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~~~~~~~~ In Memoriam: Warren Perkins ~~~~
~~~~~~~~ Basketball Star for Tulane University ~~~~~
~~~~~~~~ and ~~~~~
~~~~~~~~ Played in the very first NBA Game
~~~~~~~~ with the Quad-City Blackhawks,which they won ~~~~~
WELCOME TO DIGESTWORLD ISSUE#14b November, 2014== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==Quote for the Thanksgiving Month of November:
A writer is someone who has taught his mind to misbehave.
— Oscar Wilde on his profession, British Author and Playwright
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DIGESTWORLDArchived DIGESTWORLD Issues
GOOD MOUNTAIN PRESS Presents ISSUE#14b for November, 2014
Table of Contents
1. November's Violet-n-Joey Cartoon
2. Honored Readers for November
3. On a Personal Note
Flowers of Shanidar Poems
4. Cajun Story
5. Recipe for November, 2014 from Bobby Jeaux: Fig Bars
6. Poem from The Destinies of Individuals and of Nations:"Thoughts and Wings"
7. Reviews and Articles featured for November:
- ARJ2: Materialism and the Task of Anthroposophy, GA# 204 by Rudolf Steiner
- ARJ2: The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
- ARJ2: Disease, Karma, and Healing, GA#107 by Rudolf Steiner
- ARJ2: A Zen Wave by Robert Aitken
8. Commentary on the World
1. Padre Filius Cartoon
2. Comments from Readers
3. Freedom on the Half Shell Poem
4. The Some Times-Picayune
9. Closing Notes — our mailing list, locating books, subscribing/unsubscribing to DIGESTWORLD
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1. November Violet-n-Joey CARTOON:
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==This month Violet and Joey learn about Being Funny.
For newcomers to DIGESTWORLD, we have created a webpage of all the Violet-n-Joey cartoons!
"Being Funny" at http://www.doyletics.com/images/141021vj.gif
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2. HONORED READERS FOR November:
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Each month we choose to honor two Good Readers of our DIGESTWORLD from those all over the World. Here are the two worthy Honored Readers for November, 2014:
Daniel Lim in Singapore
Erica Griffin of San Francisco, California
Congratulations, Daniel and Erica!
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3. ON A PERSONAL NOTE:
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Out Our Way:
SAINT JOAN, MAID OF ORLEANSFor many years I have wished for our NFL Football Team, the New Orleans Saints, to adopt Jeanne d'Arc, a Saint of the Catholic Church, as the team's Patron Saint, their Patroness. Her single-minded fortitude and warriorship led the fierce battles which kept the entire country of France from becoming a part of Great Britain with the subsequent loss of the French language, perhaps forever. What a great symbol to lead the New Orleans Saints into battle against the fierce armies of the NFL they have to face and conquer 16 or more times every year: St. Joan of Arc, riding her white horse along the sidelines of the Superdome with a long Fleur-de-Lis banner streaming above her head! To put terror in the hearts of opposing teams as she did to the opposing armies of France! But for her indomitable spirit, there would be no France today, no French Quarter in New Orleans, in fact, no New Orleans, and no Louisiana. There would have been no French Lords Bienville and Iberville to found the city, no reason to call one area the French Quarter, no one to give this region the name Nouvelle Orleans (after Orléans in France), no King Louis to name this state as the Land of Louis, Louis-iana. Without Joan, there would have been no Napoleon to acquire the Louisiana territory from Spanish and turn right around and sell it to the newly formed United States of America, doubling its size over night.
Del and I attended our meeting of the Patios Planters in the French Quarter because I wanted to hear and meet Amy Kirk Duvoisin, the Krewe Captain of the Jeanne d'Arc Parade held on Joan's birthday, the Sixth of January. Many of you know that January 6 is known as King's Day, marking the day when the Magi (Kings) were reported to have visited Jesus of Nazareth with gifts from the East, not the least gift was the recognition they brought of Jesus's destiny to become Christ Jesus upon his Baptism by John in the Jordan. On this day Joan was born, whose destiny was to save France from extinction in the 15th Century and make possible the founding of the great territory of Louis-iana, which once filled the middle of the USA, and which covers much of 17 states today, including our own state, Louisiana, with its great city of New Orleans with its remarkably preserved French Quarter.
What better way to honor Saint Joan than with a parade on her birthday each year. She rides her great steed alongside the Bastard of Orléans in the parade. He was given this title to recognize him as a first cousin of the king and his fighting alongside Joan in the battle to relieve the siege of Orléans, so it is appropriate he ride in her parade through the French Quarter on her birthday. (His title is pronounced Bah -ttah' of Uh - lee-ahn)
After Amy's talk, I shared with her my vision for a modern day Joan of Arc to ride her horse in games as a Saints "mascot", although I think we need a better name than "mascot" for Joan, perhaps Patroness.Amy said she has also thought about that possibility and we discussed plans for making that happen. Anyone who can help us in reaching this goal can contact Amy by email at email@example.com or visit her website at: www.joanofarcparade.com. Sainte Jeanne d'Arc has a cachét which is unique and which could be catching. I photoshopped a black fleur de lis on the back side of banner held by the gold Jeanne d'Arc statue in the French Market. I would prefer the banner be white with a gold flowing fleur de lis for the actual banner to be held by the New Orleans Saints' Patroness. That flowing fleur de lis can be then used to replace the stagnant upright one of today's Saints helmets which more resembles the way Saints linesman are standing flat-footed in the final minutes of a game, pulling defeat from the jaws of victory by their inaction! We need a flowing emblem like the Patriots, the Broncos, and other teams have adopted in recent years for their helmets, one which does justice to the nature of our Patroness, the great Saint Joan of Arc, who mightily pulled victory from the jaws of defeat and saved her country and made our state possible.
Our Fall garden is really a winter and early Spring garden due to our mild winters. Last year we picked Swiss Chard, Kale, and fresh broccoli to use in our green juicing almost daily until Spring time. The artichokes barely wilted due to the freezing temps we had a few times, something rare for New Orleans, sheltered by the warming waters of Lake Ponchartrain. Its moderating effect on our temperatures keeps our temperature below 100 (only 17 times or so above 100 F in the long history of New Orleans) in the heat of the summer and above freezing in the winter about 3 out of 4 winters.We had large Hawaiian ivy plants that lasted about 15 years up until that hard freeze in the 2009-2010 winter which killed them right after we moved to a house a few blocks away.
My little Echo Tiller, I call it Tillie after the daily comic strip Tillie the Toiler from the pre-1960s, is a bit difficult to start, but if I keep it running, it never stops. The secret is to put some Sta-Bil gas stabilizer in the gasoline can which holds the oil and gas mixture for the 2-Cycle engine. If not, I'm facing a $125 carburetor cleaning job each year. She wouldn't start after a bunch of pulls, luckily the pulls are not strong for the small engine. The entire tiller is about as heavy as a lawn edger, and can moved with one hand. I wore gloves to protect my hands, but the number of pulls caused a blister to form and break between my right index and middle finger. I switched to the next finger space for the remainder of the starts. So, when Tillie was not starting I moved her over to the garage to rest a minute, then I decided to give her one more try before giving up on her. No female likes to be given up on, and Tillie seeing the garage so close, apparently decided to start on my next pull. Two other times she stopped, once I hit the kill switch by accident, another stop came when I was trying to remove debris. Well, she got balky and hard to start each time like a jilted female, and I had to let her cool down for at least 15 minutes, and usually on the first crank she was running again. Del came out and began clearing roots and debris, etc, while I tilled ahead of her. Another pass with Tillie to finish building rows on south edge and that came on another day.
BAD NEWS FOR TOILET PAPER
You need it, but:
It's gonna get narrower.
It's gonna be printed in Mobile, Alabama.
It's gonna be late at the times when you need it most, like after a Saints loss.
Now, by the time you read this, all New Orleans locals will know that I'm not talking toilet tissue, but about the Times-Picayune newspaper, known as the TP, for many reasons, in addition to TP being an acronym for Toilet Paper. Maybe it should receive STP for its new moniker, The Some-Times Picayune. STP in physics means Standard Temperature and Pressure, and for sports fans in New Orleans who read the STP, what used to be standard will be old news, as their body temperatures and blood pressures will be rising while waiting for their sports news and, instead of scores and reports, they will receive excuses like "Night Game" for the previous night's games in their late morning STP. Why? Because the STP moving out of New Orleans, it is shutting down its local printing presses, it is vacating its very visible office building along I-10, and it is firing a hundred loyal employees. Why? Just to save a few bucks for its rich New Joisey owners by outsourcing its printing to the Mobile Press-Register (MPR) in Alabama.
Don't these knuckleheads know what happened to Nick Saban's reputation among locals when he got himself outsourced to Alabama? He became known as Nick Satan some say, who add that he needs bodyguards just to get a bite to eat in a Louisiana restaurant ten years later. The MPR is printed on narrower stock than the TP newspaper, so the new TP will be narrow, out-of-state, and late, especially for local teams which play night games, especially the Saints, LSU, and the Pelicans.
Have you driven between Mobile and New Orleans lately? It's 150 miles and 2 hours and 23 minutes just to transport the printed newspapers to a central point before it can reach our homes, about 2 hours and 23 minutes longer than it takes now. You do the math. Will the Saints games end 2 hours and 23 minutes earlier just for the convenience of the Some-Times Picayune subscribers? I don't think so. "Ricky, you've got some explaining to do!" Lucy is saying. The TP will be losing its edge vis-a-vis the New Orleans Advocate, which is a good thing, for toilet paper to lose its edge that is, but not for a morning newspaper whose folly in the past two years has helped create a strong competitor for its now sporadic paper delivery. It has already lost 20% of its subscribers to the Advocate. Many more subscribers will jump ship to the Advocate with this last folly foisted on locals by an out-of-state newspaper sindicate (sic, sick, sick). Already the writers for satirical Carnival floats (who came up with the name Some-Times Picayune last Mardi Gras season) are rejoicing at this new fodder provided for their upcoming parades by Tsar Ricky Matthews and his scurvy crew at the Some-Times Picayune who are bailing out on New Orleans, again. It's time for all New Orleanians to bail out on the STP!
TWINS AND OCTOBER BIRTHDAYS
Not everyone is blessed with having twins, so I thought it might be nice to do something different this year for our twin boys Jim and John who are men now, nearing their fiftieth birthday next October. I suggested to Del that she and I each call one of them on our cell phones at the same time and sing Happy Birthday to them both at one time, something we've never thought of doing before. Jim is in Dallas and John is in Baton Rouge, but, if this worked, they would be linked together once again, both hearing their mother's voice at the same time, something that was a daily occurrence in utero. Our first attempt failed to both of them, but John called back, saying he had missed call the call from Del and I immediately dialed Jim and we quickly got them both on the line at the same time. We offered to let them to say hello to each other via our cells, but they said they'd already called each other. One birthday you can't forget is your twin's birthday. So we sang Happy Birthday to our twins at the same time, even though three of us were separated by many miles. When we reached Jim, he said he was watching a survival show in which two men were tethered together by a 30 ft rope and had to survive in a jungle. We reminded him that at one time he was tethered to his brother, "Yeah, but that was a much shorter rope!" he replied.
October is a busy birthday month for us; we send out 7 birthday cards between in-laws, kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids, and we attempt to phone each of them on their birthday. A first-ever event happened to me this month, our great-grandson, Benjamin called me. This is the first time any of our greats have been old enough to have their own cell phone and he was calling to get our home address. It was right around his 14th birthday and a few days later we received a Thank You note with a new school photo of Ben which I quickly put in my Z10 cell phone. When he called, I saw his name come up (now his photo will, too), and said, "Where are you, Ben?" He replied, "Across the Lake." I said, "Not across the Lake from me, as Grama and I are in Mandeville visiting her brother at his new house." Ben lives about 10 miles away from Mandeville in Pontchatoula with his dad, Nick. Sierra, our only girl October birthday, received her birthday card on time because our son Robie sent us her new address in Maine where she is going to high school this year while staying with her aunt.
FULL MOON ECLIPSE
Not every Full Moon brings an eclipse with it, but this one brought a total eclipse of the Moon. It was due to be a total eclipse between 5 and 6 am, about the time I usually get up, so I got up at 5 am and looked out the window to the west and saw fog, so I got back in bed to sleep for another hour or so, but decided, what the heck, already awake, so why not go get the paper. Out on the east side of our home, I picked up the paper and noticed that the sky was clear over head and in the West, there was a small sliver left of the Full Moon. I took a shot every minute or so and during one of my breaks, I saw a dark figure jogging by, some local guy I figured, so I said to him, "Don't miss the eclipse of the Moon." It was a friend and neighbor, Zack Mouton, and he came closer so I could make out his face under the baseball cap. He said he had been in Seattle a day earlier and noticed the Full Moon and couldn't figure out how it had gone to the last quarter so quickly. (See Zack's photo below during Halloween Event.)
My new SONY Camera which took the sharp photo of the last almost Full Moon so well on the AUTO settings, didn't do as well when there was only a sliver of the Moon present, it overloaded the exposure causing a poor photo. I rely on the AUTO which does so well, and the amount of time and experiments it would take to find the exact MANUAL setting for a waning Moon is just not worth it. I finally went inside and came out about a half hour later to find that the Moon was recovering from the eclipse just as it set in the West behind the trees some 150 yards away.
A GUST FROM THE EAST
On the same day as the eclipse, we received a big Gust from the East, Gust Valantasis and his wife Janet, the couple we met during our Atlantic Crossing a couple years ago and who accompanied us on our summer vacation in Switzerland, Germany, Holland, and Belgium. They were heading eventually to San Antonio west of us, but wanted to spend a few days in New Orleans. Janet remembered some fried softshell crabs she had here some 30 years earlier, and that was at the top of her agenda for this trip. They stayed at the Westin Hotel in One Canal Place and called us to pick them up about 6:30 for dinner. It's an easy 15 minute hop from our house and we were soon heading to Houston's Restaurant on St. Charles Avenue. We began with their special appetizer, the grilled artichokes for the table. Janet ordered the two crabcake entree and Gust the red snapper, which he gave me a piece of it and it was delicious. I wanted the single crabcake salad appetizer, but was told that it was a luncheon only item, but in Houston's Restaurant, menus are only suggestions and the waiter asked the gal who prepared the appetizer salad if she had enough fixings and she did, so I got my wish. Best tasting new salad at Houston's since the Califormia Salad of the 1980s and of course the Oriental Salad, still on the menu from the 1990s, which Del ordered.
A great meal with great friends in a lovely setting, can't be beat. Without having to ask, we were given the best seat in place, in the far left table along the window looking out on the vintage green streetcars passing by on the oldest continuously running streetcar track in the USA. New Orleans kept what other cities are beginning to add again: electric trolley lines for city traffic and tourists. Del and I had a great time catching up with our friendies. I don't use that word lightly, it's word that Del taught me to use only for very special friends; we may get only two or three in a lifetime, and we both agree Gust and Janet are friendies. A friendie is someone you can enjoy being a kid with again. We get along with them famously, and when the four of us are together, EVERYTHING WORKS! For example, the next day together we ate at Galatoire's, and we got the best table in the place, at the front window against the wall. The least amount of noise and the fewest possible neighboring tables, only two. Then at night at Brocato's we sat in the front window alcove, against out of traffic and with only one few neighboring table.
After dinner that first night at Houston's, I took them on a driving tour of St. Charles Avenue, taking a U-turn at Riverbend, passing Loyola and Tulane University Audubon Park, and looking at the elegant century-old mansions along the most exclusive avenue in the city.On the way back downtown, we stopped at one of these mansions, parked our car and regaled in the front yard. A huge century old live oak with its limbs nearly touching the ground covered a ghostly crew decorated in macabre Halloween costumes, each figure tagged with some humorous saying, e.g., the 610 Grave Stompers, the Bony Pelvis, Bare Bones, I'm chilled to the bones, etc. A man from New Orleans took photos of the four of us before we headed back to drop Gust & Janet off at the Westin.
The next day we dressed for lunch at Galatoire's and a full day of fun with Gust and Janet. No traffic, we zipped down Camp to Conti and our favorite lot attendant parked our car. Then we walked to Peter's and up the street a block we saw them and waved at them to wait as we were doing down Iberville. Wanted to take them past Acme's and Felix's. Unfortunately Janet doesn't like oysters (which helped when we ordered Oysters Rockefeller, and they brought six for table, 2 apiece for Del, Gust, and me).
We arrived about 30 minutes before Galatoire's seats folks, so Del suggested a walk to the Royal Sonesta's atrium outside John Folse restaurant, Revolutions. Its corner is under construction, so we walked out to the street via the bar. Arrived back at 11:25 or so and were soon seated at the great spot by the window, and Maja (Maya) waited on us. A pleasingly plump and feisty gal, she gave us all the time we needed. Galatoire's service is never rushed, some lunches go on for hours and hours, it's a Galatoire's tradition; people who want to stay because they're enjoying themselves are made to feel as is this is their home. Their great service is only exceeded by their delicious food, and I can tell you that on this day I had the best food I've ever had in any restaurant, anywhere, anytime.She began by serving us the gouté (crab salad and remoulade) and the Oysters Rockefeller before we had even ordered our entrees. Del and I got the luncheon menu items, I had the black drum and she the soft-shell crab almondine. Janet who was lusting after softshell crab beamed when the maitre'd at the door told her, "Yes, we have them!" Gust had the lemon fish. From the faces of our friends we could tell this was the best ever meal they ever had, too. Everyone raved over the meal as we walked up Bourbon street towards Jackson Square. I wanted to stop at Legends Park to show them the statues of famous New Orleans musicians. I had to explain who Chris Owens (Sho-Bar performer for 6 decades) and Ronnie Kole (incredible pianist) were. Then we shifted over to Royal Street where we stopped to listen to a small band with two trumpets, a clarinet, bass, and a tap-dancing emcee who provided the rhythm for the jazz pieces they played. The Royal Street Windin' Boys (with a girl trumpet player) got a fiver from me for their elan and verve!
I noticed the patio at the end of the hallway of the Historic New Orleans Collection where I've seen and heard Armand St. Martin play during French Quarter Fest several times, and I invited Gust to walk in with me to see the small patio surrounded by old slave quarters.He walked up the stairs where I hadn't been before and there were the archives of the history of New Orleans, original documents of the transfer of Louisiana from Spain to France and the three weeks later selling of Louisiana to the young United States from Napoleon to Thomas Jefferson's representative Livingston in Paris. Del and Janet followed us up and an old classmate from Warren Easton was a volunteer there, Wayne Gordon and a Fortier High graduate, Irving Rosen. Irving told us about the special documents in the room. This is a must-see for all visitors to the French Quarter, especially Louisiana residents.
It's an old New Orleans custom that if you spend a day in the French Quarter you will get rained upon. Adds to the romance of the place. Ever notice how a couple gets rains upon in movies just before they fall in love. Happens every time. And so it did rain on us as we entered Jackson Square, and we were forced to take cover along the southern edge of the Square under the balconies and galleries. We waited at Decatur for the rain to stop, as it usually does. But it chose to do so just as Gust had given up hope and went back looking to buy umbrellas. We called him to join us again and walked into Café du Monde and found a table for four right away. A table for two was getting up and the gal said we could have their table, so I turned away from the table I'd chosen and explained to her that we needed four chairs this one had, but when I looked back some couple had tried to take the table I was holding onto. Politely I suggested they take the two'fer just vacated, and we took the fourfer, but later I noticed they had gone elsewhere.Del said the guy didn't like the dishes on the table. Alien visitors, no doubt, probably from Atlanta; no New Orleans native would bother about dishes on the table at Café du Monde. As it was, we had to clean the sticky top of our table; tops get sticky from the abundance of powdered sugar poured over the hot beignets (doughnuts fresh from the fryer to the table). After eating our fill of café au lait and beignets, we walked towards the Cathedral, but I suggested a dog-leg left into the fenced off Square which is so often shut on busy days, and I wanted them to see it from the inside. We walked inside the cathedral and I showed them the statue of St. Joan of Arc, Maid of Orleans, just to the right inside of the middle door as you walk into the nave of the church.
Then we walked down Chartres toward our car, stopping in the Pharmacy Museum about 3:45 when they were ready to close. Decided not to stay and walked around the corner. Given Gust's construction background, I thought we'd stop in Bevelo's Lamp place. He enjoyed it a lot and got a card from saleslady. Then I went over to our Maxima, got in and pulled out, let the three others get in, and we were in the street immediately driving up Decatur all the way to Esplanade Avenue and drove the length of the avenue, another magnificent avenue, to City Park, stopping along the way at Terranova's Supermarket. We parked in front of 1313 Mystery Street and Del related the story of how this address nearly kept her parents from ever dating as Dick thought he was being put off when Doris told him where she lived.
Jennifer, our grand-daughter, was upstairs tending Anthony's grandmother but came down shortly. Gust bought water bottles for us, we gave Jenny a hug. I teased Benny, "I never saw the head of Rouse's ever help a customer take her groceries out to her car", referring to what I observed him doing as we walked up. He smiled.
We arrived about 5:05 at Two Sisters Pavilion, apt name for Janet and Del, two sisters of a different mother. Got a block of four chairs immediately right in front of John Rankin. I went down a new longer pathway across the northside of the garden area and took some photos. There was a bunch of robins wandering across the garden, but they spooked easily and I barely got a good photo of any before they had flown elsewhere.
When I got back inside the air-conditioned pavilion, the concert began, again the best Twilight Concert ever! John did three instrumentals, then called Don Vappie to accompany him on the bass fiddle, later helped Norbert Slama, an 88-year-old pied noir, a French-speaking Algierian blind accordion virtuoso musician who played with and for Josephine Baker, Edith Piaf, Elizabeth Taylor and many other femme fatales. He was led to his seat by Rankin and played three Parisian style waltzes on his accordion accompanied by John. Then Don Vappie played his banjo and sang in French with John. Then Chaz the washboard player came up and they did a knock-out version of Pennie s from Heaven, and you could hear the pennies hitting the sidewalk, directly from Chaz's washboard. In the second set, a fifth musician joined them, Paul Soniat, who sang Mr. Money Talks and a new one Rosalie. Several standing ovations!
At the break I bought a copy of Slama's memoirs and asked if he would autograph it. He said, "I'll give you a scribble" and he did. Never had a blind author autograph a book for me before, ever! And not likely again. As we left I went up to Don to tell him I listened to him and his wife Millie on WWOZ and asked if she were here. He said, "No, and I wish they wanted us back on OZ." Passed the Greek Temple and Morning Call on the way out, but didn't stop, no room for more café au lait and hot beignets. I decided to head for Angelo Brocato's for dessert, for me a lemon ice, freshly scooped, not frozen solid in a paper container. We found a parking spot right around the corner and scored a table into the corner by the front window. Del, Janet, and I had a lemon ice and Gust a Rhum Baba dessert soaked with rum. I tried some of it, but to me Brocato's means lemon ice. As we sat there, Gust shared with us that whenever he and Janet go to a new city, he always tries to find the oldest ice cream parlor there, so, on a hunch, I suggested he do his thing "right now." He Googled it on his cell phone and found the oldest one is Angelo Brocato's, the one we were sitting in. It began in 1905. Without knowing this bit about Gust and Janet I had steered them into the place they might have had to look for later.
We drove to Canal Street, taking a right turn to get them to see the Cemetery area at the foot of Canal Street. They were impressed, even at night. I U-turned on Canal Blvd and we drove back to the Westin along Canal St, past the billion dollar medical center under construction. New Orleans will become a medical destination soon for people seeking the best medical care. We said goodnight to our friendies in front of the Westin. The next day they were planning a river boat ride on the Natchez and other touristy stuff and they were coming over to Timberlane for dinner and card playing later. Gust and Janet arrived about 5; Gust and I talked together in the kitchen while Janet and Del walked out in the garden. We took a short drive to our neighborhood café, DiMartino's Deli, for their great seafood buffet.The owner came over to meet our friends and asked if we'd like some ice cream, and so Gust got to taste some New Orleans ice cream at last. We said, "Sure", and Peter returned with some vanilla with a light caramel sauce dripped over it. What a treat. We came to our kitchen table and made ready for Pay Me! card game. We played two games, I was the big winner, almost two whole dollars. Janet made a bunch of Pay Me!'s and Gust got in a few himself. Del broke even. It was a fun time and we were sorry to goodbye to two great friends when they left. As they were getting in the car to drive off towards Houston, I told Gust if they are passing through Lake Charles on I-10 after 11 am, be sure to stop at Steamboat Bill's for a couple of crawfish pistolettes. They deep-fry the small french loaves, about 6" long, right before 11 am, so you can't get them sooner than that. When you order yours, they fill the pistolette (size of a small pistol) with hot crawfish étouffée and the result is a delicious taste treat you can find nowhere else. The tender and slightly crispy bread is the secret.
I received a text from Gust containing a photo of Janet outside Steamboat Bill's the next day with a "Thanks for the recommendation" message.
After three days of intense touring of New Orleans, we were ready for a day off, but that would have to wait one more day because our Matherne Reunion was taking place in Houma tomorrow.
MATHERNE REUNION ON THE BAYOU
Well, it was along Bayou Black Road, but the spot of the reunion abutted the Intracoastal Waterway. And what a spot it was! Best guess for me was my cousin Jackie's home was on an estate covering 5 to 10 acres situated in a corner along the Intracoastal and a small canal along the south side where their large party boat was docked. Coming up to the place for the first time, it looked like a large Country Club with an iron fence across the front, some 200 feet from a huge French Chateau home. We turned left into the driveway and spotted the cars and a table near the opening to the reunion area.Between the house and the Waterway was a very large pool with a bar inside the pool and a large patio area accessible by foot bridges over the perimeter of the pool. It was in this center area that the 120 Matherne's collected together for the obligatory family photograph. Don't know who the photographer was but he was situated on the second floor with his cameras for the best view of everyone. Next to the large covered kitchen and sitting area, a large tent had been erected, which came in handy with a typical South Louisiana rainstorm passed by.
For the Matherne Millennium Reunion in 2000 I decided to take individual bust shots of everyone present. This was the early days of digital cameras and I needed a ready supply of 3.5" floppy disks, each of which could hold about 10 photos. The size of each photo file got larger the more detail in the photo, so I set up a spot in front of three colored balloons in front of a beige wall.Del helped out enormously by writing down the name of each person as I took the photo and recording which disk it was one. I took 175 photos that day, taking about 30 seconds per shot to interact with my relative and get them to smile. Bad thing is that took up all the time at the reunion, except for eating and the group photos others shot. Good thing is that Del and I got to be up close and personal with each of my relatives, half of them she hadn't yet met and about one-fourth of them I hadn't met (the under 20 bunch).
When this second reunion came up, I swore that I was not going to spend all my time shooting photos and taking names, but rather Del and I would enjoy ourselves with our relatives. Yes, I shot photographs such as the banner photograph across the top when a large Tugboat pushed two very long barges past the Reunion tent, so long that I could barely get the first barge and part of the second barge in, moving as far back as I could. I took a second shot of the big tug pushing the two barges.
The events began with a balloon ascension, no, no one went up in a hot air balloon literally, but about 8 colored helium balloons, like the ones decorating the Bourg Gym for the 2000 Reunion, were given to the preteens to each hold one. No one explained the symbology, but from my best estimate there was one balloon for each Matherne relative we lost in the previous 14 years, Buster and Annette Matherne, Purpy and Maryann Matherne, Elaine Orgeron, Slim and Hilda Breaux, David Matherne, and maybe one or two others. On Brian Matherne's signal the balloons were released and quickly flew over the large house.
Brian gave the microphone to me and I gave a short talk about the origin of the Matherne family. For those who weren't there or who couldn't hear, I'll give a reprise of what I said. Johann Adam Matern came to Louisiana about 1721 from Rosenheim, Germany in the Alsace-Lorraine region. He apparently checked in at the Hahnville, Courthouse which probably had a French clerk who registered him as Matherne. I suspect Johann said in German, "Wir heissen Matern." and the Cajun clerk said, "Oui, Matherne", which sounds in French like Matern, and wrote down the name that way, thus creating for the first time, the surname Matherne.Thus, Matherne is a Frenchicized German name, which later became Anglicized into its current English pronunciation, Muh-Thurn. Johann had two sons and which Nicholas died, his surname was recorded as Matherne, making him our joint ancestor. His brother Jacques, when he died, his surname dropped the "h" making the Materne line spring in to being. Since this happened only one time in history, so far as I can tell, that means all Mathernes and Maternes are related, and when anyone asks if I am related to So-and-so Matherne, I can say, "Yes, a distant cousin", even if I never heard of them. So we are all Anglicized-Frenchicized-Germans, right? Well, there's a bit more to the story. Apparently some ancestor of Johann Adam Matern migrated to the Alace-Lorraine region from Vascony or Bascony, the Basque region between France and Spain. A Basque historian when I introduced myself as Bobby Matherne, said, "M stands for Monsieur or Mister, at for gate, ern for diary, so your surname means 'A man at the gate to the dairy' in Basque, making Matherne originally of Basque origin. Basque surnames are always of things around the home or farm." He explained the Basque people were great shipbuilders, fisherman, and explorers, and I can see some of the Basque spirit in my dad and his brothers who loved fishing and being in boats of all kinds.My dad actually built two boats from scratch with his own hands in the 1940s. In fact, he built himself a trailer, a gas burner for boiling seafood, two homes for himself and two for two of his kids, among a lot of things. For example he couldn't afford to hire someone to, say, dig a cesspool, so he made one himself.
The Timberlane Garden Club met at our home this month, and that meant extra house-cleaning time to get the house sparkling for Del's garden club ladies. About 25 ladies were present and Del had table settings to take care of them. Del catered the entree, Chicken cordon bleu and two other members brought the appetizers, salad, and side dishes. My job was to open the champagne bottles for the mimosas and stay out of the way. I worked at my PC until the food was being served and things got noisy.
That night we drove across Lake Pontchartrain to meet Dan and Karen Richards who have bought a new house in Mandeville, about a block north of the lakeshore. Dan, Del's brother, followed his wife Karen around the country in her job as key executive for Maersk shipping company, Chicago, Florida, New Jersey, and North Carolina and when she retired she said, he should get to pick the place to live, and he chose the New Orleans area but across the 24-mile bridge to the Northshore.They are renovating and upgrading their house, adding a cupola to the top floor for light for Dan's office, an elevator to the main floor, and concrete flooring on the ground level floor. While we were on the main floor, I had a first-time event happen to me: I received a phone call on my cell phone from a great-grandchild, my great-grandson, Benjamin. I saw his name come up, so I answered saying, "Where are you Ben?" He said, "Across the lake Grandpa". I said, "Not across the Lake from me, Ben, I'm at my brother-in-law Dan's new home in Mandeville." Ben lives with his dad about 15 minutes away in Pontchatoula and was celebrating his 14th birthday along with our grandson Collin whose birthday is around the same time. After looking over their new house and ground the four of us drove over to eat some seafood at Morton's in Madisonville together. Dan and Karen left the next morning to drive back to Charlotte, a drive that has become familiar to them and one that will become history when they sell their house in Charlotte once they move into their new home in Mandeville in the next month or so.
Last year we passed on the Gretna Cemetery Tour, but Del bought us tickets for this year's event which took place in the Hook & Ladder Cemetery in which famous people from Gretna are buried. Ours was the first tour, which began with hors d'oeuvres at the Red Maple followed by a short hundred foot walk to the cemetery. Our group was about 12 people, and they had provided four or five chairs. Our guide said, "Those who need chairs can use these." No one sat down. Same thing happened at the next spot, so I explained to the guide, "You have put a curse on the chairs. No one wants to admit 'I need a chair'." So she switched to saying, "Anyone who wishes may take a chair." and things went smoothly. We saw the head of the Leson clan represented by a descendant dressed in period dress who told us stories about his illustrious ancestor, the owner of the still thriving Leson Chevrolet dealership.We listened as a pilot in a bomber jacket told the story of the first Gretna casualty of the Second World War, a fighter pilot who flew a dozen missions and then died in England during a training exercise when another fighter plane collided with his. He told the story of how the pilot died on the day his brother gave birth to a son in Gretna. Actually the boy was born in New Orleans and the parents and baby came back home on the ferry across the river the next day. When the father heard that his brother Lt. Conway Saux had died had died, his called up the nuns at the hospital and asked them to rename his baby boy, Conway, after his brother. With a choked up voice, the man representing Lt. Conway Saux revealed that he was named Conway Saux and was the baby boy born when his uncle died on the day of his birth. This was a really fun event, and the novelty of hearing laughter in a cemetery was a special treat. Two men represented men whose lives went in parallel in many described how they were forced to cut their grass on their neighboring lawns at the same time, because one cut his grass first the other's wife complained that the neighbor's yard looked nicer. So, every Sunday afternoon, they were out in their lawns, cutting the grass, and then sitting in the back under a shady oak tree, drinking cold beer together and relaxing.They would send a neighbor boy, about 11 years old, down to the nearby bar and he would come back with a tall chilled pitcher of beer for the two men. Years later while talking to the bar owner, they discovered that he had been filling the pitcher to the brim, the pitcher which the young sipped down an inch or so to keep from spilling any while walking on his way back. We had to cut the fun short so I could get back to see the LSU-Kentucky kickoff and as I hoped, our young Fighting Tigers came out as warriors like their namesake CSA Regiment and beat the pants off Kentucky, 41-3.
Del's trip to Dallas to visit our son Jim and his family was next. She left Sunday morning and arrived in Alexandria at her daughter's and they went to her daughter Katie's new home, where for the first time, Del had a grand-daughter cook a meal for her. I think it's time one of mine did likewise, and the mostly likely candidate will be Jennifer when she had moved into her new home, which is under construction.
While Del was gone, I went outside to take some flower photos and got more than I planned for: a caterpillar sting and a scare from 2 foot wide black spider. A light yellow caterpillar full of very tiny filaments all over its two inch length stung me. (Click Here to See It or look at Don't Bug Us photo, Section 9 at bottom.) It had gotten attached to my red shirt and when my left arm brushed against it, I got stung. A welt the size of the caterpillar appeared on my left arm inside near my elbow and raised up a bit, but has since gone down. Rubbed some saliva to sterilize the area and then crushed some St. Aug grass and rubbed over it. It was gone by the next morning. I was trying to get photos of a flower, and apparently picked up the caterpillar in the butterfly bush. When I walked across our West Lawn along the golf rough to Connie's, I went over to examine the fallen bald cypress stump, which has plants stuck in various places, for a possible flower. I suddenly jumped back, startled by a two-foot wide black spider staring at me! Whew! It was a pre-Halloween prank by our friends, Connie and Don, next door. I called Connie to tell her the spider did its job well.
LAST MINUTE STUFF
On the Friday before Halloween Del and I had a rare midday date. When she returned from her luncheon appointment, I finished up my work and invited her to come with me to Lakefront Airport for the WWII Air Expo with WWII aircraft and army gear on display and flying overhead. For $500 I could get a ride on the B-29 Superfortress or one of several B-24s and Fighter jets. Opted instead for a look inside the renovated B-24 Bomber, Diamond Lil. Took photo of Lil draped only with a long fur, sitting with her asset on a large diamond. It was a funny sentence that came out my mouth before I realized its double meaning. Take a look at her asset on a diamond. After wandering around taking photos, I joined Del listening to the Victory Belles doing their Andrew Sisters routines for several numbers. Glad we went on weekday to avoid what should be much larger crowds on Sat and Sun. When we got to the newly restored Airport Terminal, we parked first in front of it and admired the main building, newly renovated and retrofitted with its original 1930s Art Deco exterior and interiors. Beautiful building.Coming home, we drove down Carrollton to Brocato's, the Oldest Ice Cream Parlor in the City (1905), and, its small parking area was full, so we had to park by Cajun Seafood, so we stopped in for some boiled No. 1 blue crabs. Then we went to Brocato's for a couple of lemon ices to complete our midday date. Drove home, and later went to our Timberlane Country Club for Halloween Parade Float building and the bonfire. Our good neighbors, Connie and Don, were sitting on the grass eating sandwiches from the Clubhouse Grill with their puppy Sam, who was rather well behaved, no barking on this night. Heard that Saints Defensive Coach Rob Ryan (if his team plays good defense against Green Bay Sunday night, he won't need to be so defensive), played in the Golf Tournament Benefitting Children's Hospital earlier in the day. What a busy day for the Club!
LSU beat Ole Miss 10-7 in a brawl in Tiger Stadium in front of the largest ever crowd, over 102 thousands screaming fans who stayed until the last second of the game to make our Fighting Tigers won the game. Our young Tiger defense has grown up in the last two games, winning against quality SEC opponents. Now that we've beaten the No.3 team in the country, the teams on the rest of our schedule have been put on notice, namely, Alabama, Arkansas, and Texas A&M are candidates to go down to defeat like Mississippi, Florida, and Kentucky as LSU, whose first President, William Tecumseh Sherman, tore through the defenses of the South on his march to sea, gets ready to complete its football victory march across the South.
EVERY GOOD THING MUST COME TO A NEW BEGINNING
The past 31 days of October have sped by, with lots of cool, dry weather, all of which makes October in New Orleans and South Louisiana a prime time for tourists, for celebrations and for festivals. We were kept busy one week by our good friends Gust and Janet who came to visit us and our city and watching our young LSU Fighting Tigers being forged into shape in the white-hot forge of the Western Division of the SEC which has four teams in the TOP 5 as I write these notes. LSU is not one of those teams, up until. And the blacksmith is not finished with those which are, and LSU may yet join that exclusive club.
Till we meet again, after our Thanksgiving celebration when the chilling winds of December bring our first taste of wintry weather to New Orleans, God Willing and the Next Ice Age don't come, Whatever you do, Wherever in the world you and yours reside, be it late-Fall or early-Spring:
Remember our earnest wish for you during this quickly fading God-given year of 2014:
MAY YOUR WORLD REMAIN PEACEFUL AND SERENE IN TWENTY-FOURTEEN
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Quotes Selected from quotes.htm this month:
These Election-pertinent quotes are from: Federalist No. 05-16 Chronicle.
Politics is the art of preventing people from taking part in affairs which properly concern them.
— Paul Valery
The enemies of truth are always awfully nice.
— Christopher Morely
If I knew that a man was coming to my house with the conscious design of doing me good, I should run for my life.
— Henry David Thoreau
Those who try to lead the people can only do so by following the mob.
— Oscar Wilde
The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you've got it made.
— Groucho Marx
Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don't mean to do harm — but the harm does not interest them. Or they do not see it, or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves.
— T.S. Eliot
New Stuff on Website:From Flowers of Shanidar, A 1990 Book of Poetry by Bobby Matherne
INTRODUCTIONIn a small dark cave in the hills of Northern Iraq near the Turkish border the excavator Ralph Solecki found in 1960 the bones of a young man placed in the recess between two large boulders. Analysis of the remains from the cave of Shanidar determined that the burial occurred over 60,000 years ago.
Soil samples collected near the bones were only analyzed several years later and produced a quite unexpected result. Ordinarily a small random assortment of pollen grains would be found in funereal soil samples, but the Shanidar soil analysis revealed thousands of pollen grains from wild flowers of the region. Flowers of rose mallow, hollyhocks, hyacinths, and other indigenous varieties of flowers had been systematically collected and transported to the cave of Shanidar as a funerary tribute.
Astonished, the scientists were confronted with the earliest known evidence of a burial ritual. From the very dawn of mankind a message had come down to us, written in pollen grains from the flowers of Shanidar, of the birth of a new consciousness — the consciousness of death. (Note: scientists with no apparent interest in the evolution of consciousness have tried to evaporate away the meaning of these pollen grains. I pity them.)
How far have we progressed in the knowledge of ultimate destinations in the 600 centuries since that funeral celebration? As we stand before the door to the new millennium, do we dare to knock? Are we ready for the new flowers of Shanidar and the birth of consciousness that will surely accompany our passage into that new era?
These poems are from Bobby Matherne’s 1990 book of poetry, Flowers of Shanidar and have never been published on the Internet before. Here in the beginning of the new millennium, we are publishing a poem or two each month until all poems have been published on-line. (Flowers drawn by Artist Maureen Grace Matherne) The rest of the five poems come from Bobby's 1995 book of poetry, Rainbows & Shadows, all of which will be published for the first time on-line.
1. Chapter: Hollyhocks
Who Is John Galt?
John Galt is a state of mind.
John Galt is freedom in our time.
John Galt is cooperation
under the sign of the dollar.
Where can one find John Galt?Wherever you find a voice raised
for freedom of association —
there you will find John Galt.
Wherever you find a voluntary contract
between two or more people —
there you will find John Galt.
Wherever you find the solitary genius
struggling to break free of the state —
there you will find John Galt.
`Who is John Galt?' is the first sentence of
Ayn Rand's novel `Atlas Shrugged.'
`Who is John Galt?' is an expression used by people
to answer unanswered questions such as:
`Why are there so many railroad wrecks?'
2. Chapter: Hyacinths
The Thinking Cook
A man is what he eats
A man is what he thinks
A man cooks what he thinks
What he thinks while cooking
You can taste in the food.
If he's thinking, "I'd rather be
skiing than cooking these french fries."
The french fries will taste like you'd rather be
skiing than eating his french fries.
If he's thinking, "What a wonderful combination
of sausages, herbs, white rice, brown rice,
and wild rice to set before my friends
who will enjoy every bite,
His guests will savor every ingredient
and every bite.
Be careful what you think about
when you're cooking
You and others will get to taste your every
3. Chapter: Rainbows
This month, as we near the completion of Bobby's first book of Poetry, Flowers of Shanidar,
we continue with a poem from the Rainbows Chapter of his second book of Poetry,
Rainbows & Shadows (1995).
This month we read
There is a substratum, L,
which is perfectly indistinguishable
and thus impervious to our
and yet which
Connects all distinguishable features
of our world.
Some call it ESP, some call it telepathy
Some call it synchronicity
I call it L-tricity,
for the L of it,
It ties together
you and me
in perfect community.
4. Chapter: Shadows
This month, as we near the completion of Bobby's first book of Poetry, Flowers of Shanidar,
we continue with a poem from the Shadows Chapter of his second book of Poetry,
Rainbows & Shadows (1995).
This month we read
When you grow old
as the story's told,two things happen:
one, you lose your memory
and two, ...
how forgetful of me!
I wonder about this story's verity
It doesn't seem that way at all to me.
At seventeen I could recall
just about any memory at all
And handle each one with dexterity
like a juggler does each ball.
But now at one and fifty
my memory seems not so nifty —
When a ball falls from its apogee
it occasionally gets away from me.
But I worry less why one falls
than marvel at the amount of balls —
For seven plus or minus two
represents the best that we can do —
Whether seventeen or seventy-two
So we do best to trust that the ones that fall
Are the very ones we do not need at all.
5. Chapter: Violets
Wildflower No. 8
Who said resistors can't have any fun?
Just try to resist blocking joy.
Kings meet kings bareheaded.
If you want a sign,
seek and you shall find.
Bumper sign: HUGS: ARMS FOR PEACE
What a disarming thought!
Cartoon characters are easier
to make war with than real people.
"Kill dem krauts and dem slant-eyes."
We have met the enemy and he is us cartoonists.
New Stuff on the Internet:
Received from Leo Beth in Holland. A Rudolf Steiner College Production:
Watch as huge structure is build by students using bamboo sticks, first formed into tetrahedrons.
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 mo vies as the Director created them — NOT-edited for TV, in full-screen width, your own choice of subtitles, no commercial interruptions, and all of the original dialogue. Microwave some popcorn and you're ready to Go to the Movies, 21st Century Style. With a plasma TV and Blu-Ray DVD's and a great sound system, you have theater experience without someone next to you talking on a cell phone during a movie plus a Pause button for rest room trips.
P. S. Ask for Blu-Ray movies from NetFlix, and if it says DVD in your Queue, click and select Blu-Ray version.Hits (Watch as soon as you can. A Don't Miss Hit is one you might otherwise have missed along the way.):“Charlie Bartlett” (2007) [2nd Viewing, see also DW#103] named like a pear, was a peach of a guy to his friends, but rotten to the core for the principals of his many schools except this principal who quickly became history!
“Belle” (2014) was eight when her mother, a slave dies, then her father dies at sea, and she grows up with her uncle who is the head of England’s Supreme Court. Slavery was a big business and her uncle had a huge decision to make in the case of a slave trader whose ship scuttled its human cargo. Belle, renamed Dido, grows up with Elizabeth her cousin as a sister. Treacherous waters for Dido and , but one which she and her uncle navigate quite well. An amazing true story. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! !
“Non-Stop” (2014) and that was true, drama began immediately and never stopped. Kudos to any Nancy Drews who guess who the bad guy is before the credits roll. A DON'T MISS HIT ! ! !
"The Brothers Bloom" (2008) two orphaned brothers bounce from foster home to the next till one of their scams makes money and they become con artists with a focus on artistry. Stephen writes the script and Bloom gets Weiz and wants to fall in love, but it's never in the script, up until now. A DON'T MISS HIT ! ! !
"Tim's Vermeer" (2014) came about as a result of the successful inventor and non-painter Tim holding an unanswered question, "How could Vermeer have created such a verisimilitude in his famous paintings?" To answer that question, Tim discovered a way and created from scratch a painting of Vermeer's that is arguably better than the original. This movie, for painters, is A DON'T MISS HIT ! ! !
“Third Person” (2013) Liam Neeson is a fading writer whose agent tells him, “Now you have random characters making various excuses of your life.” Now we have a movie of these random characters, some more random than others, all fading into the sunset.
"Magic in the Water" (1995) a lakeside resort vacation turns into a water monster hunt with pre-Gibbs Mark Harmon as the father of young teens who with the help of the water-magic get him away from his work during the vacation.
"The Assets" (2014) of the CIA were being systematically killed inside Russia during the last years of the USSR and a team was charged with discovering the reason. Sandy Grimes' analysis showed Aldritch Ames was the likely mole who was feeding names and cover information to the Soviets, but they had to catch him in the act to convict him. Good binge-watching series which starts up slowly, but picks up momentum as the team focuses on Ames. A DON'T MISS HIT!
"Jesse Stone: Innocents Lost" (2012) we had seen this one before, but Jesse is a character who is always intriguing to watch. This time he has been replaced as Paradise's police chief, but gets involved in a suspicious suicide of a young girl he had befriended after he jailed her overnight for her own good. (See also DW#136)
"Just a Sigh" (2013) Gabriel Byrne stars in Parisian love story, woman meets man, makes love to man, goes back to boy friend.
"The Grand Seduction" (2013) in the small harbor of Tickle Cove will tickle you silly, rolling on the floor laughing, before this marvelous flick plays out with Brendan Gleeson starring. If you saw, as we did, the 2003 original called "Seducing Doctor Lewis", it will look familiar and you might be disappointed until the great laughs begin! A DON'T MISS HIT! ! !
"Recording The Producers: Mel Brooks" (2001) is a documentary shot while they produced a recording of the musical numbers from the Broadway Play "The Producers". Mel Brooks wrote the lyrics and the music for all the pieces. Watch the master at work behind the scenes. For any Mel Brooks fan: 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. What LUCK! Two A DVD STOMPERs this month!!!"Blended" (2014) another Slap-Happy Madison misproduction. Put 50 First Dates on one end of spectrum and this turkey on the other. Two individual misparented families blend into one big misparented family while movie audiences are bored to tears. A DVD STOMPER ! ! !
"Upside Down" (2012) and nearly threw up due to all the Hollywood messages about bad corporations, etc. A DVD STOMPER! ! ! !
"The Soft Kill" (1994) was poorly written and acted and we finally stomped it. Somebody earlier had apparently tried to stomp it, so we sent it back, NetFlix seemed to have re-glued it and returned it to us. They needn't have bothered! A DVD STOMPER ! ! !
Your call on these — your taste in movies may differ, but I liked them:"Joe Gould's Secret" (2000) Tucci as New Yorker reporter follows Joe around NYC. One of Joe's performer pieces, "I got flies on me, You got flies on you, Jesus got no flies on him." This movie's got no flies on it and Joe Gould's secret lies in his Oral History and his mother's curse upon him.
"When Calls the Heart" (2009) Hallmark love story when Winn tugs at the heart of Elizabeth, whose namesake niece is reading her diary and planning to head out West for her own adventures.
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==Le Boudreaux Cajun Cottage, drawn by and Copyright 2011 by Paulette Purser, Used by Permission
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==
Modified from story sent by Jeff Parsons. Thanks, Jeff!Boudreaux's mother-in-law was a butt-in-ski, always showing up at the wrong time at his house, like today, the worst day in his life! When she came inside, she saw Boudreaux pulling a jacket out of the hall closet and squeezing on top the clothes filling up a large suitcase. He was fuming and cussing at the top of his voice in Cajun French, "Sacre Bleu! Bon Dieu! Maudits femme! Sac-a-papier!"
She put her hand on his shoulder and said "Mais, Boudreaux, Ah never again saw yo so angry, told me wat happened."
"Wat happened? Ah'll tole yo wat happened! Ah sent mah wife, yer daughter Marie, uh email, Ah wrote her dat Ah'm coming home rat now from mah fishing camp down in Cocodrie because of bad wetter, and guess wat Ah found when Ah got here? Yer daughter Marie was in bed wit a naked redneck roughneck! Ah done had it! Ah'm t'rough wit Marie. Ah'm leaving her for good, Ah guarantee!"
"Calm down, Boudreaux, calm down. Dere's sumpin odd about dis. Mah Marie would nevah do such a t'ing. Dere must be a simple explanation. Stay here, Cher, Ah'll go talk to her and find out wat happened.
Boudreaux began to calm down a bit, but he couldn't figure out what his mother-in-law might find out that would make the situation any better, so he was surprised to see his mother-in-law return all happy a few mintues later. "Mais, wat did you find out?"
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5.Recipe or Household Hint for November, 2014 from Bobby Jeaux from Bobby Jeaux:
(click links to see photo of ingredients, preparation steps)
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Background on Fig Bars: This is a very simple recipe. It was suggested to me by my sister-in-law Joyce Matherne who lives in Opelousas, Louisiana. She said just add a jar of fig preserves to a yellow cake mix and bake it as usual, then cut it into bars or squares. I waited a long time before trying it and the instructions left a lot of things open. How much fig preserves, how exactly to add it to the cake mix, etc. My first try came out great and the results are shown in the photo at right. These are the only three bars remaining from my first try. They have an exquisite taste, some guess they contain pumpkin, some said sweet potatoes, and only after I revealed it was figs cou;d they taste the fig flavor. My guess is that most folks who don't like figs will eat these and enjoy them. Their texture is like lemon squares, like brownie texture in the bottom half, and a flavorful moist texture in the top half.
1 jar of fig preserves with a lot of syrup.
1 box of yellow cake mix
Preheat oven to 350 degF (or as called for my cake mix box). Use a 13X9" pan or equivalent. Butter the bottom and sprinkle some flour over the pan. Put contents of fig preserves jar into two cup measure and mash the figs into the syrup.
Follow instructions on Cake Mix box, replacing water with fig preserves. Basically, you blend the cake mix, 2 eggs, fig preserves in a mixing bowl until well blended. Then pour it into the pan and bake for about 25 minutes, checking if toothpick stuck in center comes out clean to ensure baking is done. Remove from oven and allow to cool for half hour.
Cut into squares or bars and place in container for serving, allow spaces between the bars. Bon Apetit!
Store the bars in fridge and warm with microwave before serving. For longer storage, place three bars in each Ziplock Snack Pak and put paks into freezer bag, removing as much air as possible.
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6. POETRY by BOBBY from The Destinies of Individuals and of Nations:
Thoughts and Wings
Once our brains moved like wings.
When we folded our wings
Our thoughts took wing.
Our hands and arms move like wings.
Once we fold our arms
Our thoughts will take wing without arms.
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7. REVIEWS and ARTICLES for November:
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For our Good Readers, here are the reviews and articles featured this month. The first two and the fourth reviews this month will be ones which were not fully published in a DIGESTWORLD ISSUE, so these reviews will be of interest to our Good Readers. The rest of the items will be new additions to the top of A Reader's Journal, Volume 2, Chronological List, new additions to A Reader's Treasury, or Essays previously unpublished.
NOTE: some Blurbs may be condensations of the Full Reviews, lacking footnotes and many quoted passages. For your convenience, if you wish to read the full review or to print it out, simply CLICK on the Book Cover and choose Printer Ready option on the top line of the review page when it opens.
1.) ARJ2: Materialism and the Task of Anthroposophy, GA# 204 by Rudolf SteinerIn a comic strip the other day, one character asked, "What's playing at the movies?" The other character answered, "Big Catastrophe No. 1, No. 2, No. 3, No. 4, and No. 5." I laughed because it speaks so topically of today's movies. Titanic has just been released along with Firestorm, and these two followed a spate of earlier disaster movies, Tornado, Earthquake, Volcano, and, of course, that perennial favorite, The Eggplant That Ate Chicago. In the Table of Contents of this book, the first sentence of the first lecture sums it up for us:
Materialism was justified in the nineteenth century; clinging to it generates catastrophes.
One can certainly see what Steiner figures the "task of Anthroposophy" is for us on the cusp of the 20th and 21st centuries: to help humans to release their attachment to material things. By materialism, Steiner means much more than a mere attachment to physical objects - he means materialism as a way of being, a world-view, a paradigm that blinds us to other possible ways of viewing the world, up until now.
He refers to Latin-thinking - that living legacy of an already dead language (Latin) - which is a way of thinking inside our native languages [derivatives of Latin] that fashions our thoughts in such a way that we concretize the non-physical, reify the abstract, and manipulate the resulting abstractions as though they were physical objects.
Isn't this a useful way of thinking? This concretizing is useful for law, for science, and, strangely, for religions as many of us in the West know religion. It is useful for measuring, judging, and ruling, but Latin-thinking leads to vacuous disputes in the realm of living processes. One notable example of this is the long arguments debated over the real nature of bread and wine during the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. Is it really turned into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ?
The Greeks, originally all etheric-thinkers, found no need to ever ask or answer that question. It only made sense to ask the question in Latin, and thus the Fathers of the Roman Catholic Church, all Latin-thinkers by training, asked the question ad infinitum. Eventually the Church Fathers, in committee laid down a Latin-thinking ruling that satisfied all Catholics on the matter. I say all Catholics because if you didn't accept the Church's rulings you were summarily branded a heretic and tossed out on your ear.
In 1897, one hundred years ago, a small girl named Virginia wrote to the editor of The New York Sun thus:
I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, "If you see it in The Sun it's so." Please tell me the truth: Is there a Santa Claus?
The editor answered Virginia's Latin-thinking question about the concrete-nature of Santa Claus by talking about the etheric nature of Santa Claus in a way that satisfied Virginia and millions of children and their parents every year since. Here's how the wise editor began his answer to Virginia's question:
Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. . . .
Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give your life its highest beauty and joy.
Santa Claus may be considered the greatest invention of the human mind if he did nothing but return once a year to remind children and adults alike of the dry vacuity of Latin-thinking relative to the life-bringing joy of etheric-thinking.
Materialists, in my experience, are the most skeptical lot of all of humanity. They are skeptical of anything abstract, etherical, or spiritual. Skeptical of everything, that is, except their own unproven, abstract belief in materialism. Such paradoxes are the heritage of every Latin-thinker, and materialists are Latin-thinkers, par excellence.
The Latin-thinking authorities of the early Christian Church established the rules of what one should think, so that anyone with a direct knowing [a gnosis] of spiritual realities was cast out of the Church. All the Gnostic writings were expunged from the religious texts, so that all we know of the Gnostics, those early etheric-thinking Christians, is from certain quotes left behind in the writings of the opponents of Gnosticism. Future generations could hardly travel to the moon if the only records of the moon landing in 1969 were made by skeptics who believed that it never really happened.
There are two ways of perceiving a spiritual reality such as the Mystery of Golgotha, as Steiner puts it. One is to take the insight as coming from the cosmos directly as an instinctive, elemental insight. The other way is to let a majority vote of some legislative body decide on what the meaning of the insight shall be. The latter was the exact approach taken by the Church Councils around the fourth and fifth centuries, A. D.
Latin-thinking modes lead to legalistic decisions by majority vote which lead to restrictions on personal freedom which lead to coercion. Etheric insights lead to etheric thinking, which lead to spiritual activity, which leads to independent activity or what we call freedom.
In Lecture VI Steiner presents us the dramatic difference between the etheric-thinking Orient [epitomized by the Greeks] and the Latin-thinking West [epitomized by Rome]:
[page 90] People [of the Orient] wished to comprehend the sensory world on the basis of these spiritual worlds.
[page 91] To us [in the West], the physical-sensory world is given.
Note the difference is that of direction: whether one chooses to view the physical in terms of the spiritual or the spiritual in terms of the physical. It is not a question of right-or-wrong, as Latin-thinkers would require us to believe. The Greeks took their spiritual way of seeing as a given and interpreted their external world based on it. The Romans took the concretized components of their physical world and tried to understand the spiritual world in terms of the physical world. Early Christianity became imbued with the Latin-thinking aspects of Roman political thinking. This led the fusion of the rule of law of the political state and the dogma of the religious Church. Steiner says of that merger:
[page 93] Such mighty forces and impulses dwell in Christianity that they could, of course, be effective and survive despite the fact that they were poured into the world of the Roman political system.
Some readers may be saying, "What was the harm? Surely this merger of Church and State helped the spread of Christianity." Steiner says, as if to answer that question:
[page 96] that the time had come in human development when the human being who does not ask - who does not develop his inner being and does not seek the impulse of truth on his own but remains passive - cannot arrive at an experience of his own self. . . . The I must first lift itself up in order to recognize itself as something supersensible.
Thus the wonderful paradox of the Roman Catholic Church is that by the very fact of its applying rules and laws to its passive members, it keeps them from the very independence of thought and spiritual activity that would lead them to the spiritual world. Lacking the ability to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps, the members become even more dependent on the external Church for their link to a spiritual world that their Church keeps them from directly experiencing, up until now.
And the new religion of the late 20th century, materialistic science, is just as bad as in our time as the early Roman Church was in its time. Leibnitz once said, "Nothing dwells in the intellect that did not dwell earlier in the senses, except for the intellect itself." Modern materialistic science deftly omits the final phrase. Steiner says that modern science acknowledges only the sentence:
"Nothing dwells in the intellect that did not dwell earlier in the senses," whereas Leibnitz clearly discerned that the intellect is something totally spiritual at work in the human being quite independent of all aspects of the physical corporeality.
There are three streams in the Western world today:
1.) Faith without intellect, but with a connection to rituals. [Catholic]
2.) Faith without intellect and without ritual. [Protestant]
3.) Intellect without faith. [Science]
Steiner says that we cannot count on either of these three streams but that they are moving us in the right direction, which is:
[page 169] We can count on the attitude that takes the new intellectuality seriously and deepens it Imaginatively, Inspiratively, and Intuitively, thus arriving at a new spirituality.
The West, Steiner says:
[page 171] has to concern itself with waking up, with becoming inwardly active. Its intelligence must not remain lazy, for this intelligence can raise itself; it can lift itself inwardly with an understanding for the new view of the spirit.
In ancient times tribal members felt a blood link to the father of the tribe and felt his blood flowing in their veins. Likewise they felt their bodies to be part of their ancestral father's body. They "sensed a profound mystery in the forces of the body and blood." Steiner continues:
[page 303] People today no longer have any idea of how the divine spiritual was worshiped then at the same time as the material substance. [italics mine]
I couldn't help but wonder if the entire argument over the true nature of transubstantiation would be made unnecessary if during the Holy Eucharist Christ were reported to have said, using etheric-thinking rather than Latin-thinking words:
This is Bread and at the same time this is my Body.
To close this review I will allow Rudolf Steiner to clearly state his point, even more pertinent to us of the late 20th century than it was to his listeners of the early 20th century:
[page 317] But this is the point, my dear friends. We no longer need be misled by the intellect; this insight can help us to progress. Today people follow a shadow, the reasoning or intellect within them. They allow themselves to be misled by it instead of striving for Imagination, Inspiration, and Intuition, which in turn would lead once again into the spiritual world that actually surrounds us.
2.) ARJ2: The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-ExupéryThis is a fairly tale for adults. It provides a chance for each of us to see the world for a short time through the eyes of a child. Each adult lives on a small planet, as it were alone. If we are of a monarchical bent, every person who comes into our presence will be treated like a subject. If we are of a conceited nature, any words spoken to us but words of praise will go unheard and unheeded. If we drink to forget, the biggest thing we want to forget will be that we are ashamed of drinking. If we like business things we will spend our time counting the things that we consider to be ours, be it cattle, oil wells, buildings, or money. When the little prince visits each of these people, he goes away saying, "Adults are strange." Only the lamplighter who has to light his lamp at sunset and douse the light at dawn seems to have a useful occupation. Since the days on the lamplighter's planet only lasts for a minute, he is kept constantly busy, even during a short conversation with the little prince.
[page 46, 47 little prince to himself] "It may well be that this man is absurd. But he is not so absurd as the king, the conceited man, the businessman, and the tippler. For at least his work has some meaning. When he lights his street lamp, it is as if he brought one more star to life, or one flower. When he puts out his lamp, he sends the flower, or the star, to sleep. That is a beautiful occupation. And since it is beautiful, it is truly useful."
Children live in a world of their own. When at six, the author made a drawing of a boa constrictor swallowing an elephant, all the adults saw only a hat. So he did another drawing of the inside of the boa revealing the elephant, and the same adults convinced him to abandon drawing as a career. His reaction as an adult now should be a constant reminder to us of how little adults understand the world of small children:
[page 2] Grown-ups never understand anything by themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them.
So little Antoine grew up to be an airplane pilot. He flew all over the world. He met a lot of people of all levels of importance and consequence.
[page 3] I have lived a great deal among grown-ups. I have seen them intimately. And that hasn't improved my opinion of them.
He carried his drawing No. 1 with him, and whenever he showed it to an adult and asked them what they saw, they always said, "It's a hat." People who can only see the surfaces of things can be a bore, but worse, if you do not accept their version of reality, they might become downright nasty. What's a kid in grown-up clothes to do with such people?
[page 3] Then I would never talk to that person about boa constrictors, or primeval forests, or stars. I would bring myself down to his level. I would talk to him about bridge and gold, and politics, and neckties. And the grown-up would be greatly pleased to have met such a sensible man.
As an adult, the pilot's plane broke down and he landed in the middle of the Sahara Desert one day. He met an extraordinary little boy who asked him pleadingly, "Draw me a sheep." Over and over he pleaded, nicely, but demandingly, too. What the pilot said about this strange demand from a little boy who had appeared from nowhere in the middle of nowhere is intriguing. I have studied the work of Milton Erickson, M.D., a world-famous hypnotherapist for over fifty years. He told long stories to his clients and often made mysterious demands of them. The pilot comments about the demand of the little prince that he draw a sheep for him:
[page 6] When a mystery is too overpowering, one dare not disobey.
He draws one sheep, then another, then another, and each sheep is unacceptable to the prince, until finally, in desperation, he draws a box with air holes and the prince is delighted! The reason for his delight will be lost on parents who give their children tons of fancy toys to play with. Or dozens of elegantly coiffured and clad porcelain dolls. The little girl would be delighted to have a doll made from a stuffed sock with buttons for its eyes, because their imagination would do the rest!
[page 7] So I tossed off this drawing.
And I threw out an explanation with it.
"This is only his box. The sheep you asked for is inside."
I was very surprised to see a light break over the face of my young judge:
"That is exactly the way I wanted it! Do you think that this sheep will have to eat a great deal of grass?"
Unable to cross-examine the little prince, by fits and starts, the pilot began to form an idea of the little prince's home planet, a small asteroid the size of a house called B-612. It was discovered by a Turkish astronomer in 1909, but clothing is important to adults, and since he went dressed in his native Turkish costume, the International Congress to which he presented his finding laughed at him. Later, in 1920, he dressed in a business suit, offered the same finding, and they accepted his discovery.
Adults don't accept living proof, they want numbers, figures, data, statistics, descriptions of the surface of the thing discussed. The author asks us to consider what would qualify as evidence for adults that the little prince existed. He suggests that we might offer as proof that he wanted a sheep. Only a living being could want a sheep.
[page 13, 14] "The proof that the little prince existed is that he was charming, that he laughed, and that he was looking for a sheep. If anybody wants a sheep, that is a proof that he exists." And what good would that do to tell them that? They would shrug their shoulders, and treat you like a child. But if you said to them: "The planet he came from is Asteroid B-612," then they would be convinced, and leave you in peace from their questions.
Have you ever had a friend? Sure, you say, many friends. But I'm talking about a special friend, one you are always overjoyed to see, who is always available when you need help, who likes you even when you two disagree with each other. My wife is such a friend and she taught me a special name for such a friend. It's a useful name but it helps distinguish the dime-a-dozen friends from a real friend. She calls a real friend, a friendie. That is not a grown-up name, I assure you. No grown-up would use such a name, so be careful that you only use it far away from the ears of grown-ups. The little prince quickly became the pilot's friendie. He dared not forget his friendie as he informs us in this next passage:
[page 14] For I do not want anyone to read my book carelessly. I have suffered too much grief in setting down these memories. Six years have already passed since my friend went away from me, with his sheep. If I try to describe him here, it is to make sure that I shall not forget him. To forget a friend is sad. Not everyone has had a friend. And if I forget him, I may become like the grown-ups who are no longer interested in anything but figures . . .
His friendie was not an adult. How can we be sure?
[page 15] My friend never explained anything to me. He thought, perhaps, that I was like himself. But I, alas, do not know how to see sheep through the walls of boxes. Perhaps I am a little like the grown-ups. I have had to grow old.
Your young children, dear Parents, will grow old and that will be soon enough to ask for explanations from them. Until then treat them as the royalty they are in the kingdom of childhood. Ask them to describe, not to explain, and you will be welcomed into their court and you will leave amply rewards with jewels from their royal treasury.
The little prince spent his time pulling up any baobab seedlings and wanted a sheep to eat them before they got so big they would overwhelm his small planet. One day he noticed a strange plant arising which had thorns on it. It turned into a beautiful rose which talked him. He tended to her needs and he loved her. But soon he began to notice something in what she told him. He realized that "he had taken seriously words which were without importance, and it made him very unhappy." It was then he began thinking of leaving. He recalled that day to the pilot. It seems to be the tale of many a young man who was attracted to some sweet young thing.
[page 28, 29] "I ought not to have listened to her," he confided to me once. "One never ought to listen to the flowers. One should simply look at them and breathe their fragrance. Mine perfumed all my planet. but I did not know how to take pleasure in all her grace. This tale of claws, which disturbed me so much, should only have filled my heart with tenderness and pity."
And he continued his confidences:
"The fact is that I did not know how to understand anything! I ought to have judged by deeds and not by words. She cast her fragrance and her radiance over me. I ought never to have run away from her . . . I ought to have guessed all the affection that lay behind her poor little stratagems. Flowers are so inconsistent! But I was too young to know how to love her. . ."
Soon the little prince on his travel to the sixth planet met a geographer, who greeted him with the words, "Oh, look! Here is an explorer!" The geographer explained that he never left his study to explore. That was the job of the explorers who returned to him to explain what they found on their explorations so that he could include that information in his maps. The geographer suggested that the little prince visit Earth for his next planet. "It has a good reputation." (Page 54)
The first animal the little prince found was the snake in the desert. He asked the snake where are the men, and commented that it was a little lonely in the desert. The snake opined, "It's a little lonely among men." (Page 58) The snake offered to help the little prince, er, well, on his way. And he proffered a riddle for us by giving us the answer. Who is it that solves all of our riddles? Read the answer and discover who it is for yourself. Or simply wait for the answer to come. Either way you'll find out.
[page 60] "Oh! I understand you very well," said the little prince. "But why do you always speak in riddles?"
"I solve them all," said the snake(1).
And they were both silent.
The little prince came upon a solitary flower blooming in the desert and asked her if there were any men. Her answer is very revealing to all humans, especially those who cannot stay in one place long enough to create a space of love for themselves and their family. A plant is forced to respect its roots, but humans have the freedom to disregard their roots and move away on the slightest whim, as if blown by the wind.
[page 62] The flower speaking to little prince about the absence of men, "No one knows where to find them. The wind blows them away. They have no roots, and that makes their life very difficult."
The little prince bumped into a fox who asked to be tamed by him. To be tamed by someone is establish ties with them, so that each one becomes special to the other. When the little prince demurred, saying he had lots of friends to discover and many things to understand, the fox told him earnestly:
[page 70] "One only understands the things that one tames," said the fox. "Men have no more time to understand anything. They buy things all ready made at the shops. But there is no shop anywhere where one can buy friendship, and so men have no friends anymore. If you want a friend, tame me . . ."
A friend, as the fox defined one, is a friendie, someone you know is coming at four pm and you begin being happy at three. The little prince tamed the fox and the fox sent him away to look at lots of roses so that he would come to understand how unique his one rose back home was. The fox promised him a gift when he returned. The fox's gift has become such a gift to the entire world that it is now known best as "The Fox's Secret."
The prince went to visit the roses and found that they not at all like his rose. His rose was tamed, but they were not. He told the roses:
[page 73] "You are beautiful, but you are empty," he went on. "One could not die for you. To be sure, an ordinary passerby would think that my rose looked just like you - the rose that belongs to me. But in herself alone she is more important than all the hundred of you other roses: because it is she that I have watered; because it is she that I have put under the glass globe; because it is she that I have sheltered behind the screen; because it is for her that I have killed the caterpillars (except the two or three that we saved to become butterflies); because it is she that I have listened to, when she grumbled, or boasted, or even sometimes when she said nothing. Because she is my rose."
He went back to the fox who gave him the gift he promised, known ever since as The Fox's Secret.
[page 73] "And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
The fox explained further what he meant, "It is the time you have devoted to your rose that makes your rose so important." This reminds me of what Oscar Kokoschka in the movie, "Bride of the Wind," said: "Time is the money of love." A rag doll made of a sock stuffed with rags with two buttons for eyes turns over time into a beloved object for a little girl. Like the sheep in the box came alive for the little prince, the rag doll comes alive for any little girl lucky enough to be given one. The fancy porcelain dolls purchased by her mother are mere decorations in her room like the wallpaper or curtains. Her mother may change them at will and the child will scarcely notice. But take away her rag doll and she will cry.
The pilot and the little prince walked in search of water. The pilot carried him some of the way. That water was not only life-giving, but it was good for the heart, as the pilot discovered when he gave water to the little prince.
[page 81] I raised the bucket to his lips. He drank, his eyes closed. It was as sweet as some special festival treat. This water was indeed a different thing from ordinary nourishment. Its sweetness was born of the walk under the stars, the song of the pulley, the effort of my arms. It was good for the heart, like a present. When I was a little boy, the lights of the Christmas tree, the music of the Midnight Mass, the tenderness of smiling faces, used to make up, so, the radiance of the gifts I received.
Every year on the day of our arrival on planet Earth, our birthday, the star which appeared directly above us on the day of our birth returns to the same place in the sky. The little prince told the pilot about the star over the place where he came to Earth a year earlier. "Tonight, it will be a year . . . My star, then, can be found right above the place where I came to Earth, a year ago . . ." The pilot didn't want to hear this, that his friendie would be leaving him. The little prince had a present to give the pilot. It is an eternal present, one that the little prince shared with all the world who have read his story or seen his movies.
[page 88] "In one of the stars I shall be living. In one of them I shall be laughing. And so it will be as if all the stars were laughing, when you look at the sky at night . . . You — only you — will have stars that can laugh!"
One more flash of yellow snake in the sand and the little prince was soon gone. He had tamed the pilot and taught him to remember him in joy as he looked up at the stars each night and heard them laughing. But there was another lovely spot for the pilot to remember. It was the barren crease of two sand dunes where the little prince appeared on Earth and then disappeared. He commends this place to us and leaves us with an earnest request. It is the least we could do in return for the many gifts he has given us in this tiny book about a tiny prince who came from a star, laughed for a while, and returned to his star to laugh throughout eternity.
[page 97] This is, to me, the loveliest and saddest landscape in the world. It is the same as that on the preceding page, but I have drawn it again to impress it on your memory. It is here that the little prince appeared on Earth, and disappeared.
Look at it carefully so that you will be sure to recognize it in case you travel some day to the African desert. And, if you should come upon this spot, please do not hurry on. Wait for a time, exactly under the star. Then, if a little man appears who laughs, who has golden hair and who refuses to answer questions, you will know who he is. If this should happen, please comfort me. Send me word that he has come back.
EPILOGUE[RJM: My father loved to hunt and always had empty shotguns shells around him after a busy day of hunting. At Dad's funeral I pointed to the coffin when I read the line, "Do not look upon this empty shell in sadness."]
On page 91, the little prince tells the pilot, "I cannot carry this body with me. It is too heavy." The pilot said nothing. The little prince continued, "But it will be like an old abandoned shell. There is nothing sad about old shells . . ." That passage inspired me to write a poem about the empty shell.
The Empty Shell
The Little Prince said,
"It is not sad to look upon an empty shell."
God is a Hunter who loads us into his gun and fires us towards our goal.
We leave behind only an empty shell after a life well-spent.
It is not sad to look upon an empty shell.
It is a sign of a life well-spent.
Do not look upon this empty shell in sadness.
In His time God loaded us into His gun and fired us towards our goal.
Let us spend our life well
so when others look upon
our empty shell
They will see the sign of a life well-spent.
It is not sad to look upon an empty shell.
It is the sign of a life well-spent.
---------------------------- Footnotes -----------------------------------------
Footnote 1. One might suppose that the author meant the snake as a metaphor for death who reveals the answers of all riddles to us eventually.Return to text directly before Footnote 1.
3.) ARJ2: Disease, Karma, and Healing, GA#107 by Rudolf Steiner
What do disease and karma have to do with one another? Seen from the perspective of past karma, that would involve a re-balancing of some deed from a previous lifetime, which seems to make little logical sense, since disease is something that happens to oneself, or seen more appropriately, something that one does to oneself. Why would such a deed have to be re-balanced? Seen from the perspective of future karma, our future development may depend on significant events which happen to us in this lifetime.
[page xv, Matthew Barton's Introduction] While 'suffering' an illness we may of course die. But, according to Steiner, it will still have given us the strength to realize and more fully embody our karma in a subsequent life. In this view, illness is a misfortune only from a narrower and more immediate perspective. From a larger, complementary one, it offers us the opportunity for deeper healing. It is itself a 'remedy' to balance our otherwise deep immersion in sensory delights of the material world, reminding us, also, of the pain and curtailments of merely physical existence.
A large percentage of the world's population, whether claiming to be religious or not, are locked into the "prevailing paradigm of materialism" — which Barton points out, "is merely a belief", without a shred of sensory-based evidence to refute the equally plausible paradigm of a spiritual reality. These believers demand we believe materialism exists and that no spiritual world exists, but the only proof they can offer presupposes the very premise they expect us to accept without proof. They proffer only skepticism to the existence of the spiritual world, but reject any skepticism about the independent existence of a material world. A paradigm of spiritual reality would accept claims that the material world has its origins, its foundations, in the spiritual world. Rightly understood, both material and spiritual worlds exist. Rudolf Steiner accepts the premise of a material world and offers substantial evidence in thousands of ways for the premise that a spiritual world exists upon which the material world is founded.
When dealing with illness, one finds problems which appear in the physical (material) body whose origin is in the spiritual bodies of a patient.
[page xvi, Matthew Barton's Introduction] In Steiner's own metaphor, considering the physical body alone in efforts to cure illness is rather like tinkering with a train engine when the problem actually lies with the train driver.
The rantings and ravings of materialistic skeptics are enough to make one laugh or cry. They claim that we are animals, a slightly advanced primate with a slightly bigger brain and greater intelligence. But it is clearly observable that no animal can laugh or cry. If we can laugh or cry at the ludicrous claims that we are animal, how is that possible? In Lecture 17, Steiner gives simple reflections on laughing and crying, and in the other lectures gives powerful evidence to refute the prevailing and misguided paradigm of materialism. Rafts are ships without a rudder and they can be blown by the prevailing wind, but human beings have built-in rudders and creativity to produce propulsion against the prevailing winds of the materialistic paradigm, and so they can take a new tack in the direction of truth and make headway against the prevailing winds of public opinion and scientific paradigms. Navigators of old under a cloudy sky used dead-reckoning, that is, guiding their path using land-based markers. With Steiner as our navigator we can live-reckon our course through life using celestial navigation, looking with clear vision to the stars, and avoiding the dead-reckoning paradigm of physicality which ignores karma and other spiritual realities, up until now.
When someone experiences a quick shiver in the absence of any cold draft or other physical explanation, people will say, "Someone is walking over your grave." If you are walking along and one spot feels a bit colder, it means you are walking through a ghost, a spirit. With a little live-reckoning we can understand that such shivers are direct perceptions of the spiritual world which we can explain in no other way. Sayings such as these originated in a time when people could still directly perceive the spiritual world and thus simultaneously confirm that the shiver happened at the same time as some event happened in the spiritual world. Since we live in a material world filled with spirits, it would be a rather common occurrence for a spiritual being, a remnant of a deceased human, to pass through a living human, with the only physical effect being an otherwise unexplainable shiver. This process works in the other direction also, as Steiner explains in this next passage, in other words, when we have some salient feeling arise in us, it radiates out into the world as if we were attached to an astral spider web and beings of the astral world can experience the pulse we sent out on the web.
[page 3, 4] When we have some feeling or other, when joy or alarm flares in our soul, initially this is an occurrence within our soul. But it is not merely that. If one is able to examine this clairvoyantly, it becomes apparent that something like a luminous stream emanates from a person at the moment of alarm or joy, and that this enters the astral world. It does not enter it haphazardly or arbitrarily, though, but makes its way to a being within the astral world. In other words, when a feeling shimmers up in us, we enter into a connection with a being of the astral world. . . . This is the remarkable thing here: that as individuals we are not connected with just a single such being, but that we spin the most diverse threads connecting us to the most diverse beings of the astral world.
In the 1980s Jean Houston in various workshops explained that we humans have "leaky margins" and that the most intimate thoughts we have in the privacy of our bedrooms can leak out into the world and affect other people. Steiner not only agrees with Houston, but claims it is a valuable and productive ability that everyone possesses, but few realize they have it, up until now(1).
[page 7] It will become necessary for people to know what lies in the depths of the soul. You see, we would be endlessly impoverished if we were unable to produce many such streams that enter the astral world; and our nature would be very restricted if we were unable, by deepening our lives spiritually, to gain mastery over all these streams. We really must say therefore that we are not confined within our skin but extend beyond it on all sides into other worlds, which in turn penetrate into our world. A whole network of entities is spun out over the astral world.
When thoughts are shared with other people during a discussion, differing views may be expressed, but seldom do physical battles ensue after heated discussions. In the astral world, such heated battles are the rule rather than the exception.
[page 11] You see, as beings in the astral world you cannot restrain a thought within yourself since thoughts immediately become deeds, and objects immediately materialize. . . . Everything becomes deed there, and views have to battle with one another rather than discuss and argue. . . . Other opinions can happily exist alongside one's own, since battle will sort it all out.
Steiner points out that in the physical world you cannot build two different churches in one spot, but in the astral world, two churches can be built in one spot, a reality that is taken for granted there, a knowing that no argument is necessary because of the knowledge that truth will prevail, a knowing that "fruitful things will prevail".
[page 11] What has been described here, this interpenetrability, is a very important and key quality of the astral world. No being of the astral world will develop a concept of truth such as those we know here in the physical world. The beings of the astral world find debate, argument and so forth to be entirely unproductive. They agree with Goethe that "Fruitful things alone are true!" We should not come to know truth through theoretical reflections but through their productiveness, through the way in which they prove their value. One being of the astral world will therefore never dispute with another as people do, but will say: Fine, you do your thing, I'll do mine. We will see which is the more productive idea, and which will knock the other out of the ring.
"Discussion begins when knowledge ends." Steiner has said that in many places, and in this next passage he explains the difficulty of discussion with those without knowledge. In a less elegant way, a former governor, Earl K. Long, of Louisiana famously said, "When you wrestle with pigs, you can both get dirty, and the pigs love it." This can happen when an anthroposophist speaks of spiritual realities to an unprepared audience of materialists.
[page 14, 15] Whenever spiritual science collides with an entirely unprepared audience, the anthroposophist must be somewhat aware that in many respects he speaks a different language from those who have heard nothing at all or only very superficial, external things about insights that underpin the spiritual-scientific movement. It is necessary to delve a little deeper to find harmony and accord between what can so easily be presented in modern science — that is, experiences gained from research into the sensory world — and what is given us through insight gained by means of spiritual, higher, supersensible consciousness. One has to go more deeply into these things before being very gradually able to gain a real overview of this harmony. Then, however, we will see the beautiful harmony existing between what the spiritual researcher asserts and the assertions — that is, the cataloguing of facts — gained through research into physical realities. . . . Greater understanding of spiritual science can only be achieved in a broader context, therefore, by speaking from a spiritual perspective, even to an unprepared audience, in an entirely and unashamedly direct way. Then, amongst these unprepared people, there will be a large number who say: "This is all nonsense, fantasy, gobbledygook!"
At best one can hope there is an intrepid few, some thirsty souls who will take deep quaffs and learn to make sense of spiritual worlds through the unanswered questions which they allow to come to a flowering of understanding in their hearts. I attest firmly that this is possible and it began to happen to me several decades ago. I was trained to think like a physicist and questioned everything I read that Steiner wrote against my knowledge of science, often finding it lacking.
[page 15] When people say, "What you tell us does not accord with the most elementary scientific research," then the anthroposophist will reply, "I know that perfect harmony in relation to all these facts can be established by everything spiritual science can offer, even if at present it may not yet be possible for us to agree."
As I progressed in my study of spiritual science, I found again and again the harmony of spiritual science with the science of physics along with a great expansion of understanding of the world, its origin, humankind's origin, and our destination, of which physics provided me no clue, instead providing me only misleading and ill-founded claims. Both physics and religion, rightly understood, provide a kindergarten-like explanation of life's most important questions, intended mostly to deter further questioning, i.e., to dispel any unanswered questions from the minds of their students and believers which might lead them eventually to find fruitful and truthful answers. Once you hear a person say to a new idea, "I know that!" or "That's not right!", you can imagine they are not likely to be holding any unanswered questions, the top is left off the pressure-cooker of their minds and there can be no unanswered questions cooking up answers within. When the new idea involves concepts of spiritual science which are rejected without adequate inspection, you have signs of a person who is fully acclimatized to the material world, living entirely within matter.
[page 46] Only a being living entirely in matter believes that he will fade away by sacrificing himself. No, ever higher, richer development is connected with self-sacrifice in the service of universal evolution.
What does the gardener feel when he goes out to hoe his garden rows and his hoe is broken? He feels pain because what he could have done easily with his hoe, remove unwanted plants between his rows, he must now do by hand, on his knees what he could have done while standing with his hoe. Our body feels pain whenever something smashes a part of our body or makes the smallest cut or incision into our body. That's why we rub that part of our body which is not working fully, the part which hurts, why we like it when someone else rubs that part, why kids like Mommy to kiss it better. All these actions add etheric energy to the spot where the etheric body is working to restore itself fully and our astral body experiences pain until the etheric body has restored itself.
[page 49] If we now imagine making a small slit in our skin, thus wounding it, this incision will prevent the etheric finger from arranging the finger's different parts in the right way. The ether body is in the finger and seeks to keep the latter's parts together, while the mechanical incision we have made sunders them. Thus the ether finger cannot do what it ought. It is in the same position as we would be if, say, we had made ourselves a tool to use in the garden but someone had broken it. We would then be unable to do the work we had intended, and would be deprived of the chance to do it. This 'being unable' is best summed up by the word 'privation'. And it is this inability to act or intervene that the astral part of the finger experiences as pain.
If we chop off a hand, only the physical hand is chopped off, not the ether hand, and this ether hand is then unable to act any longer. The astral hand experiences this huge deprivation as pain. Thus, in the interplay of the etheric and astral, we acquaint ourselves with the nature of the most primitive, primal pain experiences. This is how pain arises in fact; and it lasts until the astral body has accustomed itself to the fact that this activity is no longer being carried out in this part of the body.
One can understand the phenomenon of "phantom limb pain" as due to the etheric limb being unable to act and the astral limb experiencing this as a pain. Materialistic doctors use various circumlocutions to explain this phenomenon which can only be rightly understood by spiritual science concepts. If someone asks you to "scratch their leg" which has been amputated, one does best to follow the instructions and scratch where the leg used to be. That missing leg's etheric body is still there and will communicate to the astral body and reduce the phantom leg pain. I have heard of a case when the woman responded to such a request from a veteran, "But the leg's not there." And the vet replied, "Yes, but the leg doesn't know that!" Why is it possible to scratch an amputated limb? Because the etheric and astral portions of the missing physical leg are still there.
Losing a limb can be hell; losing one's entire physical body is literally hell. The pain of the loss of one's physical body is experienced in kamaloca, which occurs a few days after death and is felt all the more intensely by materialists who do not believe in the existence of a spiritual world and imagine that their body is a physical body only. Steiner gives us an easy-to-remember definition of pain:
Pain results from an inability to act.
If you have recently lost a loved one, you typically feel pain because you can no longer touch your loved one, but you yourself can be consoled, find solace, if you understand that your loved one, your wife perhaps, is alive in the spiritual world, and when you grieve for her, she is acted upon by your grief and you cause pain in her. One does best to interact in one's mind with such a departed loved one, treating her as still alive in the spiritual world; this soothes her and helps ease the pain she feels from others who may be grieving for her.
[page 49, 50] Let us [look at] the experience of pain in kamaloca. There we are suddenly deprived of our whole body; it is no longer present and the ether forces can no longer act. The astral body senses that the whole can no longer be organized and it yearns for the activity that can only be carried out by means of the physical body, experiencing this privation as pain. Every experience of pain is a suppressed activity. Every suppressed activity in the cosmos leads to pain and, since activity must frequently be suppressed in the cosmos, pain is something necessary there.
When we leave kamaloca (hell) and enter the next level of the spiritual world devachan (heaven) we have reached a state of bliss. This is the state that religious preachers refer to as Heaven, calling it our ultimate and only goal in the after-life; lacking, as they do, a full recognition of the spiritual realities of our time between death and a new birth, they mistake a way-station for a permanent home. This next passage summarizes what happens during our time at the way-station.
[page 51] And now we can apply this to the spiritual worlds. Just as inhibited activity is privation in kamaloca — and privation is the kamaloca state — when we enter devachan all suppressed activity falls away because nothing remains there that is in any way connected with the physical plane or yearns back hungrily for physical things. Here we are given up to spiritual substantiality, which gradually builds up the form of our next incarnation. Here is the purest, most uninhibited activity, which we experience as the purest bliss. In life we continually learn from everything that surrounds us. The bodies, though, which we have now, are ones we built up in accordance with the powers of our former incarnations: we have built them up through these powers. What we encounter and acquaint ourselves with in this life is not yet in our body. During our life we change: our feelings and emotions change, our ideals grow. A great sum of inhibited urge for activity sits in us but we cannot transform our body. We have to make do with it as it was built up in line with the experiences of former incarnations. In devachan we are liberated from these constraints and in consequence our unconstrained urge for activity lives its life to the full in bliss. There we create our astral body, etheric body and physical body for the next life.
Steiner takes us in Lecture 7 into the mystery of forgetfulness. Do you remember the last time you forgot something? You might feel good about that, especially after reading this lecture in which Steiner discusses the "Blessing of Forgetting". Our etheric body remembers things, and the process of growth in a plant, whose highest body is the etheric body, uses the memory of making one leaf to create another leaf: it re-members the leaf or the section of a vertical stalk and adds it onto itself. Plants would keep doing that linear progress of growth were it not for the astral body of the Earth which soon stalls the process of re-membering and forces the leaves to be formed into flowers to culminate the growth of the plant and provide for reproduction processes of pollination and seed-formation to occur.
Our spinal cord grows much like a plant adding one section of stalk upon another and when it reaches its culmination the astral body creates an invagination of the top vertebra which forms the human skull. Our human flower, the reproductive portion, is not in the skull but at the lower end of the spinal cord; our brain is more related to the roots of the plant than the flower. In proceeding from the plant to the animal to the human kingdom, each step involves a right-angle turn. Animals have their head and reproductive organ parallel to the Earth, and humans are completely inverted from plants with our reproductive region close to the Earth and head farthest from the Earth.
The etheric body of plants is solely focused on processes of growth.
[page 65] The human ether body is different. Besides the part of it used for growth, for the same kind of development that in a sense encompasses us as it does the plant, there is another part of the ether body, you can say, that exists freely and has no prior use unless we teach the child all sorts of things in educating him, incorporating into the human soul all manner of things which this free part of the ether body makes use of and assimilates. In other words, there really is a part of the human ether body in us that nature does not use. We retain this and do not use it for growth, do not apply it to natural, biological development, but retain it within us as something intrinsically free by means of which we can assimilate the ideas and images which approach us through education.
Our astral body is like a TV receiver which can receive instantaneous signals and create visual images from them. Our etheric body is like a modern DVR (Digital Video Recorder) which can store these instantaneous signals and play them back later. In order to hold these accumulated images, the DVR needs a storage mechanism (a Hard Drive). Steiner says that our etheric body contains growth processes which only fills half of its capacity when we are born, that extra capacity available for storage during our education.
[page 65, 66] This assimilation of ideas occurs initially however by virtue of the fact that we receive impressions. We must always receive impressions since all education is also based on impressions and on collaboration between the etheric and astral bodies. To receive impressions, you see, we need the astral body. But to retain an impression so that it does not fade again, the etheric body is needed. The activity of the ether body is necessary for retaining even the least, apparently most insignificant memory. For instance, if you look at something, you need the astral body. But to retain it after turning your head away, you need the etheric body, The astral body is involved in looking at things, but the etheric body is necessary for retaining the image of it. Though very limited activity of the etheric body retains images in this way, and though it really only comes into its own in relation to lasting habits, inclinations, changes to temperament and so on, nevertheless, this is where it is needed. To retain even a simple idea in our head the etheric body has to be present, since all retention of ideas is in a sense based on memory.
Steiner explains that a person who is lethargic and makes little use of their surplus etheric body is less likely to recover from an illness than a person who has absorbed a great deal in their lifetime, making much use of the free portion of the etheric body.
Next Steiner explains the importance of forgetting, how an instantaneously received image can not enter the free portion of our etheric body until we have let go of the received image! What we forget goes to work inside of us.
[page 67, 68] So let us consider an image formed in response to an external impression, which is now living in our awareness. Then let us cast our eye of soul on the way it gradually disappears, is gradually forgotten. It is still present though within our whole spiritual organism. What is it doing there?What is the "forgotten image" preoccupied with? It has its own very important role. You see, it only begins to work upon this free part of the ether body which I described, and to render this free part of the ether body of use to us once it has been forgotten. It is as if this image or idea has only then been properly assimilated.
My experience with doing crossword puzzles confirms this phenomenon to be the case. So long as I hold the image of the word with missing letters in my mind, I usually cannot fill in the blanks to create the right word. This can happen for many words. But, if I put it aside for an hour or so, or better yet, overnight, the next time I come to the puzzle, each of the half dozen or so missing words pop into my mind as if by magic, and soon the puzzle which formerly stumped me has now been completed. My putting the puzzle away caused me to forget the blank-filled words and allowed them to work in my mind which soon found the words without my conscious effort, a conscious effort which can get in the way of solving the puzzle. Who does this work for me out of my awareness?
[page 68] The laborers are our forgotten ideas. That is the great blessing of forgetting!
Forgetting something is a benefit of our mind, not a defect of our mind! Forgetting is like putting money in a saving account — we forget about the money for a time, and when we draw it out we find it has grown bigger — drawn interest is the metaphor we use. As if what we forget draws interest to it and provides us with a later dividend when we need it. Forgetting a slight or insult from someone works in a similar way; it is the very essence of forgiving.
[page 69] If someone has done harm to us and, having absorbed the impression of what he did to us we repeatedly return to it whenever we see him, then we relate this idea of harm to the person concerned, and allow it to stream out from us. But if the next time we see this person, we manage to shake his hand as if nothing has happened, this is actually healing — not just in a metaphorical sense but in reality. . . . Forgetting is not a mere deficiency in us but is intrinsic to the most beneficial aspects of human life. . . . We owe our capacity for development to forgetting.
The ideas on these pages inspired me to write a poem about the blessing of forgetting. I modeled its title after the famous play by Oscar Wilde called "The Importance of Being Earnest".
The Importance of Being Forgetful
Did I ever tell you about the blessing of forgetting?
OW! I forget.
Who wrote "The Importance of Being Earnest"?
OW! I forget.
Who wrote "The Importance of Being Forgetful"?
OW! I just did.
I was just testing the Blessing of Forgetting.
OW! I forgot!
You want to know the Blessing of Forgetting!
OK, what is the Power of an Unanswered Question?
OW! You forget you asked it,
and later an answer pops up!
Having trouble due to forgetting things?
OW! Forget it!
Remember the Blessing of Forgetting!
What if I can't forgive someone?
OW! Forgiving requires forgetting! Forget it!
What if I can't forget what they did?
OW! Forgiving allows forgetting. Forgive them.
But I worry when I forget things!
OK, 95% of the things we worry about never happen.
OW! Forget them!
Remember the Blessing of Forgetting!
I still find forgetting upsetting.
OW! Forgetting something
puts it to work inside of you.
That's the Blessing of Forgetting!
Remember this, next time you're fretting about something:
Fretting is not forgetting;
It is remembering and re-remembering indefinitely.
OW! Forget you read this
and put it to work inside of you.
Remember the Blessing of Forgetting!
When we are in kamaloca, early during our time between death and a new birth, we must release the ties which bind us to our home, the Earth, before we can enter devachan and begin our work on our next life on Earth. During my childhood, the most popular deck of cards was the Bulldog Squeezers and the image on the back of the cards haunted me for some inexplicable reason. You can see the image at right. Two bulldogs are chained near their doghouses while the Man in the Moon grins down on them. The words at the bottom were most puzzling, "There is a tie that binds us to our Homes." The chains represent the linked together "instincts, drives, desires, passions, feelings, emotions, and pleasures" of our astral body which must be dissolved before we can release the ties to our physical existence on Earth and progress into the spiritual world of devachan.
[page 70] The astral body is the bearer of all instincts, drives, desires, passions, feelings, emotions and pleasures. Now in kamaloca the astral body would be unable to become aware of the torments of privation if it were not continually able to recall, through its ongoing connection with the residues of the ether body, what it has enjoyed and desired in life. The shedding of these habits is basically nothing other than a gradual forgetting of what chains us to the physical world. And so, when a person wishes to enter devachan, he must first learn to forget what chains him to the physical world. Here too therefore we see that we are tormented by retaining our memory of the physical world. Just as anxieties can become a torment when they refuse to be dislodged from our memory, inclinations and instincts that remain after death are likewise a torment; and this tormenting memory of our connection with life comes to expression in everything we have to undergo during our kamaloca period. The moment we have succeeded in forgetting all desires and wishes connected with the physical world — and only then — the achievements and fruits of our previous life appear in the way necessary for them to take effect in devachan. There they create and craft the shape of our forthcoming life.The importance of forgetting sheds new light on our loved ones who lose their memories while still in their physical bodies. Who knows but that this forgetting is an advance preparation stage for their eventual total forgetting which must occur before they can enter Heaven?
How can we recall our previous life if we have cast off our etheric body? Steiner asks and answers this question for us. We are familiar with the concept of cloud computing, where the data is not stored in our local computer, but in some remote computer we know not where, but our data is available for recall when we wish it. Our etheric body is like a local hard drive which stores and feeds up impressions (memory) when we are in the physical world. When we die the impressions stored by the etheric body are fed into a "cloud memory" which is known as the akashic record.
[page 71] Naturally, memory and forgetting acquire a somewhat different form after death. A transformation occurs so that in place of ordinary recall we read in the akashic record. Whatever has happened in the world does not vanish but exists objectively. As memory of our connection with physical life fades during kamaloca, these same occurrences surface in a quite different way, becoming apparent to us in the akashic record.
In Lecture 8 Steiner focuses on the theme of disease and talks about a "medical papacy" with ominous foresight of our 21st Century medical juggernaut which threatens to consume most of our national resources unless its thrust is blunted by common sense and spiritual science insights. People today want the best of care, no matter the cost, and expect, for example, to be prescribed antibiotics at the slightest sniffle.
[page 74, 75, italics added] People usually only concern themselves with disease, or at least with one or other forms of disease, when they fall ill in some way; and then they are mostly only interested in their recovery, in the fact of being cured. How they are cured is usually of very little interest to them, and it is even very agreeable to them not to have to concern themselves further with the nature of this recovery. Most of our contemporaries are happy to delegate the task of curing them to the people appointed to do so. In fact, a far more pervasive faith in authority holds sway in this field in our era than has ever held sway in the sphere of religion. Medical papacy, irrespective of what form it assumes in one place or another, has today become extremely prevalent and will go on taking stronger hold in future. Lay people are not in the least at fault for this state of affairs and its future increase. You see, people don't give it any thought, don't concern themselves with such things — not, at least, until they have first-hand experience of it, suffer an acute illness and need a cure. And for this reason a great majority of the population looks on with complete indifference as the medical papacy assumes ever greater proportions, worming its way into the most diverse fields — for instance, intervening extensively in children's education, in school life, and staking a claim here to a certain form of therapy. People do not worry about the deeper underlying factors at work here. They stand by and watch as public ordinances are given some kind of legislative form. They have no real wish to gain insight into such things. By contrast there will always be those who, finding themselves in difficulty and discovering that ordinary, materialistic medicine — whose foundations they have no interest in — does not answer their needs, will seek help from practitioners who draw on an esoteric foundation.
Our current medical papacy resembles the religious papacy which burnt Giordano Bruno at the stake and threatened the life of Galileo for daring to explain spiritual realities with physical and mathematical concepts. The world has come full circle now with a medical papacy focusing solely on the material aspects of the human being while belittling spiritual science which focuses on soulful healing of the human being. The medical papacy insists we heal ourselves with the half-loaf approach of materialistic science, while the full loaf is available to all of us, if we but seek anthroposophically trained and oriented medical doctors.
[page 76] If a scientific discipline maintains that we consist only of the physical body, it will be unable to engage in any salutary way with aspects of human health or disease. You see, health and illness relate to the whole human being, and not just to the part of him that is the physical body. . . . However pious a doctor may be, and however many ideas he may have about some kind of world of spirit, if his medical practice is based on rules founded entirely on our materialistic world-view, and if he tried to cure, therefore, in a way that only acknowledges the body, he still a materialist, however theoretically spiritual his outlook.
My wife found a doctor who formerly had worked at Touro Infirmary, but left to begin her own practice based on anthroposophical medicine. After a year or two of intensive treatment, my wife is sleeping better and no longer suffering from various hormonal imbalances which had earlier plagued her.
Doctors typically only view blood under a microscope, instead of a macroscope. Blood removed from a living being and examined under a microscope is no longer a living substance infused by a person's I. When doctors begin using a macroscope to view the entire living human, solutions can be found which would confound the medical papacy which would proclaim such results as anomalies, lucky guesses, and mysticism, all of which words can be rightly seen as a projection of their own procedures. "We'll try this drug and see if it works." How many times have you heard doctors say something similar? They are no better than Shamans or Witch Doctors at times, and deserve to be called "Wish Doctors" as many of their therapies are found on a wish that this new drug explained to them by a Drug Co. sales rep will heal their patient's illness. Drugs that are built on a microscopic level when they enter a human being have to relate to it on a macroscopic level and require the doctor to be informed of what is happening on a macroscopic level to the patient, the doctor must put the patient under the doctor's macroscope.
[page 81] Here we must realize that everything surrounding us in the macrocosm of the wider world is related to our complex internal organism, to the microcosm. Every food we know, therefore, is connected in a quite specific way to what lies within us.
My wife's doctor put her under the macroscope, looking at every food she ate, and she recommended certain changes in Del's diet which proved beneficial.
[page 81] What developed in the external world has a particular relationship with what formed within us. And now anyone who knows how outer things relate to internal ones can say in each instance how an external substance in the macrocosm can be used to benefit the microcosm. Otherwise we can experience, in a sense, how what we stuff ourselves with really isn't suitable for us. We must therefore seek in spiritual science for the real foundations governing our judgment. When someone falls ill and his diet is then guided by purely empirical laws derived from statistics or chemistry, this will always be a superficial approach.
In the past several decades diet seems to be formed by superficial fads, low-fat, low-carb, high protein, no-sugar, lite beers, vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, just to name a few. The ones that go back the earliest in time have all fallen away, some proven actually dangerous, and the latest fad is ready to take its place, and food companies are ready to provide whole new labeling such as NO SODIUM for stuff which never had sodium in the first place.
When we taper the amount of food we eat to a low level, we can experience what food is suitable for us, and when we have eaten enough, we will know it, and thus maintain a healthy weight without resorting to faddish diets. A fad diet is an experiment we do with our bodies, is it not? Will the results be good? You never know until you find out.
In Lecture 9 Steiner gives us an explanation of the Ten Commandments which he refers to as an anteroom to Christianity. His explanation of the first Commandment on page 89 is worth a big WOW! He repeats his explanation on page 96.
What I'd like to focus on is the evils which are spread in our time: on almost any TV Channel, but especially so-called news channels, one can be subjected to about ten phobia installations(2) a minute, and many of those come through the commercial advertisements, especially those by lawyers. Seems any drug used currently by Wish Doctors are followed shortly by lawyer ads describing the horrors they have caused to patients who took them, or the pain inflicted on patients by the artificial hips, joints, etc. they installed. Ninety-five years ago, Steiner was aware of this process of evil caused by materialistic doctors.
[page 95] Only if we can delve into spiritual science can we discover the mysterious way in which health and sickness develop. If you walk through the streets of a city, the atrocious things in advertisements and shop windows exert a baleful influence on your soul. Materialistic scientists have no sense at all of the capacity of these dire things to cause disease. They seek pathogens merely in bacilli, unaware that health and sickness are introduced into the body via the soul. Here only a humanity that acquaints itself with spiritual science will learn the significance of absorbing one or another kind of pictorial image.
Thou shalt not steal is a powerful Commandment which is often ignored and spuriously justified, "Everyone does it", "They won't miss what I took", and so on, but Steiner gives us insight into the process by which a thieving harms the perpetrator.
[page 99] . . . anyone who desires to acquire possessions by taking or stealing from another, thus trying to deprive him of some of his I power, weakens his own I power.
The evil effect of taking another's primary property as one's own also weakens one's own I power. Primary property as defined by Andrew Galambos is a person's thoughts and ideas. Consider the rampant thievery in the world today of primary property and you will gain insight into the cause for widespread low self-esteem (low I power).
In Lecture 10 we find a history of how male and female sexes arrived in the Lemurian era with the withdrawal of the Moon from the Earth. Steiner explains the causes of illness and ends the lecture with an apt description of what people do to their bodies by ingesting a pharmacopeia of drugs. Del and I have known people who were on their deathbed, given up by doctors, who simply stopped taking the drugs and experienced a miraculous recovery. When people take multiple drugs, the interactions between the drugs are too complicated for medical doctors to judge, and materialistic doctors admit as much. Steiner explains that the taking of these drugs create a phantom inside of you and that each drug creates a new phantom. How do these phantoms arise? He says on page 112 that with spiritual sight it is possible to observe a human form, a phantom, that consists of the medicine a person has ingested.
[page 113] If you left [a patient], as he is someone who needs something like this, and did not give him the medicine despite his real need of it, certain negative forces in his astral body would work upon his ether body, and the ether body in turn on the physical body, gradually destroying it. Now, though, you have imbued the physical body with a double whose effect is to prevent the physical body from hearkening to the astral body's influence.
That double is a phantom, and each successive drug the patient gets creates another phantom within and soon the patient is a mere shadow of his former self. Holding off the illness with the various drugs has made him into an extreme unhealthy individual. The effect is truly horrendous.
[page 113] By this means you render a person's physical body independent in a sense from his astral and ether body. That is the effect of a mineral medicine. But you will also immediately see the negative aspect of this for it does indeed have a very deleterious side to it. Since you have artificially removed the physical body from its connection with the other bodies, weakening the influence of astral and ether body on the physical body, you have made the physical body independent — and the more you administer such medicines to your body the less the astral and ether bodies will engage with it. Thus the physical body will grow to be inwardly hardened, an autonomous entity subject to its own laws. . . . Someone who has medicated himself in this way for a long time will find, if he seeks a more psychological form of treatment that acts particularly on the subtler bodies, that he has become more or less unreceptive to soul influences.
Modern drugs, to the extent that they incorporate mineral substances in them, can have this deleterious cumulative effect upon human beings. The disease is cured, but the patient is turned into a robot which will likely die of some other disease caused by the inability of the astral and etheric bodies to have a natural healing influence due to the blocking action of the drug-induced phantoms.
[page 114] We can now understand how mineral substances act on the human being. They engender doubles in him that preserve his physical body and remove him from potentially harmful effects of his astral or ether body. Today, almost all our medicine is geared to this, since materialistic medicine is unaware of the human being's subtler bodies, and only knows how to treat the physical body in some fashion.
Several decades ago, my friend Doyle Henderson and I were talking and he used the phrase "healing states" to refer to what we usually would call the symptoms of a disease. Some bug gets into our system and we experience certain discomforts, it could be fever, spots on our face or body, a rash, upset stomach, diarrhea, etc. If we consider these as "healing states" it is possible that these conditions can be bodily states recalled as a bodily memory (a doyle), and, if so, the so-called disease can be traced and erased by the Speed Trace process of doyletics. I mention this because to my surprise Steiner mentions in Lecture 11 that fever is a healing state.
[page 121] Now let us assume that the astral body has some intrinsic defect. Through this defect it works upon the ether body, and thus the defect is replicated and carried through into the physical body. Then the latter also becomes defective, and the organism begins to revolt against the defect, activating defensive forces. Fever is the most common form of revolt and invokes our healing powers. Fever is not illness, but a state in which we summon all the powers that exist everywhere in our organism to remedy this defect. This revolt of the whole organism against the defect is usually expressed in fever. Fever is the most beneficial, most healing factor in disease. The part of the body that has become defective cannot heal itself and needs to be aided by powers originating elsewhere — and this comes to expression in fever.
In Lecture 12 Steiner explains how Lucifer, whose name is light-bearer, ironically brought darkness to humankind. But for Lucifer's gift to humankind, the physical world would have remained transparent and we would yet today be able to see the spirits who fill the world in which we live. The cost for this would have been our freedom and autonomy, a very high price indeed.
[page 129] Instead of this, or course, Lucifer approached the human being and as it were drew a veil over part of the backdrop of the spiritual world, making it invisible. For as passions, instincts and desires arose in the human astral body, the spiritual beings who had always previously been perceived as standing behind the human being in the world from which he had originated were obscured. . . . The hosts of Lucifer were generally visible to the Atlanteans who — in twilight states of clairvoyant consciousness, in states of sleep and intermediate states between sleeping and waking — could find their way into the higher world of spirit.
As humans progressed through the Atlantean Epoch, the veil of darkness unfurled by Lucifer continued to obscure their view of the higher realms of the spiritual world, allowing the lower realms of the mineral, plant, and animal kingdom to become visible to human beings. Humans were the highest realm of Earth, the lowest realm of the Spiritual Kingdom, sometimes referred to as the Tenth Hierarchy of the Angelic Kingdom, but by the end of the Atlantean Epoch humans had lost sight of their spiritual origins and gained sight of the physical world(3), a condition we remain in to this day, but the tide is turning and we are entering a phase of regaining our spiritual sight in addition to our physical sight. Rudolf Steiner was a forerunner, a harbinger of the good news of this regaining of our spiritual sight, a capability he was born with and could attest to its possibility, its previous existence as a human capability in Atlantean times, and its coming existence in future times.
What was the evil that humans were doing during Atlantean times which led to their destruction in the Great Flood? They had access to the use of seed potencies which they could draw forth as we draw power from gasoline to drive our machines today.
[page 132] And I have said that if such powers are extracted or drawn out, then they have a mysterious relationship to the natural forces in wind, weather, and so forth; and if human beings use these powers in a way opposed to divine intentions, then these forces of nature can be unleashed against them.
This led to the great flood of Atlantis, and the devastating natural forces responsible for the downfall and submergence of the whole Atlantean continent.
The use of these forces continued in black magic (which means simply against divine intent) into the post-Atlantean times, headed by the being named by Zarathustra as Ahriman who opposed the great Sun Spirit Christ. A veil of darkness was falling on humankind again, this time in their passage between death and a rebirth. The Greeks knew this to be the case and famously claimed, "It is better to be a slave on Earth than a King in the realm of the shades." They lionized the human being in physical form on Earth because they knew that only darkness awaited them after this lifetime on Earth.
[page 133] In the world we pass through between death and a new birth humankind would gradually have become shrouded in darkness in what the Greeks rightly felt to be the realm of shades or shadows. And infinite isolation and accentuation of human egotism would have developed in the life between death and a new birth. On being reincarnated, we would have been born into our lives in a way that would have made us crass and terrible egotists.
The gift of Lucifer which led to human freedom also lead to humanity's downfall, and only a Spiritual Being of the level of Lucifer could undo the ill-effects of Lucifer's action. Zarathustra saw this Spiritual Being and called him Ahura Mazdao and prophesized that He was coming to Earth to pay for the deed of Lucifer, to redeem humanity. In Mystery Schools found by Zarathustra (about 3,000 B.C.), students or initiates were taught about the approach of this Sun Being, who came to be called Christ. These initiates were various called Magi or Kings when they graduated, and three of them approached the Jesus baby who was eventually to provide the purified human body to receive the Christ Being and redeem humanity from Lucifer's gift by becoming the first Great Spirit to experience life and death as a human being in the event Steiner later called the Mystery of Golgotha.
[page 133] It is therefore more than merely metaphorical to say that after the event of Golgotha, at the moment when blood ran from Christ's wounds, Christ appeared in the world beyond, in the realm of shades, and laid Ahriman in chains. While Ahriman's influence remained, and though all materialistic thinking is basically attributable to him and can only be paralyzed if we fully absorb the event of Golgotha, this event nevertheless became the source of strength we draw on to gain entry once more to the divine world of spirit.
How can there be a connection between the thoughts and deeds of human beings and the natural events which occur in the world. Two hundred years ago Joseph Joubert wrote, "All cries and all complaints exhale a vapor, and from this vapor a cloud is formed, and from these heaped-up clouds come thunder, storms, the inclemencies that destroy everything."(4) Seth, a spirit never incarnated, spoke through Jane Roberts about how the true steering mechanisms of hurricanes are the psyches of human beings in a region exuding those "cries and complaints" and wanting things to change for the better. (See footnote 4)
[page 143] Once humanity has come to discern, through spiritual science, the possibility of a connection between human deeds and natural events, then, precisely through this insight, the time will also arrive when humanity comes to see how such questions can receive an appropriate reply. This time will come, for spiritual science can pass through various destinies of its own. Its influence may even come to a standstill, restricted to the narrowest circles. But it will nevertheless make its way through humanity and find its way into the karma of humanity. And then it will become possible for humanity itself to act upon and influence its own karma.
Our I has a natural cycle of 24 hours or one day, our astral body has a cycle of 7 days or one week, and our etheric body a cycle of 28 days (about one month). In one day we go through our normal cycle of waking and sleeping. We recover from jet lag, something Steiner never got to experience, in about one week, the time our astral body needs to go through a cycle and return to normal in a new location. A woman's body goes through its menstrual cycle in about 28 days. The physical body has a cycle of 10 times 28 days, which is equivalent to 9 of our normal months, and the length of time for a new human physical body to gestate in its mother's body. These cycles are important to be aware of, but Steiner cautions against using them literally in some misguided "back-to-earth" Luddite cults which were apparently around a hundred years ago in his time and are still sprouting every year in some new form of food cultism, such as the anti-gluten, anti-TV, anti-cellphones, and anti-genetically modified plants, etc., today. Plants are genetically modifying themselves in every generation(5), and even the back-to-nature folks are eating such plants today. Even more so today, we must use our own I and decide whether something is good for us on an individual basis, remaining ever-aware that luciferian forces are inspiring these mass anti-movements. When we sift the nourishing wheat from the useless chaff, we do best for ourselves and our family; we find our own rhythm.
[page 154, 155] Now please don't imagine that I have said all this to propound a world-view that seeks to reintegrate human beings into a rhythm of this kind. We had to emerge from the ancient rhythm of existence, and progress depends on this. When "back-to-nature" prophets preach today, they want to push life back to where it started rather than advance it. Dabbling like this in vague ideas about going back to nature shows a failure to understand evolution. A movement urging people today to eat certain foods only at certain seasons, since nature itself indicates this by growing particular foods at specific times of year, represents a completely abstract kind of amateurism. Evolution consists precisely in increasing human independence from an external rhythm. But we should not lose the ground under our feet either. Our true, salutary progress is not furthered by returning to the old rhythm of life — asking, say, how one can live in harmony with the four quarters of the moon. This is a throwback to ancient times when it was necessary for us to be a kind of seal or imprint of the cosmos. On the other hand, though, it is also important not to think that we can live without rhythm. In the same way that we became internalized from without, we must now reconfigure ourselves rhythmically from within. This is the important thing. Rhythm must imbue our inner life.
Earlier I mentioned how our papacy of medicine today is filled with "Wish Doctors" who are at times no better than old-fashioned Medicine Men who guessed at what drug to use and wished for the best, applying a mishmash of thoughts about how to cure some diseases based on some verifiable fact about what a certain drug can do.
[page 154] Only disciplines still based on solid old traditions still retain something of their old regularity. In new fields we still need to create a new regularity. This is why, despite ascertaining facts such as the drop of temperature in a pneumonia patient on day seven of the disease, the reasons thought up to explain this are simply chaotic. When someone thinks about such things, instead of thinking in a regular, ordered way he piles a whole mish-mash of thoughts on top of one other. In all scientific disciplines researchers take a verifiable fact and then stir up a pile of thoughts about it, without any inner regularity. People today have no inner lines of thought or rhythm of thinking; and humanity would lapse into complete decadence if it did not, in fact, absorb an inner rhythm.
In spiritual science we can find and use for our benefit our inner line of thought, our rhythm of thinking; the numerical relations will remain the same, but will evolve at a higher level along with humankind's evolution.
[page 156] The future, as human beings create it, will show the same great numerical relationships as in the cosmos's past, but at a higher level. This is why human beings will give birth to the future out of themselves, out of number, just as the gods once formed the cosmos out of number.
In Lecture 14 Steiner tackles the question of the karmic causes of disease. First he gives us a beautiful interpretation of a New Testament saying of Christ Jesus which explains why reviewing our life backwards during the post-death process of kamaloca is necessary to enter the spiritual world (devachan) where we spend our time between death and a new birth:
[page 160, 161] One passes through ones life backwards to the moment of ones birth. On this is based the beautiful Christian saying referring to the moment when human beings re-enter the world of spirit or the kingdom of heaven, "Except ye become as little children, ye shall no wise enter the kingdom of heaven." In other words, we live our way back to the time of childhood, and re-experience it; and having completed this reverse journey, we enter devachan or the kingdom of heaven, and there spend the rest of our time in the spiritual world.
Evil exists in this world. Many question why God allows evil to exist, even going so far as to claim it is a bad god who would create evil in the world. A stone in one's path might be a stumbling block or a stepping stone that is beneficial, may it not?To recognize the benefit of evil actions, one must understand that often the counter-balancing acts for good are not observed in one lifetime but sprout in the next lifetime. The stone one stumbles over in this lifetime becomes a stepping stone to good in the next lifetime. This, rightly understood, is the divine plan of God for humanity.
[page 162] From the very beginning, the wise guidance of the world sought to enable human beings to place obstacles in their own path so that they might remove them again and thus develop the great strength for what would come later in the world. One might even say that this wise guidance allowed the human being to be evil, gave him the opportunity to be so, to do harm, so that, by redressing the harm, overcoming the evil, he would grow into a stronger being during karmic evolution than he otherwise would have become if had effortlessly attained his goal. This is how we must regard the meaning and justification of such obstacles and hindrances.
What is our subjective experience during this backwards review during kamaloca?
[page 162] In retracing our experience afer death we register in our own astral body what it felt like to be on the receiving end of what we did. And we also register how in doing this we placed a stone in the path of our own further development. The stone must be removed! Otherwise we cannot advance beyond it. At this moment we form the intention, the tendency, to remove the stone. And so when we have passed through the kamaloca period we actually arrive in the period of our childhood with pure intentions — that is, with the intention of removing all the hindrances we ourselves created in life. The fact that we bear these intentions within us leads to the unique configuration of each person's future biography.
Steiner gives an example of a man with a brain disease which results because some karmic intention from a previous lifetime was being thwarted and the brain needed a healing process to occur to re-direct the man's life(6). If he died because the disease had spread too far, his intentions would come in his next lifetime. Remember when you read, "karmic obligations", that they are stone we place in our own path, which will appear at first as a blocking stone, but will later be seen as a stepping stone. A favorite cartoon of mine from the 1960s showed a man walking over stepping stones to the middle of a stream where he found a sign saying, "Coming Soon, Another Stone". That is our karmic destiny, we know a new stepping stone will come, whether in this life or the next.
[page 166] Thus illness can endow us in one life with the strength and capacity to realize our karmic obligations in a next. . . . The capacities we have today result from our illnesses in former lives.
The law of karma is like a balance sheet for our individual lives, holding our assets and liabilities. It has nothing to do with some pre-destined future that we are randomly stuck with. It is exactly the opposite of that. It simply explains that the spiritual reality of living as a human being requires us to counter-balance previous acts and thereby turn a previous liability into a present asset.
[page 169] We misunderstand illness and karma entirely if we always consider the past, thereby making karma a more or less completely random law of destiny. Karma becomes a law of action, of life's fruitfulness, however, if we are able to look through the lens of present karma into the future.
Since many people have life-threatening illnesses which they overcome and in the process change their lives for the better, we should not discount that those who die from such illnesses also change their lives for the better in their next lifetime.
The three so-called evil spirits are Luciferic spirits, Ahrimanic spirits, and Asuric spirits. Lucifer is rooted in the sentient soul of the physical body, Ahriman in the intellectual soul (aka mind soul) of the etheric body, and the Asuras are the most recent ones, rooted in the consciousness soul of the human I.
[page 194] The Asuras will develop evil with an intensity far greater than did the satanic (ahrimanic) powers of the Atlantean age, or the luciferic spirits of the Lemurian times.
In a recent movie, Idiocracy, a certified average person of today, as established by an Army placement test, is sent forward in time several hundred years to arrive as the smartest person in the world! People have reduced themselves to animal passions and past-times and the entire world's food supply is dying in the fields, in spite of being carefully watered. Even a dummy today knows better than to use Gator-Ade to water plants, but when a character in the movie is told to use water instead, he replied, "UGH! You mean that stuff which is used in the toilet?" When our hero goes to Costco to buy a product, the clerk tells him it's located at Mile 17. This movie shows the ultimate result of a world shaped by the Asuric spirits.
[page 195] One portion of the I after another will be torn from it and, as the asuric spirits increasingly settle and take root in the consciousness soul, we will increasingly be obliged to leave parts of our existence behind on the earth. What succumbs to the asuric powers will be irretrievably lost. This does not mean that our whole being must succumb to them, but the asuric spirits will excise portions of the human spirit. In our age these Asuras are announcing themselves in the prevailing outlook we can call that of merely sensual life, the forgetfulness of all true spiritual beings, realities and worlds. We can say that so far the asuric temptation remains more theoretical. So far their deception is a widespread suggestion that the I is merely an outcome of the physical world alone, and their seduction one which leads people to a kind of theoretical materialism. But as things continue — and this is becoming increasingly apparent in the wasteland of sensory passions that rain down more and more upon earth — they will darken the gaze of humankind for spiritual beings and spiritual powers.People will know nothing and will not wish to know anything about a world of spirit. More than just subscribing to the doctrine that the loftiest ethical ideas are just highly developed animal drives, that human thinking is merely a transformation of animal senses, that in form we are closely related to animals and that our whole nature derives directly from them, human beings will come to live according to this view, will see themselves in this way and act accordingly.
Today, after all, no one actually lives as if their nature derives from animals. But this world-view will certainly come, and will result in people also really starting to live like animals, descending into merely animal instincts, drives and passions. And in some of the phenomena we need not describe further here, manifesting particularly as empty orgies of pointless sensuality that occur in large cities, we can see already the grotesque hell-fire of the spirits we call the Asuras.
One cannot watch the horrendous gladiator scene at the end of Idiocracy without noticing the asuric influences rampant everywhere. Bestial instincts are displayed which portray men as no more than ferocious animals attacking each other while the crowd cheers them on.
"Christ is the guiding light who leads us out of error and sin, and enables us to the find the path of ascent." (Page 198) Christ helped Lucifer, redeemed him, and left him behind with us as the Holy Spirit. If Christ can do that for Lucifer, he can redeem any of us, no matter how far we have fallen.
[page 199] These [luciferic] beings, who brought us freedom, also enable us to freely use this freedom to understand Christ. Then the luciferic spirits are purged and purified in the fire of Christianity, and the sin the luciferic spirits afflicted earth with is transformed from a sin into a boon, a benevolent deed. Freedom is achieved but is taken into the spiritual sphere as a deed of benevolence. That we are able to do this, are capable of perceiving and understanding Christ and that Lucifer is resurrected in a new form and can unite as the holy spirit with Christ is something Christ himself prophesied to those around him when he said, "You can be illumined with the new spirit, with the holy spirit!" This holy spirit is none other than the one through whom we can also come to understand the real nature of Christ's deed. Christ did not wish merely to work and act, but also desired to be understood. It is therefore integral to Christianity that the spirit who inspires us, the holy spirit, is sent to humankind.
This gift of the Holy Spirit to the Apostles and to us came about on Whitsun or Penecost Sunday as we know it and infuses the spiritual-scientific movement of anthroposophy in our current time.
[page 199] Whitsun is spiritually connected with Easter, and cannot be seen apart from it. This holy spirit is none other than the resurrected luciferic spirit, reborn now in purer, higher glory — the spirit of independent, wisdom-imbued insight. Christ himself prophesied the advent of this spirit after him, and our further work must accord with it. What furthers this spirit? The world stream of spiritual science does so, when properly understood! What is this world stream? It is the wisdom of the spirit, which raises to full consciousness what would otherwise remain unconscious in Christianity.
Lucifer resurrected, and transformed into good, precedes Christ with the flaming torch. He bears Christ himself. He is the bearer of light, and Christ is the light. The name Lucifer means "light-bearer". That is precisely what the spiritual-scientific movement is to be, and what it signifies.
Spiritual science is not a world-view as someone would have us believe, but it is a movement, something in action, a power which allows every one of us to know our own existence, where we came from, how we came to be today, and where we are heading as immortal spirits currently in a human body. How do we know we are immortal spirits? If you are unconscious of being immortal, it's not too late. It is something we have to acquire. You never know until you find out.
[page 202] We must acquire our immortality, for unconscious immortality is not yet immortality. Master Eckhart put this very beautifully when he said: "What use to man to be a king, if knowing not he is this thing?" By this he meant: What use is the spiritual world to us if we do not know what the world of spirit is? You can acquire the capacity to perceive the spiritual world only in the physical world. Let that give heart to those who ask why human beings ever descended to the physical world in the first place. The human being descended so that he can come to perceive the spiritual world here. He would remain blind to it if he had not descended to earth, acquiring here the self-aware nature with which he can return to the spiritual world, so that it lies open and radiant before him.
Spiritual science, therefore, is not merely a world-view but something without which the immortal part of us cannot know anything of the immortal worlds. It is a real power, and it flows as reality into our soul. As you sit here, engaging with and studying spiritual science, you not only gain knowledge but grow into being something that you would not otherwise become. That is the difference between spiritual science and other world-views. All other world-views relate to knowledge, while anthroposophy relates to human existence.
Some people wonder why Steiner recognizes the place Christ plays as crucial in the evolution of our cosmos, but eastern religions see Christ only as Jesus, just another human prophet. Basically Steiner is in the same position with eastern religions as he is with respect to western sciences: he recognizes their validity in themselves, but shows us parts that are obscured and ignored by their specialized beliefs, up until now.
[page 202, 203] There are not two types of esotericism, nor any antagonism between western and eastern spiritual science. There is only one truth. And if someone asks us why, if eastern and western esotericism are one and the same, eastern schools do not acknowledge Christ, we can reply that it is not up to us to give an answer. We have no obligation to reply to this, for we acknowledge the full scope of eastern esotericism. If they ask us whether we acknowledge what eastern esotericism says about Brahma and Buddha, we will reply that we certainly do! We understand what is meant when eastern schools tell us that Buddha rose to his lofty eminence by a particular path. We do not negate a single one of all the eastern truths and, in so far as they are positive, we fully acknowledge each and every one. But should that deter us from acknowledging something that exceeds their scope? Certainly not! We acknowledge what eastern esotericism says, but this does not prevent us from also, at the same time, acknowledging western truths.
Since the middle of Atlantean times, humans have begun to bring forth three higher realities from their I. (Paraphrased from Page 229, 230)
1. Lawful or Logical Thinking — we observe, but like a detective, we formulate logical thoughts which allow us to catch a thief. (A prime example of this appears in The Innocence of Father Brown)
2. Pleasure and Displeasure — we learn to enjoy things humans produce that are beautiful, elevated, humorous, funny, and to dislike things that are ugly, mundane, or useless.
3. An Urge to Act — something within causes us to act to make some situation better.
These three together provide nourishment for the Spirits of Personality (Archai) who have helped form us in the course of our evolution.
[page 231] These Spirits of Personality undergo an evolution in the supersensible realm, in the same way the human race evolves in the sensory domain. But what we, the human race, unfold into the supersensible realm is food and drink for these Spirits of Personality — they relish it. If human beings lived without developing a rich life of thinking, without pleasure or displeasure, without a sense of duty that goes beyond merely karmic dictates, the Spirits of Personality would have nothing to "eat" and would grow gaunt. Thus our life stands in relation to such beings, who invisibly interweave with our life, live through and in it.
In Lecture 18, Steiner explains for us the difference between the spirit and the Holy Spirit. It is an important difference which everyone should note. Creating in the spirit means creating something new from given conditions while creating in the Holy Spirit means beautiful and virtuous conditions created from what is right and true. Only with the coming of Christ who fully entered our evolution through the Mystery of Golgotha can we as human beings create out of the Holy Spirit and provide what is right, beautiful and good in harmony with the further course of evolution. (Page 232)
If you have been reading this material and allowing it to sit in your heart as unanswered questions you are indeed providing sustenance to the great Spirits of Personality who welcome you into the great task of evolving our cosmos in freedom and light.
--------------- Footnotes ---------------
Footnote 1. About 30 years ago, it occurred to me that people have wide-ranging abilities that they use completely out of their awareness, often in ways which are not productive, exactly because they are unaware of their own power. I called this Matherne's Hypothesis: If there is a process any living human was ever able to do, we can all do it, and are doing it all the time, often out of our awareness. See: http://www.doyletics.com/mrules.shtml#mhypo.Return to text directly before Footnote 1.
Footnote 2.Return to text directly before Footnote 2.
In the 1970s and 80s, I studied neurolinguistic programming before it was given a name, and was amazed at how quickly one could help someone remove a phobia. It was only later in advanced workshops with Richard Bandler that he revealed how one could run the process of the phobia cure backwards to install a phobia. Like with hypnosis, he said, the real expert at installing phobias is the average person on the street. They install them in others, not understanding what they are doing, and thus open themselves to easy phobia installation by others. Take note: anyone who mentions a news item is likely installing a phobia in you. "I hate to scare you, but this is true." is usually how they preface their phobia installations.
The Atlantean Epoch was filled with a heavy mist covering the Earth, which was mostly invisible to Atlantean people who saw each other's spiritual realities shining through the mist as if it didn't exist. The end of Atlantis came in a Great Flood, and the signal event of the end of the world-covering mist was the first-ever appearance of a rainbow in the sky.Rainbows cannot exist in heavy mists, only when a portion of the sky has raindrops falling which the Sun shines upon and is reflected back to our physical eyes. The appearance of the rainbow to Noah is recorded in the Bible to indicate the end of the Atlantean Epoch. Return to text directly before Footnote 3.
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Footnote 6.Return to text directly before Footnote 6.
Exactly such a brain disease occurred to a woman appearing on Hour of Power recently, which she recovered from and changed her life dramatically for the better afterward. One could discern in the new path her life took after recovery the karmic intention which had been released by the disease. Unfortunately, when the disease kills a person, one is not able to see the karmic intention play out in this lifetime.
4.) ARJ2: A Zen Wave by Robert Aitken
What is a haiku and where did it come from? Aitken tells us its origin in the Introduction.
[page 20] Historically, haiku developed from renku, the linked verse form that was popular among leisure classes in Japan from the earliest literate times. One poet would write a line of seventeen syllables, and another would cap that with a line of fourteen syllables. A third poet would add another line of seventeen syllables that would be linked to the first two lines in poetical intention. A fourth poet would cap that, and so on. The result would be a long poem of verses linked with associations shared by the participants, and the movement in imagery, intention, and implication would, when successful, be fulfilling for the entire party.
To which I would answer poetically:
Haiku very much
One can have a start —
Voila! Zen of art.
I thought I knew about haiku before I read this book. Well, I not only learned more about haiku but a lot about the Japanese language and my own language in addition. The haiku above I wrote in the margins of page 15 of the book. It was inspired by the following passage in the Foreword by W. S. Merwin:
[page 13] For art itself is not altogether possible (it is one of the things about it that we prize), and yet it exists, for all that — just as we live not only in the absolute but at the same time in the world of the necessary and the possible.
This book is a work of art by that definition — it doesn't seem possible and yet it exists. The subtitle comes from Aitken's M. A. dissertation title, a work he says he doesn't think to be adequate today but one he learned a lot from writing. The art of doing the impossible sometimes requires a pilot project first. So, where do we start with this review? Let's just jump in.The old pond;
A frog jumps in —
The sound of the water.
Furu ike ya
mizu no oto
frog jumps in
water of sound.
Now that we're all wet together, let's examine how Aitken dissects the frog of Basho. The first haiku is usually his translation. The second is in Japanese. The third is a translation done word by word from the Japanese original. In the phrase "water of sound" you get to see the form of post position in Japanese which is an inversion of what we call in English pre position or preposition.In his commentary that follows each poem, because of the three forms he is able to discuss the various multiple meanings of each Japanese word and allow the non-Japanese reader to enter the world of Basho in a way that would else not be possible. Some English reader called reading a book of haiku like "being pecked to death by doves." Said reader felt attacked by the short choppy verses and was apparently not able to get into the spirit of play that the authors infused their verses with.
[page 25, 26] Haiku poets commonly play with their base of three parts, running the meaning past the end of one segment into the next, playing with their form, as all artists do variations on the form they are working with. Actually the word haiku means "play verse."
From its origin in the play of verses added to successively by multiple authors to its current form of a single standalone poem consisting of a three line, seventeen syllable poem of five, seven, and five syllables haiku has retained its form as a play verse in modern times. A book of haiku should come with a warning label that says something like: "Do Not Enter Except to Play or You Will be Pecked to Death by Doves."
On page 30 Aitken shares an interesting distinction between English and Japanese words for fruit and flowers. We are so accustomed to think of having a single word for fruit, like pear, apple, plum and two words to refer to the flowers, pear blossoms, apple blossoms, and plum blossoms, that it would never occur to us that in Japanese the situation would be reversed — there are two words for plum and only one word for plum blossom, etc. This deserves to be meditated on — there must a primacy of fruit for Western thought and a primacy of blossom for Oriental thought. We in the West think of apple blossoms as the forerunner of the primary function of the apple tree: to produce apples, whereas the in the Orient, the plum fruit is the forerunner of the plum-blossoms of future trees. Feel this distinction as it plays out in the next haiku from page 130.
How many, many things
They bring to mind —
Here's what Aitken tells us about the importance of the cherry blossoms to Japanese life.
[page 131] Instilled in the Japanese mind is the association of the ephemerality of the cherry blossoms with the brevity of human life. Blooming for so short a time, and then casting loose in a shower of lovely petals in the early April wind, cherry blossoms symbolize an attitude of nonattachment much admired in Japanese culture.
Compare this attitude with the Western attitude of the pretty cherry blossoms presaging the appearance of the real purpose of the cherry tree: cherries.
Here's another haiku I wrote to play with what I think is the theme of the book as given in its title, A Zen Wave. My haiku was inspired by the Basho one on page 38 and Aitken's commentary on waving goodbye as a custom in Japan.
Wave & wave until
they are no longer in sight —
all that's left is Fall.
[page 39] People in the West, sometimes quite insensitive to the importance of farewells, can learn from the Japanese, who say farewell to the very end. They wave and wave until their friends are out of sight.
We in the West tend to see a visit of a friend as the fruit and the farewell as a trivial falling blossom of the fruit tree. In Japan the visit is like the short-lived blossom that falls upon parting and the shower of petals must be enjoyed to the full — it is the harbinger of future fruit, future visits. Here is Basho's haiku on the subject:
For one who says,
"I am tired of children,"
There are no flowers.
The next haiku I wrote was inspired by Basho's one on page 61 and the poem "THAT" by Joyce Carol Oates on page 62. It has to do with imperfections. I bought a spoon holder in a general store in the town of Natchitoches [nak ee tush'] that had a misspelling on it, the 't' in the word 'lights' was missing. The lady who sold it to me also led tours of the Christmas lighting decorations that the town is famous for along the Cane River. She didn't want to sell it to me. Wanted me to get an unblemished one. I told her, "This holder was obviously made by a human being, not a computer, and that's important to me." As Aitken says on page 63, "Teeth protrude a little, a birthmark, an eye with a cast — now that's a unique individual."
That holder of spoons —
Natchitoches City of Lighs —
That's where my spoon rests.
"Meanings accrue if you ambigue." is a favorite saying of mine. Sometime one can be too careful, too perfect. I was surprised to notice how careless spelling of words in a blackboard presentation can add liveliness to the presentation. Aitken well understands that aspect of communication, as he illustrates below.
[page 123] It is true that we must be clear, but it may be the wandering thought that is a creative idea. Wu-men warns: "To be alert and never ambiguous is to wear chains and an iron yoke." the Ts'ai Ken T'an (Vegetable Roots Discourses) tells us: "Water which is too pure has no fish."
In an age in which purified water from stores has replaced the drinking of water from the tap, I take pride in drinking water from my tap that comes from the great Mississippi River that drains the middle two-thirds of this great country. In taste tests it has beaten the pure waters from highly touted mountain streams. If I might build on the quote from the Discourses above, "Water which is too pure has no taste."
As I close my review I am watching a gecko feeding himself on my window. Each night that follows day, he comes out as the light from my reading lamp attracts his food to his vertical dining table on the outside of my window. You might see me now smiling and waving a zen wave to you all the way to the end of our long goodbye . . .
Now! Days come, days go
A gecko on the window;
A smile is soul food.
Read/Print the Review at:
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I hear often from my Good Readers that they have bought books after reading my book reviews. 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 coverse 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 Considers a Royal with Chili (Cheeseburger with Jalapeno Slices) 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.
This month the good Padre Examines a Poster in Lucerne, Switzerland:
2. Comments from Readers:
NOTE: I love hearing from all my Good Readers and including your missives here (slightly edited).
If you prefer any comments or photos you send to be private, simply say so and they will not be published.
- EMAIL from 2nd Cousin, Suzanne Potier, in Baton Rouge:
Here is the front and back of the brochure for the Natchez Spring Pilgrimage 2015 — March 7 thru April 7. Inside the brochure there are 24 houses and 3 Museum Houses on tour. There are Morning and Afternoon Tours shown on different days during the Pilgrimage.
Other bits of information are included also. Just call and they will send you the brochure. Hope you and Del will get to go. You can also ask them to put your name of their list for the Fall Pilgrimage brochure.
Enjoyed talking to you this A.M. Enjoy ALL of your trips !!!!
- EMAIL from Chris&Carla Bryant in Corpus Christi, TX:
You've heard this before but to honor Doyle on his 90th, I retell it now. 11 years ago I searched on-line for help with serious anger issues. I found Panacea and contact information for Doyle Henderson. I called Doyle and we discussed my problems and how Panacea might help. Doyle, at that time told me about doyletics, your website, and speed tracing. I ordered Panacea anyway but immediately found your website and had done many speed traces before Panacea arrived. My life was turned around completely. So thanks Bobby and Doyle.
Happy Birthday, Doyle! On Columbus Day, the day you would be 90, 10-12-14,
Chris and Carla Bryant
- EMAIL from Leo Beth, Life Coach in Holland:
Dear Bobby, below something you may like. Hope you are doing fine, LeoHis name was Fleming, and he was a poor Scottish farmer. One day, while trying to make a living for his family, he heard a cry for help coming from a nearby bog. He dropped his tools and ran to the bog.
There, mired to his waist in black muck, was a terrified boy, screaming and struggling to free himself. Farmer Fleming saved the lad from what could have been a slow and terrifying death
The next day, a fancy carriage pulled up to the Scotsman's sparse surroundings. An elegantly dressed nobleman stepped out and introduced himself as the father of the boy Farmer Fleming had saved.
'I want to repay you,' said the nobleman. 'You saved my son's life.'
'No, I can't accept payment for what I did,' the Scottish farmer replied waving off the offer. At that moment, the farmer's own son came to the door of the family hovel.
'Is that your son?' the nobleman asked.
'Yes,' the farmer replied proudly.
'I'll make you a deal. Let me provide him with the level of education my own son will enjoy. If the lad is anything like his father, he'll no doubt grow to be a man we both will be proud of.' And that he did.
Farmer Fleming's son attended the very best schools and in time, graduated from St. Mary's Hospital Medical School in London, and went on to become known throughout the world as the noted Sir Alexander Fleming, the discoverer of Penicillin.
Years afterward, the same nobleman's son who was saved from the bog was stricken with pneumonia.
What saved his life this time? Penicillin.
The name of the nobleman? Lord Randolph Churchill. His son's name?
Sir Winston Churchill.
- EMAIL from Dianne Cruze in Gretna forwarded by Del:
Adele, I am astounded by your husband's talents and gifts. I enjoy his DIGESTWORLD Publication. The photos are all so wonderful also.
It is such a pleasure to know you both.
- EMAIL from Johannes Maria Weber in Dornach, Switzerland:
Always I am impressed by your monthly bulletin, so much inspiring, continue, you are on angels work
EMAIL from Patty Lee in New Orleans with "Samson of the Sidelines — Rob Ryan" video clip featuring the Krewe d'Etat Carnival Parade, Feb. 8, 2014:
Music Video of "Samson of the Sidelines - Rob Ryan"
Music and Lyrics by and Performed by Armand St. Martin to the Dancing of Le Krewe d'Etat's Dancin' Darlin's, Mardi Gras 2014.Note: Rob Ryan is the Defensive Coach
of the New Orleans NFL Football team called the Saints.
His long silver hair and robust figure is easily recognized in all the dancers.
- EMAIL from Renee Lattimore in Meraux, La:
All of your reviews are fantastic! I refer back to them when I reading a Steiner book and I am unclear about some meaning because you always give a clear explanation. You never fail me!
I just wanted to let you know that my copy of Disease, Karma and Healing arrived today. I thought that this was one of the best reviews ever! So much so that I realized that I needed my very own copy of the book.
Thanks again for all you do!
3. Poem from Freedom on the Half Shell:"The Politician's Prayer"
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 Politician's Prayer
. . .The politician prays to God:
"Please preserve our force and fraud!
"We cannot coerce
without judicious use of force
Nor can we tell the truth
without getting the boot.
"Please hear our plea, O Deity,
Our land with liberty endow,
With the boon of freedom bless
But not just now."
After writing my satirical piece above "BAD NEWS FOR TOILET PAPER" about the fading presence of the New Orleans Times-Picayune Newspaper, some friends have sent me additional information which, on this Halloween Day, which is rather spooky. Seems almost all of the TP staff and functions of this formerly New Orleans produced, written, and printed newspaper are being out-sourced.
Jobs formerly done by the Ad Services Department in New Orleans are being done in Michigan. Local companies who buy ads for the TP are floored by this disturbing change. Who wants to buy ads from ghosts in another state?
If you call the Circulation Department, you'll get a person at a call center in Colorado. Complain about a problem with your delivery on Soniat Street, for example, and the person you're talking to will have no clue as to where that street is, not even what city it's in. If you say you live on Burgundy Street, they won't know where that is, either, because they won't know how to pronounce it correctly!
Human Resources we hear is migrating to Delaware.
The New Orleans Times-Picayune is turning into the Somewhere-else Times-Picayune without its paying customers having a clue as to what's happening.
Correct me, TP, if I'm right about these moves to Never-Never Land by your staff and newspaper functions. Inquiring minds and pocketbooks want to know . . .
The coin called a "picayune," worth half a reàl, is real gone — a gone pecan, the Picayune cigarettes disappeared in the 1960s, and soon the Picayune newspaper which merged with the Times, then the States-Item, is about to merge itself into the woodwork and disappear like the coin and the stinking cigarettes.
For myself, I'm happy with the New Orleans Advocate. Thank God for John Georges! You and your newspaper are truly an advocate for New Orleans and all of South Louisiana.Yes, I'd like to have the Advocate's printing done locally in New Orleans, and maybe that will happen now that the TP's delivery time of printed newspapers from Alabama will be twice as long as the Advocate's time from Baton Rouge.
Back in 1960, when I read the Advocate every morning at LSU in Baton Rouge, all the night games scores were there. I'd like to see that happen here.
I was happy to be given a chance this morning to vote on the Comics and other Features of the Advocate. I hate the two full page KIDS SECTION in Sunday Comics section of the Advocate. Print it separate or drop it. It's an insult to adult readers. Get rid of Doonesbury and Mallard Fillmore or move them, if you must, to the Editorial pages. Also deep-six Sherman's Lagoon, Snuffy Smith, and Sally Forth. Add some goodies from my Picayune reading days, like Brewster Rocket, Luann, Foxtrot, and Rose is Rose. Kids don't read comics, in my experience, and grinding political axes like Gary Trudeau does in Doonesbury is not for the comics page, in my humble opinion. He apparently can't satirize an ultra-liberal president, so he's spewing out reruns from the 1970s.
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9. CLOSING NOTES:
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