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~~~~~~~~ In Memoriam: Perryl John Gassen (1928-2016) ~~~~
~~~~~~~~ Good friend who ran Gulf Station in Mimosa with Earl Dean for many years. ~~~~~
WELCOME TO DIGESTWORLD ISSUE#165 May, 2016== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==Quote for the Darling Buds Month of May:
Love is something you don't know is missing until you find it.
— Bobby Matherne, Writer
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DIGESTWORLDArchived DIGESTWORLD Issues
GOOD MOUNTAIN PRESS Presents ISSUE#165 for May, 2016
Table of Contents
1. May's Violet-n-Joey Cartoon
2. Honored Readers for May
3. On a Personal Note
Rainbows & Shadows Poems
4. Cajun Story
5. Recipe or Household Hint for May, 2016 from Bobby Jeaux: BUNN Coffeemaker and Honey Drippers
6. Sonnet: "The Dragon Paradigm" from Becoming the Archangel Michael's Companions
7. Reviews and Articles featured for May:
8. Commentary on the World
- ARJ2: From Sunspots to Strawberries, GA# 354 by Rudolf Steiner
- ARJ2: A Psychology of Body, Soul, & Spirit, GA# 207 by Rudolf Steiner
- ARJ2: The Spiritual Ground of Education, GA#305 by Rudolf Steiner
1. Padre Filius Cartoon
2. Comments from Readers
3. Freedom on the Half Shell Poem
4. SECN+ SUCKS and Time-Delaying Radio Broadcasts
9. Closing Notes — our mailing list, locating books, subscribing/unsubscribing to DIGESTWORLD
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1. May Violet-n-Joey CARTOON:
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==This month Violet and Joey learn about Adverbs.
For newcomers to DIGESTWORLD, we have created a webpage of all the Violet-n-Joey cartoons!
"The Use of Adverbs" at http://www.doyletics.com/images/150425vj.jpg
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2. HONORED READERS FOR May:
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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 May, 2016. We are sad that Ed died shortly before he had a chance to see us honor him as a Good Reader:
Ed Gros in New Orleans
Dennis Lex in Tucson
Congratulations, Ed and Dennis!
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3. ON A PERSONAL NOTE:
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Out Our Way:
APRIL BLOOMS AT TIMBERLANE
Month began with a visit from our grandson Collin. Del went to movies with him, and I taught him how to make a crawfish-eggplant dressing omelet in Bobby Jeaux's kitchen. Took him out to pick green onion tops, basil, and parsley. We usually make two omelets with one frozen stick of the CED, but I took a big stick and cut it into three parts, using a chopping knife to cut through the Ziplock freezer bag. First one Collin watched me cook it. The second one I let him assist me with the cooking. On the third one, I let him solo. Let him stir the eggs with the whisk, pour out the remaining third of the mixture, tear cheese from its papers, lay on omelet, then fold out onto the plate. He seemed to be thrilled. Loved the result too.
This is the month when the Pelicans NBA season is winding down and LSU's SEC baseball series are in full swing. I began watching the Pelicans in their last game of the season whip the Brooklyn Nets in the Barclay Center while I waited for LSU to take on Auburn in their series rubber match. With great performances by John Valek and Parker Bugg ,they squelched the bats of Auburn and our LSU Fighting Tigers won handily 10-5. First SEC series won, and LSU moved into third place in the Western Division. Homers by Deichman and Romero highlighted the battle. This is a young team, 8 freshmen players on first string, all learning fast how to deal with SEC level play.My favorite player this year is Antoine Duplantis, Grandson of my childhood friend Bobby Duplantis. Antoine began his LSU career with a 19-game hitting streak, a record for a freshman. He's hit and gotten on base in almost every game. When we were down 8-4 against MSU, Coach Manieri suggested he put a little oomph in his swing with the bases loaded, and he came through with his first home run as a Tiger, a Grand Slam homer to tie the score.
The seats of the bleachers where we watched the LSU baseball games were wearing out and the back of my recliner had a bolt come loose, so we found the Lazy Boy recliner showroom and were able to buy identical replacements, this time we took the covering and repair warranty. These seats get a lot of wear, and next we'll know where to get them recovered and fixed. We needed chairs of the same width and these were perfect replacements.
Last month when Ed Gros, former accountant at Southeast Medical Alliance, died, we met Barbara Louviere at his memorial service, Barbara was the former CEO of SMA. We had lunch later in the month with Mark Parker who was the medical doctor at SMA. We enjoyed hearing about Doc's retirement, and his various adventures with having to fill in for the guy who replaced him. By coincidence we had lunch with Both of these old friends shortly after Ed died.
Before going to Drago's for lunch with Doc Parker, we had tried to find the Lazy Boy showroom using the GPS and couldn't. GPS gives us a new way to get lost in this new millennium. After our lunch at Drago's we were driving home, and as we neared the New Orleans and Baton Rouge split on the flyover ramp, Del spotted the showroom for Lazy Boy's down to the right, below us. We drove to Clearview and then back to Lazy Boy's. It's hidden with its entrance off the right hand storage lane from Veterans to Causeway Blvd south. Unable to easily get on the flyover ramp when we left, we took the Cleary to Earhart Expressway home.
The following week we had lunch with Barbara at Houston's Restaurant on St. Charles. As I walked in, ready to take my hat off according to their policy, the greeter told me, "Hello, and welcome to Houston's". I complimented her on her polite greeting, saying as I was so accustomed to be accosted and asked to take off my hat. She said their policy has changed. So unaccustomed as I was to wearing my hat while eating at Houston's I kept it on for the novelty of it all. We hadn't seen Barbara for about 16 years because he had moved to New England for a couple of years and then to Germany with her new husband. Now she was single again and back for good, it seems, in New Orleans. We invited her to join our table for the Kentucky Derby event at Timberlane Country Club, and she accepted.
FRENCH QUARTER FEST
On Friday of the FQFest, Del had an elegant luncheon she'd helped plan for Les Dames, so I took the day off from slaving at my desk to enjoy some food, friends, and music in the French Quarter. I had hoped to park near the river, but Chartres is under construction so I went to Sam's on Rampart Street, and walked into the Quarter from the other side. This gave me a chance to stop and visit David Jorgensen for a few minutes. He was working, bidding on three construction jobs, and glad to have a break.
Walking through the Quarter has become more enjoyable because there are now three PJ's Coffeeshops scattered through the narrow streets. I stopped at the one on Chartres across from Tableau Restaurant first. Then walked down Royal Street, listening to various musicians and street performers. My two favorite performers du jour were the lady marionette who manipulated her lady puppet dressed as an artist painting the back side of St. Louis Cathedral. The tiny artist would reach over, dab her paint brush into the palette, and then apply paint to her artwork. The puppeteer had to place herself in front of the stage so she could see the painting her puppet artist was working on. Watch the movie clip to see how she does this. The other performer was an amazing transformer: a tiny yellow car, looking like a Hot Wheels car, up-sized a bit. I watched as it raced around a red tip bucket and wondered where the owner of the car was. He couldn't be inside this toy car, but when it stopped he rose up like a turtle on its hind legs with a yellow shell on its back. Figured you'd want to see this so I've included a movie clip of this amazing transformation.
After leaving the yellow car, I heard someone call, "Bobby", and I looked over to see Dana, my first cousin Deanna Hill's daughter. She was with her daughter Alayna and son-in-law Adam. Adam took a photo of me with my two first cousins, once-removed, and twice-removed.
Jackson Square was filled with food kiosks and a large music stage. I wheedled my way through the dense crowd past the stage and suddenly up popped Burke Fountain, followed shortly by Candy Reed, who had been sitting and enjoying the music. Burke was in town from Boston for a few days to attend the Fest, and it seems whenever he's in town, we bump into each other. Last time was on Mardi Gras day downtown. I visited with them for while, listening to the music and catching up, and then walked over to Café du Monde for café au lait and beignets. From there I walked to the Moon Walk which was built in the 1960s to allow visitors to sit down on steps. From the lowest dry step I could reach down to wash my hands in its waters. A couple was watching me from the top step, so I went over and talked to them. "Where are you from?" is a great conversation starter, whether on a cruise ship or in New Orleans. Every now and then, I'll even meet someone who's a local. This guy and gal were from Minnesota and they said they came here to see the end of their river! I explained that one can still drive about 125 miles south to the end of the road along the river. I explained about the 270 degree turn that the river makes in the direction they were looking. It's called Algiers Point and large ships take a long time to maneuver around the sharp bend in the river. I told them we were planning to take a cruise from New Orleans up to St. Paul as soon as Viking Cruise lines begins them sometime next year.
I walked over to the Stage in the Shade of the Old Mint and got myself a nice crab cake from the Blue Crab Restaurant's kiosk. Listened to the band playing while I ate my lunch, then walked down to another French Market stage where a set was just wrapping up. I recognized the guy with the banjo as Don Vappe and said hello. Used to enjoy him and his wife Millie on their WWOZ show in the afternoon. Wish they were back on the station. If you haven't listened to WWOZ, I highly recommend you check them out. You can hear them 24/7 anywhere in the world over the web, just dial up WWOZ.ORG and turn up the volume. All the music is played by DJ's who choose their favorite type music and you can see the title of the song and the band's name on your display screen.You might catch New Orleans jazz, Cajun music, Irish music, Latin music, Bluegrass, Gospel, or New Orleans funk, just to name a few categories.
As I watched Don Vappe's group play, I saw this women sitting with a toddler, a blond girl of about 18 months, on her lap. The mother took off her straw cowboy hat was holding it so it shaded her daughter. Then, her hand tiring, she decided to place it on her daughter's head. So cute that I got a movie clip of this. After some time, the little girl removed the hat and gave it back to her mom. Did her mom allow the girl to enjoy the warmth of the sun's rays, nope, like a combat helicopter the straw hovered over the little girl's head again. If you want to see an example of a helicopter mom, the clip is below in the Movie Blurb Section.
As I headed back down Royal Street, I heard a parade coming towards me and it was a second marching band celebrating a marriage with the bride and groom leading the parade. Got a movie clip of their gyrations. I expect the two may be too pooped to pop by evening fall. Stopped by Dave and Maddie's on long trek back to my car and got a photo of David and Danny on the sofa in the living room as we visited.
FQF BUFFET AND BABY SHOWER ON THE BAYOU
In busy New Orleans, it's often that two events you want to go to collide on the same day, but on occasion it's possible to do both. On the final day of the French Quarter Fest Carol Fleischman had her usual patio buffet. We parked at our favorite spot, then walked to Dave and Maddie's to get my Manifestations of Karma book which I had inadvertently left on their sofa on Friday. Dave was out walking Danny, but Maddie invited us in. She wanted to show Del some changes in her redecorated living room.
We then walked to Carol Fleischman's brunch at 1119 Dauphine, a few blocks away. Got there at the beginning and talked to Carol and met her friend and neighbor Keith who used to live in Algiers and is now a bicycle tour guide. He likes to talk about the French Quarter and tell Cajun jokes, so I suggested we swap jokes. Carol's party went from 10 to noon, and that gave us plenty of time to head to Mindy's baby shower in Bayou Gauche, about an hour away. When we left and I drove down to Earhart Expressway and took the Huey P. Long bridge down to Bayou Gauche. Since the bridge has been expanded to three lanes with breakdown lanes, it's a great shortcut to the West Bank, but since we had avoided the old bridge, it's taking some to update our maps and using it more since improvements are complete.
Well, we were getting there too early for the shower, and that, for me, is a good thing, but for Del it is a no-no. So we stopped in Boutte at a Sonic to use up some time, and then were approaching Matherne Lane on the Bayou Gauche Road 30 minutes ahead of time. Perfect timing I thought, as I know that one can never be too early for a Matherne feast and event of any kind. Always good stuff to eat and things to do.But Del said, "What's at the end of this road?" Good question. It meant that all the times we had driven to David and Barbara's over four decades, we had never gone to the end of the road. So many times it was an evening event at David's and Bayou Gauche is not exactly a City of Lights, just old live oaks draped with Spanish moss shading a small fishing village. The bayou comes within a foot of the level of the road, and night travel is not recommended. So we drove down to the end of the road, and Del got to see the quaint fishing community of Bayou Gauche. It's name means "Left Bayou" as the bayou coming from Lake Des Allemands splits up and only the left side of the bayou has ever had a road and a settlement. It probably goes back to pre-revolutionary times as the first Mathernes came and settled here about 1750 or so.More Mathernes today per square rod than anywhere else in the world, I'll bet. This bayou is one of about three different waterways that I have waterskied on. Have gone fishing at the end of the road and taken a boat to fish below the end of the road also. Duck hunting we did nearby on Petit Lac des Allemands. It was fun to revisit it and share it with Del.
Out of all of my parents grandchildren, only my daughter Maureen has had grandchildren. Now my brother David's son Randy will also become a grandparent, as his daughter Mindy is expecting. Usually I let Del go alone to baby showers, but this is a Matherne party and I'm expecting from David's son, some fried sac-au-lait (crappie) and some boiled crawfish. I was not disappointed. Well, maybe a little because the tasty fried fish had cooled a bit, but a quick zap in the microwave brought them back to delicious form. The crawfish were great. I asked Randy if I might fish off his dock, and he reacted exactly as his now-departed dad would have, he said yes and proceeded to select a rod and reel and fix up the sac-au-lait bait on it. I stood on Randy's dock and cast into the bayou.This waterway used to drain from Simoneaux's Pond a few miles down Bayou Gauche road. It was a favorite fishing spot which offered boat rentals and all the fish you could catch for a small fee back in the 1950s and '60s. So the fish in Simoneaux's would also be in this small bayou. Randy said he had caught some fish earlier in Spring, but not lately. Del and I noticed about half of the cattle were standing and half were sitting as we drove down Bayou Gauche Road, and David had told us years ago that if the cows were standing, they were feeding, and so were the fish biting on that day. So likely, the fish would not be biting anywhere this afternoon. David went fishing nearly every day. I asked one year before he died, "David, have you ever counted how much fish you catch in a year's time?" "No," he said, "but one year I counted until May and had caught over 5,000 fresh water fish, mostly sac-au-lait and bass." Randy has taken up his father's love for fishing. When I didn't get a bite, I decided to kick my feet up and let the lure do all the work.
It was a lovely day to be sitting in the shade of a dock along a beautiful bayou, fish or no fish biting. My brother Paul came in from Opelousas with his wife to partake of the fried sac-au-lait and boiled crawfish, and he took the banner photo of me and Del which heads this section, Out Our Way.
A Hahnville High classmate Dave Schouest is Randy's brother-in-law and had also heard the siren call of good eats. It was great seeing him. He's lost some weight and is looking good. Nothing finer than good food and talking about fishing when you're not actually fishing.
I walked inside to take photos of Barbara's two sisters, Judy and Linda; I believe Dave is Judy's husband and E. B. was Linda's. Got a couple of shots of the shower in progress. Mindy is going to have a boy and his name will be Aiden. His coming out party will be sometime in May.His father is going into training to become a policeman, if I heard correctly.
A WEEK FILLED WITH LUNCHES, BIRTHDAYS, BASEBALL
First up was our lunch with Barbara Louviere at Houston's on St. Charles. I had mentioned it earlier, and now I remember that it was the day after New Orleans Saint player Will Smith had been killed in a road rage incident on Felicity Street. We usually drive down that street and sure enough there was a group gathered at an intersection to our left as we passed. We saw flowers, wreaths, and a TV news crew at work.
The next day was Tuesday and it was Del's birthday. I had planned a fancy trip down to the French Quarter, but when Christopher couldn't do the History Tour on the Creole Queen, I was unsure of what we'd do. With rain projected for the day, we decided to stay home where I would fix a large CRESH (CRab-Eggplant-SHrimp etouffee) for me and Del. I also planned to grill some red and yellow Bell peppers in honor of Del's birthday bells which rang all over New Orleans on the day she was born (the day Franklin DELano Roosevelt died in Warm Springs, Georgia). But I wanted to do something special for her when she first awoke. I went to PJ's to get us a Sunrise Muffin, a bran with various chunks of fruit in it, her favorite kind, and bring it home. I told JC I wanted my usual with a Sunrise Muffin. JC pointed to a guy standing by the microwave, I just sold him the last one. To my surprise the guy smiled through his glasses at me and said, probably sensing my disappointment, "Here, I'll give you half." I thanked him for the offer, saying, "I had planned to share this with my wife on her birthday." He then gave the whole muffin still in its bag to me, and asked JC for a blueberry muffin. What a nice guy! James Daniel was his name, and I made sure to remember his name as long as I remembered his kindness that morning. It made possible what happened next.
Del was still asleep, so I took the half dozen birthday cards which she saves to open the morning of her birthday and arranged them as a base upon which I placed a plate holding the muffin with a birthday candle in its middle.When I heard Del coming from our bedroom, I lit the candle, and as she came into view, I began singing "Happy Birthday!" to her. We sliced the warmed-up muffin in half and enjoyed the fresh coffee I had just fixed along with our Sunrise muffin halves. Great birthday cake which we consumed with only two slices and no leftovers! That night Del and I watched a wonderful movie about a very resourceful girl in "Brooklyn", a movie as perfect as a Waterford crystal goblet about an Irish lass who immigrates to America and comes of age in Brooklyn.
To manage Del's birthday surprise, I had to move my massage to the next day and went immediately from it to another lunch, my monthly luncheon with the Crowns. Unfortunately the weatherman called for heavy rains all day and my cousin Leonard and Lance from Thibodaux canceled driving in to the Crowns because of the possibility of flooding along Highway 90. David and Barbara Duplantis were there. She is a sweetheart just like her mom, Edith Lawson, my favorite librarian. Dave's having knee surgery, so I told him, "During your 6 month recuperation, anyone ask how you're doing, you can always say, 'Can't kick.'" He laughed, a great laugh, the kind makes you feel good to hear and see. At the table, a smaller than planned due to bad weather, were Roy L., Floyd Robin, Errol Duhe, Ivan Rivera, Michael Favre, and another guy whose name I didn't catch.This is a new group to me, only my third one and different guys show up each time. Leonard called them to say he couldn't come. The guys reminded me that this was my cousin Leonard's birthday, which is the day after Del's. I've always told folks over the years that Westwego was a tough place to grow up in. On this day, I was reminded of how tough Wego kids were and still are as adults when the conversation got onto two guys who beat each other up recently, and led to another guy who welcomed a fight with almost anyone. I came home after the lunch and took a nap and then began reading from the karma book I retrieved from Dave and Maddie's house.I wondered what about my own karma led me to choose Westwego to grow up in. I will review the karma book in my June Issue.
That night I watched LSU beat Grambling State 14-10. LSU jumped out to a huge lead, 12-2, and Grambling got their last 8 runs came when LSU had an outfielder Brenen Breaux pitching and had substituted fumble-fingered second and third stringers on defense for the starters. Obviously Coach Manieri was striving to give these guys some real playing time so they could see how far they had to progress to make first string. He also wanted to save his best pitchers for our series this weekend in Missouri. Well, he managed to add a little excitement as Grambling got almost to the point of having the tying run at bat.
SECOND BIRTHDAY WITH THE GANG FROM MEMPHIS AND BEAUMONT
The day after Del's birthday is our grandson Kirt Rennick's birthday. Ever since he got his first wheelchair he's had a dream of having his first beer on Bourbon Street in New Orleans on his 21st birthday, so he and his parents Jim and Gina drove him here from Memphis where they currently live and Kirt's sister Amanda and Gina's mom, Sandra and her friend Melgia drove in from Beaumont. They all converged on Timberlane, together with Jim's twin brother John and his two sons Kyle and Collin on Friday night. The next day Stoney & Sue joined us and we lit the candles on the Chocolate Doberge cake from Gambino's and Kirt blew them out making a big birthday wish. Then, Bill & Carol joined us at the Crescent City Brewhouse on Decatur where we had a large table to celebrate Kirt's first beer. (His Uncle John had brought a six-pack of Coors the previous night, but I'm not sure if Kirt drank a whole one.) Del and I left after a nice meal and celebration to go home. The kids and grandkids went to Bourbon Street a few blocks away.Undoubtedly Kirt was going to have his Beer on Bourbon Street, maybe even a Big-Ass Beer. Last thing I told them as we left was, "Throw up before you get home!" I hoped it would act as a deterrent to excess drinking, but my words were soon drowned out by the jazz and tumult of Bourbon, no doubt. Later when they came home, Gina came in with these words, "Kirt threw up in the van." So far so good, I thought, and hoped it was over. Gina sat Kirt on the floor in the living room to change his smelly clothes. I went back to watching our movie and suddenly I hear some exclamation from the living room. Kirt had thrown up again, and another mess had to cleaned up. Kirt's parents had their hands full, but I expect they thought it was worth it. It was a right of passage for Jim, his hero, and now Kirt had been initiated into adulthood as a man. Gina's recentky found out that her job is relocating her to Fort Collins, Colorado area, and Kirt is all excited as his favorite baseball team is the Rockies. Del gave Kirt a fedora and he liked putting on his head backwards, reminding me of Donald O'Connor in "Singing in the Rain."
VEGETABLE GARDEN TILLED, PLANTED, AND YARD MULCHED
The morning started off with a trip to pick up a ring that Barry at Designs in Jewelry had reset for me in Metairie. I decided to take the Huey P. Long Bridge back home and take the Westwego exit, something I hadn't done since the bridge upgrade a few years ago. In the 40s and 50s when we lived there, this was the only route into New Orleans, along the river road to the old Bridge Circle, which "ain't dere no mo". I drove down Sala Avenue, the old business district, past Our Lady of Prompt Succor which our nickels and dimes in the collection basket helped build, past the Edith Lawson Library, and pulled in at my Aunt Lydia's house. Her daughter Ann, my first cousin, was there with a cute blond toddler named MacKenzie Rose Breaux. I heard her calling me Uncle Bobby, as I talked to my Aunt Lydia, her great-grandmother. Ann had apparently called me "Uncle" as something her grand-daughter would understand, rather than the more accurate first cousin twice removed. I offered my Aunt condolences for the loss of her oldest son, Richard, named after his father Richard LeBlanc, who had died about a month ago. As I was leaving, I noticed a man coming up the other end of the driveway, so I walked back to say hi to him; it was Nathan LeBlanc, another son of Aunt Lydia.
That afternoon our land man, Rene came over to weed out and till the two gardens, the Veggie Garden and the Babe Garden. In the veggie garden I put some cucumber plants, and a row of okra plants. Also an antique Cajun vine which make some kind of fruit; Connie had given to us. In that garden only two potato plants were left growing, and a basil plant.The idea is to let the cucumber vines take over the open garden plot surrounding the tall Okra planted in the middle. In the Veggie Garden we had one plant survive the winter and it has some eating size bell peppers on it already. We added another bell pepper, three Iciban eggplants, two tomato plants, and a long row of my favorite, small red radishes.
The next day Del was outside all day with the landscape company which sold her pine mulch for about the same price as the other mulch she used to buy and spread herself, but this company included the labor for spreading the mulch. About a hundred and twenty bags did the trick. They underestimated for the first load and came back later in the week to complete the job.
A few days later Del and I removed and transplanted the irises broaching the western edge of Secret Garden and we filled in the border with Monkey Grass from nearby areas. Then the mulch guys came and filled it up to finish their job. Del has enjoyed being outside, but needs to rest as her chest cold is making her weak. All the intense activity of the past month has her body saying, "Slow down awhile."After the mulch was done we sat on the bench in the Meditation Garden and enjoying the mottled shade and lovely view or our beautiful estate and home. On the way back in, I picked about a half dozen tasty blackberries and checked on my bamboo transplant to fill in the area left after some culvert construction along the road by the bayou. My blackberry bushes are just beginning to fruit, and will soon be producing a small green container a day for a week or two.
400TH ANNIVERSARY OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE'S DEATH
Our annual dinner of the New Orleans Shakespeare Society took place at Antoine's Restaurant in the French Quarter as usual. We used to have a cash bar back by the Rex Room, but since they opened the Hermes Room and turned it into the Hermes Bar, open to the street, we usually meet their before our elegant black tie dinner in the Rex Room. As I went up to the Hermes Bar to order my Cranberry Sunrise, I talked to this young gal, "Where are you from?" "D.C., just moved to New Orleans." "Why?" "It's an awesome place." As we chatted, I recommended that she take the Canal Street ferry and get acquainted with Algiers Point, eat at the Dry Dock. Told her all these guys in Black Tie tuxedos were here for our annual Shakespeare dinner and a read-through of "Henry VIII the Eighth" tonight. I love this approach to a play: First Read-Through, Elegant dinner, and Dress Rehearsal all rolled into one event. The next week we do the Final Performance in front of an audience as we have done for over a hundred years. Read-through and Performance, none of the long drawn-out rehearsals, setting up and striking the set, memorizing lines, etc. Just the two fun parts with a fun group of guys in elegant settings.
LAST MINUTE EVENTS
I had a lot of fun playing pool with my Burgundian friends, David, Charlie, John, Ron, and Tim. After I lost the first game, I gave my pool cue to Tim who was new to the group. When Tim won, I was up next and had to use another cue as Tim was competing against me with mine. We all had fun on this Sunday afternoon.IMPORTANT MESSAGE:
Back home, the publishing office is all abuzz with the May 1st, deadline quickly approaching. Although it didn't seem like a busy month at the time, I had 367 photos to process, and one long Steiner review of 24 pages to write, proof, and publish on-line. With the weather so beautiful, I forced myself to take frequent walks outside and enjoy the great weather. Come Sunday, the first weekend of May, I plan to go to the Jazz Fest with my friend Charlie and our friends from Wisconsin, Brent and Marylou Coyle, who are in town for this year's Fest again. Went with them back in 2013 on the last Sunday. Great time to go to the Fest as out-of-towners are usually traveling back home and there's more sitting and breathing room on that day.
EVERY GOOD THING MUST COME TO A NEW BEGINNING
The past month has been a typical April with cool and dry weather punctuated with a few showers, but the French Quarter Fest at the first of the month and the Jazz Fest at the end had great dry weather and record crowds. The Mississippi River is still high, but otherwise the problems with flooding in other areas of the state have abated. Till we meet again in June, enjoy the dry, glorious Spring days and festivals which continue into May in the New Orleans area, and whatever you do, wherever in the world you and yours reside,
Remember our earnest wish for this God sent year of 2016:
MAY THE WORLD BECOME PEACEFUL AND SERENE IN TWENTY-SIXTEEN
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Quotes Selected from quotes.htm this month:
- The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.
— Marcus Aurelius
- Free speech does not live many hours after free industry and free commerce die.
— Herbert Hoover
- New Stuff on Website:New Items in Tidbits, Thanks to Jeff Parson! Grabbag:
Pi Flipped Across the Vertical Plane Reads Pie!
Plus: Interesting Facts. Click Here!
My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky.
What is your substance, whereof are you made,
That millions of strange shadows on you tend?
William Shakespeare, Sonnet 53
Why rainbows and shadows? One reminds us of joyful occasions and the other of things that go bump in the night. First, rainbows.
In 1995 I stood in the open doorway of my garage before driving to work on my last day before retirement from the Waterford 3 Nuclear Power Plant, and I saw a beautiful double rainbow in the morning sky before me. My heart lept up like Wordsworth's when I saw that omen. I remembered that the source of the rainbow is in my heart, and was in the heart of everyone who took the time to observe a rainbow that morning. We each saw a different rainbow, and each one we saw was truly our own rainbow.
In 2015 a double rainbow appeared as I looked out my garage door in the morning of the same day I celebrated twenty years of working full-time as a writer, publisher, photographer, cartoonist, and poet. The beat goes on . . .
Likewise, each shadow we encounter is truly our own shadow, created by the materialistic stuff of our world blocking the light of the Sun. Shadows are the dark colors of the artist's pallette of our lives, without which there would be no texture, no structure, no light. As I reviewed my poems for this volume, I found some were naturally rainbows and some naturally shadows, and I separated them into one section called Rainbows and one called Shadows. My wife Del likes me to read to her one Rainbow followed by one Shadow — they seem to complement each other, she says. I have put the section titles in the header to facilitate such a manner of reading.
In addition to the poem, I have included a short note (where available), which notes altogether contain a panoply of information about my poems: when they were written, what I was doing at the time, what I was reading that inspired them, and on what scrap of paper I wrote them. Poems do not "form in their own water" (as my friend Calvin said of volcanoes), but they may form in the water of ideas suggested by others and completed in some fashion by me. In gratitude, I include in many of the Notes the authors' names and sometimes a brief reference or quote of the source of the inspiration. By reading the Notes, one may readily discern my favorite authors and assorted sources of inspiration during the five-year period of writing this book.
There is an ambiguity in the phrase driving to work that leaves unspecified whether I was alone in the car at the time. Believe me, I could never think these thoughts if I were not alone in the car. Sometimes I listened to jazz on WWOZ, sometimes to classical on WWNO, and sometimes only to the thoughts of the writer of the book I was reading and my own thoughts, but always moving on. Like rainbows and shadows are always moving, so was I.
You may have a moving experience also as you join me in my carpool of one on the highway of life. Welcome Aboard! What would you like on the radio, classical or jazz?
These poems are from Bobby Matherne's 1995 book of poetry, Rainbows & Shadows, most of which have never been published on the Internet before. Here near the beginning of the new millennium, we are publishing five poems until all poems have been published on-line.
1. Rainbow Poem
My first wife and I married
because we had been together
physically for years.
My second wife and I married
because we had been together
spiritually for years.
My third wife and I married
because we had been together
spiritually and physically for lifetimes.
2. Shadow Poem
The wordsmith at his forge digs deep,
footing the bellows of his forge,
Withdraws the piece in glowing red
to hammer until it's done.
The stock is there for all to see
Plain and black its purity.
This poem written on August 25, 1988 in the back of the book The Man From Lake Wobegon by Michael Fedo. It was apparently written soon after I read The Crucible and the Forge by Mircea Eliade. The comparison of the blacksmith and the wordsmith is the essence of the poem. A poet must dig deep within himself, keep pumping until the poem begins to glow, hammer the rough draft into shape, and in its final form it exists as plain black words on paper. Alludes to the two colors of Chinese culture, red and black, as described in The Stone Monkey by Bruce Holbrook, a book I read back in 1981 before I wrote reviews of every book after I read it.
3. Rainbow Poem
Free For All
When I learned about freedom,
I learned that I wanted to pay
full price for everything I bought.
When I learned about freedom,
I learned that anything you get for free
is worth less than the price you pay for it.
When I learned about freedom,
I learned that free roads
are very expensive.
When I learned about freedom,
I learned that free lunches
are the most expensive lunches there are.
NOTE: "Free For All":
This poem was written on Jan 4, 1991. It was inspired by reading the Course in Miracles Textbook while driving to work at 5:30 a.m. one day. Also inspired by Dr. Andrew Joseph Galambos's works on Volitional Science, especially V50T and V201T. In V50T he develops an operational definition of freedom that, rightly understood, is absolutely perfect, covering body, soul, and spirit. A complete transcription of the expensive V50T course can be found in Sic Itur Ad Astra.
4. Shadow Poem
Ex Post Facto
Next time you think of voting, ask yourself these questions:
What percentage of the people would have voted for:
...sailing to India with Columbus?
...going to the Moon?
What percentage of the people would have voted for inventing:
...a heavier-than-air flying machine?
...an AC electric generator?
...a microwave oven?
...a XEROX machine?
...an electronic computer?
...a 3-D Printer?
Only after a person with single-minded conviction
makes the essence of a personal vision
manifest in physical reality
is it possible to vote for the endeavor.
Such is the nature of discovery.
Such is the nature of invention.
Such is the nature of democracy.
NOTE: "Ex Post Facto":
This poem written on June 8, 1990. Inspired by my concept that any poll you take would be communistic because it would carry the wishes of the community. Thus at a community level everyone wants better housing, better medical care, better jobs, etc. The implication that the federal bureaucracy should be the one to provide all the things is the nuance that gets US continually in trouble, up until now. This poem is a first approach at communicating this insight by calling to attention that even the best loved and most useful inventions of all time would not have been elected to be invented by the majority of the electorate at the time, given the choice. When confronted by a woman looking at his electric motor who asked, "Of what use is it?" Michael Faraday asked in return, "Of what use is a baby?" You never know until you find out. (Matherne's Rule#2)
Inventions, like freedom, are the product of ideas, and ideas must come from a single mind at a time. Even the so-called jointly created inventions were produced from ideas that came from a single mind at a time. (Of course, we have leaky margins, as Jean Houston has pointed out, so an idea may very well appear in all minds at the same time. If that is so, the credit goes to the best describer of the idea. After all, we call such a person the discoverer of the idea, don't we?)
5. Rainbow Poem
I'm gonna tell you
what I'm gonna surprise you with
for our anniversary.
"How can you tell me and
it still be a surprise?"
That's the surprise!
I'm gonna give you
the sun and the moon
the tree of life
and a disappearing cat.
NOTE: "Surprise Surprise!":
This poem written on June 8, 1990. Inspired by the three presents that I bought for my wife, Del, on our 12th anniversary. I told her I would tell her what the presents were and she asked how could she be surprised if I told her. My answer was, "That's the surprise!" Thus the title, "Surprise Surprise!"
1) The Sun and Moon refers to a set of dangling earrings: one, the sun, and the other, the moon.
2) The Tree of Life to a scarf with artwork of the Tree of Life, a stained glass window by Frank Lloyd Wright.
3) The disappearing cat to a coffee mug with a picture of the Cheshire Cat on it that disappeared when the coffee was poured in the mug.
New Stuff on the Internet:
- A trip down memory lane of service stations of yesteryears, Thanks to Jeff Parsons for sending this in.
Movies we watched this past month:Notes about our movies: Many of the movies we watch are foreign movies with subtitles. After years of watching movies in foreign languages, Arabic, French, Swedish, German, British English, Russian, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, and many other languages, sometimes two or three languages in the same movie, the subtitles have disappeared for us. If the movie is dubbed in English we go for the subtitles instead because we enjoy the live action and sounds of the real voices so much more than the dubbed. If you wonder where we get all these foreign movies from, the answer is simple: NetFlix. For a fixed price a month they mail us DVD movies from our on-line Queue, we watch them, pop them into a pre-paid mailer, and the postman effectively replaces all our gas-consuming and time-consuming trips to Blockbuster. To sign up for NetFlix, simply go to http://www.netflix.com/ and start adding all your requests for movies into your personal queue. If you've seen some in these movie blurbs, simply copy the name, click open your queue, and paste the name in the Search box on NetFlix and Select Add. Buy some popcorn and you're ready to Go to the Movies, 21st Century Style. You get to see your movies as the Director created them — NOT-edited for TV, in full-screen width, your own choice of subtitles, no commercial interruptions, and all of the original dialogue. Microwave some popcorn and you're ready to Go to the Movies, 21st Century Style. With a plasma TV and Blu-Ray DVD's and a great sound system, you have theater experience without someone next to you talking on a cell phone during a movie plus a Pause button for rest room trips.Hits (Watch as soon as you can. A Don't Miss Hit is one you might otherwise have missed along the way.):
P. S. Ask for Blu-Ray movies from NetFlix, and if it says DVD in your Queue, click and select Blu-Ray version."Concussion" (2015) with Will Smith doing an amazing job as the African immigrant doctor and pathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu who uncovers signs of brain dysfunction caused by football concussions and is thanked by NFL by being driven out of Pittsburgh. A great human interest story. Another medical innovator treated as shabbily today as Dr. Ignatz Semmelweis was in Vienna in 1840 when he discovered that doctor's dirty hands were killing 100,000 women in childbirth a year in the city. He was thanked for his life-saving anesthetic solution by being declared crazy and imprisoned in a mental hospital. A DON'T MISS HIT! ! !
"Brooklyn" (2015) A movie as perfect as a Waterford crystal! Irish lass immigrates to and comes of age in Brooklyn. A DON'T MISS HIT ! ! !
"The Big Short" (2015) Don't sell this movie short! Watch it and learn what selling short means in a most enjoyable and enlightening way. Want to learn how the housing market collapsed in 2008, follow three guys who predicted the collapse and bet their companies on it. Such a good movie, full of great quotes, that we watched it twice! Learn how to profit from CDOs, Tranches, and Contracts for Credit Swap Defaults. A DON'T MISS HIT ! ! ! ! !
"We Are Your Friends" (2015) and our DJ will play you. Surprisingly good adolescents-grow-up flick. A DON'T MISS HIT!
"A Promise" (2013) — can it survive a chasm of space and time? Great line: "Opera is listening to a fat woman taking forever to die." A DON'T MISS HIT ! ! !
"Secret in Their Eyes" (2015) Can these three people ever tell each other the secrets they hold in their hearts and what would happen if they did? A DON'T MISS HIT! ! !
"Truth" (2015) and media bias take down Dan Rather and his staff in this story of Lieberals gone wild. Cate, Quaid, and Redford headline this Hollywood message about Bush being so bad 60 Minutes tried to slip in a lie about his service record.
"Trumbo" (2015) is a wonderful movie about the life of a blacklisted screen writer who worked harder when he went in cognito. Much better than the 2007 documentary called "Trumbo" See DW#15c. A DON'T MISS HIT ! !
"Youth" (2015) sucks. Actually, this slow movie and being 80+ sucks for 'Alfie' aka Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel in an Alps old age home. "Do you know what awaits you outside of here?" "No." "Youth." At its end the movie is saved by a Simple Song.
"Sicario" (2015) taking down a drug lord across the border requires CIA guy to get two FBI agent to come along and make it legal.
"16 Blocks" (2006) Eddie the thief and Jack the bad cop (Bruce Willis) need to get 16 blocks to Grand Jury in two hours of NYC traffic past 6 bad cops who want them dead, and they find a way to evade one dead end after another. Will they make it? A DON'T MISS HIT ! ! !
"Follow the Fleet" (1933) with Fred & Ginger, Randolf Scott & Harriet Hilliard (soon to be Mrs. Ozzie Nelson) in a song and dance adventure when the Navy gets shore leave. A Don't Miss Hit! ! !
"We Are Your Friends" (2015) and our DJ will play you. Surprisingly good adolescents-grow-up flick. 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."Trainwreck" (2015) with filthy trash scattered all over the tracks of the characters' immoral lives. A DVD STOMPER ! ! ! !
"Spectre" (2015) is transparently boring, all action and no substance. Bond should have retired decades ago.
Your call on these — your taste in movies may differ, but I liked them:"Goosebumps" (2015) created silly bumps.
"Terminator Genisys" (2015) Arnold returns, a series made out of the same regenerating silly putty as its bete noirs. A lot of time machine bafflegab filled with sound and fury signifying box office cash. I enjoyed watching the Old Arnold put a shot through the New Arnold's head.
"Black November" (2015) story of revolt in Niger Delta and the hanging of a young lady. Gruesome story.
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==Le Broussard Cajun Cottage, drawn by and Copyright 2011 by Paulette Purser, Used by Permission
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==When Boudreaux and Marie were first married, they would spend Easter weekend by her parents down near Cameron along the South Louisiana coast.
They were driving back one Sunday evening along the long shell-covered road when Boudreaux hear a thump under the car. He went out to check and found a large dead rabbit he had run over.
He went back told Marie, "We done run over a rabbit and he daid." Marie took a can out of her cosmetic bag, got out of the car, leaned over and sprayed the dead rabbit.
Boudreaux's eyes grew wide open as the rabbit stirred to life, stood up, began hopping away. "Bon dieu," Marie and Boudreaux said almost together.
Then suddenly the rabbit stopped, turned around, stood up, and waved at them. Then it resumed hopping. A few feet later, it turned around and stood and waved again.
As it kept repeating this strange behavior, Boudreaux said, "Gimme dat bottle Yah got dere," and read the label. He said, "Dis explains everyt'ing! Listen to dis, 'Hare spray. Bring dead hare back to life. Creates permanent wave!"
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==
5.Household Hint for May, 2016 from Bobby Jeaux:
(click links to see photo of ingredients, preparation steps)
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =BUNN Coffeemaker and Honey Drippers
Background: We drink a lot of coffee and love it fresh brewed. After a decade or two of constantly replacing Black & Decker under the counter coffee makers, they stopped making them. I searched around for the most expensive coffee maker I could find that simply made good coffee without all the shiny tubes and complicated instructions like those Italian jobs. I chose a BUNN coffeemaker because I had seen them in so many diners and cafes that I expected they were good and worth the extra cost.
What I didn't expect was all the preparation necessary to set up the coffee maker. You see, the BUNN coffee pot preheats the water and when you pour 4, 6, or 8 cups of water into the reservoir, coffee begins to drip immediately and quickly. Faster than any coffee maker which has to heat of the coffee while you wait!
We discovered that the hot water pours out so fast that a special filter you can order from BUNN is necessary to keep the brewing coffee in the filter long enough. When the small quantity of BUNN filters were used up, I tried two of our regular Melita filters and they did the trick just right. Better to use filters we can locally at our grocery than to have to order filters. Probably cheaper in the long run, giving the shipping costs for the BUNN filters.
We can make six cups in about a minute or so. If the coffee is still dripping its last, I can place an empty cup to catch the coffee while I remove the coffee pot and pour myself some coffee.
Other options Honey Drippers
Given the good constructive forces that honey contains, every adult does best to incorporate honey in their diet. Since we drink 4 to 6 cups of coffee a day each, that means 4 to 6 teaspoons of honey incorporated into our regular diet. You may have tried honey in coffee and didn't like the taste, well, so did I. But after a few days, the unusual taste goes away and it just tastes like good sweet coffee.
What about the problem of pouring the same amount of honey in each cup? Simple: we use a level teaspoon of honey in each mug of coffee.
"I hate how long it takes the honey to flow into my spoon." Well, that's the beauty of the BUNN coffee maker: Its built-in HOT WATER TANK is ideal for keep the honey in the Honey Drippers pouring out quickly.
"Aren't all the Honey Drippers expensive?" Well, turns out the containers are re-usuable and we buy our honey from a South Louisiana producer for about $3 a pound and refill the honey drippers from the large container. We buy that three-pound-size honey at Rouse's supermarket, the same place we buy the Melita coffee filters. Every year, we fill the empty honey drippers with very hot water and clean out its dripping spout. Then we refill with honey and they're good as new again. We use all the honey we buy and never have to throw any away because it got hard in a container.
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==
6. POETRY by BOBBY from Becoming the Archangel Michael's Companions:
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
The Dragon Paradigm
Thomas S. Kuhn refused to play the game
of science according to its graven rules.
He saw that such rules were to take the blame
For turning the Men of science to fools.
He sought to derail science's Mighty Wagon,
to keep science fresh and new for all of time,
Strove to pin the tail upon the Dragon,
branding it with the name of Paradigm.
Dragon roars "Science has established that . . . "
and free thinkers withhold their new-born truth,
Till the truth inside grows big and fat —
fills the gap with a child's new-born tooth.
Let no Man bow or cower fore the power
Of Dragon's blowing, crowing: Nevermore!
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==
7. REVIEWS and ARTICLES for May:
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==
For our Good Readers, here are the reviews and articles featured this month. The first and second reviews this month will be ones which were never published in early DIGESTWORLD ISSUES and will be of interest to our DIGESTWORLD Readers. The third is a New Review which 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 long Reviews, possibly lacking footnotes and some quoted passages. For your convenience, if you wish to read the full review or to print it out, simply CLICK on the Book Cover or choose Printer Ready option on the top line of a review page when it opens.
1.) ARJ2: From Sunspots to Strawberries, GA# 354 by Rudolf Steiner
Asked to talk about the creation of the world and the human being, Steiner directs our attention to a macabre metaphor — that the Earth is like a dead human being — a corpse upon which various microbes and bugs are feasting. How is it that a dead corpse of formerly living being could look beautiful to us? It's a matter of scale, he notes.
[page 3] Of course, what is outside in nature seems beautiful, and what we see on a corpse when all sorts of parasitic plants are growing out of it does not seem beautiful. But that is only because the one is gigantic in size and the other is small. If we were not human beings but were tiny beetles crawling about on a decaying corpse and could think like human beings, we would regard the bones of the corpse as rocks. We would consider what was decayed as rubble and stones; we would — since we were tiny beetles — see great forests in what was growing on the corpse; we would have a whole world to admire and not think it revolting as we do now.
Just as we must go back to what a person was before he died, so in the case of the earth and our surroundings we must go back to what once lived in all that today is lifeless, before indeed the earth as a whole died. If the earth as a whole had not died there could be no human being. Human beings are parasites, as it were, on the present earth. The whole earth was once alive; it could think as you and I now think. But only when it became a corpse could it produce the human race. This is something we can all realize if we think about it. But people today do not want to think. Yet one must think if one wishes to get to the truth.
We have, therefore, to imagine that what is today solid rock with plants growing, and so on, was originally entirely different. Originally there was a living, thinking, cosmic body — a living, thinking, cosmic body!
Unfortunately, there are many who will read this and scoff at the idea that the Earth itself was once a living, thinking, cosmic body. They will claim that the Earth came into being as just one of the planetary objects that coalesced out of a vaporous cloud spinning in the cosmos in the region of our solar system. There's even a popular demonstration that goes back to before Steiner's time that teachers used to show how the planets evolved from the spinning gas cloud. But, as spiritual scientists discover time and again when they listen to materialistic scientists explain things, they presuppose the very thing that would prove their "material-world only" hypotheses to be false! Read how the teacher starts the world spinning and then deftly omits that key element from his explanation of how the Earth formed as a result of the spinning.
[page 4]A few drops of oil are put in a glass of water; one lets the oil swim on the water. A piece of cardboard has a pin stuck through it; then with the pin one makes the cardboard revolve; little oil-drops split off, go on revolving, and a tiny planetary system actually forms with the sun in the centre.
Well now, it is usually quite a virtue if one can forget oneself, but in this case the teacher should not! When he makes the experiment, he ought then to say to the children: 'Out there in the universe is a giant schoolteacher who did the rotating!'
If you accept half-baked explanations for how the Earth formed, it should not be surprising that you would have trouble imagining the Earth as a living being during the early stages of its evolution. In an earlier series of Q&A sessions, From Crystals to Crocodiles, Steiner talked of Adam, the first human, as this Earth being — he was called Adam Kadmon and it is on his corpse that we as miniature organisms (compared to him) crawl, feed off of, live, and die. When Adam Kadmon was alive, he was in about the same state, on a much larger scale, that a human fetus is in during the early weeks of gestation — a large, round object, filled with life, but soft and pliable — all head with no skull. As Adam Kadmon died so that we humans may live, his head fossilized, and now we live on and off of his fossilized skull which we call the Earth.
[page 4] So we must picture that what today is lifeless around us was once alive, was sensitive, was a cosmic being. If we look further, there were even a great number of cosmic beings animating the whole. The original conditions of the world are therefore due to the fact that there was spirit within the substance.
If you think this is all balderdash, check your assumptions. Are those assumptions helping you to understand fully the origin of the Earth and humankind, or are they systematically blinding you to the spiritual aspects of our human evolution, up until now? If you read Steiner, you will have a chance to uncover those assumptions on which you have based your judgments, and will have an option on how to view the evolution of humankind for the first time. With a possibility of choice, you can then decide on a rational and scientific basis. Steiner's works will seem unscientific only to those who refuse to take their blinders off — they wander through a material world effectively shielded from the spiritual world passing to the left and right but shielded from their sight by their blinders. Like ships of pre-Columbian times, they are afraid of falling off the edge of the world into nothingness, because their blinders shield them from the truth that lies beyond the limited range of their blinder-modulated sensory perceptions. These blinders cannot be perceived by those who wear them, but their results shine through in the deeds of those who hold those assumptions which act as blinders. "By their fruits, you will know them." If you would enter into the Hall of Truth, you must check your assumptions at the door.
In this next passage Steiner takes his audience through the evolution of the cosmos and humankind — something you can read about in greater detail in his landmark book, An Outline of Occult Science, but what I wish to do here is to show you how it's possible to view some of the diagrams you find in Steiner's book in their original color form exactly as Steiner drew them on the board as he spoke. The technology that made this possible was black paper and colored chalk. These original drawings of his have been preserved and are now available in a book entitled, The Blackboard Drawings 1919-1924. The two drawing below are of the same diagram. The first one in black and white is from page 6 of this book and the words are in English. The second one in full color below was the one actually drawn by Steiner's hand and the words are in German. It only recently occurred to me that I could find drawings from books I was reading in their full color original form by cross-referencing the dates of the lecture in the blackboard drawings book. Here is an example of such cross-referencing. You'll note that the editor has parenthetically pointed out the green color at the bottom of the next passage. (You may be able to acquire a copy of the Blackboard Drawings book from SteinerBooks. It contains 120 color plates of the over a thousand total drawings in the Steiner archives and is a useful adjunct for reading Steiner's later works.)
[page 6] When modern science says that originally there was great heat, in a certain sense it is right; but when it thinks that this great heat was lifeless, then it is wrong. A living cosmic being was present, a thoroughly living cosmic being.
Now the first thing to happen to this warmth-being was a cooling down. Things cool down continually. And what happens when what has been nothing but warmth now cools down? Air arises, air, the gaseous state. For when we go on heating a solid object, gas is formed in the warmth; but when something not yet substance cools down from above downwards, air is formed at first. So we can say that the second condition to come about was gaseous, definitely airy. [See drawing-green.]
Over the green globe is the word "Bird" in German and over the orange globe is apparently the word "Fish". This has to do with the origin of birds in the Sun epoch and the origin of fish in the Moon epoch of evolution. How do birds arrive upon birth? Covered by mineral based eggshells. How do birds eat after they are born? They eat external substances such as worms, bugs, etc. which the mother feeds them.Humans, on the other hand, are born without a surrounding eggshell and can only be fed milk from its mother's body (or a similar animal's body, such as donkey, goat, or cow). Steiner takes us through the bird development which began in the Sun-air condition, went through the Moon-water condition, and finally ending up in its present form in the Earth-solid condition.
[page 12] Let us just look at what the bird, for instance, has become on the earth. During this time (Sun condition) the bird was still a sort of air-sack; it consisted of nothing but air, a mass of air floating along. Then during this time (Moon condition) it became watery, a thickened watery thing, and it hovered as a kind of cloud — not like our clouds, though, but already containing a form. What for us are only formless water structures were at that time forms. There was a skeleton form, but it was fluid. But now came the mineral element, and this was incorporated into what was only water structure. Carbonate of lime, phosphatic lime, and so on formed along the skeleton, creating solid bones. So at first we have the air-bird, then the water-bird, and at last the solid earth-bird.
Due to the different epochs of origin for humans and birds, their response to the appearance of minerals during the embryonic state is dramatically different. The bird embryo, not ready to assimilate the minerals, pushes it away and it becomes a mineral-based shell surrounding the embryo. The human embryo has marrow-filled bones, unlike the air-filled bones which allow birds to fly, and the marrow is able to absorb minerals from the mother which will later in the gestation process be utilized to build up the hard bones of the human baby. Here we can see definitively why humans are not born inside eggs and how this fact points to human evolution pre-dating bird evolution contrary to what the blinder-wearing Darwinians would have everyone believe.
[page 12, 13] This could not be the same in the case of the human being. Man could not simply incorporate into himself what only arose as mineral during his embryonic period. The bird could do this — and why? You see, the bird acquired its air form here (Sun condition); it then lived through the water condition. It is essential for it not to let the mineral come too close to it during its germinal state. If the mineral came to it too soon, then it would just become a mineral and harden. The bird while it is developing is still somewhat watery and fluid; the mineral, however, tries to approach. What does the bird do? Well, it pushes it off, it makes something around itself, it makes the eggshell around itself! That is the mineral element. The eggshell remains as long as the bird, must protect itself inwardly from the mineral; that is, as long as it must stay fluid. The reason for this is that the bird originated only during the second condition of the earth. If it had been there during the first condition, it would now be much more sensitive to warmth than it actually is. Since it was not there at that time, it can now form the hard eggshell around itself.
The human being was already present during the first condition of the earth, the warmth condition, and therefore he cannot now hold off the mineral while he is in the embryonic stage. He can't build an eggshell; he must be organized differently. He must take up the mineral element from the womb, and so we have mineral formation already at the end of embryonic development. The human being must absorb some mineral from the womb; therefore the womb must first possess the mineral that is to be absorbed. So in the case of the human being the mineral element is incorporated quite differently. The bird has air-filled bones; we human beings have marrow-filled bones, very different from the bones of the bird. Through the fact of our having this marrow a human mother is able to provide mineral substance to the embryo within her. But once the mineral element is provided, the human being is no longer able to live in the womb environment and must gradually be born. He must first have acquired mineral constituents. With the bird it is not a matter of being born, but of creeping out of the eggshell; man is born without an eggshell. Why? Because man originated earlier and therefore everything can be done through warmth and not through air.
Birds are egg-animals, but humans pre-date egg-animals, even pre-date minerals. That is why humans must be given any minerals in a prepared form that comes from its mother or a very similar living source. While inside the womb, mineral transfer from mother to fetus occurs via the umbilical cord; outside the womb, mineral transfer occurs via mother's milk. Birds, on the other hand, do not feed their young milk, but instead feed their young from external substances that a human baby could not ingest and digest successfully. Remarkably, Steiner tells us that humans during the previous or Moon epoch lived inside a milky fluid that provided direct nourishment to them and that humans in the womb of their mother live within a similar milky fluid before birth.
[page 13, 14] What we receive today, in our present Earth condition, from the mother's body, we received during the previous cosmic condition from the air, from the environment. What we had around us then during our whole life was like milk. Our air today contains oxygen and nitrogen but relatively little carbon and hydrogen and particularly very, very little sulphur. They have gone. During the Moon condition it was different; in the surrounding air there were not only oxygen and nitrogen but also hydrogen, carbon, sulphur. That made a sort of milky pap around the Moon, a quite thin milk-pap in which life existed. Today man still lives in a thin milk-pap before he is born! For it is only after his birth that the milk goes into the breast; before birth it passes to those parts of the female body where the human embryo is lying. That is an amazing thing, that processes in the mother's organism that belong to the uterus before birth afterwards pass to the breast. And so the Moon condition is still preserved in man before he is born, and the actual Earth con dition only comes at the moment of birth, with Moon nature still present in the breast milk.
Why did people put blinders on horses in the days when horses pulled wagons through city streets? Because horses get skittish when they see shadows and cities are full of dark shadows. Material science puts blinders on its scientists to help them avoid the areas of life where their sensory-based explanations leave holes and dark shadows. Spiritual science with explanations for those same areas of life takes the blinders off its scientists. Let us now refer back to the orange sphere which represents the Moon epoch which has the word "fishes" under the word Moon (in German). Steiner shows us that fishes came after birds, another finding in which unblindered spiritual science predicts an opposite sequence of evolution from blindered material science.
[page 15, 16] Now let us look not at the bird species but at the fishes. The bird species developed for the air, the fish species for the water. Not until what we call the Moon condition were certain earlier, airlike bird-beings transformed in such a way as to become fishlike --- because of the water. To the birdlike beings were added the fish. One could say that the fish are birds that have become watery, birds received by the water. You can gather from this that the fish appeared later than the birds; they appeared when the watery element was there, that is, during the Old Moon period.
And now you will no longer be astonished that everything swimming about in a watery state during the Old Moon time looked fishlike. The birds looked fishlike in spite of flying in the air and being lighter. Everything was fishlike. Now this is interesting: if we look today at a human embryo at about the 21st or 22nd day after conception, how does it appear? There it swims in a fluid element in the mother's body, and it really looks like a tiny fish! The human being actually had this form during the ancient Moon period and he has it still in the third week of pregnancy; he has preserved it.
It would certainly be a rational question to ask that if birds evolved before fishes evolutionarily why do we not find any evidence of that? The answer has to do with what blindered science accepts as evidence: namely, fossil evidence. In the fossil evidence, one cannot find any records of birds during the Sun epoch because they existed solely in airy form, nor for that matter during the Moon epoch because they had no mineralized bones at that stage of their evolution. To use a stage metaphor, Darwinian evolution has placed itself in the position of a drama critic who is only able to see the final act of a four act play and attempts to reconstruct the sequence of developments in the first three acts which culminated in the evidence provided only by the fourth act. Such a process must necessarily be enormously error-prone and subject to the disposition of the critic as to how the development during the first three acts will be decided.
And yet, the situation for evolutionists is indeed one quantum step more difficult. They view only the evidence of the fourth act, the blue sphere or Earth epoch during which hard minerals appeared, and have no knowledge at all that the first three acts existed, no knowledge of what happened during them, and no hint even that they are knowable! When one considers the handicap under which material scientists are operating, one must recognize that their conclusions make imminently good sense, given their inability to view all of the evidence that Rudolf Steiner was able to do. When one looks at all the evidence, one must either consider that all these events, which Steiner reports happened during the first three acts or epochs, are either true or they are the most un-likeliest string of coincidences in the history of the world.
This next point, how did the Moon separate from the Earth and become a dried out planetoid while leaving the surface of the Earth covered by water, is important. We need to understand that water was a much denser fluid during the Old Moon epoch or stage of evolution — that period of time during which our Earth and Moon as we know them today were one body.
[page 18] The fluid condition, the watery condition which existed in earlier ages of our earth was therefore not that of today's water. That did not exist, for all substances were dissolved in the water. All the substances that you have today -- the Jura limestone mountains, for instance — were dissolved; harder rocks that you can't scratch with a knife (limestone can always be scratched) were also dissolved in the water. During this Old Moon stage, therefore, we are talking of a thickish fluid that contained in solution all the substances which today are solid.
In addition large quantities of metals and sulphur were present in the air, Steiner tells us.
[page 20] The air was quite saturated with sulphur. So there was a thickish water — if one had not been especially heavy one could have gone for a walk on it; it was like melted tar — and there was a dense air, so dense that one could not have breathed in it with our present lungs. These formed only later.
[page 21] Organs are formed entirely according to the function they are needed for. It is very interesting that an organ is simply not there if it is not needed. And so lungs only developed when the air was no longer so full of sulphur and metals as it had been in those ancient times.
Steiner asks us to imagine the Moon-Earth combination as an egg with a thick yolk of heavy-material fluid in the center (the water phase, yellow center in figure above) and a thinner surrounding fluid surrounding it (the air phase, purple outer shell in figure above). Then the spinning object separated into two separate objects, the Earth and the Moon. The color figure is also taken from the Blackboard Drawings book, page 156, and was drawn by Steiner during this particular discussion on 3 July 1924. During the separation phase, there is a lot more heavy-material center fluid (water phase, yellow ) released from the equator than the lighter peripheral fluid (air phase, purple). As a result the heavy fluid surrounded the lighter one, as in the right hand sphere in the figure which shows a the purple phase surrounded by the yellow phase. From this we can see clearly how, although the Moon-Earth before separation were all of one substance, upon separation, the Earth came to have a solid center with a watery surface and air atmosphere, and the Moon came to have a solid surface and an airless atmosphere — none at all. This is a simplification of the complex process the two bodies underwent post-separation, but this gives us an excellent overview of what happened at the time of the separation.
[page 24, 25]Whereas the Moon-earth remained with thick fluid for its inner nucleus. and thickish air outside, a body split off which now had the thicker substance outside and the thinner inside. And if one investigates the matter without prejudice, in honest research, one can recognize in this body the present moon. Today just as one can find sodium in the air, one can also learn the exact constituents of the moon, and so one can know that the moon was once in the earth. What circles round us out there was formerly within the earth, then separated off and went out into the cosmos.
With the departure of the Moon, a new epoch began during which hardened forms became possible for minerals, plants, animals, and human beings. With this came death to the body of the Earth, but death at one level in the cosmos provides life at another level. With the death of the Earth, its corpse became teeming with life crawling all over its surface. While the image of human beings as maggots may turn the stomach, it is a valid image when the process of evolution is rightly understood from the spiritual level as well as the materialistic level. While the Earth was in its rotting stage, the humans swam through the thick seas which covered the planetary body, resembling ever so much the fishlike stages of fetal growth that we each went through in the womb.Rightly understood, the ontogeny of a human being from conception mirrors the evolution of the human being from the first Adam, Adam Kadmon, whose shape was identical to the fertilized egg at conception and filled the entire Earth at the time. In the human development from conception onward we can find stages which resemble the various phyla — an amoeba stage, a fish stage, a bird stage, a reptile stage, a primate stage — but not because humans were descended from this various animals. Humans preceded all of the animals, but during stages where these animals first appeared, humans living at that time resembled the animals. When fishes appeared, humans had gills, for example. These conditions must be understood before one can claim that ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny. Rightly understood, human ontogeny resembles during its progress certain phyla of the animal kingdom. That is, as a human matures from its start as a single fertilized cell in the womb, it takes on characteristics that resemble the phyla of the animal kingdom, beginning at the lowest and going progressively through higher and higher orders until it eventually transcends the animal kingdom entirely (loses all resemblance to animal) shortly before the human being is born.
[page 52, 53] Present-day man has his solid bone structure only because there are hard minerals in the world outside. To our calcareous bones belong also the calcareous mountains with which we continually exchange calcium; we drink it in our water, and so forth. In that earlier time there was not yet such a solid bony skeleton. Human beings could have had only soft cartilage, like sharks. Also they could not have breathed through lungs as we do today. At that time they had to have a kind of swimming bladder and a kind of gills, so that the human being who lived then was in his external form half man and half fish. We cannot escape the fact that man then looked quite different — half man and half fish. And if we go back to still earlier times we find that man was much, much softer. If we go still further back he was watery, quite fluid. So naturally no fossils were formed then; man was just absorbed into the rest of the earth's fluids. So that is the way we have grown into what we are today. When we are still in our mother's womb, we are a little bag of fluid. But that is something very small. In those times we were huge, great fluid or jelly-like beings. And the further we go back in Earth evolution, the more liquid man becomes and the more he is really a soft jelly-like mass-not formed out of present-day water, for out of that, naturally, no man could be made — but out of a substance somewhat like albumen. Out of such a substance it was possible for the human being to be formed.
The sinking of Atlantis, representing the accounts of the Flood in the Bible, was the result of a major Earth change. Where Atlantis was, the land, which was acceptable as a living condition for the fish-men of the time, began to change. The water began to separate from the boggy land and the boggy land began to compact more and more. The more it compacted, the further down it moved, till it eventually resided in the place we know to be the floor of the Atlantic Ocean. Those Atlanteans who lived during this subsidence moved to the higher ground that was developing in the islands of the eastern edge of Europe, and onward through Europe, all the way to the edge of Asia and perhaps further. With this understanding of how Atlantis sank, it would be folly for anyone to try to recover any artifacts from the so-called lost civilization of Atlantis. If there were any, which is unlikely, they would be perhaps thousands of feet below the floor of the Atlantic Ocean. In addition, the culture of the people consisted mostly of gestures, and thus could not be dug out of the ground! (page 63)
From this next passage, I get the sense that perhaps Noah's Ark was a metaphor for Atlantis, which as the water got higher and the land sank, the animal forms we are familiar with today disembarked from the Ark of Atlantis and moved over the rest of the world, all of these animals descended from the human being.
[page 53] Then the earth gradually changed into the form it has today. The floor of the Atlantic Ocean sank ever more and more; the boggy, slimy, albumen-like condition gradually changed into the present water and gradually brought about a change in these fish-men. But the most diverse forms arose. The more imperfect of these fish-men became kangaroos, those a little more advanced became deer and cattle, and the most perfect became apes or men. You see from this that man did not descend from apes; man was there, and all the mammals really descended from him, from these human forms in which man remained imperfect. So we must say that the ape descended from man, not that man descended from the ape. That is so, and we must be quite clear about it.
You see, you could make it clear to yourselves through the following. Imagine a really clever man who has a small son. This son suffers from hydrocephalus and is very dull-witted. Let us say that the clever man is about 45 and the small son seven or eight. The boy turns out to be dull witted. Now could anyone say that because the boy is a small, imperfect human being, the mature man, the clever, perfect person is descended from the small, imperfect being is descended from the clever one; the other assertion would be a mistake. This mistake was made when it was thought that apes, the manlike beings who were left behind, are man's ancestors. They are the human beings left behind, so to speak, the imperfect specimens of mankind left behind.
The next passage outlines a description of how the humans of Atlantean times differed from us today. They had no bony skull covering their brain, only a thin skin. Their forehead went straight up as the human forehead does today; their heads looked much as our heads appear in utero. They had a watery brain as we do today, and with that watery brain they thought.
[page 54, 55]You see, if we had looked at the people of Atlantis, those who lived before the floor of the Atlantic Ocean sank and the sea rose, we would have found that they had quite a thin skin, a little soft cartilage — like a net — as covering for the head; and all the rest of them was water. If you look today at someone with hydrocephalus, he does not have a backward sloping forehead, but a high, prominent one, so the Atlantean head was much more like the hydrocephalic head. Imagine that the Atlantean had this head, but watery, such as we see today in an embryo. Think of the earth and of how the ground sank where the Atlantic Ocean is now, and thus the Atlantic Ocean came into being. Europe and Asia rose more and more; there everything rose. In America the earth rose also, while in between it sank. The earth changed. Human beings acquired harder bones. So when we go back into earlier times when the area of the Atlantic Ocean was still solid land, people had soft bones, just cartilage; there was still water in them. And human beings could also think with the water. Now you will say: For heaven's sake! Now he expects us to believe that people of that time did their thinking not with a solid brain, but a watery one! But indeed, gentlemen, none of you think with your solid brain! You all think with the water in which your brain floats; it is superstitious to imagine that you think with your solid brain. Not even the obstinate thick-heads who can grasp nothing but the ideas which they accepted in early youth — not even they think with their solid brain; they also think with the brain water, although with the denser parts of it.
When the Earth changed after the Atlantean epoch, the human heads acquired a bony skull with low foreheads at first, but over time the nearly vertical skull returned. The low, sloped foreheads characterized the human fossils discovered in the Neander Valley (or Thal in German, and thus the name).
[page 55] But then came the time when this kind of water, this slimy, albuminous water, disappeared. People could no longer think with it; the bones remained, and that low skull appeared. It was only later — in Europe and over in America — that this grew out again to a high forehead. So we must say, the old Atlanteans had very high foreheads in their watery heads. Then, as I said, when the water disappeared, low foreheads appeared at first, and then they gradually grew out again into high foreheads. It was just in a transitional age that people looked like Neanderthal man, or like the remains found in the south of France or in Sicily. They were a transitional human being who lived in the coast areas where the ground gradually sank. The humans we dig up today in the south of France are not primitive people but later human beings. They are our ancestors, but of a later period.
When the Earth became solidified enough, humans dug into it to create homes for themselves. By the time the ground had become so hard that it wasn't possible to dig caves, humans found easier ways of making shelters for themselves. The remarkable novel by Jean Auel, The Clan of the Cave Bear, highlights the time of the sloping head Cave Bear Clan during which a new human with a high forehead came into being. The fossil of that type of human is called Cro-Magnon. In the story, Ayla, a young Cro-Magnon woman, has her parents and relatives all killed and is taken in by the Neanderthal Cave Bear Clan. Auel presents us with a plausible image of how the advanced Cro-Magnons were treated as retards at the hands of the predominant Neanderthals of early Cro-Magnon time. A study of brain physiology indicates that the Cro-Magnon people signaled the advent of the neocortex whose convolutions required the extra space provided by a more vertical forehead. (See my essay The Childhood of Humanity, which deals with the greatly improved cognitive functions provided by the neocortex and how it impacts our lives yet today.)
[page 56] And it is interesting that, belonging to the same period in which these human beings with a flat, low forehead must have lived, we find caves where there are things which tell us that the people of that time did not live in houses, but in places in the earth where they dug themselves in. But for that the earth must first have become hard. So at the time when the earth was not yet quite so hard as it is today, or at least somewhat less hard, people burrowed into the earth to make their dwelling-places, and these we still find today.
As we move forward in evolution, we come to the oldest culture we know much about, the Chinese people, and we can understand their oldest artworks if we understand the difference in the atmospheric conditions as well as the paradigm of evolution of consciousness present in them in those earliest times. This is what Steiner tells us. If the ancient Chinese painted one man larger than another, it was not because he was closer, but because he was more important. They thought themselves right into the subjects they painted and they painted from within outwards. Plus their air was much denser than ours. Have you ever noticed how shadows seem to disappear on a misty morning? If you had lived in such an atmosphere, you would have painted without the use of light and shade as they did. Those who offer explanations for things without taking into account the evolution of consciousness between now and the time of the thing they are explaining will go far astray and will present folly instead of facts. And the greatest folly is to pretend that the ancient Chinese thought the same way we do today.
[page 70, 71] You will realize, therefore, that learning to see came only later to mankind. Human beings in that early China thought only in pictures, they did not form general concepts like 'table' and so on, but what they saw they apprehended inwardly. This is not to be wondered at, for the Chinese descended from a culture where seeing was different. Today we see as we do because there is air between us and the object. This air was simply not there in the regions where the Chinese first became established. In the times from which the Chinese descended, people did not see in our way. In those ancient times it would have been nonsense to speak of light and shade, for there was not yet any such thing in the density the air then had. And so the Chinese still have no light and shade in their painting, and still no perspective. That came only later. From this you can see the Chinese think in quite a different way; they do not think as people do who came later.
When one thinks of Chinese paintings, one thinks of intricate line drawings on vases perhaps of temples, trees, and people. But when one thinks of Indian paintings, one thinks of deep blues and reds, painted faces, elaborate costumes, and always it seems, multiple heads and arms in endless repetitions. Few cultures are so dramatically different in their ancient artworks as China and India. How are we to understand this difference?
[page 74, 75] It was quite different with the Indians. When Indians were going to paint a picture they would start by painting a head. They too had no such thing as perspective. But they would at once have had the idea that a head could often be different, so they would make another, then a third again different, and a fourth, a fifth would have occurred to them. In this way they would gradually have had 20 or 30 heads side-by-side! These would all have been suggested to them by the one head. Or if they were painting a plant, they imagined at once that this could be different, and then there arose a number of young plants growing out of the older one. This is how it was in the case of the Indians in those very ancient times. They had tremendous powers of imagination. The Chinese had none at all and drew only the single thing, but made their way into this in thought. The Indians had a powerful imagination.
This next passage clears up something that has always been confusing to me — people talking about the religion of China when there didn't seem to be any. Steiner tells it straight — what people called the religion of China was a fanciful European projection upon the Chinese people of something the Chinese knew they didn't possess.
[page 75, 76] You see, the Indians are quite different people from the Chinese. The Chinese lack imagination whereas the Indians have been full of it from the beginning. Hence the Indians were predisposed to turn their culture gradually into a religious one, which up to this day the Chinese have never done — there is no religion as such in China. Europeans, who are not given to making fine distinctions, speak of a Chinese religion, but the Chinese themselves do not acknowledge such a thing. They say: You people in Europe have a religion, the Indians have a religion, but we have nothing resembling a religion.
In Jungian terms we might say that the Chinese are highly intuitive. An intuitive person knows how to enter into something external and perceive it accurately without ever touching it or even approaching it. I would imagine that this ability would show itself in someone who would say, "That person left a bad taste in my mouth."
[page 76] This predisposition to religion was possible in the Indians only because they had a particular knowledge of something of which the Chinese were ignorant, namely, of the human body. The Chinese knew very well how to enter into something external to them. When there are vinegar, salt and pepper on our dinner table and we want to know how they taste, we first have to sample them on our tongue. For the Chinese in ancient times this was not necessary. They already tasted things that were still outside them. They could really feel their way into things and were quite familiar with what was external. Hence they had certain expressions showing that they took part in the outside world. We no longer have such expressions, or they signify at most something of a figurative nature. For the Chinese they signified reality. When I am getting to know someone and say of him 'What a sour fellow he is!' — I mean it figuratively; we do not imagine him to be really sour as vinegar is sour. But for the Chinese this meant that the person actually evoked in them a sour taste.
But the Indians were different, more sensate and directly attuned to their own bodies at all times. I remember ads on early TV for "Carter's Little Liver Pills". Truthfully I had no idea what they were for. What was a liver problem anyway? I seem to have heard of liver complaint but have had no knowledge of what that is or means, up until now. Perhaps those little pills helped the liver secrete bile and thereby alleviate liver complaint. Seems folks today are not conscious of their liver as much as they were a mere fifty years ago. From reports I hear from others, most people aren't conscious of any part of their body until their doctors calls it into their awareness.
[page 76] It was not so with the Indians; they could go much more deeply into their own bodies. If we go deeply into our own bodies, we can feel something there under certain conditions. Whenever we've had a meal and it remains in our stomach without being properly digested, we feel pain in our stomach. If our liver is out of order and cannot secrete sufficient bile, we feel pain on the right side of our body then we are getting a liver complaint. When our lungs secrete too freely so that they are more full of mucus than they should be, then we feel there is something wrong with our lungs, that they are out of order. Today human beings are conscious of their bodies only in those organs that are sick. Those Indians of ancient times were conscious even of their healthy organs; they knew how the stomach, how the liver felt.
In the next discussion Steiner is again asked about the relationship between food and the human being. My review of Nutrition and Stimulants contains two drawings which illustrate the inverted relationship of the human being to the plant world and which plants are associated with which parts of the human body. In an earlier Q&A session in From Comets to Cocaine, I wrote in my review:
This knowledge of which plants to use can be understood if one simply pictures the human being in its inverted relationship to the plant world. If you do this, you will be able remember which portions of a plant are most likely to be helpful for certain illnesses.
[page 301] One must realize the following, for example. One must start with illnesses that affect the human abdomen. If one has such an abdominal illness, one comes to know that the substances present in the blossoms or the highest leaves of plants are especially helpful. Good remedies can be produced for illnesses of the abdominal organs by extracting certain substances from the blossoms and leaves of plants. Substances taken from the roots of plants, however, provide especially beneficial remedies for everything connected with the human head.
From what we've heard earlier about how the relationship of the human head to the Earth, it should be easy to comprehend how important the minerals of the Earth are to the human head. It is also true that the portions of plants that grow in the Earth are related to the human head, what we generally call "root crops" such as beets, carrots, radishes, etc.
[page 84] And now look here, gentlemen! The part of the human being that is related to the whole earth is the head. Not the feet, but actually the head. When the human being starts to be an earthly being in the womb, he has at first almost nothing but a head. He begins with his head. His head takes the shape of the whole cosmos and the shape of the earth. And the head particularly needs minerals. For it is from the head that the forces go out that fill the human body with bones, for instance. Everything that makes a human being solid is the result of the way the head has been formed. While the head itself is still soft, as in the womb, it cannot form bones properly. But as it becomes harder and harder itself, it passes to the body the forces by which both man and animal are able to form their solid parts, particularly their bones. You can see from this that we need roots. They are related to the earth and contain minerals. We need the minerals for bone-building. Bones consist of calcium carbonate, calcium phosphate; those are minerals. So you can see that the human being needs roots in order to strengthen his head.
In the womb, the human being is all head at first, and the head continues to exert forces over the rest of the human body during the remainder of one's life. We can observe the relationship of the head to the body easily in a child who develops worms — this indicates that the child's head forces are not reaching all the way down into the intestines. The remedy is to strengthen the head forces by feeding the child true root crops such as carrots, beets, and radishes.
[page 84, 85] And so, gentlemen, if for instance a child is becoming weak in his head — inattentive, hyperactive — he will usually have a corresponding symptom: worms in his intestines. Worms develop easily in the intestines if the head forces are too weak, because the head does not then work down strongly enough into the rest of the body. Worms find no lodging in a human body if the head forces are working down strongly into the intestines. You can see how magnificently the human body is arranged! — everything is related. And if one's child has worms, one should realize the child's head-forces are weakened. Also — whoever wants to be a teacher has to know these things — if there are persons who at a later age are weak-minded, one can be sure they had worms when they were young.
And so what must one do if one observes this in the child? The simplest remedy is to give him carrots to eat for a while — with his other food, of course; naturally, one couldn't just feed him on carrots alone. Carrots are the root of the plant. They grow down in the earth and have a large quantity of minerals. They have the forces of the earth in them, and when they are taken into the stomach, they are able to work up through the blood into the head. Only substances rich in minerals are able to reach the head. Substances rich in minerals, root substances, give strength to a human being by way of the head. That is extraordinarily important. It is through carrots that the uppermost parts of the head become strong — which is precisely what the human being needs in order to be inwardly firm and vigorous, not soft.
Potatoes are called "root crops" as well as carrots, beets, etc, but potatoes are actually thickened stems and the roots of the potato proceed from the boundary of the potatoes themselves and are not eaten.
[page 86] The real roots are tiny rootlets, root hairs, that hang on the tubers. They fall away easily. When you gather up the potatoes, the hairs have already fallen away. Only in the first moment when you are lifting potato loose from the soil, the hairs are still all over it. When we eat a potato, we are really eating a piece of swollen, enlarged stem. It only appears to be a roots; in reality it is stem or metamorphosed foliage. The potato is something down there between the root and the stem. Therefore it does not have as much mineral content as the carrot; it is not as earthy. It grows in the earth, but it is not so strongly related to the earth And it contains particularly carbohydrates; not so many minerals, but carbohydrates.
Residing right below the surface of the ground, potatoes are related to the very bottom of the head, the jaw and gullet. What is in the jaw? Our tongue with its taste buds. As a result potatoes are very tasty and this has resulted with them becoming a ubiquitous accompaniment as a side dish to our meals, even the fast food kinds, up until now. Potatoes are not useful for producing head forces and have in fact the opposite effect. They require a lot of energy to digest and do not in return supply a lot of energy — they leave us feeling the need for more energy. Our term "couch potato" applied to someone who spends a lot of time on a sofa watching TV in soporific lassitude shows our innate understanding of the ill-effects of eating too many potatoes.
Here's a brief excerpt from my review of an earlier Q&A session called From Elephants to Einstein which describes how we become weak-brained or couch potatoes by eating too many potatoes:
The third food he mentioned above was carbohydrates, sugars and starches. Another fad diet that has made its rounds in recent years involves carbohydrates. What happens when we eat sugars or starches? They turn into alcohol in the body, they ferment basically speaking. Potatoes are mostly starch, but quickly turn into sugar in the process of digestion. (One type of beets is made directly into refined sugar.) The eating of too many potatoes, Steiner tells us, is bad for the head because of the effort required by their "I" to combat the fermentation of the sugar the body creates from the starch of the potatoes.
[page 44] People who eat too many potatoes and have to make a terrible effort in their heads to cope with potato fermentation therefore tend to be weak in the head. It is mainly the middle parts of the brain that grow weak, leaving only the front parts which make little effort to prevent potato fermentation. It is actually due to the fact that potatoes have come to be widely eaten in recent times that materialism has developed, for this is produced in the front part of the brain.
One of the salubrious effects of the current fad of the low-carbohydrate diets will be to reduce potato consumption. But all carbohydrates are not created equal, a fact that the chemical decomposition analyses displayed on the side of food packages will never reveal. Take, for example, the dramatically different effects on our bodies of the carbohydrates in potatoes and grains.
[page 87, 88] Now to the same extent that the potato is a rather poor foodstuff, all the grains — wheat, rye, and so on — are good foodstuffs. The grains also contain carbohydrates, and of such a nature that the human being forms starch and sugar in the healthiest possible way. Actually, the carbohydrates of the grains can make him stronger than he can make himself by any other means. Only think for a moment how strong people are who live on farms, simply through the fact that they eat large quantities of their own homemade bread which contains the grain from their fields! They only need to have healthy bodies to start with, then if they can digest the rather coarse bread — it is really the healthiest food for them. They must first have healthy bodies, but then they become quite especially strong through the process of making starch and sugar.
A lesser known fad diet is eating only raw or uncooked foods. Steiner takes a look at the reason we cook certain foods and you can read what he says and decide for yourself whether eating all foods raw would be a good thing for you or not.
[page 88] Now a question might be raised. You see, human beings have come in the course of their evolution, quite of their own accord one can say, to eat the grains differently from the way animals eat them. A horse eats his oats almost as they grow. Animals eat their kernels of grain raw, just as they come from the plant. The birds would have a hard time getting their seed if they had to depend upon someone cooking it for them first! But human beings have come of themselves to cook the grains. And now, gentlemen, what happens when we cook the grain? Well, when we cook the grain, we don't eat it cold, we eat it warm. And it's a fact, that to digest our food we need inner warmth. Unless there is warmth we can't transform our carbohydrates into starch ... and the starch into sugar — that requires inner heat.
So if we first apply external heat to the foodstuffs, we help the body so that it does not have to provide all the warmth itself. By being cooked first, the foods have already begun the fire process, the warmth process. That's the first result. The second is that they have been entirely changed. What happens to the grain when I make flour into bread. It becomes something quite different. And how has it become different? Well, first I have ground the seeds. What does that mean? I have crushed them into tiny, tiny pieces. And you see, what I do there with the seeds, grinding them, making them fine, I'd otherwise have to do later within my own body! Everything I do externally I'd otherwise have to do internally, inside my body; so by doing those things I relieve my body. And the same with the baking itself: all the things I do through cooking, I save my body from doing. I bring the foods to a condition in which my body can more easily digest them.
If we eat food that would be better cooked, our intestines would have to provide the warmth that we didn't provide in the cooking process. That's why when people are weak due to an illness we provide them with hot soup, such as chicken soup or broth. They can enjoy the soup because it doesn't exact a toll on their body to digest the nutrition contained within. One can begin to see the wisdom in Steiner's spiritual science or anthroposophy in such practical areas as how we should go about eating and cooking our foods. Here is his summary of why we combine certain foods on our table for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
[page 92] That, I would say, is the secret of human nutrition — that if I want to work upon my head, I have roots or stems for dinner, If I want to work upon my heart or my lungs, I make myself a green salad, And in this case, because these substances are destroyed in the intestines and only their forces work on in us, cooking is not so necessary. That's why leaves can be eaten raw as salad. Whatever is to work on the head cannot be eaten raw; it must be cooked. Cooked foods work particularly on the head. Lettuce and similar things work particularly on heart and lungs . . .
Ever wonder why some people eat stewed prunes? I did because I like prunes right out of the box. And yet, they taste really delicious if you cook them a bit. And fruit preserves which we eat over grains — it's more than just for convenience, it's easier to digest and nourishes your digestive organs as well. This is especially helpful in morning while our body is just getting fully awake. No wonder fruit preserves are on every breakfast table.
[page 93] But cast an eye up at the plums and apples, at the fruits growing on the trees — ah! those we don't have to bother to cook much, for they've been cooked by the sun itself during the whole summer! There an inner ripening has already been happening, so that they are something quite different from the roots, or from stalks and stems (which are not ripened but actually dried up by the sun). The fruits, as I said, we don't have to cook much — unless we have a weak organism, in which case the intestines cannot destroy the fruits. Then we must cook them; we must have stewed fruit and the like. If someone has intestinal illnesses, he must be careful to take his fruit in some cooked form — sauce, jam, and so forth. If one has a perfectly healthy digestive system, a perfectly healthy intestinal system, then fruits are the right thing to nourish the lower body, through the protein they contain. Protein from any of the fruits nourishes your stomach for you, nourishes all your digestive organs in your lower body.
Steiner praises our basic human instincts which have led us to eat a variety of foods over the millennia. No matter what the explanation du jour for why we eat a certain variety, deep down our instinct is helping us to make good decisions for the most part. For example, tea made out of flowers have been known to be helpful to the digestion — this has been known for a long time, and we can understand why that would be so — like fruits, flower petals are cooked by the Sun before they reach our body and they help nourish our organs of digestion.
[page 93] You can see what a good instinct human beings have had for these things! Naturally, they have not known in concepts all that I've been telling you, but they have known it instinctively. They have always prepared a mixed diet of roots, greens and fruit; they have eaten all of them, and even the comparative amount that one should have of these three different foods have been properly determined by their instinct.
Unfortunately, a zealous diet food industry and medical profession has been for many years giving out eating recommendations based on materialistic science rather than instinct. Every generation has had to learn again it seems the lessons of instinct while health food products, health-restorative spas, and health food stores pop up anew each generation, often with new names. Two health food innovations of a previous generation that have become off-the-shelf items at our supermarkets are graham crackers and corn flakes. The two innovators have given their names to the eponymous products, Dr. Graham and Mr. Kellogg, but few young adults today realize the origin of these products as health foods made popular in the early 20th Century.
Dr. Steiner gave 6,000 lectures in the course of about 25 years. If you do the math, that's 250 lectures a year, almost one a day. These lectures were given in such diverse locations as Berlin, Wales, Norway, and many different cities in Germany in the day when train was by train, boat, and early automobiles on poor roads. His travel schedule must have required many over-night journeys from one place to another. How did he survive such a strenuous regimen? He attributes it to his vegetarian diet. He does not recommend a vegetarian diet for everyone, but merely explains how it helped him to keep his strength up by requiring his body to create its own fats instead of ingesting them second hand from animal flesh. And he gives us a case in point that contradicts anyone who might claim that no one can keep up their strength without eating meat.
[page 95, 96] But it is no use being fanatic about these things. There are people who simply cannot live if they don't have meat. A person must consider carefully whether he really will be able to get on without it. If he does decide he can do without it and changes over from a meat to a vegetarian diet, he will feel stronger than he was before. That's sometimes a difficulty, obviously; some people can't bear the thought of living without meat. If, however, someone does become a vegetarian, he feels stronger — because he is no longer obliged to deposit alien fat in his body; he makes his own fat, and this makes him feel stronger.
I know this from my own experience. I could not otherwise have endured the strenuous exertion of these last 24 years! I never could have travelled entire nights, for instance, and then given a lecture the next morning. For it is a fact, that if one is a vegetarian one carries out a certain activity within one that is spared the non-vegetarian, who has it done first by an animal. That's the important difference.
But now don't get the idea that I'm making propaganda on behalf of vegetarianism. It must always be first established whether a person is able to become a vegetarian or not; it is an individual matter.
I checked a modern nutrition book and it claims the daily protein requirement is 25 to 30 grams for someone doing light work. In Steiner's time, the amount was thought to be about four times that much. The two sayings over the Temple of Apollo in ancient Greece are applicable to proper nourishment: 1) Know Thyself and 2) Nothing in Excess. And nowhere is that more true than in the ingestion of protein. First read what Steiner says about protein.
[page 96] You see, this is especially important in connection with protein. One can digest protein if one is able to eat plant protein and break it down in the intestines. And then one gets the forces from it. But the moment the intestines are weak, one must get the protein externally, which means one must eat the right kind of protein, which will be animal protein. Hens that lay eggs are also animals! So protein is something that is really judged quite falsely unless it is considered from an anthroposophical point of view.
When I eat roots, their minerals go up into my head. When I eat salad greens, their forces go to my chest, lungs, and heart — not their fats, but the forces from their fats. When I eat fruit, the protein from the fruit stays in the intestines. And the protein from animal substances goes beyond the intestines into the body; animal protein spreads out. One might think, therefore, that if a person eats plenty of protein, he will be a well-nourished individual. This has led to the fact in this materialistic age that people who had studied medicine were recommending excessive amounts of protein for the average diet. They maintained that 120 — 150 grams of protein were necessary — which was ridiculous. Today it is known that only a quarter of that amount is necessary.
Next read what he says happens to one who eats more protein than is necessary for one's body: it passes out through the intestines, yes, but while it remains in the intestines, it poisons the whole body. "One is often much better nourished if one eats less, because then one does not poison oneself."
[page 97] If one gulps down too much protein, it doesn't pass into the body at all, but into the faecal waste matter. Even so, the body does get something from it; before it passes out, it lies there in the intestines and becomes poisonous and poisons the whole body. That's what can happen from too much protein. And from this poisoning arteriosclerosis often results — so that many people get arteriosclerosis too early, simply from stuffing themselves with too much protein.
We need protein in our diet, especially protein that is not very easy to digest, but like the protein in fruit which will assist our digestion. One of the reasons, no doubt, that eggs are so universal for breakfast is that the protein in eggs is easy for our newly awakened digestive system to handle. But a continuous diet of such easy-to-digest protein would create a sluggish digestion. (Paraphrase of pages 101, 102.)
Just as it is important for us to consider the right forms of nutrition for our bodies, the plants we grow to eat also require proper nutrition. How do we ensure that our plants are receiving proper nutrition and not some one-sided feeding which will neither nourish the plant, nor the consumer of the plant's roots, leaves, flowers, and fruit? The answer to that question led Steiner to formulate a technique of feeding plants that has come to be known as Biodynamic farming and gardening. Biodynamic farming takes organic gardening one step further by providing life-giving ingredients to the soil in which the plants are grown. If you're curious about how to go about this, a quick search of the Internet will provide references of products to begin treating your garden. We've found the Biodynamic Barrel Compost to be the easiest to treat our garden with and are very happy with the results.
What about fertilizers? Fertilizers, natural fertilizers, such as manure are recommended as part of the Biodynamic practices, but mineral fertilizers are a definite no-no. Why?
[page 102] And you can see, gentlemen, when one uses artificial mineral fertilizer, it as if one just put minerals into the ground; then only the root becomes strong. Then we get from the plants the substance that helps build up our bones. But we don't get a proper protein from the plants. And the plants, our grains, have suffered from lack of protein for a long time. The lack will become greater and greater unless people return to proper manuring.
Steiner tells us about prisoners who are under fed and develop a fat-craving to such an extent that they would jump at any wax that fell from a guard's candle and eat it immediately. You can read about Farley Mowat's fat-craving experience in his wonderful book, "Never Cry Wolf." He is studying the diet of the Arctic wolf who seems to be eating only mice in the winter, not reindeer. He decides to confirm that it's possible to live only on mice and goes on a mice only diet. He develops an enormous fat-craving. Finally he realizes that he had been discarding the guts of the mice before eating them, but the wolf didn't. Making that correction, he found he could live off of mice quite well with no problems.
Steiner says that someone with good lungs is not going to go into a room and throw open the windows and say, "Let's get some fresh air in here!" but rather will be able to endure any sort of air. He also attributes the prevalence of tuberculosis to people living on a diet of mostly potatoes, and says that when one "has lost his instinct for nutrition," he will likely develop diabetes. The next claim will cheer the hearts of those who have hay fever, as it did me and no doubt the man in his audience who asked the question.
[page 107] For instance, you suffer somewhat, or have suffered (I hope it will be completely cured), from hay fever. . . . No one who is predisposed to arteriosclerosis in his entire body can possibly suffer an attack of hay fever. For hay fever is the exact opposite of arteriosclerosis. Now you suffer from hay fever. . . . Your hay fever . . . the tendency to have it . . . is a kind of safety-valve against arteriosclerosis.
A human baby is helpless to feed itself and will die if it doesn't receive its mother's milk or a suitable alternative. It will also die if it doesn't receive strokes, isn't spoken to, lacks being held and kept warm and sheltered from the elements. Not so with chickens. Why is this? Aren't humans the highest form of earthly life? Then why is it lower animals can fend for themselves at birth and we can't? Steiner tells us it has to do with the very fact that we are the highest form of earthly life — we can think, and thinking requires post-birth development and start-up of our sense organs. And a lot of this must happen before we can fend for ourselves.
[page 142, 143] You can easily understand this; just think of a chicken. It slips out of the shell and at once it can take care of its own needs; it can scratch about for its food straight away. Think of the human infant in comparison! The animal can do everything. Why? Because the organs of its brain have not yet been metamorphosed into organs of thinking. When a human being is born, his brain has to acquire mastery over these blunted remains of sense organs. And so a child has to learn, while the animal doesn't need to learn, for it knows everything from the start.
Have you noticed how men are portrayed on TV as klutzes these days? I never knew any men like that when I was a child growing up. My father and his dozen or so brothers-in-law, my uncles, were all very competent and skillful men. My father built two houses and several additions. He assisted my sister and my brother in the building of their houses. When he built something, you knew it was right. It was done right. No klutz could do that — they would give up before finishing a big job; my dad never did. He worked with his hands and taught me how to work with my hands. Maybe the klutzes on TV had dads who worked in an office all day and developed their minds instead of their hands and that's how they never learned to be skillful with their hands or construction projects. And maybe after a long day in the office, while my family was eating beans and rice, those office dads came home to a big supper of meat and potatoes every night. As a result I can not only thread a needle and sew on a shirt button, but also write a book.
[page 143] Human beings, having onesidedly developed only their brain, can think with great subtlety but are terribly clumsy fellows. It is important for the human being that not too much of his brain should be transformed. If too much has been transformed, he may be a good poet but he will certainly not be a good mechanic. He will have no knack for doing things in the outside world.
This state of things is connected with what I was talking about the other day, when I said that many people, owing to excessive consumption of potatoes, have transformed a very large part of their brain. The result is that such people are clever but unskillful. That is so often true today. They have to struggle to do things that they should really be able to do quite easily. For instance, there are people who are quite unable to sew on a trouser-button. They are able to write a marvelously good book, but they are incapable of sewing on a button! This is because the nerves which are nerves of perception in the more delicate organs have been transformed almost entirely into brain-nerves.
Steiner tells us that the transit of Venus across the face of the Sun takes place every hundred years or so and that the next transit will happen in 2004, this year. It is supposed to somehow exercise an influence on the weather, which should be interesting to observe. The Hundred Years' Calendar was actually created as a result of this observation of the influence of Venus on the weather.
How does lightning get created in the sky? One can observe that rain is normally accompanied by lightning. I've heard that it is always accompanied by lightning from those who have observed a lot of rain and lightning. I also know as Steiner does that in the presence of water or water vapor, electrostatic charges will dissipate quickly. That makes it a little difficult to figure out how it's possible for large charges of electricity to build up in the sky when rain drops are falling.
When I was in college, I found an article in Scientific American that described an electrostatic generator that was powered by falling drops of water. Hmm, I thought, maybe that explains how rain can create lightning. So I obtained the materials and made myself such a generator. When it was operating, sure enough, water drops fell through two juice tins and a voltage upwards of 5,000 volts developed across the wires connected to the cans. I estimated that to be the voltage by the length of the spark which jumped across the air gap of a wire connecting the two cans. If I didn't allow the spark to discharge, soon the weight of the falling drop would become less that the electrostatic repulsion from the receiving can and the drops of water would fly away from the can. Raindrops have no place to "fly away from" so they must be transferring their charge continually to the air layer through which they are passing and the result is a huge charge is built up. Air is not a good conductor of electricity so it acts as an electrically insulating layer, thereby creating an atmospheric Leyden Jar. Soon the charge is so great that it creates a plasma in the air through which it can flow freely. The plasma path is filled with charged ions which create a bright white light which disappears as soon as the plasma discharge stops. These plasma discharges have historically been called lightning or lightning bolts. Artificial lightning bolts have been created by Leyden Jars and various electrostatic generators, especially by Nicola Tesla who mastered the art of creating lightning.
Why I mention all this is by of prologue to saying that Steiner is all wet in this next passage where he claims that lightning cannot be caused by electrostatic generation of electricity. His logic is correct, but my simple experiment shows that he is wrong about dropping water being incapable of creating lightning bolts.
[page 174] From this you can gather that electricity is conducted away by water and fluids. Everyone knows this, and naturally the scientists know it, for it is they who do the experiments. In spite of this, however, they declare that lightning comes out of the clouds — and clouds are certainly wet!
In the case of my water electrostatic generator, the base of the two receiving cans had to be completely dry, but obviously the inside of the cans and the water droplets themselves were very wet. I took great care to allow the spark to discharge before the droplets began spraying everywhere. But in the clouds above the Earth, droplets form in presence of moisture, and as they fall, the effect that laboratory experimenters try to avoid, namely, the dissipation of the charge into the air, is the very thing that leads to the formation of lightning discharges. Charge dissipation into the air creates a huge Leyden Jar between the sky and the ground and a discharge will ensue. And another and another so long as the Leyden Jar is recharged by falling droplets.
[page 181] I said that there is no question of lightning arising from some sort of friction of the clouds. Clouds, of course, are wet, and if you want to produce miniature lightning with laboratory apparatus, everything must first be wiped absolutely dry.
It is not easy for a new reader to approach Steiner's work with any comprehension. His books require intense work and meditation to absorb anything of value from them. Take a look at An Outline of Occult Science, if you want an example. When I first read this book, I wrote a half page review. I was a new reader of Steiner's works, and I absorbed and digested what I could of the book, which wasn't much. When I returned to doing a comprehensive review about seven years later after I had studied Steiner much more, my review expanded into over one hundred pages. Same book, different me.
When I first read the book, I wondered what was all the fuss. Today I have little doubt that anthroposophy is essential knowledge for the future of humankind. Steiner discusses a similar dichotomy in the people in his audience between those who have just arrived there and those who have been there awhile and heard his talk many times before.
[page 198] It is obviously difficult to speak briefly about these matters. Those who have been here for a considerable time will have become more and more convinced that something like anthroposophy had to enter the evolution of humanity. Those who have not been here long will naturally have some difficulty and only gradually be able to understand.
What Steiner teaches us yet today in his lectures, if we endeavor to read and study them, is essential knowledge for human beings to have. In these Question & Answer sessions with the blue collar workers building the Goetheanum, he talks straight from the shoulder in the everyday talk of the workman. These were spontaneous talks driven by both the asked question presented on paper or verbally and from the unasked questions which Steiner picked up from their minds as he spoke. This is a phenomenal series of books which thankfully have been re-formatted into a unified series and published in paperback form.
As this is the last one in the series, and is also the last one for me to review, it is a good place for me to include links to the other books in the series. Each book has a title of the structure of "From X____ To X____" where X represents the first letter of a subject Steiner covered during a discussion session in the book. X = S for this book, "From Strawberries to Sunspots". If you find reading Steiner's books difficult and want a more accessible text, these books will fill the bill. There is no easy way to start reading Steiner — it's like entering a cold swimming pool. If you just dive in, the chill scares you out of the pool immediately. If you enter slowly, your body must be able to acclimate itself to the temperature of the pool water. Either way it takes a serious exertion of will power to begin to make sense of Steiner's works. There is no el camino real to understanding Steiner.
But these books come close. Pull up a wooden crate, sit alongside the workmen, as Rudolf Steiner talks to you, not as Herr Doktor Steiner, but as another worker in the building, and explains to you why the Goetheanum is being built. This was the question from the workers which led to his beginning these discussions, "What is the purpose of this building we are working on?" The ultimate answer to this question cannot be given in the present — its answer must necessarily come in the distant future of humankind which will be made livable by the thoughts, ideas, and concepts that the good doctor will share with you in the pages of these marvelous and insightful books.
2.) ARJ2: A Psychology of Body, Soul, & Spirit, GA# 207 by Rudolf Steiner
This book combines three sets of four lectures, each set given in the successive years of 1909, 1910, and 1911 on the three subjects of the subtitle: anthroposophy, psychosophy, and pneumatosophy. The suffix sophy stands for knowledge, so anthroposophy refers to the knowledge of the anthropos or full human being, psychosophy refers to the knowledge of the psyche or soul, and pneumatosophy refers to the knowledge of the pneuma or spirit.
This review webpage covers the 3rd Set of Four Lectures in 1911: "A Psychology of the Spirit".
This book combines three sets of four lectures, each set given in the successive years of 1909, 1910, and 1911 on the three subjects of the subtitle: anthroposophy, psychosophy, and pneumatosophy. The suffix sophy stands for knowledge, so anthroposophy refers to the knowledge of the anthropos or full human being, psychosophy refers to the knowledge of the psyche or soul, and pneumatosophy refers to the knowledge of the pneuma or spirit. Taken together the 12 lectures are a guided tour into the depths of the knowledge of the "Body, Soul, and Spirit". Fasten your seat belts, it will be a bumpy ride, and the unbuckled are likely to be thrown before we glide to a halt.
The ninth lecture in this series begins with a recitation of Goethe’s poem “Thoughts about the Descent into Hell of Jesus Christ” which was written in 1765 when he was only sixteen years old. The poem is omitted from the text because “it is quite long and adds little to the lecture itself,” but for completeness this review makes it available to read at this time if you wish at Thoughts on Jesus Christ's Descent into Hell.
The very title of this section of four lectures given in 1911 seems a bit strange to the modern ear, a psychology of the spirit ? What can that be about? Most psychologists talk about the soul, after all, that's what the word psyche is taken to mean anyway. Let's ask the question, "Why does it seem strange to talk about a psychology of the spirit?" and let Steiner answer the question for us.
[page 157] Contrary to modern usage, the human being's total makeup will be described here as consisting of three elements — the physical, the soul, and the spiritual. This division, of course, is no different from what we are accustomed to in spiritual science. In these lectures, however, we want to build a bridge from spiritual science to the natural scientific approach in this area. Consequently, we will also consider what is normal for such deliberation of the human being in the modern sciences outside spiritual science.
For a long time now the total makeup of the human being has been viewed as consisting of only two parts — the physical, or bodily, nature and the soul. This has been true even when no open or veiled materialism was involved. Recognized science is not accustomed to speaking of spirit. Indeed, when the Catholic philosopher Anton Günther reverted to a threefold perspective of the human being as body, soul, and spirit, his books, which were interesting from that perspective, were placed on the list of forbidden books by the Church in Rome (1) . The Catholic Church acted contrary to the Bible, where it can be shown, in both the Old and New Testaments, that human nature is threefold and that we can speak of a body, soul, and spirit.
Somehow during the evolution of dogma during the early centuries several things happened. Jesus was transformed from a human being, who received the Christ Spirit during baptism by John in the Jordan, into a man who was born body and soul as Jesus Christ. It seems that the Church felt that the independent infusion of a Spirit after birth was too risky to allow its parishioners to know about it. Truncating the three aspects of humankind from body, soul, and spirit into simply body and soul removed that risk and did it very successfully. Unfortunately it is a theatrical warping of reality that hides more about humankind than it reveals, and it must be discarded if one is to come to an understanding such as Steiner is about to share with us of a psychology of the spirit.
[page 157, 158] Relatively early, in the very first centuries, the Church prohibited the spirit. That means that, in a certain sense, it led the evolution of dogma in such a way that the human being may consist only of body and soul. Philosophers of the Middle Ages considered it highly heretical to accept a threefold makeup, and this applies today to all those who still base their beliefs on that philosophical outlook. This is still considered to be absolutely heretical in the Catholic Church today. Oddly enough, the Catholic view has made its way into contemporary science. If you try to understand why people working today in the science of psychology — the science of the soul — speak essentially only of body and soul rather than of body, soul, and spirit, there can hardly be any other basis for such a perspective than the fact that, over the course of time, spirit was forgotten. Therefore, people today no longer have within their normal thinking any way of achieving an idea or concept that would enable them to speak of the human spirit as a separate element in addition to the soul.
This lacuna in people's thinking has lasted almost 2,000 years, and it is time for it to be filled in. The process of restoring the missing element of spirit is vital for our time, but one must be sensitive to the strange way it sounds to the modern ear, and to the resistance it will encounter at first. Aristotle established a doctrine of the spirit during pre-Christian centuries, but his view postulated that the spirit was created during birth, survived death, but was never re-born. When the Church Fathers dealt with the idea and promulgated its dogma, it dropped Aristotle's idea of spirit, but kept the idea of a creation at birth, and no rebirth. But in the Church fathers hands, in a design by committee effort during various Councils, the human being was truncated from body, soul, and spirit to only body and soul. Thus a soul was postulated to be created at birth, live on after death, and never be reborn — exactly according to Aristotle's orthodoxy. Aristotle could not accept reincarnation because of a purely logical argument that went something like this: God creates a man's spirit at his birth, therefore God cannot create the same thing again. (Pages 165, 166)
Steiner applies his own logic ala Aristotle, and comes to a completely different conclusion, not to use his logic as proof, but simply to show that logic can be used to prove whatever one wishes.
[page 167] Now picture, as Aristotle did, that this human spirit discarded the body, passing through the gates of death into the spiritual world and looking back on its incarnation. And let us suppose that as it looks back on its life on Earth, it finds that life imperfect. Why should it not be a matter of course for most human spirits passing through the gates of death to feel that the Earth existence has been imperfect? For no matter how perfect it may have seemed, there was still room within this earthly life to achieve something still more perfect. . . . The moment we admit that an Earth life is not perfect, we also have to admit that the divinely created spirit necessarily experiences a longing for another earthly body.
Steiner seems to hold Aristotle's doctrine of the spirit in reverence while indicating that it is time for it to be updated by providing a scientific basis for reincarnation. In a recent book Edward Reaugh Smith provides a Biblical basis for reincarnation. In The Soul's Long Journey Smith lays out for the details of "how the Bible reveals reincarnation." One might say that the Bible reveals reincarnation while the Church adumbrates it with dogma. Steiner uses Aristotle's tool of using "self-contradiction" to undermine his own doctrine of the spirit.
[page 167, 168] We see here how something that had its origin millennia ago still exercises a powerful influence on present-day science. Justifiably so! We will see that Aristotle's greatness and significance are due to the penetrating intelligence of the conclusions arrived at in his doctrine of the spirit and that it is possible to progress beyond them only if a scientific basis is provided for reincarnation. Such a basis was never provided before our times. We have only just reached the point of transition with regard to the doctrine of the spirit where we can, essentially only through spiritual science, go beyond Aristotle in a true and fundamental way. It is interesting that a man as keen as Brentano has had to stop short at Aristotle's point of view but was forced, on the other hand, by that very acuity to end up with nothing more than a psychology, because he took the exclusion of the spirit seriously. We will see from the mistakes made by the fact that the exclusion of the spirit led to a self-contradictory doctrine of the spirit — or rather of the soul — that from the standpoint of modern science, it is impossible to arrive at a non-contradictory view of the world if spiritual science is ignored.
"One must not accept thinking habits as proof," Steiner says, in effect, in this next passage. Like in pre-Columbian times, when people said, "Everybody knows the world is flat." Yes, everybody was also wrong. Apply this habit of thinking today and you can get, "Everybody knows reincarnation is not a reality." Can everybody also be wrong about this?
[page 170] We have often discussed the fact that it is possible only to a small extent to convince contemporary opponents of spiritual science with proofs of any kind. The worldviews of people, in as much as they are opponents of this spiritual science, are based on their thinking habits rather than on proof. Those people whose thought habits preclude their seeing the world in a spiritually scientific way will certainly not be open to proof.
No matter how often or long the crewman of Darwin's ship, the Beagle, tried to convince the local natives of South America that it was a large ship they were seeing and not a bird on the water, they failed. The thought habits of the natives precluded their seeing the world as including large ships and those thought habits could not be overturned by the words of the crew.
When I was led to studying Steiner's works, I was seeking proof of the spiritual world's existence. This seeking was spurred by a deep longing in my soul that seemed like an empty pit into which I threw the occasional gem, but could never hope to fill — until I pored deeply into Steiner's spiritual science, and now the pit is filling nicely.
[page 170] . . . most of those who enter our group do so because of deep longing and a connection to spiritual life. They are not here for scientific proof of the spiritual world's existence, but to understand the reality of what their hearts and souls long for.
And he reminds us also that being in possession of the truth does not prove the existence of the spiritual world, no matter how much it helps us to understand it.
[page 176] Although we comprehend the truth and live in it and according to it, we can never fully arrive at spirit in this way, since we are always confronted by the fact that truth can be a mere reflection of the physical world.
Is it possible he asks for us, short of becoming clairvoyant, to be certain of the existence of the spiritual world?
[page 177] Should we now therefore admit that before penetrating into the world of clairvoyance, there is no possibility of becoming convinced of the existence of the spirit? It could almost seem so. It could appear as though there were no justification for anyone other than clairvoyants who perceive it and those who believe them to speak of the spirit. That is how it could seem, but it is not the case. We come at this point to a question. The external world with its material content does not in itself give us any inkling of a spiritual world if we do not already know of its existence. Nor does the inner world of truth point to any such world, since that may be just a mirror image of the external world.
If truth is unable to give an inkling of a spiritual world, perhaps error can. Descartes posited in the realm of the material world, "I think therefore I am" — he said that since he could not deny the proposition, "I think", he could establish the veracity of the proposition, "I am." Steiner tells us that since we cannot deny that error exists we must be looking at something more than the material world, since a reflection of the material world cannot be an error. Error must therefore originate in a supersensible world. In the realm of the spiritual world, Steiner posits, in effect, "I err, therefore I am." The epistemological impact of this insight of Steiner's almost a hundred years ago has obviously been missed by many scientists, statesmen, and divines, all of whom everyday give the world ample proof that error exists.
[page 177] Have we anything else at all besides the sketchy indications given? Yes, we do! It is error. Not a single item should be overlooked when it is a matter of establishing complete understanding of the world.
Besides the truth, there is error. Now you will say that error cannot, of course, lead to truth, and it would be strange indeed to use error as a starting point. I also absolutely did not say, however, that because it is fruitless to take a stand on truth we should therefore base our stand on error. For it would not lessen the number of our opponents if we were to suggest basing insight into the reality of the spiritual world on error. Error should also not be suggested as a starting point in the quest for truth. That would be worse than foolish; it would be absurd. With regard to error, however, something that cannot be denied is that it exists, has presence, and is real.
We might say to those who might argue with this point, in the words of Jesus, "Let he who is without error cast the first aspersion." For if some man did, he would be contradicting himself.
[page 177, 178] Most important, it can crop up in human nature and become an entity there. If the external world has created an apparatus for mirroring itself in the brain and if the content of truth is the sum of all the mirror images, there is still the possibility of error surfacing instead of truth, in that someone could be like a defective mirror or a mirror that creates caricatures of the external scene. A mirror that distorts instead of reflecting properly is false. Error could be comparatively easily explained by the statement that it is made possible by the false mirroring on the part of an organ of perception that has been formed by the external world. Truth can be seen as a reflection, or mirror image, and error likewise. One thing is impossible, however, and that is to explain the correction, the transforming of the error into the truth as a reflection. Try as you may to persuade a reflection that is presenting a caricature of some external object to turn itself into a correct representation, it will not change; it remains as it is. It shows an incorrect picture and remains in error.
Steiner takes us systematically through his argument and applies it most convincingly. He leaves us certain that in error there is proof that a supersensible world exists. His reasoning and proof does not require that anyone be clairvoyant.
[page 178] Nothing is reflected from the external world that could serve as a basis for accepting the existence of an error. There would have to be a factor not belonging to or in any way directly related to the external world. If the sense perceptible reflects itself as a supersensible picture in truth, then if the sense perceptible is reflected as an error, there must be a reason other than that lying in the sense perceptible itself for the resulting error. What are we looking at, then, when we perceive that the error is there? We are looking at a world that consists of more than a material world of the senses, more than the world of external physical facts. Error can originate in a supersensible world only.
To work one’s way into the supersensible world is to consciously focus on an error, that is, on some object which does not exist in the physical world. For example, one image that will be immediately be recognizable to students of the spiritual world is that of the rosy cross, which is composed of roses growing on black, dead wood in the shape of a cross. Since live roses cannot grow from dead wood, this is an image that must be in error because it cannot exist in the physical world. For this reason, the image of the rosy cross has provided for many centuries a symbol upon which to meditate as a communications gateway into the spiritual world.
[page 178] We must form a mental image that does not correspond with outer reality. Take, for example, the often-recommended meditation on the rose cross. Viewed one-sidedly from the standpoint of external reality, that is an erroneous image, an error. Roses do not grow on dead, black wood. However, we are dealing here with a symbolic image, an allegorical picturing. It does not give a direct representation of a truth; it symbolizes one. From the standpoint of physical fact, it is, therefore, erroneous yet, in a sense, not entirely so, since it then again symbolizes significant spiritual reality. When we meditate on the rose cross, we give ourselves to a mental image that, though it is indeed erroneous looked at with material reality in mind, meets the requirement that we take an error into our souls. It isn't error in the ordinary sense. We are fulfilling quite special requirements by giving ourselves not to ordinary error, but to a significant symbolization.
One should not be deluded that one can gain a healthy access to the spiritual world without possessing a basis in moral qualities. If we seek entry into the spiritual world out of mere curiosity or passion, we will fall prey to all sorts of pathological phenomena. One need only visit a mental ward to observe people in throes of such passions and their resulting phenomena.
[page 180, 181] Translate that into terms in which spiritual science often discusses these matters. It would be said that we can come to know a supersensible world, for we learn to know error. We do not need artificial means of ascending to that world, since it extends into us by way of sending us error. And it has an effect. The world we come to know in this way, however, is not a good one. We must bring, from the other side, a good world in a soul condition out of which alone the error can work in the right way in the soul. . . . We fall prey to Lucifer if we penetrate into the supersensible world by deliberately taking error into our thinking without providing a safeguard through the necessary moral state of soul.
I have greatly condensed and summarized the exposition from pages 171 to 181, so if something does not ring true, then you owe it to yourself to read these pages in full. If you do, you will likely be convinced as I was, that by page 181 Steiner is able to show how Aristotle erred in his claims that 1) we were each created anew when we were born into this life, and 2) we enter the spiritual world after death having lived only one imperfect life on Earth. In other words, you will have been offered convincing proof on a logical basis that reincarnation exists. Here is a summary of Steiner's case against Aristotle, which is rather ironic since it is thought by some that Steiner's spirit had earlier been incarnated as Aristotle. Presumably any one of us might one day return as someone who has some corrections to what we said in one of our earlier incarnations. It is the very nature of evolution of consciousness that we say the best we can in one lifetime and when we return the evolution of humankind is such that we are able to consider things rightly that we may have considered wrongly before.
[page 181, 182] For if God were to create the supersensible element in human beings at their entrance into the physical world, a state of unfulfillment would be the lot of everyone living after death in that supersensible world, a situation observable in Aristotle's own development. It would have to be assumed that God created human beings to be dissatisfied. That cannot be right in Aristotle's opinion, either. We cannot possibly agree with any wise person that what comes into existence through the ancestral line is linked with a direct God-given supersensible element. In the first place, this is founded on a proof out of the truth. Aristotle seeks to give only a proof out of the truth, but that is impossible, as we have seen, for the existence of truth is no proof of anything supersensible. Therefore, proof of a supersensible world on the basis of truth is of no use. In the second place, if we assume that our supersensible element is created by God as we enter the physical world, it would be beyond explaining that we could go on after death into an imperfect state of being.
What was described yesterday as "Aristotle's supposition" is consequently illogical. He fails to consider the luciferic principle, which is the nearest supersensible element that has been given to human beings . . .
The thrust of suppressing the idea of reincarnation begun by Aristotle and carried forward first by the Church and then by modern science was a necessary point through which the evolution of humankind had to pass. Just as being exposed to the temptation of error was a process humankind has to pass through in its evolution. Other species on Earth are not susceptible to error, as Steiner points out in the work of the naturalist Huber (1777-1840) in his studies of caterpillars. He took a caterpillar which had just completed stage 3 of spinning and placed it into a different cocoon which had been spun through stage 6 by another caterpillar. Did the caterpillar notice that it did not have to re-spin through stages 4, 5 and 6? No, it went on its merry way spinning instinctively stages 4, 5, and 6 again with obvious problems doing so. The caterpillar "followed an unerring directive within its own being, an inner life that can follow only itself." What does this show?
[page 189] This is an extraordinarily interesting fact, for it shows that in creatures of the animal kingdom, external impressions cannot bring about the effect that in human beings can be described as right or wrong, as belonging to the sphere of the possibility of error. We human beings are susceptible to error from external causes because we are so organized that we do not simply follow inborn drives and impulses; in our acts, we are obliged to follow impulses entering us from without.
Steiner then takes us through understanding the simple statement, "the tree is green" as a combination of two mental concepts of "tree" and "green". Only by combing the two mental concepts and adding a perception can we make the existential statement, "a green tree is". How can we attribute existence to mental images and emotions in the soul if they cannot afford us a judgment? Steiner asks on page 192. Or asked in a different way and then answered in the passage below:
[page 193] Now how do we arrive at mental images that have something in common with error in that they are not in keeping with the external world of perception but nevertheless awaken healthy higher soul forces in us in an entirely sound and proper way? How, in other words, do we come from a merely false mental image to a symbolic image such as has often been described and of which the rose cross is one of the most outstanding examples? We do so when we do not allow ourselves to be guided by the external sense world, the world of perception, or by the forces responsible for causing us to err. We must turn away from both kinds of influence, that of the external world of sense perception and that of the world that induces us to err.
In effect, we must generate these three spiritual organs of perception which we do not currently have, but which exist in each of us as a potential. Like learning to ride a bicycle, we must attempt something we cannot do, and we may fail miserably on the first few attempts. The problem is with these three processes is this: we have no picture or object like we would have with the bicycle. It is ourselves we have to figure out how to handle — we are the object we must learn to ride.
In effect we must generate these three spiritual organs of perception which we do not currently have, but exist in each of us as a potential. Like learning to ride a bicycle, we must attempt something we cannot do and we may fail miserably on the first few attempts. Only with these three processes we have no vehicle or object before us to figure out how to handle and how to ride, we have only ourselves to learn to ride.
[page 193] We must appeal to forces in our souls that have first to be awakened. They were characterized two days ago as stirrings prompted in us only by the moral and the beautiful. We have to break with our drives and passions in the way they are impressed into us by a world that can be described only as external. We must work upon ourselves to call forth on a trial basis soul forces that we do not as yet actually possess.
To begin the development of the first force or process of Imagination, we must put together mental concepts that would never be found together in the outside world, neither past, present, or future. The image of choice for this task will be a familiar one and now you may for the first time begin to understand why the image has persisted for so long: because of its utility for the purpose of developing the first process, Imagination.
[page 193, 194] It is an image that expresses the fact that human beings sense that they must strive to develop a higher nature, one that enables us to become master of everything not yet recognized as belonging to us in our present form. Then, out of such inner stirrings, we put together mental images that the world of percepts would never prompt us to connect. We put together the black cross, the symbol of everything that must be eradicated, and the red roses, the symbol of life that must sprout from it. In meditation, we picture the rose cross as a mental image that can only be described as unreal, but that we have not been able to put together in the way a simple error originates, but rather as born of the loftiest striving of the soul.
To help understand this, I have combined the elements of the diagrams from pages 195, 198, 200, 202, and 205 into the Pneumatosophy Diagram below. It will be a useful reference as we go through the development of the three processes of Imagination, Inspiration, and Intuition which are shown in the diagram.
Before we proceed, I would to share a personal note which is triggered by Steiner's repetitive reference to a tree of gold as an example of something "difficult to imagine while we are connected with external reality." At a point in my life when I was connected to external reality, but was searching for something more than I found in my physics education, I stumbled into a bookstore filled with metaphysical books.It was run by a lovely and gentle lady named Donna France, who began the bookstore as a result of some metaphysical classes she took. She took charge of ordering books for the classes, and always had a few left over. Then she began special ordering books for friends in the classes, and always ordered one extra. She put those on shelves and made them available for purchase. When I first went to her place, it was a side room in a motel office area. Soon she moved into a larger building and rented rooms for various classes. Her bookstore, which became famous in this area as the first metaphysical bookstore was called "Golden Leaves Bookstore" and on her checkout area she had a foot high model of a tree with golden leaves on it. It was in her bookstore, on the bottom shelf, where I found my first Rudolf Steiner book. If you visit Hot Springs, Arkansas, today you can find the Golden Leaves Bookstore still going strong, and if you're lucky, you'll get to say hello to Donna France. (March 9, 2016 Update: Golden Leaves Bookstore closed sometime in the early 2000s.)
If you've had trouble understanding the three forces of spiritual insight, Imagination, Inspiration, and Intuition, from reading Knowledge of Higher Worlds and Its Attainment (2) then a thorough study of the diagram above and the third lecture in the Pneumatosophy set of lectures should help you enormously. In this review I will share some of the salient points and help you to learn all about it before you start — a process that is the essence of all education, rightly understood.
[page 197] So, imaginations, too, can live in the soul without registering in our consciousness; they cannot appear immediately as imaginations. Then they enter into our awareness in a way similar to the perceptions just described. Such perceptions that we have had without registering them appear occasionally in the semiconsciousness of dreaming. In the same way, imaginations that we have not had the power to register in consciousness can shine into our waking life and become active there, transformed as dreams are, fluctuating and flowing into such perceptions that would ordinarily stand clearly before us. Thus it happens that such imaginations actually intrude into what is otherwise everyday awareness, undergoing thereby a transformation when what is termed fantasy is active in our consciousness, genuine fantasy based on cosmic truth, the true source of all artistic and other creation that springs from human productivity.
[page 198] Thus we really have in genuine fantasy something midway between mere mental picturing and imagination. When fantasy is not conceived as something of which it can be said (as often happens), "Fantasy is not true," but rather when it is realistically grasped, it bears witness to a further development of mental images in the direction in which they can pour themselves into the realm of the supersensible, the world of imagination. Here we have one of the points where we can witness the streaming of the spiritual world directly into our ordinary world.
The usual development of the three processes goes from Imagination to Inspiration to Intuition, both in the way one develops them in oneself and in the way Steiner discusses them in all of his other works I have found, up until this one. Here he develops Intuition next and ties Imagination and Intuition together with Inspiration last.
[page 201] We can, therefore, say that when we grasp with our own consciousness something that lives entirely within it, not as mere knowledge but as a process, we are dealing with intuition, intuition in the higher sense described in How to Know Higher Worlds. Thus, within intuition we are dealing with the wielding will. That extremely intelligent psychologist Brentano finds only emotions among the ordinary aspects of the soul and not a trace of will, because it is not present there, since the will lies outside ordinary consciousness. Only the consciousness rising into the higher regions finds in itself something that at the same time is a process. That is where the world enters into consciousness. That is intuition.
Our deeds are executed by our will and the quality of our acts are determined by our conscience, which works at the transition of our emotion and intuition. Referring to the Pneumatosophy Diagram, Steiner explains how our soul is open on two sides (at the arrows):
[page 201] If we try to locate conscience, we find it in this transition. We can, therefore, say that our soul is open on two sides — to imagination on the one side and to intuition on the other. It is closed on the side where, through perception, we come up against our physical bodies. Our soul experiences fulfillment on entering the imaginative realm and again, coupled with an event, on entering the realm of intuition.
[page 202] Since both intuition and imagination have to occupy a single soul, how can some sort of mediation, a kind of connection, come about between them? We have in imagination a picture, a filled image, of the spiritual world, and in intuition an event that the spiritual world precipitates. An event that approaches us in the ordinary physical world disturbs our peace. We try to find out about it and discover its underlying essence. That is also true of that event that is in the spiritual world and penetrates our consciousness. Let us examine that more closely. How does intuition enter our awareness? We must first seek it in the direction of the emotions. It penetrates into our consciousness, into our soul, but from the side of the emotions rather than from that of mental picturing. That is how things stand with intuition; it can penetrate our consciousness, our soul, without our being able to make a mental image of it. We said of imaginations, too, that we can have them without being aware of them. They come into fantasy because they work directly within mental picturing, but we must put intuition on the other side, on the side of emotions. In the whole of human life, intuition lies completely on the side of emotions.
These concepts Steiner develops further in a couple of amazing dreams which demonstrate how "soul experience becomes what is dreamed." If we seek to connect Imagination with Intuition, we come to the third process, Inspiration, which is shown in the Pneumatosophy Diagram as completing the circuit of the other two processes. If you consider that there was a time when the ancient Greeks were able to see “the essence of these beings” streaming into them and inspiring them, you would guess that these beings streaming inspiration were their Muses.
[page 205, 206] If we wanted to progress further through this intuition that plays into our feelings, we would not succeed very well, for that is better undertaken from the other side. In order to avoid a general wallowing in emotions and to come instead to a concrete seeing of the spiritual world, we must try to develop imaginations and turn our attention to them regarding that world. Then a connection is gradually established in our lives between intuition, which is still more merely sensed rather than understood, and imagination, which consists of images only and is still more or less afloat in unreality. We discover the connection when we finally approach the thought that we have now come to the beings that can carry out the spiritual deed. Our arrival at those beings, we call inspiration. . . . It is only when the two come together and imagination works via inspiration into intuition, when, in other words, our mental imaging leads further to imagination and we sense the imagination as coming to us from beings, that the essence of these beings streams into us as a process. So, imagination provides us with something that streams in from intuition, and we perceive in the event a content that may be likened to the content of the mental image. We perceive these thoughts, for which we have prepared ourselves by means of imagination, to be contained in the event that intuition has given us.
Steiner closes this penultimate lecture by saying that in the last lecture he will describe for us "the essential and unique nature of the spiritual world itself." He often lectures as though he were a traveler returned from a foreign country describing what he saw on his journey, and telling us how to get there and what we might see if we made a similar journey.
The last lecture opens with a discussion of what we might call "Frohschammer's Prison" which Steiner describes this way:
[page 208] At the end of the second lecture, we familiarized ourselves with the typical struggles exemplified by the psychologist Frohschammer, whose scientific honesty led him to ask how it could be that our eternal spirit could be thought to descend again and again into a physical body that resembles a kind of purgatory or a kind of dungeon or prison. Must we, he asked regard everything that has to do with love relationships and the contrast between the sexes only as devices for imprisoning people's souls for the period between birth and death? . . . It seemed to him that the reincarnation doctrine was attempting to say that there is an eternal spirit in the human individual that is capable of leading a good and blissful life in the spiritual world and that is being thrust into and imprisoned in a world not in the least suited to its lofty nature.
It would seem redundant to point out that Frohschammer's view "are just a collection of vague ideas about repeated earthly lives, not what spiritual science is in a position to offer as the fruit of spiritual research", but Steiner uses that as an opening for a beautiful metaphor to replace the prison, that of a home. A place that we choose for ourselves and dwell within in love.
[page 209] . . . it would have to be admitted that we are not transferred to a prison but set down, on being reincarnated, in a wonderfully beautiful place, into a glorious dwelling. Does it actually depend on the house and its size and beauty whether we feel that we belong there and can be at home in it , or, rather, does it depend more upon whether we have traits that imprison us there? Does what we feel really depend on the house at all, or does the fact that we, as individuals inhabiting it, feel it imprisons us because, despite this beauty and grandeur, we do not know how to use and feel chained there? The fact that the house we live in is beautiful and that the bad part is at worst th it is just we ourselves who are lifelong prisoners in it, is demonstrated by the spiritual observation that rises, by way of imagination to inspiration and intuition, to true insight into the element in the human being that passes through different earthly lives.
Can we possibly orient ourselves in a world of imagination, which consists of pictures and mental images? Steiner explains to us how by calling to mind how young children orient themselves to the objects they see in the world. Oliver Sacks wrote about Virgil, a competent blind man of middle age who recovered his sight lost shortly after birth. Virgil, now fully capable of seeing everything in his environment, had great difficulty orienting himself in this world of images. He had trouble just walking across the living room of his apartment where previously he could maneuver sightlessly. He finally mapped out a walkway through the room which, if he stayed on the path, he could walk quickly and safely through the room, but if he strayed to either side, his view of the room skewed into Cubist assemblages of light, colors, and planes. His seeing was now perfect, but he lacked the childhood indoctrination phase into understanding the world. Virgil bought himself some toy animals, buildings, and things and spent hours examining them, just as any toddler does in the course of play. He rotated them and inspected them from every angle. He learned to tell the difference between a tiny frog and a large elephant, between a cardboard box and a skyscraper, either of which might be confused for the other at some distance or angle. When we enter the world of imagination, Steiner tells us, we must similarly learn to orient ourselves.
[ page 211] People initially confront the world of imagination as though they were in the physical world and were about to confuse a frog with an elephant, unable to differentiate between them. The world of imagination seems homogeneous and it all appears to have a uniform level of importance. We must first learn to be able to give one thing more weight and another less. A peculiarity of that world is that it does not appear large or small to us because of its own nature but because of our own.
In Virgil's world, there was an objective size to a frog or to an elephant that could be easily discerned if one tried to, say, pick each one up. In the world of imagination, that ability no longer exists. The size of something depends on our own nature, and the imagination will show us our own inner nature.
[page 211] Suppose, for example, that a man is very arrogant. His arrogance is pleasant to him. But if the world of imagination now opens to him, the feeling of pleasure in his arrogance carries over to become the size of the beings he sees there. Everything in the world of imagination that represents arrogance or pride appears gigantic. To him, it appears to have tremendous importance. On the other hand, something would seem large to a humble person appears to him to be small, like a tiny frog. The perspective that world presents all depends on the characteristics of the viewer. It is a question of human development that the proper relationships, intensities, and qualities of that world be accurately recognized. Everything there is quite objective, but people can distort it and then see caricatures. The important thing is that along with this knowledge of the supersensible, people must, in a certain way, experience what they themselves are.
On the Temple of Apollo was the dictum, "Know Thyself". On the "Temple of the Imagination" there should be the dictum, "Confront Yourself" to warn all those who enter that they will be meeting parts of themselves within the temple, parts that they may not already know.
[page 212] What does it really mean to say that we have to learn to understand ourselves through imagination ? It means that we have to confront the self in the world imagination as an objective image among all the imaginations and images there. Just as we confront a bell or any other object in the physical world, we must confront ourselves in the world of imagination in objective reality, as we truly are.
We are all familiar with the type of inflation or megalomania that afflicts mental patients who come to believe that they are Napoleon Bonaparte, for example. Steiner says a similar thing happens to beginning clairvoyants who "become convinced that they were Charlemagne, Napoleon, Julius Caesar, Marie Antoinette, or some other great historical figure in a previous incarnation. Steiner says we can only overcome this tendency by undertaking a full-time job of criticizing ourselves. And only under extraordinary circumstance should we complain about others. The effects such abstention will have on us can be quite salubrious.
[page 214] If, after occupying themselves with spiritual science a long time, people ask why they have not advanced or achieved sight in the spiritual world, the answer that they could give themselves may be quite obvious. It might be that they should take care to abstain from all criticism of others except when extreme necessity requires it and, above all, to learn what such abstention really means. For many people forget, as they begin their day, what that means. It means occasionally to accept from others treatment that can be unpleasant and unfortunate in life. We must be able to accept it, for we know, if we take karma seriously, that what others do to us is something that we have inflicted upon ourselves. Karma requires that it be done to us.
As a way of summarizing this next point that Steiner makes, let me paraphrase a slogan of the US Army in recent years, "Be All That You Can Be: Reincarnate!"
[page 215, 216] We have to keep coming back. We long for new incarnations so that we can gradually become what we cannot become in a single life. It just when we develop insight and a feeling for what we could be in a single incarnation, but cannot be because of our inner nature, that we know what our predominating feeling must be as we pass through the gates of death. It must be to come again in order to become in the next and all following earthly lives what we cannot be in a single life. This must be the strongest driving force, this longing of ours for ever further incarnations during Earth evolution.
We live life forward and at any point we are the summation of all the things that have happened to us. A day full of unpleasant experiences can leave you cross and irritable. A day full of pleasant experiences can leave you feeling happy and satisfied. Whatever experiences are immediately behind us in our past affect the way we feel now. If you take the time to review your life backwards from the present moment, you will reverse the normal process. This is the process called in German, "Rückschau", or backward looking, best applied shortly before going to sleep as you have the entire day to work your way backwards through. In the cartoon below I imagine Padre Filius being carried by himself backwards through his day in a rickshaw, allowing him to see, experience, and react to in reverse order the events of his day.
[page 217] When we review the experiences behind us, going backward through them, then we set them in front of us and we are ourselves behind them. If you do that seriously, not in a routine, mechanical way, but if you really live further into them in a very vivid way, even if for only a few hours, then something enters your soul, if it is sufficiently able to pay attention to itself, that one might call a fundamental tone that you yourself seem to be. We can sometimes experience that we appear to ourselves to be a bitter, acid-bitter fundamental tone. If you then go to work on yourself thoroughly, which again really depends on your development, that process will rarely show you to yourself as a sweet being. Rather, you will, as a rule, find yourself to be a bitter being; you will find a bitter fundamental tone in yourself.
When I took mortar sighting in Army ROTC at LSU, I learned a lesson that has proven invaluable to me in understanding how to approach some new subject or skill: "Make your biggest mistakes first." In sighting a mortar, you have a forward observer [FO] who can see the target and relays its coordinates to you. Your job is to adjust those coordinates so you will lob the mortar on the far side of the target. The FO confirms that your mortar landed on the other side of the target. Then you adjust the same amount short of the target and fire again. The FO lets you the mortar landed short of the target. Then you halve the distance you're aiming past the target and short of the target. By this process, in the shortest possible time and expense of mortars, one of your mortars will hit the target area and you will be instructed to commence firing one after another. If you tried to hit the target on the first lob and missed, you would be at a loss how much to adjust and could spend valuable time and ammo trying to locate the target. This is called "bracketing in" and it has been proven to be the most efficient method of locating some unknown target. Life presents us with unknown targets everyday. How much do we need to water the grass before the next rain? Too much and we waste time and money. Too little and the grass dies in the sun. We make our biggest mistakes first and adjust what we do based on those mistakes. From disharmony, we learn to create harmony.
[page 217] That is the truth. One who is capable of applying the requisite attention to oneself will in this way gradually arrive at what may be called an inspired self-cognition. The path leads through bitter experiences, but then one truly appears to oneself to be like an instrument badly out of tune. In the world of the harmony of the spheres, we usually cause a discord at first.
In life we must work our way through the discord we create in the world, and that take repeated lifetimes and thus requires reincarnation if we are to achieve the harmony that the spiritual world requires for our permanent entry. We would not try to enter the University upon completing Kindergarten, but we would come back to enter First Grade, etc, and return to successive grades until by progressing through gradual stages, we have graduated ourselves to the appropriate level of experience and skill to enter the University. As logical and obvious as this may seem to some, others abhor the idea of reincarnation. Why?
[page 217, 218] The desire to be reincarnated is one of the most important consequences of attaining self-knowledge. People who are repelled by the thought are simply revealing how far all that they have garnered of the glorious divinity of the nature they were born into falls short of what is possible.
The other way of understanding reincarnation outside of the box of Frohschammer's Prison is the way theosophists of the 18th Century put it:
[page 221] They had a very beautiful formula for expressing the basic attribute of the divine spirit. They said, "Bodily nature, the world of matter, is the end of the paths of God." That is a wonderful saying. It meant that the impulses inherent in godhead had prompted it to traverse many worlds of the spirit and descend in order to come to a kind of end, an end from which it turns around in order to rise again. This end is the shaping, the crystallizing of divine beings in the bodily form.
[page 221, 222] What was missing in their insight was something that was lacking due to suppression by the development of Christianity in the West: the knowledge of repeated earthly lives. The early theosophists knew that material embodiment was the goal of the spirit-path of the godhead, but they did not recognize it as applying to human beings also. In human beings they would have had to see that human nature is such that at every further incarnation, the longing must arise for still further embodiment, until our incarnations have rendered us mature enough to be able to go on to other forms of existence.
With the above passages, we have completed in DW#164 and DW#165 a journey through both a psychology of soul, Psychosophy, and a psychology of spirit, Pneumatosophy. In DW#166, we will complete the journey through a psychology of body, Anthroposophy, which comprises the first four lectures in this book. We are following the reading path suggested by Robert Sardello in his Introduction to this collection of Rudolf Steiner's lectures by reading Lectures 5-8, 9-12, and then 1-4.
When we finish all 12 lectures we will have learned how the body, soul, and spirit operate in and with each other. All this learning will come to naught unless we each apply our learning to our everyday lives in practical ways. We can learn to comprehend our body's sensory organs with which we grasp the world, we can learn to notice when a time wave from the future approaches our soul, and we can learn the salubrious effect from reviewing our lives backward in time at the end of each day. All these and other things we can do volitionally, of our own free will, and in the process we can learn to grow where we are planted and bloom into the spirit world as is our destiny. See you next month in these pages for the final installment of this important series of lectures.
---------------------------- Footnotes -----------------------------------------
Footnote 1. Anton Günther (1783-1826), a speculative Catholic theologian, placed on the Index in 1857. (Footnote from page 157 of book.)Return to text directly before Footnote 1.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Return to text directly before Footnote 2.
3.) ARJ2: The Spiritual Ground of Education, GA#305 by Rudolf Steiner
9 Lectures in Oxford, England - August 16-29, 1922
Steiner begins his lecture series to an English audience in Oxford by apologizing for not speaking in their native language. He explains that we all have spiritual beliefs which help us feel we are more than just beings on Earth between birth and death, but admits that such beliefs are difficult to reconcile with the tenets of natural science. Even though we may know of spirit, it is another matter entirely to use what we know and to fill our work and everyday life with spirit. He adds, "And what is the primary area of life in which we must come to terms with spirit? It is education." (Page 4) With this short affirmation, he threw down the gauntlet to open the minds and hearts of those present to learn about the spiritual foundation of education. By this, he did not mean some religious education or parochial school form of education, but rather the spiritual realities involved with the growth and maturation of children. He says, "We are called to work with the unconscious spirit, to link ourselves not only with the natural, but with the divine order of the world." (Page 5) How are we to do that? As Yogi Berra said, "We can observe a lot by just watching."
[page 5] When we observe children, we must feel how necessary it is to have spiritual understanding and vision before we can adequately follow what takes place in them each day — what takes place in the soul and spirit. We should consider how the very youngest children are completely different in later childhood, let alone adulthood. We should bear in mind the great amount of sleep children need in their early days of life. We must wonder what takes place in that interchange between spirit and body when a baby spends nearly twenty-two hours asleep. Today, in both philosophy and practical life, it is thought that one can no more see into the soul of a child than one can see into the soul of an animal or plant — here we encounter the limit of human knowledge.
It is easier said than done, you may be thinking, to overcome this prejudice of otherwise competent scientists and thinkers. Steiner shows us it is indeed possible to overcome this presumed limit of human knowledge, showing us that it is within our abilities to observe the complete human of body, soul, and spirit. Steiner knows that the science most teachers provide us in schools ill-prepares us for such abilities, even claiming they are impossible. Undaunted, Steiner proceeds to build up exactly those abilities in Waldorf schools's administrators and teachers, building expectations of success in them. "I will speak to you about how to develop a kind of knowledge that assures genuine insight into the inner texture of childhood life. Devoted, unprejudiced observation of life goes a long way in bringing about such understanding." (Page 5)
He directs our observation to the first seven years of a child's life when the blood pulses quicker than it does later in life and the entire child is like one sense organ, perceiving and imitating everything which happens around it. This is the reason children need a lot of sleep, they must shut out the hustle and bustle of the world, like the eye closes when too much light tries to enter it. From every sound children hear, an inner gesture arises(1). This leads to the child learning language.
After the age of seven, a change takes place in children as they enter elementary school. They go from absorbing what they observe around them to absorbing what lives in what they observe. If a teacher has authority, the child absorbs that authority. (Page 9)
[page 9] They enter a stage that should be based primarily on the principle of authority — the authority children encounter in teachers.
Let's not deceive ourselves by thinking that the children between seven and fourteen whom we are educating do not adopt the judgments we express. If we make them listen to a judgment we express in a certain phrase, we present them with something that properly belongs only to a later age. The true nature of children wants to be able to believe in us. They want to have an instinctive feeling that this is someone who can tell me something.
Elementary school children do not need a teacher to prove anything to them, but rather to tell them things. Teachers do best to use a gentle humor rather than reasoning and logic. Children progress from seven to fourteen by going from all sense organ to all soul. Anything abstract presented to them before fourteen can cause their souls to become rigid.
[page 10] For children between seven and fourteen, it is far more significant to tell them about something in a kind and loving way than it is to demonstrate by proof. During lessons, kind humor and congeniality are far more valuable than logic. Such children do not yet need logic; they need us and our humanity.
Children during this time move from being imitators to becoming followers. As they move from sense organ to soul, they follow the actions of their teachers, what they experience in their teachers, they take into their soul. It is incumbent on teachers to be sensitive to what in happening in each child's soul.
[page 10] Their sense organs have now become independent. The soul of these children has only now come into its own, and we must treat this soul with infinite tenderness. As teachers, we must become continually more intimate with what happens day by day in children's souls. Hence, in the Waldorf school, we place the greatest importance on the ability of those who teach children from seven to fourteen to give them what is appropriate for their age, with artistic love and loving art.
How can a teacher become intimate with a child's soul, if each year a new set of children arrive? For this reason each Waldorf School teacher stays with one set of children as they mature from 7 to 14, making possible a deeper intimacy with a child's soul than in traditional public schools where, in elementary schools, children stay in one classroom with one teacher for a year, and, in high school, the teachers are switched every hour or so. How can public school teachers acquire but a superficial connection with a child's soul given the scant amount of time they have to spend with a given child?
[page 10, 11] It is essential to the education we are speaking of that teachers know the human being, and that they know what each age requires of us in teaching. What is required for the first year? What is required up to the seventh year? What is required during the elementary school period? The way we educate children up to the tenth year must be different; and again we must use different methods when we introduce them to human knowledge between ten and fourteen. The spiritual ground of education requires that we hold in our souls a lively image of a child's nature for each year, and even each week.
Steiner says that we must not limit growth, but enable growth in our children. How many children grow up only to be pushed into being a doctor or lawyer by their parents? And how many of those change careers as soon as their parents' injunctions to them lose their effect? Children are not trees to be pruned into topiary designs nor grafted upon to yield fruit against their nature, are they?
[page 11, 12] A child's hand is small, and it must be allowed to grow and not constrained. The ideas and soul development of children are also small and delicate and we must not limit them with hard rules, as though such limits must be retained in the same form thirty years later, once children have grown up. The ideas we bring children must be formed so that they are able to grow.
The key to teaching children is what Gregory Bateson called second order learning, or "learning to learn." When they reach the great graduate school called life in their twenties, that is when the real life learning takes place, but it cannot happen if they were shaped and grafted into shapes desired by parents and educators. No, it can only happen if they have first learned how to learn.
[page 12] The Waldorf school is really a preparatory school; every school should prepare children for the great school of adulthood, which is life itself. We must not learn at school for the sake of performance; rather, we must learn at school so that we can learn further from life.
The child between 0 and 7 receives learning via a deep spiritual intuition; between 7 and 14, receives learning from an unconscious inspiration; and only after 14 receives learning from images from their teachers and the world around them. To enable this process, Steiner says, "It is immensely important that we do not call on the intellect too early, consciously or unconsciously, as people are prone to do today." (Page 13) He said this in 1922, almost a hundred years ago, and one can see even stronger tendencies towards pushing early intellectual development today, e. g., the lionizing of young children with skewed thinking development.
When children begin to speak they naturally form consonants and vowels, usually taking "mama" as their first word, consisting of a consonant m and a vowel a repeated. In my thinking about the process and content of language, I imagined that the more solid consonants made up the content of language, and the less solid flowing vowels the process. Steiner makes a good case for the opposite view: vowels are the content (soul) and consonants the process (spirit) of language.
[page 16] If I may use an image to indicate what is meant (not to explain it), I would say that, when we speak, our speech comes from words — sounds made up of consonants and vowels. Observe the great difference between consonants and vowels in speech. Consonants round off a sound, give it angularity, make it into a breath sound or a wave sound, according to how we form the sound with one organ or another, with lips or teeth. Vowels arise in a very different way. They arise while guiding the breath stream through the vocal organs in a certain way. By means of vowels, we do not give contour but build the substance of a sound. Vowels provide the substance, or content, and consonants mold and sculpt the substance provided by the vowels.
And now, using the words spirit and soul in the sense we are giving them here, we can say that spirit is in the consonants of speech, and soul is in the vowels.(2)
Why did John write, "In the beginning was the Word" instead of "In the beginning was the Spirit"? If you have wondered about that, as I have, Steiner explains why here.
[page 17, 18] We see only the outer form of a person, but soul and spirit are within, just as they are within speech. But we no longer notice this.
There was a time in past ages, however, when people did notice this. They did not say, "In the beginning was the Spirit" (which would have been too abstract), but "In the beginning was the word." People still had a living sense of how spirit is carried on the waves of speech. It is this spirit and its nature that we mean when using the word spiritual. It is not revealed by intellect, nor by what we call mind. Mind and spirit are distinct from each other. They differ as much as my person differs from the reflection I see in a mirror. When I hold a mirror and look at myself, my reflection is in the mirror. The reflection moves exactly as I do, and it looks like me, but it is not me. It differs from me because it is an image, whereas I am a reality.
Spirit is the reality of hidden depths. Intellect contains only an image of spirit. Mind is a reflected image of spirit.
Our mind is passive, like our eyes are passive so that they can receive a detailed image of the world. If our eyeballs moved actively while receiving an image, the distortions would be in the eye not in the world. If our mind were also active, there would also be distortions. "Mind is the passive image of spirit." (Page 18) It is the soul which can receive impressions from the world, whereas the mind can only receive reflections of the world.
[page 19] Materialists say that they find impressions in the brain, just as the earth retains impressions after I have walked on it. But they will say that there are forces in the brain, and these make the impressions. This is not true. The soul makes the impressions, just as I make them on the ground. And it is only because those imprints are there that can I perceive the soul; I perceive a sensation in the soul. At first, the soul is hidden, but it has left its imprints in my body. If I make a very hard dent it causes me pain. Perhaps I do not immediately see what I have done, since it happened behind me. But even when I do not see what I have done, I experience the pain. Similarly, the soul leaves an impression in my body, whereas the soul itself remains hidden. I perceive the effect as passions, sympathy, and so on. I perceive the effect of the souls activity in the manifestation.
"The map is not the territory," Alfred Korzybski famously said. A map is a necessarily imperfect, incomplete reflection of some territory. A map is a product of intellectual thinking and as such it is unreal, a mere image. Steiner says that you cannot say, "I think, therefore I can reflect on all things."
[page 23] Rather, knowledge begins when you can say, "Although I think about everything with my image thinking, I am only a weak, impotent being."
We moderns are constantly misled by pretending and accepting from others pretensions that maps of the world are reality instead merely appearances of reality. We can accept or refuse to accept maps of the world realizing they are products of intellectual activity, possessing as much reality as our own image in a mirror. A mirror can help us to comb our hair, but the image of us in the mirror cannot climb out of the mirror to comb our hair for us.
[page 23] Today, at some point, we must experience the suffering that goes along with the realization that, as long as one is occupied solely with intellectual activity and observations, one lives in emptiness and mere images, remote from reality.
How can we understand the world other than by intellectual activity and observations? We can understand it artistically, as Steiner tells us on page 24: Do not try to understand the world by entering the abstract emptiness of logic, but understand instead by entering the objects of the world, by going outward, by uniting with all things in a soulful and spiritual way.
[page 24] By permeating reality with the discoveries of mere intellectual ideas, we get a renewed sense of how spirit works creatively in us.
And from this, we must begin to feel the reality working in children. It is not the so-called mind in us that is active; in a small child, this would not be creative. This notion would only lead us astray. Rather, in a small child, the active principle is just what we come to know in the creative way described; it is this that forms the second teeth according to the first, concluding in the seventh year.
Steiner admits few of us today can enter into objects of the world such as "sinking into a plant, until we feel gravity going down through the roots into the earth and the formative forces unfolding above. We participate in the unfolding flower and fruit of a plant, diving right into the external world. Thus we are taken up by the external world. We awaken as though from a trance. And now we no longer receive abstract thoughts, but imaginations." (Page 24) Fortunately, it is not necessary for everyone to be able to do this today.
[page 25] A few people in the world can develop such higher knowledge; everyone else needs only sound judgment and observation. Everything these few discover, others can recognize through sound judgment and sound observation. Not everyone, for example, can observe the transits of Venus. These are visible far too rarely, and astronomers can observe them occasionally when they are visible. But does this mean that it would be illogical to speak of the transits of Venus, simply because one had not seen them? After all, the object and method of observation can be understood. It is the same thing with the spiritual world. Simply because of egotism today, people want to do everything themselves. One can argue that, as teachers, we cannot immediately become clairvoyant. We cannot train in such methods. How can we manage teaching if we are first confronted with this complicated method of reaching spirit?
We need a simpler way of revealing the presence of spirit to our young school children. As you read this, you may be reminded of teachers who taught you in this interesting and direct way.
[page 25] There is another way of making spiritual things fruitful and using them, however. Again, I will illustrate this with an example. Imagine I am teaching a nine- or ten-year-old girl. I want to tell her about the immortality of the human soul. If I go into philosophic dissertations, however charming, this child will make nothing of it at her age. She will remain untouched by my little lecture. But if I say to her, "Dear, see how the butterfly comes out of the chrysalis? There you have an image that you can apply to people. Look at the human body; it is like a butterfly's cocoon. The butterfly flies out of the chrysalis, and in the same way, after death, the soul flies out of the body. Only, the butterfly is visible, and the soul is invisible."
In my graduate work in education, I wrote my Final Paper on the importance of a live teacher in a classroom. A teacher whose lesson plan is to read material to a class need not be present for the little good they do. A teacher who studies his lesson plan until he knows the true meaning of what he is to teach the next day, proves to be a powerful transmitter of knowledge to his pupils. Why? Because as he talks to them, the things he knows intimately move directly, without words, into his pupils minds, and realizing this process is happening, the students sit up and pay attention.(3) Steiner recognizes these two ways of teaching and gives examples of them, referring to his butterfly metaphor in the above passage.
[page 25, 26] I have found two things: when a teacher describes this image to a child, the child does not understand it. The teacher might convey a charming image, but nothing reaches the soul, and the true object is missed. Another teacher might describe this picture, perhaps in the very same words, and the child will have a real insight as the whole image enters the soul.
Both types of teachers are live in their classrooms, but the first type is talking about something they don't understand or believe to be true and their soul experience of non-understanding flows into the students's souls. The second type of teacher understands and believes the metaphor to be true and the child receives that insight into themselves regardless of the exact words used by the teacher. The insight flows from soul to soul on the wings of words(4).
[page 26] Where is the difference? The first teacher is very smart and ingenious, infinitely clever. So the thought arises that a truly intelligent person would not consider the chrysalis and butterfly to be an valid image; we can get away with this only because the child is foolish. One invents a clever image for a silly child; we have a clever teacher and a foolish child, and one who invents a picture for a foolish child will not be understood. You can depend on it; the teacher will not be understood.
Now another teacher believes in this picture. Here a different thought arises — that the divine goodness of the world has itself placed this image into nature so that we may better understand immortality. It is not something we have to invent; rather, we discover the image. The creative spirit of nature makes this image for us so that we may see immortality in its image. God himself painted this picture in nature. If one believes in this image, then a child will believe in it.
The attitude of the teacher is essential to educating the children. Being smart and acting as if one has to pour one's learning into the empty mind of a foolish child will not instill a love of education, but will instill a revulsion for eduation, such as so many children today leave school with. Instead of "learning to learn" they learn to avoid learning at all; they learn to turn their back on anyone who endeavors to "educate" them again. One does best to approach teaching with this attitude, "Thus a Teacher, So Also a Learner(5)", even with elementary school students. Especially with small children.
[page 26] The child gets all that is needed, simply because one is not thinking, I am clever, the child is foolish. Rather, one thinks of the child as having brought intelligent spirit into the world through birth. The child is intelligent. The child's spirit is not yet awake, and if we are unable to awaken it, it is we who are foolish, not the child. Once the thought arises in us that children possess hidden intelligence and that we have manifested foolishness, and once we realize that it is our duty to become intelligent by learning from children, then we can make a real impression with our instruction.
We had quoted earlier Steiner saying, "Mind is the passive image of spirit." On page 29, he says, "It is simply a fact that spirit becomes perceptible when physical activity is suppressed." When the body is forced into passivity, the spirit can be perceived. He again directs our attention to the eye as a metaphor. Our eye must be transparent to light; it must not take anything from the light, i.e., our eye must become selfless if we are to perceive the light. We must do something similar to perceive the spiritual world.
[page 29] So, if we want to see into the spiritual world, we must, as it were, make our whole organism into an eye (in a spiritual-soul sense). We must make our whole organism transparent, not physically as do the eyes, but spiritually. The body must no longer be an obstacle to our interaction with the world.
Ancients gained knowledge of spiritual worlds by ascetic practices such as suffering and living in complete solitude, the wise man in the isolated cave in the mountain, for example. That will not work for us now. Today we must strive for clear thinking that is full of meaning.
[page 31] Today people easily meet the requirement to think clearly. This is not intended to belittle clear thinking, but in an age that comes several centuries after Copernicus and Galileo, clear thinking is almost natural. The real pity is that it is not yet natural among the majority. Indeed, it is easy to be clear at the expense of thinking fully; empty thoughts easily become clear. But the foundation of our future development must be clear thinking that is full of meaning.
Does a teacher today need spiritual cognition to be an effective teacher? No, but the teacher must be able to recognize that a child is witness to spiritual worlds. Before the age of earliest conscious memory, about 3 years old, a child can view spiritual worlds. A baby arrives with knowledge of its previous incarnation, but loses this knowledge on its way to developing its everyday perception and cognition. One example from my own experience, I remember seeing fairies and elves at a very early age, something which came back to me when I read Grimm's fairy tales about age 7 or 8. My memories of seeing fairies took on a certain verisimilitude that I could not explain from other experiences which occurred while reading books. We can assume that children have various kinds of such memories which bleed through into consciousness(6).
[page 33] The child's body itself is a living witness to spiritual worlds, and this is where our higher knowledge can begin. Thus teachers who have right instinct can grow naturally toward treating children in a spiritual way. . . . I might tell a child something that must be taken on trust, since I am the mediator between the divine spiritual world and the child. The child believes me and accepts what I say, but does not yet understand it. We do not understand much of what we receive unconsciously in childhood. If we could accept only what we understood as children, we would receive little of value for later life. And the German poet and thinker Jean Paul [1763-1825] would never have said that more is learned in the first three years of life than in three years at a university.
My dad got Parts Pups magazines from an auto dealer he worked for about the time I was about 8. He kept them in a drawer by his bed, and I would sneak in, read one, and put it back in place. It contained adult jokes, which often made no sense to me. (I couldn't ask my dad and there was no Google back then.) I remember the girly photo which was called an "Iphiler" and had no idea what the name meant. In a recurring column each month, a guy called some woman his "Shirt Sharpener" and I got an image of a pencil sharper which somehow worked on shirts. Only at age 35 or so, I realized that the first letter of Iphiler was pronounced like "eye" and the girl was thus called an "eye-filler". At the same time, I realized the guy's wife ironed her husband's shirts, making them look sharp again, thus could be called his Shirt Sharpener.
One other example was a hardback book about a cartoon named Spiro which I wanted to check out of the public library. The librarian, Mrs. Edith Lawson(7), looked through the book and back at me several times before reluctantly letting the 8-year-old me take the book out on loan.I enjoyed Spiro's fantastic voyage through the human body, drilling his way in through the skin with his corkscrew tail, swimming happily through the blood stream, and even coming out by the human eye at one point. I returned the book and never knew what it was about until several decades later, when I realized Spiro was a syphilis or Treponema pallidum bacterium. What I thought was a playful cartoon character was actually a deleterious disease agent. Without knowing it, I had learned at age 8 how syphilis enters the human body, how it can travel through the blood stream, and how it can cause serious eye problems. How lucky I was to have a librarian who trusted me with an adult level book.
Steiner asks us each to recall such events from our past.
[page 34] Just consider what it means when, say, in your thirty-fifth year, some event causes you to feel that something is swimming up into your mind, something heard from a teacher long ago. Perhaps you were only nine or ten at the time and did not understand it at all, and now it comes back. And, in the light of your own life, it now makes sense, and you can appreciate it. If, during later life, you can take something from the depths of your memory and, for the first time, understand it, you have within yourself a wellspring of life; a refreshing stream of power continually flows within you(8). When something arises in the soul that was once accepted on trust and is only now understood, we can see that to teach properly we must not consider only the immediate moment but the whole of life. In all that we teach children, this must be kept in view.
Suggesting that a child hold an unanswered question can be much more educational than simply giving them some pat answer.
One day at age 13, a dramatic event happened to me. I was walking on Avenue C or D a few blocks from my home when a childhood friend, Mike, approached me and said, "Bobby, take a look at this!" He held out a comic book to me. I was an expert on comic books because my Uncle Frank Musso used buy a lot of comic books and when he had read them, placed them in a cardboard box in my Grandma Babin's kitchen closet. I would spend the entire day under her shady pecan trees reading comic books whenever a new box showed up. But never a comic book like the one Mike handed me on this day. It was the first ever Mad comic book! I quickly read through it to discover what led to its being special, and I discovered something I didn't think my parents knew about, something I had no words to describe, and only years later in college would learn to call it "satire". The Mad comic books made fun of what adults did! And teenage boys on the streets of Westwego loved to read stories which ridiculed the behavior of parents.Yes, parents may have thought they were shaping our early childhood judgments, but what we learned on the street from our friends were equally important. Mad comic books were mad at the world which repressed our freedom and we loved it! Within a year, Mad was so popular it had several dozen knock-offs like Cracked, etal, and soon Mad rose above its comic book origins to become Mad Magazine by the time I was in college. The morning after the Kennedy-Nixon down-to-the-wire election in 1960, its cover was filled with the face of John F. Kennedy and the words, "Congratulations! We Were With You All the Way!" I was puzzled as to how they could have got this on the news stands overnight, but as I turned over the book, there an image of Richard M. Nixon with the same words! Two covers, covering both outcomes of the close election, how Mad is that?
Steiner explains that the images we give children do not have to be exactly correct, like a butterfly emerging from a chrysalis as a metaphor for immortality, but it can still be effective. If it sits in a child's mind over a decade or so, it can grow into a correct idea of immortality. He tells us on page 35 that spiritual truths are not ready when logic is, even for his own 1919 founding of the Waldorf system, founded as it was on ideas that had come to him some decades earlier.
[page 35] It is the nature of spiritual truths that they must be carried with us on our way through life — we must live with them before they can develop fully. 1 would never have dared to tell others certain truths about human nature as they came to me more than thirty-five years ago.
You never know until you find out how some idea will gestate and form in its own water (as Calvin famously said of volcanos).
What is the most essential nature of humankind? Hold this as an unanswered question in your mind as you read on. Steiner says that knowledge of the human being is easy to study in natural science which explains how the simplest organism has evolved up to the human being. But do we arrive that way with the essential nature of humankind? What happens if we leave out the spiritual origins of humankind?
[page 36, 37] It is relatively easy to realize the nature of the final member of organic evolution. We begin with the simplest organism and see how it has evolved up to the human being, who stands at the summit of evolution, the final member of organic development. We do not see directly into the very being of humankind. Natural science has attained a certain perfection, which we greatly admire and do not intend to disparage; but once we have mastered natural science, we know the human being as the highest animal, but not the most essentials nature of humankind. Yet our life is dominated by this natural science. To educate, we need a practical human science that applies to every individual child, for which we need a general human science.
As much as Steiner respects our materialistic natural science, he finds a fatal flaw in its connecting the whole human soul with its thoughts, feeling, and volition to the human nervous system.
[page 38] This is what I recognized as an error thirty-five years ago. The only part of our soul life as adults — I emphasize adults, since we cannot consider the child until we understand the adult — the only part of our soul life that is connected with the nervous system is our thinking, or power of ideation.
If we understand that natural science is based solely on thinking, this error should not seem strange at all. The most intelligent psychology deems our soul connected only to the nervous system, our system of thinking! Star Trek — The Next Generation (TNG) had an android named Data that was exactly that kind of ersatz human being, and what woman would want to be married to this unfeeling humanoid? This Data guy had no feeling and no willing functions. He did what he was told and offered no complaints.
What is human feeling? Steiner gives us a simple answer. Let us check his answer against what Data possessed as a humanoid.
[page 39] Human feeling is not related directly to the nervous system, but to what we might call the "rhythmic" system. It involves the marvelous interrelationship between breathing and the blood's circulation. Their ratio is only approximate, since it naturally varies from person to person. In general, however, every adult has four times as many pulse beats as breaths. This internal interplay of pulsing and breathing rhythms is in turn related to the more extended rhythms of human life and constitutes our rhythmic nature — a second nature, in contrast to the head, or nerve, nature. Our life is not built only on the life of the nervous system; it is based also on the rhythmic life. Just as thinking and the forces of thought are related to the nervous system, the power of feeling is directly related to our rhythmic system.
Okay, ask yourself this question: Did TNG's Data have any breathing or blood circulation? Well, no. So therefore Data could have no feeling function. In several episodes, Data expressed a desire to have emotions, but was unable to acquire any, so far as I know. I watched only a small percentage of the TNG episodes.
In addition to thinking and feeling, humans have volition, a life of will. We can make decisions.
[page 40] Volition does not depend directly on the nervous system but relates directly to human metabolism and movement; metabolism is very intimately connected with movement. You can regard all human metabolism, in addition to movement itself to be the limb system. I consider the third member of the human organism to be the movement and metabolic system, and volition is immediately related to this. Every human will impulse is accompanied by a form of metabolic process, whose mode of operation is different from that of the nerve processes that accompany thinking.
The TNG humanoid Data is lacking in a metabolic system and therefore has no willing function. It is a stilted, one-track, thinking-function humanoid, one with computational ability and analysis, but it can only offer the results of its calculations, not make a decision alone and act on it.
Here is a quick summary of the threefold human structure of thinking, feeling, and willing constructed from the material on pages 38 to 41:
Activity of nervous system in one's soul results in thinking.
Activity of the rhythmic system comes from interaction of respiration and circulation, results in feeling in our soul.
Activity of the limb system comes from metabolic process which accompanies willing and volition.
Here is some more detail about the interaction of the thinking, feeling, and volition as they manifest in the human soul.
[page 41] When we think and develop ideas about our own volition, metabolic activity is thus projected into the nervous system. Volition works only indirectly in the nervous system. Events in the nervous system that are related to volition are the faculty of apprehending our own will activity. Thus, when we penetrate the human being with vision, we discover the relationships between human soul and physical nature. The activity of thought in the soul manifests physically as nervous activity. Feeling nature in the soul manifests physically as the rhythms of breathing and blood circulation. It does this directly not indirectly through the nervous system. Active volition manifests in physical human nature as a subtle metabolism. It is essential to recognize the fine metabolic processes that accompany the exercise of volition; it is a kind of combustion in the human being.
An expectant mother should be aware that adults only taste with their tongue, whereas her new baby will taste with its entire body for several weeks. Plus, they should be aware that mother's milk is the most delicious substance to the newborn. Other kinds of milk may be delicious, but the mutual benefits which accrue to both lactating mothers and nursing babies should be studied by all mothers-to-be. Here's Steiner's description of how a baby tastes with its whole body.
[page 41, 42] It is particularly interesting to use scientific spiritual observation to see how a child tastes in a different way than does an adult. Adults have brought taste into the realm of consciousness; they taste something with the tongue and decide what that taste is. A baby, during the earliest weeks, tastes with the whole body, because the organ of taste is diffused throughout the organism. A baby tastes with the stomach and continues to taste as the nourishing juices are absorbed in the lymph system and transmitted throughout the organism. When babies nurse, they are completely permeated by taste. And here we see how the child is, so to speak, illuminated and transfused with taste, with something of a soul nature. Later on, we no longer have this in our body as a whole, but only in our head.
Scientists are always seen in movies looking through their microscopes or telescopes, looking at very tiny things in the microcosm or very large things in the macrocosm. Teachers, especially of children, need a macroscope to observe their students through. A microscope is useless without a human to look through it at the physical world; a macroscope is the way a human looks at the spiritual realities of the physical world. The human being is the macroscope!
A macroscope has many settings which one can use to zoom in on what's happening inside the child. These three settings are very useful: thinking, feeling, and willing. When trained in using a macroscope, a teacher can tune in quickly to what is going on inside a living human child, a being on a human-size scale, by paying attention to how they express their thinking, feeling, and willing.
[page 42] Thus we learn how to watch a tiny child and how to watch an older child, knowing that one child will blush easily for one reason or another, and another will easily turn pale; one is quick to get excited or moves the arms and legs quickly; one child walks firmly, while another walks lightly. Once we have these principles and recognize that the soul's expression of volition is seated in the metabolic system; that the expression of feeling rests in the rhythmic system; that what manifests in the soul as thought is based in the nervous system, then we will know how to observe children; we will know where to look.
Like with using a microscope, one must learn how to look using a macroscope, or one will see nothing useful when observing a child. One changes the setting of the macroscope from the metabolic system of the child to the rhythmic system to the nervous system until one becomes aware of which system is highlighted in a particular child. Do they blush, walk lightly, etc? Or they easily excited or placid? What does your macroscope tell you about the child you are dealing with? Teachers, especially those in Waldorf schools, must know how to use a macroscope in order to become intimate with a child's soul. Each child is different and the differences are visible under the macroscope to the trained teacher.
[page 42] People see nothing of the human being until they have learned to see with the soul and spirit all that corresponds to thinking, feeling, and volition. The goal of the Waldorf school has been to develop the correct orientation of vision in the staff. Teachers must first know what goes on in children, then they can achieve the right state of mind, and the right education comes only from the right mental attitude.
The macroscope is also useful in selecting Waldorf teachers. Consider this example, and how the macroscope can detect a person who is sorrowful.
[page 45] When we are sad, the mouth is always a little dry. And when sadness becomes a habit and a continuous state, the sorrowful person goes about with dry mouth, a dry tongue, a bitter taste in the mouth, and even a chronic inflammation of the mucous membrane. In adults, these physical conditions are merely faint undertones of life.
Faint undertones, but clearly observable by using one's macroscope. If a sad adult is interviewing to become a Waldorf teacher, what might we expect from the children entrusted into this person's care?
[page 46] A child growing up in the company of an adult is an imitator. Children model themselves entirely on what they perceive in the appearance of the adult — for example, an adult's sad way of speaking or sad feelings. There is a subtle interplay of imponderables between children and adults. When we experience inner sadness with all its physical manifestations, a child, being an imitator, takes up these physical effects through inner gestures. Through inward mimicry, a child might assume, say, a dry tongue, or bitter taste, in the mouth, and this (as I pointed out yesterday) flows through the whole organism. Or a child absorbs the pale, sad face of an adult. Children cannot imitate the soul substance of sorrow itself, but they do imitate the physical appearance of the sorrow. Consequently, because spirit is still working into a child's organism, the whole organism will be permeated in such a way that it builds the organs according to the physical manifestations the child has taken in. Thus, the very condition of the growing organism will make a sad being of the child. In later life, this person will have a particular aptitude for perceiving anything sad or sorrowful. Such is the subtle, delicate knowledge one needs to educate properly.
Teachers do best if they think of themselves as relatively intelligent and if they see their job as bringing out the best in their students, not making copies of themselves.
[page 48] This would be quite wrong. The correct approach would be to educate this very intelligent individual to grow and become far more intelligent than we could ever be. This means that there is something in a person that we must not touch, something we must approach with sensitive reverence, if we are to exercise the art of education properly.
We carry within us certain tendencies from childhood that were acquired before we had conscious memory. In the science of doyletics, we call these doyles. They are physical body states, perhaps sadness, fear, or anger, which were stored by imitating one's parent. A small girl of three is playing with a new pet and her mother comes in and screams in horror, "A ROACH!" and all those feelings of fear and horror get stored in the girl and arise every time she sees a roach in the future. She cannot explain why she hates roaches as an adult, even if she comes to understand her fear as irrational. If she learns to do a Speed Trace(9), she can eliminate the unwanted bodily states of fear and loathing from her subsequent life. She will no longer experience a difficulty from the sudden appearance of a roach.
[page 48] Often, in early life, we know very well what we should do, but we cannot carry it out; we feel inadequate. The obstacle that prevents us from doing what we should is usually very obscure, but it is always a condition of the physical organism. For example, it may be a disposition toward sadness acquired through imitation, such as I spoke of. The organism incorporated this tendency, and it has become a habit. Now we want to do something that does not suit an organism inclined toward sadness. Within us, we have the effects of the dry tongue and bitter taste from childhood, and now we want to do something different and we experience difficulty.
Teachers who encounter various unwanted bodily states in their students can quickly do a talking Speed Trace to help the children change the bodily state into a cognitive memory. Children in school are only a few years older than the Memory Transition Age of five years old, the age below which we retain few if any declarative or cognitive memories (conscious recollections). A few simple statements like these: "You're 7 and experiencing this (fear, sadness, dryness in your mouth, etc). When you were 5, you experienced this, right? When you were 4, did you experience this? 3? 2? 1?" will usually be enough to remove the bodily state. The teacher simply watches the child's face for signs that the bodily state has gone, indicated by a relief or relaxation, a smile, perhaps. This can take about a minute at most. These bodily states called doyles are acquired from one's parents and caregivers during a time before five when one has no fully functioning hippocampus to transmit a declarative memory to the cortex. When a Speed Trace is done by a person with an operational hippocampus, the bodily state is immediately converted into a declarative memory and the next time a stimulus arrives to trigger the bodily state, the new memory appears in the brain absent the negative effects of the bodily state. After a talking Speed Trace the teacher will have freed the child's will from the onerous bodily state from then on.
[page 48, 49] If we realize the full significance of this, we might tell ourselves that a teacher's primary task is to nurture the body to be is healthy as possible. This means that we use every spiritual measure to ensure that in later life a person's body will be the least possible hindrance to the will of one's spirit. If we make this our purpose in school, we can develop the forces that lead to an education for freedom.
If a child under five is exposed to a lot of grief and sadness, their digestive organs will be affected, e. g., they may grow up with malformed kidneys.
[page 49] Take a particular instance. The English doctor Sir Clifford Allbutt (1836-1925) made a very significant statement about how human grief and sadness affect the development of the digestive organs, the kidneys in particular. After awhile, people who experience a great many problems and grief in life show signs of malformed kidneys. This has been very finely demonstrated by Dr. Allbutt and is a discovery of natural science.
The science of doyletics is a natural science which discovered how to quickly and simply remove various unwanted bodily states such as grief and sadness so as to prevent problems with one's digestive organs at some future time.
[page 56] In a Waldorf school, who the teachers are is far more important than any technical ability they may have acquired intellectually. It is important that teachers not only love the children, but also love the whole procedure they use. It is not enough for teachers to love the children; they must also love teaching, and love it with objectivity. This constitutes the spiritual foundation of spiritual, moral, and physical education. If we can acquire this love for teaching, we will be able to develop children up to the age of puberty so that, when that time arrives, we will be able to hand them over to the freedom and the use of their own intelligence.
In Waldorf schools, the teachers must be imbued with Three Golden Rules which Steiner gives as: Reverence, Gratitude, and Respect and explains here:
[page 57] The golden rules that must be embraced by a teacher's whole being, not as theory, are these: first, reverent gratitude toward the world for the child we contemplate every day, for every child presents a problem given us by divine worlds; second, gratitude to the universe and love for what we have to do with a child; and third, respect for the child's freedom, which we must not endanger, since it is this freedom to which we must direct our teaching efforts, so that the child may one day stand at our side in freedom in the world.
In his lecture "The Art of Educating Older Boys and Girls" Steiner offers some important advice which is often ignored in our modern society. Begin teaching children seven and under to do writing first, but not the abstract signs we call the "alphabet", instead lead them into movements, gestures, and expressions of volition, all of which they love to do. Then segue into showing them how such movements, say, of a fish, can lead us to producing the script letter "f" which resembles a fish and forms the first letter of the word fish. The first word babies learn to say is "mama" and by allowing children to feel the vibration from saying "mmm", you can lead them into drawing the script letter "m" which forms the first and middle letters of "mama". (Page 60)
[page 60, 61] Parents may worry that their children are eight or nine years old and still do not write properly. And we must always let them know that when children learn more slowly at any given age, the material is absorbed in a more certain and healthy way by the organism that if it is forced into them.
If teachers ask a child to do a simple task like coloring a flowering plant with a stem and a bloom, this constitutes a deleterious forcing upon the child of an unreal event, rightly understood. Steiner explains that a rock can be carried from place to place and not change, but a plant cannot: it is attached to its roots. Its roots are usually about as large as the plant, a mirror-image of the plant below the ground, intimately connected to the Earth. This intimate connection of plants to the Earth should be shared with small children so they may early on perceive the true nature of the plant world as hair covers their head. Like the hair needs a head to grow on, a plant cannot exist without its connection to the Earth or an earth-substitute.
[page 67] Therefore, when teaching botany, we must not begin with the plant or plant family but with landscape and geography. We must begin with an understanding of what the earth is like in a particular place. The nature of plants must be treated in relation to the whole earth.
When we speak of the earth we generally speak as physicists or, at most, as geologists. We assume that the earth is a self-enclosed totality of physical, mineral forces, and that its existence would be no different if there were no plants, animals, or people at all. But this is an abstraction. The earth as viewed by the physicist or geologist is an abstraction. There is, in fact, no such thing. In reality there is simply the earth covered with plants. We must be aware that, when our description is purely geological, it is only for the convenience of our intellect, and that we are describing a non-existent abstraction. We must not start by giving our children an idea of this non-existent abstraction; rather, we must give them a realization of the earth as a living organism, beginning, of course, with the area that the children know. If children know nothing of an animal, we would not show them just a hair; we would show them an animal with hair growing on it. Similarly we must begin by giving children a vivid realization of the earth as a living organism, and then show them how plants live and grow on the earth.
We do best to proceed to introduce children to the animal kingdom by showing them how animals have key features which we find in humans, for example, the broad chest of the lion, the digestive system of the cow, the white corpuscles of our blood resembling tiny primitive animals, and so on.
[page 69] The whole animal kingdom together is a synthesis of the human being, not symptomatically, but synthetically woven and interwoven. . . . The human being is a synthesis of lion, eagle, ape, camel, cow, and all the rest. We can view the whole animal kingdom as human nature divided up and spread out.
We teach them, lead them to understand how the living parts of their world are all interconnected to each other.
[page 69] So this is the other side that children get during their eleventh or twelfth year. After they have learned to separate themselves from the plant world — to experience objectivity and a connection with an objective earth — they can then learn of the close connection between animals and human beings — the subjective side. Thus the universe is again connected with the human being through feelings. In this way, we educate children through contact with life in the world.
Learning to count, to add, and to multiply, all these processes do best to start from a unity and head to its parts. A pile of beans, e.g., we ask a child to divide it so that she and a friend share develops the concept of "two". Apples are shared among three children by subtracting a quantity. Then the apples are placed back together to form the concept of a sum or adding. Similarly, the process of division is taught before multiplication. This makes division seem simpler than multiplication. The way I was taught division in public school made it seem much more complex than multiplication. Everyone hated long division, as many of you will recall. Undoubtedly this was a result of learning division after multiplication instead of before.
The approach that teachers take to education of children below the age of eleven can have a deleterious effect on the children's health, as Steiner points out below. Just because something is logical, it shouldn't be taught to young children who still see the world artistically.
[page 77] Now, a philosopher might say "Well, if something is to be known it must be logical." This is true, but this must be the logic of a work of art, which may be an inner representation of the world we see. We must accept an inner artistic idea and not dogmatically believe that the world has to be conceived logically(10). The ideas and feelings of teachers must be flexible. Teachers must realize that, if they present ideas of dynamics and mechanics to children before they reach eleven, they congest the brain and make it inflexible, so that as they grow it develops migraine and, later still, hardens. On the other hand, if we give children isolated historical images or stories before the eleventh year; if we present pictures of the plant kingdom that show plants in connection with the countryside where they grow, such ideas go into the brain, but they go there by way of the rest of the nervous system into the whole body. They unite with the soft muscular system and the whole body. We lovingly build what is working within the children.
As a child in grade school I made straight A's but was bored a lot of the time, so I kept my mind busy by doodling at my desk out of sight of the teacher, unless she gave me something that excited me.
[page 77] Thus, teachers see into children. Those who know only anatomy and physiology see children as opaque coal, but here [RJM: in Waldorf schools] they become transparent, and teachers see everything. They see what goes on in the individual children at their desks. Teachers do not need to cogitate and resort to some didactic rule; the children themselves show them what needs to be done. Children lean back in their chairs and no longer pay attention when something is done that is unsuitable for them. When you do the right thing for children, they become lively.
The temperaments of children form another setting of the macroscope of Waldorf teachers: they learn to recognize the melancholic, phlegmatic, sanguine, and choleric characteristics of their pupils. Long-term exposure to each child certainly helps in doing this. It is a very important training which allows a teacher to look through their macroscope and detect which temperament is predominant in a given child.
[page 79] MELANCHOLIC Let us begin by looking at melancholic children, a particular human type. What are they like? Externally, they seem quiet and withdrawn, but these outer characteristics do not help us much. We begin to comprehend children with a melancholic disposition only when we realize that they are affected most powerfully by their purely physical nature, and when we understand that melancholia is the result of an intense deposit of salt in the organism. This causes melancholic children to feel weighed down in the physical organism. It is a very different experience for a melancholic child to raise an arm or leg than it is for other children; there are impediments to raising an arm or leg. A feeling of weight opposes the soul's intention. Consequently, melancholic children gradually turn inward and do not enter the outer world with any pleasure, because the body is of such concern and intrudes on their attention. We can approach melancholic children correctly only when we realize how their soul and spirit would soar if they were not burdened by the bodily deposits continuously secreted by glands, which permeate other bodily movements and encumber the body. We can help them only when we correctly understand this encroaching physical heaviness that imprisons their attention.
Melancholic children are easy to spot because they are quiet and rarely move unnecessarily. Many unknowing teachers attempt to cheer these temperaments up by saying amusing things, but Steiner says we cannot reach them this way. Instead, when a teacher spots one in their macroscope, they do best to approach them with a similar melancholic mood, not with a light, cheerful demeanor, but with serious ideas like their own. It is the best method of rapport when one reflects the way the other presents themself.
[page 80, 81] PHLEGMATIC When we consider children of a more phlegmatic temperament, we must realize that they live less in the physical body and more in what I call the ether body; this is a more volatile body. It may seem odd to say that phlegmatic children live in their ether body, but this is how it is. The ether body prevents the human processes of digestion and growth from entering the head. It is not in the power of phlegmatic children to conceive of what is going on in the body; the head becomes inactive. The body becomes increasingly active because of the volatile element that tends to scatter their activities into the world. Phlegmatic children are entirely surrendered to and absorbed into the world. They live very little within themselves, so they respond with a certain indifference toward what we to do with them. We cannot reach them, because immediate access must go through the senses. The principle senses are in the head, but phlegmatic children make little use of the head. The rest of the organism functions through interplay with the outer world.
To reach rapport with phlegmatic children a teacher must become phlegmatic. After awhile, the phlegmatic child will get bored by the phlegmatic teacher, but if the teacher waits and watches, the child will eventually show a glimmer of understanding.
[page 81] SANGUINE Sanguine children are especially difficult. The activity of the rhythmic system very much dominates in them. The rhythmic system, which is dominant between the change of teeth and puberty, dominates sanguine children too much. Sanguine children, therefore, always want to move rapidly from one impression to another, and their blood circulation becomes hampered if impressions do not change quickly enough. They feel inwardly restricted if impressions do not pass quickly and give way to others. So we can say that sanguine children feel an inner constriction if they have to stay with any one thing too long, and they turn away to very different thoughts. It is hard to hold them.
Clearly this is the type of child who is labeled "Attention Deficit, Hyperactivity Disorder" (ADHD) as if the child has some kind of sickness, while, rightly understood, it is the school system which is sick. The medical profession chooses to treat ADHD by administering an amphetamine-like stimulant which somehow calms down the child. I recall Richard Bandler (c1980) recommending that instead of giving Ritalin to hyper-active kids, the teachers should take the drug themselves so they could keep up with the kids! In essence this is the type of matching with the sanguine child's behavior which Steiner recommends, not by giving drugs to teachers, but by careful guidance in how to maintain rapport with each of their charges.
[page 81] Meet the sanguine nature by changing impressions vigorously, making sure they have to take in impression after impression in rapid succession. Again, a response will be called into play, and this will certainly take the form of antipathy toward the fast pace of impressions, because the circulatory system dominates entirely. The result will be that the sanguine child slows down.
A public school teacher might reject such an approach, but a Waldorf school teacher takes it as a challenging aspect of their job.
[page 82, 83] CHOLERIC Choleric children must be treated in yet another way. Choleric children are typically a step behind normal in development. This may seem strange, but let us take an illustration. Any normal children of eight or nine move their limbs quickly or slowly in response to outer impressions. But compare eight-or nine-year-old children with those of three or four, who still trip and dance through life and have far less control of their movements. They still retain something of the baby in them. Babies do not control their movements at all, but kick around because the mental forces are not yet developed. But if tiny babies had a vigorous mental development, you would find them to be cholerics. Kicking babies — and the healthier they are, the more they kick — are all choleric. Choleric children come from a body made restless by choler. Cholerics retain something of the romping and raging of a tiny baby. Thus, the baby lives on in choleric boys and girls of eight or nine. This is why a child is choleric, and we must treat the child by trying gradually to subdue the baby within.
Any woman who has been pregnant with a boy can likely testify about the kicking he did in her womb. All boys are not choleric, but the livelier they are, the more likely they are to have a choleric temperament. It's easy for a teacher to spot a choleric child, but how to deal with one? Steiner recommends activating the "kicking baby" in the child, meeting it with some humor and movement.
[page 82] In [dealing with a choleric], humor is essential. When we confront a true choleric of eight to ten or even older, we will accomplish nothing through admonition. But if I get this child to recount a story I have told previously — a story that requires a display of great choler and much pantomime — the child will sense the baby within, and this will have the effect gradually calming the "tiny baby." Children will adapt it to the stage of their own mind. When I act choleric toward a choleric child — naturally, with humor and complete self-control — the child will grow calmer. When teachers begin to dance, [for instance], the raging child nearby gradually subsides.
Obviously in a classroom of students, the teacher cannot assume all four temperaments at the same time, but it is possible to group the children by like temperaments and notice a dramatic improvement in the groups.
[page 83] When we approach the temperaments in this way, it also helps us to keep even a very large class in order. Waldorf teachers study the temperaments of those children entrusted to them. They know that they have children who are melancholic, phlegmatic, sanguine, and choleric. They place the melancholies together, unobtrusively and without it being noticed, of course. They know they have these children in this corner. The one places the cholerics together and knows they are in another corner, and so on with the sanguines and phlegmatics. Using this social treatment, those of like temperament rub one another's corners off, so to speak. For example, a melancholic becomes cheerful when sitting among other melancholics. As for the cholerics, they heal each other thoroughly, since it is best to let cholerics work off their choler on one another. If bruises are exchanged, it has a very sobering effect. Through the right social treatment the underlying interrelationships can be brought into a healthy resolution.
The title of this Lecture is "Teachers as Artists in Education" and one can see that the pallette of a good teacher has the four colors of the temperaments and the way the teacher blends them together to produce a harmony of color distinguishes the artiste from the dabbler in the educational system.
In the next lecture, Steiner covers "The Organization of the Waldorf School". Its most dramatically different approach to education is the teaching of one subject every morning for a month or so, until it is completed, and then moving on to the next subject. Perhaps you have heard of this unique organization of classes in a Waldorf school where one subject, perhaps arithmetic, is taught until it is learned, and then another subject, perhaps language, is taught. This allows the teacher and student maximum continuity during the course of lessons in one subject. Each subject is recapitulated at the end of the year to refresh the student's knowledge before moving on to the next year of studies.
[page 95] The schedule in the Waldorf school places the main lesson in the morning. In winter it begins at 8 or 8:15, in summer a little earlier. The special feature of the main lesson is that it eliminates the usual schedule. We have no schedule in the usual sense; instead, a single subject is taught throughout the first two-hour period in the morning, with a break for younger children. The subject is carried on for four to six weeks and taken to a certain level. After that, another subject takes its place.
The language lessons have a unique approach in that no one is taught the way I was when I took German. I was taught to speak via a 3-hour lab where I repeated the words I heard in my earphones and saw on the paper, however, I learned the name in German for English words. In Waldorf schools, they learn the name of the object in the new language.
[page 96] The language lesson is, for us, a conversation lesson. We begin teaching languages, as far as possible — English and French — in the youngest classes of the school, and children learn to speak these languages from the very beginning. As much as possible, the children also learn the language without the meaning being translated into their own language. Thus, the word in the foreign language is connected with the object, not with the word in German. In this way, children learn "table" afresh in a foreign language; they do not learn the foreign word as a translation of Tisch.
Frankly, there is nothing I detest more than being given a list of words in one language with its translation in another language. That is such an artificial way of learning a language and it is boring, boring, boring. Give me the word in a sentence and if I can't figure it out from context, I will look it up and remember it. These language lessons last usually from ten to twelve in the morning, after the earlier subject of the main lesson. The afternoon is then devoted to singing, music, and eurythmy lessons, all of which involve movement and engage the whole body while the mind can be refreshed after the morning studies. Steiner talks in detail about the types of artistic activity which involve sculpting and building simple toys and structures. This leads him to stating his views about giving dolls to children, namely his aversion to giving beautifully detailed dolls to children.
[page 98] May I say something heretical? People are very fond of giving dolls to children, especially pretty dolls. They fail to see that children really don't want this. They wave it away, but it is forced on them — pretty dolls, all painted. It is far better to give children a handkerchief, or, if you can't spare that, a piece of cloth. You tie it together, make the head here, paint the nose, two eyes, and so on. [Steiner demonstrates with his own handkerchief. Healthy children much prefer to play with these than with the pretty dolls, because something is left to the imagination. The most magnificent doll with red cheeks and such leaves nothing the imagination to do. The doll brings an inner emptiness to a child.
This explains something which puzzled me for many years. Raising four small children, three of them girls, I noted often that some doll had lost all her clothes and was still kept around by my kids. I observed this among friends' kids also. In my twenty-something mentality, I thought these kids were being destructive of their toys and now I discover that they were simply rearranging the dolls to inspire their imagination again.
When painting classes are held, the children are taught to use water colors so they can "get a feeling for how one color goes with another and feel the harmony of colors through inner experience" (Page 101).
[page 102] Representational painting comes much later. If they paint objects too early, something of their sense of living reality is lost and replaced by a sense for what is dead.
This gave me a chuckle because the only kind of painting at an early age for me was crayons and later paint-by-number. Talk about boring! Both use colors that are isolated and never mixed into each other and they have the excitement of watching grass grow. At least the grass is living!
Even though Waldorf schools encourage the study of natural science along with language, history, and the arts, some people take offense even today to the spiritual roots of Rudolf Steiner's philosophy and teaching. In this next passage, Steiner explains how his spiritual science embraces all of natural science, helping to explain its spiritual roots while natural science strives to debunk spiritual science without doing the work to understand it.
[page 123] You see, when people hear that spiritual views or values are confirmed, they are likely to say, "Those oddball cranks dismiss everything earthly and material." And then a natural scientist comes along and cites the marvelous advances of purely material science in recent centuries. And so people believe that anyone who advocates something so alien as spiritual science is unconcerned with material things or practical life. And I am not saying that anthroposophy is alien to the world, but that the world is alien to anthroposophy. But it is precisely spiritual science that takes up the latest discoveries of the natural sciences with immense love and saturates them with knowledge from the spiritual world. Consequently, it is precisely among those who support spiritual philosophy that there is a true appreciation of materialism. A spiritualist can afford to be a materialist, but a pure materialist lacks knowledge of matter by having lost the spirit; only the outer appearance of matter can be observed. It is the materialist who lacks real insight into material processes. I point this out, because it seems very significant to me.
Education, in order to draw out the best from our children, must draw out the best from our teachers who must be always ready to deal effectively with the changes that occur in each individual child, to keep them healthy, focused, alert, and open to the newness and freshness of life. This is Steiner's expressed goal for Waldorf teachers and the world-wide expansion of these schools in recent decades proves that parents agree that this goal is being carried out to the benefit of their children.
[page 125] Now, to use a somewhat extreme notion to express my meaning, Waldorf teachers must be prepared for tomorrow whether the sun rises or not. Unless our view of human nature is as fresh as this, without preconceptions from the past, we cannot comprehend human growth and development. We may rest assured that changes out in the cosmos will be somewhat conservative, but when it comes to transitions in human nature, from early childhood to the teens, then, ladies and gentlemen, the sun that rose before may not come up again. In this human microcosm, the anthropos, such a great change occurs that we face an entirely new situation. Its as though nature one day confronts us with a world of darkness in which our eyes have become useless.
We need open minds, ready to receive new wisdom each day, and a disposition that can transform accumulated knowledge into a sense of potential that leaves the mind clear for the new. This keeps people healthy, fresh, and active. A heart that is open to changes in life — its unexpected and continuous freshness — must be a Waldorf teacher's basic mood and nature.
We have teachers in public and private schools who can see deeply into the academic subjects of science, language, arts, history, etc., but to raise our children, we need teachers who can also see deeply into human nature, the full human in body, soul, and spirit. Where can a parent find a school with such teachers but in a Waldorf school? In a world beset with excess intellectualism since Bacon's time, we have lost contact with our most precious resource, our children, to whom intellectualism in all forms is a big turn-off. Where can we find teachers who can reach our children and draw the best out of their young spirits? Where but in a Waldorf school?
[page 127] During the past four or five hundred years of western civilization, we have entered deeply into intellectualism; this however is unnoticed by the majority of people. Intellectualism, however, is naturally suited only to older people, whereas children are naturally averse to this mind-set. Nevertheless, all modern thinking is tinged with intellectualism. Thus far, the only people who have not yet become intellectual are those over in Asia and in Russia, as far as Moscow. West of Moscow and as far as America, intellectualism is universal. We remain unaware of this, but to the degree that we belong to the so-called cultured classes, we think in a kind of mental language that children cannot understand. This accounts for today's chasm between adults and children. This chasm must be filled by teachers such as we have in a Waldorf school. This can be done only when we are able to see deeply into human nature.
How does intellectualism show up in our school systems? When we give children fixed rules, they accept a morality based on the canned ideas of our intellectual past. Children did not reincarnate into this new lifetime to learn about the past, but to participate in the future, to form their own moral principles as they grow into adults. To force feed children canned spinach will produce adults with a distaste for spinach. To force feed them canned morals will have a similar result: they will have a distaste for morality.
[page 129] If we give children definite precepts as concepts, we cause them to approach morality in terms of ideas, and thus antipathy arises. The inner human organism rebels against and fights abstract moral precepts or commandments. On the other hand, I can encourage children to form their own moral feelings directly from life and from example, and this leads them to the catabolic stage. We get them to formulate moral principles as free, autonomous human beings. In this way, I help children toward an activity that benefits their entire being. If I merely give children moral precepts, I make morality distasteful to them, and this plays an important role in modern society. Its difficult to imagine the degree of disgust people feel toward some of the most beautiful and noblest of human moral impulses, simply because they were given in the form of precepts and intellectual ideas.
Where can we find teachers who understand how to assist our children in becoming autonomous human beings with a real taste for life and a respect for a morality which our children form for themselves? One does best to look into Waldorf schools and meet their teachers and administrators.
[page 129, 130] Waldorf teachers learn these things through spiritual science. Indeed, it is this that gives them insight into such material processes. Let me say it again; materialism assumes the appropriate place in life only when we view it from the standpoint of spirit. This provides an understanding of what really takes place in the human being. Only by adopting a spiritual standpoint can we become truly practical educators in the physical world. But this is possible only when teachers themselves have a philosophy of life — when their view of the world causes them to feel the deep meaning of the question of the universe and human destiny.
Each of us coming into this world faces the mystery of the universe: who are we? What is a person like me doing in a place like this? We are each like Oedipus, facing a Sphinx who poses us a question we must answer, and there is nothing which better fosters growth and understanding than an unanswered question. What walks on four legs, then on two legs, and then on three legs? Answer this question in your own way and you will discover the secret to the universe. The answer which came down to us from Oedipus is "It is I." He told the Sphinx, "I walked on all fours as a baby, then on two legs as an adult, and as an old man I will walk using a cane, on three legs."
We can say, "Cute," and then, "So what? What's the big deal?" If we do so, we miss the important point: the human being is the answer to the mystery of the universe, the answer to all the unanswered questions about the universe can be found in the human being.
[page 131] So what is the real answer to these myriad questions? It is really the human being. The world is full of mysteries, and people confront them. Human beings are a synthesis and a summary, and the answer to the mystery of the universe comes from the human being.
By "comes from", Steiner does not mean that the human being tells us the answer to the mystery, but that the human being contains the mystery of the origin and evolution of the universe inside its essence, inside its body, soul, and spirit. We are the answer to the mystery of the universe. It is I. And anthroposophy is the study of how this is so. Waldorf teachers educate children, not in anthroposophy, but instead they draw out of the children their essential human nature as body, soul, and spirit so that these children may grow into adults, forming a staunch morality inside of themselves, filling themselves with fresh insights into the world evolving along with them.
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This is one of my basic rules, MR#29: it says in any interaction, teaching and learning goes on in both parties, both in teacher and in student. In Waldorf education, understanding and applying this is a requirement for teachers.
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Some sixty years later, I was delighted to find that the new Westwego Library built only a half-block from where I lived for fifteen years was named after Edith Lawson, my all-time favorite librarian.
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A simple memory technique which converts bodily states into declarative memory, so no more fear states arise only the memory of her mother yelling at her. See: http://www.doyletics.com/introduc.shtml.
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The more I studied the process of scientific breakthroughs and practical inventions the more I realized that the whole process was backwards to the way I had been taught! These amazing innovations appear as a whole piece in the innovator's mind and only later are they analyzed, broken into pieces, and explained logically. No problem with doing that, but a teacher must not give their students the impression that the innovators logically built up their concepts or inventions. Kekule, e.g., saw a snake biting its tail and used that as a way of describing benzene and created the foundation of all organic chemistry. There are many examples; this endemic in all scientific discoveries and invention: the process works from whole to parts and logic is added later.
Below is an Appendix Listing All the Waldolf Education Lectures (Pages 138 to 140)~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
It will appear at the bottom of all 25 Reviews and will be updated in each Review as further Reviews are Published.
RUDOLF STEINER'S LECTURES
and WRITINGS ON EDUCATION
LEGEND: (TBA) indicates this review to be added later.
Underlined Title indicates Available Review: Click on Link to Read Review.
(NA) indicates the Book is NOT in Print presently, so far as we know.
I. Allgemeine Menschenkunde als Grundlage der Pädagogik: Pädagogischer Grundkurs, 14 lectures, Stuttgart, 1919 (GA 293). Previously Study of Man. The Foundations of Human Experience (Anthroposophic Press, 1996).
II. (TBA) Erziehungskunst Methodische-Didaktisches, 14 lectures, Stuttgart, 1919
(GA 294). Practical Advice to Teachers (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1988).
III. Erziehungskunst, 15 discussions, Stuttgart, 1919 (GA 295).
Discussions with Teachers (Anthroposophic Press, 1997).
IV. Die Erziehungsfrage als soziale Frage, 6 lectures, Dornach, 1919 (GA 296). Previously Education as a Social Problem. Education as a Force for Social Change
(Anthroposophic Press, 1997).
V. Die Waldorf Schule und ihr Geist, 6 lectures, Stuttgart and Basel, 1919
(GA 297). The Spirit of the Waldorf School (Anthroposophic Press, 1995).
VI. (TBA) Rudolf Steiner in der Waldorfschule, Vorträge und Ansprachen, 24
Lectures and conversations and one essay, Stuttgart, 1919-1924
(GA 298) Rudolf Steiner in the Waldorf School: Lectures and Conversations
(Anthroposophic Press, 1996).
VII. Geisteswissenschaftliche Sprachbetrachtungen, 6 lectures, Stuttgart, 1919
(GA 299). The Genius of Language (Anthroposophic Press, 1995).
VIII. (TBA) Konferenzen mit den Lehrern der Freien Waldorfschule 1919-1924, 3 volumes
(GA 300a-c). Faculty Meetings with Rudolf Steiner, 2 volumes (Anthroposophic Press, 1998).
IX. (TBA) Die Erneuerung der pädagogisch-didaktischen Kunst durch Geisteswissenschaft,
14 lectures, Basel, 1920 (GA 301). The Renewal of Education (Anthroposophic Press, 2001).
X. (TBA) Menschenerkenntnis und Unterrichtsgestaltung, 8 lectures, Stuttgart, 1921
(GA 302). Previously The Supplementary Course: Upper School and Waldorf Education
for Adolescence. Education for Adolescents (Anthroposophic Press, 1996).
XI. (TBA) Erziehung und Unterricht aus Menschenerkenntnis, 9 lectures, Stuttgart, 1920, 1922, 1923 (GA 302a). The first four lectures are in Balance in Teaching (Mercury Press, 1982); last three lectures in Deeper Insights into Education (Anthroposophic Press, 1988).
XII. Die gesunde Entwicklung des Menschenwesens, 16 lectures, Dornach, 1921-22
(GA 303). Soul Economy: Body, Soul, and Spirit in Waldorf Education (Anthroposophic Press, 2003).
XIII. Erziehungs- und Unterrichtsmethoden auf anthroposophischer Grundlage, 9 public lectures, various cities, 1921-22 (GA 304) Waldorf Education and Anthroposophy 1 (Anthroposophic Press, 1995).
XIV. Anthroposophische Menschenkunde und Pädagogik, 9 public lectures, various cities, 1923-24 (GA 304a). Waldorf Education and Anthroposophy 2 (Anthroposophic Press, 1996).
XV. Die geistigseelischen Grundkräfte der Erziehungskunst, 12 Lectures, 1 special lecture, Oxford, 1922 (GA 305). The Spiritual Ground of Education (Anthroposophic Press, 2004).
XVI. (TBA) Die pädagogische Praxis vom Gesichtspunkte geisteswissenschaftlicher Menschenerkenntnis, 8 lectures, Dornach, 1923
(GA 306) The Child's Changing Consciousness as the Basis of Pedagogical Practice (Anthroposophic Press, 1996).
XVII. Gegenwärtiges Geistesleben und Erziehung, 14 lectures, Ilkley, 1923
(GA 307) Two Titles: A Modern Art of Education (Anthroposophic Press, 2004) and
Education and Modern Spiritual Life (Garber Publications, 1989).
XVIII. Die Methodik des Lehrens und die Lebensbedingungen des Erziehens, 5 lectures, Stuttgart, 1924 (GA 308). The Essentials of Education (Anthroposophic Press, 1997).
XIX. Anthroposophische Pädagogik und ihre Voraussetzungen, 5 lectures,
Bern, 1924 (GA 309) The Roots of Education (Anthroposophic Press, 1997).
XX. Der pädagogische Wert der Menschenerkenntnis und der Kulturwert der Pädagogik, 10 public lectures, Arnheim, 1924 (GA 310) Human Values in Education(Rudolf Steiner Press, 1971).
XXI. Die Kunst des Erziehens aus dem Erfassen der Menschenwesenheit, 7 lectures, Torquay, 1924 (GA 311). The Kingdom of Childhood (Anthroposophic Press, 1995).
XXII. Geisteswissenschaftliche Impulse zur Entwicklung der Physik. Erster naturwissenschaftliche Kurs: Licht, Farbe, Ton — Masse, Elektrizität, Magnetismus
10 lectures, Stuttgart, 1919-20 (GA 320). The Light Course (Anthroposophic Press, 2001).
XXIII. (NA) Geisteswissenschaftliche Impulse zur Entwicklung der Physik. Zweiter naturwissenschaftliche Kurs: die Wärme auf der Grenze positiver und negativer Materialität, 14 lectures, Stuttgart, 1920 (GA 321). The Warmth Course (Mercury Press, 1988). This Mercury Press edition may still be in print.
XXIV. (NA) Das Verhältnis der verschiedenen naturwissenschaftlichen Gebiete zur Astronomie. Dritter naturwissenschaftliche Kurs: Himmelskunde in Beziehung zum Menschen und zur Menschenkunde, 18 lectures, Stuttgart, 1921 (GA 323). Available in typescript only as "The Relation of the Diverse Branches of Natural Science to Astronomy."
XXV. Six Lectures in Berlin, Cologne, and Nuremberg from 1906 to 1911, (Misc. GA's.) The Education of the Child — Early Lectures on Education (a collection; Anthroposophic Press, 1996).
= == == == == == == == == == ==
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.
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =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 Finds an Interesting Business Card this Month:
Padre Filius, the cartoon character created by your intrepid editor and would-be cartoonist, will appear from time to time in this Section of DIGESTWORLD to share with us some amusing or enlightening aspect of the world he observes during his peregrinations.
(The good Padre doesn't realize it's for Pets)
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 Ed in Lubbock, Texas:
I was surprised that Antarctica did not appear in this digest. I presume it will in some future issue, right?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Bobby's Reply ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
In case any of my other good friends missed the Antarctica Issue like Ed, it was in this issue, #163, in the archives (Click to See Issue #163).
(Thanks, Ed for pointing out that there were lots of activities for us during that long month besides our four days in and near the Antarctica Continent, so others may have missed it as well.)
- EMAIL from Benzion Porat in Israel:
Thank you very much for your warm support.
We can write a short novel: "The rise and fall of the vacuum tubes and our spiritual path."
As a child I had an obsession to aircraft. They had a soul of themselves, and they still have it. So, I went to learn military avionics. The tubes were at their zenith. At a certain moment I had to face destiny and to choose between the life in a well-organized airbase around the airplanes, and the life in a leaking tent in the Sinai desert, confronting USSR and Egyptian MIGs, with anti-aircraft missiles, shooting down my beloved souls-airplanes. I went to the fata morgana.
While studying electronics, I was influenced by the typical Israeli trait, to claim for improvement of everything around. My parents had a British made Cossor radio-receiver, which has been manufactured in London during the Battle of Britain. It was sturdy like radio set of a Spitfire, expressed the certainty that the Empire is forever. Nobody had yet even the fantasy of NATO, EU and inverted Arab ISIS.
Of course I had to improve the pearl of the Empire. I replaced the 6V6 with a more modern EL84 (including socket replacement), and installed resistors and capacitors to improve the bass sound. These were the times of the clear sound of the electric guitar. I needed a special cutter to cut the wires of the everlasting Empire that the sun never sets, but the new sound was not really better than the old one.
Later on I studied art, and I was deeply influenced by Kandinsky's book 'Concerning the Spiritual in Art'. For my living's expenses I had to renew my knowledge with the life of the stones, germanium and silicon transistors.
Then the guitars had already distortions, but alongside the noise, musicians still liked very much the clear sound of the EL34 and 6L6 tubes. I fixed Fender and Marshall Amplifiers while studying H.P.B. and W. Q. JUDGE's ESSAYS ON THE GITA. When the IC took power it was my Sufi and horrible Gurdjieff period, but I was still fascinated by the similarity between the stream of light in the tubes and the life energies. And then, the Anthroposophical sun shone, and it was also the time for alternative medicine and healing.
And now, in the keyboard age, I am an IT system analyst, GIS expert, combining technology with the art of map-making and air photography, my beloved geography and history, and dedicating as much available time and energy to let MICHAEL be known to people, within the materialistic spider's web.
A while after writing the paragraphs above, I received your e-mail, April 1, 2016 DIGESTWORLD, including our correspondents concerning the translations of your book reviews to Hebrew: http://www.doyletics.com/digest164.shtml .
I enjoyed it very much. Thank you.
All the best,
- EMAIL from Chris Bryant in Corpus Christi about our new ggson Ben Upton:I could not help but notice Ben's Tiger gear. Is he already registered for the fall of '33?
- EMAIL from Joan Bergy on the Washington Pacific Coast:There YOU are . . . Bobby and Del smiling, loving and happy.
Loved the elegant photos of flowers.
Soon I will drive North to my summer home on Admiralty Inlet, Hansville, WA. It is " a slice of Paradise that the world has forgotten". I live on Skunk Bay, between Point No Point Lighthouse and Foulweather Bluff. Not much to do there except to watch the World sail by and see Nature at its best. Stop by soon.
- EMAIL from Betty in Louisville re: DW#164:
I think I should take notes as I go along the digest so I can remember what I want to comment about, ha!
You and Del look terrific and I really like her hair. I guess I haven't seen her for awhile and it has grown out and very stylish. Baby Benjamin was also a cutie, walking and then clapping. They are precious, to say the least. Of course, I love the many flowers and how you capture their beauty.
It looks like all is well with you both. I am dong fine also, wishing for spring to be springtime in KY. At least we need nice weather for the Derby, if at all possible.
Both of you take care, enjoy life to the fullest as you seem to do, hugs and love,
- EMAILS from my cousin, Adrian Matherne of Bourg, Louisiana:
EMAIL No. 1: Hi, Bobby
This is Adrian. I am writing a book about Bourg Louisiana, and looking for any old pictures or stories of Bourg you may like to share. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
EMAIL No. 2: [Background on Bourg's origin and Adrian's book:]
I have gone back to 1820 when Mr. Hubert Belanger developed a subdivision and called it Newport. Mr. Belanger had a canal dug in 1824, to bring his sugar cane to market in New Orleans. The canal was called Canal Belanger and, from that point on, the community of Newport was known as Canal Belanger. A post office was established on April 19, 1894, and the community was named Bourg by Mr. James Hotard, the first postmaster of Bourg Louisiana. The name Bourg was chosen for two reasons; a city in France called Bourg were Mr. Belanger ancestries are from, and for Mr. Hotard's daughter who married Baron Bourg.
The pictures you sent are great. I would like to show what life was like in Bourg in the early 1900's to the 1970's. Not counting the pictures you sent, I have 87 pictures in the book already with 96 pages and 10,548 words and still adding. I will add your name to the Acknowledgments for the pictures and add your Website for the information.
3. Poem from Freedom on the Half Shell:"Candlelight"
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:
My candle burns at both endsOur foundering fathers
It will not last the night —
But, ah, my foes, and, oh, my friends —
It gives a lovely light.
—Edna Saint Vincent Millay
Went out to sea with a Bell called Liberty —
The USS Constitution's sides
were rusting from the bilge below
But the stars and bars were flying high
so we ignored the crack in Pass and Stow.The flagship of freedom has entered the shoals
and the Captain and the crew
are not among the very few
with their sights upon the Bill of Rights.
Their eyes are not upon the sea,
but socialized democracy —
that opiate of the masses —
of the upper and lower classes,
Who haven't learned to: Just say, NO!
NO! Beyond this point I will not go.
I'll support my country and my kin
But I'll decide both where and when.
To the feudal lords of IRS:
I'll pay your tribute nonetheless
You burn our candles from both ends
And though we're basking
in the glowing light,
We know it will not last the night.
On-line Streaming of LSU Baseball on SECN+ — I hate it. Often the video is so bad, I can't tell who caught the ball and threw it to whom. The sound goes away and that's no a bad thing, as I can always switch to Chris Blair on the radio, but his broadcast is several pitches ahead of streaming video. So I miss a play or two. What's one Grand Slam homer by LSU more or less?
In the early days of GEAUX ZONE video, at least we had LSU announcers talking about LSU instead of the opposing team all the time. For example, Antoine Duplantis gets his first ever home run as an LSU Fighting Tiger and to top it off, it's a Grand Slam, scoring four runs and tying the score! What does Ben-There-Done-That MacDonald have to say? Something about how great the homer was? Or how great the freshman phenom Duplantis is? Noooo, what BM actually said immediately, during the time LSU fans, REAL LSU fans, were still cheering was this, "Guess that balances Mississippi State's grand slam." I hate SECN+ who are paying Bad-Mouth Ben to insert comments like that. I don't want balance, I want coverage of the game such as LSU's radio broadcasts provide and the LSU Net's Geaux Zone broadcasts used to provide. Thankfully, the radio still does.
There is no joy in Tigertown during an SECN+ broadcast of a baseball game! If we're in Auburn for a game, the announcers are Auburn graduates who love to talk about Auburn players. Same thing in every other game away from Alex Box Stadium, so what do we get when we're at home in the Box? BM, aka, Ben MacDonald, talking about the opposing team after almost every play! The word I'm thinking of right now rhymes with the last name of MacDonald Duck! Ben drones on and on about opposing pitchers, every now and then giving insight into how pitchers decide what to throw next, which I find interesting, but not enough to listen the rants in-between, those dreary monologues about the opposing team that make me want to throw up! I love the other guy in the booth, Lynn Rollins, especially his home run signature call, "You can pucker up and kiss that baby goodbye!", and just about everything else he says, but I just don't like his partner constantly throwing curveballs into the belly of real LSU fans!
My love for LSU baseball began with its radio broadcasts and I'm about ready spitoon the SECN+ funky videos for the radio broadcasts. When games are broadcast on ESPNU, ESPN1, ESPN2, or COX sports, I will watch the games, time delay via my DVR to align the radio broadcast by Chris Blair to match the action on the field. Without this delay, the radio call is two or more swings ahead of the video feed, so I end up watching replays of the game 20 seconds after the real-time play on radio. I yen for a time-delay radio device with an adjustable setting and that will completely decouple me from listening to washed-out pitchers dribble about opposing players in every LSU game. Anyone knows of such a device let me know, please. Okay, okay, I asked Google and am exploring several options. I have ordered a device which is simplicity itself, just patch this cable between your radio and head set. Will let you know in a future Commentary how it works out.
My motto is: What you get for free is worth LESS than you pay for it. I paid dearly for the Geaux Zone and it was improving every year right up until SECN+ made it disappear, replacing it with a free product that is worth less than we pay for it!
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9. CLOSING NOTES:
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