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WELCOME TO DIGESTWORLD ISSUE#166 June, 2016== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==Quote for the Wedding Month of June:== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==
Just look at us. Everything is backwards, everything is upside down. Doctors destroy health, lawyers destroy justice, psychiatrists destroy minds, scientists destroy truth, major media destroys information, religions destroy spirituality, and (RJM: so-called) governments destroy freedom.
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DIGESTWORLDArchived DIGESTWORLD Issues
GOOD MOUNTAIN PRESS Presents ISSUE#166 for June, 2016
Table of Contents
1. June's Violet-n-Joey Cartoon
2. Honored Readers for June
3. On a Personal Note
Flowers of Shanidar Poems
4. Cajun Story
5. Recipe or Household Hint for June, 2016 from Bobby Jeaux: Cleaning Garden Fingernails
6. Poem from Cosmic and Human Metamorphoses:"Earth Spirit"
7. Reviews and Articles featured for June:
8. Commentary on the World
- ARJ2: Manifestations of Karma, GA#120 by Rudolf Steiner
- ARJ2: From Mammoths to Mediums, GA#350 by Rudolf Steiner
- ARJ2: A Psychology of Body (Chap 1-4), GA#207 by Rudolf Steiner
1. Padre Filius Cartoon
2. Comments from Readers
3. Freedom on the Half Shell Poem
4. Fill'er Up, Check the Oil and Water!
9. Closing Notes — our mailing list, locating books, subscribing/unsubscribing to DIGESTWORLD
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1. June Violet-n-Joey CARTOON:
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==This month Violet and Joey learn about Exercise.
For newcomers to DIGESTWORLD, we have created a webpage of all the Violet-n-Joey cartoons!
"Exercise" at http://www.doyletics.com/images/160519vj.jpg
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2. HONORED READERS FOR June:
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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 June, 2016:
Philip McLeod in New Mexico
Duke Eversmeyer in New Orleans
Congratulations, Duke and Phil!
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3. ON A PERSONAL NOTE:
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Out Our Way:
A MONTH OF SUNDAES
On the first day of May, I began picking a clamshell full of blackberries from my domesticated blackberry patch alongside my veggie gardens. A clamshell is what I call the clear plastic fliptop container that strawberries come in. I have collected a dozen or so and they are being pressed into service on a daily basis. I drove to Dairy Queen and ordered some freshly poured soft serve in a Quart container. Turns out they always pour the mixture out fresh when ordered. I wanted it soft so that I could easily scoop it into glass dessert bowls to make me a blackberry sundae once a day. Soon I was picking 3 clamshells a day and gave two of them to our neighbor Connie and she returned a maple syrup bottle of blackberry syrup by way of thanks. Once we got the syrup, my sundae now begin with the syrup over the DQ and then freshly picked blackberries. I'll include a Recipe in an upcoming month so you see how the process works, but here's a photo of the delicious end result.The good news is that the DQ is so light that even on my daily blackberry sundae diet, I have maintained my weight. Having worked at Dairy Queen as a teenager, I know the mixture expands so much when served that it is cheaper than milk! That's why Dairy Queen Corporation is making more money on super-thick Blizzards: it costs them less if they skip the milk and they can charge more for Blizzards than for milkshakes. When Del's turn arrived to host her monthly Investment Club luncheon here at Timberlane, she planned a dessert with my blackberries. A half-hour before they began eating, I went outside and picked a clamshell of blackberries. She had a delicious vanilla cream cake and served a scoop of Breyer's Vanilla ice cream, a slice of cake, some blackberry syrup over the ice cream and fresh blackberries to top it off.The dessert drew raves from the women, and from me, the token male. I ate outside on the West Portico with Julie Greenberg, Laurene Nadier, and Barbara Louviere, and Jackie and Del came out and served the dessert at our table. My five bushes will be shaped and trimmed into a hedge along the north edge of Timberlane, allowing enough room for us to pick blackberries from either side. It has taken almost eight years to get my bushes producing after having to cut down the bush in our previous yard because of the insidious Virginia Creeper vine which continually smothered the blackberry bush. I celebrate this achievement with each blackberry sundae this month. I am still getting at least a clamshell of fresh berries every day, the product is beginning to wane.
KENTUCKY DERBY PATRON PARTY AND CLUBHOUSE GALA
Del was on the Les Committee planning the two events, operating as registration chair and expediter. We hired our good friend and musician extraordinaire, Armand St. Martin, to provide the music for the Patron Party. It was a cool event by the poolside at the Johnson's and everyone had a great time.
The Derby Event was a problem for us because Del had paid for Dan and Karen's tickets to the big event and four days before the Race, their daughter was hospitalized in Boston. Dan and Karen flew there to take care of their grand-daughter Annabelle, whose father had recently started a new job after striving for months to get a job in shipping again, so he needed help for his daughter.
Del and I contacted as many friends as we thought might be interested, but it's hard to find someone who didn't have a previous commitment for Derby Day. Our good friend Jim was able to join our table and take one of the empty spots.Our old friend Barbara who has just returned from living ten years in Germany was also at our table and she and Jim seemed to enjoy each other's company. Jim was there early, and I remembered he liked oysters on the half-shell, so we walked over to Darren's pirogue and helped him get started shucking. Jim and I stood by the side of the pirogue and ate up the oysters as quickly as they were opened. Soon, a crowd formed, but by that time we were mostly done with the oysters. It was time for my shoe shine. Each year there's been a guy shining shoes, but in previous years, I wore my seersucker suit and white shoes. This year, I decided my black Bruno Magli's were going to get a real sprucing up. And they did. The music was provided by the Ron Jones combo that actually played music suitable for dancing, if only I could have stopped Del long enough to dance. She was registering people when they came in, and then going around selling fifty-fifty raffle tickets as part of the club's fund-raiser.
The food was terrific. The new Clubhouse Grille folks with Red Maple Restaurant connections do a great job preparing and serving delicious food for a large crowd. The race was eagerly followed and most everyone was pulling for one of two horses that the Saints' owner, Tom Benson, had running in the race. But no one was too surprised when the Derby favorite Nyquist won.
WHOLE LOTTA TRUFFLE
If I have to go to Metairie, I tried to stack up a couple of errands at the same time. If Del and I can go, that's all the better. This month I scheduled a haircut with Mike on the same morning Del had a massage with Charlotte. I drove Del to her massage and figured to grab my daily latte at PJ's in Clearview Mall. HAH! The best laid plans . . . That morning after parking and walking a long walk through the Mall's parking lot, I saw a sign, "Expresso Machine Broken". I called my daughter Maureen, thinking she'd know a convenient PJ's, but she admitted there were few in Metairie. She Googled and got PJ's on Metairie Road. Great, I knew where that was, been there before several times, plus it's close to Mike's Barber Shop. I got my latte and headed up Metairie Road and turned right on Sierra Court to Mike's shop for the first time. Usually I come in another way.After my haircut, I picked up Del and we drove to Whole Foods to get Truffle cheese and Truffle Butter. Karen had given me some and I liked it, so I asked for Truffle Edam cheese and got a blank stare. Guy said they had none. Then after Googling himself for a while, he finally said, "Truffle Gouda?" Yes, that's what Karen gave us some of. I kept thinking of some tasteless hard cheese from Holland and chose the wrong name. With the bits of truffle, the price is about double or triple of the plain gouda, but the flavor grows on you and it's worth it. Karen also told me they had Truffle Butter, and I bought some of that also. Not sure the butter is worth the extra cost. Will have to try it on my favorite English Muffins for a real taste test.
That night we were meeting our daughter Kim and her husband Wes to join them for a Mother's Celebration. Their son Weslee and his girl Laurel were also in town, and they joined us at Commander's Palace. We had a great table in the Garden Room upstairs and a very efficient wait staff handling our table.I miss the jazz trio which the Saturday and Sunday brunches usually provide, but the food is good any day of the week. After dinner we took a walk through the busy kitchen to the outdoor patio and walked on the shady path through the garden, first time I'd done that. Another first was Del wanted to take home the remains of her crabmeat, crawfish and cheese grits main course. I said I thought it would be tacky walking out of Commander's Palace with a styrofoam box, but she persisted and the waitress returned with a silver swan! Del's delicious leftovers were wrapped in aluminum foil shaped into an elegant swan. No ugly duckling box, but a beautiful swan. On the way out, I noticed another lady holding her beautiful swan. That swan was sacrificed on Mother's Day and its innards placed in the middle of an omelette for our noon day meal.
THE RALLY POSSUM ARRIVES ! ! !
This has been a so-so year for LSU's baseball team. Eight freshman on the starting team, and they lost a whole bunch of games early on. In May, to get to Omaha LSU would have to win the rest of their games. This seemed highly unlikely, especially in the game against Arkansas. The Tigers played horribly: Poche knocked out of the box, and we went down 2-9 by the fifth inning. Kramer Robinson took a line drive relay from centerfield in the mouth when he lost it in the lights! What a horrible looking upper lip, like a heavyweight boxer after a fifteen rounder with the champ. Manieri went out to check on him and Kramer said, "Don't take me out the game, Coach!" Ben MacDonald and his pal on ESPNU interviewed Kramer's mom, Kim Mulke, a championship basketball coach and competent analyst of baseball. The two guys sat in amazement literally, unable to add anything to what she said, except, "That is really good!" For myself, I would listen to Kim as a TV analyst of any sport. She is a real pepper and sharp as a day-old Gillette. She hails from the local Hammond area, says she will always be a Louisiana girl, but loves her Texas Baylor basketball team which has won two National Championships with her as coach.
At no time did Omaha seem farther away for LSU than in the sixth inning with Arkansas, when the sluggish Tigers were losing 9-2. Suddenly, into the night-time game, running into right field as fast as its little legs could carry it, appeared a juvenile possum.
The possum looked cute and furry, but as an Arkansas fielder approached it, it lunged at him and flashed a large row of upper and lower teeth that looked like it could take off a couple of the fielder's fingers. It scared away three Arkansas fielders. The possum was fierce! Something the Fighting Tigers hadn't been through 6 innings or so. It took the LSU groundskeeper with a large bag and a couple of helpers to capture the feisty possum, but its antics had been followed by 10,000 plus fans in the stands and many times that amount on TV. By the time the ten-minute drama of the possum was over, fans were shouting Rally Possum! Rally Possum! And the energy the possum created apparently kickstarted the sluggish Tigers!
With the boost from the Rally Possum, LSU began to claw its way back and the score was only 5-9 by the end of the eighth inning. Then, in bottom of the ninth, LSU scored 4 unearned runs to tie the game, then held Arkansas scoreless in top of 10th, and won the game 10-9 on an infield single beat out by Kramer Robertson at first, which led to a throw to tag out LSU at third, which flew over the third base guy to the wall, and which led the coach had to scream, "RUN HOME! !" at Jake Fraley, the runner from second who had slid into third and was still on the ground at third. His yelling got Fraley on his feet, speeding to home to win the game. Such drama in a baseball game I had never seen before!
The third base coach, Nolan Cain, earned his salary for the year on that one great effort to get Fraley up and running to home! As for Kramer's grit, what can you say about that? A busted lip. Two loose teeth. A pinkie in splint. And still he drove in the winning run with a walk-off hit. This game began at 6:30 and didn't end until 11:35, over five hours and over 220 pitches were thrown. Before the dramatic final inning, Kramer told Fraley, "you get on second and I'll hit you home." He did exactly that. The Rally Possum had arrived!
LSU went on to win the next ten games, sweeping Arkansas in Alex Box, the Notre Dame doubleheader in South Bend, and Tennessee series in Knoxville before coming home to win a series from No. 1 Florida in Alex Box before the streak came to an end. The afternoon of LSU's loss, a possum was run over by a car in front of Don's house next door. One Rally Possum may have died, but there are plenty more where she came from!
The Tigers are a candidate for a Regional spot. But, at the SEC Tourney, they hit a speed bump. They went to Hoover and were hovering near defeat, scoreless, behind 0-4 against Tennessee in the SEC Tournament first-round Elimination game. BANG! A new Rally Possum arrived! ! ! The Tigers snarled, flashed their teeth, and clawed back to 3-4 in bottom of the eighth. Then Craig Deichman arced a booming shot over the centerfield fence to tie the score in the bottom of the ninth, 4-4! With a man on first and second, Kramer Robertson laced a walk-off shot down the third base line to the wall and won the game! Kept LSU from elimination in the first game and into the double-elimination heart of the tournament! Two walk-off wins for Kramer!
Who would have believed it? LSU played four games against the vaunted No. 1 Florida Gators and won three of them! Here's the fourth game which went from 8 PM till 2 AM.
Down 0-2 through 7 innings to Florida in the SEC Tourney, LSU rally-possumed back to win it 5-3 in 14 innings! All Florida needed was one run in five innings to get a walk-off win, but the Gator walked off the field with its tail between its legs at 2:05 AM when the Fighting Tigers's Jordan Romero having gone 0-17 was called in to Pinch Hit by Manieri and slammed in the winning run. Coach Manieri made another outstanding call facing bases-loaded and NO outs in an earlier inning with score tied 3-3. He called Fraley in to play infield, and the Tigers were like a Stanley Cup playoff hockey team with its goal left open. What happened? First Florida batter popped out to infield, second one hit sharp liner to Reid on Third who rushed back to the bag to force out the runner for a double play to end the inning. Fastest 3 outs with bases loaded I've ever seen. LSU's defense was rock solid during those early morning hours, and the Rally Possum, remember this: Possums are nocturnal predators. They are working while alligators are usually sleeping.Another win! Pitcher Jared Poche struggled in the first inning against Miss State, and LSU went on to win the game. Poche was replaced by Bugg in the 7th when MSU scored 2 runs to make it 4-2, but we quickly put up 3 more runs to ice the game. Parker Bugg got his fourth save of the year. Got to bed early, 12:30 am, an hour and a half earlier than previous 14 inning game. Next game is Saturday afternoon, after a whole day's rest for the Tigers and fans. About time for an afternoon game.
Stay tuned, same Rally Possum Channel, for more details.
WHEN KARMA COMES KNOCKING AT YOUR DOOR
My major review for this month is Manifestations of Karma, a set of lectures in which Steiner shows in detail how Lucifer leads to illusions within ourselves, how Ahriman becomes intertwined with external perceptions that lead to maya, how it is the work of Lucifer that leads to deluding ourselves with false motives, how wrong conclusions in relation to the world of phenomena come through Ahriman's deception, and how that leads us to believe in innocent victims and chance events. I give you as background this paraphrase of the Page 105 quote of Manifestations of Karma so that you may wish to read my complete review below.
BABY SHOWER FOR ABIGAIL ADELE UPTON
Our grand-daughter Katie is expecting a little girl at the end of June, and has already picked out the name, Abigail Adele, making Del very proud that our very first great-granddaughter will bear her name. I decided to drive up and back to Alexandria with Del for the shower, about 4 hours each way. I knew I could watch the LSU-Tennessee baseball game with Wes's boys while the baby shower is going on, and this would keep Del from having to be away from home overnight. We had done the day trip up and back before and it is an enjoyable drive, especially in our new car with the adaptive Cruise Control. Abigail's older brother Benjamin showed up with his dad, Stephen, and I was able to get photos of them together, as well as Katie his mom. After the game we left and drove back home, getting in about 8 pm.
JAZZ FUNERAL FOR WILLIE
In New Orleans we chose to mark the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare's death by displaying his First Folio in the Newcomb Art Museum on the Tulane University campus followed by the way we honor death of great friends and relatives here: A JAZZ FUNERAL.
There are two parts to a New Orleans Jazz Funeral which always involves a marching Brass Band with at least a trumpet, sax, and tuba. The first part is a long, slow walk behind the coffin to the cemetery. This is called the First Line. Then, when the "Preacher cuts loose the body, the Band begins to play." When the body enters the tomb, this marks the second part which is officially called a Second Line. The dirge is a slow measured walk to a very slow blues or jazz tune, perhaps "A Closer Walk with Thee" or "Amazing Grace", etc. The First Line dirge may be accompanied by many slow tunes depending on the length of the walk to cemetery.The Second line is always a very peppy, up tempo Jazz tune that celebrates the life of the loved one now safely beyond the pale of mundane earthly existence. Often the dirge is abbreviated because the hearse with the body drives ahead to the cemetery, and then the Brass Band swings into a fast-paced Jazz tune and the umbrellas, previously there to protect against the hot Sun or possible showers, now begin to swing over head with verve and excitement. Those folks without parasols or umbrellas take out a white handkerchief and wave it over their heads in time with the sassy beat of the Brass Band. Sometimes only a Second Live is performed in honor of someone who passed during the previous week. Whoever it is makes little difference to the folks who fall into the procession to join in a Second Line passing down the narrow streets of New Orleans. It might be considered bad form to cut into a funeral procession of automobiles on the street, but it is de rigeur to join in any Second Line that passes by when you're in New Orleans.Always carry a white handkerchief and be alert while walking through the French Quarter. Ask your concierge if there's a jazz funeral planned while you're in town. You may be able to join in the First and Second Line! Or you may be at a Sunday Brunch at the Hilton perhaps and the band begins marching among the tables and people with handkerchiefs waving fall in behind. This is a Second Line done mainly for fun, or for practice for those new to New Orleans!
The arrival of the First Folio of Shakespeare in New Orleans and the Jazz Funeral has been in planning for a year, and Del and I made sure we attended the event which began at the Newcomb Art Museum and moved around the Tulane Campus, a full dirge, followed by a speech, and then by a lively Second Line back to the Museum. I have a few photos and movie clips to share with you. Movie clips will be in the Movie Blurbs section of this Issue.
In New Orleans we chose to mark the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare's death by displaying his First Folio in the Newcomb Art Museum on the Tulane University campus followed by the way we honor death of great friends and relatives here: A JAZZ FUNERAL.
There are two parts to a New Orleans Jazz Funeral which always involves a marching Brass Band with at least a trumpet, sax, and tuba. The first part is a long, slow walk behind the coffin to the cemetery. This is called the First Line. Then, when the "Preacher cuts loose the body, the Band begins to play." When the body enters the tomb, this marks the second part which is officially called a Second Line. The dirge is a slow measured walk to a very slow blues or jazz tune, perhaps "A Closer Walk with Thee" or "Amazing Grace", etc. The First Line dirge may be accompanied by many slow tunes depending on the length of the walk to cemetery. The Second line is always a very peppy, up tempo Jazz tune that celebrates the life of the loved one now safely beyond the pale of mundane earthly existence. Often the dirge is abbreviated because the hearse with the body drives ahead to the cemetery, and then the Brass Band swings into a fast-paced Jazz tune and the umbrellas, previously there to protect against the hot Sun or possible showers, now begin to swing over head with verve and excitement.Those folks without parasols or umbrellas take out a white handkerchief and wave it over their heads in time with the sassy beat of the Brass Band. Sometimes only a Second Live is performed in honor of someone who passed during the previous week. Whoever it is makes little difference to the folks who fall into the procession to join in a Second Line passing down the narrow streets of New Orleans. It might be considered bad form to cut into a funeral procession of automobiles on the street, but it is de rigeur to join in any Second Line that passes by when you're in New Orleans. Always carry a white handkerchief and be alert while walking through the French Quarter. Ask your concierge if there's a jazz funeral planned while you're in town. You may be able to join in the First and Second Line! Or you may be at a Sunday Brunch at the Hilton perhaps and the band begins marching among the tables and people with handkerchiefs waving fall in behind. This is a Second Line done mainly for fun, or for practice for those new to New Orleans!
The arrival of the First Folio of Shakespeare in New Orleans and the Jazz Funeral has been in planning for a year, and Del and I made sure we attended the event which began at the Newcomb Art Museum and moved around the Tulane Campus, a full dirge, followed by a speech, and then by a lively Second Line back to the Museum. I have a few photos and movie clips to share with you. Movie clips will be in the Movie Blurbs section of this Issue.
WAIT A MINUTE! ! !
Why would anyone pay $200 to wait a minute? Well, I did. I had been wishing for someone to make a device that could delay a radio broadcast for a minute or more. Why? Because the talking heads on the SECN+ and WATCHESPN streaming video coverage are terrible and I want to listen to the LSU Radio Broadcast by Chris Blair in synchronism with the video. Like our son John just told me, "The only good time to listen to the SEC Network talking heads is after an LSU win because that's when they have to eat crow." Meaning having to eat their own words.
I went to Google and found a device for $30 which claimed to do a time delay, but I missed the small print which said it only worked on iCrap and I don't use iAnything. I gave it to my neighbor Don who has an old iPhone he no longer uses and he may be able to get the cables and app to work for him. Then I went to Amazon and ordered the $200 MoTron device. The first time I used my Motron I was upset. The MoTron could only get to within a couple pitches of the televised game. The Streaming game was running almost a minute behind the WWL FM broadcast, and the 43 second delay was not enough. With the first inning running into the second I had to read the instructions and finally managed to switch to the 86 second setting, but it didn't seem to do anything at all, as I was still a couple of plays on Streaming play behind the live action on FM. (By the way, if you have a choice of AM or FM broadcasts, the FM is usually about 6 seconds behind the AM).
So I suffered through that game, knowing what was going to happen before I saw it happen on Streaming. The next day or so, I called Don Moser, the inventor and owner of MoTron Electronics, the designer and manufacturer of the device. I always feel better when I buy something from the owner and designer because I will have a truly knowledgeable person to talk about any problems with.
When I called Don Moser of MoTron Electronics in Oregon, I had to leave a message and he called me right back. I have done a lot of troubleshooting in my 50-plus years in the computer field, so I was ready. After some finagling I was able to set up a test for my unit with Don on the phone. Had two FM radios, and I plugged one into the stereo input of the MoTron unit and its audio output into the input of my Pioneer amplifier. Adjusted the sound so Don and I could both hear the two signals. Listened to dreadful radio commercials and finally caught a memorable phrase not likely to be repeated. Don set his stopwatch till we heard it again after the MoTron delay. With my device set in its LS86 mode for a 60 seconds time delay, it only gave about a 30 second delay. Don said he'd look into the problem. He called me back about 15 minutes later to thank me for helping him to find a software bug in the LS86 mode. He said he'd send me a new unit later and gave me a temporary work-around. I was to use the Hb86 (HighResolution Mono Mode) and it should work. Told him I'd call him if my test failed. I tested it using the new Mode set for 60 seconds and it came in about 57 seconds. Great! Ready for next game. Tuesday night at 6:30 pm against NSU. Great!
Along came the next game and I was all set up to listen to the radio broadcast in sync with the SECN+ Streaming video of the LSU game! My hopes were immediately dashed when I found that the maximum setting of 86 seconds delay was NOT ENOUGH! This soon evolved into Keystone Kops comedy routine starring me.
KEYSTONE KOPS EPISODE
The day of the LSU and Northwest State University (of Natchitoches, Louisiana) baseball game, I was all set for my MoTron to show its stuff using the work-around. Got the Time Delay all set for about 55 seconds and when the game came on, I was baffled! I kept trying to sync the two audios and never got close to the video, so I turned off the MoTron device to sort out the problem. What I noticed happening then was patently IMPOSSIBLE! The video would stall until I moved my mouse and then the video would stall until I moved my move again! ! ! How can the WATCHESPN application which powers the SECN+ streaming know that I'm moving my mouse? ? ? IMPOSSIBLE for that to happen, but that is what seemed to be happening.
Then I noticed that when the video stalled (became a still photo), the audio portion of the streaming video kept running in real-time! When the video stalled, I got it to move when I moved my mouse! Incredible! I kept wondering: "How could my mouse affect the Watch ESPN video signal?" Unable to figure that out , I began moving my mouse continuously with my right hand to keep the video signal moving and adjusting the MoTron time delay through its remote control with my left hand! Talk about the opposite of fun! Plus I tried to watch the game in progress and listen to the radio broadcast. Soon, the video signal began to degrade to under two bars. That made me give up on the mouse movement routine and go to my PC workstation fifty feet away in my office and the video broadcast was crystal clear! ! ! Something in the LapTop was the problem! ! ! I went back to my LT and had trouble getting it to reboot. A blue screen with instructions about security came on, and at last came the revelation that Microsoft had been automatically upgrading Windows 10! ! ! Suddenly it all made sense: The mouse movement process had a higher priority than the upgrade download process which had a higher priority than the video signal process.Thus the video stalled while upgrade was in progress, but if I moved the mouse a bit, the system activated the high priority mouse process and serviced other processes in the system operating queue, thus allowing a piece of video to get into the priority queue ahead of the upgrade process! Thus, as long as I continually moved the mouse, the video kept moving. Well, this revelation came too late for this game. The solution is for me to prevent MS from doing automatic Windows updates on my LT. I have changed my LT to force them to ask me before doing an update.
During this SNAFU here's what I was doing at one time: These SEVEN ACTIVITIES.
1. Adjusting the Time Delay to match the video of the game with the remote in my left hand.
2. Keeping my mouse moving constantly with my right hand.
3. Watching the baseball game in progress.
4. Listening to radio broadcast.
5. Calculating whether the time delay had to be increased or decreased.
6. Trying to figure out why my mouse had to move to get the video to move!
7. And all the while trying to understand why the video is stalling at all!
I had over Seven Chunks of Consciousness (processes) in action at one time. Humans are capable of of a maximum of 7 + or -2 chunks. I was pushing the envelope of human capability.
Now for the Keystone Kops episode starring me! I couldn't easily move the MoTron device, but I could raise the volume from my Pioneer Amplifier to hear it in my office as I watched the perfect video on my workstation PC. With the Time Delay box in the Screening Room fifty feet away, I had to run a hundred feet back and forth each time I did a time adjustment! I got a lot of exercise before the time delay matched the video. The arrival of a Windows Update on my LapTop had collided with my first test of the MoTron workaround and caused me havoc. When two unexpected demons collide, such frenetic activity can be expected. I survived my two colliding demons and my LSU Fighting Tigers won 7-3 over the Demons of NSU, its in-state rival.
FIFTY-EIGHT FOR FIFTY-EIGHT REUNION
Now most reunions for high schools are held on decade breaks, 40th, 50th, etc, but the 1958 Graduation Class of West Jefferson High School prides itself on being different and chose to have a 58th Reunion of the 1958 Grads! Do the math and you get 2016. Another seafood buffet in Bayou Segnette State Park in Westwego was a don't miss event. But another don't miss event was going on with me that day: Don't Miss the two LSU vs Florida Baseball Games. The Thursday night game was postponed after lightning strikes in the third inning and it was being broadcast at 11 AM and the Reunion began two hours later. We prepared for the Reunion by watching as much of the game as we could and left for the 15 minute drive to the Park at 1 PM while we listened to the final inning and a half on the radio, a game which LSU won.
Joy Adams Beck, my former classmate for nine years in Westwego, told us her dad had just celebrated his 100th birthday and is now living with her. She works from home several days a week as accountant for Tiptina's and the Orpheum Theater Foundations. I asked her if she remembered the black-haired girl named Bonnie from our first grade class. Bonnie was my close friend and when she died after being hit by a car, I was very upset. Joy said that Bonnie was also a very close friend to her and she would walk home with Bonnie from school every day. It was nice to know that she also grieved the loss of this friend of ours seventy years ago.
Saw old school chums Billy Hunter and Andrew 'Red' Dufrene. Had a chance to talk to Red Dufrene and asked him how his brother Wilfred was doing. One of the guys at the Crowns told me Wilfred had died, but I knew Red's other brother Wilton had died a few years ago and wanted to be sure Wilfred was ok. Red said Wilfred had a slight stroke and is recovering okay. Red was interested in coming to the Crowns luncheon, so I pulled out my phone to put in his information and my daughter's face came up. She was calling me because the alarm at our home went off and they couldn't reach me or Del. I had to excuse myself to take the call. The music was so loud neither of us heard our phones ring. I fixed that by changing to an old-fashion dial phone ringing which will wake up the dead! Turned out to be a false alarm, Connie and Don had opened up the house for the Gretna police and inspection showed everything okay. It did spoil the reunion by shortening it, but we ate our fill of boiled shrimp and crawfish, and I got to see a half dozen other pals from my Westwego school days like Betty Griffen, Tony Celino, and Floyd Robin.
WHITE GLOVE INSPECTION TIME
That's what I call the weeks leading up to one of Del's clubs having a luncheon meeting at Timberlane. For a few days before the meeting I feel like I'm living in a museum where I can't touch or move anything without asking permission. This time she spent a couple of days getting up close and personal with our kitchen floor to get all spots cleaned away in time for her Investment Club meeting.
My replacement order of Medjool dates had come in and I needed to find a place to keep them cool as they will last longer. I decided to squeeze a bagful of grapefruits to make room for the packages of dates in the garage fridge. Got a quart and a pint of juice from that activity. I couldn't put the dates in the kitchen fridge which was needed for the luncheon food.
To clear the pathways around the Veggie gardens outside I rearranged the hoses going out to them so that they all come off of the one large hose which goes under the walkway. I needed a four-way splitter to do the trick, which I had been planning in my mind. Del had picked one up earlier and it only took me about 15 minutes to have it all working, with no drips, and looking nice. No more unsightly hoses wandering across the parking space and walkways, plus I could turn on both sprinklers with one turn of a knob.
A couple of days before the meeting I bought some astromerias and baby's breath from the supermarket to fill about six vases with flower arrangements for the meeting. This time the alstros were barely open, and they were a deep red color. After a couple of days they had begun to open beautifully and all I had to do was trim some variegated pittosporum branches for the bottom of the flower vases. This was something I began about 25 years ago to keep fresh flowers in the house. I detest artificial flowers and this was a good way to keep them out of our living spaces. I put live ones out and refresh them every other week. Alstromerias are ideal because they last longest of the various cut flowers I've tried.
The luncheon event went well, and soon the museum was restored back into our livable home.
RED ADMIRAL, GREY HAIRSTREAK, OPEN HEART CHAKRA
My good friend, Dr. Kevin Dann, an eminent professor of history and student of life, sent me an email about his research into the Red Admiral butterfly, which is called the most-human friendly of all butterflies. So I began looking at all the images Google has of Red Admirals. I inspected the flyway map of the USA and found that New Orleans was not included, so I wouldn't have seen one here. But all my thinking about butterflies led me to recall an incident in Nashville post-Katrina. Del and I were walking through the park in Nashville where there was a plaque with a poem on it about the Battle of Shiloh, which had 25,000 casualities. The poem definitely was a heart-chakra opener, as I can feel my heart warming again as I read it eleven years later.
After I finished reading the plaque, a butterfly came over and landed on my blue and grey water jug. It stayed there long enough for Del to take a couple of photos of me. It became the No Bug Us photo at the bottom of DW#05a for that memorable post-Katrina month. I sent it to Kevin thinking perhaps it was a Red Admiral, but it turned out to be a Grey Hairstreak, a poignant reminder of the many gray hairstreaks in the heads of the Grey soldiers and their families after that grievous battle of Shiloh.But there's more, there's allways even more, as one of my Rules says. As I was looking through DW#05a, I found a Purple Admiral butterfly that I had taken a photo of alongside the driveway of my son's Kerr Creek home in Bloomington, Indiana where we stayed for a couple of weeks post Katrina while waiting for our power to be restored at home. This seemed to be a friendly butterfly, I thought, and I got a closeup shot of it. I didn't know it was a Purple Admiral at the time, but recognized it as I was looking through this issue for the Grey Hairstreak butterfly and I recognized it from one of the Red Admiral images on Google. It is a variation of the Red Admiral, being mostly a dark purple color with distinctive red marks at the tip of each wing. You can find it in the same issue about 3/4s of the way down to the left of my 11-year-old grandson Walden in a bright red pullover shirt.
Kevin wrote back to me:
That little guy on your water bottle is a Grey Hairstreak, but the photo and story are superb data for the unfolding inquiry about butterflies coming toward people. It could very well be that all or at least most butterflies have an affinity for happy people — and moments of happiness. It seems like a quality that would be as or more attractive to them than mere nectar-filled blossoms.
Love & light are the two halves of the lemniscate (8) of space/counterspace, and sure enough, they are inscribed into the one organic structure/expression on earth that is the "least condensed light," i.e., the butterfly, the material object that is closest to its existence before becoming condensed into matter. No wonder the "8" turns up into so many butterfly wings!
And he sent me a Figure 8 Butterfly photo which I can share with you.
Thank you, Dr. Dann, for reminding me that there is more to butterflies than what meets the eye!
LAST MINUTE EVENTSBesides working on loading over 200 photos into this Issue, on the last day of May, I harvested my first potato plant and picked the first ripe cucumbers from our burgeoning vines in the Babe Garden. The last night of May, we went to the Annual Jeanne d'Arc Feast Day celebration which ended with a parade to her golden statue in the French Market. Several of the ladies auditioned to be Joan of Arc. We heard about plans afoot to completely restore the golden statue of our beloved Maid of Orleans. It came to us but was left in a warehouse for about six years, unpaid for and forgotten, until General DeGaulle announced a visit to New Orleans in the 1950s. Funds were provided to pay for the statue and she was erected near the old Rivercenter auditorium in time for DeGaulle's visit. Because of his visit a boulevard through Algiers was named after the the General and has since been called General DeGaulle. The Maid is due for a complete cleaning and new gold leaf covering and the man spearheading the restoration filled us in on the details.
EVERY GOOD THING MUST COME TO A NEW BEGINNING
The past month of May has been delightfully cool, nights dropping to 68 degF most nights. Great baseball weather with only one LSU game postponed to the next day. The people with flood damage north of Lake Pontchartrain are recovering. Till we meet again in balmy July, enjoy the last of our glorious New Orleans Spring weather as it continues into June. Whatever you do, wherever in the world you and yours reside,
Remember our earnest wish for this God sent year of 2016:
MAY THE WORLD BECOME PEACEFUL AND SERENE IN TWENTY-SIXTEEN
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Quotes Selected from quotes.htm this month:
Of those men who have overturned the liberties of republics, the greatest number have begun their career by paying an obsequious court to the people, commencing demagogues and ending tyrants.
— Alexander Hamilton
[First Secretary of the Treasury of the United States]
- You know it's said that an economist is the only professional who sees something working in practice and then seriously wonders if it works in theory.
— Ronald Reagan
[40th United States president, 1980-88]
New Stuff on Website:From Rainbows & Shadows, A 1995 Book of Poetry by Bobby Matherne
My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky.
What is your substance, whereof are you made,
That millions of strange shadows on you tend?
William Shakespeare, Sonnet 53
Why rainbows and shadows? One reminds us of joyful occasions and the other of things that go bump in the night. First, rainbows.
In 1995 I stood in the open doorway of my garage before driving to work on my last day before retirement from the Waterford 3 Nuclear Power Plant, and I saw a beautiful double rainbow in the morning sky before me. My heart lept up like Wordsworth's when I saw that omen. I remembered that the source of the rainbow is in my heart, and was in the heart of everyone who took the time to observe a rainbow that morning. We each saw a different rainbow, and each one we saw was truly our own rainbow.
In 2015 a double rainbow appeared as I looked out my garage door in the morning of the same day I celebrated twenty years of working full-time as a writer, publisher, photographer, cartoonist, and poet. The beat goes on . . .
Likewise, each shadow we encounter is truly our own shadow, created by the materialistic stuff of our world blocking the light of the Sun. Shadows are the dark colors of the artist's pallette of our lives, without which there would be no texture, no structure, no light. As I reviewed my poems for this volume, I found some were naturally rainbows and some naturally shadows, and I separated them into one section called Rainbows and one called Shadows. My wife Del likes me to read to her one Rainbow followed by one Shadow — they seem to complement each other, she says. I have put the section titles in the header to facilitate such a manner of reading.
In addition to the poem, I have included a short note (where available), which notes altogether contain a panoply of information about my poems: when they were written, what I was doing at the time, what I was reading that inspired them, and on what scrap of paper I wrote them. Poems do not "form in their own water" (as my friend Calvin said of volcanoes), but they may form in the water of ideas suggested by others and completed in some fashion by me. In gratitude, I include in many of the Notes the authors' names and sometimes a brief reference or quote of the source of the inspiration. By reading the Notes, one may readily discern my favorite authors and assorted sources of inspiration during the five-year period of writing this book.
There is an ambiguity in the phrase driving to work that leaves unspecified whether I was alone in the car at the time. Believe me, I could never think these thoughts if I were not alone in the car. Sometimes I listened to jazz on WWOZ, sometimes to classical on WWNO, and sometimes only to the thoughts of the writer of the book I was reading and my own thoughts, but always moving on. Like rainbows and shadows are always moving, so was I.
You may have a moving experience also as you join me in my carpool of one on the highway of life. Welcome Aboard! What would you like on the radio, classical or jazz?
These poems are from Bobby Matherne's 1995 book of poetry, Rainbows & Shadows, most of which have never been published on the Internet before. Here near the beginning of the new millennium, we are publishing five poems until all poems have been published 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 Rainbows Chapter of his second book of Poetry,
Rainbows & Shadows (1995). This poem was written on September 9, 1992. It was inspired by the flat and convex rear view mirrors on my 1984 Cadillac Cimarron, and the spectacular views the convex mirror presented to me of otherwise mundane skies. NOTE: this poem is being republished with this note for the first time together with its final two stanzas which had been omitted previously.
The Magic Mirror
On my outside rear view mirror
I glued a convex reflector
To offer me a wider view
Of approaching traffic
From the rear.
But to me it is much more than that:
It has become a magical artifact
That transforms the mundane world
Into an artistic miniature
Sparkling all its purview
In a high tech drop of dew.
The surrounding flat mirror
Reflects the same view
But the magic of the dew,
Can it be the magic is really
Deep inside of me
Which my high tech dew drop
Lets me see?
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): Just In Time. This poem was written on Nov 13, 1991. It was inspired by reading Guy Davenport's book, A Balthus Notebook while driving to work in the morning. On page 78 he quotes Octavio Paz, "Light is time thinking about itself."
Just In Time
Life is time
Thinking about itself.
3. Chapter: Rainbows4. Chapter: Shadows
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).
Return to Chaos
Born of many springs
I come to you a seed
Planted in the womb of creation
Nourished by the gentle rain of thought,
An overcrowding closes me in.
Prophets of doom are everywhere
And few speak of the profits of doom
In the miracle of transformation and rebirth.
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): Age of Aquariums. This poem was written on Jan 4, 1991. It was written on a Secor Bank deposit envelope. It was inspired by my trip to the Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans on the previous day and the similarity of keeping fish in tanks to that of keeping people in socialistic welfare states.
Age of Aquariums
"Don't you know it's the Age of Aquariums?"
Charlie Brown's sister asked him.
So I went to an aquarium,
I wanted to see fishes in the wild
But all I saw was fishes in the mild,
swimming peacefully at hand,
never worrying about their next meal
because some employee saw to
The fishes swam and swam and all the while
their demeanor was so mild
I thought I was in Disneyland.
If those were humans in the tanks of water,
all cared for, like they oughta,
I wonder if they'd prefer that socialist society
to one in which they roamed
Free to eat their fill and wander as they dare —
Would they choose to have
Public servants everywhere
To see to their every care?
To keep them within their boundaries
Well-fed and stripped of all vagaries?
Or prefer the fish-eat-fish world undersea
With predator and predatee
Eating their way into history?
Karl Marx looked at the tank of human society
and saw a way to cure its economic ills:
Big Fish would provide the food for Little Fish
And everyone would get his fondest wish.
But Karl mixed up his metaphors:
The one who did the welfare chores
Turned out also to be a fish.The keeper fish kept more food for himself
And the kept fish had to survive with pelf.
So let the keepers keep themselves
We do not need those welfare elves.
Let's do the work ourselves:
Become a Selfish Fish
Rather than a Welfare Fish —
Swim in underpopulated seas
without fish-made boundaries
And raise our sea-bound eyes
one day into the boundless skies.
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 poem was written on April 18, 1995. It was inspired by reading “The Quantum Self” by Danah Zohar. On page 151 is the source of the inspiration, “No new physics of the person or of immortality is required to see that my body is made out of atoms that were once stardust and that one day they will find their home again among distant galaxies.”
Heavy elements such as Iron and heavier cannot be formed in the thermonuclear furnace of the sun. To form elements of atomic number of Iron or higher requires the energies of a Supernova explosion. Since all human bodies have Iron plus many other trace elements with atomic number greater than Iron, we are all made of the stuff of distant stars, and stars that have exploded in those most gigantic explosions we know of, Supernovas. We are quite literally made of stardust! Rightly understood, we are all Super Stars!
From distant galaxies I come
To distant galaxies I go.
I dance for now
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.“Rosewater” (2014) Journalist from America, Iranian-born, tortured as a spy after Iran’s fixed national election.
“My All-American” (2015) Freddie Steinmark left a permanent mark on Texas football as a spectacular safety helping them win a National Championship in 1969. A DON’T MISS HIT ! !
“Look Who’s Back” (2015) a droll look at what might happen if Hitler awoke alive outside his bunker 70 years later. If Germany had problems with Jews back in the 30s, look at the overflow of Middle East immigrants filling its street in 2014. Would Hitler’s words once more find sympathetic ears? A DON’T MISS HIT ! !
“Texas Rangers” (2001) led by an unlikely hero drive the bad guys back into Mexico and earn their stars.
“Twilight” (1998) Paul Newman, Gene Hackman, James Garner, Stockard Channing, and Susan Sarandon in detective pot-boiler.
“The Lady in the Van” (2015) Maggie Smith plays a “Welcome to Me” vagrant in a van, called a “bigoted, blinkered, cantankerous, deviously unforgiving, self-serving, rank, rude, car-mad cow” by one fan. But what motivated her becoming a hermit for the last 15 years of her life? A DON'T MISS HIT ! ! ! !
"Leading Lady" (2015) goes from London to South Africa to learn about the Boers, but will she stay to lead a Boering life? Lots of local rhythms and songs fill this movie.
"Man Up" (2015) a bit of Simon Pegg lunacy. A blind date goes wrong, but things get worked out in the Ladies Room, or do they?
"One for the Money" (2012) Two for the Show (Cupcake and Morelli), Three dead bodies to get Ready, and Four perps to go. A DON'T MISS HIT ! !
"Special Correspondents" (2016) a droll Netflix movie of a slick talker and a klutsy technician who miss the plane to Quito to coverage the terrorist uprising, so they move into a room across the street from their radio headquarters and send in reports from there. To spice things up, they pretend to be kidnapped by terrorists and end up having that actually happen. Can they ever recover from the insane mess they've created? It's fun watching them try.
"The Giver" (2014) guides a utopian world killing old people and inferior babies but disguising it behind euphemisms. One person keeps the memories and the new Receiver of memories is selected to look behind the curtain with the Giver. What he sees, he doesn't like and decides to raise the curtain for everybody. Big movie stars, Streep and Bridges, and great scenes during the young man's journey to rescue his world. See 14c.
“Ashby” (2015) Mickey Rourke is dying for a last hit, but he has to help the kid grow up first. A DON'T MISS HIT ! ! !
“Carolina” (2003) (See DW#156) Shirley MacLaine and Julia Stiles (Bourne spy) star in this fun family. Randy Quaid earns his first name by impregnating women in Maine, Georgia, and South Carolina and naming them after the State it he was in at the time. Shirley, his mom, gets to raise her randy son's three girls. A fun romp through careers and family dinners. A DON'T MISS HIT ! ! !
“The Revenant” (2015) Dark, freezing, and moist story of a crew of trappers whose scout is mauled severely by a large grizzly and they leave one guy to take care of him who abandons him to die, but like Jeremiah Johnson, this mountain man was determined to live long enough to exact revenge. Will he make it? A DON'T MISS HIT ! ! !
“In the Heart of the Sea” (2015) the story behind the story of Moby Dick, told by Brendan Beehan - the great white lie about the great white whale captured on film. Another dark, moist tale (like Revenant) in which a man fights all odds to survive the battle against nature and a demon, this time with the great white whale. A DON'T MISS HIT ! ! !
“Amal” (2007) drives an autorickshaw in large city in India; he is a wallah with a big heart, never rips off customers, and someone looking for faith in humanity finds it in him. A wonderful movie of a gentle man who leads a Wonderful Life! Grab a cup o' chai and enjoy! A DON'T MISS HIT ! ! !
“The Physician” (2013) epic story of medieval barber who becomes a great physician. A DON'T MISS HIT ! ! !
“Bridge of Spies” 2nd, See DW# 163 (2015) Our second look at this movie brought home to us the humanity of the accused spy and his American lawyer. I remember hearing Francis Gary Powers talking when he was the eye in the sky for KGIL radio in 1970. A DON'T MISS HIT ! ! !
“Mr. Selfridge” (2016) We began watching this series as a fill-in for Downton Abbey and fell in love with the characters. Harry ends in a tight bind with creditors who won't deliver goods for the store's 20th Anniversary celebration and the board forces Harry to abdicate in favor of his son Gordon. Gambling, Women, and Drink drove him into forced retirement as a new era came to the famous London Department Store he created which changed department stores for the better forever. A DON'T MISS HIT ! ! ! !
“Admiral” (2016) Michiel de Ruyter shredded the British fleet in multiple battles and brought the Republicans and the Orangists together into one Netherlands at the last. A DON'T MISS HIT ! ! !
“Welcome to Me” (2015) Kristen Wiig as a new millennium Mary Hartman in a whacky $87 million dollar cure for Alice Klieg. A DON'T MISS HIT!
“The Core” (2003) silly Sci-Fi plot about Earth's core stopping its rotation, but goo dramatic drive makes it a hit. Journey to center of the Earth inside a jet propelled bullet.
“The Great Kislowski” (2014) how does it leak out that this teenage virgin becomes a father of twins?
“Hateship, Loveship” (2013) Iowa orphan takes care of ex-con; brings him to life again. A DON'T MISS HIT! ! !
“Ayn Rand & the Prophecy of Atlas Shrugged” (2012) A comprehensive look at Ayn Rand legacy as she poured herself and her philosophy unselfishly into her landmark novel, Atlas Shrugged. Learn why the movie had to wait until she had died.
“Risen” (2015) Joseph Fiennes as the Roman soldier charged by Pilate with finding the body of Jesus after the resurrection.
“Legend” (2015) Think of a London version of Al Capone twins in a two-hour-marathon movie. The Kray Twins are Kraysie, and not in a good way.
“The Room” (2015) a boy grows up in a single room. This was Jack's world until at age 5 he says “Goodbye” to it. A DON'T MISS HIT! ! !
“Seymour: An Introduction” (2014) Bernstein is a remarkable composer and pianist whose career lands him into teaching piano and he is absolutely the best there is. 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."D Train" (2015) D Umb! ! ! A DVD STOMPER ! ! !
Your call on these — your taste in movies may differ, but I liked them:“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” (2015) full of amazing new ideas: a Bigger Death Star, Red instead of White laser swords, Millennium Falcon now has a compressor, and a Darth Vader Light. Plus the same old script, a father killed by a son on a bridge, the rebels win, the Death Star is blown up. Best line: "Only a miracle can save us now", yes, a Solo-miracle. The Farce Awakens.
“Cloud Atlas” (2012) with a plot to match: diffuse and all over the map. Splattergun reincarnation does disservice to reincarnation and guns. A patchwork quilt with barely connected patches, barely worth watching, too much hard work trying to make sense of the movie. Waste of a lot of talented actors.
“Regression” (2016) Ethan Hawke tracks down satanic cult which is terrorizing a town. Imagine that!
“Accidental Love” (2015) Only someone with a hole in her head would want universal healthcare and this gal has one.
“Every Secret Thing” (2015) Diane Ladd as crazy mom of 11-yr-old teenager who with her pal killed a baby and went to jail for 7 years and now they're out and no baby is safe.
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==Le Boudreaux Cajun Cottage, drawn by and Copyright 2011 by Paulette Purser, Used by Permission. Story sent in by Jo Ann Montz.
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==Boudreaux was a Cajun from Houma, Louisiana. He walked into a bank in New York City and asked for the loan Officer. He told the loan officer, "Ah'm going to Nova Scotia for an International Cajun festival for two weeks and Ah need to borrow $5,000."
"Excuse, Sir, are you a depositor in our bank. "Mais, non," Boudreaux said, "dis is mah first time in dis place."
The bank officer told Boudreaux that the bank would need some form of security for the loan, so Boudreaux reached into his pants and pulled out the keys to a new Ferrari. He told the bank officer, "See dat red car? Dat's mah car parked on de street in front of the bank. Then Boudreaux pulled out the title the title and everything checked out.
The bank officer looked over the title and inspected the car. When he came back in he said, "The bank will loan you the $5,000 and hold the car as collateral for the loan. I'm sorry, but our policies require that we charge you 12% interest on the loan."
After Boudreaux left, the bank's president and its officers all enjoyed a good laugh at the Redneck from Louisiana for using a $250,000 Ferrari as collateral for a $5,000 loan. An employee of the bank then drove the Ferrari into the bank's private underground garage and parked it.
Two weeks later, the Redneck returned, repaid the $5,000 and the interest of $23.07. The loan officer said, "Sir, we are very happy to have had your business,and this transaction has worked out very nicely, but we are a little puzzled. While you were away, we checked you out on Dunn & Bradstreet and found that you are a Distinguished Alumni of LSU, a highly sophisticated investor and a billionaire with real estate and financial interests all over the world. Your investments include a large number of oil wells in Louisiana's inland waters. What puzzles us is, why would you bother to borrow $5,000?"
Boudreaux replied, "Where else in New York City can Ah park mah Ferrari for two weeks for only $23.07 and den expect it to be dere when Ah return?"
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5. Household Hint for June, 2016 from Bobby Jeaux:
(click links to see photo of ingredients, preparation steps)
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =Cleaning Garden Fingernails
Background on Cleaning Garden Fingernails: First of all I'm lazy, well, let's say, efficient. I want the quickest, easiest way to remove dirt from my garden work that gets under my fingernails. What better place to put the removed dirt than back in the veggie garden? It's not the amount of dirt, which is trivial, but what goes back into the garden with the dirt, namely the toxins in my hands. Why is that important? For a full explanation, see my Plant As Doctor Essay. The veggies take up those toxins in our sweat and exhaled breath and modify their genes to produce proteins which will allow us to balance the excesses and deficiencies which result in those toxins. The plant you sow, weed, harvest and eat yourself will act as diagnosing physician, a drug company making the custom-designed drug just for you, a pharmacist filling the prescription in a very tasty form of fruits and vegetables in your garden. I know this sounds incredible, but Barbara McClintock won a Nobel Prize in genetics for some of the crucial research which supports my Plant As Doctor thesis.
Garden dirt under fingernails
Water hose in a handy position with a squeeze nozzle set to a strong focused stream.
Find a way to mount your hose about chest high. I used a small limb of my loquat tree which stands in the corner of my Veggie Garden. I cut the main length off, leaving a projection of about six inches. I hang my water hose on that limb, keeping the hose under pressure at all times.
In the example pictured here, I had just picked a red radish that I wanted to eat. With the radish in my left hand, I sprayed the water to wash off the radish and by directing the stream then under my fingernails, washed away all the fingernail dirt. The important thing is that all the dirt from the radishes and from under my fingernails was carried back into the garden where more vegetables are growing.
When you understand how important it is for your body fluids, air and water, to enter the garden, you will enjoy weeding, for example, because you will be communicating with the growing plants what your body needs and helping them to do their job custom-designing proteins to keep your body healthy.
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6. POETRY by BOBBY from Cosmic and Human Metamorphoses:
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Earth SpiritThe Earth is a Great Spirit
That always Faces the Sun
And Bows to the Sun
To the Great Spirit of the Sun
Once a Year.
The Earth Spirit Faces
The Sun in full Consciousness
While the Back of its Mind
Is off in Space being Infused
By the Spirit of the Night
By the Great Astral Spirits of the Night.
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7. REVIEWS and ARTICLES for June:
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For our Good Readers, the first review is a new one. Here are the other reviews and articles featured this month: The second and third reviews this month are 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: Manifestations of Karma, GA#120 by Rudolf Steiner
Once we accept the reality that we each live serial lives, we get very interested in karma because it affects our daily life in this incarnation. How does our karma manifest itself in our life? It certainly doesn't show up at our front door ringing a bell, does it? So what are the ways in which it shows itself?
In her Foreword, Heidi Herrmann-Davey writes, "In the Manifestations of Karma lectures he [Rudolf Steiner] gives illustrative examples of the workings of karma which reveal the interweaving of individual personal karma with the karma of larger groups of people and ultimately that of humanity as a whole."
We cannot be afraid of our karma if we understand we are the agent which fashions our destiny in the time between lives on Earth. Although certain things will happen to us of necessity, this does not eliminate our freedom to act in response to them. Heidi continues, "How we respond to these in our earthly life is a matter of our individual freedom and will determine our future karma."
If you think that reincarnation and karma as presented by Steiner's spiritual science is some abstract airy-fairy nonsense, something one can believe in or not, something which has no bearing on your daily life, perhaps you should stop reading here. If you can accept the possibility of karma being a reality about which you want to learn more, this is the right place for you to be.
[page 1,2] As I have already pointed out on many occasions spiritual science is not an abstract theory, a mere doctrine or teaching; it is a source of life and fitness for life and fulfils its task only when the knowledge it can impart pours something into our souls which make us more competent and effective. . . . Karma will reveal itself to us as a teaching which not only tells us how different things in the world relate to one another, but will make our lives more satisfying and rich.
We can read about a famous composer whose parents scoffed at his wanting a music career and sent him to the university to become a lawyer. But when he arrives, he skips all his law classes and spends his time studying and learning his trade as a musician. This is his karma at work, which his parents were oblivious to, but his reaction was immediate, switching from law to music as soon as he was out of their control. Sometimes students head to college and study medicine, but grow up to find out later they hate being a medical doctor and switch into some completely different career. Steiner likens such a delayed response to one's karmic working-out to a compressed rubber ball which will stay under pressure until it finally is released and returns to full size again.
[page 8] It is possible to repress something for a certain time, but through the very fact of being repressed it gains a special force, especially inwardly; an elastic force, as it were, is built up in the soul. This might be compared with the squeezing of an india-rubber ball which we can compress to a certain point where it resists, and if it were allowed to spring back it would do so in proportion to the force with which we have just compressed it.
My parents were blue collar workers who were happy with whatever career I chose, so I cannot figure out why parents would drive their children into a certain career. But I have known people driven to a certain career and have watched, in many movies, lives that were thus afflicted by parental influences, inevitably resulting in a rebound later in life. When my son was five, one day he announced to us that he wanted to be a boxer when he grew up. About a week later he said he wanted to be a librarian. I figured, with that diverse range of interests, he could make up his own mind as to a career. It is good for parents to have standards, as these will influence their children's choices, but to impose their own career choices upon their children is to drive them against their own karma, a karma which we as parents have often no clue as to its existence.
[page 11] Supposing we have brought up a child during the first seven years of his life without ever assuming — as it is generally assumed — that if an individual is to lead a good and useful life he must conform to our own standards of what makes a person good and useful. For in that case we would be keen to train the child strictly in everything we consider essential to being good and useful.
This phenomenon is so prevalent in the new millennium that we have a name for such people: helicopter parents. They hover over their precious children like a helicopter over a traffic jam during the day and shine a spotlight on them like a police copter following a thug by night. They have already determined how their child is going to grow up to be useful in the world. Outdoors, I have seen one mom take her own hat and place it on her daughter's head to protect her girl from getting too much sun. The little girl's response was to take it off again, so the mom was forced to hold it suspended like a copter over her child.
[page 11, 12] Whereas if we recognize at the outset that one can be good and useful in many different ways, and that there is no need to determine in which of these ways the child with his individual talents is to become a good and useful human being, we would say: 'Whatever may be my ideas of a good and useful person, this child is to become one through having his best talents brought out. and these I must first discover. What matter the rules by which I myself feel bound? The child himself must feel the need to do what he does. If I wish to develop the child according to his individual talents, I must try first to develop tendencies latent in him and draw them out so that he may above all realize them and act in accordance with them. This shows us that there are two quite different ways of influencing a child in the first seven years of his life.'
Does this sound a little farfetched to you? The effects of early childhood influences of freedom versus constriction often only show up in the old age.
[page12] If we now look at the child in his later life it will be a long time before the essential effects are manifested of what we have in this way brought into the first years of his life. Observation of life reveals to us that the actual effects of what was put into the child's soul in his earliest years as causes do not manifest until the very evening of life. A person may possess to the very end of his life an active mind, if he has been, as a child, educated in this way; that is, if the living, inherent tendencies of his soul have been observed and naturally developed. If we have drawn out and developed his innate powers we shall see the fruits in the evening of his life displayed as a rich soul-life. On the other hand, in a starved and impoverished soul and a correspondingly weak old age (for we shall see later on how a starved soul reacts on the body), is manifested what we have done wrong in our treatment of a person in earliest childhood. This is something in human life which in a certain way is so regular that it is applicable to everyone as a connection between cause and effect.
When a human being is about three years old, its hippocampus (which transmits memory to cortex) first becomes operational and this represents the dawn of human consciousness, that is, the time when our first declarative memories are available from our cortex. The cortex begins receiving memories at three, but not every memory reaches it because the hippocampus takes two more years to become fully operational, at about the age of five. What happens to events from conception to five which do not make it to the cortex? They remain as mute memories in the limbic system of the root brain, unconscious memories of the various physical body states of the body. These mute memories can be triggered later in life, e.g., some bodily state can occur and trigger a full-fledged emotional state ranging from happiness to deep despair or fear. In the science of doyletics, these mute memories or physical body states are called doyles, or doylic memories, to distinguish them from declarative or ordinary memories. A simple memory procedure called a Speed Trace can allow anyone to trace away unwanted (bad) emotional states in a few minutes. In doing so, the previously unconscious memory is turned into an ordinary memory. When one does such a trace, one has a fully functional hippocampus working which can feed the unconscious event to one's cortex, making the event fully conscious for the first time. After a trace, the unwanted bodily state no longer arises, but the memory of the original event arises.
Steiner explained over a hundred years ago that most people cannot recollect memories before the three-year-old stage of their life. He didn't name the brain functions involved, but he knew the effects that were evident.
[page 13] There is indeed, a point of time when my recollections of life begin, which does not coincide with my birth, but which comes somewhat later. With the exception of initiates this is how people experience this — they refer to their consciousness as reaching back to just that point. There is, indeed, something very remarkable in the period of time between birth and the beginning of this recollection of life, and we shall return to it again as it will throw light upon important matters. Except, then, for this period between birth and the beginning of memory we can say that life between birth and death is characterized by the fact of one consciousness extending throughout that period of time.
We have one consciousness going back to the beginning of memory, but we have also an unconscious source of feelings, physical body states, which go further back, far into the womb, which has an impact on the rest of our lifetime. At ten, at forty, or at eighty, one can trace, recover, and convert these bodily states into ordinary memory and thus remove the deleterious impact of them on our subsequent life. Steiner was an extraordinary individual who could find the connection between events below the beginning of memory and thus make the connection with events after that time. The Speed Trace is a simple memory procedure that an ordinary individual can learn and use today, requiring no extraordinary skills of memory to place these connections before one's soul.
[page 13, 14] Normally people do not look for the causes of what happened to them later in life in earlier periods of their life; yet it would be possible to find such connections if sufficient attention were paid and if all possible aspects were properly investigated. When we use the consciousness we all have in the form of our memory consciousness and try to place before our soul the connection between earlier and later events in the karmic sense, we might say, for example: I can see that certain things that have happened to me might not have happened if this or that event had not taken place earlier in my life. Or else: Now I am paying for what my early upbringing has done to me. Even if all you achieve is understanding a certain connection between the wrong others have caused in you through the way you were brought up and certain events in your later life, it will be helpful to an extent. It is easier then to find ways and means of counteracting the early harm suffered. Indeed, recognizing such connections between causes and effects in the different periods of our life which we can contemplate with our ordinary consciousness can be of very great benefit.
Many of the wrongs done to us before the age of consciousness result in our reliving the bodily states of these wrongs, over and over again, until we remove them. Some people remove them over the course of decades, wondering perhaps as I did, "Why do I hate macaroni and cheese?" By age thirty, I realized that I like cheese and separately I like macaroni, so I tried them together and they were okay, the dish no longer caused my previous bodily states of physical disgust. This is an example of how each of us might do an unconscious Speed Trace over a period of decades. A conscious Speed Trace can be done at any age above five years old, the younger child needs some guidance, but it can be easily led through the steps of removing some fear or anger doyles by a knowledgeable adult.
Doyles of anger can have a serious effect on people around us. To trace them away is to undo the wrongs done to us, and simultaneously prevent us from doing these wrongs to others from now on.
[page 14, 15] Thus we see that it is desirable to reach beyond our immediate life karma and attain to an understanding of the laws of karma. This may be very useful in our life. What should a person do who in his fortieth year attempts to avert the effect of wrongs done to him, or wrongs which he himself did in his twelfth year? He will do everything to avert the consequences of his own misdeeds or those of others towards him. He will to a certain extent replace by another the effect which would inevitably have arisen had he not intervened. The knowledge of what happened in his twelfth year will lead him to a definite action in his fortieth year, which he would not have taken unless he had known what it was that had happened in his twelfth year. What, then, has the man done by looking back at his early life? He has applied his consciousness to make a certain effect follow a certain cause. He has willed the effect and has brought it about. This shows us how, in the line of karmic consequences, our will can intervene and bring about something which takes the place of the karmic effects which would otherwise have followed. If we consider such a case in which a person has quite consciously brought about a connection between cause and effect in life, we could conclude that in this case karma, or the laws of karma, have penetrated his consciousness, and he has himself, in a certain way, brought about the karmic effect.
As a result of the innovative research of Doyle Henderson, I am able to present you a simple method of intervening in the karma of your life, the Speed Trace. Rightly understood, bodily states encountered before the onset of consciousness at three years old can be reactions to events which happened in a this lifetime or a previous lifetime, both of which a child can access. If a pre-incarnation event is triggered in say, a one or two year old, the doyles that are stored become a part of the child's current incarnation and can be later traced away. In my own helping individuals trace away onerous doyles, in many cases, they have insisted on going back before birth and then successfully removed the offending doyle. In my Essay, The Childhood of Humanity, I endeavor to explain how this is possible as a human capability.
Our current cultural epoch is the fifth in this series, Indian, Persian, Egyptian-Chaldean, Greco-Roman, and US — our epoch — we won't officially have a name till our epoch is over. But look at this small diagram which shows how the E-C epoch mirrors the US epoch, and note how the Greco-Roman epoch at the bottom is the fourth epoch and represents the turning point, the nadir of our fall in materialism, and how US as the fifth epoch mirrors E-C the third epoch. (See Diagram above Right.) We may not understand the importance of this in our age, but the famous astronomer Kepler certainly did in his age. He states his understanding explicitly in this passage from the preface to his De Harmonice Mundi:[page 19] 'Yes, it is I who have robbed the golden vessels of the Egyptians to make an offering to my God far removed from Egyptian bounds. If you will forgive me, I will rejoice, but if you blame me I must bear it; here I throw the dice and I write this book. What matter if it is read today or later — even if centuries must elapse before it is read! God himself had to wait six thousand years for the one who recognized his work.'
The idea that animals are automatons and have no soul is often ascribed to Rene Descartes, but Steiner avers that is a misunderstanding of the great philosopher's work. He references Descartes' Discourse where he writes that animals not only "have less reason than men, but that they have none at all, since it is clear that very little is required in order to be able to talk." (Page 60 of Discourse, E.B.G.B. Vol. 31)
[page 28] The materialism of modern times is only a consequence of the fact that even the most spiritual of religions, Christianity, was at first conceived of in purely materialistic terms in the West. It is, after all, the destiny of western humanity, of the western nations, that they have to work their way up from the low grounds of materialism and develop — through overcoming these materialistic views and tendencies — the forces which will lead to the highest spiritual life. It is a consequence of this destiny, this karma, that the peoples of the West have a tendency to consider animals as mere automata.
It is clear that Descartes did, however, envision that animals had some elements of a soul, "permeated and animated by so-called Spirits of Life." Animals do not each have a complete individuality, which in humans we call an "I", but they contain a primitive version of soul, a piece of a Group Soul of its species to which the animal returns to upon death. As a result, animals do not reincarnate as humans do.
[page 29, 30] In the animal kingdom we find nothing resembling that human individuality which is preserved when a person passes through the gate of death and lives a particular life in the spiritual world during the period from death to a new birth in order then to enter existence again by a new birth.
Beavers bring their teeth into a new incarnation together with the knowledge of using them to build a dam. Humans bring their knowledge of how to build a new set of teeth about age seven. Everything else, we learn after we arrive in our new body. How can the beaver bring such knowledge along into life and humans can't? Are we dumber than beavers? No, humans developed such knowledge in the course of evolution and left them behind in the beavers. Similarly humans left behind amazing powers in the various other animals as part of evolving into human form.
[page 32] It is not that man in a primordial past missed this endowment of capabilities while the animals took them all for themselves; he also received these powers, indeed in a far greater degree than the animals. For although the latter beings bring a certain great artistic skill into the world with them, this is, however, limited in extent. Fundamentally at birth the human being can do nothing at all, and he has first to learn everything which concerns the outer world.
Humans have incorporated their original primitive animal powers into producing the higher human organization. While beavers can still build impressive dams, humans can stay as busy as "two little beavers 'n a bee"(1) doing an enormous variety of tasks. Why did humans operate on their inner organization using the external skills we see demonstrated by animals? (Page 32, 33)
[page 33] Because only by acquiring this inner organization could man become the vehicle of what at the present time is the 'I' which progresses from incarnation to incarnation. No other organization could have become this bearer of the 'I', because it depends altogether upon the external shrine whether an 'I'-individuality is able to be active in the earthly existence or not.
This next passage is going to shake up a few cherished beliefs about the Devil among Christians and others. What they call the Devil is Lucifer, a spiritual being at the level of the Elohim during the time the Christ Being was also an Elohim. It is of utmost importance to understanding of the Christ Deed called the Mystery of Golgotha for us to know that the deeds of an Elohim can only be undone by another Elohim. Yes, evil resulted from the deed of Lucifer, but it should never overshadow the good for all of humanity which resulted from that deed. Rightly understood, this deed was a great sacrifice by Lucifer and it gave us our humanity.
[page 37] During the old Moon evolution certain beings remained behind as the luciferic beings, and through them much that is evil has resulted; but to them we also owe what makes human existence possible, namely, the possibility of freedom, of the free development of our inner being. Indeed, we may say that in a certain sense the remaining behind of the luciferic beings was a sacrifice. They remained behind so that during the Earth existence they would exercise certain activities; they could bestow on man the qualities which pertain to his dignity and self-determination. We must accustom ourselves to entirely different ideas from those which are customary; for according to the usual ideas one might perhaps say that the luciferic spirits failed to progress and had to remain behind; and we could not excuse their negligence. But it was not a question of the negligence of the luciferic beings; in a certain sense their remaining behind was a sacrifice, in order that they might be able to work on our earthy humanity through what they acquired by this sacrifice.
This luciferic sacrifice became like a distillation process for human beings, and in any distillation there are denser elements which remain behind. What we call plants and animals are the two kingdoms which were left behind as humans evolved. The animal kingdom was left behind after the Moon stage of evolution of humans, after the Moon separated from the Earth in a great distillation.
[page 41, 43] Thus, side by side with man, we see a kingdom of organisms actually developing, which, by preserving the Moon character, had become incapable of becoming bearers of human individualities (i. e., the human "I"). These organisms are essentially those which have become our present animal kingdom. . . . They are the descendants of the bodies we no longer wished to occupy after the exit of the Moon.
We owe a debt to animals which we can only make good in the way we treat animals now. Steiner explains:
[page 47] Therefore, with the progress of evolution, through the knowledge of karma, the human being's relationship to the animal world will progress, too, beyond what it is now, especially in the West. The human being will raise up again what he cast down, and this will be reflected in this treatment of the animals.
In Lecture 3, Steiner discusses the manifestations of karma in matters of health and illness. In my own work with Doyle Henderson, he shared an amazing idea that "what we call a disease are the healing states of our body reacting to the disease." Listen to someone say, "This flu bug is making me sick" and think of it this way, "The flu bug is present in my body and I am experiencing the healing states of my body overcoming the bug." Why is this important? Because healing states are physical body states which can be stored as doyles, and thus they may arise some time later upon an appropriate trigger without the flu bug or disease agent being present! Take one example, a woman as a child got a serious case of flu one night when she was staying with an aunt near Biloxi where the well water contained minute traces of hydrogen sulfide giving it a distinctive rotten egg smell, but it was otherwise harmless. Forty years later she moves back to the area and begins getting flu symptoms every afternoon, and feeling very sick into the night. This happened for several days in a row. When she told me the pattern of her symptoms, I recognized the possibility of her experiencing healing states, and suggested that she do a Speed Trace. The symptoms went away when she went below two years old. I asked her what might have happened to her at that time, and it was then that she first recalled getting flu at her aunt's house with the smelly water(2). I asked her if her new home had this kind of smelly water and she said, "Yes, we were planning to put in an expensive water filtration system to eliminate it." She had no idea that her flu-like symptoms were simply healing states triggered by the smell of the water; she thought she actually had the flu. But, the symptoms went away the next day and did not return. No need for a filtration system. Confirmation of Doyle's thesis of healing states and the efficacy of the Speed Trace.
We can see that healing states are the result of what Steiner calls "healing forces" and they arise in us in response to some trigger, some bacteria, some virus, or some injury. Like a plant, the human body's etheric body is basically healthy and generates healing forces to return an ailing body to health. Sickness is the name we give to the symptoms we experience when our etheric body forces are at work restoring us to health. A fever, for example, is not an illness, but our etheric body overcoming an illness. The big difference between humans and plants is that plants "only fall ill in response to an outer injury." (Page 54) It is therefore inaccurate to say that a plant has a disease in it; if the plant appears to be diseased, one should look for the disease agent in the soil, not in the plant. Mottled, yellow leaves, dying branches, poor growth, etc, all result from ailing plants suffering some deficiency or excess in the soil of which it is an integral part. A simple excess of moisture from a rainy winter can cause all kinds of mold, yellowy leaves, and dying branches. At the first sign of these symptoms, I apply some equisetum tea(3) to the base of the plant and within a few days, weeks, or months, the situation has corrected itself, in other words, the plant has returned itself to full health.
[page 55] So there is something the plant's etheric and physical body which is capable of activating inner healing forces in response to outer injury. This is an extremely important fact to consider. A being such as a plant, consisting of etheric and physical body, not only shows us that the physical body and the etheric body have sufficient inherent health to ensure the development and growth of the being concerned, but that there is even a superabundance of such forces which can be activate of healing when external damage occurs. Where do these healing forces originate?
A physical body alone cannot heal itself, for example, a piece of quartz when split by a hammer stays split. A plant has an etheric body which is called into action to repair its physical body when damaged. Steiner explains that it is possible to see the increased etheric body activity in the spot where an injury to the plant has occurred.
[page 55, 56] Spiritual investigation shows us this very clearly, for the activity of the etheric body of the plant is much intensified around the part where the wound has been inflicted(4). The etheric body produces completely different forms then, it flows in a very different way. It is an extremely interesting fact that we challenge the etheric body of a plant to increased activity when we injure its physical body. [RJM Note: I have heard that hitting the trunk of a pecan tree will stimulate the tree into bearing pecans.]
Have you ever seen a blue crab with a stumpy claw? I know that I have on occasion, but Steiner reveals why the stumpy claw occurs: the higher up the level of evolution, the less a species can replace a missing limb or organ. The triton is a creature inside of a conch-like shell, it exists at a very low level and it can lose one of its appendages or organs and grow a completely new one in its place. Go a little higher up in evolution and, if a crab loses a claw, it cannot grow a new claw, not until the crab moves into a new shell, and then the new claw will not be fully developed. Thus the appearance of a stumpy claw in some crabs. After several shell renewals the crab will grow a fully developed claw. We know as humans that if we injure a spot on our body through a bump or a small cut, it heals itself, but if we lose a finger, it does not grow back. This results from the closer the connection between the etheric body and the physical body in higher animals and humans.
[page 58] There is a much more intimate connection between the etheric body and the physical body, and when the physical body develops its form and organizes the forces of physical nature, these forces react upon the etheric body.
To put it clearly: in the lower animals or the plants, that which is outside does not react on the etheric body but leaves it untouched, carrying on an independent existence. When we come to the higher animals, reactions of the physical body are imposed upon the etheric body which adapts itself completely to the physical body; so that if we injure the physical body, we injure the etheric body at the same time. Hence the etheric body has to exercise greater powers as it has to first heal itself and then the corresponding member in the physical body. Therefore in the case of the etheric body of a higher animal, deeper healing forces must be called forth.
In higher animals, the astral body is stronger than in the lower animals which resemble plants in many ways. The greater the presence of the astral body, the more a being is connected to the external world, and the more the etheric body must work to repair injuries.
[page 59] Where an astral body is active, external impressions are reflected in inner experiences, but a being in which the astral body is inactive is more shut off from the external world. The greater the activity of the astral body the greater is that creature's openness to the outer world. Thus the astral body unites the inner nature of a being with the outer world, and the increasing activity of the astral body brings it about that the etheric body has to use much stronger forces to make injuries good.
Animals live as if Apollo's Creed was built into them, "Everything in moderation." But, when we reach the human being level, this creed is optional as well as desirable. Animals follow their instincts, a preplanned program, whereas humans are capable of individually changing their programs(5). Take the animal, for example:
[page 59, 60] It follows its plan of life, and all its actions are subject to a sort of typical program . But the human being, having risen higher on the ladder of evolution, is able to discern between right and wrong, truth and falsehood, good and evil. He comes into contact with the world outside in countless different ways and for many purely individual reasons. All these kinds of contact react and make an impression upon his astral body, and as a consequence of the interaction between his astral body and etheric body, both now suffer these reactions(6). Thus if a person leads a dissolute life in any respect it will make an impression on his astral body which in its turn influences the etheric body. How it will do this will depend upon what has been laid down in the astral body. This will enable us to understand that our etheric body changes in accordance with the kind of life we lead within the boundaries of good and evil, right or wrong, truth or untruth, and so forth.
If we understand that the human being carries an extract of its etheric body into the next incarnation, we can begin to understand how our state of health in this lifetime results from our deeds in a previous lifetime. Steiner gives us a quick synopsis of what happens between life, death, and a new life(7).
[page 60, 61] Let us now remember what takes place when a human being passes through the portal of death. We know that the physical body is laid aside and that the etheric body, now united with the astral body and the 'I', remains. When a certain length of time has elapsed after death, a time which is measured only by days, the etheric body is thrown aside as a second corpse; an extract, however, of the etheric body is left over and this is taken along and kept permanently. In this extract of the etheric body is contained, as if in an essence, all that has penetrated the etheric body, for example, from a dissolute life, or from true or false thinking, feeling and action. This is contained in the etheric body and the human being concerned takes it with him into the period up to a new birth. As an animal does not have such experiences, it cannot, of course, take anything over in the same way beyond the portal of death. When a human being comes into existence again through birth, the essence of his previous etheric body now impregnates his new etheric body and permeates its structure. Therefore in his new existence the person has in his etheric body the results of what he had experienced in his previous life, and as the etheric body is the builder of an entirely new organization at a new birth, all this now imprints itself on his physical body also.
With animals lower than humans, the results of a previous lifetime are not carried forward into the next; only the astral body of the species is carried into the new lifetime. Humans are different; the deeds from one lifetime may carry forward into the next. A person may be born with only one hand in this lifetime based on some deed committed in a previous lifetime, for example. Or perhaps, born with a disposition to various diseases. This is one of the eponymous manifestations of karma. Animals, without karma, do not have karmically affected astral and etheric bodies.
[page 61] In contrast we find that in the case of the human being not only his astral body but also his etheric body is impregnated with the results of the deeds of his previous life: and as the etheric body has within itself the power to bring forth what it formerly had, we shall also understand that this etheric body will also build into the new organism that which it brings with it from previous incarnations. Now we understand how our deeds in one life can work over into our state of health in the next life, and how in our state of health we have often to seek a karmic effect of our previous life's deeds.
Once more Steiner refers to our doylic memories which are stored out of our consciousness at an early age and remain there until we do a Speed Trace on them(8).
[page 63] Our human life is very much richer than what actually reaches our consciousness. In the entire period from birth until the time when memory begins we receive an infinite number of rich impressions which all stay within us and which change us in the course of that period.
One of the things we emphasize in the study of doyletics is how important the job of parents are as they control the set of experiences their children receive during this period when doylic memories are made and stored unconsciously.
[page 64] Once this becomes clear to you, you will grasp the infinitely great responsibility involved in bringing up a child in its earliest years; you will understand how everything will cast its shadow or light into the subsequent life of the individual concerned in a most significant manner. In this way something of an earlier stage of life works into the later stages of that life.
By using the simple memory procedure of the Speed Trace, a parent can easily remove any bad doylic memories for their children the following day just by talking to them. Or years later by using a quick talking Speed Trace we recommend for children. Adults can learn to identify bad doyles in themselves, those unwanted reactions which arise repeatedly, such as an intense fear response to a scorpion, a roach, a spider, or perhaps an upsetting mood, and these can be quickly and easily traced away in the privacy of their homes and offices.
Steiner gives us an example of how a disposition towards disease can evolve over three lifetimes. Perhaps you know people who fit into each of these categories or would like to consider which one you might fit into in this lifetime.
[page 67] Spiritual science shows that a life which knows neither devotion nor love — a superficial life in one incarnation — expresses itself in the tendency to lying in the next incarnation; and in the third incarnation this tendency to lying manifests itself in incorrectly formed organs. Thus we can karmically trace the effects in three consecutive incarnations: superficiality and unsteadiness in the first incarnation, then tendency to lying in the second, and the physical disposition to illness in the third incarnation. This shows us how karma is connected with health and illness.
This also shows how the excuses people use for lying are truly superficial. Yes, one can say lies don't hurt anyone, but they always hurt the one who tells the lies, if not in this lifetime, certainly in succeeding lifetimes. Look around and you can see people in all three of these stages; one person in the superficial stage, another in the lying stage, and another in the illness stage. Morality is not just something you do for others; it is something you do for yourself.
[page 68] Such is the connection which exists between our life of good or evil, our moral and intellectual life in one incarnation, and our state of health or illness in the next.
Why do some people recover from diseases and others die from them? The simple answer is that the healing states of diseases can become either a gain, a move to perfection, in this lifetime for one person, and in another person the same healing states can be a down payment on perfection in a future lifetime.
In my own lifetime, I have experienced a healing state of tuberculosis without being aware for decades that it had happened to me. About age 55, I had an operation to patch a small belly button hernia and the X-ray shows a spot on my lungs. Consultation with an expert showed it to be a simple TB scar. When I was 18 or so, my aunt who was living with us contracted TB and was hospitalized for several years before recovering. Apparently that TB scar resulted from contact with her and represented a battle won by my body's healing forces.
[page 80] The case is different in the so-called 'tuberculosis of the lungs', when we see the singular phenomenon whereby the self-healing forces become active and the harmful influences which arise are surrounded, encompassed, as it were, by something like connective tissue; this is then filled in with calcareous substance which forms solid inclusions. It is quite possible to have such inclusions in one's lungs; in fact it is a lot more common than one would think. This phenomenon always points to a tubercular lung that has been healed. Where such a thing has taken place, a war has been waged by the human inner being against what the ahrimanic forces have produced. It is a defensive process from within against what has been brought about by external materiality, in order to lead to the independence of the human being in this special sense.
Here is how Steiner describes a person who recovers from a disease and benefits others thereafter.
[page 81, 82] If we clearly understand that the aim — the karmic aim — of illness is the progress and the improvement of man, we must presume that if a person in accordance with the wisdom which he brings with him into this existence . . . contracts a disease, he then develops the healing forces which involve a strengthening of his inner forces and the possibility of rising higher. Let us suppose that a person in the life before him, owing to his general constitution and his remaining karma, were to have the force of progressing during this life by means of that which he has acquired through illness. Then the healing has an object. The person comes forth healed from the illness, having gained what he was to gain. Through the conquest of the illness he has acquired perfect forces where previously he had imperfect forces. If through his karma he is equipped with such powers, and if through the favorable circumstances of his former destiny he is so placed in the world that he can use the new forces, and can work so as to be of use to himself and others, then healing comes about and he will find a way out of the illness.
Then he describes a person who does not recover from a disease, but makes progress towards health in a future lifetime. There are individual karmic reasons why some diseases can be cured and others result in death.
[page 82] Now let us suppose a case in which a person overcomes a disease, develops the healing forces, and then is confronted with a life which exacts from him a degree of perfection he has not yet gained. He would, indeed, gain something through the conquered disease, but for other karmic reasons he would not have gained enough to assist others. Then his deeper subconscious says: 'Here you have no opportunity of receiving the full force of what you really ought to have. You had to go into this incarnation to gain the degree of perfection which you can only attain in the physical body by overcoming the disease. That you had to acquire; but you cannot develop it further. You have now to go into conditions in which your physical body and the other forces do not disturb you, where you can freely work out what you have gained through the illness.' Such an individual seeks for death so as to use further, between death and another birth, what he cannot use in life. Such a soul goes through the phase between death and a new birth in order to construct an organization with the stronger forces it has gained by overcoming disease. In this way, through the presence of an illness, a payment on account, as it were, may be made, and the payment is completed after passing through death.
If we understand how karma plays out in the course of a disease, should one wish for their own or their loved one's illness to end in death? Steiner says emphatically, No! No euthanasia, no assisted or un-assisted suicides. These situations cannot be decided by our everyday consciousness, but only by higher consciousness. He provides wise guidance to those confronting such life and death decisions. We can be buoyed by the thought that if an illness ends in death, its purpose was for higher good of the individual.
[page 83] Now, it would be inadmissible to conclude from this that there might be cases where one ought veritably to wish for a certain illness to end in death. It would be inadmissible for anyone to say such a thing because the decision whether an illness is to be cured or not is subject to a higher kind of reason than that encompassed by our normal consciousness. In the world between birth and death, and with our ordinary consciousness, we must humbly desist from attempting to decide such questions. However, with our higher consciousness we may by all means adopt a point of view from which we are able to accept even death as a gift from the higher spiritual powers. But we must not presume to occupy such a higher point of view with that consciousness which is given us to help and work in the world. We might easily succumb to error and would then interfere terribly in something in which we must not ever interfere: the sphere of human freedom. If we can help a person to develop the self-healing forces, or support the work of nature ourselves, so that a cure may come about, we must do it. And if the question should arise as to whether the patient ought to live on further, or whether he would be more helped if he died, our assistance must nevertheless always be given towards healing. If this is done we help the human individuality to use its own powers, and the medical assistance only supports him in this. Then it will not interfere with the human individuality.
Understanding means doing our best to help someone who is ill, and accepting with equanimity whatever befalls them.
[page 84] This is all we need to do when we are confronted with such decisions. We need to find a point of view from which the incurability of a disease does not depress us, as though the world contained only what is imperfect and evil. Our insights into karma must never inhibit our will to heal. In fact, our understanding of karma will reconcile us to the hardest of destinies.
In Lecture 5 Steiner deals with "Karma in Relation to Natural and Accidental Illness". Much of this lecture deals with how innovators stumble onto their discoveries — by accident we would say. For example, by chance, Martin Luther discussed the Bible with a friend and decided to renew his study of the Bible, leading to his ground-breaking translation of the Bible into the vernacular of his people. There are two forces that influence us in making decisions, luciferic and ahrimanic forces, and Steiner outlines how they do so.
[page 101] While the luciferic forces act more within by influencing our astral body, the ahrimanic forces act rather through the external impressions which we receive. In what we receive from the external world there are contained the ahrimanic forces, and in what arises and acts within the soul in the form of joy and dejection, desires, and so forth, there are contained the luciferic forces. The luciferic as well as the ahrimanic principles induce us to give way to error. The luciferic principle induces us to deceive ourselves as to our own inner life, to judge our inner life wrongly, to see maya, illusion within ourselves.
At the close of this lecture Steiner sets the stage for Lecture 6 which deals with "Karma in Relation to Accidents".
[page 105] Today I had to show in somewhat greater detail how Lucifer leads to illusions within ourselves, and how Ahriman becomes intertwined with external perceptions and there leads to maya(9); that it is the work of Lucifer when we delude ourselves with a false motive, and how wrong conclusions in relation to the world of phenomena — Ahriman's deception — lead us to believe in chance. I had to give you this background before demonstrating the working of karma, of the results of an earlier life, in human life even where seemingly accidental outer reasons bring about illness.
When I was fifteen, I nearly severed my left thumb in a circular-saw accident. The doctor sewed my thumb back together with a dozen stitches, and, except for a slight numbness in its tip, my thumb is normal again. I have often thought about what was going on in my life. I was helping cut the wood block tile for a bedroom and after cutting the last tile, I reached across the table saw(10) to remove the tile and my thumb hit the spinning saw blade.What happened and what did not happen to me as a result of this so-called accident? These are two questions I have offered to many people since I discovered their efficacy in finding a good intention of any illness or accident. For me, the important question was what happened. After the accident, I had my last two weeks in the ninth grade with kids I had been classmates with for nine years. The big white bandage on my thumb called attention to me, so my friends all found a chance to talk to me, and I got a chance to tell them that I was going to a different school 30 miles away in the fall. This chance for the shy me to interact with my friends was important to me, and though I would have preferred a less painful way of doing so, it worked for me at that point in my life. While the accident may not have been karmically related, my disposition towards shyness, which may have the underlying cause of the accident, was likely karmic in origin.
As for a musical ear, I have been severely lacking one, being unable to tell if a note is on-key or not. I managed to play a trumpet for several years in high school and later taught myself to play the organ, plus I sang in a Barbershop Chorus during the New Orleans World's Fair in 1984. I found to my surprise that I could sing along in key with other voices, but was unable to sing in a quartet where I would be the only voice doing a given part. I studied music theory, and have enjoyed various kinds of music, but without sheet music, I cannot play any music. None of my playing and studying of music helped develop a musical ear in me. My only hope is to reincarnate into a musical family such as the Bach's were.
[page 107] When we reincarnate we do not come haphazardly to such and such parents or to such and such a country. There are reasons for all of this and these relate to our innermost being. Even in those hereditary characteristics which have nothing to do with illness, we must not assume anything haphazard. In the case of a family such as Bach's, for instance, which produced numerous musicians over many generations — in Bach's family more than twenty more or less gifted musicians were born — one might easily assume a pure line of inheritance, where certain characteristics are inherited and where the individual, due to the presence of these characteristics, develops certain abilities preserved from previous incarnations into musical talent. This is not so, however; the facts are quite different.
By relating to our inner being, I suspect he means someone like me who was exposed to music a lot, but was not born in a family where other than popular songs on the radio were played. As a result I didn't have a musical ear. I thought I sang off key, but have found that was singing I did along with my mother who sang off-key, so far as I can tell now, looking back.
[page107, 108] Suppose that someone has the opportunity of receiving many musical impressions in a life between birth and death, that these musical impressions passed him by in this life, for the simple reason that he did not have a musical ear. Other impressions which he receives in this life do not pass him by in the same way, because he has organs so formed that he can transform the experiences and impressions into capacities of his own. . . . If someone has received a great many musical impressions, and was unable to transform them into musical capabilities or the ability to enjoy music because of an unmusical ear, it will be this inability which will call forth a tendency in his soul to come into a family where he will inherit a musical ear. . . . This shows us that, in fact, a person has not inherited a musical ear or a similar gift in a particular incarnation 'by chance', but that he has looked for and actually sought for the inherited characteristic.
We live inside of a spiritual world, but in this level of consciousness we are not able to perceive it without special training of the type that was given in mystery schools and provided by Steiner in his various books. Why can't we perceive the spiritual world is a question that is best answered by looking at the various results of LSD on otherwise unprepared folks. A young woman, otherwise healthy and in her right mind, dove through a high-rise window to her death in the 1960s. Something was dangerous or could be dangerous about taking LSD and that led to its being declared an illegal substance.
[page 110] Why do we not perceive this spiritual world? Because in normal life to see the spiritual facts and spiritual things surrounding us at the present stage of human development between going to sleep and awakening would prove dangerous in the highest degree. If the human being today were to pass over consciously into the world which surrounds him between going to sleep and awakening, his astral body, which gained its full development in the ancient Moon period, would flow out into the spiritual world, but this could not be done by the 'I' which can be developed only during the Earth period, and which will have completed its evolution at the end of the Earth period. The 'I' is not sufficiently developed to be able to unfold the whole of its activity between falling asleep and awakening.
Will such instant enlightenment as LSD provides ever become an everyday experience for humans? The answer is that it already is an everyday experience, or rather, an every night experience, because this is what happens to us when we fall asleep. We are protected from the dangerous activities by becoming unconscious during sleep.
[page 110, 111] If we were to fall asleep consciously, the condition of our 'I' could be illustrated as follows. Let us suppose that we have a small drop of colored liquid; we drop this into a basin of water and allow it to mix. The color of that small drop will no more be seen because it has mixed with the whole mass of the water. Something of this nature happens when we leave behind our physical body and etheric body on falling asleep. The latter principles are those which hold together the whole of the human being. As soon as the astral body and 'I' leave the two lower principles, they disperse in all directions, impelled always by this principle of expansion. Thus it would happen that the 'I' would be dissolved, and we should indeed view the pictures of the spiritual world before us, but should not be able to understand them by means of those forces which only the 'I' can bring to bear — the forces of discernment, insight, and so forth — in short, with the consciousness we apply to ordinary life. For the 'I' would be dissolved and we should be frenzied, torn hither and thither, swimming without individuality and without direction in the sea of astral and impressions.
That explains why we go unconscious during our sleep, but what about when we will be able to remain conscious during sleep?
[page 111] For this reason, because in the case of the normal person the 'I' is not sufficiently strong, it reacts upon the astral body and prevents it from entering consciously the spiritual world which is its true home, until there comes a time when the 'I' will be able to accompany the astral wherever it may penetrate. Thus there is a good reason for our losing consciousness when we fall asleep, for if it were otherwise, we should not be able to maintain our 'I' . We shall only be able to maintain it sufficiently when our Earth evolution is achieved. That is why we are prevented from infolding the consciousness of our astral body.
This is also the reason people must be subject to strict guidelines when being initiated: they must learn to maintain their 'I' as it accompanies the astral body. If not, the results may be disastrous.
[page 112] We should sink down with our 'I'; and all the passions, the desires, the greed, and the egotism of which we are capable would be concentrated within this 'I'. All this egotism would pour away into the life of the senses. To prevent this we are distracted by the external world and barred from penetrating our inner being with our consciousness.
St. Paul taught us how to protect ourselves when he said in Galatians 2-20, "Not I, but the Christ in me." We must think, "Not I but the Christ within me should think, feel, and will, so that what dwells within me in the form of passion, desire, and greed does not emerge from me, but only that which streams into me as Christ." (Paraphrase of a page 112, 113 passage.)
During the epoch of our earlier Moon evolution, our astral body penetrated our etheric and physical body deeply. During our current Earth epoch, our etheric and astral bodies were loosened from each other by the penetration by our 'I'. We awaken each morning into our 'I' and our astral body goes to sleep — this is the normal healthy condition of our astral body during the day. We can only be healthy during the day if our astral body is asleep.
[page 117, italics added ] In the case of a person whose astral body has a tendency towards a closer union with the etheric and the physical bodies than should normally take place, we can see the astral body accomplish the phenomenon which we otherwise achieve by the 'I' upon awakening. What is this excessive penetration of the physical and etheric bodies by the astral body? It constitutes the essence of illness. When our astral body does what we otherwise do upon awakening, namely pushes its way into the physical body and the etheric body; when the astral body, which normally should not develop any consciousness within us, strives after a consciousness within our physical and etheric bodies, trying to awaken within us, we become ill. Illness is an abnormal waking condition of our astral body. What is it we do when, in normal health, we live in an ordinary waking condition? We are awake in ordinary life. But to achieve the ordinary state of wakefulness we had to bring our astral body into a different relationship at an earlier stage. We had to put it to sleep. During the day, when our 'I'-consciousness prevails, our astral body needs to sleep; we can be healthy only if our astral body is asleep within us. So we can conceive of the essence of health and illness in the following way: illness is an abnormal awakening of the astral body within man, and health is the normal sleeping state of the astral body.
Steiner asks, almost humorously, "Does any consciousness arise when we become ill?"
[page 118] Yes, there arises a consciousness that we know all too well. And which is this consciousness? A consciousness expresses itself in experiences! The consciousness which then arises is expressed in what we call pain, which we do not have during our waking condition when in ordinary health, because it is then that our astral body is asleep. When our astral body is asleep, it is correctly aligned to our physical and etheric bodies, and that means freedom from pain. Pain tells us that the astral body is pressing into the physical body and the etheric body in an excessive way, and is acquiring consciousness. Such is pain.
That is why we can say that we only become aware of having an organ when it begins to hurt us. That is consciousness at work, pain creating a consciousness of what needs attending. Carlos asked Don Juan an interesting question which involves deep consciousness, "Don Juan, you say I can be safe in any situation, but suppose a sniper in a tall tower with a high-powered telescope is aiming his rifle at me down in the street?" Don Juan said simply, "I would not be walking down that street." We each have a deep consciousness at work within us which can make decisions for us of situations to avoid if we were aware of them, like Don Juan. Would anyone walk into a place where lightning was due to strike? Well, for some stroke of destiny, some one might.
[page 124] One might well think that a person would not ordinarily place himself where lightning will strike him. With his ordinary consciousness he will avoid doing so. But there may be active within him a consciousness that lies deeper than his ordinary consciousness and will lead him to the very place where lightning may strike him, from out of a foresight which his ordinary consciousness lacks; a consciousness which wills the lightning to strike him and makes him seek out this accident.
We can know that pain results from some inner luciferic influence, and that the effects of ahrimanic influences approach us from the external world via our inner luciferic influences.
[page 130] So that in daily life we at one moment fall prey more to the temptations of Lucifer, and at another to those of Ahriman. And we oscillate between these two influences which lead us — the one to inner conceit, and the other to illusions about the external world.
Can we acquire weapons to chase away or at least balance these two opposing luciferic and ahrimanic forces? Yes, Steiner says, "Morality burns Lucifer like the most dreadful of fires." If you would say, "To Hell with the Devil", then develop an attitude of morality in all acts you do. If you wish to ward off Ahriman, battle him "with the power of judgment and discernment schooled by spiritual science." (Page 133)
For many decades I had wondered what people meant by "liver complaint" and how did people know they needed various liver pills? I never knew where my liver was because I never had in pains in it. There are some kinds of liver problems, however, that do not create pain in the liver region. Steiner says these liver problems are similar to the gnawing of vultures at the liver of Prometheus in the myth. Prometheus is known for his gift of fire to humans which began embedding all of us deeply into ahrimanic illusions.
[page 138, 139, italics added, edited ] Let us take the case of a person who has a disease of the liver, but such as is not accompanied by pain. We are here dealing with the effect of a preceding ahrimanic influence which has resulted in this disorder in the liver. If this organ were not taken from him, the forces connected with a deeper penetration by the etheric body would lead him too far into maya.
Sagas and myths have always known of the deepest wisdom, and have expressed it. Of this the liver is a very good example. It is an organ most eminently suited to drive us into the physical illusory world, and at the same time the liver is the organ which binds us to the earth. This truth is connected with the fact that precisely that being who, according to the legend, gave us the force to guide us into earthly life and work effectively on earth — namely, Prometheus — should have his liver gnawed by a vulture. A vulture gnaws at his liver, not because this would cause Prometheus any severe pain, for in that case the legend would not correspond with the actual facts. However, legends and myths invariably correspond with physiological facts! The vulture gnaws at the liver because it does not hurt. Because the point was to show that Prometheus was bringing something to humanity through which human beings could become more deeply enmeshed in ahrimanic illusion if it were not for the possibility of compensation. Occult records are always in accord with the truths which we make known in spiritual science.
In Lecture 8, Steiner deals with earthquakes and other events of mass destruction. One cannot read the following passage and not think of the two events, the ancient Burning of the Temple of Ephesus and the modern burning of the Goetheanum. Steiner was a priest at the ancient temple and the architect of the modern building. As the Goetheanum is a symbol for the spirituality of Steiner, one can see that in the ancient burning of Ephesus, Steiner would have been turned by this catastrophe into a disposition for spirituality(11).
[page 159] Let us take a case which actually happened. In a natural catastrophe a number of people perished. It is not at all necessary to believe that it was in their karma that they all should thus perish together; this would be a cheap supposition. It should not be assumed that everything is attributable to earlier transgressions. There is an instance, that has been investigated, of a number of people who perished in an elemental catastrophe. This in turn caused these people to feel very closely connected at a later time and, owing to their common destiny, they gained the strength to accomplish something important together. Through this catastrophe they were able to turn from materialism and brought with them in their next incarnation a disposition to spirituality.
One cannot read this without calling to mind the over two thousand people who died in the Twin Towers of the World Trade Centers in New York City on September 11, 2001. Dying in the collapse of towers devoted to ahrimanic materialism, one can hope that these souls may reincarnate together in a huge force for spiritual good in some future century.
Just as some might have an unconscious urge to head towards a place where lightning may strike, a large number of people might head into the unsanitary conditions of medieval cities and find themselves part of a population decimated by the ravages of bubonic plague or smallpox. Why might that happen?
[page 165] Spiritual scientific research has shown, for example, that smallpox developed during a time when the general inclination towards egotism and unlovingness reached a particular climax That is when smallpox emerged in the outer organism. This is a fact. In anthroposophy it is our duty to speak truthfully.
Smallpox is rarely a problem these days with the widespread use of vaccines, but other epidemics have taken its place for their own unique reasons, reasons which may come to the light day only in future years, after some new hygienic measure will have wiped them out like the vaccine did smallpox.
[page 168] We learned that it is the great laws of humanity's karma as a whole which determine that such measures are adopted by man at a particular point in time. At the same time we can easily grasp that human beings were not led to adopt such measures at an earlier time because the epidemics which are now to be banished by means of hygienic measures were needed by humanity in an earlier epoch. . . . Just call to mind how one invention or other discovery or another, too, only occurs when humanity is really ready for it.
One of the things that humanity is ready for is anthroposophy, a science of the full human being in body, soul, and spirit. Diseases have a way of helping us remove what we have karmically in previous lifetime created within ourselves. For example, Steiner says smallpox is the organ of unlovingness. When we eliminate smallpox with a vaccine, the root of unlovingness remains, and another means of karmic compensation must be sought.
[page 170] When life becomes physically more comfortable due to improved health conditions, the soul is affected in the opposite way; in the course of time the soul experiences a certain emptiness, a sense of dissatisfaction, a lack of fulfilment. If the trend towards ever greater physical comfort and health continued along the lines envisaged in the context of a purely materialistic outlook on life, such souls would feel less and less incentive to progress inwardly. The whole thing would be accompanied by a stultification of the soul.
What do people tend naturally towards when life gets more comfortable? Towards new sensations, new pleasures, and all the while the soul remains empty. Spiritual science helps us to understand this trend and avoid having our souls become afflicted as our everyday life becomes more comfortable.
[page 170, 171] If you take a closer look at life you will see signs of this already. There has hardly been an age before ours in which so many people live in such pleasant outer conditions and yet go about with their souls barren and unoccupied. That is why such people rush from sensation to sensation; if they have enough money they travel from town to town in order to see something; if not, they rush from pleasure to pleasure every night. Yet for all this the soul remains empty, and ends up at a complete loss about what to look for in the world to fill the void. Especially when life is exclusively geared to outer physical comfort, the inclination to think solely in terms of the physical will be strong. And if this inclination to deal only with the physical world had not already been prevalent for a long time, the inclination towards theoretical materialism would not have arisen to the extent we have it today. In this way human souls are becoming more sick as physical life is rendered more healthy.
Like a squeezed rubber ball, these frenetic people bounce back after a time, seeking some content related to their souls, like that found in anthroposophy.
[page 171] This shows us how a materialistic approach to life may well ease things on the physical side but will at the same time create inner difficulties, which may then lead the individual concerned to seek for the content of a spiritual view of life out of his soul's suffering. The spiritual view of life encompassed today in anthroposophy meets those souls who find no satisfaction in the bleakness of impressions offered them by a purely external life, however comfortable it may be. Souls will continue in their search, and seek ever again for new impressions, until their elasticity will act so strongly in the other direction that they will feel themselves again drawn to a spiritual life. Thus there exists a relationship between hygiene and the aspirations for a future spiritual-scientific view of the world.
Another manifestation of karma is the tendency for females to reincarnate as males and vice-versa. Women are more emotional and feel things more deeply than men. Men may have more intellectual and scientific experiences, but these do not reach as far into the soul as for women. These tendencies create a movement in the opposite direction for the next incarnation.
[page 175] A deep working into and working through the organism will bring forth a male organism. A male organism appears when the forces of the soul desire to be more deeply graven into matter. You can see from this that the woman's experiences in one incarnation result in a male organism in the next incarnation. Occult teaching here shows that there is a connection which lies outside the bounds of morality. For this reason occultism states: man is woman's karma. The male organism of a later incarnation is the result of the experiences and events of a preceding female incarnation. Even at the risk of giving discomfort to some of those present here — after all, many men today are horrified at the thought of incarnating as women — I must state these facts entirely objectively.
In anthroposophy one finds a greater number of women than men. Steiner already noticed this in his day and says this is not surprising.
[page 175] Women retain more of the spiritual in the non-physical sphere. They do not penetrate so deeply into matter, and keep what is physical more flexible. The separation from the spiritual is not as complete. It is characteristic of the female nature that a greater degree of free spirituality is retained, and for that reason women do not penetrate as profoundly into matter, and keep their brains more flexible. Therefore it is not surprising that women have a special inclination for what is new, especially in the spiritual realm, because the spiritual has been retained more freely and because there is less resistance. And it is not by accident, but in accordance with a profound law, that in a movement which in its very nature deals with spirituality, there should be a greater number of women than men.
In a sense, men have to work harder to enter more flexible lines of thought which are natural to women. External science, mostly created by men, can be very shallow, as impenetrable as the hardened brains of its innovators. Men are more attracted to the external world and less to their internal soul life.
[page 175] We have an external proof of this in the shallowness of external science, and its comparative failure to comprehend the inner being. Although much thought is expended in a wide circumference, facts are concentrated with little thoroughness. Anyone who is compelled by their own discipline of thinking to put the facts together might experience occasional nausea at what is so bluntly presented as objective fact in the field of ordinary science. It becomes quite clear, then, how little depth there is.
This lack of penetrating into the soul by a man results in his building up a female body in the next incarnation. No amount of personal dislike in this incarnation will prevent this from happening. "Woman is man's karma!"
[page 182] We have learned that the female organism is the karmic consequence of experiencing life as a man and that the male organism is the karmic consequence of experiencing life as a woman; and finally we grasped that death is the karmic effect of birth in a human life. If you endeavor gradually to deepen your understanding of these things you may attain deep insights into the karmic connections of life.
In Lecture 10 we enter a new realm in which Einstein's equation that states Matter is Energy divided by the speed of Light squared (aka E=MC2) is supplemented by what I call Steiner's equation that states that Soul is Energy divided by the speed of Love squared (aka E=SL2). Let's examine how this is developed. First, we examine how all matter is condensed light. The very large number created by the speed of light squared represents the gigantic condensation light undergoes before we can recognize it as a particle.
[page 188] Every single substance, be it gold, silver, or any other substance, is there seen to be a condensation of this fundamental substance, which is really no longer matter. There is a fundamental essence of our material earth existence out of which all matter only comes into being by a condensing process, and to the question: 'What is this fundamental substance of our earth existence', spiritual science gives the answer: 'Every substance upon the earth is condensed light'. There is nothing in material existence in any form whatever which is anything but condensed light. When you know the facts there is no need to prove theories such as the vibration hypothesis of the nineteenth century, when it was attempted to represent light by means coarser than light. Light cannot be traced back to anything else in our material existence. Wherever you reach out and touch a substance, there you have condensed, compressed light. All matter is, in its essence, light.
This equivalence of matter and light may have been hard to accept back in 1910 when Einstein's theories were so new, but over a hundred years have passed, and the equivalency between matter (mass) and light is well established, proven thousands of times over with materialistic experiments that even the hardest brain of man can accept. At the deepest level of reality, there is no matter, only light. The human being whose body is built of matter is a being of light.
But what about the soul of the human being? Einstein's theory does not apply to the Soul, does it? That would take the theory of a spiritual scientist, wouldn't it? Enter Rudolf Steiner. He demonstrates that just as Matter is condensed Light, Soul is condensed Love. A baby's Soul is built out of Love, just as Matter is built out of Light. Each act of Love is compressed into a baby as an element of its Soul. If a baby is not given Love, it will die. Numerous experiments have been done to determine the natural language a child would speak if it heard no one speak. I recall that Frederick the Great ordered such an experiment done and all the children died! Here's a description of what happened:
The experiments were recorded by the monk Salimbene di Adam in his Chronicles, who wrote that Frederick encouraged "foster-mothers and nurses to suckle and bathe and wash the children, but in no ways to prattle or speak with them; for he would have learnt whether they would speak the Hebrew language (which he took to have been the first), or Greek, or Latin, or Arabic, or perchance the tongue of their parents of whom they had been born. But he laboured in vain, for the children could not live without clappings of the hands, and gestures, and gladness of countenance, and blandishments."
In other words, all the children died! They apparently could not live without a Soul being woven out of Love on a daily basis.
[page 189] Let us now consider the other question: Of what does the soul consist? If we applied the methods of spiritual-scientific research to the actual basic essence of the soul we would find that everything that manifests on earth as a phenomenon of soul is a modification, is one of the infinite variety of transformations possible, of that which we call love, provided that we genuinely grasp the intrinsic meaning of this word. Every single stirring of the soul, wherever it occurs, is love modified in some way or other. And when the inner and outer are configured into one, as it were, and imprinted into one another, as is the case in the human being, we find that his outer corporeality is woven out of light and that his inner soul is spiritually woven out of love.
How does light get woven into love? Remember the story of Rumpelstiltskin in which the miller's daughter is told to spin straw into gold or be executed? Along came this mischievous elf who magically assisted her in spinning gold from the golden straw, concentrating the essence of its golden color into the metal gold. This myth seems to be about Earth's mission to become the Cosmos of Love, but how could it be done? Along came another mischievous imp, Lucifer, who wanted Light to spread as far as possible, so he taught humans how spin Light into Love in their Souls, thereby condensing Love into Soul.
[page 189, 190] The power that thus weaves light into the element of love must have no special interest in love; it must be interested only in spreading the light as far as possible, in letting the light stream into the element of love. . . . The earth's mission is to weave love into everything. In other words, everything which is connected with earthly existence is connected with love in some way.
This is where the luciferic beings come into play. They remained behind on the Moon, the cosmos of wisdom. They have a special interest in weaving light into love. The luciferic beings are at work wherever and whenever our inner soul which is woven out of love, enters into any kind of relationship with the element of light in any form; and we are, after all confronted with light in all material existence. When light touches our being in any way whatsoever the luciferic beings appear and the luciferic quality weaves into the element of love. This is how it came about that human beings, over the course of repeated lives, became associated with the luciferic element: Lucifer became interwoven with the element of love; and all that is formed from love has the impress of Lucifer, which alone can bring us what causes love to be not merely a self-abandonment, but permeates it in its innermost being with wisdom. Otherwise, without this wisdom, love would be an impersonal force in us for which we could not be responsible.
When a loved one is in ill health, what can we do? We must realize that a luciferic element may be pressed into our loved one causing the illness and ensuing pain. Okay, then what can we do?
[page 191] What is the remedy which exerts a stronger action, so that the luciferic element is driven out? What is it which has been defiled by the luciferic on our earth? It is love! Hence only by means of love can we give real help for karma to work out in the right way. Finally we must see in that element of love, which has been compromised in the soul realm by Lucifer and caused illness, a force which must be affected by another force. We must pour in love. We must give love because that which flows in through a deed of love will be helpful. This element of love given as medicine is common to all those approaches to healing which involve the healing of the soul to a greater or lesser extent. All methods of psychological healing are connected in some way with the administering of love. Love is the medicine we give to the other. Love must be the essence of it all. And it surely can be! Even when the psychology involved is straightforward, when all we do is to help another person deal with his depressed state of mind, love is involved. All methods of healing, from the simplest to the more involved methods of healing which are often referred to, rather amateurishly, as 'magnetic healing', must arise out of love.
In a massage workshop I studied Ortho-Bionomy from a therapist from Hawaii. The essence of the work is to align oneself with the discomfort of the client and then to move oneself to a comfortable spot and the client moves to an equally comfortable spot. As therapist, one accepts the client's discomfort as a sacrifice and then heals oneself and the client. Done rightly, it is as magical as the deed of Rumpelstiltskin. It is definitely a deed of love. In this next passage Steiner is talking about this kind of alignment used in Ortho-Bionomy, which he calls a polarity. It is the basis, rightly understood, of all healing involving a laying on of hands.
[page 192] What does the healer in such a case actually communicate to the one needing to be healed? It is, to use an expression of physics, an 'exchange of tensions'. What lives in the healer, namely, certain processes in his etheric body, relates in a particular way to the one to be healed, creating a kind of polarity. Polarity arises just as it would in a more abstract sense when one kind of electricity, say positive, is produced and the corresponding other, the negative, appears. In this way polarities are created. This is a supreme deed of sacrifice. We are calling forth a process within ourselves which is not only intended to be meaningful to ourselves, for then one would call forth one process only. In this case, however, the process is intended to call forth in the other the polar opposite. This polarity will depend on the contact established between the healer and the person to be healed; when this is produced, when the opposite process is called forth in the other, this is, in the fullest sense of the word, the sacrifice of a power, the transmuted power of love, a deed of love. This is what works in healing: the transmuted power of love. We must be in no doubt therefore that any endeavor to heal must be carried by this power of love, or else it will fail. Nevertheless, processes of love need not necessarily enter our conscious awareness; they may well take place in the subconscious. Even the techniques of healing, as one might regard them — for example the way the hands are applied — are a reflection of a deed of sacrifice. Even in the case of healing processes where the immediate connections are hidden from us, where we cannot observe what is being done, there is a deed of love involved, even if it has taken on the form of mere technique.
How can luciferic light lead to illness? It can when it is the opposite of light, a darkness which is woven out of a luciferic or ahrimanic influence. This darkness is a necessary concomitant of the human body becoming the bearer of the 'I', our immortal individual essence. As a result, animals, plants, and minerals cannot be subject to the type of corruption which humans possess. This gives rise to the possibility for humans to find, outside in the other three kingdoms, some substance in an undefiled condition to provide a cure for what exists inside us in a defiled condition.
[page 194, 195] That which exists in the world in its purity is the external cure for the corresponding substance in its damaged state. If you apply this in the right way to the human being, you then have the specific remedy for the corresponding injury.
The above passage seems to refer to the use of homeopathic substances in minute quantities to affect a cure in human beings. We can also understand the now noticeable lack of homeopathic cures for animals; they are not subject to luciferic and ahrimanic influences, lacking an 'I'.
In my studies of Barbara McClintock's Nobel-winning work in plant genetics, and the work of Anastasia getting people to grow and eat vegetables grown in their own dachas, I came to realize that eating plants grown by one's own hand is beneficial because the toxins given off by one's breath and sweat are absorbed by the plants in process of growth and they modify their genes to produce proteins which overcome the excess or deficiencies found the toxins they absorb in air and soil as you sow, till, weed, and walk among them. What happens when genes are modified? The proteins they create are modified slightly in response to external stimulants. These changes in the plant that you grow personally improve the taste of the plants, a sure sign that something good for your health is in the plants. My thesis of Plant as Doctor explains this process in greater detail. It is amazing to me to consider that plants modify themselves to make them taste better to their planters and to help keep the people tending them healthy!
Let us close this review with a clarification of the concept of "free will", a concept so long misunderstood that centuries-long arguments about whether it exists or not have filled untold volumes of theological tracts. It is not our will that is free, but it is the full human being, as a body, soul, and spirit, a being with thinking, feeling, and will functions intermeshed, that is free. "Free will" would be better labeled as "Mastery of Will" — posing the unanswered question for each of us, "Have I mastered my use of will?"
[page 218] The expression 'free will' in itself is wrong. We should rather say: 'We, as human beings, only become free through enhancing our cognitive faculties and through rising higher and growing closer with the spiritual world. In this way we will be filled more and more with what the spiritual world has to give us and gradually develop into beings capable of mastering our own will.' It is not the will that can become free — it is the human being as a whole who can become free through absorbing the knowledge of the spiritual world.
How can we repay Lucifer for his sacrifice which brought each of us the possibility of the free use of our will? We can do this by weaving love into every portion of the microcosm of our individual lives thereby creating, each of us, a patch of the great patchwork quilt of the macrocosm which warms us with a blanket of Love as we balance our karma through successive incarnations.
---------------------------- Footnotes -----------------------------------------
Footnote 1. A handy phrase learned from my friend Calvin Peterson. See more at Book of Calvin and its Glossary.Return to text directly before Footnote 1.
Footnote 2. This recollection was a new declarative memory that arose when the original event creating the doylic memory was transmitted by her hippocampus to her cortex.Return to text directly before Footnote 2.
Footnote 3. Equisetum tea is a simple concoction made by boiling and steeping the stalks of equisetum arvense or horsetail rushes in water. Pour this tea at the roots of afflicted plants and trees and you will be amazed at the results.Return to text directly before Footnote 3.
Footnote 4. Mothers know intuitively that to kiss a sore spot such as a bruised knee helps the hurt go away and the injury heal faster. Any cut, bump, or bruise has pushed the etheric body away, and the mother's kiss adds a bit of etheric energy to help the area heal faster. The kiss helps the etheric body of the injured spot heal itself so that it may more quickly heal the physical body part affected.Return to text directly before Footnote 4.
Footnote 5. If this were not a human ability, there would be no people who overeat to the point of obesity.Return to text directly before Footnote 5.
Footnote 6. A steady diet of news programs inflicts numerous body blows on one's etheric and astral body.Return to text directly before Footnote 6.
Footnote 7. For more details, see these two reviews: Life Between Death and Rebirth and The Inner Nature of Man and Life Between Death and Rebirth.Return to text directly before Footnote 7.
Footnote 8. The majority of these rich impressions form the basis of what we know as emotions, joy, happiness, elation, surprise, etc, and these are so prevalent that it is not possible to trace them away. The bad feelings, hurting healing states, etc., are generally one-time tricks which can be quickly erased.Return to text directly before Footnote 8.
Footnote 9. maya is an ancient Hindu word meaning worldly illusion, i.e., seeing only the material covering of reality.Return to text directly before Footnote 9.
Footnote 10. This table saw was homemade by my dad, and it had no saw guard.Return to text directly before Footnote 10.
Footnote 11. The burning of these two buildings is portrayed on the cover of World History and the Mysteries, and this book Rudolf Steiner's Mission and Ita Wegman gives details on the burning of Ephesus.Return to text directly before Footnote 11.
2.) ARJ2: From Mammoths to Mediums, GA#350 by Rudolf Steiner
Steiner's answers to questions are sometimes esoteric and other times simply commonsense. Take his commonsense answer to the question of how does one explain reincarnation if there are many more people on Earth now than formerly. He points out that statistics of rising population centers are cited as evidence of a larger population, but in much earlier times, portions of the Earth currently sparsely inhabited were densely populated. Statistics showing a historical peak of population on our planet can be trusted as much as those for acid rain, global warming, or holes in the ozone layer — they're all based on data from the past hundred years or less extrapolated backwards thousands of years. Extrapolation backwards is like walking backwards from a subject to get a better photograph: if walking back ten steps helps, walking back a hundred steps will help even more — that is a practical example of what scientists call "backward extrapolation" — but such a process comes to a screeching halt if fifty steps backwards one falls backwards over a cliff. This is a crude example, but it highlights the catastrophic mistakes that are possible when one does backward extrapolation — one must do it without evidence by definition, but unlike the errant photographer, errant scientists don't fall off of cliffs, but get invited to speak in front of National Press luncheons, etc.
Another aspect is that the frequency of reincarnation varies with individuals. With a shorter time between incarnations, the same number of souls can result in a much larger population on Earth. With our increasingly materialistic population on Earth, the time between incarnations has grown shorter and shorter for many people and thus the population has increased in recent times. Simply put, the population of the Earth varies in direct proportion to the number of materialists on it. Similarly, the knowledge of this relationship varies inversely as the number of materialists, so this knowledge is at an all-time low. No materialistic scientist would accept this explanation — saying that it's not scientific — "After all, if there are souls, they are created upon birth and upon death go to heaven." Yet, this very idea, Steiner tells us, was one that scientists acquired from decisions made by a Council of the Church in the 9th Century, an idea that is commonly accepted by church and science today without question, up until now. Let's read what he tells us about the reincarnation frequency of materialists in general.
[page 5] You see, we have to understand clearly that some time must pass before a human being comes down to earth again. And so you may ask: 'Yes, but when does he come down?' Investigating the matter right through to the end one finds that one of them gave much thought to the world of the spirit when on earth, and he'd grow into that world more easily after his death. Having given much thought to the world of the spirit, he'd need a relatively long time between death and rebirth. He could stay in the world of the spirit for a long time because he had already learnt a great deal about it here. People like that, who've given much thought to the world of the spirit, are able to develop better there, stay longer and return to earth later. Someone who has only given thought to the material world will come back relatively soon. So this is another way in which things shift and change.
'Why do we not remember our earlier incarnations?' Steiner asks. Before you read his answer ask yourself the same question. What answer do you give? Now ask this question: 'Are you a materialist?' The remembering of earlier incarnations has decreased with increasing materialism — it is a consequence of the evolution of humankind into freedom that we have spent the last millennium falling deeper into materialism. We have progressed enormously in technology, but have regressed just as much in spiritual matters, such as remembering our past lives. In the nascent millennium we have the task of learning how the influences of our individual past lifetimes bubble to the surface for the most materialistically-minded of us. Here is Steiner's answer to the lead-off question of this paragraph:
[page 5] Well you see, gentlemen, it's like this. If someone says human beings are able to do sums, that is beyond doubt. They can do sums. But then someone will come and say: 'I'll prove to you that man cannot do sums.' 'Oh, how'll you do that?' And he'll bring along a young child who cannot do sums. 'He's a human being, too,' he'll say.
That is how it is with earlier lives on earth. Human beings can learn this, and they will learn to remember their earlier lives on earth as they continue to evolve on this earth.
Remember what happened to you yesterday? Sure, we all do. Remember what happened to you last night while you were asleep? 'Oh, I remember a couple of dreams.' That would be a typical response. But dreams happen in a brief moment before waking, no matter how long the dream seems to last subjectively. What about the rest of the eight hours you were asleep? Remember any of that? It is possible to learn to do that and find out that you experience a lot more during sleep than in the waking state. Yet there will come a time when you will recall in detail what happened during every sleeping hour of your life. Immediately after death, you will recall your waking life, all the events that happened to you during waking life, and you will spend about two or three days doing this. Afterwards, you will spend hour for hour recalling everything you experienced while you were sleeping. That is why this period takes about one-third of one's lifetime to pass through — it takes the amount of time that one spent sleeping. This period called, kamaloca, is described in more detail in The Principle of Spiritual Economy . One of the things we know from spiritual science is that during non-dreaming sleep we recall our past lifetimes on Earth. Being conscious during this recall of past lifetimes is a human ability that we have lost and are about to regain, and then we will be able to remember our previous incarnations consciously, not just through pangs of conscience. As we shall see, conscience is typically the only way memory of past lifetimes bubble to the surface in most of us, up until now.
[page 7] In earlier times people knew that they lived on earth several times over, but as the millennia passed they did not think of this at all as something that was of the spirit. This is why they cannot remember it in their present life on earth. But a time will come when they will remember, just as a time will come for the 4-year-old child when he will be able to do sums.
Why do we dance? Why do kids like to run around in circles? Why does a running dog always return to the same place? Why do we walk in circles when we are lost in a forest? What is the shortest distance between two points? All these questions are related as we shall see. First, a little physics: the Earth rotates on its axis one complete turn in 24 hours. Its circumference is 25 thousand miles. If you are stationary on the Earth, you are traveling over 1,000 mph toward the East where you stand. The reason rockets launch in an easterly direction is to take advantage of that extra thousand mile an hour boost. Our physical body does not notice this because our etheric body likes to move with the rotation of the Earth.
[page 9] This ether body always wants to move around the earth; this is how it wants to be; this is the movement it always makes.
If there is a mist about you or you're lost in the woods, your etheric body, which always wants to move in circles, directs you into a circular path, even when you otherwise are aiming to walk straight. This is a common experience of those lost in the woods. You make a mark on a tree and find the mark later. You know you're lost. Lost people always travel in circles, not in random directions which one would expect statistically speaking, which one would expect if there were no circling influence from their etheric bodies.
[page 10] You don't know which way to turn — where should I go? For you normally aim towards a particular point when you walk with your physical body. You may not always be aware of it, but the path directs towards a particular point. But if there's a mist you don't see anything, and then your physical body does not know its way about. Along comes your ether body; it only wants to follow its own movement, which is circular. It will follow its own circular motion and take the physical body along with it! When you are merely dreaming or feeling dizzy, the astral body makes the movement. But once you've got going, the ether body brings the physical movement into the physical body and you go along with that.
What do humans like to do when we take a break after a long day of linear thinking and hard working? We like to go dancing. And what do we do when we dance? We move in circles. We glide above the floor as if we are flying when we do it like Fred Astaire. Our physical body has been worn down and yet we feel energized when we dance! Spiritual science gives us an explanation for this overlooked paradox of our human existence. What happens to us to explain this?
[page 10, 11] Between birth and death man is a creature of the earth. He has to work. But, as you know, you can't work all the time. The physical body would be worn down, and so on. The person then wants to move his physical body, but not the way it has adapted to the earth; he wants to follow the ether body. The ether body wants to make circular movements, however, and so the person dances. Dancing is usually a matter of someone not wanting to follow his physical body but his ether body. The desire to dance actually exists so that a person may forget his physical body and can feel himself to be a spirit that belongs to the cosmos.
Does it now seem quite understandable to say when we're dancing, "This feels heavenly."? Does it make sense to you now that you do have an etheric body in addition to a physical body and that when you go dancing you are actually enjoying the pleasures of your etheric body? When you do only physical exercises you tie yourselves more to the Earth, but when you do the popular dance-exercises, you retain a connection to your etheric bodies by making circular motions during the routines. As I write this, I sm reminded of the games we played as children in grade school, "A-Tisket, A-Tasket" and "Ring Around the Rosie", in particular, as they both involved running or moving in a circle. Ice-skating performed to music has become a popular spectator sport undoubtedly because everyone watching can feel the freedom in one's etheric body as one watches the gliding, flying, and circular motions of the performers.
[page 18] But when people are dancing or going round and round in Vienna's Prater, the ether body is going round. It takes the physical body along with it; it is the more innocent way. We may say that when someone is dancing the ether body is going round, and when someone is drunk it is the astral body which is going round.
A friend of mine told me about a man who was imprisoned for many years in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp in a small wire-cage, unable to even sit up. When he was released from the camp, he returned to duty in the service and became a physical education instructor and a trampoline expert. He dazzled everyone, including my friend, with his ability to execute intricate routines. During those years in a wire-cage with his physical body unable to move, he must have been practicing those moves in his imagination with his etheric body.
What is ergonomics? According to the Ergonomics Society this is the official definition of the science of ergonomonics:
Ergonomics is a relatively new branch of science which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1999, but relies on research carried out in many other older, established scientific areas, such as engineering, physiology and psychology. It originated in World War 2, when scientists designed advanced new and potentially improved systems without fully considering the people who would be using them. It gradually became clear that systems and products would have to be designed to take account of many human and environmental factors if they are to be used safely and effectively. This awareness of people's requirements resulted in the discipline of ergonomics.
Steiner predicted the emergence of this field of endeavor some twenty years before World War II when he spoke in 1923 thusly:
[page 55] A time will come when work will be adapted to the human being. Today work is determined by the machines. Today one has to move the way the people who discovered the machine think appropriate. Later people will find that what matters is not what comes from the machines but that what matters is the human being. Because of this all machines must be made for human beings.
Before engineers can make machines for human beings, they must stop making machines designed as if the human being were simply the mechanical analogues that they make it out to be. Nowhere is this fallacy more pronounced than in the mechanical pumps they design to replace the heart — they operate from the mistaken belief that the heart is a pump. The circulation of blood in the body comes before the heart is fully developed in the fetus — we have seen videos of such action — so the circulation must be primary and the heart secondary. The heart, according to Steiner, is a hydraulic ram designed to produce the turbulence in its chambers necessary to mix the oxygen into the venous blood prior to its exiting to the arterial passages.
[page 55, 56] But in a science which has so much taken the easy way that the heart is described as if the human being had just a pump there in his blood circulation, in such a science people will feel no compunction to make machines where the human being has to take his orientation from the machine. All the problems in our social situation are due to this wrong view that is taken in science. And so one really has to understand that a proper way of thinking must first of all come upon people, for only then will it be possible to begin a proper social life. For as long as people think the heart is a pump, they will also not be able to relate to outer life in the right way. It is only when people know that the invisible human being is greater than his heart, that it is he who moves the heart, that they will also design their machines to be in accord with human nature. One first has to begin to see this.October 22, 2013 Update: I received a link to this enlightening article which says, among other things,In 1932, Bremer of Harvard filmed the blood in the very early embryo circulating in self-propelled mode in spiraling streams before the heart was functioning. Amazingly, he was so impressed with the spiraling nature of the blood flow pattern that he failed to realize that the phenomena before him had demolished the pressure propulsion principle. Earlier in 1920, Steiner, of the Goetheanum in Switzerland had pointed out in lectures to medical doctors that the heart was not a pump forcing inert blood to move with pressure but that the blood was propelled with its own biological momentum, as can be seen in the embryo, and boosts itself with "induced" momenta from the heart. He also stated that the pressure does not cause the blood to circulate but is caused by interrupting the circulation. Experimental corroboration of Steiner's concepts in the embryo and adult is herein presented.
But it is not just the heart that is misunderstood by materialistic science, it is all the other organs as well, such as the stomach, the lung, and the liver. It is through these organs that spiritual entities speak to us. If you've heard a voice in your head tell you urgently to do something such as, 'Move!' and then discover you were saved from injury by moving, what you heard was a spiritual entity communicating through your lower internal organs, not through your head.
[page 77] Spirits hardly ever speak through any of the organs in the head. The whole world speaks there; the stars in their motions and so on; they speak through the organs in the head. But spiritual entities do indeed also speak to us, and they do so through the other organs, such as the liver. The stomach speaks to the liver, but so do spirits, and also to the lung. Spiritual entities speak to all the organs which we do not use for our ordinary life in the conscious mind.
When someone gets really scared, what is it he says? "I was so scared I nearly soiled my pants." As commonly known as this connection of fear and diarrhoea is, medical science pays no attention to it and holds that there is no connection whatsoever. Steiner tells us there is a connection.
[page 78] An influence is there from the outside world, but the influence may also be from the realm of mind and spirit. And it does come from that world in such a way that those organs do indeed perceive things, but things that are quite different from those that exist in the outside world.
Steiner gives an example of a woman whose hearing had grown quite acute from lying in bed all day that she could predict the doctor's arrival by detecting his footsteps at the gate outside, three floors below her, something no one else could do and they thought her clairvoyant. Then he gives an example of a man who heard the word, "Move!" and as soon as he moved, a shot was fired by accident by his servant who thought the gun was empty. The man's liver heard the warning from the man's guardian spirit and had to pass it along to his head.
[page 80] And on the way from the liver to the head the matter is translated into the language which the person speaks. This is the remarkable thing, something truly mysterious. And it is only here that you can really say what a remarkable creature man is. Not only is he able to have premonitions but, and this is much more to be marvelled at, he unconsciously translates something that comes to him in the language of the spirit into his own language.
Children are known to have imaginary playmates with which they converse. These are spiritual beings which the child is able to see, speak to, and hear. It is something we lose as we grow up, but is common in childhood.
[page 81] Why in childhood? Well, the astral body is much more active in childhood, working with much greater intensity. Later on it no longer works with the same intensity. When the liver is still soft in the child, the astral body is able to transmit the things it hears in the world of the spirit to the liver. Later, when the liver has grown harder, it can no longer transmit things.
In 1925, Steiner died, in mysterious circumstances, perhaps from a poisoning. That happened two years or so from the day he spoke these ominous words of the next passage. According to witnesses at a Christmas party, he said, in alarm, "I have been poisoned." He apparently received a warning and he survived for about a year afterward, but he was in weakened health until his death.
[page 81, 82] External circumstances may put me in danger of having an accident one day, so that I'd have to die, and the matter might turn out in such a way that if I were to die, let us say, I'd really die disproportionately early as far as my earlier life on earth is concerned. According to my earlier life it is not right that I should die so soon, because I still have something to do on this earth. Now I might indeed die. Don't think there is any absolute certainty that I won't die. I might indeed die, the accident might happen. I might die, and this would change the whole of my destiny. The spiritual entity that guides the human being from earth life to earth life intervenes at this point. It is able to warn the person.
Steiner gives us an example of a kind of sloppy thinking when he tells us about the initial reaction academics had to George Stephenson’s proposal for the first railroad. He proposed, “one could make carriages with iron wheels that would move on iron rails.” He was ridiculed by the academics of his time who made calculations to show that a carriage would never move unless each rail had notches cut into it and the wheels had cogs that fit into them. The postmaster general was consulted and his reply was that “the mail coaches today never have anyone traveling on them, so why build a railroad?” We have a similar situation happening today with the initial appearance of the Segway personal transport. Laws are already being written to prohibit them from sidewalks, which is the very place they are designed to be used! Such an attitude will be laughable in a hundred years when such personal transports are the rule rather than the exception on sidewalks.
[page 86] Yes, that was the opinion then. But don't think people form different opinions today about things that really point the way ahead as they come into the world. We may laugh about what happened in 1835, but that is after the event, and people will also only be able to laugh later on about what is happening today, when it will be almost 100 years in the past.
The human being consists of four bodies called physical, etheric, astral and Ego or "I-body". For some reason the usual translations from the German leave out the word "body" when the Ego or "I" is involved. Some colleagues said I was wrong in using the phrase "I-body" — insisting that it was never used anywhere in Steiner's writing. I thought about their admonitions a long time and decided to continue using "Ego body" or "I-body" whenever I talked about the four bodies. This kept me from having to invent circumlocutions for what I considered to be a non-existent problem anyway. I explained to them, "Look, I know they're not actual bodies, but a way of talking about an organization of each of the four human components." For the first time, I have found a definitive answer to this concern in Steiner's words. There is no way to translate this next passage and avoid the usage of "I-body" or the word "body" to refer to each of the four bodies of the human being.
[page 99] You see, as you know, we have first of all our physical body, the etheric body, the astral body and the I-body. I call them all 'bodies'; they aren't, of course, bodies in any outer sense, but I call these four parts of the human being 'bodies'.
Steiner demonstrates how the astral body can nudge the physical body and how the etheric body is more clever when it comes to mathematics than the astral and ego body are. He tells us of a couple of students working hard on their homework problems. The mathematics student went to bed about midnight but the Latin student stayed up. About 3 am he noticed the math student get up from his bed and work on his math problem and then go to bed again. In the morning the math student had no recollection of getting up to finish his math problem. In the first passage below Steiner explains how the astral body can nudge the physical body, and in the second one, how learning proceeds from the etheric body rising up into the astral body.
First the nudging of the astral body. Have you ever felt a wisp of air and suddenly looked about you with a veil of gooseflesh all over your physical body? That is how a nudge from the astral body feels.
[page 99, 100] The astral body can nudge one, it can even nudge the skin a little. But this can only happen by means of the air, not physically, for the astral body is not the least bit physical. It can, however, set the air in motion. And this has an effect especially on the eyes, a bit on the ears, and especially on the nose and the mouth. Wherever you have sense organs, the nudging breath of the astral body has quite an effect.
How was the student able to do the math problem without his I-body or astral body present?
The reason is that without the presence of those two bodies, the etheric body was able to take care of the problem with dispatch. The astral body kept nudging the physical body until his physical and etheric bodies felt it necessary to get up, but the astral and I-body stayed outside as evinced by the student's inability to recall having solved the problem.
[page 100] So who was doing the sums? The physical body and the etheric body were doing them, and the ether body was able to do all the calculations which the student could not do when the astral body and the I were inside him.
You see from this, gentlemen, that you're all a great deal more intelligent in your ether body than you are in your astral body and your I. If you were able to do and know everything you can do and know in your ether body, wow, what clever fellows you'd be! For all learning really consists in bringing up into the astral body something which we already have in our ether body.
There is one more piece of the puzzle that should be helpful for college students today. The young mathematics student would have been able to solve the problem while conscious if he had not been spending so much time drinking in pubs at night. That ruined his astral body and thus made it impossible for him to solve the problem as long as his astral body remained inside him.
[page 100, 101] The ether body was not ruined so much. And the result was that the mathematics student could have solved his problem quite well if he had not gone to the pub so much; but because he had allowed his astral body to be greatly influenced he could not solve it when awake. He first had to get rid of his ruined astral body; then he could sit down at this desk, and his ether body, which was still quite clever, solved the problem.
That brings up the question, "Of what use is the astral body if the etheric body is so smart?" and Steiner tells us the division of labor between the two bodies.
[page 101] So the things the rational mind does we actually do with the ether body. We can't love someone with the ether body, that is something the astral body has to do, but everything the rational mind does is something the ether body is able to do, this is where the ether body has to do its job.
This shows what can happen if the astral and I-body do not enter the physical body fully, but nudge it from the outside instead. The person seems awake, is remarkably clever, and can perform all sorts of activities without conscious recall of them when their astral body and I-body return. A modern example of this phenomenon is portrayed in the recent movie, Nurse Betty. A waitress falls in love with a doctor on a hospital soap opera, and after witnessing a brutal murder of her abusive husband while watching the soap opera, she drives to Hollywood, she manages to get a job as a nurse with no credentials, she meets the star playing the doctor for the first time, she is convinced that he had earlier proposed marriage to her, and she lands a job on the soap opera as his nurse. When her astral body and I-body return, she has no idea of how she got on the set of the soap opera. Here is an exemplar of etheric body cleverness played out on the screen.
The next story Steiner tells sounds like one of Paul Harvey's "The Rest of the Story" bits. In the 19th Century, a man in Heilbronn, Germany, studied and qualified as a doctor. His talents unappreciated by the university or the people of the city, he finally took the only job available, a ship's doctor, and shipped out to the tropics of the Far East. During the rough journey with a ship full of sea-sick people, he was kept very busy bloodletting his patients to alleviate the sea-sickness, the treatment of choice in his time.
[page 107] People have two kinds of blood vessels. When one kind is opened, the blood that splashes out is reddish in colour. Another kind of blood vessel runs right alongside the first kind. If this is opened, the blood is bluish; bluish blood will come out. Ordinarily, when you bleed someone, you do not let the red blood flow out. The body needs this blood. You let the bluish blood flow out. Physicians know this very well. They also know where the blue blood vessels are and do not open the red ones.
But our good doctor on the ship couldn't find a blue blood vessel on any member of the passenger or crew. Every vessel he opened, sure as he was this was a blue blood vessel (a vein), came out a pale red instead of bluish. He finally figured out that in the tropics blue blood must turn red. He had discovered that humans need less food to heat their bodies in the tropics than they did in Germany and the excess heat from their food went into keeping their otherwise blue blood a pale red. Scientists of his time knew that we get our energy to perform work from our food, but Mayer showed them that our body heat also comes from our food, something that was hitherto unknown. This man, who was thought to be "not very gifted" by his university and town, had made a momentous discovery. Julius Robert von Mayer did some experiments and wrote a paper which led to the Law of Conservation of Energy which every scientist memorizes and learns to use to this day.
But there is more to this story that you will not find in the Encyclopedia Brittanica or by a Google search, up until now.
[page 108, 109] In the twelfth century, people would have said: 'The blood is redder there because the astral body does not go in so deeply.' In the nineteenth century, people no longer knew anything of all this spiritual side and simply said: 'There the human being is like a machine, and the situation is that heat generates more work and because of this more heat is converted in the human organism.' . . . Yes, we have made tremendous progress today, but our humanity has not progressed; it has grown less. We only speak of the human physical organism as if it were only a machine today. Even the greatest scientists now speak of it only as a machine, as Julius Robert Mayer did.
There's more. Steiner speaks about what will come as a result of this one-sided worship of the mechanical side of our humanity ignoring the spiritual side. He even hints at the rise of the Nazis (1) with nationality replacing common sense and the horrors that will bring. No wonder the Nazis hated him and his spiritual science.
[page 109] People already no longer know what they should really do. They therefore go at things with might and main, saying: 'Yes, common sense no longer keeps us together, so nationality must keep us together.' National states only arise because people no longer know how to keep together.
And a bit more yet. Do people deserve this misery that the lack of spiritual knowledge has brought upon them? Is it because of something that they did in a previous lifetime on Earth, some karmic balancing going on? Steiner tells us definitely 'No!' because "this is not the destiny of an individual person, it is the common destiny shared by each and every one."
[page 110] But every single individual knows it now in this life. Just think how much misery people know in this present life. That does not come from their previous life. But in the next life they will know the consequences of the present misery. The consequence will be that they'll be wiser, and the world of the spirit will enter into them more easily. The wretched state they are in today is educating them for the future.
Corporal punishment was outmoded even during Steiner's time for misbehaving schoolboys. In the 1940s when I was in grade school, the most a teacher might administer a miscreant one was a stinging slap on the hands with a ruler. If one of us four brothers did some immoral act at home, one or both of our parents rendered us a memorable beating. To show how times have changed: recently a woman who beat her own child in her own car was caught on videotape and prosecuted for her behavior. In this next passage Steiner is speaking several years after the end of World War I which began in 1914; he calls WWI an example of humankind receiving a "beating." Twenty years later it would receive another and bigger beating in WWII.
[page 110] Humanity has not been wanting to learn anything of the spirit until 1914. They have now had a beating for this from world destiny, their common destiny. We shall see now if it has done any good.
And now, you know, as Paul Harvey would say, "the rest of the story."
In the page 108 quote above Steiner talked about how the perceptions of 12th Century European people would have been different from Mayer's about the red versus blue blood effect that he noticed on the sea voyage. They would have seen the spiritual aspects of the effect — that the astral body did not enter the physical body as deeply when the body is hot. If you think about the usual effects of fever, you'll understand that the difficulty of thinking or the delusions that result from high fevers are explainable by the lack of penetration of the astral body which body is essential for thinking. In this next passage he explains that Europeans of that early time would have understood the American Indians better and would have lived in cooperation with them instead of fighting to eliminate them as a hazard. First he gives us the Native American reaction to something the European-Americans carried with them everywhere.
[page 119] Now you see, even in the nineteenth century the American Indians would still say that the Europeans always brought along such a strange thing, something white with tiny spirits on it. But those, they said, were very harmful spirits, terribly harmful spirits, and the Europeans would use them to cast spells on the Americans.
If you haven't guessed what the Europeans carried with them that was deemed so harmful by the Native Americans, it goes to show how far we've come since the twelfth century. What were the dreadful things that the Europeans carried with them that scared the Native Americans?
[page 120] Those were books — pages of white paper with letters on them. The American Indians saw them, believed them to be magic, and said, 'These people use them to cast spells on us.'
And, what if the Europeans of five or six hundred years earlier had come to America and encountered the natives there? "Their views would have been much like those of the American Indians."
[page 120] For in 1323 people in Europe still knew about the influence of the stars. They would have had much more in common. But the people who actually went there later on no longer had anything at all in common with the American Indians, and all they could do was eradicate them.
"How can one gain insight into the secrets of the world?" was asked of Steiner and he began by saying the question really means, "How does one get to the real science of the spirit?" This he says, in effect, is not something one can read about in Reader's Digest and assimilate within a week, just as one could not do it with ordinary science. One needs to learn how to observe and how to use the proper instruments and the proper processes. For spiritual science the instruments are simply the human being — the human being, which is the most delicate instrument of all instruments because it can detect the spiritual world, whereas, as any materialistic scientist will proudly proclaim, "Our instruments cannot detect the presence of a spiritual world." And yet, the human being is such an instrument that can detect the spiritual world. Since each of you, dear Readers, possess the necessary instrument to gain insight into the secrets of the world, you may lack only the processes. In summary, here are the four processes that Steiner says you need to apply to your instrument for perceiving the spiritual world (Summarized from page 181):
1. Independent thinking — of the kind he demonstrates in Philosophy of Freedom.
2. Backwards Thinking — the Rückschau process of reviewing the day's events in reverse order; the process of artificially creating boredom for oneself.
3. Opposite Thinking — Learn to put yourself in a world which is the opposite of the material world, e.g., where a straight line is not the shortest distance between two points.
4. Dialectical Thinking — it leads to honesty, an inner honesty which is the ability to distinguish what is in one's self from what is in the outside world.
As we learned about fever above, one cannot think properly when something is amiss in the body and one may act as if one has a "mental illness", as it is called, unfortunately. But it is the body that is sick, not the mind or the spirit. A keen awareness of this reality is sorely needed for humanity at the current time, but will not come so long as the mind is generally considered to be an epiphenomenon of brain function and the spirit is considered to be non-existent.
[page 134] When someone is said to be mentally ill, it is always something in the body that is sick, and if the brain is sick you cannot think properly, of course. Nor can you feel things properly if your liver is sick.
Because of this, 'mentally ill' is really the worst term you can choose, for 'mentally ill' means that the body is so sick that it cannot use the mind and spirit, which in itself is always healthy. Above all else you need to understand that the mind and spirit is always sound. Only the body can get sick, and then unable to use the mind properly.
Consider this metaphor that Steiner offers. You have a hammer that breaks every time you hit something with it. If someone accuses you of being sick or lazy because you won't hammer a nail with your hammer, what will you tell him? I'm perfectly willing to hammer that nail, but my hammer doesn't work properly. Similarly, "it is nonsense to say someone is 'mentally ill.' The mind is perfectly sound, but it does not have the body it needs to be effective." (Page 134)
To understand the first process above, "independent thinking", we need a hammer that works, but unfortunately the hammer we were given to use for thinking doesn't work except for Latin-thinking, which is dependent thinking, not independent thinking. Steiner made it clear in his book, The Philosophy of Freedom, that it would be extremely difficult for Greek and Roman-based thinkers to understand what he was talking about — that one needed to acquire independent thinking to comprehend the philosophy he expounded within its pages. In this next passage, which is a prologue to his talking about independent thinking to the workers at the Goetheanum (where all these From ... To ... Q&A Sessions took place), he speaks very bluntly to a group of blue collar workers about how people have a mind, but also need a tool, the brain, to think properly:
[page 135] And it is important to know this, for only then will one realize that at the present time — I am now going to say something that'll surprise you — people cannot think at all. They think they can, but actually they cannot think at all. Let me show you why people are unable to think.
From this he goes on to describe how people's thinking is Latin-based, how university theses had to be written in Latin just a few decades before his time. Latin and thinking had become so bound together by the nineteenth century that you literally could not have one without the other.
[page 136] The Latin language has a particular characteristic, however. It evolved in ancient Rome and did so in such a way that the language itself is actually thinking. It is interesting to see how Latin is taught at grammar school. One learns Latin, and then learns to think — to think properly by studying the Latin sentence. All thinking then becomes dependent on something which is not done by the person himself but by the Latin language. You have to realize, gentlemen, that this is tremendously important. Anyone who has learned anything today, therefore, does not think for himself, and the Latin language does the thinking even in people who have never learned Latin. And so the strange thing is that independent thinking is today really only found in some people who have not got much education.
Even if you, dear Reader, didn't learn Latin as a youngster, if you received an education, you have an immense handicap: you are occupationally handicapped and unable to do independent thinking. That is what Steiner tells us above. One can easily see all the workers's heads nodding in agreement with Steiner's harsh words for the academic elite. One can also easily see that independent thinking is a rare phenomenon within the halls of academia today, that Latin-thinking yet abounds there in both the professors and their students. Where has Latin-thinking most broken down recently? In the field of quantum mechanics where the physics constructions thought up with a Latin brain have been systematically falling apart at the seams with every new discovery — the confirmation of the Bell Theorem is only one salient example. Steiner in 1923 was already seeing this decadence in physics due to Latin-thinking roots. How did this come about? From non-Latin-thinkers, from self-trained engineers, in the days before there was any engineering curriculum in the universities and all engineers were self-taught.
[page 138] Because of this [RJM: all the great inventions people grew up with as if they had always been there], more and more people studied science who had not been drilled in Latin. This is a remarkable thing. For if you consider the scientific life of recent decades you'll find that growing numbers of engineers came into the world of science. They did not bother much with Latin and so their thinking did not become so automatic. This non-automated thinking was then taken up by the others. And the result is that today many of the concepts, ideas, used in physics today are falling apart.
Steiner understood by 1893 that the prevalence of Latin-thinking required an anodyne, something to allow even erudite, university-trained academics to discover independent thinking again. He wrote his book, The Philosophy of Freedom, in which "the things it says are something one wanted to tell the world at the time." But that was not the most important point of the book.
[page 139] The important thing about the book is that for the first time all of it is completely independent thinking. No one who is only able to think in a dependent way [RJM: i.e., a Latin-thinking way] will be able to understand it. From the beginning he has to get used, page by page, to go back to his ether body so that he'll actually be able to have the thoughts which are in this book. The book is therefore an educational tool — it is a most important educational tool — and it should be taken as such.
In this next passage Steiner helps me uncover the key to my early confusion about his writings, undoubtedly much of my confusion was due to the Latin-thinking that was poured into me in the university. I could not accept the reality of anything that had no physical or material aspect, regardless of how attenuated or diluted. I thought of the etheric body as an attenuated or diffuse physical body, the astral body even more so. And the I-body, I was most confused about: I imagined it to be an abstract concept. One strong thing I did have going for me: I had come to accept the "reality of the psyche" through my dozen years of studying the works of Carl Jung. If the psyche could have a reality, perhaps, in spite of what my Latin-thinking tried to tell me to the contrary, the I-body, my Immortal Ego, could also have a reality. Note how he indicates that in the Theosophical Society, the confusion remains. I noted that same confusion he discusses below, as I recall, from my early contacts with other theosophical writings.
[page 142] There's the Theosophical Society, for instance. They also wanted to enter into the world of the spirit. In this Society people also say that man has a physical body, an ether body, and so on. But it is a materialistic view, for they merely think: 'The physical body is dense; the ether body a little less dense, and the astral body even less so.' But that's always bodies, it will never be spirit, for to enter into the spirit one has to develop ideas that are always changing.
He draws for his audience of workers a human head with waves wrapping around the head in circles. This, he says, is "only a momentary picture. It will be different the next moment." The etheric body is in constant motion.
[page 143] The most important thing for you to consider, therefore, is that your ideas have to grow mobile, flexible. This is something people will first have to get used to. And it is necessary for people today to become completely independent in their thinking.
"What's in it for me?" some of you may be thinking with your Latin-thinking way of insisting on getting something from everything you spend time doing. How about a defense from senility? Would that be worth your trouble? Would that be enough for you to investigate independent thinking a bit further?
Do you know anyone personally who was a brilliant thinker, but who got senile in old age? I met Andrew Joseph Galambos when he was in his early 80s. He was an innovative and brilliant thinker who masterfully furthered the work that Steiner began. Galambos built a bridge to freedom, a freedom of which Steiner had built a philosophy about seventy years earlier. But Galambos was a Latin-thinker par excellence and a few years after I met him, still otherwise healthy, he developed advanced Alzheimer's Disease, the latest Latin-thinking name for senility, and died years later.
[page 145, 146] Now the situation is that there are people whose mental powers deteriorate quite dreadfully. But it is not the mind that deteriorates, but again only the body. It is interesting to note that it is often particularly intelligent people who show a terrible degree of deterioration in old age. You'll have heard, for example, that people consider Kant to have been one of the greatest minds. Kant grew senile in his old age. His body deteriorated so much, therefore, that he was no longer able to use his wise mind. And that is how it is for many people. It is especially the intelligent people who have often grown really senile in old age. . . . Coming from the 40s into the 50s, one needs to use the chest more again, and in old age one needs to use the head more again. But at that time, in old age, one should not use the physical head but the more subtle ether head. This, however, is something people do not learn to do with their Latin education. And it was above all people who in recent decades had a materialistic Latin education who were most exposed to this senility.
When I studied with Dr. Galambos in the early 1980s I was taken aback when he railed against the injustice done to the world that Isaac Newton should have ended his life working for the London Mint and have been writing metaphysical claptrap instead of doing his real work of contributing to physics. What did Newton write in his old age that so upset Galambos? He wrote things that came from his etheric head. In his Observations on the Prophecies of Daniel and the Apocalypse of St. John, Newton wrote in his old age such things as could only come from his etheric head. He remained lucid to the very end of his life, unlike Galambos. Here is a passage that illustrates this:
God gave the prophecies, not to gratify men's curiosity by enabling them to fore know things, but that after they were fulfilled they might be interpreted by the event, and His own providence, not the interpreters, be thereby manifested to the world. Sir Isaac Newton (1642 — 1727)
Newton, in his old age, was romping about like a child in his mind in a field new to him. As a result he grew old gracefully and productively, though not in a way that would satisfy a Latin-thinking physicist. Steiner tells us that this romping by children is due to their etheric body which loves to be romping about.
[page 146] It definitely is not the physical body that is romping about there. Then you grow old and return to the childhood level. You have gradually got out of the romping habit and now use the ether body which you used romping about as a child for something better in your old age. It may be a good thing, therefore, that we go back again in this way.
The second process we need to develop is backwards thinking. Going back again into the life we lived whilst we were children can help us develop this form of thinking. One of the exercises Steiner describes for someone wanting to enter the spiritual world is, 'Now discover how things were when you were a boy of 12. What did you do then?' He tells us we must do this in great detail. Remembering how some event looked, maybe as simple as a pile of clamshells on the side of the road that we climbed a child. How the shells sounded as we slide down the large pile on a piece of cardboard. How the shells felt on our bottom as we slid over them. How it felt once when the cardboard slipped away and we tumbled down the rest of the way, sustaining scrapes on our knees and elbows. How the wet shells smelled as we uncovered the lower damp layers. How the dry dust tasted in our mouths.
[page 147, 148] To see again what one did many years ago, this will help us to enter into a condition where we do not just live in the present. Thinking the way people have learned to think today, you are thinking with your present physical body. But when you try to discover what you were at the age of 12, you cannot think with the physical body you then had, for it no longer exists. I told you that the physical body is a new one every seven years. You then have to think with your etheric body. You therefore call up your ether body when you think back to something in the past, when you were 12 or 14 years old. This will get you into the inner activity you need.
Does this seem easy? Does it seem worthwhile? Most things that are worthwhile take a lot of effort and so does this process. Consider for a moment what we have covered so far in this review. It's useful to think back to our early childhood with our etheric body; if we romp like a child with our etheric body in our age, we will avoid senility of Kant and Galambos, we will think as Newton did; the Theosophical society thought the etheric body to be a thinned-out physical body; physics constructs were deconstructed by non-Latin thinking engineers; Steiner wrote a book on independent thinking; 'mental illness' is an inaccurate metaphor, the mind is always healthy, only the body can get ill; four types of processes of thinking for learning to see the spiritual world: independent, backwards, opposite, and dialectical; earlier Europeans were like modern Native Americans; WWI was like a beating for humanity; how Mayer discovered Conservation of Energy from bloodletting; the cleverness of the etheric body; how the first railway came to be; how our liver and other internal organs act as spiritual receptors; how the heart is not a pump; how Steiner described the necessity for a science of ergonomics before it was built; why dancing feels heavenly; how humanity fell into materialism; and lastly, the hazards of backwards extrapolation.
That last paragraph was not easy for me, but going through a lecture or a book or one's entire day backwards is the essential key to developing the second process of "Backwards Thinking." Why?
[page 149] I have to grow inwardly mobile to think backwards. Just as someone must learn to use a telescope if he wants to look through it, so someone who wants to see into the world of spirit must often think backwards, again and again think backwards. And one day he'll reach the point where he knows, 'Ah, this is where I enter the world of the spirit.'
Once again you can see from this, gentlemen, that all your life you've got your physical body into the habit of thinking forwards. If you now start to think backwards, the physical body won't do it and something peculiar happens.
That something peculiar that happens is this: you enter the spiritual world. But you have thought all your life with your physical body and thought forward. What do you suppose happens when you begin trying to think backwards using your physical body? Well, it's an impossibility, so you go to sleep. Steiner says, "Your ether body goes on 'general strike'." I take that to mean that your etheric body finds the activity of trying to think backwards with your physical body too difficult so it disengages completely or goes on strike, as work crews can become disgruntled if pushed too hard by a foreman and go on strike with a work stoppage.
[page 149] It therefore needs tremendous good will [RJM: strong will] and all one's energy not to go to sleep. You need patience to do this. It often takes years, actually. But you have to have patience.
You see, if someone were to tell you the things you experience unconsciously when you've gone to sleep after thinking backwards, you'd see that it is something terribly intelligent.
The point is: if you manage by sheer force of will to stay awake, you will experience these intelligent thoughts yourself, in full consciousness. Some of you will remember from the last century that the International Business Machine Co., IBM, had this slogan posted everywhere: THINK. For the new millennium, perhaps the slogan for etheric thinkers everywhere to rally around should be: KNIHT.
Process 3 is Opposite Thinking. This is my name for the following process which I will take some time to develop for you. Consider these statements and whether you agree with them completely without exception (Page 155). Now endeavor to think of exceptions to each one.
The whole is greater than its parts.
All bodies have dimensions.
Opinions are colorless.
A straight line is the shortest route connecting two points.
Can't think of any using your Latin-thinking? Neither can I . Let's loosen the constraints of our thinking a bit using our beginner's etheric mind. What does the etheric do? It moves all the time. Remember the diagram I told you about earlier that Steiner drew showing the physical human head with the circling waves of the etheric body in constant motion around it? Remember how Steiner said that because of their etheric body, children love to move in circles in their play? Now, think of a dance hall. People are dancing, and country-style, all the dancers are moving in a counter-clockwise motion around the dance floor which is packed with dancers. You wish to go to the bandstand to see someone who's playing in the band and you are directly on the opposite end of the dance hall from the band. What's the shortest route for you to get to that person? If you attempt to walk in a straight line, you will encounter resistance after resistance from the swirling dancers and you may not make it at all, or only after a long time has elapsed. What if you grab a partner and dance around the periphery of the floor? In no time at all, you will have achieved your objective of talking to the person in the band. The shortest route between the two points turned out to be an arc of a circle, not a straight line! Did you follow me or did your Latin-thinking brain get derailed along the way, wanting to bulldoze its way through the crowd of dancers? Latin-thinkers have that propensity, so don't be hard on yourself. By the way, if you're tired of being hard on yourself, then you will find etheric thinking a welcome relief, I guarantee!
We only did one exercise of Opposite Thinking on the four items in the list above, but Steiner devotes a lot of time to help the reader through the other three as well. With practice you can tear yourself away from your physical body and its Latin-thinking ways and soon you'll be able to say with equanimity:
The part is greater than the whole.
No body has dimensions.
Opinions are colored.
A straight line is the longest route connecting two points.
[page 163] If you go through all this, you will be able to use your ether body instead of your physical body. You can then begin to think with the ether body, and the ether body must think everything the opposite way round from the way it is in the physical world. For with the ether body you gradually enter into the world of the spirit. But there things will come to a halt after all, and you'll have to develop yet another habit.
This habit involves "feeling inner pain when something is not true, and that one's soul will rejoice when something is true." Steiner is careful to point out this pain or suffering is not the body but rather the soul that suffers when it encounters a lie — "just as the body suffers if it has a terrible illness."
[page 165] It is not that the soul should be sick, but the soul must be capable of feeling pain and pleasure, just as the body does when it is sick or wholly at ease, or when one knows pain or pleasure in the ordinary way in this world.
It means we must come to feel truth the way we feel joy and happiness and pleasure in physical life; and we must come to feel untruth to be pain, grow sick inwardly in our soul when we meet untruthfulness, as we otherwise only get sick if there are disorders in the body.
We have an expression, "a poison pen letter" and while I would not endeavor to render a meaning for the expression, once more Google jumped to the rescue with this definition:
poison-pen letter — A usually anonymous letter or note containing abusive or malicious statements or accusations about the recipient or a third party.
When we receive such a letter we should be able to feel in our soul as if we had been fed a poison such as the juice of the deadly nightshade berry. Similarly when we read articles in the newspaper or material in a book. The ink may be the same, but in the case of lies, it is experienced as a poison, in the case of truth, as a nectar of liquid sunshine.
The Germans have a saying when something rubs them the wrong way that "a louse has run over my liver." Growing up in the 1940s, we were inspected for lice in our hair from time to time. Only the poorest and worst dressed children were ever found with lice in their hair, we never were. But I can imagine the reaction my mother would have had if any of us had been sent home with lice in our hair. "Yuck!" she might have said. She would have felt sick to the stomach — just as if a louse had run over her own liver!
The astral body, in order to work properly inside the human body must be compressed within its boundaries, just as it is during our waking time when we are completely conscious. At night the astral body normally expands into the cosmos and its presence in the physical body is diluted like a drop of raspberry juice in a vat would be.
[page 174] The astral body then spreads, just as the raspberry juice spreads in the 400 buckets of water. And you then no longer have conscious awareness in this astral body, for conscious awareness develops when the astral body contracts.
Steiner talks about table tipping in the next passage, but his words can apply equally to many forms of evidence people even today put forward as evidence of the spiritual world, such as Kirlian photographs. Materialistic evidence, or any evidence based on sensory data, can only derive from the material world, not the spiritual world. We cannot experience the spiritual world with our sensory sight, but only with supersensible sight. Back in the latter part of the 19th Century, when table tipping was popular, those who investigated the "spiritual world" using such techniques were called "spiritualists" or "spiritists". Paradoxically, their techniques, which purported to prove the existence of the spiritual world, proved only the existence of the material world. While humankind has become more canny in their investigations of the spiritual world so as to avoid the mistakes of the "spiritualists" there are many avenues of research yet today in the 21st Century which make the same mistake, but in a new form with new words for describing what is happening.
[page 176] They then become spiritualists. You see, the physical body can move a table. People say: 'If I can move a table I exist. If a spirit is supposed to exist, it must also be able to move a table.' Well, so they then start table tipping, and they take the table tipping as proof for the spiritual world. This is because their thinking is crooked, bent. Their thinking is materialistic, wanting the spirit, too, to be physical. Spiritualism is the most materialistic thing there is.
The four processes we summarized above from page 181 help us to maintain consciousness as we experience the world of spirit. With practice on the four thinking processes, one will be able to hold the astral body together in one's body instead of allowing it to diffuse into cosmic space. Steiner says on page 180 "If you want to get to know the astral body you must have the inner strength to hold it together." On page 181 he says, "You have to develop the strength that makes it possible to keep the astral body small." He cites and explains the four processes of thinking: independent thinking, backwards thinking, opposite thinking, and dialectical thinking.
In the normal process of living, if you have a pain in your big toe, there is astral body there which carries notice of the pain to the brain. If a part of your brain is sick, it cannot make use of the information about the pain in the big toe, but the etheric body is still in that part of the brain, and lacking support from the physical body, it begins to make the toe "into a mountain." Steiner has outlined for us the source of delusions, especially the ones which make mountains out of molehills. These are the things for which he advises you to train carefully to recognize, so that you may avoid mistaking them for things of the spiritual world. You want to ensure that you will "no longer confuse the genuine spirit that appears to you with something that merely comes from your physical body."
[page 183] So you see: here's your big toe; you've put it out into space because you have a sick brain. And now you swear there's a huge mountain in front of you. But all of it is really your big toe. It is a delusion.
The fourth way of thinking leads us to honesty: dialectical thinking. The art of dialectics was taught in earlier times, back when thinking was not taken for granted as a human capability. (Unfortunately, many people today assume we acquire thinking automatically.) Back then it was understood that one should be taught to think, to think "forward and back" and "to establish concepts in the right way." (Page 184) But instead of speaking today, people seem to "always be colliding with their own physical body." If we do not breathe properly when we are speaking, the whole world will seem physical to us because we are always colliding with it with our breath. (Page 185) Colliding with our breath is another way of saying we have stage fright or butterflies in our stomach. Now we are ready to hear where all this materialism around us today comes from — and where all the stress in people comes from.
[page 185] Where does this materialism really come from? Materialism develops because people are not able to think properly, to breathe out properly, bumping into the physical world. They then believe the whole world to be all pressure and push. Pressure and push [RJM: stress] is what they have inside them because they did not prepare themselves beforehand by thinking the right way. And so we might say that when someone is a materialist today this is because he cannot get out of himself, keeps bumping into himself everywhere inside.
This next passage tickles me a bit because I've learned this over the years myself. I even included it as one of my Matherne's Rules: AMAT or All Meanings Are True, which means that all meanings are true to the person who holds them. It applies to folks like newspaper writers who tell us all about themselves in the articles they write. Whatever the articles are about, the meanings held by the writers shine out from the pages, once you learn this truth about human existence.
[page 186] If you read what gets printed, you find out what they imagine things to be. If you read the paper today you have to say to yourself: 'You'll learn little about what is happening in the world from the paper, but you will find out what the gentlemen who sit in the editorial office would like to happen in the world.'
This process of projecting meanings one would like to be true in the world came home to me recently when I encountered two separate articles written by so-called anthroposophic writers who were against the war in Iraq  and used Steiner's words in The Karma of Untruthfulness to justify their position. I had already read and studied in detail what Steiner actually said in those lectures and found nothing whatsoever to justify those writers' claims.
[page 186] So you see that honesty, inner honesty, is the fourth quality we need to enter into the world of the spirit. Looking at the world, you'll see that there is not much honesty there. No wonder that there is also not much honesty in science.
We have been considering four qualities needed in our thinking — clear, independent thinking; thinking in a way that is independent of the outside world; thinking in a way that is completely different from the physical world, and also to be honest in our thinking.
This next section deals with fear, and because the common expressions which illuminate the underlying truths about the human body usually involve a four-letter word for human excrement, I will substitute the word stuff for that word so as to retain its power of expression. "Get your stuff together" means to stop being afraid and go into action. "He stuffed in his pants." means he developed a sudden attack of diarrhea due to intense fear. What is it then that holds our stuff together? It's fear, Steiner tells us. Fear that is everywhere in our body below our diaphragm and holds our bowels, our bones, our entire organism together. We don't experience this fear because it is only in our physical body. When it moves up into our astral body, our soul, due to some external event which frightens us, we can lose control of our bowels because the fear has temporarily left them. Later when we feel better, having recovered from the fearful event, we say, "I'm okay, now. I got my stuff together." In other words, our fear has vacated our soul and moved back into our bowels. Our legs, which had been weakened, are once again held together by fear and feel strong.
[page 189] We humans also have fear in us. In our big toe, in the legs, in the belly — there's fear everywhere. It does not dare go above the diaphragm, however, except when we have nightmares. But the fear is there in us. The fear hast its purpose, however. It holds our organism together. And we have more fear in our bones than anywhere else. The bones are so solid because there is a terrible fear in them. It is fear which keeps the bones together. . . . It is possible to cure children with rickets by influencing the soul, by finding a way of driving out their fear.
As I write this in 2003, Del and I are listening together to the fifth Harry Potter book, "The Order of the Phoenix." By listening to an audiotape as we drive together, we get to be in exactly the same place in a book at every point. These stories by J. K. Rowling are full of spiritual insights which will make them valuable learning tools for our children of the new century. In the middle of this latest story, Hermione Granger asks Harry to teach them defense against the dark arts, saying something like this, "We need to learn to defend ourselves from Lord Valdemorte." Ron Weasley gasped. Why? Because, up until that moment, Hermione had never said the name of the dark Lord aloud before, always using the euphemism, "He who shall not be named." Harry, on the other hand, had been saying "Lord Valdemorte" aloud from the beginning. Suddenly it dawned on me that Hermione's request for Harry to teach her defense against the dark arts, defense against the dark lord, Valdemorte, had already been accomplished. She had learned from him to boldly say, "Lord Valdemorte" aloud. When she said his name aloud, she, like Harry, was no longer holding her fear of the dark lord in her soul, but by saying aloud the name, had expelled her fear with the breath she used to say, "Lord Valdemorte." When you name a fear, especially if you say it aloud, you expel the fear with your breath. In thinking about how to get Harry to teach her defense against the dark arts, Hermione had incorporated one of Harry's primary defenses — naming the thing that you fear. This is only one of the many useful lessons that our children and grandchildren will be learning from these marvelous stories.
In this next passage I was reminded of Richard Bach in his story Illusions in which the two main characters went for a swim in the solid ground.
[page 192] The moment one begins to perceive things of the spirit in the air, using all the means I have told you about, at that moment you yourself slip out of your body far enough so that you'll no longer feel the stones to be an obstacle but enter into the solid ground the way a swimmer does into water.
Some people will ask why is it so difficult to know the world of the spirit. We are human beings, beings of spirit and Earth imbued with freedom. If we did not have to work to enter the spiritual world, everyone would enter it immediately, they would become spiritual robots, and our legacy of freedom as humans would be lost.
[page 197, 198] Yes, but just think what kind of human beings we'd be if we did not have to make any effort to enter into the world of the spirit, if we were always in it. We'd be absolute spiritual automatons. We only gain the right relationship to the spirits because we have to make an effort. And it does take the greatest inner effort to be able to do research in the world of the spirit.
In Education and Modern Spiritual Life I note that Steiner recommends parents give their children unfinished toys so that they join in an inner effort with the toys. It is especially important that young girls be given very simple dolls: a stuffed sock with a hand-drawn face, for example. In this next passage Steiner explains why he drew on the board as the session proceeded rather than using finished drawings. This gets at the essence of having a live lecturer present so that you may follow every nuance of thought as the lecture proceeds.
[page 198] And as you see, I haven't shown you a film. There isn't time for it, of course, but even if we had the time I would not attempt to show the matter to you in a film. Instead I made drawings that developed as we went on, and you were able to see what I intended with every line I drew and were able to think along with me. And this is also what we need in teaching children today — as few finished drawings as possible, and as much as possible to arise out of the moment, with the child seeing every line as it is drawn. The child then joins in the effort inwardly, and this encourages inner activity.
Next Steiner goes into material that he had covered in Nutrition and Stimulants about the inverse relationship of plants to humans. (See 3/15/2004 Diagram below.)The oils of flowers in the uppermost of a plant work best on the lower portion of the human body, the stomach and intestines — thus someone with a stomach ailment would do best to drink tea made of flowers. Wheat and beans are actually fruits that grow from flowers, and we can all attest from personal experience that beans are digested in the intestines. At least, I can attest it from reports I have heard from bean eaters. A problem in the head region, on the other hand, would best be treated by a potion made of boiled roots. The big problem he deals with here is that of eating potatoes. When one eats potatoes, one is eating a thickened stem, not a root. As such, the position of the potato on the plant is below the head of the human being, about level to the mouth and the throat. That is why potatoes are so popular: they stimulate the tongue and gullet. They are the ubiquitous side dish in America currently, whether cut in strips and fried or baked or mashed. Or sliced and crisply fried into potato chips which seem to accompany watching every sort of sport on television. Beer and potato chips is the main nourishment of those we call "couch potatoes". Interesting, isn't it, that we imagine a couch potato to be a person whose senses are so dulled by eating potato chips that they resemble a big dumb potato sitting on a couch? Steiner says that "with their potato eating the people of Europe neglected their head, their brain" and that "people's heads have grown less capable since the potato has to be eaten more and more."
[page 202] When we eat potatoes, we really get a longing to eat something again quite soon. The potato will soon make us hungry again because it does not go all the way to the head. . . . Someone who eats a lot of potatoes does not get powerful thoughts; but he'll get dreams that make him heavy. And someone who has to eat potatoes all the time will get really tired all the time and always want to sleep and dream.
I grew up in South Louisiana where we had rice with every meal and rarely had potatoes. I didn't like liver as a child, so my mom used to feed me beets, which I really liked. Her theory was that since beets were the color of blood, I'd get the iron to bolster my blood that I missed by not eating liver. Now I find that eating beets all these years has helped me to think. Also radishes which I love. Note that both of these plants are genuine roots and thus stimulate the brain.
[page 202] When we eat beetroot [RJM: beets], gentlemen, we get a terrible longing to think a lot. We do this quite unconsciously. . . . Beetroot is a powerful stimulus to think, and someone who does not want to think does not like beetroot.
What is difficult for us to understand after a lifetime of being told "Eat this food; it provides necessary nutrition, vitamins, etc." is that the essential function of the food we eat is to provide a stimulus to help our body grow by virtue of the forces that come to it from the ether. Beets and radishes stimulate the brain, potatoes stimulate the tongue and gullet, flowers stimulate the digestion, and when we drive out these foods from our body, the etheric body building up principle flows to us from the ether, not from the solid matter comprising the foods we ate.
[page 204] We actually do not at all build up our bodies with earthly matter. We only eat the things we eat to get a stimulus. The whole idea people have of food coming in here and going out there, remaining inside for a while in between times, is quite wrong, therefore. We just get a stimulus. . . . if we take too much food the food stays inside us for too long. We then collect unjustifiable food in us, grow corpulent, fat, and so on. If we take in too little we do not get enough stimulus and do not take enough of what we need from the world of the spirit, from the etheric world.
If your entire body is formed by forces from the etheric world and every cell in your body is renewed in the course of seven years, then your body must consist of those etheric forces which come from the "element that surrounds the earth in the light."
[page 205] Your heart is compressed sunlight! You really and truly have a heart that is condensed sunlight. And the food you have eaten has only given the stimulus for you to compress the sunlight so far. You build up all your organs from the light-filled surroundings, and the fact that we eat, that we take in food, only means that a stimulus is given.
From this you can begin to see that the Earth and everything that consists of earth, which includes every human being, breathes in light. Each section of the Earth breathes in light during daylight and breathes it out at night. During a 24-hour day we breathe about 25, 290 breaths. If we live to the age of 72 years, we will have lived 25,290 days. Since each day corresponds to a breath of the Earth, "We take as many breaths in a day as the Earth does in the whole of our life." If a human's day-night cycle is 24 hours, the Earth's equivalent day-night cycle is one year, during which each section of the Earth moves from winter to summer and back again. If a human lives 25,290 days, that would mean that the Earth would live 25,290 years, or one Platonic Great Year. This cosmic connection of human breathing to the cosmic breathing of the Earth should make the most materialistic person among us sit up and take notice.
[page 221] If you take 25,290 years you get the time when the earth did not yet exist and when it will no longer be. We are now more or less a little bit beyond the mid-point, with the earth in existence for something above 13,000 years. After another 11,000 years or so it will perish again. Just as man lives 25,290 days, so does the earth live 25, 290 years.
My daughter is a geologist and she would undoubtedly claim that the Earth is very much older than 25,290 years. Geologists, after all, drill holes in the Earth and can show that the Earth is dead material, rock, and that, by backward extrapolation using uranium aging, this rock has been around for millions of years. This geology is an interesting science and is taught at all the best universities in the world essentially the same way. But does geology correctly predict the age of the Earth? Steiner asks us to follow him on an interesting journey to Lice University.
[page 222] You see, we could develop a peculiar science. The human head is round, as you know [drawing on the board] and has hairs on it here, unless a person is very old. Now there are creatures in these woods — this may not be desirable, but it happens. Let us assume they take the dandruff here and create a place where the cleverest of them always get together to teach the ignorant ones. That would be a louse university on the human head itself. Well, we can imagine such a thing. What would the clever lice teach the ignorant ones? They would teach: 'The head is lifeless, for we walk about on it. Lifeless dandruff develops. Digging down a bit we come to lifeless bone.' The clever lice would explain all this to the ignorant lice at their louse university up there. They would explain the human head more or less the way we explain the earth at our human universities. The louse professors — forgive me, I do of course mean the ones up there on the head — would therefore have no idea that the head is alive. They would develop a geology of the head and declare the head to be dead. But gentlemen, this is what people do in our universities! The earth is declared to be dead. They know nothing about its breathing. For one would never discover anything about human breathing at the louse university and therefore nothing about it would be explained. They would say: 'Man is dead; the human head is a dead sphere.' And unless the head lice were to make contact in some way with the body lice, the head lice would never know that there is a body.
And how could the lice know any better? Only if they were able to contact beings of a higher kind would they be able to improve their geology and learn that the planet they live upon is a larger being who lives and breathes and has a definite lifetime. This analogy can point the way to what we as humans should do if we are truly to learn about the nature of the planet on which we live.
[page 222] And that is how it is. Unless human beings on earth make contact with other entities of a higher kind they'll never discover that the earth sends its waters out into the universe and is fertilized, that it breathes and is fertilized. Yes, taking the idea of the kind of science taught at the university on our head, we can really get an idea of what science on our earth is like.
In this section, Steiner gives the workers a quick review of the fifth Post-Atlantean Epoch which I will even more briefly summarize here. The Indian culture came first about 8,000 years ago. They called themselves the "sons of the gods" because when they were asleep and in the spirit world, they considered themselves gods. They did not talk of life after death, but rather of life before birth when they were with the gods. The only records we have of their time were written much later in a document called the Vedas. Veda literally means "the word". They considered the word as a gift of the spirit, of the gods. Some 2,000 years later in Persia another civilization developed that considered life as a struggle between heaven and earth, between light and darkness. This was the time of the first Zarathustra who named the force of light, Ahura Mazdao, and the force of darkness, Ahriman. Another 2,000 years or so we come to the Egyptian civilization which built huge pyramids and developed a way of preserving human bodies in the form of mummies. They had come to like life on Earth so much that they wanted their bodies to remain intact on Earth. Having forgotten what the ancient Indians knew about life before birth, they were terribly afraid of dying. With the advent of the Greek civilization some 2,000 years later, the knowledge of life before birth was so much forgotten that Aristotle wrote that "when a child is born it is not only a body which is born, but also a soul." When that body dies, the soul has eternity to look back on that one life on Earth. Then came Christianity and in the 9th Century at the "eighth ecumenical Council in Constantinople the Church got rid of the spirit" and made doctrine of Aristotle's view that the soul is born with the body and thereafter spends eternity in heaven.
Now the Greeks had no idea that they had a life before the present one, "but they felt something of that life in them."
[page 231] You know, whether one knows something or not really does not influence the real situation. I can say for as long as I like, 'There's no table behind me, I don't see any table.' [stepping back and bumping the table], but the table is definitely there, even though I do not see it.
So it was with the matter of life before birth. It was there and people, even those who did not believe in it, would occasionally and bump into it. The Greeks about 500 years B. C. invented the word "conscience" for this something they could feel inwardly at certain times during their lives.
[page 232] And it has been this way ever since. People sense life before birth in themselves but they'll say, 'Well, that's how it is. It comes into existence somewhere down there and then it comes popping up,' but they don't take any real note of it.
They don't take any real note of it, except to say that their conscience is bothering them. The Church took note of this characteristic belief of the Greeks and took control of people's consciences. The Church fathers were the shepherds and everyone else were the sheep and followed the orders of the shepherds. If the sheep did not obey the shepherd, a ritual was performed to cast the sheep out of the flock.
Conscience, if you understand these matters presented here by Steiner, rightly comes not from the human body but from one's earlier lives. To set the matter in terms anyone can understand, Steiner tells us:
[page 235] For just imagine someone has a tremendous yearning for something, let us say. Such a thing has been known to happen. It is the material substances in his body, the physical matter of the earth, which urge him on and keep pricking so that he develops this yearning. His conscience will tell him: 'You must fight these desires.' Well, gentlemen, if the conscience had also come from the body this would be just as if someone were supposed to walk forward and backward at the same time! It's nonsense to say our conscience comes from the body. Our conscience is something we bring with us to earth when we are born.
Conscience then is a way of talking about karmic influences from our previous lifetimes — those things we brought with us to Earth to balance during this lifetime. It is a most creative part of us because it will cause us to do things that no one or no thing around us could predict or understand.
[page 239] And the most creative part of him is indeed his conscience, which is a sacred inheritance from life before earth and which we take out into the other world again when we go through death.
Steiner lets us see that the prevalence or importance of conscience is not the same in Vladivostok as it is in Los Angles because "the further west we go the less do we find of this idea of conscience." (Page 240) Conscience diminishes from Asia to Europe and even more to America. One can learn a lot from the words that languages have or don't have for a certain process. Consider that we have a word for living after death, but no word for living before birth. One can speak of immortality but not of un-born-ness without coining a word. If im-mortality means lacking mortality or death at the end of our time on Earth, then perhaps we need the word im-creatality which means lacking creation upon the beginning of our time on Earth. But, unfortunately, whatever word that comes into use for that understanding will follow general acceptance of the process, not precede it.
"People today are really utterly ignorant." That's a bold statement from a man who honors truth with all his being, such as Steiner does. Listen in as he talks to the workmen and see if what he was telling them 80 years ago still holds true now, perhaps even more so than when he said these things (italics added for emphasis):
[page 250]There have been tremendous changes in human history in recent centuries, and all that talking in theories is of no value to us. You can have the best possible theories — Rousseau's theories, Marxist theories, Lenin's theories, anything you like, but these are all thought up, and you can't do anything with them if you lack the right know ledge. Thoughts only have value if you know what to do with them. All these people who have developed such excellent thoughts were utterly ignorant, if the truth be known. And it is a characteristic of our present time that people are really utterly ignorant. They want to present theories to people as to how to make the earth into paradise, yet they don't even know what happens to the human body when people eat potatoes. This is what causes one such heartfelt concern today, that people have not the least desire to know something. Now the masses are, of course, unable to do this, for they are persuaded that the knowledge possessed by those gentlemen at the university is absolutely right. And so schools are created for the people and they want to know what the others know today. But the truth is that exactly the people who ought to know things, who have made the business of knowing their profession, actually know nothing at all. And because of this people talk about all kinds of things today, but basically no one knows anything at all.
One cannot blame only the universities for this pervasive lack of knowledge. Remember that it was the Church who first founded or sponsored organized universities in Paris around the 13th Century when Peter Abelard and others were professing their truths on the steps of houses in the city. Surely the Church fostered and preserved humanity's accumulated wisdom through the creation of universities, you might think. Yes, they did — that is well-known — but what is less well-known is that they destroyed much ancient wisdom by burning every copy of books containing it and then assigning church scholars to re-write the books according to a church doctrine which was completely counter to the wisdom in the books they burned.
[page 254] For some centuries before and also at the time of the birth of Christ, much, very much still existed in writing of the ancient wisdom. These things were burned by the Church, for they did no want this ancient wisdom, which people gained from their heads, to be passed on in any way to their descendants.
What was this ancient wisdom that the Church systematically destroyed and then replaced with something called by the same name, but completely skewed and unrecognizable in its new form? That ancient wisdom was called gnosis. The shepherd did not take kindly to the sheep having access to a care and feeding that did not involve the shepherd directly. The shepherd wanted well-behaved sheep that depended on the shepherd and stayed under control of the shepherd's staff. In the Church this meant that no one was allowed to view spiritual worlds directly as the ancient wisdom of gnosis taught them to. Gnosis was made a heresy and those who were caught practicing it were excommunicated and/or burned at the stake. Today Church fathers can point to the documents on gnosis and claim they contain no worthwhile truth — no wonder! — the Church had already squeezed any semblance of truth out of the documents over a millennium ago!
Everyone knows how connected the heart is with the kidneys. If your blood pressure gets too high, your kidneys begin to fail, etc. What thoughts we formerly received with our lungs, we now, in recent centuries, receive with our kidneys. It is not generally known that formerly we thought with our lungs. "When human beings had lung knowledge, they would be breathing in air and in doing so receive the stimulus for knowledge." Hmm, doesn't this sound like the process of food providing a stimulus for our physical bodies to receive forces of life from the etheric world? Air used to provide the stimulus for us to receive knowledge from the spiritual world. And now we "depend on getting the stimulus for knowledge from the kidneys." (Page 255)
[page 256] But the kidneys will not give anything to the head of their own accord. You have to make an effort first, as I have described it in Knowledge of the Higher Worlds. So in the first place we have to say that when the lungs still provided a stimulus for the human head, people were able to gain knowledge because a spiritual principle was still flowing into their lungs. Anything of the spirit that flows to the kidneys is at an unconscious level, so that people cannot know about it unless they go through the things in mind and spirit which I have described in Knowledge of the Higher Worlds, doing so in a fully conscious state.
This gives us a clear picture of why learning to know higher worlds, to see into the spiritual world requires an enormous effort for us today. The knowledge we seek flows to us, but at an unconscious level — which we must break through if we are to become conscious of it. At the beginning of the twentieth century a world-wide conflagration took place, the Great War as it was called then. Later, when an even greater war took place involving the entire world, the two events were called World War I and World War II. Both of these wars, in Steiner's view, were due to an undetected kidney disease which prevented the nations and peoples of the world from paying attention to the spiritual guidance that was pouring down from the heavens. In the quoted passage, he refers to the beginning of the 20th Century, but with hindsight, we can say both the beginning and middle of the last century.
[page 258] At a future time people will ask: 'What clouded the minds of people at the beginning of the twentieth century? A kidney disease that went unnoticed.' This is what concerns us so deeply today. And we can decide to go in two directions. We can let things go on the way they are going now. The doctors will then have a great deal to do one day. People will be less and less able to use their common sense. They will come to think less and less of making sensible arrangements that will take them forward. The whole of the senseless way of going about things, which has really developed to a very high degree today, will reach its highest level. People will be weak, and the physicians will examine their urine. They'll find all kinds of nice things in there, you know — proteins, sugar, and so on. They will only discover that the kidneys are not functioning properly. For when you find all those things in the urine, the kidneys are not functioning properly. And they'll find: 'Strange, isn't it, that the world has never before produced as much sugar and protein as it does now!' But they won't know the real situation.
Why are there so many gangsters, racketeers, and corrupt politicians, judges, and business people today? Steiner asked himself this question in 1923 and answered it thus, "Because the part of the human organism which is of a lower order and is setting the pace today should really be given a stimulus in mind and spirit." Ah, but if that stimulus is to come from the kidneys and being immoral in this time causes stress with its concomitant high blood pressure — look at what you have: undetected kidney disease which prevents the very stimulus in mind and spirit from getting to the very people who need it most. Our doctors know how to accurately measure blood pressure and know a lot about the relationship of the heart to the kidneys, but their materialistic medicine hits a dead end on the physical body avenue: they have nothing that was taught to them in the universities about the relationship of the kidneys to morality! And morality is what we get when we willingly receive stimuli from the spiritual world.
[page 259, 260] And so materialists are good at taking one's blood pressure, but they do not know what it means if the blood pressure is too high or too low, and that a low blood pressure means that the astral body and the I do not enter sufficiently into the physical body, whilst high blood pressure means that the astral body and the I enter too deeply into the physical body.
In 1965, I was beset by a variety of minor illnesses, mostly fatigue and a bout with amoebic dysentery that kept me going to my doctor on a weekly basis. Dr. Peter Everett was some forty years my senior, and I soon came to like his gentle bedside manner. Each time I went he took my blood pressure and would murmur, "It's low." Finally after a dozen or so times of hearing this, I became bold enough to ask him, "What does it mean that my blood pressure is low?" He answered, in his best fatherly tone, "It means that you will likely be cursed with long life." Here was a materialistic doctor's description of the effects of low blood pressure. Note how dramatically different it is from Steiner's description. Let me relate Steiner's description to my low pressure at the time for those of you who haven't already picked up the clue I dropped in the early part of this paragraph. If my low blood pressure meant that my I did not enter too deeply into my physical body, how might that have shown up in my behavior? Imagine another young man of 25 going to Dr. Everett for the first time and being told his blood pressure is too high — what might he say, with his I deeply entered into his physical body? With a strident voice, he'll ask immediately, "What does that mean, Doc?" What did young Bob do? I didn't ask anything for over a dozen visits and only then did my "I" grow bold enough to ask. That's a sure sign that my "I" was not entered very deeply into my physical body at that age or I would have asked the first time he mentioned it. An anthroposophically trained doctor would have noticed that immediately and offered me some advice for strengthening my "I" — a process that took me on my own some twenty more years to learn about and which goes on yet today.
When one learns to perceive things of the spiritual world, the energy centers the East calls chakras begin to rotate as seen by spiritual vision. These chakras have a circular structure which resembles lotus petals, with various numbers of lotus petals associated with each chakra. People who could see with these lotus petalled chakras used an ancient design to let others know of their ability. This ancient design was used by the German Nazis as their party emblem, the swastika.
[page 267] During my visit to England where one had a wide view over the area, one could find such signs there, swastikas, a symbol used to create much mischief in Germany today. This swastika is now being worn by people who have no idea that it was once a sign used to indicate to people who came from a long way off that the people in that place saw not only with their physical eyes but also with the eye of the spirit.
Why do they put blinders on horses? And only on certain horses and not on others? I've heard the usual explanation, the materialistic explanation which is usually only a half-explanation, worse than none at all: to keep the horses from spooking and running wild. In open areas such as the Old West, any shadows a horse encountered were upon the ground, and with the horses's eye set to look to each side, they normally did not see the shadows on the ground. But, in a city with tall buildings, even before the turn of the twentieth century, horses needed blinders in cities because they could detect shadows in very many places to each side of them. This is what spooked them. And why did shadows spook them? The reason is given in the question itself — because horses see spooks in shadows!
[page 268] The horse's eyes are set in such a way that they look to the side. Because of this the horse does not actually see the shadow itself, but perceives the spiritual element in the shadow. People will of course say the horse is afraid of its shadow. But the fact is that it does not see the shadow at all, but perceives the spiritual element in the shadow.
In the enclosed ritual caves of the Druids and other ancient people one can find evidence that these ancient people could also see the spiritual element in shadows. An ability that humankind has lost over the millennia. To see the spiritual element in shadows also requires a certain condition of weather, a type of weather that is common here in New Orleans, home to many kinds of spiritual practices, tarot reading and voodoo, among other things. It is much warmer here that where the Druids lived, so that means the astral body goes deeper into the physical body here, as we have learned earlier.
[page 272] We have to understand of course that to observe the kind of thing the Druids once observed one needs to have quite specific regions on earth. You can still see this today. Living over there in Wales — the course of lectures took a fortnight — one always had rapid changes in the weather from small cloudbursts, I'd say, to sunshine and back again. It changes by the hour, so that the air there is quite different from the way it is here; it is always more full of water. If you have air like it is over there, where the Druids were, you can make such observations.
The Druid's monuments were designed to be calendars to assist in the planting of crops and the timing of rituals based on the position of the Sun and the cosmos in relationship to Earth. This past January Del and I went to Dzibichaltum in Mexico where a monument was unearthed several decades ago. The purpose of this Sun Temple was identical to that of the Druid's standing stones — a living calendar that everyone could read. During a time when reading was not a common human ability, it was essential for the life of the people to have a calendar that all could refer to for planting crops, performing seasonal rituals, harvesting, and livestock reproduction, among other things.
We have mentioned before about how fruits of plants are digested in the intestines — the flatulence produced by beans is notable evidence of that fact. Potatoes, however, are digested by the head — it goes into the intestines and enters the blood which goes to the head area where its digestion is completed. Every try to think clearly when flies are buzzing around your head everywhere? Eating potatoes has that effect on your head.
[page 288] Now if the head has to be used to digest potatoes, it can no longer think, for it needs its energies to be able to think, and the lower body must provide the energy needed for digestion instead. And if someone eats too much potato which has been increasingly the case since the potato came to Europe and became an important food here — the head is gradually less and less available for thinking, and the individual progressively loses the ability to think with his middle head; he will then only think with the front of his head. But this front part of the head, which depends on the salts, causes him more and more to be only a person of materialistic rationality. The situation is, therefore, that thinking has indeed grown less and less in Europe from the moment when potatoes became a staple food.
This sounds foolish to you? Potatoes being digested in the head? "That's very unscientific, isn't it?", you may be thinking. Well, let's look over Steiner's shoulder as he analyzes what is done by science in his day and we'll find it to be even more the case in our day. Read the following and then you decide what foods you would like to eat when. Real freedom to choose can only come when the surface knowledge of materialistic science is supplanted by the deep truths uncovered by spiritual science.
[page 290] Now we may ask: 'What is done in science?' Well, analyses are made to establish how much carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen and other things a protein contains — these are the main elements to be found in it. So it is found that a protein contains so and so much carbon, so and so much hydrogen, in per cent, with different percentages found in fat and different ones again in carbohydrates. But people have no idea as to the significance of these elements. — They only know the percentages. But this will get us nowhere. The nutrients are simply in a different way inside potato than they are in rye and wheat, and one has to know that when we eat a flower or a fruit this is digested in the intestines, whilst a root is digested in the head.
Otherwise one also can't make use of them in medicine. Someone who is able to think in a proper medical way will know that a tea made of flowers or seed, or of fruit, will act mainly on the intestines. Roots boiled in water, which is then offered as a tea, can have a medicinal effect in the head. If we eat the roots, this has a material effect on the head. This is particularly important to know.
If experts in science are not telling us how to choose what we eat properly, to whom to we look for answers? Certainly not to the clergy, who are supposed to be infused with the wisdom of the spirits.
[page 295] You're unlikely ever to hear from a pulpit what people should do where a diet of potatoes or wheat is concerned, so as to be strong. Most Protestant or Roman Catholic clergy wouldn't think of telling their congregations the situation regarding eating rye and wheat for their health. They'd consider it of no importance. They'd say it was not holy, for to be holy means to pray or talk about the Gospels and similar things.
All I can say is this: Mr. Potato Head cannot bring his arms together in prayer! You can verify this by clicking on the link and seeing what Mr. Potato Head looks like if you forgot. When I was about five years old this toy was introduced. It is now trademarked by and being sold by Hasbro toys. This image of Mr. Potato is of the very first model that I recall from my youth. The basic construction material for mounting the various elements of nose, lips, ears, glasses, and hat was, what else, a potato. Since our mom cooked mostly rice instead of potatoes, we had to beg to get a potato to use with our game. Here, in a child's game, the bane of our time, eating too much potatoes, is demonstrated big time! A man whose head is full of undigested potato! Unable to think or move very much at all.
Note also the huge size of the head in relation to Mr. Potato Head's body. This is another clue as to the effects of eating too much potatoes, not by Mr. Potato Head himself, but by his mother. Hydrocephalus is the name for a process that is commonly called "water on the brain" or an enlarged head containing excess fluids within it. Severely large headed babies with "water on the brain," who greatly resemble Mr. Potato Head, usually are unable to develop normally, often becoming imbeciles. The eating of potatoes in the mother's diet is directly connected to enlarged and watery heads in the womb, even though the head may shrink in the process of being born.
[page 296] You'll say, gentlemen, that one does not see many people with hydrocephalus around. Of course not, for other forces then counteract it and when the head is born it is no longer as big as it was in the embryo. But it is no longer able to take in anything but potatoes and water. It may even grow small in the process and yet be a watery head. The important thing is that heads have been too large in the maternal womb ever since potatoes became part of the diet. They are pushed together later, but it is exactly this pushing together before they are born that causes harm, for they will then not be able to take in the right things, but solely and only materialistic things. When the individual is born, you no longer see the watery head if you just look at the size. Now of course, hydrocephalus in the usual sense depends on the size, but here it is above all a question of whether water is acting in the right way, or something else is able to act. And it is just as important to know this as it is to know all the other things presented to mankind through science on the one hand and theology and religion on the other. But it is certainly necessary that one looks at the matter carefully and properly.
Those people who are opposed to anthroposophy often say that it is full of secrets. They do have an element of truth on their side. Gnosis is a secret to church goers because the truths of gnosis have been hidden from them by the shepherds of their church. On the other hand, no one has hidden the truths of anthroposophy from those who oppose it. If the truths seem hidden from them it is only due to their own reluctance to do the study necessary to uncover the truths for themselves.
[page 297, 298] But things cease to be a mystery the moment they are discovered. There is no intention of being mysterious in anthroposophy, but rather to bring to light the things which others have been trying to keep secret.
There is the anthroposophic form of secret — the kind that one avoids, not because it is hidden from view, because it is too difficult to understand. People today at the advent of the 21st Century, especially those who overindulge in a diet of potatoes, are unable to read Steiner's words and juggle all the concepts in their watery heads necessary to understand the open truths that Steiner presented in his over 6,000 lectures in the first two decades of the 20th Century. Even for rice-eaters like myself, it is no small feat to comprehend just one single lecture of Rudolf Steiner. I read ten of his books before I really first began to understand a little of what he was saying. Since then every book has deepened my understanding of what he is writing about in full view for humankind to comprehend. As a result, each review I've written of a Steiner book has tended to be longer than the previous one, not because of some long-winded tendency on my part, but because of the importance of the concepts that I had encountered before, but previously had been unable to do justice to them by writing about them in a review.
This review has been a mammoth undertaking — it spreads over thirty pages. I thank you for the time that you have taken to understand what I have presented herein for you. I hope it will encourage you to work your way through the book on which these thoughts were based at your earliest possible opportunity. Steiner's books have only been widely published in English since 1965, and by reading them you are joining a vanguard of human beings who are learning how to live their lives in accordance with spiritual principles that you will not likely encounter anywhere else.
---------------------------- Footnotes -----------------------------------------
Footnote 1.Return to text directly before Footnote 1.
Hitler changed the name of the German Workers Party to the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP), which later became known as the Nazi Party. By placing the name "National" in the front of his party's name he set the stage for equality for only those of "German blood." The history of the world records the horrors and disasters that proceeded from that re-naming.
3.) ARJ2: A Psychology of Body (Chap 1-4), GA#207 by Rudolf Steiner
This book combines three sets of four lectures, each set given in the successive years of 1909, 1910, and 1911 on the three subjects of the subtitle: anthroposophy, psychosophy, and pneumatosophy. The suffix sophy stands for knowledge, so anthroposophy refers to the knowledge of the anthropos or full human being, psychosophy refers to the knowledge of the psyche or soul, and pneumatosophy refers to the knowledge of the pneuma or spirit. Taken together the 12 lectures are a guided tour into the depths of the knowledge of the "Body, Soul, and Spirit". Fasten your seat belts, it will be a bumpy ride, and the unbuckled are likely to be thrown before we glide to a halt.
This review webpage covers the Introduction and only the first set of 4 lectures given in 1909 on the subject of A Psychology of the Body, or Anthroposophy.
To Proceed Directly to the Review of:
The 2nd Set of Four Lectures in 1910 on "A Psychology of the Soul", Click Here: Psychosophy.
The 3rd Set of Four Lectures in 1911 on on "A Psychology of the Spirit", Click Here: Pneumatosophy.
For the intrepid among us, Sardello suggests we begin with psychosophy, then pneumatosophy, and finally ending up with anthroposophy. Since I followed his suggestion, I cannot comment about how a reading straight through the book in order might have gone, but I did find many aspects of anthroposophy that were new to me in the first four chapters. Those four lectures were even more challenging in many ways than what followed them. Here is my review of Chapters 1-4.
The thirty-one page Introduction by Robert Sardello summarizes what one can expect in this book. He says, "This book is not just another psychology to put alongside all the others. Rather, it presents a possible future for the discipline as a whole." (page ix) From what I know of Sardello's work in his "Spiritual Psychology," he seems to be developing that future he envisions.
[page vii] This series of twelve lectures by Rudolf Steiner provides a basis for an entirely new psychology.
The first four lectures (on "Anthroposophy") provide a precise, dynamic understanding of the human soul in relation to the activity of sensing and to the subtle processes that structure and form the human body.
The next four lectures (on "Psychosophy") focus on what we can know of the human soul on the basis of direct observation alone. No theorizing takes place; no special faculties are employed. Steiner was a disciplined clairvoyant but here he seeks to show what can be known of soul life through the immediacy of engaged observation of oneself and others. Therefore he refrains here from using his higher capacities, relying only on unmediated observation to form a picture of the activity of soul life. The particular nature of this kind of unmediated observation is important and will be addressed in this introduction.
Finally, the concluding lectures (on "Pneumatosophy") portray the relationship of soul life to spirit life, particularly with regard to how to awaken individual spirit life and how to distinguish between illusory and genuine spiritual experiences.
These lectures are so old, you may be thinking, "What relevance could they have for modern science today?" A lot is the answer. If you are lost in a labyrinth for almost a hundred years and a man arrives to show you a safe way out past the devouring Minotaur, would you ignore him simply because you had not bothered to heed his instructions all this time? Read what Steiner says about anthroposophy vis-à-vis anthropology — it applies equally well vis-à-vis psychology (italics added):
[page 14] When anthroposophists study the human senses, they find themselves trespassing on anthropological ground. Anthroposophy must always start with sense reality but must be clear that the spirit works down into it from above. Anthropology limits itself to what can be investigated below and confuses everything. Anthropology views the human senses in a way that misconstrues matters and eliminates what is, because it lacks a guiding thread for discovering the corresponding truths properly. If no thread exists to act as a guide through factual labyrinths, it is impossible to find the way out. Spiritual research must spin the thread that the legendary Theseus used to guide himself out of the labyrinth of the Minotaur. Ordinary anthropology gets caught there and becomes the Minotaur's victim. We shall see that anthroposophy says something different from the usual outer view.
This passage about "factual labyrinths" inspired me to write this poem:TheseusLike Hansel and Gretel's crumb
on the labyrinthine forest floor,
Like Theseus and Ariadne's thread
through the Minotaur's lair,
Rudolf Steiner's writings"once was lost
guide us through the labyrinth of facts.
Like a lighthouse beacon on the sea
they lead us safely into port,
Like a foghorn in the mist
they keep us safe from collision.
now am found,
but now I see."
We as a modern Theseus
foundering on reefs offshore,
We follow the thread of anthroposophy
hopeless lost in the labyrinth,
await the Minotaur.
The beacon of light that Steiner provides for psychology may seem dim to those who wear the dark glasses of materialistic science. Time has not dimmed the brilliant light he casts for those who are willing to remove their blinders.
[page viii] The lectures took place over a period of three years, from 1909 to 1911, almost a century ago. One might be tempted to think that whatever they have to say about psychology must be dated, and that if it is relevant to the field of psychology at all, it must be only to its history or early development. It is also tempting to think that, since Rudolf Steiner is not usually regarded as one of the founders of modern psychology, his efforts in this direction must be considered, at most, an interesting aside. But a very good argument can be made that these lectures are, in fact, a wellspring for the true stream of psychology, and that all that presently passes as psychology are but wandering tributaries.
Sardello makes it clear his view of the importance of this book in the next passage:
[page x] When this book is read — deeply read — it is impossible to come away from that encounter without realizing that the modern initiatory path of anthroposophy is a spiritual-psychological endeavor.
A lot of books and words have been devoted to teaching us how to control our life, how to gain control over our finances, our health, our weight, our speaking, our wants, our desires, our love life, our children, our occupations, our investments, our work time, our free time — the list is virtually endless of all things that we are exhorted to learn to gain control over. And yet, Steiner's view is that instead of controlling these things, we ought to learn to follow them, especially as they represent an aspect of our soul life. We must learn he says to consider desire as "a time-current from the future flowing into our soul." (page xi)
What does it means when something flows into one's soul, or flows between two souls? We are taught to get control over our words, and yet, something flows between two souls which is wordless, so we must learn to use words, as Sardello tells us on page xiii, "to go beyond words." Words are more than mere containers for thought, mere content, but rather the exterior sensory data of a living process we undergo as we speak. The polarity between the content and process of words must be reckoned with.
[page xiii] The polarity serves to awaken the thought-quality that soul is not some kind of container but rather an inner, dynamic, mobile, developing, regressing, conflictual, flowing, relationship. A relationship with what? The soul is "in relation" with desire, with the body, with the spirit — none of which, incidentally, can themselves be considered to utilize the language of content without degrading what they are about.
"To do psychology," Sardello tells us, "we must be able to enter soul-consciousness. Otherwise we are not really doing psychology at all, but only talking about psychology from the safety of ordinary consciousness." If you have personally found lectures and books on psychology to be boring, it is likely because you found nothing in them to satisfy the longing for impressions that they created in you.
As I read on page xiii Robert Sardello say, "In the language of form, words are used, in order, through words, to go beyond words," I was inspired to write this poem:A Poem Without WordsLet me speak to you
for this once
without wordsLet me speak to you
in the now
without a wordFor words exist
in the then
of crystalline formLet me raise the volume
of my speech
the words.Let the trembles of my heart
tremble in your heart
just now . . .Let no words, no shadows of the past,
block the pass of spirit
heart-to-heartLet us keep this channel clear
where spirit passes near-to-near
And words like knocking on the pipes
only disturb our rev’rie here.Let me speak to you
without a word
And you will not
be able to tell me
what you heard.
About fifteen years ago I learned about the power of holding an "unanswered question" — I didn't have any basis for understanding why the process was important or how it worked.Now I do, Sardello describes it as a "soul quality". I experienced the salubrious effects from holding an unanswered question — by keeping the question open, it lived inside of me and led me to amazing discoveries and insights. Western culture instills a distaste for unanswered questions and teaches us to accept the first answer that comes along and immediately dispatch the question into oblivion. One can easily observe when this happens — the person will usually say, "I found the answer", when all they found was one answer. Note the difference if you say, in an identical situation, "I found one answer." Instead of dispatching the question, you have intensified the search for a better answer, actually many answers, with multiple levels of meaning for each one. Sardello talks about this process of holding an unanswered question, referring to it as "mulling over." It is a process one will need to learn if one is to comprehend the material in this book.
[page xiv] You will notice — at specific places in the text, but really in the book as a whole — that words are used to describe soul life, while at the same time these very words seem to have to be erased. For example, judgment connotes one thing: an attempt to reach a final conclusion. But, as soon as you think you understand that concept, the term is reintroduced, but is now said to mean "mulling over." "Mulling over" doesn't really go anywhere, except over the same territory again and again. So, what kind of soul quality is being described? It is a quality that can be imagined as a kind of intensive experiencing-living experience, not having experience. Soul experience is something like the reintensifying of what we encounter in inner and outer ways. Such reintensification never comes to a conclusion, not in soul life. There are provisional conclusions, and these are what we experience as mental images. The soul quality described as "judging" can be understood to mean that we relive our life at the same time as we are living it. And this reliving, which happens simultaneously with living, consists of the upsurge of personal and even collective past, of waves of emotion, feeling, attention, memory, desire, even past lives, and many other qualities that qualify any moment as not something just gone through, but gone through with multileveled meaning.
All of us know ourselves. That is a tautology. But it was one of the two phrases posted over the Oracle at Delphi: "Know Thyself", so even back then it must have meant something other than simply to be conscious of oneself. This is difficult to talk about, but Sardello acquits himself well in this next passage as he expresses what it really means to embark upon knowing oneself.
[page xvi, xvii] Steiner does not talk about soul; he speaks from soul. That is the entire method. There is, however, an entrance fee for doing psychology. The fee is that you need to leave behind your well-known-to-you self-identity. You must suffer the experience of leaving behind not only what you know, but also what you think you know of yourself. This requirement qualifies psychology as integral to the work of initiation.
One of the things we know about ourselves is the events of our lives. If we write them down in a biography, we can make our life look well-organized, as if we were in self-control all the time. Needless to say, such a biography makes for boring reading. Why? Because the soul's role in shaping our life is completely omitted from the narrative. Biography is only one of the psychological categories which omits soul — the rest of the list which Sardello gives is: "myths, symbols, empathy, confessional reporting, dream interpretation, case histories, theories of the self, trauma, abuse, analysis, and visualization."
[page xviii] The fact is that when the lazy mind takes the phenomena psychology addresses to be some positive content, the soul is left out of psychological categories. When, for example, the events of a person's life are organized in a well-ordered biography — fixed into time periods that make it look as if the events of life are pat and nailed down — then the soul is abandoned by the very endeavor whose work is to care for soul.
It was a thought along these lines that led me several months ago to begin my biography by taking a day out of each year and skipping one decade at a time, and having myself given amnesia for my entire life so as to learn in leaps across the years about my own life. I am led through the decades by my Soul Captain, who knows how things got the way they are, but allows me to absorb them as they occur. This method may qualify as the opposite of a well-ordered biography — it is certainly one that will create a lot of unanswered questions as one reads along.
The mind-boggling revelation that error originates in the spiritual world is enough to stop one in his tracks, as shown in the cartoon of Padre Filius crossing a stream. Error is our stepping stone to the spiritual world, and the good Padre is stopped while waiting for another stepping stone of error to appear.
Sardello asks "Why does Steiner emphasize the erroneous nature of the images to be contemplated?" and "Why doesn't he recommend contemplating a 'real' spiritual image?" Then he answers his own questions this way, pointing out that errors are stepping stones to spiritual world:
[page xxv] Steiner's response to these questions is quite startling: error originates in the spiritual world, and our stepping stone to this realm is through this aspect of the spiritual world itself! Thus, our first access to the spiritual world is through error. But we must recognize this error consciously. And, in addition to recognizing it, we must have the inner moral force not to be taken into the error: we must be able to utilize the inherent spiritual forces to bootstrap, as it were — or perhaps better said, "soulstrap" — ourselves into the spiritual world. If one were to contemplate, say, an inner image of an angel, the difficulty would be that it is unlikely we would recognize this image, too, as an error. Nor inner image of an angel accurately portrays in any way the nature of an angel.
The importance of these lectures of Steiner lies in how they help to overcome the bias of the sensory world that science and medicine has increasingly inculcated into us since the 15th Century. We have subtracted, as Samuel Hoffenstein wrote, "fact and fallacy from fact/the illusory from the true/and starve upon the residue." Sardello sums up for us what we must do, and we learn from him how Steiner will help us to do what we must do.
[page xxxvi] We have come to live in our bodies according to the medical-scientific concept of the body. The medical view of the body is based on the anatomy of a corpse and on the physiology of a dismembered human body. Consequently, we must imagine soul and spirit back into our own living being. In this way, we can regain a soul-sense of embodiment. If we approach the lectures on sensing and the body with this need in mind, they can help to awaken the long-forgotten reality of our embodiment. Soul and spirit are not some kind of invisible entities lurking around as ghosts in a machine; the body is ensouled and inspirited through and through. But, to properly understand such a statement, we must keep in mind the body as more invisible than visible.
Steiner begins his exposition by explaining the relationship between theosophy, anthroposophy, and anthropology using the metaphor of a mountain climber. A theosophist is someone at the top of high peak looking down who must use the spiritual tools of Imagination, Inspiration, and Intuition to make out the details at the base of the mountain below. An anthropologist is someone at the base of the mountain who lives directly in the details, but has trouble discerning what is happening on the peak of the mountain because her tools require her presence in the place she uses them. An anthroposophist is someone who has a camp halfway up the mountain so as to be able to discern the details on the peak as well as the base. Someone who is able to use the tools of both the theosophist and the anthropologist to the spiritual world above and the physical world below.
[page 5] In other words, theosophy is what we investigate when the divine within us speaks. Essentially, the correct meaning of theosophy is the allowing of the god within us to speak; what it tells you about the world is theosophy. Anthroposophy, for its part, may be characterized as the wisdom spoken by us as human beings when we are between God and nature, and allow the human being in us to speak of what is shining into us from above and of what is projecting into us from below. Anthroposophy is the wisdom that human beings speak.
Where is the philosopher in this metaphor of the mountain? He is in a hut studying the writings of other philosophers, so it matters not where his hut is located on the mountain. One of the greatest early philosophers was Heraclitus, who said, "You can't step in the same river twice." In a footnote, the editor tells us, "Heraclitus (ca. 500 B.C.), Greek philosopher who taught that all of reality is in a constant state of dynamic equilibrium, that "opposites" always have an underlying connection, and that all is manifestation of the Logos. Heraclitus was a student of the mystery of Ephesus and possessed a natural clairvoyance which allowed him to experience the higher worlds directly. When he communicated his experiences, he had to use the concepts of ordinary understanding, which came to be the subject of debate among his later followers who had no direct experience of the spiritual worlds to assist them in comprehending what Heraclitus had written. His followers can be seen as the prototype of the philosophers we know today.
[page 9] Heraclitus's followers could no longer understand that his communications derived from immediate experience of higher worlds, so they became involved in intellectual speculation. They believed, in their merely philosophical mentality, that they were uncovering errors in Heraclitus and busied themselves tinkering around trying to correct them. Concepts continued to be fabricated and passed from generation to generation. The remnants of philosophy that have come down to us are nothing more than an inheritance of ancient teachings with all the life sucked out of them and squeezed dry, to the point where skeletons of concepts are all that have survived. Philosophies are mere abstraction, inheritances from an ancient wisdom now reduced to empty concepts. Philosophers are unable to conceive anything for themselves. For that, they would have to make an expedition into higher grounds.
The term, anthroposophy, began as a dry concept of the philosopher Robert Zimmermann, who wrote a book by that title. Steiner tells us that "Zimmermann was inadequately equipped for the task; thus, his writings were fabricated from the driest, most abstract concepts." One might imagine that Zimmermann's hut was halfway up the mountainside, but he never left it to examine his surroundings.
We find anthroposophy situated at the human perspective — on a median between the subhuman perspective of anthropology at the base of the mountain and the high flights of theosophy at a superhuman level around the top of the mountain.
[page 10] Concepts conceived at that level fly too high above humankind. Since people up there cannot see anything of the world below, they spin webs of manufactured concepts. We are not interested in doing that; our quest is for reality, and you will see that all reality of human life opens to it. You will still recognize the old friends, the old goals of our seeking but illumined from a different viewpoint, looking both up and down.
Our human heart is ancient — its originated during the Sun stage of evolution, and developed as each succeeding stage of evolution unfolded. In a sense, our heart is a living record of the evolution of the cosmos. Steiner asks us to look at our heart in this perspective.
[page 12, 13] We see here, shining into the human physical body, many different forces from the most diverse sources. Belonging as it does to the oldest group of organs, the heart truly has a Sun element, a Moon element, a second Sun element and Moon element, and then, after the separation of the Earth, the addition of an Earth element. If all these elements of an organ (or those of the whole physical body) accord as they do with the harmony of the cosmos, a person is healthy. If one element outweighs another — for example, if the Sun element in the heart overwhelms that of the Moon, the heart becomes ill. You understand the illness when you know what caused the Moon element to fall behind. All illnesses result from various elements becoming unbalanced, or irregular, while restoration of health is found through restoring harmony among them.
Inspired by this passage, I wrote the following poem which uses only components of the word heart:
He art Heart
He art Hearth
He art Earth
Steiner says, "It is most trivial when speaking of the five senses — touch, smell, taste, sight, and hearing. We shall see that this list of five senses leads to total confusion." (Page 14) Here is the list of senses that Steiner discerns in the full human being seen as a body, soul, and spirit:
1. Life Sense
2. Self-movement Sense
3. Sense of Balance
10. Sense of Concept
The sense of touch is not omitted, but can be seen to a composite of senses in the above list.
[page 18] Touch as a sense is usually lumped together with the sense of warmth. This arises from the confusion created by those who lack the guiding spiritual thread. At first glance, touch indeed has significance only as the sense of warmth. The whole skin can be designated as such a sense. . . . All the senses, from the fourth through the seventh, or sense of warmth, have the capacity of touch in common and may be properly placed in the touch sense category.
As Steiner points out below, the science of physiology is very much out of touch when it comes to imagining a single sense of touch.
[page 25] It can be asked why the sense that science calls the sense of touch, the one most dealt with, has been left out here. Since there is to be such a limited number of lectures on the senses, some aspects will have to be covered rather sketchily, and much that is said may then sound somewhat paradoxical. The sense of touch has been left out because the way it is usually described is as a fantasy structure, an invention, of physiology. It cannot be said to exist as such; a whole series of senses can equally well be designated touch senses. There is no such thing as an actual sense of touch.
There is a sense of balance, however, which when we press against something is activated. And when it is activated, a compensating force from the astral body is generated. One must imagine the body as a balloon — when it is pressed in one place a force is exerted against the pressing force.
[page 26, 27] When pressure is exerted on any part of us, our balance shifts, and we push the astral body into that compressed part, thus restoring balance. In fact, we let it extend out slightly beyond the part under pressure. There is, so to speak, always a small astral swelling where the body part is pressed. This purely astral equalizing effect is so powerful that it is able to overcome from within the full pressure of the air outside. The spirit is literally palpable here; it just isn't noticed.
Next Steiner covers the three senses of Smell, Taste, and Sight. I have summarized his findings for reference in the table below:
Sense Activity Type of Soul Used during Activity Function Involved in Activity Type of Body Involved in Activity Smell Consciousness Soul Willing Astral Body Taste Intellectual Soul Feeling Astral Body Sight Sentient Soul Thinking Etheric Body
Have you ever been "carried away" by a certain smell? There is a part of us, an astral current, a feeler, if you will, reaches out to contact a smell in our environment, and in doing so brings our consciousness soul into operation as we smell.
[page 27] Gaseous substance penetrates into the mucous membranes of the nose as we smell, and astral substances simultaneously balance this process by pressing outward in the same measure. When we are engaged in smelling something, these astral substances always desert the organism and plunge into the object; they experience not only in themselves but in the object, too, what we call fragrance, aroma, stench or whatever. . . . for what is streaming out of the astral body in the act of smelling? Nothing other than will-like nature. What we fee inwardly as the will impulse wells up to meet the material flowing in as we smell. Smelling is a process of resisting, a will to repel the influx of matter . . . will flowing in from outside us. Forces of will engage one another when we smell things.
With tasting, it is the intellectual soul at work sending astral currents to the substances on the tongue, but unlike smelling where will flowed out to meet the smells, with tasting, it is feeling interacting with feeling that we are tasting things.
With sight, what is working on the etheric body is streaming into the sentient soul and in the process creates thinking within us.
[page 28] In the sentient soul it is a form of thinking that streams outward through the eyes as genuine thought substance. It has a far greater elasticity than the two other substances that stream out through the senses of smell and taste and for that reason reaches out much further. An astral element really does stream out from the human being to the things.
The special quality of sight that involves the phenomenon of color is dealt with next by Steiner. This is an area that interests me as a physicist who grew up on Newton's theory of color. To understand the next passage, one must realize that sight is a sentient soul form of thinking that steams out as an astral element much farther than the senses of smell and taste.
[page 28] An astral element streams out as thought substance toward a thing and continues until, at some distant point, it encounters resistance in an opposing astral countercurrent. The conflict that ensues between these two astral elements creates the color that we sense on things; it comes into being at the boundary of the thing, where the astrality streaming out of us meets the astrality streaming forth from the object. Color is produced at the border between the interior and the exterior astral elements.
Roger Penrose wrote about the art of painting in the countryside, "In contemplating a landscape, the eye has the ability to extend the sense of touch so that it seems possible to caress the surfaces spreading out into the distance. The walls of a house or the slope of a distant mountain can become as tangible to the imagination as a match-box held in the hand." Artists understand the sense of sight better than other people, so we may deem them to be experts on the subject. (From Norman Mailer's Portrait of Picasso as a Young Man, page 26, italics added.)
In my college physics course, there were usually two opposing physical elements in most calculations, gravity-centrifugal force, action-reaction, force-resistance, current-impedance, etc,. What Steiner opens up for us is a vista that includes forces that are non-physical, but nevertheless real, forces whose effects can be observed with our senses (some of them comprise our senses), but are otherwise directly invisible to man-made instruments. In other words, this is an area where humans can perceive these otherwise invisible forces, but have not created instruments that can perceive what a trained human being can perceive, up until now. It seems likely that such instruments will never be designed because they require an living instrument, like a human being, which directly participates in the forces that are observed. As Steiner observes on page 29, ". . . the physical arises out of the spiritual, and the human being can now be understood, down to the finest anatomical details, through anthroposophy."
The next sense covered is warmth. I read years ago that someone measured that a human being can respond to a millionth of degree difference in temperature, which is about the level of change that occurs when a person enters a room. We've all experienced turning around because we "felt" that someone was in the room lacking any conscious sensory data — what we felt was the warmth of that person's body. Is a sense of warmth more outrageous that positing that a human can detect a millionth of a degree? You decide.
[page 29] The next sense is the sense of warmth. Here again is something that, through its effects on human being, mediates the sense of warmth. This is the sentient body. It activates its astral substance and allows it to stream outward to enable us to experience warmth. This occurs when we are able to send our astral substance outward without being hindered in the act. We don't feel warmed in the bathtub if the water surrounding us is at body temperature; if both are equal, we can't absorb warmth from the water. Only when we stream out warmth or when it can streams into us from outside do we sense either warmth or coldness. When our surroundings lack warmth, our own warmth flows out into them; when we lack warmth, we let warmth stream into us. Here again, it is obvious that an outstreaming and an instreaming are taking place. When inner and outer equilibrium exists, then temperature is not experienced. The experience of temperature is always connected with the activity of the human sentient body. If we touch some object where the temperature is rising, the outstreaming of the sentient body becomes ever stronger.
Our sense of hearing is yet stranger than the that of warmth. Warmth is the highest sense that we can develop out of ourselves, Steiner tells us. Like plants who cannot reproduce unless some higher form of life such as animals or humans assist them, we humans cannot hear unless the form of life one level higher than us assists us, namely, the angeloi, or angels. How do they assist us in hearing?
[page 30, 31] They send their astral substance into us as a foreign astral substance, which we then make our own, allowing it to work in us and then to stream out again. It streams out through our ears to meet what sound brings toward us. We move, as it were, on the wings of these beings into that inner realm that we learn to know as the soul of things. Here we are concerned with beings who stand above human beings and fill them but whose substance is of the nature as our own astral substance.
Similarly, our sense of speech, or tone, requires the next higher level of the Third Hierarchy, the archangeloi, or archangels. These beings have as their substance a nature similar to our etheric substance. If you would like to understand the relationship of our astral body to the angels and etheric body to the archangels, one need only look at the Table of Evolution which shows clearly that angels were developing their Ego Body [3, 5] during the Old Moon when we humans were developing our astral body [3,4], whereas the archangels were developing their Ego Body [2,6] during the Old Sun when we were developing our etheric body [2,4]. By virtue of these developments, angels can assist us to hear by sending their astral substance into us, and to speak with tones by sending their etheric substance into us. Here's how the archangels help us to speak and to understand speech — two abilities that must operate together or neither will be functional:
[page 31] They have to enter us and give us of their etheric bodies, enabling us to pour this force out again into our surroundings. . . . In the sense of hearing, angels manifest their work outwardly in air vibrations, which affect the air in our ears, whereas the archangels counter what occurs in the air outside with a different kind of action They cause patterns of movement in a fluid substance with the result that it circulates in a certain direction. That we perceive the meaning of "A," for example, is also a consequence of the circulation of the finer fluids.
If one is skeptical about the utility of this knowledge, one need only attend a performance of eurhythmy, a combination of dance and vocal performance that was created by Steiner. One can experience directly the force of the various speech tones.
[page 32] We are speaking here of the activity of beings of archangelic rank. They pervade human beings with the speech sense or tone sense and set our fluid substance vibrating. One of the greatest experiences a person who is ascending to higher worlds can have is to begin feeling what a difference there is in the formative force of the various speech tones. The tone force shows its effect best in the fluid element, while that of sound is shown in the air.
In my brief study of music theory, I came to realize that a chord tends to contain all or most of the notes of the melody it rides over. A chord, rightly understood, is a instantaneously compressed melody that extends over time. If you imagine a segment of four notes of a melody written out and then were to move them into alignment, you would get the chord or harmony for the melody.
[page 35] Imagine that you perceive a melody. When you do that, you hear the tones sounding in sequence. Now picture what it would be if you were able to compress the melodic line in which the tones are heard consecutively to the point of hearing them simultaneously. To do this, you would have to shove the past and the future into each other. You would have to know in the middle of the melody what was coming next, in order to slide the future into the present. This process that we are unable to carry out consciously actually goes on unconsciously in the speech sense. Whenever we hear an "A" or an "I" or some other speech tone, a melody is instantaneously transformed into a harmony by an unconscious activity within us. That is the mystery of tone. This marvelous unconscious activity is carried out on a more spiritual plane, in a manner similar to that taking place within the eye when the various refractions occur according to the strict physical laws that we become conscious of only afterward. We are doing here exactly what the physicist does when he explains how refractions occur in the eye. Melody becomes harmony instantaneously.
But the process that Steiner describes above is not enough for humans to create speech. An additional process is required in which humans ignore the fundamental tones in favor of the overtones — that allows us to distinguish in hearing and speech the tones. It is important to realize that the Eustachian tube carries the sound of our speaking directly to the ear and we below consciousness speak as we hear and our recognition of what we hear requires us to be able to speak it in this way, out of our awareness. (See The Sense Organs & Destiny for more information.)
[page 36] Unconscious activity has something more to do: it must disregard the fundamental sounds and hear past them, as it were. Our souls actually do that when we hear the "A" or "I" tone. It is not as though the other tones weren't there, but rather that our attention is shifted from them to the overtone harmony they make. Only then do we have the speech tone. Speech tones arise when a melody is instantaneously transformed into a harmony and then the fundamental tones are disregarded in favor of the system of overtones. These overtones then convey the meaning of the tone "A" or "I." Now you have what speech tone perception really is, explained in the same way as the physicist explains the act of seeing.
The last of the above list of ten senses is the Sense of Concept, which Steiner says could also be called the idea sense.
[page 34] Our study of the senses has progressed to what we call the speech sense. We will now go on to what we might call the "concept sense," using the word "concept" not in its philosophical meaning as pure concept but as it is ordinarily used when we form a mental pictures of something someone tells us. We could have equally well called it the "idea sense" or the sense for mental pictures or representations.
Steiner goes next into several more higher senses including Imagination, Inspiration, and Intuition which rounds out the complete human being and presents us as an instrument for perceiving the world, not as our man-made machines are able to perceive with their paltry instruments of vision, hearing, talking, smelling, etc, but as only a complete human being can perceive the world — as soul-filled instruments of perception.
[page 41] What I have been describing to you in today's presentation, as well as in the two previous lectures, is the true human being, the human being that is an instrument for perceiving the world, for experiencing it through the soul and grasping it spiritually. That is the true human being. And what the human being is actually forms the physical body. I have not been describing human beings in a finished condition but rather what is active in them. All that activity, everything that works together in the physical, soul, and spiritual planes, is what forms human beings as they stand before us on this planet.
Any true scientist who understood the above would never consider attempting to create human-like "androids that walk, talk, and feel just like the rest of us" as the cover of the July 2004 issue of WIRED magazine announces is in progress. The only ones of "us" who could qualify for that distinction are those already hopelessly as soul-less and devoid of spirit as their androids must necessarily be.
Let us consider a simple tool, the hammer. What forms a hammer? If you stand a hammer on its end, you'll notice it has a front and a back side. The front in the face which is used to smash nails into wood, and in the back is the peen or perhaps a claw used to extract nails from wood. Humans also have a front and a back side. The front is the face, where most of our sensory instruments are located — in our eyes, ears, nose, mouth, and in addition, the larynx, our hands, and our toes. We cannot see the back side of our head or our torso, but we know, lacking a mirror, that they are there because of our other senses of balance, self-movement, warmth, and life. If they did not exist we would not be alive, so in an obvious way the life sense is operational if and only if we have a back side, even though we cannot see it. (Note: this metaphor of the hammer inspired by, quoted from, and paraphrased from material on pages 40 to 53.)
Unless held or propped up, a hammer will lie on table or workbench. It has no ability to stand up on its own. I reach over and stand it on end. The hammer moved because a will lifted it. "Nothing miraculous about this, since you see the manipulating will embodied in a person," a skeptical person might say, but that would be overlooking the miraculous nature of the will embodied in a person, would it not? If that same person were watching the hammer lying on a workbench and it suddenly rose to a vertical position all by itself, what might they then say? They might examine the area for hidden wires or magnetic fields, and absent evidence of any hidden mechanisms, they might say that the hammer seemed to have a will of its own, a spirit in the hammer. That would be acknowledged as remarkable, a miracle, no doubt.
Is it not equally miraculous that the human being is able to rise erect, to have a will, to have a spirit which motivates the human being into an erect position relative to the world? Animals cannot do that — their bodies are organized horizontal to the world and they can only rise for short periods of time into an almost vertical position which is obviously not their preferred or natural position. Humans, on the other hand, walk, talk, eat, play, stand at attention, look out and examine the world in an erect posture that is natural to them. Without a will or a spirit, the human being would resemble nothing so much as a recumbent papier-mâché figure lying on the ground. Detecting the difference between lifeless figure and a very still human being is an easy job for a human being and a difficult job for a machine, because a human being is spirit-filled and has the possibility of clairvoyance whereas no machine is spirit-filled nor can it possess clairvoyance.
[page 51] If you were not a precise observer and were out walking with a clairvoyant person, you might, let us say, come across a motionless figure lying on the ground. Because you are not capable of exact observation, you would not be able to determine whether the object is a real person or just a papier-mâché figure. The clairvoyant would tell you that it is a real human being and say, "He has an astral body." You would have to believe it. But a third possibility is that figure lying there might suddenly get up. You would then no longer doubt that the clairvoyant was right — that a soul and spirit inhabited the figure, since it stood up. That is the third possibility.
One can believe one's own eyes and postulate a soul and spirit once the figure rises up, but refuse to believe a clairvoyant when she makes a prediction which proves to be true. Why is this? One reason is the word clairvoyant has devolved into meaning charlatan with our world's advancement into greater and greater materiality. A clairvoyant to Steiner is simply a precise observer who is able to view both spiritual and materialistic aspects of the world accurately, in other words, a clairvoyant is one who is a "clear — seer" — one who sees clearly into the material and spiritual worlds.
We are closing in on understanding the Currents Figure (adapted from page 43). We will return to this figure many times during the progress of this review, so keep it handy while you read on. Rightly understood, the entire design of the form of the human being can be understood by a complete examination of this Figure, but establishing the basis for that examination will require some time and study.Here is Steiner's summary of the figure, but please note that, at this point, it adds nothing but a verbal description of what we can see in the figure. Be patient and the deeper meanings will spring out of this figure as we proceed.
[page 51] It was said that in the human being the physical body's current flows from left to right, the etheric body's current from right to left, the current originating in the sentient body from front to back, and so on. The astral body's current flows upward from below, and that of the I flows down from above, countering the each other. All these currents flow into one another and intermingle.
In this next passage Steiner lays out for us how the hammer that was once the human being rose during our evolution to a vertical position by an infusion of will from the spirit world which forever distinguishes human beings from the animal kingdom. It was a miracle when it happened, and that miracle yet lives in every human being today. And we know it when we see some being rise to a natural vertical position — we know we are seeing a human being, a being in which the I entered the blood during the Earth stage of evolution and raised it to a vertical position thenceforth.
[page 51] It was said that the I works from above downward. How, then, must the outer organ be situated for us to be able to use it as an instrument of the I? You know that the outer organ of the I is the circulating blood. The I could not function from above downward without its organ moving vertically through the human body from above downward. Where would it be impossible, then, for the human I to exist? Wherever the main current of the blood flows horizontally instead of vertically. Animals have horizontal bloodstreams; the group I of animals cannot find its own organ because the main circulatory course of animal blood is horizontal. That is the difference-the main circulatory flow of human blood had to be raised to the vertical so that the human I could enter it. On the one hand, we have the animals in which the group I cannot grasp the blood as its organ because the blood flows horizontally; on the other hand, in human beings the I can do so, because the blood's primary course has raised itself to the vertical.
This should make it crystal clear that the Currents Figure above applies only to human beings and not the lower animals, who possess only a group soul in the spiritual world because an individual soul and spirit cannot enter a physical being on Earth whose blood stream is not vertically oriented. Thus animals are incapable of accepting the entrance of a spiritual "I" from above at this stage of evolution, just human beings were incapable of it during the Moon stage of evolution. It also provides "an example of the middle standpoint of anthroposophy that observes physical facts below, observes spiritual facts above and compares them, thus fully explaining what is encountered in the outer world." The italics on the word fully, I added to distinguish anthroposophy from material science — a science that is handicapped by only looking at the physical world for explanations and able to provide only un-satisfyingly partial explanations for the serious questions of the origin, nature, and future of humankind in the cosmos.
In the next chapter Steiner develops for us the symmetrical orientation of the human body: how the physical body from the Saturn Stage of evolution was asymmetrical, oriented from left to right. When, during the Sun Stage, the etheric body was formed, it was asymmetrical also, but oriented from right to left. The physical obtains its symmetry when during the Moon Stage the Sun influences switch from working from within the body upon which human physical bodies are located to working from the outside of that body. This causes a balancing in the physical body which creates it symmetry. During the Earth Stage a similar switch creates the symmetry of the etheric body. To understand how this works, one needs a little background into what happens during each stage — how the heavy fluids and lighter fluids are inverted in the smaller body cast out of the larger body.
The diagram at right, drawn by Steiner's hand on 3 July 1924 shows the Earth Stage transition in which the heavy fluids are shown in yellow and the lighter fluids in purple. The lighter purple fluids surround the Old Moon at the far left. The Moon at the far right shows the heavy yellow fluids surrounding the Moon at the far right, and the lighter purple fluids surrounding the Earth in the middle of the diagram. (See "From Sunspots to Strawberries" here for more explanation.) A similar diagram could be drawn for the Old Moon Stage in which some yellow heavy fluid ends up in the middle of the Sun surrounded by mostly lighter fluids. The Old Moon which separates from the Sun has mostly yellow heavy fluids surrounding purple lighter fluids. After each separation the object in the middle is the object remaining which is named after the stage of its separation (Old Sun, Old Moon, Earth) and the object to the right is named after the previous stage of evolution (Saturn, Sun, Moon). In other words, the process described in detail by Steiner in From Sunspots to Strawberries in the passage from pages 24 and 25 for the Earth stage of separation can be seen to apply to the previous states of separation as well. The Stages Diagram below shows this process with P= purple or lighter fluids and Y= yellow or heavier fluids.
With this background we are able to understand what Steiner is talking about in the next passage about how the symmetry of the physical body was attained. A similar process at a later stage may be postulated for the etheric body to attain its symmetry. It is no accident that humans are bilaterally symmetrical, but rather a consequence of our human evolution, rightly understood.
[page 55] Spiritual scientific research shows that the human physical body is very ancient, having originated on old Saturn. The etheric body was added during the ancient Sun, the astral body during the Moon, and the I first appeared on Earth.1 We may now ask what the physical body looked like when it was formed on old Saturn. It was, of course, asymmetrical, since it had to work in a direction that corresponds to the left to right orientation of today's physical body. And what about the etheric body in its origin on the Sun? It, too, was asymmetrical, since it had to be laid out in the direction that corresponds to the present right to left orientation in the human body.
Evolution continued, however, and didn't stop with the effect of ancient Sun; the effect of Moon activity now began. The physical body continued to evolve, and its form was shaped further. If the Moon's effect had not been added, human beings would have remained physically asymmetrical. But the physical body's development continued on the Moon, and all the rest evolved further on Earth. Something thus had to enter the picture that changed the earlier formation and transformed it into an entirely different one. The direction had to be reversed in order to avoid one-sidedness, and this had to be done from the opposite side. In other words, the direction from left to right that had been imprinted on the organization of the physical body during Saturn now had to be balanced by a development from right to left. How did this happen?
In previous lectures I spoke about the Sun's separation from the Moon during the ancient Moon evolution, and I said that the Sun's forces no longer worked from the same side, from within the Moon's body, but from outside. This is the same thing that happened to the etheric body as the development progressed. What developed as the physical body until the time of ancient Moon was then taken up from the side under the external influence of the Sun.
At this point, one can now understand how the human body is symmetrical and that the physical currents flow from left to right and the etheric currents flow from right to left as shown in the Currents Figure above. Now let us turn our attention to how the sentient soul and sentient body currents flow flowing counter to each other result in the creation of our sensory organs. In the next passage the sketch Steiner refers to on page 56 has already been incorporated into the Currents Figure.
[page 57] As was said, the physical and etheric bodes and the main portion of the astral body were already present. Now the currents issuing from the sentient body enter the picture to bore their way into the organism from front to back. Their action is such that they build various organs into what was already in the human organism. . . .
In viewing this sketch, you can see the human face in profile. Coming from the front are currents that bore the sense organs of sight, smell, and taste into the head, and from the rear to the front come the formative forces that build the brain above them. This is how the human head is fashioned, as seen from the side.
The activity of the Sentient Soul can only come out at places where the openings of the senses have been bored. The Intellectual Soul cannot escape, "cannot move outward at all, because no currents come to meet it from the outside." That is why the Intellectual Soul does not appear on the Currents Figure — its process is strictly an inner process. This also makes it a source of error.
[page 58] This is why our thinking is an inner process; it has no way of getting out. Human beings must contemplate within themselves. Other things cannot think for us, nor do they reveal the thoughts to us from outside; we have to bring the thoughts to meet the things.
This is the great mystery of the relationship of human thought to the outer world. The sense organs do not convey thought to us. If a sense organ has an irregularity, the impression it receives is easily distorted. While, however, in normal life the senses do not distort, the intellect can, because it is the first member of the human being that is able to err, because its activity is dammed up within the brain and cannot get out.
During earlier times, humans did not have an I blocking the currents flowing downward and this allowed human beings to see their thoughts. This ability allowed humans to have accurate thoughts about external things that they had not encountered in their present incarnations — these were memories, rightly understood, from an earlier lifetime that were still accessible to them.
[page 59] What does it mean to say that people saw thought, which we are now limited to merely thinking? It means that they were clairvoyant. Because it is the I that separated them from the ancient clairvoyance, however, the I was thus not yet present. We must, therefore, call it a clairvoyance that was still dim and not yet illuminated by the I. Dim is the right term for that ancient clairvoyance; people must have passed through earlier stages in which they possessed a dim clairvoyance.
When Darwin created his version of evolution, he used sensory data, but did not resist his conclusions to descriptions of the sensory data. One example of this was when he claimed that humans were descended from apes. Steiner gives us the process by which Darwin and other humans became convinced of this descent from apes.
[page 62] Human beings did not draw false conclusions about human descent as long as they depended only on observation and applied their minds to what was spread before them in the world of the senses rather than to what was not observable. Of course, they didn't judge human evolution out of the intellect, but relied on a natural, exact sense for truth. They looked at apes and felt the same uncanny feeling that any healthy-minded person does when looking at apes — one that can be compared only to a certain sense of shame. That sense was closer to the truth than what was said later by the erring intellect.
In this sense of shame lies the feeling judgment that apes are beings that fell from the human stream, beings that remain behind; they originated in the human evolutionary line and had to be separated out from it. Contained in this was a feeling that human beings could reach today's heights only by first separating from themselves what has now become the ape form. If we had retained it, we could never have developed into human beings. This lies in the natural, healthy feeling. But then the matter was investigated through the intellect, and this gave birth to the erroneous statement that the human form descended from the ape! That is an error. The more you think about it, the more you will find that what was just discussed is deeply justified. That human beings are descended from apes is an error that you can confirm through a very ordinary consideration.
When we look upon another human being what are we seeing? It is often said that the eyes are the "windows to the soul," but Steiner goes a step forward and tells us that the face is "an image of the soul."
[page 63] You look at a human face — that is, the picture of a soul — and while looking at this picture of the soul (of course, it is only an image), you think of it as corporeal. That view is totally mistaken and demonstrates how wrongly we interpret things as soon as we call on our power of judgment. We form correct views of external images only if we understand them correctly, if we speak of the human countenance as an "image of the soul" and recognize the mistake in trying to explain it only on the basis of the physical and etheric forces. The human countenance must be explained out of the forces of the soul itself; the visible is explained in terms of the invisible in this case.
This next passage only too well describes how the logic of spiritual science places a greater demand on our logical thinking than materialistic scientific does. I can attest to this, having come from such a scientific discipline myself (physics).
[page 63, 64] As you delve into spiritual science, you become increasingly aware of what a lofty training of thinking it is and that the chaotic thinking we encounter everywhere today, especially in scientific circles, must be overcome. Perhaps you occasionally feel that what you hear makes strenuous demands on your thinking. Spiritual science, however, is also a noble training of logical thinking, since it forces us to interpret properly what we encounter in the world. And we must correctly interpret certain manifestations that lead from an anthroposophy that is concerned with the individual to an anthroposophy concerned with all of humankind.
We have learned that we humans look the way we do — we are erect, bilaterally symmetrical, have a head at the top, a brain to the back of the head and sensory apparatus to the front — because of the evolutionary processes we went through in this cosmos. We could look no other way than we do. Next we find a connection between the migrations of the earliest peoples of the Earth from East to West and West to East were necessary in order for them to learn to speak. "Human beings could not have learned speech if they had stayed where they were when they could not yet speak." (Page 66) And they could not learn to speak by moving in a North-South direction.
Again we look at the Currents Figure to understand why this was so. The currents involved in structuring the human physical body flow from left to right and similar currents flow in the physical body of the Earth from North to South. That's why the Northern Hemisphere of the Earth contains most of the land mass — it is there that physical matter was drawn together by currents from the North with exactly that goal. In the Southern Hemisphere we find mostly expanses of ocean from which, exactly as in humans, etheric currents flow, currents without the goal of condensing matter together. Thus, the left to right flow in the human body is equivalent to the north to south flow in the Earth, and vice versa. (Paraphrased from pages 66, 67)
[page 67] If you now consider this — and I ask that you consider it very carefully, since it is not so easy — you will realize that in order to learn speech, human beings had to produce a current that flowed from within outward, that made its way into the sentient body. People had to encounter the group-soul current and offer their organization to it, so that what could build the larynx could congest there.Human beings had to meet, within the earthly realm, such a current that could work into the human astral aspect. When human beings were first learning to speak, therefore, they could neither move in a northerly nor a southerly direction but had to move in a direction at a right angle to both. In other words, they had to move east to west or west to east at the time when they were to learn to speak. Spiritual science tells us that human beings at one time lived in ancient Lemuria, there where the sea now extends between Africa and Asia. Then they moved in order to learn to speak. They could not go south or north but had to move west to ancient Atlantis. While moving west to Atlantis, they encountered the group souls who could evoke speech in them. You will find spiritual scientific observation confirmed as you come to understand the organism of human speech. Thus, human beings learned speech in ancient Atlantis.
From these considerations, the migration of early peoples, the directions they migrated, their learning to speak, and their learning to visualize all arise as necessary concomitants.[page 67, 68] Human beings then needed to develop the sense of imagery based on speech. They were not to stop at mere speech but were to advance to a sense of mental representation. How could this happen? Of course, they could not continue in the same direction; they had to go in the opposite direction with the same current. Why? We saw what happens when visualization arises from the sense of tone or speech. We have seen how the speech tone develops from melody when transformed into harmony and when the fundamental tone is disregarded so that only the system of the overtones remains. Then the development of the visualization sense required the suppression in speech, on one side, and on the other, what had to be developed. Human beings had to reverse their direction after learning to speak. They had to return east from Atlantis to develop the sense of pictorial thinking from the speech they had learned. Here we see the significance of migration, as described by spiritual science, during which the ancient Atlanteans who were sufficiently mature began to move from west to east. They were thus able to develop the visualization sense in a fruitful way. Then it would follow that those who moved in the opposite direction — to the west — would not be able to develop a sense of visualization in a fruitful way.
The ancient peoples who did migrate to the West followed their karmic destiny to live, grow, and wait till recent times when what was learned in the East was brought to them on the shores of America.
[page 68] Some people did go in the opposite direction. They are the original inhabitants of America. Why did they not keep with this development? Why was it necessary that that which was learned in the east be brought to them later? It was because they moved in the opposite direction. That was the cosmic destiny of the original inhabitants of America, that they migrated in the opposite direction.
This demonstrates the palpable reality of what is reported by spiritual investigation. One can understand the whole organization of the Earth. The distribution of the continents, firm lands, and oceans and human migrations can all be understood once you comprehend the mystery of the continuous streams affecting human beings, which we have come to understand through anthroposophy. Anthroposophy really guides us into that living realm where human beings and the outer world can be clearly understood.
Those who migrated to the East and developed their ability to visualize had another growth step to endure — they had to learn to develop concepts. This necessarily involved another migration, this time back to the West, to western Asia, Northern Africa, and Europe, where conceptual-based cultures were to develop.
[page 68, 69] And now we can go further. We could ask: Did humanity go on to learn more after the sense of visualization was developed? Humanity was not intended to stop short at pictorial imagination, but to progress toward the ability to form concepts. The next step was to ascend out of the mere visualization sense to the soul life. Again, humankind had to move in the reverse direction. First, humanity had to go east to develop the imaginative life. To develop pure concepts, on the other hand, called for a reverse migration, since the ability to conceptualize could be attained only after returning westward. If we had enough time to bring together all the findings of anthroposophic research, we could gain a detailed understanding of the great migrations that occurred during the four post-Atlantean cultural periods. We would obtain a wonderful tapestry of the activity of spiritual forces in every aspect of the formation of Earth and humankind.
Animals, while they may seem to have memory and possess intelligence, have only the simulation of memory and intelligence. Animals “can be directed by intelligence” but do not possess it — they lack the crucial element for having both memory and intelligence, an individual “I”. Instead they are directed by a Group Soul which possesses intelligence for the group or species and directs the animals who, individually, do not possess it.[page 69] Here we must consider something that is found only in human beings — something animals do not yet possess in the same form. It is the inner soul activity of memory. It is pure scientific invention to say that animals have a faculty for remembering. It is not surprising that animals act in a way that requires the same explanation used to explain human behavior. It is a mistake, however, to call such animal behavior “memory”. . . . The facts show only that one can be directed by intelligence without possessing it, and that is how it is for animals.
“In memory we have before us a mental image that remains after the impression, or perception itself, is no longer present.” (Page 70) This type of memory in doyletics is referred to as “cognitive memory” or “conceptual memory”. It is the key element that enables human beings to perform time binding, which animals cannot. Humans possess two types of memory: doylic memory and cognitive memory. Cognitive memory is what everyone calls simply, “memory”; doylic memory is the unconscious repetition of an event one has experienced or performed before. Animals lack consciousness — for which time-binding is essential so far as I know — and therefore must necessarily be unconsciously repeating events it has done before. Thus animals can be understood to possess doylic memory, but not conceptual memory.[page 70] Memory is correctly described as the retention in us of a mental picture; it is not the repetition of an external act. It is the I that retains the mental pictures. The nature of memory is that the I takes hold of a mental picture and retains it. But for this to occur in a human organism, an organ has to be created; the I must produce the necessary currents. Such currents must issue from the I itself and converge with the other currents coming from every direction. The I must flood into the other currents that exist without the I, and the I must conquer them.
If, say, a current flows in from outside, the I must be able to issue a current in the opposite direction. This essential activity-in which the I was unable to engage at the very beginning-becomes apparent when you recall that during the age when the human being was supposed to learn to speak, such a countercurrent had to arise. Because the I was not yet in a position to do so, a group I had to assume the task of driving this current into human souls. When real human soul life began with the participation of the I, however, the I itself sent currents out that penetrated the other, already existing currents.
Many things were influenced by the currents shown in the Currents Figure: the organization of our body, the way the continents are situated on the face of the Earth, the directions of migrations of the ancient peoples, and the development of visualization, memory, and conceptualizations. Steiner will add one last piece to this puzzle and show us how our direction of writing was influenced by these currents. First a little background is in order about the intellectual and consciousness souls. We learn that the intellectual soul operates in left to right currents and the consciousness soul operates in right to left currents. That reading and writing are intellectual soul activities and calculation is consciousness soul activities. Few people consider, unless it is called to their attention, that we calculate from right to left.
[page 71, 72] It would lead too far off the subject to develop everything in detail, but we can point to the current that flows as the I develops memory. This is a current flowing from left to right. Currents also flow in the same direction as that in which the I develops characteristics such as habits. These left-to-right currents flow counter to the earlier currents that arose without the I. The I bores into them.
In studying the soul life, we can distinguish between the sentient, intellectual, and consciousness souls. The intellectual soul can still be deceptive. You will recall that I said it is possible to have intellect without possessing intelligence, since intelligence is based on the I-being. To gain inner access to the I, the intellectual soul must develop from within to the level of the I. Then it ascends to the consciousness soul. Now this always involves opposite directions. When it becomes conscious, the consciousness soul always assumes thereby a direction counter to that of the intellectual soul, which still works in the unconscious.
Is there any evidence that the stream of these two souls flow in opposite directions? This can be observed under certain earthly conditions. Think, for example, of learning to read, which in a certain sense is a very intellectual activity, not necessarily based on possessing an intelligent I. What I am about to say applies primarily to Europe, where, as you know, the population waited, as it were, for later cultural conditions to develop. Thus, you arrive at something that was present in Greco-Latin culture, when the intellectual soul first developed what is called writing. People began to learn to read and write as that soul was formed. This was, however, only the very beginning; this feature was retained. Then came the effect of the consciousness soul. Conscious activity must occur in a direction counter to that of the intellectual soul, because the two currents flow in opposite directions. People first learned to calculate once they had developed the consciousness soul, since arithmetic is a conscious activity.
In other words, read and writing is a process that we of European-originated cultures do unconsciously from left to right, but calculation is a process we do consciously from right to left. But what about those cultures which write from right to left — does Steiner completely ignore them? He points out that the Semites had a precocious jump on the consciousness soul which shows up even today in their writing which flows from right to left.
[page 72] The nature of Europeans . . . shows that they were predestined to wait in the development of the intellectual soul until a certain point in time, so that the consciousness soul would not develop prematurely.
By way of contrast, what needed to be developed in the consciousness soul in Western culture, other ethnic groups had developed as capacities of the intellectual soul. These people, therefore, had to be given the possibility of accomplishing something with the intellectual soul that those who waited could accomplish only later through the consciousness soul. It was the Semites who had the mission of preparing for the development of the consciousness soul while developing the intellectual soul, thus becoming pioneers of the consciousness soul. Because of this, they write from right to left.
These findings offer us a means for understanding not only the human being as such but also all cultural phenomena. Such facts explain why, at a certain evolutionary moment, writing and calculation were accomplished in a particular way. We could explore further, right into the forms of the letters of each people, and see whether this or that individual folk formed its letters with strokes from left to right or vice versa.It is a matter that can be understood on the basis of these spiritual facts. You see here the future mission of spiritual science, if it is to bring light into people's heads for an understanding of what would otherwise remain unintelligible.
The last sentence of the passage above highlights my own reason for studying spiritual science, "to understand what would else remain unintelligible." This completes the four lectures that Steiner devoted to "Anthroposophy" — the knowledge of the complete human being — in October 1909. The next four lectures are devoted to "Psychosophy" or knowledge of the soul life, and the final four lectures to "Pneumatosophy" or knowledge of the spiritual world.
To Proceed to Second Four Lectures given in 1910, 5 to 8, on "A Psychology of the Soul", Click Here: Psychosophy.
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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 Inspects an Irish Yoga Place 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 notes the Contorted Positions of Irish Yoga:
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 Prof. Kevin Dann: GW Carver on Love:
Bobby, I noticed that contemporary "heart as an organ of perception" literature always seems to cite GW Carver as a paragon/practitioner of this path. "Anything will give up its secrets if you love it enough" is repeated over and over in these portraits:I suspect that the quote is apocryphal, probably written by some early 20th c. hagiographer and then repeated ad infinitum. But Carver was nonetheless a powerful conduit for love.
3. Poem from Freedom on the Half Shell:"Internal Racketeering Society"
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. Fill'er Up, Check the Oil and Water!
Internal Racketeering Society
The racketeer sends its ultimatum
on the Ides of April plus two.
Unless you wish to be disturbed,
interfered with, or annoyed
You will comply in the name of freedom
Deep inside the D. C. Mole Station
the moles are rooting deep
Within the pockets of producers
picking the easiest targets
And mortgaging the future of the rest.
How many of you mature adults remember this ubiquitous phrase? Drivers said it whenever they pulled into a gasoline station. Okay, we fill our cars up ourselves now. But do we check the oil and water every time we fill up? No way! But do you know why we used to have to check the oil every time? BALL BEARINGS!
My friend Ed Manning from Stamford, Connecticut explained ball bearings to me about thirty years ago. He was a chemical engineer who was assigned to General MacArthur's staff in immediate Post-war Japan in the mid-1940s. He explained that Ball Bearings had a rating of fineness (roundness, diameter) that went from 1 to 10. If you bought a 7 ball bearing from a U.S. manufacturer, you received everywhere from a 5 to a 7, so U. S. automakers had to make cars that could handle the 5 sized bearings and thus their motors and other moving parts leaked! Japanese manufacturers, Ed said, made ball bearing that matched their rating exactly, so if you bought a 7 bearing, you got a 7, 8, or 9 in precision. Thus when Japan first began making and exporting the Datsuns (later called Nissan cars) to our shores in the 1950s, they just ran better, with less vibrations, and did NOT LEAK! So they lasted longer and required less upkeep. Americans began trading in their leaky hulks for the Japanese autos.
The Japanese also made better radiators and exhaust systems. No need to check the water, and the inside of their radiators never rusted out (which U. S. cars did up until recent recent decades). And, when was the last time you heard of a friend having to replace a muffler in a Japanese car?
How did the Japanese become such an industrial power so quickly? Ed said he was in the office with General MacArthur when Japanese manufacturers came to him and asked questions about how many autos, how many refrigerators, etc, to make? The General finally told them, "You decide." Freed from coercive constraints on their production, Japanese industries blosssomed. In the 1950s the stamp on the bottom of cheap vases and crockery said "Made in Japan" and we treated them as junk. Now Japanes products are highly prized. It all started with Ball Bearings and Free Enterprise!
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9. CLOSING NOTES:
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