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WELCOME TO DIGESTWORLD ISSUE#168 August, 2016== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==Quote for the Lion Month of August:
Without ambition one starts nothing. Without work one finishes nothing. The prize will not be sent to you. You have to win it. The man who knows how will always have a job. The man who also knows why will always be his boss. As to methods there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), American Philosopher
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DIGESTWORLDArchived DIGESTWORLD Issues
GOOD MOUNTAIN PRESS Presents ISSUE#168 for August, 2016
Table of Contents
1. August's Violet-n-Joey Cartoon
2. Honored Readers for August
3. On a Personal Note
Rainbows & Shadows Poems
4. Cajun Story
5. Recipe for August, 2016 from Bobby Jeaux: Rudy Sandwich
6. Poem from "Yes, and Even More" Poem Collection:"Rest Assured"
7. Reviews and Articles featured for August:
8. Commentary on the World
- ARJ2: The Essentials of Education, GA#305 by Rudolf Steiner
- ARJ2: Zen Computer by Philip Toshio Sudo
- ARJ2: Macrocosm & Microcosm, GA#119 by Rudolf Steiner
1. Padre Filius Cartoon
2. Comments from Readers
3. Freedom on the Half Shell Poem
9. Closing Notes — our mailing list, locating books, subscribing/unsubscribing to DIGESTWORLD
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1. August Violet-n-Joey CARTOON:
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==This month Violet and Joey learn about Old Astronomers.
For newcomers to DIGESTWORLD, we have created a webpage of all the Violet-n-Joey cartoons!
"Old Astronomers" at http://www.doyletics.com/images/160617vj.jpg
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2. HONORED READERS FOR August:
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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 August, 2016:
Samir Coussa in Montreal
Michael Izquierdo in Cleveland
Congratulations, Samir and Michael!
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3. ON A PERSONAL NOTE:
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Out Our Way:
BIRTH OF ABIGAIL ADELE
Left at 6 AM and drove directly to Cabrini Hospital and got to see and hold Abigail Adele right away. Wes and Kim were there along with Stephen. His mom Jane and new beau Bill came later. She looks so happy now that she's engaged. Bill is a great guy and he complained about the dates being changed on his photos. I explained how I coded mine and he seemed to appreciate that.
I thoroughly enjoyed holding Abby. Her etheric body and I were floating outside her physical body and I could feel myself immersed in them. I've always feel that and never knew the cause of that wonderful feeling while holding a new born, but now I know. People who are nervous holding babies, "I think I might drop it" etc, can never experience the warm peace of a newborn and they actually interfere with the baby's peace, so it's better if they don't hold the baby at all. Nervous people in the same room with the baby is not good for the baby.
I did have a hard time getting a photo of her with her eyes open and she rarely opened them, and even more rarely wide open, usually when my camera was in my pocket. But I got a lot of shots.
When we got to Alex with Del driving from Lobdell, I checked the mpg: 30.1 mpg.
When I drove home from Opelousas, it was 42.1 mpg. On a 300 mile trip, that's 10 gallons of gasoline at $2.80 a gallon for the 30 mpg ($28) and 7.5 gal for the 42 mpg or $21. This is made possible by the Adaptive Cruise Control on the Platinum Max. The difference in gas mileage from driving 75 and 70 is only 1 mpg. I stayed behind cars until a big truck was in front of me and I stayed behind it as long as possible. Del passed trucks like that as soon as possible.
I wanted a strawberry milkshake from Dairy Queen and Del preferred eat at Schlotzky's so I parked car there and walked to DQ for my shake and came back and Del shared her salad with me. A guy asked me for buck as I was walking and didn't want to take out my wallet. So later I stuffed a one in my shirt pocket and as I left IHOP off College in BR, a guy with an LSU cap asked me if he could have $1.75 for bus fare, and I pulled out a second one, saying, "For the LSU cap, you get two dollars."
I hiked a lot of free rides as a teenager to get around and I can pay them back this way, by helping people in need when I can. That excludes the professional beggars on DeGaulle Bouvelard who seem to be residents of its curbside.
After lunch at DQ, we drove to Kim's for a nap and back to the hospital for our goodbyes. Thomas showed up with his frat brother John (they going with his parents to Dom. Rep. To a resort this summer).
We stopped to eat at Ihop because of the heavy traffic. When we left, we encountered very few and minor slowdowns. One was rubbernecking of a guy whose life was likely saved by the steel fencing right below Highland Road. His vehicle slid along the railing and came to a stop. Prevented a likely head-on collision if he had continued across the median into rush hour traffic. This fences are lifesavers of the best kind.
Came home exhausted and watched a couple of Blue Bloods before checking in for the night.
Each year one of our eight offspring get the second condo on the beach. This year the Fourth of July fell on a Monday and we were joined by our son John and his family: Kim, Jacob, Kyle, and Collin who stayed in the large condo by poolside.
Del and I walked on beach but the waves were too rough and the high tide had created a ledge about 12 inches or so. We could get splashed if we walked in lower beach sand so we didn't. The rain overnight had washed away the sand which usually protects our feet from the sharp edges of the broken shells, and I got a tiny gash in the ball of my left foot which made walking a bit difficult for a few days but healed just fine by the time we flew to Munich for our Viking Castles and Legends cruise.
We sat out by pool for awhile with John, Kim and boys played in water. Del and I got stuff from Winn-Dixie, and later she went to store with Kim again for more supplies. Del made a tunafish salad which we had for supper. Went to see the fireworks later at night. CLICK ON IMAGE BELOW TO VIEW VIDEO. Nothing special was going on for the Fourth at Pirate's Cove, which was unfortunate because I wanted to take John and all there. Del and ate our tunafish salad sandwiches and cucumber salad. After we played a game of Matherne's Rules Scrabble in a tight game: we finished 434 to 432, but I had an A left so Del got 433.We totaled 867 points. But if we had allowed an S to the end of HABITUE that would have added another 120 by creating a double-triple word across the upper right corner and made the total 987, almost a 1,000 point game. Further checking revealed the S should have been allowed for the French word. That would have made Del the winner.
Del and I went out to the beach and walked to our beach chair to wait for the fireworkds show. I took photos of us and the fireworks using the multi-shot feature for first time to get some great stills. We'll know better when I get them back to the autopsy lab, as Ducky on NCIS likes to tell Gibbs when he asks for a decision at the crime scene.
The tiny nip under the ball of my left foot from a seashell had healed nicely. Hardly visible and not feelable this morning. Put more Neosporine and a small Band-Aid on it anyway.
One day I was walking toward my Lenovo Laptop and Del kept getting in my way. I tried with my hands to direct her path out of my way. Finally I discovered she was angling for a hug. Afterwards, I penned this inspiration for a future Jeauxy and Violet Cartoon. I mention this in case you Good Readers may be wondering where the inspiration comes from for these cartoons.
J: You weren't following directions.
V: I was following my heart.
One day we went to Sun Roc Cay and Del went shopping. Afterward we checked out the marina, and I got a shot of a guy holding up two large Lemon Fish. There was a Brown Pelican preening itself on harbor pier. This wasn't the place Wes and I went to last year. We must have gone behind Zack's to its fishing pier. When we got back I took a nice long nap in preparation for cooking on this night with my grandson Collin. He and I enjoy cooking together and he's learning as well as helping me. He's due to come up about 3 PM and we'll start the Cajun Stir Fry when he arrives. .
Collin came over after being delayed in the traffic from Tanger Mall about a half-hour. I was mostly through chopping the veggie for Stir Fry, but he got to peel the long eggplants, and help me stir the Wok as I added new things.It came out reasonably good. Needed more okra and mushrooms, Rotel, etal, but it was good. Let him be the Taster's Choice. That's what we call when a non-cook tastes the dish in its final stages. Usually Del does it for me at home, and I for her. Del added a bit more salt to it when she got to the condo. John, Kim, Jacob, and Kyle came up on time. I had to reheat the Wok but it was all ready. No compliments from his family which is understandable, having this strange dish for the first time, but Collin had a large second helping and there's only a bit leftover for me on the next day.
After dinner they left, and I had been reading my reviews using the Lenovo in its Tent Mode and liked it that way. So I suggested we watch Blue Bloods with the Tent on a pillow on my lap and we thoroughly enjoyed it very much that way. Much better picture than on the TV, and we had no interruptions in the streaming!
With my foot a bit sore I spent a lot of time in the condo working on the scaffolding for DW#168, the issue you're reading now. For some reason, my new FTP software I had to buy to work with Win 10 wouldn't allow a File Drag and Drop from Explore into the Remote Window of FTP like it does on my home PC. After much misery I finally got through the Tech Support tricks and traps, and left a message of problem and my Cell Phone Number to call me with a solution. Made myself an Egg Muffin which required figuring out the timing with the Bagel setting on the toaster and heat production of the electric stove. All these things so easy to do at home can be more frustrating than they're worth at a condo.
I managed to add the No Bug Us photo of the running caterpillar, after editing it with PhotoShop. For users of PhotoShop, you should be warned that if you use it on a high definition screen like my Lenovo, the menu items and various other texts will be very tiny. Adobe needs to need to fix this!
After the NoBugUs came out okay, I decided to add photos to each of the five poems next. Got some match-ups between the photo and the poem content, too. Hope you agree.
On our way into Orange Beach, I was on a quest for some 100% cotton boxer shorts. Surely one of the stores at Tanger Mall would have some. I went first to the obvious place, Hanes. No luck. Only had polyester and cotton. I refuse to use polyester material because it is hot and feels itchy against my skin. I told the lady at Hanes that I've seen images of how they club the baby polyester seals to death to make the polyester material and that's why I couldn't buy their blended shorts. She nodded, and mumbled something like, "I've seen that, too." I explained to her it was a joke and she laughed. For a similar reason I don't buy naugahyde (those poor Naugas) and Goretex (cute little rascals those gores). In the hot Sun, I walked all over the Mall, no luck at Jockey, Hilfiger, Banana Republic, and other men's stores. In desperation, I entered Brooks Brothers, figuring this would be another dead end, either no boxers at all, or only blends.
HOORAY! I hit the jackpot! Men's boxers usually $20 apiece on sale for half price. I bought ten of them. Tried a pair one and it felt really good, fitwise and texturewise. When Del went back to Tanger later in the week with Kim, I asked her to buy me ten more.
One night we went with John and his family to the Restaurant Cobalt for dinner. While we waited for our table, I noticed the Sun was setting across Perdido Bay and went outside to get a couple of shots. I set off a small avalanche of folks pulling out their cell phones to grab a shot, but I was done by the time they noticed. Hope you enjoyed my banner photo above. I will endeavor to have a banner photo for each of the key places we visited during this busy month of travel from Munich to Budpest. It's difficult to find a photo which retains it main informations when sliced into a 150X1000 pixel size to make a suitable banner, but I'll do my best. I have 1200 photos to choose from, so I may get lucky.
This year, the city Orange Beach is clearing the beach every night of tents, chairs, and other personal items. I am not happy about that as our two or three canopies together made a natural meeting spot when several of our offspring showed up with their family members.I won't miss the hassle of figuring out if the canopy has to be taken down or simply lowered each night to protect it from stormy weather. So Del and I sat out on the beach in the No. 39 chairs with Nathan serving us. He puts out the cushions, puts up the umbrella, and even re-arranges it for us when the Sun moves to one side.
Our second Scrabble game came early one afternoon, after Del had sauteed some squash and zucchini to go with the Stir Fry from the other night. She was planning to cook some red beans and rice later that tonight. The game was great! I had the best flow of tiles that I can remember. I was cross because my first seven tiles were CROSS and VO and I couldn't make a word other than Cross, so since Del had drawn a blank tile as her first tile, she could choose a letter to make her start first, and then I'd have a word to cross with an S. She declined and I was forced to play CROSS. But things got better when I later got INSTANT and GATEAUX for two seven-letter words! Never happened like that to me before, getting two seven-letter words in one game. I had started to played GATEAUS and Del questioned it being a real word, so I looked it up again and noticed the correct plural in French was an X on the end. A couple of S's had been blanked, so I replaced the S with a blank and extracted an X to put in my word. No double words but the 50 pt bonus was nice. Game ended 558 or so for me, 356 or so for Del. The next game she won handily as I struggled with hands full of vowels. That's luck of the draw in Scrabble.
We walked out to beach and sat from 4:45 to 5:15. Wonderful sea air and breezes. Loved just sitting there. When a Fat Lady fussed with her grandkids in next chairs, I got my Z10 Cell and turned on Norah Jones to sing to me and Del. Came back to our condo and enjoyed Del's red beans and rice with the leftover sauteed squash and zucchini. I ate a Nantucket chocolate chip cookie with Breyer's vanilla for dessert.
At night we sat down to watch two more new Blue Blood episodes on my Laptop Tent. Ran almost perfect, a few periods of less than excellent image and no pauses.One minor problem: cannot get video to run continuously unless the stupid scroll bar at bottom stays visible. Turn it off and the screen goes dark until you tap it.
Del went into shock when I just mentioned our schedule for today and tomorrow before she had her coffee. So I quickly made the first cup for her and brought it to her at the sofa, saying, "Your medication". Got a weak smile. She's okay now. We needed to leave a day early to get our bags packed and everything ready for our two-week Viking Castles and Legend Bus & Longship cruise. Del and I ate at the Crab Trap Restaurant where my grouper sandwich was good. Service was problematic. The gal was so busy that she brought us somebody else's bill and credit card. When we got back, we went beside the pool to watch and talk to kids. Del's mama-genes got all recharged again and we came back to room. We ate the rest of red beans and rice before packing our major bags and hauling them to car. Only Hanging clothes, ice chest, and the Big Bobby&Del bag left to carry down in the morning.
VISIT BY ANNABELLEOn the day before we flew to Munich, Dan and Karen Richards brought their precocious grand-daughter Annabelle Heger to visit us. It was our niece Catlin's first visit to our new home, and I consented to give her a tour. Del and Karen came back from DiMartino's Deli with some great food and we enjoyed a delicious meal and visit. Annabelle likes her Uncle Bobby and asked to see me, so we carved out this one chance to get together before our trip. Look in that two-year-old girl's eyes and you can see an old spirit shining out.
Made it to Atlanta on the Munich flight in time. Food was okay, but our so-called improved leg room extra cost seats were lousy. Got a few hours sleep while Del watched movies. Big SNAFU in Munich airport: no signs to Baggage Claim until you can see Baggage Claim. We walked the length of main concourse twice, going down once to be told to go back up, but not where to go. The stewardesses I had followed down that I thought were Delta crew were actually American Airlines and they had been lost also. But the Gate they finally found was American, not Delta. Finally an angel on a bicycle helped by taking us directly to the B Gate baggage claim for Delta. Bless him! Finally got through the jammed up Customs control area, and Viking rep picked us up and drove us to the Sheraton where we took a nap. We got up at 5 PM. I shaved showered and we met Gust & Janet, Jim & Connie downstairs. Let the girls talk while we guys went across the street to get a latte. It was lightly raining, and bicyclists were daring us to use their high speed lane which looks exactly like a sidewalk anywhere else in the world! Luckily Jim read us in about the daredevil bicyclists. The Asian guy who waited on us barely spoke German and it took 15 minutes for us to order two coffees and a bottle of beer. We got back in time for the Viking Orientation by Werner Kren and Jerome who filled us in on our activities for the next five days. Then we ate dinner in the restaurant. Del and I each had a salmon dinner for EU 50, about $25 each, not bad, including a glass of Riesling for Del. The Euro is so close to the dollar these days (1.08) that they might as well be equal. The six of us a great time catching up on each other's news over dinner before heading off to our room about 9 PM and hit the sack, our first real bed in a long time, about 10:30.
Up at 8 AM for a full day tour. Great breakfast downstairs, after which 8 tour buses left for Neuschwanstein and other Lindenhof castles. Rainy all day, but almost all drizzling. Temperature was 48 degF in Neuschwanstein Castle area and the 30 minute walk uphill was an easy walk. We had to wait 30 minutes to get into the castle in our time slot. Moritz (Mo) our capable Bavarian guide was duded up in his finest Lederhosen (leather pants) and other finery. Mo led us upstairs to a higher courtyard where he described the castle to us. We couldn't take photos inside castle, so I got a lot of exterior shots. In a curious coincidence, several days later as we visited the Melk Abbey I took a photo of a porcelain bust of a bishop whose face was the spitting image of Moritz. Took me a while to remember where I had seen that face before.
Janet & Del decided to forgo the uphill climb in the rain and went to the Museum where they were kept entertained while we were up the hill. They were just finishing their meal when hungry Gust and I showed up. I had the chanterelle soup and then an apple strudel which tasted almost like bread pudding in New Orleans with raisins and nuts in it. Plus fresh black- and raspberry and ligonberries and a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. Truly the best dessert we had on our entire trip.
Then we walked back to bus and during drive to the castle Lindenhof I leaned against the bus's window slept on and off, a bit of jet lag had hit me. When we arrived at the castle grounds, I was still sleepy and there was no way I was going to go outside in the cold rainy air to see another bloody castle, or ABC as we came to call them. I asked our driver if I could stay on the bus and he said, Sure, no problem. So I rolled up my down jacket into a pillow, pulled the red curtain open on last row of seats, laid on my side on the pillow, and arranged my cowboy hat to block the sun. I pretended to be a cowboy on a trail taking a nap with my head on a bedroll. I zonked out. An hour or two later I awoke completely awake and refreshed and wanted to take a walk outside where the rain had stopped. Went to buy latte but when the guy turned to a ready mix machine, I said, "Nein." I walked to a nearby bridge and took a shot of top of the river rushing under it. Del went to the bus to look for me and then stuck her head out the back door and spied me by the Guard shack by the bridge and called me. We then drove back to Sheraton, Munich. Del took some great photos of the the Lindhof Castle which will appear further down in this issue.
There was a crowd at the elevator on Floor 0, so Del and Janet didn't want to wait for line at elevator, so they walked down to elevator, and I followed them down the stairs. When I came out they were still the Ladies room, so I pressed the elevator button and it came down to me on Floor -1. I needed it to get to our room on Floor 6, and when the elevator arrived at Floor 0, it again filled up but I was already in it. I took off my heavy winter clothes and went down wondering how the six of us would ever get together for supper. When I entered the lobby there were the five of them waiting for me: Del, Jim, Connie, Gust and Janet. We ate dinner in the same table for six as we had for breakfast, had the same excellent waiter, Apostolos. I ordered the char with veggies, rice, and Hollandaise sauce again and it was delicious. The rice was dry so mixed the veggies with the rice and poured the sauce over it. Conversation was great as usual with the six of us. We learned more about how Jim and Connie met.
Our second day in Munich began with us packing our bags for our next stay in Salzburg that night. This is one of chores a boat cruise removes from us: the need to pack and unpack each time we change cities. We brought our bags down to bus and Viking rep Werner ensured no bag went on the bus without its owner being present to verify it. We enjoyed a last breakfast in the Sheraton before we left for a bus and walking tour of the City. We drove through the various neighborhoods, the grounds of a large royal palace still occupied by one remaining descendant, and parked for a walking tour of the BMW factory and showcase. All the new cars, including one with a matte finish. Hmmm. Not sure about that one. They showed an electric car you can pick up anywhere in a city, rent it for a short or long drive, and park it and leave it in the city. Also they showed a model of an all-electric, vertical takeoff jet that is being developed. Bugged by traffic jams, get over it!
Next we drove to Marienplatz in time to hear and see the Glockenspiel do its bell (glock) ringing and animated play (spiel). The bells chimed for an interminally long time before the action began: A fight between the Blue Knight of Bavaria knocking over the Red Knight from Berlin. It was hardly worth waiting for but I got photos and movie clips of the action. The battle enacted on the Glockenspiel in metaphor rages between the two cities yet today, but on an industrial level. Bavaria was a republic long before it joined Germany and has become the home of Airbus, BMW, AUDI, SIEMANS, and many other technological giants. It strives to outdo Berlin and the rest of Germany in the field of industry. Bavarians feel about their state the way Texans feel about theirs: bigger and better in every way.
We had a delicious lunch at a Ratskeller in Marientplatz and met at its Fish Fountain to leave on bus for Salzburg.
SALZBURG, AUSTRIAFor me and Del, this trip to Salzburg represented two anniversaries: the tenth anniversary of our first trip to Salzberg in 2006 and our 38th wedding anniversary. You can read and see photos from our 2006 trip with Collette Travels on a Christmas Market tour sponsored by LPB in our DW#071 Issue. The curious thing is the weather in the middle of December, 2006 was the same as the weather in the middle of July in 2016, highs in the 50s and rainy. A cautionery note for those who travel to Europe: pack for all seasons. The big difference was in the amount of flowers blooming this time, plus we didn't need any overcoats this time. The chilly and rainy weather of our first day changed into sunny and mild the second day.
We had gone to the Stiftskeller for dinner back in 2006, and since our one free night in Salzburg was on our wedding anniversary, we invited our four traveling companions to join us in the large baroque music chamber I had seen there for an evening of Mozart and dinner. This restaurant has been open since it first served dinner to Charlegmagne in 803. Before then the monastery had served only to the monks. After the great feast for Charles the Great, they decided to stay open and have been serving food continuously for over 1213 years.Our fine Viking guide Werner Kren had us booked through our hotel, the Hotel Altstadt, itself around since 1377, having become a Radisson Blu Hotel since 1992. But it remained for me to find a way to the Stiftskeller from our hotel.
We drove from Munich to Salzburg after our visit to the Glockenspiel in Munich, gradually moving closer to the mountains of the Alps as we neared Salzburg. If you think Salzburg had something to do with "salt" you are correct. Salt was an essential mineral for sustaining health. People couldn't survive for long on a diet without salt, and Salzburg was like a mountain of salt. Salt probably was more valuable than gold in the early days, and the city was founded on its prosperous salt trade.
On the outskirts of Salzburg as "the hills were coming alive with the sound of music", we picked up our guide, Barbara. She told us that the "Sound of Music" musical, movie, and music was almost unknown in Austria. Only in the past few years have the lyrics been translated into German and a musical in German produced, so that local Austrians are gradually coming to know and the love the music and story of their native von Trapp family through the musical. E.g., I got a photo of a poster for a "Sound of Music" Puppet Show being performed at the Salzburger Marionetten Theater. That must be a challenge for a gaggle of puppeteers, having to handle the strings for the entire von Trapp family! I also find it hard to believe that Austria hadn't adopted "Edelweiss" as a national anthem, up until now. I thought it was already. "Bless my homeland forever" is such a great line for an anthem. I challenged Barbara to sing one of the songs converted into German, and she brought in the next day the lyrics to "Doe, a deer, a female deer . . ." and sang it to me personally in German. She was by far the best city tour guide we had during our entire trip. Spoke great English, well-modulated, and with a good sense of humor.
Soon we were getting out of our bus along a swiftly flowing river at the rear of the Altstadt Hotel and getting our key to our room 208. It was attached to a hurricane-proof paperweight, which ensured no one ever walked out of the hotel with it. Much easier to check it at the desk. One minor problem was you could only lock the door from the inside, so if your spouse went out, they would have to knock to get back in the room. Del and I unpacked and then took a walk down the long street across the front of the hotel. It reminded us of the street we walked down to have dinner in 2006 at the Mozart Cafe, and sure enough we found it. Del was getting chilly so we stopped and she bought herself a Salzburg sweatshirt and hoodie for warmth. I noticed that Salzburg was founded in 969, making the Stiftskeller Restaurant 166 years older than the city itself.
We met up with our companions and went to dinner at a local restaurant. After dinner Gust was up for a walk and he agreed to join me in a quest to find the Stiftkeller. We walked first out to the Mozart statue in the square. There were no ice skaters about as in 2006, but there were a lot of flowers blooming at its base. The ancient Roman mosaic that was unexpectedly uncovered during the construction of the memorial to Mozart was prescient and serendipitous as its fragmentary Latin inscription read, "Here resides . . . let nothing bad enter here."Salzburg was getting ready for a Jederman production and as we walked behind the stadium seats erected in the square in front of cathedral, we found an alley that led directly to the Stiftskeller. We walked back a shorter route and felt confidant we could find our restaurant for dinner the next night. The St. Peter church was open, and Gust and I walked through it.
Breakfast the next morning was in a beautiful room full of windows overlooking the flowing river and countryside of Salzburg. Del chose a spot with the best view of the river but was a long walk from the food. I did get a nice waffle and other fixings before we went down to join Werner and Barbara for our walking tour of Salzburg, featuring the Mirabel Gardens. At one point Del got separated from us, because the women selling fresh fruit and chanterelle mushrooms etc fussed at her for actually picking up an apple, "In Austria, NOT TO TOUCH FRUIT!" Then the woman with gloves on her hands went on to serve 3 or 4 people in front of Del as if to punish her for her misdemeanor.Del finally gave up waiting and had lost sight of us. But was soon reunited with Barbara and the group. Barbara took us past the original maker of the Mozartkugel, a delicious chocolate concoction wrapped in silver paper. "Be aware of the imitations which abound wrapped in gold paper," she told us. Like the one which sat on each of our pillows at night in our room. "The authentic ones have a belly button," she added. Gust memorized the location of original vendor bought one for each of us so we could unwrap our Mozartkugel and inspect his outie before consuming it. We walked down the long street by our hotel to Alley 24, which was filled with small shops, one of which had a crockery crow set up as a scarecrow, which I would love to have taken home, but it was impractical to pack it securely for the flight home. The Alley opened to the bridge crossing the river to the Mirabell Gardens, which we had only seen before on a bleak December day. What a grand sight awaited us, colorful blooms in red and white filled the manicured curves and pathways. Del got a great shot of Janet and Gust relaxing on a bench.
Janet is still recuperating from surgery on both of her feet, first one and then the other in separate accidents a month or so apart. They canceled one cruise because of her foot, but luckily she was able to make this one by going slow on the walking parts. We invited Gust and Janet to join us for a coffee break at the Mozart Cafe and they did. Afterwards we walked back to hotel to take a nap before our anniversary dinner.
When we awoke all refreshed, I went downstairs to the desk to take of our reservation charge and we would pay the rest of the Mozart dinner concert after the meal. Gust and I took the same path we had traced out the night before which wended behind the Jederman (everyman) bleachers, only to find our way blocked by a long queue of folks with tickets for the night's production. When I talked last night to crew member and asked when the next production would be he had said, "As soon as it stops raining."
Well, today it had cleared up nicely and so they were a GO and we were a STOP. At least momentarily, as we warily found an alternate path to the Stiftskeller. We found it and having a few minutes left, we took the time to view the insides of another beautiful cathedral of which there were at least three with a Mozartkugel's throw of each other. We had visited the other two, so we stopped in this one for a visit. The ceiling was spectacular, an ornate baroque design with large murals and a gold-lined array of organ pipes at one end.
Then we entered the hall, checked our coats and were shown to our table. Janet & Gust ordered us a bottle of the Taittinger champagne, which was great for toasting our friends and our anniversary and drinking with our meal. The musicians arrived and began performing the first set, duets from Don Giovanni. We ate the first course, and then the musicians returned for their second set, selections from Marriage of Figaro. CLICK ON PHOTO OF TENOR TO HEAR BRIEF PORTION OF HIS ARIA. After our dessert which featured a silouhette of Mozart in chocolate as shadow of a delicious white confection, came the final set, a selection of songs from the Magic Flute. The filled room stood in applause for the performers before they left.
It was amazing evening in which all the numerous things which had be aligned for it work, fell into place. We walked back through night-time Salzburg, our bellies full and our senses filled with the glorious strains of Mozart's operatic masterworks. We got outside just as the Jederman performance was letting out and again we had to take the long way home to the Altstadt Hotel (aka Radisson Blu) and we hit the sack immediately, another truly memorable night at the Stiftskeller in Salzburg.
MONDSEE and SOUND OF MUSIC WEDDING ABBEY, AUSTRIA
We drove towards Passau to meet our boat on this day, but with several lovely stops along the way. We got up at 6 am to get showered, shaved, and ready to travel. Took me ten seconds to pack my new suitcase, my carry-on a little longer. Put our bags outside the door and went down for breakfast in the beautiful room with a view of the rushing river. Our table in front filled up before Jim & Gust arrived, so they went to the Sunroom with their ladies and we joined them later. Barbara was to be our tour guide again. It was cold and raining when we got out the bus, and I wasn't interested in going out to see places used in the movie "The Sound of Music". Places that weren't where actual events in Maria's life took place, so I stayed on the bus.I felt like jet-lag city until we reached the Mondsee locale.
Mondsee means Moon Lake and is a lovely lake nestled in the mountains outside Salzburg. Our guide, WunderBarbara, told us the stoy of how a Prince was lost in the dark and was about to fall to his death in the invisible lake when a full moon appeared before him reflected in the waters of the lake. He gave it the name Mondsee which has remained to this day, a lovely lake with a village built along its edge. Sailboats and swans glided over its calm waters and an occasional ferry boat, the Wolfgangsee Schifffahrt, wended it way across its breadth. Schiff-fahrt is "ship-travel" or our American word ferryboat, all phonological ambiguities aside. Then we walked to a lakeside restaurant and sat down. I had a café latte which was awful, but it was as cheap as a glass of water. $5 for water is a ripoff. I had hot chocolate, garlic spaghetti, and strawberry ice cream which tasted like a sorbet. Should have gotten the added cream listed in the menu as an extra.
We walked through lovely floral gardens, a memorial to former Germany Chancellor Helmut Kohl, and along a walk by the lake shore with colorful sailboats moored and fountains of water spraying high into the air. It was still a bit frigid and we were glad to get inside the restaurant for some warm food, a pit stop, and a chance to view the lake. Our restaurant's name was Fischer's am Wolfangsee. There was a lovely inscription in German on the wall which said in German, my translation,
There are only two Days in the Year
on which one can do nothing:
The first called Yesterday
and the other is called Tomorrow;
Therefore Today is the right Day
to Love, to Believe, to Act,
and above all to Live!
Refreshed, we walked back to the bus for a short ride to the church in which the Baron and Maria were shown being married. Barbara continued her story of the Sound of Music wedding which took place there. The front of the church was under construction at the time of the shooting, so that part didn't appear in the movie. The actual church in which they were married in real life was in another location, but the director Robert Wise was not allowed to film the wedding there. So much of the myth of the von Trapp family we know from the movie varied from reality. When they were shown climbing over the mountain into Switzerland and freedom in the movie, in reality their mountain climb would have led them into Germany, not a good escape route in war-time as it would have put them back in Nazi hands. But it was Hollywood magic.
The inside of the church was awesome. Its nave was a high curved ceiling with peach-colored arches on a white background. The mostly black side-altars with gold trim stood in stark contrast to the rest of the nave. ABC: another beautiful church, but also very special as the location of Baron von Trapp and Maria's marriage in the film.
The church's full name is the Basilica Minor St. Michael, named in honor of the great Archangel Mi-cha-el who rules currently the Zeitgeist, the Spirit of our Time. Mi-cha-el is always shown as a warrior with one foot holding down a quirming evil demon with his sword or spear poised to dispatch the demon out of this world. This is where we are, Good Readers, each of us are agents of Mi-cha-el, and we must be ready to dispatch the agents of evil in our world. What is the sword we use best? It is our strong focus on the good in the world, which will cause the evil to dry up and fall into dust. We also do best to call him, Mi-cha-el, which means Micha of El, Micha of God, and avoid the terrible English pronounciation of My-Kull.
Look for statues of Mi-cha-el in your world, dear Reader, and notice the many different forms that the face of evil takes in artistic renditions: a giant snake, a scary human being, a fearful dragon, among other things. I was amused by the Mi-cha-el statue that was on the left front of our Altstadt Hotel because he seemed to be cutting away the awful screen which was put to protect Mi-cha-el from birds roosting, but actually protects us from seeing him clearly. His arm with the flaming sword was the only part of the sculpture which escaped the obtrusive screen! The altar to St. Michael in the Basilica had Mi-Cha-el shown as an Angel holding a Gold-cross-topped spear held to throat of the black dragon writhing beneath Mi-cha-el's foot.
After viewing the church we had a coffee, and then we walked back to the bus parking area through the lovely old town. Barbara took a great photo of me and Del in front of an old home. The walk had warmed us a bit as you see that my light down jacket has been removed.
After a Shakespeare stop, we re-boarded the bus to Passau, Germany where a Legend awaits us. No, not Arnold Schwarzenegger, but our longship, the Viking Legend, on which the cruise portion of our trip will continue. At last! No more packing and unpacking every other day! Wait, you may thinking "What is a Shakespeare stop?" In the words of our intrepid guide, Werner Kren, it's "To pee, or not to pee." Our guide in Passau, our next stop, called it a "Winston Churchill" stop, which Germans abbreviate as W. C. (water closet, aka wasser closet, pronounced VAY SAY auf deutsch).
The word "toilet" seems to work everywhere, if you say it, but if you're looking for relief in Germany, look for the W. C. sign. It might help you to remember the W. C. if I show you a droll sign from our 2006 trip to Der Alte Presse in the Grinzing area of Vienna.
The porcelain object being used in the sign is called a "chamber pot" and was an indoor convenience in the days before indoor toilets. It was kept under the bed and had to be emptied in the morning. If you've ever had to make a frigid dash to an outhouse at midnight, you'll know what blessed relief the chamber pot brought.
It was long bus ride to Passau. We arrived our Legend to find it as if shrouded in the mists of time on the Danube River.
We boarded the ship, went up to the lounge for a real cafe latte, and later found 207 Stateroom where our bags had already been placed inside, and we unpacked. Another 10 seconds unpacking for me, this time I could actually hang the shelves in the closet. This proves new Viking Longships have more closet space than hotels like the Altstadt that were built in 1377.
We listened to the briefing by the so-called Cruise Director.I left early to ensure we had our favorite table in the dining room, the farthest table from the entrance on the left. Unfortunately that was a table for eight, so I sat the next one which was for six. Gorgy the Head Waiter came by and asked me to leave. I explained what I wanted and he said, "No reserving table." I knew that, but I also knew if we could only reside at that table the first and second night, all would be fine. Somehow with Ruth our waitress's help, and with Gorgy's tacit indulgence, we managed to keep the table. Ruth would put my Cranberry Sunrise on the table five minutes before the opening bell, and it worked. The six weary travelers over mountain, dale, lakes, and foggy rivers, met together for dinner. After dinner I walked alone to see the Eulenspiegel Zeltfest area which was all lit up with sounds of laughter coming from the big top red tent with the jester's face on it.
The tent and associated kiosks selling beer, food, gingerbread cookies, and stuff was camped in the very tip of a long peninsula. It was dusk, there were nebelstreife (strands of mysterious mists) on the water, a full moon overhead, and I thought I heard the Elf King riding frantically by carrying his dying son in his arms. "Wer reitet so spate durch Nacht und Wind? Es ist der Vater mit seinem Kind." But . . . it was only a family of ducks swimming by in the water.
I was enjoying being on a walk where the only voice I heard in my ear was my own quiets thoughs, not some strident female Slavic voice rattling my bicuspids. I selected a "Ich heart Dich" (I heart You) gingerbread cookie from a brightly-colored and lit-up kiosk, but didn't have my money with me so I asked the young gypsy girl to hold it for me. (Look at her face in the photo: How could you not buy a heart from that face?)I went to the boat, got money, and went back to pick up the cookie for Del. It was too big for my pockets, so I hung it around my neck. Took photos of gypsy kiosk, but the mother ducked out of the photo. Safe from cops or embarrassed about being old or both, I suppose. The noisy show in the big tent was the comedian Helmut Schleich Ehrlich doing magic and cracking funny in German. I looked at the schedule of events and was sorry to discover that I missed the Eulenspiegel Poetry Slam on July 12. The name Eulen Spiegel translates into English literally as Owl Looking Glass. Poetry about Owls looking in a mirror, sounds it was fun.
Did I mention there was a Full Moon out? I tried my best to record the Man in the Moon, but still haven't mastered the intensity adjustments on my new camera. I wanted to get the Face of the Man in the Moon smiling over the Zeltfestival Big Top, but was unable to.
I reluctantly left, walking slowly back to the Legend. In the lobby I booked our hot baths for Budapest with the Concierge Ivana, who told me in her German-accented English, to "be sure to bring your bathing dresses".Till you've done translations in various languages, you might not understand how the world "clothes" and "dresses" can seem to be the same word in German. We would say "bathing clothes" but never "bathing dresses." With that last task of the day, I tucked in tuckered out after another day of European ABC's.
The next morning our walking tour of the town of Passau was led by Martina the earnest school teacher who talked to us like we were eight-graders. A lot of information and thank God for the volume control on the Vox receiver. She explained how the ancient fortress on the hill across the river (Banner Photo above) was built in 1499 and that the 4 was designated by cutting off the lower half of an 8. Cute, but otherwise completely obscure. Have never seen that usage before.
We learned that Passau was an entire country in its earliest times, and remains proud of its historic roots. We paused as Martina explained the high water marks, the tallest from June 3, 2013 which seems to have topped 20 feet along the river. The water is high now, but not flood stage. Enough however to require a bulldozer to scrape the inches high silt to dump back into the river. This came over the banks just last night, when the Elf King was mucking about, not doubt. Following the dozer was two guys spraying water to hose away what the dozer didn't scrape away.
When the guide's words overload my left brain, I take photos of pretty flowers, and there were lots of uniquely colored petunias to fill my eyes and my lens. It was the bright red hydrangea blooms which attracted my attention. Since its flowers act as litmus paper, blue for alkaline and pink for acid, this area must have very acidic soil to produce the bright red litmus color.
Passau has a lot centers of learning. I spotted an orange building which had a plate over its entrance saying "Hoch Schule" which literally means High School. But the Philos - Theol words above it indicate this is a university for the study of Philosophy and Theology.
Martina told us that a city-wide fire destroyed everything but the large Cathedral with 17,000 pipes organ and the 1499 building across the river. All the wood structures were destroyed and the Archbishop-Prince decided the city would be rebuilt in the Italian style and using stone instead of wood. This give the city a newness look for a very old city. One building had a painted colonade across its roof line. Another very old hotel, The Wild Man, was built in 1676, and still open for business.
We walked towards our 11:00 organ concert in the huge cathedral, the 17th Century St. Stephans Baroque masterpiece housing the largest pipe organ in Europe, over 17,000 pipes. The music from the organ can be made to sound from every corner of the great cathedral, including from the top center of the nave through the ceiling, which is where we chose to sit. We listened in silence as the organ filled with grand music and filled our hearts with reverent song. If you look in the center of this oval ceiling mural, you'll note that it is a really grating to let the sound come into the center of cathedral from the ceiling.
As we continued our tour, Martina asked Jim Harman to hold her staff while she attended to something. I got a photo of him with the 4F sign, which in the old draft days met "Unfit for Duty." Jim was not only fit for duty, but served in the army during the Second World War.
We looked through several souvenir shops and I didn't find anything until I came on this German quotation of Kahlil Gibran that had been hand-pressed and fired into a small clay tablet and I bought it.
My translation of it is this:Faith is an Oasis in the HeartSince Martina had explained that Passau is the City of Three Rivers (like our Pittsburg), I bought a postcard which shows dramatically the three different colors of the rivers Inn, Danube, and Ils.
which the Caravan of Thoughts
can Never reach.
Passau also stands out for having a bronze bust of a female poet along the river. She famously wrote:If Goethe had had to prepare supper, salt the dumplings;
If Schiler had had to wash the dishes;
If Heine had had to mend what he had torn, to clean the room, kill the bugs —
Oh, the menfolk, none of them would have become great poets.
— — Emerenz Meier
Back on the ship for dinner, we watched Passau sail away from us in the background as we cruised for the first time, downriver towards Linz.
LINZ, AUSTRIAWe sailed away from Passau after our life jacket drill and enjoyed a nice meal together at our table in the dining room. Although we left the briefing a bit late, Ruth had my Cranberry Sunrise in the large wine glass set up to mark our table. Gust and I were the only two who wanted to explore Linz by night and we took a walk through the downtown area. It was the same area we had lunch in ten years ago. The tall monument with the golden Sun-burst face at the top was immediately recognizable.
We saw a church with two ornate greentopped steeples and one of them had a crane sticking out near its top holding out a replic of Winged Victory in white. Some kind of art project, we gathered from a local at a coffee shop where we stopped in. We walked as the city grew dark and the lights came on. There was an old sign with a cigarette coming out of a red circle labeled TABAK. Hotel Wolfinger's golden sign glowed out into the sqaure. We walked past a Jesuit church that was closed for the night but got a photo of its front.
What I learned about Linz this trip is that it is a modern city with lots of companies involved in technology. The two buildings our Viking Legend was parked near were fully lit up at night. One was a brilliant cobalt blue, and the other one an emerald green (See Banner Above.)
Our daylong trip to Cesky-Krumlov preempted any chance of taking the Linz walking tour the next day, so this will be a short report on Linz, but we will have other photos of the city elsewhere in this issue.
In the meantime, enjoy our coverage of the old city of Cesky-Krumlov with the meandering river which bisects it.
CESKY-KRUMLOV, CZECHBreakfast went okay, but our guide to Cesky-Krumlov was a tour guide from Hell named Wanda. Her information was fine but her strident Czech voice grated on my ears and her attitude sucked big time. We did have a choice: Gust and I decided to take the high road Janet and Del chose the low road and we four were reunited on the bonny, bonny banks of the Vitava River which meanders through the medieval city. The girls got the 4E group with Ooola the buxomy guide, and Gust and I unfortunately got the 4D group and were stuck Wanda the Witch and her cackling voice.
We chose the high road because the bus dropped us off at the highest level of the large palace and we were able to walk down through the castle without climbing any stairs. The girls chose the low road because of Janet's healing feet, she prefers not to walk down hill and down stairs. She lucky to have bypassed the high road, because of the long rough ramp designed for horses which we had to walk down. So the girls walked through the shops and quaint streets of the lower city and we walked through the upper fortress, very much like the great Hrad of Praque, but a low-budget film version. The walls that would be real stone walls in Prague had flat walls painted to look like stone in this otherwise quaint city and fortress. At various overlooks, we could see the lower city area where the girls were roaming and we could meet them later.
We walked from the bus drop-off point through a large manicured garden area where manicurists were weeding and pruning the flowers beds. The scope of the gardens was huge, and the flower beds were like sketched-in after thoughts. A long walk over crushed limestone led us to a large sculpture fountain, but as we neared it, the sculptures were all cheesy sculptures in rough-finished concrete, impressive for a city park in the USA perhaps. Some of the flowers were unique and called for a photograph to be taken of them. The dramatic picture of the red and white flower which graces the Table of Contents in this Issue was taken during out tour of the city.
We were promised there would be three bears in the moat around the Hrad. When Del mentioned the bears to our grandson Thomas, he said, "Don't the alligators eat them?" Well, Thomas was thinking of a water-filled moat, which around here would have alligators in it, but not in the Czech Republic region.Moats are grass filled park areas with various wild animals to ward off trespassers. These large bears from the postcard look as big and mean as Grizzlies, so a good deterrent for sure. A wee before we were there, one of two remaing bears had died, maybe gone into hiding, so we saw no bear in the moat that day.
Cesky-Krumlov was a city of spires like its big sister Prague, the most prominent being a colorful one called the Little Castle with Tower, reminiscent of the Tower of Pisa, but close inspection shows that the colorful marble is really painted on and beginning to fade in many areas. People could be seen who had walked up to the top colonade to look down on the city. There was a sundial on a wall which correctly indicated the time as 11 AM (if you add the spring forward one hour to the gnomon's shadow which pointed to 10). If you looked at the tip of the shadow you could see it reached a red line which curved around to the number VII at the left side, indicating that we were in the seventh month of the year, July. A good sundial will do that. Some, like the one at the Foxboro Research Building where I worked, even have an analemma which indicates the day of the month by the tip's position at noon of each day.
The one real highlight of the city was the meandering river which rushes down through the middle of the city. People can rent rubber boats and have bit of white water rapid experience negotiating their way down the sluice which acts as a bypass the steep drop of the water over the large weir in city center over which the water falls about 30 feet. A water ride worthy of any amusement park. In fact the city seems to be an amusement park, but it is really a place where people live and work and probably make money off tourists during the warm months.
Gust and I walked down and as we approach the lower level of the city, I heard Janet calling my name. We joined the girls, who had been scouting for a place for lunch. We chose Papa's Restaurant (A Living Restaurant was its motto), and sat outdoors on a patio alongside the edge overlooking the river rapids and the boats heading through its waters. Del and I shared a pizza and a beet salad, and we recovered from the long walking trek. When we got up to leave, our waiter reserved our table by placing an empty bottle of Chateauneuf du Pape, rather appropriate for "Papa's Restaurant" I thought.
After lunch we walked through the gift shops in the direction of our meeting place for the buses. I saw a large, weather-worn sign resembling a Hallmark Card. Under its large red heart was the sentiment, "every love story is beautiful, but ours is my favorite." In one of the shops, was a display of a local mineral called "moldavite" which seems to be a melt glass-like substance.The original name of this area was Moldavia, by the way, a name which sometimes appears in comic films of Peter Sellers, Danny Kaye, or Groucho Marx about foreign invasions, etc. The meeting spot for the bus was very charming, a square with brightly colored old buildings surrounding it.
It was a long bus ride back to our ship and we got back in plenty time to have dinner and watch us sail away down the Danube over night to the wonderful Melk Abbey. As we were getting ready to disembark, we watched a dog barking at what seemed to a squirrel. I took a quick photo before the furry animal disappeared into a hole near the water line. Looking later at the photo, I realized that this could not have been a squirrel due to the roundish ears. It's a mystery as to what kind of animal that might have been.
MELK ABBEY, AUSTRIA
This morning began early with a short bus trip to the high rear grounds of Melk Abby. My last trip along the Danube, the Viking had no excursion to Melk. We had made a short stop to take on fuel and during that time, I was able to walk through the woods to the bridge which crosses the small river and provides a path to the Abbey.I talked to a Russian gal who was returning from the Abbey who told me it was a long walk uphill to get there. Instead of doing that I walked into the small town and toured it alone. Del had a bad cold and stayed on board. It was a frigid late October day. Today the weather was much better. I took a short walk into the woods, but the path came to an end. Problem was there were now three separate docks and I could not tell which was the original dock with the walk that went through the woods. I would find out later after we returned from the tour. After the dead end, I moved towards the downstream dock and found a home advertised as a Travel House (Inn or Bed and Breakfast). Later when we walked to get to the bus, we walked past this house and past a larger Inn with an outdoor garden and souvenir shop.
This trip I was thankful for a bus to carry us to the level of the Abbey and back down, plus a tour guide to lead us through the magnificent palace. I call it a palace because the ruling Archbishop-Prince made it his place of residence and work.
The long tour began with a walk through the grounds behind the magnificent palace. One spot was covered with a large grape vine and offered a view of the area south of the Abbey all the way to mountains in the distance. The full scope of this Benedictine Abbey and grounds can only be appreciated by a glimpse at the map. We walked from the large parking lot at the lower right of the map along a path south of the first redtop buildings and eventually into the Main Entrance as shown in the banner photo above. If you'll note the two white columns on the eastern border of the main Abbey complex, these are ancient towers of the original fortress (c700 A.D.) which have been left standing and incorporated into the modern Abby buildings added much later. At right is the tower closest to the Main Entrance we went into.
We came back to ship and I took a long nap after lunch, then decided to check out the other ship that someone called the INGVI. It turned out to be the MAGNI. After walking up to it, I saw the old path I'd taken and decided to check it out. It was much wider now with a gravel base and open to the warm sunlight.
As I neared the forest path's opening, where I could see the Melk Abbey from the ground across the bridge, I had a sudden call of nature.There were no easy choices for relief.I could walk into the village and hope to find a W. C. quickly. Not likely. I couldn't run and hold my spincter, but I could walk quickly back down the forest path to the Viking Legend. Also not likely I would get there in time. Hard to think clearly, but I was reminded of this guy, a software programmer named Ralph Kane who, when he thought the obvious answer to a question was "Yes", would simply ask this question, "Does a bear poop in the woods?" So if I had Ralph around to ask if there was an answer to my dilemma, you can guess his answer. As I hurried back across the bridge and along the forest path, I looked for possible spots to do like a bear does, but soon I created an alternate plan: get to the Viking Magni which was docked about 5 minutes closer to the path than our ship the Legend. Since the ships are nearly identical, I figured I could quickly board,walk up to the 3rd level into public area rest room and get much more pleasant relief than the bear route. I did. It was a Magni Relief! Thanks, Viking!
When I finally got back to our ship, the Viking Legend, Del was checking for me at the front desk because we sailed in 15 minutes. I had forgotten the sailing time was coming up so quickly, glad to make it back in time, and a little sad that I didn't get to re-visit the small village at the foot of the Abbey's hill.
DÜRNSTEIN ABBEY, AUSTRIA
We sailed down to Dürnstein through the vineyard-covered Wachau Valley. We saw something we didn't see on our previous cruise through this area. It was a frigid October day back then, and there were no sun bathers along the sandy beaches of the Danube River. On this warm July afternoon, there were many spots of beach, usually with four or five sunbathers, some with "swimming dresses" on and some not.
We passed several large church structures and Abbeys along the way to the lovely blue-towered abbey, the Stiftskirche, which stands only a few yards from the edge of the Danube. Approaching on our ship the Viking Legend, someone had pointed out an ice cream cone along the distant shore. Del and I saw it as we walked along a path with green grape filled vines that still had a couple of months of fruiting remaining. Del posed for a photo, pretending to lick that five foot high colored wood sculpture of a cone with three colors of ice cream on top. Then Del walked towards the blue tower with me, but decided to return to the Legend.
When I got to the shop that the cone advertised, I bought a white yogurt cone and enjoyed it sitting in the shady patio. It was too steep a climb to to go up into Stiftskirche, as I had done on an earlier trip. But I walked a bit in that direction and met Gust and Jim hiking back down and we walked back to ship together.As they walked ahead, I took some photos of the grapes on the vines nearby and noticed a stray sneaker that was placed on a rock as if to make it possible for it to be reunited with its owner. I decided that a more likely place for it to be spotted would be atop the ice cream cone sculpture and placed it there.
That night was my birthday and the dining room featured a "Taste of Vienna" dinner which meant every possible kind of meat that Vienna and Austria had to offer. Even the sauerkraut, which I love to eat, had some kind of meat in it. I nibbled on what non-meat fare they had in the buffet, and knew that I had the special dessert for my birthday to look forward to. The music duet of Frick and Frack, the accordion and guitar players, played and sang. When they came over to me, I requested a song and sang along with them.
"Du, Du liegest mir im Herzen; Du Du liegest mir im Sinn, Du Du machst mir viel Schmerzen, Weiss Du wie gut ich dir bin." (You Live in my Heart and my Mind . . .) My birthday treat had "Happy B'Day" on top of a custard-topped confection which was delicious, but it had to be sliced into six pieces after they sang Happy Birthday to me. Not the birthday celebration I had hoped for, but with all the other food I had eaten on the cruise thus far, one night of meager rations wouldn't hurt me.
We came down at 9 pm for David Morgan's show at his request, but the music was so damn loud that we moved as far away as possible and left after 15 minutes. Worst music I ever experienced on a Viking Longship. The ship wasn't long enough for us to get away from obscenely loud music. We would have complained to the Program Director David Morgan, but he was closer to the music than we were and apparently he liked it so loud. As for the show, we never stayed around long enough to experience it. When we returned to our stateroom, someone had built a 3-Layer Birthday Cake our of towels and sprinkled it with Happy Birthday confetti.
VIENNA, AUSTRIADel and I stayed on the Legend, and our friends took various tours into Vienna. We have been in Vienna several times before and had been to the Schoenbrunn Palace on our Christmas Market tour, for example. It was a chilly day back then and the Palace was very comfortable walking through on the tour. Today, we got a report from friends that the Palace was very stuffy, hot, and uncomfortable. No Air-Conditioning for hot July days apparently. Previously in vienna we have been on the Ring, we ate at the Maximillan Cafe where Freud used to spend free afternoons with his coffee and newspaper. We ate Sachertorte in a large restaurant near St. Stephen's Cathedral and we well remembered the cold day we got lost walking through Vienna.We were rescued by a bowl of hot potato soup and a clever waitress who could speak enough English to get us back on track. Given all these and other condiderations, we opted for a relaxing day aboard ship. I sat on the Sun Deck and read out of my book, "Human Values in Education", and wrote some notes for a future review of it.
The six of us signed up for Heurigen Evening in the Grinzing region of Vienna. Lucky for us we did. The meal for supper was the worst meal we've ever had on a Viking longship. Even my Cranberry Sunrise was bad. My entree, the perch, had a sauce over its skin. I don't eat skin on a fish. Perch without the skin was tasteless. So was the Greek salad. And even the vanilla ice cream was terrible. But enough of the bad news.
Our Heurigen restaurant was the Weingut Fuhrgassl-Huber, having the same surname as our first great-grandson Benjamin Huber. As we entered the place, it opened into a large open-air patio filled with festive tables and local Austrians out for some wine, music, and song under the evening summer sky. The patio rose as the hill rose and we were seated in the very last row with the grape vines at the very edge of our table. The wooden benches would have been more comfortable if the ground had been level. Instead, Del and my bench made us lean forward enough to feel like we might fall onto the table. We moved to the other side of table which was only marginally better. Our wine, bread, cheeses, and dishes were carried in by a Germanie (large germanic woman) in one platter, balanced on her left hand, while she negotiated the steps and uneven ground to place it safely on our table.
Before we could request some relief from the unstable benches, it began to rain, drizzle actually, and we could see locals opening umbrellas they had brought so they didn't have to move. If our benches had been level, I'd have said, "Let's ride out the drizzle, but Janet wanted us to move inside and I figured, "Okay, level table and benches." Along came Germanie to move us to a table just under cover off the open air patio. At which time the light rain stopped. We enjoyed the wine, bread, and cheeses, and soon the traveling minstrels came by our table to play. We had paid a hefty fee for the evening and no one had explained if we needed to tip for the music provided. So we applauded the musicians and waited for them to either play more or leave, but they did neither. They just stared at us. C'mon, guys, your music was marginally better than the staring. Sure didn't deserve a tip for the staring.Okay, lay it to a foreigner disconnect with the local customs, but isn't that what we paid a tour guide for: to ward off any awkward moments in advance? Under duress Gust gave them a tip for our table and the rascals, instead of being grateful, stood and stared at the rest of us. Our tour guide should have given us a head's up about the musicians, but she was probably off drinking wine with our bus driver and letting deal with the surly musicians. It's an omission that Werner Kren would have never made, in my opinion.
The wine, cheese, and company was excellent. We wished we had stayed on the open air vineyard area of the patio (on a level table), but we made the best of the evening and everyone had a great time. Jim was able to get a great shot of me while we were still in the vineyard area.
BRATASLAVA AND SAILING THE DANUBE BEND INTO HUNGARYUp early for our ABC lesson (Another Bloody Castle). This time an upside-down table or four-poster bed visible from as far away as Vienna on a clear day. Slovakia is nestled close to Germany, Austria, and Hungary, and who cares. I have noticed that in all my travels I have yet to hear this sentiment, "How Wonderful Communism was!" especially from people of formerly Communist countries. I have also noticed in America, which has never been officially Communistic, that in Hollywod films we are likely hear things like "The Communists had the right idea", e.g., as spoken by George Clooney in the 2016 movie, "Hail Caesar!". Clooney's comment stands in stark contrast to anti-Communistic sentiment came from our Slavic tour guide Monika who actually lived under a Communist regime. America, with Hollywood's subversive help, tries to slip in the back door what it cannot get through the front door.
The only kind of butchery Monika did was of the English language. Our English name Monica sings, like in Santa Monica. The Slavic name goosesteps! MAAN EEK AH!It would not have been so bad had she lowered the volume of her voice, but she seemed determined to be heard all the way across the border in Vienna by those people looking at the upside-down-table, Hrad in Brataslava. These tour guides should be required to listen to and learn to sing American pop songs, especially ballads, like "The Way We Were" and so they might learn some smoothness of rhythm and pacing when talking in English to tourists who would otherwise keep their money in their pockets after suffering the machine-gun-delivery of most Slavic tour guides voices.
The bus drove us to the top of the city and back around all kinds of neighborhoods. We learned how the auto industry is moving into this country now that it is capitalistic instead of communistic. Wages are still low, but prosperity seems coming around the bend of the Danube to this region.
The long walk across the courtyard of the Hrad Castle and down two flights of stairs just to pay .8 of a euro justS to pee was the last straw for me. When we had access to free WC's on earlier tours, the bus's WC was always unlocked. I walked back to our bus, and, sure enough, its rest room was locked up. Hmm, seems to be a pattern here. Luckily I had plenty of bladder space to make it to the Legend. We quickly bailed out of the guided tour when the bus reached the city center so that we could ride a bus sans Monika back to the ship.
We were back on the Legend by noon and sailed towards Hungary the rest of the day with our goal of entering Budapest at night when it turns into a City of Golden Lights on the Buda and the Pest side of the Danube or Danau River. The banner photo at the top of this section shows one of the great domes cathedrals we encountered during our sail northward on the river. We spend most of the afternoon on the Sun deck enjoying the view.
I have been tickled by the amount of words thrown at explaining the "Blue" of the "Blue Danube". Frankly, it was the "Blue Danube Waltz" which created the name, and no one knows how Strauss decided on the title. Let's face it folks, even a white coffee mug can look blue under the right light, or yellow, or green, etc. The Danube's waters reflecting the daytime blue sky will naturally take on a blue cast. Yet, tour guides kept calling the Danube brown or muddy or anything but blue. Get over it, is my advice to them. Don't you have anything more interesting to talk about? I enjoyed many moments when the Danube appeared blue, but unfortunately there were no obdurate tour guides around for me to point out to them the blueness of the Danube.
BUDAPEST, HUNGARYFireworks greeted us as the city first appeared on the horizon. Then we arrived for night-time spectacular display of Budapest in all its Golden Glory. As if on the same schedule, a beautiful Full Moon arose from the city as we watched the lights, dodging between and behind buildings as our own Legend cruised toward the city and turned around into its final docking space.
The Parliament Buildings, the Art Museum, the old bridge built around the time of our Brooklyn Bridge, and dozens of church spires filled the skyline. The river's waters were turbulent with the large number of tourist boats and cruising ships of all kinds.We will attempt to show you Good Readers as many of these photos as we can towards the end of this Issue.
The next morning, as if not to be outdone by Sister Moon, Brother Sun came up a large red orb over the city, looking a bit like the planet Jupiter with its red and yellow horizontal bands. Perhaps we should let these two celestial voyagers across our daytime and nighttime sky show their faces together here.
We had two tours scheduled today, the first one a tour of the two sides of the river, Buda the hilly side and Pest the flatter side. The walk to the top of Buda Hill was impressive. A great view of the city and large monuments from its Communist legacy. The large statue of a female with a palm branch over her towered over the hill. We took a break at a floating restaurant called Spoon for some refreshment. Part of our tour had been blocked by some marathon and this was to make up the time. We were in sight of our ship the Legend, so we simply walked back rather than get on the bus again. The name Spoon did suggest a photo opp and someone helped us by taking our photo spooning.
After lunch aboard ship, we headed for the Hot Bath Spa. Beautiful open air pools and a dozen or so indoor pools. Got a blue watch band which opened and closed the small dressing locker. Got into the pool first and Del joined me. We stayed in the large outdoor pool for about 20 minutes then checked out the indoor pools. Most of the waters in them were colder.
We got dressed and left the spa and walked out to the City Park area. There was a small kiddie carnival area which smelled like manure due to a cow in rear of the property. A small train was running with tots on it. It was a bit warm, so we bought a beer and sat outside to drink it under an umbrella table and watched the people of the area.We walked past a large theater with a Circus performance of some sort going on, people were in line. Further down the street we found a building with a large carousel. Click Here to View the Carousel in action.Then we walked across the street into the park area and sat in the shade till it was time for us to board bus back to ship for our last night of our trip. Tomorrow morning we have to get up at 2 AM to finish packing leave for airport at 3 AM. Our departure from Buda airport was a real cluster mess. How we ever got through in time I'll never know. A repeat performance at DeGaulle airport: five interminably long queues. Get bags, get through customs, get bags rechecked, wait for bus to another terminal, get re-checked in through their TSA, and one more I forgot! My suggestion for Europe travelers is bypass DeGaulle at all costs. The long walks through perfume and fancy sales areas is ridiculous as few passengers have the time to actually stop to shop and buy anything between flights! Our transfer in Detroit went well, and we made it home by 6:30 New Orleans time, a mere 24 hours lapsed time since we awoke to leave in Budapest.
LAST MINUTE EVENTS
Arrived home to an air-conditioning unit broken, Del's computer broken, my driver license expired and new one had not arrived, and with a bad head cold. The first day I spent troubleshooting her computer and carrying it to our local computer shop to be repaired. (That wore me out. I attributed it to jet lag.) Turned out the computer had a bad VGA board and for $140, her PC was good as new.My driver's license didn't come in because the website mydriverlicenses.org charged me for a driving guide while letting me think I had renewed my license. Do yourself a favor and stay away from that confusing and shady website. When we tracked down what the credit card charge was actually for (some driving booklet), we drove immediately to DMV and I found out that I still had a few days left on my ten-day free pass after my license expired. Now I have a new driver's license and photo. Coastal A/C came and replaced a bad capacitor in our living room unit. Within three days we had cleared up three of the four problems.
The way we pinpointed that my sluggishness was not due to jetlag: Del felt my forehead and said, "You're warm." I almost cheered when she said that because Alka-Seltzer Cold Plus can help alleviate the symptoms of a head cold, but only time works for jetlag. We came back Sunday night after traveling 24 hours from Budapest. Worse bottleneck was DeGaulle aiport.Five queues which seemed to never end, one right after another! We were exhausted. Monday we moved around the house like zombies, unpacking stuff, and noticing the broken AC and PC. My head cold was causing the symptoms I was calling jetlag. I started taking the medication on Tuesday, and Wednesday and Thursday, I spend mostly in bed, except for getting some needed groceries,letting the AC guys in, and delivering, picking up and re-installing Del's PC.
Friday, July 29, was the first day I felt able to sit down and work at my desk on this isssue, DW#168. I felt like a switch had turned on and my jetlag/head cold disappeared. I have 1200 photos from our trip to sort through to give you best of the best. From Friday until Thursday August 4, I worked every day on writing the Travelogue and arranging the photos you have seen so far. In the next day or so, I will add photos of objects and places I talked about above so you can see them also. Hope you enjoy them and forgive the late arrival of this Issue.
EVERY GOOD THING MUST COME TO A NEW BEGINNING
The past two months of June and July have been very busy. June was a slow month as far as activities away from home and office, but because we were to be gone for over three weeks in July, our editorial staff was busy preparing two DIGESTWORLD ISSUES, DW#167 and #168.This current issue was written in the second half of June except for the Out our Way section. Plus the majority of the photos for this issue were taken in July at Orange Beach and on our Viking Castles and Legends Tour. If you receive this issue a couple of days late, I hope you will forgive us for sending all the staff on a well-earned vacation and enjoy the photos our staff photographers have brought back for you.IMPORTANT MESSAGE:
We returned home to cooling afternoon showers which have kept the temperatures down. August and September will also be two busy months for us, which you will discover in our next issue after this one. Till we meet again in the Fall, enjoy your remaining Summer weather. 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:
- You know, Johnny, if I'd known I would live this long, I would have taken better care of myself.
— Eubie Blake (American Musician, on his 105th birthday, spoken to Johnny Carson)
- Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.
And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.
And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.
— Kahlil Gibran in his Essay on Death in The Prophet
- A man can be free without being great, but no man can be great without being free.
— Kahlil Gibran in May 16, 1913 letter to Mary Haskell
New Stuff on Website:From Rainbows & Shadows, A 1995 Book of Poetry by Bobby Matherne
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?
This month we continue with a poem from the Rainbows Chapter of Bobby's second book of Poetry, Rainbows & Shadows (1995): Roll 'Em! This poem written on January 10, 1991 on the back of a SECOR deposit envelope while driving to work. Inspired by reading of the Course in Miracles Workbook (Lesson 10). The idea is that when we are aware of the thoughts we are thinking there is another part that is aware. The poem talks about the other parts in analogy to the film stage where the behind the scenes parts are taken by many people. I single out the Director, the Scriptwriter, the Film Editor, and the Producer. These may be considered as parts of our Unconscious (in the way used by Carl Gustav Jung). These parts may be considered as roles being played by the separate personalities of our MPO (Multiple Personality Organization). See Rainbows & Shadows in this volume.
Jane Roberts famously asked, "From what tree does the fruit drop which appears in mind's basket?" Thus the place that the thought of "apple" comes from when someone says think of a fruit is the Scriptwriter of our own unconscious. The Producer, who must cater to the common weal to stay in business, is called God in this model.
On the soundstage of life
our thoughts are not our thoughts
but the lines of a scriptwriter,
living or dead,
that pop into our head
at the prompting of the director
to meet the goals
of the producer,
the public appeal.
Memories are but the film strips
that survive the film editor's
sharp cutting knife.
2. Chapter: Shadows
This month we continue with a poem from the Rainbows Chapter of Bobby's second book of Poetry,Rainbows & Shadows (1995): The Seed. This poem was written on Nov 13, 1991. It was inspired by reading Guy Davenport's book, A Balthus Notebook, while driving to work in the morning. On page 47 he quoted Eudora Welty talking about a story of a family of acrobats that featured a human wall in their act. "What strikes me now, and what I was unaware of then, was that these acrobats were prophesying for the subject that would concern me most in all my work lying ahead. From points of view within and without, I've been writing about this Wall ever since and what happens to it.” Indra’s Net is the metaphor of the “wall” in my life. [from Wikipedia: "Indra's net (also called Indra's jewels or Indra's pearls) is a metaphor used to illustrate the concepts of emptiness, dependent origination, and interpenetration in Buddhist philosophy."] Imagine a matrix of pearls in which each pearl is reflected in all the other pearls.
Look for the seed:
Your world in microcosm
in your work.
Like Indra's net
Your life will reflect
this seed again and again
Till it fills your view
Of everything old and new.
3. Chapter: Rainbows
This month we continue with a poem from the Rainbows Chapter of Bobby's second book of Poetry, Rainbows & Shadows (1995). This poem was written on October 14, 1984. EAT-O-TWIST is an acronym that means:
The Eat-O-Twist Rainbow refers first to the process by which your “supposing”, which is in the Spiritual realm, becomes part of the Physical realm. Also how things in the Physical realm, by triggering a “supposing”, become things in the Spiritual realm.
Secondly the poem refers to the end of the rainbow, which, if you arrange to be walking with a rainbow in front of you, with the sun behind you, and a light drizzle falling on you, you will find that the rainbow circles to a closure around you, having its end, its beginning, in the region of your heart. Click Here to see artwork above originally drawn on page 18 of "The Center Book" (unpublished).
The EAT-O-TWIST Rainbow
The EAT-O-TWIST Rainbow
Flows from the Physical World
To the Spirit World and back.
The EAT-O-TWIST Rainbow is a circle:
It begins and ends
In that pot o’ gold
4. Chapter: Shadows
This month we continue with a poem from the Rainbows Chapter of Bobby's second book of Poetry, Rainbows & Shadows (1995):Juggling Act. This poem was written on January 23, 1991 while driving in to work. Inspired by a phone conversation I had with Carol Devine (Disc Jockey on WWNO) on the previous Sunday about memory.
When you grow old
as the story's told:
"Two things happen:
One, you lose your memory
and Two, . . .
and Two, . . .
and Two. . . . ."
How forgetful of me!
I wonder about this story's verity,
It doesn't seem that way at all to me.
At seventeen I could recall
just about any memory at all
And handle each one with dexterity
like a juggler does each ball.
But now above nine and fifty
my memory seems not so nifty —
When a ball falls from its apogee
it occasionally gets away from me.
But I worry less why one falls
than marvel at the amount of balls —
For seven plus or minus two
represents the best that we can do —
Whether seventeen or fifty two.
So we trust that when they fall
It was ones we didn't need at all.
This month we continue with a poem from the Rainbows Chapter of Bobby's second book of Poetry, Rainbows & Shadows (1995).
Something to Believe
Self confidence is talking
your Self into believing in
Self confidence is talking
your Self into believing in
Self confidence is
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.“I Saw the Light” (2015) If you grew up listening to Hank Williams singing get ready for head-to-foot goose bumps from beginning to end of this amazing movie. I get ‘em now just thinking about the movie. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! !
"Creed"(2015) Rocky in his seventies asked by Apollo Creed's son to prepare him for championship fight. Has Rocky any fight left in him? Can Creed get street cred? Good script and action scenes.
"Drunk, Stoned, Brilliant, Dead" (2015) a life progression of many of the creative geniuses of the National Lampoon.
"Elvis & Nixon" (2016) asks the question, "Did Elvis go undercover?" in the drug war.
"Eye in the Sky" (2015) with heads of State for British, American, and China involved in top level decisions about a video game in which human lives will be taken. A gripping movie which will hit four top ten enemies and save hundreds of other lives. A DON'T MISS HIT ! ! !
"Hello. My Name is Doris" (2015) marvelous story about a woman who sacrificed her life to help her now-deceased mother and her brother shows his appreciation by wanting to kick her out of the family home. To the rescue comes "Goya and the Nuclear Winter" and Doris becomes a cover girl and gets a new lease on life. A DON'T MISS HIT ! ! !
"The Finest Hours" (2016) of the amazing rescue of a split in half tank off Cape Cod in 1951 by a hero Coast Guardsman. Best movie of the year! 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."Daddy's Home" (2015) in a shit storm.
"Mother's Day" (2016) Hollywood Haggis.
"Hail Caesar!" (2015) a pastiche of old Hollywood movies lionizing Communists. George Clooney said about them, "They had the right idea." Where are the script writers when you need them? There's no Black List, now, George. Plot, continuity, script sucks big time like the big time waste of so-called big-time stars' talents.
"Just Friends" (2005) Just Awful!
Your call on these — your taste in movies may differ, but I liked them:“Synchronicity” (2016) worm hole experiment warps space and experimenter. Needs several viewings just to understand the doppelganging characters from different time frames. Materialistic refrain: "Time is a great teacher that eventually kills all its students."
"Rams" (2016) fascinating look at the sheep farmers of Iceland, especially two brother living next door to each other and not talking for over 40 years. A virulent disease outbreak forces all sheep to be slaughtered and the brothers to embrace each other, finally.
"The Lady in the Car with Glasses and a Gun" (2015) has a little fun along the way.
"Last Days in the Desert" (2016) Ewan McGregor plays Jesus in the desert after his baptism by John in the Jordan. He stays with a family while undergoing his temptations.
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==Le Broussard Cajun Cottage, drawn by and Copyright 2011 by Paulette Purser, Used by Permission
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==
From story told by Justin Wilson
Boudreaux's cousin Cooyon was a couple of fives short of a Pedro deck, and he was always trying to get the better of Boudreaux.
One day Cooyon folded a copy of the Morning Advocate under his arm and came up to Boudreaux. "Boudreaux, can Ya tole me where a woman's Yet is located?" Cooyon asked.
"Mais, Cooyon, a woman don't got no yet, Ah guarantee!"
"Boudreaux, Ah t'ink ya wrong about dat, me."
"Wahl, if Ya can prove dat, Ah'll buy Ya a Dixie beer!"
So Cooyon pulled out the Morning Advocate newspaper and showed the front page to Boudreaux, "See dere? De headline says plain as day, 'A Carencro Woman was Shot by a .38 Special and the Bullet is in her Yet!'"
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5.Recipe for August, 2016 from Bobby Jeaux:
(click links to see photo of ingredients, preparation steps)
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =Rudy Sandwich
Background on Rudy Sandwich:
Sauerkraut was a food that I couldn't eat until I did a doyletics food dislike trace during my very first Speed Trace. Only then was I able to eat and enjoy a delicious Reuben Sandwich at our favorite restaurant. Over time, I gave up eating meat and that put the Reuben Sandwich out of bounds for us. After a few years, Del and I decided to try making a Reuben without using pastrami, and the results were delicious, as you can attest for yourself.
2 to 3 large spoons of Claussen Sauerkraut (Comes in large jar from refrigerated shelf of market. This is the best we've found, always stays fresh and crispy our fridge at home.)Preparation
4 slices of Kraft Big Slice Swiss (makes the best sandwiches)
4 slices of Pepperidge Farm Whole Wheat Bread (wide slices)
Blue Plate Mayonnaise (thinly spread on toast)
Zatarain's Creole Mustard (thinly spread on toast)
Spoon 2 to 3 large spoons of sauerkraut into small bowl.
Remove 4 slices of Swiss and 4 slice of WW bread.
Start bread slices toasting, then put sauerkraut bowl in microwave for a minute to warm it up. (Should be warm when placed on top of lower portion of sandwich.)
Spread mayonnaise on first on lower toast, followed by a thin spread of Creole mustard.
Place one slice of Swiss on top, then added the still warmed sauerkraut. (It will warm and soften the Swiss slices.)
Spread mayo and mustard on the upper toast. Add Swiss slice and place over the lower prepared toast to complete the sandwich.
Place each sandwich on separate plate and slice across the middle of wide format bread. This makes two sandwiches. Adjust amount of sauerkraut for each person's taste. Del likes a little more than I do. Bon Apetit!
Add a grilled portobello burger, melt the cheese, and use a Kaiser Roll or other bun to make a delicious alternative to a Rudy Sandwich.
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6. POETRY by BOBBY from "Yes, and Even More"This poem is from Bobby's Collection of previously unpublished poems called "Yes, and Even More". Note: this poemlet was written on February 9, 2000 in Rudolf Steiner's book Macrocosm and Microcosm in the margin of page 23. Here is the operant quote about rest and restoration from the page that inspired it.== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==[page 23] If a man were to play a part in this difficult operation of restoring the forces exhausted during the previous day, he would ruin everything because he is not yet capable of being a conscious participant. It is providential that consciousness of his own existence is snatched away from man at the moment when he might do harm to his own development.
that sleep is our auto-pilot to rest.
that if we would pilot manually
we would not rest.
How could we rest
if we worked all night?
Peaceful sleep is our auto-pilot
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7. REVIEWS and ARTICLES for August:
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For our Good Readers, here are the reviews and articles featured this month. The first review is new and will be added to the top of A Reader's Journal, Volume 2, Chronological List. The second review appeared as a short blurb in DW#45 and the third appears here for the first time. Any new additions below may be to A Reader's Treasury, or Essays previously unpublished.
NOTE: For your convenience, if you wish to read or print the full review without photos, simply CLICK on the Book Cover or choose Printer Ready option on the top line of Website review page when it opens.
1.) ARJ2: The Essentials of Education, GA#305 by Rudolf Steiner
Delivered in April 1924 during an educational conference, these five lectures are the last public lectures that Steiner gave in Germany. E. A. K. Stockmeyer writes: "Seventeen hundred people listened to him, and the prolonged, generous applause from this great crowd at the end of every lecture was deeply moving; while at the end of the last lecture the applause became an ovation that seemed as if it would never end." — from the back cover
Here's how Steiner begins Lecture One:
[page 1] Dear friends! Our assignment for this educational conference is to answer the question: What is the role of education and teaching to be for the future in terms of both the individual and society?
Nowhere in human endeavors is knowledge of the full human being more essential than in those entrusted with the care and education of our young and growing children. Adults seem to get along without such knowledge, but do they do the best for humanity if they lack such knowledge? If we consider only adult materialists, the answer is clear: they have been taught to see only the surface of things and that includes human beings. Skinner's "Behaviorism" was based on such a premise and found great favor about materialists, so far as I know. Should we consider how humans behave as more important than how they feel, live, or love? I think not. The science that has brought amazing achievements to human beings cannot be used to understand the full human being, rightly understood.
Steiner poses an important question, which we must all hold as an unanswered question, namely, "What is the essence of what lives within the limits of the human skin?" (My paraphrase) He replies thus:
[page 2] Answers are so inadequate that people today haven't a clue about the ways that external processes are actually transformed within the human being through breathing, blood circulation, nutrition, and so on.
And no where in human development is knowledge of these processes so important than in the once-in-a-lifetime stage of growth from birth to teeth change to puberty to adulthood at twenty-one. Ask yourself as a parent, "Do I want my children and grandchildren shaped into adulthood by teachers who do not understand the full human being?" If you come to understand the impact of this question, the answer will become obvious to you as "No" and the solution will be likewise obvious, a Waldorf education as designed by Rudolf Steiner.
We are proud to claim our modern way of life is so much better than the earlier times, such as before the 15th century, and we have made great strides in technology of the inanimate world, but have lost an innate feeling for the human being in the process.
[page 2] In earlier times, people had a sense of inner empathy with the spirit and soul of other human beings, which gave them an intuitive impression of the soul's inner experiences; it made sense that what one knew about the inner spirit and soul life would explain external physical manifestations. Now, we do just the opposite. People experiment with external aspects and processes very effectively, since all contemporary natural science is effective. The only thing that has been demonstrated, however, is that, given our modern views of life, we take seriously only what is sense-perceptible and what the intellect can comprehend with the help of the senses. Consequently, we have come to a point where we no longer have the capacity to really observe the inner human being; we are often content to observe its outer shell. We are further removed from the human being. Indeed, the very methods that have so eagerly illuminated life in the outer world — the working of nature — have robbed us of the most basic access between souls.
Observing the outer shell of the human being is to focus on what the ancients called maya. In addition to our natural scientists development of the microscope, which allows to see very tiny aspects of the human being, miniature maya, they have also developed what I would call the mayascope by which they look at only the full scale outer shell, the body, of the human being. What we need is our scientists of the current age to develop a macroscope through which they can view the full human being in body, soul, and spirit. The macroscope is an instrument which requires no complicated electronics and computers; it exists within the only thing capable of creating electronics and computers, a human being. Using tools only found in a human being, a teacher can truly educate pupils by viewing them through a macroscope, connecting with each pupil as a unique spirit with a unique soul in a unique human body, fostering the growth of spirit, soul, and body of the pupil.
[page 2, 3] Our wonderfully productive civilization has brought us very close to certain natural phenomena, but it has also driven us away from the human being. It should be obvious that the aspect of our culture most harmed by this situation is education — everything related to human development and teaching children.
As a wood sculptor I have shaped various woods, bald cypress, oak, orangewood, mahogany, and black walnut, and over the years I learned about the toughness of oak, and butter-like nature of black walnut. As a father I have helped shape my children, and none of my wood sculpture tools were of any help to me there. Natural scientists who attempt to use their materialistic tools on children will inevitably fail, but few will understand that the very use of such tools led to their failure, so far as I can imagine.
[page 3] Once we can understand those we are to shape, we will be able to educate and teach, just as painters must understand the nature and quality of colors before they can paint, and sculptors must first understand their materials before they can create, and so on. If this is true of the arts that deal with physical materials, isn't it all the more true of an art that works with the noblest of all materials, the material that only the human being can work with — human life, the human being and human development?
Like the Greeks were able to sculpt lifeless human figures in marble, educators and or teachers must learn to sculpt living humans in body, soul, and spirit using all their own body, soul, and spirit as a human being, being "careful", as Steiner says on page 3, "to avoid any imbalance".
When a teacher is in the presence of a child, the most important communication often flows back and forth from soul to soul, without any words. The words, the lesson plan, is often a way to get the teacher and student into the right place so that this wordless communication can take place. In 1976, I had an insight that teaching and learning flowed in both directions, from the teacher to the student and from the student to the teacher. I wrote this insight using a terse sentence without any verbs to communicate this two-way process that is so often overlooked and rarely taught(1).
Thus a Teacher; So Also a Learner.
While this process of two-way communication may be overlooked when it is present (because it works so well), it is definitely noticed in its absence. Why? Because, when the teacher is closed to learning from the students, the two-way flow between soul-of-teacher and soul-of-student is shut off, turned into a one-way flow from the teacher to student. Faced with this one-way flow, the students get boisterous and feisty, or sullen and quiet. Attention is lost from the room, and usually it's only the students who notice it: they feel bored. When the teacher responds by trying harder to get their point across to the students, usually by more discipline, the situation gets worse and eventually one child is selected to visit the principal's office. Then the rest of the class gets quiet again, for a time.
What a teacher needs, Steiner says, is a knowledge with "soft edges" not the hard edges of an academic discipline.
[page 5] Let's start with this knowledge of the human being; it is knowledge with "soft edges." It lacks sharp contours to the extent that it is not pointed directly at any one person. Rather, over the course of the educational relationship it glides, as it were, weaving here and there between what happens in the teacher's soul and in the child's soul. In certain ways, it is difficult to be very sure of what is happening, since it is all very subtle. When we teach, something is present that flows like a stream, constantly changing. It is necessary to develop a vision that allows us to seize anything that is developing between human beings in this intimate way.
Steiner wrote in detail about the four temperaments: melancholic, phlegmatic, sanguine, and choleric as characteristics of pupils in The Spiritual Ground of Education. Here in Lecture One, he explains how the particular temperament of a teacher is important and how to control it.
Steiner says in several places that a baby tastes with its entire body; here he connects tasting with how the child at an early age absorbs everything in the way we move around them, whether we move with a relaxed soul and spirit, or stormily, with heavy soul and spirit. (Page 8) These behaviors by early melancholic caregivers plant a seed into the child's body which appears later in the mature adult of forty-five or so as arthritis, gout, or poor digestion. (Page 9) When a phlegmatic teacher without proper temperament training leads a classroom, the flow from the students to the teacher is cut off. They want to reach the teacher, but the phlegmatic teacher is like, "Whatever", and basically unreachable. Children with unmodulated phlegmatic teachers mature into adults with depression and various nervous disorders. Are we living through a spate of phlegmatic teachers? Steiner explains it thus:
[page 10] We are speaking of the historical period of the nineteenth century when materialism arose. The materialistic worldview turns away from the human being, and develops a monstrous indifference in the teacher toward the most intimate movements of the souls of those being educated.
With a skewed melancholic temperament, a teacher will produce diseases of the heart decades later in their students. Heart trouble was prevalent in the early part of the twentieth century, was it not? With medical scientific improvements of care, heart disease is more treatable and less likely to cause deaths today in the nascent twenty-first century, but what if we discover that the root cause of heart disease is uncontrolled and not properly educated melancholic teachers in our education system?
[page 11] Teachers should not educate with only childhood in mind. And doctors should look beyond the specific onset of disease to a particular age, with a capacity to observe human life as one connected whole. In this way, people can see that many cases of heart trouble between forty and forty-five began with the whole mood generated by the uncontrolled melancholic temperament of a teacher.
The essential thing is what happens between the teacher and student even before any teaching is attempted, in other words, the temperaments of the teacher and the students are there. People cannot just teach something they learned to someone else; it's not that simple. It takes two to tango; one to lead, one to follow, and the roles of leader and follower can switch without anyone noticing. That is teaching and learning, properly understood.
[page 13] People frequently fail to notice that there is an inner attitude of temperament, character, and so on, behind everything a teacher brings to teaching, regardless of self-education, formal training, or assimilated knowledge. Here, too, a real knowledge of the human being leads more deeply into human nature itself.
In The Karate Kid, Mr. Myagi teaches a young American boy in unorthodox ways, showing him how to wax the car, to paint the fence, etc, using methods modern teachers would consider horrible. Yet his teaching was effective. Why? Mr. Myagi did not lecture in content, he showed the boy in process, then left him alone to discover the meaning. Imitation is the root of very deep learning. Mr. Myagi had the boy imitate his movements, filling in a crucial piece of learning that the kid had missed his first life period before teeth change. It was a crash course for the kid who went on to become a champion.
[page 14] As far as this life period is concerned, if a civilization never spoke of education and in its elementary, primitive way simply educated, it would have a much healthier outlook than ours. This was true of the ancient Eastern regions, which had no education in our sense of the word. There the adult's body, soul, and spirit was allowed to affect the child so that the child could take this adult as a guide, moving a muscle when the teacher moved a muscle and blinking when the teacher blinked. The teacher was trained to do this in a way that enabled the child to imitate. Such a teacher was not as the Western "pedagogue," but the Eastern data (Sanskrit word for 'the giver'). A certain instinctive quality was behind this.
Steiner mentions the appearance of new teeth about age 7 in many places in his education lecture. It is not the new teeth that are so important, but the deeper changes in the growing human that they signal. In our age, most people want some proof of these deep invisible changes, and the teeth change gives Steiner an external change they can witness and accept as proof.He wants us to realize that our mode of acceptance of proof only through our sense perception developed after the fourteenth century. If we disdain the way of knowledge of the people in the Middle Ages, it is only because we know nothing about how they perceived the world. We project the darkness of our own perception when we speak of these people as living in the Dark Ages. Steiner has us envision how people in the future will look back at our time in which we only accept sensory data as proof.
[page 18 italics added] During the ages before the fourteenth century, humans perceived the world of the senses, and also comprehended with the intellect. The intelligence of the medieval monastic schools is too often underestimated. The inner intelligence and conceptual faculty was much more highly developed than the modern and chaotic conceptual faculty, which is really driven by, and limited to, natural phenomena; anyone who is objective and impartial can observe this. In those days, anything that the intellect and senses perceived in the universe required validation from the divine, spiritual realm.The fact that sense revelation had to be sanctioned by divine revelation was not merely an abstract principle; it was a common, very human feeling and observation. A manifestation in the world of the senses could be considered valid only when knowledge of it could be proven and demonstrated in terms of the divine, spiritual world.
Since the fourteenth century, our mode of understanding and proof has changed, so that only evidence of our senses is accepted as proof, up until now. Even statements about spiritual realities are rejected unless some materialistic proof is provided. Only what is matter-based matters; spirit-based matters do no matter. Notice the presence of the word matter in the previous sentence? About something which we deem meaningful, we say, "It matters", do we not? How can spirit have a chance in such a world as ours where only matter matters? If we wish to discuss the world in a balanced way, shouldn't we have a neutral word to replace the one-sided word matter?
[page 18, 19] Why does everyone ask for a demonstration of matters that are really related to spirit? People ask you to make an experiment or sense observation that provides proof.
This is what people want, because they have lost faith in the reality of the human being's inner activity; they have lost faith in the possibility that intuitions can emerge from the human being when looking at ordinary life, at sensory appearances and the intellect. Humanity has really weakened inwardly, and is no longer conscious of the firm foundation of an inner, creative life. This has had a deep influence on all areas of practical life, and most of all on education.
Even the phrase Steiner uses above, "firm foundation", is a matter-based expression, which he uses to reach his audience. Our inner, creative life can only appear when one accepts the equal validity of matter and spirit in every human being. The firm foundation can only exist when a human being has one foot on matter and another on spirit. No matter how we say it we sound strange because so many of our metaphors in this age are matter-bound metaphors. And all this communicates to our children unless they are taught by people who have a balanced view of matter and spirit as two realities.
On Earth matter falls to the ground, but in outer space the Earth does not fall because all heavenly bodies support each other. Someone who thinks matter is all that matters can never teach in a Waldorf School until they truly understand how spiritual truths support each other.
[page 19] When we speak of the material nature of plants, animals, minerals, or human beings, we must prove our statements through experiment and sense observation. This kind of proof suggests that an object must be supported. In the free realm of the spirit, however, truths support one another. The only validation required is their mutual support. Thus, in representing spiritual reality, every idea must be placed clearly within the whole, just as Earth or any other heavenly body moves freely in cosmic space. Truths must support one another.
The above passage highlights how difficult it is for a newcomer to achieve understanding of Rudolf Steiner's work. Each lecture requires a knowledge of all the other lectures. Studying these lectures involves a lot of work, no less than the work required to achieve a Ph. D. in any modern field of endeavor. If one does this work, reward is not some degree to hang on the wall or initials to add behind one's title; no, the reward shows through an ability to come to grips with whatever subject Steiner discusses and make practical use of it. Emil Molt and the others who founded the Waldorf School system possessed this ability and their schools prosper a hundred years later(2). They had a capacity to conceive the spiritual and to teach it to other teachers who could pass it along to growing human beings.
[page 19, 20] Anyone who tries to understand the spiritual realm must first examine truths coming from other directions, and how they support the one truth through the free activity of their "gravitational force'' of proof, as it were. In this way, that single truth is kept free in the cosmos, just as a heavenly body is supported freely in the cosmos by the countering forces of gravity. A capacity to conceive of the spiritual in this way must become an essential inner quality of human beings; otherwise, though we may be able to understand and educate the soul aspect, we will be unable to understand and educate the spirit that also lives and moves in the human being.
To educate a child properly we must understand from whence the body, soul, and spirit of the newly-born human being originates. Yes, the body and genetic structure originates from the baby's parents. We have sensory-based data which proves that to us, but what about the soul and spirit?
[page 20] When human beings enter the physical world of sensation, their physical body is provided by the parents and ancestors. Even natural science knows this, although such discoveries will become complete only in the remote future. Spiritual science teaches that is only one aspect of the human being; the other part unites with what arises from the father and mother; it descends as a spirit soul being from the realm of spirit and soul.
In the time between a previous death and a new birth this soul and spirit has had a long series of experiences preparing itself for a new life on Earth. The essence of the soul and spirit hover around the newborn, loosely connected to its physical body, and living more outside than inside the body until teeth change, making the child like a sense organ.
[page 21] The surrounding impressions ripple, echo and sound through the whole organism because the child is not so inwardly bound up with its body as is the case in later life, but lives in the environment with its freer spiritual and soul nature. Hence the child is receptive to all the impressions coming from the environment.
Through heredity we are each given at birth a model upon which our spirit and soul forces work to create a second human organism by the time of teeth change. Like the teeth, the first human organism was formed completely from its mother's nutritional processes, but at birth and separation from the mother, nutritional processes from outside the mother begin to filter in and from these the new teeth and new human organism is formed(3). During this period the child surrenders to the environment all its blood circulation, breathing, and nutritional processes, all of these praying as if in a religious experience. And the teacher is like the priest presiding over this religious process.
[page 24] The position of the teacher becomes a kind of priestly office, a ritual performed at the altar of universal human life — not with a sacrificial victim to be led to death, but with the offering of human nature itself, to be awakened to life. Our task is to ferry into earthly life the aspect of the child that came from the divine spiritual world. This, with the child's own forces, forms a second organism from the being that came to us from the divine spiritual life.
In my early life I watched five younger siblings during their first periods of childhood. As a young adult in my twenties I watched my four children during their first period of childhood. As a mature adult, I have now watched 21 grandchildren and four great-grandsons grow through this period, and all with a sense of awe and amazement as if God were shining out of them. No sacrifice on my part was too great to help them through this stage. If they needed feeding, l fed them; if they were soiled, I wiped their soiled bottoms, and affixed a clean diaper on them; if they were colicky, I would hold and rock them until they fell asleep. Nothing ever gave me a warmer feeling in my heart than to be near to and hold in my arms a newborn baby. Now I understand why: the soul and spirit of the baby was merging with mine, and we held a wordless soul-to-soul communication. This process cannot be explained, but must be experienced to be truly understood.
[page 24] Few things have a more wonderful effect on the human heart than seeing inner spirit and soul elements released day to day, week to week, month to month, year to year, during the first period of childhood. We see how, beginning with chaotic limb movements, the glance filled with rapture by the outer, the play of expressions that do not yet seem to belong to the child, something develops and impresses itself on the surface of the human form that arises from the center of the human being, where the divine spiritual being is unfolding in its descent from pre-earthly life.
To become a teacher is not to follow some set of rules, but to embrace a method that flows from within yourself as a spring, greeting each child as an sojourner recently returned to Earth to experience life anew, nurtured by its own experiences in the spiritual world before birth, and ready to receive the love and thoughtfulness of its parents, caregivers, and teachers.
[page 25, paraphrased for clarity] This must be our attitude to the growing human being; it is essential to any educational method. Without this fundamental attitude, without this priestly element in the teacher, education cannot be continued. Therefore the methods of education must turn away from the intellectual element and return to the domain of soul and feelings, to move toward what flows from human nature as a whole, not just from the head. If we look at the child without preconceptions, the child's own nature will teach us to read these things.
From age 21, my way of parenting came from the domain of soul and feelings, the very feelings I experienced flowing from my mother and my dozens of aunts to me and their other babies as I grew up. As a young parent each child's individual soul and spirit flowed into and led me to provide what it needed. Feelings were what mattered to me when I was raising my children, with an occasional help from mothers and aunts.I was not a perfect parent, but an effective one. As I look back now, I studied all about matter as a physicist in college, but nothing about matter helped me raise children! What did matter was feelings, and feelings are definitely not matter! They were the living processes of soul and spirit in a human being, processes that used to matter more than matter did, just a handful of centuries ago.
[page 26, italics added] People can no longer feel or perceive in a way that was possible before the fourteenth century. In those days, people observed matters of the spirit in an imbalanced way, just as people now observe the things of nature. But the human race had to pass through a stage in which it could add the observation of purely natural elements to an earlier human devotion to the world of spirit and soul that excluded nature. This materializing process, or swing downward, was necessary; but we must realize that, in order that civilized humanity not be turned into a wasteland in our time, there must be a new turn, a turning toward spirit and soul.
The above material inspired me to write this following poem, which I hope you will find to be as inspiring as it is humorous. I think it was Steiner's phrase "matters of the spirit" that set me off. He uses the word "matter" which refers to purely materialistic things and applies it as a metaphor to refer a purely spiritual process. Something is the matter with that usage, isn't it? We still use matter that way today, both as a noun and a verb. If we wish to say that something is meaningful or important, we say it matters, don't we? If that something important is purely spiritual, we still say it matters. To Steiner spirit matters. It seems to me we need a word to replace the ubiquitous verb matter when we talk of spiritual matters.There's that word again! Something is the matter, but what?
What's the Matter?
Before the fourteenth century
Spirit mattered more than Matter.
Since the fourteenth century
Matter has mattered more than Spirit.
What's the Matter?
As beings of Spirit and Matter
Doesn't Spirit matter as much as Matter?
Maybe both Spirit and Matter matter.
That's the Spirit!
Indeed, that is the spirit which must fill Waldorf education, a recognition that spirit matters, that spirit reigns as important as any physical stuff (matter). In a book of lectures devoted to the essential aspects of education, an understanding of the equal importance of spirit and matter is truly essential.
[page 26] The awareness of this fact is the essence of all endeavors such as that of Waldorf school education, which is rooted in what a deeper observation of human evolution reveals as necessary for our time. We must find our way back to the spirit and soul; for this we must first clearly recognize how we removed ourselves from them in the first place. There are many today who have no such understanding and, therefore, view anything that attempts to lead us back to the spirit as, well, not really the point, shall we say.
All of this talk about how matter is an over-used and wrongly-used word led me brainstorm up a word to replace the verb matter as in "is important" or "has meaning." A word that includes both material and spiritual meanings, and also find a word which can replace the noun matter.
Our main stream culture
has been a matter stream culture, up until now.
Matter has been what matters!
But matter (condensed energy) is dead
if it is non-animate, non-living, non-moving.
Dead matter does not matter,
only living matter matters.
Let our matter-stream culture
become a pulse-stream culture from now on.
A culture in which living matter moves,
A culture in which living matter pulsates,
A culture in which living matter is in constant motion,
in the microcosm and macroscosm.
What matters is what pulsates.
If some thing pulsates, it matters.
What pulsates is what matters.
So let's agree to begin saying:
What is important is what pulsates.
What has meaning is what pulsates.
What has meaning pulsates.
Pulsation as in
matter and spirit
in a cosmic dance.
Perhaps we can:
Replace the noun matter with pulsation
and the verb matter with pulsate.
Does this pulsate for you?
Can you feel the pulsation of our culture?
Shall we live in a Pulse Stream Culture from now on?
People today think that if we smile at a child, it recognizes the smile and interprets it as a sign that we like them. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is the feeling within us that pulsates with the child; that feeling may create a smile on our face, but how our face looks does not pulsate within the child, only the feeling inside of us. If we say something loud out of concern for the child, the child feels the concern and the loudness of our voice is ignored, only the feeling of concern pulsates within the child. Our knowledge of what really happens inside of children is as dark as our knowledge of the so-called Dark Ages, up until now.
[page 28] Children are aware, whenever we do something in their environment, of the thoughts behind a hand-gesture or facial expression. Children intuit them: they do not, obviously, interpret facial features, since what operates instead is a much more powerful inner connection between the child and adult than will exist later between adults. Consequently, we must never allow ourselves to feel or think anything around children that should not be allowed to ripple(4) on within the child. The rule of thumb for all relationships in early education must be this: Whether in perception, feeling, or thought, whatever we do around children must be done in such a way that it may be allowed to continue vibrating their souls.
Whatever pulsates within the child will later, decades later in their forties and fifties, act as a predisposition to health or illness. Waldorf education educates not only the soul and spirit, but also the body, rightly understood.
[page 28] Consequently, we can say that if Waldorf schools educate out of spirit and soul, it s not because we choose to work in an unbalanced way with only the soul and spirit; rather, it is because we know that this is how we physically educate the inner being in the highest sense of the word. The physical being exists with the envelope of the skin.
Who would think of children before 7 as being religious and from 7 to 14 as being artistic? This is the natural way of growth, rightly understood.
[page 29] Our initial approach to life had a religious quality in that we related to nature as naturally religious beings, surrendered to the world. In this second stage, however, we are no longer obligated to merely accept passively everything coming from our environment, allowing it to vibrate in us physically; rather, we transform it creatively into images. Between the change of teeth and puberty, children are artists, though in a childish way, just as in the first phase of life, children were homo religiosus — naturally religious beings.
And yet our culture today is driven by and for the intellect, not by and for our artistic natures. Teachers have to digest a lot of natural science in modern textbooks, but cannot share these cold abstract thoughts and descriptions with their students. They must find a way to share this material in an artistic fashion so that their students between 7 and 14 may be able to assimilate them, to even enjoy science, instead of hating it as so many adults today report of their grade school years.
Instead taking their students along with them into a plunge into cold intellectualism, the teachers must read the material, learn, then forget it while teaching, and let their thoughts about the natural world communicate from soul to soul with their students.
[page 30] Whatever lives in our thoughts about nature must fly on the wings of artistic inspiration and transform into images. They must arise in the soul of the child.
There are two things that should definitely be avoided, and the first is definitions! Sharply outlined ideas such as we adults fit into definitions will cause more harm than good if we share them with children during the first or second phase of life up to puberty. Admittedly, this is easier for the teacher, but such 15-year-old ideas do not fit into an 8-year-old mind any more that 15-year-old feet would fit in an 8-year-olds shoes. Writing is filled with abstract shapes and teachers do best to approach the forming of each letter with an example of something living, like the shape of a fish shown as the form of the script letter "f". Learning the alphabet through living imagery foster healthy breathing, whereas skipping imagery by intense intellectuality in learning writing leads to shallow breathing and possible respiration diseases such as asthma as an adult.
The second thing to be avoided is a dictatorial attitude by the teacher. This creates a weakening of the child's metabolic system and will lead to chronic digestive problems in later life. If this seems all arbitrary and complicated to you, dear Reader, it will begin to make sense, to pulsate within you as you understand more of how the human being evolves along with the cosmos within which we find ourselves.
[page 34] Thus, from week to week, month to month, year to year, a true knowledge of the human being will help us read the developing being like a book that tells us what needs to be done in the teaching. The curriculum must reproduce what we read in the evolutionary process of the human being. Specific ways that we can do this will be addressed in coming lectures.
When I first encountered words written in Greek they appeared in footnoted passages of Carl Jung's books, and no translations were provided. The best I could do was to spell out the words, to transliterate the Greek spelling into English spelling. Soon I recognized the letter Phi sounded like the English sound of ph or f like in "phone". I could recognize words like pharmacon for the first time. But reading the meaning of the passage was beyond me. Steiner makes the point that our modern natural science has only reached this same primitive level of spelling in its knowledge of our human nature. It can spell a bit, but not understand the underlying reality of the words and sentences it spells out. Surely many of you Good Readers will be upset by this judgment of our sciences which, rightly understood, are moving backwards in understanding human reality. Steiner explains.
[page 36] We must answer: Until the fourteenth or fifteenth century, human beings were unable to "spell out" nature. They saw natural phenomena and received instinctive, intuitive impressions, primarily from other human beings. They did not get as far as describing organs, but their culture was spiritual and sensible, and they had an instinctive impression of the human being as a totality.
Later on, humans began to learn the alphabet of human nature while forgetting their instinctive knowledge. We have come to the situation today where we place a higher value on reading the letters of human nature than the instinctive knowledge which could read and make sense of full sentences of human nature.
[page 37] Of course, anatomists today think they know more about the heart and liver than those of earlier times. Nevertheless, people then had a picture of the heart and liver, and their perception included a spiritual element.
One of the most spiritual organs of the human body is the spleen; it is so spiritual that it continues to function if the physical organ is removed. As a result the spleen is deemed mostly useless by modern physicians who can only read its "letters" and can not read its importance as a central regulator of bodily functions. I was discussing the process of an internal spleen massage with a brain surgeon at a club breakfast once, and I noticed his hands making an unusual gesture of cutting.He was imagining slicing open the abdomen and massaging the physical spleen directly with his hands! I smiled because I was referring to the internal massage that happens during digestion when the pulsing of the intestines during peristalsis gently massages the spleen. This process happens, for example, during a nap taken after a full meal and is beneficial to the spleen and to the entire body. A gentle massage of spleen area by a masseuse will also be a benefit to the spleen.
The instinctive reading of human nature, an old perceptual mode, was involuntary and not conscious as we require of our modern science of human nature. Being involuntary means humans of earlier times had no moral freedom because they involuntarily followed the dictates of spiritual beings. With our immersion into materialism, we were able to free ourselves from the dictates of spiritual beings, and with that freedom came the possibility of amoral behavior. We arrived at the stage that morality requires a conscious decision from now on. We can consider that in the teens of the previous millennium, the 13th, 14th, and 15th centuries humans rebelled from the dictates of the spiritual world, much as teenagers of today rebel against the parental authorities who claim to know what's best for them. Humankind must find its way back to a morality without coercion if we are to move into our adulthood. The lessons Steiner has for teachers is a lesson for all of us at whatever age we are.
[page 38] None of this could have happened while the old perceptual mode persisted. Human beings had to be liberated for a while from the spirit working involuntarily within them so that they could freely assume that spirit itself. An unbiased observation of the activity of spiritual culture leads one to say: It is of primary importance that educators develop full awareness of the process of human evolution on Earth. Whereas there used to be an unconscious bond between teacher and student — which was true of ancient times — they must now develop a conscious bond. This is not possible if culture arises from mere spelling, which is the way of all science and human cognition today. Such a conscious relationship can arise only if we learn to progress consciously from spelling to reading. In other words, in the same way we grasp the letters in a book but get something very different from what the letters say, so we must also get from human nature something that modern natural science cannot express by itself; it is acquired only when we understand the statements of natural science as though they were letters of an alphabet, and thus we learn to read the human being.
We do not have a higher mode of understanding than humans did before the fourteenth century; they had unconsciously and instinctively what we must learn to develop consciously and volitionally.
[page 39] We are forced to use radical expressions to describe the relationship that people today have with one another and with the world. This relationship is completely misunderstood. The belief is that human beings really have something higher today than was available before the fourteenth century; but this is not true. We must develop to the degree that we learn to manipulate consciously, freely, and deliberately what we have, just as in earlier times we gained our concepts of human nature through instinctive intuition. This development in modern culture should pass through teacher training education like a magic breath and become a habit of the soul in the teachers, since only it can place the teachers at the center of that horizon of worldview, which they should perceive and survey.
Teachers must learn to know the insides of human nature, to be able to read it, not just spell it, as they were likely taught in colleges.
[page 40] When this is the situation, every experience of a teacher's development will be more than lifeless pedagogical rules; they will not need to ponder the application of one rule or another to a child standing in front of them, which would be fundamentally wrong.
A teacher must always hold this one unanswered question when confronted by a child, "What must I do with this child?" Not what do the rules tell me to do? No, what must I do as a full human being with this child who has awakened my human nature and inspired me to respond fully to its needs? To that end, I must learn to read a child like I read a book, learn the relationships between the letters and how letters form words, and words, sentences. That is the relationship that must exist between teacher and pupils.
[page 40] Teachers will not place too much nor too little value on the material development of the bodily nature; they will adopt the appropriate attitude toward bodily nature and then learn to apply what physiology and experimental psychology have to say about children. Most of all, they will be able to rise from a perception of details to a complete understanding of the growing human being.
Understanding the Fourfold Human Being
Steiner says we must have an inner musical perception in order to experience the astral human being. I have played several musical instruments, sung in a Barbershop Chorus, and studied acoustics in advanced physics, yet I admit lacking an inner perception of thirds and fifths or hear the difference between a major and minor chord. That makes me unable to experience the formative effect of the astral body in the human being. I hold as unanswered question how the difference between a minor and major third are found in the radius and ulna of the lower arm.
I know that when I rotate my fist the radius connected to my thumb rotates around the ulna , but have no idea how this is related to major and minor except the ulna is necessarily longer than the radius. I know the tonic is the center of the chord and what the second and third are. Somehow chords are formed of major and minor thirds.
If a chord is formed with a major third below a minor third, it is called a major chord; if a chord is formed with a minor third below a major third, it is called a minor chord. Thus, the longer ulna with the shorter radius on top of it represents a major chord and the reversed position with the ulna on top represents a minor chord. This is how I interpret, with my scant knowledge of music theory as a physicist, what Steiner says in the passage below:
[page 46] The astral body is not natural history, natural science, or physics; it is music. This is true to the extent that, in the forming activity within the human organism, it is possible to trace how the astral body has a musical formative effect in the human being. This formative activity flows from the center between the shoulder blades, first into the tonic of the scale; as it flows on into the second, it builds the upper arm, and into the third, the lower arm. When we come to the third we arrive at the difference between major and minor; we find two bones in the lower arm — not just one — the radius and ulna, which represent minor and major. One who studies the outer human organization, insofar as it depends on the astral body, must approach physiology not as a physicist, but as a musician.
Here are the four parts of the full human being, the physical body, the etheric body, the astral body, and the I as described by Steiner in a way which is outside of the nine dots of the academic disciplines. We must rise from abstract principles to formative qualities to understand our etheric body. We must hear cosmic music expressing itself in our astral body.We must come to know the genius of speech as it works in forming words and ideas to comprehend the I. (Page 48 summary).
Steiner sums it all up this way:
[page 49] What we must become aware of may be expressed this way: First, we come to know the physical body in an abstract, logical sense. Then we turn to the sculptural formative activity with intuitive cognition and begin to understand the etheric body. Third, as a physiologist, one becomes a musician and views the human being the way one would look at a musical instrument — an organ or violin — where one sees music realized. Thus, we understand the astral human being. And when we come to know the genius of speech as it works creatively in words — not merely connecting it with words through the external memory — we gain knowledge of the human I-being.
Out of the primal Chaos came the Word is how Steiner suggests we understand the beginning words of the Gospel of John. From this Word came the I which inhabits and enlivens each of us, rightly understood.
In Lecture 4, Steiner reworks our 3R's as follows: 'Riting, Reading, and 'Rithmetic as he suggest that reading is an unbalanced activity if it is taught before writing. Writing itself should flow from artistic pursuits like painting and drawing so that children can learn to write about their deepest experiences. Only then should reading be taught.
[page 53] When children have reached a certain level of development, they can speak and then write what they have said. This is when it becomes appropriate to teach reading. Reading is easy to teach once writing has been somewhat developed. After children have begun work within their own being — in the nervous system and limbs, in the substance of their writing and reading, and in their inner participation in producing reading material — only then are they ready for one-sided activity. Then, without any danger to their development as human beings, the head can become active, and what they first learned by writing is turned into reading.
On pages 55 through 57 Steiner gives a tutorial on Goethe's understanding of the growth of plants through a cycle of expansion and contraction. Steiner develops this cycle further by showing it is the influence of the Sun which fosters the expansion and the influence of the Moon which fosters the contraction of the plant. Sun forces cause leaves to develop in expansive waves to the top of the plant, then Moon forces cause a contraction into a seed from which a new plant can growth. Always Sun-expansion, Moon-contraction. If this sounds weird to you, perhaps a bit of proof would be welcome. Easter provides a proof of the connection of the Sun and Moon's effect on plants. In 2016 Easter was very late, falling on March 27. As a result our blackberry bushes fruited almost a whole month later than usual, in May instead of April. The plants are aware of the Sun and the Moon. Our Easter lilies often bloom close to Easter, but this year our last lily was still blooming on June 23. The ancients knew of this relationship.
[page 58] Ancient, instinctive wisdom was conscious of such things, and what follows offers proof of this. In the plant life that buds from the Earth in spring, people saw a cosmic reflection of the relationship between Sun forces and Moon forces. Thus, spring was celebrated with the Easter festival, whose date was determined by the relationship between Sun and Moon. The Easter festival occurs on the first Sunday after the spring full moon. The time of the Easter festival is therefore determined in reference to the cosmos — the relationship between Sun and Moon. What people of those ancient times might have implied was this: When we see plants budding in spring, we are faced with the enigma of why they appear sometimes earlier and sometimes later. The fact that the time of the spring full moon plays an essential role in all these processes of budding and sprouting allows us to get to the heart of this riddle.
My brother David was a fisherman par excellence — when he wasn't working, he went fishing. He drove past cows in a pasture on his way fishing and over a decade or so he noticed a pattern: if the cows were standing, the fish were biting; if the cows were sitting down the fish were not biting. Cows eat only when standing and rest when sitting. Apparently the cows and fishes are both affected by the forces of the Sun and Moon.
[page 60] We must return again to a living cognition, just as we still see the aftereffects in such things as the determination of Easter time. But such insight into the cosmos must result from consciously developed knowledge — not from the instinctive knowledge of earlier ages.
As part of this consciously developed knowledge, I propose that we create a new word to replace the verb matter to express this living cognition, namely pulsate. Definitions are dead concepts, as dead as the noun matter is. If a teacher presents the growth of plants in living pictures, it will appeal to each child's entire body, and the effect will be obvious.
[page 61] You will quickly see the animation in children as they grasp something presented to them pictorially. They will not answer with a concept that merely comes from the lips — one that cannot be really formed yet — but they will tell a story using their arms and hands and all kinds of body language.
In other words, the children will pulsate with an excitement that reveals that true education is taking place in a classroom. Part of the excitement is the presence of unanswered questions created in the children by the teacher's living pictures. The teacher does not need to explain away every aspect of the pictures, they can instead seed questions in the children which will grow into answers as ripe fruit may appear on trees decades after their seeds were planted.
[page 62] Pedagogy must be alive. It involves more than just applying oneself; it must come to flower from the very life situations of education. And it can do this when it grows from the teachers' living experience of their own being in the cosmos.
Watch now as Conductor Steiner steps up the center of the orchestra and taps his baton to call us to attention. He is presenting the Human Being Symphony to us Good Readers. Hold onto your seats, you and I are becoming the students as Herr Steiner is presenting living pictures to us of our own humanity in the form of a symphony with the Fourfold Human Being as an orchestra playing the bull, lion, eagle, and angel sections in harmony.
[page 62, 63] The bull represents an unbalanced development of the lowest forces of human nature. Picture the forces in the human metabolic-limb system without any balancing forces in the head and rhythmic systems; forces in the head and rhythmic systems; in other words, imagine an unbalanced and prevailing development of the metabolic-limb system. Here we have a one-sided formation that presents itself to us as the bull. We can thus imagine that if this bull nature were toned down by the human head organization, it would develop into something like the human being.
Next comes the lion section of our symphony orchestra. The lion has a shortened abdominal structure which allows it to eat large chunks of meat at a time without chewing them and requires the large animal to sit still while digestion takes place, during which it displays its noble lion's head and mane.
[page 63] If the central rhythmic system is developed in an unbalanced way — for example, through a contraction of the abdominal system or a stunting of the head system — we can picture it as lion nature.
But there is one section in which the head is over-developed and produces a bird or eagle nature which is like a flying head.
[page 63] If, however, there is one-sided development of the head organism in such a way that the forces otherwise existing in the inner part of the head push out into "feathers," we get a bird, or eagle nature.
Something is needed to pull these three diverse sections together in the Human Symphony and that is the angel section.
[page 63] If we imagine forces that enable these three qualities to harmonize as a unity that can manifest by adding the angelic fourth, we get a synthesis of the three — the human being.
You may recognize these forms of Bull, Lion, Eagle, and Angel as associated with the writers of the four Gospels: Luke, Mark, John, and Matthew. This is another indication of the four sections of the Human Symphony which must play in harmony to make a complete human being. Steiner says on page 63, "These things were alive in the instinctive wisdom of ancient times." We can see them as still alive today in church art everywhere, if we but look with understanding of their meaning.
[page 64] Thus, when we determine humankind's relationship to the animal kingdom through observation, we find the relationship between the astral body and the outer world. We must apply a musical understanding to the astral body. I gaze into the human being, and out toward the myriad animal forms. Its as if we were to take a symphony where all the tones sound together in a wonderful, harmonious, and melodious whole and, over the course of time, separated each tone from the others and juxtaposed them.
As we look out into the animal world, we have the single tones. As we look into the human astral body and what it builds in the physical and etheric bodies, we have the symphony. If we go beyond an intellectual view of the world and have enough cognitive freedom to rise to artistic knowledge, we develop an inner reverence, permeated with religious fervor, for the invisible being — the marvelous world composer — who first arranged the tones in the various animal forms, and then created the human being as a symphony of the phenomena of animal nature.
These are the living realities which must pulsate in a teacher who wishes to enliven their students rather than bore them silly.
[page 65] A teacher comes into the class with the fullness of this abundance, and when dealing with children, it's as though they found before them a voice for the world mysteries pulsating and streaming through the teacher, as though merely an instrument through which the world speaks to the child. There is then a real inner, enlivening quality in the method of instruction, not just superficial pedantry. Enthusiasm must not be artificially produced, but blossom like a flower from the teacher's relationship to the world; this is the important thing.
Through the living pictures of the 0-7 age and the musical symphony absorbed in the 7-14 age, the intellect can develop as the astral body becomes free at puberty. Compare this process of teaching to that of the bank deposit metaphor where a teacher deems its job is to place knowledge into its students. It just doesn't work effectively that way.
[page 65] The human intellect does not absorb anything of what we force on it intellectually from outside; before the intellect can receive anything, it must first develop within the individual in a different way.
We must take hold of our astral body which beats in synchrony with the etheric body's forming work. When these two harmonize the young adult can begin to understand what was perceived earlier and find an inner freedom which is the most precious gift any human can receive. I remember when that moment came for me at the age of 18. I bought a book in a college bookstore of Ralph Waldo Emerson's Complete Essays and later in my dorm room, I read his amazing essay on "Self-Reliance" — it changed my life forever.
[page 66] The most important thing for which we can prepare a child is the experience of freedom, at the right moment in life, through the understanding of one's own being. True freedom is an inward experience and is developed only when the human being is viewed in this way. As a teacher, I must say that I cannot pass on freedom to another human being — each must experience it individually. Nevertheless, I must plant something within the person — something intact because I have left it untouched — to which that person's own intact being feels attracted and into which it may become immersed.
My parents were high school graduates and not intellectuals, so they allowed me to grow through puberty without trying to stuff me with intellectuality and high-faluting ideas. I said I wanted to go to college, the first in my generation to do so, and they said, "Good, but we can't support you in college, you'll have do it by yourself." They placed no expectations on me against which I could rebel. In place of paying for my college education, they gave me the most precious gift of all, freedom.
My parents were competent in many areas, parenting, farming, hunting, fishing, building, sewing, etc. They were no klutzes. All their skills flowed seamlessly into me and from me into my own children. Steiner gives an example of how a klutz operates — they teach intellectual concepts to children who have yet to reach puberty.
[page 67] If I educate intellectually before puberty — if I offer abstract concepts or ready-made, sharply outlined observations instead of growing, living pictures — I am violating the human being and crudely handling the I within. [RJM: In other words, being a klutz.]
If my parents were alive today, I could say to them the very words with which Steiner on page 67 closes Lecture Four, "You have accomplished something with me; my freedom has been left whole. You have made it possible for me to grant myself my own freedom at the right moment in life. You have done something that enables me to stand before you now, shaping myself as a human being from my individuality, which you left reverently untouched." Thank you Buster and Annette. Thank you Steiner. Amen.
Steiner was not concerned with details of Waldorf pedagogy in these lectures, but wished to "describe the spirit of this method as a whole."(Page 68) He sought out teachers who would be "soul-artists" — who would show an abundance of enthusiasm; teachers who read children and adjust their methods to what they needed. Overall, he knew that "Children develop in the right way in their growth to adulthood only when education is lived with children and not forced upon them." (Page 69)
During the child's first period of life (0-7) moralizing doesn't matter. The child is still so spiritual that rules about conduct won't fit into its soul. Our actions as parents and caregivers will be mimicked by the child, but not understood. In the second period (7-14) rules will be mostly ignored, but parents' and teachers' "gestures and way of speaking will enter the child along with any truth, beauty, and goodness as revealed in the heart." (Page 70) Whenever Steiner says "teacher" we can include also parents, caregivers, and playmates in the child's home environment.
[page 71] Children do not ask intellectually with words, but deep in their hearts. "May I do this?" or "May I do that?" They will be answered, "Yes, you may," if the teacher does it. "Should I leave this undone?" "Yes, because my teacher shows that it may be left undone."
This is how children experience the world through the teacher — the world as goodness or evil, as beauty or ugliness, and as truth or falsehood. This relationship to the teacher — the activity of the hidden forces between the child's heart and that of the teacher — is the most important aspect of the teaching method; the conditions for life in education are contained in this.
We as parents and teachers must consider ourselves more as alarm clocks than as postmen. We must awaken beliefs in our children, not load them full of beliefs like a postman stuffs junk mail into our mailboxes. If we do this rightly, Steiner says, "We become awakeners, not stuffers of the souls of children." (Page 72)
The German philosopher Kant saw duty as all-important to human beings, telling us that duty was action sans volition. We did it because we were told to it. Schiller and Goethe both took umbrage at Kant's concept of duty. Goethe said, "Duty — that is, where people love what they tell themselves to do." Steiner said, "It was a great moment when morality was purged of Kant's influence and made human again through Schiller and Goethe." (Page 73)
If ever there was a rule which prevented children from holding unanswered questions(5), it was the one called "visual instruction" in Steiner's time. Children will hold onto mysteries which appear in the course of their instruction, will hold them as unanswered questions until some bright day, an answer will appear to them in later life. One time at the age of 9, I was checking out books from my library, and the librarian looked carefully through one of the books as if to decide whether I should be allowed to take home this book. For me, it was a story in words and drawings about a cartoon character named Spiro and his adventures through the inside of a human body. She let me take out the book. Only some twenty years later did I realize that Spiro was a syphilis bug and the words I couldn't understand at the time described the course of a bout with the disease. At age 30 or so, I all at once understood why the disease leads to blindness because I had seen in that book Spiro come out of the human eye at one point in the story. The spiral point of his tail was how he bored into the human skin to enter the blood stream.
[page 76] There are those who limit themselves to a triviality often known as "visual instruction." They entrench themselves behind the rule — as obvious as it is foolish — that children should be shown only what they can comprehend, and they fall into absurdities that could drive a person crazy. This principle must be replaced by that deeper principle that helps us to understand what it means for the vitality of a person when at the age of forty, a sudden realization occurs: For the first time I can understand what that respected authority thought and accomplished earlier. I absorbed it because, to me, that individual embodied truth, goodness, and beauty. Now I have the opportunity to draw from the depths what I heard in those days.
Steiner tells us that "a true teacher must always keep in view all of life." My librarian was a true teacher because she allowed me to read something that I clearly was not ready for at the time, but which stayed with me powerfully all of my life.
[page 76, 77] A teacher must, for example, be able to see the wonderful element that is present in many older people, whose very presence brings a kind of blessing without much in the way of words; a kind of blessing is contained in every gesture. This is a characteristic of many people who stand at the threshold of death. From where does this come? Such individuals have this quality because, during childhood, they developed devotion naturally. Such reverence and devotion during childhood later becomes the capacity to bless. We may say that at the end of earthly life, people cannot stretch out their hands in blessing if they have not learned to fold them in prayer during childhood. The capacity for blessing when one grows old and comes near the threshold of death originates with folding ones hands in prayer with reverent, childhood devotion.
Only living processes such as those of a teacher can shape souls of human beings. Since the age of materialism began, however, we have been acting as blacksmiths hammering at matter to shape it to our ends. But a blacksmith cannot hammer on spirits to shape them, so there have been casualties along the way, namely our spirit, our human I.
[page 79] This is primarily due to the fact that — while we have hammered away at perception of matter and at activity in matter — spirit has been shattered, and with it the I.
If we place limits on knowledge, as is common, saying that we cannot enter the realm of spirit, this implies only that we cannot enter the human realm. To limit knowledge means that we remove the human being from the world as far as knowing is concerned.
When we reach a state where we connect the human I to matter, then only matter matters, and we begin to treat human beings like zombies. This opens the door to all kinds of moral abuses such as voluntary abortions, euthanasia, and suicides. What causes this?
[page 79] . . . matter oppresses people. Matter confines each person within the bodily nature, and each individual thus becomes more or less isolated in soul. Unless we find other human beings in spirit, we become isolated souls, since human beings cannot, in fact, be found in the body.
What's the solution? Humans need to find that spirit matters and matter spirits.
[page 79, 80] Souls who are isolated in individual bodies pass one another by, whereas souls who awaken the spirit within to find spirit itself also find themselves, as human being, in communication with other human beings. Real community will blossom from the present chaos only when people find the spirit — when, living together in spirit, they find each other.
Our eye is open to the world and can reflect the entire world in itself. But is there any living organism that can reflect the entire cosmos in itself? Yes, the human being is that organism. The human being was formed out of the entire cosmos in body, soul, and spirit and can reflect the whole cosmos in itself. This is not a reflection as in a mirror; this is an inner reality. "Thus," Steiner concludes, "in the process of education, the world becomes human, and the human being discovers the world in the self." (Page 81) If you are alive today, you can participate in the process of educating your own self and if a teacher, educating your own excitement about being an integral part of the cosmos to your students.
---------------------------- Footnotes -----------------------------------------Return to text directly before Footnote 1.
Footnote 2.Return to text directly before Footnote 2.
Peel away the facade of a critic of the Waldorf School system, and you will find a person who has done little work to understand Steiner, only enough work to criticize him, which in this materialistic age requires little work.
Footnote 3.Return to text directly before Footnote 3.
Note that in seven years all the atoms in our human body are replaced with new ones.
Footnote 4.Return to text directly before Footnote 4.
Steiner uses the word ripple as we might say pulsate.
Footnote 5.Return to text directly before Footnote 5.
What is the power of an unanswered question? This is one of my basic rules, which is as open-ended as the 'visual instruction' rule Steiner's time was close ended.
Read more here: http://www.doyletics.com/mrules.shtml#mrn25
Click Here for a List of 25 books of Waldorf Education Lectures by Rudolf Steiner
2.) ARJ2: Zen Computer by Philip Toshio Sudo
I write in my books, often in the margins. Sometimes I draw in my books. I use my marginalia when I write my reviews. In this review the two converge: my drawing in the margins of the book appear in the review. These two cute little characters comprise what my friend Ed Manning gave a name to: a date glyph. A date glyph is my personalization of the year, month, and day into a single drawing. These date glyphes adorn and mark the pages of books as I read them. Thus it is possible to track the date on which I read a particular page in a book. Since the expressions on the faces of the figures vary with my mood as I draw them, these date glyphes also mark my mood as I read that particular page. These two date glyphes were drawn on December 29, 2003. The bodies of the two fishes are created by two script m's, one inverted, representing MM or 2000. The "3" is looped into the tail of the right-handed fish. The glyph is also a yin-yang symbol as it incorporates both the male or germinating figure on the left and the female or engendering figure on the right (represented by the eyelashes).
The strangeness of zen and the difficulty of understanding zen are portrayed in the content of the above two cartoons. Philip Toshio Sudo uses the metaphor of the computer to explain zen or the metaphor of zen to explain computers. He calls the book a "Zen Computer" and structures the book as if it were an instruction manual for a 'zen computer' — one which must be booted up during the process of reading the book, as the book is the only incarnation of the zen computer. So read on, boot up, and learn about zen, learn about computing, and learn about yourself.
On the process of booting up a computer, Sudo gives us this brief tutorial:
[page 37] If you are ready to begin the application, it's time to turn on your computer — in computer jargon, to boot up.
With the initial jolt of electricity, the computer starts preparing itself to get up and running, taking inventory of itself, setting switches, installing programs. In essence, the machine has to kick start itself, "pull itself up by its own bootstraps" before it can start working; hence the term boot.
What he says is true, but the essence of bootstrapping — while he promises to share it — he simply glosses over it. Here's the essence of the bootstrapping process, as I understand it. Once you understand the process this way, the reason for the expression used to describe it will be illuminated for you.
1. To start a computer working you need to load a program into it.
2. To load a program you first need to load a program loader.
3. The program loader can then load programs to run your applications.
4. The program loader is a program.
5. How does that program get in?
In short: how can you get a program into the computer without a program already inside the computer to load it? It's like lifting yourself by your own bootstraps. Bootstrap Paradox!
In the 1960s our new mini-computers had sixteen switches on the front that corresponded to the 16-bits of two adjacent bytes of computer storage which was its basic unit of storage. When we stored a piece of data into the computer using those switches, we called it "fat-fingering" data into the computer. (This was before we had keyboards and monitor screens for entering data.) To start up a computer back then, we had to fat-finger the bootstrap program into the front panels every time we powered on our mini-computers. Then we could load the program loader and then applications. This process is all automated today using read-only memory (ROM) and hard drives on our present personal computers. ROM holds the bootstrap loader. The boot sector of the first hard drive holds the primitive program loader — which is why your computer will not boot up if that sector is destroyed by a virus or errant program. We may ignore the whole bootstrap process today when all the work takes place behind the scenes of the computer panel, but if we wish to understand how our computers "boot up" we must go behind the scenes and understand the process described by the Hungarian mathematician, János Bolyai, in the quotation that appears at the head of the Chapter "Boot" on page 37:
"Out of nothing I have created a strange new universe."
Each chapter begins with a pertinent quotation such as the one above, and each chapter is filled with stories. Which reminds me of a story. When Gregory Bateson was asked how we would know when computers had reached the level of intelligence of a human being, he answered this way, "We would ask the computer a question and it would answer us, 'That reminds me of a story.' "
In English and Western languages, a "one" is drawn as a vertical line. In Japanese and other Eastern languages, a "one" is drawn as a horizontal line. Since our computers are binary computers, they deal on an internal basis with various combinations of "zero" and "one" or 01. In Japanese, a 01 could be repesented as 0 and you will see scattered throughout Sudo's book (e.g. page 154) the "zero" over the horizontal "one". The "one" in English looks like a flagpole; the "one" in Japanese looks like a surfboard. In this next story we can experience how the "one" of the surfboard becomes a "zero" of the balance point when the surfer is on the board and standing calm at the center of the wave of 0.
[page 31] Where do we find this still point of everything that moves? In mind, body, and spirit. A zen lesson designed to illustrate this notion tells of two monks arguing at a flagpole. One says, "the wind is moving." The other counters, "the flag is moving."
The master Bodhidharma, upon hearing the exchange, corrects them both, "Not the wind, not the flag," he says. "Mind is moving."
If mind is moving, Bodhidharma says, we are not calm and at the center.
Once we align ourselves through zen and stand at the center of the circle, we become like the surfer on the wave. Then the still point at the center moves as we move — moving according to movement, staying ever balanced, always finding equilibrium. As the masters say, the way is known through balancing, not balance.
All these ideas, zen masters express through 0.
Here's another story dished up from the still-point center of the 0 by Sudo:
[page 42] A famous story about buddha tells of a time he gathered his monks for a speech. Wordlessly, he held up a flower. Only one in the crowd, Kasyapa, broke into a smile, Understanding the master's message: the truth transcends words and forms. All things speak of god, be they flowers or stones or boxes of plastic, wire, and microchips.
If the buddha held up a computer today, what would you do?
What would you do? I thought as I read the passage that I would stick a horizontal finger at him, representing the "one" which together with the zero form the basis of the computer he was holding up. The one, which when looped together on itself becomes the "zero" which is the other side of the yin-yang of the computer. When we loop on ourselves, as in zazen, which is a sitting zen meditation, we become as one with ourselves and the universe.
The way of looping is different in the Western and Eastern cultures, even in something as simple as drawing the figure "zero."
[page 32] In Western cultures, for example, the number 0 is generally written starting at the 12 o'clock position and proceeding counterclockwise back to the 12 o'clock position. In the handwriting of Japan and China, however, 0 is drawn starting at the 6 o'clock position and moving clockwise around to the 6 o'clock position again. This action emphasizes the feeling of arising out of nothing, moving through time, and returning to origin.
We might each echo the words of the female fish in the cartoon glyph above and say to the author of this book: "You zen me." He takes us to the land of the Excluded Middle that transcends the either-or choice of 0 and 1 :
[page 33] The aim of Zen Computer will be to find the intuitive balance between 0 and 1 — not the halfway point at 0.5, but that transcendent place where both 0 ≠ 1 and 0 = 1, and where neither 0 = 1 nor 0 ≠ 1.
If this does not boggle your mind, then perhaps the truth of zen is already known to you.
[page 34] As you proceed, you'll find plenty of moments when zen doesn't make sense and yet rings true. Whatever means we use to approach it, that unnameable thing we call zen always has been and always will be; it simply is, whatever name we give it. Clap your hands, laugh at a joke. Zen is to be found in every action and every thing — including the computer. The truth of zen is already known to you. All you need to do is realize it.
And, from the next page, our yin-yang glyph speaks to us:
"A watched pot never boils" is an old saying from the West. This speaks to the process of looking at your watch constantly while waiting for some cherished event to occur — the watch never seems to move, just as the pot never seems to boil. Zen masters rarely teach using content, rather, they use process — they do something which illustrates the meaning directly without words. Because they operate that way, you learn directly as if you already knew what they were trying to teach you — and, in a way, you do. In a hurry to become a zen master, hmmm, better read this next story, a "parable about an eager young student who approached a master to learn the art of swordsmanship":
[page 58] "Master," he said, "if I study diligently, how long will it take me to learn the art of swordsmanship?"
"Ten years, perhaps."
"What if I work exceptionally hard? Then how long will it take me?"
The student was perplexed. "I'm willing to endure any hardship and make any sacrifice," he said. "I just want to learn the art in the shortest time possible."
"In the case," the master said, "it will probably take seventy years."
Such people are advised to start young — in fact this sort of impatience seems endemic in our youth today. There was a young gardener who was planting his first crop and spent an entire morning carefully placing his sprouts in the ground, covering their roots with soil, and watering them. That night about midnight he awoke in his bed thinking about his sprouts and went out into his garden and tugged on each sprout to help it shoot up. The next morning all his sprouts were dead. Give yourself enough time. And especially give your charges the time they need to develop — provide them a sheltered place to grow, plenty of sunshine, water, and nutrients and then leave them alone. Watch over them, pull out a few weeds, but mostly leave them alone.
[page 59, 60] Align yourself with the true pace of life. If you plant a seed today, don't ask for a garden overnight. A flower grows when it grows. Likewise, when you're installing a new system, preparing a file, or writing a new program, make sure to give yourself enough time.
Then prepare to give more.
This next subject Sudo broaches has to do with obsessions and addictions. He tells of a friend who was addicted to playing computer games and "conquered" his addiction. His friend "decided never to play another computer game." His friend, in my opinion, has not conquered his addiction, but merely replaced one addiction with another one. Instead of playing computer games all the time, he is now avoiding playing computer games all the time! This process of replacing one addiction with another one is very common in our Western society of vertical-flagpole-one logical reasoning. Apply a little zen and surf that still-point in the center of the wave of zero and you may be able to see that conquering an addiction involves being able to perform some activity other than the none of "zero" or the all of "one". If you have only one way, you're stuck. If you have only two ways, you have a dilemma. Only if you have three or more ways, can you be said to truly have a choice. (Story on pages 61, 62)
Teaching and learning is a lifetime task, rightly understood, not one that just happens when you're young so you can get a job. Get a life, not a job. Sudo places this great quote at the head of his chapter "Learn and teach, teach and learn."
[page 62] In times of profound change, the learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.
— Eric Hoffer (1902-83) Author The True Believer
Then he explains how we are "none of us ever exclusively a student or teacher. We are always both at the same time, and must always think of ourselves as both." I wrote this epigram about twenty-five years or so ago to describe that process:
This terse phrase has no verbs so it operates as the still-point of the zero and opens itself to all interpretations, including the one by Sudo in the previous paragraph. "When a teacher is ready, a learner will arrive," is another interpretation often expressed. "When the learner is finished, the teacher will disappear," is a corollary to that. As an exercise you might work out other ways of interpreting the phrase. I like this way that Sudo talks about the process in his paragraph titled "Show up." :
[page 65] If the teacher is there, you should be, too. Too often we make excuses as to why we can't show up — we're too busy, we don't feel like studying today, we'll go next time. There is no next time. There is only now.
I see this phenomenon in reports I get from some people who read my writing. They'll say, "I browsed your review." or "I scanned your Digest." What puzzles me is that they give a compliment with a wave of the pen and take it away with the next wave of the pen, when they could have as easily given only a compliment. Are they telling me that they don't allow themselves the time to fully experience the world in everything they do, or only that my writing doesn't grab their attention? Sudo says to folks such as these, "Pay Attention".
[page 65] Show up not only in body, but in mind and spirit as well. Many times we're there, but not all there.
Here's another great quote ferreted out by Sudo. (I've taken the liberty to replace the word "men" by "humans".) Below it is the 2004 cartoon glyph it inspired, in which the yin offers a solution, in process, to the yang question posed by Skinner. Note the "4" on the tip of the female side of the glyph.
[page 65] The real problem is not whether machines think, but whether humans do.
— B. F. Skinner (1904-90)
[page 83] All err the more dangerously because each follows a truth. Their mistake lies not in following a falsehood but in not following another truth.
— Blaise Pascal (1623-62)
This quote by Blaise Pascal reminds us that there are as many truths as paths. That we may err even if we follow a true path if it is not the best path for us. Rightly understood, we have always the option to choose one path or to "blaise" a new path. I hope you follow my line of thought, if not, see the next quote — a poker metaphor. (Note: mathematically, a "line" is an infinity of "points".)
[page 94] I see your point . . . and raise you a line.
— Elliot Smorodinsky, Eclipse America Corp.
Many people spend their life perfecting their faults. In the chapter "Drag & Drop" we encounter this next story which helps us to remember to let go of clinging to strictures and rules, to drop something without looking back, and to move on to something else:
[page 96] On a rainy day, the two men came upon a woman looking to cross a muddy road in her silk kimono. "Allow me," said Tanzan. He lifted the woman in his arms and carried her across the divide.
Later on that evening, Ekido approached his master. "As monks, we've taken strict ascetic vows," he said. "We're not supposed to touch the opposite sex. How could you pick that woman up?"
"I put the woman down at the side of the road," Tanzan said. "Are you still carrying her?"
This next quotation is from a pioneer in computing, Tony Hoare, which advises us about two ways of software design. In my experience the first way is the far less frequent way.
[page 117] There are two ways of constructing a software design: one way is to make it so simple that there are no obvious deficiencies, and the other way is to make it so complicated that there are obvious deficiencies. The first method is far more difficult.
— C. A. R. Hoare, Professor, Oxford University
My favorite chapter is the one on "Programming" because of the seven rules for a tea ceremony. These are the rules I strive to follow when I have guests over to dinner.
[page 124, 125] Japan's most famous tea master, Sen Rikyu, was once asked by a disciple. "What are the most important things to keep in mind during a tea gathering?"
Make a delicious bowl of tea;
Lay the charcoal so that it heats up the water;
Arrange the flowers as they are in the field;
In summer suggest coolness, in winter, warmth;
Do everything ahead of time;
Prepare for rain;
Give those with whom you find yourself every consideration.
Sen Rikyu was an extraordinary man. He would, no doubt, agree with this next assessment by Hubbard.
[page 144] One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men. No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man.
— Elbert Hubbard, Author, A Message to Garcia
This next quotation by Einstein reminds me of a quote by Jane Roberts, "Where is the tree from which the fruit drops into mind's basket?" Einstein knew that his original thoughts dropped into his mind wordless, from parts unknown, and his job was to create the words and mathematical equations to express the thoughts.
[page 150] The thoughts did not come in any verbal formulation. I rarely think in words at all. A thought comes, and I may try to express it in words afterward.
— Albert Einstein (1879-1955)
Then comes one by Will Rogers, the American humorist whose entire life was that of a zen master. He is best known as the man who "never met a man he didn't like." His words below speak to all of us who browse and skim our way through life, always saving time for the next thing to do.
[page 163] Half our life is spent trying to find something to do with the time we have rushed through life trying to save.
— Will Rogers (1879-1935)
There are people writing using hyper-text so that their thoughts can be linked directly into the great network of thoughts of the World Wide Web, which is what the www in www.doyletics.com stands for. And yet there are others, the "learned" who, in Hoffer's words, "find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists" and print out web pages to read them off-line where the hyper-text is meaningless. (Click on underlined words for examples of hyper-text.)To these "learned sages", reading from the dead tree medium is like a religion, and the World Wide Web to them is simply a means for creating pages of paper to read. This will change as book-sized, paper-flexible reading devices with everywhere access to the World Wide Web become inexpensively available. At that time, books will begin to be collected for their iconographical value more than their content value — they will in effect become antiques.
This book is very well written, but there is one passage with a minor problem, which I would like to point out because it illuminates an aspect of the Zen Computer.
[page 195] A good upgrade improves deficiencies and, more important, retains the best of what was.
It seems to me by my reading of what a deficiency is, I don't want the deficiency improved, that is, I don't want whatever's wrong with the software made bigger, or better, or more prominent as the definition of improve would indicate — on the contrary I want the deficiency minimized, or even better, eliminated!As for the rest of the sentence "retains the best of what was" — what I find is that upgrades tend to add bells and whistles that I have no need of, all of which makes the software package more cumbersome, harder to use, harder to understand, and more bug-prone than the one I am buying it to replace.
For example, I use a word processor. I want a good, dependable word processor that only does word processing. Recently when my package got "upgraded" with a Speech Recognition "feature", suddenly it started crashing in that speech module, even when I was not doing speech recognition. The thing that I bought to do word processing better, was suddenly worse than the previous version at doing the one thing I was buying it for. Why upgrade then? Good question. I don't upgrade as a rule. But sometimes operating systems require newer versions of software packages and you are never given the choice of just buying the old version converted to work on the newer operating system. Instead they only offer to sell you the new, improved one — and often I've found it's only its deficiencies that were made bigger and the net result was not better at all!
What's the path to Zen Computer? No need to ask — Sudo tells us — because "as the zen masters say, 'You're on it.' " Wherever you go, there you are — on your path. Whether it's your path in your job, in your family, or in your life, there you are — on your path. Use a computer and it becomes part of your life and the results you get from it will be as useful as from any other tool you use — the difficulties you have with it will be idiosyncratic, as if it were designed for you. Ever have the feeling that there's a little guy in the back room of your favorite Chinese restaurant choosing the fortune for the fortune cookie that will be put on your plate — for how else could those words hit so close to home? Using the Zen Computer is similar. It's your path, your computer, and the problems, frustrations, joys, and delights of using the computer will be a reflection of the rest of your life.
3.) ARJ2: Macrocosm & Microcosm, GA#119 by Rudolf Steiner
The theme of the first lecture is that there is a veil between human beings and the real spiritual world, and the two methods of rending that veil have historically been through ecstasy and mystical experience. The world we see can be compared to a painted horizon or stage backdrop that covers the reality behind the facade. We are each in our own Truman Show [1999 Jim Carey Movie] — unable to see the real world that lies beyond the painted horizon. Every moment that we accept the material world as "all there is," we further reinforce that backdrop until we can no longer remember that we're in a staged play — one in which real work goes on behind the scenes. The script preparation, the director's instructions during rehearsals, the casting director's choices for players, and the person providing the cues during the performance. All these are invisible to the audience during a play, but without these there would be no play at all. So it is with our lives. The script preparation takes place between incarnations, as does the rehearsals, and casting choices. During the play of life, the cues are provided by our Guardian Angels whose job it is to remember what we have done in all our lifetimes, so as best to remind us what to do at critical choice points in this lifetime. Since we each did certain things in previous lifetimes that have led to the working-out of those things during this lifetime, we may consider ourselves as slaves to our past, but at the same time we may remind ourselves that we are masters of our future. [See page 75, Theosophy of the Rosicrucian by Rudolf Steiner.]
[page 12] The external world of the senses is spread out before us like a tapestry and we have the feeling that behind this tapestry there is something into which our faculty of perception cannot penetrate.
Our perception of this curtain shielding us from the real world begins as a vague feeling at first and grows stronger over time. This process is well portrayed by Truman in the Truman Show, in which, unbeknownst to him, he grew up and is living as an adult on a television sound stage, and every moment of his life is being broadcast all over the world. [Note the similarity to the Akashic Records in which all of our daily deeds are recorded for all who have an Akashic Television to see.]
In the ecstasy path, one's Ego is snuffed out and one cannot distinguish from mirage or reality — rather it seems as if one "were flowing right through the sense-perceptions and living in a world of pictures which presents something entirely new." (Page 15)
To understand the mystic path, we need a little background information about what it means to be a mystic. Normally when someone does something that causes us pain, we feel resentment. Our Ego rebels against the blow, but the mystic experiences what actually caused the blow.
[page 16, 17] Such a man feels: You would never have had to suffer this blow if at some time you had not brought it upon yourself. Otherwise this man would not have crossed your path. You cannot therefore justifiably turn your resentment against one who was brought into contact with you through happenings in the world in order to give you the blow you have deserved.
The path of the mystic is strewn with guilt and one is unable to maintain a right relationship with the outside world.
[page 19] Thus in both directions, in ordinary ecstasy and in ordinary mystical experience, the power of orientation in the world is lost. It is therefore a good thing that man encounters barriers in two directions.
The path of the mystic is into the Microcosm and the path of the ecstatic is into the Macrocosm. In the mystic path, when one expands into the Macrocosm, one gives up one's Ego, but maintains one's astral body. This continuing attachment to the astral body during ecstasy is what distinguishes ecstasy from sleep. During sleep the Ego and astral body are surrendered and one is unconscious. During ecstasy one remains conscious. Being unconscious is therefore synonymous with having one's astral body outside of one's physical body. Rest assured that sleep is our auto-pilot to rest. Rest assured that if we should try to pilot manually we would not rest, assuredly.
[page 23] If a man were to play a part in this difficult operation of restoring the forces exhausted during the previous day, he would ruin everything because he is not yet capable of being a conscious participant. It is providential that consciousness of his own existence is snatched away from man at the moment when he might do harm to his own development.
The etheric body is the highest developed body of the plant kingdom. Plants have roots and stems with leaves that turn into sepals and stamens near the top of the plant. In the human brain, there is a structure called the limbic system, which has two seed like nodules that are called "amygdalas" because they resemble almonds.A drawing in The Brain, a Torstar book published in 1984, shows that the limbic system sits on the top end of the spinal cord [analogous to a plant stem] with the amygdaloid structures looking very much like stamens growing from the end of sepals. In addition, growing out of the end of each amygdala is one of the two olfactory bulbs. We know from previous Steiner lectures that the skull is the terminal vertebra that expanded to make room for, first, the root brain, second, the limbic system, then the advanced, more recent cortex and neo-cortex portions of the brain.
[page 25] What enables us to experience an outer picture of the sense-world is the physical body, and what enables us in waking life to have an inner life of soul, is the etheric body.
The tantalizing aspect of the isomorphism of the plant kingdom and our root brain is that the brain structure, the limbic system, that sits on top of a long stem, the spinal cord, has been discovered in recent years to be the source of our inner life of feelings and emotions. [See ARJ: The Emotional Brain by Joseph LeDoux.] In other words, the structure of our brain that most resembles a plant, and a plant's highest body is its etheric body, holds our inner life of feelings. That is the thrust of what Steiner claimed in his lecture some ninety years ago. [See page 25 quote above.] With the additional insights provided by the nascent science of doyletics, we can begin to get a glimmer of the physical structure , the limbic system, that parallels the spiritual structure, the etheric body, and how those two structures enable us to have an inner life of feelings.
[page 25] If, on waking, we were to penetrate into the physical body only, we should confront outer pictures, but we should remain inwardly empty, cold and apathetic, having no interest in anything around us or presented in the pictures.
Amazingly this is a description of what many autistic children experience, or rather, cannot experience, the inner world of feelings. [See ARJ: Thinking in Pictures and Emergence: Labeled Autistic, two books by the famous autistic Animal Husbandry expert, Temple Grandin.]
As Ray Bagley used to say after a long meeting in which all kinds of inter-related subjects were discussed, "What does all this mean?" To me it means that we are beginning to get the first hints of the subtle blending of the material and spiritual world that occurs in the human being at every level, but our current understanding is only now beginning to understand the root brain level of this blending.This subject raises many unanswered questions that can provide a fertile seed bed for future investigation into the physical and spiritual aspects of the human brain and our inner life of feelings.
What we can see is that the human being consists of two dynamic duo's. The first duo is the physical body and etheric body that, in tandem, are responsible for creating and maintaining a living human being. The second duo is the Ego and astral bodies that expand out into the Macrocosm at night while we are asleep and return to the Microcosm of the human body upon waking. We can understand the path of ecstasy as one in which the duo of the Ego and astral bodies are divorced from one another and the Ego leaves the astral body behind, together with the possibility of consciousness.
In addition we can now examine the mystical path, and see it as a state in which one on the mystic path manages to penetrate one's own etheric body. Normally one not on the mystic path receives only a mirroring from one's etheric body, i.e., one experiences the mirrored image as one's actual soul-life — an experience as unreal as trying to feel one's body in the mirror. On the contrary, one on the mystic path, like Alice, travels through the looking glass by penetrating one's etheric body and experiences intensely strong feelings in doing so, similar to a consuming fire.
To summarize: in expanding into the Macrocosm, the ecstatic's Ego becomes evanescent or rarified, whereas in shrinking into the Microcosm, the mystic's Ego becomes concentrated or densified. (Paraphrased from page 26.) Steiner in this lecture provides a roadmap to the two paths of the ecstatic and the mystic.
To the materialistic scientist this may sound like fancified poppycock, and one might naturally expect Steiner to think poorly of such scientists, but that is not the case with Steiner. He always shows the utmost respect for the materialistic scientist.
[page 29] The whole process is completely foreign to modern physical science -- which need not, however, be severely criticized on that account; in a certain respect it is justified in asserting a one-sided point of view.
Everyone knows from personal experience that there are these three states of sleep: 1) dreamless sleep, 2) dream-filled sleep, and 3) somnambulistic sleep in which one may move, talk, or sleepwalk without consciousness of it thereafter. These three states correspond to the Sentient Soul, Intellectual Soul, and Consciousness Soul of the human being.
[page 32] The part of the soul that is subject to the first influence which drives the soul out of the bodily sheaths, is known in Spiritual Science as the Sentient Soul; the part affected by the second influence which drives the picture of dream into man's life of soul during sleep is known as the Intellectual Soul; the third part . . . is the Consciousness Soul.
At the end of a long day, it is our Sentient Soul that has become exhausted. During the night forces are exerted on the Intellectual Soul and Consciousness Soul to strengthen us. Then the same forces that pushed the duo of Ego and astral bodies out of our bodies now begin to work in the opposite direction to freshen the Sentient Soul. The result is that we awaken, experience the sentient world around us, and feel refreshed in our inner being.
The book has a diagram on page 89 which shows the six steps into a sleep state. The first state is withdrawal from the Consciousness Soul as we lay in bed, then the Intellectual Soul, then the Sentient Soul. As we near the transition point to sleep, we are in a state very similar to that of deep auto-hypnosis in which we feel catatonic, unable to move the slightest muscle, and we are on the verge of dropping off into sleep. When we pass that transition point into sleep, we are drawn by, first, the forces of the Sentient Soul, then, in turn, the Intellectual Soul, then the Consciousness Soul. Each of these seven phases, counting the Transition Point as a phase, maps directly onto the Geocentric View of the Solar System. [See ARJ: Life Between Death and Rebirth for a description and diagram of the Geocentric View, including an explanation for apparent reversal of Venus and Mercury between the Heliocentric and Geocentric views.]
Beginning at Earth, the Geocentric point, human beings are completely awake. At the first position, Moon, they release their Consciousness Soul, at the second position, Mercury, their Intellectual Soul, at the third position, Venus, their Sentient Soul. At the Transition Point, the fourth position, Sun, they move into sleep, and immediately enter the fifth position, Mars, which works on their Sentient Soul, then the sixth position, Jupiter, on their Intellectual Soul, and finally at the seventh position, Saturn works on their Consciousness Soul.Upon completion of sleep the reverse process is followed during the return trip to full awakening. Thus one can examine one's own experience of the process of awakening and find that, truly, after passing the Transition Point into awakening, one first experiences bodily sensations, light, and sounds through one's Sentient Soul (position 3 or Venus). At the next phase, position 2, Mercury, one can ponder the feelings within and generate thoughts about the external world with one's Intellectual Soul. In the final phase of awakening, position 1, Moon, one can convert the results of one's thoughts into deeds with the exercise of one's Consciousness Soul.
Let's examine how these phases go in a typical example. I slowly awaken and feel the cool softness of the sheets in the bed, enjoy luxuriating in thoughts of some wonderful dream, and suddenly note that the bright daylight streaming in the window means that I'll be late for work, so I immediately pop out of bed and jump into the shower.These three phases of awakening happen to each of us every morning and it's as hard for us to understand them as it is for a fish to understand what water is. We know about water because we can see that a fish lives and swims in it, but to the fish water is its world — without water it dies, so it cannot understand water as something independent of its existence. Similarly we have had trouble understanding how to punctuate our seemingly unified wakening experience into three phases, up until now.
We are now in a position to understand the following passage:
[page 44] The force which in the Macrocosm drives Mars around the Sun is similar to the one that sends us to sleep . . . the one which drives Venus around the Sun is similar to the one which regulates the Sentient Soul by day.
And so on: Saturn affects the Consciousness Soul of sleepwalkers, the Moon regulates our conscious deeds in waking life, and Jupiter affects our dreaming life. Steiner admits he has only given "a faint indication of the correspondances of the Microcosm (man) and the Macrocosm (the solar system)," but he hastens to point out that it should be evident "that such correspondances do indeed exist." (Page 45.)
My friend, a noted skeptic, told me that he has never had any experience of these four separate bodies which Steiner says compose the human being. And I would have to agree with him that I have never experienced them separately either. I have experienced hydrogen and oxygen separately, but would not have recognized these two volatile, fiery gases as the components of water but for my high school chemistry course. Through chemistry we have come to accept as fact that water is a combined form of hydrogen and oxygen.Before we had that chemical knowledge, it would have seemed the height of folly to believe that water, that ubiquitous liquid, was a combined form of two vaporous gases. My skeptical friend is like the pre-chemistry scientist who when asked to believe something in contradiction of his senses, namely, that water can be composed of two gases, would naturally have refused to believe such foolishness.
[page 46] What we experience in the waking state denotes no actual perception or knowledge of the two members of our being into which we descend on waking. We come down into our etheric and physical bodies but have no experience of them from within. . . . We view our physical body from outside with the same eyes with which we look at the rest of the world. . . . We really learn to know ourselves as men only from outside, regarding ourselves as beings of the sense-world.
It is as if my skeptical friend were asked to view water from within as if it were composed of two gases, when his senses tell him that water is a liquid. Before chemistry, everyone would have scoffed at such an idea. Before Steiner's Spiritual Science, I would have scoffed at the idea that the human body is composed of four separate bodies, since I had no perception of their separate existence. Spiritual Science brings us to view our bodies from within in the same way that chemistry has brought us to view water from within. And the study of the human body from within is certainly a more difficult task than the study of chemistry that occupied me during my first two years of college.
If an average man were to decide on the spur of the moment to run a entire marathon, and with the greatest force of will endured as long as possible, chances are that he would fall down unconscious in complete exhaustion before he finished the twenty-five mile course. But if that same man were to begin running short courses and gradually build up to longer courses, soon he would be fit to both run in and complete an entire marathon. No amount of will power will enable one to complete a course that one is not fit for. Steiner makes a similar point about mystics.
[page 48] Mystical development does not really consist in penetrating by force into the inner world of the physical and etheric bodies, but in first making oneself fit for the experience and passing through it consciously.
Without the fitness, mystics would be consumed in a fire of shame were they to penetrate the etheric body. We do not see objects directly but only the sunlight reflected from them, yet if we were to try to view the source of the sunlight, our eyes would be burnt out by that act. Each morning each of us is protected from such a fiery consumption by being barred from entering our etheric body without the proper preparation. The crossing of that threshold into our etheric body is prevented by a Being that is called the Lesser Guardian of the Threshold who operates similar to a doorman who bars minors from entering a nightclub. The Spiritual World is the nightclub that we must not enter until we are fit for the experience.
And yet, through training in the ancient Mysteries, initiates were able to look directly at the spiritual light of the Sun through the Earth, a process known as seeing the "Sun at Midnight". Once they were able to see the spiritual light of the Sun, they began to experience "a living interplay between the planets and the Sun insasmuch as streams flow continually to and fro — from the planets to the Sun and from the Sun to the planets."
[page 57] Something was revealed spiritually that may be compared with the circulation of the blood in the human body. As the blood flows in living circulation from the heart to the organs and from the organs back again to the heart, so did the Sun reveal itself as the centre of living spiritual streams flowing to and fro between the Sun and the planets. The solar system revealed itself as a spiritual system of living realities, the external manifestation of which is no more than a symbol. Everything manifested by the individual planets pointed to the great spiritual experience just described, as a clock points to the time of occurrences in external life.
Recently it occurred to me that we can deduce, by looking at a clock or our watch, where the Sun is in the sky even though we are not in direct view of, either because of clouds or because we're indoors. Since, as we have seen in earlier Steiner reviews, the physical Sun contains the great Spirit we know as Christ, when we check the time, we are checking the position of Christ in our lives at the moment. Even the most materialistic scientist, when she checks her watch, is performing a spiritual act.
We have seen that the mystic, without proper preparation for descent into the Microcosm, will experience a consuming fire. What can we expect to happen if someone were to have a direct experience of the Macrocosm without proper preparation? The experience would be like being led into a bewildering labyrinth. This would seem to explain why the walking of labyrinths have become as common in the new 21st Century as sensitivity groups were in the middle of the last century. At some level these labyrinth walkers are preparing themselves for ascent into the Macrocosm. When Theseus got lost in the labyrinth, his rescue came in the form of Ariadne's Thread. What is the Ariadne's Thread that will help us to navigate safely through the labyrinth of the Spiritual World today? Rightly understood, Rudolf Steiner's Spiritual Science is the Ariadne's Thread that provides us with feelings imbued with thoughts by means of which we are able to confront the deepest labyrinth. (Page 60)
If one were to enter the Macrocosm unfit or unprepared, one would experience the deepest fear and despair. To prevent such a precipitous entry, the way is barred by a spiritual being called the Greater Guardian of the Threshold. Thus the entry to the Microcosm and Macrocosm are both barred by Spiritual Beings for our own good.
Whenever we learn something new, we must go through four phases. We begin with being unconsciously incompetent at the new task ( We don't know we can't do it.). Then we discover we can do it and move to being consciously incompetent (We now know we can't do it.) We practice diligently and with great effort we learn to do the process successfully if we concentrate. Soon we are doing the process and soon are doing it without thinking. As I type these words, I cannot think about each letter and type with ease. Yet in the eleventh grade in high school, I had to think of each letter when I first began to learn to type. In one short semester I moved through the entire four steps of habit formation. What I didn't realize fully until reading Steiner is the crucial role played by sleep.It is only during sleep that my daily typing exercises are converted into automatic deeds of my fingers moving over the surface of the typewriter keyboard. Even now if I look at my fingers or the keyboard, my typing slows to a crawl. I must trust my fingers to know where to go when I see or think a word, and keep my eyes elsewhere so that I don't interfere with the unconscious competence of my fingers. To summarize: we learn something new, sleep on it, and then it carries us along with it.
[page 63] Every night on going to sleep our souls take with them something form daily life; what we take with us — the fruit of our experiences — is transformed during sleep in such a way that it becomes our abilities and capacities. . . . A deeper being is working within us at our further development; when we go to sleep, this being receives the day's experiences and re-moulds them, so that is a later period of life they are at our disposal in the form of faculties.
In the course of history, it seems anomalous that such great thinkers as Isaac Newton would seem to become mystics near the end of their lifetime. This passage from Steiner clarifies that issue for me by explaining that human intelligence does not proceed from Cosmic Thinking, a mistake that is made by so many theorists.
[page 72] Human intelligence actually corresponds to Cosmic Feeling as absorbed in sleep. The greater the human intelligence becomes, the more is it illumined by the inner light that has its source in Cosmic Feeling.
That Cosmic Feeling that we absorb during sleep comes from Cosmic Powers that count on that light streaming "upwards from human life itself to the light that streams down from above." Like the materialistic Law of Conservation of Energy formulated by Robert Mayer, there seems to be a Law of Conservation of Cosmic Light, and that "the stream of forces will constantly diminish unless from human life itself, through efforts to transform thinking, feeling, and willing and to rise into the higher worlds, fresh forces, new light, were to flow back into the great reservoir of Cosmic Light and Cosmic Feeling."
[page 73, 74] We are now living in the epoch when it is essential for men to be conscious that they must not merely rely upon what flows into them from Cosmic Powers but must themselves co-operate in the process of world-evolution.
My wife and I have a framed calligraphy of the following quote of Baal Shem Tov that graces the entrance to our bedroom, "From every human being there arises a light that reaches straight to heaven and when two souls that are destined to be together find each other, their streams of light flow together and a single brighter light goes forth from their united being." In our lives we strive to find others with whom we can increase the brightness of that light that shines forth to replenish the Cosmic Powers.
On page 76 Steiner exhorts us to register this vow which I now take publicly with these words:
I, Bobby Matherne, vow that I will work on my soul to make up for my past negligence from now on.
A popular form of playing cards since the middle of the 20th Century features a design on the back of the cards that has had a strange attraction to me since I was a child. The design shows two bulldogs straining against the chains that are attached from their neck collars to the ground. Above the smiling face of the Man in the Moon is looking down on them. When I first discerned a face in the features of the Moon, I was thirty-five years old, and it was with the help of that design that I was able to see the Man in the Moon for the first time. These words are inscribed at the bottom of the design, "There is a tie that binds us to our home." The image of these bulldogs came to mind when I read the following passage from Steiner.
[page 77] All that fetters us to the Earth, all that binds us to the perishable, appears to us in astral vision as a definite image, the image of a distorted bull, dragging us down.
Steiner is talking about the distortions that accrue from our sins of omission. We are chained to the Earth by our sins of omissions in our will and the image is that of a distorted bull. In our sins of omission in the feeling realm the image is that of a distorted lion and the feeling is that of disharmony. In the thinking realm the image is that of a distorted eagle. (Paraphrased from page 77.)
[page 77] Three distortions of animal forms and one of ourselves — how these three separate images or pictures are related to one another reveals the measure of the work lying ahead of us.
Now comes the shocker: "We ourselves, on our image, are the Lesser Guardian of the Threshold."
[page 78[ It is we ourselves who hinder the possibility of descent into our inner being; we ourselves must work at our own development.
Therein lies the hope for the future of humankind. And how do we go about this process? It begins with the development of the human body so that it acquires the necessary attributes. In the spiritual world before this life we spend a lot of time getting ready for the qualities we are to inherit. But we do more than that: we actually shape and fashion those qualities into the ancestors of the body we will enter.
[page 86] Strange as it may seem, we ourselves have worked out of the spiritual world [on] the physical bodies of our own forefathers, in order gradually to shape and mould the attributes we finally receive at birth as inherited characteristics.
Rightly understood it is a joy to be a slave to a past that we actively were intimately involved with shaping. We should approach this life like Brer Rabbit and yell, "Please don't throw me into that briar patch!"
Some of us may have encountered the person who claims to be on the mystic path who is constantly clamoring that others should find their higher self. There is obviously an Ego there asserting itself for it own selfish aims, but it is so well-disguised under the patter of a sophisticated initiate.
[page 95] Such traits may often be observed in mystics who have been badly guided, who like to speak constantly of the need to find the "higher man" within themselves. In such cases, it is not a "higher man" but a being inferior even by conventional standards.
In Lecture Six Steiner tells us that things that are viewed from only one side create a one-sided truth. This truth I embodied some twenty years ago in Matherne Rule #6 All Meanings are True or AMAT. AMAT means that all meanings are true to the person who states the truth. If I look at one person's one-sided truth from a different side, I can truthfully say, "She is wrong!" AMAT reminds me that she is actually right, from her point of view. This is a recurrent motif in Steiner's lectures, but it is well to repeat it as often in my reviews as he repeats in his public lectures.
[page 112] It is always essential to look at truths not only from the one side but also from the other The fault of most philosophers is not that they say what is false — in many cases their assertions cannot be refuted because they do state truths — but that they make statements which are due to things having been viewed from one side only.
In a graduate course in education, Professor Michael Paulsen introduced me to Peter Elbow's doubting and believing game. It is a technique whereby we consciously make ourselves take a view opposite to our own for the purpose of seeing the world from that one-sided view, or alternately consciously force ourselves to doubt something that we believe is truth so as to see the matter from the opposite side.
[page 120] But there is nothing more useful than to begin to train ourselves by saying: "I have this opinion, the other person has a different one. I will adopt the standpoint that his opinion is just as sound and valuable as my own." — This is the kind of self-training that makes it possible for us to carry into the Elementary World the habit that enables us to distinguish ourselves from the things ther, although we are within them.
In Lecture Eight Steiner lays out the proposition that what is held back from the spiritual world streaming through us forms the physical organs with which we experience the physical world. We have encountered several times before in earlier Steiner books the concept that the light forms the eye which sees it, but this new insight provides the very process by which the eye and all the other organs were formed. It also applies to organs that will be formed in the future. The spiritual world to us to like water to the fish, as I mentioned earlier in a different context. Water flows through the fish's gills and the oxygen that is held back provides this life-giving essential for the fish. The food in the water that is held back or eaten by the fish provides the rest of the nutrients it requires. Everywhere I look now I see that what is held back, filtered from, absorbed from, extracted from the spiritual and physical worlds forms the basis for our interaction with the spiritual and physical worlds.
Light, rightly understood, consists of a physical and a spiritual substrate. Our eyes hold back a portion of the physical substrate and use that as information about the physical world. Meantime the spiritual substrate flows directly through us like water through the fish's gills and we have taken no note of its presence, up until now. Just as a fish could not exist without the water's existence, so too for us. It is the spiritual substrate of the light that, in flowing through the eye, forms the eye. If that were not the case, the mere presence of light bouncing off the outside of an eyeless proto-human could not have conceivably performed the function of creating the eyes. There had to be some substrate of light, namely the spiritual light, that flowed below the surface of the head to form the organs that eventually were able to hold back a portion of the physical light and enable us to see the physical world — through the portions of the light the physical world holds back, i.e., filters from the spiritual light and reflects back to our eyes. Rightly understood, this is the fundamental process by which the physical world has been constructed from the spiritual world.
[page 134] Sense-perception arises through the fact that our eye holds back part of the light from the Elementary World, our ear holds back part of the sound, our other organs hold back part of the fire or warmth; what is not held back, streams into us.
Rightly understood, we human beings are precipitates of the spiritual world — we are what is held back as the Spirit streams through us. Steiner says that in the Microcosm of our human bodies exists a mirror-image of the activities of the Beings of the Macrocosm. The catch-phrase "As Above, so Below" certainly applies here.
In the middle of the previous century, the fad was to find a guru to study under. This was an atavistic approach to Initiation that goes back to the ancient Eastern customs, and one that is no longer appropriate for modern human beings. The new approach to Initiation stresses the independence and freedom of the individual and thus the guru of old has and must necessarily come to be the tutor of today. The human guru of old has been pre-emptied by Christ Jesus from now on.
In Lecture Ten Steiner focuses on the logic of the head and the logic of the heart. We currently live with a physical heart that was formed as a result of an earlier logic of the heart that was unconscious, in other words, the logic of the heart flowed from the World of Spirit. One can think of our present organ called the heart as what was held back as the logic of the heart flowed from the spiritual realm. Then we entered the World of Reason and our head was formed from what was held back from what streamed through our heads from the spiritual realm called the World of Reason.
In the future a conscious logic of the heart will be formed out of the World of Archetypal Images. The heart had to precede the development of the brain, but it continues to evolve and is ready to move to the new logic of the heart now that the brain is formed.
[page 179] There are three successive states of humanity: (1) Man as heart-man; (2) Present-day man when everything is related to the brain and its activity; (3) Man of the future, of whose nature we can have a faint inkling.
As a new reader to Steiner I wondered how he could say the things he did with such assurance, with no qualifications. He said his truths and allowed me the freedom to agree or not agree with him, but how did he know what he said was true? The following passage from Lecture Eleven will give us a clue as he talks about how the authentic spiritual investigator acts.
[page 185] He does not try to convince by his expositions, but he maintains that what lives in his soul lives in eery human soul and that his task is to give the stimulus for something which can and should well forth of itself from every soul.
As we come to the end of this study of the Macrocosm and Microcosm, it would do well to look back to our beginnings in this solar system which began with Old Saturn, a large diffuse cloud of proto-material known as warmth.
[page 196] From the Earth we go back to Old Moon, from Old Moon to Old Sun, from Old Sun to Old Saturn. But we realise that Old Saturn issued directly from the spirit. Therefor we can understand the origin of our Earth by going back to the spirit — not to a cosmic nebula, but to the spirit, and by picturing how the beginning of Earth-evolution originated from the combined work of spiritual Beings.
Thus, with Steiner's help as our tutor, we are led to see that the Universe did not start with one Big Bang, but rather it is an ongoing Cosmic Fireworks display of the Spirit!
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I hear often from my Good Readers that they have bought books after reading my book reviews. Keep reading, folks! As I like to remind you, to obtain more information on what's in these books, buy and read the books — for less information, read the reviews.
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= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =In this section I like to comment on events in the world, in my life, and in my readings which have come up during the month. These are things I might have shared with you in person, if we had had the opportunity to converse during the month. If we did, then you may recognize my words. If I say some things here which upset you, rest assured that you may skip over these for the very reason that I would likely have not brought up the subject to spoil our time together in person.1. Padre Filius Observes an Interesting Mardi Gras Float being Made this Month:
Padre Filius, the cartoon character created by your intrepid editor and would-be cartoonist, will appear from time to time in this Section of DIGESTWORLD to share with us some amusing or enlightening aspect of the world he observes during his peregrinations.
This month the good Padre recognizes a figure on a float being painted:
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.
3. Poem from Freedom on the Half Shell:"It's Not That"
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:
It's Not That
It's not that the Supreme Court
is legislating our laws
It's not that Congress
is setting foreign policy
It's not that the President
is creating new laws
It's not that Social Security
is a pyramid scheme
It's not that the IRS
is a USA Gestapo
It's not that the Postal Service
is a constitutional disgrace
It's not that public servants
are underpaid and overbribed
It's not that civil rights
intrude on human rights
It's not that freedom's flare of the 18th Century
has been snuffed out by the 21st.
It's not that we don't deserve
a government of the free,
by the free,
and for the free.
It's not that, it's not that
IT'S SURELY NOT THAT!
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9. CLOSING NOTES:
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