODYSSEY OVER
Quick followup: my SONY HX50 Camera No. 1 which took me 8 months to get repaired arrived by FedEx this month. I read the work done: they replaced both the broken display panel on the back side of the camera and the lens unit on the front side. Great news. I tested it and it works fine. I went to Best Buy and got me a 64Gb memory stick for it and it cost only half of the previous stick. I don't need the high transfer rate so I can use the slower and cheaper memory stick. The high speed ones are necessary for taking movies and multiple shots in quick succession, neither of which I require. I put the 64Gb memory stick into my No. 1 camera (with the new lens and display panel), and it tested just fine. I put the camera inside a Ziplock bag to keep dust away and zipped it up inside my old T300 carry case. Then placed it inside my Carry-on bag, in a place where it can be cushioned against any banging around during transport, but it will stay with me on any travel. It will be my ultimate back-up to my No. 2 HX50 camera that I will carry with me. My No. 1 HX50 camera has a fully charged battery and a blank memory stick except for a test photo I took to ensure that it works. I plan not to use it unless something happens to No. 2. I was so glad to have my camera arrive before our trip to Paris which was only a few days away.
As a writer, I always carry two pens with me wherever I go; as a photographer, I carry two cameras with me.
Two members of my club died near the end of last month, and I was only able to attend the first funeral, for Howard, but missed the one for Norman because we were out of the country during it. The third funeral was for the wife of my first cousin, Leonard, who died in Thibodaux. The word funeral begins with "fun", but funerals are not fun for the most part, but a rather solemn occasion. But my cousin Leonard lived next to Michael who was a good friend of mine back in Westwego as a pre-teen, and Michael showed up for the funeral. It was great to see him again some 60 years later and to renew our acquaintance. Unfortunately someone snatched him away from our conversation and the Mass started right away. We consoled Leonard and spent time talking with Gaton and Helen, Judy, and Terry, his siblings, also Ethelda and Jennelle Breax two other cousins.
For me, it's usually the last two weeks of the month which I consider as "Crunch Time" — that is, when there's a lot of work to do on the new Issue in a short period of time. This month with us being in Paris for almost two weeks in the middle of the month, I had to work up all the material for this issue except for our personal notes and the trip photos before we left. That has made it possible for me to get DW159 out on time. I have five days left in which to recover from jet lag, write up my notes for the month, and select the photos to placed in this issue.
During the pre-trip time, I had loaded up the software for my new Lenovo Laptop. This took a couple of days and went well. This is a 2-in-1 Laptop which can be folded around to work as a Pad, set up like a pup tent, or used as a normal laptop. During the cruise I had plenty of opportunity to learn how do all three. The tent mode is very handy for processing photos, by which I mean, cropping, lightening, and saving with a file name which includes a Date Code, ID of location, and name of people, places, and things in the photo. Photoshop software makes this easy with four different fields which concatenate into the file name. I can leave the fields of the day, place alone and only add in people and things until the day and place changes, for example.
Biggest problem with Photoshop is that the buttons to click or tap with my fingers are tiny, tiny, tiny. I Googled and found out this is a big issue for all users of Photoshop. On my PC, it's not a problem because the resolution is lower, but on the Lenovo, its screen is much higher resolution and the buttons are hard to tap on the first try and if you hit the wrong one, you have close the image and start over. Somehow I managed to process all 1045 photos from the trip by the time we got home, by using what little free time we had on the boat and the 8 hour flight home. I love the Lenovo (except for the tiny Photoshop glitch), and am delighted to have a LT without any rotating storage media in it. Its hard drive is all solid-state storage and this augurs well for a long life (At Last!) for my new laptop.
I don't like the touchpad approach to replacing the mouse, but I decided not to pack my wireless mouse to force me to learn how to use the LT's touchpad. Hardest thing was copying and moving blocks of photos in Explore without a mouse! Drove me crazy until I discovered some work-around's like the Red X Delete button on the top tool bar which was a big time saver for a quick delete after processing a photo. By the end of our river cruise in and out of Paris I had processed all but a couple of hundred photos and those I was able to complete in my seat on the Air France flight back home. Del and I were in the Premier Economy section between First Class and Economy. I like to say we were close enough to sniff First Class and close enough to smell Economy. The food was great both ways. A large meal (dinner out and lunch back) and a smaller meal shortly before we arrived at the airport. Both were hot meals and delicious. The French know food, n'est pas?
As I type these notes on August 28, 2015, it's Crunch Time again. I have 1200+ photos ready to be selected, cropped, downsized, and identified in places in DW159. But how to choose from such a bounty. My photo editing staff is awaiting the completion of these personal notes to engage in earnest.
RALPHS ON THE PARK
When Ralph Brennan opened a restaurant on City Park Avenue, he named it after himself, "Ralph's on the Park," and commissioned several paintings which hang in the big room as you enter.My favorite is the 1920's Bordello scene with the ladies in their sexy undergarments making deals with businessmen in suits while, to the right rear, one can see the Police have just entered to raid the premises and shut down its illegal activities. Sometime during the first World War prostitution was still legal in Storyville, but the huge influx of American sailors to New Orleans caused so many problems, the bordellos were shut down, relegated to the outskirts, perhaps even in the building Ralph later built his Ralphs on the Park restaurant. (I've heard a report that it is so, which I pass on. This is not a claim of fact, only a report of a report.) The other large painting in the far right corner is interesting in several ways. One is it shows a vintage image of a day at the park, maybe the same era as the bordello scene. An elegant dinner is being served under the moss-hung live oaks in City Park. Gentlemen in formal wear, a top hat, ladies in elegant dresses and colorful plumed hats of egret feather. A dog is awaiting the fall of table scraps and a group of four or five gentlemen in suits and tie are talking together to the right side of painting, some standing and some talking seated.But wait! What's the guy, behind and to the left of the men, doing? He is leaning against the trunk of the large live oak, perhaps he has had a bit too much absinthe or schnapps and is regurgitating his meal against the tree. Hmmm, might we say that we are watching a man who ralphs on the park? To the right you can see a close-up of the man, and when in New Orleans, you can schedule a lunch or dinner to see the rest of the elegant park painting. This month Del and Dan scheduled a short board meeting at this restaurant and Karen and I accompanied them. It was my first visit since I heard a report from a cousin of the painter of the man ralphing on the tree that the painter slipped that clever ambiguity into his painting and got paid without anyone noticing it. For almost a year, it has a remained an unanswered question to me, "What does the man who ralphs on the park look like?" Now I know, now you know. One item that Karen and I discussed while Dan and Del were busy was the Cabildo.I explained that while they were living away for so long a fire burnt the top floor and when it was restored they added a cupola on its roof to match that on the Presbytère museum on the other side of the St. Louis Cathedral. She said she was disappointed in the Cabildo and Presbytère museums, that they didn't come up to snuff with glitzy museums she'd seen elsewhere. It disappointed me that she would talk badly about the Cabildo Museum, and I wondered why I felt that way. Later it came to me that it's not the insides of these two Spanish-era government buildings that make them museums it's the buildings themselves, two architectural treasures from the time of Spanish Rule in Louisiana! Preserved and presented in superb condition. The inside contents are less important than the buildings so far as I am concerned. I find no original date of construction for Cabildo, but it was burnt down in the great 1788 Fire, so was already in use by then, perhaps as early as the 1680s when Spanish took over Louisiana. Find two great buildings sited so close together over 300 years old so well preserved anywhere in the USA. Are there any?
PREPARATIONS FOR PARIS TRIP
With my original Sony HX50, my No. 1 camera, repaired like new, I decided to take it along on future trips to be a back up to the one I carry everywhere in my pocket. I went to Best Buy and I bought another 64Gb memory stick and put it into my No. 1 camera (with the new lens and display panel) and put it inside a sandwich bag to keep dust away and zipped it up inside my old T300 carry case. Then placed it inside my Carry-on bag, under the zip-around open inside compartment where it can be cushioned against any banging around during transport, but it will stay with me till we get on the ship. It is my ultimate back-up to my No. 2 HX50 camera that I will carry with me. No. 1 has a fully charged battery and a blank memory stick except for a photo of Del I took to ensure that it works. I plan to not use it unless something happens to camera No. 2. (It turned out that I didn't need to use No. 1)
One night when we had no NetFlix DVD's on hand, I found Star Trek: Voyager on streaming Netflix. We watched Episodes 1 and 2 which we may have watched parts of a decade or so ago, not realizing what was happening, i.e., that these were the first two episodes which set the stage for the rest of the series. These episodes explained stuff to us that had remained unanswered questions, up until now. Such as, what the hell is a "gel pack"? It turns out to be a new technology which is supposed to give sentience to the Voyager's control system.Then we meet the Maquis: Tuvac, Chakotay, and B'elana, and discover Tuvac was a plant by Janeway in the Maquis crew. Then we meet Neelis and Kes, and found out about her people and how the Caretaker saved her people by moving them underground and sending power to them from a large in-space station. Amazing backstories that we never quite understood, coming into the Voyager series in mid-flight, so to speak, of the crew's voyage home, never knowing how they ended up lost way across the galaxy. So much fun ahead as we see some episodes we likely have never seen and revisit our favorites, like Fairhaven in the Holodeck, and the arrival of luscious Seven of Nine on the crew. Voyager was our favorite of all the Star Trek derivative series. Deep Space Nine was interesting and The New Generation was too yuppy cerebral for our tastes. Voyager was story of the heart, from beginning to end. The picture quality of the streaming video is so much better than when we first watched these shows decades ago, due to our large plasma screen and the flawless streaming video. Plus we can stream one episode each night for a fill-in or after a bad movie as a palette cleanser if we wish.
During this last week before sailing I prepared my new Lenovo laptop to make it functional for the trip. Loaded Norton Internet Protection, Word Perfect, Microsoft's Access, Excel, Outlook, and Word, plus my FTP program. I did a test packing of the LT to ensure it would fit into my carry-on luggage and it fit nicely. Much lighter than previous LT's. I had to learn how the new power management system works. If you set it to Normal, it will charge so long as plugged in. But if you use the Optimal setting, it will only charge when battery power dips below 50%. This extends the battery life. When we're stopped somewhere for an hour or so, I can let it Normal charge until we leave and then I'll get seven hours of battery life before I have to turn it off. But if I'm plugged into power in hotel or stateroom, Optimal will be best. Don't anticipate that I'll need 7 hours of battery, it's good to know it's available and I can probably use it as remote Z10 charger as well. Not taking my wireless mouse freed up the two USB ports and eliminated the need for a separate mouse area, which is non-existent on airlines and very tiny in staterooms on ship.[Revisiting the mouse decision after the trip, I decided that I would take it with me on future trips because it eases the transfer of many photo files, copying them to back drives, etc. That process was very confusing at times, but I gutted my way through and found a safe and efficient way using the touch pad. I was forced to learn ways of doing things without my mouse and that was part of my evil plan for myself.]
The Win 8.1 operating system on the Lenovo is a bear to learn to use, but hopefully Windows 10 will fix some of its horrible "features". For example, I loaded Word Perfect and it created a desktop shortstop to run it. I loaded the Office programs and NO shortcuts appeared. With no Windows icon in the corner to bring up the available programs, I was at a loss to find how to run the programs. Guess what? In this improved version you have to figure out how to Search for the programs you want to pin to Taskbar or create shortcuts for! ! ! What a bummer! No problem once you learn how, but learning how is frustrating to the nth degree. Design plan for Win 8.1 was apparently, "Let's make easy things on Win 7 hard to do on Win 8!" No wonder Win 10 came around so quickly. I didn't have time to load Win 10 before leaving, plus my design plan is "Pioneers get the arrows!" My brother Paul did a Win 10 upgrade and now one of his devices won't connect. Bummer!
I called Verizon, our cell phone service, and got us upgraded to International Dialing plan with 100 talk minutes and 100 text messages included. $40 for each of our phones. Del can turn OFF her Data when she boards the plane for Paris and she won't receive any emails (which count as data even if you don't open them). This is important to her as she receives hundreds of social media emails a day. Using this Data Off approach, whenever she connects into WiFi, her emails will come in without any cost, and will switch to Off again when she is away from WiFi. This is automatic. Also our International Dialing rate will apply only till the end of the month (about the 27th) and we don't have to call to turn it off. The rules have changed each time we've gone overseas, but mostly they have gotten better. I was able to stream WWOZ to my phone at our hotel in Paris on Wi-Fi and even away from Wi-Fi I could receive it, but never stayed on very long, doing it mostly as a test. During the 8 hour flight from Atlanta to DeGaulle, I proofread my new Emerson review and found two minor typos which I noted and as I'm typing these notes, I went to the affected documents in the review and DW159 and made the changes.
HOTEL DU COLLECTIONNEUR
Arrived at DeGaulle on schedule in our Boeing 777 in the Premier Seating section. Seat wouldn't lay back but was already in comfortable position for sleeping and awake. (Curiously, I discovered the seat does rotate backward in one unit, but this was as we were ready to deplane in the States on the way home.) Our cabin was very stuffy before we took off from Atlanta but by halfway across Atlantic, I needed the blanket cover. Got several hours sleep. Rest Rooms a short walk. In Premier Class the food service of dinner right away and breakfast before arrival was great. We encountered a very long line through Customs. A few people ahead of me was a tall black guy with TIGERS on his all-black baseball cap, rest of his clothes were black. I thought he might be a Detroit Tigers fan, but as we turned the corner, I noticed in a barely contrasting black, the letters LSU. Introduced myself as an LSU grad and asked if he played ball, he said yes, basketball for Brady and Johnson, his name was Tasman Mitchell. Currently he plays for Europe Basketball team. Asked if he might come home to NBA, his smile indicated he'd like to, but with a slight grimace when he added, "Not likely at my age."
Viking's rep, David, met us at airport after we had our bags, walked us to his van, then he drove us to Le Hotel du Collectionneur. Its name means a Collector of Fine Things, not a bill collection person. Our hotel was on Rue Le Courcele. After checking in we walked a half block, then turned left on Hoche and that led to the Champs d'Elysee at the Arc de Triomphe. We walked close to it, took photos, then took our life into our hands to cross the large boulevard. We stopped at the Publicis Drugstore (used to be American Drugstore). No sign of the old glass-enclosed TV with CNN on 24/7 as in 1984 where we heard our first full report in English of what had happened when Reagan bombed Libya during the night. All we knew from the French newspapers was "Ou est Gadhafi?" If you remember that was the question on everyone's lips, "Where is Gadhafi?" after the bombing raid on his palace. Reagan was a president who never hesitated when making decisions. After that raid, although Gadhafi survived, he never gave America any problems so long as Reagan was president.
We enjoyed our long stroll, stopping whenever a bench was available to rest our feet. Never occurred to us that we were both in jetlag city at the time. We walked all the way to Place de Concorde, about a mile from the Arc, and easy to spot because of the tall Obelisk in its middle. We passed the Grand Palais and got a great shot of the horse sculpture atop it. The photo I took also caught the bronze of Gen DeGaulle in full stride, although I didn't realize at the time he was in the photo.
As we approached the Concorde the sky grew threatening behind us. Rain was imminent, so we hurried to find the spot where we had staged the feigned hooker transaction between me and Del 31 years ago in 1984. The wind was kicking up dust and leaves, and a few drops of rain were falling when we found the likely spot. We stopped and begged a brave couple to take our photo. They laughed when they heard what we wanted and shot the photo, but Del's hair was blowing wild and she was looking at camera with a big smile and we knew that we'd do it over if and when we could.
We then ran under cover of the arches and when Del asked about a taxi, I spotted one that had just driven up a few feet away, so we got in and rode back to our Hotel, exhausted. Took a long restful nap till nightfall. That night we walked to La Belle Poule brasserie, named after Paule, a beautiful lady, to whom the name La Belle Poule was given to Napoleon's ship and to three other frigates in four fleets around the world. I had the Norwegian Salmon appetizer and Del the Nicoise Salad. Next to us sat a nice couple from Melbourne, Australia, with whom we conversed. He was originally from Gloucester and they were heading next to England to meet a daughter who flew in from L.A. and they are taking her to his home in Gloucester.
OUR FIRST DAY IN PARIS
Our first breakfast in Paris, was at the Hotel du Collectionneur. The room was Art Deco, a theme which carries through all the hallways with beautiful women paintings by Erte. I heard someone mention that ERTE was an acronym, however, I researched and found that ERTE is how one says "R. T." in French, the initials of his full name, Romain de Tirtoff. Like someone might call me, "R. J.", a name I disliked because of a mean kid in childhood who was called that. I was usually first in the omelet line which had a nice selection of veggies and cheeses plus chopped ham and I learned to ask for "pas de jambons, tout sa" which meant "no ham, everything else". Then I could get myself other fixings and go back and pick up my finished omelet.
We didn't know anyone else at this time, but we met Arnaud the Viking Rep who helped answer our questions and get us lined up for the Marais District walking tour. Our guide was a British gal named Janice, but after being married to a Frenchman and living in Paris for 30 years or so, she was called Jahn'-eese which I will spell Janeese. She was a stand-up comedienne and her jokes and witty sense of humor helped us survive another long walk in a jetlag haze. Outside the hotel we met a delightful couple from Iran. The woman's name was Jaila and she explained what her name meant by giving me an operational definition of our word "dew", a word she was unfamiliar with. Probably dewdrop might be a better translation for the woman's name. She and her husband posed for a photo for me under the golden chariot logo of the hotel outside its entrance.
We followed Janeese outside where she had a Japanese fan she raised over her head to call us to attention. As I look now at the first photo of Janeese, I recognize to her left the foursome who became our frequent companions later aboard ship, Dan and Arline Corcoran and Dennis and Jeanne (Jeenie) Lex. Janeese is the only one of the five who isn't suffering from jetlag. We rode a bus to the Marais District of Paris and our first stop was at the Hotel Sully. "Hotel" was the generic name for "home of" she told us, and this large building was the home of a man named Sully. His residence surrounded a large courtyard with various sculptures adorning the walls. A female Sphinx, which Janeese said was called a Sphinge was resting on the side of to door to the garden. A beautiful pigeon was pecking at the lush green lawn and allowed me to get close enough for several close photos. The phrase "beautiful pigeon" had never appeared in my thoughts or writing before, so far as I can recall.
Victor Hugo Park
We walked next into Victor Hugo Park, not its actual name, but the author of The Hunchback of Notre Dame etal lived for 16 years in a large apartment abutting the square, so the name stuck. A large fountain in the middle of square and a concrete statue of a man on a horse seems to be penetrated by a large tree trunk, an artifact the sculptor used to support the heavy weight of the concrete horse and rider. Leaving the park we encountered a swimming pool which might be the Piscine Molitor that Pi in The Life of Pi got his name from. The generic name for pool in French is Piscine and he didn't like being called Piss in grade school, so he shortened his name to Pi. This Piscine has been converted into an Outlet Stock store, with no sign of its original name. Next courtyard originally belonged to King Henry and the H and C initials in gold cover the black iron entrance gate. The double D's at the bottom is apparently those of Diane his mistress, but to his wife, Catherine of Medici, he gave some bogus story about it being a an H and C. A beautiful sculpted garden maze of boxwood, with flowering and edible plants around the edges, filled the courtyard and in the middle a concrete angel with bare female breasts.
One curious city ordinance of Paris requires that the original names of businesses remain when the business changes hands. One of the famous locations in Paris was Goldenberg's Delicatessen and Janeese stopped to show it to us. The sign is still there as well as its yellow tiled walls, but it is now a female clothing store, I think. Other examples was the green tiled corner which is now a purse shop and the blue-tiled Patisserie. On one shop was an amazing tilted design of medallions with the name Paques — Au souffle du printemps. Another was called Princess Crepe with a large heart-shaped window. Janeese showed us several plaques dedicated to the Jews who lived in the area who were displaced by the Vichy government and sent to concentration camps and many to their death.
We found a colorful green public fountain in which the water dripped straight down and we refilled our Evian bottles from it. We heard the story of the Two Martyrs church. A man was sentenced to die if he did not renounce Christianity. When his brother was asked to do the same, his brother said, "I want to be with my brother", and now sculptures adorn the church dedicated to the two men.
We had the option of accompanying Janeese on the bus back to our Hotel, but decided to walk to Notre Dame nearby. But first we had to continue a tradition Del started when she was traveling all over Louisiana for 15 years or so installing health care plans. She found the most dependable clean restrooms in McDonald's and by retirement, I'd guess she had sat down in nearly every one of their ladies rooms. So when we saw a McDonald's a short walk away, well, it's a tradition, plus there was only a Burger King in 1984, no McD's so we went in. I sat and sipped a coffee while Del went downstairs to the toilette. This day was August 15, the Feast of the Assumption, and the Cathedral would be packed with mass attendees and tourists. We walked past the Paris Beach our guide had told us about. Every summer they add sand to the sides of the Seine River so sunbathers of all ages can enjoy a beach experience without an hours long ride to the seacoast.
Notre Dame Cathedral
As we got close to Notre Dame, the bells were ringing and I took a movie clip of Del and the surrounding area of the Cathedral as the bells rang out. (Listen and View below in first Review.) When Del was born, all the church bells in New Orleans were ringing because FDR had died on that same day, so this is another tradition for Del, from Mc Donalds' to church bells. In the Brasserie next to church, we had a light lunch; Del had a Paris-poorboy, chicken breasts in a baguet, and I had a chocolate crepe. After shooting some photos of the front of Notre Dame, we caught a taxi back to our next stop, Sacre Coeur. Along the way we passed the Golden Statue of Jeanne d'arc near the Place de Concorde and I was able to shoot it from the moving taxi.I wanted to check if it matches the one the people of Paris sent as a gift to our city of New Orleans. My inspection shows ours is the same basic statue as in Paris with a few extras: a golden halo over her head, some cords flying in the breeze alongside the banner.
Sacre Coeur Cathedral
We had the taxi driver drop us at the top of the hill at the foot of steps into the white cathedral. We were not going to walk up the steep steps as we did 31 years earlier. We walked into Sacre Coeur without much a wait. What struck me was how different it was from 1984. We had spent a week and a half in Paris in April and the weather had been cold and rainy every day, and was cloudy on our last day as we walked into the Cathedral. Inside it was dark and a High Mass was in progress. A priest had climbed to a landing above the altar and place a Golden Monstrance containing the sacred Host inside it. The monstrance was taller than the priest. A holy feeling of reverence and awe filled the church. Back then we had walked outside and noticed that the skies had cleared and the sun was shining down on all of Paris which was laid out at our feet!
Back to the future: on this day, inside the church we were part of a cattle herd of tourists filing through the church. When we got outside the skies were cloudy but no rain. Standing by the railing looking down and across to the city, I noticed this 20-something year old gal and asked if I might take her photo. She wanted to know why. I said because she was pretty, and she blushed slightly, and her boyfriend came from out from my side vision and claimed his girl friend, acting as if I were trying to take her away from him. They were from some eastern European country, but he spoke perfect English and looked like a young Tom Cruise. I did take the photo, but the interaction was priceless while the photo was just okay.
Montmartre, Moulin Rouge
Then we walked down into Montmartre, knowing from our previous visit it was downhill all the way to the Moulin Rouge. We came upon a young woman in a period costume playing a accordion whose top half was gold and bottom half was purple, the exact colors of my alma mater, LSU. I took a still of her and a short movie clip followed by a generous tip. The next person we encountered came up to us quickly drawing me in pencil on his sketch pad. I said, "It will only cost you 5 Euros to draw me." At first he thought I was asking for his price for drawing me, so I repeated my demand, and he put away his pad and withdrew. The next person we encountered was a hostess at a restaurant, a lovely dark-eyed brunette whose photo graces the bottom of this Issue.I call this our "grace" photo and select some beautiful face for the honor each month. It was a tough choice this month. We had bought an oil painting in 1984 from an artist from Argentina who lived in Montmartre. It is a treasure to us with a impression of Moulin Rouge on it. We saw no reason to buy another painting on this trip. Nor to have any cheap caricature drawn of either of us.
Continuing down the hill, the long flight of steps are not so formidable when one is walking down them; going up is a bear. At the base of the second such flight, a couple about our age asked for directions to Montemartre. If this had been New Orleans I'd have said walk a couple of blocks in this direction. But I told them, "Take a taxi to Sacre Coeur." I hope they took our suggestion. Next we walked past another famous Paris landmark, Pigalle, and found the way to the Moulin Rouge. It seems to have been spruced up since our previous visit. Some friends on the cruise came to see the show that night and told us it was terrific. Leslie said, "It was like Disneyland with breasts." How apropos.
Park Monceau and Belle Poule Reprise
On the way back to the hotel in a taxi we passed the Golden Gate into Park Monceau and decided to come back for a visit after our long afternoon, jetlag fueled, nap. As we walked through the park, we realized it was a very long park and filled with monuments, trees, flowers, green areas you could actually walk on. (Some of the photos of the park will be included further down in this Issue.) We spent an hour strolling through the park, taking photos, sitting down and resting, and eventually walked back towards hotel. Hungry, we stopped in La Belle Poule for another dinner there. This time we were served by a waiter from St. Maarten who comes to Paris for four months in the summer to work and goes home to Caribbean isle for the rest of the year to enjoy the sun and the sand. He spoke great English and we talked to him a lot. Never thought to mention that we were in St. Maarten at the same time as he back in January! Del ordered a square veggie pizza that we shared and it was maybe the best pizza I ever ate. My order was a eggplant mille-feuille with cheese and a sweet red pepper atop it. It was also delicious and we shared it as well.We were inside on this cooler evening and behind us was a glass wall with shelves on which wine bottles were placed, many dozens of them. What was amazing was that a similar arrangement was attached to the ceiling over our head! A glass wall, shelves on which wine bottles were placed, and obviously securely attached to the shelves to keep them from falling on us. We enjoyed our meal and walked back to our hotel for another long night's rest in the City of Lights.
SECOND DAY IN PARIS
Any masochist would advise that if you want to really beat yourself up, spend the second day of jetlag in Paris at the Louvre. I felt like that masochist after a couple of hours at the Louvre, so I am happy to pass that tidbit of information along to you.
What a difference 31 years make! The Japanese people were too busy trying to put Detroit automakers out of business back then to fill every bit of space in tourist spots such as Gaudi's Cathedral, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, the Versailles Palace, and the Louvre. After wading through several thousand Japanese tourists in the Louvre just to view the Mona Lisa, I told Del that the next time we come I will bring along a Jet Ski to plow through the Sea of Japan! Thankfully the Japanese were polite and not pushy.
Following Arnaud's advice, Del got us advance tickets and we planned to catch a taxi from our hotel at 8:30 am to get in line by the 9 am opening of the museum. Well, as Rahby Burns wrote, "The best laid plans of mice and men gang aft agly!" There were no taxis in front of the hotel and no one could promise there would ever be one, offering only excuses. So we took off walking down Hoche in the direction of the Arc de Triomphe where I expected there would taxis, and we never made it more than a half block down Hoche when I spotted a taxi in front of a hotel. We went over, got in, and got to the Louvre before it opened. We waited in front of I.M. Pei's famous glass pyramid which serves as the new entrance to the museum. I couldn't help but think of our first visit in 1984. There was a brasserie across the street from the entrance back then and I had to make an urgent nature stop which would involve sitting down in a small room. I walked in, down the stairs and the woman attendant relieved me of 7 francs (about a dollar back then), and admitted to my small room of personal convenience.I was dressed in a suit and tie (why, I don't recall), and as I walked into the stall, all I saw was a hole in the floor! For that I paid seven francs! I thought. Well, there went my plans for a pleasant sitdown, replaced by a very uncomfortable squat! Standing there in front of the new pyramid was a darn sight more comfortable than my little adventure prior to my first entrance into the Louvre!
I looked to my right and there was Louis XIV, the Sun King, rearing back on his horse, frozen in time and space. Across from the pyramid was a similar arch to the Arc de Triomphe, this one with blue horses and golden goddess on its top. Finally we walked into the museum and found the rest rooms. Took nearly an hour for us to get into the pyramid and down to public space. Then we started walking and found ourselves walking around the foundations for the original castle from which the Louvre was built. The maze on the wooden walkway never seemed to end. We took the first elevator to get out of there, but it only went up one floor and we didn't want to be there either. We found another elevator and it only went down, so with chagrin, we gutted it out and walked back past the same foundations we'd seen before. With jetlag dogging our heels we decided to head for the Mona Lisa. We walked through the art-filled floor she resided on, back and forth, and finally had to ask directions, which went like this, "Oh, she's on a side room." So we found her and her 3,000 Japanese admirers. This was where the jet ski would have been useful. Splish, Splash, and a rev of the motor and within seconds we'd have been in front of dear ole Mona with her enigmatic smile, probably due to some medieval irritable bowel syndrome or whatever they called that ever-popular female malady back then.
Got the photo and we were like, out of here! Tuilieries Garden, here we come. We saw a chance to walk through the Gardens to the Place du Concorde and take a good shot of what my good friend Kevin Dann referred to as "Bobby and Del's lamp post eurythmy".
The Tuileries Garden and Place du Concorde
Here was a fabled place we'd heard of, the Tuileries Garden, but never made it to back in 1984. Plus it led us to our photo spot on a nice sunny day with no clouds in sight. With any luck, we can then walk to the Eiffel Tower. How easy it is for visitors to Paris to underestimate how far monuments are from each other. Hey, there's the Tower! Let's walk there! Yeah, sure. So we began a lovely walk through the garden. Unfortunately the garden portion is as protected from visitors as the Mona Lisa or the Winged Victory in the Louvre. All walking had to be done on hard rock gravel. No walking on the grass. Poor Les Miles, he'd starve in the Tuileries with no chance to nosh on a blade of grass as is his wont.
We saw the Louvre Eye (Ferris Wheel) with the Tuileries Garden in the foreground. One beautiful female nude was portrayed with large dog looking like a bloodhound. Took me about ten minutes to notice the dog. There was another one with a beautifully shaped bottom and no dog. Statue of Theseus beating up on the poor Minotaur.We just kept walking past Julius Caesar's statue toward the gold-tipped Obelisk that the French had rescued from being ignored by the Egyptians and erected in the Place de Concorde to be ignored by the French and adored by the Japanese. We'd heard that there was inscription on the gold plate on the tip of the Obelisk, but my camera with its 30X optical zoom quickly revealed the absence of any writing on the gold plate. Not wishing to be obsessive, I only checked one of plates. I was a little disappointed by the few flowers that were in the garden. Most of their flowers were ones we have around here. So I didn't take many flower photos, mostly statuary shots, I knew that Monet's gardens in Giverny lay in our immediate future and there would be flowers for all.
We walked around a large cement rimmed pond in the middle of the path and some statues bracing the entrance to the Concorde plaza. One statue was on Pegasus and he was blowing a horn while riding side-saddle. I aligned my camera to make it appear that he was blowing a cloud out from his skinny horn. His partner equestrian on the other side of the gateway was apparently the god Mercury, also sitting side-saddle and holding a caduceus in his right hand.
The ornate lamp posts inside the Concorde plaza are a deep green with gold trim. Didn't count how many of these amazing posts, but there were at least six of them. Also about four large concrete tombs, each topped by some goddess.
Finally here was our chance to shoot a reprise of our 1984 photo. We aligned ourselves and assumed the poses in our cell phones of the first shot. We were dressed differently, a few years older it seemed, and the money in my hand was Euros, not francs. Thanks to a cooperative stranger we got the money shot we wanted! Then we started our walk toward the Eiffel Tower in the background.
The Seine River and the Eiffel Tower
We crossed the bridge which leads directly to the National Assembly and turned right to walk along the Seine River to the tower. We saw boats carrying passengers going by in the river below us as we walked. As we approached the Grand Palais from the other side of the river, there was a beautiful white bridge with gold trim and ornate golden statues at the four corners of the bridge. One of the statues was of a nude female brandishing a sword while trying to control her horse who was spooking and rearing up. Got a great shot of the green statuary group of the Grand Palais. To our left was the immense Hotel des Invalides, now Napoleon's burial place and a home for retired soldiers. We switched to an interior street away from the Seine, taking the Rue de l'Universite and stopping at a small café for some refreshment, called La Poule au Pot. There was that Poule name again. We asked the waitress if she had heard of La Belle Poule and she said that several friends asked her about the place, thinking she worked there. We saw some interesting buildings with sculpted faces on the facade beneath the third floor balconies.
We turned a corner and there down the middle of a narrow neighborhood street was the Eiffel Tower going up into the sky. I took several photos as we walked along the tower's legs. I took a photo of the sea of people under the tower. The Champs de Mars was like the Champs de Japan. We continued our walk around the tower, taking photos and aiming for the main street where we might find a taxi back to our hotel. When we arrived there, we took a long nap and when we awoke, we headed down to La Belle Poule, knowing there was still a few items on the menu we had not tried.Dennis and Jeanne came with us. Del finally had the salmon entre and I tried a noodles and shrimp dish called Thai Pad which I enjoyed, wiping the bowl clean actually. Tomorrow we will move to our boat somewhere on the outskirts of Paris. We were expecting to be docked at the base of the Eiffel Tower, allowing us full view for a couple of nights of the night-time lights, but it seems that the Paris officials were dragging their feet about approving the license for Viking to dock there. It was the only disappointment about our Viking experience.
WELCOME ABOARD THE VIKING RINDA
The next day found us checking out of the Hotel du Collectionneur, which meant saying goodbye to all the beautiful Erte ladies which greeted us in the halls every morning, to the wonderful garden in the courtyard, to the chef who knew how I wanted my omelette fixed with a minimum of words. Del and I spend time after we had everything packed, walking through the garden which we had only seen and admired through our window. The wonderful fountain held up by three mermaids, the greenery, and the three beautiful roses of red, yellow, and lavender.
Then we said goodbye to Arnaud and got on the bus for transfer to our longship docked far outside of Paris in a small town called Saint-Germain-en-Laye. The "en-Laye" means in the forest and it was in the forest that King Henry the Fourth, Henri Quartre, or Henri IV built an old castle which our French guide insisted was called "Castle Old" as if we didn't know how to say Lake Michigan, putting the adjective Michigan after the noun Lake. Yes, there was a "Castle New" built but it was destroyed before being completed, leaving only ruins and a building now used as a restaurant, Pavilion Henri IV. We walked to the end of a long concourse of green to a spot on the edge of the property which overlooked Paris and showing the great road which went all the way to Versailles in a straight line. I didn't overlook the ripe blackberries at the edge of the fenced area and enjoyed about a couple. It was very tempting to climb over the fence to grab some more out of reach, but picking blackberries and having people concerned about my falling would have ruined their taste. Climbing along a cliff is best done alone, for safety. In the distance as I ate my blackberries, I could see the Montparnasse Tower on the right and the Eiffel Tower of Paris on the left at the horizon, but everything between them was hidden behind a slight rise in the ground.
Our guide took us into the Old Castle, showing us the reconstructed courtyard and the attached chapel. The chapel's internal architecture reminded me very much of the Ritterkapelle in Hassfurt, Germany, but lacked the pristine appearance of that elegant free-standing church which is still in use. This one's rose window's stained glass was removed when the castle had an new addition built and a wall covered the window. After the tour was over, we decided to walk back to the Rinda with Dennis and Jeanne, down the long descending stairs. Along the way we were greeted by flowers lining the streets and houses. Later as we sat in the Rinda's lounge for a daily briefing there was a beautiful red cluster of some tropical plant which I photographed and graces this issues Table of Contents.
We blew off the offered 5 PM bus ride to the Grand Palais, that place was palais'ed out for me and Del, having seen it from both ends on three or four occasions already. We stayed on board, unpacked, and relaxed till dinner. Well, until the mandatory Safety Drill had us donning our evening attire of bright orange vests with a red whistle hanging, an attire which made no one look attractive, but it was soon over and we found ourselves a table in the restaurant. I aimed for the far left end of the restaurant, next to the kitchen where the food comes out first, and the waiter has only a little way to walk to fetch some special request. Unfortunately my way was blocked to the table by the only other two people in the restaurant area, two little old ladies being slowly escorted to our table. Maudits! I commandeered the nearest table and for the rest of the cruise one of us went down early to hold our table. We became part of a sixsome with Dennis, Jeanne, Dan, and Arline and very much enjoyed each other's company at dinner and the after dinner activities. On this night, three opera singers performed for us in the Lounge after dinner. They entertained us with Carmen and other pieces. The Puccino aria filled me with chills as it was sung.The next day was a time of relaxation aboard the Rinda for us. No trips back into Paris. I carried a book to read up to the top deck and there was only one other person there, so I went over to say hi, and John Flynn and I talked for about 2 hours.He is a farmer in Minnesota, grows hay, alfalfa, raises quarter horses, and stays busy all the time. He grew up in Wisconsin and spoke about working in a cheese factory there when he was in college. His wife Jo Anne was with him, but couldn't do much walking, so they were also staying on the ship today. We met John and Jo Anne later on the Monet House tour and other places. At night we dressed for the Captain's Toast and stayed to listen to Michael Bright explain how to speak some key French phrases. Michael as Program Director and Carlos as Maitr'D have so much fun together, it makes fun for everybody, even infects the servers at the tables, like Milen from Bulgaria and Mike from Hungary, to name a few. We set sail around 7 pm, next stop is Vernon and Monet's Home and Gardens in Giverny.
Took bus to Giverny and Impressionist artist Claude Monet's home and large elaborate gardens and ponds. Met Jack and Rita from Kingwood, she originally from Germany.
Took 210 photos of Monet's gardens, house, and flowers during our time there. Tried to avoid the French guide as much as possible. I told Del during a break that she had probably gone to get her vocal cords re-tightened for the next part of our tour. We walked past the stream now called Aueduc des Moines which Monet diverted into his property to create the living ponds upon which the waterlily plants floated and bloomed. Few were blooming on this day. We saw a field with haystacks which Monet painted in various kinds of light. When he painted his 30+ photos of the Cathedral of Rouen, he painted it during different times of the day and year to capture it in various color schemes. He seemed to be enchanted by the possibilities of colors that he could see and re-create from his palette and brush. He created the gardens with as many different flowers as he could collect. Some of the gardens are natural with flowers winding around a pond, others were squares in which flowers of a certain color were planted.There is a white garden, a red garden, a yellow garden, and several other varieties. He build gently arched bridges over the streams, archways to hold flowering vines, and lined his walkways and ponds with weeping willow trees. The side entrance to his home was covered with an Australian kiwi vine that was full of kiwi fruit.
This day was a gardener and flower lover's delight. We found apples growing on his apple trees, not quite ripe yet. There was a large stand of bamboo which grew along the stream. There were huge dahlias in colors from light pink to dark blue, each bloom as large as a child's head, all in colors so bright they made me want to say, Hello Dahlia!
Monet's house is also a treasure. A walk back in time to a simpler era. His paintings and artwork filled the walls. It is truly a living museum, and through each second floor window you could look out into his wonderful gardens. Just take a seat on the window sill and enjoy the view. Downstairs there is a yellow kitchen and blue kitchen. The yellow one seems more like a dining room and the blue has white and blue tiles over the wall and the large stoves. Outside were some chickens and a white turkey. In a shady area outside the large gift shop, you could sit and enjoy the shade while waiting for the rest rooms to become free.
For lunch on board: a Taste of Normandy, fabulous mussels and hot soup. French accordion player entertained us. Arlene and Dan joined us later. Dennis and Jeanne ate upstairs. Took a nice long nap to recover from a long morning of walking
That evening we went to the Explorer Cocktail party in Aquavit Lounge and sipped Viking Owner Hagen's twice across Equator Aqua Vite. A game called the Liar's club was the evening fare and Dennis, Jeanne, Del, and I formed Les Bastards as our Normandy theme group and we won! Got all four guesses on which of the three stories were true, not so much true, but which one revealed the right definition of the word chosen, bellibone, nepethene were two of them. We were the only team with 4 right answers, a perfect score and we won a bottle of champagne which we gave to Dennis and Jeanne.
JEANNE d'ARC CITY OF ROUEN
Sailed into Rouen today. Passed under a single-arched suspension bridge made of concrete. Passed a campfire near some tents on the river bank and a man was waving at us. Our Program Director Michael Bright, called "Notso" Bright by Carlos in jest, gave a talk on the life of Joan of Arc in the morning. Then we docked in Rouen and went on a walking tour of the town in the afternoon. We saw the hillside carved in earlier times by the Seine river ans spotted a large white swan standing on the bank of the river, but he didn't wave.
Our guide was a native French speaker but with a lower range voice that was much easier on my ears, plus she was interesting. Took the steps up the Rouen bridge after pointing out that the concrete sculpture showed Robert de La Salle on one side and the Viking Rollo who explored Normandy on the other side. . Robert de La Salle explored the Mississippi and claimed all the land drained by it for his King and naming it Louis-iana after him. Some 700 years before La Salle was born in Rouen, a Viking named Rollo explored Normandy and claimed all its land for himself naming his himself Robert I, King of Normandy. Rollo as part of the peace pact with the rest of France was required to become Christian and change his name to Robert. In one swell foop, I was able to show that my name Robert came from a Christian, a King, and a Viking. Not bad for one small trip on the Seine River.
On our cruise was Jeanne Lex whose son is into genealogy and, knowing she was visiting Rouen, sent her a complete lineage, a jeannieology you might say, of her ancestors which went up some 30 generations to Rollo the Viking who became King Robert I of Normandy. As I inspected the lineage starting from Rollo, I found that his wife's name was Adele, and his son Robert II wife's name was Adela, as well as Robert I of Flanders whose wife was Adela. Adele and I have been married for 37 years and this is the first I've heard of any other couple named Robert and Adele and these go back to the Tenth Century. As we toured through the Rouen cathedral we stopped to view Rollo aka Robert I's tomb. To its side was a similar tomb for Richard I, the Lionhearted. After 11 centuries it was time for this Robert to visit his namesake's tomb. Since I have lived all but ten years of my life within a mile of the Mississippi River, it was nice to visit Rouen where another namesake, Robert de La Salle, who explored the length of this great river. I hope to recreate that Robert's voyage when we cruise on a Viking Longship from New Orleans to St. Paul, Minnesota in a couple of years.
On our tour of Rouen when we came upon a café named "Holy Cow" I guessed that our guide didn't know why the exclamation mark was there, so I explained to her that it was a common expression of amazement and demonstrated to her how someone says it in America. She might decide to impart that information to her next tour. She was by far the best female tour guide we had after we left Paris and Janeese. The best overall was Bruno, our male tour guide, who assets and performance I will discuss, dear Reader, when we reach Versailles together. There was nearby to the café a colorful fruit vendor with its wares on display, including some yellow bananas, and I could kick myself for not buying some bananas to take back to our stateroom to eat on the boat. Viking never served any bananas and had none available on the breakfast buffet. I heard someone say you could ask for a banana, so I asked Mike and the banana he brought me might be ripe as I type these notes a week later. It was solid green.We saw lots of half-timbered houses, one that had a noticeable lean to the left but all the windows were plumb, so it must have been reinforced to prevent further leaning. There was even one house with a checkerboard pattern. Our guide took us into a medieval graveyard that had no graves per se but instead was a repository for the bones of those who died in Rouen. It was built in the middle of the city looking ever so much like an Alms house or old apartment building with a green courtyard in the middle. The guide recounted how they eventually buried the bones in the middle of the courtyard and made the building into a school for children and in modern times it recently served as an art academy. On the protruding vertical timbers one can still see the carved skulls and crossed bones from its cemetery days.
Our tour guide showed us a bourdaloue for sale in a shop window. This was a handy gadget which allowed elegant ladies to remain in church for the hours long sermons of Father Francis Bourdaloue. She would slip it under her petticoat, urinate, and then hand it to a servant to dispose of its liquid contents discreetly. One might wonder about these ladies' underpants, might not one? Well, I often wondered why the Can-Can dances were supposed to be so naughty when I was younger, after all, you could only see the white petticoats, right? Then I discovered that panties are a modern invention and the original Can-Can dancers did not wear panties as was the custom for all ladies of the time. Even with the layers of dress and petticoats a sexual union could be consummated in those days in a few minutes in a dark hallway or alley without removing any clothing at all!Compare that to our so-called sexually liberated modern times with so much female anatomy visible, but some anatomy otherwise inaccessible for quick trysts because of such modern conventions as panty hose and underpants. Today's ladies would have a problem using the bourdaloue that ladies of Fr. Bourdaloue's time clearly did not.
The tour guide made a big deal about the Big Clock, but it seemed rather tame to me. Sure, it had scene which portrayed the god associated with each day of the week. We saw the clock on Thursday, August 20, 2015 and there is Jupiter in a carriage by two Eagles. By Jove, isn't that Jupiter? We say Thursday en Francais, Jeudi, or Jove's Day. I suppose it was Big Deal in the centuries before Smart Phones were in everyone's hands. Hey, can you believe I saw someone who had his cell phone in his pocket the other day and he was actually looking straight ahead!
We went last to the site where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake. She was abandoned by the king whose crown she made possible.The English trumped up charges of witchery against her and allowed her to escape burning by recanting, but Joan burned inside so strongly that she took back her confession which forced them to burn her at the stake. The English got rid of the physical body of the Maid of Orleans who soundly defeated them, but because of her indominable Spirit, they were forced to retreat forever from France in a decade or so. Without Joan, there would likely be no France, no French language in the world today. She truly saved her country!
No one is sure today of the exact location of her pyre but it is somewhere between the tall cross installed to the side of the new Joan of Arc Church and the house with the Gold Crown with the Fleur de Lis across the square. We went into a shop which offered the Tears of Joan of Arc for sale, in French, Les Larmes de Jeanne d'Arc, which I intend to present to Capt. Kirk of the Krewe of Jeanne d'Arc at our next meeting.
After dinner we went to Lounge to hear our master musician Jivko. I asked him if he could play "Orchids in the Moonlight" and he said he wasn't familiar with it. So I Googled it and showed him the score.He wrote down the name and by the next night he had learned to play the song. I discovered that it's a tango composed by Richard Meyer. Del and I danced to it the very next night before the dance contest.
D-DAY NORMANDY BEACHES
First stop was in Arromances where the D-Day Museum is located and the site of the building of Mulberry B by the Royal Engineers. When Churchill sent a crew to take the harbor at Cherbourg and they failed miserably, he responded, "If we cannot capture a harbor, we'll have to build one." and immediately directed the building in secret of large floating concrete structures which could be towed across the English Channel and installed on the Normandy beaches to provide for off-loading of war material once the beaches were secured by Allied troops.These portable dock pieces were constructed behind some mulberry trees in England and thus the name given to them. Remnants of the original Mulberry-B docks remain in the area. The other Mulberry-A docks were destroyed while being placed, but the B docks were built and key to the Allied offensive against German troops in France and Germany.
I walked out to the beach and was able to take a photo inside one of the floating docks. They were tilted and had green plants, algae or grass, growing on them. Out to sea some of the docks remain in place. A model of the docks and how they would be used is in the Musee du Debarquement or D-Day Museum in Arromanches. We visited the museum, looked over the artillery pieces in place, and assembled for lunch at the 6 Juin Restaurant in the small beach town. There remain only a couple of large houses which were used as German headquarters until taken over by Allied forces.
After lunch we drove along the beach for several miles to Omaha Beach and watched the swimmers and sunbathers enjoying a pleasant summer outing on the beach. We stopped at the USA Memorial and took part in singing The Star-Spangled Banner and listening to a dedication. The centerpiece of the memorial was a young man about the age of many of our soldiers on D-Day, standing naked like a Greek warrior with his arms in the air in a gesture of Joy. The ceremony ended with the playing of Taps. (Click at Left to hear.) Afterwards we were given time on our own to walk among the 10,000 graves marked by white crosses. President Truman gave the survivors the choice of whether their son would be returned to the States for burial and be buried here. About half chose to allow the loved ones to be buried here. A woman gave each of us a long-stemmed rose to place at a grave. I didn't know anyone buried here, so I began walking among the white crosses on their unmarked side. When I noticed that fact, I walked around to the side where the names were visible, thinking I would put the rose leaning against the first name I saw. The name was Robert. Robert E. Engle, PFC 377 FA BN 101 ABN DIV Pennsylvania died June 6, 1944. Del stayed behind and I walked alone, trying to stay as far away from groups of people talking as possible. An adult and a child was sure to be talking so I avoided them. I walked to the far edge of the cemetery and into the small chapel there. Then I skirted the cemetery along the sea coast side for a bit before walking back. There was a pond near the Memorial with one water lily abloom among the green pads.
Our buses returned us to the Rinda docked in Rouen and we ate supper. We heard from people who had gone to the Cathedral light show (Click at Right to see and hear.) the previous night that it was worth seeing, but it seemed a long walk up hill to get to the show. I asked the Concierge to get us a taxi, but none were available, so we decided to walk. She said it was a straight walk up the street closest to the boat. Dan and Arline decided to accompany us. As it turned out, the street was mostly level and it was only a short walk to the Cathedral. When we got to the square, there was no where to sit, but it was only a short time till the show began. Once it began we were transfixed. We found it was easier to see and follow the show on the gigantic Cathedral while standing. The light show began with a huge Harry Potter-style snake crawling across the entire face of the cathedral, scaring those people sitting down close the bottom of the building.Sound filled the air, movie scores matching the changing scenes, men climbing up the cathedral at one point to invade it, people gathering in one corner cheering, clashing of men with swords fighting each other, darkening silence, and dawning with the chirping of birds flying in and out of the building during the morning scene. Always the cathedral was there, donning colorful costumes and undergoing complete destruction several times, always to resurrect better than ever. Never have I seen a show on such a large screen where the screen itself was the star of the show!
LES ANDELYS AND RICHARD'S FORTRESS
On we sailed to the lovely village of Les Andelys for a walk up to Richard the Lionhearted's Fortress, the Chateau Gaillard which he built in the 12th Century. It was once an impregnable bastion against the forces of the French King Philip Augustus who sought to get to Rouen via the Seine River. Not until after Richard's death could the French finally take the fortress through its weakest part by soldiers climbing up through its latrine chute of the Chapel and taking over the long besieged castle. Today it sits atop the hill overlooking this quaint village of half-timbered houses, a testimony to the strength of will of Richard, its roofs gone, its walls remaining and its ground playing hosts to tourists enjoying the view of the Seine and the story of one of the last bastions of the English on the continent and the man who built it, King Richard, the duke of Normandy, duke of Aquitaine, duke of Gascony, lord of Cyprus, count of Anjou, count of Maine, count of Nantes, overlord of Brittany, leader of the Third Crusade, was known as Coeur de Lion, the Heart of a Lion and now his heart is buried in his tomb in the Rouen Cathedral in a tomb and the rest of his body in the Fontevraud Abbey in the Anjou Loire Valley. A lot of history for a big pile of rocks.
It was a steep walk up the fortress, as we were warned, but it was a beautiful clear day, the air was slightly cool, and I walked at my own pace allowing our guide Claude to huff and puff his way ahead (I could hear him in Vox earphones), while I was stopping to take photos along the way and to breath easily. There was a Medieval garden on the side of the path, a house with beautiful flowers, an old Tower, a house with unusual full sized chickens that looked like puffy chicks, and a bantam rooster, dark black with a striking red comb. Plus flowers of many kinds and a delicious treat: tiny blackberries, all these mostly missed by the rushing guide and his obedient minions. The view of the Seine and the old town from the fortress prominence was worth the trip up. With my 30X zoom and the clear air, I got a great shot of the Sun Deck of the Rinda from above. Notice how the pilot's wheelhouse sits on hydraulic arms which can lower it almost to the level of the Sun Deck to allow passage under low bridges at high tides.
The dance floor was never as full for so long as it was on the Blue Suede Shoes Night in the Lounge. Michael and Carlos were at their best. They had selected about six or seven songs and each team of guests had to guess which songs would bring the most people to the dance floor. I thought of several songs that were crowd pleasers but not on the list, but our Portugese Duo had them up their sleeve to insert in between the contest songs. These were the Chicken Dance and the Macarena, and maybe another one or so. We started with Strangers in the Night, Tea for Two Cha Cha, then Achy, Breaky Heart (to the Electric Glide or was is Slide? Never knew the name of the dance, but it's a must at most weddings). When Beer Barrel Polka started, I noticed that Josie, who danced the Latin songs so beautifully with her husband Bal, was going to sit this one out. I grabbed her and she protested she didn't know how to polka. "It's easy," I said, "you just jump up and down to the beat." With that much instruction we both began jumping up and down and singing together, "Roll out the barrel, we'll have a barrel of fun! Roll out the barrel, we've got the blues on the run. Sing out a song of good cheer, Roll out the Barrel cause the Gang's all here!" and soon enough we were doing the polka like pros. The tempo hardly slowed down as we segued into Macarena, the Chicken Dance, and the rest of the songs on the list. Our team didn't win, but maybe we came in second because we each received a stem of champagne from the waiter afterwards.Our master musician Jivko once more amazed me by his ability to move between these various song and dance numbers in the various tempos, from foxtrot, to disco, to polka, to Latin salsa, to rock and roll, so quickly. After tromping uphill and downhill all afternoon, it was amazing that our feet could still dance the night away and keep the dance floor filled for an hour or so. Who counted the number of people dancing, I couldn't tell as many of the Rinda crew members were dancing themselves. Maybe the bartender Zoltan or Denese the identical twins did it because they were behind the bar. Whew! Just the memory of the night can take my breath away. . .
VERSAILLES, THE SEA OF JAPAN REDUX
Bruno was our hero today as our guide to the Golden Disneyland, Versailles. His well-modulated male voice was a welcome relief from the female French guides. Like Disneyland, Versailles has large crowds waiting to get in and lots of things to see and enjoy. Main difference is these buildings were built for an actual palace not a fairy tale one. Walt Disney and Louis XIV both had visions of a palace that people would want to come to visit and to remember them by, and both were immensely successful. Even Carlos joined us on the tour with his girl friend.Bruno pointed out the Double L design which appeared under the gold crown and in many other places as a decoration. The three fleur de lis emblems and the face surrounded with sun beams were two other ubiquitous designs which proclaimed that this was the house of the Sun King.
Del and I had visited Versailles back in 1984, taking a train and bus here and walking into the palace just the two of us, no guide except for the small map they gave us. There were only 10% of the people back then that we encountered on this day thirty-one years later. I had seen Versailles once and didn't want to go through it again, especially surfing the waves of the Sea of Japan to see it, but Del wanted to go and I saw an opportunity to take some photos this time. Having a tour guide was helpful. Bruno used his Viking creds to get us quickly into the palace and he knew where to go. And after waiting for about an hour to get in the gate, many of us had to go.
Our next stop was to view the small but elaborately decorated chapel when Louis XIV went to Mass each morning. From there we saw statues, portraits, and ceiling murals which were spectacular. The day was warming up a bit and the crowds in every room made them a bit stuffy, so the cool fresh air coming in from an occasional open window was delightful as was the unobstructed view of the gardens the open windows afforded.
In the Hall of Mirrors, I arranged a photo in which Del's right hand appears to be holding up the large golden candelabra. (See photo at left)
Louis XIV ruled France from his bed. After he had eaten breakfast and attended Mass, he sat up in his bed and held court. People who wanted his help, stood at the golden railing across the front of his bed, and pled their case to him. This was the origin of the presence of a bar in a courtroom which separates the Judge from the defendants and their attorneys. In England, attorneys are separated by job function into barristers who appear in court, and solicitors who handle all outside of court legal issues. Bar-risters are those who plead at the bar.
There was one room where a painting had been removed to be restored and in its place was a bare wall of roughly hewn stone. The paintings were considered part of the wall when the palace was designed and not something to be hung over a finished wall later.
In the Hall of Mirrors, Bruno asked our group of about twenty guests to arrange ourselves in two lines facing each other, except he asked me to stand by him while the two lines formed. He explained that this was the way the King would greet visitors to his palace. He would walk down the center of the two lines of people and look at each one, while those in the lines were to look down slightly as the King passed. Then he appointed me to be the King and to walk down the lines. One subject, Rick, raised his hand to do a high five, and I, as King, demurred, expressing a slight disdain to his discourteous behavior. Bruno had explained that anyone who displeased the King during this ritual could be summarily executed. So, after my regal stroll, I told Rick that I had to let him keep his head because the guillotine had not yet been invented in Louis XIV's time. Someone asked how it felt to be King for 15 minutes, and I replied, "You mean to be acknowledged as a King for 15 minutes." We all laughed. As we completed the tour of the inside of the Palace, we said goodbye to Bruno, and had only a half-hour left to stroll through the Gardens. These famous manicured gardens were filled with flowering plants, but many of the individual flowers we had seen already. For lushness and variety, no garden anywhere could top Monet's gardens. For elegance of design and statuary, no garden could top Versailles gardens.I took photos of many of the statues, L'hiver, L'ete, and L'automne but I couldn't find L'printemps, had they omitted Spring among the four seasons of the year, I wondered. Perhaps I missed it, but it was certainly out of the sequence of the other three statues. The red clusters of cleomes offered me a chance to get a shot with them raising their red blooms above the roof of the Palace itself. Our cleomes self-seed each year and offer late summer color in various places in our garden with minimal effort on our part, treating us like a royalty by doing all the work of beauty for us.
In the Neptune pool I saw large fish and apparently one of them was doing a little French past-time known as cherchez la femme as he was chasing another fish. A young man about 11 or so, with the large white letters spelling Italia on his dark blue shirt, had climbed upon an empty plinth and was imitating a Greek warrior pose. An elegant older lady with gray hair was assuming the pose of the bare-breasted L'air statue. I took her photo and afterwards commented that I think you might be a bit over dressed for your pose. It was all in fun and she chuckled, saying in her best black slang, "You don' wanna see dese."
We left Versailles to the long drive on the bus back to the Rinda to finish packing for our trip home early the next morning. Del decided that she wanted to go on the Paris by night tour to see the Eiffel Tower do its fabulous light show. This was a light show we were expecting to see from our ship docking at the foot of the Champs de Mars in the Seine, and I didn't want to spend time in a bus with some female tour guide with newly re-tightened vocal cords blasting into my ears from an overhead loudspeaker on a bus. Plus taking photos at any time of day through bus windows ain't no fun, and at night, it's a ridiculous endeavor. Bus drivers won't stop and open the door so a photographer can take a picture. Del brought back night photos from her tour and I'll share one of the Eiffel Tower lit up somewhere in this issue.
When she returned to our Stateroom, we completed packing the clothes, leaving out only those we will wear on the flight home the next day and went to bed.
Our flight home went well after a lot of confusion about how to get our bags checked. We were booked on Delta but flew Air France in and out of Paris via Atlanta. We arrived at DeGaulle and were dumped at the gate outside and had to haul our luggage to Delta and their rep sent us all the way across the concourse to Air France whose rep directed us to Delta after examining our tickets! Who were we to believe. We headed back to Delta, but stopped to talk to this young man in an Air France uniform and he took care of things directing us to a short line only 30 feet away. Viking Cruise lines dumped at the gate and into this confusion, so no thanks to them. Since both Air France and Delta were confused, we can only thank that young man and our Guardian Angel who directed us to stop and ask him for help.
AND SO IT GOES
The last week of the month required me to proof my descriptions of 1200 photos processed on the trip, most of them in the tiny, tiny type font of Print Shop. I will endeavor to include as many as possible of the scenes I mentioned above. If I miss you that you'd like to see, I will send to you if you'll write me.Then I had to write up my Personal Notes of the Paris Trip and Cruise, only some of which I had the time to record during the fun activities of the cruise. All this I had to do while recovering from reverse jetlag which caused me to be fully awake at 2 am each morning. On one morning I got up at 2 am and worked till about 2 pm non-stop on writing and placing photos into the notes of my trip. It's August 31st now as I type these final notes and prepare then proofing of DW159 before sailing it off into the ethers like a paper airplane, but one made of recycled electrons. Hope you like what you find when my e-missive floats down into your open hands.IMPORTANT MESSAGE:
EVERY GOOD THING MUST COME TO A NEW BEGINNING
For the past 31 days, August has been hot with some showers, again never exceeding 100 degrees on a single day, but anything over 96 seems to bring the wimps out of the woodwork, complaining about how hot it is.. By the end of August, our okra is gone, our grape tomatoes finished, and we still have some eggplants growing and being harvested. Today I picked most of them to make a CRESH (Crawfish, Eggplant, Shrimp) for us, first homemade meal since returning from our Viking Cruise in France. Yesterday morning I went outside at 8:30 and it was 75 degrees, never got over 78 all day. A blessed early Fall cold front slipped by the censors and cooled us down. Yes, I read where July was the hottest July ever in the whole world. (I doubt it was hot in southernmost Australia in July.) My ECHO Tiller is due back from its tune-up in a week and I will the mulch bed and the Truck Garden and make it ready to be planted again. Our LSU fig tree is working on its breba crop due for harvest in December. Till we meet again at the end of September, 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 waning part of the year:
MAY YOUR WORLD REMAIN PEACEFUL AND SERENE IN TWENTY-FIFTEEN
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Quotes Selected from quotes.htm this month are shown with page numbers from The Library of American Emerson's Journal, Volume 1, reviewed separately below:
- A ship is a prison with the chance of being drowned.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (American Writer, philosopher, and poet.) in his Journal (page 220)
- Let not your virtue be of the written or spoken sort but of the practised.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (American Writer, philosopher, and poet.) in his Journal (page 116)
- The lower the tone you take the more flexible your voice is.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (American Writer, philosopher, and poet.) in his Journal (page 116)
- Good books have always a prolific atmosphere about them & brood upon the spirit.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (American Writer, philosopher, and poet.) in his Journal (page 116)
- A poem is made up of thoughts each of which filled the whole sky of the poet in its turn.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (American Writer, philosopher, and poet.) in his Journal (page 339)
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
The Game Plan
First you train 11-year-olds on video games,
Hone their reflexes on GALAGA,
STARWARS, and DONKEY KONG
An endless stream of quarters clinking,
Lighting up the faces of the screens
and the faces of the dancers
with the screens.
Then you design smart weapon systems
with electronic video interfaces
And recruit the kids now grown
and send them into battle against kids
who grew up chasing camels
for fun and games.
2. Chapter: Hyacinths
Wheels Of The Chariot
The chariot requires two wheels
Spinning in contact with the ground.
Both left and right the driver feels,
The coupling makes the world go round.
The artist at least two colors
To harmonize figure and ground;
Without contrast distinction blurs,
Difference makes the world go round.
The composer at least two notes
To generate a major chord;
Or be just like the one who dotes:
A poet with only one word.
So enjoy the good and the bad
The fun and the un-fun you've had.
Like the wheels of the chariot,
They balance you wher'er you go.
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, VIII
Some say I should have written this in my youth
But that was before my time —
Besides I was being preoccupied at the time,
And the flaw in the ointment
Was that I took offense
At every work I did.
But now I know
You can’t give
Until you get rid of —
Especially if you have a mind like a memory.
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
Pain and Death
are my friends
They guard the boundaries of the acres
given to me to roam
And nudge me gently
If I stray too
far from home.
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).
Mind's Fruit"What tree grows the fruit that suddenlyThink of a fruit.
appears in mind's basket?" Jane Roberts
What fruit came to your mind?
What came to my mind was the thought of "peach."
Where did the thought of "peach" come from?
Think of your friend,
let's call him Joe,
how does he know how to respond
to you differently than to other folks?
Joe does to you
whatever the Joe part inside of you
does to you when you think of Joe.
Joe does whatever that part does inside of you
because that's where Joe gets the idea
of what to do, from.
Thus are individuals' minds connected
into the multi-dimensional plenum we call God.
Thoughts are like dishes at a banquet,
served up to you by a friend.
New Stuff on the Internet:
- Take a Stroll Down Memory Lane, thanks to Jeff Parson:
Here's a great video of a trip through the fifties that anyone that grew up in that period will thoroughly recall.
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.“Dragon Tattoo Trilogy: Extended Edition” (2010) Ready for some great binge-watching or a set of 7 hour long episodes extending the three movies in picture quality, Swedish scenery, fill-in parts of plots excised from movie versions. Easier to follow with no waiting for disks to arrive. If you’ve seen it twice, like we did, you’ll enjoy it even more now. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! ! !
"The Humbling" (2014) Philip Roth's last book made into film by Buck Henry etal and starred in by Al Pacino, Kyra Sedgwick, Charles Grodin, Diane Wiesel, etal. Loved the movie, laugh aloud unexpected bits, ending very dramatic. For more details read my review of the book at http://www.doyletics.com/arj/thehumbl.shtml . A DON'T MISS HIT ! ! !
"Hope Springs" (2003) Colin Firth arrives as bedraggled Brit in village of Hope and meets Heather Graham who helps him forget about his fiancee bitch who sent him a wedding invitation to her marriage to another man. All in good fun, chick flick plot is "stranger arrives in town". A DON'T MISS HIT ! ! !
"Everlasting Moments" (2008) is a slow wonderful unrolling of Marie Larrson's life as a wife, mother of seven, and a marvelous photographer in the early days of mixing your own chemicals and printing your own prints who caught moments in her Contessa camera which will last forever.A DON'T MISS HIT ! ! !
“The Nightcrawler” (2014) shooting accident scenes for fun and profit in L.A., Jack Gyllenhaal finds the best way to get the first footage is to assist its happening. Will the scumbag get away with his immoral and illegal actions?
“Under the Greenwood Tree” (2005) a pastoral story by Thomas Hardy starring a memorable female, Fancy Day, who is wooed by three men and Fancy That, Dick Dewey wins her love!
“An Amish Murder” (2013) and a female Jesse Stone shows up in small town as police chief to solve the return of a serial killer who was running out of Roman Numerals. Kate is Amish and her former people won’t talk to her, just one of her many challenges in her new job. At least she doesn’t need a fifth of Johnny Walker to sleep at night.
“The Enemy Below” (2005) Bill Macy as Chief of Boat takes over sub crew as they are captured by a U-Boat and the Germans and Americans must decide whether to die or cooperate with each other. A DON'T MISS HIT! ! !
“Run All Night” (2015) is what is necessary for Liam Neeson to save his son from following in his footsteps.
"Playing for Keeps" (2012) Soccer star goes from playing for fun to playing for keeps in love. Movie ends with a Bell Theorem reunion where the ex-wife calls off the re-marriage and ex-hubby does U-turn back to her. A DON'T MISS HIT! ! !
"Come See the Paradise" (1990) Dennis Quaid falls in love in 1930s Los Angeles a beautiful girl who is interned in camp for Japanese nationals with his daughter while he is serving in the army. A DON'T MISS HIT! ! !
"Le Week-End" (2014) British professor and teacher (Broadbent and Lindsay Duncan) return to Paris 30 years later as Del and I did in August, 2015, but they did it on a shoestring and ended up running up high bills and running up the street to escape them. Will they ever be able to pay their fancy hotel's bill and get their passports back? A marriage on the rocks is like watching sausage being made: not for the weak at heart. Should be called 'Le Weak-End", how the weak end up.
> "Atlas $hrugged: Who Is John Galt?"(2014) the trilogy ends with a side-by-side look at a prosperous natural society vis-a-vis the age-old alternative, a coercive society. Take your pick. Read the thousand page book or watch the condensed version in Blu-Ray. 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."Bullhead" (2011) castrated by a bully, Jackie grows up angry and loveless in the milieu of the Belgian Mafia with too many hits and an AAAC movie.
Your call on these — your taste in movies may differ, but I liked them:“Into the Woods” (2014) go a boring melange of great actors and Sondheim songs to observe otherwise good fairy tales strangle each other in the Disney woods.
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==Le Boudreaux Cajun Cottage, drawn by and Copyright 2011 by Paulette Purser, Used by Permission
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Thanks to the daily WordRake for the inspiration:Did you know that Boudreaux, who was born on a bayou and raised in Breaux Bridge, went to Harvard for a year? Well, it seems that he had a few problems and soon decided to move up in the world and attend ULL in Lafayette where people spoke his language.
For example, during Boudreaux's first semester at Harvard, he was looking for the Harvard Library. He was standing in the Quad looking at all the red brick buildings. He knew one of them was the library, but which one?
Finally, after making no sense from the sketchy map he had, he stopped an upperclassman, and say, "Lemme axe you sumpin? Could you tole me where de library at?" The upperclassman pats him on the head, says, "At Hahvahd we never end a sentence with a preposition."
Boudreaux says, "Bon Dieu! Ah'm so sorry, me. Could you tole me where de library at, asshole?"
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5.Household Hint for September, 2015 from Bobby Jeaux:
(click links to see photo of ingredients, preparation steps)
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =Easy Shoelace Untying
Do you ever do a second knot after tying your shoelaces? Then when you take the shoes off, you first have to untie the second knot before you can just pull the slip knot free, right? That's what I thought for the first half of my life, but one day I pulled the end of the double-tied knot and it came loose. Wow! I thought, who knew? The next time I tried it, nothing happened, the knot only got tighter.After some experiments, I found that ONLY one end of the double-knotted shoelace will pull the double-knot apart. So here's how to do it.
(For convenience of photography, I pulled the shoes off my feet with knot still tied. It works just as well if your shoes remain on your feet.
Step 1.Directly above is the photo of my pulling the end of the double-knotted shoelace. See how it just pulls the knot away from the shoe? That's how you know it's the wrong end. Stop pulling right away or you may pull the knot so tight, the next step won't work.
Move to the other end of the knot and pull it, if one loop gets smaller as in the photo at the upper left, keep pulling and it will first untie the double knot, and then it loosen the single knot. Easy as pulling down a curtain shade. See the results in the photo below.
Occasionally I've had both sides stay tight, and you may encounter that. Perhaps I pulled too hard on the wrong side first. Haven't figured out how to find the right end before pulling, up until now. Perhaps one of my Good Readers knows or will find out. I'll hold this as an unanswered question for now. But it works nearly everytime and the few times it doesn't work, won't take you any more time that it would taken if you had untied the doubleknot manually first.
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6. POETRY by BOBBY from Cosmic New Year:
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Our night-time acquired knowledge is one of the things we "subtract" from our experience; we cannot call it fact because we are not aware of these experiences which nevertheless affect our behavior during the day-time. As a result we can see that only our day-time experiences are capable of reflecting our past to us. This learning suggested a short poem to me:Day-Night Knowledge
Our map of the world, our day-time knowledge,
coats the mirror of life and
reflects the past back to us
While preventing the future
from reaching us.
Our humanness, our day-time knowledge,
is the silver lining which coats the mirror of life
and reflects the past back to us
While it masks the future from us.
Our divinity, our night-time knowledge,
penetrates the uncoated glass
which we look through to forever.
We watch the scrolling film of our life
and get lost in the images as
day-time knowledge fills us up.
Between each day-lit frame of the film
is a night-time darkness
in which we recover our immortal "I".
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7. REVIEWS and ARTICLES for September:
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For our Good Readers, here are the reviews and articles featured this month. The first and second reviews this month will be ones which were never published in early DIGESTWORLD ISSUES and will be of interest to our DIGESTWORLD Readers. The rest of the items will be new additions to the top of A Reader's Journal, Volume 2, Chronological List, new additions to A Reader's Treasury, or Essays previously unpublished.
NOTE: some Blurbs may be condensations of long Reviews, possibly lacking footnotes and some quoted passages. For your convenience, if you wish to read the full review or to print it out, simply CLICK on the Book Cover or choose Printer Ready option on the top line of a review page when it opens.
1.) ARJ2: Karmic Relationships, Volume 8, GA#240 by Rudolf Steiner
We not only live in our body, we live in our karma. Rudolf Steiner
As we end this series of eight volumes on karmic relationships, Steiner tells us that we will make "no headway unless we ask ourselves" about what we and others have carried over from previous incarnations.
[page 11] From now onwards these things will be spoken of without reserve; we shall speak of facts of spiritual life in such a way that external history and the external world of nature will themselves reveal to us the spiritual realities lying behind.
This is a very dramatic and bold statement by Steiner, and one would do well to ponder this statement as it applies to one's own life. How can one speak of spiritual realities such that history and nature will reveal their associated spiritual components? This is not an easy question to answer, and to accept an easy answer is to completely discount the question. Better to keep it as an unanswered question and begin an unconscious quest for an answer, an answer that will develop spiritually in one's life without one being conscious of the development until one day the answer pops into one's consciousness. Only then will the external worlds of history and nature make their spiritual nature apparent. But who bothers with such foolishness in these days of the 10 second sound-bite, in-depth news coverage that lasts two minutes on the evening television news, condensed books, in short, a life that's lived the way some college kids make it through college: by reading Cliff Notes instead of the books.The danger to doing this is not apparent externally in society at this time, but Steiner made it clear what the problem is:
[page 14] At the present time people think that once something is known it can immediately be spoken about. Indeed everything that enters people's ken to-day is at once put into words and announced.
Don't hold your breath for the talking heads of television to understand the above quote because if they did, they would have to find another job in which they did something productive. Instant ersatz enlightenment confronts us at every turn. The seeker of enlightenment runs from one teacher to another saying, "This new teacher has a center up in the mountains. My wife and I are moving up there to be part of his group." Soon the excitement of the change of scene wears off, the teacher's words become jaded, and a new teacher looms big in his life. Like the Red Queen warned, "One must keeping running to stay in the same place."
Another common phenomenon is for someone to become so enamored of one's own field, one's own intellectual achievements, that one is oblivious to spiritual realities. That is what happened in the 8th and 9th centuries to men of learning.
[page 20] The existence of Christianity was known to the learned men at the Court of Haroun al Raschid but they regarded it as primitive and elementary in comparison with their own intellectual achievements.
A thousand years later and that attitude is still prevalent in materialistic scientists who, whether Christians or not, still consider Christianity to be no match for their own intellectual achievements. Part of the problem has been the concerted efforts of established religions to produce Cliff Notes versions of Christianity so as to keep their followers from discovering the deeper aspects of spirituality and to keep their attention focused on the rites and requirements of being a good Christian. It should be clear to anyone who has thoughtfully read Steiner's Philosophy of Freedom [See ARJ for Review.] that such efforts hobble the individual and blind them to the realities of the spiritual world around them. The monstrance that is venerated in Catholic Churches clearly represents the Host (containing Christ's Body) residing within a blazing sunburst of golden light rays, but the spiritual fact of Christ residing inside our physical Sun is glossed over and never mentioned, if known at all.
The Cliff Notes of Catechism as a guide for living are deemed to be more important than the spiritual realities that lie about us everywhere in the world. Catechism is important for youngsters, but for them to become adults without receiving adult information, creates adults that are unprepared to handle the freedom that is rightly theirs as a human being. Unfortunately the Catechism system fosters a method for teaching that is only appropriate for the authoritarian stage of human childhood.The Catechism, with its authoritarian tone, is appropriate for children from the ages of seven to fourteen because children of that age need authority figures to tell them what to do or they will have trouble developing freedom in their later lives. See the Steiner quotes below from his book, Education As A Force For Social Change.
[page 12] Children experience a great uplifting if they can do everything because a person they look up to says it is the right thing to do. There is nothing worse for children than attempting to develop their judgment too early, before puberty.
[page 13] I have read such policies whose first statement is that we should eliminate the principal's office, that teachers and students should be absolutely equal and that we should base the entire school on an attitude of comradeship.
[page 13] People can mature enough for socially responsible community life only if they learn to build their lives upon that true authority they experience during their school years.
Lest anyone doubt the existence of a school system where teachers and students are treated absolutely equal need only look at the New Yorker Magazine, September 6, 1999 issue. Kurt Andersen writes about Celebration, the city and the school system that is "the quasi-democratic, postmodern fulfillment of Walt Disney's totalitarian, late-modern vision." He writes further on the same page:
[page 76] Each child was essentially responsible for his or her own curriculum. Students and teachers were called "learners" and "learning leaders," a classroom was a "nurturing neighborhood," and a student assembly a "grand kiva."
Not surprisingly this whole schema fell apart before the first year had passed. Pedagogical conservatives were blamed, of course, but if we understand Steiner's words above, we can understand the imminently good sense of having teachers as authority figures in classes from the first through the eighth grade.
Is there hope that this movement away from the spiritual world may be reversed? Yes, and that hope lies in the Michael Impulse which began in 1879, shortly before Steiner began his teaching, and it continues today in the souls from the Michaelic School who have incarnated again at the turn of the 20th/21st Century "to carry to full and culminating effect what as Anthroposophists they are able to do now in the service of Michael's dominion." These words Steiner spoke to Anthroposophists of 1924, but as I read this book exactly 75 years later, it seemed he was speaking to me and to the Anthroposophists that I have come to know over the past five years.
What is the Michaelic Impulse? It is the Sun-forces at work upon the earth and us humans. "The Sun is the source of all intellectual life operating in the service of the Spirit." That is how we are able to operate in the service of Michael at the turn of the 21st Century.
[page 32] Utterance of this truth may evoke a certain inner resistance to-day, for men do right not to place too high a value upon intellect in its present form. Those who have an real understanding of the spiritual life will not set much store by the intellectuality prevailing in the modern age. It is abstract and formal, it crowds the human mind with ideas and concepts which are utterly remote from living reality, it is cold, dry, and barren as compared with the warm, radiant life pulsing through the world and through man.
This describes my own experience as a physicist. I tried my best to fathom the cold, dry, and barren concepts of physics and gave up. Only in my studies of Steiner and only after a long period of studying, did I discover the warm, radiant life coursing through the world around me, and I knew immediately, I remembered at once, that I had come to this world at this time in the service of Michael to bring that life of the spiritual world as a reality to others, those who had also given up and had settled for dross in the place of spirit, up until now.
This adventure into materialism is a relatively new phenomenon, Steiner tells us. As recent as medieval Christianity, Thomas Aquinas could write of "Intelligences" inhabiting the stars. Carl Sagan while he was alive could only write of "billions and billions" of burning gaseous bodies. Steiner says of his own view of stars:
[page 32, 33] As opposed to the materialistic views prevailing to-day, we ourselves regard the stars as colonies of Spiritual Beings. This seems strange and far-fetched to the ears of a modern man who has not the remotest inkling that when he gazes at the stars he is gazing at Beings related in certain respects with his own life and inhabiting the stars just as we ourselves inhabit the earth.
Reading the above quote, I couldn't help but be reminded of the final scene in the movie of Antoine St. Exupery's famous book The Little Prince with all the stars laughing in the sky. He writes, "And at night I love to listen to the stars. It is like five hundred million little bells. . . . And there is sweetness in the laughter of all the stars."
Unfortunately, except for a few mystical writers like him, we in the Western world have progressed poorly because we judge views of spiritual realities to be pagan mysticism and call such mysticism by the derogatory name of primitive illusions or hallucinations, up until now. In Steiner's Education As A Force For Social Change, he makes it explicit that what the Orient calls reality, we in the West call illusion, and what we in the West call reality, the Orient calls illusion.The exact word the Orient uses is maya for the illusion we have that the surfaces of things and their physical constituents make up the entirety of what can be known about the world. In the West we use a variety of words in addition to illusion, such as mysticism, fantasy, hallucinations, just to name a few, to describe what to the Oriental is considered reality. The Oriental lives a life in which they ignore what they consider to be maya, and the Westerner lives a life in which they ignore what they consider to be illusion. The Western scientists, while purporting to ignore what they call illusion, nevertheless attempt to find physical evidence of the spiritual world in such things as String Theory. They labor under the unconscious illusion that if they can only build a fine enough microscope they could see the world the way it actually is. But they are chasing a phantom created from their own thought, and when they finally catch the phantom, they will discover what Walt Kelly had Pogo, the 1960's spiritual philosopher, tell us, "We has met the enemy and he is us."
In ancient times, the reality of the Oriental today was the common state of all humankind. They did not believe in the spiritual world, they knew the spiritual world existed in parallel alignment with the physical world. Here Steiner describes their experience.Let us inspect the following table to compare our current three states of consciousness with those of the ancient human shortly after the Atlantean catastrophe:
[page 48] On going into a forest, a man would, for example, notice a tree and know that it was the hiding place of a being with whom he had been together in the night. Men then saw clearly, as an Initiate can still see to-day, how spirit-beings made their way into physical habitations as though into their homes. No wonder that all these things passed over into the myths and that men talked of tree-spirits, water-spirits, spirits of clouds and mountains, for they saw their companions of the night disappearing into the mountains, into the waves, into the clouds, into the plants and the trees. Such was early dawn in the experience of the soul: men saw the spirit-world disappearing into the physical world of sense.
~ Modern Human Ancient Human 1 Waking Consciousness Fading Astral Vision 2 Dream Consciousness Vision of Spiritual World 3 Sleep Consciousness Vision of One's Karma
No wonder we now call a "vision of the spiritual world" a dream. No wonder we can no longer have personal visions of our past lives and their karmic working out in this life — we are in deep dreamless sleep when we have access to those visions. And our fading Astral vision, what can I say about that? We still surround ourselves with images from the fading astral visions in our uniforms, gaudy costumes, headdresses like native Americans wore (and still decorate our holiday parades), and artifacts that still grace our buildings. There was a cartoon by Gahan Wilson in the New Yorker [page 37 of the July 12, 1999 issue] in which two men in medieval garb are looking at these grotesque monkey-like animals flying away from the exterior balcony of this large church. One says to the other, "Maybe if we put stone statues in their place, no one will notice that they've flown away." What's the message for this review in the cartoon? When our astral vision began to fade over the centuries, we could no longer see the astral flares of anger above men going into battle; when we could no longer see the grotesque demon spirits that sat on balconies of churches, we built replacements for them in the form of feather-plumed helmets and stone gargoyles.
"What does all this mean?" It means this for the modern human:
[page 51] He "wakes" away the Spiritual in nature, he "dreams" away the true spiritual world, he "sleeps" away his karma. This development was necessary, as I have often told you, in order that the consciousness of freedom might arise.
After a Steiner lecture sometime in 1923, a newspaper article appeared. Steiner had emphasized during the lecture that "there is no need to become clairvoyant in order to have knowledge of the spiritual world" because a healthy human intellect can receive the knowledge directly from a seer. Here we can read what anyone might write who denies the ability of a healthy human intellect to perceive the supersensible world. Certainly those words could have appeared in the newspaper yesterday as well as seventy-five years ago. Here's the 1923 newspaper writer's words as quoted by Steiner:
[page 53] "Steiner wants to apply the healthy human intellect to knowledge of a supersensible world. But so long as the human intellect remains healthy it can certainly know nothing of a supersensible world; as soon as it does, it is no longer healthy."
Wouldn't it be grand to live in this writer's world? A world so simple and easy to figure out that one can deduce reality from premises? The writer's premise is that a healthy human intellect cannot know the supersensible world, so naturally the rest of his argument that follows is very logical, very precise, and very wrong. So much of what passes as science today is similar to this writer's words: tautology passing as wisdom. From now on we must be careful how we use such broad-ranging statements that seem to prove themselves. If the writer had only had the grace to add, "so far as I know", his statements would have taken on a level of veracity that is else severely lacking.This writer's statements explain so clearly why supersensible beings withdraw from his vision — if he were to perceive them, he would define himself as insane!
If we engage our healthy human intellect, with the help of the Michael forces that are raying to Earth during Michael's age, we may each come to perceive in the mineral world, gnomes, kobolds, and dwarves and the vision that "leads us to the Seraphim, Chrerubim, and Thrones." (page 54) They comprise the First Hierarchy, and the Second Hierarchy of the Mights, Powers, and Dominions follows in the plant kingdom. Here's how Steiner describes the next hierarchies and how behind everything lies the "great mystery of karma":
[page 55] In the plant world, the vision leads us to the Exusiai, Dynamis and Kyrotetes. [Note: here Steiner uses alternate names for the Second Hierarchy.]
In the animal world we (when we see emerge from the animals their own spiritual beings) we are led to a vision of the Archai, Archangels and Angels. [Third Hierarchy]
And in the human kingdom the vision leads to karma.
How can we explain history he asks us, if we continue to speak of cause and effect in history in the same way we speak of cause and effect in the external physical world? We cannot explain World War I by simply looking at all the events that took place since 1914, he says on page 56. Nor the French Revolution by any of the events that preceded it. What are we to do then if we are to understand history truly? We must look at the personalities involved, both their present lives and the lives preceding them. Only then can we come to understand the important role that karma plays in history. Only then we truly understand history. To conclude, as the newspaper writer above in effect did, that "one would be crazy to include karma or past lives in a study of history, therefore anyone who does so is crazy" — well, hopefully it's clear that such a claim is based on assuming the very thing it seeks to prove.
Steiner takes us in detail through the "club foot" of Lord Byron, how it led him to the Greek struggle for freedom and the wounded leg of Ignatius Loyola, how it led him to found the Jesuits. How the leg injury of Loyola led to soundness of the head, when his soul appeared in a later incarnation as Emanuel Swedenborg.
In the following Table, the Seven Archangels are shown with their Ages and Spheres of influence. They are listed in the chronological progression of the Ages, but notice how each Sphere progresses from a heliocentric view. The Michael Age in the Sun Sphere progresses to Oriphiel in the outermost Saturn Sphere (begin at bottom of the table and move up), then returns to Anael in the Venus Sphere, then loops out to Zachariel in the Jupiter Sphere, spiraling into Raphael in the Mercury Sphere, which proceeds outward to Samael in the Mars Sphere, returning finally to Gabriel in the Moon Sphere, and the Sun-centered helical cycle begins again. This order of cycling indicates clearly that the Archangels are operating out of the Sun.
Sphere Archangel 1st Year of Age Sun Michael 1879 A.D. Moon Gabriel 1570 A.D. Mars Samael 1262 A.D. Mercury Raphael 953 A.D. Jupiter Zachariel 645 A.D. Venus Anael 336 A.D. Saturn Oriphiel 28 A.D. Sun Michael 281 B.C.Steiner tells us that, in the 15th Century, a school in the spiritual world was founded by Michael for those souls who had imbibed the impulses of the Alexander Age and the Dominican and other Christian Orders and were awaiting reincarnation.
[page 90, 91] In this supersensible School, a wonderful review was given of the wisdom of the ancient Mysteries. Detailed knowledge in regard to the ancient Mysteries was imparted to the souls partaking in this School. They looked back to the Sun Mysteries, to the Mysteries of the other planets. But a vista of the future was given too, a vista of what should begin at the end of the 19th Century in the new Age of Michael. All this passed through these souls who now, in the present Michael Age, feel drawn to the Anthroposophical Movement.
We have reached the end of Rudolf Steiner's impressive Karmic Relationships lecture series which he gave during the last months of his life. If you feel drawn to anthroposophy, perhaps you were in Michael's school and have returned here at the dawning of 21st Century to help civilization in its crucial hour. Will it fall into a materialistic abyss or will we be able to raise it by the help of the Michael Impulse into spirituality? Steiner exhorts in his closing words thus:
[page 94] We shall remain united in the signs that can reveal themselves to the eyes of the spirit and to the ears of soul if what I have said in these lectures has been received in full earnestness and has been understood.
2.) ARJ2: Emerson's Selected Journals 1820 - 1842 by Ralph Waldo Emerson
This book contains excerpts from the 16 volume Harvard edition of The Journals and Miscellaneous Notebooks of Ralph Waldo Emerson. The editor chose "to present Emerson's best and most vital writing, and to retain what was most significant biographically and historically in the journals."
My purpose in reading these two volumes was to encounter Emerson the man and writer and to witness first-hand his evolution as a thinker and a writer. I first met Emerson when I was a young man starting college at the tender age of 18 when I purchased A Modern Library edition of his Collected Essays and Writings. His essay on "Self-Reliance" acted as a power potion on me and helped me shape the remainder of my life. Emerson wrote therein, "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines." After reading that sentence, I never felt squeamish about speaking out of my own reality as I learned more about the world. The older I became the better I understood the truths contained in the often-elided second phrase, in which he reveals the greatest defenders of foolish consistency, namely, statesmen who strenuously defend out-dated policies, philosophers who eschew non-Aristotelian modes of thought, and divines who expound on canonical creeds in weak and weekly sermons.
Where in his life did Emerson learn about foolish consistency? I imagine he did so by refusing to give way to a way of thought or action merely because others considered it the right thing to do. Emerson was born in 1803 when he began writing his journal in 1820, making him about the age I was when I was reading his essays for the first time.Everyone knows that there are 26 letters in the English alphabet, but there were 27 to Emerson because in the early 1810s when he was in grade school, the last letter of the alphabet was named "and". So if he were to recite the alphabet he would end by saying, ". . . x, y, z, and per se and." Over the two centuries since then, the phrase "and per se and" became condensed into one word, "ampersand" and it is denoted by this character: "&". I mention this because the editors have remained true to the way Emerson wrote, probably in pencil in cursive script. The symbol "&" originated from cursive writing of the Latin word, "et", like in "et tu, Brute" which means "and you, Brutus." The shorthand cursive writing of "et" involved a script "e" starting from the bottom end of the "e" going left and upward, turning right at the top and moving left to finish the "e". This was followed without stopping by a downward move, then turning right with an upward curve which crossed the initial beginning of the "e" making the ending stroke resemble a "t". Throughout his Journals, Emerson used an ampersand in place of "and" wherever it appeared. In the common usage, "et cetera" is today abbreviated "etc", and now you can learn how the curious abbreviation of "etc" got that way. Emerson and his peers abbreviated it this way "&c". This curious usage puzzled me until a friend sent me an email(1) which explained the origin of the word "ampersand".
With that as prologue, here's the first three sentences of his journal:
[Page 1] Jan. 25, 1820. Mixing with the thousand pursuits & passions & objects of the world as personified by Imagination is profitable & entertaining. These pages are intended at this commencement to contain a record of new thoughts (when they occur); for a receptacle of all the old ideas that partial but peculiar peepings at antiquity can furnish or furbish; for tablet to save the wear & tear of weak Memory & in short for all the various purposes & utility real or imaginary which are usually comprehended under that comprehensive title Common Place book. O ye witches assist me! enliven or horrify some midnight lucubration or dream (whichever may be found most convenient) to supply this reservoir when other resources fail.
Emerson explains how the Greeks wrote a lot about its later times, but as you go back, at some point, it's like a veil dropped and nothing was written. Why? Because whatever happened before the invention of writing could scarcely be written about. For what we know about earlier periods of the Greeks, we have only Homer's epics. These long stories were transmitted by memory from generation to generation until the human processes of memory weakened and writing was created to enable us to retain things in external memory.My reading of these Journals of Emerson is my personal way of going back to before the veil fell in Emerson's life, to see for myself what he was thinking about and writing about before the Essays he is so famous for came into existence. These Essays are like the products of Emerson's workshop, I wanted to spend some time in his dusty workshop with him as he saws, sands, and pieces together the objects which take final form later in his published Essays.
In this droll collection of three items, Emerson visited to break the tedium of his writing with some curious tidbits. He was writing this at the same age as I was when I met him, both of us callow college students. (Note the appearance of "&c" in place of our "etc".)
[page 14] August 8, 1820. A strange idea or two may find place here to relieve this metaphysical prolixity. Imprimis. In Lapland the intense cold freezes the words of men as they come out in breath & they are heard not until the sun thaws them! Item. When Astrology was much in vogue, a mighty man of gramarye (RJM: occult or magic) repaired to Gregory VII to give the science a patron saint. The pontiff — well pleased directed him to make his choice from the Pantheon. Accordingly the conjurer was hood-winked & marched into the building and took hold first of the statue of the Devil as combating with the Archangel Michael! Item. Lord Bacon notices a singular fact that the opposite shores of S. America & Africa correspond — bay to cape — gulf to coast &c "which could not be without a cause." Vide Map.
Now some short items which I found interesting. In this passage we encounter his variant spelling of "receive". On some pages I have spotted both spellings, also finding pierce spelled peirce and various ou spellings such as favour and rumour.
[page 19] October 20, 1820. The supreme Pontiff sent a confessor to Rabelais on his deathbed charging him to receive (sic) absolution. Rabelais dismissed the messenger & bid him tell the Pontiff He was now going to visit the great Perhaps.
JK Rowlings, a novelist who actually wore skirts, in her Harry Potter novels, would probably fit the injunction that young Emerson laid down for novelists.
[page 32] February 22, 1822. The novelist must fasten the skirts of his tale to scenes or traditions so well known as to make it impossible to disbelieve and so obscure as not to obtrude repugnant facts upon the finished deception he weaves.
In this next passage, one suspects "Mowna Roa" to be Mauna Loa (which mean Long Mountain) , the tall ancient volcano of the big island of Hawaii, which island chain was originally called the Sandwich Isles. (One wonders if it is this original name which led modern Hawaiian natives to adopt Spam as their favorite meat for making sandwiches.)
[page 42] May 7, 1822. Mowna Roa, mountain in Sandwich Isles was seen by Marchand at the distance of 53 leagues ie. 159 miles — Greatest distance at which a terrestrial object hath been seen from the level of the sea.
If some materialists, like Rabelais, were to doubt the power of prayer, this story might give him pause. In the year 1412 an Italian ranger named Squarcia commonly fed human flesh to his dogs. One day after his hounds had torn to pieces John Posterla and other men.
[page 46] May 14, 1822. He delivered up to them also the son of John Posterla aged only twelve, but when the boy cast himself on his knees to ask pardon, the dogs stood still & would not touch him. Squarcia, with his knife stabbed the child & the dogs refused still to taste of his blood & entrails.
Familiarity breeds contempt is a familiar saying and in this next passage Emerson hints at this saying as he pleads with the Goddess of Nature for her favor. (Note the word "and" is spelled out in the quotation of Fortune.)
[Page 74] June 11, 1823.If she was partial once, she is morose now; for Familiarity, (if awful Nature will permit to use so bold a word,) breeds disgust; & Vinegar is the son of Wine; peradventure I may yet be admitted to the contemplation of her inner magnificence, & her favour (sic) may find me, no shrine indeed, but some snug niche, in the temple of Tim. 'Tut,' says Fortune — 'and if you fail, — it shall never be from lack of vanity.'
If a "foolish consistency" may be likened to chains, this next passage of Emerson takes on new meaning. Much of our busy-ness in school and college is learning to adhere to consistencies which may then enslave our minds, preventing us from perceiving the world in fresh new ways.
[page 75] September, 1823. Man is a foolish slave who is busy in forging his own fetters. Sometimes he lifts up his eyes for a moment, admires freedom, & then hammers the rivets of his chain.
Emerson says on page 92, "A nation like a tree does not thrive till it is engrafted with a foreign stock." Then he discusses the first appearance of newspapers in 1538 and their later appearance in America, how they helped to stem spurious and inaccurate reports.
[page 93] December 21, 1823. For a report cannot be denied, but a printed rumour can be. . . . Newspapers are the proper literature of America, which affects to be so practical & unromantic a land.
For all single friends of my own age, may I offer what Emerson calls, "a homely verse of blessed truth in human history":
[page 93] December 21, 1823.
"There lives no goose so gray, but soon or late
She finds some honest gander for her mate."
In this next passage Emerson presages the 21st Century Smartphone, the wireless wonder device which is a cell phone, a dictating machine, a universal encyclopedia (Google), dictionary, address book, typewriter, etc, and can provide music, poetry, novels, newspapers from all over the world, all in a simple handheld device which nearly everyone in the civilized world carries with them today. He extrapolates from the Steam Engine of James Watt to create his prediction of our world to become a magical world like Jonathan Swift's Laputa. While Swift was able to predict two moons of Mars, he was not able to predict the wonders of the world-wide Internet and Smartphones.
[page 101] February 17, 1824. Pliny's uncle had a slave read while he eat (sic). In the progress of Watt & Perkin's philosophy the day may come when the scholar shall be provided with a Reading Steam Engine; when he shall say Presto — & it shall discourse eloquent history — & Stop Sesame & it shall hush to let him think. He shall put in a pin, & hear poetry; & two pins, & hear a song. That age will discover Laputa.
From my study of Galambos' innovative work(2), I decades ago decided that no vote of mine would support or empower anyone to coerce another human being. Emerson is thinking a bit along those lines when he talks about some naval battle being fought or bandied about in 1824 (likely one of naval battles during the Greek War for Independence).
[page 118] December 10, 1824. The man whom your vote supports is to govern some millions — and it would be laughable not to know the issue of the naval battle. In ten years this great competition will be very stale & a few words will inform you the result which cost you so many columns of the newsprints, so many anxious conjectures. Your soul will last longer than the ship; & will value it just & philosophical associations long after the memory has spurned all obtrusive & burdensome contents.
Anyone who follows the news of the world today will be familiar with the anxious suppositions they create in the reader or the viewer of their reports.
In this next passage, I am delighted to find that the Swiss used of self-sealing shingles on their roofs in Emerson's time, almost 200 hundred years ago. I had thought self-sealing shingles were an invention of the twentieth century, but the self-sealing asphalt shingles in popular use today are designed after the Larch tree shingles of Switzerland.
[page 132] March 16, 1826. I am pleased with every token however slight in nature , in institutions, in arts, of progressive adaptation to wants — . The men of Switzerland cover their houses with shingles of the Larch tree which in a little time give out their pitch to the sun & fill up every joint so that the roof is impervious to rain.
When men of reason ask for proof of immortality, they wish us to answer them with reasons, and in doing so, they wish in vain. Evidence of the spiritual world, in which we live, and move, and have our being in this life and the next, comes from feeling not from abstract logical reasoning. Emerson was clear on that point in his time.
[page 134] May 28, 1826. I feel that the affections of the soul are sublimer than the faculties of the intellect. I feel immortal. And the evidence of immortality comes better from consciousness than from reason.
Perhaps the truth of immortality is easily recognized. Emerson quotes Fontenelle as saying, on page 140, "We seem to recognize a truth the first time we hear it." Children are born knowing they are immortal because they come into this world carrying the waves of glory from the spiritual world with them; only with persistence of their teachers can this innate truth be muddled up and meticulously washed away as they grow into adults.
Our common word factory was unknown in the 1820s and Emerson shows us its origin.
[page 141, italics added to text] December 3, 1826. The men of this age work & play between steam engines of tremendous force, amid the roaring wheels of manufactories, brave the incalculable forces of the storm here in the seat of its sovereignty and fulfil in these perilous crises all the minute offices of life, as calm & unawed as they would compose themselves to sleep in the shade of a forest.
What is it that makes a thought or an idea last for a very long time? Emerson admits that he knew the answer before he read Burke, but shares it with us here:
[page 141] November 1826. I find in Burke almost the same thought I had entertained as an original remark three years ago that nothing but the moral quality of actions can penetrate thro' vast intervals of time.
One of the fun parts of reading Emerson is discovering old meanings for words which have taken on new ones for us. The verb career is such a word. It means to rush forward at high speed without control. How many of you have had such a career in your lifetime?
[page 146] Alexandria, Egypt, May 5,1827. — My days run onward like the weaver's beam. They have no honour (sic) among men, they have no grandeur in the view of the invisible world. It is as if a net of meanness were drawn around aspiring men thro' which their eyes are kept on mighty objects but the subtile (sic) fence is forever interposed. "They also serve who only stand & wait." Aye but they must wait in a certain temper & in a certain equipment. They must wait as the knight on the van (vanguard) of the embattled line standing in the stirrups, his spear in rest, his steed foaming, ready for the career with the speed of a whirlwind. Am I the accomplished cavalier?
We are in the beginning of Presidential campaign in which one highly favored candidate is from Florida. In this next passage, Emerson is visiting St. Augustine in Florida and tells us what he heard there.
[page 152] February 24, 1827. I attended mass in the Catholic Church. The mass is in Latin & the sermon in English & the audience who are Spaniards understand neither. The services have been recently interrupted by the imprisonment of the worthy father for debt in the Castle of St. Marks.
The people call the place Botany Bay & say that whenever Presidents or Bishops or Presbyteries have danglers on their hands fit for no offices they send them to Florida.
When we say something is just on the tip of our tongue, it might never occur to us that Emerson said it differently in his time, "It is strange that the greatest men of the time only say what is just trembling on the lips of all thinking men." (Page 162) Certainly that was true of Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt in their time.
We observe what is good and enjoy it; but we never question it, do we? All else we do question.
[page 166] August 18, 1830. We never ask the reason of what is good. The sun shines & warms & lights us & we have no curiosity to know why this is so; but we ask the reason of all evil, of pain, & hunger, & mosquitoes, & silly people.
Plagiarism is like wax fruit in a bowl in the kitchen, it doesn't pass the sniff test: no sensible person would pick up a wax pear and take a bite from it. As soon as one's fingers contact the pear, the illusion of being a real pear is broken. Similarly with artificial flowers: real flowers move almost imperceptibly in a room in the slightest air movement as a person walks by. They can never be mistaken as artificial, and only the most callous eye can judge an artificial flower as being real.
[page 169] November 19, 1830. The speech a man repeats which is not his own but was borrowed from another with the hope to pass for original is like a flower held in the hand or a dead feather in the cap manifestly cut off from all life & can deceive none but a child into the belief that is a part of himself.
Writing as far as words are concerned is just "one damn thing after another" — there's a blank space and a word is needed to fill it. The blank page for some writers is the most daunting challenge to face. At least a mountaineer has a definite object, a large structure of earth, in front of him. But a writer has nothing, a blank space, a whiteness which will take on meaning only by dint of the writer's efforts. A writer creates a mountain of meaning by filling the blank page with words, and the reader's job is to climb that mountain, which the reader will do, if the meaning is interesting and attractive, the path is welcoming, meandering along a refreshing stream from which to drink, providing on occasion, panoramic views to entertain the eyes, and leading to a definite goal at the end of the path, perhaps a mountain cabin in which to find blessed repose and a promise of a hearty meal of pancakes in the lodge the next morning.
[page 175] July 8, 1831. No man can write well who thinks there is any choice of words for him. The laws of composition are as strict as those of sculpture & architecture. There is always one line that ought to be drawn or one proportion that should be kept & every other line or proportion is wrong, &c so far wrong as it deviates from this. So in writing, there is always a right word, & every other word than that is wrong. There is no beauty in words except in their collocation. The effect of a fanciful word misplaced, is like that horn of exquisite polish growing on a human head.
Ever wonder why there seems to be an increasing percentage of atheists among the intellectually discerning effete? Emerson wrote on July 21, 1831, "God cannot be intellectually discerned." Lacking this important distinction, intellectuals attempt it anyway and failing, create a badge of their failure with ATHEIST on it, claiming they have proved that God does not exist.With materialistic blinders on, they cannot spy the spiritual world which lies to either side of their line of sight as they trot through the City of God carrying their intellectual rubbish to sell to others who lack either intelligence or discernment.
Atheists are like watchmen in a factory who have fallen asleep, mesmerized by their own abstract logical thought processes.
[page 179] July 26, 1831. There is an engine at Waltham to watch the watchmen of the factory. Every hour they must put a ring on to the wheel or if they fall asleep & do not, the machine will show their neglect & which hour they slept. Such a machine is every man's Reputation.
Below I have extracted some sentences from Emerson's prose on page 181 to 182 and reformatted them without changing a word to create this found poem. "A poem is an experiment upon the human mind," as he quotes Sir J. Mackintosh as saying on page 191, as these sentences qualify as one. It might be entitled "Yes, There Is" to highlight the meaning of the two solitary Yes's which appear.
What we love —
that shall we seek.
What cares the lover sick with his passion
how long is the way to his mistress
or how poor her house?
What cares the ardent philosopher
how fast it rains
or what brilliant party he loses
when he posts away to the conversation of a wise man?
What cares the merchant on what wharves
the goods he would monopolize are to be sought?
But is there no difference in the objects which the heart loves?
Is there no truth? Yes.
And is there no power in truth to commend itself? Yes.
It alone can satisfy the heart.
We call you to that which all the future shall teach,
far more forcibly & simply than we do now.
These things are true & real & grand & lovely & good.
What Emerson is talking about is a celestial economy which redounds to anyone who offers the world what is both good and true, even if it is only sticking a sapling of a tree into the ground, as this quote he gives us from Robert Haskins.
[page 185] December 28, 1831. "Always be sticking a tree, Jock, — it will be growing when we're sleeping," was the thrifty Scotchman's dying advice. Always be setting a good action to grow — is the advice of a divine thrift. It is bearing you fruit all the time — knitting you to men's hearts, & to men's good, & to God, & beyond this it is benefitting others by remembrance, by emulation, by love. The progress of moral nature is geometrical. Celestial economy!
Johnny Appleseed certainly followed this advice as he left behind thousands of apple trees across our young country and knitted himself into the hearts of people nourished by his apples. Thank God for celestial economy.
Emerson calls to our attention the trials of Galileo, and how it is easier to argue against an innovator than it is to innovate, like Galileo and so many other others have done, only to be despised and ridiculed for their work by those neither capable of doing innovative work nor of understanding it.
[page 189, 190] February 20, 1832. It is idle in us to wonder at the bigotry & violence of the persecution of Galileo. Every man may read the history of it in himself when he is contradicted & silenced in argument by a person whom he had always reckoned his inferior.
Emerson calls Shakespeare a "Master of the World" who leaves behind characters who, though written in pencil, remain tattooed in India ink upon our memory.
[page 192] May 16, 1832. Then Ariel, Hamlet, & all — all done in sport with the free daring pencil of a Master of the World. He leaves his children with God.
On a visit to the White Mountain, July 14, 1832, Emerson must have been facing the deadly blank white page when he penned the following lines. Peter Elbow(3) urged wannabe writers to conquer the blank page by taking a pencil and begin writing for at least ten minutes without stopping. Soon the editor, the critic in your head will give up in disgust and your original thoughts can appear. One thought may be as wide as a country.
[page 194] July 14, 1832. There is nothing to be said. Why take the pencil? I believe something will occur. A slight momentum would send the planet to roll forever. And the laws of thought are not unlike. A thought I said is a country wide enough for an active mind. It unrolls, it unfolds, it shows unlimited sense within itself.
In Emerson's time he could write "The British Plutarch & the modern Plutarch is yet to be written." That was true on August 12, 1832, but about a hundred years and change, the famed statesman and historian Winston Churchill became the British Plutarch.
To take unquestioned another's opinion as one's own would be to shoulder a burden which will weigh down one's heart. Emerson chose to choose his own way.
[page 199] October 9, 1832.
Henceforth, please God, forever I forego
The yoke of men's opinions. I will be
Lighthearted as a bird & live with God.
This next passage presages Herman Melville's Moby Dick by 17 years, and the story Emerson relates likely spawned the idea for Melville's novel.
[page 302] Boston, February 19, 1834. A seaman in the coach told the story of an old sperm whale which he called a white whale which was known for many years by the whalemen as Old Tom & who rushed upon the boats which attacked him & crushed the boats to small chips in his jaws, the men generally escaping by jumping overboard & being picked up. A vessel was fitted out at New Bedford, he said, to take him. And he was finally taken somewhere off Payta head by the Winslow or the Esssex. He gave a fine account of a storm which I heard imperfectly. Only "the whole ocean was all feather white." A whale sometimes runs off three rolls of cord, three hundred fathom in length each one.
Emerson was keen on self-reliance, a subject he wrote keenly on in his eponymous Essay. Here we get a strong taste of his self-reliance in action.
[page 305] March 22, 1834. I ask advice. It is not that I wish my companion to dictate to me the course I should take. Before God, No. It were to un-man, to un-god myself. It is that I wish him to give me information about the facts, not a law as to the duty. It is that he may stimulate me by his thoughts to unfold my own, so that I may become master of the facts still. My own bosom will supply, as surely as God liveth, the direction of my course.
He writes on page 310, "We are always getting ready to live, but never living." Do you know people like that? They get "very little life in a lifetime." (Page 311) Living to me means enjoying every moment of what I'm doing. If I'm not doing something I want to, I change my attitude until I want this same activity. My everyday "I" that complains is the not the eternal I that plans my activities, the I that has laid out my life's plan for me before my birth in this lifetime.Often the very thing "I" didn't want to do was a necessary step to what followed which was the very thing "I" did want to happen but didn't know it earlier. If you want to live every moment to the fullest do a little "want development" as I have explained it.
What is the power of an unanswered question?(4) Have you ever thought about that? If so, did you accept the first answer which popped into your mind? Such easy answers short-circuit the power of an unanswered question, draining all the creative energy that was present in it uselessly into the ground. Emerson was aware of the power of an unanswered question and gave us advice to hold onto one and then what else we might do. He suggests that we treat it as a truth, one about which we are puzzled.
[page 311] April 13, 1834. Set out to study a particular truth. Read upon it. Walk to think upon it. Talk of it. Write about it. The thing itself will not much manifest itself, at least not much in accommodation to your studying arrangements. The gleams you do get, out they will flash, as likely at dinner, or in the roar of Faneuil Hall, as in your painfullest abstraction.
On April 30, 1834, Emerson wrote, "Give me the eye to see a navy in an acorn." But he wrote this in the time when oak trees provided the planks which formed boats for the navy. We might write today, "Give me the eye to see a navy in a blast furnace."
On page 314 Emerson expounds on the classification scheme of Linnaeus to describe nature, and comments that "A Classification is nothing but a Cabinet." Seeing the abstract logical structure Linnaeus built of living, vibrant nature, Emerson bemoans the lack of a science of animated nature. He was writing this some 30 years before Rudolf Steiner was born whose development of anthroposophy gave us a science of animated nature which included human beings. Steiner was inspired by the work of Goethe which was familiar to Emerson.
[page 318, 319] May 3, 1834. We have no Theory of animated Nature. When we have, it will be itself the true Classification. . . . When shall such a classification be obtained in botany? This is evidently what Goethe aimed to do, in seeking the Arch plant, which being known, would give not only all actual but all possible vegetable forms.
Railroads were new in Emerson's day, and people of the countryside called the railroad train, "hell in harness". Note that the two words rail and road had not yet been concatenated into one word when he wrote this, and that it's a steam engine that Emerson affectionately called a "teakettle".
[page 323, 324] June 10, 1834. One has dim foresight of hitherto uncomputed mechanical advantages who rides on the rail-road and moreover a practical confirmation of the ideal philosophy that Matter is phenomenal whilst men & trees barns whiz by you as fast as the leaves of a dictionary. As our teakettle hissed along through a field of mayflowers, we could judge of the sensations of a swallow who skims by trees & bushes with about the same speed. The very permanence of matter seems compromised & oaks, fields, hills, hitherto esteemed symbols of stability do absolutely dance by you.
[page 329] June 26, 1834. We are wonderfully protected. We have scarce a misfortune, a hindrance, an infirmity, an enemy, but it is somehow productive of singular advantage to us. . . . God brings us by ways we know not & like not into Paradise.
This next passage has the phrase "pleached doublet" in it, and neither of its two words was familiar to me, so I Googled the phrase. If the pages of a dictionary flew by fast when Emerson searched for the definition of a word in his day, imagine what he would think about the speed of a Google search today. Well, while the dictionary is always helpful, my Google search gave me an answer which was exactly accurate and perfectly useless. It gave me the following sentence in Emerson's Journal, including its page number. What amazed me was seeing something Emerson wrote in 1834 returned to me during a search which took only half a second.
[page 335] August 16, 1834. There is more true elevation of character in Prince Hal's sentence about the pleached doublet than in any king in the romances.
By asking Google for an image I received photos of what a pleached doublet looks like. "Pleached" is an early version of what is called, "pleated" today. A "doublet" is a name for an old-style vest which had leather cords instead of buttons to fasten it closed.
To those of my fellow Americans who think that there are asses in Washington, you might be edified to discover that George Washington introduced the ass to America. He discovered that farms in Spain used an animal that worked harder than horses and ate less. When he inquired, he was given a jackass and told to mate it with a horse mare to produce this infertile animal which worked so efficiently. In the last fifteen years of his life, George created several dozens of these mules and farmers from all over bred their mules from George's ass. Maybe that's where our saying, "Let George do it," originated. This exposition on the "ass" came about because Emerson wrote in his August 21, 1834 journal entry, "Washington introduced the ass into America." (Page 339)
Finally I found a passage which provides fuel for Emerson's famous Essay called "Self-Reliance".
[page 346] October 6, 1834. Insist on yourself. Never imitate. For your own talent you can present every moment with all the force of a lifetime's cultivation but of the adopted stolen talent of anybody else you have only a frigid brief extempore half possession.
Emerson writes on November 5, 1834, "The sublime of the Ship is that in the pathless sea it carries its own direction in the chart & compass." (Page 352) What about the human being? Are we not each on a pathless sea but possess a sublime spirit within us which can read our karmic chart and soul's compass heading to set a course for us?
Rudolf Steiner often spoke of how our ability to see into the spiritual world is revealed only gradually and only to the most moral of persons, so that their power may be used for good. Emerson says it this way:
[page 353] November 5, 1834. Do not trust man, great God!, with more power until he has learned to use his little power better. Does not our power increase exactly in the measure that we learn how to use it?
This next two passages chime in my memory a familiar tune; likely I have read their successors in some of Emerson's Essays.
[page 375] December 21, 1834. It is very easy in the world to live by the opinion of the world. It is very easy in solitude to be self-centered. But the finished man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.
[page 380] December 26, 1834. "There's nothing good or bad but thinking makes it so."
Some of you may think, "I never saw a Titian; I never read Aristotle, Bacon, or Shakespeare, so what good did they do for me?" But you do look at paintings, think logically, understand some science, and speak and write English, don't you? Titian, Aristotle, Bacon, Shakespeare and other great beings like them are the people who formed our way of painting, thinking, and speaking. In a sense, Emerson reminds us, "the language thinks for us."
[page 396] January 13, 1825. "Our very signboards show there has been a Titian in the world." Do you think that Aristotle benefits him only who reads the Ethics & the Rhetoric? Or Bacon or Shakespeare or the Schools those only who converse in them? Far otherwise; these men acted directly upon the common speech of men & made distinctions which as they were seen to be just by all who understood them, were rigidly observed as rules in their conversation & writing; & so were diffused gradually as improvements in the vernacular language. Thus the language thinks for us as Coleridge said.
Say what you have to say, then shut up. Speak only when you have something important to say, then be quiet. Emerson says something similar but conjures up a white fence for us.
[page 409] May 13, 1835. Imprison that stammering tongue within its white fence until you have a necessary sentiment or a useful fact to utter, & that said, be dumb again. Then your words will weigh something. . .
I would be remiss not to share this amazing quotation which I have seen in many places and contexts; truly this is an original thought of Emerson's. It is sad to think that the "city of God" does not appear over our modern cities because of the glare of the dazzling lights of our cities, lights which are visible from outer space, appearing as star-spangled tinsel adorning the night side of our planet.
[page 425] July 31, 1835. If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, men would believe & adore & for a few generations preserve the remembrance of the city of God which had been shown. But every night come out these preachers of beauty, & light the Universe with their admonishing smile.
The passage below matches up well with this quotation below it from some other place in Emerson's writings: "A weed is a plant whose virtues have not been discovered."
[page 465] June 16, 1836. Matter is the frail and weary weed in which God has drest the soul which he has called into time.
Two of Emerson's views on history. First, on page 470 he writes, "The best Service which history renders us is to lead us to prize the present. Few historians do this, in my opinion, but Dr. Kevin Dann is a prominent exception. Second, this next passage:
[page 471] August 27, 1836. History. A great licentiousness seems to have followed directly on the heels of the Reformation. Luther even had to lament the decay of piety in his own household. "Doctor," said his wife to him one day, "how is it that while subject to papacy, we prayed so often & with such fervor, while now we pray with the utmost coldness & very seldom?" Remember Luther's wife!
As I read this next statement of Emerson's I realized that this was the effect that meeting him in his Essays had on me at the age of 18.
[page 482] October 18, 1836. When I see a man of genius he always inspires me with a feeling of boundless confidence in my own powers.
Do you have a speech or talk ahead of you that you are planning to give? He reminds us that "In that hour it shall be given you what ye shall say."
[page 482] October 18, 1836. Say the thing that is fit for this new-born and infinite hour. Come forsake, this once, this balmy time, the historical, & let us go to the Most high & go forth with him now that he is to say, Let there be Light. Propose no methods, prepare no words, select not traditions, but fix your eye on the audience & the fit word will utter itself as when the eye seek the person in the remote corner of the house the voice accommodates itself to the area to be filled.
The passage below is a worthy sermon on the human being and how we fit into the world of time and spirit, how the circumstances of our life are like bark peeling off an expanding tree. Do we bemoan the loss of the bark when the tree yet lives on? So much of the things people call life is like lost bark, a byproduct of human existence.
[page 485] October 19, 1836. There are two facts, the Individual and the Universal. To this belong the finite, the temporal, ignorance, sin, death; to that belong the infinite, the immutable, truth, goodness, life. In Man they both consist. The All is in Man. In Man the perpetual progress is from the Individual to the Universal, from that which is human, to that which is divine. "Self dies, & dies perpetually." The circumstances, the persons, the body, the world, the memory are forever perishing as the bark peels off the expanding tree. The facts so familiar to me in infancy, my cradle and porringer, my nurse and nursery, have died out of my world forever. The images of the following period are fading, & will presently be obliterated. Can I doubt that the facts & events & persons & personal relations that now appertain to me will perish as utterly when the soul shall have exhausted their meaning & use? The world is the gymnasium on which the youth of the Universe are trained to strength & skill. When they have become masters of strength & skill, who cares what becomes of the masts & bars & ropes on which they strained their muscle?
From this next passage we can see clearly that Emerson understood sleep as an astral refreshment of our human body.
[page 488] November 7, 1836. Sleep for five minutes seems an indispensable cordial to the human system. No rest is like the rest of sleep. All other balm differs from the balm of sleep as mechanical mixture differs from chemical. For this is the abdication of Will & the accepting of a supernatural aid. It is the introduction of the supernatural into the familiar day.
Emerson had little patience with those who urged that "ministers adapt their preaching to the great mass." In this next passage, he leads us to see sermons like the Wizard of Oz thundering words as from the Godhead, with Emerson entering as Toto to pull away the curtain concealing a trembling old man pulling strings and spewing bird-droppings of wisdom.
[page 489] November 8, 1836. But these pert gentlemen assume that the whole object is to manage "the great mass" & they forsooth are behind the curtain with the Deity and mean to help manage. They know all & will now smirk & manoeuvre & condescendingly yield the dropping of their wisdom to the poor people.
The value of praise from others is especially important to writers. Emerson knew this well, and points out a phenomenon that I have observed in myself that I thought no one else knew about.
[page 495] November 25, 1836. The very sentiment I expressed yesterday without heed, shall sound memorable to me tomorrow if I hear it from another. My own book I read with new eyes when a stranger has praised it.
When reading Emerson, we feel as if he frees us from being entranced by dead heroes like Alexander or Washington, as if the Sun is raining light into our minds and spirits, and everything about us is new today. Read now how he exhorts us to experience this freedom.
[page 495] November 25, 1836. Come let us not be an appanage to Alexander, Charles V. Or any of history's heroes. Dead men all! but for me the earth is new today, & the sun is raining light.
In our so-called government of these United States of America, we have had good administrations and bad administrations. Our only consolation could be stated in Latin as "Res nolunt diu male administrari" which Emerson enlightens us as to its meaning.
[page 503, 504] January 27, 1837. The true explanation of "Res nolunt diu male administrari" undoubtedly is that mischief is shortlived, & all things thwart & end it. Napoleon's empire built up amid universal alarm — in how short space of time vanished out of history like breath into the air: but St Paul, the tent maker, — see what a tent he built.
In writing about Goethe, Emerson often waxes eloquent, as in this next passage:
[page 509] April 11, 1837. Always the man of genius dwells alone, and, like the mountain, pays the tax of snows and silence for elevation.
Emerson was a continuous learner throughout his life. How does one gauge the effects of learning on one's life? He tells us:
[page 513] April 21, 1837. I learn evermore. In smooth water I discover the motion of my boat by the motion of trees & houses on shore, so the progress of my mind is proved by the perpetual change in the persons & things I daily behold.
Here he writes of another idea that he expounds more fully in his Essays: "We humans touch but at points." Yes, and some people are so much like porcupines, we may be thankful we only touch them at isolated times and points.
[page 526] May 19, 1837. Is it not pathetic that the action of men on men is so partial? We never touch but at points. He most that I can have or be to my fellow man, is it the reading of his book, or the hearing of his project in conversation. . . . Every man is an infinitely repellent orb & holds his individual being on that condition.
One of the delights of the TV Drama, "Blue Bloods", is their Sunday family dinner, where the troubles of the day or week are bruited about, usually in good humor. Yet, on occasion, someone is not all there, and it is visible on that person's face. Emerson talks of this phenomenon here:
[page 529] May 22, 1937. The kingdom of the involuntary, of the not me. See they not how when the unfit guest comes in, the master of the house goes out? He is not at home, he cannot be at home whilst the guest stays. His body is there and a singular inconvenience to any family. Men & women should not contend with the laws of human nature. They sit at one board, but a cloud falleth upon their faces, that hinder them from seeing one another.
From his Self-Reliance Essay I recall this idea being presented:
[page 534] July 21, 1837. Abide by your spontaneous impression with good humoured inflexibility then most when the whole cry of voices is on the other side. Else, tomorrow a stranger will say with masterly good sense precisely what you have thought & felt all the time, & you will be forced to take with shame your own opinion from another.
From my recollection, the Emerson who later incorporated the above thoughts into his Essay was like a stranger who refashioned Emerson's original words of July 21, 1837 with masterly good sense the hard-to-follow sentences above, making the sense jump out easily and fall like light into one's mind. He writes on page 542, "Life lies behind us as the quarry from whence we get tile & copestones for the masonry of today."
Have you ever gotten a request to speak at a gathering filled with admonitions about what to speak about? What did Emerson do when that happened to him?
[page 547] September 19, 1837. On the 29 August, I received a letter from the Salem Lyceum signed I.F. Worcester, requesting me to lecture before the institution next winter and adding "The subject is of course discretionary with yourself "provided no allusions are made to religious controversy, or other exciting topics upon which the public mind is honestly divided." I replied on the same day to Mr. W. by quoting these words & adding "I am really sorry that any person in Salem should think me capable of accepting an invitation so encumbered."
This above reply is on a par with how Groucho replied to an invitation he received to become a member of the prestigious Friar's Club in Hollywood, "I would not join any club that would have me as a member."
On page 576 began the Journal entries I was eagerly anticipating reading: his early meetings with Henry David Thoreau.
[page 576] February 11, 1838. At the "teachers' meeting" last night my good Edmund after disclaiming any wish to difference Jesus from a human mind suddenly seemed to alter his tone & said that Jesus made the world & was the Eternal God. Henry Thoreau merely remarked that "Mr Hosmer had kicked the pail over." I delight much in my young friend, who seems to have as free & erect a mind as any I have ever met. He told me as we walked this afternoon a good story about a boy who went to school him, Wentworth, who resisted the school mistress' command that the children should bow to Dr Heywood & other gentlemen as they went by, and when Dr Heywood stood waiting & cleared his throat with a Hem! Wentworth said, "You need not hem, Doctor, I shan't bow."
One wonders if, by saying "kicked the pail over", Thoreau was using the 19th century of our phrase, "He kicked the bucket" or perhaps, "He spilled the beans" or perhaps something else. Six days later Thoreau gets mentioned again.
[page 577] February 11, 1838. My good Henry Thoreau made this else solitary afternoon sunny with his simplicity & clear perception. How comic is simplicity in this doubledealing quacking world. Every thing that boy says makes merry with society though nothing can be graver than his meaning. I told him he should write out the history of his College life as Carlyle has his tutoring. We agreed that the seeing the stars through a telescope would be worth all the Astronomical lectures. Then he described Mr Quimby's electrical lecture here & the experiment of the shock & added that "College Corporations are very blind to the fact that that twinge in the elbow is worth all the lecturing."
Next a passage which reminds me of the Little Prince's description of the stars in the night sky singing.
[page 577] February 11, 1838. Tonight I walked under the stars through the snow & stopped & looked at my star sparklers & heard the voice of the wind so slight & pure & deep as if it were the sound of the stars themselves revolving.
Next Emerson admires Wordsworth's writing a description of the simple act stopping oneself in mid-flight on a pair of ice skates, taking it as an expression of his self-reliance.
[page 577] February 11, 1838. How much self reliance it implies to write a true description of anything. For example Wordsworth's picture of skating; that leaning back on your heels & stopping in mid career. So simple a fact no common man would have trusted himself to detach as a thought.
And young Henry Thoreau appears again in this next passage.
[page 582] March 6, 1838. Read in Montaigne's chapter on Seneca & Plutarch Vol II p. 624 a very good critique on the Systems & Methods on which I expended my petulance in these pages yesterday. Montaigne is spiced throughout with rebellion as much as Alcott or my young Henry T.
And again here:
[page 592, 593] April 24, 1838. PM. I went to the Cliff with Henry Thoreau. Warm, pleasant, misty weather which the great mountain amphitheatre seemed to drink in with gladness. A crow's voice filled all the miles of air with sound. A bird's voice, even a piping frog enlivens the solitude & makes world enough for us. At night I went out into the dark & saw a glimmering star & heard a frog & Nature seemed to say Well do not these suffice? Here is a new scene, a new experience. Ponder it, Emerson, & not like the foolish world hanker after thunders & multitudes & vast landscapes, the sea or Niagara.
Michelangelo was a genius, but he didn't know how to do the fresco paintings of the Sistine Chapel, so he contracted with some fresco painters from Florence to do them. Digusted with their results he threw them out of the Chapel to complete it himself. Their expert technique minus his genius was a poor match for his beginner's technique plus his genius.
[page 609] June 10, 1838. It is the distinction of genius that it is always inconceivable, — once, & ever a surprise. Shakespeare we cannot account for, no history, no "life & sinners" solves the insoluble problem,. . . . And so is Genius ever total & not mechanically composable.
When we read magazines, we hope to hear the Muses speaking or singing, but often what we hear puts us to sleep.
[page 609] June 10, 1838. When I read the North American Review, or the London Quarterly, I seem to hear the snore of the muses, not their waking voice.
But Emerson's voice is that of a wide-awake Muse when he speaks to me from his Journal some advice which I have been following decades before I read it here.
[page 609] June 10, 1838. Read & think. Study now, & now garden. Go alone, then go abroad. Speculate awhile, then work in the world. Yours affectionately.
We would call these "goodies" in the next passage by the epithet of "goodie-two-shoes", and no one would dare claim to like them. Many people despise them because, out of their own awareness, they are also one. How do we easily recognize a "goodie-two-shoes"? They advertize their own goodness, and strive to help everyone become as good as they perceive themselves to be.
[page 616, 617] June 23, 1838. I hate goodies. I hate goodness that preaches. Goodness that preaches undoes itself. . . . Goodies make us very bad. . . . We will almost sin to spite them. Better indulge yourself, feed fat, drink liquors, than go strait laced for such cattle as these.
My rare privilege of being writer, editor, and publisher permits me to experience this "new pleasure" which Emerson discusses in the passage below. My press of the 21st century does not fall because it prints in pixels, recyclable electrons I call them, on the world-wide web of the Internet. Once my copy-editor is done with my new piece of writing, I do a final proof and then publish it for the whole world to read instantly.Every month I do this, and just as soon as I do, the thought arises in me, "What if someone is reading some egregious typographical error of mine right now?" Perhaps it's a "not" that was inadvertently left out and has turned the meaning of my sentence upside down. This leads me to run a fine-toothed comb through my text to extract such lice-like horrors from my hairy text, while eliminating any of the more frequent minor typos which any reader will likely elide when reading at full speed, like "as it" in place of "as if", for example. These are difficult to spot when my mind is still filled with what I intended to write, so my final proofing must take place after about 3 days, and by then, when I read my own prose, it's as if I were reading someone else's prose. That's when my final polishing of the prose occurs. I call this process, "playing with sentences", after the advice Annie Dillard gave a wannabe writer who asked her, "Do you think I could be a writer?", the following answer, "I don't know. Do you like sentences?"I like sentences. And reading my own sentences at a span of time of three or more days from my composing effort allows me to discern any hitches in the get-along of my sentences and smooth them out, allows me to discern an ambiguity that had escaped me in the heat of creativity and pin down the one meaning I had intended. The most fun is to find that my meaning I thought so clear now seems befuddled, and I can tackle with some fervor the chance to clarify my intended meaning. All this I can do after the "press falls" — something unthinkable in Emerson's time.
[page 621] August 10, 1838. If that worthy ancient king in the school books who offered a reward to the inventor of a new pleasure could make his proclamation anew, I should put in for the first prize. I would tell him to write an oration & then print it & setting himself diligently to the correction let him strike out a blunder & insert the right word just ere the press falls he shall know a new pleasure.
Fairies are no longer visible during this stage of human evolution. Children under the age of three can still see them, often giving them names and we parents say our children have imaginary friends. But to the child, they are real friends, fully visible to them, using their clairvoyant sight which will disappear by age 3 or so. Thus, it has come to be that the dance of fairies are said to break off at the approach of human feet; it must be so since no adult humans can see them, and the children who can yet see them will soon be taught that they are only imagining that they see fairies. It seems that the coitus of parents is as hard to see as the dance of fairies as it also breaks off with the approach of human feet. (My comments suggested by an Edmund Hosmer story on Page 628)
It is better to be censured than to be praised, Emerson claims so in this next passage. This would warm the heart of the current governor of our State because our newspapers never find anything worthy of praise to write about him. Articles which start off with faint praise of him do so only to catch everyone's attention and then quickly sink into censure.
[page 640] September 29, 1838. I hate to be defended in a newspaper. As long as all that is said is against me, I feel a certain sublime assurance of success but as soon as honied words of praise are spoken for me, I feel as one that lies unprotected before his enemies.
Emerson blessed his wife who consoled him to ignore any bad talk about others, to wait till it goes away, after all, she said, "It is done in Eternity."
[page 640] September 29, 1838. Blessed be the wife! I, as always, venerate the oracular nature of woman. The sentiment which the man thinks he came unto gradually through the events of years, to his surprise he finds woman dwelling there in the same, as her native home.
For decades I have known the power of an unanswered question; I consider it as a gift, a quest that one gives oneself. Emerson says it is okay for a man to be unable to answer some great question or problem put to him by a friend.
[page 641] October 5, 1838.
A problem appears to me. I cannot solve it with all my wits: but leave it there; let it lie awhile: I can by faithful truth live at last its uttermost darkness into light.
Dr. Milton Erickson practiced hypnotherapy from his small office on Haworth Street in Phoenix, Arizona for about fifty years. He never found a patient he could not help. The more difficult the patient the harder Erickson studied him. He learned the science of each patient. Herbert was such a hard case — he wouldn't eat any food, always leaving it on his plate untouched. Noting this, Erickson arranged to have patients who stole food from others' plates to be seated on either side of Herbert, who was furious about them stealing his food, so he ate his food to keep it from being stolen from his plate. Finally after a year or so of many different tactics, Herbert told Erickson, "Doc, one of us is crazy."Erickson created a science designed for one person, Herbert, and did so for every other patient he encountered. This next passage could easily be Erickson talking. Insane patients had a lot to teach Erickson; he never complained about them, he learned from them.
[page 649] October 20, 1838. I think I learn as much from the sick as from the sound, — from the insane as from the sane. Deal plainly, or as we say, roundly, with every man, & you convert him instantly into an invaluable teacher of his Science, and every man has one science. Every one then becomes a messenger of God to you. Insane men have a great deal to teach you.
Much is made of Martin Luther's translation of the Latin Bible into German, and no doubt the ready available Bible in the everyday language of Germans helped bring about the Reformation. But Emerson tells us that Lessing's translation of Shakespeare into German was equally great because it brought a sudden up-welling of German literature.
[page 650] October 20, 1838. It was not possible to write the history of Shakespeare until now. For it was on the translation of Shakespeare into German by Lessing that "the succeeding rapid burst of German literature was most intimately connected." Here certainly is an important particular in the story of that great mind yet how recent!
Strange tongues can make one suspicious of strangers. But with familiarity, the strange tongue and the stranger speaking it becomes a welcome sight to our eyes and sound to our ears. In the 1930s, my grandmother allowed my mother to play with the children of the low-class Italian immigrant laborers in the small sawmill town of Donner. Other white families didn't allow their kids to play with the Italians. Now the songs of the Italian singers of Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and others are loved by millions all over the world. The alienated strangers have become beloved friends. Each generation brings a new set of strange languages and people speaking it into our neighborhoods beginning in earnest another assimilation process in this great Melting Pot of America. Emerson explains the journey to us, as if he had seen more than just the first half-century of it at work in this country.
[page 651] October 26, 1838. In going through Italy I speak Italian, thro' Arabia Arabic; I say the same things, but have altered my speech. But ignorant people think a foreigner speaking a foreign tongue a formidable odious nature, alien to the backbone. So is it with our brothers. Our journey, the journey of the Soul, is through different regions of thought, and to each its own vocabulary. As soon as we hear a new vocabulary from our own, at once we exaggerate the alarming differences, — account the man suspicious, a thief, a pagan, & set no bounds to our disgust or hatred, and, late in life, perhaps too late, we find he was loving & hating, doing & thinking the same things as we, under his own vocabulary.
Thoreau asks us to imagine if some great proprietor had bought up the entire globe: where would any of us have to live? Thoreau to whom the whole world belonged, rightly understood, did not like to be compelled to walk in a tiny width of land known as a road. It was not where the interesting parts of Nature could be found. Perhaps it was this walk which led Emerson to sell Thoreau a small piece of land along Walden Pond, and perhaps it was Emerson's answers to Thoreau's complaints which led him to write the amazing book, Walden. We get only a few hints that may have happened from Emerson.
[page 661] November 9, 1838. My brave Henry Thoreau walked with me to Walden this P. M. And complained of the proprietors who compelled him (to whom as much as any the whole world belonged), to walk in a strip of road & crowded him out of all the rest of God's earth. He must not get over the fence: but to the building of that fence he was no party. Suppose, he said, some great proprietor, before he was born, had bought up the whole globe.
If so, Thoreau would have been "hustled out of nature." Emerson talks in depth to him about the arrangement of proprietors, etal, and my guess is that Thoreau became a surveyor for the primary reason of providing him unrestrained access to any piece of property he desired to transverse or otherwise inspect. Secondary reason was likely a need to provide himself a source of income, which he could do while spending time outdoors in the area surrounding Concord that he loved so much.
[page 662, 663] November 9, 1838. Always pay, for first or last you must pay your entire expense. Uncles & Aunts, fathers & elder brothers, patrons & friends may stand for a time between you & justice; but it is only postponement — you must pay at last your own debt. If you are wise, you will dread a prosperity which only loads you with new debt. A whig victory, a rise of rents, the momentary triumph of a religious poet or some other quite outward event raises your spirits & you think easy days are preparing for you. Do not believe it. It can never be so. Nothing can ever bring you peace but yourself. Nothing can bring you peace but the attainment of principles.
In the above passage I found what I had read in Emerson's Essays decades ago, namely, the refrain, "Nothing can ever bring you peace but yourself." I wish our children would discover this for themselves and soon. The first part of the Emerson passage reminds me of a book Naikan Psychotherapy(5) in which this explanation appears.It discusses something else I wish our children would discover for themselves. Here is a quote from that book:
[page 1, D.K. Reynolds] Naikan is a form of self-reflection or meditation that emphasizes how much each of us has received from others, how little we have returned to them, and how much trouble and worry we have caused our lo0ved ones from as far back as we recall.
The above sentence majestically captures the essence of the book. In it, Reynolds writes of the importance for us as adults to thank those who took care of us as children, the aunts who cooked for us, who took us to parades, the uncles who took us fishing, all the various people who provided for our good without getting any compensation for it directly; these people need to be thanked early and often by us as adults. It is as good for us to give this gratitude as it is good for them to receive it.
Locating the above book 30 years after having read it was made possible only by the essence of the book having been burnt into my memory. Ah Memory! Then I encountered this paragraph from page 664, in which Emerson wafts eloquent breezes our way from his store of memories, all of which begs to be rendered into a found poem. (Emerson wrote this on November 9, 1838)
What else should it be called but, "Ah Memory!"
Dear daughter of God!
Thy blessing is millionfold.
The poor short lone fact that dies at the birth,
thou catchest up &
bathest in immortal waters.
Then a thousand times over it lives & acts again,
each time transfigured,
Then in solitude & darkness,
I walk over again my sunny walks;
in streets behold again the shadows of my grey birches,
in the still river;
hear the joyful voices of my brothers
a thousand times over, & vibrate anew
to the tenderness & dainty music
of the early poetry I fed upon in boyhood.
As fair to me the clump of flags
that bent over the water
as if to see its own beauty below,
one evening last summer,
as any plants that are growing there today.
At this hour, the stream is flowing,
though I hear it not;
the plants are drinking their accustomed life,
& repaying it with their beautiful forms,
but I need no wander thither.
It flows for me,
& they grow for me
in the returning images
of former summers.
The popular food we call the Graham Cracker was named after the founder of the Graham diet, Sylvester Graham, who was born in 1794 and was still alive during Emerson's life.
[page 677] May 26, 1839. The poor mind does not seem to itself to be anything unless it have an outside oddity, some Graham diet, or Quaker coat, or Calvinistic Prayer-meeting, or Abolition Effort, or any how some wild contrasting action to testify that it is something. The rich mind lies in the sun & sleeps & is Nature. Or Why need you rail, or need a biting criticism on the Church & the College to demonstrate your holiness & your intellectual aims? Let others draw that inference which damns the institutions if they will. Be thyself too great for enmity & fault-finding.
This next passage was probably written before Thoreau studied surveying, an occupation which flowed so delightfully into his favorite past-time, spending time in the woods, that it could be a stretch to call surveying his occupation except that it did occupy some small portion of his time he spent enjoying the woods.
[page 677] May 26, 1839. My brave Henry here who is content to live now, & feels no shame in not studying for any profession, for he does not postpone his life but lives already, — pours contempt on these crybabies of routine & Boston.
Emerson tells us, "The finite is the foam of the infinite." In two hundred plus years no one has come up with a better definition for the world we perceive in relation to the spiritual world which coincides with it invisibly to most of us. When I get a latte at my favorite coffeeshop each morning, I ask for extra foam because it modulates the heat of the scalding hot expresso and brings out its sweet flavor while it is yet very hot, all without burning my tongue. I cannot see the hot expresso, only the foam which covers it.In Itzhak Bentov's classic, A Cosmic Book, he described how our known universe could be but a bubble in a cosmic foam of numberless universes. Thus everything we see and know is but the foam of the infinite, just as Emerson wrote in 1839.
In this next passage, Emerson envisions a "Society for preventing the murder of worms". Emerson prophesied, in effect, the curious organization we are besieged by today, which is devoted to preventing the killing of any animal, even worms, I would suppose! It has become almost a cult, growing like a weed in recent years, while being lampooned by reasonable adults. Res nolunt diu male administrari.
I chuckle over the statement, almost obligatory at the end of any Hollywood movie today, "No Animals Were Injured in the Making of this Movie." I try in vain to imagine a movie cast eating lunch consisting only of tofu and alfalfa sprouts. Surely those Pepperoni Pizzas contain dead pig and the Chicken Tenders they eat from a fast food joint come from dead chickens, killed for the sole purpose of eating them. How does that absolve Popeye's chicken-eating customers, but cause derision to be spewed on hunters of mallard ducks? But these little inconvenient truths are glossed over in favor of Hollywood's greater good, which seems to be making money while pretending not to be money-hungry and killing animals for food while putting a statement to the contrary at the end of their movies. All I can say to Hollywood is, "Thanks for not showing the killing and butchering of the animals on film which went into the gullets of the people making the film!"
[page 679] May 29, 1839. Reform always has this damper, that a new simplicity can be preached with equal emphasis (& who shall deny that it is preached with equal reason too) on the simplicity it preaches. Thus when we have come to live on the fruits ot our own gardens, & begin to boast that we lead a man's lite, then shall come some audacious upstart to upbraid us with our false & foreign taste which steadily plucks up every thing which nature puts in our soil & laboriously plants every thing not intended to grow there. Behold, shall that man of the Weeds say, the perpetual broad hint that nature gives you. Every day these plants you destroyed yesterday, appear again: and see a frost, a rain, a drought, has killed this exotic corn & wheat & beans & beets which luxurious man would substitute for his native & allowed table. Then too will arise the Society for preventing the murder of worms. And it will be asked with indignation what right have we to tear our small fellow citizens out of the sod and put them to death for eating a morsel of corn or a melon leaf or a bit of apple, whilst it can be proved to any jury by a surgical examination of their jaws & forceps & stomachs that this is the natural food of this eater. In the same age a man will be reproached with simony & sacrilege because he took money of the bookseller for his poem or history.
In this next passage the curious adverb "inly" appears, which we would say "inwardly" in its place today. Two of my favorite quotations about friends follow.
[page 684] June 16, 1839. I must be myself. I cannot disintegrate myself any longer for you or you. If you can love me for what I am, we shall be the happier. If you cannot, I will still seek to deserve that you should! I must be myself; I will not hide my tastes or my aversions. I will so trust that what is deep is holy, that I will do bravely before the sun & moon whatsoever inly rejoiceth me, & the heart appoints.
I do with my friends as I do with books. I would have them where I can get them, but I seldom use them.
My books are where I can get them. My trouble finding the hardback book Naikan Psychotherapy on my bookshelves after thirty years indicates that there many books on my bookshelf that I seldom reference, but how wonderful they are to me when I need a specific reference inside a book I had read decades ago. There it was on page 1 marked off as special and signed and dated by me. What will the wonders of electronic books do to scholars of the future? Their books will be ephemeral electronic objects which disappear as they read the last page of each. A physical book is its own reason for keeping around; an e-book has no such necessary reality, existing at the whim of the reader. There will be ways of getting around this, but I'm glad I got to drive an automobile which had a mechanical push-button on the floor to start engine, and physical books to read, make marginal notes in, and keep indefinitely. Like the floor-starter automobiles are collected and treasured as antiques, I wish that the annotated volumes of my library will be collected and treasured also.
[page 685] June 16, 1839. We will meet as though we met not, & part as though we parted not.
Emerson railed against consistency in many ways, likening it to wooden walls we build to fence ourselves in after which we complain about the restrictions. Voltaire said, "It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere." Emerson reminds us of the chains of consistency, devoting a complete Essay to the subject. Here are some of his early thoughts on the subject.
[page 690] July 3, 1839. Consistency! Nonsense with your wooden walls. Speak what you think today in words as strong as cannon balls & tomorrow speak what you think then as hard though it contradicts to the ear every thing you said today.
Henry David Thoreau walked the woods of Concord and saw things few other people saw. Here is an example.
[page 725] November 20, 1839. Ah Nature the very look of the woods is heroical & stimulating. This afternoon in a very thick grove where H. D. T. showed me the bush of mountain laurel, the first I have seen in Concord, the stems of pine & hemlock & oak almost gleamed like steel upon the excited eye. How old, how aboriginal these trees appear, though not many years older than I.
The old saying, "making a clean shrift of things", had me puzzled until I read this sentence and realized that Emerson is saying we help each other by seeking forgiveness, not just by telling, shrift being the past tense of shrive.
[page 734] April, 1840. By confession we help each other; by clean shrift, and not by dictation.
Emerson was dealing with the new mode of fast transportation of his time, the railroad. What he says equally applies to all of our modern methods of fast transportation. He was not against it, but merely observes the consequences of it on the individual. For myself, I would rather drive six hours than take a jet airplane because the long waits involved on each end of a flight can add up to six hours in some cases.
[page 735] April 7, 1840. The railroad makes a man a chattel, transports him by the box & the ton; he waits on it. He feels that he pays a high price for his speed in this compromise of all his will. I think the man who walks looks down on us who ride.
Emerson was a scholar who disliked scholarly writing, disdaining the style of the North American Review and London Quarterly, but he loved the brusque direct talk of truckers and teamsters. Note that in his time, a teamster actually drove a team of horses. It took guts for him to admit that he loved their way of direct talking, preferring it over academic bafflegab. If he shouts , "I don't want none, nohow!" — no one mistakes his meaning, no matter how many negatives he uses for emphasis! Meaning is in people, not the words they use!
[page 749] June 21, 1940. The language of the street is always strong. What can describe the folly & emptiness of molding like the word jawing? I feel too the force of the double negative, though clean contrary to our grammar rules. And I confess to some pleasure from the stinging rhetoric of a rattling oath in the mouth of trucked & teamsters. How laconic & brisk it is by the side of a page of the North American Review. Cut these words & they would bleed; they are vascular &alive; they walk & run. Moreover they who speak them have this elegance, that they do not trip in their speech. It is a shower of bullets, whilst Cambridge men & Yale men correct themselves & begin again at every half sentence. I know nobody among my contemporaries except Carlyle who writes with any sinew & vivacity comparable to Plutarch & Montaigne. Yet always this profane swearing & bar-room wit has salt & fire in it. I cannot now read Webster's speeches. Fuller & Brown & Milton are quick, but the list is soon ended. Goethe seems to be well alive, no pedant. Luther too. Guts is a stronger word than intestines.
What does love mean to men and to women? Emerson chimes in with his thoughts.
[page 759] September 30, 1841. The first thing men think of, when they love, is to exhibit their usefulness & advantages. Women refuse these, asking only love.
Emerson says on page 770 that a writer ought not to be married, ought not to have a family, but if married should be married to a shrewd woman.
[page 770] February 4, 1841. I think the Roman Church with its celibate clergy & monastic cells was right. If he must marry, perhaps he should be regarded happiest who has a shrew for a wife, a sharp-tongued notable dame who can & will assume the total economy of the house, and having some sense that her philosopher is best in his study suffers him not to intermeddle with her thrift. He shall be master but not mistress, as E. H. said. (Edmund Hosmer)
On pages 780 to 782, Emerson accompanies Thoreau on a boat ride, watching the Sun mixing its colors in the palette of the water's surface, as they paddled down a small stream, watching the moon rising into the star-filled cathedral ceiling above them. It is an amazing read so I will only tease you with this introductory passage.
[page 780, 781] June 6, 1841. Then the good river-god has taken the form of my valiant Henry Thoreau here & introduced me to the riches of his shadowy starlit, moonlit stream, a lovely new world lying as close & yet as unknown to this vulgar trite of streets & shops as death to life or poetry or prose. Through one field only went to the boat & then left all time, all science, all history behind us and entered into Nature with one stroke of a paddle. Take care, good friend! I said, as I looked west into the sunset overhead & underneath, & he with his face toward me rowed towards it, — take care; you know not what you do, dipping your wooden oar into the enchanted liquid, painted with all reds, purples, & yellows which glows under & behind you.
With difficulty, let's tear ourselves away from the magical boat ride to more mundane matters, namely, Emerson's comment on boring lectures, lecturers, and academic authors. He writes on page 782, "The borer on our peachtrees bores that she may deposit an egg; but the borer into theories & institutions & books, bore that he may bore."
On page 784, he writes about men with a lack of perspective who think the nearest thing is the largest, "As on a mountain you must level your gun at another mountain & see if the shot run out of the barrel, to know that the summit is lower than yours." In his day, the shot, a lead ball, was rolled into the barrel and could not be shot unless the gun was kept above level with the ground, or else the lead ball would roll out of the barrel. Modern guns, since Emerson's time, have shot that are wadded in a shell or use metal cartridges either of which secure the shot to the shell and prevent it rolling out.
Below is a paragraph which I have reformatted as Emerson's great paean to the wheels of progress of the 19th century. Listen to it create the sound of Emerson's teakettle, the early steam locomotive, as it lumbers over chestnut sleepers and issues its call for more iron rails for its wheels to roll over. It is the sound of progress through the land between Concord and Boston, then a wilderness, now completely filled with houses and farms some two centuries hence. I will label this "The Teakettle's Song". (From Page 792)
The Teakettle's Song
I hear the whistle of the locomotive in the woods.
Wherever that music comes it has a sequel.
It is the voice of the civility of the Nineteenth Century
saying "Here I am."
It is interrogative: it is prophetic: and this Cassandra is believed:
"Whew! . . . Whew! . . . Whew!
How is real estate here in the swamp & wilderness?
Swamp & Wilderness
Ho for Boston!
Whew! . . . Whew!
Down with that forest on the side of the hill.
I want ten thousand chestnut sleepers.
I want cedar posts
and hundreds of thousands of feet of boards.
Up my masters, of oak & pine!
You have waited long enough —
a good part of a century in the wind & stupid sky.
Ho for axes & saws and
away with me to Boston!
Whew! . . . Whew!
I will plant a dozen houses on this pasture next moon
and a village anon; and
I will sprinkle yonder square mile with white houses
like the broken snow-banks that strow it in March."
When the so-called government of these United States of America declared a "war on poverty", thereby relegating a large portion of its citizens to a lifelong dependency, it was no doubt unaware of what Emerson wrote in 1840, "Dependency is the only poverty." (Page 803)
Make oneself strong by self-reliance and eschew foolish consistency were two of the powerful messages I received personally from Ralph Waldo Emerson as a callow college student. These new thoughts entered me in the dawning of my maturity, filling now the light of day in my soul.
[page 804] January 13, 1841. Every new thought which makes day in our souls has its long morning twilight to announce its coming.
How best to close this review of Emerson's Journals, but with a dream in which he ate the apple of the world:
[page 804] January 13, 1841. I dreamed that I floated at will in the great Ether, and I saw the world floating also not far off, but diminished to the size of an apple. Then an angel took it in his hand & brought it to me and said "This must thou eat." And I ate the world.
Emerson's influence has spread world-wide, though few recognize it when it appears in their life. He made the world a part of himself as surely as if he had eaten it. In the time of Emerson, he had to read the books of non-Americans: Montaigne, Wordsworth, Voltaire, Wordsworth, Swedenborg, Goethe, Walter Scott, Rabelais, Pascal, Keats, Hume, Homer, and Cicero among many others. They were Emerson's bootstrap into literature. From his readings and his life he created a powerful American presence in literature, equal to that of the French, English, Swedish, German, Greek, and Roman writers who inspired him. He, in turn, became America writer's bootstrap into literature. We can read Emerson, the first true American philosopher and writer, and be inspired by him yet today. If you want to get close to Emerson, there is no better place to start than with the two volumes of his compiled Journals published by The Library of America, of which this is the first volume.
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Footnote 3.Return to text directly before Footnote 3.
In his book, Writing Without Teachers, which helped me to disable the critic in my head long enough to write creatively. Critics have no business sitting near the fire of creativity, bugging the writer. Their job is best performed back in the coolness of the tent the next morning.
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Naikan Psychotherapy — Meditation for Self-Development was written by David K. Reynolds in 1983, University of Chicago Press. It took me some time to locate this book I read November, 1985. I had forgotten both the name of the author and the name of the type of psychotherapy he wrote about, but what he wrote was indelible on my memory, so holding it as an unanswered question overnight, I did a quick scan through 200 psychotherapy references of Wikipedia, found the author and then quickly located the book in my library. Persistence is often the better part of valor. Return to text directly before Footnote 5.
3.) ARJ2: The Archangel Michael, GA# 67, His Mission and Ours by Rudolf Steiner
In the Introduction to this collection of twenty-three Steiner lectures on the Archangel Michael, Christopher Bamford sums up the book admirably:
[page 9] Michael cannot fulfill his mission without humanity's cosmic vocation of freedom, individuality, and love. Human beings, too, depend on Michael for the fulfillment of their task . . . His great joy is helping those who of their own free deed enter the ranks of those collaborating in the great work of the invisible.
Since you, dear Reader, are reading this of your own free deed, you are enrolling in Michael's school. Since you might want to know what the curriculum is, the rest of this review will be devoted to explaining the nature of humanity's task as we near the mid-point of the Michael Age. In ARJ: Karmic Relationships, Volume 8, I gave a chronology of the Archangel Ages which shows the approximate dates of the rulership of each Archangel. Clearly the rulership of Michael began near the end of the 1879 and extends for about three hundred and twenty years or so from then. Steiner once wrote that anthroposophy was actually born in 1880, the first year of Michael's reign. The significance of this statement will become clear later in this review as we probe the relationship of this Michael Age and anthroposophy.
The Appendix of this book contains a treatise by Johannes Trithemius that he wrote for the Emperor in 1508. In it he outlines the history of the world from Creation in year 1 to the onset of the current Michael Age in year 7086 (1879 A. D.). In a brief seventeen pages, he lists the major biblical, religious, and political events and places them chronologically into their correct Archangel Age. Not only chronologically, but logically according to the characteristics of the Archangel of the age. This Appendix is a handy reference to the characteristics of the various Archangels and to the overall progress during the various phases of an Age.
Trithemius uses an exact period of 354 years and four months for each Age, but says, "There are some who believe that these periods correspond to lunar month." This indicates an uncertainty in the exact number of years of an Age. Steiner's notebook gives periods ranging from 320 years to 369 years.
Here is an example of his description of the first rule of Archangel Samael, which describes the major theme of his Age as well as the progression of Ages in general.
[page 301] Samael ruled for 354 years and 4 months and impressed his influence strongly upon humanity. Under Samael's reign, in the year of the world 1656, the universal flood occurred, as the Book of Genesis clearly shows. It is a remarkable fact, as the ancient philosophers tell us, that each time Samael, the Genius of Mars, governs the world, a complete change occurs in some great monarchy: religions and castes are overturned; great persons and princes are exiled; laws are changed — as one can easily see in the historians. Such changes do not occur right at the beginning of Samael's reign, but only as it enters its second half. The same is true for all the other planetary Spirits, as history shows. That is, the influence of the secondary powers [Archangels] reaches its height when the stars reach the zenith of their revolution.
It has been about 120 years since the rulership of Michael began in late in the year 1879. We are nearing the midpoint of the current Age, so we can expect that Michael's influence is nearing its height as I write these words in 1999.
Let's look at the deeds of humanity during previous Michael Ages [Using the Trithemius treatise and dating system]:
Michael Age I (2126 to 2480): first King appears; Nimrod the first to use coercion; mathematics, astronomy, and magic were invented; first beginnings of agriculture and civilization.
Michael Age II (4606 to 4960): first King of the Hebrew people; reign of Balthasar; Romans designated two Consuls annually; Pythagoras in Greece; Temple rebuilt in Jerusalem; Gauls sacked Rome; Socrates and Plato taught in Greece; Alexander came into power right at the end of the Age.
Michael Age III (7086 to 7430): This Age began in 1879 A.D. when Rudolf Steiner reached the age of 18. Anthroposophy founded; great cosmopolitan areas flourished around the world in London, New York, and Tokyo, to name just a few; the history of this Age is being written every day. One prophetic remark by Trithemius appears on page 308, "And freedom will not be given to the Jews again until the third period of Michael . . ." This seems clearly to predict the creation of the country of Israel in the middle of the 20th Century.
In English we pronounce "Michael" as two syllables, "MY-KUL", but the final syllable "el", the name of God, is the last syllable of all the seven Archangels's names. It means, e.g., in Raphael — "Rapha" of God. George Adams (page 29) is quoted as saying that we pronounce Michael "in effect as though we should say raffle instead of Raphael." Steiner once upbraided George for slurring the name of Michael by saying it as two syllables instead of the correct three syllables: Mi-cha-el or ME-KA-ELL.
Like every human has a guardian Angel, every folk has an Archangel assigned as folk spirit for the entire folk, whose job is to regulate the relationship of individual humans with the whole of a people or a race. The next level, Archai, is the top level of the Third Hierarchy, and one Archai or Spirit of Personality takes the role of Spirit of an Age or Time Spirit. What is the job of the Time Spirit?
[page 36, 37] You will readily understand that what must be done on earth must be done largely by earthly individualities. Certain epoch-making personalities have to appear at certain particular times. Utter confusion would reign in evolution if this were left to chance, if, for instance, a Luther or Charlemagne were to appear quite arbitrarily in one era or another. we must realize the significance of this in regard to the whole human earthly evolution: the right souls must appear at a particular moment in the overall pattern of earthly evolution, as it were. This is regulated by the Spirits of Personality or Archai. . . .
The Prologue includes many references in historical literature to Michael, both Christian and Hebrew. Christ may be thought of as sunlight, and Michael as reflected sunlight. Jehovah as the Moon being worshiped by the ancient Hebrews was known to them as Jehovah-Michael. Michael was the countenance of Jehovah, the Archangel through which Jehovah revealed himself to the ancient Hebrews.
Beginning with the advance of scientific materialism in the 16th Century, humans after death in the physical world began to enter the spiritual world with a progressive diminution of consciousness that culminated in a second crucifixion of Christ in the Angelic realms in the 19th Century.
[page 52] Twice already Christ has been crucified: once physically, in the physical world at the beginning of our era, and a second time spiritually, in the nineteenth century, in the way described above. It could be said that humanity experienced the resurrection of His body in that former time and will experience the resurrection of His consciousness from the twentieth century onward.
During the previous Gabriel Age from 1510 to 1879, the forces of Gabriel were directed to the development of the human brain. In the progressing Michael Age, the forces of Michael are being directed to flow into the human soul as Imagination and Inspiration.
[page 56] Michael does not work so much for the spiritual investigator, the initiate, but for those who wish to understand spiritual investigation, for those who are striving to achieve active thinking.
In this progressing Age, Michael is up for promotion. The highest of the Archangels, whom, in comparison to the other Archangels, Steiner likens to the Sun in comparison to the planets, Michael will pass over into the nature of Archai. As Time Spirit he will guide the whole of humanity. How will this show up in the material world? Every process in the spiritual world has an imprint in the material world, if one knows how to locate it. Basically the human personality that formerly has come from below, from Lucifer, will henceforth come from above, from the spiritual world. The blood and temperament that formerly were the hallmarks of personality will diminish and the Michael Impulse will infuse our soul with personality directly from the spiritual world.
[page 59] In the future, the strength of human deeds will come from the strength of the spiritual influences working into these human deeds.
Whenever someone is promoted to a higher job, the thought comes, "Who will take the vacated job?" To understand who will take Michael's place as Archangel, we must look for an Angel whose job has been completed. Since guardian Angels keep track of an individual from lifetime to lifetime, what happens to an Angel when its human ward escapes the wheel of reincarnation and no longer returns to an earthly life? That Angel is then ready for promotion to Archangel. Thus we can understand that it is the Angel of the Bodhisattva born as Gautama Buddha (who escaped the wheel of reincarnation) that will ascend to the rank of Archangel to replace Michael.
Steiner has said in several places that "evil is a good that is applied out of its time" — for example, he hinted that having Luther or Charlemagne born in the wrong time would have led to utter confusion. The laws of nature, while good in their time, are not so if they are still used to construct a world view in the present Age. In a similar fashion, those people who favor a new technology that builds government without coercion are not against the coercive State, only against those who, in spite of the new technology, want a continuation of the coercive State.Or as Peter Koenig says in his e-article, "The McDonaldisation of Occulture", in referring to "ritualistic babbling about yoga, Kabbalah, gnosis, rituals and, for example Crowley": "The claimed expansion of consciousness turns out to be a simple reconfiguration of the world in order to permit things to go on in the same way as before." These attempts to hold fast to a good whose time is past will build up the strength of a fearful dragon lest we persist in our service of Michael.
[page 63] Michael did not fight the present dragon in ages past, for then the dragon now meant was not yet a dragon. . . . Michael overcoming the Dragon is an important imagination. To receive the inflow of spiritual life into the sense world: this is the service of Michael from now on. We serve Michael by overcoming the Dragon that is trying to grow to its full height and strength in ideas, which during the past epoch produced materialism and which now threatens to live on into the future. To defeat this dragon means to stand in the service of Mi-cha-el. That is the victory of Michael over the Dragon.
I wish to point out that "to defeat this Dragon" means nothing less than to exterminate it, to kill it — not to push it to the ground and say, "Bad boy, don't do that again." The Dragon's nature is to grow and any temporary setback will not deter it from once again rearing its ugly head among the very humans who timidly scowled and pestered the Dragon instead of killing it, even in play during a Michaelmas celebration. Such a key element of the Michael curriculum should not be toyed with or watered down, especially for the very youngsters on whom we rely to continue the battle after us.
How are we to go into battle with the "Dragon" amongst us, those Ahrimanic beings who were cast out of the spiritual realms for attempting to flow a good to earth before its time? In 1879 the "Dragon" was the Angeloi , and once more they were defeated by Michael in the spiritual world and cast into the earthly-human world, where they are unable to prevent spiritual knowledge from flowing down to us, but endeavor to spread this knowledge prematurely among humans.
[page 65] The only way to combat the influence of these Ahrimanic Beings is to realize that nothing avails against some of Ahriman's aims, except to see through him, to know that he is there. . . . Human beings in the fifth post-Atlantean epoch must evolve to the stage where they can address the Ahrimanic Beings and Powers as Faust addresses Mephistopheles: "In thy Nothingness I hope to find the all." We must resolve to look into that realm where materialism sees "Nothingness" and see the spiritual world . . .
We must be ready to apply a clarity of thinking if we are to ever have a chance "to see in the right light the ripened truths which are to fall from the spiritual world." If we allow ourselves to be confused by such materialistic theories as Darwinian evolution which claims that we descended from animals, "our souls will be confronted with the sorry fate of having to perceive its resemblance to its own thought!" (Quotes from pages 69, 70.) In the "nothingness" of Darwin's theory of evolution, we'll see our all. One might say truly, "I'll be a monkey's uncle if I'll believe in Darwinian evolution!"
In thinking about the materialistic scientist's view of evolution, I imagined that I was sitting at a table as I watched someone lay down an entire suit of cards from right to left in the order of King to Ace. Later a materialistic scientist comes into the room and finds the array of cards on the table. "Aha!" the scientist exclaims, "Note how the cards are arranged. They were laid down from left to right in ascending order! See how the Deuce follows the Ace, the Trey the Deuce, the Four the Trey, and thus it proceeds all the way up to the highest card, the King! This shows truly the evolution upward through the species of cards!" In Steiner's view of evolution the cards are laid down in a reverse order, but the result is the same and thus the Darwinian evolutionist can make a good case using the empty "nothingness" of logic for a progression up the chain of the animal kingdom to the human kingdom. These materialistic evolutionists will be accurate in their logic and thinking and completely incorrect in their conclusions. If I later re-entered the room and explained that I had actually seen the person lay down the cards in the reverse order of their rationalistic deductions, all my words would be to no avail. "How can you prove this?" they would ask me, "Show us your reasoning." Thus is the power of abstract thoughts to counter really effective perceptions and thoughts, up until now.
Rightly understood, materialistic medical doctors with all their armamentarium of drugs do not heal sick people, but rather attempt to help them temporarily escape the results of their folly — a folly that begins in their thoughts. Directly the presenting problem is alleviated and some other problem surfaces, which requires another drug, another diagnostic test, and offers hope that this time the person will be healed without having to change the inner disposition that was at the root of the original problem. EAT-O-TWIST! Everything Allways Turns Out The Way It's Supposed To, where the supposing begins in the reality of our thoughts.
[page 71] What we think ourselves to be, that we are obliged to become. This is a truth that was destined, after the great changes in the nineteenth century, to find its way to humanity.
We are what we think but the "Spirits of Darkness inspired human beings to proclaim that 'We are what we eat.'" (page 71) And it is this principle that drives modern medicine to find the right chemical, the right drug, the right genetic alteration that will prove that only what we put into our physical bodies by the way of physical substances will make any difference in our lives. Missing the point, that we become what we think, not only affects us here on Earth, but it has a major impact on the time between life and death when we carry these thoughts into that time as our reality. There is also a major effect on those here on Earth who do not believe the dead lives on.
[page 74] Only by sustaining the thought that the dead lives on, can one guard oneself, as well as others, against the link with the dead becoming a source of danger to those who have been left behind. Indeed, in a certain sense the same applies to the dead themselves, who under an eternal, wisdom-filled law are compelled to lurk in the survivors in such a way that this influence remains subconscious and manifests, ultimately, as illness.
In his book Multiple Man [Click at left to read my ARJ1 review.], Adam Crabtree relates many stories of dealing with just such "lurking" by the dead in the survivors and how he helped the survivors simply by accepting the reality of the dead and convincing them to leave the bodies they had been lurking inside of. From my review of that book:
And we meet confused spirits who have wandered in a heavy mist for years after their death. One of these was a dead father who, unbeknownst to himself, was trapped in his daughter's body. When asked to examine his body, he exclaimed, "I'm female!" That helped to convince him that the voice he was hearing in the mist (Crabtree) was telling him the truth about his living in his daughter's body. Once he had received the full information about his status, he soon moved on into the spirit world.
In the various places where Steiner has talked about the stages of evolution, it is tempting to understand these stages as occurring sequentially in time from the earliest human time of Old Saturn progressively through Old Sun, Old Moon, to our present day Earth. From here we look to the future to our Jupiter, Venus, and Vulcan stages. Steiner recommends that we picture the stages of our evolution as interpenetrating each other. As one reviews one's school career, if one is in the Fourth Grade, one can look back to Grades 1, 2, 3 and forward to Grades 5, 6, 7, 8. But all the while one is surrounded by others who are in those other Grades. Exactly so, we must picture all of the stages of evolution co-existing on Earth and the levels higher than our human stage interpenetrating each other and us.
[page 101, 102] Imagine now the following. Picture the surface of an ocean and a person wading there, moving forward through the water, with only the head protruding. This is an image — but only an image — of our present human situation. From this point of view, all that has made the head what it is today must be reckoned as belonging to the fourth evolutionary level, while everything through which the human being is wading or (we might say) swimming, we would have to call the eighth evolutionary stage.
The eighth evolutionary stage is the realm of the Spirits of Form, which are variously called elsewhere Powers or Exousiai or Elohim. In one of his lectures Steiner says that when we are doing hand work, our body excluding our head is infused with these Spirits of Form - essentially every part of our organism not involved with sense perception.
To understand how to balance Luciferian and Ahrimanic influences in our lives, we must be able to perceive these influences. When we are carried away in fantasies, i.e., we go out of our heads, we are dealing with, under the influence of, Luciferic forces. When we are most in our bodies, feeling heavy and materialistic, we are dealing with, under the influence of, Ahrimanic forces. As Tom Mellett puts it: Lucifer would turn us into moral automatons (moral, but unfree humans) and Ahriman would turn us into amoral, but free humans. Lucifer rules our blood, and Ahriman our bones. When our blood becomes feverish, we hallucinate (notice "Luci"lurking in that word). When our bones extend their tendency to the rest of our body we become sclerotic or arthritic (notice "Ahri" lurking in that word), and various parts of our body begin to solidify and stiffen.
[page 104, 105] As human beings we are the point of balance between the blood and the bones, just as we must strive for the psychological balance between visionary excesses and dry philistinism.
Imagine a balance scale in which on are side are the Luciferic influences and on the other side are the Ahrimanic influences. It is clear what influence is predominant when one side is lower than the other, but what does the scale in balance represent? Steiner says it represents the Christ-Impulse. This balance scale is an important image as it provides an antidote for the pervasive attempt of moralists and religious zealots to contrast only the polarities of good and evil, and whenever they do so, one side of the scale will be chosen as good and the other side as evil.This is the inherent danger of our neglecting the two faces of the Devil, Lucifer and Ahriman! When we blur the two into one being and call one side of the scale good and the other evil, we are basically suggesting that some evil should be sought as if it were a good. Steiner points out on pages 108 to 112 that Milton did this in his Paradise Lost epic poem in which the "paradise" was a Luciferian heaven from which humanity was expelled into an Ahrimanic realm , and takes Goethe to task for lumping the two sides of the scale into one Mephistopheles in his classic work Faust. One needs little practice to be able to recognize when speakers are tilting the scale in one direction or another. They either wish you to find freedom their way (to become their robot) or they wish you to be free to do what you wish with other's lives, thoughts, and property (to be amoral). Lacking the balancing influence of Christ and Michael, we are liable to soar to the heavens like Icarus and come crashing to Earth when our wings melt from the heat of the Sun. One interesting aspect involves evolution because those who claim humans descended from animals are apparently unaware that "only what is Luciferic in human beings has this animal origin." (Page 123)
[page 125] And first of all we must correct the great error that had to precede this change in thinking, namely, the materialistic interpretation of evolutionary theory which sees the whole human being as descended from the animal.
In 1999 we have seen several states and school boards in the USA remove the word evolution from their teaching guidelines, so as to remove the requirement that their teachers teach only Darwinian evolution. This is a sign of the beginning of the necessary correction that Steiner speaks of in the above quote. We must become aware in the midst of this great Michael Age that what we think and say becomes reality.
[page 127] For true as it is, as the Prologue to the Gospel of St. John says, that "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us," it is also true that we have to add, "and human flesh must again be permeated by the spirit in order that it may dwell in the realm of the Word and behold there the secrets of divinity." That the Word became flesh — the Incarnation — is the first Michael-Revelation. The spiritualization of the flesh must be the second.
In my essay "Art is the Process of Destruction" I emphasize that art, true art, rightly understood, is not pretty, because it involves the destruction of the sameness that we have become inured to over time, and most people resent it when some new artist destroys artistic illusions they have worked hard to acquire. Here is Steiner saying something similar about art:
[page 137] Hence, if we really wish to grasp what art is, we must never forget that its fundamental concern must always and forever be to depict the battle between beauty and ugliness. Reality is achieved only by seeking a state of balance between them, and not when we accept the one-sided reality intended for us by Lucifer and Ahriman.
Steiner was not taken in by the promises of the workers's revolution of his time. Here he analyzes the battle cry of the proletariat, "Workers of the World, Unite!" and shows its paradoxical nature which so confuses our human understanding that its adherents will follow it blindly and its opponents will be unable to oppose it effectively out of the inner confusion the slogan engenders in both.
[page 175[ For what does this slogan really mean? It means: Nurture antipathy, as proletarians, against the other classes, nurture something similar to hate as single individuals, and then to unite, which is to say, love one another. Unite your feelings of hatred, develop love of your class — a love for comrades of a common class — born out of hate. Love each other out of hatred! . . . If I may use so paradoxical an expression, something actually exists in the nature of an anti-method that uses our own modern way of thinking to veil the sway of our instinctual life, making it especially vulnerable to attack by the Ahrimanic beings I have been describing.
Take a break from reading this review and focus on the four dots in the picture below for about thirty seconds. Then close your eyes and focus on the circle of light that appears.
The afterimage you saw that gradually disappeared, was it just a subjective process?
[page 185, 186] Modern physiologists say it is, but that is not correct. The afterimage is an objective process in the cosmic ether, in the same sense that the presence of carbon dioxide in the air we exhale is an objective process. You imprint an image upon the cosmic ether. You yourself experience it only as a gradually disappearing afterimage. But it is not just a subjective process; it is an objective process. Here you have something objective. You have the possibility of recognizing how something that takes place within you is simultaneously a subtle cosmic process.
But it doesn't just happen with images, but with everything we say and do in the world.(1) If someone raises a question about whether some activity is safe, the afterimage of that thought stays with us, sometimes for years. Unless and until we accept that what happens inside us has the reality of objective processes, we hold ourselves to being radio receivers when in actually we are both receivers and transmitters in the cosmic ether. Radio waves may seem to have no objective reality to people who don't possess radio receivers, but let them acquire radio receivers and hear the transmissions from others and themselves, then they will understand the objective nature of radio waves.
In our time we have become, to the spiritual Beings who guide us, like teenagers are to the average parent — they do things with their bodies, with their clothes, with their music, and with their lives that few parents can understand. If we get most upset by things others do that we are also doing, but outside of our awareness, then it becomes understandable why the strange, independent behaviors of our teenagers should upset us so: we are doing equally strange things in the eyes of our spiritual parents.
[page 195] Since the first third of the fifteenth century . . . when divine-spiritual Beings look down to the earth . . . they find things everywhere fundamentally alien to them: they find that human beings are doing things on earth which they themselves planned solely in accordance with the phenomena and processes of earthly existence. To the Gods with whom we live between death and rebirth, this is an entirely alien attitude.
In August of 1999, I gave this lecture twice in California on doyletics in which I promised that the three bugaboos of humanity, anxiety, fear, and hate were endangered species from now on. [I point the reader to the twist in which I referred to things as "endangered species" that we don't want. ] I gave these speeches during the time of the Perseid meteor shower. Steiner tells us that this shower of meteoric iron should be pictured as the "iron of Michael's sword" and that its effects radiate into our very life's blood as scintilla of tiny meteorites in the iron of our hemoglobin.
[page 221] This human blood, which is in truth not such a material thing as contemporary science imagines, but is permeated throughout by impulses from soul and spirit, is rayed through by the force which is carried as iron into the blood and wages war there on anxiety, fear, and hate. . . . The effect of the raying in of the iron [from the meteors] is to drive fear and anxiety out of the blood.
What is the stand that Michael and his spirits take among us human beings? It is this:
[page 261] I am the ruler of the Intelligence. And the Intelligence must be so ruled that there shall not enter into it any illusion or false fantasy, nor anything that would restrict the human being to a dark, vague, cloudy vision of the world.
Rather we shall be guided by an "inner sun" during the course of our lives here on earth. We will meet with Michael in his office, so to speak, by transposing ourselves into the spiritual realms.
[page 293] This will enable human beings to travel their true path of freedom between seduction by Luciferic illusions in their thinking and living, and Ahrimanic enticement into a future shape of things that satisfies their conceit but does not rightly belong to them in the present epoch.
To fall victim to Luciferic illusions means to fall short of becoming fully human, that is, to fail to make the effort to progress to the stage of freedom, remaining content to stay at the earlier evolutionary divine-human level. To fall victim to Ahrimanic enticement means being unwilling to wait for the right cosmic moment to come to a certain stage of humanness and instead to take this stage prematurely.
How will we find our way through this maze of Luciferic and Ahrimanic snares? Only by holding at all times the image of Michael-Christ before us as our spiritual compass as we travel through to the world destination. Only this way will we be able to "see the cosmic nature of freedom in spiritual-scientific illumination."(page 293)
[page 294] This is not meant with reference to my Philosophy of Freedom, a work based on purely human cognitive powers, when they can be applied to the realm of the spirit. . . . But it might be said that The Philosophy of Freedom prepares the reader for an understanding of freedom that can become actual experience of spiritual communion with Michael.
Rightly understood, philosophy is the primrose path to becoming a free, but amoral being to the delight of Ahriman. An easy path, but one leading to perdition or loss of soul.
[page 297] If we were to accept the present state of things, and be content to let only that universal rule of natural law conceived by a morally neutral intellect prevail, while restricting ourselves to a merely mental experience of freedom, we would be led — in this age, when evolution must continue into ever deeper regions of the soul in order to counterbalance those higher ones in which freedom reigns — to Ahriman, who would like to see the contemporary world turn into a purely intellectual cosmos.
Only by "looking outward in spirit [to] see Michael and looking inward [to] see the Christ" can we travel in security and certainty along the path to our truly human future.
Footnote 1.Return to text directly before Footnote 1.
Bradford Riley pointed out to me how the objective after-image of events can occur. These occur in everyone’s life, but after a person has killed someone, the after-images are common, as one sees portrayed in movies in the twenty-first century. The image of the person becomes visible to the killer, haunting their dreams, but also their waking life. This is the inverted image of the event or in other words, the image of how the karmic deed must be overcome.
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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 Salutes A New Orleans Tradition: Walking and Carrying a Cup with Alcoholic Liquor in it in Public this Month:
Padre Filius, the cartoon character created by your intrepid editor and would-be cartoonist, will appear from time to time in this Section of DIGESTWORLD to share with us some amusing or enlightening aspect of the world he observes during his peregrinations.
This month the good Padre Keeps Calm and Carries his Go Cup:
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 Book Editor Jens in Toronto:
Thanks for the newsletter. I enjoy them very much. This month I have a comment: You mention "SunRoc" several times, but I notice that the blue marlin statue says "SanRoc." Nonetheless, you and your camera do a fine job!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ REPLY ~~~~~~~~~~~~
Thanks, Jens! Fine eye you have to catch that mistake. Since the correct spelling appeared only in a photo, no amount of Spell Check would help for that. I love for folks to point out typos for me, so this was much appreciated, dear Friend,
3. Poem from Freedom on the Half Shell:"Song of Freedom"
Give me your poor, huddled masses yearning to breathe free and I will give them taxes, regulations, restrictions, and every manner of unfairness ever created by persons saddled with the illusion that they can decide what is best for someone else's welfare. The individual, like the business professional, knows what's best in a given situation and, given the freedom, will take that action. The forces of coercion are prying open the shell that contains the living muscle and spirit of the American people — will we resist those forces and keep our muscles and spirit alive, free to open at will, or will we give up like the oyster and settle for "freedom on the half shell?" Here is another poem from Freedom on the Half Shell:
4. FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY OF HURRICANE BETSY
Song of Freedom
An epic song of freedom calls to me,
to leave my moorings on this murky sea
To set my tattered sails for brighter climes,
to where the crackless bell of freedom chimes.
A land of earnest volunteers,
bereft of bureaucrats for years:
They left because their lawful force
found no one willing to coerce.
We cannot fight for liberty you see
is not consistent with bureaucracy.
It's only by our joint consent
we do on freedom's shores relent.
We lose our independent roots
pursuing it in polling booths.
On September 9, 1965 Hurricane Betsy roared through New Orleans after coming ashore in Grand Isle. My wife and I with our three young daughters, Maureen (3yrs), Carla (1yr), and Yvette (3mos) huddled in our second floor apartment as 110 mph winds howled through the long night. On the top floor of a brick duplex, our windows rattled but none broke, and through them I could see the eerie green light which came on as each electric transformer sparked long lasting green sparks, often with a muffled sound perceptible over the din of the wind shaking the trees and our humble home in Metairie, suburb of New Orleans. The next morning all was quiet. Our power was off. I was able to drive several blocks over to my in-laws Audrey and Henry's home and found they were alright and their power was miraculously still on. I immediately hauled the frozen meat, almost a side of beef, from my freezer to theirs. Our power did not return for four days due to the many poles blown down by Betsy.
At a time when Hurricanes were only named after ladies, let me tell you Betsy was no lady! She broke a levee of the Industrial Canal and flooded a whole subdivision in Arabi with 10 feet of water. Audrey's brother Clyde had a home there. On the second day I went with Henry and others to help clean up Clyde's home. As I walked down the several blocks-long street, I saw all the residents' belongings already hauled to the street. When we arrived at Clyde's home, we walked through 6 inch deep black muck up to the front door. Inside the water scum line reached the ceiling. Many people who stayed had to be rescued from their attics. Clyde and his family made it out, but he had heart-problems and we were doing what he was physically unable to do for himself. With brooms we pushed 4 inch high black mushy mud out the bedrooms, into the living room and out the front door for hours. Then we cleared away the sidewalks before leaving.
This was the most profound scene of desolation that I have ever seen in my young life. The anguish of the residents we saw was written on their faces and on the yards of those who were not there, in their furnishings, possessions of a lifetime, piled at the curb of every house we walked past. When Katrina blew through some 40 years later, I had no desire to look at devastation: I had seen the worse that a storm could do. I kept busy repairing our fourplex in New Orleans and helping restore Del's mother's building and our home in Timberlane. Ironically, there had been plans for a Fortieth Anniversary Memorial to Hurricane Betsy, but like so many things, Katrina washed Betsy's memorial away in its flood waters. So, as the world remembers Katrina, I remember Betsy this year.
Forty years before Betsy, the great River Flood inundated New Orleans. It seems to me that it takes a generation, about 20 years, to forget a catastrophe, and then another generation to neglect those things which could prevent another catastrophe. About two generations it takes. Some 40 years after the Great Flood of the Mississippi poured through weak river levees, Betsy collapsed weak levees and poured into Arabi; 40 years later another Great Flood of Katrina poured through weakened and neglected canal levees. Beware of 2045: there will be another catastrophe in New Orleans due to some twenty years of neglect of something important; something we cannot even guess what it will be. But we can relax if we understand the long time table between catastrophes.
Hurricanes have steering currents and meteorological experts will tell you what they are, but they can't predict where and when massive hurricances will hit land. But Jane Roberts wrote an amazing book, The Individual and the Nature of Mass Events, in which she suggests that the human pysche is the ultimate steering currents for events such as hurricanes. When the collective psyches of the people in an area are stagnated by events when they deem to be out of their control, an event such as a hurricane sweeps through their area, and, while destroying many things, it will clean away the forces of stagnation and lead to a rebirth for their area. Hurricanes may seem to be out of control on the surface, but who knows who is at the steering wheel of those currents? It may be that, out of our awareness, each of us is at the steering wheel of the earthquakes, tsunamis, tornadoes, floods, fires, and hurricanes, &c, those events which may be in our control in the spiritual side of reality which we know so little about, compared to being out of control in the physical side of reality that we know so much about.
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9. CLOSING NOTES:
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