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~~~~~~~~ In Memoriam: Clive Hardy (1929-2017) ~~~~
~~~~~~~~ [ Beloved Friend and Art Expert] ~~~~~
WELCOME TO DIGESTWORLD ISSUE#17b November, 2017== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==Quote for the Thanksgiving Month of November:
Art is long, life short;
— Wolfgang von Goethe, German Poet and Philosopher (1749-1832)
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GOOD MOUNTAIN PRESS Presents
ISSUE#17b for November, 2017
Archived DIGESTWORLD Issues
Table of Contents
1. November's Violet-n-Joey Cartoon
2. Honored Readers for November
3. On a Personal Note
Links to Flowers of Shanidar Poems
4. Cajun Story
5. Household Hint for November, 2017 from Bobby Jeaux: Powering Devices Abroad
6. Poem from Harmony of the Creative Word: "A Powerful Retort"
7. Reviews and Articles featured for November:
8. Commentary on the World
- ARJ2: The Connection Between the Living and the Dead, GA#168 by Rudolf Steiner
- ARJ2: The Process of Education by Jerome Bruner
- ARJ2: A Scientist of the Invisible by A. P. Shepherd
1. Padre Filius Cartoon
2. Comments from Readers
3. Freedom on the Half Shell Poem
9. Closing Notes — our mailing list, locating books, subscribing/unsubscribing to DIGESTWORLD
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1. November Violet-n-Joey CARTOON:
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==This month Violet and Joey learn about Meanings.
For newcomers to DIGESTWORLD, we have created a webpage of early Violet-n-Joey cartoons!
"Meanings" at http://www.doyletics.com/images/171030vj.jpg
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2. HONORED READERS FOR November:
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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 November, 2017:
Kathy Whitcomb in Colorado
Lee Metcalfe in the UK
Congratulations, Kathy and Lee !
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3. ON A PERSONAL NOTE:
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Out Our Way:
CHICAGO, CHICAGO, I'LL SHOW YOU AROUND
October began in Chicago for us. Del's bid on a condo week was successful, and we had arranged for our daughter Kim and her husband Wes to meet us there on their way back from a wedding in Baltimore. Del and I woke up at 3:45, ten minutes before the alarm went off, to load the car and head for Louis Armstrong International Airport. When we settled into chairs at Gate D-4, I wanted to work on the Saturday Stumper (my name for the toughest daily crossword puzzle in our daily Advocate newspaper), but my new W.H. Smith Parker Jotter was not on my yellow tanktop, only the old red Jotter on the right side. Must have left it on the kitchen table the previous night. Later in the Atlanta airport, I noticed that my necklace with it silver foo Chinese ideogram was gone along with its silver necklace. Must have slipped off in bed last night. Both the pen and foo being gone can't be a coincidence in that they both happened at the same time, but it's an unanswered question as to what happened to them. These two losses left me discombobulated. Plus my Z10 Battery Cell phone was heating up again. Del had her backup battery so I replaced mine with it. WHY? It's a mystery. Later when I went to Amazon to order two new batteries I discovered that the heating was due to leaving the Blue Tooth app on all the time.One of the batteries came with its own charge case with which you can charge both the outboard battery and the Z10's internal battery at the same time.
Using my backup Jotter pen, I worked all of the Saturday Stumper crossword puzzle; it was a toughie. I began and could get only five words at first, so I switched to 4 Star Sudoku, which also stumped me at first, so I returned to my Saturday Stumper and finished it. Then I finished the Sudoku, and noticed that the Bridge column next to it had a wonderful quote about flowers. I wanted Del to read and save it, but she was one seat away and I couldn't talk to her easily over the gal sitting between us. It's a quote that I thought would be perfect for one of her Garden Club annual publications or a President's speech for her Twilight Garden Club. I handed it to her to solve the Jumble Words on it, the only puzzle left on the page. But she gave the page away to stewardess with other trash not knopwing I wanted to save it. The quote was about how wonderful are people who not only stop to smell the roses, but plant them as well. Gardeners are such people.
As we taxied down the runway to take off, the construction framing of the new terminal loomed outside my window. It is due to open in about 18 months time. See artist's rendition of it in Letters below.
We arrived at the Condo about two hours before Kim and Wes. They arrived at our 29th Floor condo, and we all admired the view and had a nice visit. They only live about a four hours drive from us, but between our two busy schedules, we don't see each other as often as we'd like. What made this week special is that it was just the four of us: no other relatives. Kim has three brothers, three kids, two grandkids and one on the way, so this was a time for Kim and Del to have alone time, Wes and I also got some alone time, and the four of us enjoy being adults together.
RECOGNIZED FOUR TIMES
Our condo was a block or so off the Magnificent Mile of Michigan Avenue and a few blocks from the Navy Pier. We stopped by a yellow metal sculpture which resembled an artist's palette. Guy on skakeboard offered to take our photo. I asked him first, "Ever steal a camera?" before I turned over my camera to him. (I figured none of us could catch on his board if he decided to skate away with my camera.) Our first walk was down to edge of the Navy Pier. Each of us had walked the length of the Pier before, so we took some pictures and turned around and looked for a restaurant near the condo.We stumbled into Volare. What an amazing restaurant. Elena, our waitress, looked me in the eyes and said, "Welcome back!" (I accepted this greeting without questioning her, and held it as an unanswered question.) We were treated as special guests. Elena from Romania served us and Benny the owner came over several times. Wes wanted to know if he could get the round table in the counter and Benny said, "Yes, if you have six people." Maybe later. We had a great meal and the ambiance felt like we were eating in a Ristorante in Italy. As we walked through the door of Volare's into the street, I had a palpable feeling of leaving Rome and entering the US, like we were saying, "Arrivederci Roma; Ciao, Chicago."
Elena was one of four people who mistook me for someone else during the first two days of our trip to Chicago.There was a local New Orleans girl at Delta counter when we arrived at the airport early in the morning. She said, "You looked like my uncle when you walked up and I had to look again when I saw your name was Robert. That's my uncle's name."
The second time was when we arrived later in Chicago. As we walked from our gate at Midway Airport (named after Battle of Midway, used to be Chicago Municipal Airport), a guy said, "Hey, you look like Neil Young in that hat!"He sang a phrase from a song, probably from "Heart of Gold". Later I Googled Neil and yes, with a black fedora like I had on, he looks a bit like me. I look more like Neil old than Neil young though. Google also revealed that Neil was at one time part of the Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young singing group. I had never heard of Neil Young before this. In fact, at the time, I didn't get the name of the singer in the Midway airport, but with Del's help, I recovered it over night.
The third person to mistake me for someone else: this happened the day after we ate at Volare, when we were walking up Michigan Avenue. I saw this old guy taking photos of the flowers in the bed along the street. He said, "I work as doorman in a nearby hi-rise apartment building and you look like a guy I see coming in and out the building every day."Later it came to me, the answer to my unanswered question of why Elena had said to me, "Welcome back!" The guy in the nearby hi-rise, the one the doorman said looked like me, probably eats at the Volare Restaurant and that's the guy that Elena mistook me for, making her the fourth person to think I was someone else. I felt as if people were welcoming me to Chicago all along the way there and after I arrived.
MONDAY, MONDAY, SO GOOD TO ME
What can one do in Chicago with that Mamas and Papas song running through your head? The first thing I did was to get connected to our condo's WiFi. I texted Julie whose condo this is and got the WiFi password and have my LapTop working fully now. I wanted to find out who the guy at Midway thought I was. Del had thought the singer's name was Neil, and overnight I remembered his last name was Young. I Googled Neil Young and sure enough he looks like me a bit. That morning we explored the Whole Foods' store on the ground level of the condo building and got our coffees there. Not a PJ's latte, but close enough for all practical purposes.
We walked three blocks to get on the boat for the architectural water tour. I took a lot of photos and disliked the obnoxiously loud guide on the too-loud loudspeaker. Next time I'll have my Bose earphones with me.
On the boat the guide explained how Chicago got its name: the local Indians called their area next to the Chicago river the "Stinking Onions" place, after the plants which grew wild in the marshy area. Du Bose the founder of the area adopted the Indian word as name of the city. It sounded like "shi-kaw-ko" as best a I recall from his talk and it came to be spelled as we know it is now. He explained to us how the Chicago river originally flowed slowly into Lake Michigan and caused a stench much greater than the stinking onions, no doubt from effluent sewerage and industrial waste dumped into it. They undertook an amazing feat of reversing the flow of the Chicago River in the past century. Now it flows through the Illinois basin where it eventually finds its way down the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico instead of the Atlantic Ocean. But, since the Gulf Stream flows up the east coast into the Atlantic Ocean after it passes Florida, the effluent of Chicago ends up in the same place it did before after it passed through the Great Lakes into the Atlantic Ocean.
I took about 92 photos on the water tour in the morning and another 80 in the afternoon at the Art Museum and Millennium Park. Thankfully, the museum and park were self-guided, and both allowed photographs to be taken. Got all the photos I wanted at the Museum, taking photos the painting on the left and the description on the right, whenever possible.
On our walk back from Millennium park, Kim and Del decided to eat at the Howells and Hunts Restaurant, named after the two architects of the beautiful Chicago Tribune building. They called my attention to the rocks embedded in the facade of the building and I took photos of as many as possible. Some would require a step ladder for a close up. Julie served us, but the Firecracker Shrimp she recommended was a shoo-shoo.A shoo-shoo is what we called as kids a firecracker which fizzled out or did not explode. We would take an unexploded firecracker, bend it in half near the concrete sidewalk so some gunpowder spilled out, then light the gun powder, and quickly stomp on it creating a loud bang from under our leather shoes. This required quick reflexes and the thump under the shoe was a pleasing sign of success in getting the dud to explode. Like with any shoo-shoo, I did my best to make the firecracker shrimp work. The shrimp were greasy, had tails on them, and I just cut the tails off and left them on the plate. They were not tasty enough to trouble with getting my fingers greasy removing the last segment of the tail. I do not care for this recent trend of leaving tails on shrimp when serving them. I know for a fact this was in fashion early in the 20th century because of a large neon sign on a 1940s restaurant showing their famous dish called, "Shrimp in Shorts", with a large shrimp wearing a pair of men's shorts. I was never old enough to eat there before it closed. But I don't like getting a shrimp cocktail and having to peel the tail! I have become accustomed to asking before I order a shrimp dish, if it has tails on, but it didn't occur to me to do this in Chicago. I did enjoy their French Onion soup, which was not a shoo-shoo, but had a nice browned crust of cheese over the bowl. The restaurant's ambiance was nice, and it was conveniently located on our walk back to the condo. We did lots of walking Monday. My legs cramped up in the middle of the night, which I fixed without waking Del by leaning against the wall while standing on my toes to stretch my calf and thigh muscles.I followed that by drinking some milk to add lactic acid and got back to sleep okay.
TUESDAY NOT A GOOD NEWS DAY
But it was an enjoyable day with a couple of speed bumps. I was up at 7 am and typing up these notes. I went down for a latte and then Wes and I walked to the Driehaus Museum. Don't recall what led us to go there, but it is a wonderful old house converted into a museum. Enjoyed the beautiful wooden wainscoting and metal wall coverings, plus one special Dining Room with beautifully textured wall designed by a man named Taylor who later invented linoleum. Hope he did live long enough to see what happened to the ubiquitous linoleum rugs by the 1960s! They were so ratty looking and were replaced by shag rugs, wood block flooring, and wall-to-wall carpeting, etal.When we were leaving Wes asked the Drieshaus docent at door for recommendation for lunch, and he pointed us to Bijan's Bistro down the street. We had a delightful late lunch there. I had an omelet and Wes had the seafood pasta. Wes apparently liked the place because he and Kim ate there the next day when they visited Drieshaus.
When we left Bijan's Wes thought that Benny's companion restaurant to Volare was nearby. I stopped an elderly gentleman who looked like a local and before Wes had found Benny's Restaurant on Google, the man pointed down the street and said, "It's a couple of blocks on the right." I thanked him saying, "You were faster than Google." He laughed. Said he was a long time resident of this area and knew where everything was.
Then we walked down to the place named Benny's Restaurant a few blocks away.When we walked in it was the middle of the afternoon and the place was mostly deserted. We met a guy named Gaetano and he showed us around the place. Turned out he was the Chef and ran the place for Benny. We had a delightful conversation with him as Wes asked for his round table for six. Gaetano called over the hostess and told her what we wanted: a round table for six for Wednesday night when Wes' good friend Don and his lady would join us for dinner. Gaetano was from a little village high above the Almalfi Coast, and when Wes said he was taking Kim to Italy next summer, he suggested a place for them to stay. He suggested they stay near the shoreline because the view of the hillside and his village was spectacular from there. Suggested the ride up to his village was not for the faint of heart. I mentioned our experience on the Isle of Capri with the thousands of visitors and he suggested staying over night in Capri because all tourists return about 9 pm to mainland, and the island is quiet and beautiful after they leave.
We came back to our condo to meet the girls who obviously had had a wonderful day of shopping and we all went out to dinner for seafood at Eddie V's. We were talked into the Eddie V's by Joe's Seafood place whose wait was too long. William served us and I had the Lobster bisque. Del shared her crab cake with me. Her fried rice with lump crabmeat on top was so large and delicious we took about half of it back to the condo.Another advantage of a condo over a hotel room: the microwave and large refrigerator. Plus the floor to ceiling view from the 29th floor from the living/dining room, and two bedrooms! The condo also had floor-to-ceiling curtains operated by remote control.
After returning from dinner we then took a cab to Buckingham fountain which left me under-impressed. There were lights, sculptures, and spraying water, but I preferred taking photos of the night sky lit up by skyscrapers. Wes hired a pedicab to drive us back to the condo for $40. It was a four-passenger cab but powered by only one pedaller. With his Scandinavian name and built he seemed suited for the job. But cars were zooming by us much too close for comfort. His pedicab was very well lit, so if a car actually wanted to hit us, we were an easy target. Fortunately none did.
BENNY'S ON WEDNESDAY
In the morning I went down to get my latte with Del after processing all my photos to date. Wes and Kim got up and we ate leftovers from last night, then we Uber'ed down to the Science & Industry Fiasco (aka Museum). My fond memories of visiting a quiet museum and walking through a WWII submarine were shattered by the present day reality of the place. Today it looks and sounds like a noisy children's amusement park. Exhibits appropriate for ages 2 to 6 and raucous as a grade school playground on a recess that never ends. I was disgusted by the place, as was Wes. He carries his work with him, so he sat outside and handled work calls. My ticket said that any photos that I took could be used only for my personal use, but any and all photos and movies of me the MSI took could be used for any purpose they desired, without compensation, acknowledgment, or advance permission. I vow never to pay to go into another museum with such blatantly one-sided restrictions.
I left where Kim and Del were enjoying each other in an Amusement Park and Wes was outside sitting, working over his phone under cover at the bus stop, and I went up to the entrance level where the train cars of the Burlington-Northern Zephyr were.It was closed and it was the quietest place in the museum. As I read the map there, it showed a Finnagin's Ice Cream parlor a couple of floors up and I thought an ice cream cone would remove this doom and gloom of this so-far wasted day! Yep, you guessed it: it was closed! Oh, on my way back, I read a sign at the Zephyr saying, "This areas is undergoing an intensive creative design!" I can guess that it will soon be as tacky and obtrusive to the senses as every other exhibit in the so-called Museum.
We took a taxi back to the condo and I took a nap. Kim and Wes took off and they came back with goodies for Don's visit later, plus the fixings for a couple of strawberry ice cones for me and Del! What a son-in-law!
Don and his son Tim came over awhile later, about 5 and we visited till it was time for us to walk to Benny's Restaurant where Gaetano and Debra waited to serve us. Wes and I had discovered the raised walkway from Benny's to Michigan Avenue the day before, and we surprised everyone by knowing this shortcut, including Don and Tim. Also, Don and Tim had driven in from their home in Indiana and the only place they could find to park was next to Benny's Restaurant! Gaetano came by when we arrived and then when Don had a minor problem with his baby veal. Seems he should have ordered baby veal medium instead of medium rare or else the fat will not congeal and it will be runny. Gaetano took it back and brought it back just fine a few minutes later. This is the kind of thing that regulars to Benny's would already know about. In the meantime Don enjoyed a large piece of Kim's thick slab of pork chop and some of Del's steak as well. I ordered the special with shrimp and scallops and Debra asked if perhaps I'd like an extra shrimp and scallop. I said yes, but in the noisy restaurant I did not hear about main part of the special, the swordfish. So it was more than I could eat but all of it was delicious.With just the special, I could have eaten the swordfish, but the appetizers were enough to fill the belly's of an NBA team. We started off with Oysters Rockefeller, and Wes offered me 2 since we had ordered six and he knew Kim didn't eat any. He read my mind again because that was what I was considering asking for. Also the table shared a large order of large chunks of bacon, a plate of various prosciuto slices, and other stuff I didn't want any of. This was a three-hour meal and every minute of it was delightful. Wes asked each of us to give a toast in turn or else offer a question which each guest could answer. Del chose to ask "Who was your favorite teacher?" For me that would be my 8th grade English teacher Mrs. Dixon who gave us 17 words and asked us to write a sentence using each word. I wrote one sentence using all 17 words, and she smiled her approval of my ingenuity. After the meal only a couple of people had room for dessert, and Don and his son took home a large bag with the leftovers.
THURSDAY IS A HARD WORKIN' DAY
That's what Fats Domino sings in "Blue Monday". Thursday was a hard workin' day for me and Del because we had to pack up for our flight very early Friday morning. But like all the other days we spent here, we had a lot of fun too.
The Sun was shining brightly into the condo, so I decided to do a photo shoot of the kitchen-living room area of the condo. I opened all four of the blinds to get a clear shot of Lake Michigan.I shot first across both sets of purple and gold tulips that Kim and Wes brought Del for decorations. I was sad that we couldn't take them home with us. I shot one of the city from outside on the balcony. When I took one of the male-female statue, I noticed for the first time that the texture of marble was different for the male and female, apparently it was two kinds of marble, a slightly darker tone for the taller figure. The large painting over the sofa had a set of two foreign language passages painted into it. I shot close up of the words and artist's signature. As best I could translate the two passages from the Italian, one said, "He gives me Wings to fly and Sing to the world" — which could have been Fats Domino's motto for his life. The other one said, "The bounty of the great God blesses me — my family, my spirit, my life, my love." Both quotes are very fitting for the Condo owners, Carl & Julie.
This was our last day in the condo and no one wanted to go to another museum. I thought I'd like a walk to the Water Tower and a visit to its museum, so I did walk down to the Water Tower area. It's a great part of the Magnificent Mile and goes past many well-known department and specialty stores. I passed a Neiman-Marcus, a Timberland Store, a Verizon Store, and I went inside each one. The Verizon didn't have any new Blackberry cell phones on display. I visited the Presbyterian Church across from Bloomingdale's. Clearly a sanctuary church, which used to be something to be proud of, but giving sanctuary to criminals is nothing to be proud of. As I walked back on the opposite side of street I saw a UniQlo store and bought myself a jacket to replace the one I dropped somewhere on the steps coming down from Sacre Coeur on the steps below Montmartre a few years ago. It was my original down jacket which folds into a small pillowy tube. It had zippers that did not snag on the jacket material, but the imitation one I had previously bought to replace it often did! The new one is brown, so it won't be confused with the dark blue, snagging jacket. On my way back I re-crossed the street and passed near Timberland, deciding to buy that pair of deck shoes. I had already on my first stop verified that they were real deck shoes. The way to know is to pull the leather cord on the outside of the shoe and confirm that it continues into the shoe string cords. Finally Timberland has created a boat shoe that has no material label on top of the inside heel. Plus the heel's inside was covered in real leather. I can now alternate with my Forbes and my Timberland shoes from time to time. The shoes were on sale, 25% off $95, and even with tax came out only to $78 dollars. Good part about walking alone on Michigan Avenue: I would never have bought either of these if Wes and the girls had been with me.
Del and I took a long nap in the afternoon. Then I showered and shaved and packed up my Dopp kit and suitcase. Put the new Timberland boat shoes in the suitcase. Being new they're still a bit uncomfortable around my ankles.
Being our last night in Chicago, we didn't want to experiment with a new restaurant, so at 5 pm we walked down to Volare's, on street level, a short jaunt around the block. Our waiter was Salvatori and did a great job. I had the spaghetti pomodora; Wes got same with two meatballs. We enjoyed our meal and came back. Del and I finished packing. Wes and I watched the New England Pats beat the Bucs. We both headed to bed at half-time and I found out later the Pats won.
AND FRIDAY I GET MY PAY
My pay was getting home again to our fifty-week a year condo, our home we call Timberlane. Our bed, our offices, our gardens, our automobiles, our PJ's coffeeshop, etal. I often say, "Seven days without a PJ's makes one we'k." Spelled that way you can hear the ambiguity of week and weak! But we soon found out that a visitor named Nate was heading our way. Not my cousin Nathan, whom we never call Nate, but a hurricane aiming directly at New Orleans. He was aiming to join the quartet of hurricanes to hit the Gulf Coast this year.
NATE, CINDY, HARVEY, and IRMA
To summarize: four hurricanes threatened New Orleans: first Cindy, then Harvey, Irma, and Nate. Total winds to reach us from the bunch: NONE. Total rainfall on us from the bunch: NONE. When Cindy hit early in the hurricane season, she was barely a hurricane.Rather, she was more a rain event which dumped rain on western Louisiana and the east Gulf coast from Mississippi to Florida panhandle, but here in the middle of Cindy, we got no wind, no water. Harvey sat on top of Houston and dumped tons of water on the area, overfilling reservoirs which needed to have water released steadily to prevent a catastrophic breach of the dams. All the people who got flooded made it to the news. My daughter in Bellaire was spared. The water came to within a foot of her raised main floor, but got into her garage. She sheltered several families in the neighborhood who were not so lucky. My daughter in Beaumont stayed high and dry. Our friends in Corpus Christi were spared the brunt of Harvey which went onshore east of them. Our friends in Florida threatened by Irma made out okay. Nate caused minor damage to the Biloxi and Gulfport area. All in all a lucky season for us in New Orleans.
Our Matherne Reunion was scheduled in Houma on the day Nate was due to arrive, so it was postponed. I was so glad because that was the day I would have driven 90 minutes to the reunion, stayed only two hours and then had to drive back 90 to get home in time for the LSU-Florida game. We just got word that the Reunion is now scheduled for Saturday, November 4, the same day as Alabama will try to beat LSU.Will I have to do the long drive both ways? Only if LSU had lost one of the three SEC games to Florida, Auburn, and Ole Miss, but guess what? LSU won all three games. As a result the big game for the top of the SEC Western Division will be a CBS prime time night game! We'll be able to enjoy the Matherne Reunion and even enter the Pedro Tourney and still get home in time for the game.
FLOWERS OF SHANIDAR
This is a month that I had been dreading because I completed publishing for the first time on-line all the poems from my two hardback books of poems, "Flowers of Shanidar" (1990) and "Rainbows & Shandows (1995). When I published them (five a month in various issues of DIGESTWORLD) I carefully selected an appropriate photo to accompany each poem.
Now I had reached the cliff: it was either jump or what? I thought about it a long time and the answer came to me in a dream at the edge of the cliff: I should fly!
What was the one thing my hardback books had, that the poems in my DW Issues lacked? A Table of Contents! What if I made a Table of Contents and linked each poem's title to its position in a DW Issue? Great idea, I thought, now if I only had someone I could assign to do this incredibly detailed task!Well, my publisher does not take kindly to my coming up with an idea and not following through on it, so he assigned the task to me. All my protestations: I'm too busy, I've got Reading and Writing to do, Photos to take and process, Cartoons to draw, a Cajun joke to write, another Violet and Joey and Padre Filius cartoon to create, etc, went unheeded. So I did it. Almost an entire week of work just for the 1990 book, "Flowers of Shanidar", but the format I used will work for "Rainbows & Shadows" when I do the same for it in a future month.
First Idea: Had a great idea of how segue into DW's without F of S and R&S poems: Devote this next issue to an index to F of S poems (linked into DW Issues) and next month to R&S poems. Now, how can I make this production easy on me? No easy way if I insist on having a direct link to each poem (instead of just using #poems at top of the set of five poems). I thought: coming soon another idea!
Second Idea: Woke up with this idea: Create a .html of Table of Contents for Flowers of Shanidar for DW17b and for Rainbows & Shadows for DW17c. First I needed to figure out how to make a Table work to give me two columns of poem titles. Using a previous Table model, I did that in 3 hours. Then spent the rest of the afternoon adding the first chapter's titles for Rose Mallow poems. Whew! Should get a little easier as I go along I thought. Then I made it get harder by creating an Include file to keep this month's issue size smaller till it expands on the website. The Include file idea worked, but it caused me to do an extra layer of Page Refreshing to confirm that each link worked! Worked all morning to create a two-column-wide Table to hold the Poem Titles and post a large flower atop each Chapter.
After those two ideas, all that was left was the tedious task of implementation and testing. In the afternoon I began the long task of adding a link, not only to every poem in its DW Issue, but adding a new link above every poem in its DW Issue to be pointed to! This was difficult, but it proved to be worthwhile for me because it: 1.) Gave me enjoyment of re-reading each poem again next to its selected photo. (Early ones only had the chapter's flower), and 2.) Allowed me to correct a typo or two, emend several clunky lines, and adjust photos to center over several poems in its DW without causing extra indents, all of which took extra time naturally. Thanks, Boss! The whole process took me about a week to complete and test all the links.
My dear Good Readers, I hope you will enjoy the effort made by our website designer to make it possible for you and future readers to enjoy Bobby Matherne's poems online.
Publisher, Good Mountain Press
That's a greeting I made up during the recent Timberlane Halloween Hayride which rolls on the golf cart path directly west of our home. Our neighbor Connie made up several dozen Jello Shots in various colors and flavors and while we gave candy treats to the kids, the adults in the trailers and in the trucks were offered finger sandwiches and Jello shots.They kept yelling, "You guys are our favorite stop on the Hayride!". Amazing what a little cup of jello can do. So I began wishing them a Happy Jelloween as they drove off in the dark to their next stop. Don and Connie brought a wheelbarrow and our other neighbor Fae joined me and Del dumping in all our candy to fill the wheelbarrow. Never before considered a wheelbarrowful as a unit of candy. We each had a bucket to load with candy as each truck float arrived so we could walk around and give the candy out to the kids. This is a switcheroo over our Mardi Gras Floats where the floats have riders throwing out beads and treats to the spectators who yell, "Throw me sumpin, Mister!".
These Halloween floats stop and yell, "Trick or Treat", and we load them up with treats. The kids are usually in costumes. With funky music playing on some floats, some of the pre-teens would do a dance move to get more treats. It is a fun night and a great tradition, one we would have missed if we had not moved next to the golf course about eight years ago.
During Roman times, often Christians became Saints by being martyred when the Romans dumped them into the Coliseum to be mauled by Lions.We have a football team in New Orleans known as the Saints and Detroit sent some Lions here to maul our Saints in a modern-day Coliseum known as the Superdome on a Sunday afternoon. We didn't have to sit on concrete seats in the Coliseum like the Romans, we watched on TV as our Saints mauled the Lions (a turn around from the Coliseum outcomes), 52-38. The Saints got out to a big lead on fumbles by Lions and interceptions by Saints players. Cam Jordan, a defensive lineman, batted a ball thrown by Lions quarterback while they were both in the end zone. The ball went into the air and Jordan caught it for a zero-yards Pick-Six touchdown! Cam was so excited, he did a Jimmy-Graham-esque slam dunk over the goal posts' bar. Those posts were still swaying when Saints kicked the extra point.
After the game our friends Chip and Dianne came over for the dessert I had planned for Gretna Green benefit Dine-Around, a serial dinner which would end with dessert at our home. I had already bought the ingredients for the dessert I call "Fred", and it seemed a shame not to make it and share with two of our friends who were as disappointed as we were that the event had been canceled. (The winner of the bid for the Dine-Around decided to donate the proceeds to the Timberlane Country Club.) Since it had been almost 30 years since I had made Fred, it seemed the right time to do it again. I had just made a large pot of fresh snap beans and potatoes, so we included a small meal to precede the dessert. I sliced some fresh-from-our-garden cucumbers for a salad, heated the green beans and potatoes on the stove served them over the long grain and wild rice mixture. For Fred, the home-made ice cream was in one bowl and the blackberries in another and I let them watch as I fixed the mountain of ice cream in each bowl, topped it with blackberries, and cream flowing down on top the berries. It felt great to be able to create Fred once again after so long, and enjoy it with our good friends.
TWILIGHT CONCERT IN CITY PARK WITH JOHN RANKIN
On the Thursday night before Katrina hit New Orleans, we were at John Rankin's concert in City Park, the last scheduled concert of the Twilight Concert series back then. Katrina hit two days later and devastated much of the city, including City Park. But we are a resilient people and a year later, after being forced to move out of the city after Katrina, John was back for his concert. Since then we have made it a point to make John's concert each year. The schedule for the popular concerts has grown longer, starting earlier in the Spring and lasting later in the Fall, several weeks past John's concert this year.
This concert should have been named "John Rankin and his All Stars" because all five musicians on the stage on this night was a star in his own right. John had Clarence Johnson on sax, Charlie Firdela on trumpet, Don Vappi on Banjo and Bass, and Washboard Chaz as a one-man rhythm section on his custom washboard.A great combo of John and his good friends. Best musicians in their specialities in New Orleans and the world. John closed with a special song which goes, "Would you like to play the guitar, carry money home in a jar?" — whose lyrics evoke a poignant reminder of the reality of guitar players whose love for playing often exceeds their love of money.
MY BROTHER DAVID'S GRAND-DAUGHTER'S WEDDING
David and Barbara had one child, Randy, and Randy has a daughter Mindy and a son Tyler. Mindy was getting married to Landon Punch in a large church wedding, and we needed to be there. Likely all of my four remaining siblings would be there also.
Del and I drove to Holy Family Church early so I could take a photo of my mom's Stained Glass window in the church before the Sun went down. It was a long service. The priest left us suspended with our hands up at the end of the Our Father prayer when he sequed into a blessing, first to Landon, then to Mindy, and back and forth, ad infinitum till our arms were exhausted when we finally got to say AMEN! and let our arms drop. Mindy had a beautiful white gown with a traditional trailing tail. After their vows Mindy and Landon walked to the wall at the side of the altar to place a stem of flowers into a vase.Everything went well until they turned around to walk back together to the altar and Landon discovered he had leave his bride and walk about ten feet away from her to keep from stepping on the large white train of her gown. This was one part of the ceremony that couldn't be rehearsed and came as a surprise to Landon, no doubt. But reunited they were and came down the aisle as Mr. and Mrs. Landon Punch. David was no doubt proud of his lovely grand-daughter.
The reception was at Magnolia Plantation in Elmwood Park, and I parked us in the spot marked Reserved for Brides-to-Be who would come to make arrangements for future weddings and there were unlikely any such arrangements to be made on this night. There was lots of food, and the music was good during the early part of the reception. Del and I danced to several pieces, but when they started the Jump and Thump music (the modern successor to Rock and Roll), we left. My brother Paul and his wife Joyce stayed to dance and reported some good music was played later. They live in Opelousas now, and were spending the night with us at Timberlane, and followed us home about an hour later. I watched the Astros beat the Yankees 7-1 as Bregman knocked in two runs on a big hit to centerfield.
LAST MINUTE EVENTS
In amazing synchronicity both LSU and the Saints have won their last three games in a row. LSU is near the top of the SEC Western Division and the Saints are at the top of their NFC South Division. Both are on a run to a big bowl game. In the Fall hope Spring's eternal.
Speaking of eternal, we lost two long-time members of my club this month, Clive Hardy and Joe Darlak. I will miss them. New Orleans has also lost a favorite son, a singer of world-wide fame since the 1950s, Antoine 'Fats' Domino. I recall one night when I saw him in person. He appeared on a Riverfront Stage playing a large grand piano. He looked like a large canary in a brilliant yellow suit. He must have been in his seventies at the time. As he concluded his set, he was playing thunderous chords on the piano to a heavy beat and with each beat he would slam his belly against the bottom of the keyboard and push the heavy piano forward a few inches.This continued until he completed the number having nudged the huge piano completely into the wings of the stage! This memory is burnt indelibly in my memory of the great Fats Domino, who will always be "Walking to New Orleans."
Speaking of Hope, Del and I attended a Benefit for Café Hope at Timberlane Country Club. Its restaurant is now located in the Clubhouse and has greatly improved the service to members and the public. The food was prepared by celebrity chefs from J. W. Fins and featured a fish version of chicken wings.
A Glorious Day in the French Quarter
Del and I dressed after she instructed our landscaper on what she wanted done with the front yard.Instead of her crawling over the 100+ front edging of Timberlane, pulling weeds and planting petunias, she let him do it, while she and I decided to sit in the comfort of The Theatre downtown watching this long-awaited movie, "The Snowman". When we got downtown we drove right into our favorite parking lot and Percy was there to help us and watch our car. We were early so we stopped in Brook Brothers and I noted suits were $800 and shoes $600. Next door was Mignon Faget and Hollis helped us buy four more Saints Fleur de Lis wine glasses. Talked to her about going to see "The Snowman" and she wanted a report afterward. The movie turned out to be as dreary as weather outside the theater was spectacular: cool, breezy, and sunny, the 300-year-old New Orleans French Quarter at its best.
After buying our wine glasses, we stowed them in the trunk of our Cherry Max and walked to Café du Monde where we had about a ten-minute wait for a table. Shift change at 4 PM slowed down the waitresses, but we soon had our café au lait and beignets and we enjoyed the cool breezes flowing through the open air café. The café was noisy, but with such a good energy that we loved waiting for our coffee in the delightful ambience. The folks in the next table were also waiting to be served, so I struck up a conversation with them.In town from Texas for work, so I suggested they walk down to Frenchmen Street where every night there are a dozen or so live music gigs in small venues with no cover, where you can listen to a song or two, buy a drink if you like, then walk to the next place. A most wonderful pub crawl. Leaving the bustling café, Del and I wanted to walk down to the river, but the Moon Walk was being reconstructed, as best I could tell, and we had to detour to take a short walk further down towards Woldenberg Park before returning to our car and home.
EVERY GOOD THING MUST COME TO A NEW BEGINNING
The past month of October has brought Hurricane Nate aiming straight at us, only to veer off our neighbors on the Gulf Coast, but missed us completely: no wind and no rain. After a warm first three weeks, Fall Weather officially arrived with chilly 60s at night. But October with its cooling weather is coming fast. Footballs are flying and our local teams of the Saints and the Fighting Tigers, hungry for wins, got them: four in a row for Saints and three against the SEC for our LSU Tigers. As I like to say, Hope, even in the Fall, Spring's eternal.Will our Tigers be the only team to beat vaunted Alabama? The Saints made it five wins in a row by beating Chicago. Will they win another Super Bowl? One can Hope so. It was great watching our LSU star shortstop Alex Bregman make incredible plays from third base for the Astros in the World Series playoffs. He hit two home runs this year against Sale and one in the first game of the World Series against Kershaw. On a most unlikely play, Bregman threw out a run at Home Plate with a laser-guided stinger into the glove of the catcher for an out only inches before the runner's foot touched the base. I watched Bregman single-handedly tie the score to extend the second game of the World Series game against the Dodgers and allow his fellow infielders to hit back-to-back homers to set up a win in extra innings. The game on October 29 was a blockbuster, like a heavy-weight championship boxing match. Bregman an RBI Single for the walk-off win at the bottom of the tenth inning to end the five-hours and 15-minute game. The Astros are now 3-2 in the World Series and need only beat the Dodgers in L.A. one time to win the World Series. I can imagine how disappointed Alex Bregman was that he never got to play in the College World Series for LSU, but now he's playing in the big league World Series, so we know that he's serious about winning and is playing like it.IMPORTANT MESSAGE:
Hope you had a wonderful October with lots of Halloween fun. May your Thanksgiving Blessing include the entire world this year. God Willing, and the River Don't Freeze Over — (just kidding) — whatever you do, wherever in the world you and yours reside, whether you're enjoying glorious Fall days or greening Spring days,
Remember our earnest wish for the last two months of this God-given year of 2017:
MAY THE WORLD REMAIN PEACEFUL AND SERENE IN TWENTY-SEVENTEEN
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Quotes Selected from quotes.htm this month:
A little alliteration helps a lovely, little oration.
— J. David Knepper (6/20/2008)
Nurture your mind with great thoughts, for you will never go any higher than you think.
— Benjamin Disraeli, 1804-1881, British Statesman, Prime Minister
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it's the only thing that ever has.
Margaret Mead ( 20th-century American Anthropologist )
- In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm, and three or more is a Congress.
— John Adams (Second American President) US writer
- A gaffe in Washington, D. C. is when you inadvertently tell the truth.
— Chris Wallace, Commentator on FOX NEWS
- I contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.
— Winston Churchill (British Prime Minister/Writer/Painter)
- The best argument against a democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.
— Winston Churchill (British Prime Minister/Writer/Painter)
New Stuff on Website:Click Here to Read Bobby's Three Published Books Links to Poems of Flowers of Shanidar
Poems Written by Bobby Matherne
Published in various DIGESTWORLD Issues with associated Photos
First published in 1990 Hardback Book of Poetry
INTRODUCTIONIn a small dark cave in the hills of Northern Iraq near the Turkish border the excavator Ralph Solecki found in 1960 the bones of a young man placed in the recess between two large boulders. Analysis of the remains from the cave of Shanidar determined that the burial occurred over 60,000 years ago.
Soil samples collected near the bones were only analyzed several years later and produced a quite unexpected result. Ordinarily a small random assortment of pollen grains would be found in funereal soil samples, but the Shanidar soil analysis revealed thousands of pollen grains from wild flowers of the region. Flowers of rose mallow, hollyhocks, hyacinths, and other indigenous varieties of flowers had been systematically collected and transported to the cave of Shanidar as a funerary tribute.
Astonished, the scientists were confronted with the earliest known evidence of a burial ritual. From the very dawn of mankind a message had come down to us, written in pollen grains from the flowers of Shanidar, of the birth of a new consciousness — the consciousness of death.
How far have we progressed in the knowledge of ultimate destinations in the 600 centuries since that funeral celebration? As we stand before the door to the new millennium, do we dare to knock? Are we ready for the new flowers of Shanidar and the birth of consciousness that will surely accompany our passage into that new era?
These poems are from Bobby Matherne’s 1990 book of poetry, Flowers of Shanidar and have been published on the Internet in various DIGESTWORLD Issues. Here is a complete Index of Links to every poem. (Flowers drawn by Artist Maureen Grace Matherne)1. Chapter: Rose Mallow
~~~ (Click Poem to View) ~~~~~ ~~~ (Click Poem to View) ~~~~~2. Chapter: Hollyhocks
~~~ (Click Poem to View) ~~~~~ ~~~ (Click Poem to View) ~~~~~ Fully Alone The Iconoclast Tradition A Conspiracy of Roses Blank Spaces Caesura Teenagership Journey Of One Step A Disappointing Antidote Young Spirit The Differing Drummer of Summer Worth Doing Projections And Reflections Conquer The World EAT-O-TWIST RNA and DNA Fear Away Through The Door Dogma On A Leash Infection Time Line Health Food: NUTS! Memory Of A Memory Back to the Present Mowers and Growers Midnite Elves Beaming Motes My Own Mountain Mental Training Wheels Who Is John Galt? Soul Captain 3. Chapter: Shamrocks
~~~ (Click Poem to View) ~~~~~ ~~~ (Click Poem to View) ~~~~~4. Chapter: Hyacinths
~~~ (Click Poem to View) ~~~~~ ~~~ (Click Poem to View) ~~~~~ Dogma An Open Mind Great and Deep Immortal Tracts Questions Trilogy Verbal Cartoons Thoughts The Truth About Truth Metamorphosis Adrift In A Stream Out Of New The Old Undercooked Poetry Amazing Puzzle Invisible Light Oreos 100 Decimals of Pi Natural Martini Phototropic Twins Telling Things Little Bug Face to Face Listen Well Circles of Science Unfinished Poem Uncertainty Principal Personal Knowledge The Sixties Latest Information Much Depends On Much Depends Wheels Of The Chariot The Thinking Cook De Tour Sleeping Beauties Someday There'll Be This May Be A Poem, I'm Not Sure Dream of Reality Three In A Boat Wonderfull Answer5. Chapter: Violets
~~~ (Click Poem to View) ~~~~~ ~~~ (Click Poem to View) ~~~~~ Dream of God Tomorrow's Blossom Van Gogh's Eyes Wild Flowers Index How Long? Any Intuitions? Misty Reaches On Earth As In Heaven Hopetown The Kahuna's Prayer Heavenward God Knows Palimpsest of Spirit Roller Coaster Circles of Life Night Shakes Elven Shoes An Idea of God All At One Riverrun Mumbles From Below Precession of the Gods Split Infinity Already Answered EPILOGUEDeath is not like being trapped in a
small dark room forever.
It's like ... to sleep ...
To sleep, perchance to dream,
and in the dream
To walk the road not taken
To birth the child unborn
To soar over the well-trod bogways
of former lives.
To think within the mind of God
thoughts created in the thinking.
To dance with the gyrating ganglia
of the nascent
~^~ AFTERWORDReading the first printing of "Flowers of Shanidar" in one sitting was a rare pleasure. I got to enjoy the poems as a detached observer might, rather than as the sweaty craftsman, fresh from his labor.
One question going through my mind was this: Would the chakra structure of the book would show through the poems?
Let me explain. The book is divided into five chapters: Rose Mallow (red), Hollyhocks (yellow), Shamrocks (green), Hyacinths (blue), and Violets (purple). These colors map on the colors of the chakras rising from the base of the spine (red), through the crown chakra (purple/violet). I collated the poems into chapters by earmarking each poem for its matching chakra as follows:Rose Mallow (red/orange: root chakra) — Issues of survival, life, death, and sex.After reading the poems from beginning to end, my answer is, yes. Without explanation, there appearred to me to be a progression through the chakras that pulled me through to the end of the book and gave it a unity of theme amid a prolificacy and prolixity of content.
Hollyhocks (yellow: solar plexus chakra) — Issues of control, politics,coercion, complementary relationships.
Shamrocks (green: heart chakra) — Issues of the heart, love, romance, caring.
Hyacinths (blue: throat chakra) — Issues of the throat, talking, philosophies, dogma, teachings.
Violets (violet: crown chakra) — Issues of spirituality, God, afterlife, religious experiences.
Thus I can earthily insist with a hearty voice that your spiritual nature will enjoy this collection of poems by a not-yet-famous-on-Mars poet. He promises and delivers "raw poems sans explanation". I stop here ere I stumble further into that error-fraught mine-field of explanation.
Old Stuff on the Internet:
- Steiner98 Rules
Back in 1998, I joined Steiner98 list with a bunch of other reprobates, some of whom are still my friends in 2017. Take a look at what the nascent Internet was back in the good ole days! For an in-depth experience, the intrepid souls among you might wish to click on this link.
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.“Paris Can Wait” (2017) and it's worth waiting for the final scene (wink!). Diane Ladd recaptures the magic of her Tuscan Sun as she enjoys a marvelous drive to Paris through Provence with French Bachelor. Get ready: great meals, wines, and scenery and great directing and acting! A DON'T MISS HIT ! ! ! !
“Jayne Mansfield’s Car” (2012) A cast of real characters including comic Ron White and Mrs. Selfridge. WWI, WWII, and Nam vets meet in Dixie as USA and British soldiers show up for a funeral. BBQ, Beer, Sex, and LSD spice things up in this Billy Bob Thornton melange. A DON'T MISS HIT! ! !
“Our Souls at Night” (2017) from Barefoot in the Park to Naked in Bed together fifty years later for Fonda and Redford.
"Strangerland” (2015) Kidmann & Fiennes as parents of two lost teens in the desert of Australia. Will they perhaps find each other?
“88 Minutes” (2015) is all Al Pacino has left to live unless he finds out who's after him, which strains his ability as a forensic psychiatrist. A DON'T MISS HIT!
“Jesse Stone: Lost in Paradise” (2015) Tom Selleck closes out his Jesse Stone movies with this fitting goodby. Rescues a lost teenage girl with a drunken mother and solves a Cold Case of a serial killer who took credit for all his kills except the final one.
“The Infiltrator” (2016) has to be a traitor to those he befriends and this gripping movie portrays the incredible true story of Mazur who took down a huge Columbian drug cartel and its international money launderers around the world. A DON'T MISS HIT! ! !
“Equity” (2017) Everyone in the equity business has a back and everyone has a knife. The two often meet.
Misses (Avoid At All Costs): We attempted to watch these this month, but didn't make it all the way through on most of them. Awhile back when three AAAC horrors hit us in one night, I decided to add a sub-category to "Avoid at All Costs", namely, A DVD STOMPER. These are movies so bad, you don't want anyone else to get stuck watching them, so you want to stomp on the disks. That way, if everyone else who gets burnt by the movie does the same, soon no copies of the awful movie will be extant and the world will be better off.“The Levelling” (2017) a woman returns to her father's farm after a wild party there ended with her brother's taking his own life. The levelling with each other was more difficult than a blind bricklayer's leveling.
“American Fable” (2017) of dystopia: If rich man is buying up farm land from broke farmers, lock him up in a silo. Dump your own misery on someone else and make a dumb movie of it.
“The Fate of the Furious” (2017) was to set a record for the most cars smashed during a movie, lots of pixels hauled to the junk yard, also for the most boring female antagonist ever. Strahan, Diesel, and Johnson were unable to save her movie!
“While We're Young” (2017) got old fast.
“The Horsemen” (2009) should hang it up.
“Like Crazy” (2017), like idiotic, and like boring.
Your call on these — your taste in movies may differ, but I liked them:“The Snowman” (2017) Wanted to see him before he melted. Got there too late, he arrived melted: Lousy screen play, No gaunt Harry Hole, No scary snowmen, and Little resemblance to Jo Nesbo's great novel.
“Masterminds” (2016) or Amoralmorons, decide to heist an armored car because it’s something to do for the night. The anal humor stinks like the morality of the characters.
“Youth in Oregon” (2017) how to get a disconnected family connected? Drive to Oregon to commit suicide is one way. Everything worked except the suicide.
“Mean Dreams” (2017) for two teens trying to protect each other.
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==Le Broussard Cajun Cottage, drawn by and Copyright 2011 by Paulette Purser, Used by Permission
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==
Thanks to Justin Wilson for this story.
One thing you gotta know about Cajuns: We love to eat rice with every dish. We eat red beans & rice, crawfish étouffée & rice, seafood gumbo & rice, lima beans & rice, shrimp stew & rice, etc. You name a food, and you'll likely find a Cajun eating it over rice. We had rice every night when I was growing up: cooked mustard greens & rice, gravy & rice, dressings made of rice, tomato gravy over rice, rice pudding, etc. Large rice farms in Louisiana made it the cheapest food to buy. For many Cajuns when I was young, it was one of the only foods they had to buy as they farmed, fished, or hunted the other ingredients.
One day Broussard went to the French Quarter before a Saints game. He wandered into Central Grocery on Decatur and decided to try one of their famous Mouffaletta sandwiches, pronounced by all locals as Mooffalottas, with special emphasis on the "lotta", as it is a lotta sandwich.The sandwich features several layers of Italian meats and cheeses, dressed with olive salad on a large round seeded bun. Most people can only eat one-fourth of a Mouffaletta.
Broussard went up the counter and the man behind the counter said, "What would you like?"
"Ah want me one o'dem Moofalottas."
He said, "You want everything on it?"
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==
5.Household Hint for November, 2017 from Bobby Jeaux:
(click links to see photo of ingredients, preparation steps)
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =Powering Devices Abroad
Do you enjoy reading the tiny fine print on the various battery-driven digital devices you own? Hell, they often print the voltage requirements black on black with raised print. You need a magnifying glass to read the print! Well, I never bothered, until one day I blew the circuit in our stateroom aboard a Viking Riverboat. I was using a voltage convertor to convert the 220v AC circuit to 120v AC when the circuit blew. I reported the problem to the concierge and she send someone to reset the circuit breaker.
Then she asked me what I was trying to do. "Charge up my cell phone," I said. She explained that none of the power supplies for digital phones, laptops, pads, etc. require voltage conversion because ALL of the are rated for 120 to 240 volts AC! I was flabbergasted! She gave a simple plug adaptor and I went back to my room. I examined all my electronic chargers and sure enough: EVERY ONE WAS RATED 120 to 240 VOLT AC! I plugged in the simple adaptor she gave me and started charging my phone.
The only appliance that requires 120v that we might bring on board ship or abroad with us would be a hair dryer, but guess what? Ships and hotels provide that as an amenity in your room, so you don't need to carry one. There is thus, NO NEED for a voltage convertor on your trips. If you have one, leave it at home. A good set of outlet adaptors for various kinds of outlets would be handy. They simply provide 240v to your devices by giving the right set of holes to match your plugs! (This works for USA and residents of other countries as well, but this Hint is written for USA residents.)
SUPPLIES and ADAPTORS
Voltages for Laptop and Camera Power Supply: See the photo at Top Right for the INPUT voltages. This is the typical case: AC 100-240v 50/60Hz (60Hz means 60 Hertz or 60 cycle AC. This is normal for USA, other countries may use 50 cycle AC power. Either will work.) Output voltages may vary, but are usually about 5v DC. Only the Input voltages are important.
One to Three Voltage Splitters: See Photo above Left. These are flat bladed USA 1-to-3 splitters.
The above set of Outlet Adaptors (Photo above Right) will work in most European Countries. If you visit a country where they don't work, usually the ship or hotel will provide you one outlet adaptor. Here's why you need at least a couple of One-to- Three voltage splitters: If you have only one Outlet Adaptor, you can plug in the 3-in-1 and have outlets to charge up to three devices. This will take care of your cell phone, camera charger, and laptop. If you need a fourth device, you can plug in a second 3-in-1 splitter.
All these devices use very low power, so there should be no overload from plugging in three or more into one outlet.
There is often in a 240v AC country or ship a single outlet in the bathroom (loo, W.C., or toilette) reserved for 120v electric shavers fitted for USA plugs. This outlet will work a single charger easily with no adaptor required. Any electric shaver will draw more power than a charging device, so you can ignore the "Shavers Only" warning.
Avoid using a splitter or trying to plug multiple devices into the shaver outlet as it is usually in a small room and will clutter up the little washing and shaving space available.
* * * PRECAUTIONS * * *
ENSURE that you have brought along NO 120v devices that you or anyone else will try to plug into these 240v outlets! ! !
SIMPLY DO NOT PACK ANY 120v AC devices!
If one is plugged in and turned on, it will trip a circuit breaker, perhaps burn out the 120v device, and maybe cause a small fire. The best precaution is this:
IF YOU'RE NOT SURE, DO NOT PLUG A DEVICE IN!
UNPLUG THESE ADAPTORS IF YOU HAVE CHILDREN IN YOUR ROOM.
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6. POETRY by BOBBY from Harmony of the Creative Word:
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =A Powerful Retort
A glass retort allows
chemicals to be distilled
according to physical principles —
The glass retort neither participates
in the chemical reactions
nor modifies them in any way.
If the glass retort accelerated
a chemical reaction,
it would be called a catalyst.
The human being is a powerful retort.
It is not an inert retort
like a glass retort used for distilling.
The human being catalyzes and distills
minerals into warmth ether,
plants into an airy stage,
and animal matter into a watery stage
during our metabolism
which powers our limbs, our breathing,
and our thinking processes.
This is Rudolf Steiner's powerful retort to materialistic science.
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7. REVIEWS and ARTICLES for November:
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =For our Good Readers, here are the reviews and articles featured this month. The second and third reviews this month will be ones which were never published before in DIGESTWORLD ISSUES and will be of interest to our DIGESTWORLD Readers. The first review is a new addition to the top of A Reader's Journal, Volume 2, Chronological List.
1.) ARJ2: The Connection Between the Living and the Dead, GA#168 by Rudolf Steiner
In Christopher Bamford's Introduction one can find gems of insight and wisdom acting like a trailer for an upcoming blockbuster movie, a movie which will feature each of us in our time between death and a new birth. Bamford illustrates a special process happening then in which we will each receive our I-consciousness, our own individuality. He points to an earlier knowledge of this process in the Middle Ages, and calls it "the triumph of spiritual existence over bodily existence."
[page xvii, Introduction] (Perhaps something of this kind was alluded to in the early medieval practice of speculum mortis, the mirror of death: that in the mirror of their own death every person would discover the secret of their own individuality.)
Steiner will give more details of this process later: how our death is a mirror image of our birth. We receive our I upon birth and look out into the world of physical reality around us. Upon death, as the Earth receives the warmth of our body, we look inward upon the event of our death and observe the magnificent birth of our I in the spiritual world.
The so-called dead are alive in the spirit world and separated from us by a thin veneer of consciousness, but nothing prevents them from perceiving our thoughts of them. If you are an art lover, you know the feeling that looking upon a great masterpiece of art causes to arise in you. Bamford points out that our loved ones experience our love for them as we would experience a great work of art.
[page xviii, Introduction] Indeed, our love-filled thoughts are to them what art is for us on earth: they are something additional that is at once superfluous and uplifting, delighting, warming. In fact, for the dead our thoughts are more powerful than art is for us, for they cognize them with feeling and will, not thinking — as we, too, must learn to cognize with feeling and will.
Think of what this means! Oops, that was a slip. Only art critics think of an artwork! Thinking is a shallow image of the deeper processes of feeling and will, and it is these processes which our loved ones receive when they experience our love for them.
Our I and astral body on Earth leave our physical and etheric bodies at night when we sleep. The I is the highest of the four human components and is closely connected to the astral body. After death an inversion occurs which leaves the I (still immersed in the astral body) as the lowest of the four human components in the spiritual world, upon which the higher spiritual bodies of spirit self, life spirit, and spirit human exist.Note that these three spiritual bodies are the ones we spend our earthly lifetime working on: refining our astral body into the spirit self, our etheric body into the life spirit, and our physical body into the spirit human. Although all three are worked on at the same time, each will be completed in this order: spirit self, life spirit, and spirit human. (In the ancient traditions, these are called: manas, buddhi, and atma.) The spirit self will be fully manifested during Jupiter, life spirit during Venus, and spirit human during Vulcan Condition of Consciousness.(1)
During our period between death and a new birth, our I is led by these three higher spiritual components of our humanness that we will manifest completely only in the future ages of Jupiter, Venus, and Vulcan. Bamford explains this further below:
[page xix, Introduction] At the same time, just as when we incarnate we envelope ourselves in earthly elements, so in excarnating after death we envelope ourselves in those higher spiritual elements into which our present nature will metamorphose in the future course of evolution (as described in Theosophy): first with the "spirit self," which allows us to relive our last earthly life in reverse; then with the "life spirit," which enables rhythmic movement in the spiritual space; and finally with the "spirit human." Thus, whereas on earth, the I stands "above" the physical, etheric, and astral bodies, after death the I, enveloped in the astral, stands "below" the spirit self, life spirit, and spirit human, which takes over to lead the I when the astral body departs.
There are no innocent victims when some violent act occurs. I have come to understand this as a reality in life, a reality that the majority of humans would disagree with mostly because of their shallow understanding of the process of karma. Large scale disasters, such as hurricanes, are attracted to an area by some need in the collective psyches of the residents(2). If there are no innocent victims, then there are no such things as accidents either.
[page xxi, xxii, Introduction] Karmically — as Steiner stresses, there are no "accidents" — the necessity lying behind such events is related to previous (and future) incarnations. In Steiner's words (page 100):
We will always find that in the past this person has experienced through the lives between death and rebirth and through various circumstances in repeated earth-lives up until the unfortunate event that the I-consciousness developed for the purely spiritual world needed strengthening, invigorating. And this invigoration occurred by the person's physical life having been ended, not from within, but from without.
Thus the needle of karma weaves its way through the threads of our lives.
Each event in our lives brings us together with someone we had a relationship with in a previous lifetime and the needle of karma has woven us together into one event. "What goes around, comes around" is a meaningless expression unless we understand its truth lies in the needle of karma weaving two or more lifetimes together.
Do we need the ability to see into the spiritual world, view previous lifetimes perhaps, in order to perceive karmic relationships with others in this lifetime? No, whenever you meet someone and feel the slightest attraction to the person, you are likely perceiving a karmic connection. We are so accustomed to viewing reality through our five senses, we discount the existence of other senses in us and the existence of reality that is imperceptible to our five senses.
[page 2,3] Contemporary humanity is used to looking at the environment in a purely material way, and therefore forms ideas from this purely material view. Thus it is difficult, above all, for us to penetrate the spiritual world, even with our imagination. Many believe that an understanding of the spiritual world cannot be gained if one cannot see into it. They believe this only because they have made their thoughts inflexible and desolate as a result of becoming too accustomed to thinking only of the physical world.
We do not remember the experience of being born into this world, but have the possibility of remembering the experience of our death. The I-consciousness which we develop some time after acquiring a physical body upon birth, appears to us again after we have laid aside our physical body upon death.
[page 5] What remains as a result, as a consequence, of the experience of the departure of the physical body from our total being?
Were we not to have the experience of consciously participating in the laying aside of our physical body as we cross the threshold of death, we would never develop an I-consciousness after death! I-consciousness after death is stimulated by our experience of the departure of the physical body. It has great meaning for the dead: I see my physical body going away from me. I perceive the feeling growing within myself from this event that I am an I. We could also state this paradox in another way. If we could not experience our death from the other side, we would not be able to have I-consciousness after death. Just as the human soul comes into being at birth, or even at conception, and adapts gradually to using a physical body and thus achieves I-consciousness within the body, so does the human being achieve I-consciousness after death from the other side of existence by experiencing the falling away of the physical body from our total being.
The experience of our death, which many tremble over, when experienced from the other side in the spiritual world, is a beautiful experience.
[page 5] But, although we cannot witness our birth into physical life, if we become fully conscious after death we will always have the event of our death immediately before us. The event of our death is not frightening in any way, but is rather the greatest, most splendid, most beautiful experience that our soul can have. Death then shows us continuously the great fact that our consciousness, our self-awareness in the spiritual world, originates from death; that death is the stimulator of this self-awareness in the spiritual world.
We need the spiritual world to create art. Without the inputs from the spiritual world, what we call art would be bland imitations of the physical world around us. In every piece of art, one can spot aspects of something not observable in the material world. If we were to forget about our loved ones after they died, we would be relegating them to as bleak an existence as we would have if art did not exist in our world. When we think of our departed relatives and friends, we bring beauty into their existence in the spiritual world.
[page 14, 15] It is a very special realm for the dead, looking into the thoughts of those who love them and stayed behind. It is a special world for them. If one could experience the world here only as what comes into being physically in the mineral, plant, animal, and human kingdoms, then there would be no art. Art is created in addition to, beyond, what we actually need physically. Those who understand at all the evolution of humanity as being spiritual know that art cannot be absent from the world, in spite of the fact that even if there were no art, nature would be just as complete as it is now. If necessary, the dead would have to live in the way that incarnated human beings would live in a world of nature, bleak, dead, and bare without art.The dead would have to live in this way if they were forgotten immediately after their death by their loved ones. What is seen in the thoughts left behind in the souls of those who love the dead is certainly added to the world that the dead need directly, but it also elevates, improves, the existence of the dead. We can compare this, in a sense, to art in the physical world; but these thoughts are uplifting, an improvement, in a far superior way for the dead than the improvement in the physical world for us through art.
Materialistic thinkers abound in our world today and revel in making fun of people of earlier times, calling their writings and artworks fantastic and foolish. Steiner realized this and did his best to point out the reality which early people lived in often is substantiated by the observations of spiritual science today.
[page 16] Materialists are firmly rooted in the physical world when they say that those who do not think as they do are fools. There is no greater inner intolerance than that of materialistically-minded people. Such people basically always think that in earlier times people believed that all kinds of spiritual beings were present, that they did hardly anything in life without conjecturing or even seeing spirits everywhere. But the materialist claims that all that was meaningless fantasy, and that finally humanity has come far enough to have abandoned this childishness. And yet it is possible for people to notice at every turn how nonsensical such an idea actually is.
The idea that Lucifer could be portrayed by an early artist as a snake with a human head would be laughed at by materialists today. Laughed at by materialists who do not understand that humans today carry Luciferian impulses in them today which sit in our head and into the spinal cord which leads down from our head. Steiner directs skeptics to view a painting by Meister Bertram which portrays Lucifer as a snake with a human head(3) offering an apple from the tree to Adam.
Materialists today are like horses with blinders over their eyes to keep them from being spooked by the shadows of the city streets they walk through. But they have only to observe the Bertram painting to be enlightened to the existence of spiritual sight of artists during the Middle Ages.
[page 18] Whoever goes to the art gallery and looks at this painting of Paradise by Meister Bertram has fully valid proof, brought to the outer physical plane, that it really has not been so long ago that people could see into the spiritual world with atavistic clairvoyance and knew its secrets in a much different way than we know them in the present. Just think how blindly people move through the world today; if only they wanted to, they could see for themselves externally on the physical plane that evolution is present in humanity.
When we have expanded our understanding of what it means to be a human being to include the time we live in the spiritual world between death and a new birth, an amazing thing can happen. We can come to see that we live in the middle of eternity at every moment of our lives! Eternity is not some unlimited stretch of time in front of us, but it exists in the now! Spiritual science offers a realistic view of the world in contrast to the dust-to-dust view of materialistic science.
[page 22, 23] What boundless enrichment we experience through what spiritual science can give us. The world is expanded little by little because to the physical truth of the evolution of humanity is added spiritual truth. In this materialistic age, we are cut off more and more from the world in which human beings exist between death and rebirth. Through spiritual science we must again live together with the whole human being, even when the human being doesn't have a physical body. Our materialistic world offers us nothing of this.
We have an expression, "Only the good die young," which has appeared in various pop songs, mostly without explanation. If we look at what spiritual science reveals about young deaths, we can understand how a person dying young benefits our society, adds something good to it, and therefore such a person could be considered good by virtue of their early death. An unconscious knowledge of this spiritual fact could have led to writing the above expression.
[page 23, 24] In order to really penetrate the world in which the eternal lives, spiritual science is essential. Spiritual science shows us, among other things, that those who leave the physical body early, before the usual age for the physical plane has run its course, who give their etheric bodies to the etheric world, live on in their individuality. Spiritual science also shows that such an etheric body, which could have continued to support the physical body for decades when it was consigned to the etheric world, still has life forces, and it is present in the etheric world, as I have shown you through examples.
In our physical form on Earth, our etheric body is inside of us. Immediately after death the memories of our etheric body are arrayed around us like a life tableau, a living tableau of our life's experiences. But soon we separate from the etheric body, and what was inside us is woven into a sphere outside of us, much like an orb spider weaves from inside its body a silken orb which surrounds it.
[page 30] The detaching of the etheric body takes place, as we say. One now has as outer form what one had experienced inwardly with the etheric body. What was experienced inwardly is now outside of us and grows bigger and bigger, and weaves itself (that is actually the correct expression) into the spiritual world one has just entered. But in the spiritual world, the void emptiness of which I have spoken remains, and the etheric body weaves itself all around it externally, and becomes bigger and bigger.
What effect might the etheric body from a young person have on the people surrounding him? Reading these passages gave me a chance to consider the various young people I knew personally who died young. One was Bonnie, my first friend in the first grade who was run down by a vehicle in the middle of the year.Later there was Tommy who was my first friend in a new school in the tenth grade. Like Bonnie, he died in a vehicle accident before the year was over. Rather than bemoaning the tragedy of losing these friends, I can now imagine some benefit came to me from my friends after they died.
[page 31, 32] The etheric body of a person who dies at a young age could possibly have worked within the physical body and sustained the physical body for decades more. Energy in the spiritual world is not lost any more than it is in the physical world. That is, if the person dies at twenty or thirty years old, a force is present in the etheric body from which the person is released after death that could have sustained the person's physical body for decades more. This etheric force is no longer within a physical human body; it is outside in the world.
Steiner gives us an example of a boy of seven who was crushed by an overturning truck near the Goetheanum while it was being built in Dornach(4). How did his etheric body affect the building and the workers there?
[page 32, 33] The people who were driving the furniture truck had nothing with them to lift it, and simply left. They wanted to wait until the next day to lift the truck. But, of course, we had to lift it that night, and we found the dead child underneath it.
Thus in the time after his death, this little boy had been in the surroundings of the building for a while. Now it is really true that in the time after his death, his etheric body was interwoven into the building's aura. It is surely not immodest to say that whoever, like myself, is involved in the artistic aspect of the building notices how the stimulation one needs to integrate various things artistically into the building comes from this child's unused etheric force.
One of the goals of Steiner's spiritual science was to enable others to notice such stimulation of the physical world which comes from etheric forces.
[page 33] In future times, there will be people living on this European soil who will be able to live in a spiritual, an etheric, atmosphere where these unused etheric bodies exist. And when there are people on earth who understand what lives spiritually, not just as abstract memory but as true etheric forces — we will be able to have this understanding only through spiritual science — then they will no doubt feel the inspiring forces of what is present from these etheric bodies.
The process of kamaloka is described in many places by Steiner as a time after death when we spend approximately the amount of time we spent sleeping during our life on Earth doing a remarkable inversion of our life. All the interactions we had with others, we reprise in a backwards form. We go backwards through our life's interactions in time, traveling from the time before we died to birth. When we interact with someone during kamaloka, we experience how they felt during our interaction, and we learn in a very personal way the effect our actions had on other people. In this lecture Steiner reveals that kamaloka is a result of our spirit self pressing in from all around us when our etheric body leaves us, taking with it the life's tableau we had been experiencing.
[page 33] We first envelop ourselves in a sort of spirit self, which is formed in a slightly different way than all that is formed when we are here on earth.One could say that the spirit self is something that presses toward us from all sides, and we feel as if we are at its center. Then we settle further into the other members of our human nature by experiencing at the same time a sort of spiritual course moving backward, as I have described now and again. We experience a sort of antithesis to earthly life, but now in a much different way than through the pure tableau I described.
This antithesis is called kamaloka in various eastern teachings about the time after death. Here, in detail, Steiner describes how we experience this kamaloka process.
[page 34, 35] This spirit self is a sort of driving force. It leads us back, so that we experience our last earthly life in reverse, from death to birth; we really move backward. For example, here on earth if we say something to a person and harm that person, we experience that event in our physical body from our own point of view. We cannot experience it from the standpoint of the other person. We would not be able to live in the physical body at all if we wanted to live otherwise than having our own experiences. Let us take a case in which in order to get revenge, someone hurts a person very badly by saying something. Here one does not experience what the other person feels or senses. With our going backward after death, which I just described, we experience in the spiritual world what the other felt, always as the effect of what we have done. That is, there we live within the world of effects. We experience, in reverse order, what others have gone through with us during our physical life, completely separate from ourselves, until we come to the point where we have reached birth.
Remember that our individual life spirit will not be fully present until we reach the Venus stage of evolution, but during this time in the present Earth stage of evolution, by going through kamaloka, we have immersed ourselves into a version of spirit self which will come to us fully after the Jupiter stage, and we are ready to envelop ourselves in a version of the life spirit which will come to us later during the Venus stage.
[page 35] When we have put aside our astral body, we realize that we are enveloped in life spirit. We were enveloped by life spirit the whole time that spirit self was leading us back. But only now do we notice it. We notice it only after we have gone through the whole process called the kamaloka period.
Without the life spirit, we would die perpetually in the spiritual world. We live within our skin during the Earth stage of evolution, but we have no such body in the spiritual world, so we must depend on the life spirit now to exist. We are not ready to expand to the fullness of the universe because if we did succeed in doing so, we would be reduced to nothingness, so we must remain as a localized spirit. The life spirit takes over moves us around the universe during this time.
[page 36] That is how we leave one place and arrive at another. However, this happens rhythmically so that we always return to the same place. But we must be led around in the spiritual world. A spiritually dynamic life develops for us. Here, as physical individuals, we are for the most part stuck in one single place. Something of the spiritual is always carried into the physical; and thus we are able to move around on the physical plane. This is essentially an ahrimanic effect because the spiritual is carried into the physical by Ahriman. But after death it is right that we are led into the spiritual through the whole associated world organism, and in this way, we settle into the whole environment surrounding earthly life, whereas here on earth we settle into one place.
While we are being led around through the spiritual world organism, we receive forces which infuse us with a desire to return to another earthly life. Steiner refers to his Vienna lecture series contained in this volume, Life Between Death and Rebirth, GA#140.
[page 36] The first half of the life between death and rebirth proceeds in such a way that we make our way away from our former earthly life; in the second half, we find ourselves preparing for a new earthly life.
In a droll metaphor, Steiner explains our individual soul passes through our ancestors on its way to incarnation in this lifetime, but it does not grab specific attributes, such as genius, only general tendencies.
[page 37] The soul naturally passes through all its ancestors in a certain way, and thus everything that it drew from those ancestors is attached to it. Just as someone who has fallen into water is wet, so, too, do we have the characteristics of our ancestors as we go through the generations.
Steiner states that people have souls, and he emphatically denies the claim of this book, The Philosophy of As If, that people only act as if they have souls. I read the "As If" book twice, in 1979 and again in 1988, and did not get anything useful from it. I suspect the idea of Vaihinger's 1913 book was grabbed onto by materialists and used to discredit the validity of an individual soul by replacing the soul with the mere appearance of a soul.
Likewise, Steiner decries Fritz Mauthner's view that history is a series of accidents, saying that would only be true if what happened in the spiritual world during the time between death and rebirth did not affect the course of history.
[page 39] We weave, as it were, between death and rebirth what happens here on earth; we weave only according to those impulses that come to us from the spiritual world.
What is soul-less thought? Rightly understood, all thought is soul-less because it lacks both feeling and will. We do not carry thought with us into the spiritual world, but only feeling and will which remain in our astral body and I. Perhaps you are thinking that it is science that forces materialism upon us. This would be an easy assumption to make because so many scientists are obvious materialists, but look deeper as Steiner suggests to find the truth:
[page 40] Science does not force materialism on us; quite the opposite. True science today justifies spiritual science all around. Today's materialism is completely dependent on people's having no inclination toward spiritual life, on their having no interest in, or any appreciation for, spiritual life. Understanding does not have to be missing, either. Because truly, when we engage with what the spiritual scientist is able to give from the spiritual world, even for such a period as the life between death and rebirth, it can indeed be understood. We need only a finer, subtler understanding than the coarse understanding modern human beings employ in many cases for the outside world.
Steiner refuted the claims Moritz Benedik who claimed that a small occipital lobe in a child led to adult criminal behavior. To the contrary, Steiner claimed that education can compensate for a small occipital lobe by activating the etheric occipital lobe. Here is an early sign of Steiner's focusing on the importance of childhood education(5).
[page 42] The etheric occipital lobe is just as effective in life, maybe even in a certain sense more effective, as the physical occipital lobe, because it must overcome a certain force. And the comfort then streams forth from our knowledge that the physical form of an occipital lobe is not the only thing that matters. Rather, if we notice those who have this or that disposition to do wrong, we can develop the etheric lobe of such people, whose occipital lobe is too small, by evoking specific feelings in them. Then we will be able to save them.
He began to understand that the grey reality of materialism revealed the need for childhood education which will not only greatly help them in this lifetime, but will carry on through their succeeding lifetimes. This would be a demonstration that "spiritual science engages us practically in life".
[page 42] One can see, arising from what spiritual science can give us, the consoling possibility of actively engaging in what people become. If we can observe at the right moment certain tendencies in a child that could lead to criminal behavior, then we will be able especially to develop through a certain type of education the aspect of the etheric that affects the occipital lobe particularly strongly. Thus we could weave this strength into people, which then lives on with them between death and rebirth. This would develop the occipital lobe especially well, even into the physical nature in the next incarnation. We help them not only for this incarnation, we also create the disposition for an especially well-developed brain, which they can then carry through the life between death and rebirth, to be incorporated in their next bodily incarnation.
When people ask me who Rudolf Steiner is today, I ask them if they have heard of Waldorf Schools, and most of them have. This is something real which people can see and believe for themselves. Steiner said in Lecture 2 in 1916, "Pedagogy is especially bleak today because people believe only in what humans are physically; pedagogy especially must be stimulated by spiritual science." He was talking himself into readiness for forming Waldorf education when a few years later Emile Molt asked him to speak on education to his factory workers in the Waldorf-Astoria Cigarette plant in Stuttgart. What he told the workers caused them to beg their boss, Herr Molt, to begin such a form of education for their children. Factory workers did not understand spiritual science, but they understood the importance of educating their children based on the principles Steiner elaborated based on his spiritual science.
Steiner understood that the spirit was working in children, but saw that the materialistic approach to childhood education was egregiously wrong.
[page 43] [We should be] seeking the spiritual where it is working, for instance, in children — where it should develop. Pedagogy must be stimulated there. Pedagogy will become living only if people reach the point of cultivating a sense, a feeling, for the spiritual, so that the teacher not only gives every kind of pedagogical instruction but also, above all, is intent on observing the potential of the individuality to see what wants to develop from it. This must be achieved, really achieved!
In pages 50 and 51, Steiner reveals that we should consider our skin as an inner spiritual aspect of our face and our stomach as an external spiritual aspect. We humans went through a process whereby our organs which were on the outside of our body were moved internally and our skin was moved externally, a complete inversion like turning a glove inside-out. Next he points out that our physical body, while we can verify with our senses that it becomes part of the Earth after death, this is not completely true. Only the chemical elements of the physical plane and the warmth element of the spiritual plane return to the Earth. The real physical body is like a phantom, similar to a dress maker's form, which holds the elements and warmth together while we live on Earth, and this phantom, the rest of our physical body, returns to its designer's studio, if you will, upon our earthly death.
[page 52] The rest pulls away from what sinks into the earth through decomposition or combustion and is taken up into the whole cosmos. When you think of all that you can sense in the environment surrounding the earth, with all the planets and fixed stars, and when you think of this process as spiritually as possible, then in this spiritual thinking you will have the place in us where our spiritual essence is.
Where we do go after death? We enter a spacious mansion which has been prepared for us.
[page 52] Upon our death we are submerged quickly, lightning-fast, into what formed the physical body from all of the suprasensory forces. You should imagine that all of the creative forces that have worked on your physical body since the Saturn period expand out into the infinite and prepare the place where you live between death and rebirth(6). All of that had been simply concentrated in the space enclosed by our skin between birth and death.
Death from this side of threshold may seem frightening to some; from the other side it is experienced as a glorious birth into the spirit! We are free at last!
[page 53] If death has something frightening about it, it is only because it is seen here as an extinguishing, so to speak, an end. From the other side, from the spiritual perspective, when we look back to the moment of death, death appears evermore as the triumph of the spirit, the wresting free of the spirit from the physical body. It appears as the greatest, most splendid, most meaningful event. And our I-consciousness after death awakens from this event. for the entire period between death and rebirth, we have an I-consciousness that is not just similar to, but actually a much higher sense than the one we have here in physical life.
During our life on Earth, we live in a microcosm enfolded into our body, an entire cosmos which, upon death is unfolded and surrounds us. Only one space in this cosmos appears empty, the place we occupied in the physical world. This is a space which fills us with a feeling that we must occupy it again, and again.
[page 54] And then we attain the feeling that we have a reason for being in the world, a purpose that only we can fulfill. We sense our place in the world. We sense that we are a building block of the world, without which the world could not exist. That is the vision of this void. When we look at this void, we are overcome by the fact of our belonging to the world.
What is the meaning of our experiences in the physical world? We are seeding the universe with each of our experiences. Like the seed does not know the farmer who plants it in the garden, we do not know the spirits of the hierarchies who plant us and weave our experiences into the universe. When we look another human in the eye, we can catch a glimpse of those hierarchies at work. If you have looked into the eyes of a person and had your entire life changed by that look, you have seen the hierarchies at work in your life.
[page 57] When you meet other people and look them in the eyes, the spirits of the hierarchies live in their gaze and in what their gaze transmits back to you; the work of the hierarchies lives in it. What we experience presents only the outer side to us; the gods work within the act of experiencing. And whereas we believe that we live only for ourselves, the gods are working something out through our experiencing, until they have something that they can then weave into the world. We have conceived thoughts; we have had emotional experiences; the gods take them and share them with their world. And after we have died, we know that we have lived so that the gods can weave together what comes from our etheric body and give it over to the whole universe.
We must as human beings come to understand the big lie which we have been so carefully taught: that we humans have always been the way we are now! This leads to all kinds of fallacious conclusions about what it means to be a full human! We cannot understand the evolution of human consciousness if we accept this big lie! Unchallenged, it will lead humans to a poverty of soul.
[page 67] And what informs us today from the material world as the course of the spiritual history of humanity is essentially nothing more than an outright lie. One is led to believe that human beings have always been the way they have become in the last few centuries, whereas it was really not so long ago that they saw into the spiritual world with clairvoyance. But they had to abandon this ability to see the spiritual world, because they were not free. In order to obtain full freedom and I-consciousness, it was necessary to give up this sight. And now, we must find our way again into the spiritual world.
Briefly humans were able to directly see into the spiritual world with clairvoyant sight, but in the course of evolution this ability was dropped so that we might become free; having achieved this freedom, we now seek to have this supersensible sight while maintaining our freedom. This is the goal of Rudolf Steiner's spiritual science as stated in the title of Lecture 4: "to overcome today's poverty of soul" — a poverty which arrived when we lost our direct view of the spiritual world.
The Greeks and Romans of the fourth cultural period had reason for no reason at all! In other words, they were born with reasoning ability like we are born with hands.
[page 71] The Greeks and Romans were dependent on their reason in a different way from people of today's fifth cultural period. As part of their natural state of evolution the Greeks and Romans received reason to the extent they needed it.Just as today natural dispositions develop as human beings mature, in a certain way natural reason developed then in them. This was very different from the way it is today. People then did not have to develop natural reason in the same way as is necessary today — and which will become more and more necessary in our fifth period — it developed then as a natural ability. People either had reason, if they developed in natural conditions, or they did not. If they did not, it was something pathological. It was also exceptional; it was not usual.
People came together into relationships quickly; they didn't need as long a time to do this as we do now. In our fifth cultural period, however, we no longer need direct personal contact to work out things together; printing and other modern means of communication and travel have fostered very impersonal contact with others.
[page 74] In Greco-Roman times, it was still the case that when two people met, each person immediately made an impression on the other, and the impression had a very strong effect. Now, so that the more isolated consciousness soul in people can develop, it should be more like this: one person meets another, and what emerges as a result of previous incarnations should gradually become more effective. This takes longer than immediate acquaintance at first sight; it implies that people, little by little, let what they have experienced with the other come up instinctively, feelingly.That is exactly what is called for today: that we get to know each other gradually, so that the sharp edges of our current outer personalities are smoothed down. For in this way of becoming acquainted, in this smoothing down of our individuality, lies the rise of still-unconscious, instinctive reminiscences, the consequences of our previous incarnations.
One can read modern day romance novels and notice the various unexpected and tortuous paths that people take on their way to knowing one another. Such romance novels would have made no sense to the Greeks and Romans in the intellectual soul age(7). We have moved into the consciousness soul age with a new form of social understanding.
[page 75] More and more a sense for social understanding must be awakened in this fifth cultural period, and awakened consciously, because we live in the age of the consciousness soul. That one term summarizes needs that were by no means present to the same degree during the fourth cultural period.
Animals have a group soul which is determined by blood relations. Humans in the consciousness soul age must transcend their age-old traditions based on blood relations. Many novels are written which illustrate the friction resulting from attempts to be free from one's blood relatives and their traditions.
[page 76] Human beings must grow beyond the group soul. Every single person must develop individually; and especially in the present day, the consciousness soul is one of the essential parts of this individual development.
This material requires study and my summary of it may be insufficient to convince you; if so, you may need to study Lecture 4 yourself. The important point is that a knowledge of the consciousness soul will give us a practical knowledge about human nature and a guide to helping develop our children — those newly arrived beings from the spiritual world — to achieve the individual goals they have brought into this lifetime. One can be sure of this: their goal will not be to adopt their mother's role nor to take over their father's business. That time is mostly past. Where it exists today, it is an anachronism left over from the fourth cultural period, the intellectual soul age.
What does the remnants of the intellectual soul age of the Greeks and Romans bring us as social understanding? Only this: abstract ideas about the world, such as socialism and the authoritarian rules of various groups to govern our lives. Rightly understood, that time is truly past.
[page77] If we really tried to introduce into the world such social ideas as are appearing here and there, we would soon see that we cannot accomplish it. Social understanding is not in any way about founding societies or sects with certain agendas, but about spreading knowledge of the human being, practical knowledge of human nature.
Our means of educating children is based on traditions, both old ones and new ones, new ones which are being formed every year. Such a bulk application of wisdom to raising children today will not suffice! Our children need individual attention to the aims and goals they arrived here with — this is what helping them develop must mean to educators from now on. Clearly, it was thoughts such as these which led Steiner to devote the last years of his life to helping Waldorf schools and teachers develop: he saw it as necessary to prevent the bogging down of humans in fourth cultural period pedagogy and to help human foster goals and pedagogy appropriate to fifth-cultural-period humans in the consciousness soul age.
[page 77] This means knowledge of the human being that enables us to correctly understand nascent, developing human beings; to understand children correctly and the way they each develop with their own individuality.
Where are we most likely to encounter stagnation of social understanding in this fifth cultural period? One place is in the religious confessions. Christian dogma is notoriously entrenched and change comes about with great difficulty and very slowly. Steiner warns that religious life is doomed if it does not adapt to our current period.
[page 79] Something further must begin in this era if the consciousness soul is truly to develop. If religious life will not adapt to the fifth cultural period but chooses, rather, to remain as was correct for the previous period, a certain stultification, a true deadening of religious life will begin as we become more and more individual.
Over the period of a hundred years since Steiner gave this lecture, have we not seen this deadening of religious life advance as people have become more individual in their choices? Are not people beginning to carry Christ in their hearts and souls rather than in their prayer books and hymnals?
[page 79] In fourth cultural period, people could be taught about Christ in groups; in the fifth cultural period, Christ is, in fact, entering into individual souls. We all carry Christ in our unconscious or subconscious already. But He must first be brought again to consciousness within us. That does not happen when established, rigid, lifeless dogmas are imposed upon people. It happens, rather, when everything possible is attempted to make Christ understandable to all people and to foster religious knowledge for all. Thus more and more tolerance must come about, directly in relation to the thinking of religious life; it must come about in this fifth cultural period.
In this fifth cultural period, we should seek a spiritual life and understanding completely free from the stultifying effect of religious dogma.
[page 80, italics added] Now, because people are becoming ever more individual, religious life should support the attempt to become completely free from dogma; should really bring before people the things that can be explained, can be described to others, without dogma. This will come about more from personal inner experience, so that people can individually develop their own, free religious thought life. In reality, the religions with dogmas, with specific set dogmas and tenets, will kill religious life in the fifth cultural period.
Another way of saying the above is that we must eradicate Jesuitism and the faith in authority that it promulgates and strives to keep alive in humans indefinitely. It acts to tie us as humans to the fourth cultural period and to keep us from maturing naturally into the fifth cultural period.
Our beloved Schnauzer knew how to help himself. This came home to me when he began spending entire days outside under the shade of the bamboo copse and refused to come inside or interact with us. We thought he might be dying, as he was near the end of his natural life span of 10 years, so we left him alone. After about a week, he was normal again, eating and interacting with us again. Steiner says on page 81, "Animals have many instincts that lead them in beneficial ways from sickness back to health. . ." Humans on the other hand seem to helpless compared to these animals with no reason at all! Most people cannot make a move without consulting a doctor at the slightest malady. They have given up their natural sense of individuality to someone else, a doctor, and submitted themselves to a medical authority, much like people in the Middle Ages submitted themselves to religious authorities like bishops and priests, following their advice on matters of health and faith without hesitation or question.
Steiner points to the morphing of the average human from having faith in religious leaders to having faith in medical and physical scientists. While this may seem to be a significant change, it is merely substituting a new outside authority for an old outside authority, thus constituting no change at all so far as evolution of consciousness is concerned. This appearance of change leaves most of humanity mired in the fourth cultural period.
[page 82] . . . humanity today works hard against common sense regarding sickness and health. In this way, humanity today submits completely to authority. It is not easy for modern humanity to even form an opinion regarding healthy living conditions. Certainly, all sorts of organizations, and such, make laudable endeavors. But these endeavors must all become much more intensive. Above all, we must understand that we are continuously moving toward a faith in authority, and that entire theories are formed that are themselves the foundation of views that strengthen this same faith in authority. In the field of medicine, in the field of jurisprudence, and in all other fields as well, people declare themselves incompetent from the start in acquiring an understanding, and they simply accept the word of science. This is indeed understandable given the complexity of modern life.But people will become increasingly more helpless under the influence of the power of such authority.
Such authority comes to us as Ahrimanic strictures such as Jesuitism which flourished during the fourth cultural period . Such authority appears in the papacy, in medicine, in science, and leads us to an onerous faith in such strictures as climate change causing people to spend enormous sums of money as a society on such things as "reducing carbon footprint". I cannot help but compare the scientists today — who pronounce climate change and global warming to be scientific facts which everyone must accept — to bishops in the Middle Ages who declared that papal proclamations were to be followed without questioning by all the faithful. The folly of the religious faithful of the Middle Ages — buying plenary indulgences for their sins — has appeared in this age with the buying of carbon offsets to continue the corporations's industrial sins(8).
Steiner gives us a look at the effects of Jesuitism when it first appeared.
[page 82] Jesuitism first began to uphold the power of the papacy in the field of ecclesiastical doctrine, which carried over from the fourth cultural period into the fifth. But the papacy is no longer suited for the fifth period. This same Jesuit principle, however, is also carried over again and again into other areas of life. Today we can see Jesuitism looming even over the medical field, which is essentially nothing other than Jesuitism transferred from dogmatic religion.
Doctors who know nothing about Jesuitism are benefitting from its advance into the medical field. They are directed by authorities from above to give narcotics to patients for the simplest procedures or tests. Even dentists prescribe them for things like X-raying teeth. They have recently been required to use a lower threshold for high blood pressure which requires them to give blood-pressure-reducing medicine to a much larger percentage of their patients.
[page 82] We see how from a sort of medical dogmatism doctors strive for an increase in the power of their status as doctors. And that striving for power is the essential thing about the Jesuit-like aspiration for power in various other fields as well. This will become ever stronger. People will become increasingly more constricted by what authority imposes upon them.
People today are subjected to the paradox that I call, "The Betty Crocker Approach to Life". On the front of a Betty Crocker Cake Mix box I saw the words: "Be Creative! And Here's How to Do It!" Now consider that well-intentioned advice and you will notice that if you follow another's advice, you are definitely not being creative.
[page 84] Many people see what I have described and feel it is necessary, really necessary, for people to come to social understanding, on the one hand, and freedom of thought, on the other. But few are willing to take the correct measures; people often attempt to promote what is necessary for social understanding with all kinds of idealistic sounding phrases.
Idealistic sounding phrases like "Be creative and here's how you do it!" People fall for these phrases and follow them for lack of any idea of how to be really creative in their own life. The situation was so bad in Steiner's time for the education of children, that after giving a speech about education, he was talked into helping create a proper pedagogy for small children, leading to Steiner's helping found the first Waldorf School in Stuttgart.
[page 84] So much is being written today on the necessity of individual treatment for the young, growing human being! What elaborate theories are being conceived in all possible pedagogical fields! That is not what this is about. What should be spread widely, and in an understanding way, are what I would like to call positive natural histories of individual human development — as many descriptions as possible of how a human being has developed.Wherever we can, we should say how person A, person B, and person C have developed, and enter lovingly into the details of an individual's development taking place before us. This is necessary above all: a study of life, the will to study life, and not simply to follow a program, because theoretical programs are the enemy of the fifth cultural period.
Here are the theoretical programs he is talking about: academic courses, scientific theses on childhood development, etc. What he is recommending instead is that we pay attention to the individual life of each child and adjust our teaching to their needs, not following a one-method-fits-all approach to teaching.
Spiritual science does not make us into an authority, but rather teaches us to be discriminating, to be able to discern the hidden forces in each human soul as it shows itself in the child in the classroom. It does not make us into physicians or scientists, but enables us to judge what a physician or scientist recommends.
[page 86] We will not know everything an authority knows; but if the authority does a particular thing in an individual situation, we will be capable of judging that. . . . Once people understand what I mean by these words, then they will understand much about the healing forces for this era. It is really significant when I say that spiritual science will transform human understanding so that people will become discriminating, and the power of understanding is freed up out of their soul-life. Only in this way can they truly achieve freedom of thought.
Christ has been a part of our earthly existence since the Mystery of Golgotha, which is fortunate for us. But Steiner asks us to consider the situation of the angels, for whom Christ had departed. For the angels this departure was not so fortunate, but we humans in our Christ-like thoughts shine a light into the spiritual world of the angels which brings them joy.
[page 87] Human beings say, "Christ has permeated us, and we can develop in such a way that Christ will live within us; 'not I, but Christ in me.' " The angels, on the other hand, say, "Christ went away from within our sphere, but he shines up to us like so many stars in the Christ thoughts of individual people. We recognize him there, he has shone from earth since the Mystery of Golgotha."
By becoming Christ-filled people we can face off against the so-called authorities of today who are merely anachronisms from the previous fourth cultural period. This is the help which comes to us from studying spiritual science, and we do not need supersensible sight to benefit from it.
[page 87, 88] Help comes to us from the spiritual world when we study spiritual science. It is not just what we learn, the knowledge, but the beings in the upper hierarchies themselves help us if we know about them. Moreover, when we face authority in this era, it is beneficial for us that we have supporting us not just our own human understanding, but also what the spiritual beings are able to affect in our understanding when we know about them. They enable us to judge with regard to authority. The spiritual world helps us. We need the spiritual world; we must know about it; we must take it in deliberately. This is the third impulse that must occur in the fifth cultural period.
What are the three impulses which bear fruit in this current cultural period? First, it is social understanding; second, the freedom of thought; and third, the living knowledge of the spiritual world through spiritual science. (Page 88) Steiner realized that such a small group around him were imbued with spiritual science, that something had to done to broaden the reach of spiritual science, in effect, to create a seed-bed in which knowledge and application of spiritual science could be planted, be nurtured, and could bear fruit in maturity. This seed-bed came into being when Steiner founded the Waldorf pedagogy.It is a pedagogy which helps create social understanding and freedom of thought in our youngest members of society so that they may develop on their own a living knowledge of the spiritual world from which they have so recently arrived. Nowhere in the Waldorf School curriculum can one find a course in spiritual science, but the teachers' knowledge of spiritual science allows them to teach the children directly without any authoritarian strictures which could spiritually deform their children(9) .
As a child, I was puzzled by everything I encountered in the world around me. I wanted to learn how the world worked and that resulted in my majoring in physics at the university. I didn't want to build things, that's what engineers do; I wanted to know the principles which lie behind what engineers do. As an adult I learned to design and build computers, but always I was interested in the bootstrap effect: "How do you get the program loader into a computer?" This is a paradox: the program loader is a program, and how can you load a program if there's not one already in the computer? It's like lifting yourself by your own bootstraps! It's an enigma.The bootstrap metaphor is the origin of our saying, "booting up" or "rebooting" a computer. There must be a bootstrap program already in the computer or else a human being must enter it in by hand. If it's already in the computer it had to be created by a human when it was manufactured.
What about human life? Where's our bootstrap program? Where is the equivalent to the computer's "human" when a human being is created? I began to see life as a puzzle with an enigma on each end. There must be life already before we are born and life must continue after we die. In Steiner's spiritual science I found the answer to my two enigmas in the process of serial reincarnation of human lives. I found in the evolution of the cosmos, the workshop in which spiritual beings fashioned human beings out of their own substance. And as the cosmos evolved through its various stages, human beings evolved as well until we reached the current Earth stage of evolution where we are born into a new life carrying the results of our previous life and have an opportunity to balance the karmic debts we incurred in the previous lifetime.When we die, we spend time between death and a new birth preparing for our new life. This book of lectures has helped me to understand more fully this process of serial incarnation, especially what happens between death and a new birth.
In Lecture 5, "Karmic Effects", Steiner explains why the enigma of life is so important to us.
[page 95, 96] Human life must at first be an enigma for outer physical view, because if it were not an enigma, human beings would not be subject to a development that makes us ever more capable. Our abilities, which are produced especially in connection with the soul, must come from our own efforts; they grow out of our efforts. In the spiritual realm, our efforts make us mature through the energy that we devote to solving the riddle of the world. By devoting energy to solving this riddle, our strengths are fortified; we become ever more capable in life, and we truly become perfected also within humanity's evolution. We need not worry that life will lose its interest for us when someone partially solves the riddle posed by the physical world and is able to look into the spiritual world, because life poses riddles in every realm.Upon entering the spiritual world, one finds still other riddles of life. We also gain something in relation to the physical world specifically from the experiences we have solving certain human and life riddles from within the spiritual world. We gain trust and experience through the solving of the deeper human and world riddles that are revealed only in the spiritual world itself.
Truthfully, I can say that I have never lost interest in life, even after reading, studying, and writing reviews of over 217 books of Rudolf Steiner's works and lectures. There is always some mind-boggling revelation awaiting me in the next book. With each book I read of his, I find solutions to long-held unanswered questions of mine, and create a few new ones.
What is destiny? This is the most-overused and misunderstood word that I know of. Like the word freedom, it can mean almost anything the speaker wishes it to. If you add the adjective karmic to it, it becomes easier to home in on what it means. Karmic destiny refers to time in which you or I are living and can be considered as the set of karmic debts we have accumulated since our previous lifetime and how we have planned to balance these karmic debts in this lifetime. Easy definition: karmic destiny is our individual plan for karmic balancing during our current lifetime.
[page 96] One particular riddle is what human beings experience between birth and death as destiny. A great deal is packed into this word "destiny." Yesterday in the public lecture we were able to touch on how the matter of destiny is resolved through repeated earth lives.
When my brother David died over a decade ago, I missed him, but I knew he was going to be busy in the spiritual world. I have wondered what he might teach me when I meet him in my own time between death and a new birth. Steiner explains how this might happen by giving us an example.
[page 98] We notice that much is arranged differently according to the difference in time between the two deaths. When we enter the spiritual world, it is not the same to meet a person who died at the same time we did (to take this extreme case) as one who died fifteen years earlier. If the one we meet has already spent a certain time in the spiritual world, then the experiences he has had in the meantime are now in the soul that we meet, and so that soul affects us in a different way.A karmic bond is made accordingly that could not have been made in the same way through other conditions. We must see all of what we experience in this way with a person who is close to us as being completely based on our karmic relationship. I have said many times that, even if this knowledge cannot assuage sorrow and pain, for us to know what happens when everything fits together, what happens when everything interacts, it still must be said from a certain viewpoint that life takes on its true meaning only when seen as a whole in this way.
When David died, he had been busy carving wooden duck decoys. I asked if I might have one of his unfinished decoys. He said yes, and inscribed the bottom with this, "Some things we never get to finish . . ."It was sad to think of those unfinished things then, but by now he realizes that in his time between death and a new birth, he has been given a chance to finish those things he was thinking of, the least of which was the decoy on which he wood-burned the message to me. Along with Steiner, I have come to understand life as a series of riddles to be solved, a set of "unfinished things" which we, who live ever in the middle of eternity now, are challenged to finish, either in our life between birth and death or in our life between death and a new birth.
Back in the 1970s I studied Gestalt and was in several Gestalt Therapy groups. One day, a businessman was on the hot seat sharing how really messed up his life was. His wife left him, his kids hated him, he lost his job, his car was broken, he had no love in his life, and he was lost as what to do. He did a beautiful piece of gestalt work and afterwards was sharing how good he felt, when suddenly he stopped talking, he paused for a few seconds, then said, "I just realized that my life is out there in the real world, not in here, and all my problems I shared with you still exist out there!"Then he took a deep breath and added, "But, you know, for the first time I feel that I can go out there and handle them!" This dramatic demonstration of what clear, incisive thinking can do for a person came to my mind as I read the following words by Steiner:
[page 118] To think clear, incisive thoughts about this purifies our souls in such a way that we can also be strong when contradictory outer forces plague us. If one thinks about the matter within a limited horizon, one could say, "But what good does it do me to become really clear about what divides anthroposophy from the rest of the world? My life conditions will not change by doing so!" To think in this way would be a mistake. Although life conditions may not change from one day to the next through clear thinking that produces understanding; nevertheless, the strength that we gain from such clear thinking, in the way I just indicated, gradually strengthens us in such a way that our life conditions do, in fact, change. It is just that we sometimes do not find the opportunity to develop really clear, incisive, and therefore strong enough thoughts of this kind.
Strong, clear, and incisive thoughts are difficult to conjure up when we live in a culture driven by a big lie!
[page 118 italics added] With regard to what we would like to gain for ourselves through spiritual science or anthroposophy, and what we would like to gain not just for ourselves but for the world, we must bring before our souls as one of these clear thoughts that in today's culture humanity lives in a terrible, more or less conscious or unconscious lie, and the effect of this lie is immense.
What is this big lie of which most people are unconscious? The big lie is what is missing from our culture, namely, sufficient impulses for life. How else might one explain the enormous increase in suicides in the world? These are people who lack sufficient impulses for life, people whose curiosity about the great mysteries of the world were never aroused by the state school system which is driven by purely materialistic concerns in their pedagogy, people who bought the big lie that they were told everything about the real world and find that everything is meaningless, so they check out of life early, disgusted by the emptiness their schools so carefully taught them how to find and too timid to seek for a fullness of meaning to life. Given all this is true, what is the most important thing humanity needs today? It is the same as when Steiner spoke these next words, likely even more important now.
[page 119] But for the most part, these people live under the restrictive influence of a certain constraint that comes from unconscious timidity, unconscious spiritual cowardice in regard precisely to the most important thing that humanity needs today. We say: the most important! What humanity needs today is spiritual knowledge, and the introduction of certain spiritual insights into our lives.
What keeps this from happening? The big lie does. Theologians originally had truths about the soul, but materialistic science came around after Bacon and claimed there was no soul, that nothing was real unless one could see, weigh, or measure it. Since the soul lacks these three attributes, the theologians lost the truth of the soul, leaving them instead with truths about words instead of truths about real objects in the eyes of natural scientists who insist that only material objects can have truth.
[page 132] They will even let the objects be investigated by natural science, because theologians are too comfortable in many respects to really take up natural science now. And that is what we must see as important in spiritual science: that this spiritual science takes up natural science completely; that it becomes involved in all that natural science has acquired and joins in by adding spiritual-scientific principles to the natural-scientific mode. The theologians did not want to do this; at times they are filled with a very strange conviction, precisely when it comes to retaining the objects.
This is what spiritual science means to Steiner: a science that goes further than materialism and dares to accept all the tenets of the material sciences and merge the tenets of spiritual science into helping us understand how certain processes which seem to operate mysteriously in the material world, can be explained by the teaching found in spiritual science.Just to name one: doctors today disdain the human organ known as the spleen. Ask a doctor if the spleen is important and you'll likely get a response, "No, we can remove it surgically with hardly any effect." And yet, rightly understood, the spleen is a highly spiritual organ and operates a central control for the human body. It is so spiritual that removing the physical organ hardly makes a noticeable difference, to doctors. What happens when someone takes an afternoon nap and wakes up refreshed after about 18 minutes? The peristalsis of the abdomen creates rolling waves which pass next to the spleen, giving the spleen a wonderful internal massage. This creates the sense of well-being in a person after such a nap. Various exercises in the gym and elsewhere can have a similar effect, but these are not noticed because such exercises are performed to build up muscle tone, muscle strength, endurance, etal.
[page 136] We know that people are in a transitional period today. We do not mean this in the superficial sense in which people now speak of transitional periods, but in another sense. We are in the transitional period in which the old atavistic-clairvoyant instincts have died away, and in which conscious entrance into the spiritual worlds must be achieved. That is an obvious fact for spiritual scientists. The old atavistic-clairvoyant abilities that people had also gave them powerful thoughts. History tells little of these powerful thoughts, which greatly influenced human life in the third cultural period. However little they stand up today in our estimation, they did stand up in that time. Influential thoughts — our time must recover thoughts again that are capable of influencing reality! But they can do so only if they are also fructified by the spiritual world, as thoughts were in ancient times. But people today are not made fruitful by way of the unconscious. Thus consciousness must arise if people are to really accept spiritual-scientific knowledge.
This paragraph inspired me to write this poem, which I entitle "The Mask of Play".Throw away
the mask of play
in the light of day.
Ignore the stupor
of the Living Dead,
Those materialistic scientists,
who walk among us,
devoid of spirit,
with word husks
and global warming,
among other empty phrases
with expensive price tags.
We mentioned above the tradition in earlier times that a boy usually took up his father's trade. My grandfather was a barber for 60 years, from 18 until he retired at 78. My father never worked officially as a barber, but with four small boys and a limited paycheck, he cut our hair till we were old enough to pay for our own haircuts. I learned enough about barbering to trim my own hair between trips to the barber, so some of my grandfather's skills came down to me. This custom is disappearing today. I know of one family in which the trade of butchering has been passed down multiple generations because my grand-daughter is married to a man who took over butchering from his grandfather at the family store which has been in the family a hundred years. But this is the exception rather than the rule today. Fathers who are lawyers and try to force their son into becoming a lawyer are often thwarted by a son who has other ideas. One prominent example was Petrarch whose father sent him to an Italian university to become a lawyer. Petrarch dropped out of law school saying, "I did not want to make a machine out of my mind." This is a powerful statement from the nascent consciousness soul of Petrarch. His very soul rejected the career chosen by his father and he was conscious of why!
[page 154] People knew earlier, when they sensed more of the actual reality of spiritual worlds, much more about the necessities that exist for life as a whole. They knew that the living need the dead; need the impulses of the dead, even in their habits.
Think back to earlier times, when it was the custom for the father to ensure that the son took over his business; that the son carried on in the same way. A connecting bond was formed through the physical world because the son had followed in his father's footsteps; a relationship was created between the activity of the son and the activity of the father, and the father continued to have an effect in the son long after the father had died.
Just as fathers today should not force their own choice of career on their sons, people should not impose changes on the inner nature of mature people. We can all agree with this injunction, but Steiner explains this is only applicable while we are living between birth and death. The rules change during our time between death and new birth.
[page 155] Strange as it may seem, we become truly mature enough only after our death to affect other people directly by having an effect on their inner nature. What we should not do in earthly life — impose our own habits on another person who is mature (I mean spiritually mature, not mature in the customary sense) — is actually proper after we have passed through death's gate and fulfills the requirements for the continued evolution of humanity.
When we mature to the level of Intuition in our time between death and a new birth, we can act to maintain the continuity of evolution by influencing the I of those living upon Earth.
[page 157] Human beings can have intuitive effects on other beings in this sense (that is, on beings who are still embodied here in physical life) only when they have laid aside the astral body, when they themselves belong wholly to the spiritual world; that is, decades after their death. Then they can have an effect on other people through intuition, too, and not just through inspiration as I have described. In this way they first have an effect spiritually as an I that is now in the spiritual world in the I of one who is still on earth. Before, they had worked as inspiration into the astral body, or indirectly through the etheric body into the etheric body, of earthly people.One who has been dead for decades can, as an I, have a direct effect, which of course can also be mediated by the other bodies at the same time. Then the person's individuality has grown to be able not just to settle into people's habits, but actually into their viewpoints! This may be an uncomfortable, a quite unpleasant reality to today's prejudiced sensibility; but it is simply a reality. Our viewpoints, which originate in the I, are continuously under the influence of those who are long dead. Those who are long dead live in our views. But through this, the continuity of evolution is maintained by the spiritual world. This is a necessity; otherwise, the thread of viewpoints would be continually broken.
One of the amazing things about Rudolf Steiner is that he never tried to acquire followers. He simply gave lectures on things he understood and answered questions. When Emil Molt asked if he would help found a school for the children of the employees of his Waldorf-Astoria factory, he agreed and the first Waldorf School was created by others. When someone wanted to form a church based on spiritual science principles, Steiner helped them start the first Community Church. Always these endeavors were suggested by someone else who then carried on the project he helped them to start. He wrote about four or five books personally, but from the beginning, his lectures seemed so important that someone in the audience voluntarily recorded them in shorthand, a practice which continued and has resulted in over 300 books consisting solely of lectures of his. No one recruited me to anthroposophy anymore than to physics, it was my own curiosity which led me to spiritual science and physical science. If someone asked me, "Are you a follower of Rudolf Steiner?" I would have to say, "No" because the idea of being a follower of his is completely alien to his work. What he strove to understand during his life and shared with others, I have picked up to learn and understand and apply in my life, as have so many other people.
In Lecture 7 he explains why a true spiritual scientist cannot become a propagandist for the cause of spiritual science.
[page 157, 158] Those who are quite honestly grounded in the esoteric, and who are experienced in the requirements of spiritual science, will not impose their opinions on the world. Instead, such individuals do everything not to directly impose their opinions on the world because the opinions acquired under the influence of one's personal temperament will be able to have an effect only thirty or forty years after one's death. They have an effect such that they enter the soul in the same way that the impulses of the zeitgeist, the archai, enter the soul. Their personal views have become so mature that they can really have an effect and correspond to the objective course of things. That is why it is necessary for those who are grounded in esotericism to avoid making personal proselytes or personally recruiting followers for their opinions.
The general custom today (that once people acquire an opinion, they can hardly wait to make propaganda for it) could not be striven for by a true, practicing spiritual scientist.
In Lecture 8 Steiner explains our relationship to the spiritual world and is worthy of deep study. He handles several unanswered questions. Why did we have atavistic clairvoyance at one point in human evolution, why did it go away, and will it come back again? He answers: only with a completely fluid body is imaginative perception possible. The small amount of solid matter in us interferes with clairvoyant perception. In this fifth cultural period we will naturally develop this supersensible sight again.
[page 161] First, I would like to comment on the fact that perception in the elemental world can take place only when human beings are able to free themselves completely from what makes them earthly humans. This disengagement from what makes a human being an earthly being is, generally speaking, not difficult. However, it is more difficult for human beings today than it was in prehistoric times. We all know of prehistoric atavistic clairvoyance. This was primarily so because humans could free themselves from what made them earthly humans. As earthly humans, we are composed of only a very small amount of solid matter. We are made primarily of fluid. In the moment when we can emancipate ourselves from what is solid in us, when we can just feel into the part of ourselves that is fluid, the imaginative aspect can begin to surface. Existing only in a solid state actually prevents us from knowing through imaginative perception about what is around us as the elemental world. This imaginative perception, which has been lost, will indeed return to humanity. The lost imaginative clairvoyance from the past was of an unconscious, dream-like nature; what will form more and more in our fifth cultural period is a fully conscious imaginative seeing that will incorporate itself into people through completely natural development.
What is illness? How do our materialistic views prevent us from curing illnesses? He answers: there is some irregularity in our inner system, but the materialism which binds medical science prevents it from removing the irregularity. Illness can be compared to someone who tries to dance, but cannot because her legs are bond together.
[page 162, 163] What is called illness today is, in truth, only the outer physical picture of what is actually there. In reality, in illness some irregularity is present in what I have compared with a planetary system, and the illness is only a reflection of this irregularity.We could say that those who know such things should begin teaching theories on healing illnesses today. We could say Hic Rhodus, hic salta! ["Prove what you can do, here and now!"], and esotericism should show its skill here. Indeed, esotericism will do so the moment its legs are cut free, because one cannot dance if one's legs are bound; and the binding of the legs is the presence of contemporary materialism, which has occupied all of medical science. This cannot be improved by one or the other person performing isolated actions, but it will come about only by a large number of people who, through their common will, are strong enough to bring about such a system of medical practice, one that incorporates spiritual principles.
How can we judge other people properly? We can strive to do what those in the spiritual world do naturally: move our judgment from the person to Lucifer and Ahriman controlling a part of the person.
[page 166] It is simply the nature of those who have passed through death's gate to acquire this tolerance, and to always see that part of a person has the luciferic or ahrimanic aspect. The departed do not see a bad person who follows evil desires; rather, they see that Lucifer is a certain part of the person. They do not see a jealous person; rather, they see that Ahriman is a certain part of them. That is how those who live between death and birth, judge.
In this lecture, Steiner describes how our departed loved ones remain connected with us during their time between death and a new birth. Note that the word 'departed' is a misnomer because they are closer to us during this time than when they were in a physical body on Earth and lived in the next room, next door, in the next city, state, or country. A mere thought of them brings them into our presence. If we allow the thought of them being departed to create a feeling in us of grief, these loved ones will feel an incredible pain due to our being oblivious of their immediate presence with us at that very moment.
[page 175, 176] I have made it my main task today to describe a bit the way in which the souls who have passed through the gate of death have an effect in the world, if people with whom the departed had been connected in the physical body have remained behind. And you have thus also seen from another perspective that the world is truly a connected whole; that the dead are, in truth, dead only to outer physical sight. In the instant that they pass through death's gate, they have another kind of access to our souls, and that is the entire difference. They now have an effect on us from within, whereas when they were living they affected us from the outside. Such things should more and more become not just external theories, but should settle into human consciousness; should become not just a world idea, but rather a worldview; indeed, I mean to say, a world perception. Then spiritual science will bear the fruits it should bear, and which it is capable of bearing.
Steiner recognized that knowledge was not enough for us, it could pass through us as mere dreams unless it were transformed into feelings which we can carry for the rest of our lives. (Page 177)
[page 177] We also want to be at one with such feelings by considering them to be the most intensely connecting feelings. The close, invisible community of those devoted to anthroposophy will gradually bring this into the world: this holding together, this oneness, in the perceptions and feelings that are born out of the ideas of spiritual science. The world needs this invisible community of souls that is able to carry into the world the forces of such unity as has been characterized. In this sense, we will be together in the future in the spirit, though we are not together physically for a time. And thus it should be with us always: that our spiritual unity carries our physical unity evermore.
As I read this final paragraph of the book, the song by Peter Scholte rang through my ears, "We are One in the Spirit" like this: "We are one in the body, we are one in the spirit." We carry physical unity and spiritual unity with us forever. We, you and I, dear Reader, will be together in the spirit, even when we are no longer physically together.
---------- Footnotes----------Return to text directly before Footnote 1.
Footnote 2.Return to text directly before Footnote 2.
The collective psyches of residents act as "steering currents" for hurricanes, something no meteorologist can account for or find in weather data. See The Individual and the Nature of Mass Events by Jane Roberts.
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Footnote 4.Return to text directly before Footnote 4.
This event occurred about two years before Steiner gave this lecture, so it was fresh in his memory and enough time had passed for him to notice the effect of the boy's etheric body on the artistic construction of the large wooden building of the first Goetheanum, which was designed and sculptured by Steiner.
Footnote 5.Return to text directly before Footnote 5.
There is only one book of lectures he gave earlier than those in this book. It covered the period 1906-1911: The Education of the Child. It includes an Essay he wrote about 1916 summarizing his informal early talks on education of children. The main thrust of his focus on education began around 1919 and he spent much of his last six years of life lecturing on Waldorf Education. See this listing of his writings on education: http://www.doyletics.com/arj/waldorfducation.html.
Note how this process is revealed in the Bible, see John 14-2 which says, "In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you."Return to text directly before Footnote 6.
Footnote 7.Return to text directly before Footnote 7.
The fourth cultural period was the time of the Greeks and Romans and the intellectual soul age. The fifth cultural period which began in the 15th century is the time when our current consciousness soul age began. Note: In lectures where the phrase "post-Atlantean era" appears, in my quotations of the text I have changed them to "cultural period" for sim licity and consistency.
Buying carbon offsets is done by corporations so they can attempt to mask their actual carbon output.Return to text directly before Footnote 8.
One is reminded of the barbarous procedure of foot-binding which physically deformed the feet of Chinese girls.
Authorities allowed it until recent times because it was thought to produce beautiful women.Return to text directly before Footnote 9.
2.) ARJ2: The Process of Education by Jerome Bruner
In this classic work Bruner divides the process of education into four basic parts: structure, readiness for learning, intuitive thinking, and motives for learning. These form the major chapter headings for the book.
He tells us that when we grasp the structure of a subject, it enables us to relate many other things that would otherwise seem unrelated. For example, he explains how understanding the structural concept of tropism in biology enables one to make sense of many other phenomena.
[page 7] The swarming of locusts where temperature determines the swarm density in which locusts are forced to ravel, the species maintenance of insects at different altitudes on the side of a mountain where crossbreeding is prevented by the tendency of each species to travel in its preferred oxygen zone, and many other phenomena in biology can be understood in the light of tropisms.
The more fundamental the idea is, the wider and more powerful will be its applicability.
Bruner applies this principle to the subject of curriculum enhancement and "how best to proceed in the teaching of different subjects in different grades." The goal he offers is to tie the knowledge into a structure that both makes it both worth knowing and usable in areas beyond the learning situation.
The chapter on readiness for learning offers guidelines in dealing with the evolution of consciousness in students. Twelve year olds have no problem with playing games that involve advanced mathematics, but are not capable of understanding a formal description of those same mathematical rules. To push for understanding such formal rules leads to the ability to create accurate but incorrect answers. Mathematics has to do with correct answers whereas computation has to do with accurate answers. One confuses the two with peril. In my childhood a soda was a nickel, but a six-pack of sodas sold for a quarter. If a visitor from France sent me to the store with a quarter to buy sodas at a nickel apiece, he would calculate accurately that either I had stolen a soda or the proprietor had miscounted my purchases when I returned with six instead of five sodas. His calculations would be accurate, but incorrect. This insight into the difference between accuracy and correctness I owe to Rudolf Steiner from whom I adapted the above story.
Bruner says on page 40 that "nothing is intrinsically difficult" if we "wait until the proper point of view and corresponding language for presenting it are revealed." He includes in this chapter a memo of Professor Inhelder of Geneva which detailed many ways one can assist children in their progress through the fields of mathematics and physics.
[page 43] Basic notions in these fields are perfectly accessible to children of seven to ten years of age, provided that they are divorced from their mathematical expression and studied through materials that the child can handle himself.
When I was a child I spent long hours in play with odd pieces of wood, blocks, spools, and other odd bits of scrap around the house, so I found the following portion of Inhelder's memo fascinating as it suggests just that sort of play as a precursor for fostering understandings in the child that can serve as a foundation later for formal courses in mathematics and physics, which I later studied in the university.
[page 46] One wonders in the light of all this whether it might not be interesting to devote the first two years of school to a series of exercises in manipulating, classifying, and ordering objects in ways that highlight basic operations of logical addition, multiplication, inclusion serial ordering, and the like. For surely these logical operations are the basis of more specific operations and concepts of all mathematics and science.
In his book The Kingdom of Childhood Rudolf Steiner explains that the amount of time that a child can sustain a learning episode without fatigue is a function of how well the teacher approaches the process of teaching. With this insight he designed his Waldorf Schools to include long sustained periods of teaching the same subject, e. g., mathematics might be taught, not in one hour chunks every morning, but for the entire morning every day until the subject is completed, and then the students would move onto another subject, such as biology. Does it work? Students love this method so much that when one student was required to stay after school to do sums, the others in class wanted to know why they couldn't also stay to do sums. This process of teaching is what Bruner is hinting at for broad application in our school systems.
[page 51] It seems fairly obvious, for example, that the longer and more packed the episode, the greater the pay-off must be in terms of increased power and understanding if the person is to be encouraged to move to a next episode with zest.
In the chapter on intuitive understanding, Bruner says that we might not know exactly what that means, but we can all "distinguish between inarticulate genius and articulate idiocy." It occurred to me that these two represent two points of the four steps toward Habit Formation that I learned from Don Robinson in a memory course in 1970:
1. Unconscious Incompetence - Inarticulate Idiocy
2. Conscious Incompetence - Articulate Idiocy
3. Conscious Competence - Inarticulate Genius
4. Unconscious Competence - Articulate Genius
In the process of education, the idiot or naive learner doesn't know he doesn't know anything about a subject. Someone comes along and says, "Hey, don't you know how to do this?" and he moves to being able to say, "Hey, I don't know how to do that." He goes on to study long and hard and becomes a expert, a genius, in that field. He knows how to do it when he consciously applies himself, but is not necessarily able to explain to others how to do it, he is the consciously competent, but inarticulate genius. Only after years of application of his skills and thinking about how best to describe it does he become the articulate genius of Step 4.
In the last chapter Bruner tells a beautiful story about a college professor teaching an advanced class in quantum mechanics. Here's how the professor described his experience:
[page 89] "I went through it once and looked up only to find the class full of blank faces - they had obviously not understood. I went through it a second time and they still did not understand it. And so I went through it a third time, and that time I understood it."
That kind of personal understanding by the teacher is the essence of communication. Teaching a lesson, no matter how well prepared, without real understanding by the teacher, will result in that same low level of understanding being transferred to the students. Only when the creation of a lesson grows out of true understanding of the subject as taught will the process of education be a fruitful one for the students and the teachers.
3.) ARJ2: A Scientist of the Invisible by A. P. Shepherd
This book is an excellent overview of Rudolf Steiner's life work by a careful and thoughtful student. Shepherd found Steiner in 1941 and finished this book about 1954, so there was time for an intense fourteen year study of Steiner. I acquired this book thinking that I was going to read a biography of Steiner's life and was surprised to find that it had only scant biographical material, but consisted of a comprehensive overview of Steiner's work. As such, this is a valuable book, both for beginners and old hands alike. Beginners can "learn all about Steiner's work before they start" reading Steiner, an excellent learning strategy that I recommend to all. Old hands can learn whether they have covered all the bases of Steiner's work, and in the process discover if there are some lacunae in their Steiner readings to be filled in. Thus, this fine synopsis of Shepherd's may be taken as a comprehensive syllabus to a life-time course in Rudolf Steiner's works.
Shepherd is a master of concise statement, and in this review, I'd like to share some of those carefully crafted sentences that illuminate the words of Rudolf Steiner.
[page 21] Perhaps the most challenging item of this new knowledge is the definite assertion that man - and the physical world - had a spiritual, not a material origin, and that both have a spiritual destiny.
Steiner was always a true scientist, never disputing the claims of the materialistic scientist, nor even casting aspersions on their value. Rather he expanded on the range covered by the materialistic scientist by bringing to bear his own abilities to experience the spiritual world directly.From early on in my studies of his work, I realized that Steiner was like a scientist using some "high-technology" equipment in his laboratory, like a mass spectrometer or oscilloscope, to gather data about a "super-sensible" world of isotopes and high-frequency waves and reporting on his findings to us, who, outside of his lab, have no access to such high-tech equipment. There are such scientists all over the world today who report such findings in journals and their findings are accepted as accurate representations of this otherwise invisible world in which we all live. The difference is that these materialistic scientists use instruments that were created by human beings to research aspects of the physical world.There is no finer instrument than that provided by the human being for viewing the super-sensible realities of the spiritual world, and Rudolf Steiner, from early childhood, possessed such an instrument, and used it for expanding his and our understanding of how we live in a world that is both physical and spiritual.
In his exploration of the super-sensible aspects of evolution, for example, Steiner does not seek to dispute the findings of the Darwinians, but to engender a re-thinking that infuses the theory with new life.
[page 21, 22] He sets out his own point of view with a wealth of description and fact. Some of it is derived from supersensible perception, and as such cannot be directly tested, but all of it is related to observable phenomena, in such a way that it is capable of just as sound confirmation from these phenomena, as that which Science can produce in favour of the generally accepted theory of evolution.
Whereas the evolutionist and historian seem to be concerned about different time scales - evolution occurring over aeons of time, and history over recent times - Steiner makes no such distinction between the jobs of the two. He sees the two merged into one grand evolution of consciousness.
[page 23] History is primarily the story of the evolution of the consciousness of Humanity towards self-conscious freedom of being, the attainment of which by man is the whole purpose of the existence of the material world. With such a clue to the understanding of history, the sequence of civilisations, the diversity of races, the emergence and variety of nationalities, and our present international problems and difficulties fall into a unity of spiritual evolution. Moreover history becomes not only an interpretation of the past, but, what it never yet has been, a clear pointer for the future.
A true researcher in any field has the ability to accumulate data without prejudice, and to suspend coming to premature conclusions. This requires holding unanswered questions in one's mind, so that this powerful instrument of thought may be continually working in the background to produce the sought-for goal of understanding. Unless one allows for the possibility of supersensible realities, one can never achieve a full understanding of the world in which one lives.Materialist scientists are like ostriches, keeping their heads stuck underground and seeing a world made of sand. Steiner sees a world made of sand and spirit and asks that we consider carefully what he reports, and that we evaluate his findings in the light of our own understanding.
[page 26] Furthermore, in considering his teaching he [meaning Steiner] especially warns his readers against credulous acceptance of what he reveals by supersensible perception. He urges them rather to consider with clear logical judgment the explanations and conclusions which the application of these supersensible revelations to material facts and phenomena produces, and to make these a test of the reliability of the supersensible revelations.Further, he declares that if these supersensible facts themselves be allowed to live in our minds - as, at least, experimental hypotheses, without either immediate acceptance or rejections - they will, of themselves and by the light they throw on other perceptible phenomena, bear witness to their own truth. At the lowest level they can be accepted as hypotheses in the normal method of science, and proved or rejected by their consequences and application.
I present this as a concise exposition of my own experience of reading Steiner's works and lectures. Allowing the supersensible facts of Steiner's books and lectures to "live in our minds" seems to be a very good exercise and one to whose efficacy I can attest from my own experience. But isn't all this mystical talk of "supersensible facts" just subjective foolishness and pathological fantasy?
[page 47] Steiner knew that, without the corrective of clear thinking, inward experience can easily be subjective or pathological. Morever, by denying the applicability of thought to spirit-reality, the mystics played into the hands of the materialists. For they limited the range of knowledge to sense-phenomena, and left the direct experience and understanding of spiritual reality to temperamental subjectivity. So opposed was this to Steiner's whole attitude to thought, that he determined that he would never employ the language of mysticism to describe spirit-reality and experience, but would find forms of expressions that were parallel to those used in regard to natural-scientific reality.
Steiner describes the three stages of Imagination, Inspiration, and Intuition that one goes through in developing supersensible perception. Shepherd does an excellent job of summarizing these stages:
[page 63] The first stage gives knowledge of the spiritual background of our physical life and of the world in which we live. The second stage opens the way into the purely supersensible world, giving understanding of its conditions and of the beings who inhabit it, and of their relation to the physical world. The third stage is one in which a man is able to act himself as an inhabitant of the spiritual world, and to have intercourse with those to be found in it.
These three stages correspond to the three spiritual [non-physical] bodies of the human being: etheric, astral, and ego body.
[page 91] That which gives life and the powers of growth to the material element of his body is provided by a "body" of formative-forces, the etheric body; that which imposes controlling form on the life-forces of his etheric body, and which gives him consciousness and the capacity for feeling, is provided by a body of sentient forces, his astral body; while at the centre of all is the immortal core of his being, his ego, whose home is in the eternal spirit-world.
Steiner was the editor of the Goethe archives and was greatly influenced by Goethe's writings, especially on the subject of plant metamorphosis. In the following passage Shepherd uses a plant metaphor to describe the process of reincarnation into successive Earth-lives.
[page 114] The evolution of the individual is based upon the same principle that we have seen in the evolution of the human race and of the Earth itself; namely, a descent from a spirit-condition into a physical condition, which develops up to a certain point, after which the physical condition is dissolved, while the spirit-fruit of it returns to a spirit-condition. In this it receives the possibilities and powers for a further evolutionary development, after which it returns once more to a new earthly existence.
In Steiner's view of human life, we are each an artist operating in the media we know as space and time. Even though the ego takes possession of its "model" shortly before birth, and "works into it that pattern of life which it has brought with it from the spirit-world":
[page 123] That work does not commence at once, for the ego does not really enter actively into the bodily life of the child until the third or fourth year, while the pre-earthly etheric and astral bodies remain, enclosed, as it were in an embryonic sheath in the child, and do not emerge to function independently until the seventh and fourteenth years respectively.
One does not need to an educator to realize that the understanding of the four bodies of a human being and how they emerge over time is essential to the design of an appropriate pedagogy for our school systems. In his design of the Waldorf School system, Steiner incorporated his supersensible insights to provide quality education for the full human being, an education that is appropriately designed for the stage of unfolding the child is going through at each age.
Lastly, in the field of morality, Steiner unfolds a world little suspected by the masses in our time, a time that is filled with moral relativity.
[page 163] While to man's earthly consciousness moral law may be a matter opinion or belief, in the realm of spirit it is a matter of direct perception and inevitable experience. The importance of this fact can best be expressed in words used some years ago by Dr. J. H. Oldham, in the Christian News Letter. "If men's minds were seized with the conviction that there is a natural and moral order in the universe which they can disregard only at the cost of unending frustration and suffering, there would take place a revolution in Western civilisation more fundamental than those of Communism and National Socialism."
In my studies of Dr. Andrew Joseph Galambos's life work [See ARJ: Sic Itur Ad Astra ], I came to the conclusion that his ideas, rightly understood, can directly promote such an understanding, such a "seizure of conviction" where it affects people the most - in their pocketbooks. If that thought seems gauche and un-spiritual to you, I recommend that you bring to mind the story of the third temptation of Christ in the desert. [See ARJ: The Fifth Gospel.] Newly arrived in the body of Jesus after the baptism in the Jordan by John, Christ wandered into the desert and was beset by three temptations, the third of which was a challenge to convert "stones into bread." Christ rightly replied that "Not by bread alone will man live, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God." However, the point was made that human beings are physical beings and as such require bread to survive. And to acquire that bread will require "stones" or coins to exchange for their bread of survival. In his work, Galambos has provided humans a way of understanding the natural moral order with a conviction that will lead to an end of the untold frustrations and sufferings that human beings have foisted on one another for aeons. It was with this understanding of the parallels of Steiner's work with Galambos's that I began my review of Galambos's first book with a series of quotations from Rudolf Steiner.
With all the talk of the need for a Threefold Society as urged by Steiner as a requisite for the next step for humanity, one cannot keep one's head in the sand and callously overlook any resource as a possible font of vitality for the creation of the salvation of humanity in our time.
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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 Visits Chicago on Vacation:
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 finds a Poet's Coffee Shop:
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 Michael Hecht of GNO, Inc.
I get so tired of the New Orleans Newspapers constantly and solely focusing on what's wrong with our area: how we seem to be first in bad stuff and last in good stuff.
Thank you Michael for spreading the word about what's right with New Orleans. I'm very glad you send out regular updates of the Good News about our fair city to those interested.
P. S. Here's Michael's most recent missive. I have included Michael's email address below to all those who know "what it means to miss New Orleans".
According to recently released data by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport grew enplanements by 78% between 2006 - 2016, making MSY the #2 fastest growing airport in America over the ten-year period. In 2016, New Orleans had 5,569,705 total enplanements, 15% higher than pre-Katrina levels (2004) - indicating not just a return of flights lost post-Katrina, but also an influx of new flights to the region.
New Orleans International Airport now has 56 non-stop flights, including 6 international, for a total of ~150 daily flights. British Airways has recently added a fifth day to its non-stop 787 Dreamliner service to Heathrow, and the new terminal, scheduled to open in 2019, has added gates to accommodate expected future growth.
Top Mid- and Large Airports for 2006-2016 Growth in Enplanements
1. Dallas Love Field - 119%
2. Louis Armstrong New Orleans Intnl Airport - 78%
3. San Francisco International - 58%
4. Austin-Bergstrom International - 55%
5. William P Hobby - 49%
6. Seattle Tacoma International - 49%
7. Charlotte/Douglas International - 46%
8. For Lauderdale/Hollywood International - 40%
9. John F. Kennedy International - 40%
10. Los Angeles International - 35%
Thank you for your support.
Michael Hecht [email@example.com]
3. Poem from Freedom on the Half Shell:"Of Thee I Sing"
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:
Of Thee I Sing
My country is not the United States of America
My country has no Constitution
My country has no House of Representatives
My country has no Senate
My country has no Supreme Court
My country has no bureaucrats
My country has no police force nor army
My country has no Social Security
My country has no man-made laws
My country has no public property
My country has no public libraries
My country has no federal lands
My country has no Imminent Domain
My country has no coercion
My country has no non-profit organizations
My country existed before all these man-made conventions.
My country ranges
from the Atlantic to the Pacific,
from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico,
from the Columbia River to the Rio Grande.
My country is Sam the shoemaker
who puts new soles on my feet,
My country is Ms. Kim the dry cleaner lady
who makes my clothes look new again,
My country is Noemi the maid
who freshens up my home,
My country is Caroline the masseuse
who kneads my muscles into shape,
My country is Abdul the auto dealer repair coordinator,
My country is Peter the owner,
whose people serve me at my favorite restaurant,
My country is Renelle who trims my hair,
My country is my Good Readers all over the World
whose comments on my writing are nutrition to this writer,
My country is Manual
who delivers the daily newspaper,
My country is Don my neighbor
who lends a hand when I need help,
My country is David
who mows and trims our lawn,
My country is my club members
who provide companionship,
My country is my adult children
and the pride and joy they bring to me,
My country is my grandchildren and great-grandchildren
who teach me to look at the world
as a child once more.
My country is my wife and my friends
who remind me of all the things
I've still to learn.
My country is all these:OF THEE I SING!
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9. CLOSING NOTES:
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Thanks to all of you Good Readers for providing the Sunshine which has made this site a Blooming 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! By May 1, 2019, in its 20th year of publication, the DIGESTWORLD and the doyletics website has received over 21.4 MILLION VISITORS ! ! !
We have received about ONE MILLION VISITORS per Year to the Doyletics Website since its inception June 1, 2000, nearly 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.
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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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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.
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Books are Lighthouses Erected in the Sea of Time
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