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~~~~~~~~ In Memoriam: Philip Roth (1933 - 2010) ~~~~
~~~~~~~~ [ Writer, Portnoy's Complaint ] ~~~~~
~~~ GOOD MOUNTAIN PRESS DIGEST #10c Published December 1, 2010 ~~~== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==Quote for the Christmas Month of December:
Immediately after you stand on the peak of a mountain you step forward and begin to climb a higher mountain which is down below.
— Kobun Chino Roshi, Zen Master
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THE GOOD MOUNTAIN PRESS DIGEST #10c, December 2010Archived Digests
Table of Contents
1. December's Violet-n-Joey Cartoon
2. Honored Readers for December
3. On a Personal Note
4. Cajun Story
5. Recipe of the Month from Bobby Jeaux’s Kitchen: Broccoli Soup
6. "Poet Might" Poem from Letters to a Young Novelist:
7. Reviews and Articles Added for December:
8. Commentary on the World
- ARJ2: Approaches to Anthroposophy, GA#35 by Rudolf Steiner
- ARJ2: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson
- ARJ2: Mystery of the Universe, GA#201 by Rudolf Steiner
9. Closing Notes — our mailing list, locating books, unsubscribing to Digest
- Winterizing Your Lawn
- Response WIRED.com Magazine Article on Coin Tossing
- New Research in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- 2005 Federal Flood, BP Catastrophe, Property Deeds, and Waterworks
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1. December Violet-n-Joey CARTOON:
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For newcomers to the Digest, we have created a webpage of all the Violet-n-Joey cartoons! Check it out at: http://www.doyletics.com/vjtoons.htm Also note the rotating calendar and clock that follows just to the right of your mouse pointer as you scroll down the page. You'll also see the clock on the 404 Error page if you make a mistake typing a URL while on the doyletics.com website.
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This month Violet and Joey learn about Acaustic Record.
#1 "Acaustic Record" at http://www.doyletics.com/images/112710jv.gif
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2. HONORED READERS FOR December:
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Each month we take time to thank two of our good readers of Good Mountain Press Digest, books and reviews. Here's our two worthy Honored Readers for this month. One of their names will be in the TO: address line of your email Digest notification. Our Honored Readers for December are:
Vicky Romaguero in Metairie
Stephen Mattox in Philadelphia
Congratulations, Vicky and Stephen!
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3. ON A PERSONAL NOTE:
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Out Our Way:
SNAPPY SNAPPER AND FRAZZLED FINGERS
Usually I have my monthly photos all ready by the last week of the month, ready for selecting, sizing, and placing into my new Digest, but we were out of town on a cruise for most of the month of October. This left me with 837 to identify, crop, lighten, photoshop, and dozens of other activities which some photos require, all in a short 6 days, and to get it done so that I had a couple of days left to write up our activities for the month which were considerable as we spent time in New York City/NY, Newport/RI, Boston/MA, Bar Harbor/Maine, Halifax/NS, Québec City/Québec, and Montréal. One day I was at my PC at 4 AM and didn't stop except short breaks until 8 PM at night. Took me three days to process my photos. Some might ask why I spend that much time on photos? I learned the lesson after my trip to Rome in 2000. I came home with over 300 photos and didn't take the time to identify them by date taken and who/what was in the photos and where I was at the time. The result was the photos were marginally useful to me later. Now I ensure that all my photos are properly labeled and compressed before I do any work on my Digest.
After finishing the 837 photos, I felt glad but my hands hurt, especially my right hand from all the mouse clicks and movements. Luckily my Snapper Lawnmower was repaired while I was gone, and I couldn't wait to try out the new motor. The other 6 HP Tecumseh engine was replaced by an 11.5 HP Briggs& Stratton motor, brand new, and it ran like a champ. My forward top speed remained the same as the smaller engine, but the increased power was obvious and very welcome when I began cutting grass. I sped through high grass at top speed without ever slowing down as before. With the larger motor, the motor handled the heavy grass by delivering more power, keeping the forward speed the same. Had a funny moment when I tried to find the gas cap to remove to add some gasoline. I found on the top of the motor a nice design of the oil gauge and oil adding hole, but no gas cap or hole. Suddenly I recalled, of course, the Snapper's gasoline tank is not on the motor at all, but behind the riding seat!
My hands welcomed the vibrations from the handle grips while mowing for about 90 minutes which acted as a much needed vibratory hand massage. The grass-cutting together with my returning to my daily Nei-Kung exercises (some 24*49 hand movements per day) relieved my hands and within a day away from the major typing and photos, my hands were feeling back to normal. I learned the Nei-Kung exercises in conjunction with Tai-Chi about 35 years ago, and though I have since dropped the Tai-Chi, the longevity exercises of Nei-Kung have remained with me. The multiple motions create an internal massage of the lymph glands which are essential to maintaining health.
That night we skipped supper for popcorn during the movie. People ask me why we have five TV's in our Screening Room. The simple answer is that there are often five different things going on at the same time which we'd like to watch. That night it was NFL football and what was to be the last game of the World's Series. This is the first Series I've watched all the games of, maybe ever, all thanks to an extra TV on which to put it while we watched a movie on the middle TV, a Saints NFL Football game on another TV, and perhaps a Hornets NBA Basketball game on another. Don't try this at home.
FOOTBALL AND REAL LIFE
In the middle of football season, both LSU and Saints making a run for a championship, it's been tough to schedule some LIFE with all the football games on TV and at the Superdome. Here was one typical Saturday for us:
Football game day. Worked all day on finishing a review and then printed it out for Del to edit. Her two comments on it are incorporated into comments in the review. Wanted to pull for Georgia to beat Auburn, but when Tiffany called to say "everybody's coming" I turned off the five TVs and left Georgia to its own resources. They lost to Auburn with its highly-paid Quarterback, blowing a first quarter 21-0 lead.
Grand-daughter Tiffany with her husband, and her three sons, Ben, Aven, and Preston were all here at Timberlane for a visit. Tiffany brought the ARC Kinetic artwork she donated to the Silent Auction at her architecture firm. The boys loved the kiddie cars, but we couldn't get Preston to ride the pink tricycle that we bought when his mother was our first grandchild. I did finally get his footprint on my Grandpa Apron, the last of the great-grandkids who was missing. Tried to apply the special fabric paint to the bottom of his foot, but he kept wriggling away. Then I remembered that we filled a saucer with the red paint, stuck his foot in the paint, and then quickly pressed his foot to the apron. We have now run out of space for any more great-grandkids. Luckily we're not expecting any more grandkids, and no great-grandkids in sight, up until now.
After they left I finished listening to the LSU-ULM game which we won 51-0 and would have been much worse except for a totally dysfunctional offense. Then we watched this movie:
"Marie Antoinette" (2006) gives us a look at her life, from her castle in Vienna to Versailles and her virginal life with a young Louis for so long. Just as her life gets interesting, they chop off her head.[If you like this movie blurb, read the rest of them in this Digest below.]
The following weekend brought Carla, Patrick, Molly, and Garret along with Dan and Karen. Usually we wouldn't be able to hold that many people, but the new house has plenty of room. Molly got sick the day after they arrived and she remained in bed that day, probably something she ate before coming over here after we'd had supper. Carla postponed the continuation of their trip to her brother Rob's in Bloomington, Indiana, but after a day's delay they left about mid-day on Sunday. When we heard they were coming on Friday, we went over right at 10 AM to Home Depot to buy our Frazer Fir Christmas Tree. Last year we bought an 8 foot high one, and this year I wanted a 10 foot, but Del wanted a 9. I brought the poinsettias to Babe, our pickup truck, while Del checked out. When she arrived with tree, she brought news that the one she had selected was, unbeknownst to her, a 10 foot tree, but she had already checked out when the gal from outside came in and said that even though we picked it from the 8-9 foot bin, it was really 10 feet high. Since we were the first ones to buy a Christmas tree, she didn't charge us the extra $20 and we went home to put up the tree in its tree stand.
After I cut off the bottom of the trunk square, Del's brother, Dan, and his wife Karen arrived from Charlotte, North Carolina. Del had gone already, so Dan and Karen helped me by holding the tree erect in its stand on our cart as I rolled it to french entrance on the West Portico. We slid it through the door, stood it erect, and I carefully tightened the screws to hold it erect. We had the tree ready, so we quickly placed the strings of colored lights on the tree, descending down from the White Angel which traditionally tops our Christmas trees. The Angel was crocheted by Annette Matherne, my mother, back in the 1980s. By the time Carla and Pat arrived with our Beaumont grandkids, Molly and Garret, the tree was ready for ornament hanging.
I cooked a large veggie jambalaya (Del's new name for my Cajun Stir Fry), and we heated up Del's great minestrone soup for Garret who preferred it to jambalaya and for Pat who preferred it in addition to the jambalaya. We began putting ornaments on the tree. Daughter Maureen arrived later with Gabe and Molly in tow. Found out that Gabe is signed up to go to ULL in Lafayette come Fall. ULL has the graphic design program that Gabe is interested in. Del and I have three grandsons entering college next Fall, and it looks like this so far as plans go: Weslee and Sam will enroll at LSU in Baton Rouge, and Gabe in ULL in Lafayette, barring any last minute scholarships elsewhere.
Saturday was to be the day Carla and Patrick left for Indiana, but Molly's condition scuttled those plans, placing them in a wait-and-see mode till Sunday. With Ohio State and LSU playing important football games, Pat and I filled the Screening Room with football games. I was amazed to see that Pat's usually placid "whatever" demeanor fly out the window as soon as the Buckeyes began goofing up on plays and suffering penalties. The LSU Tigers had better control over their game, eventually winning over Ole Miss, as did Ohio State win theirs, both in the last minutes of the game.
After the football games we came into the kitchen where Del was grilling Portobello mushrooms (patty-sized) and placing them on grilled buns — they were delicious!About 7 PM Del and I drove downtown, parked at our favorite restaurant, then headed over to greet Hi Baba for his Hero's Welcome. He grew a long white beard while there, and all the kids would come running towards him, calling, "Baba! Baba!" He was like a rock star outside a concert to them. Every Afghan boy longs to grow up, have a large white beard, and be respected. Hy was their instant hero. The Bayou Bar on St. Charles Avenue was the site of the catered affair and its two large rooms were jam-packed with people enjoying the food and the company. Later everyone filled the piano room to hear Hy McEnery (whose initials are HAM) talk for about 25 minutes about his experience helping to understand and shape the "Human Terrain" of Afghanistan. Something the Russians understood about, but didn't know how to take advantage of. If you kill an Afghan, ten Afghanis' show up to avenge his murder. The Russians found this out and were forced eventually to withdraw their forces. The Americans are, with the help of the Corps that hired Hy away from the Louisiana National Guard, making friends with the Afghans, the Pashtuns or Pashtoons, whose code supercedes the Muslim and Taliban codes.The simple Pashtoon Code is symbolized by having three cups of tea: Cup 1 you're a guest; Cup 2 you're a friend; Cup 3 you're family for whom they would die.
The next morning, Molly was up and feeling fine and the trek to Indiana was to resume, but first we all went outside on a gorgeous day to play some touch football. Before the end of the games, Carla, Pat, Del, Garret, Ben, and Molly had all taken their turn in a 2 on 2 touch football game. We laughed and cheered ourselves silly as players fell to the ground or ran for a touchdown. Our daughter Maureen had brought her grandson Ben over when she came on Sunday morning because Ben was coming with me to the Saints game in the Superdome at 3 PM. It was to be Ben's first Saints game in the Superdome and he was excited. No doubt Ben will remember forever the day he went to first Saints game with his Great-grandfather. Plus, the Saints won the game handily over the Seattle Seahawks (newly under Pete Carroll as coach).
TRASHY ELECTRICAL CONNECTORS AND CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTS
Within minutes after turning on the Christmas Tree lights, all of the lights went out intermittently. If you moved the plug the lights came back on. Finally I cut the male plug off and replaced it with a new plug, one that has two screws to hold the wires tight, secure, and making excellent electrical connection. The one I cut off was an ill-designed kludge and the engineer, obviously right out of college, who designed it should be sent out to fix every defective connector on every string using his design!
A few nights later I turned on the tree lights and all but the bottom two strings were out. I suspected it might be another bad plastic male connector, so I traced down from the last "on" light to the first "off" light to find that, yes, it was the same kind of connector that had broken previously. Please send out the engineer to fix this one again. My ohmmeter shows that there was definitely an open connection, so I left the bad plug sticking out till the next morning. I cut the bad switch off with my diagonal cutters, stripped the leads, and connected the new male plug. Next time this happens I need to buy some more male connectors, if I can only find the simple types that I used for these two repairs. The bad connector was a kludge with fuse stuck in the inside of a plug looking more like a miniature ramshackled building about to fall over than a power plug. Over a few years the fuse in the inside the plastic "building" stopped making continuous contact with the base, and now no electricity would flow.
Since I ensure that our tree lights go into a fused power strip, none of the light strings need a separate fuse, but, because of bureaucratic stupidity at a federal level, all of the new strings have fuses, most of them built into the plugs, which leads to kludged-up designs which break within a year or so as the cheap plastic begins to disintegrate.So it was easy and safe for me to throw away the problematic plugs for a non-fused male electrical plug design, one made of sturdy materials in a century-old design, a design as simple as possible, one easy to install and remove, and one that will last for decades instead of years.
Is it my imagination or has America begun making electrical plugs as shoddy as their domestic automobiles, or vice versa? Either way, we get products made as cheaply as possible which must be thrown away or hauled away and replaced with a new version every few years.
LONG WEEKEND: TURKEY IN THE OVEN AND ON TIGER FOOTBALL TEAM
On Wednesday we drove to Alexandria in central Louisiana to have Thanksgiving meal with our daughter Kim and her family. On the way we stopped at Dad's to visit and we played cards with him as we usually do, a game of Pay Me! I noticed that he is getting very slow and completely unable to complete the Q and K rounds with 12 and 13 cards in his hand. His day sitter had helped him for the lower rounds, but, around the 10 cards in each hand round, she had to leave for the end of her shift. Buster's looking thinner and not as healthy as previously. I was sad to see my father, so robust since birth, unable to lift himself out of his chair to go the living room without help.
Del and I were the only two people present from Kim's side of the family, and there were about a dozen adults and children from her husband Wes' side of the family. A 24 lb turkey awaited its oyster dressing and I had been invited to help make it. I brought along bunches of green onions freshly picked from my vegetable garden and a couple loaves of stale french bread I had saved for the dressing. Wes had provided as many oysters as he could find, and the amount of ingredients worked out just fine. Used a little over a half gallon of oysters, about 76 oz, but they cost more than double what the same amount would have cost BP, Before Petroleum, before BP Catastrophic Oil Spill in the Gulf. It will take a year or so for our oyster supply to return to its previous level. I for one refuse to buy oysters from Washington state as some of the groceries have resorted to doing temporarily.
We arrived at Kim's house about 7 PM and I read until it was time to cook oyster dressing. Our grand-daughter Katie helped out with the dressing, watching how I did it. She chopped up the french bread and helped with the stirring. There wasn't quite enough oyster juice, so I added water to the oysters. Made a great oyster dressing, which I enjoyed eating. Got to bed finally about 1 AM. But the oyster dressing was ready to set over night in the fridge to congeal so that it would be easy to stuff the turkey in the morning.
We ate about 1 PM which is late for me, and I was very hungry by then. As soon as we finished eating the dessert sprouted on the counter tops and the Saints game on the TV. It was exciting to watch the Saints taking a 21-0 lead, but like other 21-0 leads in this topsy-turvy season, they let the Cowboys come back and squeeze out a 3 point lead in the final two minutes. Just as a wide receiver was running for a TD to ice the game for Dallas, our safety Jenkins ran up behind him, grabbed the ball, took out of the runner's arms into his arms and suddenly the Saints had the ball at the 11-yard line, only 89 yards from a winning TD. Just where we want them, I could hear Drew Brees, our QB thinking, at which time he and his gang of catch-happy receivers went to work to finish the job, scoring the winning TD with almost no time remaining on the clock. A great Saintsgiving treat: a first ever game on Thanksgiving Day with a big WIN!
Back home we drove on Friday morning, early enough to be able to visit our son, John, along the way. His two boys were in Florida with their mom over the holidays. John had just planted some new camellias and the rain which followed all the way home abated enough for us to get a close look at them.Arriving home we unpacked and in the afternoon, I settled in to watch LSU whip Arkansas, but QB chosen by the LSU coach showed his true colors as a high school QB who never got better and the Tigers went down in flames. Bad luck and bad calls crippled the Tigers, but not as much as the QB's inability to find an open receiver. If the first guy ain't open, he does what he did at Destrehan High School, he starts running. Worst case was the near safety which gave Ark the game at Tigers' one yard line with 20 seconds left in game. With three more downs, he could have passed the Tigers to a victory, but instead of throwing the ball long and out of bounds, he fumbled the ball near the goal when he was hit. The entire game was painful to watch. I saw freshmen on defense make mistakes which they will never make again as sophomores next year. Lots of great freshmen to carry the Tigers next season if only we can find a great QB to lead the Tigers as they deserved to be led this year, but weren't. Can you hear the refrain wafting in the air? "Wait till next year."IMPORTANT MESSAGE:
EVERY GOOD THING COMES TO A NEW BEGINNING
So, until we meet again in January for the NEW YEAR of 2011, God Willing and the River Don't Freeze, whatever you do, wherever in the world you reside, be it hot or cold, make it a great Christmas Season for you and yours and Enjoy bringing in the New Year ! ! !
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Paradox is always at the level of metaphor, never reality. Bobby Matherne, 1983
I had scribbled the above statement in the margins of the Preface page back in 1983 when I read this book. I had been studying metaphor intensively and this book represented a chance for me to combine two fields of expertise, namely, Physics and Metaphor. It's been over twenty years since I first read this book, but it is amply annotated with my comments which will provide the nuclei for this review. As I read this passage in the Preface by the author, I knew I had found someone whose ideas would resonate with me, both the me of 1983 and the me of today.
[page x] Within physical and mathematical ideas, it is always the philosophical, the aesthetics, the psychological that I savor and which excite me the most. I believe that many scientists share and relish these tastes with me, but when they exclude all subjective, metaphysical, and ethical matters from their work and communications, I part company with them. I am no longer convinced that this exclusion makes one's work more objective.
There is so much that I agree with in Jones' book that if I include a passage, you may assume that I wholeheartedly agree with his words unless I say otherwise. Here's an example. Jones says that we are not the cool observers of the world, but its "passionate creators" — that we are all poets and the world is our metaphor. He goes on to suggest that:
[page 5] . . . scientists (and indeed all who possess creative consciousness) conjure like the poet and the shaman, that their theories are metaphors which ultimately are inseparable from physical reality, and that consciousness is so integral to the cosmos that the creative idea and the thing are one and the same.
To which I appended a large BINGO! in the margins. With the advent of quantum mechanics, the physical theory that only dealt with "an observed world" no longer exists as a useful metaphor because the "observer has an uncontrollable and nonremovable effect on what is observed." Reality is what we see reflected in the pond water when we place our finger into the water — we cannot observe what is reflected without changing what is reflected.
In a brilliant metaphor, Jones says, "The child, science, has outgrown and rejected its parent, natural philosophy, which languishes in a slow death." Undoubtedly this is because the warm and juicy Nature portions of natural philosophy have been discarded as juvenile illusions and we are left with the cold, dry, cardboard philosophy of abstract thoughts in its place, up until now.
Jones gives us an excellent description of what an operational definition is, actually a prescription. An operational definition can only be defined operationally — that is, by describing how one goes about giving an operational definition. One explains what operations one must perform to decide whether some unknown fits the operational definition. While this may seem to be a bit abstract, it is the opposite of abstract, because the prescription of a good operational definition can replace totally abstract definitions. Abstract definition have the wonderful quality, praised by statesmen and divines, that one can choose to interpret them any way one wishes. One does not have that luxury with an operational definition because anyone can perform the prescribed operations and decide for themselves whether such-and-such fits the definition. Take freedom, for example. Have you ever heard a good operational definition for the word "freedom"? Likely you haven't because it is the statesmen and divines who usually claim the high ground in proffering a definition of freedom, isn't it? And they posit only an abstract definition which fits their purposes. The advent of an operational definition for freedom, rightly understood, would undermine all political and religious organizations by revealing under all their golden tresses the deep, dark roots of coercion. More on that later. Back to the book's prescription of operational definition, in other words, an operation definition of operational definition.
[page 16] It is an amazing fact about physics that none of its concepts are ever really defined. What we are given instead of a definition is a prescription for measurement. To build a rocket and send it to the moon, you need only measure space, not define it. The measurement of space is the only specification of it needed for scientific purposes, and this is called an operational definition.
Those of you who have followed me so far may be wondering how could one offer an operational definition of freedom. It would take someone who thought like a physicist, who had encountered time and time what he thought was freedom only to find in its place a squishy abstract definition used to conceal more than it revealed. I say "he" because it was one man who performed this amazing feat, one that will change the world, even for those who never encounter his definition. Before I reveal this man's name to you, consider for a moment all the definitions you have heard for freedom.
Listen for a day or so to people talk and whenever they speak of freedom, consider what their definition might be for the concept for freedom. A teenager might say, "I want to be free to drive the family car." A union worker might say, "I want to be free to work for higher wages." A minority might say, "I want the freedom that the majority has." And each year a new minority forms which claims its right to a new freedom. And another minority rises which opposes that new freedom. But what is freedom? There's freedom to do things we want to do, and there's freedom from things we don't want to do. We are free to pay taxes, but not free from paying taxes. We are free to vote, and also free to not vote. There are all levels and kinds of freedom: people are given freedom, people fight for freedom, people flee to freedom, people take freedom for granted, people die for freedom. All this and few of those doing all those things in the name of a word they lack an operational definition for.
Thank you for waiting. Here's the operation definition of freedom. I wanted this definition so much that I paid a month's rent back in 1981 for it, and I spent 19 Monday nights in a small room listening to a man's voice on tape tell me about freedom and explain his operational definition of the word. The man was Dr. Andrew Joseph Galambos and the course was called Volitional Science 50T, the T stood for Tape. The lectures were given by a local contractor on audio tape and slides. At the end of the course, the course of my life had changed. I was now able to discern what was freedom and what was not in the milieu of what people claimed was freedom, especially the statesmen and divines. I was ready to begin building freedom for myself instead of fighting for freedom, claiming freedom, and all the other things that people did who did not have this operational definition. I had a measuring tool for freedom!
That's what an operational definition provides us, a measuring tool, for the thing described. I could now lay anyone's concept of freedom (as betrayed by their own words) alongside my freedom gauge and measure it. Let's see, does it measure up? If not, it's not freedom. You might wonder why someone who was born and raised in the so-called "freest country in the world" would be so concerned with freedom. Well, I am now able to measure this country against my freedom gauge and see exactly those areas in which it doesn't measure up. And you would be able to do the same thing if you had a "freedom gauge".One way to get a freedom gauge for yourself is to find a contractor in your area who gives V50T, though I doubt there are a lot of them around. It's hard to sell something that everyone thinks they already know all there is know. Another way would be to read Dr. Galambos's book, "Sic Itur Ad Astra" which is available from large on-line book sellers. Another was would be to read my review of the book which is a verbatim translation of the same V50T course I took over 23 years ago. It is your choice which you can take in freedom and decide for yourself whether this new definition of freedom works for you or not.
Jones proceeds to challenge the basic assumptions of modern science and he points out he "cannot use those same assumptions to reject other belief structures." For example our relationship to space has changed over time and maybe it's time for it to change again:
[page 60] It is the sum of all the felt organic connections between my inner and outer worlds that I experience as space itself. Space is the synthesis of all my feelings of relatedness, connectivity, orientation. Owen Barfield summarized it beautifully:
The background picture then (in the Middle Ages) was of man as a microcosm within the macrocosm. It is clear that he did not feel himself isolated by his skin from the world outside him to quite the same extent as we do. He was integrated or mortised into it, each different part of him being united to a different part of it by some invisible thread. In his relation to his environment, the man of the Middle Ages was rather less like an island, rather more like an embryo, than we are.
Maybe it's time for us to change from the cold, abstract isolated island of modern science back into the living embryo of Nature once again. It may be argued that we had to become this island for the past 600 years in order to learn fully about the physical world in which we live, but we were never meant to continue on this course indefinitely. If we do, we risk losing our very humanity, our soul, and our immortal spirit, and humankind will disappear when the Earth vaporizes in some distant future. If we are not a living spirit, a microcosm in the macrocosm, this is our ultimate fate: the lifeless chill of empty space. In freedom, you get to choose which destiny you wish for yourself. Given the two choices everyone would choose the former. What is amazing to me is that modern scientists proudly choose the latter. (Note: I mean modern materialistic scientists when I use the phrase modern scientists. Clearly the author is a modern scientist, but not a materialistic one, nor am I. )
Modern scientists also proudly make derisive comments about those people who believe in astrology. This reminds me of the words of Herbert Spencer, "There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance — that principle is contempt prior to investigation." Modern scientists seem to revel in remaining in ignorance that they are on the slippery slope to an icy death.
The basic principle that connects humankind with the universe is the principle of 'As Above, So Below'. This principle is not talking about a place, but the scales of space, and scales of time. If you are interested in how this happens, you could study Rudolf Steiner's book, Cosmosophy, Volume 1, to come an understanding of how you as an individual in your time between birth and death have the cosmos outside you and later in the time between death and a new birth have the cosmos inside of you. You would need to study something that people in the early mediaeval period and before knew as a fact, before we began to accept as real only those things revealed by our sensory apparatus after the scientific revolution which began in 1453 A. D.
[page 64] For the medieval astrologer, above and below refer not to different places but to different aspects of the same thing. There can be no above without a below. The two are connected — in fact, unified; and the many correspondences and felt relationships between them inform the study of astrology. Astrology is thus the explication of the connections that exist between the stars and humans, between two apparently different realms which are actually one.
Jones neglects to mention the planets which are also deeply connected with the human being — they have a direct relationship, one-to-one, with the various organs of the human body. It should be obvious that simply giving a list of those relationships of planets to organs as astrology books do provides no insight into how this comes to be. Only a study of spiritual science can provide those insights — if one works at it, they will come in time to be revealed.
[page 65] In such a realm of organic connectedness, the medieval astrologer pondered the relationship of humans to the stars. He did not think in terms that we might use of the influence of the planet Mercury on someone at the moment of his birth, projected across millions of miles of empty space. Rather, he recognized in the primal moment, when a new born child drew its first breath of life, the stamp of a unique event impressed upon the whole cosmos and reflected in its every rhythm and pattern.
One of the perennial celebrations in families around the world is that of a person's birthday. Each year we are reminded of our relationship to our natal arrangement of the stars in the sky when we celebrate the anniversary of our birth. Modern science endeavors to suck the life from the celebration by flattening the patterns of stars into some geometrical pattern which has no conceivable connection to our life on earth. No "conceivable" connection in their dry, intellectual way of conceiving things. Jones fleshes out the reality that lies beyond the abstract reckonings of science:
[page 66] Meaning and wisdom are incorporated in astrological space, which is symbolic, organic, and synchronistic, rather than empty, geometrical, and causal. . . . A natal chart represents the organic and harmonic relations among the various astrological elements rather than the geometrical ones. It is the organic, reflective, symbolic relation that is primary importance, and this connection is felt intuitively by the astrologer, as it was by ordinary people in the Middle Ages.The medieval person felt connected to Mercury in much the same way as you feel connected, let us say, to your liver. The geometrical location of your liver scarcely begins to suggest its basic relationship to you. It is your liver's organic and functional relation to you that is really important.
We have performed many amazing technological feats by modern science's application of algebra, calculus, and geometry to space. We have applied these mathematical maps to land men on the moon and bring them back, to created world-wide communications with global satellites, and to many other less savory ballistic innovations. But along with these inventions, we have come to mistake our maps of space for the territory they represent — to pretend that space is nothing but an empty void between isolated stars, planets, and comets which humans may one day navigate between. With that we have lost our comprehension of how we live in concert with the Earth, Moon, Sun, planets and stars between birth and death and they form our inner reality during the time between death and a new birth.
Jones begins his last chapter with a long quote from a famous scientist made on PBS about which he comments:
[page 208] My principal objection to the statement that opens this chapter is to its ironic unwillingness to recognize in our present scientific world view the same story-like quality as there is in the tales of the those who thought they lived on the back of a turtle.
The above passage calls to mind a story about William James who was confronted by a woman after a lecture in which he talked about the Earth's floating in space orbiting the Sun:In a cloying sweet voice, she said, " Prof. James, I cannot believe your story about the Earth floating in space. Everyone knows the Earth is sitting on the back on an elephant."
James looked at her and replied, "My dear lady, in that case what is the elephant stand upon?"
"Well, everyone knows the elephant is standing on the back of a turtle."
"I suppose I must ask you then what is the turtle standing on," James said.
"Ooh, Prof. James, of course, it's turtle all the way down!" she replied triumphantly.
We are given metaphor after metaphor by modern science upon which they perch their abstract theories and calculations. Their results are useful in manipulating the physical world, but like the lady's theory, when we examine the basis of science's theories, we find that it is metaphor all the way down.
2. Henry David Thoreau's Journal No. 11, July 1858 to February 1859
A look at the famous naturalist and author Walden in his native habitat, wandering around Concord, improving each day, surveying, make notes on local flora and fauna, and musing on the great verities of the world.
Excerpt from Review (with photos included):
Shortly after I began reading this journal volume in July, I decided to read Thoreau's daily adventures in step with him, 149 years distant from him. By September 12 we were in step and stayed that way through the winter, when by January I decided to pace my way through the rest of the journal ahead of him, knowing that he would catch up with me in a few weeks anyway. This lock step pace allowed me to reflect on the difference in climate from New England and my current home in New Orleans, about 2,000 miles south of Concord. I was thus pleased to read Thoreau's comments on the liberating effects of a lake and especially a river, since New Orleans is situated with a large lake open to the sea on one side and the broadest river in America on the other. In a walk of an hour or so, one can leave the shores of Lake Pontchartrain, walk through downtown New Orleans, and arrive at the banks of the Mississippi River. By Thoreau’s measure, New Orleans has great wings on its back!
[page 4, 5] There is something in the scenery of a broad river equivalent to culture and civilization. Its channel conducts our thoughts as well as bodies to classic and famous ports, and allies us to all that is fair and great. I like to remember that at the end of half a day's walk I can stand on the bank of the Merrimack. It is just wide enough to interrupt the land and lead my eye and thoughts down its channel to the sea. A river is superior to a lake in its liberating influence. It has motion and indefinite length. A river touching the back of a town is like a wing, it may be unused as yet, but ready to waft it over the world. With its rapid current it is a slightly fluttering wing. River towns are winged towns.
In this review I expand the number of photos which I began in my reviews of two previous Thoreau Journals, and include a photo for each plant that Thoreau describes in a quoted passage in this review. Here is the first example from July 2, 1858. Photos of the two possible plants are shown for comparison. Note the umbrella-shaped stems with terminating flowers which are common to both, which is what umbelliferous refers to. With no flowers, Thoreau could not unambiguously identify the plant.
[page 5] I returned through the grass up the winding channel of our little brook to the camp again. Along the brook, in the rank grass and weeds, grew abundantly a slender umbelliferous plant mostly just out of bloom, one and a half to four feet high. Either Thaspium aureum or Cryptotænia Canadensis (Sison).
While ascending Mt. Washington, Thoreau and Wentworth were invited by a miner to dine with him and his assistant in a mountain shanty. The wind was so strong it blew fire down the stove vent and nearly burnt the shanty down.
[page 15, 16] July 7. A merry collier and his assistant, who had been making coal for the summit and were preparing to leave the next morning, made us welcome to this shanty, and entertained us with their talk. We here boiled some of our beef-tongues, a very strong wind pouring in gusts down the funnel and scattering the fire about through the cracked stove. This man, named Page, had imported goats on to the mountain, and milked them to supply us with milk for our coffee. The road here ran north and south to get round the ledge. The wind, blowing down the funnel, set fire to a pile of dirty bed-quilts when I was out, and came near burning up the building. . . . The wind blowed(2) very strong and in gusts this night, but he said it was nothing to what it was sometimes, when the building rocked four inches.
[page 16] July 8. I noticed [this plant] this morning and the night before at and above the limit of trees: Oxalis Acetosella, abundant and in bloom near the shanty and further down the mountain, all over the woods . . .
Thoreau suggests that one can get lost easily without a compass on the mountaintop because a cloud can envelope it in a fog without any advance warning. Even though one can find a road if one travels in a straight line for 8 or 9 miles, the fog will not allow that without a compass. One will most likely travel in a circle without realizing it. I discovered in my studies of Rudolf Steiner's works that the etheric body moves in circles, an effect which is particularly noticeable in children. They all have a naturally strong etheric body and thus their love of any activity which involves circular motions. This tendency of our etheric body to move in circles remains in adults and that explains why people lost in the woods or in a fog tend to move in circles even though they think they are moving in straight line.
[page 23] July 8. Descending straight by compass through the cloud, toward the head of Tuckerman's Ravine, we found it an easy descent over, for the most part, bare rocks, not very large, with at length moist springs places, green with sedge, etc., between little sloping shelves of green meadow, where the hellebore grew, within half a mile of top, and the Oldenlandia cærula, or mountain fly-honeysuckle, in bloom, only two specimens; it is found in the western part of Massachusetts.
In this next passage Thoreau speaks of the need for what we know today as rest areas for the traveler, but he spells out a more simple requirement than parking spots, picnic tables, and sanitary restrooms. He asks merely for places along the road where a weary traveler may stop, make a small fire, and camp over-night during his journey without being yelled at by irate landowners.
[page 55] July 18. What barbarians we are! The convenience of the traveler is very little consulted. He merely has the privilege of crossing somebody's farm by a particular narrow and maybe unpleasant path. The individual retains all other rights, — as to trees and fruit, and wash of the road, etc. On the other hand, these should belong to mankind inalienably. The road should be of ample width and adorned with trees expressly for the use of the traveler. There should be broad recesses in it, especially at springs and watering-places, where he can turn out and rest, or camp if he will. I feel commonly as if I were condemned to drive through somebody's cow-yard or huckleberry pasture by a narrow lane, and if I make a fire by the roadside to boil my hasty pudding, the farmer comes running over to see if I am not burning up his stuff. You are barked along through the country, from door to door.
[page 55] July 18. Within one mile of top: Potentilla tridentata, a very little fir, spruce, and canoe birch, one mountain-ash, Alsine Grænlandica, diapensia, . . .
In this next passage we encounter two usages which seem a bit strange to our eyes and ears today. The spelling of the verb "stayed" and the metaphor for a lightning strike as something "falling" which brings to mind Zeus tossing his thunderbolts to ground in the Greek myths.
[page 64] July 22. The next of the marsh hawk is empty. It has probably flown. C. and I took refuge from a shower under our boat at Clamshell; staid an hour at least. A thunderbolt fell close by. A mole ran under the boat. The wind canted round as usual (is not this owing to the circular manner of storms?) More easterly, and compelled us to turn the boat over. Left a little too soon, but enjoyed a splendid rainbow for half an hour.
[page 69] Aug. 2. What I have called the Panicum latifolium has now its broad leaves, striped with red, abundant under Turtle Bank, about Bath-Place.
A river plant, the bladderwort or utricularia, was apparently in full purple bloom as Thoreau landed his boat near Fair Haven Pond.
[page 73] Aug. 5. The purple utricularia is the flower of the river to-day, apparently in its prime. It is very abundant, far more than any other utricularia, especially from Fair Haven Pond upward. That peculiar little bay in the pads, just below the inlet of the river, I will call Purple Utricularia Bay, from its prevalence there.
Thoreau bemoans the value of country life, if one is no longer allowed to pick huckleberries or other wild fruit freely. He says that it "reduces huckleberries to a level with beef-steak." Blueberries are considered to be cultivated huckleberries and lack the ten or so hard seeds.
[page 78, 79] I suspect that the inhabitants of England and of the Continent of Europe have thus lost their natural rights with the increase of population and of monopolies. The wild fruits of the earth disappear before civilization, or are only to be found in large markets. The whole country becomes, as it were, a town or beaten common, and the fruits left are a few bips and haws.
Thoreau did not sow or till the soil, so far as I can tell, but he did harvest. He harvested what he saw on his daily walks and in this next passage, he uses harvest as a metaphor to infuse meaning into the description of his walks.
[page 96] Aug. 12. That very handsome high-colored fine purple grass grows particularly on dry and rather unproductive soil just above the edge of the meadows, on the base of the hills, where the hayer does not deign to swing his scythe. He carefully gets the meadow-hay and the richer grass that borders it, but leaves this fine purple mist for the walker's harvest.
On the first official day of Fall, Thoreau spies some seed pods, and the next day he makes himself a square sail which he likens to an ox pulling his boat. I daresay there are few people today who would use that metaphor, having never experienced the actual pulling of a plow by an ox. Note how he recognizes the evil of too quick travel is that we spend less time living in the surroundings we pass along the way.
[page 116] Aug. 21. I still see the patch of epilobium on Bee Tree Hill as plainly as ever, though only the pink seed-vessels and stems are left.
[page 116, 117] Aug. 22. P. M. — I have spliced my old sail to a new one, and now go out and try it in a sail to Baker Farm. It is a "square sail" some five feet by six. I like it much. It pulls like an ox, and makes me think there's more wind abroad than there is. The yard goes about with a pleasant force, almost enough, I would fain imagine, to knock me overboard. How sturdily it pulls, shooting us along, catching more wind than I knew to be wandering in this river valley. It suggests a new power in the sail, like a Grecian god. I can even worship it, after a heathen fashion. And then, how it becomes my boat and the river, — a simple homely square sail, all for use not show, so low and broad! Ajacean. The boat is like a plow drawn by a winged bull. If I had had this a dozen years ago, my voyages would have been performed more quickly and easily. But then probably I should have lived less in them.
Thoreau comments on the difficulty of writing of the natural world. One must first acquire the words to use for the things one observes. This reveals in a curious inverted way how valuable Thoreau's Journals can be for someone who loves the out-of-doors: one can find words for things and then discover the thing itself in the wild, growing and living. Thoreau has already done the hard work and we can enjoy the fruit of his labor a century and a half later.
[page 137] Aug. 29. How hard one must work in order to acquire his language, — words by which to express himself! I have know a particular rush, for instance, for at least twenty years, but have ever been prevented from describing some [of] its peculiarities, because I did not know its name nor any one in the neighborhood could tell me it. With the knowledge of the name comes a distincter recognition and knowledge of the thing. That shore is now more describable, and poetic even. My knowledge was cramped and confined before, and grew rusty because not used, — for it could not be used. My knowledge now becomes communicable and grows by communication. I can now learn what others know about the same thing.
Aug. 30. P. M. — To bayonet rush by river.
What we look for we find and in the looking for one thing we miss other things in the process. It is as if our intentions reside in our eyes and creates a selective perceptibility.
[page 153] Sept. 9. How much more, then, it requires different intentions of the eye and the mind to attend to different departments of knowledge! How differently the poet and the naturalist look at objects! A man sees only what concerns him. A botanist absorbed in the pursuit of grasses does not distinguish the grandest pasture oaks. He as it were tramples down oaks unwittingly in his walk.
By the end of September in New England the days have gotten shorter. To a traveler who goes on foot such as Thoreau, this has an interesting aspect, which he points out to us.
[page 188] Sept. 30. Walking early in the day and approaching the rocky shore from the north, the shadows of the cliffs were very distinct and grateful(3) and our spirits were buoyant. Though we walked all day, it seemed the days were not long enough to get tired in.
While reading Thoreau’s journals about these plants, I have often wondered what a fringed gentian looks like. So I took the opportunity to do a little research and find a photo of one to go with this next passage. From the color of the flowers, one can tell where "Gentian Violet", a very purple antifungal solution once used for coating the umbilical cord stub of a newborn, came from.
[page 189] Oct. 1. The fringed gentians are now in prime. These are closed in the afternoon, but I saw them open at 12 M. a day or two ago, and they were exceedingly beautiful, especially when there was a single one on a stem. They who see them closed, or in the afternoon only, do not suspect their beauty.
The levity of Thoreau in this next passage will be missed by any one who does not know what field of study is ornithology.
[page 191] Oct. 2. The garden is alive with migrating sparrows these mornings. The cat comes in from an early walk amid the weeds. She is full of sparrows and wants no more breakfast this morning, unless it be a saucer of milk, the dear creature. I saw her studying ornithology between the corn-rows.
The sugar maple trees which decorate Concord's Common so brilliantly each Fall were brought there from the country as straight poles with the tops cut off and were joking referred to as bean-poles. These poles are now like festival poles on which brightly colored flags are hung by Nature every autumn as a golden harvest.
[page 218, 219] Oct. 18. All children alike can revel in this golden harvest. These trees, throughout the street, are at least equal to an annual festival and holiday, or a week of such, — not requiring any special police to keep the peace, — and poor indeed must be that New England village's October which has not the maple in its streets. This October festival costs no powder nor ringing of bells, but every tree is a liberty-pole on which a thousand bright flags are run up. Hundreds of children's eyes are steadily drinking in this color, and by these teachers even the truants are caught and educated the moment they step abroad. It is as if some cheap and innocent gala-day were celebrated in our town every autumn, — a week or two of such days.
Is there any greater joy than to go nutting in November? For me, the picking of pecans from the grounds under a majestic pecan tree and eating them as I pick them is a great joy. Thoreau enjoys his daily walks to the post office as if they were nuts he plucked to take home and enjoy in front of the fire on a winter evening. On his solitary walks, he has always a friend nearby.
[page 274] Nov. 1. And yet there is no more tempting novelty than this new November. No going to Europe or another world is to be named with it. Give me the old familiar walk, post-office and all, with this ever new self, with this infinite expectation and faith, which does not know when it is beaten. We'll go nutting once more. We'll pluck the nut of the world, and crack it in the winter evenings. Theatres and all other sightseeing are puppet-shows in comparison. I will take another walk to the Cliff, another row on the river, another skate on the meadow, be out in the first snow, and associate with the winter birds. Here I am at home. In the bare and bleached crust of the earth I recognize my friend.
[page 312] Nov. 11. This is the month of nuts and nutty thoughts, — that November whose name sounds so bleak and cheerless. Perhaps its harvest of thought is worth more than all the other crops of the year. Men are more serious now.
As it gets colder, Thoreau experiences winter's approach and sees the earth breath being exhausted from the ground.
[page 317, 318] Nov. 13. Last night was quite cold, and the ground is white with frost. Thus gradually, but steadily, winter approaches. First there is the bleached grass, then the frost, then snow, the fields growing more and more hoary. There is frost not only on all the withered grass and stubble, but it is particularly thick and white and handsome around the throat of every hole and chink in the earth's surface, the congealed breath of the earth as it were, so that would think at first it was the entry to some woodchuck's, or squirrel's, or mouse's, retreat. But it is the great dormant earth gone into winter quarter's here, the earth letting off steam after the summer's work is over.
Thoreau is not a preacher, but at times he crosses the line when some theme such as freedom of speech inflames him, especially when he perceives that preachers of various sects do their best to squelch any such freedom. Thoreau is no man of straw, but a man who takes such deep breaths of inspiration that he would exhaust all the air from one of these so-called preacher's place of worship. He lambasts the church and recommends that the best preachers if they had any manhood, would best leave the church and play baseball! As for magazines, he blasts them with timidity to print a "whole sentence" — anything freely spoken that might intimidate their bulk of subscribers. And to finish his attack, he takes on the meeting houses where he experienced them trembling at the thought of what he might say to them. Is this real Christianity or the mere semblance of it? he asks. Instead, they pick on each other's weak spots and create sores which can never heal. He gives us an example of what happens when such a meeting house has invited him to speak. The silence is deafening when he speaks, but in that silence there is a fructification.
[page 326, 327] Nov. 16. I have been into the town, being invited to speak to the inhabitants, not valuing, not having read even, the Assembly's Catechism, and I try to stimulate them by reporting the best of my experience.I see the craven priest looking round for a hole to escape at, alarmed because it was he that invited me thither, and an awful silence pervades the audience. They think they will never get me there again. But the seed has not all fallen in stony and shallow ground.
In one passage we even get to experience with Thoreau the pleasure of skating on ice, in the words of the song, "to know how it feels to have wings on your heels, and to fly down the street," only for him he flies down a nearby frozen stream or river.
[page 381, 382] Dec. 29. I think more of skates than of the horse or locomotive as annihilators of distance, for while I am getting along with the speed of the horse, I have at the same time the satisfaction of the horse and his rider, and far more adventure and variety than if I were riding. we never cease to be surprised when we observe how swiftly the skater glides along.
Thoreau loves the forest. When he enters the forest, he has left civilization behind and is in his natural element.He loves the wild animals like the marsh hawks, the wild fruits like the wild apple, and most of all the wild trees and plants planted and maintained by Nature herself without interference from the bog-slogger human beings who deign to shape Nature in their own image and produce less not more of what they began with.It is fitting that he, of all people, would notice the origin of the word forest itself. Its etymological roots suggest the wild nature that so attracted Thoreau and called him to spend even the most important holidays in its company.
I noticed that this year I spent my Christmas and Thanksgiving in Thoreau's company, with him in the wilds of Nature. For most of a year I found myself for a short period each day, transported from sub-tropical New Orleans back to New England in the company of a man who mostly suffered few men to accompany him on his adventures abroad, but was somehow delighted to have me along with him as he walked through marsh, swamp, seashore, and mountain, rowed and set sail over the Concord River, and skated over frozen streams with wings on his heels. I returned from these excursions exhilarated and thankful that there was a Henry David Thoreau who wrote in his Journal every day for 14 years, and a little sad that our journey together has only three more years before I close the last page of his Journal, a better man and a happier me.
3. Alfred Korzybski's Science and Sanity
"The map is not the territory." That was my first introduction to the work of Count Alfred Korzybski. I heard those words in a Bandler and Grinder Seminar in 1977 and borrowed a copy of this landmark book, his major opus, first published in 1933 from a friend. He had been directed to it by our mutual metaphysics teacher, Alex Keller, some years earlier. I dug into the text of this 806 page book which had 657 references and 90 pages of Preface and Introductions. Suddenly the basis for the works of Samuel Bois, Kenneth S. Keyes, and S. I. Hayakawa began to make new sense for me — all these writers had studied under Korzybski. They were enriching his fundamental work and making it palatable to the general public.
Korzybski's work created the field of General Semantics, which became known as a science and was taught in colleges and universities. Somehow I had missed it, up until then. I was determined to work my way through this book to make up for lost time and work I did: it took me an entire year of study to get through this dense book — dense in the compression of ideas in it. So dense that many days I was only able to read three or four pages and then had to stop because my brain was so full of ideas that I had to pause for 24 hours for them to be assimilated fully before I could proceed. And each day I applied those ideas and processes to as many situations as came up in my life during that day. It was, rightly understood, a year long seminar in General Semantics for me. In this review I hope to give you, my dear Readers, a taste of that seminar so that the flavor of this important science can remain with you and bring some sanity into the science that abounds all around and inside of you from now on.
One of the rare occasions we get to read an author talking about the book we are reading is in Prefaces to Second and Third Editions. After reading this book, I read the precursor to it, a smaller book he wrote in 1921 entitled, "Manhood of Humanity," in which Korzybski talked about the process of "time binding." Time binding was to Korzybski like a single string on a guitar — he used it as the basis of the music he made in all of his works. "Science and Sanity" was a symphony he composed for his one-string guitar. In his Preface to the Third Edition (1948), he talks about this book from the perspective of 15 years after its publication:
[page xx] The origin of this work was a new functional definition of 'man', as formulated in 1921, based on an analysis of uniquely human potentialities; namely, that each generation may begin where the former left off. This characteristic I called the 'time-binding' capacity. Here the reactions of humans are not split verbally and elementalistically into separate 'body', 'mind', 'emotions', 'intellect', 'intuitions', etc., but are treated from an organism-as-a-whole-in-an-environment (external and internal) point of view. This parallels the Einstein-Minkowski space-time integration in physics, and both are necessitated by the modern evolution of sciences.
His new definition of what it means to be a human being pinpointed an aspect of humanity that the evolutionists, who were apt to call us "higher apes," had completely glossed over in their intense concern with the bones and flesh aspect of evolution, i.e., our posture, our brain size, our skull shapes, etc. What Korzybski stressed in his 1921 work was a process that humans had and that animals did not possess, time binding. It is the process of time binding that allows each generation to see further because they "stand on the shoulders" of the previous generation.
With this present book, Korzybski sought to create the foundation for a "science of man" by linking science and sanity in a "structurally non-aristotelian methodology." To achieve that he added to the process of time-binding, the "general consciousness of abstracting", which he calls on page xxi, "the thesis of this book". He quotes Whitehead to support his claim of the importance of understanding the process of abstracting:
[page xxi] 'A civilisation that cannot burst through its current abstractions is doomed to sterility after a very limited period of progress.'
This is a remarkable statement. If one applies it to the field of art, one can see representations of art's current abstractions embodied in the visual arts of painting and sculpture. These abstractions show themselves in the way current paintings are made based upon the original works of Rembrandt, Picasso, Monet, or Van Gogh. When an innovator in art comes along to create a new abstraction, such as Mondrian, Pollock, or Warhol, a period of exciting innovation proceeds for a limited period of time. I have described this process in the field of art in my essay, Art is the Process of Destruction, which essay would likely have been impossible but for the year I spent working through this book which first made me aware of the process of abstraction.
To understand the non-Aristotelian systems that Korzybski develops in this work, we first need a priming on the Aristotelian system that pervades our current level of thinking, teaching, and abstracting. Simply put the Aristotelian system is two-valued: either-or, yes-no, day-night, life-death, black-white, etc. The prevalence of the two-valued system of thinking puzzled Korzybski for many years, he says, until he "made the obvious 'discovery' that our relations to the world outside and inside our skins often happen to be, on the gross level, two-valued." But he added something more to the Aristotelian two-valued system, and that something more makes all the difference in the world to what it means to be a living human being:
[page xxi] In living, many issues are not so sharp, and therefore a system which posits the general sharpness of 'either-or' , and so objectifies 'kind', is unduly limited; it must be revised and made more flexible in terms of 'degree'. This requires a physico-mathematical 'way of thinking' which a non-aristotelian system supplies.
While Korzybski developed his work independently of semantics or semiotics, he admits that, as his work progressed, it became obvious to him that "a theory of meaning" was impossible. As such, he thought it necessary to explain the derivation of the name "General Semantics" for his corpus of work.
[page xxii] The original manuscript did not contain the word 'semantics' or 'semantic', but when I had to select some terms, from a time-binding point of view and in consideration of the efforts of others, I introduced the term 'General Semantics' for the modus operandi of this first non-aristotelian system.This seemed appropriate for historical continuity. A theory of evaluation appeared to follow naturally in an evolutionary sense from 1) 'meaning to' to 2) 'significance' to 3) evaluation. General Semantics turned out to be an empirical natural science of non-elementalistic evaluation, which takes into account the living individual, not divorcing him from his reactions altogether, nor from his neuro-linguistic and neuro-semantic environments, but allocating him a plenum of some values, no matter what.
From this passage in his Introduction to the Second Edition (1941) one can understand the paradox faced by an author who develops a truly unique science — to communicate to the average intelligent reader, and also to the specialists in the very fields that are impacted by the new science. The paradox is this: those specialists, who ought to be better able to understand it, are less able to understand it than the average reader. Philosophers, who ought to be able to understand any new field of science, are often the last ones to grasp it, so stuffed full of their own verbalizations as to be unable to comprehend the thoughts of anyone with a truly new idea, as Korzybski presented them with.
[page xxviii] Most 'philosophers' who reviewed this book made particularly shocking performances. Average intelligent readers can understand this book, as they usually have some contact with life. It is not so with those who indulge in mere verbalism.
Korzybski gives a salient example of one of those philosopher-penned reviews and shows how error-prone it is and how it completely misses the point of his work. For those of you who are still not sure what his point is, here is an excellent summary of it:
[page xxix] Most 'philosophers', 'logicians', and even mathematicians look at this non-aristotelians system of evaluation as some system of formal non-aristotelian 'logic', which is not the case. They are somehow not able to take the natural science point of view that all science, mathematics, 'logic', 'philosophy', etc., are the product of the functioning of the human nervous system, involving some sort of internal orientations, or evaluations, which are not necessarily formalized. The analysis of such living reactions is the sole object of general semantics as a natural empirical science.
Not only do these philosophers miss the point entirely, but by doing so, they will continue to heap untold damage upon future generations of our youth by teaching them about "identity" — something which Korzybski clearly demonstrates within the covers of this book — is non-existent in the world, except in the minds and processes of philosophers and mentally deranged human beings.
[page xxix] These 'philosophers', etc., seem unaware, to give a single example, that by teaching and preaching 'identity', which is empirically non-existent in this actual world, they are neurologically training future generations in the pathological identifications found in the 'mentally' ill or maladjusted. As explained on page 409, and also Chapter XXVI, whatever we may say an object 'is', it is not, because the statement is verbal, and the facts are not.
Words are like maps. If a map is not the territory it represents, a word is not the object it represents. Also a map cannot contain all of the territory — it can only hope to represent the structure of the territory.
[page 38] Two important characteristics of maps should be noticed. A map is not the territory it represents, but, if correct, it has a similar structure to the territory, which accounts for its usefulness. If the map could be ideally correct, it would include, in a reduced scale, the map of the map; the map of the map of the map; and so on, endlessly, a fact first noticed by Royce.
What does all this mean? you ask. Is this important? The answer is yes, because the presence of aristotelian systems has kept civilization itself at the level of a dumb animal, up until now. If you will read the first 62 pages of this book, no doubt you will agree with this next statement, as I did:
[page 62] The present analysis shows that, under the all-pervading aristotelianism in daily life, asymmetrical relations, and thus structure and order, have been impossible, and so we have been linguistically prevented from supplying the potentially 'rational' being with the means for rationality. This has resulted in a semi-human so-called 'civilization', based on our copying animals in our nervous process, which, by necessity, involves us in arrested development or regression, and, in general, disturbances of some sort.
Once upon a time, the geometry of Euclid was the geometry of space, the universe of Newton was the Universe. With the advent of Lobatchevski and Einstein the geometry of Euclid proved to be only a geometry of space and the universe of Newton proved to be a way of looking at the Universe.
[page 86] It is not difficult to see that in all these advances there is a common characteristic, which can be put simply in that it consists in a little change from a 'the' into an 'a'. Some people insist upon sentences in one-syllable words; here we could indeed satisfy them! The change, no doubt, can be expressed by the exchange of one syllable for another. But the problems, in spite of this apparent simplicity, are quite important; and the rest of this volume will be devoted to the examination of this change and of what it structurally involves.
For any readers who are still not clear on the distinction between Plato and Aristotle's approach to philosophy, Korzybski gives us an excellent thumbnail. Since he claims to have created non-Aristotelian systems, it is necessary to understand the tenets of an Aristotelian system.
[page 87] Psycho-logically, Aristotle was a typical extrovert, who projects all his internal processes on the outside world and objectifies them: so his reaction against Plato, the typical introvert, for whom 'reality' was all inside, was a natural and rather an inevitable consequence. The struggle between these two giants was typical of the two extreme tendencies which we find in practically all of us, as they represent two most diverse, and yet fundamental psycho-logical tendencies.
In his explanation below of how these two extreme tendencies show up in our lives, Korzybski uses several words which one must come to terms with in order to make full use of the contents of this book. He uses them so often in the book that he adopted shorthand abbreviations for them. When these appear in the passage below I will enclose the full word in [brackets] the first time they appear.
[page 87] In 1933 we know that either of these extremes in our make-up is undesirable and un-sound, in science as well as in life. In science, the extreme extroverts have introduced what might be called gross empiricism, which, as such, is a mere el [elementalistic] fiction — practically a delusion. For no 'facts' are ever free from 'doctrines': so whoever fancies he can free himself from 'doctrines', as expressed in the structure of the language he uses ., [etc. ,] simply cherishes a delusion, usually with strong affective components. The extreme introverts, on the other hand, originated what might be called the 'idealistic philosophies', which in their turn become el delusions. We should not overlook the fact that both these tendencies are el and structurally fallacious. Belief in the separate existence of el, and, therefore, fictitious, entities must be considered as a structurally un-sound s.r [semantic reaction] and accounts in a large degree for many bitter fights in science and life.
The exact meaning of terms such as el, m.o, s.r require a close reading of the first chapters of the book, but I will hazard a simple explanation of these three important and often used terms. An elementalistic [el] term is one in which in our semantic reactions [s.r] we ignore the multiordinal [m.o] aspects of it. This makes it possible for us to understand the triad if we can get our hands around what a multiordinal term is. Luckily he provides a concise definition of his discovery of multiordinality in this next passage:
[page 14] Terms like 'yes', 'no', 'true', 'false', fact', 'reality', 'cause', 'effect', 'agreement', 'disagreement', 'proposition', 'number', 'relation', 'order', 'structure', 'abstraction', 'characteristic', 'love', 'hate', 'doubt', etc., are such that if they can be applied to a statement they can also be applied to a statement about the first statement, and so, ultimately, to all statements, no matter what their order of abstraction is. Terms of such a character I call multiordinal terms.
If it makes your head ache trying to keep all these terms like balls juggling in the air at the same time, you will understand why I found it difficult to work through more than a couple of pages at a time when I first read this book. And you may be wondering how any of this could ever be useful to the average person who can not or will not take the immense effort it takes to understand the work of this phenomenal thinker, and you would be right. Luckily he taught some brilliant people like Samuel Bois, S. I. Hayakawa, and Kenneth Keyes who were able to bring his work down to a practical and easy to understand level. For beginners I suggest Keyes's book, "How to Develop Your Thinking Ability" which is available currently under the title, "Taming Your Mind".This book covers the important bases of "Science and Sanity" in simple everyday words using cartoons to illustrate the main points. I utilized this book during a course in "Effective Communication" I gave to hundreds of maintenance people at Waterford 3 Nuclear Power Station in the 1980s.
Another essential phrase to come to terms with is semantic reaction [s.r], which refers to affective disturbances in persons related to their failure to recognize the intention, goal, or meaning of the words they receive from another. To Korzybski these disturbances were failures in the education system which he systematically set about to correct.
[page 20] Disturbances of the semantic reactions in connection with faulty education and ignorance must be considered in 1933 as sub-microscopic colloidal lesions.
Note his use of the time index above (See All Things Change Cartoon) by his specifying the date during which his writing applies to the world.
Max Planck said in his autobiography, "A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it." [italics added] One of the reasons for this paradoxical condition of science is that scientists are human beings and subject to semantic reactions and every new system involves the learning of new semantic reactionswhich scientists have proven to be as slow at learning as the average ditch-digger. Korzybski gives us a scientific way of understanding what we mean by the expression which Planck used above, "familiar with":
[page 27] Any fundamentally new system involves new s.r; and this is the main difficulty which besets us when we try to master a new system. We must re-educate, or change, our older s.r. As a rule, the younger generation, which began with the new s.r, has no such difficulties with the new systems. Just the opposite — the older s.r become as difficult or impossible to them as the new were to the older generations.
Another great discovery of Korzybski is the deleterious effects of identification. He says while identification may be useful to babies and children, it proves harmful to adults. We can easily notice when we are using identification because in English we will use the verb "to be" to create the identity. Some have suggested a convention be adopted in English in which we consciously avoid using the verb "to be" for identification, which form of English is called "english prime" or simply, e'. Try it sometime, and you may find it a very useful process — to write for a long time without using the verb "to be" for identification. Why is this important? The good news is that it's only important if you're an adult.
[page 202] The 'is' of identity plays a great havoc with our s.r, as any 'identity' is structurally false to fact. An infant does not know and cannot know that. In his life, the 'is' of identity plays an important semantic role, which, if not checked intelligently, becomes a pernicious semantic factor in his grown-up reactions, which preserve the infantile character and with which adult adjustment and semantic health is impossible.
Perhaps the greatest discovery of all was the process of abstracting. Korzybski talked about the world outside of us as being the "What Is Going On" or WIGO for short. That is the world before it is experienced by anyone. To have a non-verbal representation of the process of abstraction, Korzybski created a diagram he called the Structural Differential, of which a photograph is shown in Figure 5, page 398. It is definitely worthwhile to take some time to study this figure and its description.
Here is my thumbnail of abstracting: the parabola extending to infinity is the WIGO, from which a human perceives an Object, shown by the circular plate, Oh, which is connected to WIGO. The human creates the first level of abstraction by giving the Object a label, shown by the rectangular plate L which has some connecting wires to Oh. As higher levels of abstraction are created, new plates, L1, L2, ... Ln are shown, with Ln finally ending up back connected to the WIGO parabola, because it is a part of the What Is Going On.
This is not the end of understanding General Semantics, only the beginning. We have only inspected the foundations of this mansion and a couple of its room. Only by living inside it for a few years and learning all its hidden corners and useful appliances will you come to appreciate the structure that Alfred O. Korzybski has built for humankind. You have had the key to this house placed in your hand; it is up to you to open the door and begin your personal adventure into science and sanity.
---------------------------- Reference Links for Alfred Korzybski ---------------
4. Rudolf Steiner's Lucifer and Ahriman
In Christian theology the forces of Christ are set against the forces of the devil who represents in one figure all that is evil, and one is exhorted to abjure all that is of the devil. This might lead one to wonder, "How is the knowledge of good and evil bad? Isn't that what the devil in the Garden of Eden wanted to share with Adam and Eve?"
Steiner divides the devil into two beings, Lucifer and Ahriman, and shows us how neither is bad per se, each provides gifts to human beings that further our evolution, and that it is us who must learn to balance these gifts in our individual lives. His recommendation for a solution to the problem of the devil is to transcend the tendency towards either Luciferic frenzy or Ahrimanic tedium by creating a spirit-filled synthesis of the two in our lives from now on.
Luciferic Traits, Attributes
Ahrimanic Traits, Attributes
gnosis, speaking and thinking
statistics, proof, literal Gospel reading
fantasy, illusion, superstition
concrete sensory-based, materialism
eating & drinking w/o spirituality
un-read knowledge stored in libraries
unified vision [United Nations]
individual vision [Chauvinism]
the high flight of Icarus
the humility of Francis Bacon
Steiner says that Lucifer incarnated in a human body during the third millennium before Christ, and that Ahriman will likewise incarnate in the third millennium after Christ, the one we are currently entering. How can we be prepared for the coming of Ahriman? We must balance both the attributes of Ahriman and the attributes of Lucifer with Christ as our guide and companion. In Steiner's words:
[page 18] But woe betide if this Copernicanism is not confronted by the knowledge that the cosmos is permeated by soul and spirit. It is this knowledge that Ahriman wants to withhold. He would like to keep people so obtuse that they can grasp only the mathematical aspect of astronomy.
One of the wonderful aspects of Steiner is that he sees the value of both a spirit-filled cosmology and an abstract mathematical astronomy, thus modeling for us readers how to maintain the balance between the Luciferic and Ahrimanic tendencies in our lives. The superb congruency of Steiner's process (what he does) and content (what he says) characterizes all great teachers. Steiner never tells us to follow his instructions to the letter, instead he models for us the behaviors that will bring us the desired balance in our lives if we were to exhibit those behaviors.
In light of the imminent incarnation of Ahriman, Steiner offers caveats and suggestions on how to avoid "strengthening Ahriman's impulse."
[page 21] I shall merely put before you the deeper fact, namely that no true understanding of Christ can be reached by the simple, easy going perusal of the Gospels beloved by most religious denominations and sects today.
[page 22] The point to remember is, however, that the people who do most to prepare for the incarnation of Ahriman are those who constantly preach, "All that is required is to read the Gospels word-for-word -no more than that!"
In other words, Steiner is saying that the fundamentalists are fundamentally wrong. In their zeal to follow Martin Luther's dictum, to read the bible, they have gone to such an extreme that they are preparing a fertile seed bed for Ahriman, up until now.
[page 52] You see, a barrier which prevents the single Gospels from unduly circumscribing the human mind has been erected through the fact that the event of Golgotha is described in the Gospels from four — seemingly contradictory — sides. Only a little reflection will show that this is a protection from too literal a conception.
[page 52] In the absolute sense, nothing is good in itself, but is always good or bad according to the use to which it is put.
And the scientists, with their penchant for studying only the external sensory world by means of statistics and abstract principles, are also fundamentally wrong. They will never reach "the innermost being of things" unless they change their approach and include that most delicate of instruments, the human being, in their panoply of measuring devices.
[page 31] And so a future must come when people will be able to say, "Yes, with my intelligence I can apprehend the external world in the way that is the ideal of natural science. But the vista thus presented to me is wholly ahrimanic."
[page 54] For to experience a thing is a very different matter from attempting to prove it intellectually.
[page 77] It is a scientific fallacy to trace back to mineral causes the forces manifesting in air and water and in the mineral realm; in reality the causes are to be found within the human beings.
The scientists assume that the geology of the earth occurs whether human beings are present or not, but I note that Steiner says that the very opposite is true.
[page 83] The all-essential causes of what happens on the earth do not lie outside the human being; they lie within humankind. And if earthly consciousness is to expand to cosmic consciousness, humanity must realize that the earth — not over short but over long stretches of time — is made in its own likeness, in the likeness of humanity itself.
Can we escape Ahriman and Lucifer by avoiding both of them? You may have thought so, as I did at first, but Steiner's answer is a firm, "No!" Instead he argues for you and me to maintain a balance between the influence of Lucifer and of Ahriman.
[page 34] But the truth of the matter is that Lucifer and Ahriman must be regarded as two scales of a balance and it is we who must hold the beam in equipoise.
[page 34] And how can we train ourselves to do this? By permeating what takes ahrimanic form within us with a strongly luciferic element.
We are led inexorably to the conclusion that only by experiencing our world via the external senses of the materialistic scientist and at the same time experiencing the super-sensible aspects of our reality as well can we become full human beings in relation to our cosmic environment.
5. Gerhard Wehr's Jung & Steiner — The Birth of A New Psychology
About fifteen years before I encountered Rudolf Steiner I had been reading and studying the works of Carl Gustav Jung. I was impressed by the scope of his research and his writings. I took a class in painting mandalas from a Sufi named Verna who came to New Orleans. I later gave classes teaching mandalas to college art students. My wife and I have a collection of mandala drawings which can be painted in with colored markers. We have used these often in weekend labs as a meditation and self-knowledge device. I read Gerhard Wehr's biography of Jung in 1990 and many other works by and about Jung. Through my journeys into discovery of Jung's work, I came at last to a startling conclusion, one that was completely unexpected to the physicist me at the time: the reality of the psyche. Those five words can hardly express the impact that discovery had on me. I trembled, I felt the shaking of the foundations of my world view, and I held on for dear life as the skyscraper walls of my carefully constructed abstract concepts of the world came tumbling down. Inside of me was a real, living psyche — like a living vine growing out of the dead vase which had hidden it, up until now.
I owe an enormous debt to Jung who cleared the view of my spiritual horizon and prepared me for the next great encounter in my life with Rudolf Steiner. My path to Steiner was much more tortuous than my path to Jung, and equally fruitful. My first impression of Rudolf Steiner was a recondite author of a few obscure books on the bottom shelf of the Golden Leaves Bookstore. The proprietor's method of stocking her bookstore was if someone ordered a book from her, she would order an extra copy for the shelf. I bought a couple of the Steiner books and tried to read them. Couldn't do it. What he said made no sense to me. I put the books on my shelf and years later tried again. I managed to finish one or two and since I had by the time begun reviewing books as I finished reading them, the reviews of those early books are available. They are short, terse, and show little insight into Steiner's work for the very good reason that I still didn't know what he was talking about actually. I had been reading lectures he gave to audiences who were familiar with the foundations of his work. Me, I was wandering in a new wilderness without a guide. When the Internet started up, I found a group of people who were familiar with Steiner's work and they directed me to his basic works and I began to read them in earnest and I found that what I had been searching for during all those hours I had spent in bookstores of all kinds was what Steiner was writing about — the reality of the spiritual world. He had actually gone further than Jung and I was ready to follow along his path. My reading and reviewing of Steiner's works are too numerous to outline here, except to point you to my books, A Reader's Journal, Volume I and Volume II. Volume I was available for a short time in hardback and since then both volumes have been available on-line.
With that prologue, I can explain why this book by Gerhard Wehr is such an important book to me: he ties together the works of Carl Jung and Rudolf Steiner. This pulling together of the two is something I had been doing in my own mind over the years as I read Steiner's works. I could begin to discern some of the connections, but wondered if anyone would agree with me on them. As I began to read the book, I found the confirmation I had sought, first in Robert Sardello's Foreword, then in Hans Erhard Lauer's Lectures, and then in Gerhard Wehr's comprehensive comparing and contrasting of Jung and Steiner works.
Wehr is amply suited to the task of tying together the work of these two men. He wrote the definitive biography of Carl Jung and is a student of the spiritual science of Rudolf Steiner, anthroposophy. The importance of Wehr's work is accentuated by the presence of the Foreword by Robert Sardello who has innovated a "Spiritual Psychology" which embraces the works of both Jung and Steiner and the three lectures by Han Erhard Lauer in which he looks at the answers to the riddles of the soul as given by Jung and Steiner.
To the first sentence of Robert Sardello's Foreword, I can say Amen!
[page 7] Psychology is vastly misunderstood in our time.
Until I discovered, with Jung's help, the reality of the psyche, I vastly misunderstood the field of psychology. I thought it was about understanding concepts. Too many, far too many for the good of our society, psychologists are out in the world, working after having received degrees with their abstract concepts intact, and one can easily discern in world events the disastrous effects of their feeble attempts to administer to a psyche about whose reality they haven't a clue, up until now.
[page 7] Psychology is vastly misunderstood in our time. It is regarded either as a therapeutic endeavor or as a rather meaningless scientific discipline that tries, mostly unsuccessfully, to model itself after the physical sciences.
A model is an abstract concept — it lives solely in the mind. Like an architect's model of a new building, it can be useful for bringing the products of the architect's mind to fruition. But it cannot help us to experience the architect who stands before us as a human being! The difference between the architect's model and the architect is the difference between a psychology of abstract concepts and a psychology which acknowledges the reality of the psyche. Sardello thanks both Jung and Steiner for their unique contributions to achieving this infusion of reality into the field of psychology.
[page 7] Thanks to Jung, the field has been ennobled, and the word "psychology" has been somewhat restored as the discipline of the soul. A true discipline is far more than an academic area of interest. One takes up a discipline, enters it--one becomes it. It then becomes a way of knowing oneself and knowing the world.
[page 7, 8] Thanks to Steiner, the possibility exists of taking this discipline of the soul and placing it within the context of understanding the place and work of the human being in the whole cosmos. The kind of psychology that could come from working through the whole of Jung and Steiner in an inner, experiential way is a practical psychology. It is not confined to the therapy office but is rather the work of living a conscious soul life.
If it seems to you that I devoted a lifetime of study to Jung and Steiner, you are right. And Sardello says that they are both worth a lifetime of study.
[page 7, 8] Both Jung and Steiner have given us a cosmology within which we can see ourselves soulfully. That is why both are worth lifetimes of study. We should not make our task easy by considering these two individuals as only providing systems that agree in certain ways and diverge in others. Nor should we try to simply determine which one to follow. Both decried followers, but hoped to see independent workers inspired by their efforts.
Carl Jung said to an associate that he could never be a "Jungian", referring to what certain of his followers called the field they saw him creating. Jung was an iconoclast — he broke traditions, broke new ground, he led, he didn't follow, not even himself. Rudolf Steiner admonished his audiences time after time to ascertain for themselves the truth of what he talked about. One need only look at the various Jungian and anthroposophical societies to see the effect or lack thereof of Jung and Steiner's admonitions.
In my blissful youth I blithely skipped over such folderol as Prefaces, Forewords, Introductions, Appendices, and Notes. Those of you similarly blessed will save yourself about a hundred or so pages of reading in this 336 page book. (Of course you will be similarly blessed with a shallow view of the book.) This next passage will tell you some of what you missed by skipping Sardello's 24-page Foreword. He refers to Wehr's "synoptic" method in this book by which he, instead of comparing and contrasting Jung and Steiner's words, he "sets the core meaning of each beside the other." And "Out of the tension something new comes into being."
[page 9] Jung & Steiner, for all its merits, does not push this method as far as it could. In this introduction, I want to push it even further to begin to show the outlines of a new psychology, a spiritual psychology that emerges from holding the tension of the opposites of depth psychology and Anthroposophy without seeking resolution.
Sardello tells us that the central element which can join depth psychology and anthroposophy is "the image of the Grail" which is the core myth at the center of the two fields. What is important is that the Grail is seen as an individual quest that one undertakes. One cannot be a follower when one is on a Grail quest, which lead us to Sardello's admonition:
[page 10] But unless their endeavors are seen as quests, each of these two very strong conceptions of the human future is bound to gather dogmatic disciples.
Both Jung and Steiner wrote an autobiography, and Sardello tells us how different the two biographies are.
[page 11, 12] Jung is characterized by an innerness without which dedication to soul life is impossible. His whole autobiography is written as an inner biography, an entirely new form of biography, a memoir of the soul. Steiner's biography, on the other hand, is completely external, so objective that it is downright dull. It belongs to the genre of esoteric spiritual biographies where it is not uncommon for the writer to speak of his own life in the third person. So here is one tension to hold: soul as inwardness, spirit as being out in the world.
Sardello likens Jung and Steiner as two suns. Jung's sun is the imaginal one and Steiner's sun allows us to "apply this imagination to the forming of the world."
[page 13, 14] In the past the experience of two suns signified extreme danger. Like Pentheus, one might go off the deep end. The right capacities must be formed. We cannot jump into this kind of consciousness. We need to undergo the throes of transformation, and the way to go about radical change of capacities is found in the written work of Jung and Steiner. Their writing is completely unlike other writing. You can't go through it and come out the same. However, they need to be read together or in tandem, and read with the whole of one's being, not just through the intellect.
In other words, if you don't read with the whole of your being, you are trying to understand the architect by examining his model with your mind. A model goes in one's mind like water goes into a vase. The vase holds the water in it in the shape of the vase. That's the intrinsic nature of content — it takes on the shape of the container which holds it.A follower of Jung or Steiner is like a vase holding their works in the follower's shape. To be considered as process, one must incorporate what is taken within and change as a result of its ingestion, as when a dehydrated runner takes in fresh water and springs to life once more. The runner does not hold the water as content, but rather absorbs it into her body and changes thereby. What distinguishes the inanimate vase from the animate runner is the ability the runner has to incorporate water into her being. Similarly the animate runner is able to incorporate "different worlds of consciousness — spirits, angels, gods" into her soul and be changed thereby.
[page 15] Soul is not a container of contents but the inherent capacity for perceiving spiritual realities. We are soul and spiritual beings, not beings with a soul and a spirit. . . . We are like harps, sounding when the beings of the soul and spiritual worlds sound.
To understand the soul and spirit as process and not content means that one has no easy way of distinguishing the two. Content we can distinguish easily — we merely describe the difference in the sensory data between the two contents. Water and alcohol might look the same in a vase, but one will smell distinctly different. Spirit and soul are best understood as processes for which we have no sensory data to distinguish them. Sardello explains how this makes it difficult to define soul and spirit easily:
[page 16] Everywhere I have taught for the past fifteen years, someone inevitably asks me to define soul and spirit and tell how they differ. Such a question goes nowhere because it shifts something known and felt to the level of the ordinary intellect, where it cannot be answered. The question assumes that there is some way out of the confusion other than finding deeper ways into the question's substance.
Now we are in a position to talk about Jung and Steiner vis-à-vis "archetype" and their different understanding of the term. Sardello tells us how by pulling the two together, he is able to form his spiritual psychology.
[page 17] Jung seals soul off from the world and unwittingly promotes self-absorption. Taken alone, Steiner's perspective leads to a literalizing, unimaginative, sometimes manic working to bring practical endeavors of a spiritual nature into the world, expecting that artistic endeavors, rather than conscious soul work, will answer the soul's needs. When we hold both the spirit and soul perspectives together, we have spiritual psychology.
And he is able to give the best, in the sense of the most concise, way of distinguishing soul and spirit using the process aspects of Self, soul, and spirit. In the diagram at right I have shown how Jung's processes of Self and soul relate to Steiner's processes of "I" and spirit.
[page 17] The Self can be imagined as soul at the border of spirit. The "I" can be imagined as spirit at the border of the soul.
There was one area where Jung stayed out of the realm of content in his work, and that was in his understanding of what an archetype was. At least he never admitted any differently in his writings. I came across a piece in a news item somewhere a couple of years ago, perhaps after Sardello wrote the words below. It quoted a close friend of Jung's who said that, a couple of years before his death, Jung had admitted to him privately that "archetypes are spiritual beings" but said he had been afraid to say so publicly. What Jung did to strengthen his claims for the archetypes was to build on the solid scientific foundation of Kant's epistemology. That limited Jung to speaking of the phenomenal world and blocked him from speaking about the noumenon. He was left to describe transcendent reality with what Sardello calls, "the truth within."
[page 20] This is why Jung posited the existence of the archetypes but would never say anything of their reality beyond what could be said "psychologically."
On the other hand, Steiner makes it clear that he speaks of spiritual beings and that archetypes in Jung's sense are ways of talking about a spiritual reality.
[page 20] Steiner does have a clear notion of the transcendent and goes after it with incredible descriptive capacities along with an accuracy of observation equal to that of any scientist.
It was exactly his ability to describe spiritual realities as a scientist that endeared Steiner to me and kept me coming back for more and more until I began to perceive the reality that he describes in his works. Soon the reality he described became for me a better way to understand both the spiritual and the material worlds. Over the years I have found that what he calls "spiritual science" meshes completely with "materialistic science" without contradicting it one whit!
And yet, without Jung's contribution, Sardello discerns that Steiner's spiritual science turns into dogma. What is this added something that Jung's work provides?
[page 20, 21] This is where Jung comes in as absolutely necessary. He shows how to find the way into and inhabit the interior of thing. Without Jung, I propose, Anthroposophy becomes the dogmatic application of the ideas of a remarkable individual without inner understanding.
Since I came to Steiner after immersing myself in Jung, I must exempt myself from an ability to judge what might have happened had I come to Steiner first. But I tend to agree with his proposal above. I have certainly seen ample indications that way too few anthroposophists are able to bring the processes of Jung to an understanding of the insights of Steiner. Many views held by anthroposophists have turned my stomach over when I heard them. It was to me as if their center of gravity was displaced, as if one of the horses were missing from their two-horse chariot and they were going in circles and unaware of that fact. If you try to straighten out the path of someone going in circles, you will disturb their momentum, and they will feel their stomachs turning over. Sardello noticed exactly such a thing happen.
[page 21] A number of years ago I spoke to a large gathering of Anthroposophists, introducing a basic view of spiritual psychology as being founded in Jung and Steiner. The address was met with little enthusiasm; in fact, I could hear a number of stomachs turning over.
In this next passage Sardello ingeniously points out the process nature of soul. He calls up the image of the vase that I used above as a container filled with water as a metaphor for a soul filled with images. That would be focusing exclusively on the content nature of soul, something he finds in Wehr's book. I find it amazing that Wehr allowed a critical review of his book to appear as its Foreword. It was a courageous act of soul on Wehr's part to include such a Foreword, indicating that he was searching for soul, using a soul process himself.
[page 21, 22] The problem of seeing soul in terms of the picture content of myths, memories, and stories is unfortunately perpetuated somewhat by Wehr, who often uses content-oriented language in his text. Speaking of the soul as having contents gives the impression of some kind of container filled with images. Yet soul, at least in part, concerns the act of picturing, not the picture contents. Myths too are not picture contents, but worlds of picturings; that is, if you take myths as still living. If myths are now completed and dead, then indeed all we have left are the corpses, the picture contents.
This next subject takes me to something I call "remember the future" which you can read about at Matherne's Rule #36: Remember the future. It hums in the present. Simply put, something happens in the present that signals you about a future event. The most common expression of this ubiquitous, but usually unacknowledged process, is what is known as "love at first sight." Until I discovered "remember the future", I didn't have any way to explain the process of love at first sight. If we are only able to remember things of the past, then love at first sight is unexplainable except as some accident. But if "remember the future" works, then when one meets for the first time a person who will become one's lifetime (or some significant portion thereof) companion, then one will pick up a feeling, an attraction, a humming — if you will — during that first meeting that would be otherwise unexplainable. Matherne's Rule #2: You never know until you find out is applicable here. Think about it: only after you have lived with the person for some time will you look back and recall that surge of feeling during your first meeting. And only when you do look back will you call it "love at first sight." You never know until you find out. The key is that the remember-the-future process is a feeling, not a thought. It is a process (something that happens inside of you) not a content (some thought that fills your mind). When you learn to recognize that hum that signals a long-time connection, whether it's with a future spouse, house, automobile, or vacation site, you can begin to make decisions based on what's best for you at some future time that you otherwise would have no information about. Most people when this humming occurs are too busy, calculating and figuring what's best, to notice the humming. The result is what's known in the retail business as buyer's remorse. If you're lucky you can take your purchase back for a full refund. Try doing that with eleven years of your life married to the wrong person, and yet know that those eleven years were a necessity for the person you were going to become.
This is the END of the EXCERPT from the Review. The remainder can be read here: http://www.doyletics.com/arj/jungstei.htm.
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. Often you get the Director's Cut Edition which adds back excellent footage that was cut from the theater releases. 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 ignore.):
P. S. Ask for Blu-Ray DVD movies from NetFlix.“The Girl Who Played with Fire” (2009) 2nd viewing, see Digest10a, first time on Blu-Ray. Reading book 3 Hornet’s Nest has been a big help with identifying the players in this movie. The scope of the players expand in each episode of the Trilogy and the excitement is that of an F-16 fighter jet ride in “Top Gun”. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! !
“Every Little Step” (2008) You’ve seen “A Chorus Line” now watch how it was created and as a new crop of stars audition for a revival. You can select a dancer/singer for each role and compare your choice with the final winner. Like watching sausage being made, perhaps, but far less bloody and far more fun.
“Local Color” (2006) Nicoli Seroff is an embittered old artist determined not to paint nor teach painting again in a non-representational art world gone made, until teenage wannabe painter John importunes his way into spending a summer with him on a farm in Pennsylvania. It is a summer of lessons in life and art to be remembered, like this great movie of a true story. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! !
“The Answer Man” (2009) talked to God, but refused to talk to other human beings until a new chiropractor and a new bookstore owner interfered. Jeff Daniels is absolutely roll on the floor laughable in this movie, during which he has to roll and crawl on the floor and on a busy street. We laughed even more this second viewing! A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! !
“The Final Countdown” (1980) In this precursor to “The Philadelphia Experiment” in 1984, Kirk Douglas, looking the age of his son Michael today, captains the aircraft carrier Nimitz which is catapulted back to the day before Pearl Harbor and has to decide whether to decimate the Japanese attack force only a hundred miles away thereby declaring war on a country which has not invaded America yet. What would you do? A DON’T MISS HIT !
“The Fantastic Mr. Fox” (2009) Roald Dahl’s foxy creature brought to life by cartoon.
“The Scarlet Pimpernel” (1934) rescues aristocrats from the guillotine and hides behind the demeanor of a foppish dandy played by Leslie Howard.
“Gone Baby Gone” (2007) starring Morgan Freeman in this story of a 4-year-old girl abducted and the long, hopeless search for her which tears apart the police and the police department. See also Digest084 for first viewing.
“The Stranger” (1946) in post-WWII, a Nazi, gets into US and is tracked down by Edward G. Robinson in a small town. A clock tower, a local marriage, and the stranger who talks funny getting off a bus suddenly disappears. The game is afoot, in B&W, with ominous Orson Welles directing and lovely Loretta Young gracing the silver screen film noir.“Leaves of Grass” (2009) Double your pleasure, double your fun with two Ed Nortons as estranged twins, one a philosophy professor and one a country bumpkin growing marijuana hydroponically. Prof goes home hearing his twin is dead and finds more trouble than Socrates can extract him from. A DON’T MISS HIT !
“The City of Your Final Destination” (2009) Is it Madrid, New York, or Ocho Rios. To each his own.
“Assassin in Love” (2008) what happens when an assassin tries to hide in a small town in Britain? Sheep explode, bread rises, husband asks for help, and Shakespeare falls in love. A Hit Hit.
“Five Minutes of Heaven” (2009) is what a 9-yr-old who watched Liam Neeson kill his brother 30 years earlier wanted. But will they bring reconciliation or revenge, friendship of another murder? One must watch to find out.“Tokyo Sonata” (2008) about a Japanese family who doesn’t communicate. Father loses job, but dresses in suit every day to stand in the free soup line and never tells wife. Son secretly joins US Army, other son secretly plays piano, wife secretly looks at new cars. Soon all four are running away from home. When will they return? Under the light of the Moon.
“Marie Antoinette” (2006) gives us a look at her life, from her castle in Vienna to Versailles and her virginal life with a young Louis for so long. Just as her life gets interesting, they chop off her head.
“The Village Barbershop” (2008) is the set of a quiet movie about a barber set in his ways until fellow barber dies and he is forced to fill his slot with Gloria who has problems of her own to sort out.
“Harry Brown” (2009) aka Michael Caine has his friend killed by thugs in project & he does a Charles Bronson on them. A hit hit.
“Youth in Revolt” (2009) Nick Twisp wanted to be somebody else, but he found, “in the end Nick Twisp was enough.” Fun, wacky, interesting movie of first love and burning down Berkeley.
“The Client” (1994) 11-yr-old boy witnesses mob hit and seeks help from lawyer (after all, this is a John Grisham story), but he seems able to take care of himself pretty well as the plot unfolds.
“Michael Clayton” (2007) a tour-de-force acting performance by George Clooney in this intriguing movie. He works as “Fixer” for taking care of problems for a large law firm whose existence is suddenly in jeopardy when their top litigator in a huge class-action suit goes ballistic. Suddenly Clooney is fixing a huge problem for himself. This movie must be seen twice or more to be fully appreciated. See my underestimate from my first viewing here: Digest083 A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! !
“Just Cause” (1995) Best laid plans “gang aft agly” and Sean Connery’s foray into the swamps of the South to save a condemned man from execution succeeds in putting his entire family in peril. Great performance by Ed Harris, look for ingenue Scarlett Johansson.
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.“When in Rome” (2009) act as clumsy as you do in NYC, get drunk, steal coins from a fountain, blame all your misfortunes on gods who dislike you, and don’t expect anyone to enjoy a movie about this puerile behavior.
“The Road” (2009) to nowhere in a post-apocalyptic world has no bright lights in the darkness.
Your call on these — your taste in movies may differ, but I liked them:“Trucker” (2008) 30-something Diane leads an empty life as a long-haul trucker until an 11-year-son she abandoned is forced upon her by the imminent death of her abandoned husband. Can she learn what it is to be a mother with a son who hates her?
“Brief Interviews with Hideous Men” (2009) adapted from book by David Foster Wallace, no wonder some of the characters talked like my son who is a Wallace fan. Movie full of messed up guys with rampant mind-reading — I know you know what I mean — make for unsavory partners for women.
“The Locksmith” (2010) picked open a lock for a gal who kept picking until she opened the lock to his heart. A quirky comedy, not for all tastes.
“Legion” (2010) Dennis Quaid owns a beat-up gas station and restaurant in the middle of the desert when the legions of the devil attack in apocalyptic fashion. Lots of Technicolor #9 blood spilled and legions of zombie-like people are killed from the top of the restaurant in order to save an unmarried girl’s baby who was to save the world. Gabriel and Michael fight each other as Arch Enemies instead of Arch Angels! Lots of production values for a scriptless hack of a movie.
“Green Zone” (2009) Matt Damon as a rogue Warrant Officer doing undercover work instead of his assigned job in early days of Iraq occupation.
“Deception” (2008) an accountant-auditor (Ewan McGregor) gets played to embezzle funds from large corporation by a new friend who arranges for him to fall in love with a blond gal and then threatens her with death. Subsequently he arranges for the auditor to be killed in a gas explosion after he has wired the funds to Barcelona. But the movie is not over, and unable to find a proper solution, the scriptwriter comes up with the hokiest ending imaginable. Sentimental, corny, and as unbelievable as leaving $20 million in untraceable cash on a park bench.
“The Expendables” (2010) is an expendable movie. If you don’t watch it, you’ll never miss a thing. Big bad guys with huge weapons killing other bad guys and cracking bad jokes.
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4. CAJUN STORY:
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Adapted from an event in our grandson Gabriel's preschool days.Boudreaux was called T-Boo when he was a little boy in nursery school at Tante Noone's house along the bayou. One afternoon his mother came to pick him up, and Tante Noone came to the door laughing so hard, she could barely speak.
"Tante Noone, how come you laughing so much?" Mrs. Boudreaux asked.
"It's T-Boo," Tante Noone struggled her words out between laughs. She could barely catch her breath long enough to speak.
"Bon Dieu! Not again! Wat's he done dis time?"
"We were singing Christmas songs a few minutes ago, and T-Boo asked to be excused to go the bathroom. Through the door we could hear him singing Jingle Bells."
"Mais, wat's funny about dat?"
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5. RECIPE of the MONTH for December, 2010 from Bobby Jeaux’s Kitchen:
(click links to see photo of ingredients, preparation steps)
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Background on Broccoli Soup: The first day at the Saint-Sulpic Hotel in old town Montréal we walked down to look for a place to eat lunch, our first meal in 12 days outside the Crystal Symphony's dining room. The soup of the day was a hot broccoli soup, and it was delicious, a pureed soup which stuck to the ribs on a frigid day. When we arrived home a few days later there were four huge 10" wide heads of broccoli in our veggie garden. We ate two of them right away and kept the other heads in the fridge, waiting for a day when I could try my hand at replicating the delicious soup of the Versée; Restaurant on the corner of Saint-Sulpice and St. Paul avenues. Give it a try both hot right out the pot and chilled later on a warm day or for an appetizer.
Two heads of broccoli
1 leeks stalk (save 1" of white tip for white sauce)
1 yellow onion
Fresh sprigs of parsley and basil
1 Bay Leaf
1 clove of garlic
Flour and butter
1 stalk of celery
Evaporated milk or cream.
Chop the leeks, yellow onions, garlic, celery, parsley, and basil. Chop broccoli into large chunks including the stalks.
Chop in large chunks and boil the broccoli in large pot with Bay leaf. Drain and save the broth. In soup pot, add 2 TBSP of butter, heat, sauté the chopped greens. Add salt, pepper, Tony's seasoning to taste.
Add the cooked broccoli and Bay leaf to the soup pot and cook on Medium heat, adding liquid till it barely covers the broccoli. Cook for about an hour or until the broccoli stalk chunks are mushy.
Remove Bay leaf. Dump into VitaMix or other blender and puree (until no visible chunks).
While soup is cooking, prepare the white sauce. Use your own recipe or some cream frasch if you like, or do this:
In 2 TBSP butter, sauté the chopped white leeks. When leeks are cooked, add 2 TBSP of white flour, and stir well. Add about six oz of evaporated milk or cream. To thin, add some white wine or water and a little salt to taste. Keep this sauce hot to spoon over hot broccoli soup.
Serve hot with a small spoon of the white sauce in the middle for texture and savor.
An optional topping of a spoon of whipped cream goes well on either the hot or the chilled soup. Also room temperature is nice.
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6. POETRY by BOBBY from Review of Letters to a Young Novelist : Poet Might
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While flying Continental from Seattle to New Orleans, August 14, 2006, about halfway on the trip, I wrote this poem in the rear overleaf of the Mario Vargas Llosa's book, Letters to a Young Novelist Young Novelist. A similar poem could be written about writing a novel, might it not?
I place my pen upon a page
without a thought to write
Will a poem from me emerge
of simply words of naught?
If no theme will me engage
how can I last the night?
Unless each word recall an urge
and fill me with new thought.
Now I have a structure found
upon which to build my poem
Will I find words with which to bend
my meaning into form?
I forage for an image
to bring my thoughts to light
And tintinnabulate my urge
as a Poe — it might.
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7. REVIEWS and ARTICLES for December:
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And for my Good Readers, here’s the new reviews and articles for this month. The ARJ2 ones are new additions to the top of A Reader’s Journal, Volume 2, Chronological List, and the ART ones to A Reader’s Treasury. NOTE: these Blurbs are condensations of the Full Reviews sans footnotes and many quoted passages.
1.) ARJ2: Approaches to Anthroposophy, GA#35 by Rudolf Steiner
These two lectures are a response given by Rudolf Steiner to refutations of his spiritual science, anthroposophy. They comprise, in one place, the most cogent arguments which Steiner raised against his detractors, and make for worthy reading. Here's what he says about refutations in the Preface of the first lecture:
[page 3] They are to a certain extent typical 'refutations'. They are typical, not only because of what is alleged, but because of the manner in which an attitude is taken towards that to which objections are raised. This manner is characteristic. It is often the case that people do not fix their attention upon what spiritual science says and direct their attack against this, but fabricate an idea of what they think it says, and then attack this idea.
Have you ever been to a fair where an artist did caricatures of people? The subject sits down and the artist begins drawing immediately and within a few minutes, a rendering of the subject appears on a sheet which the subject can take home. Family members, seeing the caricature of their loved one, will notice the resemblance, but will note some objections, e. g., the nose is too big, the eyes too large, etc, and this is all understood as the essence of a caricature which is to create a semblance of the person, not an accurate rendition in all respects. No artist would ever attack their own caricature in such a way as the family members do because artists understand that is the very nature of their art: to create a semblance by exaggeration of some salient features. But consider what the critics of Rudolf Steiner's works did in his own time and continue to do today: they create a caricature of his work after an instant study of it and then attack their own caricature! Here's what he says about refutations in the Preface of the second lecture:
[page 37] As with the other lecture, I introduced into what follows some thoughts about objections which have been made from many quarters against anthroposophical spiritual science. These objections often arise in a most peculiar way. For these critics do not take a proper look at what spiritual science says and inveigh against that, but concoct a distorted image of what they think it says and launch their assault against this caricature.
Steiner is attacked not for what he is trying to do, but for the very opposite by people brimming with antagonism but lacking understanding of the very material they are condemning. For myself, as a newcomer to Steiner's works, I read about ten small books of his lectures and still didn't understand what he was getting at. I would have been a perfect critic of his work at that time because my knowledge of his work constituted a mere caricature of it, full of holes, lacunae, and exaggerations. Instead, I held an unanswered question: "Why am I continuing to read Rudolf Steiner's books?" I would find a book in a lower shelf in an occult bookstore, look through it, and buy it to read. After reading the new book, I would be even more confused than I was before. I wrote short reviews, caricatures, if you will, of the meaning, sparse as it was what I was able to glean from the book, and I was left with more questions than answers from each new book.Thus I continued until 1995 and the advent of the Internet when I asked my greatest unanswered question, "What should I be reading of Steiner's works?" The answers pointed me to his classic works, "Outline of Occult Science", "Theosophy", and "Knowledge of Higher Worlds". Through my study of these books, I realized that this man, this obscure Austrian philosopher and mystic, was answering for me the greatest unanswered questions in life that I had been holding. Life is a mystery with an enigma at both ends. I had devoted my life to studying the mystery portion and here was a man explaining the two enigmas, life before birth and life after death, showing that life flows from birth to death to birth to death in an unbroken skein of transitions.
What is it that Rudolf Steiner had? Imagine a drinking glass that is submerged in water, it is fully in the water and the water is fully in the glass.(fn) That is how Rudolf Steiner existed in the spiritual world: he was fully in the spiritual and the spiritual world was fully in him. The rest of us are like empty bottles, we are immersed in the water, but little of the water is in us because we have not been as open as a water glass, up until now. One might create a caricature of this thought, and claim that one is open or one can easily become open, but rightly understood, this opening to the spiritual world requires one to have eyes that can see, ears that can hear, a voice that can speak, and feet that have trod the path of sacrifice as described in these four statements from Light on the Path as quoted by Rudolf Steiner in his book An Esoteric Cosmology, page 28:
Before the eyes can see, they must be incapable of tears.
Before the ear can hear, it must have lost it's sensitiveness.
Before the voice can speak in the presence of the masters, it must have lost the power to wound.
Before the soul can stand in the presence of the masters, its feet must be washed in the blood of the heart.
Any one who has lived these four sentences with magical power, any one who has brought them to life within, any one who has loved them as a mother loves her child, any one who has done all these things will be incapable of finding objections to any of Rudolf Steiner's teachings. Indeed, any one who strives to do these things will find Steiner's books and lectures as a "light on the path."
This Blub contains only the first two pages. Read the rest of the 16-page Review at:
2.) ARJ2: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson
Six months earlier on a quiet night in our beachfront cabin, I dialed up an Instant Play movie by the intriguing title, "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo", unaware of the existence of a novel by that name. As the movie played out on the small laptop screen, I sat there transfixed by the incredible flux of events and images. There were sparks in the air that night sizzling around my laptop in the darkened room. I had become a fan of Stieg Larsson's novels without knowing they existed. No Swedish movie since Bergman's "Seventh Seal" had gripped me like this one. When the second movie of the trilogy played at a local single-screen movie house, the Prytania Theater, we immediately went to see "The Girl Who Played with Fire", and had the same electrifying reaction, only this time played out on a large screen. It ended with Lisbet Salander being shot in the hip, in the shoulder, and in the head and then buried in a grave. She survived the night, dug her way out of the shallow grave, smashed her murderous father in the head with an axe, shot at her Frankensteinian monster of a brother, scaring him away, and was bloody, dirty, and barely alive when Mikael Blomkvist found her and ordered a Medivac helicopter for her.
Whew! Well, I wasn't going to wait for the third movie to come out. A movie lasts about two hours, but a book can last for several days, with hours of reading each day. Plus: the names of the characters and places are much clearer in a book, and large parts of this 560 page book will likely have to be cut for the movie. For example, will the wonderful side plot make it? Of how Lisbet, isolated and locked in a hospital room, hardly able to move without intense pain, was able to help Erika Berger to identify the Poison Pen emailer who also threw a brick through her window and stole sensitive videos, photographs, and computer information from her home. This was a side plot, which took place during the amazing untangling of the multiple main storylines: Would Lisbet survive the brain operation to remove the lodged bullet? Would she be sent back to an insane asylum? Would her severely injured father two doors down in the hospital maneuver himself on crutches and succeed in killing her this time? Would she be sent to jail for hitting her father Zalachenko with an axe? Or for putting a bullet hole through the foot of the biker dude sent to kill her? Would the ultra-secret Section manage to stop Blomkvist from publishing the secrets he retrieved? Would Blomkvist's Millennium magazine survive the loss of its Editor in Chief Berger to head SMP — the top newspaper in Stockholm? Could Blomkvist marshal Lisbet's help, locked in hospital with no visitors except her lawyer allowed? And the biggest question of all, how to get the SIS, the CIA of Sweden, to investigate the Section, a part of itself which no one in the current SIS knows exists, all the way up to the Prime Minister himself.
With all these pieces moving around Stockholm, Blomkvist spying on the Zalachenko club, the club spying on him, he spying on the government prosecutor and the police force spying on him, and Lisbet Salander's hacker family spying on all of them, the reader needs to juggle about seven different plot-lines all through to the end of the book. It's like an aerobic reading exercise! Several times I found myself getting out of bed unable to fall asleep at my usual bed time and reading this book for two-and-a-half hours.
Now you know all about it before you start reading, but all very general without what actually happens. How about a few tastes of the delicious jambalaya of action, humor, and insight served up by Stieg Larsson in this book?
Lisbet had her share of bad doctors while in the insane asylum as a young teenager, but Dr. Jonasson, who operated on her three bullet wounds and treated her subsequently in the hospital, was the best doctor she could have hoped for.
[page 7] Jonasson had a view of medicine that was at times unorthodox. He thought doctors often drew conclusions that they could not substantiate. This meant that they gave up far too easily; alternatively, they spent too much time at the acute stage trying to work out exactly what was wrong with the patient so as to decide on the right treatment. This was correct procedure, of course. The problem was that the patient was in danger of dying while the doctor was still doing his thinking.
Mikael Blomkvist was a journalist, but he knew enough about computers to figure out how he could get Lisbet on-line while she was locked up in the hospital and could only communicate through her lawyer. I suppose he asked himself what would Lisbet Salander do if I were locked in a hospital room. He arranged for a janitor to place a Bluetooth cell phone into the vent of her adjacent room, turned on and with refreshed batteries. Then he suggested to Dr. Jonasson that he pass Lisbet's handheld computer to her in her hospital room. By connecting to the cell phone, Lisbet gained access to her hacker family who aided her in spying on Blomkvist and on the spies spying on Blomkvist. It was Spy vs Spy vs Spy, and even more.
Zalachenko was a master spy, defected to Sweden from Russia, and he quickly discovered which hospital room his daughter, target of his anger, was in. He asked a nurse about Lisbet's condition and she merely said, "Stable", but glanced in the direction of Lisbet's room, which tipped off Zala and put Lisbet in mortal danger.
Here's the police investigator Bublanski explaining some of the problems of the situation to a colleague, early in the novel when little was known of the national security implications of the case:
[page 72] "First, the investigation carried out in 1991 that led to Lisbeth Salander's being locked away was illegal. Second, Zalachenko's activities since then have nothing whatsoever to do with national security. Zalachenko is an ordinary gangster who's probably mixed up in several murders and other criminal activities. And third, there is not doubt that Lisbeth was shot and buried alive on his property in Gosseberga."
When Blomkvist explained the situation to Lisbeth's former boss and other associates at Milton Security, he conjured up a vision of an association similar to the Round Table, TKOTIT :
[page 119] Blomkvist stood at Armansky's whiteboard and picked up a markter. He looked around. This is probably the craziest thing I've ever been involved with," he said. "When this is all over I'm going to found an association called the "The Knights of the Idiotic Table,' and its purpose will be to arrange an annual dinner where we tell stories about Lisbeth Salander. You're all members."
When Erika Berger leaves Millennium to become head of the large city newspaper, SMP, Blomkvist discovers an incredible dilemma, Millennium is about to expose Berger's new boss, CEO of SMP as a sleazeball dealing in products of Vietnamese child labor.
[page 261, 262] "It's a hell of a dilemma," Blomkvist said.
"Erika hasn't completely left Millennium," Malm said. "She owns 30 percent and sits on our board. In fact, she's chairman of the board until we can elect Harriet Vanger at the next board meeting, and that won't be until August. Plus, Erika's work at SMP and you're about to expose her boss."
Since the evil and malicious collaborator with the Section, Dr. Teleborian, knew already what he was going to write before his psychiatric interview and appraisal of Salander, he had already written it, and Salander's hackers had located it on his computer and sent it to Blomkvist. This is one of the funniest scenes in the book. The scene is Blomkvist's spy group meeting around a table.
[page 381, 382] They sat in silence around the conference table for a moment.
"So," Edklinth said at last. "Teleborian meets with the Section and then goes directly to see Prosecutor Ekström. I'd give a lot of money to find out what they talked about."
"Or you could just ask me," Blomkvist said.
"Edklinth and Figuerola looked at him.
"They met to finalize their strategy for nailing Salander at her trial."
Figuerola gave him a look. Then she nodded slowly.
"That's a guess," Edklinth said. "Unless you happen to have paranormal abilities."
It's no guess," said Mikael. "They met to discuss the forensic psychiatric report on Salander. Teleborian has just finished writing it."
"Nonsense. Salander hasn't even been examined."
Blomkvist shrugged and opened his laptop case. "That hasn't stopped Teleborian in the past. Here's the latest version. It's dated, as you can see, the week the trial is scheduled to begin."
Have you noticed that in many foreign language movies today there are often phrases spoken in English? If this happens in a English translation of a Swedish language book like this one, how does the translator denote that? Blomkvist is speaking a woman he may be falling in love with.
[page 425] "I won't make any promises. My marriage broke up because Erika and I couldn't keep away from each other," he said, and then he added in English, "Been there, done that, got the T-shirt."
This book, once you open it, straps you into a roller coaster which has awe-inspiring climbs to the top, steep drops which take your breath away, dizzying swoops, curves, switchbacks, and hairpin turns of plots. You may fall asleep while reading it from exhaustion, but books are great in that you can back up a few pages and pick up where you remember leaving off.
At Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where I worked several years as a physicist, there stories of WWII technicians playing a game with enriched uranium called "Grabbing the Dragon's Tail." They would place two globs of enriched uranium on a laboratory table and with long tongs, slowly move the globs closer together until a green glow appeared due to near approach of critical mass, then they would quickly separate the globs. One time a technician slipped and the green glow became a green flash and he was killed from a radiation overdose.
Once you begin reading these three books, beginning with "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo", you will be grabbing the Dragon's tail and you will be so enthralled by the throbbing green glow, that you will not let go of the Dragon's Tail until you have reached the blank space at the end of this book and return to your circadian reality.
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3.) ARJ2: Mystery of the Universe, GA#201 by Rudolf Steiner
The subtitle "The Human Being, Image of Creation" seems to be a statement of hubris, but that judgment should be suspended until one has read and completely absorbed the lecture material Steiner presents us in this text. I have read all of this text, but readily admit that I have not completely absorbed it, up until now. If one wishes to have a chance to absorb it, even a little, one must be willing to cast the Copernican system of astronomy into the dustbin of history, relegating its usefulness to sending metal objects with instruments and cameras across the reaches of outer space, and occasionally a human or two. That antiquated system is useful for dry scientific expeditions, but not for understanding the human being or the creation of the cosmos with which we human beings find ourselves intimately connected, rightly understood.
Gilbert Childs in his Introduction says it all, "These findings bear Steiner's unique stamp of transparent authenticity and crystal clarity. Once, twice, or even thrice read, it will not fail to enthral." Often when reading a Steiner book of lectures for the first time, I find myself in the midst of mind-boggling concepts which stretch the neurons of my brain to the point of snapping. This is well and good because the living concepts of Steiner are meant for the mind, not for mere interconnected neurons. However, working through these concepts as best one can and subsequently allowing them to work on one's mind, they will bear fruit, just as the planting of a fruit tree will do in good time, given a good soil and the falling of rain and Sun's rays upon its leaves.
[page x, Introduction] Steiner averred that anthroposophy is rooted in cosmosophy, and has developed out of it; hence it must be so that knowledge of the one is knowledge of the other. Therefore, as human beings are primarily spiritual in nature, and only secondarily beings of matter, there can be no incompatibilities or disparities. In reality, we are not children of the earth but children of the heavens; we have descended from and been fashioned by cosmic powers, and made manifest from the earth beneath our feet. In overall terms, we are mere sojourners on the earth, which represents a lodging rather than a home.
Humans belong to the spiritual hierarchies as Spirits of Love and Freedom (Page xi) according to Steiner. We were seeded by and informed by the hierarchies above us, and allowed to grow in freedom and love toward the fulfillment of our destiny, one stage at a time.
[page xi] Stage by stage, we have as microcosms evolved from out of the macrocosm, from the time when the Gods thought and willed in us to that when we acquired an intelligence and free will of our own. For this to come about the severing of links with our divine origins in the purely spiritual realms was inevitable. In effect, human consciousness has evolved from a state of extensive apprehension of the spiritual world combined with limited awareness of the material world to limited awareness of the supersensible world but extensive understanding of the material world. During this lengthy process we acquired our present individual intelligence and free will.
During my reading of Quantum Enigma in 2009, it became clear to me that physicists had reached the end of the materialistic line because, as they stepped off the train, they noticed puzzles, paradoxes, and enigmas all around them, none of which could be explained by their previous form of abstract logical reasoning. Instead they did what any football team would do when faced with fourth and 97, they stepped back and punted — switched from equations which described reality to equations which described their lack of knowledge of reality, i. e., probability equations(1). Clearly materialists can only fill up halfway the jar of knowledge with data and deductions from sensory perceptions; the other half of the jar must be filled with spiritual perceptions of the supersensible world. Materialists without a knowledge of it have strived earnestly to deride spiritual science, but Rudolf Steiner accepts the reality of the materialistic world, considering it as the complement of supersensible knowledge and useful for these temporary lodgings in which we find ourselves as we grow into the spiritual world.
[page 1] There are still many people who think that man acts just as inevitably as a stone falls to the ground. There you have the natural scientific coloring of the necessity concept. The view of those more inclined to Theology might be described as follows. Everything is pre-ordained by some kind of divine power or providence and man must carry out what is predestined by that divine power. Thus we have in the one case the necessity of natural science, and in the other case absolute divine prescience. In neither case can one speak of human freedom at all.
People today, dazzled by the technological marvels of materialistic science, rarely appreciate how little that science understands our world, how it produces a dead abstract logical conception of a living breathing world. (Page 3) How did this come about? Don't we know more about the human being today than in olden times? The answer is "no" and the reason involves the waning of spiritual perception as our sensory perception waxed. We got dumber as we got smarter.
[page 3] In the series of lectures given by our friends and myself, we tried to show how a connection must be made between the individual sciences and what these can receive from spiritual science. It is very desirable that within our movement there should be a strong consciousness of the need for such attempts; for if we are to succeed it is absolutely necessary to make clear to the outer world — in a sense, to compel it to understand — that here no kind of superficiality prevails in any domain, but rather an earnest striving for real knowledge.
It has been my my goal in studying Rudolf Steiner's works to demonstrate the relationship between the material world and spiritual world. It's like that of a glass tumbler to the water it is immersed in — the glass is in the water and the water is in the glass(2). The material world is in the spiritual world and the spiritual world is in the material world. Natural science describes the shape, materials, and other physical properties of the glass tumbler while ignoring the water. Spiritual science accepts natural science's description of the tumbler, but studies and describes the otherwise ignored water.
[page 3] It is true to say that from the middle of the fifteenth century, man's earlier concrete relation to the world has been growing more and more abstract. In olden times, through atavistic clairvoyance man knew much more of himself than he does today, for since the middle of the century intellectualism has spread over the whole of the so-called civilized world. Intellectualism is based upon a very small part in the being of Man, a very small part; and it produces accordingly no more than an abstract network of knowledge of the world.
Nowhere is the abstract knowledge of the world further apart than in the three dimensions as described by science. It pretends that each dimension is equal to the other in every respect. And yet, as Steiner is careful to show, that is not the case. If you ever read Abbot's classic book, Flatland, you could understand that to residents of Flatland, the very idea of a vertical dimension was incomprehensible. They had never experienced it, and therefore could not grasp it. We experience that vertical dimension very early in life and every parent who has watched a one-year-old child stand up for the first child knows the dramatic change that comes upon the child when taking its first step into the vertical dimension.
[page 4] Man experiences three-dimensional space. In the course of his life he experiences first the vertical dimension. As a child he crawls, and then he raises himself upright and experiences thereby the vertical dimension. It would not be possible for man to speak of the vertical dimension if he did not experience it. To think that he could find anything in the Universe other than he finds in himself would be an illusion. Man finds this vertical dimension only by experiencing it himself. By stretching out our hands and arms at right angles to the vertical we obtain the second dimension. In what we experience when breathing or speaking, in the inhaling and exhaling of the air, or in what we experience when we eat, when the food in the body moves from front to back, we experience the third dimension. Only because man experiences these three dimensions within him does he project them into external space. Man can find absolutely nothing in the Universe unless he finds it first in himself.
To ancients Man was intimately connected to the cosmos: the stars and planets flowed through Man as one large unity. They perceived different influences coming from twelve different directions in the sky and during clear nights they focused on these directions for thousands of years. They noticed arrangements of stars which seemed like animals and eventually they named these constellations. The band in the night sky which held these star groups was therefore called the ring of little animals, or in the Greek, zodiac. They also felt the influences of the various planets on the various organs of their body. These influences were not something these people believed in, but experienced directly, and they wrote down about the influences which they experienced under various configurations of the stars and planets. Later this combined experiential knowledge was written down as the science of "star-knowledge" or astrology in case the ability to directly experience these influences were ever to wane. Which, of course, they did, and in the absence of direct knowledge, people today are looked upon askance if they believe in astrology. That is a sure sign that direct experience of these influences has faded away.
Man was able to find the planets in the cosmos because they experienced them within their bodily organs at one time. Man was able to create astrology because they experienced the influences from twelve sectors of the sky. Within the lifetime of Giordano Bruno, Man was no longer able to experience these aspects of the cosmos directly due to the deepening materialism and dedication to the physical world, and suddenly the night sky became an empty vacuum filled with distance objects such as dead planets and stars from whom we receive only tiny bits of light at night. Astrology was thrown into the bit basket of history as just another jejune mistake in the childhood of humanity. Astronomy with its abstract equations which predicted distances and locations came to replace what was called the superstitions of astrology. We humans have thrown the baby out with the bathwater and it's now time to retrieve the baby and revive our view of the spiritual realities in which we are immersed.
This Reviewed to be continued in Digest111 on January 1, 2011.
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I hear often from my Good Readers that they have bought books after reading my book reviews. Keep reading, folks! As I like to remind you, to obtain more information on what's in these books, buy and read the books — for less information, read the reviews.
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= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =In this section I like to comment on events in the world, in my life, and in my readings which have come up during the month. These are things I might have shared with you in person, if we had had the opportunity to converse during the month. If we did, then you may recognize my words. If I say some things here which upset you, rest assured that you may skip over these for the very reason that I would likely have not brought up the subject to spoil our time together in person.
Padre Filius, the cartoon character created by your intrepid editor and would-be cartoonist, will appear from time to time in this Section of the Digest to share us on some amusing or enlightening aspect of the world he observes during his peregrinations.
This month the good Padre reads a Headline about the New Orleans Wasting Money on Sewerage System.
2. Comments from Readers:
- EMAIL about Winterizing Your Lawn (Anonymous):
One of my pet peeves is people who want their lawns to look like carpets instead of living organisms, who kill the living organisms that live in their lawns which helps their lawns grow, and then fertilize their lawns to make their grass tastier to insects. This essay by an anonymous author says so many things that I agree with, that I had to share it with you, my Good Readers. Credit to Dick Whittington of KGIL Radio (1970s) for the brief initial dialogue between St. Francis and the Lord. Bobby Matherne
WINTERIZE YOUR LAWN
. . . . the big sign outside the garden store commanded.
[Typical Male, homos henpeccius ]I've fed it, watered it, mowed it, raked it and watched a lot of it die any-way. Now I'm supposed to wintdandelions, Queen Anne's lace, thistle, violets, chicory and clover that thrive naturally, so we can grow grass that must be nursed through an annual four-step chemical dependency.
Imagine the conversation The Creator might have with St. Francis Assisi about this:[The Lord] "Francis."
"Good Lord, it's the Lord! How are you today, Lord?"
[The Lord] Divine, but Francis, you know all about gardens and nature. What in the world is going on down there? What happened to the dandelions, violets, thistle and stuff I started eons ago? I had a perfect, no-maintenance garden plan. Those plants grow in any type of soil, withstand drought and multiply with abandon. The nectar from the long-lasting blossoms attracted butterflies, honey bees and flocks of songbirds. I expected to see a vast garden of colors by now. But all I see are these are these green rectangles."
"It's the tribes that settled there, Lord. The Suburbanites. They started calling your flowers 'weeds' and went to great extent to kill them and replace them with grass."
[The Lord] "Grass? But it's so boring. It's not colorful. It doesn't attract butterflies, birds and bees, only grubs and sod worms. It's temperamental with temperatures. Do these Surbanites really want all that grass growing there?"
"Apparently so, Lord. They go to great pains to grow it and keep it green. They begin each spring by fertilizing grass and poisoning any other plant that crops up in the lawn."
[The Lord] "The spring rains and cool weather probably make grass grow really fast. That must make the Suburbanites happy."
"Apparently not, Lord. As soon as it grows a little, they cut it — sometimes twice a week!!!"
[The Lord] "They cut it? Do they then bale it like hay?"
"Not exactly, Lord. Most of them rake it up and put it in bags."
[The Lord] "They bag it? Why? Is it a cash crop? Do they sell it?"
"No, sir. Just the opposite. They pay to have it hauled away.
[The Lord] "Now, let me get this straight. They fertilize grass so it will grow. And when it does grow, they cut it off and pay to throw it away?"
[The Lord] "These Suburbanites must be relieved in the summer when we cut back on the rain and turn up the heat. That surely slows the growth and saves them a lot of work."
"You aren't going to believe this, Lord. When the grass stops growing so fast, they drag out hoses and pay more money to water it so they can continue to mow it and pay to get rid of it.
[The Lord] "What nonsense!! At least they kept some of the trees. That was a sheer stroke of genius, if I do say so myself. The trees grow leaves in the spring to provide beauty and shade in the summer. In the autumn they fall to the ground and form a natural blanket to keep moisture in the soil and protect the trees and bushes. Plus, as the rot, the leaves form compost to enhance the soil. It's a natural circle of life."
"You'd better sit down, Lord. The Suburbanites have drawn a different circle of life. As soon as the leaves fall, they rake them into great piles and have them hauled away."
[The Lord] "No!! what do they do to protect the shrub and tree roots in the winter and keep the soil moist and loose?"
"After throwing away your leaves, they go out and buy something they call mulch. They haul it home and spread it around in place of the leaves."
[The Lord] "And where do get this mulch?"
"They cut down trees and grind them up."
[The Lord] "Enough!! I don't want to think about this anymore. Saint Catherine, you're in charge of the arts. What movie have you scheduled for us tonight:"
"Dumb and Dumber”, Lord. It’s a real stupid movie about ....
[The Lord] "Never mind, I think I have just heard the whole story."
EMAIL from Kristina in Australia
Look what was outside my door this morning when I pulled up the blinds. He is a very big boy — possibly 7 ft tall.
If the researchers at the University of British Columbia had had my old buddy Jim Flock among their 10,000 test subjects, they would have found that Jim could predict the result of EVERY coin he tossed. (As long as the call was made beforehand and not in the air.)
Jim proved this to me when I worked with him in the 1980s. He even showed me how to do it. Doesn't take much practice and only a modicum of skill.
Here's how he does it:
He tosses the coin up in the air with a wobble that mimicks a flipping over, but never turns over. Thus if you called HEADS, he would have the coin HEADs up and it would land showing heads. Or TAILs could be up if he wished it to, simply by flopping it over on his arm to show TAILS. EVERY TIME.
One innovator trumps 10,000 researcher subjects any time!
For a long time, my research into the nascent science of doyletics has been stymied on one point: What about Post-Traumatic Stress? Does undergoing high levels of stress, such as are found when one is hit by a lightning bolt or one suffers intense battlefield condition, create novel doylic memories or simply trigger already stored doyles? The basic theory of doyletics hypothesizes that no novel doylic memories are stored after the Memory Transition Age of 5 years old. This hypothesis seemed to be violated in those Vietnam and Desert Storm veterans who suffered PTSD. While studying the Teaching Company lectures on neuroscience by Dr. Robert Sapolsky for the second time, one fact leapt out at me from all the data he provides: the way the hippocampus operates as a gateway to the cortex. Cognitive memories are relayed to the neocortex by the hippocampus. Thus, before the Memory Transition Age of five years old (before the neocortex is yet fully functional due to incomplete maturation of the brain), the hippocampus does not store cognitive memories.
The limbic region, for its part, stores all memories which are not sent to cognitive memory storage, thus assuring that either by doylic memory storage in the limbic region or by cognitive memory storage in the neocortex, all events occuring to a human being are stored, one way or another. If by doylic memory, the bodily states experienced at the time are stored. If by cognitive memory (what we usually call just 'memory'), no bodily states experienced at the time are stored. If you think you have had a memory which evoked bodily states, you are right, but those bodily states, by the theory of doyletics, were simply doylic memories triggered by the cognitive memory you recalled.
Yet, the victims of PTSD seem to have novel bodily memories stored years and decades after the Memory Transition Age. This was the conundrum which faced me as Principal Researcher. How to explain PTSD in terms of brain function and maturation of the brain so that it accords with the science of doyletics. Dr. Sapolsky gave me the clue. PTSD consists of doylic memories which are stored post-Memory Transition Age during high levels of stress. No cognitive memories are stored, only bodily states which can be quite onerous, painful, and very unpleasant. From reports of PTSD victims, it seems that some bleed-through of cognitive memories of the event come to them, but usually in nightmares and horrific day-dreams which punch through to their circadian reality and disappear without revealing the entire event. Notice the similarity of PTSD cognitive recall of these events to our own adult recall of pre-MTA events in our lifetime.
If we do a Speed Trace, the bodily states will disappear as soon as we track back before the age of the original event. If PTSD bodily states of some original event are stored using the same mechanism as the doylic memories of some pre-MTA, then it should be possible to extirpate, pull out by the roots, any and all PTSD bodily states by a simple, one-minute Speed Trace.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
What is the function of the hippocampus in memory storage?
The hippocampus feeds short term memories to the neocortex where they become long term memories. This was discovered by the study of Henry Molaison's life after the surgical removal of his hippocampus. He could only retain memories for two or three minutes. Therefore the hippocampus must have only enough bandwidth and storage to hold a couple of minutes of cognitive or conceptual memories, after which time it must transmit them to the neocortex for long-term storage or they will be forever lost. Henry could not remember anything which happened over 3 minutes earlier, but could remember events from his life before the operation, even fifty years later.
What happens if the hippocampus is not fully functional?
Like the famous neurological patient H. M. one will have no permanent cognitive memories stored of events, but could have doylic memories of bodily states stored in the amygdaline region. Unfortunately, H. M.'s amygdala was removed with his hippocampus, so he has neither cognitive memories nor emotional memories stored nor are either capable of being retrieved.
What is stored if the hippocampus is not fully functional?
Bodily states (doylic memories) are stored. Exactly how this happens is not clear, but the brain seems to revert to its pre-five-year-old status in which every event was stored as a doylic memory.
Can the hippocampus become dysfunctional above five years old?
The hippocampus is flooded with glucocorticoids during intense stress, it is unable to function properly to pass along the memories it has in its short 3-minute cache to the neocortex, and therefore no long-term memories are formed. Somehow the limbic region, especially the amygdaline structures, must get a signal that the hippocampus is operational so that it can pass along to it the cognitive memories of an event. Lacking that signal of operational readiness, the limbic region stores the event as bodily states in the amygdala. This happen in humans before the age of five years old and after five year old during PTSD-level events. Since the hippocampus is unable to do so, the events are stored in the amygdaline structures instead.
What leads us to think this?
Doylic memories are stored before 5 years old, the Memory Transition Age (MTA), and at older ages during Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). When the hippocampus is fully functional and the neocortex is fully functional, post MTA, cognitive memories are automatically stored for every event. If post-MTA, a person experiences some severe trauma such as being hit by a lightning bolt or experiencing any number of severe war conditions, e.g., live gunfire, explosions, being slammed against an object or hit by an object, their hippocampus is flooded with glucocorticoids which creates a temporary malfunction of the hippocampus — it is unable to pass its memory cache of current events to neocortex — and the limbic system captures the events as doylic memories in the amygdaline structures.
How can we verify that pre-MTA events are stored as doylic memories instead of cognitive memories?
First, there is the commonly known condition of childhood amnesia whereby few if any events from before five years old are remembered by the average human being. Those few which are remembered are often the result of family members recounting the events after the fact several times, often after the child is over five years old and the child remembers the event as it was recounted. It is also possible that the retelling of the event leads the child at any age through a speed trace which converts the doylic memory into a cognitive memory.
What is the theory of how a Speed Trace works?
This is the theory of how a speed trace works, the theory of how it removes bodily states dependably. Basically, the memory stored in the amygdala which, upon a trigger stimulus, creates bodily states of tension, pain, healing states, respiration rates, pulse rates, and various states of homeostasis of bodily organs, is converted during a speed trace into a cognitive memory. Before Speed Trace, triggering stimulus creates unwanted bodily states and no memory. After Speed Trace triggering stimulus creates a memory of original event but no bodily states. This is a permanent change in the response to the triggering stimulus.
What is the Speed Trace process?
In the presence of a trigger stimulus, the human goes back through the years until before the original event, and the presence of a working hippocampus and neocortex allows the cognitive components of the original event to be passed along to the hippocampus and from there to the neocortex. Afterward the same stimulus that previous created a host of bodily states (doylic memory) will only create a cognitive memory of the original event (which after several repetitions fades away as no longer novel).
Are any post-MTA events stored as doylic memories?
Typically no. This is shown experientially by thousands of doylic traces in which if the person releases the doyle before going below the MTA, the doylic memory will return with its active bodily states.
What about Post-Traumatic Stress bodily memories?
These provide an exception to the rule that doylic memories are only stored before the MTA. What happens we hypothesize is that the temporary dysfunction of the hippocampus occurs during intense stress causes the brain, unable to store a cognitive memory, to revert to its pre-MTA state and store the event as bodily states (doylic memories). This temporary diabling of the hippocampus is shown by studies to be due to the flooding of the hippocampus by glucocorticoids during stress conditions.
Does this mean that Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder can be cured by a simple speed trace?
Yes, since pre-MTA and post-Traumatic Stress events are identical in their mechanism of storage, it is likely that both types of events will be amenable to a simple speed trace. The main difference will be that PTS speed traces will not have to go below MTA, but only below the age of the PTS-triggering events. If a soldier was 19 during some war-time trauma, a speed trace going below 19 would be sufficient to remove the severe bodily states.
Will a PTS Speed Trace also remove the nightmares and other memory flashes?
Yes, since the flashes were partial glimpses of the entire event, a successful speed trace will recover the entire event, allowing the nightmares and flashes of memory to cease. These flashes are attempts to recover the entire event, but the bodily states interfere with the completion of the recovery of the cognitive memory. A speed trace will simply recover it entirely and the bodily states will no longer occur.
What do the items in the curious list above have to do with each other? I'll answer that, but first, let me ask you an important question, one you probably know the answer to: What's the most important factor to take into account when buying real estate for investment? Not sure? It's below:
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATIONWhat's the big deal? Everybody's heard that old saw. Right. Now try this one: What's the most important factor to take into account when using a computer system? This one you may not have heard before, because so far as I know, I was the first to express this important truth about computer systems.
BACKUP, BACKUP, BACKUPIf you ever want to ensure that your data will be safe, you must store it on computer, backup it up to a disk outside of your computer (maybe a disk sitting next to your computer), and store it on a disk which is far enough from your office or home that a fire in your home which destroys both your computer and disk next to it will not destroy your off-site back up disk. So anytime you have done a few minutes work, SAVE your file — that BACKUP saves you from a computer or power failure. Before getting up from your computer after a hour or so of work, SAVE file to its BACKUP DISK alongside the computer. Every week or so, SAVE any changed files to your OFFSITE BACKUP. Prices of memory sticks holding 8 Gigagbytes of data are currently about $20, so it's easy to incorporate a memory stick as one of your off-site backups.
2005 Federal FloodThat's the new name for Hurricane Katrina, a name which appropiately assigns the blame for 99% of the damage following Katrina's wind event: the flood caused by inadequate levees, both by their design and LACK OF BACKUP. When the 17th Street Canal's levee broke, there was nothing that could stop the water from filling the basin area which spread all the way through City Park into Central City and down into Canal Street downtown areas. Same for the London Avenue Canal levee breach. NO BACKUP can mean disaster.
Now we have properly designed levees in both places which if in place in 2005 would have held back the flood waters of the 2005 Federal Flood. But we also have a BACKUP in place: the canals which breached in 2005 now have a sector gate to shut off flood waters from entering the canals during a large wind event. What water comes in the form of rain will be pumped over the sector gates into the lake. The lake and river's levees are the highest and best levees and have rarely breached, so well armored they are, another BACKUP.
BP CatastropheBP was operating a deepwater oil drilling rig which had three levels of BACKUP: Drilling Mud, Well Cement, and BLOWOUT PREVENTOR. Either one of these three, if working properly, could have prevented the multi-billion dollar catastrophe. What happened to BP's BACKUP, BACKUP, BACKUP?
1st BACKUP: The drilling mud was removed to expedite the moving of the rig to another location.
2nd BACKUP: The well cement job was faulty and the Schlumberger crew which was ready to run the inspection which would have revealed the flaws were sent home.
3rd BACKUP: the BOP had drained batteries, the very batteries crucial to opening the hydraulic ram to completely shut the flow of explosive gas from ever reaching the surface.
The result of having bypassed or inoperative BACKUPS is DISASTER, all you need is time before it happens.
Property DeedsThis one is on the City of New Orleans. For almost a month, no real estate transactions have been possible in the City because the computer system which provides the vital data needed for deed transfers had a failure. Obviously, if they had a BACKUP, even just ONE LEVEL of BACKUP, this economic catastrophe would never have happened. Like the events of 9/11, the responsibility cannot be assigned to the new incoming administration, but rather that to the failures of newly departed administration who had eight years to keep this catastrophe from happening. So happen it did. BACKUP, BACKUP, BACKUP or CRASH! should be the watch words of the new Mayor and his staff.
WaterworksOn the weekend of a huge crowd in town for the Saints-Seahawks NFL football game, a tube broke on the boiler which drives the power generator for the water treatment plant and suddenly no one on the East Bank of New Orleans (all of downtown, uptown, Superdome, Mid-City, Lakeview, and all the way to New Orleans East) was able to drink water from the tap without boiling it first. Where was the BACKUP, BACKUP, BACKUP for the Waterworks? Oh, there were backup generators, actually convertors which would take 60-cycle AC power and convert it into the required 25-cycle power provided by the large power generator, but what good is having a BACKUP if it does NOT work?None of the backup gear worked and the water treatment facility was inoperable for several days. Thousands of pounds of fresh ice had to be hauled to restaurants and the Superdome to replace the tainted ice. Once more the new administration cannot be blamed for the failure of the outgoing administration whose hallmark was talk, not deeds. One reminds the "Chocolate City" comment and other slams at the people of New Orleans by a Mayor who should have been promoting the City not tearing it apart. But any good that virulent ex-Mayor did will be interred in the bones of history and the evils he left behind him will be enshrined in these prominent systemic catastrophes during his failures to act which have caused untold damages to tourism and real estate values, damages which mount every day, so far as I know. The new Mayor should institute an examination of every system of the City with an eye to BACKUP, BACKUP, BACKUP. If the City cannot afford to do this, how can it afford to fix other disasters which are sure to follow?
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9. CLOSING NOTES:
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