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~~~~~~~~ In Memoriam: ~~~~~~~~
< — Pam Eversmeyer (1946-2019) <—
—> Edwin LeBlanc (1955 - 2019) — >
WELCOME TO DIGESTWORLD ISSUE#192 February, 2019== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==Quote for the Mardi Gras Month of February:
To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 - 1882)
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GOOD MOUNTAIN PRESS Presents
ISSUE#192 for February, 2019
Archived DIGESTWORLD Issues
Table of Contents
1. February's Violet-n-Joey Cartoon
2. Honored Readers for February
3. On a Personal Note
4. Cajun Story
5. Recipe or Household Hint for February, 2019 from Bobby Jeaux: Retrieving Broken Key from Lock
6. Poem from The Sun Mystery:"In Physics"
7. Reviews and Articles featured for February:
8. Commentary on the World
- ARJ2: Secrets of the Threshold, DW#147, 8 Lectures in Munich, August 1913 by Rudolf Steiner
- ARJ2: The Boundaries of Natural Science, GA# 322, Eight Lectures, Dornach, Sep-Oct, 1920 by Rudolf Steiner
- ARJ2: The Best of Peter Finney, Legendary New Orleans Sports Writer by Peter Finney
- ART: The Evolution of Cooperation by Robert Axelrod
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. February Violet-n-Joey CARTOON:
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==This month Violet and Joey learn about Beauty.
For newcomers to DIGESTWORLD, we have created a webpage of early Violet-n-Joey cartoons!
"Beauty" at http://www.doyletics.com/images/190125vj.jpg
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2. HONORED READERS FOR February:
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Each month we choose to honor two Good Readers of our DIGESTWORLD from those all over the World. Here are the two worthy Honored Readers for February, 2019:
John Batty in New Orleans
Brent Scott in Honolulu
Congratulations, John and Brent!
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3. ON A PERSONAL NOTE:
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Out Our Way:
NEW YEAR'S DAY
What a difference a year makes! I wrote back on New Year's Day last year: "LSU lost to Notre Dame in a game they should have won, and would have won if only we had had a field goal kicker. The first two missed FG's would have allowed us to win the game all else being equal." This year our field goal kicker Cole Tracy was almost flawless and we beat UCF handily, busting open its two-year, 25 game win streak. Watched the Rose Parade and the outdoor hockey game on side screens while Joe Burrow took care of business as LSU's quarterback on the center screen.
MISSED CALLS FOR LSU AND SAINTS
Del and I got together in our Screening Room to watch LSU tackle UCF, whose imaginary National Championship evaporated as LSU took them down for UCF's first loss in 26 games. Let UCF play all their games in the Southeastern Conference (SEC), Joe Burrow suggested, and then they'll how different it is from playing in their American Athletic Conference (AAC).LSU won 40-32, playing without nine first-stringer defense players not on the field. Joe got 4 touchdowns matching Matt Flynn's record in LSU's 2003 championship game. Our field goal phenom Coyle Tracy kicked four field goals and set the record for his career, topping every other career total for all classifications of football. The UCF players seemed mean and nasty on the field, pushing and shoving LSU to prod them into hitting back, and when an LSU player did, they got flagged or thrown out of the game. The big MISSED CALL was UCF's "interception" for a pick six. It was made possible by UCF holding of an LSU receiver's jersey which was NOT called followed by a slammed block that nearly knocked QB Burrow out. This was clearly was a helmet-to-helmet targeting which was NOT called. And so on.But LSU held on and beat them cleanly even with its defense decimated. In a pre-game interview Coach O's reaction to the loss of players was, "We say Next Man up!", whenever someone goes down. The interviewer, obviously a former football player blurted out, "I want to strap on my helmet and play for that guy!"
Next up was the SAINTS NFC Championship game in the Superdome. Drew Brees threw a long pass to a receiver who was tackled while ball was still in the air. Clearly a penalty which would have given the Saints a first down close to the goal. Drew would have run down the clock and kicked a field goal and won the game. Not only was this a MISSED CALL but a helmet-to-helmet hit on a receiver a huge penalty that was also missed. The NFL rules book provides a means of correcting such egregious referee mistakes, but the remedy needed to happen in real-time on the field and the NFL officials remained mute, gutless wonders in the face of another controversy.
AUSSIES CAME TO VISIT
Del's first cousins Joe and Bruce Legendre have been gold prospectors and miners in Australia for over forty years. I remember when we heard about their finding a huge gold nugget which gave their career a kick start and they've continued their gold prospecting ever since. Bruce and his wife Jannine came to New Orleans to begin a cruise on the Crystal Symphony and Del and Dan quickly organized an impromptu Legendre gathering at Timberlane. There were sixteen of us including Del's Uncle Bob, some of his kids and grandkids.
WHERE'S THE PHOTOS?IMPORTANT MESSAGE:
My Good Readers are likely wondering why there are so few photos in this month's DIGESTWORLD Issue. The easy answer is that I went into the hospital and was unable to take any photos. First I was having daily IVs of saline solution to help my kidney function. Then the CAT scan showed degraded kidney function and I was hospitalized and had a catheter and stents installed to increase the flow from my bladder. When my kidney function improved, I was sent home to continue the recuperation. The biopsy of my prostate showed some cancer cells and the doctor ordered a bone scan. The bone scan was completely clear which was great news. Up next will be radioactive treatment for my aging prostate.
When I left Ochsner's hospital, I had a leg bag which made it possible for me to move around the house. Still moving slow, but we're in good hands. Del has been a real trooper helping me around the house. My thanks to the many people who have blessed me with their prayers over this past month.
A few days back home from the hospital and my energy level is returning. I am planning to publish this February Issue on time, and continue my monthly publications so long as I am able. I woke up from a dream a few days ago in which Del handed me a book with a piece of paper in it. I opened the note and it read, "To Be Continued . . ." and that's exactly what I am planning.
EVERY GOOD THING MUST COME TO A NEW BEGINNING
Our Japanese Magnolia tree is almost in full bloom, but if we get a hard freeze, we will lose those blossoms. Till we meet again in the windy, Spring-like days of March in New Orleans, God Willing and the River Don't Rise, whatever you do, wherever in the world you and yours reside, be it blustery or balmy,
Remember our earnest wish for this new year of 2019:
MAY THE WORLD BECOME PEACEFUL AND SERENE IN TWENTY-NINETEEN
NEW YEAR'S DAY
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Quotes Selected from quotes.htm this month:
- Why should I get writer's block? My father never got truck driver's block.
— Roger Simon (Newspaper Columnist)
- What we observe is not nature, but nature exposed to our method of questioning.
— Werner Heisenberg (Physicist)
- For a product to surprise me, it must be satisfying expectations I didn't know I had. No focus group is going to discover those. Only a great designer can.
— Paul Graham (English Computer Programmer and Writer)
Skeptics are people who are absolutely sure that people can never be sure of anything.
— Bobby Matherne (American writer)
Why is it we prohibit people from killing old growth trees and do not prohibit them from killing new growth human babies?
— Bobby Matherne (American writer)
New Stuff on Website:
~^~ Below are Four of Bobby's Published Books. Click to Read Them.
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.
"Walt: The Man Behind the Myth" (2016) Follows Disney through his innovative techniques in animation, movies, TV, amusement parks, and plans for the future. A DON’T MISS HIT !
"Goodbye Christopher Robin" (2017) Billy Moon wants to grow up with memories of the real Winnie the Pooh and his friends in the Hundred Acre Wood. How this wonderful children’s story brought happiness to lives devastated by the Great War and sadness to the little boy who inspired it. May all of you never grow too old to say no to a balloon. A DON’T MISS HIT! ! ! ! ! "Table 19" (2017) place cards at elegant wedding brings an eclectic group of folks together. It was a great wedding no matter which table you sat at, but Table 19 had the most fun. A DON'T MISS !!
"Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House" 2017) Liam Neeson plays "Deep Throat" who leaked secret information to the press which led to Nixon resigning as president in his second term. A look at Watergate from the inside.
"Christopher Robin" (2017) A study of 'a fish in the sea', adult Christopher, 'a father of little brain' must reconnect with his daughter through his childhood playmates, Winnie the Pooh, Eeyore, Piglet, and Owl. A DON'T MISS HIT!!!
"The Ottoman Lieutenant" (2017) love in the time of the Great War and our heroine is torn between the doctor and lieutenant. A DON'T MISS HIT !!!
"Pottersville" (2017) into a village suffering hard times comes a BIGFOOT to rescue the town from oblivion.
"Entanglement" (2018) Ben seeks and finds his 'almost' adopted sister and finds true love.
"Wilson" (2017) Woody Harrelson at his stupidest and cutest best.
"Contraband" (2012) another Mark Wahlberg against the world film; this time fighting deadly smugglers on a large ship.
"Peppermint" (2018) ain't kid stuff this female Rambo.
"The Secret Scripture" (2017) written in the Book of Rose which brought her son home to her. A tour de force for Vanessa Redgrave and Eric Bana. A DON'T MISS HIT ! !
"The Last Laugh" (2019) Chevy Chase talks Richard Dreyfuss into picking up his standup comic act after 30 years. Fun Movie!
"Close" (2019) Noomi Rapace (of Dragon Tattoo fame) as a young heiress's body guard. Both of them came very close to being killed.
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."Gone are the Days" (2018) and not even Tom Berenger can bring them back.
Your call on these — your taste in movies may differ, but I liked them:"Nostalgia" (2018) when all the things of our life are gone, we are left with memories and love. And this very slow movie.
"How Sarah Got her Wings" (2015) silly romcom about Sarah who almost became an angel but has more work to do.
"Goldstone" (2016) Gold, guns, and girls seeking justice in remote area of Australia.
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==Le Boudreaux Cajun Cottage, drawn by and Copyright 2011 by Paulette Purser, Used by Permission Thanks to Jeff Parsons for story.
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Old man Boudreaux, who had retired from farming, decided to open a medical clinic in Abbeville. He rented a small shop and put up a sign up which read: "Doctor Boudreaux will Cure Wat Ails Yah for $500. If not Cured get back $1,000."
Doctor Dugas, who practiced medicine in town, said to himself, "Dat dumb old man Boudreaux don't know nuttin about medicine. Ah'll jest take an easy thousand dollars from him."
Dugas walked into Boudreaux's clinic and said, "Dr. Boudreaux, Ah done lost all de taste in mah mouth."Can Yah cure me?" Boudreaux, said, "Nurse Clothilde, brought me dat medicine from box 22 and put 3 drops in Dugas's mouth."
Dugas gagged and said, "Aaagh!! — "Dat is gasoline!"
Boudreaux said, "Congratulations! Yah done got yah taste back. Dat will be $500." Dugas paid him and left.
But Dugas realized he had been tricked and thought of a way to get his money back from Boudreaux. He went back to Boudreaux's clinic and said, "Ah done lost my memory. I can't remember nuttin. Can you cure me?"
Boudreaux said, "Nurse, brought me dat medicine from box 22 and put 3 drops in Dugas' mouth."
Dugas said, "Oh no you don't, — dat is gasoline!" Boudreaux said, "Congratulations! Yah done got yah memory back. Dat will be $500."
Dugas left angry, but planned how to get his money back. The next day he went into the clinic and said, "Mah eyesight has become weak — I can hardly see nuttin !!!!"
Boudreaux said, "Wahl, Ah don't have no medicine for that, here's Yah thousand dollars as promised."
Dugas grabbed the money from Boudreaux's hand and counted it. "But dis is only five hundred dollars!"
Boudreaux said, "Congratulations! Yah done got yah vision back! Dat will be $500."
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5. Household Hint for February, 2019 from Bobby Jeaux:
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =Retrieving Broken Key from Lock
Background on Retrieving Broken Key from Lock: When we moved into our current home about ten years ago, the key would not open the lock. I tried everywhere I could think of and the door stayed locked. What I didn't know was that it double-locked, the second one was a deadbolt lock. I recalled being shown how to open the lock by our real estate lady, but it had been only single-locked then. The instructions wouldn't open the door. I tried everying I knew but still the door wouldn't budge. Then turning it harder, the key broke off in the lock with none of the key extending out of the face of the lock. What to do?
First I got my needle nose pliers and tried to grab any part of the key, no luck. There was literally noting of key extending out of the lock, even though I could see the broken key right below the surface.So close, but so far away. I needed a better idea.
In my trunk, I had a fishing tackle box, I hoped that somehow the fish hook's sharp tip could be stuck slightly into the soft metal key's surface.
After a minutes of bending the hook, I was able get a purchase on the broken, just barely enough to me to slide out the broken key.
I have always endeavored to fix something without a drive to the Hardware store, using only tools, parts, and materials I have readily available at home. It doesn't always work, but it feels great when it does, like this time.
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6. POETRY by BOBBY from The Sun Mystery:
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The passage below inspired me to write this poem. I did not understand the lifeless nature of the intellect consciously while I was studying physics in college. A couple of decades later I had difficulty expressing my new understanding to some people. They seemed to form the question "Why?" in a balloon over their head as I explained it to them. In this poem I endeavor to explain the progress of my understanding from my early college days until now.
[page 82] Our intellect paralyzes us. When we develop the intellect we are not actually living. We must learn to sense that when we think we pour our life out into dead, rational images. We need to be intensely alive to sense creative life in the cultivation of dead rationality and to enter the domain where moral impulses derive from the power of pure thinking — where we learn to understand human freedom on the basis of impulses of pure thinking.
I experienced the intellect
As I learned to build lifeless
rational images of
Atoms, Quarks, and Mesons.
I experienced the intellect
As I learned to build lifeless
rational images of
Logic Gates, CPUs, Subroutines,
and Operating Systems.
I experienced the intellect
As I learned how I had built lifeless
rational images of
Feelings, Relationships, and Love.
I learned to resurrect my lifeless
rational images, my dead thoughts
with Christ's help,
And shape them into moral impulses.
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7. REVIEWS and ARTICLES for February:
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =For our Good Readers, here are the reviews and articles featured this month. The first and second reviews this month will be ones which were never published in early DIGESTWORLD ISSUES and will be of interest to our DIGESTWORLD Readers. The rest of the items will be new additions to the top of A Reader's Journal, Volume 2, Chronological List, new additions to A Reader's Treasury, or Essays previously unpublished.
1.) ARJ2: Secrets of the Threshold, GA#147, 8 Lectures in Munich, August 1913 by Rudolf Steiner
Here in Steiner's words is the theme of these lectures(1). He tells us that the goal of his mystery dramas is to unveil the truth of what seems otherwise mysterious to us.
[page 106] We have tried in both this lecture cycle and in the drama cycle to characterize the nature of the cosmos and the entity of man, who has a share in the cosmos. After such a discussion, it may perhaps be permissible to add for any person setting out on the path here described that he will need to continue it to some extent on his own. On trying to penetrate ever more deeply into The Soul’s Awakening, you will notice that so many answers to the mysteries of life are dawning on you that you that you will say: “These things are really there for the revealing and unveiling of these mysteries.”
In the passage “In the beginning was the Word” from the beginning of the Gospel of John, the word "Word" refers to living thought-beings, not to our usual meaning of "word" as a nominalized process. In the Cosmic Word, the process is alive and resides in living thought-beings. If one keeps this idea in mind, it will become clear that words have fluid meanings which change depending on the context. Poets use this flux of meaning all the time as they affix their living thoughts to a paper pad. As I wrote in my poem "Immortal Tracts"(2): "Tracts on a paper pad are immortal tracks of ideas walking inside." Words, those tracks on paper or sounds in the air, are the like the shadows in Plato's Cave which give us hints of a living reality.
[page 13] It is one of the most difficult things for people with this superficial faculty of intellect in our modern culture to realize that the same words in a different context mean something different. Modern civilization is such that people think that the words they use &mdash: in so far as they have been coined on the physical plane &mdash: must always mean the same thing. Here we have precisely the place where Ahriman has people most firmly by the throat, and where he hinders them from understanding that words only become living in their deepest sense when one looks at them in the connection in which they are uttered. Nothing that reaches out beyond the physical plane can be understood if one does not keep this occult fact in mind. It is especially important today that an occult fact of this kind should work upon our hearts and souls as a counterbalance to the external intellectual life that has taken firm hold of every human being.
The paragraph following the above quotation led me to read The Threshold of the Spiritual World immediately after finishing this book. In a footnote we find that The Threshold of the Spiritual World was produced during the course of the lectures which comprise this book. Here is the paragraph. I would definitely recommend reading these two books in quick succession. The Threshold of the Spiritual World combined with this book presents the clearest exposition I’ve found of the two spiritual beings of Lucifer and Ahriman &mdash: how they came into being, what their good intentions for humans are, and how we can benefit from each without being overwhelmed by either.
[page 13] Among the many things that have to be considered in these Mystery Dramas, notice how indeed in The Soul's Awakening the remarkable figure of Ahriman steals in quietly at first, how it seems to insinuate itself among the other characters and how it continually gains in significance towards the end of the drama. I shall endeavor to bring out for you a special piece of writing about Lucifer and Ahriman, and other things as well, entitled The Threshold of the Spiritual World; it will be on hand during this lecture course, for these seem to me the subjects particularly necessary to illumine for our friends at this time.
Which is better? To acknowledge that it is possible 1) for there to be clear meanings hidden in obscure words, or 2) for there to be obscure meanings hidden in clear words? Steiner makes it clear in The Soul's Awakening mystery drama, that the latter is a higher human achievement. Strader is a character who hears both Felix Balde and Capesius talk and then remarks, "Capesius and father Felix, both/Conceal dark meaning in transparent words." (Page 16)
[page 16] . . . the concession that in clear words an obscure meaning may be hidden, is the higher of the two in human nature.
[page 17] And yet it would be a blessing for our present civilization if people could assume the attitude towards the thoughts and other achievements that Strader assumed towards Felix Balde and Capesius; if only such people might become more and more numerous, and if only Anthroposophy could in very truth contribute something directly to this self-knowledge!
Steiner's point is well-taken that scientists and philosophers of today, those thought by many to be the greatest thinkers of our time, would do well to acknowledge that their clear words embodied in their theories and postulates may indeed harbor obscure living meanings. Anthroposophy today is the legacy of Rudolf Steiner's living thoughts and these are our best hope for revealing the obscure living meanings hiding in humanity's clear thoughts.
Humanity's clear thoughts about the Devil hides living meanings from us. We can only wrest those living meanings from obscurity when we come to grips with the two aspects of the Devil in the form of Luciferic and Ahrimanic beings and learn to balance the influence of each in our lives. Some might try to eradicate one or the other, for example, by saying "Yes, indeed, Ahriman seems to be a dangerous fellow. If he has such an influence on the world and on human affairs, the simplest thing to do is to banish from the human soul all the impulses that come from him." This can result in one coming completely under the influence of Lucifer.
[page 19] These beings we call Ahriman and Lucifer are right here in the world, they have their task in the universal order, and one cannot sweep them away. Besides, it is not a question of annihilating them, but &mdash: as in the case of the weights on both sides of the scales &mdash: the ahrimanic and luciferic forces must balance each other in their influence on human beings and on other beings. We do not bring about the true activity of any of the various forces by removing it but by placing ourselves in the right relationship to it. We have the wrong attitude to these luciferic and ahrimanic beings if we simply say that they are bad and harmful.
Here Steiner's dictum(2) that evil is a good out of its time or place helps us to understand these beings. We need to understand their functions and how they may be applying their functions outside of the intended sphere.
[page 19, 20] Although these powers rebel in a certain sense against the general order of the universe &mdash: which had already been designed before they entered it &mdash: this does not stem from the fact that they invariably have to exercise a harmful activity, but rather that &mdash: like the others whom we have met as lawful members of the higher worlds &mdash: they have a definite sphere of activity in the sum total of the universe. Their opposition to and rebellion against the cosmic order consists in their going beyond their own sphere; they exert beyond this sphere the forces they should employ only within their lawful domain.
Ahriman is the "Lord of Death" and his presence is required in the physical world because if no living beings were to die, they would soon overwhelm the resources of the world. Ahriman helps humans to develop a proper relationship to the physical world of the senses. That is his proper duty in our sphere.
[page 20] In what surrounds us as external nature, Ahriman is the rightful Lord of Death and should not be regarded as an evil power but as one whose influence in the general world order is fully legitimate. We will enter into a right relationship with the sense world only when we bring a creditable interest to bear upon it, when our interest in the sense world is so reasonable that we can see everything in it without greedily demanding eternal life for any of its physical forms; on the contrary, that we can do without them when they meet their natural death. To be able to rejoice rightly in the things of the sense world but not to be so dependent on them as to contradict the laws of death and decay &mdash: this is the right relationship of the human being to the sense world. To bring about this right relationship to growth and decay, the human being has the impulses of Ahriman within himself; for this reason they pulsate in him.
On the other hand we have the task of Lucifer to keep us from becoming so attracted to the physical world of the senses that we forget our connection to the spiritual world. Inside of us resides psychic impulses which would be frittered away in the sensory world, but for the impulses of Lucifer, who might be called the Lord of Art and Philosophy.
[page 22, 23]Now there is also a lawful task belonging to Lucifer, one quite in accordance with the universal cosmic order. In a certain way Lucifer's task is to tear man and everything in the world pertaining to the soul away from living and being absorbed in the physical-sensory alone. If there were no luciferic power in the world, we would dream along in the perceptions streaming into us from the external world and in what comes to us from that world through the intellect. That would be a kind of dreaming away of human soul existence within the sense world. There are indeed impulses which will not tear our souls away from the sense world as long as they are bound temporarily to it but which raise our souls to a different sort of living, feeling and rejoicing from the kind the sense world can offer. We need merely to think of what humanity has been seeking as artistic development. Wherever the human being creates something through his imagination and his soul life of feeling, no longer clinging dully to the sense world but rising above it, Lucifer is the power that tears him out of that world. A large part of what is uplifting and liberating in the artistic development of mankind is inspired by Lucifer. We can designate something else as the inspiration of Lucifer: the human being has the chance through luciferic powers to free his thinking from a mere photograph-like copying of the sense world; he can raise himself above this in freedom, which he does, for instance, in his philosophy. From this point of view, all philosophizing is the inspiration of Lucifer. One could even write a history of the philosophical development of mankind, insofar as this is not pure positivism &mdash: that is, does not keep to the external materialistic &mdash: and could say: the history of the development of philosophy is a continual testimony to the inspiration of Lucifer. All creative work, in fact, that rises above the sense world we owe to Lucifer's rightful activities and powers.
Having seen what the rightful tasks of Ahriman and Lucifer are, let us look into how these tasks might lead humankind astray. Simply put Ahriman controls the thinking life and Lucifer the feeling life. Any excesses in a person's thinking activity will come from an Ahrimanic influence; any excesses in a person's psychic or feeling activity will come from a Luciferic influence.
[page 23] Ahriman has more to do with our thinking, Lucifer with the feelings, with the life of the emotions, passions, impulses and desires. Lucifer is lord over everything of soul feeling in the physical sense world. He has the tendency to detach and separate this feeling life of the soul from the physical world, to spiritualize it, and to set up, one can say, on a specially isolated island of spiritual existence a luciferic kingdom composed of all the soul feeling he can seize and carry off from the sense world. Whereas Ahriman wants to hold back thinking to the physical sense world and make shadows and phantoms of it, visible to elementary clairvoyance as floating, wafting shadows, Lucifer does the opposite: he takes what is soul feeling in the physical sense world, tears it out and puts it in a special luciferic kingdom set up as an isolated kingdom similar to his own nature, in opposition to the general cosmic order.
There are two types of love in the world: self-less love and self-full love. Selfless love is unconditional, self-giving, universal love, it is a love which originates in the one loved, not in the one doing the loving. Self-full love is an egoistic love which originates in the one doing the loving, it is a love in which one perceives that the loved one fulfills a need in oneself and an attraction forms to fulfill that need. The self-less love repels Lucifer, and the self-full love plays into Lucifer's hands. And yet, there is an appropriate place for self-full love &mdash: that is when it is directed towards the spiritual world. It is only when self-full love is directed to other human beings that it goes astray, and Lucifer is ever ready to lead one astray in that fashion &mdash: an example of how Lucifer offers an evil impulse in a good out of its time and place. Applying these principles of self-less and self-full love, one can begin to discern the obscure living meanings hiding in humankind's supposedly "clear thoughts" about love.
Another example of clear thoughts which hide living meanings is found in the materialist's clear thoughts about the existence of the spiritual world. "We have no evidence of a spiritual world." "Show me a spiritual being, and I'll accept the existence of the spiritual world." What are materialists missing here? Steiner likens them to an ostrich, who sticks its head in the sand and says, "I don't see any problem."
[page 26] There are people who have in their outward physical experience and in their everyday activities no special interest in the spiritual world. It is said such people today are not uncommon. But nature does not permit us to use the ostrich strategy in her affairs. The ostrich strategy, as you know, consists in the bird sticking his head in the sand and believing that the things he doesn't see are not there. Materialistic minds believe that the spiritual world is not there; they do not see it. They are true ostriches. Nevertheless, in the depths of their souls, the craving for the spiritual world does not cease to exist merely because they deaden themselves and deny its reality. It is actually there. In every human soul, however materialistic, the desire and love for the spiritual world is alive, but people who deaden their soul nature are unconscious of the craving.
What happens to those who are unconscious of this self-less desire for the spiritual world? It shoots out as conscious self-full or egoistic desires and craving and in the extreme, this repressed spirituality leads to abnormal sensual impulses such rampant sexual appetites or aberrations. One may now understand how dramatic conversions may come about so quickly &mdash: it happens when one rightly understands the hitherto covert spiritual impulses behind one's overt sensual impulses. The conversion of Augustine from a libertine in Rome to a sober Church leader and saint comes to mind as a prominent example.
[page 26, 27] There is a law that something repressed and deadened at one point will break out at another. The consequence of the repression of the egoistic impulse towards the spiritual world is that it thrusts itself into the sensual desires. The kind of love due the spiritual world hurls itself away from there into the sensual impulses, passions and desires, and these impulses become perverse. The perversity of the sensual impulses and their repellent abnormalities are the mirror image of what could be noble virtues in the spiritual world, were human beings to use for the spiritual world all the forces poured out into the physical world. We must consider this seriously: what finds expression in the sense world as loathsome impulses could &mdash: if they were used in the spiritual world &mdash: accomplish there something of the most sublime character. This is immensely significant.
If critics merely read the reviews of a book or listen to news reports of an event, they may end up spouting a criticism that would unrecognizable to the either the author of the book or the subject of the news report. Basing one's criticism on indirect evidence such as that is like "nibbling a piece of reality" and mistaking it for reality. One eats the card containing Antoine's menu and mistakes it for Antoine's food. A similar thing can happen to someone who catches a glimpse of the spiritual world, mistakes the nibble for some deep truth about the spiritual world, and offers others their fleshed-out nibble as a full-blown image of the spiritual world. Much of the folly of otherwise spiritual people stem from the Ahrimanic inflation of their nibbled sweets from the spiritual world.
[page 28] If one only nibbles at the [spiritual world], one will have no protection against mistaking illusion for truth; when the pictures shrink and condense, one takes what should be merely picture for reality. The sweets, too, that such a person carries within himself out of the spiritual world are a special booty for Ahriman to pounce on. From what he can pull out of ordinary human thinking he gets only airy shadows, but &mdash: to put it plainly &mdash: he gets well padded shadows and plump phantoms when he presses out of human body-individualities (as well as he can) the false illusory pictures created by nibbling on the sly in the spiritual world. In this ahrimanic fashion the physical sense world is populated by spiritual shades and phantoms that offer serious resistance to the general cosmic order.
If one brings back a mode of thought from the spiritual world and applies it in the physical world, one will be subject to an Ahrimanic influence. However, if one takes a mode of thought in the physical world and applies it in the spiritual world, one will be subject to a Luciferic influence. What is one to do, faced with this dilemma? One must strive for balancing the Ahrimanic and Luciferic influences in one's life.
[page 28, 29] In a somewhat similar way the luciferic influence, the inducement to so much that is noble and sublime, may become dangerous, exceedingly dangerous, particularly to the soul that has become clairvoyant. This happens in just the opposite situation. We looked before at what happens when a soul nibbles at the spiritual world, that is, perceives something there, but then on returning to the physical sense world does not tell itself: "Here you may not use the same kind of thought pictures that are right for the spiritual world." In this case the soul is exposed in the physical world to the influence of Ahriman. But the opposite can take place. The human soul can carry into the spiritual world what should belong only to the physical sense world, namely the kinds of perception, feeling, and passion that the soul must necessarily develop to a certain degree for the physical world. None of the emotions cultivated here, however, should be carried into the spiritual world if the soul is not to fall victim to the temptations and allurements of Lucifer to an unusual degree.
I worked for many years with an inventor of a machine that could greatly benefit humankind. He had a certain genius which was unmistakable, but also some characteristics which got in his own way of success. Those were overweening vanity and ambition. Yet, he would never admit to himself or anyone else the truth that was plain enough to everyone else, that he was vain and ambitious. Steiner in the next passage helps us understand how the influence of Lucifer works in such a person's life.
[page 30] Because self-knowledge is hard to come by and the soul has the greatest difficulty in becoming clear about certain of its qualities, because, too, people are bent on getting as quickly as possible into the spiritual world, it is not at all to be wondered at that they say to themselves: I am already mature enough; I will of course be able to control my passions. As a matter of fact, it is more easily said than done. There are certain qualities that particularly challenge our control. Vanity, ambition, and similar things sit so deeply entrenched in human souls that it is not easy to admit to oneself: You are vain and ambitious! You want power! When we look into ourselves, we are usually deceived about just those emotions that are the very worst ones. To carry them into the spiritual world means that a person will most easily become the prey of Lucifer. And when he notices how he is thrown hither and thither, he does not willingly say: This comes from ambition or from vanity &mdash: but he looks for the way to deaden the soul. Then Lucifer carries him off into his kingdom. There, of course, a person may receive insights but these do not correspond to the cosmic order, which had already been designed before Lucifer began his meddling. They are spiritual insights of a thoroughly luciferic nature. He may receive the most extraordinary impressions and judge them to be absolute truths. He may tell people about all sorts of incarnations of this person or that, but these will simply be purely luciferic inspirations.
Through Steiner even we who are not clairvoyant can come to understand that it is only through observation of the spiritual world that the obscure meanings in the clear truths of our philosophy and science can be understood rightly, that the "being of man, the real, true nature of man, lies in hidden worlds." Worlds hidden to the sensory data we receive from the physical world. One cannot even enter the first level of spiritual worlds, the elementary world, unless one has prepared oneself for what to expect there. If one is not clairvoyant, one can prepare onself for that by studying spiritual science. How is the elementary world different from the sensory world in which I live as I type these words and you, dear Reader, live as you read them? You know that in the sensory world that you can observe other beings as distinct from yourself. You may change a little when you talk to your mother from when you talk to a colleague in a bar, but you are still yourself, no matter whom you are conversing or otherwise interacting with. This changes dramatically in the elementary world where you become the other person. We learn in this sensory world by observing others; we learn in the elementary world by transforming into others.
[page 33] We can learn nothing at all in the elemental world unless we become a different person within every other being, indeed unless we become similar to a high degree to the other beings and events.
We have to have, then, one peculiarity of soul for the elemental world: the capacity for transforming our own being into other beings outside ourselves. We must have the faculty of metamorphosis. We must be able to immerse ourselves in and become the other being. We must be able to lose the consciousness which always &mdash: in order to remain emotionally healthy &mdash: we have to have in the sense world, the consciousness of "I am myself." In the elemental world we get to know another being only when in a way we inwardly have "become" the other. When we have crossed the threshold, we have to move through the elemental world in such a way that with every step we transform ourselves into every single happening, creep into every single being. It belongs to the health of a person's soul that in passing through the sense world, he should hold his own and assert his individual character, but this is altogether impossible in the elemental world, where it would lead either to the darkening of his field of vision or to his being thrown back into the sense world.
In the elementary world, we are constantly transforming ourselves into other beings we meet &mdash: it is our natural way of interacting with them. But we lose in the elementary world the natural ability which our physical body that allows us to feel our self as an Ego or "I". But in the elementary world we get no assist from our physical body and we must exert our own will to have a feeling of self. (Page 36)
We do experience in the elementary world something similar to our periods of sleep in the sensory world. We alternate between times when we are constantly transforming into other beings and times when we willfully remain within ourselves. The latter is equivalent in the elementary world to sleep in the physical or sensory world.
[page 37] For the elemental world this self-willing is necessary; like the alternation of sleeping and waking in the physical world, the condition of "transforming oneself into other beings" must give way to the feeling of self-strengthened volition. Just as we have become tired in the physical world and close our eyes, overcome by sleep, the moment comes in the elemental world when the etheric body feels, "I cannot go on continually changing; now I must shut out all the beings and happenings around me. I will have to thrust it all out of my field of vision and look away from it. I now must will myself and live absolutely and entirely within myself, ignoring the other beings and occurrences." This willing of self, excluding everything else, corresponds to sleep in the physical world.
Another difference between the sensory and elementary worlds is the nature of thoughts. Thoughts in our sensory world are more passive than the thoughts of the elementary world. Our thoughts are like our chattel in the sensory world, they bend and shape themselves to our will, no matter how silly the result might be. If this were not so, would there perforce be so many fools in our world?
[page 38] We truly need a stronger power of soul to confront these living thought-beings with our consciousness than we do with the passive thoughts of the physical world, which allow themselves to be formed at will, to be connected and separated not only sensibly but often even quite foolishly. They are patient things, these thoughts of our ordinary world; they let the human soul do anything it likes with them. But it is quite different when we thrust our soul into the elemental world, where our thoughts will lead an independent life. A human being must hold his own with his soul life and assert his will in confronting these active, lively, no longer passive thoughts. In the physical world our thinking can be completely stupid and this does not harm us at all. But if we do foolish things with our thinking in the elemental world, it may well happen that our stupid thoughts, creeping around there as independent beings, can hurt us, can even cause real pain.
Those people, who nibble on the elementary world and return with the habits of thought acquired there to our world, very often become like the inventor I mentioned earlier, they no longer use the good rational thinking processes of the sensory world, but rather seek to hold onto the thinking processes they brought back from the elementary world. The result is a merry chase which can often turn the heads of those in the physical world and sometimes their stomachs.
[page 38] Thus we see that the habits of our soul life must change when we cross the threshold from the physical into the supersensible world. If we were then to return to the physical world with the activity we have to bring to bear on the living thought entities of the elemental world and failed to develop in ourselves sound thinking with these passive thoughts, wishing rather to hold fast to the conditions of the other world, our thoughts would continually run away from us; then hurrying after them, we would become a slave to our thoughts.
Another difference in the elemental world is something that allows us to make distinctions there as we do when we see colors in the sensory world. Unless we have some neurotic reaction to a given color, we simply note the color of a thing without any strong aversion or attraction. In the elementary world, sympathies and antipathies act as colors do in the sensory world. Only if one greets each form of sympathy or antipathy of other beings with equanimity is one truly able to experience those beings one transforms oneself into.
[page 40] For this we must necessarily change the attitude of soul usual in the physical world, where it is attracted by sympathy and repelled by antipathy; it must become completely changed. There the inner mood or disposition corresponding to the feelings of sympathy and antipathy must be replaced with what we can call soul-quiet, spirit-peacefulness. With an inwardly resolute soul life filled with spirit calm, we must immerse ourselves in the entities and transform ourselves into them; then we will feel the qualities of these beings rising within our soul depths as sympathies and antipathies. Only when we can do this, with such an attitude toward sympathy and antipathy, will the soul, in its experiences, be capable of letting the sympathetic and antipathetic perception appear before it as images that are right and true. That is, only then are we capable not merely of feeling what the perception of sympathies and antipathies is but of really experiencing our own particular self, transformed into another being, suddenly rising up as one or another color-picture or as one or another tone-picture of the elemental world.
In his metaphor of the Cave, Plato sought to express a reality of the spiritual world by asking us to consider people chained to cave wall in such a way that they were only able to see the shadows cast on the rear walls of their cave by beings who passed in front of the mouth of the cave, but they were never able to see the beings directly, only their shadows. Naturally they took these shadows to be the reality which existed in their world. Steiner tells us that it is not until we move into the elementary world do we understand the shadowy nature of what we here call thoughts.
[page 40, 41] As soon as we enter the elemental world and move with our etheric body, thoughts become &mdash: one can say &mdash: denser, more alive, more independent, more true to their own nature. What we experience as thought in the physical body relates to this truer element of thinking as a shadow on the wall relates to the objects casting it. As a matter of fact, it is the shadow of the elemental thought-life thrown into the physical sense world through the instrumentality of the physical body. When we think, our thinking lies more or less in the shadow of thought-beings.
In Figure 1 I have a simple diagram which describes the two aspects one must develop in the elemental world in order to exist there properly. The lotus refers to one of those whirling vortices of energy called chakras which are located by clairvoyant vision on the human being in places along the length of the spinal column. Steiner points out that these may appear in one devoid of moral strength, but that they should not, indicating a serious lack if moral strength does not accompany the opening of the chakras or blossoming of the lotuses. The moral strength Steiner likens to an "elementary" backbone with which develops "one's strengthened ego in the elementary world." (Page 42) We will lack such a necessary backbone if we enter the spiritual world with ambition, vanity, pride, or desire for power, and Lucifer and Ahriman take advantage of us by forming a partnership to overcome us with egoism and deception. We can see in Figure 1 how Lucifer pulls at the lotus petals from above and Ahriman rises from within us in our elementary backbone.
[page 43, 44] At the moment we pass over the threshold into the spiritual world, we approach the luciferic and ahrimanic beings, of whom we have already spoken; here we meet them in quite a different way from any confrontation we might have in the physical world. We will have the remarkable experience that as soon as we cross the threshold, that is, as soon as we have developed the lotus flowers and a backbone, we will see the luciferic powers coming towards us with the intention of seizing the lotus flowers. They stretch their tentacles out towards our lotus flowers; we must have developed in the right way so that we use the lotus flowers to grasp and understand the spiritual events and so that they are not themselves grasped by the luciferic powers. It is possible to prevent their being seized by these powers only by ascending into the spiritual world with firmly established moral forces.
I have already mentioned that in the physical sense world the ahrimanic forces approach us more from outside, the luciferic more from within the soul. In the spiritual world it is just the opposite: the luciferic beings come from outside and try to lay hold of the lotus flowers, whereas the ahrimanic beings come from within and settle themselves tenaciously within the elementary backbone. If we have risen into the spiritual world without the support of morality, the ahrimanic and luciferic powers form an extraordinary alliance with each other. If we have come into the higher worlds filled with ambition, vanity, pride or with the desire for power, Ahriman and Lucifer will succeed in forming a partnership with each other. I will use a picture for what they do, but this picture corresponds to the actual situation and you will understand that what I am indicating really takes place: Ahriman and Lucifer form an alliance; together they bind the petals of the lotus flowers to the elementary backbone. When all the petals are fastened to the backbone, the human being is tied up in himself, fettered within himself through his strongly developed lotus flowers and backbone. The results of this will be the onset of egoism and love of deception to an extent that would be impossible were he to remain normally in the physical world. Thus we see what can happen if clairvoyant consciousness is not developed in the right way: the alliance of Ahriman and Lucifer whereby the petals of the lotus flowers are fastened onto the elementary backbone, fettering a person within himself by means of his own elemental or etheric capacities. These are the things we must know if we wish to penetrate with open eyes and with understanding into the actual spiritual world.
If we are reading and we come across a vertical line with a dot over it followed by another vertical line with a cross bar at the top of the line, we simply read it as the word "it", do we not? We do not give a description of the components of the word as I did above, we interpret its meaning as part of the whole sentence in which it appears. Steiner uses this metaphor to explain the soul's experience in the picture-world region of the spirit. When one grasps this concept, the title of Steiner's book, Reading the Pictures of the Apocalypse, becomes clearer as to the subject covered in the book.
[page 47] It is precisely the same with the relationship of the soul to the whole picture-world of the spirit region. What the soul has to do is not merely to describe what is there, for it is much more like reading. The pictures before one are indeed a cosmic writing, a script, and the soul will gain the right inner mood by recognizing that this whole world of pictures &mdash: woven like a veil before the spiritual world &mdash: is there to mediate, to manifest the true reality of that world. Hence in the real sense of the word we can speak of reading the cosmic script in the spirit region.
Yet the meaning of those strokes which comprise the letters of the words we read are mostly arbitrary, and we must learn what a collection of these strokes mean before reading is possible. Such learning is not required for reading the cosmic writing where the meanings flow out of the pictures.
[page 47] One should not imagine that learning to read this cosmic writing is anything like learning to read in the physical world. Reading today is based more or less on the relation of arbitrary signs to their meaning. Learning to read as we have to do for such arbitrary letters is unnecessary for reading the cosmic script which makes its appearance as a mighty tableau, expressing the spiritual world to the clairvoyant soul. One has only to take in with an open, unbiased inner being what is shown as picture-scenery, because what one is experiencing there is truly reading. The meaning itself can be said to flow out of the pictures. It can therefore happen that any sort of interpreting the images of the spiritual world as abstract ideas is more a hindrance than a help in leading the soul directly to what lies behind the occult writing.
But the very nature of cosmic reading is itself open to the Ahrimanic objections of many materialists who would ridicule such an ability. Steiner epitomizes the objectors in "Ferdinand Fox" and puts these words in his mouth by example, "Oh yes, you Steiner, you describe the clairvoyant consciousness and talk about the spiritual world, but it's merely a collection of bits and pieces of sense images. How can you claim &mdash: in the face of all that scenery raked together from well-known physical pictures &mdash: that we should experience something new from it, something we cannot imagine without approaching the spiritual world?" And yet this collection of bits and pieces could refer to the very letters which comprise the words on this page. You have seem all of the letters before as early as kindergarten. Yet who can deny that this combination of words contains new information for you? This is how Steiner overcomes Fox's objections.
Materialists like Ferdinand Fox require hard evidence of the spiritual world to be presented to them. Maurice Maeterlinck, a writer Steiner admires for his work on bees, demands such proof of the spiritual world that Steiner claims are impossible to provide. The lack of proof for the existence of the spiritual world is not proof of the non-existence of the spiritual world. The lack of proof for the existence of the Purloined Letter in the room was not proof that it was not in the room.
[page 49, 50] [In his book Concerning Death] Maeterlinck asks for proofs of the spiritual world and facts about it. It is of course reasonable to require proofs of the spiritual world and we have every right to do so &mdash: but not as Maeterlinck demands them. He would like to have proofs as palpable as those given by science for the physical plane. And because in the elemental world things are still reminiscent of the physical world, he would even agree to let himself be convinced of the existence of the spiritual world by means of experiments copied from the physical ones. That is what he demands. He shows with this that he has not the most rudimentary understanding of the true spiritual world, for he wants to prove, by methods borrowed from the physical one, things and processes which have nothing to do with the sense world. The real task is to show that such proofs as Maeterlinck demands for the spiritual world are impossible.
Movies that deal with the spiritual world sometimes create portrayals which match the description that Steiner provides us with his supersensible sight. One of those is the 1998 movie, What Dreams May Come, in which Robin Williams dies and enters a brightly colored world which changes as he thinks &mdash: his very thoughts are the agents of change in the world around him. We get to experience with him there in the spiritual world the frightening reality of a world which transforms itself before our eyes.
[page 55] There the thoughts that we have do not put up with everything quite passively; we plunge our consciousness into a world (into a thought-world, one might call it) that creeps and crawls with a life of its own. A person has to hold himself firmly upright in his soul to withstand thoughts that are full of their own motion. Even so, many things in this elemental world of creeping and crawling thoughts remind us of the physical world.
With the advent of Steiner's Spiritual Science in the twentieth century, we have the possibility for "the right preparation by the men of today to guard against the entrance of that materialism which must otherwise dominate and bring the civilization of humanity ever more and more into a state of impoverishment, devastation and decline." (Page 57) This continuing state of the collapse of civilization predicted by Steiner matches the view of Andrew J. Galambos. Galambos sees us falling further into impoverishment (continued periods of recession), devastation (crime, war), and decline (lower and lower productivity due to coercive friction) unless we dismantle the burgeoning coercive bureaucracy of the State and replace it with a true government based on sound spiritual principles of freedom. It should not be surprising that both Steiner and Galambos support principles which will lead to what Steiner calls a three-fold society.
As a physicist I became enamored of the atomic view of the world for many years until I began to notice how desolate the prospects were in a world which consisted of physical objects composed merely of those atoms I had come to know so well. The advent of quantum mechanics did little to allay my despair. I struggled to derive the existence of a spiritual world from concepts based on the physical and gave up only when I found that the principles of the spiritual world underlay the physical world, but we are able only to the see the vestures of the spiritual world in the physical, not the world covered by the vestures. The veil covering the spiritual world from our eyes cannot be penetrated by our physical eyes, but require instead organs of spiritual sight such as Steiner was born with and has taught many to develop for themselves.
The character Professor Capesius in Steiner's mystery plays had become acquainted with the atomistic world of Haeckelism.
[page 59] In other words, Capesius came more and more to recognize what is, in a sense, the one-sided correctness of atomism and a mechanistic view of nature. He was not one to fight fanatically against a new idea, for he had confidence in his own intelligence, which seemed to find these ideas necessary to explain the natural phenomena around him. Yet it troubled him. He said to himself, "How desolate, how unsatisfying for the human soul this conception of nature is. How poorly it supports any ideas one would like to acquire about spirit and spiritual beings or about the human soul!"
The good Professor goes to his friend Felix Balde who talks to him about the theory of atoms in detail until Capesius, in spite of his intense interest in the subject, is nearly asleep. At that point, in comes Felix's wife, Felicia, who tells Capesius a story which brings him awake. Note how dry theory tends to put us to sleep while a good story will bring us sharply awake.
[page 60, 61] Once upon a time there stood in a very lonely region a great castle. Within it lived many people, of all ages; they were more or less related to one another and belonged to the same family. They formed a self-contained community but were shut off from the rest of the world. Round about, far and wide, there were no other people nor human settlements to be found, and in time this state of things made many of the people uneasy. As a result, a few of them became somewhat visionary, and the visions that came to them might well, from the manner in which they appeared, have been founded on reality.
Felicia told how a great number of these people had the same vision. First, they saw a powerful figure of light, which seemed to come down out of the clouds. It was a figure of light bringing warmth with it as it came down and sank into the hearts and souls of the people in the castle. It was really felt &mdash: so ran Felicias' story &mdash: that something of glory had come down from the heights of heaven in this figure of light from above.
But soon, Felicia continued, those who had the vision of light saw something more. They saw how from all sides, from all around the mountain, as though crawling out of the earth, there came all kinds of blackish, brownish, steel-grey figures. Whereas it was a single figure of light coming from above, there were many, many of these other forms around the castle. Whereas the figure of light entered into their hearts and their souls, these other beings &mdash: one could call them elemental beings &mdash: were like besiegers of the castle.
This a powerful story which relates in metaphor the appearance of Lucifer as the Light-Bearer shining from above on the Earth and the simultaneous appearance of Ahrimanic beings from the Earth itself. What happens next is an intensification of the action of these beings so that the humans enter a state of quiescence or sleep like Sleeping Beauty who was enchanted by a witch. When they wake up after hundreds of years, their experiences of life in the old castle lives inside their souls as psychic strength, psychic possessions, and psychic health and they now are divided into many individual castles where they live and prosper. Felix takes over from his wife as she ends the story and leaves. He tells Capesius about the Luciferic and Ahrimanic beings. Previously Benedictus (another character) had told Capesius about this beings, but he couldn't make heads nor tails of them. Now, he was strangely strengthened by the fairy tale of Felicia and went back to see Benedictus.
[page 62] Benedictus noticed that something had taken place in Capesius. Capesius himself was aware that every time he recalled the story of the fortress, his soul was peculiarly stirred within him. It seemed as if the story had worked upon his inner being and strengthened it. Consequently he was continually repeating the tale to himself &mdash: as if in meditation. Now he came to Benedictus, who perceived that the forces of Capesius' soul had been newly strengthened. Benedictus began therefore to speak about these things in a special way. Whereas earlier Capesius &mdash: perhaps because of his great learning &mdash: would have had more trouble grasping it all, he now understood everything extremely well. Something like a seed had fallen into his soul with Felicia's story and this had fructified his soul forces.
Milton Erickson was a world-renown hypnotherapist for over fifty years. People came to him for all sorts of problems and they were greeted by stories. The stories invariably planted seeds in their souls and they went away to heal themselves of their problems. One should never underestimate the power of a story to heal and to ready someone to receive information they had previously been impervious to. Explanations are like theory which can one put to sleep, but a story can wake one up. A good story can plant itself into one’s soul and create a fertile ground in which understanding of theory can grow. A Sufi master was seated at a table and his pupil asked if he might have a peach. The master picked up the last peach in the bowl, ate all the flesh from the peach and handed it to his pupil. After that the pupil no longer asked his master to explain the meaning of any story his master told him.
With Felicia's story of the castle-fortresses in mind, let's eavesdrop on what Benedictus had to tell Capesius:
[page 62, 63] Benedictus said the following, "Let us look at three different things: First, consider human thinking, human concepts, the thoughts that a person carries around within himself and ponders when he is alone to help him understand the world. Everyone is able to think and to try to explain things to himself in complete solitude. For this he doesn't need another person. In fact, he can think best when he shuts himself up in his own room and tries as best he can, in quiet, self-contained pondering, to understand the world and its phenomena."
"Now then," said Benedictus, "it will always happen to a person that a feeling element of soul rises up into his solitary thoughts, and thus there will come to every individual thinker the tempting attraction of the luciferic element. It is impossible for someone to ruminate and cogitate and philosophize and explain everything in the world to himself without having this impulse coming out of soul sensitivity as a luciferic thrust into his thinking. A thought grasped by an individual human being is always permeated to a great extent by the luciferic element."
"Ah," you may be saying along with Capesius, "so, that's how Luciferic beings enter my world, through my solitary thoughts! If so, how do Ahrimanic beings affect my world?" Interestingly, while Ahriman has no access to solitary thoughts, he does have access to writing because "by being put into writing, thought is snatched from destruction &mdash: it is made permanent."
[page 63] A thought can be put into writing and snatched from destruction; it can be made permanent. I have sometimes pointed out that Ahriman's effort is to reclaim what is alive in human thinking as it goes toward destruction and to anchor it in the physical sense world. That is what typically happens when you write something down. The thoughts that otherwise would gradually disperse are fixed and preserved for all time &mdash: and thus Ahriman can invade human culture. Professor Capesius is not the sort of reactionary who wants to forbid the teaching of writing in the early grades, but he understood that with all the books and other reading matter people are piling up around themselves, the ahrimanic impulses have entered the evolution of human culture.
What are the Ahrimanic citadels in our culture today? In the news media, in libraries, and most recently in the Internet. In each of these three endeavors, solitary thoughts are written down and preserved for all to read. As we found earlier, there is little useful in attempting to completely avoid Ahriman or Lucifer &mdash: to do so would require avoiding all writing on the one hand and avoiding all solitary thought on the other. Instead we must find a middle path which requires us to balance the Luciferic and Ahrimanic influences in our solitary thoughts and public writing. When we bring together the two polarities, where they meet in the middle we can find the Divine path of balance. In effect the Word is the intermediate position between thinking and writing.
[page 67] Just as the positive and negative electric charge indicates a polarity in external physical nature, we will also have to agree that the contrasting ahrimanic and luciferic elements have also to exist. They are two polarities, neither of which we can do without, but they must be brought into the right relationship to measure and number. Then the human being can move between them in the middle ground by way of the spoken word &mdash: for indeed the Word was meant to be the vessel for wisdom and insight, the vehicle of thoughts and mental images. A person could say, "I must so train myself in using words that through them I allow everything self-willed and merely personal to be corrected. I must take into my soul the wisdom that past ages have unlocked out of the word. I must pay attention not only to my own opinion, not only to what I myself believe or can recognize correctly through my own ability, but I must respect what has come down through the various cultures, through the efforts and wisdom of the various races in human evolution." This would mean bringing Lucifer into the right relationship to the Word. We would not do away with isolated thinking but, realizing that the spoken word belongs to the community, we would try to trace it back through long periods of time. The more we do this, the more we give Lucifer his rightful influence. Then instead of merely submitting to the authority of the Word, we protect its task of carrying earth wisdom from one epoch of civilization to the next.
On the other hand, if someone fully understands the matter, he must take it on himself not to submit to the rigid authoritarian principle that belongs to writing &mdash: whether it be most holy in content or completely profane &mdash: for otherwise he will fall victim to Ahriman. It is clear that for the external materialistic world we have to have writing, and writing is what Ahriman uses to detach thinking from its course toward destruction; this is his task. He wants to hold thinking back from flowing into the stream of death: writing is the best means of keeping thoughts on the physical plane. In full consciousness, therefore, we must face the fact that writing, which carries the ahrimanic element in itself, must never gain the upper hand over mankind. Through our vigilance we must keep the Word in the middle position, so that on the left and on the right &mdash: both in our thinking and in our writing &mdash: the two polar opposites, Lucifer and Ahriman, are working together at the same time. This is where we should stand and it will be the right place if we are clear in mind and heart that there must always be polarities.
In the early gesture language of the Neanderthals we find a Luciferic element because lacking words and written language they are unable to record their solitary thoughts; they can only share them in the moment with others. With their grunts and noises they were able to communicate their feelings in the moment. With the advent of the human neocortex in the Cro-Magnons, words representing objects became available, and the early beginnings of Ahrimanic influence can be found. In historical times to the present, poetry and music are influenced by Lucifer and architecture and sculpture by Ahriman. Painting lies in the middle ground between the two polarities.
[page 75] In the middle between what is generally ahrimanic in architecture and sculpture and what is luciferic in poetry and music lies painting. In a way it is a neutral region but not such that we can comfortably settle down and say to ourselves, "Now I'll go ahead with painting, for here neither Lucifer nor Ahriman can get at me." Actually it is just here in the middle that we are exposed on both sides most strongly to their attacks; at every moment we must be on our guard. In the realm of painting we are in the highest degree vulnerable to one or the other influence. The middle line is always the place where we have to bring about, in the very strictest sense of the word, the harmonious balance of polarities by means of human will and human action.
These concepts are not necessary ones for us to manage our lives in the sensory-based material world, but are required when we graduate from the physical world. Just as one might aver that algebra is not necessary in the life of an grade school student (outside the classroom). And yet we teach algebra in grade school. Why is that? Because there is a life after grade school and high school in which one needs the concepts of algebra to handle one's business decisions wisely. Is it cheaper to buy a large quantity at a smaller price? These are matters which can sink a business if some basic algebraic manipulations are not performed. The study of algebra in grade school strengthens one's calculation ability for life after graduation from school. Understanding the Ahrimanic and Luciferic influences strengthens one soul for the time when one graduates from life on the physical plane and enters the realm of the spirit.
[page 75] Looking at the sphere of art as we have done &mdash: it could have been any other sphere &mdash: you see that we acquire certain concepts without which, of course, we can manage quite well on the physical plane. For it is obvious that when we are willing to remain shallow and superficial, we can get along easily enough on this plane even if we don't find music luciferic and architecture ahrimanic! But if we want to manage without such concepts, we will not be able to form on the physical plane any ideas, thoughts, or feelings that will strengthen our soul and enable it to cross the threshold successfully and rise into the realm of spirit; we will have to remain here below on the physical plane.
In the sensory world, we plan and then we act. We consider possibilities, talk about them, and then act upon them. Only in the third phase does the world around change to our sensory apparatus. In the spirit world what we speak happens immediately. What is spoken, is done. In the Cosmic World the Cosmic Word is deed.
[page 76] A human being in the physical world carries out his actions through the movement of his hands; we have described how thoughts, living within the cosmic Word, are also direct actions. Whatever is spoken accomplishes a deed. That is what matters in the spiritual world. A being is active towards another being; a being is active in relation to the external spiritual world around it; both of these actions are contained in spirit conversations. The spoken word is action. Therefore we have to bring ourselves upward into spirit regions in order to find ourselves as living thought-beings among other living thought-beings. We must conduct ourselves as do the other thought-beings, that is, allow our own words to be actions, to put it simply.
The concepts of the innocent bystander and accidental happenings are quaint artifacts of our materialistic civilization. Examined in the light of the spiritual world in which we are imbedded, they are exposed as alibis or cover stories for our lack of knowledge of the underlying reality, the mystery of the world we live in as human beings.
A summary of the levels we humans live in simultaneously will be helpful here. The Table at the beginning of my review of The Threshold of the Spiritual World will be helpful for this summary. We humans live in a physical body in the world of the senses, but we also live in or have living in us at all times: an Etheric body which lives in the elementary world, an Astral body which lives in the spiritual world, and an Ego body which lives in the super-spiritual world. During the process of going to sleep or dying we successively experience each of these four bodies: we leave the physical body, we experience the Etheric body in the elementary world, we experience the spiritual world in the Astral body. When we go to sleep we are generally unconscious as soon as we experience the Etheric body in the elementary world. There is some bleed-through between the physical body and Etheric body transition which is called by science a "hypnogogic state" which label disguises more than it reveals, rightly understood. It is this state in which, returning from the elementary world upon awakening that dreams are formed.
When one experiences oneself in the Astral body, there comes to one another self, a second self, the Ego body. The Ego body is the eternal part of us which lives from lifetime to lifetime and acts as the Captain of our Soul, if you will, directing and inspiring it, leading it to experiences which are appropriate for it. What we in the physical body experience as chance, our Ego body experiences as necessity. There are no innocent bystanders or accidents because each of us has a Soul Captain which leads us to the events which are necessary for our lives. It is only with the blinders of materialism that we are unable to discern that the events which happen to us are planned by the wisest part of ourselves, our Ego body.
[page 77] How is this other self active? It has just been said that it belongs to the realm of the spirit as a living thought-being among other living thought-beings, whose words are deeds; they accomplish all they do through what we can call Inspiration. The second self acts inspiringly in man's nature. What does it inspire? Our karma, our destiny. Here we discover a mysterious process: whatever our experience, whether painful or joyous, whatever it is that happens in our life, it is inspired by our other self, working from the spiritual world into this one. If you are walking along the street and something happens to you that seems accidental, it is inspired by your other self from out of the spiritual world. So you see that something like Inspiration in the spiritual world reveals itself on the physical plane and brings about your destiny in large and small happenings. Your destiny is inspired by your other self, out of the realm of the spirit.
One needs to acquire the attitude that "What accidents come to me are as much a part of me as my finger is." Everything allways turns out the way it is supposed to because the Ego body of each of us has a blueprint for us which extends over all of our lifetimes and the implementation of those plans requires events to happen that we cannot understand at the time they happen because we do not have access to that blueprint.
[page 77, 78] Behind the physical events of your destiny stand spiritual beings and spiritual processes. What are they? Inspirations! They are brought about by a conversation in the spiritual world. The cosmic Word is active as the inspirer of human destiny! This is of great significance for your spiritual perception on meeting your other self. You no longer think then of your human personality within its ordinary limits alone, for you extend yourself &mdash: and this must include your other self &mdash: to cover your entire destiny. You are only then a truly whole human being when &mdash: in just the same way that you say, "This finger is part of myself and belongs on the physical plane to my ego" &mdash: you also say, "It is part of myself to bang my thumb or take a painful fall, for all these things are inspired by my other self."
Steiner asks us to perform this thought experiment: Imagine that suddenly you were unable to see, feel, hear, smell, or taste anything but you were still alive. What would you have left? Only your memories. Everything that happened to you in the past would be available to you, but nothing in the present or future. You would be a "has-been" &mdash: someone with a past, but no future. This is the situation that Lucifer finds himself in as a result of his descent from the spiritual world to Earth, and he tempts each of us to become has-beens like he is. Steiner shares with us his own experience of undergoing such an experience and coming to understand the nature of Lucifer as a has-been.
[page 79] When the clairvoyant soul has penetrated so far and endured this experience, then for the first time the human being will begin to have a true understanding for the being whose name has now been mentioned so often, for Lucifer. The human soul, in passing out into the spirit realm, realizes for a moment, "You are only a being of the past." Lucifer is the one who has become in the cosmic order forevermore such a being of the past, a mere has-been, a remnant of earth epochs that have died away, of what cosmic epochs had brought to his soul. And Lucifer's life &mdash: because the other divine-spiritual beings of normal earth evolution have condemned him to the past &mdash: consists in fighting with the aid of his past to gain a present and future.
When Lucifer separated himself from the Godhead, he lost the ability to evolve along with the other spiritual beings and this is what anchors him to the past. Lucifer has only the light he stole when he came to Earth and remains a has-been in that sense. It is the same destiny on Earth of anyone who steals ideas or other property from another person. They flash up and fade away, unable to sustain their brilliance. Rudyard Kipling understood this process and embodied it in his famous quatrain, “They copied all they could copy / But they couldn’t copy my mind. / So I left them copying merrily / A year and a half behind.”
In this next passage Steiner conjures up for us a powerful image of lightning flashes across the skies of the Cosmic Midnight to reveal a glimpse of Lucifer in-the-large bearing a resemblance to us humans in-the-small.
[page 79] Thus Lucifer stands before the clairvoyant vision, preserving in his life and soul the divine spiritual glories of world creation, yet condemned to realize, "They were once yours." And now his never-ceasing struggle begins: to obtain for this past and present the future also in the cosmic order. To perceive the macrocosmic resemblance of Lucifer to the microcosmic nature of the human soul as it crosses the threshold between the elemental and the spiritual worlds is to perceive the profound tragedy of this being, Lucifer. One then begins to have a glimmering of the great cosmic mysteries which rest deep in the womb of existence, where not only one being struggles with another, but where ages struggle with other ages which evolve into beings, and confront one another in battle. Truly it may be said that here begins an outlook on the world wherein deep earnestness and dignity begin to pervade the soul. Here one senses something that can be called the breath of eternal Necessities, which are experienced in the Cosmic Midnight when lightnings flash across existence, and in their flashing light up something like the form of Lucifer, but which die in the act of cognition and, dying, form into tokens of destiny so that they work on in the soul of man, in the form of an inner tragical karma.
In my Soul Captain Chronicles, a work in progress, I am escorted to times in my past by my Soul Captain and allowed to watch scenes from my life. He points, in effect, to my life, and says, "This is what you have been." Each of us becomes such a spectator in our time between death and a new birth when we live into the spiritual worlds.
[page 79, 80] The human soul itself, as it grows into life in the spiritual worlds, has a moment where it is a mere "has-been" and confronts nothingness; it is a single point in the universe, experiencing itself only as a point. But then this point becomes a spectator and begins to observe something else. Our human soul, become microscopic, has at first no content &mdash: just as a single dot has none, but now it finds itself belonging as a third entity to two others. The first to make its appearance is what lives in our memory. This is like an external world which we look back on, saying, "This is what thou hast been." At first, without really knowing it, we ourselves stand there next to this past existence that we have brought across the threshold into the spiritual world, providing it with a life as thought-being. If then we have a feeling of utter calmness in our soul, whatever we have brought there as our past begins a spirit conversation with the living thought-beings around it. We can observe &mdash: like an objective spectator, standing nearby, though at the same time a mere dot &mdash: the other two beginning their conversation. Whatever we have brought with us in the way of thought content unfolds a spirit conversation in cosmic language with a spiritual, living thought-being of that realm; there we listen to what our own past discusses with the living spiritual being. At first we are like nothing at all, but then, even as a nothing, we are born through listening to our own past converse with the spiritual beings of the spirit realm. Listening begins to fill us with new inward contents. We learn now to recognize ourselves when we are like a single point and feel ourselves as such, listening to the conversation of our own past with a living spiritual being. And the more we take in of this spirit conversation between our own past and the future, the more we actually become we ourselves become a spirit being.
Thus Steiner leads us to a possibility for understanding the true nature of our being, as a human being composed of physical, etheric, astral, and Ego bodies in which we constantly live in various states of awareness during our existence. Considering the tools which Steiner has for communicating with us, namely, words, these lectures comprise a masterwork of insight and exposition.
[page 80] This is what I wanted to describe to you in words &mdash: words, which seeing that they are necessarily borrowed from a language that belongs to the physical plane, must ever remain one-sided. But I have endeavored as far as I can, to describe in the words of a language belonging to the physical plane, these sublime and deep relationships. For these relationships alone are capable of making us aware of our true being, when we, as has been said, learn from the two others, by listening in the spiritual world. By means of these lectures may we be led into the true being of man.
Our conversations in the spiritual world are with various beings who are really parts of us generated during our past. Three prominent parts of us are beings which represent our thinking, feeling, and willing in the physical world. Steiner gives these beings the names, Philia (thinking), Astrid (feeling), and Luna (willing) in his Mystery Plays. This triad consists of independent living thought-beings, and we do best to have a strong consciousness that we are each a unity of these three beings when we meet them.
In addition there is a meeting with our "double" which occurs when we enter the elementary world and are able to do something we cannot do in the physical world, we can see ourselves as a separate being apart from us. While this happens in the elementary world, in certain special circumstances, it may happen to someone in the physical world as it does to Steiner's "intriguer" in the next passage.
[page 84] This encounter with the double is in the nature of an elemental phenomenon. It can happen as a result of subconscious soul impressions and impulses even to a person who is not clairvoyant. The following can occur: Somebody or other may be an intriguer and thereby have done harm to other people. He may have gone out and set another intrigue in motion. On returning home, he may enter his study, where papers are lying on his desk, papers that may contain things he made use of in his intrigues. Now what may happen, despite the cynical cast of his ordinary consciousness, is that his subconscious may be seized by these impulses to make intrigues. He comes in, looks at his desk &mdash: and what does he see? He sees himself sitting there! It's an uncomfortable encounter, to enter one's own room and see oneself sitting at the desk. But such things belong to the realm of the possible; they happen often and most easily to those given to intrigue. What one encounters is indeed the double.
From whence does our double arise? From our unredeemed karma. What is unredeemed karma? Consider it like the liability side of a balance sheet for a business. At some point these liabilities must be paid off, resolved, or redeemed. Once paid off, the debt is considered resolved or dissolved. All these adjectives are ways of talking about the debts we owe to others, many of which were incurred in previous lifetimes. These unpaid debts form into beings outside of us and confront us as they do Johannes Thomasius in the Mystery Plays.
[page 86] If we consider human karma, the lawful order of human destiny, we must say that there is a great deal of fulfilled karma in the human soul but also much that is unredeemed. We have gone through a great deal in a former earth life that requires harmonizing; for the moment it may be lying unredeemed in the depths of the soul. Every soul has unredeemed karma of this kind. Johannes Thomasius has to become conscious of an especially large amount of unpaid karma, when his inner being separates into his ordinary and his other self.
In my review of Running from Safety, I write:
In this adventure of his spirit, Richard Bach proves himself to be an umbrologist &mdash: which, as he defines it on page ninety-five, is "A physician who treats disorders of the shadow." He then goes on to wrestle with his shadow, Dickie, who appears to him as a nine-year old boy &mdash: not just any nine-year old boy, but his own self at nine years old &mdash: come into the present to allow Richard to keep a promise he made to Dickie in 1944.
His book details how Bach's unpaid karmic debt returns as an actual person to confront him some fifty years later in the form of Dickie. Thomasius in Steiner's Mystery Plays undergoes a similar confrontation with his unpaid karma.
[page 87] Unresolved karma of this kind and the looking back at one's younger self as though at someone else are both inwardly experienced. Lucifer finds entry here; he can take away a substantial part of the etheric body and, as it were, ensoul it with the unresolved karma. It becomes a shadow-being under Lucifer's influence, a being like that portrayed in the Spirit of Johannes's Youth. A shadow-being of this kind is an actual being. It is there, separate from Johannes Thomasius, but involved in gruesome concerns, running as it does counter to the world order. This shadow-being outside Johannes Thomasius ought really to be within him; the fact that it is not has caused what we feel to be the tragic fate of this being, which lives outside as a part of his etheric body in the elemental and spiritual worlds.
Further from my review of Bach's book:
When Richard calls for Dickie to come he is greeted by a vituperative fury of words fueled by fifty years of isolation in a small cell. Dickie makes it clear he would like to torch Richard with a flame thrower, not talk to him. But talk he does, and an adventure and dialogue of a fifty-nine year old and his nine-year old self begins.
Compare that to what Steiner calls "agitating experiences" in the next passage. I offer these comparisons to bring a strong dose of reality to what might otherwise seem to be airy, fairy nonsense to some. No doubt, these are real experiences to real people like Richard Bach.
[page 89] It is one of the most agitating experiences the clairvoyant can have to find that parts of one's karma which have not yet been balanced, have, through Lucifer, been made independent as phantoms in the spiritual world. We can find many such shadow-beings, which we ourselves, prompted by Lucifer, have placed in the spiritual world through our unresolved karma. These experiences with shadow-beings correspond to the point our soul development has reached.
In the spiritual world we will each come someday to the abyss of existence where we are called to extinguish all memories of ourselves. This happens every night after we fall asleep, but we are unconscious of it, so we have no experience to prepare for what in the spiritual world must be a conscious decision.
[page 91] A person only stands really before the abyss of existence when he makes the decision in true free inner willing, through an energetic act of will, to extinguish, to forget himself.
As Sir Walter Scott famously said, "Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practice to deceive!" Lucifer and Ahrimanic are weaving a tangled web in our time, with Lucifer taking the warp and Ahriman the woof, but instead of a civilized cloth, we find knotted tatters with which to dress and address our human needs. No wonder our many messes are so difficult to unravel &mdash: they have been knotted outside of our consciousness and will continue to be so because of our lack of awareness of the Luciferic and Ahrimanic sources of the problem, up until now.
[page 96] Lucifer and Ahriman now are in league together in a kind of partnership in the outer world. Before these forces reach the human soul, they are knotted together externally. In ancient times the skeins of influence from Ahriman and Lucifer were quite separate, but nowadays we have them tangled and knotted together within the development of our civilization. It is extremely difficult for a human being to unravel the entanglement and find a way out of it. Everywhere in our cultural happenings we find luciferic and ahrimanic threads interwoven in a higgledy-piggledy mixture, stirring up a great deal of violent political agitation and even playing into many of the abstract ideas and superficial proceedings in full swing now and in times to come; until we are clear about this, we will not be able to form a sound judgment of the conditions around us. We need to be watchful of the chaotic entanglement of luciferic and ahrimanic threads.
If we are not watchful, then our soul will literally faint when we encounter our weaknesses and when we encounter the Guardian of the Threshold to the spiritual world. Those moments of unconsciousness will provide a point of attack or entry for the Ahrimanic beings. If we have fortified our soul with the wisdom of spiritual science, we will simply find Lucifer and Ahriman balancing each other when we step across the Threshold. If not, we will being attempting something for which we are unprepared, and, like a thief in the night robbing the goodies of sweet shop, we will be thrown out. And what we have stolen will be densified by Ahriman into the phantoms mentioned earlier.
[page 99] In short, he will be the victim of hallucinations and illusions; he will believe he has approached a spiritual world, because he has come as far as the Guardian of the Threshold. However, he has not passed the Guardian but has been thrown back because of his nibbling at the spiritual world. Everything he took in has condensed to what could contain genuine pictures of that world but does not contain the most important element, the one that will guarantee the soul a clear perception of the truth and the value of what he sees.
There is much, much more in these lectures than my short study of them can reveal. I mentioned a movie, "What Dreams May Come," and a book, "Running for Safety," which each, in their own way, reveals that the insights Steiner shares with us in these lectures are known by many because they surface in such works written and performed some ninety years after Steiner gave these lectures in German. There are many such spiritual fonts of inspiration about us in the world, which you, dear Reader, if you were to read these lectures, will find connections with in your own soul. How much is it worth to you to build up and fortify your soul for that time when you will face the edge of the abyss in which you will have to make a conscious decision to obliterate your entire past, the has-been of your self, and take a leap into nothingness? Will you be able to do that in full confidence, or will you be forced to steal away with some pilfered goods from the spiritual world and be thrown out into the night where there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth as your stolen goods are formed by Ahriman into plump phantoms who will then tear at you? The decision is yours. Make it like the wise virgins did, who filled their lamps with oil and were prepared.
We are separated from Rudolf Steiner’s physical presence by ninety years in time &mdash: he resides now in another space, in the spiritual world, as I type these words, but his message and prayer for us transcends those reaches of time and space to fill our hearts and I would like to share them with you in closing:
[page 109] And now as my farewell greeting to your souls, for the period in which we again separate after having been together for a time in space, may I give you this time the following parting wish: May the Truth of the spiritual life be strengthened ever more and more in our own souls and reveal itself, in that when we are not together in space we are still together, together through the fact that in us there lives the genuine enthusiasm which can light up our souls from an open-hearted and loving experience of our truth, together with a genuine, honest feeling of responsibility for what is to us so sacred and so necessary for the world. If we feel thus we shall be always together in the Spirit. Whether guided by our karma we be together in space, or whether our karma scatters us spatially for a while to our various occupations in life, we are still certainly together if we are joined by our enthusiasm and our feeling of responsibility. If we are, then we may have all hope, trust and confidence in the future of our movement; for it will then enter into our civilization, into the spiritual development of humanity, even as it ought to do; it will so find a home in that we may perceive our Anthroposophy as a whisper out of the spiritual world, bringing warmth into our hearts. What ought to happen will happen; and it must happen. Let us endeavor through this spiritual community of our to become so capable ourselves that, so far as in us lies, what ought to happen, what must happen, shall happen through us.
---------------------------- Footnote -----------------------------------------
In the Synopsis of Contents we are told that Lecture 1, in Munich, 24 August, 1913, contains the first reference in print to Eurythmy, the voice, gestures, and movement art form innovated by Rudolf Steiner.Return to text directly before Footnote 1.
[page 6] . . . already a great number of our friends have shown an interest in what we might call a new branch of our endeavors: expressive gestures, expressive movements carried out in the loftiest spirit, and which has always been called the art of dancing. A number of our friends have had opportunity, and will have still more, of making themselves acquainted with that which here appears as Eurythmy. At one of our social gatherings we shall have the opportunity of bringing before our friends something of this branch of our activity.
Footnote 2. From page 28: "There is no essential evil. Everything evil arises from this, something that is good in one direction is put to use in the world in another direction and thereby turned into evil." NOTE: Another way Steiner had of saying this idea is: "Evil is a good out of its time." Lucifer's premature gift of freedom to humankind is one example of a good delivered too soon.Return to text directly before Footnote 2.
Footnote 3. This poem from "Flowers of Shanidar", written by Bobby Matherne on July 10, 1990. Inspired by the thought that written words on a page are like footprints of ideas left on the sands of time and are therefore immortal tracks.Immortal TractsReturn to text directly before Footnote 3.
Tracks on the beach
are temporary tracks
Washed away by
the evening tide.
Tracks on bathroom tile
are ephemeral tracks
when they are dried.
Tracts on a paper pad
are immortal tracks
2.) ARJ2: The Boundaries of Natural Science, GA# 322 by Rudolf Steiner
To the pertinent question, "How does consciousness arise out of material processes?" Du Bois Reymond at the end of the 19th Century gave this answer, Ignorabimus — we shall never know. Bellow reminds us of this in his Foreword and explains that, in spite of all the wonders of modern science, when it tries to come up with an answer to this question, science still doesn't know. One hundred years after Reymond made his statement of ignorance, modern science thinks it is poised on the verge of discovering how consciousness arises out of material processes. Gerald Edelman provides us with a grand masterpiece of how the matter of the brain is organized and assembles itself into recursive, intertwining loops of systems of neuronal groups as it bootstraps itself into perception, primary consciousness, and higher consciousness. Edelman considers that the wetware of the human body, nervous system, and brain is enough to explain how consciousness arises. Other intrepid prognosticators predict that consciousness will arise from cybernetic roots in thinking machines, what's called AI, or Artificial Intelligence.
Bellow notes on page x that the poet Paul Valéry, in his Address in Honor of Goethe, says that Goethe brought to life "the rather seductive if extremely imprecise idea of Orphism, the magical idea of assuming existence of some unknown principle of life, some tendency towards a higher form of life in every animate and inanimate thing; the idea that a spirit was fermenting in every particle of reality." It is not surprising that modern science, with its myopic view that harvests the surface of reality, is moving in the other direction, away from higher forms of life to lower and lower forms of life, to explain the arising of consciousness from such things as neuronal groups and cybernetic software systems. Scientists who claim such things are abstracting from the whole human, identifying building blocks, and claiming that their building blocks can generate the whole human given enough time, neurons, computing capacity, etc.
Saul Bellow closes out his Foreword to this book by summing it up:
[page xiii] What is reality in the civilized West? "A world of outsides without insides," says Owen Barfield, one of the best interpreters of Steiner. A world of quantities without qualities, of souls devoid of mobility and of communities which are more dead than alive.
In the next quote, Steiner points to the constancy of modern science, its claim to capture the essence of things in its web of abstract thought, a web that it knits by day, but at night, like Penelope's never finished shroud for Laertes(1), a web that is taken apart by the reality that informs the essence of things.
[page 9] We want . . . to consider the question: is there not perhaps something more intelligent that we as human beings could do than what we have done for the last fifty years, namely tried to explain nature after the fashion of ancient Penelope, by weaving theories with one hand and unraveling them with the other? Ah yes, if only we could, if only we could stand before nature entirely without thoughts! But we cannot: to the extent that we are human beings and wish to remain human beings we cannot. If we wish to comprehend nature, we must permeate it with concept and ideas. Why must we do that? We must do that, ladies and gentlemen, because only thereby does consciousness awake, because only thereby do we become conscious human beings. Just as each morning upon opening our eyes we achieve consciousness in our interaction with the external world, so essentially did consciousness awake within the evolution of humanity.
Here Steiner introduces us to what may be called the parallel arc of the microcosmic and the macrocosmic time scales of humanity. Our gentle awakening to clear consciousness each morning parallels the gradual awakening (evolution) over aeons of human beings into clear consciousness. And it is that gradual macrocosmic emergence of clear consciousness that comprises the essence of what it is to be human: it is not in the realm of something that we will ever outgrow. We are like Penelope weaving Laertes's shroud: we weave with one hand and unravel with the other when we form our concepts of nature.
[page 11] In coming to such concepts as we achieve in contemplating nature, we at the same time impoverish our inner conceptual life. Our concepts become clear, but their compass (capacity) becomes diminished, and if we consider exactly what it is we have achieved by means of these concepts, we see that it is an external, mathematical-mechanical lucidity. Within that lucidity, however, we find nothing that allows us to comprehend life. We have, as it were, stepped out into the light but lost the very ground beneath our feet.
Like in the story of Nasruddin and the lost key, we lost the key inside, but we are searching for it outside where there is more light. We have achieved clarity and lost our essence of humanity in the process, up until now. The question, "How does consciousness arise out of material processes?" must be answered, not to fulfill some abstract "need to know," but to "meet man's need to become fully human." (page 14) Steiner's theme for these lectures is how we may strive to answer this question in our present stage of human evolution.
The next concept of Steiner's takes a little explaining and getting used to, so contrary is it to what one might expect from a spiritual scientist. This paradoxical situation helps explain why Steiner is so little read and even less understood by modern materialistic scientists. Steiner accuses them of going beyond their senses, that is, of creating a conceptual world of the sensory data they receive, but going beyond the realm of the senses, breaking through the boundary of the senses to construct concepts that lie beyond the senses. The concept of atoms were such a construct in Steiner's day, and the concept of quarks is such a construct today, one that lies clearly beyond our senses.
[page 23] One wants to think ever farther and farther beyond and construct atoms and molecules - under certain circumstances other things as well that philosophers have assembled there. No wonder, then, that this web one has woven in a world created by the inertia of thinking must eventually unravel itself again.
Was there a scientist who refused to move with the inertia of thinking, who stopped before moving past the barrier of the senses? Yes, Goethe, the famous German poet, scientist, and phenomenalist. Simply put, Goethe knew when to stop: at the brink of the observable world. Steiner says that "it is the tragedy of the materialistic world view that, while on the one hand it presses for sensory experience, on the other hand it is driven unawares into an abstract intellectualism, into a realm of abstraction where one is isolated from any true comprehension of the phenomena of the material world." (page 32)
In the next quotation Steiner outlines my life's study, beginning with my period as a physicist from 1958 through 1975, and then my foray into acquiring knowledge of the spirit thereafter.
[page 32] We must begin by acquiring the discipline that modern science can teach us. We must school ourselves in this way and then, taking the strict methodology, the scientific discipline we have learned from modern natural science, transcend it, so that we use the same exacting approach to rise into higher regions, thereby extending this methodology to the investigation of entirely different realms as well.
Rather than downplaying the importance of materialistic science at the expense of his spiritual science, Steiner exhorts us to become scientists first, so as to better understand the spiritual world. He quotes Novalis, a poet who studied mathematics, as calling mathematices the "grand poem." And where does this poem begin, he asks, it begins in what weaves in our bodies during our first seven years on Earth. No wonder, mathematics with its number systems, addition, subtraction, algebra and geometry are universally taught in grade schools to our youngsters soon after they reach the age of seven. In learning mathematics, they begin to learn about the patterns that had infused their bodies for all of their life, had engaged their entire bodies.
[page 38] There enters into mathematics, which otherwise remains purely intellectual and, metaphorically speaking, interests only the head, something that engages the entire man. This something manifests itself in such youthful spirits as Novalis in the feeling: that which you behold as mathematical harmony, that which you weave through the phenomena of the universe, is actually the same loom that wove you during the first years of growth as a child on earth.
Now let's tie this back to Goethe. He was not a great mathematician by his own admission, but in his vision of archetypal phenomena there was a natural mathematical mode of thought that any mathematician will readily recognize.
[page 41] He (Goethe) demands that we trace external phenomena back to the archtypal phenomenon, in just the same way that the mathematician traces the outward apprehension [äusseres Anschauen] of complex structures back to the axiom. Goethe's archetypal phenomena [Urphänomen] are empirical axioms, axioms that can be experienced. . . . what Goethe seeks is a modified, transformed mathematics, one that suffuses phenomena. He demands this as a scientific activity.
There are two poles to be approached by humanity in our age: one is the concept of matter and the other is the concept of consciousness. Goethe pointed the way to shed light into the dark emptiness of matter with his Ur-phenomena, and Steiner shed light into the concept of consciousness in his Philosophy of Freedom.
A friend of mine recently called me a polymath, which is a wonderful word, meaning a person of great and varied learning. I explained to him that if I were such a person, I'd have already known the definition without having to look it up. This wonderful word is an apt description of anyone who dares to "delve into the depths of consciousness in order to come to grips with its true nature."
[page 46] One must delve into the depths of consciousness itself, yet at the same time one must not remain a dilettante. One must acquire a professional competence in everything that psychopathology, psychology, and physiology have determined in order to be able to differentiate between that which makes an unjustifiable claim to spiritual scientific recognition and that which has been gained through the same kind of discipline, as, for example, mathematics or analytical mechanics.
These words should disabuse anyone of the notion that spiritual scientists are airy-fairy mystics who build imaginary castles in the air. They must be scientists first, steeped in the experimental method, able to allow the phenomena themselves to confirm the ideas contained in some formulated natural law or mathematical formula. And yet, that same process will not suffice for social judgments, because we cannot apply principles to society without causing thousands to suffer before we can confirm the errors of our ways. The entire 20th Century has proven that to be the case many times. There are two poles to investigate: matter and consciousness. If we stop at the doorway of the senses in investigating the pole of matter, we develop what Steiner calls the process of Inspiration. If we are to come to understand the other pole, that of consciousness, we need employ the process of Imagination or Imaginative cognition. Both of these processes are described in detail in Steiner's book, Knowledge of Higher Worlds and its Attainment.
There should be no doubt in anyone's mind that we live in a skeptical age. There are magazines and organizations devoted to promoting skepticism about everything from religion, extra-terrestrial life, scientific claims, UFO's, the Moon landing in 1969, and even one group that questions whether the Earth is round. This "pathological skepticism" as Steiner calls it creates people who, while remaining fully rational, are overcome with questions about everything.
[page 63] Where does the human heart come from? Why does it beat? Did I not forget two or three sins at confession? What happened when I took Communion? Did a few crumbs of the Host perhaps fall to the ground? Did I not try to mail a letter somewhere and miss the slot? I could produce a whole litany of such examples for you, and you would see that all this is eminently suited to keeping one uneasy.
An historical exemplar of pathological skepticism is Nietzsche, who ended his life in a condition that was labeled by his doctor as an "atypical case of paralysis." Steiner had occasion to visit him a few years after the onset of his illness and here's what he saw.
[page 68] He lay upon the sofa after dinner, staring into space. He recognized nobody around him and stared at one like a complete idiot, but the light of his former genius still gleamed within his eyes.
Everyone has had the experience of returning home from a movie with all kinds of questions spinning through one's mind, and only sleep seems to bring relief from the onslaught of the questions, because when morning comes the press of questions has abated. But what if one attempts to enter this region consciously and without proper preparation? One risks the fate of Nietzsche in whom the process of Inspiration arose pathologically.
[page 65] In order to perform valid spiritual research, one must bear into this region unimpaired judgment, complete discretion, and the full force of the human ego. Then we do not live in this reion in a kind of super-skepticism but rather with just as much self-possession and confidence as in the physical world. And actually all the meditative exercises that I have given in my book, Knowledge of Higher Worlds and its Attainment, are intended in large part to result in a greater ability to enter this region preserving one's ego in full consciousness and in strict inner discipline.
The pathological skepticism syndrome exists at the pole of matter; at the other pole, the boundary of consciousness, we encounter the various syndromes of claustrophobia, astraphobia, and agoraphobia. The cure for the skepticism syndrome is the cultivation of Inspiration, and the cure for the consciousness syndromes is the cultivation of Imagination or Imaginative cognition. (page 70) Claustrophobia is the well-known syndrome in which one is afraid in enclosed spaces. Agoraphobia is the opposite: a fear of open spaces. Astraphobia is a less known but extant syndrome in our time: a fear of storms, whether thunderstorms, tornados, blizzards, or hurricanes. Steiner describes the process through which these phobias infiltrate human beings in our time. The process has two divergent tendencies, one healthy and the one un-healthy.
[page 81] Again we have divergent tendencies: the healthy tendency to extend the power of love into Imagination or the pathological tendency to expose ourselves to fear of what is outside. We experience what lies outside with our ego and then, without restraining our ego, bear it down into the body, giving rise to agoraphobia, claustrophobia, and astraphobia. Yet we enjoy the prospect of an extremely high mode of cognition if we can develop in a healthy way what threatens humanity in its pathological form and would lead it into barbarism.
If we are able to develop in ourselves the healthy processes of Inspiration and Imagination, then we are in a position to join the two and develop a healthy Intuition. And once we have completed that trio, we are in a position to effect social judgments, not before. Considering that we live in a world in which those people implementing social judgments have hardly conquered any one of the three processes, it is not surprising that their judgments, while well-intentioned, have proven to be disastrous in the long run. One can think immediately of the 1960's War on Poverty undertaken in the United States of America as one prominent example: it created more of the very conditions of poverty and dependency that it hoped to eliminate.
[page 83] Only what is gained by attaining Imagination on the one hand and Inspiration on the other, and then uniting Imagination and Inspiration to Intuition, gives man the inner freedom and strength enabling him to conceive ideas that can be effected in social life.
One of Steiner's important themes and insights into our modern world has to do with the influence of the East, its spiritual heritage and religions. The 1960s brought a renewal of interest in the cultures of the East to the West and saw many young adults leaving their homes to move to India to study under gurus and masters of various Eastern religions and cults. Here is the clearest statement of Steiner's opposition to such a movement to the East that I have found.
[page 88] I want to make it clear from the start, however, that this path can no longer be that of our Western civilization, for humanity is in a process of constant evolution, ever moving forward. And whoever desires - as many have - to return to the instructions given in the ancient Eastern wisdom-literature in order to enter upon the paths of higher development actually desires to turn back the tide of human evolution or shows that he has no real understanding of human progress.
Rightly understood, the wisdom of the East has progressed to the West and has become incorporated in the content of our religious creeds already, in a form that is appropriate for our culture in our time. Curiously this progression culminates in skepticism in the West.
[page 98, 99] And in the final analysis it is nothing other than the reaction of the Western temperament [Gemüt] to the now decadent Eastern wisdom that gradually produces atheistic skepticism in the West. . . . Skepticism is merely the march of the spiritual life from East to West, and it must be countered with a different spiritual stream blowing henceforth from West to East.
That different spiritual stream is at the core of Steiner's teachings: how one can attain spiritual cognition in the processes of Inspiration, Imagination, and Intuition. This is "the knowledge of higher worlds and its attainment" described in his book with that title. As Steiner tells us on page 113, "We in the West have as our task more to contemplate man himself in following the path into supersensible worlds." We must work in conjunction with what has already infused us from the East to form a new and living science of the spirit.
[page 123] We in the West can allow perception and thinking to resound through one another in the soul-spirit, through which we can rise to something more than a merely abstract science. It opens the way to a living science, which is the only kind of science that enables us to dwell within the element of truth. After all the failures of the Kantian, Schellingian, and Hegelian philosophies, we need a philosophy that, by revealing the way of the spirit, can show the real relationship between truth and science, a spiritualized science, in which truth can really live to the great benefit of future human evolution.
____________________________ footnote _________________1. Penelope was the wife of Odysseus, and her husband was thought to be dead. For twenty years Penelope waited for her beloved husband and had to fend off suitors. She said that she was working on a shroud for Laertes, Odysseus's father, and would not marry again until she was finished weaving the shroud. She wove the shroud by day and unraveled it by night as she waited for her husband's eventual return. Return to text directly before Footnote 1.
3.) ARJ2: The Best of Peter Finney, Legendary New Orleans Sports Writer by Peter Finney
Peter Finney began writing for the New Orleans States afternoon newspaper the same time I began reading, c1945. It was probably a couple of years after that I began reading the newspaper, but whenever I did there was Pete's smiling face looking back at me beside his column in the sports pages. I began delivering the States every afternoon about 1951 and about that time I learned about the rival afternoon newspaper, the Item. On its front page as I recall was a photo their sport commentator, Hap Glaudi. I watched other sports writers come and go to the States, Bob Roesler and Buddy Diliberto, but always there was Pete Finney, his smiling face looking up at me atop his good read.
My son would never have said, "My dad can beat up your dad" but perhaps like Peter Finney, Jr. my son could have said "my dad could out-metaphor your dad." (Page 3) My dad, Buster, rarely wrote anything; he was always playing sports, hunting, fishing, fixing or building something, playing cards, having a good time, or working. The one time I saw him pick up a pen and start writing was when I was taking an oral history of my mom. She spent a lot time talking about growing up in the now defunct sawmill town of Donner between Houma and Morgan City. Buster didn't want to be video-taped, but he didn't want to be left out. So he began scribbling in longhand his own account growing up. My webpage Annette & Buster Remember Their Life grew out of my transcribing her memories and typing up his memories.
Other than writing down his memories, I don't recall Dad writing anything. He also never mentioned anything about my being a writer, until one day in his early 90s he asked me, "Is writing hard?" "Wow!" I thought, what a great question." I paused for a few seconds and answered him this way, "No, Dad, writing is not hard; it's having something worth writing about that is hard." Thinking back about my doing the video oral history, I suspect Dad thought that writing about his life at that time was worthwhile.
The Saints were born on All Saints Day and is the only NFL team with a Super Fan dressed like and called the Pope! And yes, we fans have knelt praying for our Saints many times over the years, for many decades just to have a winning season. But there was one day when all the Saints special team players went down on their knees at practice. From Peter Finney, Jr.'s Introduction:
[page 17 ] The time Coach Tom Fears, upset by his team's repeated special-teams mistakes, decided to take charge in practice. Injuries had created confusion on special teams, so, Fears was explaining, special team-ers should be ready to fill in. "Dodd down," he offered as an example, "means A1 Dodd's replacement should run onto the field and take Dodd's place." In practice, the kickoff team, one that included defensive lineman Richard Neal, went onto the field. Standing in his coaching tower, Fears shouted, "Neal down," hoping Neal's replacement on the kickoff team would take Neal's spot. Nothing happened. "Neal down!" Fears screamed again. Again, no movement. "Dammit, I said, 'Neal down!'" By this time, Doug Atkins got into the act. Having no idea what was going on, he yelled, "You heard Coach. Everybody kneel down." Whereupon forty players did exactly that. They knelt down. In the tower, Fears was purple. "Everybody get up," he screamed. "I said, 'Neal down.'" Guys were kneeling, standing up, and then kneeling down again. It was like being in church.
Peter Finney predicted that LSU would meet Syracuse in the 1965 Sugar Bowl in his 1964 predictions of winners and losers in all the major sporting contests that year. When he made that prediction, he had no idea Louisiana had a law on the books which prohibited a game with whites and blacks playing against each other, but during that year the law was overturned, making Pete's amazing prediction doubly unbelievable! I heard from a member of the LSU team that year about an interaction in the locker room when Coach MacClendon announced that LSU was to play Syracuse, a team with a black running back. A player in the back of the room piped up, "But Coach are we going to have to tackle that guy?" Charlie Mac answered, "If you don't, son, that guy's going to run over your butt!"
Peter Finney was awarded the Dick McCann Memorial Award at the Annual Pro Football Hall of Fame Dinner in Canton, Ohio in the year after the Saints won their first Super Bowl. In his short three minutes speech, he said two things about our Saints that are topical as I write these words during the Saints runup to another Super Bowl.
[page 23] "You've got this coach [Sean Payton] who won the Super Bowl — he's the first coach to win the Super Bowl and go to sleep with the Lombardi Trophy. . . .
"I still can't believe the Saints won the Super Bowl," he added, drawing more laughter. "But if No. 9 [Drew Brees] stays healthy, they've got a chance to win it again."
And Drew Brees is still healthy nine years later and they've got a chance to win it again.
Yogi Berra was not a writer, but he said many things that others have written down, including Peter Finney. People laugh at Yogi's words, but he never said anything funny on purpose, he was just talking the way he talked. If you read Peter Finney every day, you may have caught this one.
[page 47] "The Phillies and Yankees were playing exhibition games and, the day before, Yogi had gone 3-for-4," said Caballero. "Yogi reads the box and it says he went 2-for-4. He's mad as hell. He goes up to a New York writer and asks him for an explanation. The writer tells him it was a typographical error. Berra screams: "That was no error. It was a clean hit."
Press Maravich is known around Louisiana as pushing his son to become the great Pistol Pete Maravich, but read this story in which Peter Finney sheds light on the motivational skills of the Pistol's dad.
[page 50] While attending high school, Press worked in the steel mills from midnight until eight in the morning, not unusual in the 1930s. Because of his ability, he had his pick of several colleges but chose Davis-Elkins because a friend was going to the West Virginia school.
After scoring more than 1,600 points in four seasons, he returned as head coach in 1950. "When I got there," he says, "they had no gym. So I went to the president, and he told me they had only $35 in the athletic kitty. So I got some of the boys together and we went out and got a tractor and sawed down some trees. We got the local paper to take a picture — 'Ground Cleared For Gymnasium,' the headline said. The publicity was a start.
"I went out and hustled retired carpenters. I promised one I'd build him a monument if he'd get volunteer help. With the students pitching in and some more scrounging, we had a gym with a tin roof within a year. It's still standing today — with 5,000 seats."
When I worked in software in the 1970s my supervisor was Dick Weinberger and he had come up the ranks as a software programmer and knew what a quirky lot we were. His favorite saying was, "You don't have to be crazy to be a programmer and it doesn't help." If you have trouble figuring out what that means, you got the gist of what my boss was saying. The New Orleans Jazz hired quirky Bill Van Breda Koff to coach the team and here's how the Dutchman described being a coach.
[page 55] "You know you have to be crazy to be a coach," he says. "If you weren't a little crazy, you'd be doing something else. It's like hearing someone say, 'You have to have good judgment to be an official.' Hell, if a guy had good judgment, he wouldn't be an official."
Peter had a sense of the funny line and this next interaction between basketball announcers Al McGuire and Billy Pacer is a great example.
[page 63] McGuire once famously remarked to Billy Packer, his TV sidekick during March Madness, that he had just seen the first sign of spring in Milwaukee.
"Oh yeah, what was that?" Packer asked.
Everyone's heard about Dale Brown meeting Shaquille O'Neal standing 6'8" tall at an army base and asking him if he were in the Army. "No, I am only 13 years old." In that case, Dale said, "I need to meet yourfather." Shaq went on to become an NBA great, but never forgot his promise to his mother to finish his college. He now has a Ph.D from LSU, and this next response he gave to Peter Finney about Dale Brown indicates that Shaq is also a master of metaphor.
[page 70] I remember asking Shaq how it was playing for Dale during those three seasons in Tigertown. The memory was pure Shaq.
"I loved being around the preacher," he said. "It was like being in church. You could hear the choir singing and see the stained-glass windows. It was so much more than basketball. It was about life."
In the latter years of the 1950s, LSU and Ole Miss perennially sat atop the AP poll, ranked as No 1 and No 2. I was in the stadium that Halloween night and vividly recall Billy Cannon's touchdown run after receiving a punt. My girl friend and I were seated in the Northwest Section of the Stadium where students with guest tickets sat. The punt sailed towards the South end of the stadium and I had an unobstructed view of the entire run. In my enthusiasm I pushed my girl friend down back into her seat as Billy cleared mid-field. Thanks to Pete, I can share a couple of things which led to the punt and its aftermath. Billy had fumbled earlier in the game to give Ole Miss a 3-0 lead, and, late in the third quarter, it was looking as if neither team would score again. Coach Johnny Vaught had Ole Miss punt on third down to minimize the chances of his team fumbling. With thirty-three seconds left in the game, Billy was called on for one more major play to save the game. Billy Cannon set NCAA record in the 100-yard dash, competed equally in the shot put, and in football he played both defense and offense. One could argue that he was the fastest man and strongest on the field that night. And he and his quarterback Warren Rabb played both offense and defense together.
[page 85] After Cannon's touchdown and Wendell Harris' extra point, Johnny Vaught called sophomore quarterback Doug Elmore from the bullpen, and starting on the Reb 32, he began making like an accomplished field general.
When Ole Miss pushed to the 23, Dietzel removed the Bandits and sent in the White team, which had a five-minute rest.
But the Rebs made them retreat to the 7, where they played a first-and-goal— a carbon copy of last year's situation in the second quarter.
Three plays carried Vaught's red-shirted marauders to the 2, but on fourth down, Elmore tried left end, where he was greeted first by Warren Rabb and then by Cannon.
The run died a yard short of immortality.
All of the great sports figures that visited New Orleans during his 60-year career, Peter Finney covered. But he reserved for the end of his book a story about a journalist, Jim Murray of the Los Angeles Times. I remember Dizzy Dean when I was 12-years-old. We didn't have TV at that time, but I rode a bus to pay my newspaper route bill each Saturday and next door was a bar where I could watch some of the baseball game of the week starring Peewee Reese and Dizzy Dean. They bounced off each other like Ed McMahon and Johnny Carson and were a delight to watch and listen. I know what Murray was talking about when he wrote this piece on the death of Dizzy Dean, "Dizzy Dean died the other day at the age of 11 or 12. The little boy in all of us died with him."
4.) ART: The Evolution of Cooperation by Robert Axelrod
This is a ground-breaking book that begins with a simple premise, "When should a person cooperate?" In his Preface he not only asks when should a person cooperate, but when should a person not cooperate in an ongoing interaction with another. Axelrod takes off from these pointed questions, but not as Emerson or Aristotle might have, expostulating basic reasons why cooperation is morally better than not cooperating. Instead Axelrod asks for people to come up with simple algorithms or software programs that specify when cooperation is to occur in an interaction and when not. Not only that but he specifies the exact rules of the interaction, something he calls the Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma. And if that is not mind-boggling enough, he constructs a computer platform which allows the various submissions he receives from experts all over the world to play against each other to determine a winner!
Axelrod sent out invitations to 63 experts around the world and when their responses came in, he input them into his computer and allowed them to play against each other. Using the numerical grading system of the Prisoner's Dilemma from Game Theory, he was able to create an objective score which reflected the success of this otherwise abstract strategies when they worked against each other.
"And the Winner is . . ." Well, the winner was a five-line FORTRAN program submitted by Anatol Rapaport of the University of Toronto. By far the shortest program, it won hands down against all the other 62 submissions. Axelrod published the results to all participants so they could see the code of all the submitters and how each performed. He then invited them, plus about 200 other folks, to submit to a second round.
"And the Winner of the Second Round is . . ." Anatol Rapaport, who simply re-submitted the same five lines of code and won against all the other 255 or so participants. What was Rapaport's strategy that was so robust as to win against all comers? Simply this:
1. Cooperate on the first move.
2. Do whatever the other does on succeeding moves. [if on move N, the other cooperates, on move N+1, cooperate; if on move N, the other defects, defect on move N+1]
You can read the rules for scoring the Prisoner's Dilemma in the book so I won't include them here. The key to determining a strategy is to decide when does one cooperate and when does one defect. The strategy submitted by Rapaport worked best of all the other strategies submitted. It's a simple strategy, one that small businessmen have used successfully over millennia: cooperate first, then defect if the other defects, but cooperate when the other cooperates again. It even has a common name, one that does not do the service it should to the strategy because the very name sounds vindictive, "Tit-for-Tat." Rather than being vindictive, which can describe the attitude of a person who once wronged never forgets, Tit-for-Tat forgets immediately upon one instance of cooperation. That kind of strategy might be derided as "short-sighted" by the sophisticated business leader of this new century. And that adjective could well be applied to the derision itself from now on. Given that this strategy survived all comers in the iterated Prisoner's Dilemma in two passes, it can hardly be short-sighted to follow the strategy in one's own life from now on.
But Axelrod wasn't over with his analysis. He wanted to know what would happen if you created an environment of defectors and seeded a cooperator such as the Tit-for-Tat strategy. And conversely what would happen if you seeded a defector in an environment of cooperators? The answers may surprise you. He found time and time again that if he seeded defectors into an environment of cooperators, the defectors' numbers decreased until they disappeared; if he seeded cooperators into an environment of defectors, the number of cooperators began slowly to increase until finally the cooperators took over the environment.
When I first read the results of this seeding, I was astonished! Here in purely cybernetic fashion, Axelrod had proven a tenet of Dr. Andrew J. Galambos. Galambos claimed that "freedom, once built, could never be destroyed." He showed how this tenet grew out of his definitions of property, freedom and morality. Axelrod, without ever talking about property, freedom, or morality, showed that the tenet of Galambos was not only true, but demonstrably provable.
Let me stop to explain how freedom and cooperation are two words for the same thing, rightly understood, or the above paragraph will not make any sense at all. I write enough paragraphs that don't make sense by accident that I refuse to do so on purpose. In short, Galambos teaches that freedom is not something that can be fought for. When you rebel, you get more of what you resist. Looking back to the War for American freedom in 1776, we see with the hindsight of 225 years that we have re-created an on-shore tyranny and taxation that far exceeds the off-shore tyranny we fought against.
How does one build freedom? By understanding that freedom involves volition without outside constraints. That sounds foolhardy, I admit, but hang with me. Property must be understood as "one's life and all non-procreative derivatives of one's life." If you accept that definition of Galambos, then consider his definition of freedom as, "the societal condition in which every one has complete control over one's property." One more short step, so stay with me: equate "freedom" with "cooperation".
What does that mean, to "equate freedom with cooperation"? It means that one is considered to be using a "cooperator" strategy if one uses only one's own property or others' property only with permission. A "defector" is someone who is not a "cooperator" or someone who uses others' property without their permission.
I can hear some of you saying, "We have laws that require people don't use others' property without permission." Yes, we do, but for the most part those laws only apply to things, or what Galambos calls "secondary property." Primordial property is one's life, everything within one's skin. Do we not have laws (e. g., capital punishment) that take people's primordial property without permission? Primary property is one's thoughts and ideas. Does not copyright law protect one's ideas? Nope, only a particular incarnation of an idea, not the idea itself. Does not patent law protect original ideas? Well, to file a patent requires lascivious disclosure of the idea, and if you're as fortunate as the two guys who invented the airplane or the man who invented FM radio, you'll die before you find effective enforcement of an idea via the Patent Office and the USA court system. Yes, the patent system provides partial protection for ideas, but it does so in a way that encourages "defectors" to use others' ideas without permission.
A simple way to describe all this is to say that in the USA we have a system that provides partial protection for secondary property and some small areas of protection for primary and primordial property. In exchange for this protection, we must endure "defectors" at every turn that live off of takings of other people's property, and do so legally. We have a huge bureaucracy in the IRS that devotes itself to taking others' property without their permission. Sure, you say you volunteer to support your services with your tax money, but don't kid yourself, if you were to decide the opposite, some armed SWAT team would show up at your door and they won't knock before they enter. Imminent Domain is another name for taking property without permission. More insidious and more devastating in its impact is the taking of property by preventing a person from using the property by a federal edict, which happens every day. We outlawed quartering of soldiers without permission, but now we have quartering of federal agents without permission. If you don't believe it, try to build on a piece of property you own that has been declared to be a "wetland." They'll show up soon enough to show you "who's boss." When you cooperate, individuals are their own boss, when you defect, you use someone else's property without their permission and you become their boss.
How do you build freedom? One person at a time.
One person at a time decides not to defect. They make a decision to use only their own property [primordial, primary, and secondary] and ask permission before attempting to use someone else's. If they do so unwittingly, they make restitution.
By now you may be able to see how building freedom is similar to Axelrod's seeding of cooperators into an environment of defectors. Cooperators operate with each other in freedom and when they encounter a defector, they defect on the next move. Ayn Rand came close to suggesting this process in Atlas Shrugged. John Galt had invented an engine that would revolutionize the world, but rather than have the defectors take it from him, he removed himself to an environment of all cooperators. Given the cybernetic proof provided by Axelrod, we can now safely claim that it is not necessary for one to run off to some secluded area in Colorado with a gang of cooperators to build freedom. It can be done right where you are, with the people you interact with on a daily basis.
This is an amazing book, full of amazing insights. A small review cannot do it justice. Read it for yourself and see if you cannot find freedom within.
Read/Print the Review at:
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I hear often from my Good Readers that they have bought books after reading my book reviews. Remember: A book is like a 3-D kindle. Keep reading, folks! As I like to remind you, to obtain more information on what's in these books, buy and read the books — for less information, read the reviews.
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= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =In this section I like to comment on events in the world, in my life, and in my readings which have come up during the month. These are things I might have shared with you in person, if we had had the opportunity to converse during the month. If we did, then you may recognize my words. If I say some things here which upset you, rest assured that you may skip over these for the very reason that I would likely have not brought up the subject to spoil our time together in person.1. Padre Filius Walks Inside Rug Store this Month:
Padre Filius, the cartoon character created by your intrepid editor and would-be cartoonist, will appear from time to time in this Section of DIGESTWORLD to share with us some amusing or enlightening aspect of the world he observes during his peregrinations.
This month the good Padre Chuckles over Motto:
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.
I want to thank all of you Good Readers and Friends who have sent your prayers and wishes for my recovery.
3. Poem from Freedom on the Half Shell:"Poortry for the Millions"
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 our oyster — 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:
Poortry for the Millions
Under the poor tree of poly ticks
The I-am-bigs do congregate —
Legacy late and agri-vate our culture:
Build battle axes with hidden taxes
Welfare stoats with mini-mom wages.
'Tis puer trey in motion
The ex-sect you thieve, Ju-Ju dish shall,
Ledge is late while the state's a drift.
The ship is foundering
and the captain and the crew
Have better things to do
Than bail the water from the bilge —
They're much too busy barking on the bridge
About how fine their stewardship has been
And how nice it will be when . . .
(They're voted in again).
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9. CLOSING NOTES:
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