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~~~~~~~~ In Memoriam: Clara Babin Barrios (1924 - 2011) ~~~~
~~~~~~~~ [ My Aunt Clara passed away on Friday, August 26, 2011 in Houma, LA. Beloved wife of the late Lawlis Barrios and mother of Daniel and his wife Lynda, Pamela and her husband Kenny Savitts. Daughter of the late Pierre Babin and Daisy Himel. Twin sister of Clarice Bascle and her deceased siblings: Dio Babin, Lester Babin, Carlton Babin, Lillian Bonvillian, Odette Clement, Annette Matherne, Azelda Musso, Mazel Breaux, Merlin Seuzeneaux and Mamie Babin. Also survived by 4 grandchildren, 7 great-grand-children and 3 great-great-grandchidlren. A native of Donner and a resident of Bourg, Louisiana. ] ~~~~~
~~~ WELCOME TO DIGESTWORLD, October 1, 2011 EDITION ~~~== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==Quote for the Fall Color Month of October:
The only man I know who behaves sensibly is my tailor; he takes my measurements anew each time he sees me. The rest go on with their old measurements and expect me to fit them.
— George Bernard Shaw, English Playwright, Philosopher. (Quote from Ellen Langer's Counterclockwise, top of Chapter 5)
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THE GOOD MOUNTAIN PRESS DIGEST #11a, October 2011Table of Contents
1. October's Violet-n-Joey Cartoon
2. Honored Readers for October
3. On a Personal Note
4. Cajun Story
5. Recipe of the Month from Bobby Jeaux’s Kitchen: French Toast or pain perdu
6. Poem from Stuart Kauffman's At Home In The Universe:"Home Safe!"
7. Reviews and Articles Added for October:
8. Commentary on the World
- ARJ2: The Healing Process, GA#319 by Rudolf Steiner
- ARJ2: A Jane Austen Education — How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship and the Things That Really Matter by William Deresiewicz
1. Padre Filius Cartoon
2. Comments from Readers
3. Freedom on the Half Shell Poem
4. SAVING OUR EYES FROM MYOPIA
9. Closing Notes — our mailing list, locating books, unsubscribing to Digest
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THE GOOD MOUNTAIN PRESS DIGEST #11a== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ARCHIVED DIGESTWORLD ISSUES ON THE WEB ~ ARCHIVED DIGESTWORLD ISSUES ~2000: INAUGURAL YEAR: Jun #1 Jul #2, Aug #3, Sept #4, Oct #5, Nov #6, Dec #7
2001: Jan #8, Feb #9, Mar #10, Apr #11, May #12, Jun #13, Jul #14, Aug #15, Sep #16, Oct #17, Nov #18, Dec #19
2002: Jan #20, Feb #21, Mar #22, Apr #23, May #24, Jun #25, Jul #26, Aug #27, Sep #28, Oct #29, Nov #30, Dec #31
2003: Jan #32, Feb #33, Mar #34, Apr #35, May #36, Jun #37, Jul #38, Aug #39, Sep #40, Oct #41, Nov #42, Dec #43
2004: Jan #44, Feb #45, Mar #46, Apr #47, May #48, Jun #49, Jul #50, Aug #51, Sep #52, Oct #53, Nov #54, Dec #55
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1. October 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.
The Violet-n-Joey Cartoon page is been divided into two pages: one low-speed and one high-speed access. If you have Do NOT Have High-Speed Access, you may try this Link which will load much faster and will allow you to load one cartoon at a time. Use this one for High-Speed Access.
This month Violet and Joey learn about Pluto Getting a Fourth Moon. See http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap110722.html which shows Pluto with its three old Moons, Charon, Hydra, and Nix, plus its brand new Moon, P4.
#1 "Pluto Getting a Fourth Moon" at http://www.doyletics.com/images/092111vj2.gif
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2. HONORED READERS FOR October:
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Each month we choose to honor two Good Readers of our Good Mountain Press Digest from those all over the World.
Here are the two worthy Honored Readers for October, 2011:
Marleny Alfaro in Florida
Alex Pfister in Germany
Congratulations, Marleny and Alex !
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3. ON A PERSONAL NOTE:
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Out Our Way:
WELCOME TO DIGESTWORLD
My wife Del and my friends have found me hard to contact or talk to during the last week of each month as I disappear into my work to complete my monthly Digest. It is though I am disappearing into Digest-world, they must think. So I decided that would be a great name for the experience that others share with me as they read my Digests — they are experiencing in a short time what I spent a month reading, writing, drawing, shooting, arranging, collecting, etc. to bring my Digest together. One friend asked me awhile back, "How long does it take you to do your Digest?" I shot back without having to think, "One month." Each day I do some work on the Digest, and during the last few days of the month, I'm often at this keyboard 10 hours a day to make sure the Digest is full of interesting text and colorful images to please the palette of my discriminating Good Readers. So welcome to DIGESTWORLD, may your stay here be an enjoyable and thought-provoking one. If you have enjoyed yourself, drop me a email or click on the rainbow-colored +1 box above the Archives to let everyone know, or email your special friends and invite them to visit DIGESTWORLD. Thanks for listening and for being a Good Reader!
GOODNIGHT GENERAL LEE WITH SORE THROAT
We had a lot of General-Lee Rainy and Blustery Weather with three days of tropical storm Lee's constant, but light rain, enough to green up the few small dry spots in the lawn and boost the size of our watermelons. Wind gusts of maybe 25 or 30, not much more than any afternoon thunderstorm. But during this long Labor Day weekend, Del came down with a severe strep throat. The shots and medicine the doctor gave her on Thursday seemed to help, but by Friday afternoon, with all the doctor offices closed early for the weekend, she was unable get a person to talk to about all the symptoms she was having: severe headache, vomiting (unable to keep even liquids down), aches and pains, etc. Finally I located our good friend Mark Parker who explained she was experiencing strep symptoms and said the main requirement was to keep her hydrated, to get some fluid to stay down. Del was able to eat some pieces of ice and a little water and that comprised her main diet for almost five days. Little by little she was able to add some nutrients to her intake, as I describe fully in my review of Healing in this Digest, so I won't repeat it here. With constant rain and Del hardly getting out of bed for five days, something unheard for her in the 35 years I've known her, it was a dreary and long weekend. I was unable to concentrate on any writing or reading because I had to check on her every hour to make sure her fever did not go high and that her ice and water glass stayed full. By the middle of the month Del had a return visit to her doctor who said the strep was gone and tested to make sure she no other debilitating infection. The sinus infection lingered on and she is working her way through that. A nice cool dry weather front blowing through here on October first will likely do the trick. She missed her first Twilight Garden Club meeting on a Monday, but made her first Timberlane Garden Club meeting at the end of the same week. Also made her Investment Club meeting, as well as a party at my club with friends later in the month.
A BETTER BECNEL'S AND A PLANTING LESSON
As Del began to feel a little better, I drove to get my daily PJ's latte at Manhattan/Lapalco store and the expresso machine was broken, again, several times this month. Everyone's telling Charlie to get a new machine. I'd like to see him get a backup machine so he can sell expresso on one machine while he's fixing the other one. So I had to drive down river to Belle Chasse to Charlie's other PJ's coffeeshop. I noticed some sign as I came out of the Tunnel under the Intercoastal canal that said something about Becnel's. Last time I checked Johnny Becnel's large store had been shuttered. I asked Justin at PJ's and he said that there was another Becnel's 3 miles down further, near the entrance to the Naval Air Station. Later I went down there and met Sandy Becnel who runs the lovely stand with gorgeous plants and citrus trees at bargain prices. Even a snowball stand next door which makes great New Orleans snowballs. (Never called a snow cone locally — that's a Yankee name, plus I've never tasted a snow cone as good as any N. O. snowball.)I bought a Honey Bell orange tree and a red grapefruit. When I came home, I read the one page leaflet Sandy gave me with instructions for planting my trees. My attitude was "Hey, I've been planting citrus for 15 years with no problems, what do I need this for?" Well, I kept my sentiment wisely to myself and read the leaflet anyway. Son-of-a-gun, it said that "If you plant citrus and cover up the freeze-hardy root stock, the tree will die! And we have six trees or so that were planted that way and they are slowly withering away. I blamed it on the hard freezes and the hailstorm, but there were the sour orange root stocks covered up. Del and I went back to Sandy Becnel's place and bought replacements for the rest of the trees and spent one afternoon planting them in place of the withered ones. Beginner's luck on the first plantings which went well at our previous home without the leaflet. Thanks, Sandy!
I found a gas station which sells gasoline with no ethanol in it. I absolutely need this gas for my Echo Tiller according to the repair shop. The station is the one my Guardian Angel sent me to after Hurricane Gustav's 3 day power outage, when it was the only station with power on the first morning they lifted the curfew. Now I find that the Star Café and Gas Station pumps ETHANOL-FREE gasoline and charges only about a thin dime more for it. A thin dime is an expression that been around for at least hundred years probably, but with a dime being the new penny (in 1950 money), ten cents extra for gas today would have been a penny more in 1955.
USB FOR THREE (or TWO)
The pioneers get the arrows — another lesson in that ancient California pioneer wisdom. I had some blue colored USB ports which didn't work on my new System 7 PC. I called Eddie, a computer tech, to help fix my LCD Gateway vertical monitors, and asked him about those two convenient plugs on the face of my SYS7. We opened the case, found the end of the plug to the two. He gave me the name of the board to order and explained where to plug it in and I'd be in business.
I was interested in doing this for two reasons: the front plugs are so handy for plugging in the Off-Site Backup Disks, which I have to move constantly from my older XP PC to the SYS7 to keep the two synchronized while I'm starting up SYS7. The second reason is that blue ports are USB3 ports which are 5 to 10X faster and when backing up a 1 Terabyte Drive, that's a boon. Soon the day for the grand test came! Plugged in my only USB3 rate 1 Tb drive and began copying 100 Gbytes of photos and stuff. Went so fast that the system got lost and the XCOPY aborted. Tried the same operation on the USB2 and it went through with no problems, but slower, of course! The pioneer, me, got the arrows: expense and time wasted for a new technology where the hardware is ready before the operating system software is capable of handling the new hardware's speed. But I do have two perfectly capable blue ports on the top front of SYS7 which can handle USB2 devices which are up to snuff with the software! Oh well, just pull the arrow out, put a little Neosporin on it, bandage, and go on with the covered wagon odyssey into the new world of computers.
During this problematic hardware evolution, I was able to create all the Batch files to copy the data files from my XP onto SYS7 using one Master Batch file. Basically push one button and all the files that had been changed since the last backup were copied to the 1 TB outboard drive on XP PC. Then I take the 1 TB over to SYSTEM 7 PC, plug it in and run a single master Batch File which copies any changed files into SYS7, thus synchronizing my two systems while I bring SYS 7 into the capability I need to do all of my monthly work on it. This will take several months of evolution as I am in the position equivalent to replacing all four jet engines on a 747 while it is in flight with 357 passengers. A delicate and tricky situation. A major step ahead this month. By the end of the month I had created a System Restore DVD, a SYSTEM IMAGE FILE (35 Gb), and a compressed back up of the C: drive on a separate internal hard drive. BACKUP, BACKUP, BACKUP for computers is as important as LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION is for real estate.
FAN BELT REPLACEMENT AND FALL GARDEN
During the summer months we had decided to let our landscaper mow the fast growing St. Augustine grass and I would take over in the Fall when it slows down a bit. That will allow me to create some mulch for the winter months for our garden from the grass I bag during my cutting. The landscaper's crew didn't bag the cut grass and by the end of the summer we noticed the heavy accumulation of cut grass was matting down the front lawn and we had to rake away the thatch to allow the grass to re-grow. We switched the crew to using a bag to catch the cut grass on the front lawn and it's recovering. It costs a bit more to do this, but will keep the grass looking great.
So along comes September and my new fan belt is waiting for me to install it. Last time I put a new fan belt on my Snapper Riding Mower, I had overhauled it and it was all in pieces so the belt was easy to replace. I had no idea of the complexity I was getting myself into — namely how much I would have to take apart to replace the belt. So I carefully removed the old belt intact instead of taking the expedient way of simply cutting it. From the removal process I learned the minimum items I had to move and remove to get the belt off in one piece. Inspected the worn belt, so worn it would slip while cutting regular height grass, and discovered it was made in China.I was pleased to see that the replacement I bought from Paul's Shop was made in USA, Georgia, by Americans. With some difficulty, I managed to squeeze the new belt between the drive wheel and its metal power drive wheel, but good news was no major parts needed to be removed. Getting the springs back on the clutch assembly was very difficult; I'm sure mower repair places have a tool for that tricky maneuver. I set the heavy mower down from its vertical position, sprayed a squirt of ether spray, and after sitting unused from three months, the new Briggs-Stratton motor started on the first crank. Cut the two lawns twice in September and got lots of mulch for the mulch beds.
Speaking of mulch beds, the large mulch bed sprouted some cucumber plants spontaneously from the earlier crop of cucumbers earlier in the summer. The new plants are growing great and making 3 or 4 large 10" cukes a day, same great tasting cucumbers as earlier. One exception I noted is that very large ones showing the slightest bit of yellow were not tasty, so I have been picking them while still dark green and they're as great as ever.A little salt and pepper and a few drops of vinegar in a bowl, and we never tire of the delicious tasting salads before every supper. In addition the watermelons seeds I planted on purpose sprouted early in September, and we now have our first two watermelons on the vine which has overflowed the mulch bed. One is nearly full-size from a Washington Parish watermelon (whose seed created the plant). These delicious watermelons are by far the best tasting I've ever eaten. Large black seeds, dark red flesh with a great flavor and texture. Del and I have learned that Seedless is a synonym for Tasteless when it comes to watermelons.
The former mulch bed is now covered by producing cucumber and watermelon vines. Plus it contains our Fall/Winter garden crop of Brussels Sprouts, Broccoli, green onions, parsley, plus a newcomer Bay Leaf Tree we bought from Sandy Becnel. When the vines die, I'll simply cover them with cut grass or leaves and allow the bed outside the producing winter vegetables to continue on in its mulching ways.
The regular vegetable garden needed to be cleared so I spent one morning pulling up the Eggplant bushes which were still producing, but small eggplants this year. Picked a couple and uprooted the rest of the bushes. I saw only one green and orange grasshopper on my eggplant bushes this year, compared to half dozen or so in previous years at our former location. But this one hit me unexpectedly when my mouth was partially opened and gave me a start till I swatted it away and noticed what it looked like.
TO DRIVE PILINGS OR NOT — PERMIT ME TO EXPLAIN
Our West Portico porch needed a building permit and some five 35-foot-long pilings driven before we could start work. The permit request Del filed languished in the Gretna office for some three weeks, and after many phone calls to the office and delays, I was called to the office to receive the permit. But, as if I were a bad boy called to the Principal's office (which I never was, btw), I had to sit and listen for 15 minutes to an explanation of why it took so long. I won't bore you with what the department head told me, but her explanation led me to understand that here was a new person in a job who was afraid to make a decision because of some obscure resolution about needing to unite two pieces of property when building of any kind is done which bridges two or more lots. Our house was built across two lots several decades ago and we bought it as is with no problem and now suddenly this comes up? Well, it turns out that the mayor and city council, through our complaint, found out why so many requests for "re-subdividing or uniting" lots had come up: it was because of strict enforcement of a dumb, however well-intended, rule that had been blithely ignored for decades. All that is fixed now. We got our permit after I was forced to listen to a lecture I did not need to hear — I only wanted to pick up the permit and leave.
We get home and on Monday our contractor comes over to begin work, but after cutting through the bricks of the patio where the pilings are to be drilled, he called me out to give me some unsettling but welcome news! Apparently there is a reinforced chain wall a foot deep under the outer edge of patio where piling are to be set. He came back the next day with an 8' long probe and called me to hear the metal pole as it hit the wood pilings beneath the chain wall! Good news is no pilings will be needed! Bad news is an amendment to the Permit has to go through the same office in which I had been lectured the previous Friday. The engineer finally made it out, inspected the chain wall and pilings and wrote the amendment and another week down the drain, and we got approval to amend the permit to omit the pilings. Del is delighted because the cost of the pile-driving and potential damage to the house from vibration and damage to the lawn from the tractor wheels are removed as possibilities. Also Del is feeling much better and ready for the work to begin. When the weather clears up a bit as the cold front pushes down October 1 or so.
FOOTBALLS ARE FLYING HIGH AND SO TOO THE TIGERS AND SAINTS
Preseason pretend games are over for the Saints, while LSU had three away games with ranked opponents. Taking on Oregon (4), Miss State (~21), and West Virginia (16), LSU whipped the opponents handily, thanks to a Jarrett Lee offense and a stingy defense which stuffed the runs and made the teams go through the air, gaining a lot of yards, but losing the games. Also won an in state home game against Northwestern. They are now No. 1 with Kentucky coming into Tiger Stadium to play. Reminds me of the 1958 Tiger team who beat vaunted Alabama (13-6, Bear Bryant was coach) and Miami (41-0) and a couple of other teams and jumped to No. 1 in AP poll, just as they are now as I type these words. On the night Kentucky came to play, I was living in Tiger Stadium, the North End Dorm, and waiting for Dad and my girl to show up for the game. I saw this guy wandering aimlessly around and asked him what was wrong, he said, "I've been driving here from Pensacola for Tiger game for twenty years and always bought my ticket when I got here, and now it's all SOLD OUT!" That's how I found out about the first sell-out in modern times for LSU at home.
The Saints matched LSU's playing of the contender for the BCS Championship (Oregon) by playing the winner of the Super Bowl, the Green Bay Packers, at Lambeau Field, the Packers home turf. Super Bowl champions rarely ever lose the first home game and the Packers were looking to beat the previous Super Bowl team the New Orleans Saints. The Packers seemed to have their way with the Saints, but in the fourth quarter the Saints drove down to the 1 yard line and if the run had been successful, the Saints could tied the game and won it in over-time. The Tigers played the second-best from last year, Oregon, and won handily; the Saints played the best, Green Bay, and nearly won. Clearly the stars of the Saints and Tigers aligned again this year, and with the Tigers 4-0 and the Saints 2-1, a Championship run is well underway. Each coming game will be as tough as the ones so far, but hopes are flying as high as footballs from the feet of Brad Wing or Jon Kasay.
WATER HEATER, SHOWER HEAD, AND RICHARDS
Dan and Karen Richards were coming for a visit from N. Carolina and Puerto Rico where they are dividing their time currently. For the night of their arrival Chef Bobby Jeaux had a gourmet meal prepared, a rare sit-down dinner of Avocado Supreme, Cresh (crab-eggplant-shrimp étouffée), and Fred (homemade vanilla ice cream with blackberries).
First priority was for Dan to visit his mother, Doris, in the nursing home where she is slowly recovering from her hip replacement surgery, which is very serious at age 88. It's still uncertain whether she will survive the recovery and she has been under hospice care since the operation. Del had been sick for over 11 days and unable to visit her mom, so Dan and Karen came back from their visit to report that the hospice care had not been working properly. They found Doris literally screaming in pain as the wound care nurses were replacing her bandages. Having recently gone through hospice care with Karen's father in Charlotte, they knew that some changes had to be made. Del got on the phone and talked to the private hospice company who provides the care to ensure that her mother was given morphine before each painful replacement of the bandages. It seems that the kit that had been promised to be made available never showed up. About a week of adjusting and finagling and getting people to do the jobs they were being paid to do, something Del is an expert at, the situation has been resolved.
In preparation for their visit, we had a new shower head installed (by me) and the hot water heater repaired for the guest bathroom upstairs. (My friend AAA Wayne demands I call it by its right name, Water Heater, saying, "If the water is hot already, you don't need a heater!") The plumbers looked at it and immediately said, "That tape has to go!" It was aluminum duct tape I had placed around the pipe vent which had earlier blown off in a wind. Our pest control man had noticed the pipe was blown off and put it back in place. Or thought it was in place. As I did when I saw it and decided something needed to be done to hold the vent pipe in place and I taped it tight. Well, that pipe cannot be taped tight because then no air gets to the flame and eventually the pilot will go out and won't relight. Then one of the plumbers noticed a black base which offsets the pipe from the heater to allow air to get down to the flame through the same hole that the exhaust fumes go up! Alright, I'm no plumber, but I do recall those bases on gas heaters from our Hagan fourplex apartments. So they placed the black base on the heater, the pipe on top, and said it was fixed. I wondered after they left, "What's to keep the pipe from blowing off again?" They had done nothing to prevent me from having to call them again for the same problem. I decided that I could tape the pipe as I did before, but this time to the vented black base, and that would keep the pipe from blowing off. As I prepared to do the taping I noticed that the bottom of the legs offsetting the black vent base from the heater had some clips that were meant to be placed into holes in the top of the heater on two legs and screw holes in the other two legs to ensure the pipe won't be blown off. I found the sheet metal screws of the right size and attached the base to the hot water heater and then taped the pipe to hold it tight to the fastened base, essentially completing the job the plumbers only did halfway! Chalk one up for Maintenance Man Bobby Jeaux!
On two mornings I fixed breakfast for the four of us. One morning it was the quick omelet I learned how to make from Julia Childs, the next it was Buckwheat Pancakes. The other Dan and Karen had a brunch at Le Pavilion Hotel a few blocks away from Superdome where they went to watch the Saints demolish the Bears. It was the first win ever for Drew Brees and his coach Sean Payton over the vaunted Chicago Bears, and it was Saints fans could do to not throw snowballs at Chicago fans after the game as their fans did to us on a frigid day at Soldier Field in Chicago after we lost our first ever chance to go to a Super Bowl ignominiously. Talk about kicking someone when they were down, that was what a minority of Chicago fans did to Saints fans. After the game was over Dan joined me and Guntis at my club for some libations and conversations. Gave me a chance to introduce Dan around to friends on the club. Came home to a catered meal from Popeye's of fried chicken, red beans, and biscuits plus some leftover crab-eggplant-shrimp étouffée from Friday night.
Construction has begun on our new porch September 29 on Michaelmas and the cold front has cleared the skies and cooled the air for the first breath of Fall.
Sadly three long-time friends died in the past two days. First was Gene Wandling who across the street from our new house on Mimosa street with his wife, Gene, and two daughters. They replaced the Baumgartners who were there for a couple of years after we built. With husband and wife having the same name, they were called by everyone, Mama Gene and Papa Gene. Papa Gene and my dad, Buster, about the same age (90+), were good friends for over fifty years. He seemed part of our family and will be remembered fondly.
Second was Tim Festervand who died in Covington, LA at age 73, lived with his wife Patsy a couple of blocks from us in 1965 and was good friends with Neil and Patty Sterling. His wife Patsy served on the University City Civic Association with me. It was the first I've heard about him and his wife in forty years and I was sad to note that Patsy had pre-deceased him. Guestbook is here.
Third was Philip Matthew Hannan (1913-2011), Archbishop of New Orleans from 1965 to 1989, and a constant presence at major events at the St. Louis Cathedral such as the Mass of Chrism in the years after he retired.
EVERY GOOD THING MUST COME TO A NEW BEGINNING . . .
The month of September brought us 17 inches of rain from Lee, a lusty tropical storm, who dribbled rain on us for the entire Labor Week end, blessed rain for our lawn and gardens again, followed by lots of clear skies the rest of September with cooling temperatures. Del got better near mid-month and her brother Dan and his wife Karen came and stayed with us for a couple of days. This was rare visit for Karen whose job in Puerto Rico rarely gives her time off. My System 7 PC is progressing nicely. West Portico covered porch is due to start any day now. Our very first watermelon will picked in a week or so. LSU has a bunch of home games and the Saints a bunch of away games and by the end of October we'll know better the status of their mutual run for the Championship. Till November arrives, when chilly temperatures and baking turkeys, God Willing and the hurricanes are dampened by North Winds and peter out — whatever you do, wherever in the world you and yours reside, be it in mid-Spring or mid-Autumn, in the Northern or Southern Hemisphere, in the New World or the Old World, remember our motto:
Enjoy the present moment, it's the only Eternity you have and it's given to you for Free!
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Quotes Selected from quotes.htm this month:
- A government can be compared to our lungs. Our lungs are best when we don't realize they are helping us breathe. It is when we are constantly aware of our lungs that we know they have come down with an illness.
Lao-Tzu (Chinese Philosopher)
- In dealing with the State, we ought to remember that its institutions are not aboriginal, though they existed before we were born: that they are not superior to the citizen: that every one of them was once the act of a single man: every law and usage was a man's expedient to meet a particular case: that they all are imitable, all alterable; we may make as good; we may make better.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1802-1882) — American Essayist and Poet
GROWING DONUTS on the Web:
Everything Grows Better and Faster in the South: Growing Donuts. Sent in by Cousine Suzanne Potier on September 26, 2011. Plant yourself a Dozen Glazed Donuts for Breakfast. Complete instructions by a local Expert.
New Stuff about Website:1. Owen Barfield's Worlds Apart.
Unusual Facts added to end of Tidbit of Information: Assorted Facts about the World. Sent in by Jeff Parsons on September 1, 2011. Also check out this recent addition to Tidbits Grabbag.
- Five Featured Reviews:
The narrator, Burgeon, is listed in the introduction as a solicitor with philosophical interests. Thus does Barfield describe himself and take his place in the pantheon of discussants at this three day symposium. Its primary aim was to provide time and space where minds that are normally worlds apart might meet to open cracks in the watertight compartments of their belief systems. The earnest hope was that fresh insights might sluice forth upon the arid fields of science. (With Barfield in charge of the entire endeavor there was little doubt of its success.)
Immediately someone mentioned Galileo's primary qualities of extension in space, figure, solidity, and number. His secondary qualities were everything else we perceive. By means of this revolution in thinking Galileo constructed the watertight compartment that came to be known as physics. Along came Newton who rigged up the box with his famous three laws and thereby wound the mainspring of the mechanical universe that ticked its heart out during the Industrial Revolution. Only problem is: Galileo's primary qualities have been shown to be secondary qualities as well by modern physics: extension and shape are a function of velocity (Lorentz Contraction) and solidity is an illusion of the macroscopic world.
The next idol to fall in the symposium was cause-effect. Are they simultaneous? If no, what happens in the moment between cause and effect? If yes, how do we distinguish one from the other? Main stream scientists are not ready for the "leaky margins" that would accompany the realization that attribution of cause and effect are a matter of punctuation and individual caprice.
The main concept of the symposium involved the idea of evolution of consciousness. Having undergone several such evolutions in recorded history, we discount the distortions that result when we interpret pre-evolutionary events with our evolved consciousness as though our precursors thought exactly the same way we do. In other words, as though the evolution had never taken place.
Simply said, we can only see in the past what exists in us in the present. The student of history must put on antiquated consciousness just as the student of anthropology must put on the thinking structures of primitives in our time to gain insight into their cultures. The history of the future will be dramatically different from the history of the past.
2. Peter Mayle's A Year in Provence
Recently I bought a large format book of color photographs of Provence after having repeatedly read a description in the Daedalus book catalog that went approximately, "Every so often we get a desire to stop writing these silly blurbs and run away to the south of France(Provence)."
When the Christmas mail brought this book as a gift from my daughter Carla, I got my chance to spend a year in Provence over the next two weeks with Peter and his wife. They bought a cottage in the Luberon section of Provence and moved into it. It came with an estate of 47 acres and Faustin, the tenant farmer who tended the grape vineyard. He adamantly defended its existence against a metamorphosis into tennis courts by rich seasonal tourists intent on recreating in Provence the pastimes of their non-holiday world. A defense that was unnecessary in Mayle's case, because he intended to merge into the milieu of the region, not fight against it with foreign conveniences. And merge he did. And thereupon hangs a tale — this book.
Through Mayle's delightful writing, we discover the gustatory delights of a folk who dedicate their lives to dinner — a middle of the day main meal that covers a minimum of 10 courses, 6 bottles of wine, and 3 hours. We discover the dreaded Mistral winds that blow hot and dry in the summer and arctic cold in the winter from the steppes of Russia. These dreadful winds were the cause of the only foreign convenience that Peter chose to add to his cottage: central heating. Normalement that installation would take several days in the States, but the author found the meaning of normalement to be a movable feast in Luberon. Six months, beginning in June, were insufficient to the task of completion, and, in desperation for a dust-free, windowed Christmas, Mrs. Mayle came up with a brainstorm, "Let's invite the workers and their wives to a Christmas dinner." The very next day the workers returned and, without explanation for their sudden return, proceeded to complete the job in time for the party. Vive La Femme!
Vive La Provence!
3. Eugen Herrigel's's Zen in the Art of Archery
In this little classic Herrigel takes us inside the workings of Zen Buddhism as he relates his experiences in studying the art of archery in Japan. He chooses archery as a means to study zen upon recommendation by a Japanese associate, a choice that would have else never occurred to him. To the typical bowhunting fan the number of bullseyes and deer killed are the goal of archery and any meditative aspects of the sport are secondary by-products and are rarely discussed. The Japanese man who suggested archery to Herrigel as an introduction to zen, understood that archery, a silent sport, would bypass the usual linear, analytical processes of the educated Westerner. And it did, as this book demonstrates.
If Herrigel had written his book in the Western mode, it might have gone like this:
1. Learning to draw bow correctly.
2. Holding bow taut with shoulders relaxed.
3. Releasing bowstring without flinching.
4. Hitting the target.
On a Western archery range, the four components of archery would be practiced one after the other for many repetitions with accuracy counts of bullseyes charted week after week.
In the Japanese form of teaching archery, several months are devoted to each step, and only when mastered is the succeeding step taught or permitted. Thus Herrigel spent 2 months learning to hold and to draw the bow, then several months learning the hold the bow extended for a long time with his shoulders relaxed, then more months learning to let the bowstring "slice through" his thumb (release without flinching), and only after almost a year is he allowed to actually hit a target. His teacher, however, is the measure of his shooting success, not the accuracy of the arrow hitting the target. Even though the arrow may have only grazed the target, his teacher might say, "There! It shot!" This praise from his teacher was the goal of the training, for it meant that Herrigel had hit that most difficult target of all, himself.
4. Winston L. King's Zen and the Way of the Sword
The word kamikaze comes from kami - god and kaze - breath. When the Shinto priests prayed for God's intercession during the 13th century invasion by the Mongol hordes, a great wind blew up on two occasions to sink the invading armadas. King tells us:
Kami is usually translated as god; but it also signifies the power or force that, like a static electric charge, was present everywhere in the Holy Islands of Japan. . .
Kami, then, is an ancient Japanese word for the Bose-Einstein Condensate of Danah Zohar's Quantum Self. It was the Japanese name for the living spirit that infused their homeland.
The sword of the samurai (at Atsuta) was one of the three sacred treasures of the Shinto. The other two were the mirror at Ise and the jewels in the imperial palace. The samurai learned to be ready in a split second to split a skull — and to do so at the slightest hint of trouble. To be ready, he had to keep his consciousness still and quiet as a forest pool or as flawless as a newly silvered mirror, so that any signals coming in were sure to be from his surroundings and not noise from his culture-cluttered conscious. One episode illuminates the process: a famous samurai warrior was observing his prized cherry trees in full bloom in the serenity and privacy of his estate while his trusted page held his sword for him. Suddenly the samurai went into a defensive posture and, to his embarrassment, found no cause for his alarm. He withdrew indoors to consider this calamity and to question his own sensibility when his page came to him and apologized profusely. The page explained that while he was standing guard as his master was observing his flowering cherry trees, a fleeting thought went through his mind about how it would be possible to catch his master off-guard at that moment.
Zen quickly became the Japanese way of the samurai warrior, whose very life depended on his instinctual-visceral nature. Other forms of Buddhism were filled with too much of the rational-logical for the warrior. In Zen they found a meditational process that aided their battles and an ethical process that did not limit their options.
Read this book for the history of Zen, of Japan, of the samurai, of the sword, of the living Japanese psyche that survives palpably to this very day.
5. Ray Bradbury's Zen in the Art of Writing
"We are cups constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out." Letting the beautiful stuff out is like an archer releasing a bowstring so that his soul flies straight to the target as Eugen Herrigel explained so eloquently in his "Zen in the Art of Archery." As the use of the title indicates, Bradbury's writing borrows freely from other authors.
When Bradbury was sent to Ireland by John Huston to write the screenplay for Moby Dick, he couldn't wait to leave the country. Only years later did he find himself recovering the images and magic of Ireland in stories and plays he wrote. He likened the literary process to Perseus confronting Medusa. If he looks at her straight on, he will be petrified and unable to speak, but if he observes her by reflection, Perseus is able to act. Thus also the literary act is one of reflection and the amount of time required for the reflection will depend on the depth of the image. For Gertrude Stein it took fifty years before the image of the little drunk girl in the slums of London to surface as a search for Gertrude's own identity. In Bradbury's book he describes the various time delays of raw images and the books he created from those images.
"All arts, big and small, are the elimination of waste motion in favor of the concise declaration." This book has little wasted motion and is filled with firecrackers of insight exploding 4th of July all over the lawn.
Like how he approaches creativity by treating ideas like cats. "You make them follow. If you try to approach a cat and pick it up, hell, it won't let you do it." But walk away and the cat follows you thinking, "Well, what's wrong with you that you don't love me?"
Truly Bradbury is a living demonstration of Kahlil Gibran's famous phrase, "Work is love made visible," as he pours himself, his poetry, imagination, and love into his books — including this one.
New Stuff on the Internet:
- BLONDE STORY: The 710 Automobile Attachment (thanks to Jeff Parsons)
A few days ago I was having some work done at my local garage. A blonde came in and asked for a "seven-hundred-ten".
We all looked at each other and another customer asked, 'What is a seven-hundred-ten?'
She replied, 'You know, the little piece in the middle of the engine, I have lost it and need a new one.'
She replied that she did not know exactly what it was, but this piece had always been there.
The mechanic gave her a piece of paper and a pen and asked her to draw what the piece looked like.
She drew a circle and in the middle of it wrote 710. He then took her over to a car just like hers which had its hood up and asked 'is there a 710 on this car?'
She pointed and said, 'Of course, it’s right there.' The mechanic nearly fainted. By God, she was right! There it was, just where it's always been! You've all seen it on one car or another over the years.
If you're still not sure what a 710 is, look at the first photo below this message.
If you think this story is a fluke, check out the other Blonde Stories.
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.“Paul” (2010) Two Brits after attending a Comics Convention rent RV to tour alien sites in the Western USA when they pick up a hitchhiker named Paul who picked up the nickname from a dog his spaceship crashed on and killed 60 years earlier. Meantime he has picked up the vernacular and is a hoot! Non-stop satire, slapstick, biting humor, and surprises. Show-stopper was when one Brit stopped the RV after Paul got on and quickly tore off the bumper stick he got at convention, “Alien on Board”. Or when the RV hit a bird, killing it, and Paul brought it back to life and then stuffed it in his mouth, eating it quickly, saying, “I’m gonna miss these!” We watched all the special features at the end. Truly a classic movie which your grandkids will watch at Midnight Movies for generations to come. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! ! !
“Big Bang” (2011) Is Puss (played by Dogg) alive or dead at Schrödinger’s Warehouse? Does the White Dwarf explode into a Black Hole at Planck’s Constant Café proving God is the Wizard of Oz? Can physics be fun during sex? Will this movie end with a whimper or a Big Bang? “Don’t play dumb; you don’t have to.” A Film Noir in Black & White and every Color of the Synaesthesia Universe! A DON’T MISS HIT! ! ! ! ! !
“Wingless Bird” (1998) stars candyshop owner’s plucky & fiery daughter who strives to marry Charles and to survive his death alone until she finally turns the tables by saying, “The bird has sprouted wings.” A DON’T MISS HIT !
“Victory” (1996) Daniel Defoe and Sam Neal star in this classic Joseph Conrad tale portrayed in lush reality: a dark jungle, wild savages, long sea voyages, a ship wreck, mysterious Heyst, secret treasure, and lovely woman. “She taught him to love” — the eponymous insight. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! ! !
“Black Swan” (2010) Natalie Portman plays the ingenue ballet dancer to Winona Ryder burnt-out star. A beautiful doll of her mother’s she has sacrifice her own life to be the perfect ballet dancer her mother almost but wasn’t quite.
“The Beaver” (2011) played by Mel Gibson who is lifted from his deep depression by a hand puppet Beaver who begins to speak for him. His wife wants the Beaver gone — rather than allow her husband to maturate, and she gets want she wants, but doesn’t want what she gets. Parallel plot line with the son livens up this amazing movie with a valedictory tagger. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! ! ! !
“Coastlines” (2006) with Timothy Oliphant and Josh Brolin as high school chums. Josh marries the girl when Tim goes to jail, and now Tim is out and the girl still loves him. An explosive movie in a small coastal town and one wonders if any good ending is possible.
“Into the Arms of Strangers” (2000) documentary of the 10,000 children saved from Nazi death camps by being accepted into homes in England. Vintage photos and vintage people alternate to keep up a marvelous running dialogue of this humanitarian venture during WWII.
“I’ll See You in My Dreams” (1951) Doris Day plays wife to Danny Thomas’s Gus Cahn, the prolific songwriter. Wonderfully entertaining look at mores of 30's and the songs of Gus.
“The Jazz Singer” (1953) before Neil Diamond there was Danny Thomas with Peggy Lee playing the Cantor and the Goy who make beautiful music together and apart, tradition be damned. Sacrilege!
“Monica Velour” (2000) Sex and City gal nearly unrecognizable as this fading 49ish porn star whose best fan, 17ish Tobe tracks her down to profess his undying love. Fun movie with all its quirkiness and a good ending.
“Unknown” (2011) is the world Liam Neeson finds himself in after 4 days in the hospital following a crash. Without passport, wallet, he wanders through Berlin trying to find his wife and finds her with another him! Get your Nancy Drew muscles ready! This mind-boggling plot is like Jason Borne’s search for himself and just as gripping, with hi-speed chases over icy Berlin streets. One gal totals three taxicabs, surely a cinematic record! A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! !
“Barney’s Version” (2010) Paul Giamatti stars in this insightful movie about two buddies whose drunken escapades gets one of them killed and the other married to the woman of his dreams. But the caged bird escapes from the empty nest, doesn’t it always happen so? A DON’T MISS HIT ! !
“According to Greta” (2009) feisty 17-yr-old dumped on a coastal retirement village with her grandparents carrying her plans to commit suicide detailed in her daybook. Can Greta (“anagram for Great”) survive her own destructive plans? Will her mom or grandmother ever outgrown their own failed childhoods and become responsible adults? The movie unfolds as a Romeo and Juliet melodrama but with dramatic twists that keep it interesting to the watery end. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! !
“Angel” (2007) is grocer’s daughter who spins romantic novel and then tries to live in one in Paradise, but when she meets the man she loves, she directs his every move and wonders why he doesn’t dance spontaneously anymore until his life hangs by a rope and hers by a thread. If you enjoy watching the follies of others, this one is loaded.
“You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger” (2010) or Woody Allen did London and got two Tonys for it: Banderas and Hopkins. Philandering for phun and prophet, the movie unfolds into plot threads of unhappiness except for the jilted wife who meets a short, blond stranger from a previous lifetime.
“The World According to Garp” (1982) is a world run by his monomaniacal mother who warned him so much about the undertow that he was eventually dragged into it along with her. If you haven’t seen it before be prepared for surprises. Del and were far from 64 when we first heard the song over the title sequences, “Will you still love me— when I’m 64”.
“Lady Chatterly’s Lover” (2006) 201 minute European extended edition — an extra hour of steamy scenes left out of earlier version which we had seen. Interesting watching a Brit telling his Lady in French that her child must be raised English. Subtitles? No time to read them. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! !
“Partition” (2007) when a Hindu Sikh warrior rescues a Muslim woman from sure death during the purges after the partition of India and Pakistan, he falls in love and marries her, making them both pariahs in their own families and lands. Poignant, heart-rending, love story showing how love overtops any religion. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! !!
Misses (Avoid At All Costs): We attempted to watch these this month, but didn't make it all the way through on most of them. Awhile back when three AAAC horrors hit us in one night, I decided to add a sub-category to "Avoid at All Costs", namely, A DVD STOMPER. These are movies so bad, you don't want anyone else to get stuck watching them, so you want to stomp on the disks. That way, if everyone else who gets burnt by the movie does the same, soon no copies of the awful movie will be extant and the world will be better off.“The Plumber” (1979) from Hell visits this couple’s apartment, flirts with the wife, tears the bathroom apart, fills it with scaffolding, and won’t go away. Take this DVD, stomp it to pieces and flush down the toilet before watching it. A DVD STOMPER! ! ! ! !
“Machete” (2010) is chainsaw massacre without a motor. Two heads roll, bungee jump on a human intestine still attached to human, Cheech crucified, Don Johnson and Robert DeNiro’s talents wasted, all in the cause of spilling ten gallons of Technicolor No. 9 blood! An ugly hero with a sexy vest and nude women. Take his machete and chop the Blu-Ray when it arrives! A DVD STOMPER ! !
“Giulia Doesn’t Date at Night” (2009) she goes to jail, gets out during day to be swimming coach where she meets a man who learns to care for her. But she lives in a jail of her own with a death sentence. Slow slow slow with little plot development.
“The Last September” (1999) Strife torn 1920s in Ireland with British soldiers rounding up rebels and rebels rounding up ladies. Dark and moody period piece.
Your call on these — your taste in movies may differ, but I liked them:“Arthur” (2011) updated with zany Russell Brand as the eponymous alcoholic Peter Pan for whom sobriety is Never Never Land, until he meets Naomi the illegal tour guide. How many Batmobiles does it take to make a spoiled rich kid happy?
“Samson and Delilah” (2000) two Aborigine teenagers living near Alice Springs throw rocks at each other, but don’t talk, Samson moves his mattress near her house. Her grandma dies, they both get beat up by others, live under an overpass in a city, then are rescued and move to her family’s place in wilderness where perhaps they will learn to talk. Like watching hair grow in a Barbershop. Total dialogue could fit on a napkin.
“Howl” (2010) was Allen Ginsberg’s poem of liberation for writers. Movie uses only dialogue spoken by the characters represented in the movie. Animated sequences reminiscent of Pink Floyd’s “The Wall”.
“King Lear” (2009) Ian McKellen as the King who divided up his land before his death and set his three daughters against each other. In a parallel plot Gloucester has his two sons set against each other and he and Lear wander the rainy moor, the blinded man and the insane king leading a ship of fools.
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4. STORY: Le Boudreaux Cajun Cottage, drawn by and Copyright 2011 by Paulette Purser, Used by Permission
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Boudreaux and Broussard were sitting on the front porch drinking cans of Dixie Beer, talking about the LSU Tigers football team, and watching the fish jump in the bayou under the large live oak trees.
Just then a large truck loaded up with pallets of St. Augustine grass sod drove past their house. Boudreaux pointed to the truck with his free hand said, “I’m gonna did dat, too, when I win da lottery.”
“Mais, wat you mean?" asked Broussard.
"Ah'm gonna send mah lawn away to be mowed, too."
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5. RECIPE of the MONTH for October, 2011 from Bobby Jeaux’s Kitchen:
(click links to see photo of ingredients, preparation steps; this recipe is an update of the one in digest06c.)
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Background on French Toast or pain perdu: Have you ever had french toast in a restaurant and found it be dry and tasteless? The solution is to make it yourself the way the Cajuns did. They called it "Lost Bread" or in French, Pain Perdu. It was called "Lost Bread" because you could make it with dried out French Bread that was no longer palatable. Our local New Orleans French Bread seems to last indefinitely if you keep it in its paper sleeve. I use a lot of dried french bread to make oyster dressing for Thanksgiving, and save old french bread this way throughout the year and it is always ready to crumble up for the dressing. To make this french toast, I sliced the French Bread the proper thickness, about 2 inches, a few days earlier and placed them back in the bag.
Ingredients for Two Servings
6 fresh eggsButter
6 slices of French Bread, about 2 inches thick
1 tsp of ground Cinnamon
1 TBSP Brown Sugar
1 cup Evaporated Milk
Powdered Sugar and Maple Syrup for toppings
Slice 6 pieces of French Bread in 2 inch cross-sections and save for a day or two. The French Bread can be used immediately, but why mess up fresh French Bread by cooking it when it's so tasty to eat it fresh with a little butter. Dunking into Cafe au Lait is a real New Orleans treat. Besides there's usually some French Bread left over the next couple of days to use for some pain perdu. Start griddle heating up on medium heat.
Add eggs, brown sugar, cinnamon and milk into large measuring cup and stir until ingredients fully mixed. Place six bread slices in shallow dish just large enough to hold them. Pour the above liquid evenly over the bread and allow to soak for several minutes. Turn over several times. Test with sharp fork to ensure the bread is soaked all the way through. Do three at a time. Add several dabs of butter on griddle and when a drop of water sizzles on the butter, add the three pieces of soaked french bread. Allow it to cook completely through, turning over several times. Will take several minutes. When completely browned on both sides, the toast will be done. Repeat process for next three pieces.
Drizzle some real Maple Syrup on the pieces, then sprinkle some powdered sugar. Garnish with slices of orange or other fruit. Bon Apetit!
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6. POETRY by BOBBY from Stuart Kauffman's At Home In The Universe:
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We, the expected,
We, at home in the universe,
We robust beings
on a robust planet,
FRAGILE NO MORE!
FRAGILE NO MORE!
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7. REVIEWS and ARTICLES for October:
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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: The Healing Process, GA#319 by Rudolf Steiner
One must not think that Steiner took lightly his foray into discussing healing and medicine. His conception of the principle he outlines in these lecture first came to him in 1888 and yet he waited until 1923 to reveal them publicly.
[page xvii, Leviton's Foreword] Steiner told his audience that he waited because he wanted to "assimilate it thoroughly and check it against the totality of accepted modern science" before he brought anthroposophical medicine into the world. "We certainly do not intend to proceed amateurishly or unscientifically," he emphasized. "Our work is professional, and we are not repudiating modern science but simply elaborating on it."
The best introduction to the subject of healing comes in Lectures 7, 8, and 9, so we will focus our review on those three lectures. The other lectures expands on some of the themes and are worth reading also.
Steiner reiterates here in a measured fashion something he says in many lectures to diffuse the resistance of those steeped in the materialistic sciences who scoff at anything claiming to be spiritually based. With our present alternative medicines, such as acupuncture, people in general are more apt to accept healing approaches not solely based on materialistic medical science.
[page 106, 107] Anthroposophy is not intended to be the fanatical sectarian movement it is often reputed to be. It intends to be a fully serious, scientific worldview that addresses the spiritual realm as earnestly as we now habitually apply scientific methods to the material realm. This focus on the spiritual realm may seem unscientific from the very beginning because of the common and prevalent opinion that scientific understanding results only from sensory experience and its contributions to the human intellect. Many people believe that we must renounce science as soon as our focus shifts to the spiritual realm. They say that only subjective opinions and emotional mysticism, which are matters of individual choice, can decide spiritual issues and that faith must take the place of scientific knowledge in this realm. My task in this introductory lecture will be to demonstrate that this is not the case.
During the time of obtaining my degree in physics and of my early working career, I became painfully aware that my life's work was useless in everyday life. Only people I worked with were even interested in talking about my work. I felt isolated and wondered if I would ever learn anything useful to my life outside of work. That started me on a searching journey which led me to Steiner and which continues yet today. This next passage reveals what I found comforting in Steiner's work.
[page 107] Admittedly, Anthroposophy does not intend to be a science in the ordinary sense of the word, because science is typically conducted in isolation from everyday life by specially trained individuals. Anthroposophy intends to be a worldview that is relevant to anyone who longs to answer questions about the purpose and meaning of human life and the workings of spiritual and material forces in our existence, and wants to apply such insights to everyday life.
In college I studied chemistry and was taught to see all the processes of plant growth as stemming from physics first, going through chemical stages, and thence into the living plant itself. But none of that told me when I should plant potatoes or oak trees — it simply can't, because the actual processes of growth and flourishing of plants involve cosmic forces that physicists, chemists, and botanists are largely unaware of, or if aware, openly critical of, and therefore unable to benefit from.
[page 112, 113] In addition to laws that work outward from the center of the Earth, we learn to recognize those that work in from all directions toward the center. Laws of the latter type are at work in all living beings, beginning with the plant kingdom. We know that a plant springing up out of the earth contains mineral substances. Today's chemistry has made great progress in understanding how these substances interact, and it will continue to learn more. This chemical information is all well and good, all totally justified, but if we want to explain the existence of a plant, we must explain how it grows, and growth cannot be explained in terms of forces that work upward out of the Earth. It can be explained only by forces that work into earthly existence from the periphery, from the cosmos. We are forced to acknowledge that we must advance from the earthly perspective to the cosmic perspective that includes true human self-knowledge.
Steiner goes on to explain the three processes to spiritual sight which include Imagination, Inspiration, and Intuition. One reaches an understanding that humans are immortal in the sense of being unborn (having lived before being born into this life) and living on in the spirit world during the time between death and a new birth. I wondered for a long time about this issue. I saw life as a puzzle with an enigma on each end. Through studying Steiner's works, I continue to find understanding for many things which puzzled me for decades. When we reach the level of Intuition, he says:
[page 115, 116] At this point we become aware of how incomplete and imperfect our modern consciousness is. At the level of modern consciousness, we speak of immortality or the afterlife as a matter of hope and faith. But immortality, our continued existence from the present point in time onward, is only half of eternity. Earlier stages of knowledge still had words for the unborn, pre-birth state that constitutes eternity's other half, but we do not. Human beings are not only immortal, however, but also "unborn"; that is, we enter physical existence by being born out of the spiritual world just as we enter spiritual existence again when we leave the physical world at death. We understand the human being as a totality only by learning that the true spiritual human being passes through birth and death.
This is a fact of reality, not "a matter of hope and faith" as most religions would argue for and urge upon us. When knowledge arrives, discussion ends — as Steiner famously averred. What is death? It is a tendency which we accept as humans when we arrive on Earth — we die a little every day. Materialistic science talks only about the growing tendencies of life, being unable to perceive these tiny deaths and accept them as a balancing tendency to the burgeoning tendency of growth.
[page 116] Life sprouts and burgeons, but it also constantly declines and disintegrates in us. Sprouting, burgeoning life continually makes way for decline. We undergo a partial death at every moment. There is always something falling apart in us; we simply build it up again. But wherever the material aspect falls apart, the soul-spiritual aspect has room to enter and become active in us. At this point we encounter materialism's greatest error, the idea that in humans, sprouting, burgeoning life continues to evolve into the nerves themselves and that nerves are generated out of the blood just as muscles are. This view is correct as far as it goes, but building up nerves does not develop thinking or feeling. Thinking and feeling develop when the nerves fall apart and become full of holes, figuratively speaking. At that point, the soul-spiritual aspect is drawn into the matter that is falling apart. If we are to experience the emergence of our soul-spiritual aspect, the material aspect must first be broken down.
Inside of the brain are four fluid-filled cranial cavities called ventricles which represent large holes in the brain devoid of nerves. In other lectures Steiner talks of the cavities as the source of spiritual activity, the source of the thinking and feeling which suffuse the brain. Material science completely misunderstands these ventricles and calls them "limpid pools of cerebrospinal fluid which bathe the brain and cushion it from shock." But note how "from the fourth low ventricle the fluid circulates through shallows around the brain and down the spinal cord." Focusing only on the "solid" material of neurons, which convey the thoughts and feelings to us from these ventricles, these hardy scientists miss the source of our thoughts and feelings and instead claim that all thoughts and feelings arise from the physical world. Looking earnestly for the mind while ignoring the ventricles, these scientists have claimed that they find only brain and no mind, up until now.
What is the answer? Steiner's concept of "De-evolution of the Species".
[page 117] Science must acknowledge degeneration as well as generation and regeneration, devolution as well as evolution. When this happens, we will understand how the spiritual element takes hold of matter in animals and humans. (Human beings are conscious of this process, while animals are not.) The material element does not evolve into spirit. Rather, when matter breaks down in a reversal of its original process, spirit takes hold of it. When matter breaks down, spirit can manifest. We are filled with spirit; it is present wherever devolution — "de-evolution" — occurs instead of evolution.
The ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus famously said, "You cannot step in the same river twice." The river you stepped in the first time is long gone before you step in it again. The molecules in your body disappear and regenerate so quickly that by seven years, all of the molecules in your body have been replaced. Humans, rivers, same thing, same processes.
[page 117] In any organism where generation and regeneration take place, degeneration must also be present. Degeneration and regeneration are in constant flux in any organ we look at, whether liver, lungs, or heart. Isn't it a strange figure of speech, for example, when we say "The Rhine is flowing there"? What is the Rhine? When we look at it, we usually have the flowing water in mind, not the riverbed. But the flowing water is never the same from one moment to the next, although the Rhine has been there for hundreds and thousands of years. What is the same at any given moment? The changing flow! Similarly, everything inside us is in a constant state of flux between degeneration and regeneration. Degeneration provides a vehicle for the spiritual element. In every normal human life, degeneration and regeneration are in balance, and our real soul-spiritual capacities develop in this state of balance.
Whenever there is an imbalance which develops between degeneration and regeneration, there is an un-ease which shows itself, a dis-ease, an ill-ness, and a healing to undo the un-ease is one which will restore the balance of degeneration and regeneration. It may be as simple as giving someone with a kidney disease a preparation made from Equisetum arvense which contains a lot of the regenerative forces of silicon. One's general practitioner will not prescribe that, but someone who is steeped in anthroposophic medicine might. There is a place for both kinds of doctors, but anthroposophic medicine generally provides corrections to diseases before they appear in the organs of the body, so the correction is quicker and smoother and healing happens easily.
[page 118, 119] I am not saying that medicine has not made tremendous progress in recent times. Anthroposophy fully acknowledges this progress and does not exclude modern medicine. On the contrary, our work validates it fully. But when we investigate recently developed remedies that are truly effective, we find that they have all been discovered only through luck and a long, slow process of experimentation. Anthroposophy provides clear insight into these lucky discoveries, which are fully confirmed by our insight into human nature. In addition, however, Anthroposophy offers a whole series of new remedies discovered by directly applying our insight into nature and the human being.
A thoughtful Reader will be asking about this time, "What are the regenerative and degenerative processes?" and "How come science does not focus on the degenerative processes?" The answers come from the anthroposophic understanding of the four bodies of the human being: the physical and etheric bodies, the astral body and the "I". The physical and etheric bodies comprise the regenerative processes and the astral and I comprise the degenerative processes. How can we understand this? We all know that our body regenerates itself while we are asleep, do we not? During sleep we have only the two bodies present in bed, our physical body and our etheric body, and these are responsible for the regeneration of our body — they are the reason we wake up refreshed each morning.
During sleep the astral body and the I exit the physical and etheric body, removing their degenerative effect. Our modern doctors claim that we have all the neurons we will ever have shortly after we are born, and that we will never build any more neurons — only lose them due to degenerative processes during our lifetime — and this is the only degenerative process admitted by modern medicine as a natural part of life, not connected with aging or death. But they remain blithely unaware that this neuron loss is due to the actions of the astral body and I which are only present during our awake periods of life.
[page 123] As a sentient being, the human being also has an astral body. (Please do not take offense at these terms; we simply need to be aware of what they represent.) In essence, the astral body transmits sensations and supports our inward, feeling nature. The astral body comprises degenerative rather than regenerative forces and constantly breaks down the burgeoning growth that takes place as a result of the etheric body, or whatever you choose to call it. Soul-spiritual activity is possible in the human organization only because the physical-etheric factor is constantly being broken down. It is quite wrong to think that the soul-spiritual aspect of the human being exists because of the regenerative process or that this process culminates in the vehicle of our soul-spiritual aspect — in the nervous system or the like. That is not the case. All indications suggest that if our profoundly admirable scientific investigations continue on their present path, they will soon discover that the essential aspect of the nerve principle is not a regenerative process. The regenerative process is present in our nervous organization only to the extent that it enables nerves to exist at all. The nerve process as such is slowly but constantly disintegrating, or breaking down; the dissolution of the physical element makes room for the soul and spirit, as it were.
This is also true of the actual I-being, which elevates the human being above the level of all of the other creatures in our natural surroundings. Essentially, the I-organization is always engaged in a breakdown process. It asserts itself most strongly wherever breakdown occurs in the human being.
Our state of health is like a flowing river — there must always be a balance between the amount of water flowing and the shores of the river. If the river flows too strongly, it overflows its banks affects the surrounding area. Our body requires that the flowing regenerative process be counter-balanced by the surrounding degenerative process and if either process gets too strong, our health deteriorates — a state of dis-ease or ill-ness is present.
[page 123, 124] Thus, when we explore the wonderful internal structure of the human organism, we discover not only a generative and regenerative process in each individual organ, an activity that serves the organ's growth and continued development, but also a degenerative process that reverses physical development but makes it possible for the soul-spiritual element to find its place within the human being. I said last time that the specific balance between regeneration and degeneration in each human organ can become disturbed. When regeneration becomes overwhelming, diseased conditions result. Initially, I need to present these ideas on a somewhat abstract level, but they will become more concrete as we continue. When we choose this approach to what transpires inside the human being, we must proceed conscientiously and with a strong sense of scientific responsibility. If we really study each organ individually and with all the conscientiousness we have learned from our natural scientific observations, which have reached such a high degree of perfection in modern times, we will not talk of regeneration and degeneration in general terms but will be able to see the specific state of balance required in each individual organ. We will understand the specifics of health in a human being. Any disturbance in an organ's balance, in the direction of either regeneration or degeneration, is a pathological phenomenon in the human organism.
Modern medicine can be compared to emergency crews sent to sandbag the banks of a river to prevent a flood or sent to dynamite a log jam to allow the river to resume flowing freely. Anthroposophical medicine allows for diagnosis and correction to prevent an overflow or logjam, so that a potentially major disease can be undone before organ damage occurs. Sandbagging or dynamiting of the dis-eased river corresponds to giving fever medication to or performing surgery on a human patient.
The first step in understanding how the regenerative and degenerative processes operate in the human being is to consider the three systems in our body: the metabolic-limb system, the rhythmic system, and the sensory-nervous system.
[page 127] A clear understanding of this view of the human organism shows us that the entire I-organization is closely bound to the sensory-nervous system, while the entire human etheric body is more closely bound to the metabolic-limb system and the astral body to the rhythmic system. The physical body pervades our human organization but is constantly being overcome by its three other members.
Knowing this, we can understand that the metabolic-limb system (etheric body) is responsible for regeneration while the sensory-nervous system (I) is responsible for degeneration. These are polar opposites, with the rhythmic system (astral body) operating between these two poles. The physical body is operated on by all three systems. "Having understood this, we also begin to understand so-called normal and abnormal processes within the human organism." (Page 127, 128)
This is all very simplified, of course. The three systems are actually spread out throughout the human body and interweave each other.
[page 128] It is true that the human sensory-nervous system is located primarily in the head, but it is also found in both of the other systems. The rhythmic system is indeed concentrated mainly in the torso, but it, too, is spread out over the entire human being. Similarly, the metabolic system can also be found throughout the human body. The issue here is not to distinguish between spatially separate organ systems but to recognize the qualitative aspect that is active in the individual organs and permeates them.
When we study our sensory-nervous system from this perspective, we find that it extends throughout the human organism. Our nervous system to the greatest extent, the rhythmic system to a lesser extent, and the metabolic system to a still lesser extent.
Now for a mind-boggling concept: each of our sense organs has digestive and rhythmic functions and each of our bodily organs was sensory functions. It is as if our body operates as I say in this short suggestive poem:
We have eyes in our kidneys
Feelings in our spleen,
Smells in our pancreas,
Tastes in our liver,
Sounds in our heart.
Sounds incredible, doesn't it? Read on.
[page 128, 129] Although an organ such as the kidney contains less of the sensory-nervous system and more of the rhythmic and metabolic systems than an eye or an ear, it nonetheless contains a part of the sensory-nervous system and includes all three members of our human makeup. We do not truly understand the human body if we describe it as having senses here and digestive organs there. That is not the case; the reality of the situation is totally different. A sense organ is only primarily a sense organ; in a certain sense, it is also a digestive organ and a rhythmic organ. An organ such as the kidney or the liver is only predominantly an organ of elimination or digestion; it is also a sense organ, although to a lesser extent. When we consider our entire human organization and its individual, specialized organs from the perspective of the sensory nervous system — from the perspective of the real state of affairs, that is, and not according to the often bizarre concepts of physiology — we discover that while the outer world is perceived by means of specific organs of sight, smell, hearing, and so on, the sensory system actually pervades the human body. On a very subtle level, the kidney, for example, perceives what is going on in digestion and elimination. The liver is also a sense organ in a certain respect, while the heart is an internal sense organ to a very great extent and is only comprehensible when seen as such.
Through a serendipitous synchronicity, my wife, Del, was severely ill from a strep throat during the time I was studying this passage and trying to make sense out of it. How could our various bodily organs have smell, taste, olfactory senses at any level? It didn't seem possible to me at first. But Del was unable to eat or drink anything the first five days. Under doctor's care, she had been given shots and antibiotic medicine, but any liquids she drank came up immediately. She kept herself from dehydrating by sucking on small ice cubes, and managing to drink just enough water to take her pills thanks to some anti-nausea medication.
As she progressed, the first liquid which her body didn't reject was a hot tea I made of a freshly squeezed lemon and some cloves. She refused to try it at first, but I made some and let her smell it and she found she could drink it. All the organs of her body were smelling anything she brought near her nose and rejecting what any one of the organs did not want consumed. That small bit of lemon-clove tea helped her get through that tough fifth day. Next she could eat a bit of hot packaged oatmeal, some chicken broth and noodle soup, some shrimp stew which she insisted I put no seasoning in. Her ability to discern which foods and which flavorings would work and not work was very precise. The only one she was off on was the lemon-clove tea and the sensory ability of her bodily organs over-rode her preconceived notion that she could consume nothing but ice water, but that could only happen after she had actually smelled its fragrance and her bodily organs had sensed it as being okay to consume. I watched the foods she ate and it was as if I were observing the start up of a large chemical plant — small amounts of liquid were sensed and especially selected, and only then were they allowed into the plant where they would be able to pass through the various parts of the system as it warmed up, filled up, and got up to speed so that more and different liquids could be added. After ten days she was beginning to eat regularly and feeling back to normal, and yet she still felt an aversion to sweetness for another two weeks, perhaps indicating her pancreas was the last organ to fully recover.
People who insist that humans are merely the highest primate should know that no animal, even higher primates, has an I and as such can only operate out of its astral body and thus its sensory activity is dramatically different to humans.
[page 129] Please do not imagine that I want to criticize contemporary science in any way. I fully acknowledge all its accomplishments, and I want our view to be firmly rooted in science. We must realize, however, that modern science is not yet capable of precisely understanding the nature of the human being. If it were, it would not associate the organization of the animal body so closely with that of the human body. With regard to sensory activity, the makeup of the animal is on a lower level than that of the human being. Because the human sensory-nervous system is linked to the I-organization, while that of animals is linked only to the astral body, sensory activity is totally different in humans than it is in animals.
The mechanism which enables the entire human body to be a sensory organ is the presence of silicon dioxide. Everyone has heard of carbon dioxide which powers our body through the metabolic system, carbon combining with oxygen and then being exhaled as CO2. But few have heard of the equally important SO2 (silica) which powers our sensory-nervous system.
[page 131, 132] Carbon dioxide production is essential to the metabolic system, while internal production of silicon dioxide is essential to the sensory-nervous system. The latter process, however, is too subtle to detect with our instruments, although methods are available that will eventually permit its detection. Thus, respiration consists of two processes — a cruder process that combines oxygen with carbon inside the organism, forming carbon dioxide, which is exhaled, and a more subtle process that combines oxygen with silicon to form silica, which is secreted into the human body. This secretion of silica transforms the entire human organism into a sense organ, to a greater extent on its periphery and to a lessor extent in each internal organ.
During Del's week long illnesses, she slept a lot and I was constantly checking on her, bring her fresh ice and water, making sure her fever had not risen, etc. As a result, I was unable to do any writing of reviews, because such writing requires extended periods of quiet reflective consciousness, and I had none of those until she began to feel better. In the meantime she spent a lot of time sleeping during which the healing forces in her body were at work.
[page 146] Let's take another look at the human organism. Its growth and development are due to the physical body and the activity of the etheric body within it, while degeneration results from the activity of the astral body and I-being. If only the growing, burgeoning life of the physical and etheric body were present in us, we would never develop quiet, reflective consciousness. The more we stimulate our forces of growth, the less reflective we become, and when the I and astral body are absent from the other members during sleep, we are completely unconscious. Regenerative functions make us grow and allow our digestive forces to process the substances we ingest, but they do not produce feeling and thinking. Degeneration must occur if we are to feel and think; that is why we have an astral body and an I-being. They induce a permanent autumn in the human being. Our physical organization and etheric body induce a permanent spring in our sprouting, burgeoning life, but these members do not support reflection, consciousness, or any other soul-spiritual functions. The astral body and I-being cause degeneration, restraining the forces of the etheric body and inducing hardening and atrophy in the physical body. These are necessary processes.
If this all seems obvious and trivial to you, and you are wondering what this might have to do with disease, consider for a moment all the various obstacles which might occur in your life which cause an imbalance in your alternation between sleeping and awakening periods, between regenerative growth periods and degenerative reflective periods. Too much of one means not enough of the other and the resulting imbalance brings about effects which lead to a dis-ease or ill-ness which requires a righting or return of the balance which brings health. Often that requires some artifact introduced from without (a medicine, perhaps) or a process (a diet change, perhaps) before the equilibrium of health is returned.
Spring and Summer we know as a time of burgeoning growth and we naively might think of the Earth around us as being awake and alive, but that is counterfactual. In reality the Earth around us sleeps during Spring and Summer and only awakes again in the Fall and is most awake in Winter. Clearly this deep wisdom, known by the ancients, has led to our custom of starting school and college terms in the Fall and breaking midway in Spring and taking all of Summer off. Fall was always my favorite time of year. I looked forward to school and college terms, to the cooling air and breezes of Fall and enjoyed Winter. It is within a few days of Fall as I write these lines and I can feel the tempo of my own thoughts rising as the days cool off from the drowsy warmth of Summer.
Like the Earth we humans must switch between periods of generation and decline, but the Earth has a longer cycle than humans, 365 times longer. To the Earth, the cycle takes a year; to humans the cycle takes 24 hours. Thus we sleep at night and are awake during day; our body regenerates while we sleep and while awake we become reflective, we think, we do, we are conscious, and our body degenerates. In Fall and Winter months, the Earth's being awake fosters our own thinking and reflection. In Spring and Summer months, the Earth somnolence pushes us to want to spend time in activities away from thinking and reflection, e.g., volleyball, swimming at the beach, or just lying around in the Sun, not having to think or reflect on anything.
Modern science, medicine, and some colleges ignore the effects of the seasonal changes. In these colleges they install a quarterly system whereby students attend college year-round, and modern science pretends that chemicals extracted from plants are the same, independent of the season of the year they are extracted.
[page 147] Now let's assume that we are looking for plant remedies and that we gather gentian, a good remedy for indigestion, in the spring. If we pick it in spring and prepare the remedy correctly, we can use it to influence what comes from the physical and etheric bodies. In cases of disturbed growth or nutrition, a boiled extract of gentian roots improves the forces of nutrition and counteracts the disorder. If we use gentian roots dug in the fall, however, when the entire plant is engaged in degenerative processes, the effect is not all healing but is similar to the effects of the astral body, that is, the digestive irregularities are exacerbated. In order to use plants as remedies, we must know not only their healing effects but also the proper time to harvest them.
We need an overview of life cycles in nature if we want our plant remedies to be especially effective. If we seek to arrive at a rational form of therapy through insight into disease states, we must consider plant life cycles in formulating remedies. We need to know that plants collected in fall have different effects from plants collected in spring. Smaller differences in timing can also have consequences. When we produce remedies, we must learn the difference between harvesting gentian in the first week of May and picking it in the last week. What takes place in a human being in the course of twenty-four hours is spread out over 365 days in the natural world outside us. To cover a span of twenty-four hours in the human being, we need everything that develops in the natural world over the course of a full year.
Have you known someone whose strong I and temperament (astral body) caused friction with you and led to long term disagreements? A strong I and astral body which invades the metabolic-limb system is one end of the spectrum and tends to result in cancerous tumors.
[page 148, 149] Let's take an example I have already mentioned in these lectures. All four members of the human constitution — the physical body, the etheric body, the astral body, and the I — pervade both the sensory-nervous system and the metabolic-limb system, but in different ways. In the metabolic-limb system, the effect of the I-being is much stronger with regard to the will. All activity, anything that brings the entire human organism into movement, is based in the metabolic-limb system, while everything that does not require movement but fills us with inner experiences, with mental images, thoughts, and emotions, is based in the sensory-nervous system. A significant difference is evident here. In the sensory-nervous system, the physical and etheric bodies are much more important than the I and the astral body, while in the metabolic-limb system, the I and the astral body are especially important. Thus, if the I and astral body work too strongly in the sensory-nervous system, the sensory-nervous system is forced into the other systems of the body. Over-enhancement of the I and astral body in the sensory-nervous system can push this entire system into the metabolic-limb system along many possible paths, but the consequence is always the development of a tumor. We begin to understand tumor development when we see how exaggerated astral or I activity impels the sensory-nervous system into the rest of the organism.
On the other hand, suppose you know someone who constantly suffers from hay fever. This is a person whose I and astral body has withdrawn from the metabolic-limb system and the result is inflammations of various kinds — that is the other side of the spectrum. Tumors and inflammations are the polar opposites of the imbalance of the I and astral body with respect to the metabolic-limb system. Too much involvement leads to tumor growth; too little leads to inflammation.
[page 149] Now let's assume that the opposite occurs: the I and astral body withdraw from the metabolic-limb system. As a result, the physical and etheric members become too strong and radiate into the sensory-nervous system, flooding it with processes that should actually be restricted to the metabolic-limb system, and inflammation develops. In this way we clearly see how tumors and inflammations develop as polar opposites. When we know how to push back the sensory-nervous system when it begins to work in the metabolic-limb system, we discover forces that may lead to healing.
Harmless, edible plants are those which match well with our physical and etheric bodies and foster the regenerative forces. On the other hand, the effects of our I and astral thinking are similar to the toxic effects of some plants on our physical and etheric bodies, and thus those same plants may be useful to produce preparations which will help to re-balance and heal our bodies. (Page 151)
[page 152] The natural forces in the plants we eat in order to promote our own growth are similar to the forces of our physical and etheric bodies. We learn to distinguish these forces from toxic or degenerative processes in the natural world, which are similar to our astral body and I. We view the polarity between nutritive and toxic substances very differently once we have gained insight into the four members of the human constitution-physical body, etheric body, astral body, and I. This insight simultaneously stimulates insight into the healing and nutritive forces that are distributed throughout nature. Once we have achieved such insight, the study of disease becomes a continuation of the study of nature. Spiritual insight into both health and illness enriches our entire view of nature.
To become sick is a very human thing to do. We do not arrive on Earth in this body knowing exactly how to balance the various systems of our body. We learn by making mistakes and getting ill in the process. We must learn to overcome the regenerative forces of our body and learn to temper the degenerative forces as well. In the process we become wise. In the life of Buddha, he had to leave the protective walls of his father's palace to experience the degenerative forces of life and to gain wisdom. In our lives this happens whenever we get sick, and each time we gain wisdom from the process. We only become true anthropos, or full human beings, through the processes which happen in us when we are sick. The opposite of wisdom is folly and Steiner rightly says that we would remain fools but for the possibility of illness.
[page 153] If the forces building up the human organism could not be repelled, if the germinating, proliferating forces of growth were not constantly subdued, we would never be able to exist as beings of spirit and soul. We need the phenomena that lead from normalcy to illness and regressive developments. Specific aspects of these same phenomena transform us into spiritual, thinking beings. If we could not become ill, we could also not become spiritual beings. The possibility of illness makes us spiritual beings. The same phenomena that are necessary for our thinking, feeling, and willing appear in abnormal forms in illness. In illness, our liver and our kidneys are forced to undergo the same processes that appear in thinking, feeling, and willing. These activities simply overshoot the mark and appear in excess. If we could not become ill, we would remain fools for our entire lifetime. The possibility of illness is due to the possibility of becoming human beings who think, feel, and will.
Perhaps by this point in this review, I have given you a glimpse of the answer to Steiner's question with which he led off the lectures in this book, "What can the art of healing gain from a spiritual-scientific perspective?" What indeed can modern medicine learn from an anthroposophical approach to medicine and healing? A lot.
Del has a book which is well-worn from consultation over the past three decades. Written by a true modern day healer, Louise Hay, the book's title says clearly what it contains within, "How to Heal Your Life." In it is a list of possible health problems with suggested affirmations for each problem. Invariably the affirmations pinpoint some imbalance which the person can correct as part of the healing process. When healing spreads darkness, it is well to have a friend nearby who can shed light and Louise Hay is one of those friends. The other friend is Rudolf Steiner with his work in anthroposophical medicine whose work is embodied in part by the Weleda Corporation which manufactures the various preparations developed over the years from the clinics founded by him and Dr. Ita Wegman.
There is a lot more in the other 8 lectures of this book, but Lectures 7, 8, and 9 — which I cover in this review — give the best overview of the process of healing, beginning with the four basic human bodies and explaining how the various systems of the bodies interweave each other and the imbalances which lead to illness and disease and how to correct them.
Read the Full Review with its 4 Footnotes at:
2.) ARJ2: A Jane Austen Education — How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship and the Things That Really Matter by William Deresiewicz
When I met the author he was lecturing about this book, and he began by saying, "The first Jane Austen novel I read was Emma, and it was a breakthrough to me!" His words took me aback because it could have been me saying those exact words. I discovered Emma in James Boyd White's book, When Words Lose Their Meaning around 1987. My breakthrough came as I was reading the final chapter of Emma-- something had been puzzling me and suddenly I realized what it was: Austen was writing about feelings! Didn't I have feelings? Sure, but I considered them personal experiences which I rarely shared or talked about, and here was a novel in which they were openly discussed and valued. Emma the novel was a gem, and one of its character aptly described the eponymous heroine, "Two letters that mean perfection: Emm-a." Sitting there during the lecture I was listening to a man who appreciated Emma's perfection as much as I did — not that Emma was perfect — but that she led others on their own road to perfection in the course of the novel. Undoubtedly she did that for Bill Deresiewicz and me, likely for many other readers. As this book describes what six Austen novels taught him, I had to get a copy for myself and this review is my experience of reading his delightful and insightful book.
Here is his great beginning paragraph:
[page 1] I was twenty-six, and about as dumb, in all human things, as any twenty-six-year-old has right to be, when I met the woman who would change my life. That she'd been dead for a couple of hundred years made not the slightest difference whatsoever. Her name was Jane Austen, and she would teach me everything I know about everything that matters.
Bill was working on a Ph. D. in English literature, but the one area he said, "that held no interest for me, that positively repelled me, was nineteenth-century British fiction." Generally I've found that things that repel me are things which are good for me, things that have a lesson to teach me. The best example I can think of was Dr. Smith on the 1970s CBS sitcom, Lost in Space. He was always carping about something being wrong in a high-pitched whiny voice. I couldn't wait for him to get off screen so the more likeable characters could appear — I liked them. One day I was talking a good friend, Gary Booth, during a lunch break and the subject of Lost in Space came up. I gave Gary my rant about Dr. Smith and Gary said, "You know, Bob, often the things we don't like about some people are the very things we are doing to other people out of our awareness." I began to protest, but if I had done so, I knew immediately that I would doing Dr. Smith! I struck dumb by this simple revelation, and am eternally grateful for Gary having the courage to tell me that.After that my interest in Lost in Space seemed to disappear as if I had gotten all there was for me from the sitcom. The very thing that repelled me was the thing with the greatest lesson for me. Jane Austen was Bill's "Dr. Smith".
[page 1,2] What could be duller, I thought, than a bunch of long, heavy novels, by women novelists, in stilted language, on trivial subjects?
The very titles sounded ridiculous. Jane Eyre. Wuthering Heights. Middlemarch. But nothing symbolized the dullness and narrowness of that whole body of work like the name Jane Austen. Wasn't she the one who wrote those silly romantic fairy tales? Just thinking about her made me sleepy.
When items arise from our unconscious, we will tend to become sleepy because what we call unconscious is the spiritual parts of ourselves which are awake when we are asleep. If we could approach sleep and remain conscious, then we could retrieve the information from our spiritual selves. Dreams provide such a channel, albeit an undependable channel to our unconscious, but the periods right before falling asleep and awakening provide a conduit to our unconscious.
Bill goes on to talk about how hard he was to get along with and his descriptions remind me of when I was his age, about 29 or 30.
[page 3] I was also oblivious to the feelings of the people around me, a bulldozer stuck in overdrive, because it never occurred to me to imagine how things might look from someone else's point of view.
The way I learned to see things from others' point of view was several years after Gary's kick in my pants when I set out on a path of personal discovery through studying psychotherapy. At some point, I realized that I was systematically looking away from people's faces when I said or did something which upset them. This was a remarkably fine-tuned skill which allowed me to upset other people and never know how or when I did so. I might do like Bill and "never let anyone finish a sentence and deliver my opinions as if they'd come direct" from God. People would get upset, but I never once saw their faces express those inescapable and evanescent grimaces, which my quick reflexes saved me from experiencing. Thus, I was spared from getting the very feedback which was essential for me to get along with other people. So immersed in my own feelings, it never occurred to me that I was creating feelings in other people which were hurting them. That insight did not come so quickly as the one which Gary gave me, that took a decade or so, and discovering Emma helped me because of the attention the novel gave to people's feelings, something I had never encountered in a novel before.
What I was concerned with were ideas, big ideas like quantum mechanics, systems design, computer hardware and software, psychology, general semantics, etc. I had no time to spend thinking of other people's feelings. Yet, here in Emma was Jane Austen asking me to pay attention to what I considered minor things in life.
[page 13] Those small, "trivial", everyday things, the things that happen hour by hour to the people in our lives: what your nephew said, what your friend heard, what your neighbor did. That, she was telling us, is what the fabric of our years really consists of . That is what life is really about.
What life is really about is not those everyday things themselves, but rather the feelings that they arouse in the person experiencing them and we do well when we allow them to express those feelings when they relate the experiences to us. Even Sir Walter Scott, renown poet and novelist, marveled at Austen's ability:
[page 18] That young lady had a talent for describing the involvements and feelings and characters of ordinary life which is to me the most wonderful I ever met with. [Her] exquisite touch, which renders ordinary commonplace things and characters interesting, from the truth of description and sentiment, is denied me.
Surely Jane Austen knew about life and its everyday things, which many of us men in our youthful exuberance disdain or otherwise ignore, and those who fall in that category today should undertake some tutelage from a woman dead for centuries. Why? Because: "She understood what fills our days should fill our heart, and what fills our heart should fill our novels." (Page 27) William Deresiewicz came to understand that, I came to understand that, and that gives us both hope that any other man of any age can come to understand that.
To Print the Review go to:
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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.
1. Padre Filius Sees Two Billboards this Month:
Padre Filius, the cartoon character created by your intrepid editor and would-be cartoonist, will appear from time to time in this Section of the Digest to share with us some amusing or enlightening aspect of the world he observes during his peregrinations. NOTE: these two Billboards advertising Billy Graham Revival and J&B Scotch actually appeared side-by-side along a highway through Baton Rouge several decades ago.
This month the good Padre reads Two Billboards Side-by-Side.
2.Comments from Readers:Welcome Returnees!
These next six emails came from Good Readers who had dropped off my mailing list over the past two years when I was forced to switch to Topica.com, but were able to receive direct email Reminders from the new Email Merge System we are implementing.
Great having you guys back as Good Readers!
Several Good Readers have mentioned to me that they bookmark one Digest and can use it to find the latest Digest each month, but they still prefer having the monthly reminder. We have a new method of delivery which gives everyone a personal hello with a Dear Sharon, or Dear Robert, or Dear Kaisu, etc, inside a new, colorful blue framework. (See Sample at Right.)
Our plans are for everyone to receive the Digest Reminder in this new format. Subscribing to Digest Reminder will become possible simply by asking me or sending me an email. As we update the remainder of our subscriber list some of the Returnees may wish to removed and each Reminder contains Instructions on how to stop receiving the Reminder.
This switchover, when complete, will have consumed about two man-months of work for our technical staff, so we ask your indulgence during this trying time. Also look for changes in the Reminder resulting from our newly trademarked name for the Good Mountain Digest: DIGESTWORLD.
The Editor . . .
P. S. Some of you may have had to Copy and Paste link to Digest for this month. That will not be necessary next month.
- EMAIL from Michael Lawrence (Del's former boss in N.O.), now in Fort Worth, TX:
So nice to get this again. I've not been on your list since before Katrina.
The house in Lakeview finally sold and the closing was 9/13. I got everything packed up and moved in 14 days . . . and that included 3 round trips to Fort Worth with a van full of stuff to unload.
I've been living in a 1 bedroom, third floor, walk-up, so now I'm in the process of moving from the 3rd floor to a 2 br on the first floor in another building. I'll be glad when all the moving is done! I want to buy here in Fort Worth, but I don't want to rush into something, so I'm going to sit in an apt. and chill for a year or so. If something needs to be fixed, I'm looking forward to calling some one who doesn't send me the bill!
Hope all is well with you and Del.
EMAIL from Sharon Roberts in New Orleans:
I enjoy reading your newsletter — it's been a while since I received one. Thanks
EMAIL from Robert Chenoweth in NYC:
Good to hear from the Cajun anthroposophist again . . . hadn't gotten your newsletter in months it seems — keep me on your list.
EMAIL Anne Kotch in Massachusetts/Algiers Point NOLA:
Good Morning Bobby,
I just found the September copy of the digest in my mail box. I was thrilled to read it. For some reason, I do know that Guntis receives it but I never have. Thanks for adding my name. Now to figure out how to keep it out of my spam box. I have a new computer and I am having trouble merging my e-mail boxes that I have had merged. Something happened this week that separated them. Oh well, I will get it fixed. Again thanks. See you soon. I am planning on leaving on Monday to return to the city (New Orleans). Peace Anne
EMAIL from Mary Sahs:
I was so sad to hear of Doyle’s passing. He sure was a special guy! I’m glad his work lives on through you and all of the people you have introduced to the Speed Trace. It’s a great tool for healing.
I have to admit, I don’t keep up with your newsletter as diligently as I’d like, but really enjoy reading about your adventures now and then. You do such a good job of archiving everything! Your family will really treasure all that dedication down the line.
Wishing you well,
EMAIL from Tom Verret, a recently retired teacher, who is now voluntering with Louisiana Kids:
Hello Bobby! 09.05.11
. . . Happy Labor Day . . . YES, I Received your e-mail . . .
Thanks . . . Tommy V.
EMAIL from Cousine Suzanne:
Check out this YouTube video.
Cajun Comedian and his Uncle Boudreaux from New Iberia, Louisiana
EMAIL from brother Steve about his son, Dean aka Sargeant Saint:
The following link will take you to an article about Dean in Sunday's Houma Courier,
Steve. CLICK HERE!
EMAIL from Kevin Dann in NYC during Irene. CLICK HERE:
My high school history teacher, Henry Van Dyke, used to always incant to us, as he assigned a term paper: "FULL DOCUMENTATION, STUDENTS, FULL DOCUMENTATION!!!" I had no idea how fun full documentation was until Irene hit, and I met Wylie, Monica, and Nadette.
Your Hurricane Buddy,
3. Poem from Freedom on the Half Shell:"The Free Way"
Give me your poor, huddled masses yearning to breathe free and I will give them taxes, regulations, restrictions, and every manner of unfairness ever created by persons saddled with the illusion that they can decide what is best for someone else's welfare. The individual, like the business professional, knows what's best in a given situation and, given the freedom, will take that action. The forces of coercion are prying open the shell that contains the living muscle and spirit of the American people — will we resist those forces and keep our muscles and spirit alive, free to open at will, or will we give up like the oyster and settle for "freedom on the half shell?" Here is another poem from Freedom on the Half Shell:
The Free Way
In a dream the other night
I went shopping with a friend
At the public department store.
Over the heads of the enormous lines
Of people waiting to go in
The sign proclaimed: FREEWAY MART.
Let's go to another store,
One that's not so crowded.
"No use," my friend replied,
"all the stores are as busy as this one."
Why the name FREEWAY MART? I asked.
"Because the goods are free inside."
But who pays for them?
"Oh, we all do, through our taxes."
Wow, the taxes must be very high.
"Not at all, they've just this year been reduced,
From 97% to 96% of our wages."
But people who don't use any of the goods here,
do they pay just as much as those that do?
"Oh sure, sometimes more, depending on their ability to pay."
Then I awoke and drove to work over "free" roads
And wondered if I could afford that kind of freedom.
4. SAVING OUR EYES FROM MYOPIANOTE: the following description does not apply to hyperopes — they need plus lenses to focus at a distance, and will never be prescribed minus lenses.
If we are prescribed to wear minus lenses when we look at distant objects, the lenses bring them to within the distance of our ability to see without any lenses on. If we proceed to look at objects nearer that same distance, our eye muscles must compress our lenses to see clearly. Those muscles, when forced to do that without rest periods (such as the eye muscles of contact lens wearers), can become muscle-bound, so that they accommodate for the near position of the person's sight and cause the wearer over time to need more powerful minus lenses to see in the distance, increasing the person's myopia, in effect.
On the contrary, if we use plus lenses to read, the plus lenses push the near objects to the horizon so that our eyes are focusing on distant objects while we read and when we remove our plus glasses, our eyes can focus on distant objects without any glasses. This allows our eye muscles to be relaxed while reading and remain relaxed while looking at the distance. No increasing myopia, in fact, someone who developed myopia after childhood can decrease and possibly eliminate myopia by the simple and inexpensive expediency of wearing reading glasses.
Two years ago, I would have scoffed at the idea that simply wearing reading glasses (plus lenses) would help me! Heck, it was the only thing my eyes were good at, reading up close. I was proud of my ability to read small print without any glasses on! What I didn't know was the effect those minus lenses (nearsighted eyeglasses) were having on my eyes and body. They were in a perpetual muscle cramp because they had over 65 years accommodated to my wanting to read and do close work and in the process had blurred my distant vision! I was wearing -2.5 Diopter prescription when I decided to throw them away after reading Dr. Kaisu Viikari's book Learn to Understand and Prevent Myopia. Within a couple of months of discarding my minus lenses and wearing plus lenses (reading glasses) for close work, my distant vision cleared and sharpened to the point that I no require eyeglasses for driving. My eye muscles remain in a relaxed state whether reading or driving and my chances have greatly reduced for developing macular degeneration, retinal detachment, glaucoma, cataracts, migraine headaches, and many other health problems related to the cramping of the eye muscles pressing on the lenses, squeezing the eyeballs, and constricting the trigeminal nerve (the pain nerve) which runs into the body.
If you have small children, buy them reading glasses as soon as they begin doing coloring books and reading. That small step for children will free them from the optical industry's lucrative clutches and provide them with a Giant Leap into good vision and good health.
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9. CLOSING NOTES:
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Thanks to all of you Good Readers for providing the Chemistry which has made this site a Glowing Success. — Especially those of you who have graciously allowed us to reprint your emails and show photos of you and by you on this website — you're looking good! As of June 1, 2019, it enters its 20th year of publication. The DIGESTWORLD Issues and the rest of the doyletics website pages have received over 21.6 MILLION VISITORS ! ! !
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My reviews are not intended to replace the purchasing and reading of the reviewed books, but rather to supplant a previous reading or to spur a new reading of your own copy. What I endeavor to do in most of my reviews is to impart a sufficient amount of information to get the reader comfortable with the book so that they will want to read it for themselves. My Rudolf Steiner reviews are more detailed and my intention is to bring his work to a new century of readers by converting his amazing insights into modern language and concepts.
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