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~~~~~~~~ In Memoriam: David Bowie (1947 - 2016) ~~~~
~~~~~~~~ [ Rock Singer and Actor ] ~~~~~
WELCOME TO DIGESTWORLD ISSUE#172 February, 2017== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==Quote for the New President Month of February:
A nation like a tree does not thrive till it is engrafted with a foreign stock.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote this on page 92 of his Journal.
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GOOD MOUNTAIN PRESS Presents ISSUE#172 for February, 2017 Archived DIGESTWORLD Issues
Table of Contents
1. February's Violet-n-Joey Cartoon
2. Honored Readers for February
3. On a Personal Note
Rainbows & Shadows Poems
4. Cajun Story
5. Recipe for February, 2017 from Bobby Jeaux: Quick Broccoli Soup
6. Poem from Twillinger's Voyage: "A Farmerly Quaff"
7. Reviews and Articles featured for February:
8. Commentary on the World
- ARJ2: The Anatomy of Memory by James McConkey
- ARJ2: Waldorf Education and Anthroposophy 2 (Part II) by Rudolf Steiner
1. Padre Filius Cartoon
2. Comments from Readers
3. Freedom on the Half Shell Poem
9. Closing Notes — our mailing list, locating books, subscribing/unsubscribing to DIGESTWORLD
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DIGESTWORLD ISSUE#172== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ARCHIVED DIGESTWORLD ISSUES ON THE WEB ~ ARCHIVED DIGESTWORLD ISSUES ~2000: INAUGURAL YEAR: Jun #1 Jul #2, Aug #3, Sept #4, Oct #5, Nov #6, Dec #7
2001: Jan #8, Feb #9, Mar #10, Apr #11, May #12, Jun #13, Jul #14, Aug #15, Sep #16, Oct #17, Nov #18, Dec #19
2002: Jan #20, Feb #21, Mar #22, Apr #23, May #24, Jun #25, Jul #26, Aug #27, Sep #28, Oct #29, Nov #30, Dec #31
2003: Jan #32, Feb #33, Mar #34, Apr #35, May #36, Jun #37, Jul #38, Aug #39, Sep #40, Oct #41, Nov #42, Dec #43
2004: Jan #44, Feb #45, Mar #46, Apr #47, May #48, Jun #49, Jul #50, Aug #51, Sep #52, Oct #53, Nov #54, Dec #55
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1. February Violet-n-Joey CARTOON:
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==This month Violet and Joey learn about Surgeons.
For newcomers to DIGESTWORLD, we have created a webpage of the early Violet-n-Joey cartoons!
"Surgeons" at http://www.doyletics.com/images/170113vj.jpg
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2. HONORED READERS FOR February:
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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 February, 2017:
Patti-Lynn Chevalier in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Kate Gladstone in Albany, NY
Congratulations, Patti and Kate!
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3. ON A PERSONAL NOTE:
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Out Our Way:
NEW YEAR'S EVE AND DAY
We had a full day, getting up early to watch the Citrus Bowl at 10 AM on TV. I watched my alma mater, LSU, with its football Tigers squeeze the juice out of the Citrus Bowl by being a Louisville Slugger. (LSU Slugged Louisville 29-9, not giving up a single touchdown.)
The Tigers' Defense recorded 8 Sacks. This game was a real tribute to Pete Jenkins and Dave Aranda who led the defensive squad! LSU held the vaunted Heisman Trophy Winner to under two yards per carry and to a QB rating of 85. LSU's Derrius Guice got about 150 yards rushing, 50 yds punt returning, and a 1 yd pass for a TD. What a Sweet win for our new Head Coach Ed Orgeron!
We had signed up for a great New Year's Eve at our club, complete with a Dinner Play and followed by Dancing till Midnight and Fireworks display over the Golf Course. Well, Del had a headache, the play was mediocre, the food okay, and someone kicked the AC on full during Act 1, so, freezing our tails off, we left during the break between Act 1 and Act 2 to head for home.In the warmth and quiet of our Screening Room, we watched the Times-Square welcome celebration for 2017 and then the New Orleans's Dick Clark Rocking New Year's Eve. Ugly people, ugly music, and dark, dreary sets turned us off. The weather was cold and rainy at midnight so we bypassed going out to our hill to view the local fireworks. We switched the main TV on to watched more of "The Fall" until after Midnight and then went to sleep a hour or so into the New Year. Boozing and carousing till dawn or sleeping peacefully in our own bed? Easy choice.
The next morning I picked basil and parsley from the garden and cooked the blackeye peas and rice (long grain and wild rice). Del made the cornbread. I picked the largest cabbage from our Veggie Garden and added half the large cabbage leftover from the minestrone soup a week ago to make the steamed cabbage.With the rest of the cabbage, Del made a cole slaw. This is the traditional New Orleans meal of blackeye peas, cornbread, and cabbage, but with Bobby Jeaux's cooking, Papa Frank's special cornbread, and fresh cabbage from our garden, it was a feaste de resistence!
We ate heartily and at 2 PM I began watching the New Year's day Ice Classic Hockey game from Toronto while waiting for the Saints-Falcons' game to come on. One bad call took back a TD and cost us the game. Final score of 36-20 put us in striking distance of victory with time running out. We played a closer game against the Falcons than the Green Packers did in the final playoff before Super Bowl. The NFC South Division is no longer the floormat of the NFL, but rather producing a Super Bowl team with regularity in the past 10 years.
After the sports games were over, we watched the rest of this series: "The Fall" (2016). It is a gripping but drawn-out series about the identification, capture, and prosecution of a serial killer, which falls flat in the end. Want to see the gruesome details of the extensive surgery done trying to save a brutal murderer? Watch this series. Only memorable thing was its awful parts.
BOWL GAMES AND JOAN OF ARC PARADE
The first week of 2017 was a busy one. Watched the Rose Bowl and was pulling for Penn State, but they let USC slide by them at the last second. Checked out the Sugar Bowl and saw Oklahoma whip Auburn soundly. Our Pelicans led the NBA Champs Cavaliers 80-78 with a few seconds left and lost the game. In a rematch later in the month, the Pelicans led the Cavs the entire game and won it by two points, doing this with its All-Star Anthony Davis cheerleading from the bench due to a sore leg from a direct hit to the muscle in an earlier game. To come back from losing badly to the worst team in the league, then to beat the best team shows that this young team has great promise.
We have been involved with the Krewe of Jeanne d'arc for a couple of years. It began when I heard Amy Kirk Duvoisin, its Captain, talking about her Krewe at Patio Planters a couple of years ago. We were meeting on the second floor of Mary's Ace Hardware on Rampart Street in the French Quarter. As she talked I recalled the words of Rudolf Steiner about Joan of Arc, "but for her deeds, the country of France and the French language could have ceased to exist." In other words, in the fifteen century the English could have annexed the territory of France and turned it into an English-speaking nation. Orleans became an important city because Joan rousted the English forces from it.I realized that if this 19-year-old girl had not existed, the French Quarter would not exist, there would be no New Orleans since Orleans would have been an insignificant town, and Louisiana would not exist, likely being held by the British indefinitely and called Henriana instead. The Joan of Arc parade is in its ninth year in 2017, parading through the French Quarter on Joan birthday, January 6th, known as King's Day, because it was the twelfth day after Christmas when the Magi (the three Kings) brought gifts to the Christ child. We missed the previous two parades because of our travels, so we were ready to parade this year.
The weather tried its best to keep us from parading. For the first time, the parade was moved forward one day to the 7th because of freezing and rain. The next night was still frigid, near freezing, dry and with a brisk wind. Del and I dressed as peasants of Domremy, Jeanne's home town in France. Our challenge was to find a way to keep warm under the peasant garb. We ended up with four layers on our legs and five six layers on our upper bodies. I carried a pitchfork whose tips I had taped over for safety. When we posed for a photo, we looked a bit like Grant Wood's American Gothic painting, which is what inspired me to carry the pitchfork. It was a bit of a challenge for me, maneuvering the pitchfork, holding a bagful of throws, and giving them out. (Contrary to most parade Krewes, we hand the throws directly to each person instead of throwing them.) I had my camera with me, but no hands left to take photos till the end of the parade. I got one 360-degree video clip during a long pause in the parade route. We gave out light votive candles with Joan's insignia on them.The flame was a small neon bulb lit by a small battery in its base. The candles were kept lit and gave the paper bag they were in a warm glow. Halfway through the parade, it occurred to me that I could flip the small switch on the bottom to turn the candle on as I handed it to a passerby. So I began doing this: offered a votive candle, and before handing it over, I blew on the candle and surreptitiously flicked the switch on, and the candle lit up. A bit of a switch: instead of blowing the candle out, I blew it on. People loved it. We had a fun time and we're already planning to double our number of votive candles next year. The other throws were books of matches, necklaces, tiny lambs, and colorful Joan of Arc parade cards to help people remember Joan of Arc and this special night these tourists spent in New Orleans. Next year will be our Krewe's Tenth Parade and New Orleans will be celebrating the 300th Anniversary of its founding as a city.
OUR DOYLETICS FIRST AID KIT
Over the years I have received adverse comments about my www.doyletics.com website, mostly from people wanting me to pay for them to improve it.The most recent one referred to my "somewhat odd doyletics site." See Reader's Comment below. I went through one redesign by a local web designer, but I was displeased by what he considered improvements, and I rejected the design. But it got me thinking. The comments were that my website was a "last century" design, and that's certainly true, but it was my own design, not somebody else's design. It works on every size screen, automatically adjusting to small cell phone screens, to larger smart phone screens, to various size Laptops and Pads, and to large screen monitors of stationary computers. My site's text is always dark on a white background, something the redesign seemed unable to achieve for me. My webpages always load quickly, and a friend of mine asked me how I managed that, especially with all the photos on my DIGESTWORLD pages. I explained that I started posting photos when most PC's were still using slow dial-up phones lines and I had to resize and compress my .jpg images for minimum size and resolution so that they looked perfect, but if you tried to zoom them larger, they would posterize and show stepwise edges.With the advent of broadband, I upped the resolution, number of photos, and in larger sizes, but have still kept them at the minimum sizes for quick loading on new devices.
Still, the "clunkiness of the design" criticism continued to sting a bit and I held "What Can I Do?" as an Un-Answered Question (UAQ). Finally it occurred to me that I needed to convey to Readers that the function of the Main Page was to put everything in one place that one needed to do a Speed Trace. That's when it hit me! What kind of a thing has everything you need in an emergency in one place? Something that you can have at your disposal wherever you go? I remembered this episode in our lives.
Del's mom had just had back surgery so we stayed with her for Hurricane Katrina. The storm was coming in a couple of hours and the city of New Orleans was shutdown while Del and I were outside of her father's warehouse/condo on the banks of the Mississippi River trying to tie down and bring inside anything that might fly around and cause damage. Del was hurrying and tripped over a bump in the concrete and hit her head on the concrete when she fell. She was okay, but there was a bleeding gash over her left eye. The cut needed stitching, but we could not get to an emergency room. What to do? She had fallen directly behind her mother's Cadillac, and I knew there was First Aid Kit in its trunk.I quickly opened it, found some Neosporin, smeared some into the cut, feeling a little like Angelo Dundee repairing a cut over Ali's eye during a Championship bout. Back into the Kit, I found some butterfly-closure Band-Aids and applied a couple above her eye to stop the bleeding. She did fine and there remains only a minor scar visible along her eyebrow, if one looks closely.
Thinking about this episode, I realized that my doyletics webpage is a First Aid Kit! That explains why it has so many things tucked on one page, just like a First Aid Kit has all the things you need in one small space. Want to know the kinds of things you can remove with a Speed Trace? The Main Page of www.doyletics.com will list them for you. Want to learn how to do a Speed Trace? Learn Why a speed trace works? All that is on the Main Page for quick and easy accessibility, just like a FIRST AID KIT. The normal First Aid Kit is used for bloody physical injuries, the doyletics FIRST AID KIT is used for non-bloody or psychic injuries, injuries to the psyche.That's why the usual FIRST AID KIT has a Red Cross and the doyletics FIRST AID KIT has a White Cross. Similar to how Del has retained a scar from her injury, people who have had psychic injuries early in their lives, usually below age five, retain psychic scars. These scars we call doyles and they can be removed using a Speed Trace as quickly as one might cover a physical scar with a Band-Aid.
Look for the appearance of the doyletics FIRST AID KIT in every DIGESTWORLD ISSUE and all of our latest reviews. People are already taking notice and many are coming to doyletics.com for first aid treatment to remove their psychic scars with a Speed Trace.
FALL GARDEN AND KENTUCKY HIGH WHEEL CULTIVATOR
Our main crop so far has been broccoli and we've had about 7 large heads of broccoli come ripe close together in time, so we made several batches of broccoli soup. Cold weather and hot soup go well together. We pureed two packs of steamed broccoli and placed them in the freezer.One of them we took out and made into soup to ensure that it survived the freezing okay and it did. This led to my including a recipe for broccoli soup which can be done very easily using Campbell's Cream of Broccoli soup as a base. Bobby Jeaux the Chef is still experimenting with various combinations of making the soup, checking its taste, texture, and ease of cooking and clean up. If you have more broccoli than you can eat fresh, the soup is a great way to utilize the leftover broccoli.
Santa Claus brought me a new plow called a Kentucky High Wheel Cultivator. Del and I spend an afternoon this month assembling the parts into a plow. I mused over how it seemed like Christmas Eve toy assembly for our kids. Plus how nice it was to be doing it in the afternoon instead of late at night after a Christmas Eve party and trying not to wake the kids. The plow has a cultivator with five iron projections which make it great for pulling winter weeds away in a single pass, which I have already tried. It has a trench making attachment for digging out between the rows, and a hill-maker for piling dirt onto the side of each row. All this can be done by a one-manpower human pushing it through the garden, with only a little time devoted to unbolting and re-bolting the various tools. It's a great improvement on the hoeing, raking, and shoveling I've had to do in the past. I still have my internal combustion Echo Tillie for the deep tilling, but the High Wheeler will be great for preparing the rows for planting and removing the weeds which thrive in our sub-tropical New Orleans climate after planting.
DEL'S CHRISTMAS PRESENT
While we were on our Carribean Cruise over Thanksgiving, I saw Rick Spath on his Morning Show interview Hubert Gesser a master jeweler. Hubert said that one of his favorite things was helping design a unique piece of jewelry for a client. The previous day Del had gone to Facets, Hubert's onship jewelry store, and came back talking about how she loved the Tanzanite gemstone. The third part of this syzygy was a special quartz crystal which I had been carrying around with me in my camera case which was begging to be made into a piece of jewelry. I met with Hubert one morning while Del was in her yoga class (so I could keep this a secret), and showed him my crystal and asked if he would design a Tanzanite and quartz pendant for Del. He quickly sketched a design and placed the quartz and Tanzanite gem in place and I took a photo of it. I ordered the piece to be made and Hubert said it would be delivered to us from his Los Angeles office the second week in January. I printed a color photo of the design with stones in place and placed it in a fancy Hubert Box and wrapped it for Del as a Christmas present. She could see it and enjoy the anticipation of her jewelry's arrival.
Sure enough, on the second week of this month, the FedEx man brought a package from Hubert Gesser, containing Del's Tanzanite and Quartz pendant, the one I conceived and Hubert had executed to perfection. Del tried it on and loved it. I wrote this email to Hubert:
The Tanzanite and crystal pendant you and I created has come in. Del's comment is "It's beautiful". It is perfectly formed and executed! Thanks for helping me create this unique beauty for the unique beauty I live with each day.
TWO GLITCHES CORRECTED
Another present I bought for Del for Christmas was a light-weight hedge shears from Lee Valley. It is light, slices through leaves quickly and easily, and just the thing for the shearing of various plants and bushes around Timberlane. I had ordered them after our neighbor Connie showed me a new shears she had bought from them. It took Del about a month to take her shears outside and try them out and she liked the way they worked. Later she called me outside to say that the shears would not close all the way. I had never encountered such a problem before. I examined everything about the shears and found no explanation, but the shears stopped short of closing, making the tool unuseable for its intended function.I was puzzled. I re-examined the blade and notice a tiny nick in the two blades projecting outward and stopping the blades when they reached the nick. I took the blades apart and file away the projecting edges from the two blades and then the blades could close all the way. I wrote an email to the company explaining,
This was a Christmas present for my wife and today was the first time she had a chance to use them to cut down the dead branches of a small poinsettia bush. She called me outside to show me that the blades no longer closed. I checked them over and found a tiny nick in each blade which projected just enough outward to stop the blades from closing. Don't know how this might have happened, but I thought you'd like to know about it, so I enclosed a photo of the nicks. This was photo was taken after I had filed the nick flat so the shears could be used again. I've also included my order of the shears.
They agreed to sent us a replacement set of shears under warranty.
The second problem concerned my new Razer Mouse. This Gamer Mouse was suggested by my teenage grandson Collin as a good replacement for my now obsolete five-button Optical Mouse. It has 12 buttons to generate numbers from 1 to 12 with two pushbuttons behind the Scroll Wheel and the wheel itself can be pushed left or right and custom-configured to generate codes. After trying out various combinations, the most useful one for me when adding photos into my DIGESTWORLD Issues was to have the Left Push of the Wheel generate a Ctrl-C (Copy) and the Right Push a Ctrl-V (Paste). One morning this very useful function stopped working and I tried everything. Nothing I did allowed it to work again. Even rebooting my PC. So I wrote to the company and got a reply on January 16, 2017. They sent a troubleshooting suggestion. After following Step 2: A download and installation of the latest Razer software, the Scroll Wheel PUSH functions behaved correctly again. I was sure it was due to a hardware failure, but thankfully it was not. Now it's A-OK.
The last time we went to a Caesar's Carnival Ball was several years ago and it was held at the Marriott on Canal Street. Somehow a new manager took charge at the Hotel and scheduled some other ball in Caesar's time slot and Caesar, while, galled by the defeat, was forced to march down the Appian Way, cross the Rubicon, and station his troops on the shores of Loyola Avenue in the Hyatt Regency's Celestin Ballroom, actually a fine improvement as it turned out. We were invited by our good friend Jim Webb to join his table for the ball.
We met our tablemates: ROTC leader Glen Delery in a Cowboy hat from Riverdale High School whose cadets performed the flag detail for the Ball. Chad Webb and his wife Sarah, Jim's godchild Kara Gormont and her husband Kevin. Kara remembered me from Jim & Gail's wedding some twenty-five years ago. Julie was Jim's date, along with his grand-daughter Winter Song and Yuyu, a Japanese exchange student Jim & Gail had sponsored who is now in college. Mike Jamison is a member of Caesar's crew. He and Laurie sat at a nearby table. Mike said to somebody, "Bobby is my favorite person and I don't see enough of him." Thanks, Mike. I was taking a video of Del when I saw Mike sneak up behind her, so I told Del, "Watch out! There's animal coming up behind you!" Doubt if she heard me clearly over all the notice, but she was delighted to be surprised by Mike putting his arm around her.
This was a Metairie Ball with music that was not Rock and Roll, but an updated abomination-to-the-senses I call Jump and Thump, a loud, obnoxious, throbbing cacophony which went on non-stop. Conversation was impossible during this drunken bacchanal which never slowed down or quietened. Two bands alternated. Somehow the Hyatt staff managed to deliver a Caesar's Salad, an entree of meat and shrimp, and a dessert during the madhouse revels.The table had four pitchers: Crushed Ice, Orange Juice, Cranberry Juice, and Water, so Del and I made ourselves each a Cranberry Sunrise so we could see the Sunrise the next morning without a hangover, which is more than most of the revelers could say.
Good points of the Ball: the Second Line was the most colorful and lively that I've ever seen. Many folks came prepared with colorful umbrellas and wild hats and filled the wide aisle with high energy. The laser light show was awesome and at time awe-ful, but kept the energy level of the crowd up. The walls were covered with a slowly moving scene like being in an aquarium tank. The costumes were as garish as ever, made even more outrageous by the neon-like light designs on them. The Captain's outfit said Star Wars and he flashed a light saber as he did a quirky boogie down the aisle.
We left about midnight and the party was heading toward sunrise, the first band Top Cats announced they would be back at 2 AM and we knew we would be in bed long before then. We made it home for 12:30 and Del wanted to watch a Blue Bloods to cool down her blood to a blue color before we went to sleep about 1:30.
LAST MINUTE EVENTSWe visited Del's brother Dan and his wife Karen at their home in Mandeville to see their daughter Catlin who had flown in for a visit from Boston with her daughter Annabelle. We joined at the local Mandina's Restaurant for dinner. Annabelle was cutting her two-year molars and was a bit subdued, but she really enjoyed her bread pudding and was upset when the last bit of it was bussed away by the waitress when she returned from the bathroom.
After the raucous Carnival Ball of the Metairie Krewe of Caesar, it was time for something completely different, the more subdued Carnvial Ball of the Uptown Krewe of the Caliphs of Cairo Ball. This one took place in a large elegant tent at the New Orleans Country Club which was decorated as the Palace of the Caliph of Cairo. Its theme was the Sprezzatura required of a Courtier, as described in Baldassare Castiglione's The Book of the Courtier, where it is defined by the author as "a certain nonchalance, so as to conceal all art and make whatever one does or says appear to be without effort and almost without any thought about it". To say the wonderful Italian word correctly requires a certain sprezzatura: [sprettsa' too ra] with a tripartite hand gesture de rigeur! The various aspects of the courtier, athletic, artistic, etc., were displayed by the various costumed groups which paraded before the three person judging table. After which the Caliph and his Queen held court to greet visitors to the Palace while general dancing took place.
EVERY GOOD THING MUST COME TO A NEW BEGINNINGIMPORTANT MESSAGE:
The past 31 days of this New Year has been a month with one freezing spell, a couple of mild cold spells, some good garden rains, and plenty of sunshine and short-sleeve shirt weather in-between the cold snaps. Our gas and electricity bills were as mild as the weather. No air-conditioners ran and our heating system was rarely on. We made a couple of Carnivals Balls, two Annual Meetings of Clubs we belong to, and reveled as Alabama got beat by the Tigers (of Clemson this time). This coming month of February will be a month with the Super Bowl at one end (Feb 5) and Mardi Gras Day on the other end (Feb 28). In between now there will be balls and parades. At least the Super Bowl have to worry about sleet and snow this year as it will have a roof in case of bad weather in Houston this year.
New Orleans has been blessed with an NBA All-Star Game this year with its own super star Anthony Davis on the starring five. Will our Pelicans be blessed with a Play Off Spot this year? The answer is No and Yes. No, one week when they lose big to the bottom-feeding Nets and Yes, the next week when they beat the reigning World Champion Cavaliers. But, Hey! The LSU Tigers baseball team, Ranked No. 2, plays its first game in late February.
Our Japanese Magnolia tree is nearly finished blooming, and we expect our azaleas, and other flowering bushes and fruit trees to being showing color by the end of February. Till Lent when we meet again in the windy, but Spring-like days of March, God Willing and the River Don't Rise, whatever you do, wherever in the world you and yours reside, be it blustery or balmy,
Remember our earnest wish for this new year of 2017:
MAY THE WORLD BECOME PEACEFUL AND SERENE IN TWENTY-SEVENTEEN
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Quotes Selected from quotes.htm this month:
- A thought is a country wide enough for an active mind.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (19th-century American Essayist and Poet)
- I lose my friends, of course, as much by my own ill treatment and ill valuing of them, profaning of them, cheapening of them, as by their cheapening of themselves, till at last, when I am prepared to do them justice, I am permitted to deal only with the memories of themselves, their ideals still surviving in me, no longer with their actual selves.
Henry David Thoreau, in his Journal, Volume 2
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 at the beginning of the new millennium, we are publishing five poems until all poems and notes have been published on-line. Some of these poems have appeared in earlier DIGESTWORLD Issues and are being republished here with their associated NOTES above each poem.
This month we continue with a poem from the Rainbows Chapter of Bobby's second book of Poetry, Rainbows & Shadows (1995). NOTES: Inner Vent: This poem is based on my idea that an invention is the inventor's way of providing someone else a way to do what the inventor can already do without the invention. Certainly one can think of many exceptions, but are they really exceptions or only limits of one's imagination? After all, Nikola Tesla could see external images of the AC motors and generators he invented before he ever built them. Obviously he needed a physical representation for anyone else to believe that it was possible. Certainly Thomas Edison neither believed nor wanted to believe AC was possible. George Westinghouse did, and the Niagara Falls installation proved Tesla to be true.
There are things in me
that are heaven sent
To get them into you
I must the thing invent.
2. Chapter: Shadows
This month we continue with a poem from the Shadows Chapter of Bobby's second book of Poetry, Rainbows & Shadows (1995). NOTES: Gatekeepers: This poem was written on May 5, 1993 in the rear overleaf of The Five Senses by F. Gonzalez-Crussi. Inspired by the first paragraph on page 12 entitled "Pain Willed".
Pain and Death
are my friends
They guard the boundaries of the acres
given to me to roam
And nudge me gently
If I stray too
far from home.
3. Chapter: Rainbows
This month we continue with a poem from the Rainbows Chapter of Bobby's second book of Poetry, Rainbows & Shadows (1995). NOTES: Nouning Verbs: Note that the word noun is used as both a verb and a noun and the word verb is used as a noun and verb also.
My head pounds
The thought perturbs
How we verb nouns
And noun verbs.
4. Chapter: Shadows
This month we continue with a poem from the Shadows Chapter of Bobby's second book of Poetry, Rainbows & Shadows (1995). NOTES: Paid in Full: This poem was inspired by page 535 of the Course in Miracles Textbook and was written in the margins of page 546 on July 7, 1992. The key quote is "The only way to heal is to be healed."
Paid in FullThe only way to heal others
is to heal that part of you
that is undergoing
the same change as they are,
For that is what attracted
them to you and you to them
in the first place.
5. Chapter: Rainbows
This month we continue with a poem from the Rainbows Chapter of Bobby's second book of Poetry, Rainbows & Shadows (1995). NOTES: New Orleans is . . .: (Explanations of some of the local phrases and word usages. ADNM refers to something that "Ain't Dere No Moh.")
Making groceries - local phrase for buying groceries, goes along with saving the dishes (putting them into the cupboard). Schwegmann's: a favorite supermarket that ADNM.
Roman candy - the Roman Candy Wagon is in still the 1990's selling taffy (Roman Candy) from a wooden cart pulled by a live mule around town.
Second-lining - at a jazz funeral, the first line is a dirge, played on the way to the grave site, the second line is an upbeat jazzy tune played on the way back in celebration of the new life in the spirit of the deceased.
Nectar soda - a specialty at Katz&Besthoff Drugstore (ADNM) soda fountains made of condensed milk and a flavoring that gives it a pink color.
St. Louis Cathedral with 400 parish priests - each year during the week before Easter, a mass of the Chrism is celebrated in the cathedral in which the oil that will be used for anointing all births and deaths in the archdiocese for the year is blessed. All the priests from the archdiocese gather for the service and sing Gregorian chants. Public is invited. A must.
Income taxes on extension every August - the two most beautiful months, weatherwise in New Orleans are April and October. Obviously April 15 was selected by people who live far north of New Orleans, probably as retribution for our courageous rebellion during the 19th century.
Morning sun rising over the hood of your car - because of the deep crescent of the Mississippi River in New Orleans, the sun rises over the West Bank every morning and can be seen to set over the East Bank. No one goes by north or south in giving directions, they use to the lake or to the river instead.
Doberge cake - a six-layer chocolate cake with thin layers of cake separated by chocolate pudding and covered with chocolate icing. Talk about good! When Del and I got married our wedding cake was a chocolate doberge cake.
Neutral ground side - the median strip on Canal Street divided New Orleans at one time into the French and American sectors. You could only meet someone from the other side on the median strip, which became known as the neutral ground. All medians are called neutral grounds by natives to this day. The whole point is if you know someone on a float, they will throw a lot of beads and doubloons to you, so you had better be on the correct side of the float as it comes rolling past.
Wop salad - eating in New Orleans is not for the faint of heart: if you want an Italian salad, you must ask for a Wop Salad, or your native server may not know what you're trying to get. (ADNM, fell away with other non-PC expressions)
Doubloon - coins fashioned for Mardi Gras, St. Pat's, etc that are thrown from floats and by marching krewes, named and sized after the pirate's pieces of silver.
Half-Fast Marching Club - actual name, ambiguity definitely intended. They are generally four sheets to the wind by the end of the first mile, which includes stops for refilling their alcoholic drinks at about six local pubs. They start off marching fast, but after the first six drinks, their marching becomes half-fast and half-ass. Pete Fountain is too polite to ever pronounce the name in public without emphasizing the terminal "t" sound.
New Orleans is . . .
boiling crawfish at twilight
making groceries at Schwegmann's
eating blackeye peas and rice, cornbread,
and cabbage every New Year's Day
wearing short sleeve shirts in January
buying Roman candy on Carrolton Avenue
birthday parties on the St. Charles streetcar
eating stuffed artichokes for lunch
riding a motorcycle on a summer night
with no shirt on
saving the dishes after dinner
crossing the river by ferry in the summer
just to smell the cool river air
drinking green beer in the Irish Channel
before the parade starts
second-lining through the Hilton lobby during a
Sunday jazz brunch
sipping a nectar soda at the K&B counter
walking down Bourbon Street
pretending to be a tourist
singing Gregorian chants in the St. Louis Cathedral
with 400 parish priests
sporting a blue tongue from a bubblegum
snowball in July
surviving daily rains that each seem to be the start of
a new Deluge
mowing 4 inch deep St. Augustine grass every week
considering 100 percent humidity to be a normal
doing income taxes on extension every August
because April weather is too beautiful
driving to the westbank of the river over the GNO
bridge with the morning sun
rising over the hood of your car
having a doberge cake for your wedding cake
catching an armload of beads from Mr. Mickey
on float #15 on the neutral ground side
ordering a wop salad at Mandina's
eating fresh strawberries from Pontchatoula
and creole tomatoes from your dad's garden
catching the Gospel Soul Children's closing set
on the last day of Jazz Fest
getting a doubloon from Pete Fountain's Half-Fast
hearing songs by Jelly Roll Martin, Louis Armstrong,
Fats Domino, Al Hirt, Pete Fountain,Ronnie Kole,
Wynton Marsalis, and Harry Connick, Jr
and knowing that you live
in the greatest
world. . . .
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."Scapegoat" (2012) Daphne du Maurier's story of two men who change places in each other's lives. A DON'T MISS HIT ! ! !
"All Passion Spent" (1986)and a life well-lived free of the expectations of others. Lady Slane's politician husband dies and at 85 she begins to live. A DON'T MISS HIT ! ! ! !
"Victoria" (2017) a young 18-year-old girl Alexandrina becomes Queen and takes on her middle name, Victoria, and fights to keep her choice for Prime Minister and the vultures from creating a Regency which means taking over her crown. A DON'T MISS HIT ! ! !
"An Innocent Man" (1989) Two rogue cops do drug busts and save half the drugs for themselves. This bust goes to the wrong address and they shoot the man who comes out of bathroom in his robe carrying a black hair dryer. They gleefully send him to prison after planting drugs and a gun on him. Tom Selleck goes to prison, gets his Blue Blood chops, and comes out looking to restart his life when the same two cops attack him again to keep his mouth shut. Can he prove his innocence and send the cops to the same prison he endured for three years? A DON'T MISS HIT !
"Last Cab to Darwin" (2016) Dying of cancer 70-year-old Cab Driver Rex drives 1600 miles to Darwin to end his life. He has adventures along the way. "What's your dog's name?" "Dog - Rex was taken." Is he going to die alone at the hands of a doctor? Watch and find out. A DON'T MISS HIT ! ! ! !
"Snowden" (2016) has his international whistle-blowing made anybody's life safer?
"Crazy Horse" (2011) Nude dancing cabaret in Paris. Don't miss the Baby Buns, it will make you laugh out loud.
"The Private Life of a Masterpiece: Masterpieces of the Twentieth Century" (2003) about Klimpt's work, 'The Kiss'.
"Hell or High Water" (2016) Two brothers need help rescuing their mother's estate from the bank and take out an unconventional loan. 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."Synchronicity" (2008 ) A movie without brains but lots of guts. A DVD STOMPER! ! ! !
"Der Sumurai" (2014) A slash movie which we ejected almost immediately. A DVD STOMPER! ! ! !
"Dead Pool" (2016) Funny but dumb superheroes.
"Cymbeline" (2015) this meshing of Shakespearean verse and Harley Davidson milieu takes a skid in mid-road.
"Masterpiece Classic: The 39 Steps" (2008) a waste of time.
"Triple 9" (2016) was triple dumb.
"Cobb" (1994) See DW#143 Tommy Lee Jones spikes this biopic of Tyrus Cobb out of the park. The good, the bad, and the ugly wrapped up in a nasty spitball! A DON'T MISS HIT ! ! !
Your call on these — your taste in movies may differ, but I liked them:"Joshy" (2016) a bachelor party at a lodge goes on anyway after bride to be commits suicide. Bummer.
"Snowden" (2016) has his international whistle-blowing made anybody's life safer?
"Best Laid Plans" (1999) Two scams backfire on each other and no one gets laid.
"The Fall" (2012) a gripping but drawn-out series about the identification, capture, and prosecution of a serial killer falls flat.
"The Sixth Day" (2000) Arnold times two! Who can stand it? A little cloning around.
"Nancy Drew" (2007) (See also DW#087) It's a mystery. What gave you the clue, Nancy Drew? She was a favorite read of my wife's as a girl, so I had to watch the movie.
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==Le Boudreaux Cajun Cottage, drawn by and Copyright 2011 by Paulette Purser, Used by Permission Thanks to Anthony Celino for this story.
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Boudreaux, when he needed extra money, would work as a clerk at a 7-11 store in Abbeville. One day two nuns were shopping there, and as they passed by the beer cooler, one nun said to the other, "Wouldn't a nice cold beer or two taste wonderful on this hot summer evening?"
The second nun answered, "Indeed it would, Sister, but I would not feel comfortable buying beer, since I am certain it would cause a scene at the checkout stand."
"I can handle that without a problem," the other nun replied, and she picked up a six-pack of Dixies and headed for the check-out.
Boudreaux had a surprised look on his face when the nun arrived carrying a six-pack of Dixie beer. Seeing his face, the nun said, "Sister and I use beer for washing our hair." She added, "At the Nunnery, we call it Catholic Shampoo."
Nodding, Boudreaux reached under the counter and pulled out a large bag of looped pretzels. While placing the pretzels into the bag with the beer and, looking the nun straight in the eye, Boudreaux smiled and said, "At de Seven-Eleven we call dese 'Curlers', and dey are on de house."
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5.Recipe for February, 2017 from Bobby Jeaux's Kitchen:
(click links to see photo of ingredients, preparation steps)
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =Quick Broccoli Soup
Background on Quick Broccoli Soup: Broccoli is a great winter crop, but when I plant it in the Fall, I end up with seven or eight large heads of broccoli to deal with. One went to our kid's home for a veggie tray around Christmas, the others went into Broccoli Soup. Now you can only eat so much broccoli soup at one time, so I decided to steam the broccoli, puree it in our VitaMix and then freezer for later incorporation into soup. First time I tried this I used cream of celery soup, and it was okay, but then I found Campbell's had a Cream of Broccoli soup, and it works perfect. There are several variations possible, including whether you re-puree the mixture after cooking the Cream Soup into the fresh broccoli puree. If you puree a second time, the result will be smooth, little texture. If you do not puree, there will be small pieces of cooked broccoli from the soup. Your choice.
1 Large Head of freshly picked broccoli
2 cans of Campbell's Cream of Broccoli Soup
1 tsp of chopped garlic
Sprigs of fresh basil and parsley
Chop the basil and parsley. Cut up the broccoli head into smaller pieces .
Place the broccoli pieces into pot. Add about an inch or two of water (this will be incorporated into the soup). Cook on high for about 10 minutes, until tender. Let cool, then puree in VitaMix or substitute blender. Leave about half of the steaming water in the pot for next step.
Open two cans of Campbell's Cream of Broccoli soup and place in water left from steaming. Add the chopped basil, parsley, and garlic to water. Add about a half can of evaporated milk. Cook until soup fully mixed. Add the pureed broccoli and simmer till soup is ready to eat.
Add croutons on top for a nice texture.
If you have extra broccoli heads, you can steam the broccoli, puree it, then place it in Ziplock bag in the freezer. It will be available long after the broccoli plants stop producing, and you can use it to make more soup. Simply add Cream of Broccoli soup, chopped basil, parsley, and garlic, some milk and simmer until mixed and ready to eat.
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6. POETRY by BOBBY from Twillinger's Voyage:
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This is a poem inspired by Twillinger's Voyage and written as the closing of its review: NOTES: This poem was written as I sat in my reading chair at Timberlane on Del's birthday, in 2001, at 7:50 PM. She was in Palm Springs, California at a conference. The poem was inspired by the quote from page 106 of Dan Turner's novel when he wrote about fields and forces being no different from gods and spirits. I scribbled it on page 405 of the book's rear overleaf. Here's the introduction to the poem in the review: "A billiard ball's path may be calculated mathematically, once it begins its roll, or its path maybe determined by observing the billiards player and the spirits hovering around him. And no explanation in the one frame of reference will be given much credence in the other, up until now. How does one deal with such irreconcilable differences? One might write a poem."
A Farmerly Quaff
We've replaced gods and spirits with fields and forces .
Wait just a minute! Hold your horses!
We've replaced hocus-pocus with a math-like focus.
We look at plowed fields and calculate the forces of the plow
where formerly we looked at the farmerly human
and his angels who directed the plow.
We may fill our glass with fields and forces,
or with gods and spirits simply —
But unless we quaff them both,
Our glass is always half-full or half-empty.
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7. REVIEWS and ARTICLES for February:
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =For our Good Readers, here are the reviews and articles featured this month. The first and second reviews this month will be ones which were never published in early DIGESTWORLD ISSUES and will be of interest to our DIGESTWORLD Readers. The rest of the items will be new additions to the top of A Reader's Journal, Volume 2, Chronological List, new additions to A Reader's Treasury, or Essays previously unpublished.
NOTE: some Blurbs may be condensations of long Reviews, possibly lacking footnotes and some quoted passages. For your convenience, if you wish to read the full review or to print it out sans photos, simply CLICK on the Book Cover or choose Printer Ready option on the top line of a review page when it opens.
1.) ARJ2: The Anatomy of Memory by James McConkey
Following upon his own autobiographical work Court of Memory, McConkey's anthology expands the theme of memory to give it the "sense of special importance of memory to us today." In the Preface he quotes what E. M. Forster, in his Aspects of the Novel, says of expansion, that it "is the idea the novelist must cling to. Not completion. Not rounding off but opening out. When the symphony is over we feel that the notes and tune composing it have been liberated, they have found in the rhythm of the whole their individual freedom. Cannot the novel be like That?" With the help of the contributors to The Anatomy of Memory, James McConkey has certainly created such a symphony or expansion on the theme of memory.
This is not a book to be rushed through for content, but a multiple course feast to be enjoyed one dish at a time, with breaks in-between courses for digestion and cleansing of the palate before continuing with the next entree. My reading of this five-hundred-page book spanned three months, which time included a break of a month during which period I ordered and read the book The Night Country by Loren Eiseley, from which the article "The Brown Wasps" on page 115 was taken. This brilliant ten-page excerpt prompted me to interrupt my reading to digest all of Eiseley's book. A good anthology, like a good book review, should occasionally prompt one to acquire and read the book itself, and McConkey has fashioned a great anthology on memory here.
There are six sections in this book, and each one begins with an introductory short poem or brief essay. Emily Dickinson's poem, "The Brain is wider than the sky -" heads section I. The Nature of Memory. Walt Whitman's "Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking" heads II. The Memory of Nature. In section V. Perspectives of Memory there are three groupings of essays: Childhood and the Middle Years, Other Dimensions, and Insights of Old Age, the last of which is headed by a stanza from William Butler Yeats's "Sailing to Byzantium."
An aged man is but a paltry thing,
A tattered coat upon a stick, unless
Soul clap its hand and sing, and louder sing
For every tatter in its mortal dress . . .
If an anthology is like a tour of a city where each house shows us a unique architecture, McConkey plays the part of the informed and voluble guide who explains the salient and interesting features as we pause in front of each house. He does this with his insightful introductory essays to each section and to each author's work. In a musical sense McConkey conducts his orchestra of virtuoso performers in a grand symphony, playing prefatory solos himself before each orchestral piece.
In an excerpt from Diane Ackerman's A Natural History of the Senses, we find short pieces devoted to our sense of smell:
[page 23] Smell was the first of our senses, and it was so successful that in time the small lump of olfactory tissue atop the nerve cord grew into a brain. Our cerebral hemispheres were originally buds from the olfactory stalks. We think because we smelled.
I encountered this quote from Ackerman just a day after I'd drawn two diagrams of an early jellyfish showing only the top or head, the tentacles, and the long neurons extending down the length of the tentacles to sense or smell the environment surrounding this primitive creature.This sense of smell was crucial to distinguish food from non-food and was essential to its survival - the better it smelled, the better its chance of living long enough to evolve. See Early Jellyfish in the left side of the Drawing at right.
I drew this primitive jellyfish because I had just finished reading The Riddle of Humanity by Rudolf Steiner and was pondering an unanswered question that I generated from a statement in his book. The question, which is discussed in my review, is: "How is it possible that the body of our previous incarnation would be embodied in the head of our present incarnation?" In my review I gave some mechanical analogies using automobiles, as it is easy to track the evolution of successive generations of automobile design in the span of the twentieth century, but the jellyfish was intriguing to me for the very possibility that Ackerman states: "We think because we smelled." In other words, if we take the body of the jellyfish and incorporate the neuronal structure of its body from this stage of evolution [ Early Jellyfish, Left side ] into its head in the next stage of evolution [ Later Jellyfish, right side ], we have performed the operation that Rudolf Steiner specified when he said, in effect, "embody the body of this incarnation into the head of the next incarnation."The new jellyfish [Right Side] has in its head the neuronal interconnections of its simpler ancestor's body [ Left Side ] . The neurons are connected to each other and to the smell sensors of the tentacles. Repeat this process of evolution over countless aeons and evolutionary stages, and the first brain evolves from the buds on the top of the olfactory stalks just as Ackerman states. Since the early earth was covered with water, such primitive jellyfish were the early ancestors of the human race.
In his introduction to an essay on memory by Freud, McConkey says:
[page 41] Memory is crucial to his [Freud's] investigation - memory as instinct, as part of what he calls, in the essay that follows, our "primitive, ungovernable nature" and memory of actual experiences and desires, particularly from early childhood, that we distort or repress.
In the very next essay "Bright Air, Brilliant Fire: On the Matter of Mind", Gerald Edelman says of emotions:
[page 52] This is not the place to discuss emotions, the most complex of mentalobjects, nor can I dedicate much space to thinking itself. I consider them in the next chapter. But it is useful to mention them here in connection with our discussion of free will and meaning. As philosophers and psychologists have often remarked, the range of human freedom is restricted by the inability of an individual to separate the consequences of thought and emotions.
I have added the italics above in order to emphasize that when one understands that emotions are memories of actual experiences from early childhood (before five-years-old), one must add the limitation eraser phrase "up until now" to the end of the italicized remarks. [See ARJ: The Remembered Present by Gerald Edelman.]
While reading Thoreau's essay "Walking" I decided to place his book Maine Woods on my bedside reading stand so that I might accompany Thoreau on his perambulations among the mountains and rivers of the East - what better companion for such jaunts than one who thinks of our walks thus:
[page 81] So we saunter toward the Holy Land, till one day the sun shall shine more brightly than he has ever done, shall perchance shine into our minds and hearts, and light up our whole lives with a great awakening light, as warm and serene and golden as on a bankside in autumn.
Or I may choose to walk alone with Kim R. Stafford who writes in her "A Walk in Early May" essay, "Solitude is the scientific method of the human spirit." [page 83]
Or to examine those waste spaces that form the "archaeology of the stranded" of the solitary hitchhiker who spends his days amidst an "archipelago of cross-roads and on-ramps" as John Landretti writes in "On Waste Lonely Places." Who can forget his metaphor on page 101, "that old trilobite of the highway, the fallen muffler"?
In "The Brown Wasps" Loren Eiseley tells us of the abandoning and razing of an elevated train station that he reckoned in its heyday to be a "food-bearing river" to the pigeons who were fed by the passengers as they entered and left the station. "I saw the river stop," he says, and the pigeons left - but one denizen remained behind.
[page 120] Even the blind man clung to it. Someone had provided him with a chair, and he sat at the same corner staring sightlessly at an invisible stairway where, so far as he was concerned, the crowds were still ascending to the trains.
In the section Memory and Creativity we learn from William James that all words were once metaphors when he says, "Men, taken historically, reason by analogy long before they have learned to reason by abstract characters."[page 140] Thus we are led to understand that the origin of language lies in reference to concrete objects and physical actions.
[page 141] The first words were probably always names of entire things and entire actions, of extensive coherent groups. A new experience in the primitive man can only be talked about by him in terms of the old experiences that received names.
The describing of new experiences in terms of old names is equivalent to discussing a new paradigm in terms of the old. On a brain structure level, it is equivalent to the change from one evolutionary stage to the next of the jellyfish structure that is our brain.
But we must not flatten all words into simple analogies or else we lose the power of the symbol - Carl Gustav Jung carefully warns us:
[page 161] And what is Faust but a symbol? By this I do not mean an allegory that points to something too familiar, but an expression that stands for something not clearly known and yet profoundly alive.
Nor must we forget that the mother of the Muses was Mnemosyne, Memory. As Clara Claiborne Park writes:
[page 175] It is my antique conviction that the Greeks knew what they were talking about, that to make the Muses the daughters of Memory is to express a fundamental perception of the way in which Creativity works.
But she notes that Homer says nothing of a connection between the Muses and Inspiration, and that Homer, in her opinion, must certainly know of the connection. I think not - the knowledge of that connection for the early Greek writers like Homer would have required a meta-step, an evolution of consciousness, that was hundreds of years in the future. In the beginning of his Iliad Homer says, "Sing, O Goddess, the anger of Achilles . . ." and he begins his Odyssey with, "Tell me, O Muse, of that ingenious hero who traveled far and wide." Part of that evolution of consciousness has brought us our english word "odyssey" which means "a long wandering journey". [Webster's Third] Like with the evolution of the jellyfish, where the entire body of the jellyfish's previous stage of evolution is subsumed in the brain structure of the present stage, so also the entire body of Homer's epic, The Odyssey, is subsumed in our definition of the common noun "odyssey".
The process that leads from a complex concept to its usage in abstract description can take place in the course of thousands of years or mere decades. Take the newly coined word "galaxy" which describes a complex myriad of interacting stars in a centralized region of distant space. Notice how Toni Morrison presses this new word into service to describe her process of writing a novel:
[page 216] The novel turned out to be a composition of parts encircling each other, like the galaxy accompanying memory.
The galaxy, as a confluence of stars, sets the theme for Eudora Welty's contribution:
[page 225] Of course the greatest confluence of all is that which makes up the human memory - the individual human memory. My own is the treasure most dearly regarded by me, in my life and in my work as a writer.Here time, also, is subject to confluence. The memory is a living thing - it too is in transit. But during its moment, all that is remembered joins, and lives - the old and the young, the past and the present, the living and the dead.
As you have seen, I am a writer who came of a sheltered life. A sheltered life can be a daring life as well. For all serious daring starts from within.
To Virginia Woolf all human beings are connected - "the whole world is a work of art."
[page 323] And this conception affects me every day. I prove this, now, by spending the morning writing, when I might be walking, running a shop, or learning to do something that will be useful if war comes. I feel that by writing I am doing what is far more necessary than anything else . . .
Vladimir Nabokov searches in vain for the connections from his past that bubble up in his memoirs and novels.
[page 333] But even so, the individual mystery remains to tantalize the memoirist. Neither in environment nor in heredity can I find the exact instrument that fashioned me, the anonymous roller that pressed upon my life a certain intricate watermark whose unique design becomes visible when the lamp of art is made to shine through life's foolscap.
Every nook and cranny of this anthology is filled with wonderful descriptive prose and poetry, and some of the prose borders on poetry as this piece from Paul West's "The Girls and Ghouls of Memory". My dictionary suffered new signs of wear by the time I had come to terms with his essay.
[page 364-365] Extremes, not streams, of consciousness I envisioned as I ploughed into Beowulf, the poem with the Great Divide down its middle. All those half-lines evoked half-lives, contrapuntal opposites, Pisces (which folk jubilantly told me I was) swimming in two directions at once, purgatorial igloos whose under-halves accommodate no one at all. I was so glad to lift head above the pubertal compost that I almost forgot to strike up conversations with the nervous, industrious scholarship girls, whose mitigated simpers came straight out of Jane Austen's novels and their brains from the mint of heaven itself. Unbeautiful they may have been: box-jawed, myopic, mat-haired, stone-gaited, and nailbiters all, they nonetheless gave the morbid me a glimpse of self's yellowish rough diamond, just a touch lustrous in its blue kimberlite matrix.
Anne Dillard writes in "Teaching a Stone to Talk" that, "We as a people have moved from pantheism to pan-atheism." She claims that if we were not here, the passage of the seasons would "play to an empty house. That is why I take walks: to keep an eye on things."
In a sense that is why the writers of these works on memory have written of their walks through life, so that others may learn, by their example, to "keep an eye on things" or else "the show of life will play to an empty house."
See also Memory's Ghost by Philip J. Hilts.
2.) ARJ2: Waldorf Education and Anthroposophy 2 (Full Review) by Rudolf Steiner
Below is Part II of Volume 2 Review, CLICK HERE to READ Part I First.
Under the delicate guidance of a teacher, the relationship of a child to the spiritual world, from which they recently arrived at birth, will be revealed. A teacher who brings music, poetry, and eurythmy will find the child awakening before long.
[page 60] Having brought the children into close contact with the plastic, poetic, and musical arts, and having brought eurythmic movements into their bodies, having awakened to life through eurythmy what would otherwise be the abstract element of language, we create in the human being an inner harmony between the spirit-winged musical and poetic elements, and the spirit-permeated material elements of modeling and painting.
True art, Steiner says, has healing powers: "The ancient Greeks spoke of Phidia's statue of Zeus as 'healing magic'." This is why materialistic teachers, denying the existence of magic, can have no possibility of understanding how art can grasp one's soul and spirit and produce a healing as if by magic.
[page 61] Educators and teachers who have the proper love for art and the necessary respect for human nature will always be in a position to implant the artistic element as a magic healing into all their teaching. Then training the intellect, which is a necessary part of schooling, as well as religious teaching and training the heart forces, will be permeated by an element that is inextricably connected to human freedom and human love.
True teaching happens when teachers do not restrict themselves to doing art in art classes, but let art flow out of them into every area and discipline they teach — they make no distinction between this for the intellectual side and that for the artistic side of their children. They teach so that their children feel the need for the artistic side, and then later feel curious about the intellectual side. The children achieve both spiritual knowledge and sensory knowledge. Through this approach, a teacher brings warmth to the otherwise cold, abstract realm of pedagogy.
[page 61] Art and the esthetic sense place knowledge of the human being at the meeting of purely spiritual knowledge on the one side, and the external sensory knowledge on the other. It also helps lead us most beautifully into the practical aspects of education.
Rightly understood, art is a knowledge which can permeate a child and all the physical substances it touches with a spiritual light glow.
[page 62] Art can collect in itself the light of the universe. It can also permeate all earthly and material substance with shining light. This is why art can carry secrets of the spiritual world into the school and give children the light of soul and spirit; the latter will allow children to enter life so that they do not need to experience work as just a negative and oppressive burden, and, in our social life, therefore, work may gradually divest its burdensome load.
No form of pedagogy is true education unless it enlivens the entire future of the child. To achieve this would seem like magic to some teachers, and they would be exactly right, as Steiner says in his wrap-up to Lecture 3.
[page 62] Today I only want to show that the spirit needed in schools can be magically engendered through art. If done properly, this light-filled art can produce a radiance in children that allows the soul to integrate into the physical body, and thus into the world, for the person's entire life.
Moralizing to one's students is the most demoralizing thing any educator can do. It removes a necessary sense of inner freedom in the adult stage of their students. How do teachers do this no-no? They attempt to pass onto their students their own brand of morality. The healthiest students (and later adults) will be the ones who rebel against any attempt by teachers to force their own sympathies and antipathies on them. Clearly morality is something that must arise freely within students and not something like biology which can be force-fed to them.
[page 64] This requires that educators approach moral teaching so that, when later in life the students have passed the age of formal education, they can feel free as individuals in every respect. What teachers must never do is to pass on to developing students the relics of their own brand of morality or anything derived from personal sympathies or antipathies in the moral realm. We must not be tempted to give our own ethical codes to young people as they make their way into life, since these will leave them unfree when it becomes necessary that they find their own moral impulses. We must respect and acknowledge the young person's complete inner freedom, particularly in the realm of moral education. Such respect and tolerance truly demand a great deal of selflessness from educators, and a renunciation of any self-interest.
A parent who is a doctor or lawyer may violate a child's inner freedom by insisting their child become a doctor or lawyer, unable to renounce their own self-interest in being proud of their child only if it embraces their own occupation. So many movie scripts have dealt with the attempts of parents to force their child into medical school against their will. Great music composers have entered a medical college to please their parents and spent all their time learning music. Petrarch dropped out of law school, saying, "I did not want to make my mind into a machine." Such attempts to force children rarely work out in the long run. If you try to force your child to want something, it will learn an ineffective way to force its own child to want something when it becomes a parent.
Like in the case of a fostering a vocation for their children, a parent does best to avoid forcing morality upon them. The best transfer mechanism of morality to one's children is providing a good example. Do so, and your children will absorb morality seamlessly and make it part of their being.
[page 64] Nor is there, as is the case in all other subject matters, the opportunity of treating morality as a subject in its own right; as such, it would be very unfruitful. The moral element must be allowed to pervade all of one's teaching.
Such teaching must begin with the child's first breath, Steiner says, and he quotes Jean Paul Richter who stresses the importance of the first three years of a child's life. As parents are the primary teachers during this period, they should take heed of Steiner and Richter's advice.
[page 64, 65] These difficulties can be overcome if we have truly made our own and imbued with spiritual science the knowledge that we bring to the pupils. Such knowledge, by opening one's eyes to each individual child, is all-important, particularly in this moral sphere. Ideally speaking, moral education would have to begin with the first breath taken in by the newborn, and in a certain sense, this really is what must be done. The great pedagogue Jean Paul (who is far too little recognized(2), unfortunately) said that a child learns more of value during the first three years of life than during the three years spent at university.
Steiner examines three stages of the first period of a child's life: walking, talking, and thinking. In the first stage the child learns all the movements a human being can make and achieves a balance in doing them. In the second stage of talking, the child integrates itself into the human environment via speech, which leads it directly into the third stage of making internal mental images and sharing them verbally with others.Note that each of these three stages before teeth change are driven by imitation. But there lies a deeper level of imitation during which the soul of the child imitates the soul of the parents and caregivers around it before teeth change. This corresponds to the meaning which flies from soul to soul on the wings of words which I elaborated a decade or so ago in my essay on the importance of a live lecturer. At any age we humans absorb the meaning which lives in a teacher's soul while the teacher discusses a subject. Teachers who read lectures without understanding the meaning transmit nothing to their students, losing the students' interest in the process.
[page 67 italics added] This truth needs to stand before the soul's eye, not just superficially, but with real psychological impact. For remarkable consequences follow when one is sufficiently aware of the child's adaptation to its surroundings. I will discover how surprisingly the little child's soul reverberates with even an unspoken thought, which may have affected my facial expression only fleetingly and ever so slightly, and under whose influence I may have slowed or speeded up my movements, no matter how minutely.It is astonishing how the small details that remain hidden within the adults soul are prolonged into the child's soul; how the child's life is drawn into the physical happenings of the surroundings, but also into the soul and spiritual environment. If we become sensitive to this fact of life, we will not permit ourselves even one impure, unchaste, or immoral thought near young children, because we know how imponderable influences work on children through their natural ability to imitate everything in their surroundings. A feeling for this fact and the attitude it creates are what make a person into a real educator.
When I read this next passage, I thought about my 2 parents, 4 grandparents, 40 aunts & uncles, and 80 first cousins I grew up among as a child and young adult. Their impressions on my soul helped me to raise my four children and pass those moral and ethics impressions on to them.
[page 67] Impressions that come from the company of adults around the child make a deep, though unconscious, imprint in the child's soul, like a seal in soft wax; most important among them are those images of a moral character. What is expressed as energy and courage for life in the child's father, how the father behaves in a variety of life situations, these things will always stamp themselves deeply into the child's soul, and will continue their existence there in an extraordinarily characteristic, though subtle and intimate, way. A father's energy will energize the entire organization of the child. A mother's benevolence, kindness, and love, surrounding the child like an invisible cocoon, will unconsciously permeate the child's inner being with a moral receptivity, with an openness and interest for ethical and moral matters.
Steiner explains how anthropology observes the human body abstractly, psychology observes the human soul and spirit separate from the body, and only anthroposophy observes the human being in body, soul, and spirit. Materialism is stuck in a fallacy of its own creation. A person we might call a "stick in the mud" is undoubtedly a materialist at heart, if they even have a heart.
[page 69] Materialism believes it can observe matter wholly externally. But only if one can see how soul and spiritual processes are everywhere streaming and radiating their forces into material processes, does one really know what matter is. Through spiritual knowledge, one learns to know how matter works and what its real nature is. One could answer the question, "What is materialism?" by saying, "Materialism, is the one worldview that does not understand matter."
As parents we cannot be in our children's presence at all times to ensure that they do not experience horrible scenes. These episodes will change a child's life, and we require teachers who are sensitive to the impacts such scenes have on a child and know how to transform the negative impact into a positive one. Teachers in a Waldorf School are specifically selected and trained in the ability to turn these character flaws into positive attributes.
[page 71] Now let's assume that a child has witnessed in the surroundings repugnant scenes from which the child had inwardly recoiled in terror. The child will carry such experiences into school life in the form of a characterological disposition, affecting even the bodily organization. If such a trait is left unnoticed, it will continue to develop according to what the child had previously absorbed from the environment. On the other hand, if true insight into human nature shows how to reorient such negative characteristics, the latter can be transformed into a quality of purity and a noble feeling of modesty. . . .
In school we have an immensely important opportunity to correct an unbalanced disposition through a genuine, intimate, and practical sense of psychology, which can be developed by the educator who notices the various tendencies of character, will, and psyche in the students. By loving attentiveness to what the child's nature is revealing, the teacher is in a position to divert into positive channels what may have developed as an unhealthy or harmful influence from the early environment. For one can state explicitly that, in the majority of cases, nothing is ever so negative or evil in an ethical predisposition that the child cannot be changed for the better, given a teacher's insight and willing energy.
My parents were sensitive to the tone of voice I used when I spoke. "Don't use that tone with me!" was the phrase which let me know that I had gotten off-base in my moral character.
[page 73] It is extremely important, therefore, that we understand the fine nuances of character expressed in the ways students bring their speech and language into the classroom. The general directions I have already presented regarding the observation of the pupils' moral environment now sound back to us out of the tone of their voices, out of the very sound of their speech, if we are sensitive enough to perceive it. Through the way children use language, they present us with what I would call their basic moral character. Through the way we treat language and through the way students speak during lessons, every hour, even every minute, we are presented with the opportunity as teachers to guide what is thus revealed through speech, into the channels we consider appropriate and right. Very much can be done there, if one knows how to train during the age of primary education what, until the change of teeth, was struggling to become speech.
We are lucky if we had teachers who shared with us their picture of the world colored by their own sympathies and antipathies, their likes and dislikes; we can accept or reject theirs freely, but they guide us in forming our own likes and dislikes. We are not so lucky if we had teachers who shared nothing of themselves and cast us adrift to learn likes and dislikes from our own observations sans any authoritative model and guidance.
[page 75] People who say that children should learn intellectually and through their own observations, free from the influence of authority, speak like flagrant amateurs; for we do not teach children merely for the years during which they are under our care, but to benefit their whole lives. And the various life periods, right up to the point of death, are mutually interrelated in very interesting ways.
What is the necessity, the power of authority, when exercised by a teacher? It allows children to accept learnings not yet fully comprehensible to them, but which will be grasped intellectually at a later stage of their development, and the very unanswered questions they held at this early stage become a powerful source of understanding at the later age.
[page 75, 76] If, because of the their teachers' natural authority, pupils have once accepted subject matter they could not yet fully comprehend with their powers of reasoning — for the intellectual grasp belongs to a later stage of development and works destructively if enforced too early — if they have accepted something purely out of love for their teachers, such content remains deeply preserved in their souls. At the age of thirty-five or forty perhaps, or possibly even later in life, it may happen that they speak of the following strange experience: Only now, after having lived through so many joys, pains, and disappointments, only now do I see the light of what I accepted at the age of eight out of my respect for my teacher's authority. . . . A sensitive and empathetic psychology tells us that such events give off life-invigorating forces even into old age.
In eurythmy — an art form, a dance developed by Rudolf Steiner which makes speech visible — our body, soul, and spirit flow together in a unity of motion. For this reason, children in Waldorf Schools learn to do eurythmy at an early age.
[page 92] Eurythmy feeds back into the child's cognitive faculties, endowing them with greater mobility, causing a keener interest and a sense of truthfulness; it feeds back into the human emotional disposition, which lives between the faculties of cognition and a persons will capacity. It is tremendously important that the human being, with the aid of eurythmy, be able to keep hold of the self as a whole, instead of living in the dichotomy of soul and spirit on one side, and human physical existence on the other.
People who ask, "How is the body related to the soul?", will never get an answer because they are asking a truly bad question. A better question would be, "How does the body and soul work together in harmony?" In eurythmy we can experience the answer to this question directly.
[page 92, 93] One could keep asking forever, "What is the relationship between body and soul?" It is downright comical to see the question coming up again and again! There have been no end of attempts to construct theoretical explanations of how the one side affects the other. But if this matter can be experienced directly — which happens when one does eurythmy — the question immediately assumes a different character. The question then becomes: How does an intrinsic unity composed of body, soul, and spirit come to work in separate ways, on the one side as soul element and on the other side as physical element? Getting hold of these interactions completely forces one to reshape the question altogether. Then, there is no need for theorizing, for everything is founded on practical experience and in accordance with reality. Some people have the opinion that anthroposophy deals with "cloud-cuckoo-land," whereas in fact, anthroposophy aims at working directly into practical life.
We mentioned earlier that materialists cannot understand matter because they try to analyze matter as if it were devoid of spirit. Similar to a color-blind artist who is not able to understand the whole range of colors, a materialist cannot truly understand the whole range of matter which includes spirit within it. They cannot understand any thing unless it is sensory-perceptible, so they cannot perceive the human process of will and how to create a will initiative in children.
[page 93, italics added] Nowadays, the spirit in matter is no longer perceived; as a result, the nature of matter is no longer understood. This nature can be comprehended only by doing. This may suggest how eurythmy affects the child. One can say that, when doing eurythmy, children, through the will, gets hold of the inner harmony between the upper more spiritual side of the human being and the lower more physical side, so that will initiative is being created. And will initiative is the very thing that needs to be cultivated in today's education.
The title of Lectures 6 and 7 poses a great Unanswered Question (UAQ)(3): "Why Base Education on Anthroposophy?" One answer is that anthroposophy allows us to meet each other soul to soul, and this is something a true teacher(4) must do with their children: they must meet each child as an individual soul and know how to read from its facial expressions, from its demeanor, from its complexion, from its behavior with others in the classroom what this little person with a full-blown soul is here to achieve in its present lifetime.
We have arrived at a time when it is common for educators to utilize objective experiments to determine what to do with an entire category of children. Notice how such an approach is antithetical to the Waldorf approach of a teacher directly experiencing each child by making soul to soul connections. Steiner does not disparage the use of experiments, but he sees the tendency that such experimenters express about our time: they eschew soul and spirit and the only path they have left is to experiment on the body of the child.
[page 101, 102] . . . such external experiments are necessary because we have lost touch with the inner human being. People can no longer meet and mingle with their fellow human beings, soul to soul, and so they try to do this through experiment, to read from bodily reactions the expressions of the soul that they can no longer approach directly. Today's experimental pedagogy and psychology are living proof that our science is powerless when it tries to approach the whole human being, who is spirit, soul, and body, all in one.
Only true knowledge of the human being in body, soul, and spirit can help us make real progress in pedagogy. But, outside of Waldorf Schools, most teachers are exposed only to theories of the human body, and few acquire the knowledge human body, soul, and spirit, knowledge which is the essence of anthroposophy. This gives us the answer to the eponymous question, Why Base Education on Anthroposophy?
[page 102] The theories we have today deal only with the human physical body, and whenever we try to approach the human soul and spirit, we fail despite all our frantic efforts. Soul and spirit must be investigated by ways other than the recognized scientific methods of today. To gain insight into human nature, we must follow a different path from the one commonly upheld as the standard of scientific exactitude and accuracy. The task of anthroposophy is to approach the true human nature, to search for a real knowledge of the human being, which sees spirit, soul, and body as a whole. Anthroposophy sets out to know again not only the physical aspect of the human being, but also the whole human being.
The physical aspect of the human body allows us to think in a matter-of-fact way in our everyday lives, exactly as materialistic thinkers aver. But when we move into creative activities, our human etheric body with its soul functions begins to take over(5).
[page 106, 107] But if I switch to imaginative creation, let us say to poetic creation, the physical body sinks a little into the background, while human ideation, using the etheric body, grows more mobile and active during this process. The various viewpoints are joined together in a more living way, and the whole inner being acquires a mobility greater than in the exercise of ordinary, matter-of-fact, everyday thinking. . . .
Science of the spirit becomes a knowledge that flows from the whole human being. Theory takes hold only of the head, but knowledge of the human being involves the human being as a whole. Anthroposophy gives us this knowledge, which is really more than just knowledge.
What exactly does anthroposophy teach us? We learn to recognize the formative-forces of the etheric body and how to eschew (shoo out) the rigid definitions of the physical world. If we can do that, then amazing things happen.
[page 108] All our concepts begin to grow mobile. Then a person who looks at the world of plants, for example, with this living, mobile knowledge, sees not merely fixed forms that could be rendered in a drawing, but living forms in the process of transformation. All of my conceptual life grows inwardly mobile.I feel the need for a lively freshness, because I no longer look at the plant externally; in thinking of it, I become one with its growth, its springing and its sprouting. In my thoughts I become spring in the spring, autumn in the autumn. I do not just see the plant springing from the soil and adorning itself with flowers, or the leaves fading, growing brown, and falling to the ground; not only do I see, but I also participate in the entire process. As I look out at the budding, sprouting plant in the springtime, and as I think and form ideas of it, my soul is carried along and joins in the sprouting and budding processes. My soul has an inner experience as if all concepts were becoming sun-like. Even as I penetrate deeper and deeper into the plant nature, my thoughts strive continually upward to the sunlight. I become inwardly alive.
People who have felt flashes of such enlivening experiences know intuitively that this is part of being a full human being. Note how different this is from any computer or theoretical scientist.
[page 108] In such an experience we become human beings whose souls are inwardly alive, instead of dry theoreticians. When the leaves lose their colors and fall to the ground, we go through a similar experience, through a kind of mourning. We ourselves become spring, summer, autumn, and winter. In our innermost soul, we feel cold with the snow as it falls on the earth, covering it with its veil of white. Instead of remaining in the realm of arid, dead thoughts, everything is enlivened within us.
What happens when a human being feels love? Does anyone deny the existence of love? It is a real experience, not some theoretical concept, is it not? Steiner explains that we cannot understand love if we deny the existence of an astral body. Forget the name. How it works in us to enrich our lives is what is important.
[page 108, 109] When we speak of what we call the astral body, some people become scornful of the idea, thinking it a crackpot theory, a figment of someone's imagination. But this is not the case. It is something observed as is anything in the real world. If this is really understood, one begins to understand something else too. One begins, for example, to understand love as inner experience, the way love weaves and works through all existence. As the physical body mediates an inner experience of cold or warmth, so the experience of the astral body grants an inner perception of whether love or antipathy is weaving and working. These experiences enrich our whole lives.
When I came home from studying physics in college each year, my head was full of ideas, but I couldn't share them with anyone and expect an effect on them like the simplest artwork might create. I felt full of ideas, but hollow of humanity. This was the reaction of my astral body, an antipathy to my chosen field of study, even though it would be decades before I understood that I had an astral body.
[page 109] When someone has internalized the essence of the astral body, the astral body also becomes a means for perceiving what is out there; it becomes an "eye of the soul." Such a person then looks into the soul of another, not in any superstitious or magical way, but in a perfectly natural way. Thus, a perception of what is in the soul of another human being takes place consciously, a perception that in ordinary situations is achieved, unconsciously, only in love. Contemporary science separates theory from practice. Anthroposophy introduces knowledge directly into the stream of life.
And you can certainly get wet if you jump into the stream of life, but not if you are wearing the waterproof suit that academic science covers your body with!
[page 113] We have the same chance of jumping into the water and not getting wet as we have of finding help in meeting the fresh souls of children within today's academic institutional teachings about the human soul and spirit. Just as certain as you will get wet if you jump into the water, so will the teacher, having assimilated the academic learning of today, be a stranger to everything that belongs to soul and spirit. This is a simple fact. And the primary concern of all who would practice the art of teaching should be the recognition of this fact in its full human significance.
Not only does academic teaching cover you with a wet suit, but it puts dark glasses on you, making human nature unseeable.
[page 114] The teacher begins to feel like one who, instead of being led into the light, is given dark glasses that almost cut out the light completely, for science manages to make even the physical nature of the human being opaque. It does not and cannot enable a teacher to reach the real being of children with their natural spirit-filled soul life.
The result is that teachers go away from each lesson they give feeling dissatisfied inwardly, and over time they become estranged from their children and the entire world, growing colder and more pedantic with each decade. All because of this very real lack of intimate contact between the teacher and the children being taught. Originally people experienced each other directly and called it thinking, feeling, and willing, but today these have become mere words lacking any life at all. We must look directly into a person's face to see the whole human being, but science teaches us to ignore faces and pay attention to academic theories.
[page 116] What does anthroposophy show us about thinking? As human beings, thinking equips us with thoughts. But the thoughts we have today in our ordinary civilized life appear as if, instead of looking at the face of someone we meet, we look at that person only from behind. When we speak of thoughts today, we see only the "rear view," as it were, of what really lives in thought. Why is this so?
When you look at a person from behind, you see, of course, a certain shape and form, but you do not learn about the person's physiognomy. You do not see the side where the soul life is outwardly expressed. If you learn to know thoughts the usual way in this scientific age, you come to know the rear view only, not the inner human being. If, however, you look at thoughts from the other side, they retain their life and remain active forces.
One can imagine teachers of today saying, "I have too many students to look every one of them in eye." Yes, you don't have to look them in the eye, dear Teachers, to tell them what to do, but is that the same as educating them? Do you feel a little dissatisfied at the end of a day? Perhaps you have spent too much time looking at their behinds instead of their faces where the light of spirit emanates from. What will happen if you look them directly in the eyes? You will experience the forces of growth or lack thereof. If there is a lack, you must experience it before you can draw the growth out of them, and educating is drawing out of students their growth forces. That's what can happen if you look at thoughts from the other side.
[page 116] What are these thoughts? They are the same as the forces of growth in the human being. Seen externally, thoughts are abstract; seen internally, we find the same forces in them by which the little child grows bigger, whereby a child receives form and shape in the limbs, in the body, in the physiognomy. These are the thought forces. When we look externally, we see only dead thoughts; in a similar way, when we view a person's back, we do not see that individual's living character. We must go to the other side of the life of thoughts, as it were, and then these same forces reveal themselves as working day by day from within outward, as the little child transforms an undefined physiognomy more and more into an expression of soul.
Steiner says clearly that "if you know thinking only from behind, only from its 'dead' side, you will understand the child only intellectually(6). If you learn to know thinking from the front, from its living side, you can approach children so that you do not merely understand them, but can also enter into all of their feelings and impulses so that you pour love into all of the children's experiences." (Page 117)
Generally a noun denotes a content and a verb a process, but, rightly understood, every noun or verb has a content and a process aspect. The content is the flattened-out dead aspect of the word, and the process is the living action of the word. Steiner recognizes that when he says, "Current civilization has only the word for thought; it no longer holds the substance that the word represents." (Page 117)I suspect that by word he means flattened-out content; by substance he means the living action or process of thinking as only a full human being can. I have found this distinction of content and process to be invaluable in squeezing insights out of otherwise imponderable statements(7).
Play is serious work to children. It engages their attention fully, as any parent can attest when calling a child inside from their play! What makes their play serious is that they are always imitating things they see adults do, playing house, playing cowboys and Indians, etc. Only if children enjoy play can they grow up to enjoy working later as adults and become so engrossed in tasks that they don't even notice the offices emptying all around them at the end of the scheduled workday. This was my experience as a child and as an adult in the jobs I loved the most. The short video clip at left shows children in serious play.
[page 126] Children truly long to develop, in their own way, the forces that adults develop. If we understand the human being and thereby also the child, we know that the child, through play, is always striving toward adulthood, except that a child will play with a doll instead of a living baby. We also know that children experience the greatest joy when, as part of what we bring them in education, we educate the future adults in them. This must be done properly, not in the dry and prosaic way that reflects our frequent attitude toward work as an irksome and troublesome task, but so that work itself becomes second nature to the human being. In the eyes of a child, work thus assumes the same quality as its own earnest and serious play.
One can wonder why teenagers rebel as in the movie, "Rebel Without A Cause", and Steiner pinpoints the reason for this rebellion. Our civilization has lost true knowledge of the full human being, looking instead to external nature and sensory-based data to explain the human being.
[page 132] Certainly, this natural physical foundation must not be considered unimportant in the field of education; nevertheless, the human being consists of body, soul, and spirit, and a real knowledge of the human being can be achieved only when spirit, soul, and body are recognized equally.
Educators must also come to realize that their innermost thoughts and feelings fly from soul-to-soul on the wings of words when they are in a classroom. If you have rebels in your classroom, the inner feelings they received from previous teachers, parents, and caregivers are the likely problem, and you, the teacher, are the solution, if you apply the tools of the full human being. Few teachers appreciate the depths at which their young children imitate everything they do, think, and feel in a classroom.
[page 135] We must make sure that the child can safely imitate whatever happens in the surroundings. This includes — and this is important — sentiments and feelings, even one's thought. The best educators of children under the age of seven do not just outwardly act in a way that is all right for the child to imitate — they do not even allow themselves any emotions or feelings, not even thoughts, other that what the child may imitate without being harmed.
Yes, no prosecutor can bring evidence that what you thought or felt caused harm, the illness or death of a child, but somewhere inside you will eventually know full well that you were the source of the sentiments, thoughts, and feelings which entered the child.
If a teacher has trouble with their students tiring of an activity, the solution is to switch to some rhythmic activity because our rhythmic system never tires. Our heart beat and respiration goes on so long as we are alive and never gets tired.
[page 137] In Waldorf schools we appeal to the particular human system that never tires at all. The human being tires in the head through thinking, and also get tired when doing physical work — when using will forces in performing limb movements. But the rhythmic system, with its breathing and heart system (the basis of every artistic activity) always works, whether one is asleep or awake, whether tired or fresh, because the rhythmic system has a particular way of working from birth until death. The healthiest educational system, therefore, appeals to the human rhythmic system, which never tires.
By teaching writing before reading, Waldorf schools activate the entire body, soul, and spirit of the child in an artistic exercise of learning to create the symbols of the alphabet and words before the child is exposed to the strictly head function of reading these words. When the child reaches the age of ten, it feels the need for simplification and a more direct and intellectual approach is called for.
[page 138] Only after the child has been allowed to experience artistic wealth is it possible to introduce the relative poverty of the intellectual element without the risk of disturbing the child's physical and soul development.
Between seven and fourteen the child moves into a growth period during which it grasps things beyond its comprehension based on its trust in the teacher's authority. Some teachers become respected and revered, and children who experience such teachers will grow up to be people who create a mood of blessing around them. Steiner gives us a simple way to understand this:
[page 141] If one wishes to be able in later life to lift one's hands in blessing, one must have learned to fold them in prayer during childhood. Symbolically, the folded hand of prayer during childhood lead to the blessing hands of old age.
Giving definitions to the children is like putting a straitjacket on them; their concept of the defined thing will stay with them into adulthood. You can spot children taught this was because they will spout off like little professors, describing each and every thing as if they knew it intimately, hiding the reality of their superficial knowledge. Armed with these rigid definitions, the children will grow into adults with little incentive to learn anything new, adults who will say, "I know that!" with assurance whenever any subject comes up.
[page 157, 158] If we were to bind a child of five for a time in a tight-fitting garment that would not allow further growth — I am speaking hypothetically of course, for this does not happen — we would commit a dreadful and heinous crime in the child's physical life. But this is just what we do to the child's soul life when we teach definitions intended to remain unchanged, definitions that the child's memory is expected to carry, fixed and unaltered, throughout life. It is most important that we give the child only flexible ideas and concepts, capable of further growth — physical, soul, and spiritual growth. . . . We should never nurture an ambition to teach children something to be remembered for all of life, but should convey only mobile ideas. . . . Real teachers should always be aware that some of the students sitting before them may one day far outshine them in intelligence and in other ways. True artists of education never assume that they are intellectually equal to the children sitting before them.
These artists of education will draw out the genius from their students, knowing that "they'll learn much more than we'll ever know."(8)
[page 161, 162] Our knowledge of the human being is intended to be a practice, the aspect of real life closest to the human soul; it is connected most directly with our duty to the becoming human being. If we learn to educate in this way, in harmony with human nature, the following reassuring thought-picture will rise before us: We are carrying into the future something required by the future!(9)
A new farmer had planted seedlings and was very concerned about their growing, so every night he went into his field and gave each seedling a little nudge to help it grow. The result: all his seedlings died. Teacher who try to nudge their children into growth and morality can take a lesson from the farmer.
[page 182] The hallmark of a right education is that whatever is meant to develop through inner maturity of soul out of a previous budding stage, will do so on its own. This approach is far better than grafting preconceived moral codes onto students. If we wish to cultivate morality, it must grow in the sphere of the will. This growth will occur only when we plant the seeds for it in young children. We can do this by kindling feelings of pleasure for good and feelings of aversion for evil during the stage of life when children need to experience love and sympathy for the educator.
Such an experience will give them an inner warmth and sense of security in their life, leading them to have a feeling of gratitude. (Page 185)
[page 185, 186] The feeling of gratitude toward the divine and spiritual powers is in itself a great source of revitalization for our earthly life. I would like to put it this way: What intensifies the physical organic forces in the blood is comparable to what vitalizes the human soul spiritually when it develops love and gratitude toward the entire universe.
Back in 1977, I went through a long period of study and came up with this dictum, "Thus a Teacher, So Also a Learner."(10) It contains no verbs, so the actions or process involved can be understood both ways. Teaching and Learning goes in both directions if it is true teaching. Steiner reports of a sign over the room where teachers meet for consultations which helped keep this spirit alive in the early Waldorf schools:
[page 187] All your educational endeavors should bring out in you the urge for self-education! Your self-education is the seed for everything you do for your children. Indeed, whatever you achieve can only be a product and result of your self-education.
Simply put: "Thus a Teacher, So Also a Learner."
When I was a child under the age of ten, our home did not have any books. About the age of ten, Maude Boudreaux brought over a box of ten books, children's classics, which her NAPA parts distributor had given to her PanAm gas station and auto repair shop across the street from us. This wonderful gift became my childhood treasure. I spent many afternoons reading Gulliver's Travels, Treasure Island, and many other stories. At my tender age, almost every page left me with an unanswered question or two, one I couldn't ask my parents about as they had never read these books themselves, so these became powerful forces of growth in my life. As soon as I was old enough to walk to our public library, I came home with the maximum number of books that could be checked out at one time: five. As soon as I finished those five, I came back for a new set of five. I read over 30 volumes of Dr. Doolittle books, every biography, and every science fiction book in the library. I feel like I spent more time on Mars than on Earth during this pre-high school period of my life. At age 76, people still tell me I look like 56, so I certainly did not "display signs of aging early" in my life, and I feel as enthused by my life now as when I was in grade school when I lived with fantasy in novels and with living pictures in comic books.
[page 220] We need rich, imaginative concepts, that can grow with the child, concepts that allow growth forces to remain active even when a person reaches old age. If children are taught only abstract concepts, they will display signs of aging early in life. We lose spontaneity and stop making human progress. It is a terrifying experience when we realize we have not grown up with fantasy, with images, with pictures that grow and live and are suited to the etheric body, but instead we grew up merely with those suited to abstraction, to intellectualism — that is, to death.Footnote 2.
"Spiritual midwives" who nurture the child's development are needed today to nurture the seed planted in the child by the spiritual world, true teachers who are both teaching and learning every day of their lives. Where can one find such teachers? They might be anywhere, given that I found some in the small town where I grew up, but one can certainly find them today in the Waldorf school nearest you. They are the most practical teachers you will find anywhere — they will foster the growth of your child's body, soul, and spirit, so that as an adult your child will remain excited about the world in which they live.
END OF Part II of Volume 2 Review, but you may CLICK HERE to READ Part I, if you missed it.
-~^~- Footnotes -~^~-
A footnote on page 65 identifies him thus: "Jean Paul Richter (1763-1825), German writer of novels and romances; he also wrote on pedagogy (Levana, 1807) and art (Vorschule der Aesthetic, 1804)" His name appears in two books I am currently reading, on page 65 of Kevin Dann's Expect Great Things (2017) and with several quotations by Ralph Waldo Emerson from Sept. 1842, on page 122-123 of Emerson Selected Journals 1841-1877.
Return to text directly before Footnote 2.
See Matherne's Rule No. 25 "What is the Power of an Unanswered Question?"
Return to text directly before Footnote 3.
See my Human Values in Education review which details 21 ways in which a true teacher in a Waldorf School deals with the education of children.
Return to text directly before Footnote 4.
Computers with any level of so-called "artificial intelligence" have no soul and spirit, and thus, while a computer can do enormous intellectual feats, it cannot create new concepts, artworks, etc. People who claim computers will become smarter than humans are merely describing the limit of their understanding of what a human being is: they see it merely as a physical machine. Computers may write poems, but, lacking soul and spirit, cannot recognize great poetry.
Return to text directly before Footnote 5.
A modern American teenager knows this reality and is likely to express it to a classmate using a common idiomatic expression to denote a teacher who never looks directly at her, "That teacher is an asshole — he never looks me in the eye — he doesn't have a clue about who I am or what I want."
Return to text directly before Footnote 6.
See my Essay, Art Is the Process of Destruction.
Return to text directly before Footnote 7.
From the famous Louis Armstrong song, "What a Wonderful World."
Return to text directly before Footnote 8.
What makes this thought "reassuring" is a feeling, a "time-wave from the future" as described in this Matherne's Rule #36, Remember the future. It hums in the present.
Return to text directly before Footnote 9.
This came to be known as Matherne's Rule #29.
Return to text directly before Footnote 10.
Read/Print the Entire Review at:
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Click Here for a List of 25 books of Waldorf Education Lectures by Rudolf Steiner
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I hear often from my Good Readers that they have bought books after reading my book reviews. Remember: A book is like a 3-D kindle. 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 coverse 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 Muses Over an Egregious TYPO in the Advocate's Headline Article 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 Puts MUSE back into MUSEUM with his Editing Pen:
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 my Brother-in-Law Dan: (Forwarded from W. Edward Crowder)
As a bagpiper, I play many events. Recently I was asked by a funeral director to play at a graveside service for a homeless man. He had no family or friends, so the service was to be at a pauper's cemetery in the Nova Scotia back country. As I was not familiar with the area, I got lost.
I finally arrived an hour late and saw the funeral guy had evidently gone and the hearse was nowhere in sight. There were only the digger crew left, and they were eating lunch. I felt badly and apologized to the men for being late.
I went to the side of the grave and, looking down, could see that the vault lid was already in place ready to be covered up. I didn't know what else to do, so I started to play.
The workers put down their lunches and began to gather around. I played out my heart and soul for this man with no family and friends. I played like I've never played before for this homeless man. And as I played "Amazing Grace", the workers began to weep. They wept, I wept, we all wept together.
When I finished, I packed up my bagpipes and started for my car. My head was hung low, but my heart was full. As I opened my car door, I heard one of the workers say to a fellow digger, "I've never seen anything like that before, and I've been putting in septic tanks for twenty years."
EMAIL from my buddy Barrett Chevalier in Alberta:
It's easy to see why the British Actor (at right) was the perfect choice to play Hank Williams in "I Saw the Light."
Also, when I get your latest newsletter, I always do a search to see if my name appears in it.
Sadly, for the past few issues, the answer is no!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ URGENT REPLY ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Hope this repairs the damage, Bobby
- EMAIL from Kip & Lois in Austin re: DIGESTWORLD ISSUE#171, January 1, 2017: ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ REPLY ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Sorry about the confusion, typical Holiday uncertainty due to grandkids' schedules. Gets problematic when they get past 15. Hope to see you around Easter.
- POSTCARD from Nephew Sean Matherne and wife Kristina in South Korea.
- EMAIL from cousin Adrian Matherne:
Thank you for the bottle of wine made in Bourg France you gave me to celebrate the publishing of my first book, "A Look Back In Time Life — In Bourg Louisiana". It was so thoughtful of you. (See attached Picture) The wine was excellent and greatly appreciated.
Again thank you, Adrian
EMAIL from Leo Beth in Holland:
first of all I'd like to wish you and Del a wonderful 2017!
Reading your Digestworld DW#171 the following question arose: is it because of your photographical skills or does Christini Pessini really have a halo?
Joy to the world !
Your reader from Holland since we met at the Goetheanum,
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ REPLY ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I remember you well from the Goetheanum. Christina is 6 foot tall and from Brazil. I had just been in Brazil where I only saw short gals. I told her "You must very tall in Brazil." She said, "Yes, I feel like an alien!"
Yes, the halo is a small halo light in the ceiling, but she really is an angel.
P. S. Her face appears as the "Grace Photo" here.
EMAIL from Kristina in Australia re Latest DW Issue:
Well done Bobby! You are a true wordsmith.
Happy New Year to you and Del. It will be 2017 in 5 hours.
Here is a photo for you from my yard. Here is a present for you.
EMAIL Reply to Professor Henry Gurr in South Carolina:RJM NOTE: It was not Henry, but someone whose email he included in an email to his List, which I am on, included the expression "somewhat odd doyletics site". This gave me a chance to explain to Henry and to you Good Readers why the doyletics site may seem odd to some folks. Here's the applicable part of my response to Henry.Dear Henry,
As the founder of the science of doyletics, I admit to taking pride in the "somewhat odd doyletics site" which I created to be a FIRST AID KIT, and not some fancy-schmancy bells&whistles website with flashing boxes and images all over the place. It's a KIT containing all you need to know in one place about removing unpleasant physical body states (doyles). Notice the Red Cross emblem is inverted, a White Cross. Red Cross folks deal with bloody injuries; doyletics helps folks deal with non-bloody injuries: psychic injuries which hamper full growth of human beings, acquired from one's parents and caregivers before the age of five. This Kit with its ALL-IN-ONE Speed Trace allows one to remove these psychic injuries (injuries to the psyche) in under a minute.
The Doyletics Foundation
- EMAIL from Michel in Australia:
Subject: The Story of San Michele
Hello, and first a big thank you for your review of this wonderful book. June last year 2016 I went on a first trip back to Europe since 1983 from Australia. Of Capri I knew only a romantic French song of my early 27 years in France. (Capri c'est fini)... But I discovered Capri with a lot of joy and went up to Anacapri. Its San Michele villa presented me with the surprise of a Swedish flag amidst Italian flags. Then I heard of Axel Munthe, the Swedish Doctor who wrote this story of San Michele. I also got a copy of the book from in good condition!
I'm not much of a reader — I would guess about one book per decade. But I loved it, and I read it slowly. It fascinated me for various reasons. In Anacapri I rediscovered the beautiful Linden Trees of my tender youth. The villa is so beautiful and the book tells me so much more about it. The Sphinx alone is a kind of miracle.
I have a friend, also a nurse, who loves to read, and I have been pestering her to have a go at it. She passed through Capri but did not go to visit Anacapri and its wonderful villa. Our local libraries do not have the book, but the way you wrote your review seems to me the perfect way to present this book to her. I did search a little to find someone who had something to say about this forgotten book and I'm so glad I came across your review and its lovely photos.
Best regards and I must return to the book now to maintain the level of my reading average!
3. Poem from Freedom on the Half Shell:"Curtains for the Wall"
Give me your poor, huddled masses, your deplorables 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:
Curtains for the Wall
From Budapest to Bucharest
Democracy's in from the West
Communism's on its knees
Heedless of its dictators' pleas
Economies of running free
Dog the heels of history.
In the Eighties' East Germany
It took half-a-year's salary
To buy a color VCR
And a BMW car
Required the riches of a Czar.The Wall fell downIt wasn't hammers and chisels
And broke its crown
And all the King's horses
and all the King's men
Couldn't put it together again.
Or rockets or guided missiles
That transformed the Wall into dust
And turned the Iron Curtain to rust
But seeds of democracy nourished
By flowing tears of the vanquished.
And when the Wall completely disappears —
We'll remember over the years —
As the Wall receded, brick by brick,
It was communication that did the trick.
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9. CLOSING NOTES:
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