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WELCOME TO DIGESTWORLD ISSUE#175 May, 2017== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==Quote for the Merry Month of May:
The foolish seek happiness in the distance, the wise grow it underfoot.
— James Oppenheim, American poet, novelist, and editor
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DIGESTWORLDArchived DIGESTWORLD Issues
GOOD MOUNTAIN PRESS Presents ISSUE#175 for May, 2017
Table of Contents
1. May's Violet-n-Joey Cartoon
2. Honored Readers for May
3. On a Personal Note
Rainbows & Shadows Poems
4. Cajun Story
5. Household Hint for May, 2017 from Bobby Jeaux: How to Save Your Whistle
6. Poem from Letters to a Young Novelist: "A Poet Might"
7. Reviews and Articles featured for May:
8. Commentary on the World
- ARJ2: Discussions with Teachers, GA#295 by Rudolf Steiner
- ARJ2: The Art of Fiction by David Lodge
- ARJ2: The Star Café and Other Stories by Mary Caponegro
- ARJ: Life of the Human Soul and its Relation to World Evolution, GA#212 by Rudolf Steiner
1. Padre Filius Cartoon
2. Comments from Readers
3. Freedom on the Half Shell Poem
4. Weeding Our Gardens with a First Aid Kit
9. Closing Notes — our mailing list, locating books, subscribing/unsubscribing to DIGESTWORLD
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1. May Violet-n-Joey CARTOON:
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==This month Violet and Joey learn about Birthdays.
For newcomers to DIGESTWORLD, we have created a webpage of early Violet-n-Joey cartoons!
"Birthdays" at http://www.doyletics.com/images/170421vj.jpg
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2. HONORED READERS FOR May:
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Each month we choose to honor two Good Readers of our DIGESTWORLD from those all over the World. Here are the two worthy Honored Readers for May, 2017:
Barrett Chevalier in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Mike Jamison in Metairie, Louisiana, USA
Congratulations, Barrett and Mike !
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3. ON A PERSONAL NOTE:
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Out Our Way:
The term "April Showers" doesn't apply to New Orleans weather. Oh, we get a shower or two during the month, but no baseball games were delayed no festivals were filled with rain coats and umbrellas, so far as I know. Our Welcome Home party at Timberlane took place under lowering skies, but no rain or high winds bothered us or our guests. We had a beautiful day on Friday of the French Quarter Festival, great weather for our visit to the Red River camp and the crawfish boil at our daughter Kim's house in Alexandria, nice cool and dry weather for Easter weekend at our daughter Yvette's camp in Burton, Texas, and dry roads to our other daughter Carla in Beaumont. We dodged a dicey thunderstorm on the way home by going down through US-90 and Morgan City. What showers we had provided welcome relief for our Spring gardens, both veggies and flowers are doing great.
Local foods in New Orleans have their own season. April is the last best month for oysters on the half shell because it has an "R" in its name. We eat oysters during the summer months, and we playfully call them Mray, Jrun, Jruly, and Argust.April is the month of blackberries and our north side hedge produced nearly a plastic clamshell of large ripe berries every other day. We have received a bushel or two of grapefruit this month, probably the last of the season. We squeeze a quart or so of juice to reduce the volume of refrigerator space the large fruit take up. It's quicker to drink a small glass of juice than to section and eat a grapefruit, and I enjoy both ways of consuming the delicious fruit. Our grapefruit orchard is finally showing a growth spurt and we look forward to eating from our own trees. Until then our good friend Jim Webb has been sharing his large crop with us, which we are very thankful for. My red potato crop produced a nice mess of potatoes for a pot of snap beans and potatoes. We always use fresh beans which we snap ourselves; I ate so much canned green beans as a kid that I never realized how delicious fresh beans could taste until I started cooking them for myself several decades ago.
WELCOME HOME PARTY FOR DAN & KAREN AND DAVID & MADDIE
As Del's kids say, "Momma caters and Bobby cooks", so when we have a party, Del goes into Catering Overdrive and does a great job.
Our maid was here to help serve the food, Chastity was here for the making and serving drinks at bar on the portico, and Armand St. Martin was here to play and sing some music. The three arrived about 3:30 and got themselves all set up. Things went perfectly smooth the whole evening. As usual Del made sure we had leftovers. Armand brought a plastic cover for his gear in case the rains came. The air looked and felt like rain was coming, but it never did. It thankfully held off till about 1 AM when the heavens opened up, giving us a good soaking rain which our gardens needed desperately.
The two sets of honorees were the first to arrive. Dave and Maddie came through the front door where I welcomed them, and Dan and Karen through the side door, where Del welcomed them. Then I introduced them to each other, one couple just moved here from Charlotte and another from Jacksonville. Karen worked as top sales rep for several shipping companies and had to move where they needed her to be. This took her and Dan to Coral Springs, Chicago, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, and finally Charlotte.When she retired, she told Dan he could choose where to live for the first time and Dan chose New Orleans so they bought a house nearby across the Lake in Mandeville. Dave and Maddie had two houses in Jacksonville, a large one in the city and a smaller beach house. They also owned a small apartment on Burgundy in the French Quarter and met our friends John and Sandra Callendar and then us. David joined my men's club and we enjoyed his and Maddie's company. She became a member of Muses and designed a special Muses high-heel shoe for me (LSU theme) and one for Del. The Krewe of Muses is all-women Carnival organization which throws and gives away high-heeled shoes each Mardi Gras season. Soon Dave and Maddie hated to the leave the city, and they bought a more permanent place a block or so away from Burgundy. Selling their big house in Florida marked a sea change for them, from the shores of the Atlantic to that of Lake Pontchartrain, and they made the big move. Del planned a party for them about a year ago, but some life events set Dave and Maddie back several months, but they finally got everything packed to move. Another delay: Danny, their large spaniel tore a ligament and needed an operation causing another delay.While Del kept delaying the plans for Dave and Maddie's party, her brother Dan and his wife Karen moved back to New Orleans, and that's how this combined Welcome Home party came about. The timing in the first week of April ensured nice cool outdoor weather and that's exactly what we got. The house and portico began filling up around 4 PM and everyone had a great time.
Del had gotten, at my request, a couple of doberge petit-fours. I arranged each on a small plate with a candle stuck into it, like a birthday cake. In the middle of the event, I brought out the two confections, gave one to Dan and Karen, lit it, and said, "Make a Wish and Blow it Out." Did the same with Dave and Maddie. Then I told everyone that this party was to welcome back these two couples to New Orleans: Dan and Karen, who had lived away for almost 30 years; Dave and Maddie who had now bought a home in New Orleans. I added, "If this were a birthday party, we'd all sing 'Happy Birthday' together, so let's sing along with this song instead." And I signaled Armand St. Martin to begin playing and singing, "Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans?" Everyone joined in singing while the two couples and Del and I danced to the number.It was a great party: a time to have some good friends from my men's club and Del's country club board all together with our returned family and new friends at our home at one time.
Del told Laurie, Mike Jamison's lady, that I enjoyed giving an art tour of our home, and Laurie is very keen on art, so I did a quick tour. She particularly enjoyed my daughter Maureen's artworks so I told her that she had taught art at Bonnabel High School before becoming Vice Principal at East Jefferson and Laurie said, "Oh, I know Ms. Bayhi!" Speaking of art, Frank Arneman brought his camera and took over the photographing duties for me early on, so you'll see more photos of me in this Issue than usual. (The photographers rarely get their photos taken.) After everyone left we went to bed and awoke the next day to find it raining for the entire day. It was the day when tornadoes touched down across the street from our daughter Kim's home in Alexandria, knocking down some pine trees, but not damaging the house. Kim's daughter, Katie in Woodward, had their power knocked out for a long time but no damage.
FRENCH QUARTER FESTIVAL AND OLD POINT BAR
Del and I left about 9:15 am for Quarter and was able to get one of several remaining spots in our favorite lot. We walked to PJ's on Decatur for my morning café latte and then headed to Bourbon Street and the Music Legends Park where Del and I ate a light breakfast there. Talked to tourists about which of the Legends were still alive. We lost Allen Toussaint and Pete Fountain last year. Fats Domino, Ronnie Kole, Irma Thomas and Chris Owens are still playing and singing. Al Hirt and Louie Prima are gone but not forgotten.
We went through the Royal Sonesta to see their courtyard flowers, but the orchids were almost all gone. We walked to the Monteleone Hotel to rest till Felix's Oyster House opened at 11 AM. As we walked into Felix's, Michael Jackson (MJ) directed us to take his spot and served us some incredibly delicious (and huge) Louisiana oysters. He also gave us his pre-made oyster dipping sauce, which we liked, but it was a bit too tart so I added ketchup to it and it became just right.We could focus on eating instead of preparing the sauce. Del usually got ahead of me on eating oysters because I usually prepared the sauce but not this time. Took a photo of MJ with his assistant Simpson and gave him a twenty-spot tip again this time. The tip was more than the dozen oysters cost us ($15) but so large we didn't need to buy our usual two dozen. We couldn't eat another oyster after our baker's dozen, but he charged us for only twelve. I remember the first time I gave MJ a twenty spot: he held it up to the as if make sure he was seeing right and said so all could hear him, "My landlord thanks you!"
Then we walked down Bourbon, switched one block over to Royal and headed to Café du Monde for café au lait and beignets. I got us one of each; Del drank water and ate half of the order of 3 beignets. The kid who served us never came back for his $6 + $1 tip, so I let another couple take our place and told them to give the waiter our money. I also helped a group of guys who were looking into the room from the line across the railing from our table to get a table close by when one came free.
We left just in time to catch Banu Gibson's gig across the street in Jackson Square Park. She was already in full swing, ready to sing a Peggy Lee song, when we arrived. As she sang and talked about Peggy Lee, she began to channel her, and blended in with some lascivious gestures and suggestions Mae West-style. After her song, she turned to band and asked, "Did I just say all that out loud?" and turned back to crowd to apologize. She sure knows how to work a crowd.
She recognized me right away from our jazz cruise last December; the black hat did the trick. After her set was over, I bought an early CD of hers and waited for her to come out of the fenced area where there was a line to get CD's autographed. I held up mine, but what I wanted was a hug, not a signing, so when some guy had a CD that was unopened, I slipped by as he worked on the cellophane to get my hug. Great to see her again. From there Del and I walked towards the Cherry Max to place Del's birthday present in the trunk. Del did not want to stay in the Quarter any longer. I has planned on hearing the Cajun Bruce Daigrepont and then Irma Thomas, but Del was done for the day.We drove directly to our friend Burke Fountain's new house on Patterson in Algiers Point. Got to see the inside of his two-Bedroom, one-bath home away from home, all renovated. I took a photo of him and Candy on the front porch. I told them they looked too scruffy from painting to have their photo taken inside the house. They still had some painting and cleanup to do, so Del and I drove home, took a nice nap, got up and I finished the shrimp fettuccini. Then we drove back to meet Candy and Burke to go to the Old Point Bar. We parked a short 200 ft away and I walked in to find Rick Trolson playing keyboard and singing. His wife Barbara (we met them both on the same jazz cruise as Banu) was tickled pink to see us and got chairs and introduced us to her daughter and son-in-law. Candy and Burke disappeared outside in the shade and we later joined them. A trumpet player came up to show with pride, a trumpet he bought on eBay for $150. Three toned: cherry brass bell (hand-formed), 10K gold plate in places, and silver in other places. It sounded really good. The trumpet was heavy which kept it from sounding tinny. Heard him play "Just My Imagination" on it and no imagination at all, it produced a great mellow sound!
TWILIGHT GARDEN CLUB AND DEL'S BIRTHDAY
Del's Twilight Garden Club's luncheon was here on the 10th and Del's birthday two days later. Having a garden club meeting here at Timberlane means a week or two of white glove inspection and hiding away all my working materials. Lucky for me the luncheon came a week after the party and involved only one period of "Don't Touch Anything" tiptoeing around the house. The other good thing for Del was that much of the stuff she needed for the party could be used a week later for her club luncheon, the soft drinks, wine, etc.
Then, two days later, it was Del's 72nd birthday. I swore that I could hear echoes of the church bells ringing all over New Orleans 72-years ago as baby Del was laid into her mother Doris's arms. Doris told us she asked the nurse, "Are they ringing these bells for my daughter?" >The nurse said, "No, our President Franklin Roosevelt died this morning in Warm Springs, Georgia." Since church bells are rung to chase demons from a church before a service, we know that all the demons in the city had left town when Del arrived in her mother's arms for the first time.
On my regular morning trip to PJ's, JC usually tries to sell me a Sunrise muffin. These are fresh baked each morning and it is similar to a bran muffin but filled with chunks of delicious fruit. I love them and so does Del, but we restrict ourselves to about one a month. And today was the day! I told JC at PJ's that the Sunrise muffin was for my wife's birthday and when I went to sign the bill, I noticed that he hadn't put the muffin on the bill. So I showed the bill to him. "Tell Del Happy Birthday from PJ's." Nice gesture. Del's birthday cake was a gift from PJ's, thanks to JC.
Del wasn't in the kitchen when I brought the muffin home, so I removed its paper base, got a candle, and some matches ready. I placed it in the microwave for 20 seconds when Del came in the room, I inserted and lit the candle. Del was making her coffee, and when she turned the corner to face the table, she saw the lit candle and Sunrise Muffin. Then I began singing Happy Birthday, first in her right ear, then moving around to her left and back to right, "I'm surrounding you with Love." I told her. She cut the cupcake in half and we each enjoyed our slice of the unique birthday cake!
Later that afternoon, we left for Mandeville where Del and Dan had to sign papers for a piece of investment property they had just sold. Karen suggested that she and I do the Maritime Museum in Mandeville, knowing neither she nor I wanted to wait while lawyers do paperwork. Great idea, so we did a tour of the museum. Learned a lot I didn't know about the Tchefuncte River. For example, New Orleans was captured by the Union forces in the middle of the Civil War and Mandeville and the whole North shore of Lake Pontchartrain remained in the Confederacy. Seems backwards, doesn't it? Should have been the South shore which remained in the CSA. The Union soldiers made everyone in New Orleans take a pledge of allegiance to the Union or be declared enemies and shipped to Madisonville. A deportation en masse of these war-created enemies produced a base of early residents for the North shore.
Karen and I went back to the house where her grand-daughter Heather was seated at the dining room table, studying biology to become a nurse. Dan and Del returned from accepting check for their piece of property and we went out to celebrate Del's birth and the sale of the property.Outside the house we walked in Dan's garden and the left for our destination, the La Nuvolare Restaurant. An Italian Ristorante named after an Italian car racer, and the food and service was fine, with good New Orleans seafood. I had the pompano over wild rice and my Cranberry Sunrise. Oyster appetizer was very good, but the corn-shrimp bisque was tepid, the shrimp too big, and it had no bisque-y taste at all. My pompano entre was great and I cleaned my plate. I suggested a small slice of pie with a candle, but Del asked for cheesecake and ended up with a huge slice almost 4 inches high, way too big, deliciously creamy, and way too many calories.
This was the night of a Sons of the American Revolution banquet in another room and we several members of my club coming to it: Dick Dickey, Russ Copping, and others.
We had a great dinner together to celebrate the sale of Dan and Del's property and Del's 72nd birthday.
CAMP AND CRAWFISH IN ALEXANDRIA
I finished my packing for trip and got things ready to place into our Maxima when Del got home from appointments. We left about 1 PM or so and drove to Alexandria. Katie and Stephen Upton were there with Ben and Abbigail. Kim had made some dinner, pork chops for Thomas (his favorite), shrimp creole for others.Wes showed me around his S. Hampton home, the post-tornado damage. He lost 3 tall pines on the far corner of his property and only sawdust remained when the trees were cleared away. It didn't hit his house. Neighbors had ten-ft. high stacks of tree limbs on their property, with some trees still being cleared and some still had hanging down broken limbs and blue tarp roofs. We drove past an area several blocks from their house next to a drainage ditch which overflowed. We saw about a dozen or so flooded houses, and all their belonging were at the street to be picked up.
Wes's having the bricks leveled and repointed around his swimming pool and it should look great. The back part is finished, about 1/3 of the area. His son Weslee was watching the LSU game against Ole Miss with his girl Laurel, and I joined them.It was enjoyable to watch as the Tigers took a 15-0 lead into top of 9 before the Rebels scored two runs.
GOOD FRIDAY: Up early to find that Kim and Wes were keeping an eye on Thomas who seemed to be having a gall bladder attack. Wes knew the symptoms and talked to Thomas until everyone agreed he didn't need to go to the hospital. Wes and I headed to the Red River camp to see and enjoy the new lake there. Wes says they haven't named the lake, he and his partner Oday Lavergne having trouble agreeing on a name. Oday wants to call it Lake Lavergne and Wes wants something else. He said they had a favorite name for one of their activities called "Geronimo" and I suggested Lake Geronimo might be a name they could agree on for the new lake. It's way too big to be called a pond.
Wes and Oday worked with the "Steak Guy" to create a fish hatchery on their lake, following all the recommendations of methods used to create the hatchery down in Woodward where he works. Wes said that they thank him for his help with a big steak, almost rare, thus the moniker, "Steak Guy". Kim and Del followed later in Kim's car after Thomas finally felt better and went to sleep (having been up most of the night.) Wes took me on a drive in the cart around the large lake, green grass all around the level banks.Everything was clean and neat — what a change from the city dump appearance it had only six months or so ago. A new boat shed was built using old growth cypress rescued from the lake's bottom and milled into 3/8" boards. It houses a place to dock two boats, but only one boat is permanently on the lake: Wes' two person pontoon boat with an electric trolling motor for propulsion. The battery can be charged via an outlet in the boat shed. Wes had an aluminum tray built to hold drinks and fishing stuff which is attached to the post of the red sunshade umbrella set in the base of the boat between the two chairs. Very comfortable to sit in and fish from.
He drove me around the lake in the boat and Oday arrived, followed shortly by the girls. We caught a lot of fish. Wes provided the rod and reels and they were set up for a left-hander like himself. It was disconcerting, having to switch hands to reel in a fish after hooking it, but since we were not keeping them to fry, missing a few fish was not a problem.Wes and I started on the largemouth bass and about every third cast with a shiner on the hook, we brought back a six to eight inch bass. Threw them back in to get bigger, but they had grown this big from fingerlings in six months. In another six months and we'll be throwing them into the deep fryer after fileting them. Wes showed Del how to catch perch and she caught her first ever fish, a nice hand sized bream. These two are only six months from cooking and eating size. Oday showed Kim how to fish and her excitement at catching a bream equaled her mom's.
The pier that goes out into the lake has a spit of land big enough for the electric cart to pull up next to the pier. Everything is shaded and lots of places for catching fish. I decorated a nearby tree branch with a red and white Christmas ornament (the plastic bobber from an errant cast I made).
Later I walked over to the boat shed as Wes was driving the Pond King Sport (boat) over to its mooring and charging spot. I wanted to see the cypress woodshed up close. On the side of the shed facing the lake is a long shelf with a sink for cleaning fish. They have thought of everything a good fishing camp needs.
Wes drove back to his home and found a big styrofoam cooler full of very large crawfish newly delivered by FedEx from Lafayette. This was an experiment that Wes wanted to try. They guaranteed him 8-to-12 per pound sized crawfish all live. And that they were - huge. These forty lbs added to several hundred pounds of crawfish Wes had ordered locally. Thomas and Oday-John cranked up three burners and began boiling. The smallest burner on the left was for the veggies. When all three were running it sounded like the deck of an aircraft carrier with jet fighters taking off.
Wes called me when the flame was off for the first batch and it began its twenty-minute soaking. This soaking in the spicy liquid makes the crawfish extra spicy, but I prefer the normal spicy level. I ladled myself several trays and sat back and enjoyed the crawfish while the boiling process continued.
Then I went inside to watch the second LSU game and this one didn't come out too good. Poche only gave up 5 hits, but four of them were solo homers and LSU couldn't get their bats going and lost the game 4-1. (The next day LSU did win the series with a great game by Eric Walker who's become a stalwart weekend pitcher. By the time the LSU game was over we were ready to hit the sack as we were leaving early the next morning for a long drive to Burton, Texas where Yvette and Greg's ranch is.
BRAZOS BELLE AND EASTER SUNDAY IN BURTON
Early Saturday morning we left Alexandria, going down Hwy 165 towards Lake Charles and arrived there in time for an early breakfast at the Waffle House right next to Steamboat Bill's. From there we drove into Texas, driving through Beaumont, Houston, and on to Burton.Over 60% of the highways through Texas seemed under construction with concrete stanchions lining the road where a breakdown lane would usually be. Driving 75 mph a couple of feet from a concrete wall is no fun; it's white knuckle time. Nothing relaxing about such a drive, especially on a busy holiday weekend. But it got worse: we came to a complete stop on US 290 outside of Houston, crawling along at the speed of 2.4 miles a day or .l mph. After one hour, we had passed the overpass where the accident had happened which required 5 lanes of heavy Easter traffic to be funneled into one lane. Yvette was fixing a lunch for us, so we texted her our progress, or lack thereof. We arrived about 2:30 to see Greg mowing the grass around 12 acre ranch which has mostly become their weekend home. I took my fishing rods and tackle box and went to Yvette's pond. I wanted to try out my fly rod with a popping bug on it. I caught a nice largemouth bass and a couple of bream.Then I showed Yvette how to filet the fish using my tackle box as a base. We got three nice filets, but we were going out to dinner with the neighbors later so she put the fish in the fridge. I brought her 3 boxes of Zatarain's seasoned fish fry so she can fry them later for herself. Aiden, her teenage son, with a puzzled expression, looked up and asked me, "You can eat bream?" I resisted my impulse to chuckle. I've been eating them, we called them perch, since I was a small child.
We helped Yvette decorate her Easter eggs. She had dyed them, but had no decorating pencil, so I used a Chapstick to write her name on one egg, and make an Easter Cross on another and re-dipped them into dye and they came out great.
That night we met their neighbors at the Brazos Belle Restaurant in Burton. I had seen it two years ago when we came for Easter, and didn't realize we had eaten there before. As I walked up the steps on this night, I suspected it was the site of Sean and Kristina Matherne's Rehearsal Dinner back in July, 2011. Their wedding was in Brenham and we drove to this place at night, and I never heard the name Burton mentioned then. If I had I wouldn't have remembered it because Yvette and Greg bought their ranch in Burton some years later. Once we were inside, I was sure this was the place because it matched my memory of the rehearsal dinner. The room we ate in back then was closed off, the rest of the restaurant matched my recall. My photos of Sean's wedding events are in this DIGESTWORLD ISSUE: DW#118.
Arnie and Christine own the ranch next to Yvette and Greg, and Kent and Reyna Newsome are Yvette's neighbors in Bellaire and also own a ranch down Faist street in Burton about a half mile away. We had all of Kent, Arnie and Greg's kids at one table and the adults at another table. Reyna's parents Warren and Gloria also joined our table; it was great seeing them. We had met them in Burton Easter before last. It was a lively time and good food. When we got back to Kent and Reyna's house, they pulled out a game called "Codeword" and we adults worked at learning this new game. As Clue-Giver, I called out BOGART, hoping to get THUG, PLOT, CAST as a three-pointer, but someone on my team thought of Bogart's role in "African Queen" and choose QUEEN first and we got no points. On our next turn, I chose CAGNEY and got all three this time. We were still going to lose, however, when the other side chose GLASS, which was this round's Assassinator Word, which gave us a come-from-behind victory. Strange game, but fun and intriguing.There's a soul-to-soul communication process going on during this game, and Reyna's two daughter apparently did that wordless communication so well that they were unbeatable and no longer invited to play.
By the time we got to our bed, we immediately drifted off to sleep. The third long day in a row and two more coming up.
EASTER: When we awoke and went in the dining area, we saw that Yvette had prepared separate Easter Baskets of goodies for the kids and the grandparents, me and Del. She had included in ours a half dozen inch-square candy bars that I enjoyed as a child, 3 Musketeers, Snickers, Butterfinger, Milky Way and that ilk. Great to taste them again. I also had in my basket an LED headlamp and a magnetic tray for holding small parts when repairing things and a bottle of raw honey. We had brought Yvette a package of Papa Frank's Cornbread Mix, and Yvette baked a batch to bring to the feast at the Newsome Ranch along with a delicious carrot soufle and seared Brussel sprouts. Earlier that morning, Yvette and I went to her blackberry patch to pick some blackberries. The drought was now over in this part of Texas making her blackberries were bountiful this year. She crouched down to pick them as the bushes were not more than a foot above ground. There was a shallow gully and she warned me not to get too close or I might fall into it. I eventually tested the gully and found it to be solid ground and by walking in its deepest part, I could pick blackberries without having to bend over, making the whole process easier.She and I picked at least a quart in the short time we were picking.
Then we drove to Kent & Reyna's for Easter Dinner. The weather was great. Luke the preteen Newsome said grace as we held hands in the kitchen, then kids ate outside and the adults mostly at the kitchen table. There was a lot of good food consumed and soon we were sitting out on the porch enjoying the cool breezes and watching the hummingbirds zooming from feeder to feeder. The parents and kids went to a distant area across the pond to play soccer and volleyball as the grandparents watched. I walked out to see them, and got some good photos of the local wildflowers and of the volleyball game.
In the late afternoon we went back to Yvette and Greg's ranch and we took a walk to see the severe erosion that had washed away a corner of their property where the gully there greatly increased in size from a recent flood. As we walked, the guy whose driveway goes along the left side of their property walked by and we talked to him. The land over the gully had washed away so much, he could no longer drive to his ranch because the land bridge is too narrow. He had to stop driving up to edge of the remaining land bridge because the cows began nibbling on the plastic parts of his car, so now he's got a very long walk from the street where he parks his car.The county had put in larger culverts upstream from his crossover, and that caused his bridge to wash away. Now, he's required to install at least the same size of large culverts when he rebuilds his bridge across the gully.
The four of us walked back to the fire ring next to the outdoor swing which is a short walk from the lodge. It was growing dark and the air was getting cool, so Aidan started a fire using wood Greg had cleared earlier. As the stars at night shone big and bright, we sat by a large campfire deep in the heart of Texas, and watched the lightning bugs flit around the ground as Orion and the Big Dipper filled the sky overhead. A fitting end to a wonderful Easter weekend at the ranch.
BEAUMONT AND PEANUT BUTTER
On Monday morning, we decided to break up the last leg of our long weekend trek by stopping at our third daughter Carla's home in Beaumont. We woke up to some avocado spread on delicious toasted bread by Yvette. Then I couldn't resist one of Greg's waffles with one of the blackberries we picked the day before in each hole. Del and I left about 8 AM and headed for our other daughter Carla's home in Beaumont. Carla had just returned home from a college visit on the West Coast with her daughter Molly Sunday afternoon. Since Beaumont is about halfway to our house in New Orleans, it makes a good rest stop and lunch break, with a big bonus of hugs all around.It was another white-knuckle drive along 4 different US 290 highways under construction. In the construction maze, I missed a left turn-off and ended up on I-10 through Houston's downtown area, but the highway was wide and clear there, newly re-opened it seemed. Then between Beaumont and Vidor, a lot of construction again. It seems we spent too much of the weekend on Texas highways under construction.
We reached Carla's home only a few minutes late, and her guy Patrick was there already. She had sandwich fixings for us. Del and I enjoyed chicken salad, pimento cheese, and Peanut Butter & Butter sandwiches. The PB&B Pat said was his mom's and his favorite, so we both had one of those. I told him my mother said I couldn't have a sandwich like that. Why? I asked her. She replied with impeccable logic, "Because that's two kinds of butter!" Now I salute Mom whenever I have my Peanut Butter and Butter Sandwich. Carla's two kids, Garret and Molly, were both in school, so we didn't get to see them, but we had a great lunch and visit with Carla and Patrick.After we left, we were so full from the lunch that we did the unthinkable and bypassed Steamboat Bill's in Lake Charles without stopping for one of their delicious crawfish étouffée-stuffed pistolettes. Checking the traffic and weather ahead on I-10, I found both were problematic: stormy weather passing through and heavy rush-hour traffic in Baton Rouge, so we opted for taking US-90 through Morgan City. We did fine with the dark clouds staying north of us as we drove home.
HOME AGAIN, HOME AGAIN, JIGGETY-JIG
My blackberry hedge was bursting with large ripe berries and I quickly filled up a clamshell of blackberries on Tuesday morning. I got my weekly massage, grocery shopping at Rouse's, and while I was checking out, Del called to invite me to join Barbara Louviere and her for lunch. This was Barbara's day to shop at the Post of the Naval Air Station in Belle Chasse a few miles south of our home.I drove home, saved the perishable groceries, and met them in O'Brien's Pub down the road for lunch. Marjorie Van Dervort was having lunch at a table near us, and Marion and Lloyd Giardina at another table. I had crab salad which seemed to have almost a pound of lump crabmeat on it. Enjoyed lunch with Del and Barbara and then went home and dug up my red potatoes, about half of the plants, to make some green beans and potatoes for supper tomorrow night. I had already bought 2 lbs of snap beans at Rouse's in anticipation of doing so. I left half the plants intact to keep growing till we need them later.Then I drove to Dairy Queen for a quart of ice cream for my blackberries. They fresh pour their mix into a 32 oz cup which makes it easy to spoon out into seven dessert bowls for later use. I put six in the freezer for later and I ate one with blackberries and whipped cream. I love April's blackberry season.
LAST MINUTE EVENTS
Saturday night we were going to dinner with Maddie and David on St. Ann's street in the French Quarter. I spent the day working assiduously getting my Personal Notes for the month written for DW#175, which has all of its Sections completed and some of its photos in place. Once I have completed the Personal Notes and Del has copy-edited them, I can begin adding the rest of the photos, and perhaps have time to finish my review of The Life of the Human Soul before the end of April. If it doesn't make into this Issue, look for it in DW#176 on June 1st. It's hard for me to spend so much time indoors when such beautiful weather is outside, but I do take breaks to walk through the lawn and gardens, do some watering, weeding, adjusting, and mostly just enjoying our estate.
Driving to Maddie and David's home in the heart of the French Quarter is a treat. We simply drive down Burgundy, take a right on St. Ann Street and park in the reserved spot in front of their driveway. They've taken to putting a tall cone to keep unauthorized people from parking there, and Dave came out to remove the cone.I had a stream of cars waiting behind me, so I could not parallel park, but had to pull in and move back and forth instead. He greeted us at the door with a cooking apron designed by my first cousin Phil Bascle. All of our favorite Quarterites were there: the Guthries, Callendars, and Whitcombs. David had baked two moist and delicious drums for the entree and Maddie had set a beautiful table; a good time was had by all.
The final week of April we are going to the Playmakers Benefit for their community theater in Covington across Lake Pontchartrain from us.They will honor Nikki Barranger, a long-time supporter who passed away a couple of years ago. Nikki was also a leader of our New Orleans Shakespeare Society, and I will be performing in our King Lear production on the last Thursday in April. If our dress rehearsal last week in Antoine's Rex Room is any guide, it should be a rousing performance. And it was, lots of laughing, especially when the gouged out eyes of Cornwall rolled across the floor into the audience. We have never used props before in a Shakespeare performance, but production was a Play Kit which included a prop knife and two rubber eyeballs.
EVERY GOOD THING MUST COME TO A NEW BEGINNING
The past 30 days of April have given us delightful Spring weather, mild with on a few short cool spells, some occasional garden rains, plenty of sunshine: very good short sleeves and short pants weather. We ran the air-conditioners very little and our heating system will rest until December.IMPORTANT MESSAGE:
Our New Orleans Pelicans may a last minute fun for the playoff, but fell short. We look forward to next year two All-Stars, Marcus Cousins and Anthony Davis, on the roster for a full year. Our LSU baseball team is 10-8 in the SEC, same ranking as last year when they went to a Super Regional. Too soon to tell if we will make it to Omaha. LSU football Spring game gave us glimpses of Matt Canada new offensive scheme which will bring body-shutters to defensive coaches we face in the Fall. Our LSU Basketball team is celebrating new coach Will Wade who will wade into the SEC schedule with a bang, no doubt about it. His recruiting is already paying dividends and we can't wait to cash them and turn them into championships.
Our gardens have never looked so pretty. The mini petunias are adding color every where to the lawns. The Blackberry Row is filling a plastic clamshell of fruit a day. My red potatoes are still growing and the second half will be ready to dig up in a few weeks. Our orchids are fully blooming out on the West Portico. Our Celeste and LSU fig trees are budding, and our new grapefruit tree is finally shooting strong healthy branches into the air! Our Veggie and Babe gardens have healthy tomato, eggplant, bell pepper, cucumber plants which will be fruiting in May, and I plan to sow some radish and carrot seeds soon. Hope you will enjoy the Jazz Fest and the beginning or our local Creole tomatoes in May. Till June is busting out all over, God Willing, and the River Don't Rise, whatever you do, wherever in the world you and yours reside, be it late Spring-time or Fall,
Remember our earnest wish for this wonder full year of 2017:
MAY THE WORLD BECOME PEACEFUL AND SERENE IN TWENTY-SEVENTEEN
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- Quotes Selected from quotes.htm this month:I learned this, at least, by my experiment; that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. He will put some things behind, will pass an invisible boundary; new universal, and more liberal laws will begin to establish themselves around and within him; or the old laws be expanded, and . . . he will live with the license of a higher order of beings.
Henry David Thoreau ( 18th-century American Naturalist and Author ) in the last paragraph of Walden
- Life would be impossible in the physical world were not future events to be preceded by hope in this rhythmical way. Would anyone make a table today without being sure it would not be destroyed in the night; would anyone sow seeds if he had no idea what would become of them?
— Rudolf Steiner in Faith, Love, Hope
The above quotation prompts me to wonder: "Would God make human beings if our souls were destroyed in the night by death?" If there's hope for the flowers, there's certainly hope for human beings. Bobby Matherne
- New Stuff on Website:Humorous Tidbit : “Statistics show that women who carry extra weight on their body live longer than men who mention it.”
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. All Rainbow poems have been published with notes as of DW173, so from now on, only Shadows poem will be published.
~^~This month we continue with a poem from the Shadows Chapter of Bobby's second book of Poetry, Rainbows & Shadows (1995). Art: This poem was written on October 26, 1994. Previously appeared in DW#145 sans notes. Relevant sources are:
1. Milan Kundera's Book of Laughter and Forgetting that inspired my insight that "art is a process of destruction."
2. Sheila Bender’s Writing in a Convertible With the Top Down. She said that "nice" in its root means "not to know."
3. Robert H. Schuller who used the phrase "hums our future” in his poem to Arvella. From Goliath, The Life of Robert Schuller, by James Penner.
4. Bucktown, Louisiana, which onced housed the famous "Schultz's Fresh Hardware Store."
Art is not nice
Art is not sane
Art is not orderly
Art is not creative
Art is forged in the crucible of destruction
where the split-ends of our ways
and days are fashioned
into architectonic I-beams
of gossamer heather.
Art is the fresh hardware store
that hums our future.
This month we continue with a poem from the Shadows Chapter of Bobby's second book of Poetry, Rainbows & Shadows (1995). Cycle of Creation: This illustrates the "crucible of destruction" mentioned in the poem "Art" above. — the Diagram shows graphically how "art is the process of destruction." It was drawn in 1994. Consider it as a poem in process, rather than content. I locate true art (in all fields of endeavor) at the bottom of the cycle because I see it as art’s goal to shatter the illusions of sameness and liberate exciting possibilities.
Kipling is reputed to have said, “They copied all they could copy, but they could not copy my mind, so I left them copying merrily, a year and a half behind.” Proving that creation (copying of previously conceived patterns) is easier than destruction (of preconceived patterns).
Another favorite story of mine is about James Thurber, famous American humorist. At a party he was confronted by a lady who said, “Oh, Mr. Thurber! I just finished reading your latest book in the French translation. I think I liked it better than the original.” “Yes,” Thurber replied, “I think it gained something in the translation.” Translation, although a creative endeavor when done well, cannot be expected to out-perform the original, a point obviously lost on Mr. Thurber’s reader in the story.
For further insight, see my Essay, Art is the Process of Destruction.
The below Note directs your attention to the Diagram.
Cycle of Creation Directions
Study the Diagram to locate:
Where "arts & crafts" belongs.
Where kitsch happens.
Where avant garde art happens.
Where mall art happens.
Where mass production happens.
Where Vishnu is.
Where Shiva is.
Where theoretical science is.
Where technology is.
Where the drugstore romance novel is.
Where literature is.
Where Picasso is.
Where Gertrude Stein is.
Where James Joyce is.
Where William Blake is.
Where Rudyard Kipling is.
This month we continue with a poem from the Shadows Chapter of Bobby's second book of Poetry, Rainbows & Shadows (1995). Tacitus Via: This poem was written on February 27, 1992. It was inspired by the move by the racially-aligned New Orleans city council to destroy Mardi Gras with an ordinance requiring proof of elimination of all discrimination whether by sex, race or whatever. The Latin title means silent street or perhaps the way in silence. The 100+ year old Carnival Krewe of Momus, which specialized in the satire of politics in New Orleans, and the original Mardi Gras night Krewe of Comus decided not to parade under such onerous conditions as jail terms for their Krewe captains, thus leaving only silent streets to bear testimony to the loss of their century-old traditions of Satire, Grace, Majesty, and Dignity.
The streets bear
testimony tonight —
There will be no marching bands,
no Oohs and Aahs from the crowd.
Just empty, silent streets
while in some gentler
Momus and Comus reigns
in the divine company
Satire, Grace, Majesty, and Dignity.
~^~5. Chapter: Shadows
This month we continue with a poem from the Shadows Chapter of Bobby's second book of Poetry, Rainbows & Shadows (1995). No Innocent Thoughts: This poem was written on April 16, 1992. It was inspired by reading Owen Barfield's Unancestral Voice, in particular a passage on page 115 that goes, "To know anything — whether a person, a thing, or a process — entails . . . that the mind enters into what is known and unites with the spirit that informs and transforms it. Therefore there are no innocent thoughts, that is, no thoughts that do not affect directly the object of the thoughts."
No Innocent Thoughts
To know something
is to merge with
its informing spirit
to transform it.
Thus every thought
transforms the object
there are no
This month we continue with a poem from the Shadows Chapter of Bobby's second book of Poetry, Rainbows & Shadows (1995). No No No No No No No: This poem was written on Oct 11, 1991. It was inspired by a quote from Liza Minelli on Donahue, "No is a complete thought." I heard this while in Gatlinburg at the Tree Tops Resort. The next day or so I saw a bumper sticker that said, "What part of NO don't you understand?" This poem is my attempt to record both of these for posterity and fun.
No No No No No No No
No is a small word
but a complete thought
No No No No No No No
If asked for a reason
quote the bumper sticker:
"What part of NO
don't you understand?"
No No No No No No No
New Stuff on the Internet:
- My famous quote on Art as the Process of Destruction first appeared on this Phoenix Arts Group website in 2002. Check it out below: Bobby Matherne quote .
Movies we watched this past month:Notes about our movies: Many of the movies we watch are foreign movies with subtitles. After years of watching movies in foreign languages, Arabic, French, Swedish, German, British English, Russian, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, and many other languages, sometimes two or three languages in the same movie, the subtitles have disappeared for us. If the movie is dubbed in English we go for the subtitles instead because we enjoy the live action and sounds of the real voices so much more than the dubbed. If you wonder where we get all these foreign movies from, the answer is simple: NetFlix. For a fixed price a month they mail us DVD movies from our on-line Queue, we watch them, pop them into a pre-paid mailer, and the postman effectively replaces all our gas-consuming and time-consuming trips to Blockbuster. To sign up for NetFlix, simply go to http://www.netflix.com/ and start adding all your requests for movies into your personal queue. If you've seen some in these movie blurbs, simply copy the name, click open your queue, and paste the name in the Search box on NetFlix and Select Add. Buy some popcorn and you're ready to Go to the Movies, 21st Century Style. You get to see your movies as the Director created them — NOT-edited for TV, in full-screen width, your own choice of subtitles, no commercial interruptions, and all of the original dialogue. Microwave some popcorn and you're ready to Go to the Movies, 21st Century Style. With a plasma TV and Blu-Ray DVD's and a great sound system, you have theater experience without someone next to you talking on a cell phone during a movie plus a Pause button for rest room trips.Hits (Watch as soon as you can. A Don't Miss Hit is one you might otherwise have missed along the way.):
P. S. Ask for Blu-Ray movies from NetFlix, and if it says DVD in your Queue, click and select Blu-Ray version.“The Innocents” (2016) B&W film of Convent in Poland after invasion by Russia and the dozen nuns impregnated by the soldiers. A French Red Cross nurse comes to their aid at her own peril. But what to do with the children born of the nuns? A creative idea is needed for this heart-tugging dilemma. A DON’T MISS HIT ! !
“Hunt for the Wilderpeople” (2016) Sam Neil tames a T-Rex orphan and they become wilderpeople running through the wild bush and jungle to escape the social worker’s cops.
“Schindler’s List” (1993) Oskar made a lot of money from Jewish labor and spent it all to keep them alive.
“Accountant” (2016) did simple tax returns and audited large corporations and people’s lives on special assignment. Ben Affleck as a functional austistic taught to defend himself by his Army father. Amazing movie providing insight into autism in ways that few scholarly treatises could handle. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! ! ! !
“The Brand New Testament” (2016) pokes the Pope in the eye, sends God to Uzbekistan to assemble washing machines, and gives us a lot of fun along the way. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! !
“High Fidelity” (2000) John Cusack reviews his five all-time breakups in this insightful look at life in a record shop.
“Two Lovers and a Bear” (2016) Lucy and Roman take off on snowmobiles in Nunavut head South to escape their demons: a dead father and a Polar Bear. They end up as Polar Bars.
“Death Comes to Pemberley” (2013) P. D. James’ continuation of Pride and Prejudice. A friend of Wickenham’s is killed in a forest and he’s the prime suspect. All of Pemberley is atwitter with angst. Can Wickenham escape the gallows and peace be restored to Darcy’s family again?
“Nocturnal Animals” (2016) bring out the worst in everyone. A weak writer writes a strong novel and his ex-wife learns of her ex's strength through living out the novel with him.
“Schindler's List” (1993) Oskar made a lot of money from Jewish labor and spent it all to keep them alive.
“Jack Reacher: Never Go Back“ becomes friend with Major over the phone and finally takes a bus to D. C. for a promised dinner date only to find her in federal prison charged with treason. Then he gets charged with abandoning a daughter he didn't know he had. When he and these two scrappy gals head to New Orleans the dogs of war are unleashed. A DON'T MISS HIT ! ! !
“Slums of Beverly Hills” (1998) with a host of stars about single father of 65 with three teens to raise along with his self-esteem, if possible. Non-stop zaniness.
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. A while 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.“Ordinary World” (2016) sucks.
“Captain Fantastic” (2016)wasn't! Instead: complete drivel, a Hollywood message in overdrive. Stomp now or forever hold your peace.A DVD STOMPER! ! !
Your call on these — your taste in movies may differ, but I liked them:“Match” (2015) smoldered.
“Jackie” (2016) the loud dirge music for most of the movie is a bummer. Natalie Portman chewed the scenery and played a weak, ineffectual Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, something that didn't jive for those of us who lived through the post-assassination period with her. She was always elegant and powerful and never weak and quivering as portrayed in this movie.
“Toni Erdmann” (2016) is a father's clownish alter ego as he strives to make a connection with his executive daughter even if he has live in Bucharest. Wacky, infuriatingly slow at times, but homes in on resolution.
“Lost and Found” (2016) a teenage hero rescues his father and locates grandfather stash of gold. Purile and barely attention-grabbing for anyone over 18.
“Seasons” (2016) full of beautiful images of Europe from the Ice Age to the present, marred by questionable climate change claims, such as showing Nature and speaking as if humans were not part of Nature, but rather some nemesis or enemy of Nature. This seems to be the flavor de jour of grant-hungry so-called scientists.
“20th Century Women” (2016) provide us a glimpse into the boring post-hippie decade of the feminist 1970s.
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==Le Broussard Cajun Cottage, drawn by and Copyright 2011 by Paulette Purser, Used by Permission
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==Boudreaux's papa Claude had prostate problems and went to Dr. Telisphore in Breaux Bridge. The doctor gave him a plastic jar and told him to go home and bring him back a sperm sample in the jar. Claude took the jar and went home.
A week later Claude returned to the doctor's office and explained that he couldn't bring him a sperm sample. "What happened?" Dr. Telisphore asked.
"Wahl, Doc, Ah tried everything. Ah pushed and pulled it with mah left hand and when dat got tired, Ah used my right hand. Den Ah called mah wife Clothilde and axed her to do it for me. Mais, she soon got wored out trying and she called de neighbor-lady Camille and axed her to come over and try. Camille used her left hand and dat didn't work, den her right hand, dat didn't work, den put her mouth on it and dat didn't work either. She even tried putting it between her knees. Den we all done give up, and here I am with de empty bottle.
The doctor was amazed and said, "Claude, so you were unable to have an ejaculation?"
"Mais non, Doc, dat's not a problem! We just couldn't get de dam' cap off the bottle!"
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==
5. Household Hint for May, 2017 from Bobby Jeaux:
(Photo below right of Bobby Before and After Oral sugery)
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =How to Save Your Whistle
Background on How to Save Your Whistle:At age 54, after a history of bad teeth and infected gums, I decided to have all my teeth removed and new teeth installed. I wanted teeth that I could leave with the dentist if I had a problem and go out and get myself a milkshake while he worked on them! I went through all the pain of the surgery, being without teeth for several weeks while my gums healed, and enduring weekly visits for a month or so while my teeth were adjusted so I could finally eat salads successfully. (Note in left-side photo that my upper and lower face juts out, but in right-side no longer juts out.) I let my beard grow over my upper and lower mouth to disguise my lack of teeth. See below left photo.)Oh, and by the way, he told me that he removed my overbite! I was unsure exactly what that would entail, but I wasn't given that as an option beforehand. At first I felt good, thinking I had gotten years of orthodontry performed without having to ensure the pain of braces which had to be constantly re-adjusted. But there were a few surprises in store for me.How to Save Your Whistle
First, my face looked different, especially in profile. Its natural convex shape had been flattened out. I had to re-learn to shave because the area around my mouth was not as tight as before as it was stretched slightly by my previous overbite.
Secondly, eating required some adjustment because I had spend all of my life eating naturally with my overbite, and now it was gone. This was a minor problem which quickly disappeared.
Thirdly, and most importantly, MY WHISTLE DISAPPEARED! I had been whistling since I was a kid and loved to whistle. I still love to whistle, but cannot do so today, some twenty years later, because of the gratituous actions of my dentist! He removed my whistle without telling he was going to do so! Oh, I can whistle, but it is so difficult that is not worth the trouble. Whistling is something I do when I feel carefree and it's impossible to feel carefree when learning to whistle all over again! Removing the overbite has effectively and permanently removed my ability to enjoy whistling.If you are undergoing oral surgery or facial reconstruction of any kind, instruct the doctor that you do NOT want your overbite removed. After talking with a retired oral surgeon who did reconstruction after various injuries, he was amazed to discover that it was possible to lose one's ability to whistle if one's overbite is corrected during reconstruction. He said if he were still working, he would definitely give his patients the option and inform them that removing their overbite can remove their lifelong ability to whistle.
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6. POETRY by BOBBY from Letters to a Young Novelist:
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =A Poet Might: If you're interested in a little of the advice Vargas gives to his young novelist penpal, read my review. For a lot, read the book. If you're interested in a little lagniappe, here's a poem I wrote while reading this book. I was flying Continental Airways from Seattle to New Orleans, August 14, 2006. About halfway on the trip, I wrote this poem in the rear overleaf of the Mario Vargas Llosa's book, Letters to a Young Novelist. A similar poem could be written about writing a novel, might it not?
A Poet Might
I place my pen upon a page
without a thought to write
Will a poem from me emerge —
or simply words of naught?
If no theme will me engage
how can I last the night?
Unless each word recall an urge
and fill me with new thought.
Now I have a structure found
upon which to build my poem —
Will I find words with which to bend
my meaning into form?
I forage for an image
to bring my thoughts to light
And tintinnabulate my urge
as a Poe — it might.
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7. REVIEWS and ARTICLES for May:
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =For our Good Readers, here are the reviews and articles featured this month. The second and third reviews this month are earlier reviews but never published before in 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, or to A Reader's Treasury, or Essays previously unpublished.
NOTE: some Review Blurbs may be condensations of long Reviews, possibly lacking footnotes and some quoted passages. For your convenience, if you wish to read the full review or to print it out, simply CLICK on the Book Cover or choose Printer Ready option on the top line of a review page when it opens.
1.) ARJ2: Discussions with Teachers, GA#295 by Rudolf Steiner
In my graduate course called College Teaching, I wrote a Final Paper titled Teaching and Learning in the College Classroom. In this paper I wrote of the importance of, that is, the crucial need for a live lecturer in the college classroom. You can read in the paper how I first discovered this truth. My discovery applies equally well to live lecturers or teachers at every level of study, from Kindergarten to Graduate Seminars. There is a communication which occurs from the soul of the live lecturer to the soul of the live student that is an essential part of learning. Without this soul-to-soul communication link, both the interest of the student in the material being presented and the worth of what is received suffers. Let a teacher start reading written material to a classroom, and the students eyes begin to glaze over with disinterest. Let the same teacher stop reading and instead speak from the heart about the same material, and suddenly the students' interest perks up in what is being said, indicating that some real learning is going on in the students.
The author of our textbook for the college teaching course asked why have live lectures survived since the advent of print? His answer missed the soul-to-soul aspect of communication, but focused only the materialistic aspects. He wrote, in part, "one of the benefits of live professors is the tendency of people to model themselves after individuals whom they perceive as living, breathing, human beings with characteristics that can be admired and emulated." Yes, students can emulate their teachers as they are speaking, but more importantly students can receive directly into their souls the very meanings their teachers hold in their souls as they are lecturing to them.
Unless teachers are congruent, that is, their soul-feelings and contents of their lecture match each other, the students tune out of their lecture. This leads to class disruption and lack of learning, no matter how fine the content of the lecture is. The essential part of a lesson plan is for teachers to understand fully the content before the lecture so that their understanding is communicated directly, soul-to-soul, to their students. Their exact choice of words is less important than their own soul meanings which are communicated to their students.
Rudolf Steiner is the first person I have encountered who understood the nature of this soul-to-soul communication and its crucial importance in classrooms and lecture halls everywhere. It has been reported in several places that Steiner shaped his lectures to match the soul desires of members of his audience, which gives us evidence that this soul-to-soul communication operates in both directions. Thus a Teacher, So Also a Learner is a rule I intuited back in 1977, long before I first encountered Rudolf Steiner, and his work corroborates that early insight of mine. Teachers are both teachers and learners, if they allow themselves to give and receive soul communications when lecturing.
Craig Giddens in his Introduction highlights material from page 20 of this book which focuses on soul-to-soul communication.
[page 11] The inner life, the life of the soul, is the most significant aspect in the child. Teaching and education depend on what passes from the soul of the teacher to soul of the child.
Note the focus of the above passage resembles the all-too-tempting bank metaphor of education: that the teacher passes something to the soul of the child, as one might deposit money in a bank vault. With a fuller comprehension of soul-to-soul communication, one can understand that good teaching also depends upon what passes from the soul of the child to soul of the teacher(1).
Steiner spoke on The Art of Lecturing, in Dornach on October 11,1921, about two years after his Discussions with Teachers took place in Stuttgart, and he said in Lecture One:
[page 12, italics added] The intrinsic worth of the teacher, which surely rests in large measure upon speaking, depends upon what the teacher has previously felt and experienced about the things to be presented, and the kinds of feelings that are again stirred up by the fact that the child is before him or her.
Look at the above two italicized passages. They show us that Steiner recognized the two-way communication soul-to-soul between teacher and student.
First: what a teacher previously felt during the development of a lesson plan the night before will likely be stirred up again the next day and those soul-feelings with their attendant insights will be communicated directly to the souls of the students who are tuned into the teacher in the classroom.
Second: a teacher speaking, transmitting soul knowledge from the heart, will spark the interest of the students and ensure that all students are tuned in, and when the students are tuned in, the teacher will be able to receive from the students their soul-feelings and shape the lecture to address those feelings and questions.
It may seem strange to some of my Good Readers to think that soul-feelings about a very materialistic science such as geology, for example, are even possible, but I know one geology professor personally and can report that she has soul-feelings when she talks geology. Soul feelings are our individual, deep understandings of a subject, and no matter how materially-based the subject may be, these soul-feelings will flow between teacher and student.
Teachers can use the soul-to-soul communication between students to help maintain order in even the largest-sized classroom. The four bodies of each human being are the physical body, the etheric body, the astral body, and the I. Each of these rule or predominate in a particular child, and a good teacher will notice how the phlegmatic child is ruled by its physical body (stays still, hardly moves), the sanguine child by its etheric body (always flitting from one thing to another), the choleric child by its astral body (blustery will-based responses), and the melancholic child by its I or Ego body (inner reflectivity).
By grouping students in a class by their various temperaments, each type of child will easily receive soul-to-soul communications from the like temperaments in its group. If just one child in the sanguine group receives a soul communication from the teacher, for example, the other sanguines will quickly receive it from that child.This class grouping has several other important benefits to the teaching situation. First, it helps keep order as each child feels at home in his group. Second, it helps soul-learnings from the teacher spread quickly among like temperaments. Third, being among like temperaments helps a student’s temperament to be defused, to fade away.
The fourth is this arrangement of groups in the classroom allows teachers to direct the class's attention, for example, to the sanguine group when sharing something which appeals to the physical senses. "Show the melancholic children something they can express an opinion about, and show the sanguine something they can look at; these two groups will complement each other in this way. One type learns from the other; they are interested in each other, and one supplies what the other lacks." (Page 16, italics added)
If I may suggest, a fifth benefit of these groups is that the teacher encourages, utilizes the mutual interaction between class members for teaching purposes. This is contrary to some classrooms where the teacher is constantly asking the students to quiet down and pay attention. The avid attention children pay to those classmates of like temperaments is a wonderful benefit to each child, and teachers do best when they permit this interaction to become part of their lesson plans.
Steiner exhorts the teachers:
[page 16] You will have to be patient with yourselves, because this kind of treatment of children must become habit. Eventually your feeling must tell you which group you have to turn toward, so that you do it involuntarily, as it were. If you did it with fixed purpose you would lose your spontaneity. Thus we must come to think of this way of treating the different tendencies in the temperaments as a kind of habit in our teaching.
What do teachers typically do when one child stands out in some way? They try to force the child to conform to the rest of the class. If the child, for example, were the only sanguine child, the teacher would try to wipe out its sanguine qualities. This is an egregious mistake and should be avoided.
[page 17] You can see from the lecture I gave some years ago that, when we want to help a temperament, the worst method is to foster the opposite qualities in a child. Let's suppose we have a sanguine child; when we try to train such a child by driving out these qualities, we provide bad treatment. We must work to understand the temperament, to go out to meet it. In the case of the sanguine child, for example, we bring as many things as possible to the attention of the child, who becomes thoroughly occupied, because in this way we can work with the child's propensities. The result will be that the child's connection with the sanguine tendency will gradually weaken and the temperaments will harmonize with each other.
Clearly, a teacher needs grounding and insight into each of the four temperaments. Steiner describes how the four groups are best placed in a classroom. The most unlike groups should be on opposite ends of the room. Melancholics are polar opposite to Sanguines; Cholerics polar opposite to Phlegmatics.
[page 20] . . . it will be good to arrange your groups as follows: if you put the phlegmatics together it is good to have the cholerics on the opposite side, and to let the two others, the melancholics and sanguines, sit between them.
And, once again, Steiner stresses the importance of soul to soul communication.
[page 20] The inner life, the life of soul, is the most significant aspect in the child. Teaching and education depend on what passes from the soul of the teacher to the soul of the child.
One key principle to understand the important of using temperament groupings is that "like defuses like". Steiner explains it this way:
[page 20, 21] But children also influence each other. And that is the remarkable thing about this division into four groups of similar temperaments; when you put those that are alike together, it does not have the effect of intensifying their temperamental tendencies but of reducing them.For example, when sanguine children are put together in one group, they do not intensify each other's sanguinity but tone it down. And when in your lessons you turn to the choleric children, the sanguine profit from what you say, and vice versa. As a teacher you must allow your own soul mood to influence the children, while the children of like temperaments are toning down each other's soul moods. Talking and chattering together signifies an inner desire to subdue each other, even the chattering that goes on during the breaks. The cholerics will chatter less when sitting together than they would when sitting with children of other temperaments. We must avoid viewing and assessing these things externally.
My Good Readers should pardon me if I seem to focus most on the melancholic temperament. It is my own temperament and I am only now learning that to be case for me. It explains to me a lot of unanswered questions about my childhood such as my problems getting along with people in school, being a loner much of the time, and brooding about things a lot. Each of you have your own temperament and would do well to get this book and delve into your own temperament and explore your own unanswered questions about your childhood.
In this next passage, Steiner is answering a question about the treatment of melancholic and sanguine children.
[page 24, 25] The teacher should view the melancholic child in this way: melancholic tendency arises when the soul-spirit of the human being cannot fully control the metabolic system. The nerve-sense human is the least spiritual part of a human being — it is the most physical. The least physical part is the metabolic human.The spiritual human is most firmly rooted in the metabolic organism, but nevertheless, it has realized itself least of all within it. The metabolic organism must be worked on more than any other. Thus, when the metabolic presents too many hindrances, the inner striving toward spirit is revealed in a brooding temperament.
When we deal with melancholic children, we should try to arouse an interest in what they see around them; we should act, as much as possible, as though we were sanguine, and characterize the world accordingly. With sanguine children, on the other hand, we must be serious, with all inner earnestness, giving them clear strong pictures of the external world, which will leave an impression and remain in their minds.
Steiner reveals that free spirit, that spirit which is not absorbed in physical processes, enters most into the nerve system and least into the metabolic system.Melancholics, to compensate for their inability to control their metabolic system, brood instead. The nerve-sense human is the least spiritual part of a human being; it is the most physical. The least physical part is the metabolic human. The spiritual human is most firmly rooted in the metabolic organism, but nevertheless, it has realized itself least of all within it. The metabolic organism must be worked on more than any other. Thus, when the metabolic presents too many hindrances, the inner striving toward spirit is revealed in a brooding temperament.
When we deal with melancholic children, we should try to arouse an interest in what they see around them; we should act, as much as possible, as though we were sanguine, and characterize the world accordingly. With sanguine children, on the other hand, we must be serious, with all inner earnestness, giving them clear strong pictures of the external world,which will leave an impression and remain in their minds.
Steiner gives another detailed report on melancholics.
[page 33] You will find it very difficult to treat the melancholic temperament if you fail to consider one thing that is almost always present: the melancholic lives in a strange condition of self-deception. Melancholics have the opinion that their experiences are peculiar to themselves. The moment you can bring home to them that others also have these or similar experiences, they will to some degree be cured, because they then perceive they are not the singularly interesting people they thought themselves to be. They are prepossessed by the illusion that they are very exceptional as they are.
When you can impress a melancholic child by saying, "Come on now, you're not so extraordinary after all; there are plenty of people like you, who have had similar experiences," then this will act as a very strong corrective to the impulses that lead to melancholy. Because of this it is good to make a point of presenting them with the biographies of great persons; they will be more interested in these individuals than in external nature. Such biographies should be used especially to help these children over their melancholy.
To my recollection, no teacher said that to me; they always seemed impressed by my extraordinary behavior, so it wouldn't have occurred to them to tell me, "You're not so extraordinary." What saved me is that I spent a lot of time reading the biographies of great people, Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, Ben Franklin, and many others. Trying to emulate their amazing achievements in my own young life kept me too busy to be melancholic much of the time. For example: I once made a telephone microphone out of chopped up carbon I salvaged from old D-cell batteries, after reading how Bell made his telephone. I also made a primitive earphone using tiny wires wrapped around a permanent magnet. After reading about a WWII POW who made a radio out of a pencil lead, a rusted razor blade, and a safety pin, I made one of those and it worked, but, without a tuner, it wasn't much use except to hear the most powerful local radio station. None of my brothers or classmates were interested in such things which probably created some brooding in me as I wondered about their lack of interest in something that was so interesting to me.
My father-in-law was a great businessman and my daughter's friend Pat teaches economics, both of whom exhibit phlegmatic characteristics, e. g., Pat's favorite expression is "whatever" — a sure sign of a phlegmatic temperament.
Each of the four temperaments have an abnormal condition. For the melancholic, it is insanity; for the phlegmatic, mental deficiency; for the sanguine, foolishness or stupidity; and for the choleric, rage. Steiner explains how these abnormalities might arise.
[page 55] If the melancholic temperament becomes abnormal and does not remain within the boundaries of the soul, but rather encroaches on the body, then insanity arises. Insanity is the abnormal development of a predominantly melancholic temperament. The abnormal development of the phlegmatic temperament is mental deficiency. The abnormal development of the sanguine is foolishness, or stupidity. The abnormal development of the choleric is rage. When a person is in an emotional state you will sometimes see these attacks of insanity, mental deficiency, foolishness, or rage arising from otherwise normal soul conditions. It is indeed necessary that you focus your attention and observation on the entire soul life.
On September 6, 2016 I was reading Discussion Six of this book and one passage intended for teachers of small children resonated with me. I had started publishing my notes of how my poems were inspired and the circumstances of how each poem came into being, the date, where I was when I wrote it, into which book I wrote it, etc.Something didn't seem quite right to me when I added the Note following the poem, but it remained as an unanswered question until I read this next passage.
[page 70,71] I want to point out that you should never spoil the contents of a "passage" by first reading it aloud yourself, or reading it through with your students, and then pedantically explaining it, because this will destroy the powers of feeling and perception in the children. A teacher with insight will not work this way, but will feel that hearing a bit of prose or poetry should produce a sense of contentment in the soul — a satisfaction should arise from hearing a passage of prose or poetry read. The children will then fully understand every shade of meaning. Within their feelings, in any case, they will instinctively understand what the poem contains.It is unnecessary to go into subtleties or to make learned comments about a poem or prose passage, but through your teaching the children should rise to a complete understanding of it through feelings. Hence you should always try to leave the actual reading of a piece until last, first dealing with everything you can give the children to help them understand it. If you prepare for the reading as well as you can ahead of time, then you will not work like a pedant, but help make the whole piece clear and understandable, and thus enhance the children's enjoyment and satisfaction.
The last sentence sent an electric jolt through my body. AHA! I thought, Steiner was telling us to let the children take the soul-feeling of the story home with them!I had my answer: I needed to place the Note for each poem ahead of the poem so that the Reader could take the good feeling of the poem home with them! I worked out a process for incorporation the Note for each poem into the heading of the poem in a reduced font-size and a lighter color. The Reader can choose to skip over the Note, but if they read it, they will better understand the thoughts and especially the feelings of the poem, and after reading it, those soul-impressions will stay with them(2).
Steiner uses a droll metaphor to explain the importance of giving the explanation before you read a story to them.
[page 77] After the reading no more explanations of any kind should be given. You will agree it would not make sense if I were now to begin giving a lecture in Chinese. You would say, "That is senseless, because we never learned Chinese." But if you all knew Chinese when I gave my lecture, you would find it extremely dull if afterwards I wanted to explain it all to you. You should have the same feeling about a piece of reading and do everything you can to make it enjoyable.
Overeating is more endemic in our time than in Steiner's time a hundred years ago. Even so-called diets advertise, "You can eat all the X you want." Sometimes X is fats, sometimes proteins, sometimes carbohydrates, but it's patently ludicrous to try to lose weight on a diet which claims you can eat all you want, is it not? Yet that is the mentality of our time, up until now. At least the people heeding the absurd diet recommendations are adults or at least seem to be. In Steiner's time, foolish parents were over-feeding their children, youngsters who simply followed their parents' feeding routines. The effects on the educability of these overfed children were not lost on Steiner, but they seem to be lost on parents of today, parents who are often obese themselves and did not experience the food shortages that parents did in Steiner's post-WWI time.
[page 103] Generally speaking, you should be very aware that the foolish ways many parents feed their young children contributes greatly to the lessening of their faculties, especially with phlegmatic and sanguine children. Perpetually overfeeding children — and this is somewhat different at the present time, but you should know these things — stuffing them with eggs, puddings, and starchy foods is one of the things that makes children unwilling to learn and incapable of doing so during the early years of their school life.
There is much bad information about diets even these days. Some people justify their love of red wine by claiming some medicinal benefit of a glass of their favorite wine each night. Few people stay around long enough for friends or doctors to observe the long-term effects of their dietary choices. Steiner was eye-witness to one person's consumption of wine over thirty years. He met this two-year-old boy who was very talented.
[page 104] But the boy was pale; he had very little appetite and was rather thin. So, on the advice of an otherwise excellent doctor, this child was given a small glass of red wine with every meal. I was not responsible for him and had no influence in this extraordinary way of treating a child's health, but I was very concerned about it. Then in his thirty-second or thirty-third year I saw this individual again; he was a terribly nervous man. When he was not present I enquired what he had been like as a schoolboy. This restless man, although only in his thirties, had become very nervous, and demonstrated the lamentable results of that little glass of red wine given to him with his meals as a boy.
How is the soul of the Earth made visible? Steiner tells us it is through the plants which cover the Earth.
[page 128] The plant realm is the soul world of the Earth made visible. The carnation is a flirt. The sunflower is an old peasant. The sunflower's shining face is like a jolly country rustic. Plants with very big leaves would express, in term of soul life, lack of success in a job, taking a long time with everything, clumsiness, and especially an inability to finish everything; we think that someone has finished, but the person is still at it. Look for the soul element in the plant forms!
Later he creates the image for us of a meadow full of blooms being raised into the air and resembling a tree. He allows us to understand a tree as a stiff shaft of Earth holding an egg-shaped volume covered with blooms. The plant world makes the soul of the Earth visible.
These thoughts inspired me to create this poem:
Dreams appear in Spring
with the flirting carnation
and the plodding sunflower.
Dreams appear in Autumn
with the falling leaves
and lusty acorns.
Dreams appear in Winter
with cones on conifers
And snowflakes on Christmas trees.
Dreams appear in Summer
as buttercups decorate waysides
and Crepe Myrtles bloom.
In Discussion 15 Closing Words Steiner outlines four things which characterize a true teacher(3).
[page 180, 181]
1. The teacher must be a person of initiative in everything done, great and small. Teachers must never be careless or lazy; they must, at every moment, stand in full consciousness of what they do in the school and how they act toward the children.
2. The teacher should be one who is interested in the being of the whole world and humanity.
3. The teacher must be one who never compromises in the heart and mind with what is untrue. The teacher must be true in the depths of being.
4. The teacher must never get stale or grow sour. Cherish a mood of soul that is fresh and healthy! No getting stale and sour! This must be the teacher's endeavor.
Next he charges his teachers with the responsibility for the life and growth of the Waldorf school system itself.
[page 181, 182] During these two weeks I have spoken only what can enter directly into your practical teaching when you first allow it to work properly within your own souls. But our Waldorf school, my dear friends, will depend on what you do within yourselves, and whether you really allow the things we have considered to become effective in your own souls. . . . For me this Waldorf school will be a veritable child of concern.
Looking back from our perspective, a hundred years after he spoke these words, we can see a remarkable growth of the Waldorf School system around the world. Hundreds of schools in dozens of countries, increasing each year. The Waldorf school teachers were his pupils and he devoted the last precious years of his life inspiring and instructing them to foster an understanding of the world in their children that will lead them into maturity as adults able to perceive and understand both sides of reality: the material and the spiritual. The success of the Waldorf schools represents a proof of the spiritual evolution of humanity which Rudolf Steiner worked so earnestly to put forward for the entire world.
— — - Footnotes — — -
Footnote 1. This reciprocal communication is less likely to happen if the teacher is reading material instead of speaking in a heart-felt manner to the child.Return to text directly before Footnote 1.
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Footnote 2. To see the before and after effects of this insight on my published poems, check this DIGESTWORLD for the before and this ISSUE for the after.Return to text directly before Footnote 2.
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Footnote 3. In Human Values in Education Steiner gives us 21 characteristics of a true teacher to expand on these four aspects.Return to text directly before Footnote 3.
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2.) ARJ2: The Art of Fiction by David Lodge
After reading this collection of Lodge's articles about fiction, my writing can no longer be the same. I offer as evidence the review of The Star Café that I just finished moments ago. In the short review I write about my reactions to a word she uses, I criticize my own use of two phrases, "But I digress" and "during the last century" and then go on to use them repeatedly, neither of which I might have felt comfortable with doing, had I not read Lodge's cogent descriptions of the writing styles of the authors he covers in his essays. In writing the review of Capronegro's book, I used her style of writing to end the review. "Extraordinary at times: the coffee at The Star Café." Now I'm using Lodge process for talking about writing styles, so far as I am able to mimic him. Imitation is rightly understood the sincerest form of flattery because humans when giving speech to flattery always seem to fall short of sincerity. Better left unsaid: flattery — as Capronegro might say.
How I came to read this book was from a recommendation by Barry Fosberg in a graduate course I was taking with him. He told me about this book of newspaper articles on fiction writing styles of such authors as Joseph Conrad, Jane Austen, Henry James, Thomas Hardy, and Milan Kundera. I was about to tune him out when he reached Hardy, but when he said Kundera, I asked if I might see the book. After looking at his copy, I bought my own and read it to completion.
There are fifty essays in all, covering the weeks in 1991 and 1992 that he "delighted readers of the Independent and The Washington Post Book World with a weekly dose of fictional styles for all seasons. Each essay began with one or two quotes from a famous author and a theme to be covered. Let's take Jane Austen who appears more than any other author according to my impromptu count in the Table of Contents.An excerpt from her writing appears in 1. Beginning, in 18. Weather, and in 50. Ending. That's writing style from beginning to end with a little weather in the middle all provided by Jane Austen, the first female weather reporter.
[page 84 contains this excerpt from Jane Austen's Emma as the heading for 18. Weather] The evening of this day was very long, and melancholy, at Hartfield. The weather added what it could of gloom. A cold stormy rain set in, and nothing of July appeared but in the trees and shrubs, which the wind was despoiling, and the length of the day, which only made such cruel sights the longer visible.
[page 85 Lodge's comments] We all know that the weather affects our moods. The novelist is in the happy position of being able to invent whatever weather is appropriate to the mood he or she wants to evoke.
Matherne's comments: so is life. In case some of you, dear Readers, haven't noticed, the weather mirrors the feeling sense of life — it is like a dance which we each do and the weather is our dancing partner.The music we dance to is the world of feelings. If it were not so why would we move from someplace that is too dreary for us? Because we wish to dance to a different tune. When we find a weather that suits us, we get our shoes re-soled because we know it's going to be a long dance in this ballroom. And when the dawn's light breaks through the high windows, we know the long night dancing is nearly done.
[page 223 page 84 contains this excerpt from Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey as the heading for 50. Ending] The anxiety, which in this state of their attachment must be the portion of Henry and Catherine, and of all who loved either, as to its final event, can hardly extend, I fear, to the bosom of my readers, who will see in the tell-tale compression of the pages before them, that we are all hastening together to perfect felicity.
Like Fielding says in "A Farewell to the Reader," the last book of Tom Jones, "We are now, reader, arrived at the last stage of our long journey." When we arrive at the station to change into the coach to take us on the final leg of our journey, we know we are at the final stage. When the curtain opens to the stage set for Act III of a three-act play, we know that all the plot twists will be unwound before our eyes in short order — that we are at the final stage of the play. Thus, in her meta-comment to the reader, Jane Austen reveals what the reader already knows by the number of pages remaining to be read, the story is near done.
From 1. Beginning to 50. Ending with a little sea change due to 18. Weather in the middle, Lodge carries us through hundreds of years of fiction by over fifty talented writers and highlights for us the tools of their craft, as they hand-fashioned and pressed them into service. After having dissected these carefully crafted masterpieces of fiction till only gore-soaked pieces of technique remain, Lodge closes with this reminder of the wonderful German word, Gestalt : "a perceptual pattern or structure possessing qualities as a whole that cannot be described merely as a sum of its parts."
3.) ARJ2: The Star Café and Other Stories by Mary Caponegro
I Always Look Up Egregious is the title of a book I recall from the last century whenever I find a new word in a book I'm reading. The "last century" is an interesting phrase that none of us born around the middle of the last century ever got to use before, so there's a lot of pent-up demand. I know I was all set to use it "often and early," like the supporters were urged to vote in Boston during the last century: VOTE OFTEN and EARLY for JAMES MICHAEL CURLEY, but my former determination has tapered off to velleity. Now there's a rare and interesting word velleity — one might go to the unabridged to find a definition for that one! So rare that the proofreader let it slip by on page 130 with only one 'l' which made my determination to find its meaning awash in confusion because there was no such word as veleity in the 2662 page dictionary I was looking in. Would I have to take out my magnifying glass to search the 16,000 page OED condensed? Luckily my eyes kept scanning the page to find the word velleity which means "imperfect or incomplete volition" or simply put, "the lowest level of desire". Nice to have a word for the other end of the spectrum of determination. Thanks, Mary.
But I digress. Don't you just hate writers who say, "But I digress" as though the reader is supposed to forgive them for poor writing? What was I writing about anyway? Oh, The Star Café! It's a lovely story set in a surrealistic café that opens up through a door that shouldn't be there where Carol goes to do things she shouldn't do in front of others alone.
"Back in Ten" begins the novella of Sebastian that fills the second half of this book of stories. Sebastian — can one ever recover a naive view of that name after Brideshead Revisited ? This Sebastian is special, in the way that only Englishmen in America can be special. He expects service and is instead confronted by these almost illegible scribbled notes like "BACK IN FIFTENE" left in places where one would expect service instead of public displays of illiteracy.
[page 94] That's America, thinks Sebastian. That's America all over. If Napoleon disparagingly labeled England "a nation of shopkeepers," what then might one call this nation, which cannot even competently accomplish this function?
"A nation of Internet users," perhaps? Like the railroads of the 18th Century, the Internet is the newest means of fast communication and immediate gratification of desires, and as such is making instant millionaires and billionaires of those riding the new cybernetic railroad to riches. Shops and shopkeepers will soon be passé, replaced by websites and e-commerce. Why, just the other day I saw my first e-adjective on a billboard, and I'm e-fraid to tell you what it was. Now we've all seen email, e-money, and such e-nouns before, but this was the first e-adjective, so I thought I should be the first to create an e-adverb and e-mediatelytm came up with one. Naturally I trademarked my prototype e-mediatelytm in the best tradition of American commerce. I can see it now, our newest slogan emblazoned all along the Information Superhighway with flashing banners in hyper-colored text:
Get your e-ducation from us, e-mediately at
But I digress. And so does Mary Capronegro, but she does it with elan and verve and with very terse phrases at times. Like this almost sentence: "Extraordinary at times: her hubris." Which forms inside me a velleity welling up perforce into determination to write of Mary's stories thus. Extraordinary at times: her brevity. Extraordinary at times: the coffee at The Star Café.
P. S. For insight as to my writing style for this review, see The Art of Fiction by David Lodge.
4.) ARJ: Life of the Human Soul and its Relation to World Evolution, GA#212 by Rudolf Steiner
Steiner begins these lectures with a great unanswered question, an unconscious question, which everyone should hold onto and allow an answer to flow to them from the world and especially from these lectures.
[page 3] How, as human being, do I relate or connect with the broad scope of world evolution in general?
His usage of the word "how" creates a presupposition in the reader's mind that there is a connection between each person and world evolution. From the title itself, a reader can expect to be told the connection between the human soul and world evolution. The soul is clearly that connection. A human being has a soul and via that soul is connected with world evolution.
Soulless scientists would have us believe that we are a tiny speck on planet Earth which is itself a tiny speck in the Milky Way galaxy which can be considered a tiny speck in the Universe. Plus they claim that when our body dies, all of our being disappears forever, turned into dust upon a planet which will someday itself disappear. From that perspective it is impossible to even consider the effect of a human being on world evolution, is it not?
For us to have an effect on world evolution, something of what we experienced and lived through must survive our earthly existence. How else can that happen except through our soul and spirit? We look to Rudolf Steiner as someone to help us discover the truth of our post-earthly existence.
The key to unlocking the truth is our soul life which has a bright side from which things enter us (thoughts and ideas) and a dark side from which things emerge from us (will). In between are the things we experience from the outer world (sensory data) and things we feel inside of ourselves (emotions). These inner feelings cause us to look deeper, look below the surface phenomena of life.
[page 4, 5] Our inmost need of soul initially contradicts, therefore, what the soul first discovers through ordinary, mundane forms of self-observation. But if we allow ourselves to dwell deeply and feelingly in this contradictoriness — which is connected with our destined inner experience of human nature per se — then we can look fully upon this surging, weaving life of soul and find that it bears two distinctive polarities within it: in one direction it develops thinking, and in the other, will. Between thinking and the will we find sensibility, feeling; and we become aware how the thoughts and pictures that we can say we draw from the outer world are accompanied by feelings and emotions, which give these thoughts and ideas the inner soul warmth that the soul needs.We become aware also, on the other hand, that the will impulses flowing from within us are connected for their part with a feeling and emotional quality, and that certain feelings and emotions cause us to form a resolve of will of some kind or other. Or that in other words we accompany with our feelings what arises from such resolves of will, so that we are either pleased and satisfied with what we will, or not. At one pole of soul life, therefore, we find thinking, and at the other, will life; and in the middle between these, connecting with both thought life and will life, we find our life of sensibility, feeling and emotion.
We are not aware of our will because it operates out of our awareness, that is, the will lapses from our consciousness when it is in action. If we look to find it in action, it disappears like a will o'the wisp on a dark night. Our ideas are bright and clear as they happen, whereas actions of our will are obscure to our consciousness. The essence of an idea appears in our consciousness followed by the action to activate the idea. The action of will appears in us unconsciously: its results happen before we know it. We can have a thought to raise our arm and not raise it, but if our head itches, our arm raises on its own to scratch it.
As we mentioned earlier, sense perceptions are things which enter us from the outer world. Modern psychology uses the bank metaphor for understanding sense perceptions. The idea is that something happens to us causing sensory data to be stored in our memory, allowing it to be retrieved later as if it had been placed in a bank vault for safe-keeping(1). Steiner recalls a child's game to illustrate the silliness of the bank metaphor for sense perceptions.
[page 23, 24] This kind of psychology always reminds me of a charming little children's game that I often experienced as an infant, in which a little mouse (the adult's hands) runs up the child's arm to his head, accompanied by the words, 'The little mouse runs through his house, where will he rest? There is his nest!' In other words, an imaginary mouse takes refuge in a little nest which is located in the child's head somewhere. But our psychology has no greater insights, really. It sees thoughts as being stimulated by sense perceptions, which make their way into this little soul nest somewhere, this little box in the head, from where they re-emerge when they are recalled. This is a very banal idea, but one which modern psychology frequently resorts to.
But there is a deep reality to sensory perception by which we come to create over time the very things we expect or suppose is going to happen. Instead of a bank vault from which we take out what we put into it earlier, consider the metaphor of stocks. We put money into a stock of a company we believe in, one we suppose will earn more money in coming years and the stock's value has increased when we when we sell the stock. A similar process happens in our soul, a very real process, which Steiner drew in colored chalk on a blackboard. Read what he says and follow his words in the color sketch he made. At the top left of the red area is the idea or example (vorbild) of what we suppose will happen.
[page 24, 25] When I form an idea in response to a sense perception, then withdraw from perceiving it, an idea now exists, and vanishes after a while. Since it is only a picture, an image, it has actually disappeared entirely. It has gone. But our senses do something else: they accomplish a process that we do not perceive; they vitalize the real process in us for our picturing capacity. When I have a sense perception, I first form the picture through it [red], but then a second process occurs [blue] through which something red is caused, not a mere picture. The picture vanishes and I no longer possess it. When I recall, remember, then just like the sense perception previously, this idea now works back up and I perceive the reality stimulated in me, of which I was unaware, when I first had the sense perception.
The remarkable thing for me is that Steiner is describing a process I intuited over 35 years ago which I called EAT-O-TWIST, which is an easy-to-say acronym for Everything Allways Turns — Out — The Way It's Supposed To(2). The red area of the diagram shows the supposing and the blue area is the forming of the underlying reality in the soul. There is a reality created in our soul by our supposing which eventually leads to the appearance in the real world of the things we supposed. The reality may take years or decades to arrive; rest assured it will arrive, following the pattern we earlier created in our soul.
[page 25, 26] But this reality is soul nature itself. If you have a physical person before you, and you observe him now, and then again eight or ten years later, nothing physically remains of what he was ten years previously. You cut your nails, and scales fall from your skin — the physical body is continually being shed and vanishing into dust. And after a period of somewhere between seven and ten years, what is at present deepest within your interior has emerged on your external periphery and is shed as nails, scurf or scales from the skin. Rest assured that what today is somewhere within you will gradually migrate outwards and be discarded. This physical human body continually melts away. And what remains? The only thing that remains of the human being is the parallel process [drawing, blue] that develops inwardly as the reality on which your picture or idea is founded.
When Steiner avers these soul processes are reality, what does he mean other than our soul processes, which run parallel to our sensory perceptions and are not consciously experienced, are the stuff which endures when all our physical processes have disintegrated. He sketches another diagram for us to consider.
[page 26, 27] If we now try from one angle — please note that we are now considering one pole, that of thought — to form a picture ourselves of the nature of human development in relation to the soul, we can only do so in this way [drawing]. First, when we are born, we have some kind of body [white]. This is filled by the processes that run parallel to sensory perception [yellow] .
All this [white] is slowly discarded, shed. You eat, you assimilate all kinds of things through the air you inhale. This infuses your memory processes and keeps recreating your body. But the metabolic system that impregnates your soul is the aspect consigned to the earth after you die. Soul nature as such is woven from what the soul elaborates from processes that you initially feel only to be ideas, that you experience as ideas. So you can certainly say that you live in thoughts and continually create yourself through them. But what I perceive as thoughts in my ordinary awareness are only pictures of what I am doing, a kind of accompanying phenomenon.
On pages 28 and 29 Steiner details how soul content can be recalled to experience, but spiritual content must be revitalized to experience. Soul content might be likened to a Sleeping Beauty, who can be awakened, and spirit content to a Frankenstein, a corpse which must be brought to life.
[page 28] . . . soul content . . . remains in you and can be called forth again, in many respects unchanged or also altered. But this is not true of spiritual content, which not only fades and grows pale but is repeatedly fraught with doubt so that one needs to reacquire certainty about it.
Spiritual content must be reactivated, much like a light bulb in a room which needs to be switched on when one enters the room.
[page 29] Someone who acquires supersensible knowledge simply cannot expect these insights to remain like remnant ghosts within him as is thought to be the case with instinctive, revenant-like clairvoyant ideas. These worlds one enters have to be continually conquered anew. But although reality will not allow itself to be stored away in our ordinary consciousness, the effect of it is preserved nevertheless.
But spiritual content is more than light coming on when we enter a room, in addition we become like St. Sebastian who was martyred by being shot with arrows. We do not feel pleasure as we might from reawakened soul content.
[page 29] . . . the produce garnered from spiritual perception does not behave like that: it causes pain instead. You see, what is preserved, recast, decanted into the physical world, causes pain, hurts. That is the other aspect. Not only do we enter a dark room with our supersensible perceptions and must make light there again, but we also enter a room where arrows shoot at us from all sides, hurting and wounding us; and we have to armor ourselves against the residue, the embodied remains that we encounter there from supersensible worlds.
"The map is not the territory," Alfred Korzybski famously spoke in 1933, shortly after Steiner's death . Over time our knowledge of the world morphs into maps, fixed ideas which no longer represent the territory. These fixed ideas of the past can cause us pain, especially if we ignore Korzybski's admonition. College students acquire knowledge and happily pass exams by spewing their knowledge out on test papers.
[page 30] They are happy to do so. Their own insights will only cause them pain, if ever, later in life, when they see that there are better things than the knowledge they acquired, which has grown to be like fixed ideas.
Pain results from old ideas petrified inside of us. The future can bring joy and delight, if we strive to bring our knowledge alive.
[page 30] In ordinary everyday life the soul has succumbed so far to materiality that it appears in pale thoughts only, which we must first pour back into the warmth of feeling to rescue it from being pale, cold thought, which also causes no pain. This is composed only of pictures, which are not alive. But the supersensible knowledge that we acquire is alive, is living soul content.
And only this living content of soul can give us a real conception of what we are. You see, our memory pictures are a weak reflection of what we actually are. If we break inwards through this tapestry of memories, we reach what I have just described to you: a satisfying, delightful, light-filled experience of the world, as well as a painful experience of it, in which our soul partakes. Our soul is thus incorporated into a knowledge which itself contains soul life. The past pours itself into the pain. And what we feel to be joyful, delightful is what we come to see will pass through death with us — is the future.
We do not experience drama today the way the ancient Greeks experienced it, to them it was a great catharsis, a healing experience essential for their lives. The soul condition of these ancient people was different from ours: it absolutely required these dramas, these enacted tragedies to prevent soul sickness, to remove guilt, and to alleviate a pathology which would otherwise overwhelm them.
[page 31] When a Greek attended a tragedy he felt shaken, deeply struck, and this worked right down into his physical corporeality. It was essential to him to feel his spine tingle in response to the events on stage. And in tragedy he found something like a remedy, for there lived in the Greeks the idea that life is imbued with sinfulness, guilt, and thus illness, and that public performances offered a remedy that repeatedly raised life again from this guilt and pathology into its truer, appropriate nature. Thus Greek tragedy was a medicine for the sickness that kept recurring in society, rather than a privileged and somewhat marginal place of amusement.
We have states of being in which we are conscious to various degrees: waking is the sharpest state and in it we have thoughts; dreaming brings images and feelings during our passage between waking and sleep; and sleeping is a state of unconsciousness. Thinking is complete consciousness, feeling is intermediate consciousness, and will is complete unconsciousness. Will is like an unconscious dream.
During dreaming, in those times before awakening and going to sleep, dream images float around us, going in and out of our soul. If some sharp sound occurs in the room during this dream-rich state, a full-fledged dream will be created on the spot, which will end with perhaps a gunshot actually caused by a door slam that actually wakened us. Carl Jung reports such a dream triggered by a book falling from a bookcase in his bedroom.
Our will is active while we are fully awake, but its action seems to us as if in a dreamless sleep, completely unconscious to us, except by a brief intention to raise our hand, perhaps.
[page 35] The nature of the will is: what actually occurs in us when we have an impulse of will remains as hidden from us as anything we sleep through. The only clarity in will occurrences is the thought, the intention we have to act. And then again we see in our mind the movement we have carried out or whatever occurs outwardly through our will. But what happens in, say, an arm or a leg as we lift it, as we take a step, remains as unconscious for us as what occurs between falling asleep and waking up again. Even when we're awake, therefore, we also at the same time experience these three states of consciousness of waking, sleeping and dreaming.
In this diagram, Steiner draws our astral body (red) moving in and out of our etheric body (white) while we are asleep. This show the process of dreaming which occurs when the astral body (weft) intersects with and is woven into the etheric body (warp), allowing its content (a dream) to become a fully woven memory in the etheric body that we call a dream(3).
[page 36] Let me draw on the board, schematically, what I have just described [drawing, left]. Here's a schematic representation of the human being [white] and now let us draw what we can picture as the schema for the weaving activity of dream [red], which approaches us roughly like this. The red shading I drew here is a tissue or weft that the soul experiences as continually escaping and then approaching again.
At the moment of awakening, we do not have such a weft in our soul experience but instead we now have something that we experience as within us. Let me now draw how things are in our waking state [drawing, right]. This weft or tissue that was outside us before is now within us: we encompass it in our body, and this makes it no longer a vague and fleeting apparition but something we inwardly master.
This relationship between what weaves and vanishes in dream and what lives within us as thought when we are fully awake and ourselves master the pictures and thoughts in our soul can become tangible to us — so that the soul really grasps this — as something that was outside us and has now entered us. In describing this we are actually characterizing nothing other than the entry into inner life of what first wove and faded in dream, as ordinarily apprehended, which we can call the astral body.
In this next diagram, Steiner shows us the how our solid (white), fluid (blue), and gaseous (red) organism is filled by heat (yellow), the warmth ether. These four make up our human body which we summarize when we say: physical body, etheric body, astral body, and Ego Body or I.
[page 39] Now everything that constitutes our solid, fluid or gaseous organism is in turn permeated by heat or warmth [drawing p. 38, yellow]. The whole organism has its own warmth: warmth ether. We can say that the astral moves upon the waves of the air in us, and our actual I moves upon what plays through the organism as warmth.
Now you have the physical body as such: the fluid body that is also physical but distinguishes itself from the solid parts of the physical body (the fluid physical body that has an inward affinity with the etheric body); then the gaseous organism in us, which has an inner affinity with the astral body; and then warmth processes, which in other words embody the warmth ether in us, which has an inward affinity with our human I. In the physical realm, therefore, we find a picture of the whole human being everywhere.
In these lectures, Steiner explains in detail how we receive our soul and spirit from a previous lifetime from the cosmos and how it accumulates in us before it is released into the cosmos when our body dies away. In this lecture he describes the influx of soul and spirit into the physical body which carries our genetic structure. Through this process, humans form as a combination of physical inheritance from our parents and cosmic inheritance from our previous lifetime.
[page 40] The moment we approach the fluid organism, it no longer has any capacity at all simply to move like the motion of the seas waves; the play of its motion, rather, is a reflection of what occurs in our etheric body. And in turn what occurs in the finer states of bodily respiration is a reflection of what occurs astrally in us. Now if we consider this, we must say the following: the cerebrospinal fluid has certain movements that reflect the etheric body. But we acquire this etheric body as we descend into the physical world from worlds of spirit. In worlds of spirit we do not yet have it. In encompassing our physical body we also possess our etheric body. We draw the ether from the cosmos towards us, as it were. And only once we have done this can we unite with the physical we are endowed with through genetic inheritance. Thus what lives inwardly in our ether body is something we already bring with us as we encompass and take hold of our physical body.
Our body consists of almost 90 percent fluid and gaseous components. The remaining is solid constituents which are concentrated in our bony structures and dispersed throughout our body as metal salts of calcium, potassium, and sodium mostly. Our Ego Body or I lives in the warmth ether which fills our body, the astral body in the gaseous components, and the etheric body in the fluid components. These dispersed salts in our brain play a key role in providing a "salt mirror" by which our soul experiences, which cannot enter the salt, are reflected back to us to form our awareness. (Page 44)]
[page 45] You do not at first experience those soul experiences that enter your I, your gaseous organism, your fluid organism. It is only because soul life occurring in warmth, air, and fluid is reflected back by the salt in the same way that light is by a mirror that you can experience soul nature. By this means you have a mirror reflection that lives within as thoughts.
Enough salts and your thoughts are clear, too much and you become pedantic, too little and your thoughts are muddy, undefined, tending to fantasy or mysticism. Clearly, as Steiner says, "The nature and quality of our soul life is, certainly, connected with material processes within us." (Page 45)
[page 47] I say all this to show you that spiritual science, as intended here, does not attend to vague qualities of soul merely, but traces everywhere how the soul — which does really command the body, and is its architect and builder — works into corporeality.
Understanding how salts reflect from bone structures, we can see how our soul does not just spread out through the top of our spinal column and radiate into space, but instead is reflected by the salt-dome of our skull and forms our soul faculties. (Page 48) I can imagine a man who goes into Antoine's Restaurant in New Orleans and who, upon receiving a menu, proceeds to eat it and leaves complaining about the taste of the food. Materialists, strange as it seems, make a similar mistake when they refuse to see the physical (menu) in spiritual terms and miss the taste of the feast set before them by the spiritual world as it is embedded in the physical.
[page 48, 49] You see, what is usually described as soul by those who do not wish to see the physical in spiritual terms has the same reality as if you were to place a tasty meal down here, and then a mirror here, and instead of eating the meal would try to eat its reflection. You won't get full like that. And likewise you won't grasp the soul without considering it as creatively active in all you do, rather than seeing it as image alone. In spiritual science we cannot despise or discount matter, but have to comprehend the material world spiritually, and then it becomes pervaded by spirit. Otherwise we live in abstractions, in intellectualism, which lead us away and not towards true knowledge.
Steiner sketched the diagram at right of how he sees a person, saying, "Let us assume that this is the human heart [red] and above this everything we value so highly in terms of our perception of thought life on the physical plane [white]." Our objective thoughts are largely indifferent to our moods at the time. But from below [red] comes "All our feelings, instincts, drives, passions. Everything of this kind rises up and rages, one might say. This surges up. Here we have something in us that is fully subjective; yet all that surges upwards of this kind contains the organism's whole simmering and seething. What has simmered in the intestines and stomach, and anywhere else in us, rages up with these drives and instincts, rises to meet us." (Page 53) This imbues our thoughts with soul quality.
[page 54] Soul quality only arises when something flows forth from within us that permeates these thoughts with a feeling or instinctual quality. If Smith is a hero, for example, and has the thought of a lion, then feelings pulse up in him from below of a kind that banishes his fear of the lion. If Jones is a coward who runs a mile if he even thinks of a lion, then that is the subjective element. But the thought of the lion itself is universal, and as such has no soul element but is only spiritual. By virtue of the instincts that rise up from within to meet us, the thought becomes imbued with soul quality. And this also makes the thought of the lion soulful, whether it inveigles Smith into thinking of the weapon with which he will attack the lion or defend himself, or whether it makes Jones think of the best way to escape as fast as possible. In ordinary life, this is what endows things with soul quality. And we can say, in a sense, that the soul always shines into the spirit.
Now we encounter our heart as a great sense organ, one that fills our entire blood system as a great etheric sense organ.
[page 54] Instead of what lives in instincts and drives, a sum of thoughts [white arrows] now rise up to meet the thoughts above. But these thoughts are mighty pictures, and do not in the least express any more what otherwise rises from our organism. Instead they express what we were before birth.
We learn to know ourselves, to perceive ourselves, in the world of spirit before we were born here on earth, or before we are conceived. This comes towards us.
With the supersensible sight of Imagination and Inspiration, we can see ourselves as we were in the world of spirit before our birth on Earth. Along with this knowledge we also encounter elemental being, angels, archangels and so forth. (Page 55) And now the Page 55 diagram (above) comes to life for us.
[page 55, 56] But this gives us very important insight into soul experience. We gradually see that this soul experience has entirely poured itself out in our head; it entirely inhabits the head and has formed the head as its reflection [see drawing, blue]. This now offers itself to the outer world so that these pictures we receive and retain in memory can paint themselves there.But here below this life exists without — as I suggested yesterday — uniting so strongly with the physical; here it is more detached. And so, when the heart becomes the eye for this downward gaze, we can gaze down into ourselves to this aspect, into the flaring, bubbling, burning emotions, desires, passions and drives on the one hand, and on the other, though, to what does not want to unite with it, and is our eternal being living alongside it.
With our head we can see only a reflection of our outside world; to grasp our inner world we must look with our heart into ourselves. When we do this, we enter a reality where soul merges with spirit.
[page 56] The head is really only an organ of reflection for our physical surroundings. We grasp only the outer world there. We grasp ourselves when we look deeper into ourselves through the heart. Ordinary life, though, only throws up waves of emotions. But if we learn to perceive more here through higher knowledge, we find our eternal being opening up. And now the soul learns to be united with the spirit that we ourselves are. What we glimpse through our heart as it becomes a sense organ is we ourselves, our own intrinsic being. The external world we observe as spiritual environment is not us. What we glimpse within through our heart, which becomes sense organ, is our own being. The path that otherwise leads us only into soul nature, its outer aspect of drives and desires, this same path leads us into the eternal soul that indwells us and is permeated by spirit, and is just as spiritual as our spiritual environment. So now we enter the realm where the soul is one with the spirit.
In the early days of television, there was a shampoo named "Halo" which had a memorable ditty, "Halo everybody Halo! Halo is the shampoo which glorifies your hair. So Halo everybody Halo." This mundane song spoke of a time when people could perceive the spiritual reality of the soul expanding into spirit and becoming visible in the etheric as a halo surrounding their head. People of early times could perceive these directly, and artists would portray haloes around the heads of spiritual people, people influenced by the higher Sun as portrayed by the halo of orange surrounding the Sun in the Page 63 diagram. The Sun has a halo which glorifies the head of deeply spiritual people, something humans of today cannot commonly view, lacking the supersensible sight of the ancients.
Without the Moon, there would be no reproduction. Steiner gives an imagination of what would happen if only the Sun nature held sway.
[page 61] If we were only subject to the influence of sun nature, we could still be human beings on earth, but we would be unable to bring forth another human being, to reproduce. If only sunlight existed the earth would, we can say, embody a permanent condition — no creature would die and none would emerge. There would be no heredity or reproduction.
Ten Lunar months are necessary for the gestation of a human being. Most people think of nine months but that is the Solar calendar. When a woman gives birth full-term, the Moon will be in the same place in the heavens as it was ten Lunar months before during conception. "There is a tie which binds us to our home" and that is the Moon(4).
[page 61] Moon nature is always at work when a new human being enters the world. Here sun nature does not, in a sense, only reach the surface but penetrates into the interior of a person and shuts him off from a certain sphere. This is one aspect we need to remember. There is the mighty sun power, as we can call it, and cast out from this a certain portion of our outward world evolution, into which moon nature enters.
The part of the Sun which Moon nature replaces provides our ability to reproduce and is returned to the Sun as a kind of halo, a higher Sun, if you will.
[page 62] What is withdrawn from the sun on the one hand, enabling earthly reproduction and heredity to occur through moon nature, is in turn given back. And this giving back means that the sun is not merely the physical entity that external science describes, but it has a spiritual nature, a kind of higher sun that belongs to it [Page 63 diagram, orange]. This higher sun also belongs to the sun, but it acts upon human beings like the moon does, the latter being a kind of lower sun. And in our era people know nothing sensible about the way in which the moon is integrated into earth's evolution; and they know still less about this higher sun, and that just as the moon exerts a mighty influence on our physical nature so this higher sun very greatly affects the human soul.
Steiner now leads us to understand the origin of the halo surrounding the heads of spiritual people in various medieval paintings. Understanding this, we can no longer attribute the halo and auras around saints' heads as being some kind of representational fantasy on the part of the artists, but rather it must be understood as a perceptual reality that the artists created a permanent record of which enables us moderns to be able to see haloes and comprehend their spiritual meaning. They have shared their spiritual sight with us, we who no longer possess their spiritual sight. This explains how modern thinkers, by the process of retrodiction, deride the tales and images of earlier generations of people, calling them myth, fantasy, and superstition.
[page 63] Just as we are physically more than just our outward, delimited physical body in terms of the fact that we can bring forth a new human being from ourselves, thus going beyond ourselves in physical terms, so we are also more than ourselves in a spiritual direction. At a time of instinctive clairvoyance people knew this, and this was why saints were depicted with a halo. Just as we go beyond our own being in the physical world because we can reproduce, through the higher sun we can go beyond our ordinary soul powers, bound up with the body: we can extend further into the spirit and therefore, in the view of older times, bear a halo. When later artists depict a halo, it always looks like a cap plonked on the figure's head because they have no inkling as to how this is really connected with the human being. The halo is not a hood but something a person has through the higher sun — an expansion of his soul into spirit, to the point where this expansion becomes visible in the etheric.
We are ensouled human beings, something at which modern-day academics scoff for the reasons mentioned above. But what is psychology but a construction of the psyche, and how can a construction of the psyche matter in a world which believes that everything consists of matter? Can we not come to see how the parade of matter distracts us from the parade of life?
[page 68] The ideas conveyed to a modern person's soul are ones he simply absorbs blindly on the seemingly sacrosanct authority of science. But we must be clear what it means to accept things in this way as science describes them. We actually do not know, when accepting such things on authority, what in fact occurs in science labs and so forth. Thus a blind belief in authority holds sway in relation to ideas conveyed to people about the external world.
If we blindly accept the ideas of natural scientists, we are allowing them to place blinders on us as cart-drivers did on their horses in cities of previous centuries. Horses pulling carts in the countryside did not need blinders, only those in the city. The horses were spooked by what they saw in the shadows of cities with narrow streets and tall buildings. Scientists, spooked by the possibility of the spiritual world existing, brainwash us with the potent dogma of science education which acts as blinders, protecting us from what spooks them.
The ancient people these scientists ridicule possessed an old form of clairvoyance by which they saw things that really mattered, namely, things of the spirit.
[page 69] This clairvoyance was instinctive and dreamlike, and yet well suited to penetrating deeper into the real nature of things than today's scientific ideas. Through these ancient ideas and pictures which people today regard as merely symbolic or allegorical, or as the products of fantasy, it was indeed possible to enter reality. It mattered little whether a particular picture or legend exactly corresponded to an objective fact. By dwelling in reality with a picture, one was living vividly within a realm of spirit, whereas today, of course, the important thing is whether an idea one forms precisely corresponds with something outside us, for only through such concordance or agreement can people orientate themselves.
These ancients were alive in their soul in a way that few people are aware of today. We have soul experiences, but call them anomalies, coincidences, superstitions, and so on, up until now. Natural scientists have a powerful conceptual tool named after its creator, Occam's Razor, by which superfluous hypotheses are shaved away, once they are seen to be unnecessary accouterments to a given theory. Phlogiston, e. g., was excised out of existence by Occam's Razor when oxygen was discovered to be an actual element, not negative phlogiston, as scientists previously hypothesized for what happened during what we now call oxidation (burning, rusting, etc). Similarly, anthroposophy strives ever to excise, to shave away the unnecessary baggage that natural science adds when describing the phenomena of the world around us.
[page 69] When we stand on an anthroposophic foundation with real understanding we must in a sense go along with this faithful reflection of the world, in which we are no longer actually within external nature but only create a reflection or image of it. You may know that we embrace the scientific method entirely inasmuch as we reject every type of hypothesis about natural phenomena, and instead, in our phenomenalism, as we must call it, remain within phenomena themselves — that is, within external natural phenomena that must explain themselves, to cite Goethe. In other words we do not add to these phenomena hypotheses about atoms and their bombardments, explosions and so forth, as is still current today due to the sluggishness of old habits of thinking. On anthroposophic foundations we have to keep faith to the strictest degree with the outward phenomena of nature, and reject an approach that projects ideas onto these phenomena.
What's the matter with the Universe as a machine, you ask? Let me respond with a question: "Where is the soul in the Universe if it is a mere machine?" We humans are part of the Universe and if it has no soul, neither do we. We can only live in the paradigm of Universe as Machine if we treat anything that falls outside of our limited 9-dots abstract-logical construction as imaginary, foolish, and trivial. Yes, that kind of paradigm can lead us to treat certain humans as trivial, discarding them before birth, or in sickness, or in old age. Look around and you'll see this happening in the world today. What can we say to the perpetrators of this soul-less Universe, but this: Thanks for Nothing! To Rudolf Steiner we can say, Thanks for everything!
Steiner drew a diagram on page 73 of our previous soul-filled world for us. (Drawing Colored by Bobby Matherne.)
[page 73, 74] If this is the human being [See drawing, white] and this is our environment [yellow], then in former times we should picture things like this. The human being looked out into his surroundings, and also experienced within him what was given him by his instinctive, dreamlike clairvoyance [red]. He united this with what he saw in his surroundings, and this is why he saw them as imbued with spirit [red in yellow]. In all creatures he saw elemental or also higher beings by virtue of the inner state with which he met them.
. . . Now people no longer bring forth something from within them and infuse their surroundings with it, but they only trace there what can be constructed as technology: they trace there the laws of these surroundings themselves. But no moral impulse can be derived from this — only natural laws can be formulated by this means. As I have drawn this here [See drawing], people in ancient times were still one with the world and therefore could perceive moral impulses in everything they saw, in stones, animals, plants; and this is because all these things contained divine, spiritual beings. There is nothing left of this in our natural laws, which only offer what can be incorporated into machines or mechanisms.
What is shown as red in yellow in the diagram is, rightly understood, the process of informing. It is the very process G. K. Chesterton clearly described in his Father Brown mysteries. One fills one's soul with data one receives from another person and is then able to discern what they are doing, even if they are out of one's sight. Another way of saying it is that one fills the other person with one's own soul processes exactly as described by Steiner. This informing process can be done only with living things that contain divine spiritual beings, and thus, cannot be done with constructed machines such as computers or robots no matter how high a level of artificial intelligence they are purported to have. Artificial intelligence can thus be described as soul-less intelligence.
Exactly how are we moderns different from the ancient peoples? We have only to go back to the Hebrew people in the Bible to be informed of the difference.
[page 75] The diverse pre-Christian peoples consorted with 'their' divine beings — the Hebrew people, for instance, with their Yahweh or Jehovah. In so far as they were initiates, they not only communicated in thoughts but in reality. It is correct to speak of real communication with these divine beings in the ancient mysteries. Yes, initiates consorted with these divine beings; but when they were not within the mysteries and when their students were not, they all saw their surroundings once again. However they saw this outer world in a way that involved placing into it from within them what their instinctive clairvoyance endowed them with. But the initiates themselves, particularly, and their students, knew that their external environment in a way resisted what their vision informed it with; and they knew too that a time would come when it would no longer just offer resistance but when human perception would see there only what it can perceive without such 'informing' from within.
This concept is as deep as it is complex to understand, but it involves clearly the process of informing we discussed earlier. As moderns we have become so enamored of the physical world that we have mostly forgotten the very real process of informing, up until now.
[page 75] The ancient initiates acknowledged a truth that modern people do not have the courage to because their knowledge is too superficial, insufficiently profound. They said that if they did not inform the world they saw around them with what the gods had given them — which they had been endowed with at the beginning of world evolution — then the world would be empty of the gods. In other words, they acknowledged an external world that does not originate with the gods with whom they consorted in the mysteries.
Our modern knowledge is so superficial that we project upon the ancient peoples our own superficialities and accuse them of fabricating fantasy stories of gods and spiritual beings such as angeloi that we now label as myths. These very gods, for their part, hate nothing more than the mechanical works of human beings. They were busy enough with the works of Ahriman in forming the mechanical Earth, but now humans are aiding and abetting Ahriman and making things tougher for these gods. The key is that all the ahrimanic works on Earth will disappear when the Earth itself does, and thus they have no permanence, no spiritual reality, no moral forces.
[paged 77] It is the view of these gods that what they had to put up with from Ahriman when he formed the earth in this mechanical way is now being copied by humankind. Human beings add to his works. The gods consider that they already have enough to do to destroy the works of Ahriman, but in addition to this they must now deal with these steam engines, these electrical machines and all such things. They too will have to be destroyed.
How could this human obsession with ahrimanic works be counterbalanced? The ancients saw its necessity but something else had come into being which was foretold by seers as the coming of a great spiritual being to Earth. At that time, no god had ever experienced birth and death on Earth, and that would come in what Steiner calls the "Mystery of Golgotha" — a great cosmic event which would change the destiny of the Earth and its residents forever.
[page 79, 80] These initiates would have faced this terrible prospect. And it was clear to them that their old gods sought this destruction because, inevitably, they sought the destruction of the ahrimanic element and, as things stood at first, they could not save humankind.
But in these ancient mysteries this was in turn balanced by another prophetic vision, of the future Mystery of Golgotha. After this event had occurred, people increasingly became able to grasp it in some way or other. But prophetically the old initiates learned of this event from the gods with whom they consorted. The gods knew all; and all-encompassing wisdom could be gained from them. But there was one thing that could never be learned from them — matters relating to human birth and death. The gods knew nothing, especially, of death as such.
This was the problem; what was the solution? The answer was known in mystery schools going back to 9,000 years ago when the original Zarathustra told of the great Sun Being who would come to Earth, whose coming would be signaled by a great star. In later millennia, this Sun Being was called the Christ, which the Mystery of Golgotha embodies in the body of Jesus.(5)
[page 80] Yet in these ancient mysteries it was known that one from the ranks of the gods was to be sent down to earth, the one who was later called Christ, and would come to know death upon earth. The Mystery of Golgotha lies in this: that one of the gods who formerly did not know death, nor therefore birth or all the conditions of heredity, came to know death. By virtue of this, he connected with earthly evolution and could thus offer a counterbalance to what would inevitably have occurred through our evolution towards freedom — our ever-increasing affinity with the pulverizing earth. We ourselves can create this counter-pole if, on the one hand, we really do dedicate ourselves to modern knowledge, modern scientific insights, but on the other turn towards Christ, one of the gods, who came to know death, and thus also birth.
We humans, as soul-beings, are connected with the evolution of the Earth, and if we strive to remain soul-beings after the pulverization of the Earth, we will continue to be connected with the evolution of the entire cosmos.
Lecture 6 begins with an important unanswered question for me which I will hold and wait for an answer to come to me.
[page 87] We have often described here the child's early stages of development. Many years ago(6), I drew attention to the fact that up to the second dentition a child is primarily an imitative being. He strongly, and in a sense instinctively, experiences within him everything that occurs around him in the same way that at a later stage of life he experiences, subliminally, what happens around him only through his sense organs.
In its early life, a child assimilates everything around it by a direct soul-to-soul communication; it learns to think and feel the way those around it do. It is therefore urgent that parents and caregivers monitor their thoughts and feelings when around a child under the age of seven.
[page 87] This is why it is so important that at this age we do nothing in the child's proximity that the child cannot absorb and assimilate — and this includes the very way we think and feel.
Before seven, the child thinks, feels, and does as we do; after that age, they can begin to do what we tell them to do, they look up to parents as an authority and will follow their instructions.
[page 88] Language itself is learned through imitation, but only from second dentition (seven) does the child assign decisive importance to what can be expressed in language, and what the adult can therefore tell the child.
After puberty, the child begins forming internally and making its own decisions. After twenty-one, the young adult begins an independent life for the first time. Each of the stages, birth, seven, fourteen, and twenty-one represent the birth of one of the four components of a human being. At birth, our physical body begins its life separated from the mother's body for the first time. At seven, the etheric body is born as it separates from the physical body. At puberty the astral body is born and the possibility of reproduction arrives. At twenty-one, the Ego body or I takes over control of the human being. This is how the period immediately following birth proceeds, but what about the period before birth when the human being achieves physical embodiment?
[page 88] If we observe the human being long before he develops an inclination to descend to physical embodiment, we find him to be a spirit-soul in an environment of spirit and soul. All of us were in this condition before we descended to unite with the physical body prepared in our mother's womb. We unite with this physical body to pass through our earthly existence between birth and death. For a long period prior to this, as I said, we were beings of spirit and soul in a world of spirit and soul.
In this lecture, Steiner describes in detail what happens during our soul-spiritual being's descent into a physical body in our mother's womb. Everything is pervaded by the etheric world and as we approach our physical body we gather etheric forces to us, as a child might gather Lego blocks together before creating a toy building with them.
[page 89, 90] Before we gain the inclination and impetus to unite with the physical world through the embryo, we draw towards us forces of the etheric world, forming and developing our ether body by doing so.
In order to absorb these ideas more precisely, let us draw them schematically on the board. This form here depicts the spirit and soul approaching from the world of spirit [drawing, p. 90, violet; the drawing is gradually completed as Steiner gives the following account]. Of course this is completely schematic. Only what we first draw towards us in this way becomes our etheric body. In other words, we can say that we cloak ourselves with our etheric body [orange shading] as we descend from the world of spirit. . . . This etheric body developing in us is a kind of world in itself, though it is more accurate to say a 'world in itself as image'. For instance, the periphery of this etheric body reveals something starlike [yellow stars] while its lower portion displays something that appears more or less like an image of the earth. Indeed, it even contains a kind of image or reflection of sun and moon qualities.
Our soul-spirit filled the physical universe as it began concentrating and collecting etheric forces, creating in itself a miniature cosmos from the arrangement of stars, Sun, Moon, and planets it encountered. From this we can understand the basis for how these forces collected before our birth continue to influence us for the rest of our life(7).
[page 90] It is extraordinarily significant that, as we draw etheric forces towards us during our descent into the earthly world, we take with us a kind of image of the cosmos. If we could isolate the human etheric body at the moment when we unite with the physical body, we would find a sphere with stars, the zodiac, sun and moon — far lovelier than anything ever constructed in a mechanical model.
As the child grows through its second set of teeth and approaches puberty, the stars in the etheric body begin to ray inward to concentrate in the area where the heart is located (Page 91 Diagram, at left). When we say "I feel this in my heart", we are acknowledging this area where the original etheric body (Page 90 Diagram, above) was concentrated.
[page 91] All this occurs slowly and gradually during this whole period from the change of teeth to puberty. By puberty these rays have grown together here and merge in a kind of distinct form, an etheric figure [red]. The peripheral stars, we can say, first ray inwards and later this ceases and they grow completely pale. Naturally something always remains, but it fades and grows pale. These rays likewise become pale. But what has gathered and concentrated in the center here grows especially vivid. During the period when puberty begins, the physical heart hangs as it were in what has become concentrated in this center. So this is the place in the human organism where the physical heart and its blood vessels can be found.
Just as our baby teeth disappeared to be replaced by permanent teeth, so also our baby etheric heart acquired through heredity gradually dissolves to be replaced by a permanent etheric which mirrors the cosmic sphere we collected as we came into our earthly existence in this lifetime.
[page 92] What gathers and concentrates from puberty onwards does indeed become our etheric heart. Until then, as I said, we also have an etheric heart, but we acquired this through heredity, as a legacy of the forces contained in the embryo. Once we have our etheric body, and bear this with us towards the physical organism, then a kind of etheric heart, a provisional one, is drawn together through the powers of the physical body. But this childhood ether heart — and the expression I will use now is not very pleasant, but it is still a very accurate term here — gradually rots. And as it rots and becomes redundant it is continuously replaced by the etheric heart which, gathering and concentrating the whole cosmic sphere, is truly a picture of the cosmos — an etheric form we bring with us as we step through conception and birth into earthly existence.
Our astral body arrives in us carrying our experiences between our previous death and this new birth, and it slips into our various organs, mostly those above our diaphragm.
[page 93, 94] This more intimate knowledge of the human organs can only be comprehended if we understand the nature of the human astral body that we bring with us at birth. We have to recognize that every single organ bears a certain astral element as legacy or inheritance, just as the etheric heart is initially also inherited, but that gradually this inherited astral element is entirely pervaded by the astral body we ourselves bring with us, which slowly and surely immerses itself in our physical and etheric organs. In a way the heart is an exception; within it both the etheric and the astral processes are concentrated, and this is why the heart is such an especially important organ for the human being.
Certainly if the human heart were merely the mechanical pump that most medical scientists claim it is, there would be no abundance of love songs about its pulsating and coursing through our veins, would there?
What Steiner reveals in Lecture 6 is worth studying in detail because in it he reveals how what we do in our lives aligns with what happens in the cosmos, how what happens in our etheric heart and astral configurations in our various organs are essential to the course of our entire lifetime.
[page 97, 98] This is a very important phenomenon indeed, for if you consider all this you find a convergence between what we do in the world and the cosmos. In so far as the etheric world is concerned, you have a concentrated cosmos in the heart; but at the same time also, in relation to the astral world, you have a concentration of what we do, our actions. Here the cosmos and its occurrences unite with human karma.
The cosmos fills our heart and becomes our moral compass in all the decisions we make throughout life.
[page 98] Only in the region of the heart is there such an intimate correspondence of the astral body and the etheric body with the whole human organism. Here the whole world of which we bring an image in our etheric body into this life at birth is contained as essence, and everything we do and absorb permeates this whole world. Through these convergences and correspondences, an opportunity arises during the whole of a human life for human activity continually to connect and engage with this essence of images and reflections of the cosmos.
A popular John Denver song had this line in it, "All my bags are packed, I'm ready to go", and those words came to mind when I read Steiner describe how we pass through the portal of death in the next passage. "You can't take it with you" is a common phrase, but it only refers to physical objects and material wealth, does it not? I majored in physics because I wanted to learn how the world worked, but nowhere in my courses did any professor teach me that physics is the science of transient things! That essential truth awaited my study of Rudolf Steiner's works(8).
[page 98] When we pass through the portal of death, this etheric-astral configuration in which the heart floats, as we can say, contains everything that we take with us in our further life of spirit and soul after we have laid aside the physical body and this etheric weft. And — because this contains the substance of the whole cosmos, which in the heart's ether body was merely contracted — as we now grow spiritually ever larger we can pass our whole karma over to the cosmos.What originated in the cosmos and became etheric configuration, what contracted in the heart and became essence, seeks its way into the cosmos again. We spread ourselves out in the whole cosmos, and are absorbed into the soul world, undergoing what I described in my Theosophy as the passage through the soul world and then spirit land. When we study the growth and development of the human organization, we can in fact say that in the region of the heart the cosmos and the earth unite, and do so by virtue of the cosmic quality being integrated into the etheric, readying itself there to assimilate our actions, everything we do. Having passed through the portal of death we go out into the cosmos with what formed through an inner permeation of the etheric with human activity, and return again to a new cosmic existence.
Where are you headed in life? Do you despair that your life is nearing an end? Or do you recognize that we live in a material world which is imbued with a spiritual reality and that it is our spiritual reality of etheric, astral, and I which we carry in our bags when we leave this one lifetime to spend time in the spiritual world preparing for our next lifetime?
Do you enjoy traveling and exploring foreign countries? Try exploring your heart. To many people it is an unknown country.
[page 100] Of all the things that occur within us, people today know precious little. The heart is in this respect an unknown country. People know about what happens here in the physical world, and regard this as natural law; and they know about moral actions, regarding this as moral law. And yet everything of a moral nature that occurs within us, and everything of a physical nature on the other hand, unites in the human heart. These two realms that run along separate, parallel tracks in the modern view, morality and natural law, in fact can be found to unite in the human heart if we learn to understand what occurs there.
What we do in this lifetime not only affects others around us, but affects deeply what we ourselves become when we arrive here in a succeeding lifetime. We have a chance to learn how karma works in this amazing and complicated series of lectures, i.e., how the soul-spiritual forces are re-concentrated in a new physical body before we are born, carrying into us all the learnings from our previous lifetime.Our karma is a lesson plan we have for this upcoming lifetime, albeit it an unconscious one, but one which will unravel and reveal itself if we but learn to pay attention as our life proceeds. Then when we pack our bags and we leave on an infinite-warp-speed trip into the spiritual world, our soul-spiritual karmic-filled bags are stored in a cosmic baggage compartment to await our "I" upon its return into a new physical body on Earth. It is this exciting arrival back on Earth that we celebrate each year on our birthday, and for everyone it is a Happy Birthday.
-------------- Footnotes --------------
Footnote 1.Return to text directly before Footnote 1.
In my review of Steiner's with Discussions with Teachers, I point out how this simplistic concept of psychology seeps into education and produces a limited view of teacher-pupil interactions.
Footnote 2.Return to text directly before Footnote 2.
For more information, see Matherne's Rule #10. Note especially the EAT-O-TWIST Machine I created on November 29, 1983. Note that this reality-creation process is most commonly used by people for things they do not want to happen, up until now. For example, fearing is a powerful form of supposing. Likely you've heard someone say, "The thing I feared most is now upon me."
Footnote 3.Return to text directly before Footnote 3.
Per Wikipedia: "In weaving, the weft is the term for the thread or yarn which is drawn through, inserted over-and-under, the lengthwise warp yarns that are held in tension on a frame or loom to create cloth."
Footnote 4.Return to text directly before Footnote 4.
The quote is from the rear side of Squeezers playing cards which captured my attention as an unanswered question as a preteen. Click Here to view the card.
Footnote 5.Return to text directly before Footnote 5.
There were two Jesus children, and the genealogy and list of ancestors of each child is listed in the Matthew and Luke Gospels. If a genealogy is different, it must be a different child. That should be clear but the true meaning is obfuscated by the various religious confessions that insist we believe, as illogical as it may be, in a single Jesus birth. How the two Jesus children end up with one of them receiving the Christ Spirit, dying on the Cross, and releasing Christ into the Earth is embodied in the Mystery of Golgotha.
See The Education of the Child in the Light of Anthroposophy.Return to text directly before Footnote 6.
Footnote 7.Return to text directly before Footnote 7.
This provides the basis for astrology, whose popularity in daily horoscopes is a trivial outgrowth of this deep truth about our relationship to the stars and planets when we are born.
Footnote 8.Return to text directly before Footnote 8.
In Lecture 8, page 125, he asks, "What after all is the value of this whole chemistry, this whole field of physics beyond the end of earthly existence?"
Read/Print the Review at:
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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 converse during the month. If we did, then you may recognize my words. If I say some things here which upset you, rest assured that you may skip over these for the very reason that I would likely have not brought up the subject to spoil our time together in person.1. Padre Filius Walks Along the shore of the Rhine River 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, to promote modesty, offers Swimming Trunks to a Sunbather on a beach of the Rhine River:
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 Mr. J. Barrett Chevalier of Edmonton:
Another Digestworld without my name in it!
Patti also told me that March 28 marked the end of my 4-month-post-op-invalid status and that I have to pull my own weight at home. I pointed out (correctly) that since February was only 28 days, I should have it extended to March 31. My impeccable logic failed to work so I resorted to Whining & Begging. That did the trick, but as of April Fool’s Day, I have been forced into indentured servitude. God help me!
~~~~~~~~~ REPLY ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Okay, Barrett, you have made it into this Issue as an Honored Reader, had your email published, and a great photo of you included. Now, I must go back to watching Corner Gas — Brent is taking a vacation, Bobby
- EMAIL from Long-Time Speed Trace User:
From 2003 until well into 2005, if I was awake I was Speed Tracing. I think I even traced in my sleep. Most of the time now I go days without needing to trace. Last night as I sat in our condo board meeting, I found myself wanting to throttle a couple of our residents. They come to the meetings unprepared and ask the same type of disruptive questions most every month. I finally realized I could trace instead of steaming. I did; it worked. Praise the doylemaster.
Chris in Corpus Christi
- EMAIL from Jeff Parsons in Phoenix:This is a historical video about the first-ever Air Force One, and about how it came into being. It was used by President Dwight Eisenhower. It's likely that few people know about this. Click Here~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
- EMAIL from Catherine Wilson:
Hey Bobby, it's been nice following you guys! Curious if you ever read/journaled the last two Ringing Cedars books? A new one came out I am reading, Anasta. Hope you're well!
Volume 10 in the Series? Great!
Not sure if I'll ever finish the last two, but I would like to read the new one.
Glad to have you as Good Reader of DIGESTWORLD,
- EMAIL from Gary Lee-Nova in Canada:
I'd been feeling emotional discomforts that I couldn't attach any verbal label to. Last night, I used the Speed Trace and found the impacts of these events upon me: the initial nuclear testing and later nuclear weapon blasts during 1945 - the Trinity Test (July 16, 1945) and then the Hiroshima & Nagasaki bombings on August 6th and 9th. I was a couple of months older than two years in the Summer of 1945.
I am deeply grateful to you for sharing your First Aid Kit. I am finding that the First Aid Kit isn't limited to removal of symptoms. It seems capable of removing causes of any emotional dis-ease.
With gratitude and sincerity,
Good work! Sounds to me that you traced away some important doyles, converted them into cognitive (declarative) memories. It's a curious thing about symptoms and causes: hard to distinguish one from the other. So I don't bother. Each doyle you trace away may, by eliminating the "cause", remove what you called symptoms. Doesn't really matter, does it?
When in doubt, Trace it Out!
That's my motto. Doing a trace is quicker than trying to figure out if something is a doyle or not. Glad you found some uses for our First Aid Kit!
Thanks for writing of your experience!
Bobby Matherne, Principal Researcher
The Doyletics Foundation
- EMAIL from Barbara Louviere visiting in Germany:
Dear Bobby — Have told many of my friends here in Germany about you — a friend in New Orleans who is a student of Steiner — they were very surprised — "an American!" An Intellectual! Well their opinion of Americans has risen — most Germans think we are "fools".
Thanks for the most recent edition of the Digest — am forwarding on to a few of my German friends who will appreciate it.
See you back in New Orleans soon — Barbara
3. Poem from Freedom on the Half Shell:"Internal Racketeering Society"
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:
4. Weeding Our Gardens with a First Aid Kit
Internal Racketeering Society
The racketeer sends its ultimatum
on the Ides of April plus two.
Unless you wish to be disturbed,
interfered with, or annoyed
You will comply in the name of freedom
Deep inside the D. C. mole station
the moles are rooting deep
Within the pockets of producers
picking the easiest targets
And mortgaging the future of the rest.
~^~ I wrote this note in my Journal, Saturday, April 29, 2001:While watching the Shakespeare Society read Othello in performance the other night, I wrote down these words spoken by Iago:"Our bodies are gardens to which our wills are gardeners."If our bodies are full of weeds, which are plants where we don't want them, then a gardener, who allows those weeds to prosper in the face of a technology to remove them quickly and easily without chemicals, is not a worthy gardener. The doyles of asthma, for example, are like weeds in the garden of our child's body, and we as adults can help our child to remove those weeds once-and-for-all with a simple Speed Trace.
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9. CLOSING NOTES:
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Thanks to all of you Good Readers for providing the Chemistry which has made this site a Glowing Success. — Especially those of you who have graciously allowed us to reprint your emails and show photos of you and by you on this website — you're looking good! As of June 1, 2019, it enters its 20th year of publication. The DIGESTWORLD Issues and the rest of the doyletics website pages have received over 21.6 MILLION VISITORS ! ! !
We have received over ONE MILLION VISITORS per Year to the Doyletics Website since its inception June 1, 2000, over twenty years ago. Almost 2 million in the past 12 months. We are currently averaging about 150,000 visitors a month. A Visitor is defined as a Reader who is new or returns after 20 minutes or more has passed. The average is about one visitor for every 10 Hits.
IMPORTANT NOTES about DIGESTWORLDtm
Our DIGESTWORLD came into existence years before Facebook and all the other social media which interrupt people's schedules many times a day. All our photos, reviews, cartoons, stories, etc, come to you via a link inside of one short email Reminder at the beginning of each month. We hope you appreciate how we let YOU choose when to enjoy our DIGESTWORLD Issues. To Get a Monthly Reminder, Click Here .
We especially want to thank you, our Good Readers, in advance, for helping our readership to grow. NOTE our name is now: DIGESTWORLD. Continue to send comments to Bobby and please do create links to DIGESTWORLD issues and Reviews on LinkedIn, on your Facebook page, and on other Social Media. When you copy any portion of a webpage or review, please include this text: "Copyright 2018 by Bobby Matherne".
Email your friends about the reviews, the handy doyletics Speed Trace, the Household Hints, the cartoons, the Cajun jokes, the recipes, the poems, and the photos in all the DIGESTWORLD Issues archived on our website. Urge them to subscribe to the DIGESTWORLD Reminder so they won't miss a single issue!
The Subscription Process SIMPLE: no Reply Confirmation is required. An email to the Editor with your First and Last names is all that's required. There is never a charge for viewing any page on our website; nor for any of the guidance we offer to people using the FIRST AID KIT or asking for help with doyletics in any other areas.
For those who are able to contribute to the site we offer a year's subscription for receiving the DIGESTWORLD Monthly Reminders for $50.
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The cost of keeping this website on-line with its 300 Gbytes of bandwidth a month is about $50 a month. Thank you, our Good Readers, for continuing to patronize our advertisers when they provide products and services you are seeking as you visit any of our web pages. Remember the ads are dynamically displayed and every time you read even the same page a second time, you may find new products and services displayed for your review. Our reviews, digests, tidbits, etc, all our webpages act as Google magnets to bring folks to the website to learn about doyletics and frequent our advertisers, so they support one another in effect.We wish to thank all Good Readers who have made a contribution to the doyletics.com website! Special thanks go to Chris and Carla Bryant in Corpus Christi and Gary Lee-Nova in Canada!
We welcome your contributions to the support of the website and research into the science of doyletics. To obtain our street address, email Bobby at the address found on this page: http://www.doyletics.com/bobby.htm and we will send it to you. Every $50 subscription helps toward keeping this website on-line for another month. If you can't send money, at least show your support by sharing your favorite Issue of DIGESTWORLD and Reviews with a friend.
You can read a description of how to do a Speed Trace (either in English or Spanish):
Learn to Do a Speed Trace Here
Or Watch Bobby extemporaneously explain How to Do a Speed Trace on Video:
To make a connection to the Doyletics website from your own website, here's what to do. You may wish to use the first set of code below to link to the site which includes a graphic photo, or to use the second set of code for a text-only link. Immediately below is how the graphic link will look on your website. Just place this .html in an appropriate place on your website.
<CENTER> < — with graphics link — >
<A HREF="http://www.doyletics.com/index.htm">Learn to Do a Speed Trace Here<BR>
<IMG SRC="http://www.doyletics.com/doylepb.gif" width="309" height="102" border="2" TITLE="Learn to Remove Doyles — all those Unwanted Physical Body states of fear, depression, migraine, etc." ALIGN=middle><A/></CENTER>
<CENTER> < — text only link — >
<A HREF="http://www.doyletics.com/introduc.htm">Learn to Do the Speed Trace at doyletics.com <A/>
Check out the new additions to the Famous and Interesting Quotations at:
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My reviews are not intended to replace the purchasing and reading of the reviewed books, but rather to supplant a previous reading or to spur a new reading of your own copy. What I endeavor to do in most of my reviews is to impart a sufficient amount of information to get the reader comfortable with the book so that they will want to read it for themselves. My Rudolf Steiner Reviews are more detailed and my intention is to bring his work to a new century of readers by converting his amazing insights into modern language and concepts.
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As of August, 2011 we have begun using a Contact Manager with an Email Merge feature which allows us to send personalized Emails to everyone in our Contact List. You can receive the colorful Email containing the DIGESTWORLD Reminder beginning with "Dear [Your First Name]". It is important that we have your First Name, so if the name you are addressed by in your Reminder is not your first name, please notify us of the name you wish us to use. For convenience you can send a quick email to give us your name by Clicking Here. To Contact Bobby, his Email address is visible on this page.
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10. GRATITUDE - in Three Easy Steps:
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Maintaining a website requires time and money, and apart from sending a donation to the Doyletics Foundation, there are several ways you can show your gratitude and support our efforts to keep doyletics.com on-line.
One would be for you to buy a copy of my Dolphin Novel, The SPIZZNET File. Books May be ordered in hardback or paperback form from Xlbiris the Publisher here:
The best source at the best price is to order your copies on-line is from the publisher Random House/Xlibris's website above.
Two would be for you to use the Google Search Engine for your web searches or to find an item on doyletics.com website. New reviews will have a place to do a Google Search at the top and the bottom of the reviews. Just enter a search phrase in the box below to do a Search. Note you can check whether to Search just this site or all websites.
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Any questions about this DIGESTWORLD ISSUE, Contact: Bobby Matherne
Look at George Burns, Bob Hope, both lived to 100. Doesn't that prove that "He who Laughs, Lasts"? Eubie Blake at 100 told Johnny Carson, "If I'd known I'd live this long, I'd have taken better care of myself." Do you find nothing humorous in your life? Are your personal notes only blue notes? Are you unhappy with your life? Fearful? Angry? Anxious? Feel down or upset by everyday occurrences? Plagued by chronic discomforts like migraines or tension-type headaches? At Last! An Innovative 21st Century Approach to Removing Unwanted Physical Body States without Drugs or Psychotherapy, e-mediatelytm !
CLICK HERE TO OPEN OUR FIRST-AID KIT. Does your Face sometimes resemble the Faces Below? If so, Click on the Faces or Flags to Dig into our First Aid Kit.
To follow Research in the science of doyletics, Read our Monthly DIGESTWORLD Issues.
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Books are Lighthouses Erected in the Sea of Time
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