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In Memoriam: Pete Fountain (1930-2016) ~~~~
New Orleans Jazz Clarinetist Legend ~~~~~
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WELCOME TO DIGESTWORLD ISSUE#16a October, 2016Quote for the Electioneering Month of October:
You and I are told increasingly that we have to choose between a left or right, but I would like to suggest that there is no such thing as a left or right. There is only an up or down — up to a man's age-old dream, the ultimate in individual freedom consistent with law and order — or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism, and regardless of their sincerity, their humanitarian motives, those who would trade our freedom for security have embarked on this downward course.
— Ronald Reagan , US President 1980-88
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~^~ SPECIAL NOTICE from the Editor: ~^~
This is a DOUBLE DIGESTWORLD Issue due to our Monthlong Northwest Passage Cruise.
Hope you enjoy the Five Reviews, Seven Movie Clips, Daily Travelogue, and Over 300 Photos.
DIGESTWORLDArchived DIGESTWORLD Issues
GOOD MOUNTAIN PRESS Presents ISSUE#169 and #16a for September and October, 2016
Table of Contents
1. October's Violet-n-Joey Cartoon
2. Honored Readers for October
3. On a Personal Note
Rainbows & Shadows Poems
4. Cajun Story
5. Household Hints for October, 2016 from Jeff Parsons: Miscellania of Hints
6. Poem from "Yes, and Even More!":"The Poetry Patch"
7. Reviews and Articles featured for October:
8. Commentary on the World
- ARJ2: Human Values in Education, GA#310 by Rudolf Steiner
- ARJ2: Education as a Force for Social Change by Rudolf Steiner
- ARJ2: Embracing Contraries by Peter Elbow
- ARJ: The Shadow That Seeks the Sun by Ray Brooks
- ARJ: The Roots of Education, GA#309 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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2002: Jan #20, Feb #21, Mar #22, Apr #23, May #24, Jun #25, Jul #26, Aug #27, Sep #28, Oct #29, Nov #30, Dec #31
2003: Jan #32, Feb #33, Mar #34, Apr #35, May #36, Jun #37, Jul #38, Aug #39, Sep #40, Oct #41, Nov #42, Dec #43
2004: Jan #44, Feb #45, Mar #46, Apr #47, May #48, Jun #49, Jul #50, Aug #51, Sep #52, Oct #53, Nov #54, Dec #55
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1. October Violet-n-Joey CARTOON:
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==This month Violet and Joey learn about Louis Vuittons.
For newcomers to DIGESTWORLD, we have created a webpage of all the Violet-n-Joey cartoons!
"Louis Vuittons" at http://www.doyletics.com/images/160926vj.jpg
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2. HONORED READERS FOR October:
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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 October, 2016:
Art Danielian in Irvine, California
Rijo Matthew in Oklahoma
Congratulations, Art and Rijo!
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3. ON A PERSONAL NOTE:
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Out Our Way:
Tuesday, August 16, 2016: NEW ORLEANS TO SEWARD, ALASKA
Our friend rang the bell at 3:45 am. I had gotten up at 3:03 and shaved and showered. Dressed in my to-go outfit and had the outside light on. He backed his small car up to the door and I was able to quickly and easily load the bags in the same order we had rehearsed a few days earlier. The two biggest bags (Gray Samsonite and StackPack) fit in the trunk and the two small carry-ons with them. Other two bags went in the back seat. 200 lbs of bags in total.
Del and I finished our last-minute checklist for the house and got in the car. I drove us to airport. As I was driving, I said, "Only thing I don't like about this taxi job is that I don't get any tips!" He and Del laughed.
We got there in plenty time. A porter came to help us with our four large bags and checked us in at the console in the First Class line. Bags checked we went to TSA Pre and it went smooth until my wallet got inspected and the tiny Swiss Army knife got confiscated. I was ready to lose it, as my Leatherman does all it did, plus has a needle nose pliers on it. It's in the lower front of my black Samonsite bag. I'll travel lighter now. I'm typing this while waiting for our flight to board.
We took off after some 10 min delay for maintenance work. Made it to Denver a few minutes early and I was waiting to urintate after we landed, but about 100 feet above the runway we took off again and circled because another jet had taken too long to get off the runway. By the time we had landed a second time, I really had to go so even though we were slowly taxiing I got up and went. From Row 1 it was only a short 12 foot walkpast two very Unfriendly United Stewardesses who told me to go back to my seat, but I preferred to go into the toilet not my seat. I said I need to make a pit stop before you do and went. She said, as I walked past, "We'll have to stop the plane". Well, I ignored her. After taking care of business, I sat down and waited for the plane to stop taxiing, even politely asking if it was okay to come out, and I got a VERY UNFRIENDLY SKIES OF UNITED reprimand, "It wasn't okay when you went in!" As we walked out of plane, I told them, "Next time let me know if you're going to make a second pass." As if they could, anymore than I could hold it during the long second pass, the circle around to reland the plane.
We landed at Gate 22 and had to scurry to Gate 46 in about five minutes. Walking as fast as we could, using the moving sidewalks, I finally hailed the tram and he made a u-turn to pick us up and drop us at the gate after the plane was half loaded. I tried charging my Z10 and it wouldn't. Tried Del's Fire charger, but it wouldn't work. Trying to get as many pieces as possible to troubleshoot my problem, I delayed putting my bag up as long as possible. Got hassled again. Put the damn bag up, and it was too warm on the plane, even with all the vents blowing full. 60 or so degrees in Denver, so they're saving fuel by not running the AC, just blowing in air from outside. I had to strip off my vest and open my shirt.
My Z10 wouldn't charge on Del's Kindle Fire power adaptor and neither on the portable battery . It would blink red and get stuck. I had to remove battery to restart. Did this a total of 12 times or so. Once and only once I saw it charge on the PB for a few seconds and then stall.
Each time the Red light began blinking, a message from Blackberry appeared as text or email saying some application couldn't close.
It may have been the email from Wes that I had opened while in the Terminal and now in Airplane Mode, the BB opsys can get past the app which won't close because the radio is turned off in AM. We'll know in Anchorage after we land.Meanwhile I'm letting Z10 charge in the OFF mode. It was about 50% and that low level may be part of the problem.
Pulled down my laptop and later my power adaptor for it. Managed to plug it in enough to charge my laptop. Also fished out my mouse as the tray was wide enough to hold LT and provide a mouse pad! Hooray! Friendly Skies!
Wanted to begin working on my "Roots of Education" review during flight to Alaska. Unfortunately, it's somewhere in my carry-on. But I could build the scaffolding for it now.
When we got to Baggage claim, our four bags were among the first off the plane. We checked them with Crystal Society lady (including Del's carry-on, but I kept mine, lucky for me, I needed my down jacket. Del needed hers but no joy, it was in her carry-on).
We drove to Seward along the Cook's Inlet and learned how Turnagain Point got its name. Al our great bus drive and tour guide. Answered all questions and told great stories.
At one point along the Seward Highway I began thinking of Marty Arnoldy (got his last name from my memory banks's long-term storage). I saw his address was Seward Hwy, the one we were on so I asked Al immediately, "Did you know of a Summit Lake Lodge?" He said, "Yes, we just passed it a few seconds ago." That means we were passing Marty and June's lodge at the very moment I was looking up their address in my Z10. How remarkable! I did see the lodge out the corner of my eye, but if I had looked it up a few minutes earlier, I might have been able to get Al to make a stop for a few minutes while I ran in to say HI to the Arnoldy's.
Wish I had picked up some sand for our daughter Maureen at the one photo stop me made Might have been some glacial silt. Interesting properties of the stuff: becomes like quicksand and the rescuers have a device to pump water into the silt to free a stuck person. Very dangerous stuff. It's very sharp but tiny pieces of glacial scrapings with all sorts of unusual characteristics.
We finally arrived at Seward, a port just barely big enough to hold the Serenity and its Coast Guard ice-breaker companion.
The weather was knock-out beautiful but we were driving except for one stop, and I couldn't get good photos of the masses of firecracker weed along the roadside.
After checking our main bags we had to wait for 3 hr bus ride to Seward to begin. No train ride, and I was not disappointed becausewe'd have needed rides to/from the train anyway. Our bus was half-empty with just the late arriving folks.
We got to a check-in spot and I found a restroom to fix my hair before they took our ID photo for the cruise. It was a mess and after combing we both got great photos. They've added a hole punched in one corner of our ID card to fit on a lanyard.
We went immediately to our room to drop off our carry-on stuff , ate a quick dinner in the Dining Room and then had to go to the late group's lifeboat drill in the Casino. Only about 30 of us were there and we missed the welcome show.
After our late dinner and drill, we were so tired that we didn't unpack. We just moved the six bags to the floor and went to sleep immediately.
Wednesday, August 17, 2016: MS KODIAK, ALASKA
We got up about 6 AM and unpacked all our clothes. Finally found my hangers for StackPack in a ziplock inside my Tan RJM dopp kit and replaced the temporary hangers. My Dillard's wooden hanger broke during flight handling and I replaced it with another one. Our two Parkas both fit in the small Stateroom closet.
We met Rick Spath our Cruise Director in the Bistro and he remembered my name. Del and I went to the Lido for breakfast and saw about five of our waiters from former cruises, Max, Martin, Jun, and several others. I had the omelet plus the toasted English Muffin, OJ, etc.
We took a complimentary shuttle to the Wildlife Center where Bobby had a close encounter with a full-size, 10-foot tall Kodiak bear that was apparently looking at him as an afternoon snack. We also walked to a Blue Onion-topped White Russian Orthodox Church nearby. The display of life-size Kodiak bears fishing salmon out of a mountain stream was awesome. Our shuttle was a school bus which had the names of the schoolkids with stars who were well-behaved over their assigned seats.
I came to room to write while Del read about the various excursions. While waiting for her and the lunch to start, I struck up a conversation with Duane (big white beard) and Judy from the Kenai area who are resident Alaskans for about 25 years, originally from California and New Mexico. They went into lunch before Del arrived, so I asked a waiter if they could locate the guy with the big beard and we found them sitting at a table for four re-arranged for two. Asked if we might join them and they were delighted. We had a wonderful conversation with them. We walked away from the meal at almost 2 pm feeling exhilarated.
They said that Rick told everyone last night in the Welcome show that they had planned lectures but no entertainment until entertainers came out of the woodwork offering their services. Del took a nap while I updated my notes. The rain has stopped and it seems like the sun may actually come out. We leave the dock about 5:30 so there was time for a little walk in the open air for us.
Two elfin caps, toupes knitted with polar bears and NWP Inaugural Sailing 2016, were on our bed right before lunch so I wore one to lunch. Didn't get a photo darn it. May wear it to town this afternoon with my DB pea coat.
We went to dinner and they tried to put us in Table 63, but I recalled our assignment as 60 which I initially thought was Captain's Table but it turned out to be a table for six nearby. Our table consisted of us plus Barrett and Patty (Alberta, Canada), Sharon and Bill (New Mexico). Our new friends, Duane and Judy, have a table in the 100s.
Del and I went to the variety show with the Fifth Dimension gal who was One Dimensional.Del was having some nausia problems. When I walked out of Dining Room, she said she'd meet me in Galaxy. I stopped in the ship's fancy clothing store and felt a little light-headed and unsteady. AMAZING! I am so cured of seasickness that I mistook its signs that I used to recognize immediately as the motion of the sea and would feel the onset of sea-sickness, I was imagining it to be some other sickness! The sign of being cured is you mistake the lighted-headed feeling (from the ship falling after a wave had risen it) and unsteadiness when walking as ship rocks for something other than a simple reaction to the ships motion. I did feel a sour taste rising from my throat like an incipient regurgitation, soI immediately did a Speed Trace and it went away about 2 months old. And stayed away. The way to find out if something is traceable is to do a Simple Speed trace.
Del had to trace away her sea-sickness symptoms, and when she arrived before the show, she said that she had thrown up in the room, and since I didn't have my Z10 with me, she couldn't call me so she came to the show. She told me that she didn't want to be coughing up phlegm at the dining table and had swallowed instead. I had heard someone say it was unhealthy to swallow phlegm, but they didn't say why. I've held it as an unanswered question, a UAQ (relative of FAQ), up until now. I suspect that the phlegm upset her stomach, make her sick until she threw up. Better to leave if you have to cough and always spit it out into a tissue. She was really sick when we got back, wanted ice (which she didn't use) and the empty trash can (to vomit into, which she didn't). What laid her low was the healing states from the swallowed phlegm, my guess.
Thursday, August 18, 2016: En Route to DUTCH HARBOR
Got OJ, coffee, and a Berliner for breakfast, and next to this couple from Seal Beach, just north of Huntington Beach. Later I walked down to the Computer University at Sea or CUSS, as I call it because I cussed when it wasn't ready. CUSS told me my firewall was stopping me from logging in. Couldn't answer why the same LT did work fine on the Crystal Symphony 7 months ago. He promised to restore my system when the cruise was over, but that never happened. Another CUSS.
Went back to State Room 9050 and began reading "The Shadow That Seeks the Sun". Del was still sleeping and it was disconcerting, like using my left hand for everything. I found that my internal image of the ship was with it pointing to the right, so I flipped it over to be pointing to the left and suddenly everything was simple. When I go to the door now and want to go to rear of ship I turn right, go down two flights and there after a short 100 ft walk is the CUSS. Brought my mouse with me and one more trip and my LT was ready. They got me plugged in to Internet via WiFi. Great. I set up my sign. Great I was set with 31 hours of internet time to use for rest of cruise. Sure has made it easier to get internet time. I don't need to browse on my LT, but it is on the WiFi. By 12:20 and I set up in the ship's Card Room on the one outlet letting LT charge awhile I loaded up my photos from Kodiak and process the photos.
With my adjusted ship configuration clearly in mind I could go down to the Bistro. I went there after retrieving my LT and got my latte from Danja from Belgrade, Serbia (pronounced Dan-YAH). Cute dark-complected gal with a husky voice. She immediately asked what that is, pointing to my necklace.I said, "It means 'I'm here for the beer.'" When she asked what kind of beer, I got serious and told her about my 1981 Near Year Eve party in which Tenaj placed it around my neck after telling me it meant good fortune when you see the Sun rising from the trees in the East (as Christ did). Then Danja said, "What can I do for you?" I smiled and said, "You sound serious, loike a streetwalker in short tight skirt in Belgrade soliciting a customer." She smiled, and I said, "I meant that in a nice way." More smiles. I asked if she could bring a custard tart when they arrive shortly and she did. Later when Del arrived I asked Danja to come over to meet her.
I then heard a man come in and say, "I'm only 82." Great line. I'll remember to use it when I'm 82. Had to leave because he began talking about his doctor visits etal. Del and I moved to the end table.
That night was a Show by Broadway star Michel Bell who also spent time singing with Fifth Dimension and retained some of those extra dimensions. He put on a great show.
Friday, August 19, 2016: DUTCH HARBOR or UNALASKAThe island and town are called Unalaska, but if you wish to book a flight to it, you need to know its alternate name of Dutch Harbor.
Del and I had breakfast in the Dining Room. She wanted Salmon Benedict and I wanted the Dungeness Crab omelet, so she gave one of her two Benedicts to me and I ate it with my omelet. Imagine eating the Alaskan Salmon and Crab for breakfast.
Then we went into town on the school bus and Duane and Judy joined us. Met Danny and Judy along the way and invited them to join us. We explored the WWII Museum which explained the fierce battle fought by Americans to oust the Japan from the island during the early stages of World War II.When we came back to the ship and we six ate together in the dining room at Table 10. Duane and Judy plan to join us tonight at Table 60 as Barret and Patty are going to Prego, one of the other restaurants on the ship.
We took a nap after lunch and Del went to stretch class while I shaved and Showered. When she returned, I was processing photos and we went together to Palm Court for tea and Beethoven's Minuet.
Came back to room for Del to dress for dinner, and I did the rest of the photos and these journal notes.Later we met Michele Bell and Catherine his wife and piano accompanist and told them how much we enjoyed the show. Del told Michele about Pete Fountain's death and I told Michael much I had wanted to be at his funeral and second line.
Hopefully the show tonight will have a song in tribute to Pete Fountain, famous jazz clarinetist from New Orleans. Well, it was a great show named JAZZ, Broadway class, for sure, but no mention of Pete. Maybe later, Kenny Martyn clarinetist could do a great rendition of "Closer Walk" — but it never happened. Cruise director told me that they avoid any mention of current events during shows. But I did notice one of the entertainers refer to a musician that had passed recently and that slipped through the semantic net, didn't it?
Dinner was great with Duane and Judy Giarratana joining me and Del and Sharon and Bill. Duane said at one point, "Bobby, you sure are quiet tonight." That was mostly because our four table guests had Albequerque, New Mexico in common and they did most of the talking.
We went to bed right after the show was over. It had been a busy day.
Saturday, August 20, 2016: BERING SEA en route to NOME, ALASKA
We went to the Lido for breakfast next morning. Max brought me an English Muffin and Martin my prunes. Del went to Yoga I think. Later Del told me she saw Judy Giarratana who was feeling low because of seasickness. I walked to the side Del pointed to and found Judy alone. I led her in a Speed Trace and hoped it worked. If not, she has learned the process. I explained it might come back after the pills she took for it stop working and if so, she should do another Speed Trace. Duane came as we were talking and I explained how to do the trace to him.
Got my Lap Top from our stateroom and sat in the Bistro. I got a latte and custard tart and pdated my daily count and read Dandy Don news.
Now to work on my Roots of Education review. I was chased from the Bisto by some loudmouth theater-types. Del joined me for a few minutes. Then she went to catch the whale lecture being simul-cast in Hollywood theater. As I walked to the Avenue Bar which will be free until 2:30, I met up with Lorene (Carl) and Chris (Joe) our 9th Floor neighbors we had met outside their doors earlier. Then Del came up. I was checking the Dining Room menu and got into a delightful chat with Nancy from San Francisco over strange names. Some of yher grandkids names she didn't like. She had a friend name Gay June Wedding, at a time when Gay was a common name meaning happy and back then "Gay Wedding" didn't mean an ersatz marital rite.
Yesterday I had set up to work in the Card Table room, but today it was already in use. Marco at the front desk told me to check the Avenue Saloon, that it wouldn't be in use until 3 pm that day. It took me about a half hour to find a spot in the bar with enough light to read from Roots and with a handy power outlet. Then I was ready to write.
Will meet Del up in Palm Court for tea at 3:30 and then get dressed for dinner in main Dining Room. Have to tell Del about the long conversation with Judy and Duane in Lido about doyletics and Speed Tracing.
I wrote about two more pages of the Roots review while in the Avenue. Was not bothered except for a short loud conversation by a passing gang. Left about 2 and had a salmon sandwich in the Bistro. Then 2:30 went to our room and took a PostPrandialRepose after ingesting my Juice Plus for the morning. Maintenance was replacing the carpet where a pipe broke earlier along the route to midships. Went to the Palm Court to meet Del and to read more about Duality of the Shadow Seeking The Sun, SSTS. I am about halfway through book.
We went to Galaxy when it opened and Judy and Duane came and sat behind us so we talked with them before and after the show. Jamilla, Kenny Martyn, and Michele Bell were the headliners.
Afterwards, we met Barrett and Patty in the Casino and introduced them to Duane and Judy. Barrett wanted to get coffee so we walked to Bistro. He and I talked for at least two hours, till almost midnight. Knows more about USA politics than most people I know which is unexpected to me because he and Patty are from Canada. On his list of is most horrible presidents are the current one and Lyndon Johnson. Thinks the Demoncrats are Satan spawn. We finally closed the Bistro and went to our rooms. Del was still up watching Mirren's "Woman in Gold" about getting her Aunt Adele's Klimt portrait back.
Sunday, August 21, 2016: NOME, ALASKA
Anchored off the port of Nome. Will depend on Tender Mercies to get ashore. After breakfast in Lido I came back to Stateroom 9050 and found that the Wi-Fi and Internet is down.
Learned how to use a Magnifier on my Lenovo LT with its Windows 10 system. Didn't know it existed but I found it in Settings and it does just what I wanted: allows me to do 200% size when using PhotoShop! The very tiny size of the menu iterms in Photoshop is challenging. But I have just about gotten use to it right at the time I found a solution I had been wishing for.
I was down in the Bistro when Del came by for her breakfast. She came just as the custard tarts showed up and she had one also. We introduced as many people as possible to these delicious confections. Often I would skip the omelet in the Lido because I knew my eggs were waiting for me in a custard tart in the Bistro.I went to see USA vs. Serbia Olympics Final Basketball game at 10, but it did not startuntil 10:45.
Del copy-edited my Roots of Education review to date. I've written bout 6 pages so far.
Our goal was to go onshore about noon for an hour or so. It's a bleak 50 degrees outside. Cloudy. Probably won't warm up.
We took the tender to port and walked through Nome. A muddy walk over unpaved streets with no sidewalks. Now I understand the origin of the word side-walk because it would have sure been nice to walk along the side of the street instead through the middle of the muddy streets with four wheelers, jeeps, and cars splashing as they go by, all in a hurry. We found the end of the famous Iditarod Dog Sled race, a 1,049 mile long dog sled run.Nominally 1,049 miles long to mark Alaska as the 49th state, but actual length varies in length according to weather conditions, etc. The end marker was really a sled-mounted wooden gate which gets towed to the middle of the snowy street when the race starts. This race had its start in 1925 when a long trek by 18 dog sleds and mushers rushed to get help during a diphtheria epidemic. Back then, sleds over snow was the only means of passage to civilization from Nome.
At night we went to Stardust lounge to hear the Big Band with Sarah Hayes the vocalist giving sounds and we danced a few dances.
Monday, August 22, 2016: CRUISING BERING SEA en route to ULUKHAKTOK
Got a photo of both Russia and USA with the Little Diomedes and Big Diomedes islands. One in USA, one in Russia. The day on the US island Little Diomedes is Monday and on its sister Russian island Big Diomedes the day is already Tuesday. It is called Tomorrow Island because it is across the International Date Line. Actually, it's only 21 hours ahead of its sister by the way the hour lines are drawn.
In an hour so we passed the Arctic Circle. around 1 PM. The Captain in his Noon Briefing announced the air temperature is 37 degF and sea is 48 degF. Heading to Ulukhaktok.To the Port Side of our ship, some 24 miles away is Russia's Siberia, the closest land to us. I decided to spend some time sitting in the now quiet Avenue Saloon to work on my Roots review. Del came by and we went up to Lido aft and I had a salad and a couple bowls of hot cream of Zucchini soup. Then we went back to Stateroom 9050.
Del has now figured out how to get her emails on her Kindle Fire. I showed her how to log on. She can use her 32 hours of free Wi Fi time now whenever she wishes. We were each given an hour a day of Internet time, and that should suffice. (It did. We had about 8 hours together left at the end of the cruise.)
As we ate lunch together in the top deck Lido Café, I heard Mark Marchant, the Ventriloquist, was at the next table with Gary. Heard him say, "You know you're not doing good as a performer if when you stop talking you can hear the air vents blowing."
Went upstairs after my post-prandial repose (nap) to read Ray Brooks in the Bistro and my reading was shortstopped by Nancy who never stops talking, but she's always interesting. A many time Crystal traveler like so many aboard this cruise. She loved the Harmony. Said two new ships are coming in 2018 and will be about 10% bigger.
Nancy told me that on a previous cruise her doctot husband saved a passenger's life who had turned purple by the time they called him. The ship's doctor apparently didn't know what to do except brag how good he was. Nancy said her husband offered to have his name on a call list when they arrived and Super Doc said, "I can handle anything." Turns out he couldn't.
We had dinner with our full table last night and Barrett and I talked a lot about computers. I explained to him how I got into PC after decades of working with larger computers and wanted a computer I could buy cheaply by pieces and assemble it into larger and faster ones at my will and pocketbook. Something not possible with the rotten and expensive apple ones.
We went to Mark Merchant's ventriloquist show and enjoyed it a lot. His American Eagle was a hoot. In a later show he came up with a dummy resembling our Captain Birger Vorland and got a lot of laughs. A few days later Rick Spath arranged an improvisation with Mark and the Captain as a short skit for the Inuit performers from shore. This time Mark had the Captain himself play a dummy as Mark signaled him to move his lips and put words into them! Guess the Inuits will have fun trying to explain that back to the villagers on shore. Then we came back and went to bed.
Tuesday, August 23, 2016: BM CRUISING CHUKCHI SEA en route to ULUKHAKTOK
We went to Lido for quick breakfast, then later to the Bistro to wait for the 11 am briefing required for going ashore in Canada. It took about an hour and was mostly common sense. I did decide to buy me a waterproof overpants like Del bought. $95 plus 3 for another Chapstick knockoff.
After that was over we went to lunch in the Dining Room and I had garlic soup and a small Eggplant Parmesan. Plus vanilla ice cream. Came to Stateroom 9050 and took a long nap before going up to Palm Court for tea at 3:30. A Hi Resolution (6X HD) Cineflex Camera was scanning for wild life animal life in vain. I read some more of Brooks' book and was interrupted by Judy and Danny Marshall. Danny was very sleepy. Found out Judy's maiden name was Brandt (like Ray Brandt, her cousin).Her daughter Dana (Amy) Marshall was Valedictorian at Blenk with my sister Janet as her Calculus teacher, so Janet should remember her. Judy is also a cousin of Gwen Morrell, a friend of Janet's.
Got on-line and sent four photos to Connie & Don (& Dan & Karen). Me in parka, sun at midnight, jackup rig, and Me&Del under umbrella in Nome.
We ate dinner at Table 60 with one couple missing, and Ron and Cheryl came by to join us, from Huntington Beach. About this point in the Cruise, I decided that I could save a question by asking, "What part of California are you from?" Why? There were so many folks from California. Patti sat by my right and Del went around to sit next to Barrett. Then the four of us went to the Curtain Call variety show led by Sarah Combs and Eric Strong, ending with a rousing tribute to ABBA. Great show.
Wednesday, August 24, 2016: BM CRUISING BEAUFORT SEA en route to ULUKHAKTOK
Probably more people are familiar with the Beaufort Scale than the Beaufort Sea, but both are named after weatherman and explorer Francis Beaufort. He was a hydrologist, meteorologist, astronomer and cartographer in the British Royal Navy and left behind him a legacy of tools mariners still use today.
I had a quick breakfast in Lido and left in the middle of three people talking about what's wrong with this generation as if they're not part of it. "Freedom is okay but we can't let people choose what to do." That kind of folderol.
In the morning we went to this movie:
"Money Monster" (2016) with George Clooney and Julia Roberts which lampoons the Mad Money man of cable TV fame and has a disgruntled investor who took his advice and tried to blow him up. Unfortunately for investors, the bomb was as much a dud as the advice the blue collar man took from the money maniac. Hit
Got a massage after the movie and enjoyed sitting in the Sauna watching through the window at the Beaufort Sea sailing frigidly by.
that evening we went to the "Around the World" piano performance of Naki Ataman, and while he was great, he was also predictable as he chose songs during his musical tour of the globe. Our New Orleans pianist extraordinaire Ronnie Kole did a similar tour of the world, but he only took us to actual places he had visited and his performance was spectacular! He got sounds out of a grand piano that simulated a complete symphony orchestra! Naki and Ronnie should get together and compare notes.
Thursday, August 25, 2016: CRUISING BEAUFORT SEA past SMOKING HILLS en route to ULUKHAKTOK
CRYSTAL COVE GALA No. 1: ICE BREAKER
Clear skies today and sunny.
Clear view of the Beaufort Sea as we cruised near the Smoking Hills of Franklin Bay.
Had breakfast in Lido, worked on Roots review and finished reading Ray Brooks' book. Shadow Seeking the Sun. His pilgrimage to find his I am in the middle of India.
I also read some of Nikki's play and it's a hoot. Zany characters so far.
Worked on "Roots of Education" and am nearly done. Twice Del came by and did some copy-editing while I was in the Bistro.
Met Biff Burk from New Orleans whose wife is home with the grandkids while he's cruising.He is a friend of Father Liam Kidney. Biff is a civil engineer, partner with Kleinpeter.
At 5 PM we went to the Galaxy for the Expedition Briefing about where we were and what was coming up. Our two days in Ulukhaktok, two u's, three k's and a h.
We had an Ice-Breaker in the Cove which was turned into an Ice Palace with lots of icicles and big pieces of ice around. The Serenity's dance crew all in white with blue outfits with sparkly accents. I danced with Shannon (who said she couldn't dance) but did just fine to Frosty the Snowman. All Christmas and winter songs. Ended with "In the Mood" and Del and I danced to it.
That night we had full Table 60 for dinner and good food and conversation.
Friday, August 26, 2016: CRUISING BEAUFORT SEA and arrival at ULUKHAKTOK
Up about 7 am. Some sun and clouds. Went to Lido for breakfast. Met Fr. Kidney in line. Asked if he used the story of the old maid with a condom sitting in a bowl of water on her foot-pedal organ and he said he decided not to. Didn't know how to use it. Saw our four Stateroom neighbors, Lorene, Carl, Chris and Joe.
Went down to the Bistro and finished my review of "Roots" and Duane came by for a few minutes. I went to the lecture with Barrett and Patti-Lynn. Got their email address. We listened to lecture of expedition guide, then I stayed on to hear the National Geographic photographer Flip Nicklin talk about how he got assignments and how they decided what to publish, what photos to use, how a repetition within ten years of a cover shot was avoided (photo covers on the Wall Walk where they displayed how articles and photos will look in mag. Neat talk. His left brain description of the publication process was interspersed with photos of polar bears and other arctic themed photos. One photo he showed saying only, "This is a nice photo." and went on with his talk. Had a Nikon SLR big camera he lugged around. Flip did another lecture called "How to Shoot People" which I caught some of, basically about how to approach people to take photos of them. Good common sense of a type rare today among i-Diot smartphone snappers.
Exciting day today as we cruised into Ulukahktok, Canada along Northwest Passage. Docked off shore and met up with the Shackleton Supply Ship and Ice Breaker with its zodiacs, one FIB (Fast Inflatable Boat), and two helicopters. Met Del for lunch by telling our Table 60 waiter Stefan Koen that I was going to the Bistro and he got a message to Del. We ate lunch up in Palm Court. Had the taco soup and fruit. I stayed up there till about 2:30 pm and came to Lido to get an ice cream chocolate-vanilla swirl cone and went aft to take photos of the Sun along the horizon and of the far shore of King Bay west of our docking place.
At about 3:05 Barrett came by and Del left. He and I talked for a couple of hours.
In the Galaxy Lounge after dinner we went to enjoy the Inuit natives of Ulukhaktok demonstrate their drum dancing, after which we enjoyed the swing music in the Cove by the Galaxy Orchestra.
Saturday, August 27, 2016: ULUKHAKTOK originally named HOLMAN
We went ashore at Ulukhaktok about 12:45 pm. Everyone seemed to want to touch land again and were willing to get suited up in Arctic Parkas provided by Crystal (which we get to keep) and waterproof boots for the wet landing. It was reported later that 900 guests got on the 14 passenger zodiac boats and shuttled to shore and back safely during one short day. Amazing organization and attention by Crystal crew made this happen.
We tried on our gear first to make sure we were ready to don them to leave. Del went down to the Bistro to grab a bite to eat. I'm off coffee till we get back about 2:45. Met Biff and Fr. Liam Kidney and sat with them in the Bistro earlier. Told them the Cajun "water in carb" and the "only doing murders today" jokes, among others. Got a report that Father used one of them in a homily later. He is a joy to talk to, and his masses are a wonderful experience.
We dressed and left at 12:45 on a zodiac and were back on board and undressed by 3:30. We trudged into the small village over rough rocky paths, first to the arts center where sculpture and weaving was going on. Took photos of an Inuit woman doing weaving on a Brothers machine. Another named Sandra was doing a print of a girl learning to mush her dogs. She couldn't sell me the one she had just done, but told me that at the high school I could get one. We trudged there. Different between walking and trudging was the amount of energy it takes.My heavy overshoes did a great job of stabilizing my steps over uneven ground, but they were heavy, like all the other gear I had on: my winter silks (top and bottom), my rain pants, and Arctic parka. We bought the greeting card for $15 using US dollars. Canadian dollars are only worth .7 of US, but they took them one for one. So what should have cost me only $11 cost me about $17, as I gave him $20 and he gave $4 Canadian in change after sales tax. I hope they get to keep the agio.
I took a quick nap and went to Mass by Fr. Kidney. Does a great job. Saw Judy and Danny Marshall, Barrett Chevalier, and of course Biff Burk was there. He travels with Fr. Liam and assists him at all his Masses. He told me they left his name off the Guest List by mistake.
After dinner we went to the big Celtic Legend show a Riverdance-themed performance and it was great. I don't care much for the frantic clopping around, but the show was high energy and fun, especially Ian Cooper who looked and played like a Leprechaun on Speed who had just found a Pot of Gold on the Crystal Serenity. We hit the sack about 10.
Sunday, August 28, 2016: CRUISING DOLPHIN and UNION STRAIT en route to CAMBRIDGE BAY
Cambridge Bay has a regional center for the new Canadian Province of Nunavut, whose capitol is Iqaluit on Baffin Island.
We got our first internet connection since we left Alaska, but on and off, after a lot of hassle. Got three emails in and sent one to Carla and Kim with me and Del photo. Need to make another email photo to send them later.
Went to Lido for breakfast , then I had to take two trips to CUSS and finally got connected. Later, in the Bistro I met Jack (of Jack and Jill), originally from New Orleans but moved to Hot Springs Village since Katrina. He worked with Ken Olsen of Digital Equipment Corp on the PDP 4s, the 8s, beginning as a service tech at 12 years old! Needed a security guy to drive him around to customer sites.
The customer would usually direct their problem to the security guy and he'd point to Jack as the expert. Jack said at that age, he mostly dusted and cleaned off things to get them working again. DEC is gone now, absorbed by COMPAQ which I believe is also gone now. Schade. Such a great innovative company that Digital Equipment Company was.
The Internet is down and I'm caught up on my journal then did photo processing.
We ate at Table 60 lacking Barrett Chevalier who was having problems with post-nasal drip and coughing.
I was able to print out my Roots review to help in proofing the publication issue and gave my copy to Patti-Lynn to read and keep.
We went to the show with Sarah Hayes the Chanteuse, Mark the Ventriloquist who had made a dummy of Captain Vorland, and Ian Cooper the Leprechaun violinist.
Then to bed.
Monday, August 29, 2016: CAMBRIDGE BAY, NUNAVUT
We applied too late to receive a Ticket for the zodiac ride to Cambridge Bay, so we got to sleep in late and enjoy the show put on by the local Inuit natives in the Crystal Cove. In the afternoon I encountered the same Inuits on the top deck being given a tour of the ship by Sarah Hayes. I managed to get a shot of them in a group and just having fun. In the frigid air an eight-year-old girl had bare shoulders and wasn't a bit cold.
After hitting the Lido Café for our late breakfast, we watched the Inuit show with Throat Singing and Athletic games involving high kicks in the Crystal Cove, right after the Crystal Cruise Company presented a plaque and a check to Cambridge Bay. Then the throat singers and the athletes doing the high kick began their shows. The high kicks were done by a young man who had tto hold one hand on the floor and kick a small rubber ball suspended on a string. Each time he kicked it, the ball was raised higher. After they preformed, the Throat Singers consisting of two girls who sang mostly with their throat, imitating each other a half-beat apart. They produced a kind of Eskimo-Rap sound. With the large audience gathered in, around, and above the Cove, Rick was goaded into doing throat singing with one of the native girls.
When the singing was nearly over, Rick interrupted to bring Mark Merchent the ventriloquist over to make a dummy out of the Captain, this time using the real Captain. The night before he used a small version of the captain; today he tapped Captain Birger Vorland on the shoulder to move his lips, while Mark put words in the Captain's mouth. The throat singers must have been truly amazed to hear the squeaky voice coming from the large Norwegian captain's mouth. Vorland was a great good sport to participate in this truly improvised performance, planned and execute as Mark was due to leave the ship to catch a plane home.
I began working on The Shadow That Seeks the Sun review that afternoon. I finished the review, proofread it with Del's help, and published it to the web over the spotty Wi-Fi connection aboard while still in the Northwest Passage! First time I ever published a review on the Web that I wrote and edited on board any cruise ship.
Never saw Barrett or Patti-Lynn today. I was concerned about both of them. Patti-Lynn had a cough and so did Barrett. With a few weeks, Del and I developed a similar cough, which took us several weeks to get rid of.It developed into bronchitis in Del and she needed the assistant of the wonderful doctor couple from South Africa. This was a common ailment aboard ship, and one woman we had met developed pneumonia from it, but she recovered quickly.
We ate in the Dining Room with Bill and Sharon since Barrett and Patt-Lynn had a private dinner via room service in their Stateroom. After dinner we went to the From US-UK production called "Across the Pond" in the Galaxy. Afterward Del and I went to the Avenue Saloon to hear the piano player Perry Grant playing music, telling stale jokes, and clowning around. The music was too loud, so we sat near the door and left within a few minutes.
Then to bed.
Tuesday, August 30, 2016: CRUISING VICTORIA STRAIT en route to POND INLET
POLAR BEARS EVERYWHERE! ! !
Del and I had breakfast Lido Café and the ship was abuzz with excitement: POLAR BEARS had been sighted. We went back to our Stateroom so I could dress to go out on Sun Deck, but before I left, I took a photo of my first Polar Bear on an ice floe from our balcony. It was probably my best shot of Polar Bears. Those who didn't have tickets for the Unexpected Adventures, which meant going out on the zodiac boats to get up close and personal with the Polar Bears, went up to Palm Court to see them on the moniters or out on Deck 12 as I did. I got another photo of a Polar Bear, but it didn't move much and was bent over.
Later we walked across the frigid Sun Deck to the Lido to defrost and eat lunch. I took more photos, but fog kept messing up the focus of my camera. Later I met Del coming out of Yoga and sat with her before going to Bistro for my daily café latte and custard tart. Took a tart back to fridge for eating later.
I was later asked by Barrett to join his Clever Trousers Trivia Group, I met four wonderful ladies, Julia & Jeanette from Sydney, Saundra from New York, and Georgia from Cypress (from Greek side, but she was born and raised the side now controlled by Turkish riff-raff).
Georgia joked when she heard that Julia had bought a Louis Vitton for her grand-daughter, "Probably a Louis Vietnam." She meant it's a ripoff imitation. Cute idea, for Padre Felius or Violet and Joey cartoon.
An amazing day full of Polar Bears: a mother with two large cubs, a polar bear consuming a seal he had killed. Left the bloody remains for the Seagulls. A sea-gull will eat a bagel (bay-gull) if given an opportunity. Heck, seagulls even eat the Polar Bear's leftover seal carcasses. For myself, I have never been hungry enough to eat a seal carcass or a bagel. One morning near the end of this cruise, Martin in Lido Café said, "No more English Muffins. You want bouggul?" Had him repeat it several times before I recognized the word bagel. Apparently he doesn't eat nor say them. I had a croissant instead with my Seville Marmalade and butter for a couple of days till the ship restored its emergency provisions, like english muffins.
Barrett and Patti-Lynn missed dinner again. This time it was Patti feeling too bad to go. I decided to join Barrett's gang called "Clever Trousers" (Smartie Pants) for trivia in the morning, in case he's not there.
For dinner I ordered the San Francisco clam chowder (sans bacon) — there was some confusion, Stefan thought it was the red chowder, but I knew the red kind was called Manhattan chowder and therefore across the continent it would have to be white chowder. With that I had the Dover Fillet of Sole. Both good. Cherry Garcia ice cream for dessert.
In the Galaxy Lounge that night a solo organist was featured, Hector Olivera, but he made sounds equivalent to a full orchestra on his ROLAND organ. It is one that he designed himself, but said he's got three of them, and the company he designed them for doesn't make them anymore.It produces some sounds like my own expensive 1975 Thomas Organ, which needs repair. It broke after a period of about six months where I had not played it. Apparently the electrolytic capacitors in the power supply lost their electrolytic insulating coating and need to be replaced. I explained to him my experience and suggested that he always play all three at least once every four months or less. So far the one stored on Crystal Serenity has been played at least once every four months because of his repeat performances. Hope he follows my suggestion that his organ be powered up at least once every four months. If he misses a performance, he should ask the Cruise Director to have someone power it up and play it a bit to refresh the electrolytic coatings on his power supply. He claimed that "everything is digital", but he does not understand that everything digital needs a power supply to convert AC to DC and that requires electrolytic capacitors, so far as I know.
Met Jerry Kaplan, Nancy's husband, from Alamoc, California, east of SF. from them after the show. I learned that Crystal provided hot chocolate to the Unexpected Expeditioners on their frigid zodiac boats today. Delivered a large thermos urn of it and poured out cupfuls to each zodiac passenger while they were out on the frigid sea viewing Polar Bears. That's Crystal Service for you.
Meanwhile in our Stateroom, Internet was still down, but may come back up when we go still for Polar Bear and wildlife expeditions.
To sleep about 10 pm
Wednesday, August 31, 2016: : CRUISING BELLOT STRAIT en route to POND INLET
We ate an early breakfast in Lido Café, then Del went off to Yogurt (my pet name for her Yoga classes each morning), and I stopped by for Fr. Liam's Mass at 9 am.
Then to Bistro. Sat with Nancy (wife of Jerry, a burn specialist) and Judy and Danny Marshall.
Nancy told a story about how her husband Jerry saved the life of a passenger on a previous cruise by doing an emergency tracheotomy.
When Nancy pulled out and began viewing her FaceBook page, I went to sit at another table with Duane. Del later came to sit with me and Duane and Judy. When Judy pulled out some social media thingie, I left for our Stateroom. Word was out on the ship that snowflakes were falling on us as we entered the Bellot Strait on our way to Pond Inlet.
Del and I had salad in the Lido at the table which Bill and Sharon had just vacated. Saw Barrett and Patti later in the Lido. Got a vanilla and chocolate swirl cone at Scoops and the Captain came up next in line to get a cone, so I asked him why we were stopped. He said the Ernest Shackleton, our Canadian Coast Guard Icebreaker, was waiting for their helicopters and zodiacs to return aboard ship. A few minutes later the Captain came on the ship's PA system to announce that an iceberg had been spotted 20 miles ahead and we were heading to it and the Shackleton would have to catch up with us later. Excitement. Hmmm, our ship was seeking out an iceberg rather than trying to avoid one!
After a latte and custard tart in the Bistro, I went back up to Stateroom 9050 after having had a peak experience with an iceberg and a Cosmic Ray! The Cosmic Ray was of course, Ray Brooks, in his book, The Shadow That Seeks the Sun which I had been reading.
Went down to dinner at Table 60 and we applauded as Barrett and Patti-lynn joined us for the first time in three nights. They're both feeling better and were missing us as much as we missed them.
The Galaxy show was awful, like in Justin Sinkinthelake awful, some millenniums pop music, I expect. To me the music stunk like the many stopped up toilets around the ship. Heard that somebody flushed one of the wool pullover caps in the toilet and it stuck and blocked the plumbing of most of the ship. No toilets were available for public areas during the dumb show As we readied for bed the toilet flushed with about a five minute delay. I began imagining how to design a plumbing system which detects a cloth obstruction and blocks ONLY the Stateroom which dumped it in the toilet. Then only the offender gets to suffer, not the rest of the sip. Would need a way to signal bridge that a blockage needs to be cleared, and the offender would be inconvenienced, as well identified to detect repeat offenders. Get busy, you millennial plumbers and design such a system.
Went to bed about 10 again.
Thursday, September 1, 2016: CRUISING BEECHEY ISLAND en route to POND INLET
The daily Reflections publication of the Serenity tells us what to expect each day, but it omitted the minor blizzard that hit us this day. High winds and snow doth a blizzard make, right? We had both. But it didn't snow hard enough to stop me from getting great photos of high mountains on the islands that surrounded us.
Working on my review of Ray Brooks' The Shadow That Seeks the Sun in Bistro and realized how much I have come to depend on Google to be available when I am writing a review. Any word which comes to mind which I am not 100% sure about its meaning or spelling, I look it up, because if I don't some reader will later do so and let me know if I erred in some way. Unfortunately, cruising through the Northwest Passage, Google was a scarce commodity, not always available. Needing Google desperately today, I penned a short take-off on "If I had a hammer. . .":
"If I had a Google, I'd Google in the morning,
I'd Google in the evening,
All over this land,
I'd Google out justice,
I'd Google out freedom,
I'd Google out love between the brothers and sisters
All over this Land."
Barrett and Patti-Lynn went on a zodiac excursion and he asked me to take his place in the Clever Trousers Trivia group (aka Smartie-Pants). We won 10 points and 8 was the closest in second place. I was given a 20% off a massage certificate to use on a port day. But it turned out be only a 'bait and switch' tactic by the Spato get me to buy their more expensive Signature Treatments, which I didn't want. More about this later. My TALC and CABBAGE answers did the trick for two questions: "Softest mineral" and "Member of what family is broccoli".
At tea time in Palm Court, it was blizzard conditions outside. Snow flying horizontally at fifty miles per hour. I went out briefly to get a photo of the snow falling and noticed there was a bald-headed man in the jacuzzi out in the blizzard. Zodiacs were still out in water being reloaded upon the Shackleton. BRRRRR! ! !
I got just a few photos on top deck wearing my arctic parka.
HOE-DOWN and WESTERN DANCE PARTY in the CRYSTAL COVE
Tonight was the Second of three Spectacular Galas in the Crystal Cove, and it was a Western Theme. I already had my "Cowboy Hat" but the crew provided ample cowboy hats of various designs as well as bright colored neckerchiefs to go around the neck. It was a fun time and finding a spot on the dance floor was required some cowpoke prodding.
There was a Hoosegow for errant Arness's and Miss Kitty's, and even Dolly Parton (aka Stacey Huston) make a prominent appearance at the microphone with two other less recognizable Country Western singing stars. I spent my time in the Hoosegow, but I soon found a way to quickly bend the bars apart, went out, and sat down on a bale of hay to warm my hands over the bright campfire. Two gals took my place in the jail, but the two blondes couldn't both get through the bars at the same time, and may be still in there, so far as I know.
Friday, September 2, 2016: CRUISING BELLOT STRAIT en route to POND INLET
Entered Crocker Bay with a large glacier at the end. Put on my parka and got photos up top. Processed photos up to date. Went down to the Bistro and worked on my review, and I was asked to take Barrett's place in the Clever Trousers group for Trivia again. This one was not fun at all. Somebody came late after we had done three questions already and a game of musical chairs broke out to decide who had to leave. I decided this would be my last, but there would be one more ahead of me, which we would win again before I retired from the Smartie Pants group.
Almost finished with my review of The Shadow That Seeks the Sun. I was up to Ray's last Talk with Rudra in which he discovers Rudra's Western roots.
We had aull table tonight for the Alaskan Crab dinner, all six of us were present. Afterward, we went to the Galaxy to see and hear Christine Andreas, accompanied by her composer husband on the piano. She told us a wonderful story of her's which was filled with marvelous songs and music.
Came back to Stateroom 9050 ready to crash, and Del to watch some lecture or briefing on the TV, so I walked around the ship wishing I was in bed, and finally walked back and got in to bed to sleep.
I was not a happy camper this night until I got to sleep and then I slept like a campfire log.
Saturday, September 3, 2016: CRUISING CROCKER BAY en route to POND INLET
Some exciting news to break up any possible tedium of another day at sea. Stacy got a ransom note on her Morning Show with Rick Spaht from Vinny saying that her Polar Bear Nanook has been kidnaped and the note was written on a nap-kin. It was written with a Cousin Vinny accent that Rick evoked perfectly.
The note said that Stacey's daily Zumba class interfered with Vinny's nap time and her Zuma schedule needs to be moved if she is ever to see her beloved Nanook again. A bear-napping written on a napkin to save Vinny's nap time! This was a NAP TRIFECTA!
Got online using Del's time and watched about half of the LSU-Wisconsin game. Saw the second half a bit. Down 0-13, Fournette broke loose for long runs. A punt caught at the 5 set UW back and Tradavious White, No. 18, intercepted pass on the ten yard line and was running to the near side of field at the 5, looking to speed past Badgers No. 72 and 66, two slow linemen, to score! At exactly that moment, the ship lifted anchor, and the internet was lost. Went to ESPN3 and it had LSU 7- UW 13 already, so somebody scored, And scored again to lead 14-13, after which UW kicked a field goal to win 16-13. This was my guess of what happened when I lost the signal and it was right on. Why the low score? Les Miles's loyalty to his quarterback who couldn't complete a screen pass and repeatedly made bad decisions in the face of a rush. One more loss, and the consensus is 'Les' Miles will turn into 'No More' Miles. And that, dear Friends, is what happened when a mismanagement of the ending seconds cost LSU to lose the Auburn game. Our new coach is Ed Orgeron. He has the same name as my Aunt Elaine's husband and is also a Louisiana native and Cajun. Good news is this folkss: for the first time in decades LSU has a coach which has NO ACCENT!
It snowed on the ship last night and some guest did a snow angel out on deck. There were also two snowmen on the Sun Deck, the larger one had a stogie in his mouth. Maybe he represented Vinnie the bear-napper. The next day the smaller snowman had morphed into a snowdog! Maybe we could put snow-dog to work sniffing out the bear-napped Nanook!
I worked all day, finished my The Shadow That Seeks the Sun review and Del copy-edited it.
All six of us were at dinner. The Chevaliers and Del wanted to see this movie that I didn't care to see so I went down to the Galaxy Lounge to enjoy the quiet before the evening show, not realizing that the show with Sarah Hayes was in the Stardust Club on this night. I heard some activity back stage and I was busy reading and enjoying the relative quiet. Some gal way in the back of the theater interrupted my reading, wanting to know when show began. I said I didn't know and thought under my breath, "I don't care." I ws reading Anne Pourciau's script of Niki Barranger's play. I think "Death by Practice" would be an apt name for it, which I will let her know as soon as I get internet connection. I finished reading the script and walked to the Stardust Club show after taking the script to our stateroom.
I danced with Georgia, the gal from Cypress and the Trivia group, a couple of times. Asked her about "Big Fat Greek Wedding", and she said that was her! Her parents were livid that she hadn't married by 16!
Sunday, September 4, 2016: POND INLET
Del and I went up the Lido Café on deck 12 Aft and were treated to an incredible sunrise! The Sun rose with its rays shooting out from both sides of a huge ice-covered mountain. Off to one side we could the Shackleton releasing its cache of zodiac boats to begin ferrying us to another wet landing ashore. Wet landing meant no dry dock to walk ashore, so we had to be ready to walk through about a foot or less of water up the sloping beach to the dry sand.
When our time slot came, we took the zodiac in, and Scott Edgerton was our driver again. He reminded me of the guy in the movie, "Vanishing", Barry Newman, who had to drive coast-to-coast in a souped-up Dodge Charger. Coincidentally that movie was shown later in the Hollywood Theater aboard ship and Barrett and I both went to it and enjoyed seeing it again after decades. The girls, Del and Patti-Lynn, were like, "So what?" Next to Steve McQueen in Bullitt, this is the best guy auto race flick.
If you look at our overall itinerary, you'll notice a long, tortuous path from Cambridge Bay, across the Victoria Strait, through the Bellot Strait, and past Bleechy and Devon Islands to get to Pond Inlet. This was mine and Del's first chance to go ashore since Ulukhaktok and we were ready to get some solid land, no matter how slippery and sandy beneath our feet. It was another day of trudging in heavy boots with our red Arctic parkas on. This time, we could barely see the yellow school from the zodiac, we had to trudge a long way in soft beach sand and then up a hill past an original Inuit home to the school bus which took us further uphill and into the town center.
We chose to spend our time in the town's ice rink. It's used for hockey, likely the main sport of the town. I asked how they froze the ice for the rink, and as I suspected, the reply I got said, "We put water in it and open the large vents and let it freeze." In the rink there was a delightful gal about twenty-something name Zoe at a table trying to raise money for her to participate in the Dwarf Olympics. She needed $5,000 for her flight to and from the major city where it takes place. She stood next to me and her head just barely was above my waistline.
A sweet, cheerful young lady, she was earnest in her wish to compete in this Olympic event, and I helped her with some money and wondered how she might achieve her goal. Later aboard ship I told Stacey of Zoe's plight and she said she'd look into it. I thought that maybe the Serenity could start a KickStarter Campaign to raise her $5000 fare. Perhaps Stacey could find a way of communicating to Zoe or her Mom on Pond Inlet. Her mom was in the gym and seemed computer savvy.
In the ice rink, we saw Inuit women skinning seal skin with the Ulu knife, a versatile native tool from which the town Ulukhaktok got its name, and another woman chewing the seal leather to make it soft. Del got a great shot of her chewing the stiff hide and she demonstrated how it became soft enough for san1dals when she was through chewing her way through the hide.
Back on the Serenity we ate lunch in the Lido, a salad for me and Del. My taste for heavy food has dropped, so I'm coasting back down towards my normal weight again.
The big deal in the afternoon was everyone was asked to don their red parkas and go up on the Sun Deck to get our group photo taken. Del and stood a few feet behind the two hot tubs and I noticed one lady who was wearing red, alright, a red bikini and she was soaking in the jacuzzi during the photo shoot. Don't know if she was visible in the group shot, but she was visible in my photo shot between the legs of some parka-clad cruisers.
The night show in the Galaxy was a bummer! The Juke Box Musical Show was called 6/8 Café we decided to 86 it. The sound was so freaking loud that Del and I walked out of it when they didn't lower the volume after the first musical number. Both too loud and too obnoxious music will chase us away.
Monday, September 5, 2016: CRUISING NORTH BAFFIN ISLAND FJORDS en route to ILLULISSAT, GREENLAND
On this day we left Canada Dry and were cruising to three Greenland ports and to the Northern Lights which await us on some starry night.
Very low clouds obscured our view of the mile high mountains which rise steeply from the fjord. Got a few good photos and the Sun did come out for a while. The huge glaciers creeping down the sides of the fjord were awesome and chunks of ice bergs could be seen along the shore. Two particularly large icebergs passed by the ship, one a mesa shape and the other a two-peak mountain shape.Enjoyed talking to Lorene and Chris, our Stateroom neighbors, in the Bistro. I introduced them to my secret pleasure, custard tarts, and they each took one to their room. They thanked me later.
I got a nice note from Stacy Huston, apologizing for the mistreatment I got from the Spa the morning before. I called her and explained it seemed like a 'bait and switch' and that's why I tore up the discount ticket in front of the Spa people that I had won during Trivia without saying anything. I hoped they'd get the feedback. She said she had a long talk with the Spa Head and they will fix the problem. A discount should not be so complicated, plus it should offer a discount for normal services or it's not a real discount, but a come-on.
Stacey was sweet and wanted to offer me some other discount as a prize, but I explained that taking and using my feedback was ample compensation for my trouble. The one Trivia prize that I did take later was the Ernest Shackleton pullover wool cap with its insigna in front. It will be a prize momento of my Northwest Passage.
Later I sent out two photos to Dan, Don & Connie, and a few others when I got Wi-Fi: one on the Lido of me and Del with Pond Inlet village behind us, and a closeup of the Mountain with the sunrise behind it.
In the afternoons, I have usually gone to the Tea Time in the Palm Court. which has been the permanent spot of the Cineflex operator. Its two very large high definition screens are always full of images.Whenever we have spotted wildlife such as Polar Bears, Whales, Narwhals, and such on land or in the sea, the Palm Court became a hive of frenetic activity. But on other afternoons, especially on Sea Days like this one, the Tea Time is a refreshing break for me. I have some Himalayan Darjeeling Tea with nothing added to distract its delightful flavor plus an occasional scone with whipped cream and strawberries, an egg salad or cucumber sandwich or two, and a chocolate chip cookie. On this day there was a Mozart Tea with the Astoria String Quartet dressed in lovely Viennese gowns as they played Eine Kleine Nachtmusic and other amazing and delightful classical pieces. Their talent is versatile and they have shown up in large Galaxy shows such as the Celtic show dancing and playing as part of the large cast.On many noon-times their quartet graces the floor of the Crystal Cove as they play during the early afternoon for passersby and fine music-lovers. I have experienced several different quartets on various Crystal cruises and this one is by far the finest and most enjoyable. They clearly love their work and you can hear it in their music.
After the Galaxy Lounge show with Michael Bacala, an amazing modern-day Puccini on the violine, I met Hector Olivera and his wife Olivia Olivera outside the Galaxy. Had an uninterrupted chance to tell him about my work on reforming electrolytic capacitors in a nuclear plant. He still maintained that his "all-digital" circuits do not use electrolytics, but I think he doesn't know how power supplies to convert AC to DC work. They need large capacitors to smooth out the voltage into a steady DC level. I may not have convinced him but I may have installed enough doubt to get him to have the Serenity power up his Roland organ if he misses a 4-month gig.
Tuesday, September 6, 2016: CRUISING DAVIS STRAIT en route to ILLULISSAT, GREENLAND
Del and I ate in the Lido Café on the top deck and got a photo taken of us with a large iceberg filling most of the space in the window behind us.
It was another misty day with high, jagged peaks rising into clouds from icy waters around us. We cruised all day. Took photos. There were many large icebergs, some seagulls appeared, and fishing boats indicating we were getting close to Greenland. There were lectures in the Galaxy lounge, and many other ativities around the ship for those who chose to participate
I ate lunch and did a final-proof of my reviews of The Shadow That Seeks the Sun on the web and the Wi-Fi stayed on long enough for me to be able to re-post most of my edits to the Web. Some minor items still remain, but I sent the link off to Ray Brooks. He wrote back the next day saying that he and his wife Dianne love it.
Del and I went to dinner. All 6 at Table 60 this night. The highlight of the menu was the Bugs Bunny dessert. Then went to the Sound of Music special in Galaxy. On our way in, Stacy was in Austrian dirndl and nearly unrecognizable as the Hostess on the Morning Show with Rick Spath. She was playing with a Goat Marionette from the Lonely Goatherd song, and I asked if she remembered the song. With a little prodding she recalled it. I found out that she was the same age as my two daughters who also went to University of Texas, so I plan to send photo of her to Carla and Yvette to see if they remember her from UT. The Sound of Music show was a reprise of the plot with music aptly sprinkled in. Loved Sarah Hayes in her nun's habit with a long slit up the legs: she was probably the sexiest nun I ever saw running and dancing across a stage or screen. It was the sexy legs which did it.
Wednesday, September 7, 2016: ILULISSAT, GREENLAND
We had a ticket for a community visit to the first Greenland stop, but all visits were canceled due to the huge half-mile long iceberg which calved in the port a week or so earlier. Captain cannot be sure we would be able to extract the Serenity if we got close enough for the zodiacs to take folks ashore.
We had dressed to go ashore bbut couldn't get our ship into position due to accumulating ice floating and packing in the harbor. The cruising excursions will go out an hour later to view the ice flow an look for whales, but the community visits were definitely cancelled. I felt like Kenny when after we had made him clean up his room because company was coming. When the company cancelled, Kenny said, "I cleaned up my room for nothing!"
Barrett and I were on the winning team for Trivia in Palm Court. He chose a Shackleton baseball cap and I chose the toque and wore it as a Sailor's cap the next day, flattening down the top peak and making sure the Shackleton logo was visible. This was the one day during which I took no photos at all. But I can show a photo that Patti-Lynn took of Barrett and me in our colorful hats on the top deck of the ship in the Sisimiut harbor the next day as we bid the Shackleton Icebreaker with its zodiacs and helicopters goodbye.
Del went to dinner but skipped the show she has a head cold. She took NYQUIL and went to sleep. Hector Olivera was in the Galaxy Lounge performing and he did a spectacular rendition of John Philip Sousa's Stars & Stripes and the cannon-explosion-filled conclusion to Peter Tchaikowsky's 1812 Overture. What a virtuoso with an incredibly versatile electronic organ. From cannons to fifes and every instrument in between, he coaxed a plethora of sounds out of the Roland to amaze and delight the audience.
Thursday, September 8, 2016: SISIMIUT, GREENLAND (LEGOLAND)
I had breakfast in the Lido without Del who won't be going ashore to Sisimiut with me. Learned that the houses of Sisimiut were created as kits in Denmark and shipped to Greenland for assembly. they are very colorful and look very much like Lego built houses, which, since Denmark created Lego building pieces, it's not surprising that they would put their experience helping to build homes for the Denmark ruled land without trees, Greenland.
I had a tender moment today. I went ashore aboard a Serenity Tender to Sisimiut without having to don the "Clunky Boots" — sounds like a current Broadway musical with a twist, doesn't it? Because we anchored offshore and were able to run tenders to the pier, after a bit of jury-rigging, I could walk ashore with comfortable shoes on and explored the tiny village for an hour or so. The path to shore took us through Pluto, but it was an easy diversion as Pluto was the name of a boat pressed into service to mate the Crystal Serenity tenders to the wooden dock. The walk across the faded wooden gangplank was a bit of an adventure on the way to land after we walked through Pluto.
Took a shuttle bus up the steep hill to the museum, ate a piece of a donut left for us by villagers, walked up the steep steps to the red church, a beautiful wooden church with an organist playing. A model ship hung over the aisle near the altar entrance.
I stopped in a woolen goods place with the extra soft and warm musk ox wool. Sweaters for $500 euros and up, but none in Carla's size, and only Medium and Large sizes. But I was able to buy some Eskimo wool yarn in a box near door. May be enough for booties, two for Maureen and the UT Orange skeins for Carla.
At night, it was Barrett, Patti-lynn and I at Table 60. We made the inner circle but not the Captain's table, but with 10 cruises, we'll likely be at Captain's Table on most cruises from now on. I expect those at the Captain's Table on this cruise have had over 100 cruises already.
After our meal, I checked on Del, as I did frequently during the day. Was happy to find her sitting up several times watching TV in 9050.
Went to movie after sitting in on the first part of Name That Tune (only got 2 out of 10). Hard to recognize the improvised piano renditions of pop songs.
Then I joined the Chevaliers in the theater for "Vanishing Point" with Barry Newman. Scott Edgerton, our 4-time zodiac pilot reminded me of him, but it took the movie to confirm his name and looks.
Got photos of half a dozen anchors for Duane, who wants a large anchor for the front yard of his home in Ninilchik, Alaska. In Sisimiut, our table mate Sharon was taking a photo of her hubby Bill Gralow near a large anchor. I walked down the hill and paid $10 for an Inuit man, who did a drumming and singing performance just for me.
Friday, September 9, 2016: NUUK, GREENLAND
Our Serenity actually tied up to a dock for the first time since we left Alaska! But I wasn't in a mood to celebrate because in our Stateroom, we had no Hot Water, requiring me to improvise with a dry electric shave and a bird bath. Stefan our Table 60 waiter told me he had to gut it out with an ice cold shower on this morning. The hot water returned by noon, I think, but I was ashore to miss the ship-wide celebration which probably happened when hot water returned to showers. This city led to my being beset by Barrett saying, "Nuuk, Nuuk" to which I was expected to reply, "Who's there?"
Del and I walked to the top deck Lido Café where we had our breakfast. On a table just ten feet away, there was a guy with white hair and beard that was the spitting image of Bill Hatchett. When he stood up, he seemed a bit taller than Bill, but otherwise it was a dramatic resemblance.
I looked down at the gangway from the Lido and saw there was shuttle bus nearby. Came back to our Stateroom, and Del took a laydown with the Sun shining on her back through the balcony. She was still not feeling well. I loaded my photos from my camera into my Laptop. The Wi-Fi was down. Decided to process photos after I got my journal up to date. Turned on my Z10's Data Services and got a text back from Carla.
Del was still a bit weak, and so I decided to go into the largish town of Nuuk without her. I had heard that Nuuk has the only escalator in the whole island of Greenland. Who could miss that?
I was still searching for the woolen sweater I promised Carla. That was my quest when I went ashore. Saw some native ones musk ox wool for $500 or so. Reports of the musk ox wool sweaters is that they are two warm to be worn outside of the Arctic. This was a report from someone who had earlier bought one for themselves. The Serenity is full of a thousand people who have taken tens of thousands of cruises on Crystal and if you ask anyone about a place in the world, you'll likely find out they've been there at least once.
At the Nuuk Center, a small shopping center by US standards but was the famous escalator, which I naturally had to ride so I could report home about the fabulous invention. I found some things in one shop, but they didn't take US dollars, so I walked down to Sams, a baby clothes place, and got a cute shirt and a jumper with Greenland outlined on it for our first great-granddaughter Abigail Adele Upton for her Christening.
Coming back to our Stateroom, I found that one glove and Abbigail's wrapped presents had disappeared. I reported them to Marco at front desk and went outside to look for them. No luck. When I got back to room, Del had found my glove on the floor and the desk had located the presents. They were found on Deck 9 in hallway to our Stateroom, most likely. I must have dropped them to floor as I unzipped my down jacket and vest! I knew when I placed them in my jacket that they were safe from falling, but forgot about them when I got warm and needed to open my jacket again. Thank you, fellow passenger, who found the package and returned to the front desk!
There was no internet this day, but I had 3G on my Z10 Smartphone, so, with my data services on, I got my emails and texts. Plus I was able to check on DandyDon.com for LSU updates.
I had pea soup and sweet potato fries in the Lido for lunch with Del. She went back to Stateroom to rest for dinner. She is skipping the shore walk, but she was feeling a bit better and planned to make dinner at Table 60 on this night. Later I was in the Bistro writing in my journal and processing some photos from the trip.
While processing photos of original settlers, I realized that we do not know whom the Inuits chased away to settle here, nor whom the Indians of the Americas chased away or killed off completely to possess this land. So who really are the native Americans? We don't know. Those claiming to be Native Americans today cannot prove it, can they? They assume it to be true, just as settler from the Old World assumed some of this land to be theirs when they arrived.
In the afternoon, I completed processing all my photos in our Stateroom while Del slept. I went up to tea as we left Nuuk. I could see there was some rough seas for the tiny pilot boat as it went past us.
Del dressed up and came to dinner at Table 60. My Lemon Fillet of Sole was nice. Also the raspberry yogurt. Barrett and I went to the Library right after dinner and signed up for the Magic Castle show for tomorrow night at 8 pm. We decided to skip the lugubrious Light Show in the Galaxy Lounge and instead went to the Hollywood Theater to see the movie:
"Remember" a movie about a guy who can't remember and is forced to remember at gunpoint. Martin Landau stars as a man on oxygen, confined to his retirement home, who becomes a one-man Mission Impossible force.
Saturday, September 10, 2016: CRUISING LABRADOR SEA en route to BAR HARBOR
Del and I had breakfast in Lido. I worked on a Cross Word and Sudoko in Bistro. Clear Skies and good seas. Making 18 knots to Bar Harbor. Lunch in Lido upstairs.
Del came to see the movie "Remember" with me in the Hollywood Theater that afternoon. It's a movie worthy of a second look. Martin Landau and Christopher Plummer star in this amazing movie. After the movie Del went back to room to change for dinner, and I went to Vigil Mass at 5 or so. A passage from Luke was read for the Gospel.As I read it in the Missalette before Mass started, I was reminded of the Nasruddin story about looking for the key under street light. Strangley, Fr. Liam Kidney minutes later told an Irish version of the same story where a priest stopped to help a parishioner to find a coin. Fr. Liam admitted after telling the story, that he didn't quite know what the connection was with the three Gospel parables except they all dealt with something that was lost: the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost Prodigal Son. When asked for comments after his homily, I held up the Missalette and pointed out the Prodigal Son painting that was on its cover. He thought the name "Prodigal Son" should be replaced by "Compassionate Father" as it would be a better name for the lost son story.
When I returned to our Stateroom Del and I quickly dressed for dinner and got there after the other four had ordered, but we quickly ordered and enjoyed our dinner together. Barrett and Patti-lynn went to the Magic Show with us. Master Magician Chris from the Magic Castle was there and did sleight-of-hand card and ring tricks. I spied the cards in his left hand a few times, but he was good.
At dinner earlier, Barrett said that he could read my mind. He said he had the answer to the question he would ask me in an envelope. He asked me then to think of a three-digit number and said that the number I had chosen was 389. "Is that true?" he asked me. I said, "YES". Well, that was the wrong answer to give because the pre-written answer in the envelope was "NO". He never imagined I would pretend that he guessed correctly the 3-digit number. So I said "YES" since I expected him to want me to say "NO" which he needed me to say for his trick to work.
So, guess what Master Magician Chris did in his magic show? The same trick! Barrett and I just looked at each other with a knowing smile. Barrett had successfully read Chris's mind even before he had ever met Chris. Quite a feat, Barrett!
It seemed to me as if both Chris and Liam both picked up a story I was thinking of and used them. Was it them reading my mind or me transmitting my thoughts to them? These kind of events are covered by Matherne's Rule #4: It All Happens at the Same Time!
We four then went from Magic to Comedy. In the Galaxy Lounge, it was Steve Stevens doing his "demonstration humor" as Rick called it. Talked about his Mum, and that reminded me of my mother and her "Surprise Appendectomy" report. She called to say, "Your cousin Danny just had a surprise appendectomy." She meant an emergency appendectomy and that's not funny, but what is funny is imagining the doctor coming in to Danny saying, "Surprise! We're going to take your appendix out!" The next morning I saw Steve in the Casino and told him my mom Annette's story so that he might pass it around the world. He loved it. Also told him about two guys watching Cousteau and asking why they jump backwards int the water. He loved that one too.
After Steve's show was over, I came back to our room and found that the LSU game was on WatchESPN on ESPNU and had been delayed for an hour or so. I only missed half of first quarter which was horrible, Brandon Harris couldn't do beans. On came Danny Etling for the first time in an LSU uniform, and he drove LSU to three straight TD's by land and air and LSU won 34-13, and coasted through the second half. I got to bed and ten to 1 AM. Was able to watch ESPNU streaming during our long passage to fill the video buffer, I could listen on LSU Sports.net to LSU's Chris Blair doing the radio play-by-play (about 4 minutes ahead of TV). Thanks to Del for the 3 hours of Wi-Fi time she donated to a good cause: her husband's peace of mind. The Fighting Tigers have won again, and all's right in the world.
Sunday, September 11, 2016: CRUISING LABRADOR SEA en route to BAR HARBOR
I went to Lido alone for breakfast, with Del sleeping in. I talked to Fr.Liam after Mass this morning to share the Nasruddin key story. I pointed out how looking for the key instead of a coin had an added meaning. The key to happiness in our lives that we are looking for outside (because there is more light like Nasruddin did under the streetlight) is actually inside of us. He said he liked this version better. I threw two more Nasruddin stories, the "front-to-back donkey" and the "I do believe you are right" ones. He asked for my card to look up the stories on my website and I got postcards from the front desk and wrote my website address on it after cutting it into business card size.
Then I saw Patti-Lynn & Barrett heading to the next lecture by Flip Nicklin, the photographer for National Geographic and went in to catch the rest of it. Later I walked to the Bistro to call Del and almost passed by Del without noticing her. She looked all ripe and smiffy standing by the railing overlooking the Crystal Cove talking to Patti-Lynn. Del and I went down to the Jazz Brunch in the Cove and then up to check on how the Clever Trousers were doing in the Trivia Game in the Palm Court.
We got there during in the third question and I knew a few answers.
That night we went to dinner together at Table 60. Afterward we went to the Comedian John Joseph's show. John was a funny guy, but he came on after the dance team music which was so loud that I waited in Casino till it was over to enter the Galaxy Lounge. As I was sitting down in the dimly lit lounge waiting for the comedy show to begin, I had the sudden impression of Santa Claus bending over to talk to me. Did he want to ask me what I wanted for Christmas? No, it wasn't Santa but instead Duane who was wearing a long-sleeved red pullover sweater! He had already picked up the name, Santa, because of his rotund build and whitwish-gray hair and beard.
Afterward, I went to the Avenue Saloon to watch an NFL game, and the Saints score was scrolling at the bottom, It looked like the Saints were going to win. I left thinking they won, but Oakland squeaked out a 35-34 win at the last minute, and the Saints' 50-yard field goal missed. I was glad to see that the same kicker, Lutz, was able to kick a 57-yard field goal in a later game.
Monday, September 12, 2016: CRUISING ATLANTIC OCEAN en route to BAR HARBOR
Del was still unwell and slept in and I went to the Mass with Fr Liam. Learned that a prayer used in every Mass today, "O Lord, I am not worthy for you to come under my roof to save my soul" was from Luke 7:1-10 and was spoken by a Roman Centurion about his sick slave. Jesus praised the faith of the centurion, and now we use the centurion's words as a prayer in every Holy Mass.
Del went to the doctor and got some antibiotics for her bronchitis and an expectorant. Dr told her to cough and expectorate during the day to clear her lungs. That she should only use Nyquil at night and she should stop using it during the day. So if anyone asked why Del is coughing, I could tell them, "Doctor's orders".
Del felt well enough to eat in the Dining Room for the formal dress dinner. While we dressed, we watched the rerun of Rick and Stacy's Morning Show with Captain Birger Vorland.
My tuxedo seems to have shrunk in 28 days. It should return to the right size in less than 28 days when we return home to our normal Spartan fare.
This was a great dinner followed by the Captain's Farewell Reception. After that we went down to enjoy the Elvis Show starring Simon Bowman in the Galaxy lounge.
Tuesday, September 13, 2016: BAR HARBOR, MAINE
We're back in the good ole US of A again! It's been a long trek here from Seward, Alaska via the Northwest Passage and Greenland, but at long last we're treading US soil again. Up on the Sun Deck there were sunbathers for the first time enjoying the warming rays of the bright sunny day.
We had breakfast in the Lido Café, all dressed in comfortable shoes and clothes for a walk through Bar Harbor. Del and I visited the Gallery on Main Street where last trip we bought the beautiful painting of Fall Colors and Birch Trees which has hung above our bed in the years since that Downeast Cruise on Crystal. In the tail end of this cruise we are recapitulating our earlier cruise in the reverse direction.
We had heard that there was a church, St. Saviour's, which has Tiffany stained glass windows all around it and that was our destination during our leisurely stroll through the quaint New England village. The show of Fall colors was barely beginning, so a ride through Acadian National Park was not in the cards.
The weather was gorgeous. The sun lit up the old New England homes, many of them having been turned into Bed & Breakfasts now. We toured the Holy Redeemer Catholic Church first, which was under restoration, and then a half block away was the St. Saviour Episcopal Church. I took photos of all the Tiffany stained glass windows. There were flowers blooming everywhere we walked. We stopped for some New England Clam Chowder in a sidewalk side café and saw several passengers from the Serenity. Plus we saw our Table 60 Head Waiter Stefan Koen who hails from South Africa. His excellent service, wit, and charm added a touch of grace to the wonderful food he served us. He stopped and talked for a minute and I got a photo of him with his bright blue shades on which reflected an image of us at our table as I took his picture.
Lobsters were everywhere. We saw lobster pots sprinkled like colorful confetti across the harbor as we sailed into our anchorage. I took a photo of Del inside a human-sized Lobster frame where our tender docked. We saw a large red lobster holding alarge cone with three scoops of ice cream in advertising an ice cream shop in the downtown area.
We came back to the ship in time to watch this movie:
"Hours" (2013) A new father is widowed by his wife in childbirth and his pre-mature daughter needs the respirator to stay on for three days or she will die. His challenges during those three-post Katrina days were monumental and made for a gripping drama.
After the movie we dressed for dinner with our friends at Table 60, Stefan, Viktor, Deborah, and Phil who catered to our every request. This was a full night of activities.
We went quickly from dinner to the '50s & '60s Rockin' in the Cove show. One of the Crystal dancers asked me to dance to a Buddy Holly song, and she didn't know who he was. I told her his music was ubiquitous at parties during the 1950s, "Peggy Sue", "Oh Boy", and many others.
After that show, we went to the Galaxy to preview the Northwest Passage Video that we will each receive a copy of in a couple of weeks after the sail into New York is added to it. The President and CEO of Crystal, Edie Rodriguez addressed us after the show, detailed the plans for new ships for the Crystal line, and answered questions from us.
From there Del turned in and Barrett and I went to the Liars Club in the Stardust hosted by Rick Spath with an eclectic cast of liars: two comedians Steve Stevens and John Joseph, plus two ministers who likely had heard more lies than any of us, Fr. Liam Kidney and Rabbi Morrie Hershman. Barrett and I did our best to sift the wheat from the chaff, but we enjoyed losing because the fabrications of our Liars' Quartet were so much fun. This was the latest I'd stayed up at night on ship, but it was worth it, and I immediately fell into a blissful sleep when my head settled into my pillow.
Wednesday, September 14, 2016: DOCKED in BOSTON
We were docked in Boston and we were unable to connect up with two people we wanted to see. Burke Fountain was busy on both the days we were in Boston and Newport. Newport would have been closer to his office in Taunton. He always calls us when he's in New Orleans, so we wanted to call him and were sorry we couldn't see him on this trip. Del's niece Caitlin lives in Boston close the dock, a couple of mile walk, but Caitlin was still recovering from minor surgery and Del from bronchitis so visiting Caitlin and her family was out of the question.I walked off the ship into the shuttle bus and it dropped me off downtown and I walked around taking in the sights on this busy Fall day. I noticed Durgin Park and decided I'd get some of their famous fish chowder and some little neck clams. The clams were a mistake, they were bigger than I recall from my years living in New England and they were tough. I met a gal from Vancouver who had been on the wait list for the Northwest Passage Cruise for almost two years when an opening came up a month before the cruise started. She told me that she heard that 12 people who had booked passage two years earlier had died in the meantime. Given the average age of passengers which seemed to be in their seventies, this was not surprising. Given that so many people talking about this cruise being on their "bucket list", it seems that at least 12 didn't live long enough to fill that item on their list. For me, this is just a fantastic cruise that I wanted to do and am delighted that I did it.
When I got back on ship, Del and I went to see this movie in the Hollywood Theater.
"Slow West" (2015) about a young Scot who travels through the American West to find his sweetheart and his adventures along the way. Definitely a "stranger comes to town plot." Hit
We had a wonderful dinner at Table 60 and took photos of the girls, followed by one of the guys with our marvelous sommelier, Deborah from Montreal. From dinner I walked to see the Galaxy show "My Life: The Music of Billy Joel" performed by James Fox. Del decided to make it an early night.
Thursday, September 15, 2016: NEWPORT
We stopped and talked to Barrett and Patti-Lynn who were having breakfast outside on the Lido Deck. They had some tour planned for the day, and Del wasn't up to a walk of any kind just yet as she was still taking breathing treatments at the ship's medical department.
Last time we cruised into Newport, Rhode Island I had booked a ride on an America's Cup Yacht and it was marvelous. I got to be at the helm for a while and take photos of our sail just outside of Newport Harbor and of the second America's Cup yacht which sailed alongside us. That took up most of my day then, so this time, I decided to devote my time to walking through the small city. I began from the Tender dock, using a small map that was given to me. I decided to aim for Bellevue Avenue where the large mansions were arrayed. The first street I took was Touro and I passed along the small Touro Synagogue. I knew of Touro Infirmary in New Orleans because it was there that Dr. Zurik took out my tonsils when I was 29. So I stopped to look at the building and a young man came over and talked to me. I told him I was from New Orleans where we had a Touro Infirmary and I wondered if there was a connection with this Touro Synagogue. He said that this Synagogue was founded by Isaac Touro and one of his sons Judah Touro had gone to New Orleans. As I discovered later there is also a Touro Synagogue in New Orleans as well as the Touro Infirmary, both named after Judah Touro. My spontaneous walking tour was off to a great start.
As I walked along Bellevue I happened upon an Auto Museum in which I spotted a Tucker automobile, easily identifiable by its triple headlights. This is the first one that I'd ever seen in person. Didn't even know of the Tucker auto until Jeff Bridges made a movie about its manufacturer about a decade ago. As I walked the street, there was a bookshop whose door was wide open and a man was earnestly reading from a book. He was sitting alongside a large chess set and across the room there was a white vase full of large sunflowers. It was a picture begging to be taken. Later on the base of a fence I found an empty bottle of "Fireball" which contained Cinnamon Whiskey, guaranteed Red Hot, and its logo was a long-tailed red Demon exhaling fire! The fire scorched edges of the label was a nice touch. Someone walked away a bit happier no doubt after consuming this 3 oz bottle of whiskey.
I walked past libraries, an art museum, a White Lodge, a US Naval Academy, and an Elks Lodge, among other things. I got photos of the Elms and Marble House mansions. The Marble House was a challenge. I had planned to walk along the Cliff Walk and get a photo of the great lawn from the Marble House to the water, but unfortunately that walk was under construction. A crew was hauling dirt in a front loader to repair the slope down from the walkway. I wasn't sure what to do but retrace my steps back towards Bellevue when I noticed a taxi which had dropped off a fare coming towards me. He stopped and picked me up and Larry drove me over past the large mansions, and I was able to get a photo of the Marble House through the gate before we headed back to the Tender Dock in Newport Harbor.
We had another full Table 60 and this time we took a photo of the six of us and our three servers, Viktor, Stefan, and Deborah too.
After dinner we went to the big NEW YORK GALA in the Crystal Cove. We had seen the stage construction of the NYC Skyline fronted by a large model of the Brooklyn Bridge. It was our chance to celebrate our imminent arrival in New York the next morning, and to say goodbye to friends we met on the cruise. The music was great, complete with a kick-line dancing to New York, New York, and a huge balloon drop with top hats of silver and gold, feather boas in white or black, and noise makers and champagne-filled goblets for everyone. I put a gold top hat on top of my black fedora just for the hell of it. We danced and cheered with all the energy and fun a New Year's Eve Celebration. They had given each of us a toothpick with which to pop the balloons after they dropped and the noise simulated firecrackers as the confetti cannons filled the air with colorful confetti as the Galaxy Orchestra filled the air with big band swing music. Another spectacular treat created by the Cruise Director and his team to top off our cruise.
Friday, September 16, 2016: NEW YORK, NEW YORK
We had planned to spend some time with Kevin Dann, but his bicycle tour guiding business is keeping him busy. Plus Del preferred to stay on board today. Del and I went up to the top deck to take photos of the Verrazano Bridge as we passed under it and Lady Liberty as we sailed past her. Last time we sailed with Crystal we sailed out of New York at dusk and taking photos in low light while moving is difficult. Great photo op this time.
This time the light was perfect as we neared Manhattan and I got great photos of the island as we sailed into our mooring spot. We were told to expect the Fire Boat to have a large water display but some technical problem scuttled that plan. The World Trade Center which was under construction our last visit by cruise ship is now completed and the Sun reflecting on its made a large backwards 7 sign.
Time for us to PACK, PACK! We have to leave early the next morning and our bags need to be packed for pick up outside our door by 9 PM. Del had her arctic parka shipped separately but I had to squeeze mine into my StackPack luggage. I took a photo of Del packing as Cruise Director Rick Spath was doing his Daily Update on the TV in our Stateroom. By afternoon we had squeezed everything that was going home with us in our four large bags and three carryon bags. Now, if only we could be sure we would have porters to handle these large heavy things as we got through customs tomorrow. As we were packing, I received this droll TXT message from Connie our next door neighbor in Gretna who thought we were planning to return several days before:
Connie Babin 09/17/16 9:41 PM
Well we figured u guys weren't coming back so we sold your house
and we r on a beach somewhere.
Don't worry we took Sam and left you the cats;)
In the afternoon when we finished packing we went to see this movie in the Hollywood Theater:
"Me Before You" (2016) a thriving young investment banker loses use of his arms and legs and a small town girl shows up to be his caregiver. Her quirky fashion sense and naivete attracts the man and they begin to do things together while there's still time.
Kevin and I made plans to meet in the Cruise Terminal after his bike tour was over. He called when he reached the terminal about 5:30 PM and I walked out to meet him. We only had a few minutes to visit since he had to get back home to Brooklyn, but we made the best of it. I took a couple of shots of us together and him in front of the Serenity. He had memorized the song "Northwest Passage" written by Stan Rogers and we sang it together.
Ah, for just one time I would take the Northwest Passage
To find the hand of Franklin reaching for the Beaufort Sea;
Tracing one warm line through a land so wide and savage
And make a Northwest Passage to the sea.
Westward from the Davis Strait 'tis there 'twas said to lie
The sea route to the Orient for which so many died;
Seeking gold and glory, leaving weathered, broken bones
And a long-forgotten lonely cairn of stones.
Rick Spath played it at the start of his Morning Show every day we were in the Northwest Passage. So many times that I was able to memorize the top stanza which acts as a refrain repeated after each succeeding stanza. I felt honored that Kevin had gone to the trouble to memorize the song, but he is a troubadour and that's what troubadours do, learn and sing songs.
Saturday, September 17, 2016: NYC DISEMBARKATION AND HOME AGAIN
Double Cluster! As soon as NYC Pier took over our bags, we were stuck with either having to wait forever for a Porter or carrying all SEVEN BAGS through a Disneyland maze of a queue, or end up with us tugging seven bags without any help. Here's how it happened: There was a line for porters, so I suggested Del get in that line while I line up our four large bags for the porter to come get them. Well, I found the four bags while Del stood in line with our three carry-on pieces. But then I was told that the Porter will NOT come over here, about 100 feet away from where Del was to help with the bags. Furious, I made two trips to carry the four bags to where Del stood. When I arrived with the second of the four, still no Porter, so I told Del, "Let's move into the Customs line and carry them ourselves." Which we did, with considerable exertion. Del was still in recovery mode from her bronchitis, still taking medications and using an inhaler, but we managed to get into the Customs line. During this time we saw only one Crystal employee who helped a bit by answering my questions, but obviously he could not carry our luggage for us.
The queue was about fifty feet long, but wove back and forth for about 7 rows of 50' each. Each turn was excruciating, as we had to turn seven bags at 180 degrees. It was like we were waiting to talk to Mickey Mouse at Disneyland! But toting luggage for two people for 32 days! Well, we eventually got to talk to Mickey Mouse, namely the Customs agent, who asked us a few questions and let us through! Didn't even give us an autographed T-shirt for all our trouble.
But, wait, our wait was not over: we then had to carry, push, pull, and tug our seven bags through the door outside, where a Crystal agent pointed to the last of seven buses lined up which was to take us to the Intercontinental Hotel on Times-Square! I thought then and think even more now: "What freaking idiot came up with this plan to get us to LaGuardia Airport?" Drive us on a huge bus through a busy downtown area and then only 45 minutes later pick up again in another bus?
The bus could not get close to the Intercontinental Hotel and we had to schleg our two carry on cases and Del's big bag a across a busy street at a streetlight and then half a block to the Intercontinental Hotel where NOBODY was ready for us. The few Crystal agents were loading up pre-cruise passengers to get on a bus heading to the ship. We were once again ship-wreck! No place to go and no one to help us. Somehow our four big bags got on the bus and we were pointed to a breakfast area, but it wasn't for us and it was soon cloaked off from our sight. We had to sit on bare benches along a bare bar and wait for Santa Claus, I supposed. Time was running out and we needed to be back on another bus in 40 minutes.
Some Intercontinental Hotel employee took over and soon we were supplied with rolls and pastries, followed by OJ, water, and coffee. We were all fed, and then we went outside to get more bad news: We had to switch into two buses. We drew the short straw and our bags had to found in the black hole of the large bus which had abandoned us on the corner earlier, pulled the bags out the hole on the street, and waited for a van which was stuck in traffic and no one knew when or if it will get to us! ! ! Here we are, in a new Disneyland section called Times-Square, our bags stuck out on the city street blocking pedestrians and we trying to hold onto them and our tempers, while an anxious Crystal employee is desperately on the phone with our promised van to take us to our promised land, namely home!
As I looked around, I saw no place for a van to park to pick us up. Sure enough, I was right, the van had to stop in the street while we once more tugged our bags out to the second bus/van in a short hour or so. The driver put our bags in the back for us and we sat inside the van to head back into Time-Square traffic and get across the Mid-Town bridge. Problem was everyone else wanted to take that bridge and time was running out. An airport run by our illustrious driver, Willie Makit!
On the seat row directly in front of us was an i-Diot on an i-Phone trying to find a faster route and tell Willie that he'll never make it unless he takes a different bridge. Willie said, "True to my name, we'll Makit, as traffic will clear up across the Mid-Town bridge." Well, the i-Diot was undaunted by Willie's reply and put up a GPS map of the traffic delays on various routes, and since Willie was i-Gnoring the i-Diot with the i-Phone, the i-Diot turned around and shoved his i-Phone in my face trying to convince me. I blithely turned my head to the side and used my i-Gnore app and he gave up. Del tol him he should listen to our professional river who lives here and knows the city, We got over the Mid-Town bridge and to Laguardia in time and so far as I could tell, the i-Diot never apologized to nor thanked the driver for getting us there on time.
Out of the van with all our seven bags, Del found a United Airlines porter and agent who checked our bags at the gate and gave us our boarding passes! At last a Porter one would be pleased to have at one's dinner table! He even pointed out the location of a rest room to me while Del was checking our bags. We walked quickly and easily to the TSA and for once the TSA cleared us in no time. Well, there was one delay by a red-haired guy in front of me by the X-ray machine, who ignored my suggestion that his bags had to be pushed into the machine. Twice I said it and twice he ignored it. Even ignored when a speaker's voice said the same thing. A "real person" from TSA had to come over and explain reality to him: the rollers are not powered and he had to move his bags onto the conveyor belt. We made it through and as I looked back, the guy's red luggage was still sitting alongside the X-ray machine while he struggled to get through TSA.
Our flight to Chicago in first class was great. We had a long walk to get to our flight to New Orleans.
I had turned on dandydon.com and found out LSU was ahead of Miss State. The game was on ESPN2 and down at the end of the concourse was a bar with the Ole Miss and Alabama game on ESPN, which was almost over. I asked the bartender if he'd switch to ESPN2 after this game was over and he did and I got to see a few minutes of the game.
At the gate ready to board, we were shocked to find out at the last second that our carry on bags would be checked in luggage bin and returned to us when we arrived at MSY. The speaker announced about a half-dozen requirements for bags, and there was no way for me to be sure that, e.g. , I didn't have any lithium batteries in my carry-on! For security, I took out my LT in its black case and kept it with me. Talk about a cattle-call. We were packed cattle at the slaughter house walking down the chute where their heads will be chopped off! Luckily it was only a two hour flight. Our carry-on bags were quickly delivered at the MSY gate and our four large bags in the claim area. I found a hefty female porter whose cart could hold all our seven bags and I waited out with her while Del secured a cab for us. We made it home about 9:30 pm and when I walked through our home, which had kept cooled only down to 82 while we were gone for 32 days, and was delighted when I opened the door to our master bedroom to find it to be a cool 75 degrees by our housekeeper! I turned back on the water to the washing machine, the icemaker from Holiday Mode to ON, and the power on to the Bunn coffee maker. I should have added a 12 cups of water to refill it as I found out the next morning. About 12 cups had evaporated during the summer over 32 days. It had never lost more that about 4 cups before.
We hit the bed and went to sleep immediately.
Sunday, September 18, 2016: NEW ORLEANS — BACK HOME
First priority to find out if both cars could start. As I expected, the Platinum Max was okay, but the Cherry Max was not. I drove the Plat to DeGaulle PJ's and ordered my latte and banana via drive through to keep battery charging.
Then came back and jumped the Cherry with the Plat and it started okay. What to do with it? It was about 11 so I drove it to PJ Lapalco, got a latte from Max, leaving car running. Plugged trickle-charge for an over-night charge, but the corrosion on the terminal told me a new battery was in the works for her.
All that done, it was time to watch the Saints play the NY Giants and it looked like the NO defense would stifle the Giants offense, and it did, but a slip up on special team let a a kick get blocked and returned for their only TD, enough to win the game. Rats. The next game against Atlanta found NO with five key defensive linemen out on injuries, so the Falcons marched for a goal for seven straight possessions. Drew put up some points, but couldn't keep up and the Saints are 0 and 3. For the LSU, there's good news and bad news. Bad news is we lost by one point to Auburn after keeping them from making a single TD. Good news is we have a new coach with a fresh attitude and I can't wait until Saturday to see how Coach O and his staff inspire our Fighting Tigers to a great win.
LAST MINUTE EVENTSIMPORTANT MESSAGE:
Del's feeling back to normal after a bout with bronchitis. She felt well enough for us to go our first great-granddaughter's baptism in Woodworth near Alexandria. The baby is named after Del, Abigail Adele, and she is a real cutie. Has a good voice like another Adele as she demonstrated several times during the ceremony. We went to a party at her parents's home, Katie and Stephen, and enjoyed some food and the company of their parents and grandparents. This has been a very busy time for me. I had just barely enough time to create the travelogue of our trip from my journal notes and add all the photos possible to the body of the reviews. Hope you enjoy the result.
EVERY GOOD THING MUST COME TO A NEW BEGINNING
The past two months of August and September have been very busy. In preparation for another Double Issue, our second this year, I prepared the body of the issue in the first two weeks of August, so that only the Travelogue had to be written and photos added when we came back. During the Northwest Passage Cruise, I was able to write two reviews, including a book that I had to read first. Also I read a script of a play for a friend, which I enjoyed and look forward to its production next year.
We returned home to warm days, but the first cool front has come through and some real Fall weather is upon us. The monsoon seems to have stopped and dry, clear weather will make this a wonderful October in New Orleans. After this issue gets out, I expect to get out myself and enjoy the outdoors again. Till we meet again later in the Fall around November 1, enjoy your Fall Whatever the weather, 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:
- I too had woven a kind of basket of a delicate texture, but I had not made it worth any one's while to buy them. Yet not the less, in my case, did I think it worth my while to weave them, and instead of studying how to make it worth men's while to buy my baskets, I studied rather how to avoid the necessity of selling them.
Henry David Thoreau from Walden
- If a writer of prose knows enough about what he is writing about he may omit things that he knows and the reader, if the writer is writing truly enough, will have a feeling of those things as strongly as though the writer had stated them. The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water.
Ernest Hemingway (American Writer)
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). This poem written on Jan 2, 1991. The idea was initially roughed out on the back of a Secor Bank deposit envelope while driving to work. Inspired while reading the very beginning of the Textbook of the Course in Miracles. Thinking of the relativeness of our perception: how we create what we see. Made me think of the rainbow: how what it looks like depends on your location with respect to the sun and the rain. Only if you are between the sun and rain will you see a rainbow and how much of it you see depends on your location. Thus for any two people the "one" rainbow will be different. Thus in reading the poem the emphasis must be on the "a" of "a rainbow."
Then it occurred to me that the different views of a rainbow is similar to the process of multiple personality, one I consider a natural process: MPO, Multiple Personality Organization rather than MPD, Multiple Personality Disorder. The concept of "unitary personality" I liken to the concept of one ultimate reality of Plato and the ancient Greek philosophers. And that period in time I call the "childhood of man" to emphasize the progress we've made.
Rainbows and Shadows
We call it a rainbow
but each viewer sees
a different rainbow
We call it a shadow
but from each angle
it's a different shape
We call it a sunset
but to viewers directly beneath
it's only an afternoon sky.
In the childhood of man
Plato and friends
created an ultimate reality
And psychologists created
in individual man
a single personality
But each viewer sees a different facet
of crystalline individuality
In the unsuspected normalcy
of multiple personality.
2. Chapter: Shadows
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 Sept 21, 1991. It was inspired by a dream that Del reported having about a pig being eaten by a snake. Sounds reminiscent of the drawing in The Little Prince of the sheep and the snake. The Latin title means "to draw out from the depths" which is an apt description of a dream brought to consciousness.
Levatus de Profundo
The dam has burst
the water overrushed
the flood has gone
and in its wake
The pig is eaten
by the snake.
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 November 26, 1991. It was inspired by reading Course in Miracles text while driving to work at 7 A.M. today. The inspiration came from page 359 of the Course's Textbook.
The quote: "Minds are joined; bodies are not." During an earlier reading I had scribbled, "Does One Mind?" That became the inspiration for the title of this poem. The teaspoon of water reference is from a metaphor told by Richard Bandler (founder of Neuro Linguistic Programming) about Socrates on the beach carrying a spoonful of water from the sea and putting it in a hole in the sand. A friend stopped by and asked what Socrates was doing. He said, “I’m moving the sea into this hole in the sand.” “But, Socrates,” his friend objected, “that’s impossible. The sea is too big and the hole is too small.” “Yes,” Socrates responded, “but aren’t you doing the same thing when you try to understand the entire world with your thoughts?” The world is more mysterious than we can ever know, and the best philosophers in the world are but moving the sea one teaspoon at a time.
Does One Mind?
Does one mind
If minds are joined
and bodies are not,
the many are one.
An ocean of tides
that washes the shores
of every land
Deep and shallow
currents flowing through
carrying myriads of denizens,
a child on the beach
carry a teaspoon
full of water
4. Chapter: Shadows
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 March 21, 1991, copied from the original written several years ago (1986) on a page in the workbook of "A Course in Miracles."
I failed in what
I set out to do
at the same time
in what I did not suspect
I was about to do.
5. 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 February 17, 1984. Located on page 12L of The Center Book. Artwork is on page 12L of The Center Book (This is an unpublished book by the author.)
Life is a college
We’re sent here to live
Some kids are serious
and study because they love to study —
They do what the less serious
call study hard.
But it’s not hard when it’s fun
and it’s fun to me
learning from each new day
from each new person I meet
along the way.
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.“Sparks and Embers” (2015) of an old flame accompany a walk to the station on Christmas Eve in London. Will this be a long goodbye or an Oklahoma hello?
“Summer of ‘92" (2015) when Denmark came from nowhere to compete in the European Championship Final. Can these nobodies make a name for themselves?
“Hyena Road” (2015) in the Pashtoon costs lives and takes time. The Ghost said, “You have the clocks. We have the time.”
“The Wave” (2015) fills a Norwegian village — will geologist Christen be able to save his family? A DON’T MISS HIT !
“Going Away” (2013) young boy’s dad doesn’t pick him up after school, so his teacher takes him on a motorcycle ride to find his absent mom. Soon he and the mom’s past unravel and the ride gets easier.
“Libeled Lady” (1936) William Powell, Jean Harlow, Spencer Tracy, and Myrna Loy in a wonderful farce in which Powell marries Tracy fiancee Harlow to catch Loy in a snare of her own making. A DON’T MISS HIT ! !
“Personal Property” (1937) Robert Taylor woos Jean Harlow by becoming her butler for a dinner party.
“Dinner at Eight” (1934) brings together a host of great Hollywood stars for a dinner hosted by Glenda the Good Witch of Wizard of Oz.
“The Confirmation” (2016) Clive Owens as down on his luck carpenter has his heirloom tools stolen and his son helps him try to retrieve them.
“The Letters” (2014) of Mother Theresa bring to life her work with the poor in Calcutta which led to her Nobel Peace Prize and Sainthood. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! !
"Milk Money" (1994) a preteen flick in which Melanie Griffith explains the one place you can touch a woman which drives her wild.
"Life" (2015) published the first photographs we saw of James Dean being himself and this is the story of how they happened.
"Jarhead 3: The Siege" (2016) Marines being Marines when the U. S. Embassy is overrun by terrorists.
"Dark Horse" (2016) slow due to its documentary nature but interesting tale of pub in Wales which has its entire village support breeding a thorough bred horse that the elite snubbed till it became a contender for the National Title.
"Rumor Has It" (2005) that Shirley MacLaine is Mrs. Robinson and Benjie (Cosner) is about to be seduced by the third generation. Watch out for those little old ladies from Pasadena!
"The Winding Stream" (2014) along which the Carter family planted the roots of country music. A DON'T MISS HIT !!!
"Remember" (2016) a guy who can't remember is forced to remember at gunpoint. Martin Landau stars as a man on oxygen, confined to his retirement home, who becomes a one-man Mission Impossible force. A DON'T MISS HIT !!!
"Mistress America" (2015) a whacky but delightful comedy about a lonely freshman's life until she meets an impetuous and lively step-sister-to-be. A DON'T MISS HIT !!!
"Young Messiah" (2016) great screen play based on Anne Rice's book, dealing with the seven-year-old Jesus. The scenario mixes up the birth events of the Luke and Mattew Gospels, but focuses on the events when the Matthew Jesus returns from seven years in Egypt with his parents and the Roman general who killed the Bethlehem boy babies is on the lookout for the now seven-year-old Hebrew boy from Bethlehem. A DON'T MISS HIT !!!
"13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi" (2016) an amazing reconstruction of the devastation of the Benghazi embassy during the chaos following the overthrow of Ghadafi. Amazing part is that anyone survived after the State department made up stories about what happened to cover how they failed miserably to protect the lives of Americans, saving CIA lives instead of the Ambassador!
"Hologram for the King" (2016) Tom Hanks tour de force performance in story of a salesman, his driver, and his doctor. Starts slow, so stick with it. A DON'T MISS HIT ! ! !
"Deadfall" (2012) adds a bizarre twist to a Thanksgiving feast.
"The Vanishing Point" (1971) Barry Newman stars in this classic car chase movie.
"Fastball" (2016) marvelous documentary explores the speed of fast balls thrown by pitchers going all the back to Walter Johnson in the 1910s.
"Slow West" (2015) about a young Scot who travels through the American West to find his sweetheart and his adventures along the way. Definitely a "stranger comes to town plot."
"Hours" (2013) A new father is widowed by his wife in childbirth and his pre-mature daughter needs the respirator to stay on for three days or she will die. His challenges during those three-post Katrina days were monumental and made for a gripping drama.
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."Knight of Cups" (2016) is empty. A Bale of dust.
"Saul's Son" (2015) a lugubrious saga in a concentration camp of a father trying to bury his son.
Your call on these — your taste in movies may differ, but I liked them:“The American Side” (2016) Tesla invention plan is the MacGuffin in an endlessly boring chase around Niagara Falls only to get zippo.
"Mr. Right" (2016) is so wrong. Sam Rockwell kills the folks who hire him to kill others. Tim Roth as CIA-FBI dude in this miscreant duet.
"I, Anna" (2012) a troubled woman loses a grandchild, is raped after a speed dating event, and is saved by a detective.
"Janis: Little Girl Blue" (2015) the Joplin who blew her life away before 28.
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==Le Broussard Cajun Cottage, drawn by and Copyright 2011 by Paulette Purser, Used by Permission
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Merci Beaucoup to Tee-Paul in Opelousas for dis one!Marie had asked Boudreux if he ever considered getting circumcised. Boudreaux didn't know what that was, and when Marie explained what it was, he said, "Mais, dat sounds like it would hurt, Ah guarantee."
Later he was sipping a Dixie with Broussard at Mulate's and he decided to ask him about it.
"Hey, Broussard, did you ever get uh circumcised?"
"Bien sur! But how come you axe dat question, Boo?"
"Marie axed me to got myself one, but Ah t'ink dat must hurt. So wat you t'ink? How was dat for you?"
"Bon Dieu, Boo! After dat circumcision, Ah couldn't walk for a whole year, me!"
"Hoo-eee! Mais, how long ago was dat?"
"When Ah was about two days old."
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5. Household Hints for October, 2016 Sent in by Jeff Parsons:
(Note: I haven't tried any of these, so let me know how well they work for you. Bobby)
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Background on Miscellania of Hints: This list contains useful hints for healing, cleaning, and even more. They were sent in by Jeff Parsons. I have not tried any of these, but will keep this list handy in case I need one of them. These hints should be considered as a first aid and not as a replacement for medical care. If your household lacks some of the items in this list, it might be useful to add them to your shelves.
Edited by Bobby Matherne Sept. 27, 2016. Thanks, Jeff!
Drinking two glasses of Gatorade can relieve headache pain almost immediately — without the unpleasant side effects caused by traditional pain relievers.
Colgate Toothpaste serves as an excellent salve for burns.
Need an inhaler quickly? Chew a couple of Altoids peppermints. They'll likely clear up a stuffy nose.
To relieve aching muscles from a bout of the flu:
Mix 1 tablespoon horseradish in 1 cup of olive oil. Let the mixture sit for 30 minutes, then apply it as a massage oil for instant relief for aching muscles.
To relieve a sore throat:
Just mix 1/4 cup of vinegar with 1/4 cup of honey and take 1 tablespoon six times a day. The vinegar kills the bacteria.
Relieve urinary tract infections by dissolving two tablets of Alka-Seltzer in a glass of water and drinking it at the onset of the symptoms. Alka-Seltzer begins eliminating urinary tract infections almost instantly.
Honey can be used as a remedy for skin blemishes:
Cover the blemish with a dab of honey and place a Band-Aid over it. Honey kills the bacteria, keeps the skin sterile, and speeds healing. Works overnight.
Listerine therapy for toenail fungus:
Get rid of unsightly toenail fungus by soaking your toes in Listerine Mouthwash. The powerful antiseptic leaves your toenails looking healthy again.
Easy eyeglass protection: To prevent the screws in eyeglasses from loosening, apply a small drop of Maybelline Crystal Clear Nail Polish to the threads of the screws before tightening them.
Cleaning liquid that doubles as bug killer:
If bees, wasps, hornets, or yellow jackets get in your home and you can't find the insecticide, try a spray of Formula 409. Insects will drop to the ground instantly.
Smart splinter remover:
Just pour a drop of Elmer's Glue-All over the splinter, let dry, and peel the dried glue off the skin. The splinter sticks to the dried glue.
Hunt's Tomato Paste boil cure:
Cover the boil with Hunt's Tomato Paste as a compress. The acids from the tomatoes soothe the pain and bring the boil to a head.
Balm for broken blisters:
To disinfect a broken blister, dab on a few drops of Listerine on it.
Vinegar to heal bruises:
Soak a cotton ball in white vinegar and apply it to the bruise for 1 hour. The vinegar reduces the blueness and speeds up the healing process.
Quaker Oats for fast pain relief:
Mix 2 cups of Quaker Oats and 1 cup of water in a bowl and warm in the microwave for 1 minute, cool slightly, and apply the mixture to your hands for soothing relief from arthritis pain.
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6. POETRY by BOBBY from "Yes, and Even More!":
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The Poetry PatchThis month we share with a poem from "Yes, and Even More", a Collection of Bobby's unpublished poetry. These poems are often in the form of a dialogue as indicated by quotes around the respondant's words. This is a Poemlet, a three-part poem. was written on February 17, 1984. Written in the bath of our Timberlane Road home on May 18, 1996 about 10 AM. I had just got out of the shower to write this and was kneeling on one knee to keep from getting water on the page. While I was taking my shower, I was thinking about the similarities of my poems to a vegetable garden. How the different varieties of my poems were like different vegetables in a vegetable patch.There are radishes and beans
summer squash and winter greens
Green tomatoes and red potatoes
purple, gold, and green bell peppers.
There’s instructions for
planting, picking, cooking
There’s instructions for
sitting quietly, looking.
“I need to get quiet inside.”
Why don’t you do it right away, Kid,
here’s The Poetry Patch.
Quiet InsideThis is Part 2 of a three-part poemlet. Written in the bath of our Timberlane Road home on May 18, 1996 about 10 AM. I was in the quiet: no stereo or video noises. It was inspired by the previous poem’s line, “I need to get quiet inside.”“Do these poems allow one
to get quiet inside?”
Quite. “Do these poems take one
Do It Right AwayThis is Part 3 of a three-part poemlet. It was inspired by the first poem’s line, “I need to get quiet inside.” It adds the idea of using The Poetry Patch to get quiet inside. I was in the shower and had the idea of doing Zazen to get quite quiet inside.“I need to get quiet inside.”
Why don’t you do it now?
Here’s The Poetry Patch.
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7. REVIEWS and ARTICLES for October:
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For our Good Readers, here are the reviews and articles featured this month. The Second and Third reviews this month will be ones which were never published in early DIGESTWORLD ISSUES and will be of interest to our DIGESTWORLD Readers. The rest of the items will be new additions to the top of A Reader's Journal, Volume 2, Chronological List, new additions to A Reader's Treasury, or Essays previously unpublished.
NOTE: some Blurbs may be condensations of long Reviews, possibly lacking footnotes and some quoted passages. For your convenience, if you wish to read the full review or to print it out, simply CLICK on the Book Cover or choose Printer Ready option on the top line of a review page when it opens.
1.) ARJ2: Human Values in Education, GA#310 by Rudolf Steiner
While reading through this book, I began to summarize various pages with stanzas of a poem. Read this poem as a whole and hold any unanswered questions which arise, allowing them to be answered at a later time. These stanzas are inspired by passages in these lectures, sometimes paraphrases, sometimes direct quotes of Steiner's words. See the endnote from each stanza to find the quoted material as it appeared in the original text and my own expansions on the material as well.
A True Teacher
A teacher with abs of steel
with indications, not edicts
with individuals, not grand theories
with impulses, not fixed doctrines
Deals with the absolute humanity,
the body, soul, and spirit,
of each child.(1)
A teacher with a Macroscope
views the spiritual in each student
through the lens of the physical,
adjusting its focus
by a deepening of feeling,
Adapting the physical
to a right basis for the spiritual
in each child.(2)
A teacher with materialistic views
does not understand the spiritual in each student —
but even worse
does not understand matter itself —
which fully reveals itself only from a spiritual aspect.(3)
A teacher with materialistic views
gives a kindergartener cut-out letters
to assemble into words —
and never sticks around to see the ossified skeleton
the child grows into fifty years later. (4)
A teacher with true understanding
does not need the spiritual perceptions of
Imagination Inspiration, and Intuition
because what these reveal can be found
expressed in each student's physical body. (5)
A true teacher sees no diseased minds,
only the results of a release of spirit
from the physical body.(6)
A school doctor must thus be a school teacher first,
must know each child deeply,
and not just diagnose child
after a cursory meeting and medical examination.(7)
From soul to soul
wordless meaning flies —
Transceiver to transceiver
Tuned to the same frequency.(8)
A true teacher cannot give math exercises
as punishment in detention
without the whole class
wanting to stay over to do them, too.(9)
A true teacher does not decide
educational matters intellectually
but allows them to develop
in the experience of teaching.(10)
A true teacher learns educational matters
by reading the book of music
which opens in the child
and educates by touching the harp of its soul.(11)
A true teacher avoids dry concepts of education
which dessicate teachers who hold them. (12)
A true teacher presents children
with the gift of unanswered questions
which life itself will answer for them in due time. (13)
A true teacher ensures that good pleases children
and bad displeases children,
knowing that duty grows out
of pleasure and displeasure.(14)
A true teacher knows from Goethe
that Duty comes when we
Love what we demand of ourselves.(15)
A true teacher recognizes in the pale child
an overused memory system
and in the red-faced child
an underused memory system.(16)
A true teacher sorts children by temperament,
placing together like with like
so they may understand
and learn from each other directly.(17)
A true teacher understands a child's
etheric body as a Greek sculptor and
astral body as an Italian musician.(18)
A true teacher presents the whole to a child
and allows them to move to its parts
to move from subtraction to addition,
and from division to multiplication. (19)
A true teacher allows a child to learn by doing
so they may grow into a full human being
instead of a small professor.(20)
A true teacher receives seeds of destiny
and nurtures them into Eurythmy
and Waldorf Education.(21)
Rudolf Steiner was a true teacher and the Waldorf School systems which are today spread around the world stand as a testament to his abilities as a teacher. In the last year of his life, he focused his lectures on Waldorf Education, seeing it as a tree upon which the fruits of anthroposophy can prosper and be made real in the world.
He closed out these lectures on July 24, 1924 with this message.
[page 198] Even if anthroposophy is still seen today as an absurd fantasy, it will gradually dawn upon people that it is based on absolutely concrete foundations, and that it strives in the widest sense to embody and practice life. And maybe this can be demonstrated best of all today in the area of education.
In many places anthroposophy is still seen as an absurd fantasy. What it has done for education via the Waldorf Schools, for nutrition via Bio-dynamic Gardening, for healing via anthroposophic medicine, for arts via Steiner's contribution to sculpture, architecture, and eurythmy, among many other things, is no fantasy but a living reality which has enriched the lives of thousands of people around the world.
----------- ENDNOTES -----------
Page 11, 12: The phrase "abs of steel" refers to teachers whose force is so strong that they deal with both the physical and spiritual side of reality, not just the materialistic side, not just with the dry abstract side of definitions, edicts, and educational theories. Instead such teachers deal with the unfolding of the child in body, spirit, and soul before them, allowing each child to inform teacher how to provide what they need to develop into a full human being, someone who can learn from reality by doing things, rather than learning them, i.e. learn how to live in process instead of content, to become a full human being, not a miniature professor stuffed full of data and knowledge — a dried skeleton of a human being.Return to text directly before Endnote 1.
Page 22 and Page 34: What is a Macroscope? It is an instrument that only a full human being can use to view both spiritual and material side of reality. It allows one to see the spiritual in the material and the material in the spiritual, basically, to see and comprehend how each is revealed in the other. The teacher sees the spiritual aspects of each child revealed in its behavior, in its physical appearance, in the sound of its voice, the posture of its body, the complexion of its face and skin, among other things. Each of these areas becomes a channel of communication by which the child reveals to its teacher what its strengths and weaknesses are. A teacher without a Macroscope is as helpless as a microbiologist without a Microscope or an astronomer without a Telescope.
Steiner spoke about a Macroscope in the following passage:Return to text directly before Endnote 2.
[page 92] If we wish to observe children, in their true being, we must acquire a psychological faculty of perception. This sort of perception includes not just a superficial kind of ability to observe individual children, but, above all, the ability to appraise their capacities correctly.
Page 89: Steiner said that materialists can learn nothing really useful about matter:Return to text directly before Endnote 3.
[page 89] Materialism has become sick, mostly because materialists understand nothing about matter. They want to limit themselves to matter, but they cannot reach any real knowledge of what matter is.
Page 90: Steiner said:
[page 90] For example, I see the tendencies of certain methods that are applied to little kindergarten children. They are given the usual cutout letters and then asked to pick them out of a pile and assemble them into words. By busying children this way at such an early age, we bring them things with which they have absolutely no connection. When this happens to them, it's as if we were to say, I was once a person with muscles, skin, and such, but now I am only a skeleton.
About the result of early dry abstract training, Steiner says it will lead to hardening of the arteries by the age of forty-five:
[page 88] If we look at these two people in relation to their physical fitness, we find that the first person will have sclerosis by the age of forty-five, whereas the second will have remained more flexible.
He gave an example of how the more flexible man was accused of being inconsistent versus the one who remained consistent suffered from hardening of the arteries. Spiritual realities do indeed reveal themselves in physical form, rightly understood.Return to text directly before Endnote 4.
Page 94: Steiner explains it clearly here:Return to text directly before Endnote 5.
[page 94] Everything perceived through Imagination, Inspiration, and Intuition can be examined and assessed by simply observing the physical organization of a child, because it is always expressed in the physical body.
Page 96: In his Agriculture Course, Steiner explains that "there are no plant diseases, only bad soil." If you treat the soil properly, the so-called plant diseases will disappear as they are the result of deficiencies in the soil. In this lecture, he tells us that there are no mental diseases in human beings, only an interference in the release of the spiritual from the physical. Find a way to remove the interference and the mental illness will disappear. He first discovered this while working as a tutor with a mentally retarded young man with "water on the brain." Over time his brain size returned to normal and the young man went to medical school and became a respected doctor.
[page 96] In the truest sense of the word, there are no mental illnesses; they are the result of a disruption in the release of spirit from the physical.
Other diseases of the body can also have soul-spiritual origins.Return to text directly before Endnote 6.
[page 97] By studying the difficulties of soul and spirit that manifest outwardly in a sick body, we can come to understand how the soul takes hold of the organism when it needs to express something in particular.
Page 97: Steiner insists that school doctors must be trained as teachers as well as medical doctors and gives an example a Dr. Koliosko who is also a classroom teacher.Return to text directly before Endnote 7.
[page 97] He is completely within the school as a teacher; he is familiar with all the children, so he is in a position to understand the source of pathological symptoms that appear in the children.
Page 105: This short stanza discusses how true learning takes place when the teacher has so absorbed the material in a lesson plan that a wordless communication between the child and the teacher takes place during the course of teaching. I first wrote of this process in a Final Paper in a graduate course in Education titled Teaching and Learning in the College Classroom. My findings are equally applicable to all level of classes, from kindergarten to college. If the teacher merely reads the words of their lesson plan, the child will be bored. If the teacher talks about the material using the lesson plan only as an outline, what the teacher is imagining at each step will transfer directly into the hearts and minds of the children and no one will be bored. In other words, the teacher must get into the area of knowledge and experience it in their soul and the children will do likewise.
[page 105] The essential substance and meaning of one's teaching material can undoubtedly be learned very quickly if you have a gift for getting right into that area of knowledge and experiencing it in the soul.
A teacher's lesson plan is a gift they give themselves and their children.Return to text directly before Endnote 8.
Page 108: Steiner gave us an example of a new Waldorf teacher who thought children should be punished in this way.Return to text directly before Endnote 9.
[page 108] He told them, "You must stay in after school and do some arithmetic." But the children could not understand why arithmetic would be considered a punishment, since it gave them such pleasure. So the whole class (and this did happen) asked him if they could stay as well.
Page 113: It is likely hard for teachers in our present day school systems (non-Waldorf) in the twenty-first century to imagine a school with no rules or regulations governing educational matters! Steiner needed to make his intentions explicit for Waldorf Schools which were as different from the schools in his day as they are in our day.Return to text directly before Endnote 10.
[page 113] In our case, everything depends on the free individuality of each teacher. Insofar as I am considered the school's director, nothing is given in the form or rules and regulations. In fact, there is no school director in the usual sense; each teacher is sovereign. Instead of a school director or administrator, we have teachers' conferences, where the teachers study and work in common toward progress. . . . Educational matters cannot be determined intellectually; they should arise only from the experience of teaching.
Page 118: The inspiration for the book and the harp of this stanza comes from these passages:Return to text directly before Endnote 11.
[page 118] Where can you find a book that tells teachers what teaching really is? It is the children themselves who form that book. We should not learn teaching methods from any book except the one that opens before us as the children themselves.
[page 118] We can see that teachers must acknowledge something that touches the most intimate threads of one's soul life. And unless you can go into these intimate, subconscious threads, you will never gain real access to children and win their full confidence.
Page 119: Why do teachers dry up and what is the solution?
[page 119] Why do teachers dry up so easily? It is because they must always bend to the level of the children. We certainly have no reason to make fun of teachers who, because they are limited to the usual concept of teaching, become dried up.
[page 119] The situation for teachers whose life is permeated with spiritual science is very different. Their perspective on the world continually broadens; their vision continues to extend further.
This spiritually living approach can engender the needed enthusiasm in both the teacher and the children, so that children will prefer to stay after school to study math even if given the chance.Return to text directly before Endnote 12.
Page 126: Steiner explains that simply presenting children only what is already within their full comprehension removes chances for wonderful experiences of learning from life itself, even decades later. I have mentioned several salient points in my life where I encountered new situations that I was unable to ask anyone to explain to me. These remained as unanswered questions for me for a decade or two before a sudden insight came to me and I understood the meaning. One situation involved a curious look by the public librarian when I brought a book to her desk to check out to take home. I often brought four or five books at a time to check out and never had a problem until this memorable day. Mrs. Lawson knew me as her most regular customer, and, even though I was only eight or nine years old, had never before inspected the books I checked out. To me it was a book about a comic character named Spiro and his adventures through the blood stream of the human body. There were a lot of words I didn't understand, but I loved the drawings, especially the one where Spiro came out of the edge of a human eyeball.She finally allowed me to take out the book without saying a word, but the silent heaviness of her delay marked the occasion as something important. Truly an important communication had flown wordlessly from her soul to mine. Decades later a flash of insight came to me and I realized that the book was about the disease syphilis! Steiner had a similar experience of something he accepted from his teacher at age eight but only decades later he understood it.Return to text directly before Endnote 13.
[page 126] But when I reach thirty-five, I encounter an experience that recalls, as though from wonderful spiritual depths, what I did not understand when I was eight, but that I accepted solely on the authority of the teacher I loved. Because he was my authority, I felt certain that it must be true. Now life brings me another experience and suddenly, in a flash, I understand the earlier one. All this time, it was hidden inside of me, and now life grants me the possibility of understanding it. Such experiences lead to a tremendous sense of obligation. One has to say that it is indeed sad, for those who have no experience of such moments in life . . . No one should be deprived of such experiences, because in later years, it is a source of enthusiastic and purposeful activity in life.
Page 126, 128: Why should we not just teach moral concepts to children between the age of 7 and 14? Can't they understand good and bad? Or are such abstract concepts unable to fit into their growing minds and souls? I suspect the reason is that children will reject anything they don't understand, but they will understand something which pleases or displeases them, being attracted to the former and repelled by the latter, no concept needed.
[page 126, 127] I said that, between the change of teeth and puberty, children should not be given moral precepts; instead, we should be careful to ensure that the good pleases them because it pleases their teacher, and the bad displeases them because it displeases their teacher. During [this] second period of life, everything should be based on an affinity for goodness and an aversion toward evil. Moral feelings are implanted deeply in the soul, establishing a sense of moral well-being when experiencing benevolence and a sense of moral discomfort in experiencing malevolence.
[page 127] Then comes the time of puberty. . . . when something displeases me, it is my duty to leave it alone. The significance of this is that duty itself grows out of pleasure and displeasure; it is not instilled in me, but arises from pleasure and displeasure. . . . This is the awakening of true freedom in the human soul. We experience freedom because our sense of morality is the deepest single impulse of the human soul.
This is a living experience of morality in contrast to the dry, dusty death of moral instruction which most any child between 7 and 14 will reject and even make fun of when out of sight of the teacher. This was particularly noticeable to me from the way so many of my schoolmates joked about Catechism instruction.Return to text directly before Endnote 14.
[page 128] Moral instruction pays no attention to the right approach, and it gradually dries up human beings, makes them into "skeletons" of moral precepts, on which one's conduct in life is hung like clothes on a hanger.
Page 129: Along comes Goethe to give us a beautiful description of duty as the "love of what we demand of ourselves." If we have been subjected to the right kind of moral guidance between 7 and 14 then what pleases us will be good for us. And it can guide us in a worthy path, one which we can come to love, with the result that what we call duty can rise from some onerous obligation into a sublime pleasure. Steiner gives us a pyramid in which gratitude provides the basis for love and love the basis of duty. Rightly understood, this pyramid is the foundation for success in the 12-step Alcoholics Anonymous program.Return to text directly before Endnote 15.
[page 129] Goethe once expressed this beautifully when he asked, "What is duty? It is when we love what we demand of ourselves." This is the goal we must attain. But we cannot reach it unless we are guided to it by the stages of gratitude, love, and duty.
Page 138, 139: Memory in young children develops out of the forces of growth and nourishment. Taxing a child's memory too much may lead to a weakened digestion and a paleness.
[page 138, 139] If this is the case, it may happen that the child's power of memory is overtaxed, with too much demanded of that liberated faculty. So the child becomes pale, and the teacher must recognize that has happened because too much strain has been placed on the child's memory. And the color returns when such a child is relieved of this burden. But teachers must understand that a growing pallor is connected with what they have done by overburdening the child's memory. It is important to see right into physical symptoms and to recognize that, when a child grows too pale, it is because the memory has been overtaxed.
The opposite effect may occur where a reddish complexion may appear in a child's face, indicating that some memory forces have diverted into growth and nourishment.Return to text directly before Endnote 16.
[page 139] Here, we must try to require more of the child's memory. If we do this, the symptoms will disappear.
Page 140: This is an amazing insight by Steiner. Put troublemakers together to cause each other trouble until they straighten each other out, for example.Return to text directly before Endnote 17.
[page 140] Experience shows that, after a while, the phlegmatics become so bored with sitting together that, to get rid of their boredom, they begin to interact. Cholerics, on the other hand, beat up on one another, and this, too, quickly improves. It is the same for fidgety sanguines, and the melancholics get to see what it is like when others are absorbed in melancholy. Handling children in this way allows one to see how like reacts favorably to like.
Page 154, 160: The Greeks were outstanding sculptors and the Italians amazing musicians. As such we can take the ancient Greek human as a model for understanding the constructive forces of a child's etheric body between teeth change and puberty. After puberty the formative forces of a child's astral body becomes like an Italian musician, concerned with everything musical in nature and life.
[page 155] Just as the ether body works to free itself and become independent at the change of teeth, so the astral body works toward independence at puberty. While ether body is a sculptor, the astral body is a "musician"; its structure is of the very essence of music. . . . if we enter the Eastern periods of culture in which even language was imbued with music, then we find a musical view of the world even in their architectural forms. Later, in Greece, this changed, and now, especially in the West, it has changed radically; we have entered an age in which technology and mathematics are emphasized.
Our body has a built-in musical structure revealed in its bone structure, as a result the tones of the musical scale resound within our bodies.
[page 156] On our backs, where the shoulder blades meet and, from there, carried into our whole being, forming and shaping us, are the human forms constituted from the fundamental note of the scale. The form of the upper arm corresponds with the second, and the lower arm with the third. And because there is a major and minor third (not a major and minor second), we have only one bone in the upper arm, but two in the lower arm, the radius and the ulna. These correspond to the major and minor third. We are formed according to the notes of the musical scale, the intervals hidden within us.
With the hand we express the fourth and fifth and experience free movement, "we go right out of ourselves, taking hold, as it were, of outer nature. This is the source of the feeling we experience in response to the sixth and seventh, feeling that is enhanced by experiencing eurythmy movements." (Page 157)Return to text directly before Endnote 18.
[page 158] True knowledge of the human being cannot be attained unless medical studies are supplemented by an understanding of the role music plays in the world. During college training, student teachers should gain an understanding of music — not just externally but also inwardly — so that their inner perception sees music everywhere. Music is indeed everywhere in the world; one simply has to find it.
Page 166, 167: In my study of arithmetic in the public schools, I was taught backwards to the way Steiner recommends: I was taught first addition, then subtraction; first multiplication, then division. I fought my way to understanding subtraction and division, but wondered why so many of my classmates had so much trouble with subtraction and division. Only through reading Steiner have I come to an answer to my long-held unanswered questions. They had trouble because subtraction and division were thought to be more difficult, so the teacher held it till after addition and multiplication, and the children got the teacher's unspoken message. Basically most kids hated subtraction and division, and long division, well, they would rather kneel on gravel with bare knees than do long division. Teachers were going from the parts to the whole, just putting things together intellectually to make 1+2+3+4 = 10. Kids hated being forced to think that way. I didn't know another way, but I quickly saw the processes of addition and subtraction as the inverse of each other and managed to master arithmetic in spite of the teaching method. I can guarantee you that no kid in my classes would have asked to stay after school to do math exercises!
[page 166, 167] Seize every opportunity to use images and tangible objects. This helps children find a way into the real world and to form everything in keeping with reality. It's simply arbitrary to place three beans before the children, add another three, and then yet another four, and then teach them addition: 3+3+4 = 10. This is quite arbitrary. But it is completely different if I have an unknown number of beans in a small pile; this is how things are in the world. When I divide the pile, the children will quickly understand this. I give some to one child, some to another, and another portion to a third child. I divide the pile, first showing how many beans there are altogether. I begin with the total and go to the parts.The child could count the beans, since it is just a repetitive process — one, two, three, and so on, up to twelve. But I divide them into four, into four more, and again into another four. If I begin with the total and proceed to the parts, the children take it in more easily; it accords with reality. The other way is abstract — just putting things together intellectually. It is also more real if I get them to the point where they must answer a question: If I have twelve apples, and someone takes them and returns only seven, how many have I lost? Here we begin with the minuend, then go from the remainder to the subtrahend; we do not subtract, but go from what remains as the result of a living process, to what has been taken away.
There you have it: arithmetic taught by subtraction first! What effect does this have on children?
[page 167] This affects the children and makes them bright and lively, whereas teaching arithmetic has a largely deadening effect. The children remain "dead" and apathetic. . . .
Steiner is describing what I saw happen to most of my classmates in response to arithmetic lessons. They hated them and made bad grades for the most part. I wonder if I had been taught this way if I might have had less trouble in advanced calculus when I was in college. I just could not connect with the deep abstractness of the processes I was being taught. I felt a bit like my classmates back in grade school during arithmetic lessons.Return to text directly before Endnote 19.
Page 171, 175: Greek children were taught gymnastics as the basic element of what it means to be a human being: to move and accomplish things. This approach to education in ancient Greece shows up in German schools today which are called "gymnasiums". We no longer seek to give our children the experience of doing things, but instead give them scraps of abstract scientific knowledge.The result should not be surprising. I find it in my own grandchildren: they seem to be small professors spouting knowledge as if from the lectern of a college classroom. Since the sixteenth century we have de-emphasized gymnastic training, pushed rhetoric or speaking ability to the aside, and have focused our major efforts on intellectuality. (Page 174)Return to text directly before Endnote 20.
[page 174, 175] Gymnasts were complete human beings, and rhetoricians appeared in public wanting to represent human beings, but our professors have ceased to be human at all. They deny the human being and live increasingly through sheer abstraction; they are now mere skeletons of civilization. . . . And if we wish to express the difference between a Greek child and a modern child, one could say that Greek child was human, and a modern child easily becomes a small professor.
Page 189 to 192: So many of the initiatives undertaken by Steiner came from questions from others: the Waldorf School from questions by Emil Molt, the Christian Community from questions about a modern ritual of worship, and Eurythmy from a widowed mother who asked an important question. To Steiner these questions were as if destiny had spoken to him. A time wave from the future had reached him and he knew the question would lead to an important answer for the world.
[page 189] In the case of eurythmy, for example, it was destiny that spoke. Today, looking at things from outside, it might be imagined that someone was struck by the sudden thought that we needed eurythmy. But this was not the case. At the time, the father of a family had died. There were several children, and the mother was concerned about them. She was anxious that something worthwhile should come of them. The anthroposophic movement was still small. I was asked, "What could develop from these children?" It was this question that led to the first steps toward eurythmy. Our first attempts were narrowly limited, but from these circumstances the first suggestions for eurythmy were given. Destiny had spoken, and it manifested because anthroposophy exists, and someone standing on anthroposophical ground was seeking her calling. Soon (it did not take long) the first students of eurythmy became teachers and were able to carry eurythmy into the world. So, with the help of Marie Steiner, who took it under her wing, eurythmy became what it is today.
A similar time wave from the future came when after Steiner spoke on education to them, Emil Molt's employees asked, "Can we have such a school for our children here at the factory?" It was destiny speaking again.Return to text directly before Endnote 21.
[page 191] Then in Stuttgart, out of all these confused ideals, Emil Molt's idea emerged to establish a school for the children of the workers at the Waldorf Astoria Cigarette Factory. And Emil Molt — who is here today — had the idea of giving me the responsibility for directing the school. This was a foregone conclusion; destiny would not have allowed otherwise. The school was established with a hundred and fifty children of the factory worker, and staffed by teachers drawn from the anthroposophic movement.
Click Here for a List of 25 books of Waldorf Education Lectures by Rudolf Steiner
2.) ARJ2: Education as a Force for Social Change by Rudolf Steiner
The chronology at the beginning of this book summarizes how Steiner gave his April 23, 1919 lecture to workers at the Waldorf-Astoria Company (a cigarette factory) and notes that after the lecture (contained in this book) the workers petitioned for Steiner to be made a member of the cabinet.
[page xxvii] According to Carl Unger, the resolution was misunderstood, because people thought Steiner wanted to join the present government, something he did not consider, since, in his opinion, if he was called by the government, his first act would be to dissolve the government in its present form.
This quotation makes an apt beginning for my review of this book because so much of it deals with the threefold social order, i. e., an independent culture, an independent social economy, and an independent government. These are three cornerstones of Steiner's Threefold Social Order (page 206) and notice the careful use of "independent" in all three places. Obviously Steiner did not envision a government that would be coercive over either the culture or the economy or else there would be no independence and you would be left with a one-legged stool that would fall over of its own weight. That "government" he would have dissolved was a coercive state.
Alan Turing designed a test to determine whether we had created artificial intelligence or not. It is very simple: you communicate via email with another person and by their responses you decide whether they're a person or a computer. If you choose "person" and it's really a computer, then we've achieved artificial intelligence. Simple concept, but very deep in its implications. A computer program named Eliza appeared in the 1970's that simulated a session with a psychoanalyst. The first time you used it, you were amazed at the responses — they seemed to be coming from a real analyst. Soon, the technique for generating responses became transparent and you realized it was a machine you were talking to and your interest drained away.
[page 8] What makes machines so devastating for people is their spiritual transparency: all the forces and interactions in machines are so clear and transparent to the human mind. Mechanical clarity draws life out of the human heart and soul, makes people dry and inhuman.
Steiner told us that if this mechanical thinking is carried into the rest of our lives, our spirits will become mechanized, our souls sleepy, and our bodies animalized. He pointed to America as the epitome of the mechanized spirit, Europe of the sleepy soul, and Russia as the animalized body. He gave an example of how this had happened since the mid-fifteenth century in Europe:
[page 9] A powerful modern political party calls itself the Social Democrats, thus welding socialism and democracy together, although they are the opposites of each other. They were welded together, but the spiritual was left out because socialism relates only to the economic realm and democracy relates only to the rights realm, the spiritual relates to individualism.
The key to fostering these three independent realms lies in the way we rear our children. During the first period of life they should be encouraged to be imitative. "People become free only if they were intensely imitative as children." (Page 11) From age seven on, if they have an adult to look up to as an authority during the time preceding puberty, they will develop the capacity to respect the rights of others as an adult. [See Review in ARJ: Karmic Relationships, Volume 8.] From puberty to adulthood, the period from fourteen to twenty-one, the emphasis on love, particularly the love for all of humanity, is of prime importance in the young adult's education. If we attend to these three things in our children's education at the appropriate times, we foster an adult in which the foundations of a threefold society are woven together.
[page 14] These things are completely interwoven, and thus I must say: imitation in the proper manner develops freedom; authority, justice; and fraternity or love, economic life.
What Steiner calls economic life, socialism in economic life, that is, I think can be found in the results one would expect from implementation of Galambos' technology [See Review in ARJ: Sic Itur Ad Astra .] by individuals in the form of a Natural Republic. One person will cooperate with another person in freedom, justly, and out of love. When they refuse to cooperate or renege on a voluntary agreement (defect), the restitution that they will make voluntarily will cost them more than they gained by the defect, so that defects will be damped out of existence over time. When small crimes are corrected in this way, large crimes will not occur. To be culturally free means that one will learn to express as coming from oneself only those ideas that arise in freedom within oneself, and one will acknowledge the source of all others ideas in gratitude and cooperation, freely and without the force of artificial law.There will be no need to enforce royalty laws, copyright laws, patent laws, which in the current milieu have enormous, expensive, and hard-to-fill loopholes.
And the Natural Republic of Galambos will definitely be "governmentally democratic" for the simple reason that all the government mechanisms will be performed by proprietary organizations with a stake in making sure that every citizen is satisfied. The democratic votes will be the votes that are cast by persons who choose the organization to provide the security and protection they desire. The Natural Republic will provide an answer to the suffering that Steiner perceived in his time:
[page 44] In modern times we suffer because on the one hand we have economic life, a practice without ideas, and on the other we have only social democratic theories with no possibility of practice.
[page 51] Many people believe the idea of the threefold social organism would stand the world on its head. Perish the thought! The world is already standing on its head, and the threefold social organism would only put it back on its feet.
This can also be said for Galambos's Natural Republic, that it will put the world that is currently upside down back on its feet right side up again.Let's read now how Steiner lines up three aspects of economic life: Commodity with Imagination, Work with Inspiration, and Capital with Intuition:
[page 51] People will learn how Imagination is connected to commodities only if economic life is clearly defined, and we recognize the need to administer economic life with fraternity. What Inspiration means for labor — that it calls forth a desire and love for work — will exist in the world only when Inspiration permeates the concept of equality in parliaments so that equality truly prevails and individuals can validate what lies within themselves. However, that will be quite different for each person.Then, equality will prevail in the rights realm. Laws will be Inspired and not passed in the mundane fashion increasingly common to democracy.
In a Natural Republic those that cooperate with each other will prosper and those that defect (interfere with another's property) will voluntarily pay restitution. In this way everyone's economic life will be administered with fraternity. There will be no parliaments or congress because there will be no state mechanisms, and thus there will be no artificial designation by the state of privileges and disbursements that abridge equality. With no State, there will be no laws "passed in the mundane fashion" Steiner refers to. Every person will operate with 100% control of their own life, thoughts and ideas, and personal property, and thus equality will prevail in the rights realm.
Will this be easy? No way! It will require a turning about of the ideas that people currently hold precious, and that is equally true of anthroposophists that I have known. Somehow they view Steiner's threefold social order as a call for State control which we already have or for some idealized utopia which we will never have.
[page 53] People have such difficulty getting used to new ideas because they love their old heads so much, those old heads so accustomed to thinking the way people have thought for so long.
In the newspaper I recently read an article about dealing with children who have "imaginary playmates." The thrust of the article was to humor the child, but the deep presupposition was that, "of course the imaginary playmates are not real." L. Hartley in The Go-Between said, "The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there." I noted the quotation because it spoke so eloquently about the evolution of consciousness — in the past humans thought differently than we do today. But the insight is also pertinent here.Children live in a foreign country: they do things differently there. They live much closer to the life between death and a new birth than adults do and they still have trails of glory from that life. I imagine that the person who wrote the article about imaginary playmates, if confronted with Steiner's picture of a butterfly emerging from its cocoon (chrysalis) would say:
[page 46] "We are wise and, of course, we know that it is only a picture. We are above such pictures." What they do not comprehend is that children become really engrossed in the picture only when you believe it yourself.
This clearly illustrates that what you are speaks more loudly than your words. That the real effect of a living teacher present before one is that the student receives via direct transmission of learning through a live channel information that cannot be recorded in books, on audio tape, or video tape. From the picture placed before us by our God-sent teachers, we can learn, if we but become engrossed in them. If the picture is sent directly from God through divine forces, we do best to pay close attention to it in freedom and light.
[page 47] The picture of the butterfly emerging from the cocoon is, in truth, a picture of the immortality of the soul, placed into nature by divine forces. There would not be a butterfly emerging from a cocoon if there were no immortal soul. . . . We can understand nature only when we know it is a picture of something else.
We might picture each child as an unanswered question posed by the spiritual world to the physical world. The teacher's job is assist the child to answer its unanswered question which, while it could be posed in the spiritual world, had to be answered in the physical world in conjunction with the spiritual world. Steiner tells us that we will "perceive children much differently when we see in them a continuation of something that could no longer remain in the spiritual world." (Page 62) On page 65 he describes how we may proceed to see the baby "I" that "has barely any physical correspondence." I was inspired to write the process out as a poem:
I am standing behind my physical body
I am standing behind my etheric body
I am standing behind my astral body
I am what you see when you look at me after a long absence.
I am still a baby
I am barely visible
I am with almost no physical correspondence.
What am I?
I am my I.
I am my I am!
It is the great charge of teachers to be able to see beyond the porcelain doll of the physical body to the I of each of their students. What teachers need are tools to bring out the individuality of each student and tools to remove the rough edges from each student's individual upbringing.
In that "foreign country of the past" human beings had a different intelligence than we do now. Children come from that foreign country and only gradually over the first twenty-one years of life do they immigrate to our country.
[page 73] To understand the meaning of what modern people call intelligence, we must ask how people in earlier developmental stages viewed intelligence, and how that intelligence slowly changed into the form we find in our times.
As late as Plato's time, people said, "If I only think, I can only comprehend what is dead." (Page 75) Where we are headed now is down a path of "errors and illusions that will lead us to think only of evil things." (Page 76) This observation that Steiner made 80 years ago anticipates very well the content of the average evening TV news program, which, when there's an occasional respite from bad news for that day, is filled with talk about upcoming possibilities for bad news. It is becoming ever more difficult to recognize good with merely our intellect, ever more difficult "to look towards the light of what is good." (Page 76) That's the way it is, up until now.With the help of Archangel Michael and the teachers on Earth from his supersensible school during this Age of Michael, we can expect to begin to make progress in freedom and light from now on.
When we view a corpse we view the human body in its mineral form, pure physical body without the etheric, astral, and I. In this Fifth Post-Atlantean Epoch, during the time between birth and death, we carry around this mineral-like physical body, this corpse, with our etheric, astral, and I bodies. In the Egypto-Chaldean or Third Post-Atlantean Epoch humans had physical bodies that resembled the plant kingdom. Steiner says we would become ill if we suddenly received in body of the form of a typical Egypto-Chaldean in our time because "we would have rampantly growing tissue within our bodies." [See Table below of the Post-Atlantean Epochs.]
[page 85] Today, tumorous growths occur in some people because a portion of their body tends to become like the entire body of the Egypto-Chaldean.
In the newspaper this morning, Oct.3, 1999, was an article announcing that doctors have discovered that "tumors make blood vessels." Doctors had always assumed that the cancer was of the same kind of tissue as the rest of the body and that a tumor made do with the blood supply already in place. Using this insight of Steiner's they could have predicted that inside of tumors they would find the growth of conduits for blood supply because of the inherent plant nature of the tumorous growth. This discovery will lead to new therapies which attempt to stem the blood flow and block the growth of new blood vessels to tumors.A new gene study (See Times-Picayune, October 14, 1999, page A-19, an article by Matthew Fordahl, AP Science Writer.) identified two genes involved with angiogenesis (blood vessel formation) but not required in adult development. By deleting these two genes from mice, they were able to produce cancer-resistant mice.
The Egyptians carried around something similar to a plant, whereas we carry around something similar to a corpse. Another sign that the past is a "foreign country" where they do things differently. It is also a sign that anyone who is proud of modern science is proud of a science that is based on a corpse. Our intellect deals only with dead things such as mathematics and geometry where everything is transparent. Egyptians on the other hand had an intelligence that was designed for dealing with and understanding plants. Much of our modern understanding of the plant world goes back to Egyptian times. Look at the chart of the Post-Atlantean Epochs in the Table below:
"I" (Human) Astral (Animal) Etheric (Plant) Physical (Mineral) Etheric (Plant) Astral (Animal) "I" (Human) 1st:Ancient Indian Epoch 2nd: Ancient Persian Epoch 3rd: Egypto- Chaldean Epoch 4th : Greco- Roman Epoch 5th Present Anglo-German 6th Cult-ural Epoch Russian 7th Cult-ural Epoch American 7893 BC-> 2970 BC -> 5733 BC-> 747 BC -> 1413 AD -> 3573 AD -> 5067 AD ->
[page 88] During the First post-Atlantean period, the I had a deep effect. In the Second post-Atlantean period, the astral body had a deep effect. In the Third post-Atlantean period, the etheric body had a deep, but at least bearable, effect, one that brought people into a relationship with all creation, as I mentioned yesterday. Now, we can say "I" and all sorts of things, but they no longer have an effect upon us because we comprehend the world through our corpse, that is, we comprehend the dead, the mineral part of the world.
If you are familiar with navigating through the seven processes that recur in many places in Steiner's work, you will guess correctly that in this Fifth post-Atlantean period, we must begin tracing the path upward again. We bottomed out in the Fourth period in the mineral kingdom, and we have begun going upward into the plant understanding as in our mirror epoch, the Egypto-Chaldeans did. As Steiner has pointed out many times, Goethe was the man who first spurred us into a deep understanding of the plant kingdom. Next we will learn to perceive the animal aspect in the Sixth period, and finally the true human aspect in the Seventh period. [Note: "mirror epoch" refers to how the remaining three steps mirror the first three steps: 5-3, 6-2, and 7-1.]
Our chore for this Fifth post-Atlantean period is clearly "to move away from dead, abstract concepts into living, concrete concepts" (page 89) such as Goethe did for us in his essay, The Metamorphosis of Plants.
[page 89, 90] Consider for a moment how a person's religious world view often runs, disconnected, alongside his or her scientific world view. Many people have the one and the other but build no bridges between them. They often have a kind of fear or anxiety about creating these bridges, but we must be quite conscious that things can remain so no longer.
My thought is that we should not build a bridge, but build a channel to join the two streams of religion and science into one living stream of reality. There is a beautiful story in Antoine St. Exupery's book Citadelle (in English, Wisdom of the Sands) on page 18 and 19. He tells how some dolt questions the customs of his father's estate and says, "Why not change some of them?" The victims of his charade fall to dismantling the house in revolt. Soon every evidence of the house and the old master is gone.
[page 19] On the ruins of the palace they have laid out a public square; but once the pleasure of trampling its stones with upstart arrogance has lost its zest, they begin to wonder what they are doing here, on this noisy fairground. And now, lo and behold, they fall to picturing, dimly as yet, a great house with a thousand doors, with curtains that billow on your shoulders and slumbrous anterooms. Perchance they dream even of a secret room, whose secrecy pervades the whole vast dwelling. Thus, though they know it not, they are pining for my father's palace where every footstep had a meaning.
This deconstruction has happened with religion to the point that people are left only with a vague image of the grand palace and they call it by the name God. "What do most modern people mean when they say 'God'?" Steiner asked us and then answered as follows:
[page 91] What they mean is an Angel, their own Angel, which they call God! Nothing more! People still have a vague feeling that they have their own guardian spirit, which they look up to and call God. Even when they do not call it an Angel, but God, they still only mean an Angel.
When we move beyond egotistic considerations which lead us to our Guardian Angel, we become capable of comprehending something higher, namely an Archangel. If we now meditate on the above Table of the seven epochs and ponder the evolution of consciousness through the various epochs, how our ideas of law originated with the Romans, our ideas of beauty with the Greeks, our ideas of how to use plants with the Egyptians, we can develop an attitude of soul that will lead us to understanding the Time Spirits or Archai.
This next quotation of Steiner's hit close to home with me as I have received similar letters from distant relatives who are devout Christians and presume that my reading Steiner's works has somehow tainted me as a Christian, and they would dearly like to save me from my folly.
[page 98] I've received many, many letters during my life, often from members of various churches who say that although Anthroposophy is very nice, it contradicts the simple, Christian belief that Christ saved human souls and that through Him we can receive eternal salvation with no activity on the part of our souls. They cannot let go of the "simple belief in salvation through Christ." People believe that when they say or write such things, they are particularly pious. However, they are simply egotistical. They are selfish right down to the very foundations of their souls. They desire to do nothing in their souls and to let Divinity take care of them so that their souls receive a wonderful pension on the other side of the pearly gates.
It is not so easy in that world view that requires us to create a new idea of religion. People must realize that they have to work to understand the Divine in their souls. They cannot just passively subjugate themselves to churches that promise to take care of their souls.
The second half of this book consists of the three lectures at the Waldorf-Astoria cigarette factory that began the Waldorf schools. The remainder of this review will deal with the content of these lectures.
In a devastating critique of the slogan of the proletarian revolution Jakob von Uexküll compares the result of its implementation with cancer in the human body.
[page 127] We see the same illness [cancer] in human society when the proletarian slogan, "Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity" replaces the state-oriented slogan "Coercion, Inequality, and Subordination."
Steiner doesn't think much of Uexküll's conclusions that coercion should replace liberty, inequality instead of equality, and subordination instead of fraternity. Certainly the lessons of the French Revolution showed us that the indiscriminate implementation of that slogan would lead to destruction of the society. In a comment about another author, Steiner takes him to task for calling anthroposophy "a muddled confusion" of facts about the life of the soul, humanity, and the cosmos.
[page 130] However, this "muddled confusion," which makes possible the achievement of such mathematical clarity, perhaps even mathematical sobriety, is precisely what protects anthroposophical activity from those babbling mystics and foggy-minded Theosophy.
On page 151 Steiner gives us the three tyrannies in order of their development historically:
priestly, political, and economic. We must work ourselves out of these three tyrannies which still operate in our lives today. Since a tyranny is nothing if not coercion, he is recommending that we must root out coercion wherever we find it in our lives. Here again, even though he lived before Galambos's time, Steiner speaks as strongly against coercion in his time as Galambos did in his time.
On the subject of life-time learning Steiner tells us that when one is learning from life, it becomes a life-long task, a task that is not completed when one graduates from college, no matter how important and prestigious one's specialty is.
[page 160] However, what is truly important is that people learn to learn, that they learn to learn so they can remain a student of life even when they become old, right until death. Today, people , even if they have graduated rom a college, generally stop learning after they reach their twenties. They can no longer learn from life. They only drone on and on about what they have learned until then; at best they occasionally add something. Those who are different are the exception today. It is important that we find a way to teach how to learn, that is, how to learn throughout life from life.
Certainly Steiner will admit that some learning takes place in people's lives, but sometimes the learning requires prodding from life. He would suggest that it is essential for modern times that everyone continue education as a life-long task, and notes that it mostly doesn't happen, up until now.
[page 165] We have experienced that where life has forced people to learn, they have learned; but where their own motivation could have led people to learn, nothing happened, nothing at all.
As Steiner was giving these Waldorf lectures in 1919, the conference in Versailles was meeting to determine the fate of Germany after the Great War. It's clear from reading Steiner's comments on the conference that he was certain that it would be a catastrophe for Germany and history proved him right. The most salient outcome of the Versailles conference was World War II. Steiner says that Germany in the middle of Europe is pressed in on one side by the nebulous mysticism from the East and on the other side by the naked materialism from the West.
[page 180] We must watch the East and cultivate what we must do so it is not forced on us, in decades, not in centuries, because humanity will be forced to do what it does not do voluntarily.
The being forced to do what one does not do voluntarily reminds me of my insight expressed as:
Matherne's Rule #28: The Soul Captain leads the willing and drags the unwilling.
This rule reminds me that if I do not choose to do something I may be forced to do it. One never knows for sure ahead of time if this is a choice that one will be forced to do anyway if one chooses not to do it, but hindsight is always accurate. Thus this rule allows us to inspect after the fact those instances in when something happened to us that we did not choose, such as an illness, an accident, a coincidence that led us to do something. What did the fortuitous event accomplish in our life? Did it give us permission to do something that we would have never done otherwise? Or did it protect us from doing something that if we had done it, would have led us to some misfortune?These two categories of events, permission and protection, help us to investigate the event. We can do this by asking first the permission question, "What did I do because of the event that I would NOT have done otherwise?" And then by asking the protection question, "What did I NOT do because of the event that I would have otherwise done?" In both cases, the result will be discovered to have been a salubrious one, a desirable outcome. We may then apply Matherne's Rule #28 and thank our individual Soul Captain for the assist, and learn from life in the process to become more attentive to the nuances of our lives from now on.
When Dr. Galambos taught his Volitional Science course V50 [contained in his book Sic Itur Ad Astra], he would get tickled when he had a chance to talk about freeways because he loved to call them by their proper name, "taxways." After all, it is tax money that builds and maintains them. How do they come to be so crowded. Galambos calls it the collision of technology with the coercive state. Think of what would happen if departments stores were "free stores" where customers could go in and pull whatever they wanted off the shelf for "free" — but the State paid for the goods by some tax scheme. One should not be surprised to find long queues waiting to get into the free stores and empty shelves once they got in.This situation actually happened in Moscow department stores during the Soviet period in Russia. Freeways are slow and overcrowded for the same reason. No for-profit department store could survive for long with empty shelves and not enough doors or stores to satisfy customers. Last week I had the pleasure of walking leisurely down the aisle of my neighborhood Home Depot. There were no crates blocking every aisle and no long lines at the cash registers as is usually the case. What had happened over night? They opened a new Home Depot several miles away. The customers that lived nearer to the new Home Depot than me are happy with driving less distance and I'm happy that I can make quick purchases without a hassle. Here's what Steiner says about "free schools" — like Galambos, he wasn't fooled by the name:
[page 183] Today, the call for free schools goes throughout the land, but what does this really mean? A call could go throughout the land for the creation of a society in which everyone could provide the proper support for education. Education free of cost is nothing more than a lie. Hiding behind this lie is either the fact that revenue finds its way into the pockets of a small clique so they can thus gain mastery over others, or that this is dust thrown in people's eyes to keep them from realizing that some of their money is taken to support the schools.
I explained to Del at dinner one night that I'd pretty much reconstructed how I came to detest sauerkraut. [See ARJ: doyletics.com for information on tracing discussed here.] Mom cooked it once, and Dad yelled at her. He probably something elegant like, "What the hell are you cooking this crap for?" I was at the table, I had just eaten sauerkraut, and my gut tensed up to defend myself. A tensing up that actually mimicked the tension in my Dad's gut when he yelled. How I know that to be true is that shortly after I did the trace in the very beginning to remove the tone that Del didn't like, one that I used when I was upset, I was able to eat both liver and sauerkraut in short order, a couple of weeks.I heard Mom last week saying that she had only cooked sauerkraut for Dad once and he didn't like it. The tenseness that I used to defend myself, which is the same tenseness that was in my body whenever I formerly used to yell at Del in the tone she hated, got attached to the taste of the sauerkraut I'd just then put into my mouth. Ever after that I was unable to eat and enjoy the food, in fact, I avoided it entirely, until I did the trace to erase the tone [actually what I erased was the physical body state of the tension in my gut] That trace lowered the intensity setting on the tension in my abdomen. Without the sharp tension, the taste of sauerkraut no longer triggered anything unpleasant in my body and I was able to eat and enjoy it right off. Here's how I found out the sauerkraut doyle was gone: one morning I awoke from a dream in which I had been eating and enjoying sauerkraut. I ate sauerkraut for the first time that night and enjoyed it immensely.
This is a good example of how one goes about recovering the full conceptual memory of an original event. Note the likelihood is that the tension was already stored as a doyle at the time of the sauerkraut incident. So doyles already stored can be stored with new triggers before five years old.
In addition I suspect that attitudes, especially strongly held ones such as bigotry, race hatred, dislike of foreigners, are doylic in origin. Rudolf Steiner said:
[page 188] Children are brought up by the parents with all of their own prejudices. They are colored by all that parents carry in their attitudes and souls.
I hypothesize that attitudes and prejudices like food dislikes are doylic in origin and they are transmitted from caregiver to child just as any other doyle may be. How is it possible that child can learn prejudices, bigotry, or race hatred from parents?
[page 195] Children have a tendency to imitate whatever anyone does, including facial expressions, ways of holding things, and degrees of dexterity. . . . Whatever is ensouled by the parents and other in the child's surroundings floods into that growing human being. Children completely adjust to and become like their surroundings, because the principle of imitation is the controlling factor in human nature until the change of teeth. [Note: The change of teeth is seven, two years past the Memory Transition Age of five years old in doyletics.]
The importance of the storage of physical body states in the years before the age of five is acknowledged by Steiner is this quote:
[page 198] You may know the remark made by Jean Paul — that in the first three years of childhood we learn more about life from our nanny than we learn in three years in the university.
The child acquires most of its emotions from its mother or nanny during those crucial three years. The substrate of the emotions are physical body states or doyles which are acquired when the child matches with the responses of its caregivers. In the next quote Steiner acknowledges the change in memory capability that occurs around the age of seven.
[page 198] Children should be handled properly regarding memory. A child notices and remembers as much as necessary before the change of teeth. With the change of teeth, however, it becomes necessary to take the child's memory into consideration. It is important during that time that we do not overburden the memory — that we don't try to impress something onto the memory that falls out on its own.
"Something that falls out on its own" is an intriguing phrase. My best guess as to what Steiner means is, that before seven, the primitive ability for conceptual or cognitive memory is such that abstract ideas and thoughts are not stored (thus, they "fall out"), but instead the frustrating feeling associated with trying unsuccessfully to store a cognitive thought is stored as a physical body state or doyle. Later as an adult, the attempt to perform a similar thinking function will trigger that same doyle of frustration and lessen the likelihood that the young adult will wish to do much of this frustrating thing called "thinking."Abstract thinking, like a dislike for broccoli, gets attached to an uncomfortable physical body state. If someone who dislikes broccoli will avoid eating it, someone who dislikes thinking will avoid it wherever possible. This analysis clarifies the reason that Steiner stresses that the alphabet and other abstract ideas and thoughts be saved until the first teeth change. My guess is that the period from 5 to 7 is a reasonable one to introduce the very beginnings of the alphabet and abstract thought in small doses as the cognitive memory capabilities of the child are just beginning.
In this next quote we read Steiner's plan for his threefold social order and how education fits into it.
[page 204] Thus, a basic principle of the Union for a Threefold Social Order is to work toward an independent school system, making it free of the state so that the state does not even inspect schools. The activity of self-administered schools should arise purely from cultural needs, and much can grow from that.
Cultural needs are individual needs and the only way independent schools free from state inspection can be created is if the state provides no funds to the independent schools and the state does not provide so-called free schools in competition with the independent schools. Another way of saying this is: the state has been replaced by a non-coercive government, i. e., a Natural Republic based on Galambos technology. Once more we can see the alignment of the thoughts of Rudolf Steiner and Andrew Galambos, this time in the area of education in primary and secondary schools.
Steiner reckons that his Threefold Social Order requires independence, but he lacks the technology in his time to make it possible. Let's read some more about what his requirements for the Threefold Social Order.
[page 206] The purpose of the Threefold Social Order is to see that each of these areas of life becomes independent. Therefore, it wants to base everything on an appropriate healthy foundation. Everything that until now formed a disorganized, chaotic whole — in other words, the economy, the culture, and the state — should each become independent: an independent culture, an independent, democratic state, and an independent social economy. Human beings thus become the unifying element of those three aspects. People participate in all three areas, so we need not fear the loss of unity.
We can see clearly in this description that the idea of an independent, democratic state is unrealistic — it has never existed for very long in the history of the world. As soon as the state is empowered, it eventually collects all the other areas of culture and economy under its broad wings of coercion and claims that this is a requirement for the good of the people. To the extent that in pioneer days, Americans could move further West as soon as the coercive bureaucrats moved in, freedom and independence still existed on a temporary basis. If we remove the state requirement and replace it with a Natural Republic which is necessarily independent of the economy and the cultural aspects of society, the possibility opens for Steiner's Threefold Social Order to be realized. The government of the Natural Republic would be independent and democratic in the true sense of the word, where the supreme power is held by the people of the country. That power will be exercised every time an individual makes a volitional choice for the protection of his or her property. Without coercion, the three social orders will be at all times independent and there will be no state to inspect the schools, no state to regulate the economy, and no state to promote or discourage aspects of culture. The votes in all three areas will be made by the democratic voters who will choose for themselves the options they wish for economic matters, cultural matters, and protection of their property.
In the pre-Natural Republic world, Steiner had to deal with a state that didn't want to relinquish inspection and control over any of the other aspects of his threefold order, so the political forces supporting the state accused him of trying to split up a whole workable unity into three parts that couldn't stand alone, like chopping a horse into three parts. Here's how Steiner dealt with their suggestion:
[page 206, 207] Some people believe that the threefold social order we are working toward would, so to speak, split a horse into three parts. They don't have the right picture of our goal. We are not trying to divide the horse into three parts; we simply want people to stop saying that a horse is real only when standing on one leg.
To close this detailed review of Steiner's work on education and the threefold order, let's look at a few final quotes and let the words of Steiner stand on their own:
[page 213] We don't need to fear the worldview of another if we are enthusiastic and strong in our own. Such attitudes can develop in free spiritual competition, but certainly not through laws.
[page 214] Someone said that the state is necessary or that we could replace it with some sort of cultural senate or some such thing. What I actually said was that those who have not felt the compulsion of the state have not actually experienced it. You see, the reality is that it is now second nature for people to want to be teachers employed by the state. When that has become second nature, you are no longer aware that it is not really your free and independent self who teaches from the source of culture. Instead, you have become accustomed to the state and to presenting what the state offers for instruction. You think you are free; but that feeling of freedom, especially the way people now feel, is certainly no proof that you really are free.
[page 216] In an independent culture we can certainly conceive of a constitution that isn't based on rigid laws and petrified governmental rulings, but one based rather on real, living relationships among those who participate in it. We must, of course, first replace "the law" with free, personal, and flexible human relationships that are, therefore, not bound by rigid laws, carved in stone for eternity.
[page 218] We cannot simply attempt small changes in various institutions. What we need is a genuine rethinking, a transformation in our feeling, and fresh learning. Only in that way can we understand our time and really progress!
Click Here for a List of 25 books of Waldorf Education Lectures by Rudolf Steiner
3.) ARJ2: Embracing Contraries by Peter Elbow
How appropriate that I am writing this review on Columbus Day, October 12, 1999, and ending my reading of this book with Chapter 11, "The Value of Dialectic," which ends with this paragraph:
[page 252] Certain people are especially smart. They have a talent for having good hunches, nurturing them, and having a sense of which ones to follow. These people are right too often for it to be a matter of luck. . . . Affirming contradictions and not being in too much of a hurry to get rid of them - Chaucer's dialectic - must be one of the patterns of thought that makes wise people wise.
"What is the power of an unanswered question?" is one of my basic rules. This question focuses my attention on the power that derives from not accepting easy answers to questions, especially questions that present opposing contraries. Only by extended pondering of the question, which cannot happen if one accepts some sham of an answer, can an answer arise that will hover over the contraries with its glowing resolution. The world would be much different if Columbus had accepted "Fall off the edge of the world." as the easy answer to the question, "What happens if I keep sailing westward?" Instead he held his unanswered question and sailed on into history.
Before you can have a metaphor, Monroe Beardsley tells us, "there must be a contradiction, a piece of non-sense." (Page 250) Elbow cites as an example the phrase leg of the table, which unless you feel that leg is appropriate only to animate organisms, "you cannot feel leg of the table as a metaphor.For most people the phrase is literal." (Page 250) Again a contrary confronts us if we recall that every word was once a metaphor when it was first used.
The word quiz was painted on fences and walls all over Dublin one night by someone who won a bet that he could get a new word in general usage overnight. The nonsense word quiz brought quizzical looks to the faces of Dubliners the next morning as everyone went about quizzing each other as to what it meant.
If the contraries we're asked to embrace are logical opposites such as true and false, we might end up in the logical paralysis as we try to discern a meaning in the question, "Who shaves the barber who shaves every man in the village who doesn't shave himself?"If the barber doesn't shave himself, he does shave himself. Logically it's impossible, but a computer would have no problem with it as the computer operates in time. The answer will alternate from shaves himself to doesn't shave himself as the computer calculates each answer correctly in turn.
J. L. Austin directs our attention away from the logical utterance to the details of the speech situation, i.e., to what is, "a right and proper thing to say as opposed to a wrong thing, in these circumstances, to this audience, for these purposes and with these intentions." (Page 246) Austin's suggestions mirror those of Alfred O. Korzybski's general semantics in which we must constantly remind ourselves to attend to the what, when and where index as we talk. Audience(1) is not equal to Audience(2); Kiss(first date) is not the same as Kiss(honeymoon); Walk(beach) is the same as Walk(North Pole).
But I digress from my goal of writing the review, which process is necessarily an "embracing of contraries" as the title suggests. Do I write of what I learned from reading the book or do I write my judgments of how well the book was written? Peter Elbow was my first writing teacher. I encountered him in his book, Writing Without Teachers, some twenty years ago. Now I'm reading him as part of a course in college teaching. So I've returned to the man who said I didn't need a teacher, to learn how to become one. In the first page of his Introduction, these words leaped off the page at me:
[page ix] All along in my writing I've been trying to do justice to the rich messiness of learning and teaching — to avoid the limitations of neat theories and pat positions.
Clearly Elbow loved to hold "unanswered questions" and coined the wonderful term "rich messiness" to describe the process of learning and teaching. Does that mean that Elbow wanted to avoid the coherence of a pedagogical theory? He intimates on page x that he felt, "A hunger for coherence; yet a hunger also to be true to the natural incoherence of experience." That others in his field didn't feel this hunger bothered him.
[page ix] I've always been irritated at the prejudice among so many people in higher education (particularly in institutions of higher repute) that pedagogy doesn't bear thinking about: that there's something useless and infra-dig about studying the processes of learning and teaching themselves (as opposed to the contents of the disciplines); and that whether someone learns or teaches well is mostly a matter of inborn talent, temperament, and character.
Elbow likens his experience of learning and teaching to that of doing a rain dance. He says he never had any idea of what a good rain dance looked like, but if he got the steps right, rain came, "but I never knew till I was wet whether I was close. I never seemed to have any sense of what a good rain dance looked like."
He lists a bunch of things in the Introduction that struck home to me. Like not being able to memorize or find certain material, and later finding that same material comes out at delightfully unexpected times and places. Like the assumption that input should precede output: Elbow finds that he "could get things to go in better" if he had been first asked to have them come out. It seems that in the implicit goal of organizing learning and teaching, some have created a neat emptiness where a "rich messiness" would be more fruitful. And like those students who "cannot remember well till they think, but are asked not to think till they can remember well." These are examples of the contraries that Elbow asks us to embrace as we work our way through this book of collected essays on learning and teaching.
In this passage, Elbow delineates the basic of flaw of the banking model of teaching where students are treated as boxes in which information is deposited to be retrieved later on demand.
[page 11] The implication for learning is that you don't teach anyone by feeding him information. It's processed and "filed," but whether it can ever be found again is a function of his filing and processing system which is precisely what you have left unchanged and probably very bad: brute (short-term) memory is high in the competition for man's feeblest capacity (Miller). You only teach someone if you affect the way he files his data, processes his information, or makes his inferences.
Human beings are not computers, all similarities to the contrary. Computers use compilers to process statements in a language. Human beings are compiler designers and are always changing the specifications of their compilers to process statements in new languages that are too rich and messy to ever be found in a compiler designer's handbook. When our internal compilers have been restructured by some course we took, we know that we learned something that will stay with us because it affects the very way that we see and understand the world every day.
[page 13] But real learning, in contrast, is the phenomenon of so abundantly "understanding" the concept in the book or lecture that it becomes part of us and determines the way we see, feel, and act - the way we process the widest range of data.
We become changed when we encounter ideas and concepts that extend beyond our own. There's a contrary - it's the bootstrap metaphor - we can only learn when we learn something that we are not capable of learning, up until now. How does a program get into a computer? Another program loads it. How does that program get into the computer? It is a program and there must be a program to load it!In 1969 on early minicomputers we had to key in this program with our fingers at the front console. That initial code was called the bootstrap. It would read a piece of paper tape. The piece of tape was a primitive loader which could then load a more detailed loader. Since that time computer designers have created a simpler process for the user, who now only pushes the RESET button, but all the functions I mentioned above occur. The fat-fingered bootstrap is in ROM, the primitive loader on the first sector of the hard-disk, and the more detailed loader is loaded with the operating system. Each time we take a new course, we do not learn if we only input data; we must come to understand concepts and ideas and bootstrap changes to the way we process data from now on. We must follow the steps of the rain dance until we "get wet."
Elbow gives us Bruner's three steps to learning by induction: 1) input a lot of data, 2) the "aha" emerges, 3) be able to express what the "aha" means. The "aha" refers to the unexpressible insight that comes from inductive learning. According to Rudolf Steiner, this is a percept, the most basic element of thinking, a non-verbal spiritual activity that precedes the forming of a concept. A concept requires words. Elbow recognizes this pre-verbal aspect of thinking:
[page 17] For induction produces the experience - the "feel" - of a concept before there are any words for it. It is the nonverbal experience of a concept which enables one to recognize a huge range of instances of the concept: one doesn't need verbal cues as mediation.
We are so inured to the evaluation process that we have a large vocabulary for negative things to say as we judge about others' work, but not much except "good" or "fine" to say on the positive side. To counter this imbalance, Elbow evolved something he calls "movies in the readers minds", which, while he designed it for the learning and teaching of writing, seems to work as well for other fields.Noticing how little a student learns from a grade or from a short comment on a piece of writing, Elbow decided "to provide my students with an account of what was going on in my mind as I was reading - trying to give as honest and accurate a picture as possible of the effects of their words in my head." (Page 162) These personal accounts of subjective experience had a sense of truth that the student accepted because it was not verbalized judgment from some external standards, but authentic experience of one person.
[page 229] There is enormous pedagogical power that comes from telling the truth - what happened to us; and avoiding lies - or at least shaky guesses about what is right or wrong in a performance. Students often fight us in our more impersonal verdicts . . . But when we simply tell what happened to us as we read their writing . . . what we say has a higher chance of being actually listened to.
Peter Elbow innovated the "doubting and believing game" and says that, "I've been pestering people for more than ten years with versions of my doubting/believing essay in an effort to think my way through it." (Page xv) In this "game" we encounter the two contraries of "doubting" and "believing". Given some position one is studying, one may either believe it or doubt it at first glance. Unless one makes the conscious effort to believe in something one doubts, one will never come to see the sense of it. Unless one makes the conscious effort to doubt something that one believes in, one will never come to see the lack of sense of one's position as others see it.
I first encountered the "believing/doubting" game in the Appendix of Elbow's Writing Without Teachers twenty years ago. I even made notes on the pages where it appears, so I know that I read those pages. But last year when Professor Michael Paulsen used the doubting/believing game in his course on College Curriculum, it seemed new and fresh to me. Here was an actual application. Here was the believing/doubting game integrated into pedagogy and it worked. Suspend one's belief by doubting and create an artificial belief, so that one can examine the implications of a new area with fresh eyes. Once one has applied the believing/doubting game, then one is ready for the application of one's judgment.
[page 269, 270] Judgment involves looking over the results of systematic believing and systematic doubting and making up one's mind.
In the believing/doubting game, we must learn to enjoy "embracing contraries" in our "explorations in learning and teaching" as the book's title and subtitle tell us. Is the "rich messiness" of the believing/doubting game mere foolishness or a worthwhile pedagogy? Is it perhaps all promise and no substance? Is it like the all-purpose potion metaphor that Elbow uses on page 296: it is good for all that ails you and is "even good for polishing the family silver." What does the family silver represent? "Epistemology," Elbow says. The enthusiastic embracing of contraries in the believing/doubting game helps us "to figure things out." It provides us a way of changing ourselves in the process of learning and teaching so that we come to see the world differently, and in a way that lets us know we have learned something.
4.) ARJ: The Shadow That Seeks the Sun — A Story About Yogis, Bhogis, and an Unexpected Encounter by Ray Brooks
This book asks the question, “What is the shadow in each of us which disappears when it reaches the Sun?” In essence it is an unanswered question which bugged Ray until he met Rudra and listened to Rudra’s talks, which helped Ray find an answer to his question. The answer I am not going to tell you directly. You will have to find your own Rudra, or read this book, or spend the rest of your life searching for an answer.
What is a shadow but the result of something obscuring the Sun? If you have been in a shadow all your life, how would you know it? There is light in a shadow, but it is reflected from other objects, and you are not receiving direct beams from the Sun.
Things can be hidden in a shadow, so moving in a shadow can be scary. Horses, which are otherwise dependable and steady, get skittish when they are trotting on city streets. Drivers of city carriages put blinders on their horses to prevent them from being scared by the shadows of buildings on city streets. In Western movies, one rarely sees blinders on horses because there are few narrow shady streets with tall buildings, just a long wide avenue through the sparsely populated towns of the old West.
How would you know if you were living in a shadow? In his earlier book, Blowing Zen, Ray had been living in a shadow by not knowing what a shakuhachi flute was. Soon as it stepped out of its shadow to him, he began to learn to play it. Soon he was blowing Zen and wondering why he was blowing Zen. He had moved out of one shadow into another.Life is like that, we move from one shadow into another one. We always seem to be making an effort to find peace, happiness, and freedom, trying to overcome all the obstacles in our way, getting rid of all that is troubling us, loosening all the ties that bind us, keeping us from freedom.
In this book we learn of the shadow which Ray faced during the time when he was living in India. Along the way we are introduced to variety of interesting people, his Sita Dianne (his wife), the Monkey Punky gang, the bhogis, various yogis, and street people of Rishikeesh. The money baba was a bhogi who assaulted people with requests for money, like, “I am God. Give me one hundred rupees!” (Page1) The money babas or bhogis were not holy men, but simply street beggars or perhaps criminals on the run. India is a large place and it is easy to get away from the eyes of the law. Among so many beggars, a criminal can easily get lost. Not only could criminals get lost but time itself could get lost. “There wasn’t a clock in India that was right.” (Page3) This resulted in a cacaphony of bells at the top of each hour clanging from different ashrams of the area.
The Monkey Punky gang were children who sold the small flowers and vases which floated as an offering to Mother Ganga (the Ganges) on a regular basis. The ghats were shallow flagstone steps by which faithful could enter the river for ritual cleansing and baths. Ray had been returning to this area with his wife for twenty-five years. “Why the fascination with India?” his new friend Rudra asked him. It began with a bright red silk tie worn by a door-to-door salesman that pre-teen Ray heard saying he was from India. “Where was India?” he thought and couldn’t wait to ask his grandfather who showed him India in an old atlas. This led Ray eventually to Krishnamurti, becoming for a time a follower of his.
This book is punctuated by nine talks Ray has with Rudra, each of which challenges Ray’s beliefs and sends him off wondering.
In Talk One, Rudra challenges Ray’s description of having special experiences, a magical moment or heightened awareness. He says, “You know, Ray . . . heightened experiences only have significance if they point to what is already here.” So far as I can tell Rudra wanted to bring Ray’s attention away from the then and there of his memory of an experience to the here and now of his present experience. All we can experience exists in the present moment. If you wish to experience eternity, take a deep breath, and from beginning to end you are experiencing eternity, the ever-present now.
At this point, I recall something which happened in a software meeting around 1970. After a long discussion, Ray Bagley, looked at us through his thick bottle glass spectacles and asked, “What does all this mean?” Often I have thought of Bagley’s question when a discussion goes on for too long. If we don’t have a succinct answer to Bagley’s question, then perhaps we’re only batting the wind with our voices. Rudra asks Ray Brooks a question which takes him aback, causing him to pause, and hold it as an unanswered question; the best gift you can give to an intrepid listener is to give him a question with no easy answer.[page 18] “Ray, is any of what you’ve just said true?”I was startled by the directness of his question.
Rudra directs Ray back to the process of experience, the What Is Going On (1) , and away from the content of experience, the Map of what is experienced.[page 18] For there to be experiences [i.e. content] there would have to be ‘someone’ to have them. For there to be someone, the knowing [process] and the known [content] would have to be separate.
At this point, Ray gives a typical “I know that” response to a great unanswered question. It is the answer of the “full teacup” person. The metaphor is from a famous story of a Western professor who came to learn something from an esteemed Japanese monk. He was invited to a tea ceremony and the monk pours the tea into the professor’s cup. When it reaches the top, the monk keeps pouring and the hot tea splashes onto the professor’s hand. “Stop!” the professor cries, “can’t you see that the teacup is full?” “Yes,” the monk replies, “Can’t you see that you came to me with a full teacup of knowledge expecting to learn something?”
Here's Ray’s answer to Rudra.[page 18] “I know what you’re referring to, but that has never been my experience. I’m certain that what I’m looking for is connected to these experiences. They’ve shown me that there’s more life than the mundane and that there is the possibility of freedom.”
Rudra could have ended their relationship at this point, but instead brings Ray back into the here-and-now present, “No matter how sublime the experience, it only ever points to this, where you already are.” (Page 19) He points Ray to his “I”, but giving Ray the final answer to his search so early that it would not be enough. In learning something new, it’s best to learn all about it before you start, so Rudra gives it all to Ray, who naturally rejects it.[page 23] “Ray, ‘experience’ or ‘awareness’ or whatever you want to call it, are just other names for ‘you.’ That is the simple sense of ‘I’.”
Ray replies by letting his I in process talk about his I in content.
[page 24] “I’ve always thought that ‘I’ was the problem.”
Rudra sees the problem with Ray’s thinking; it’s like the dog chasing his tail. Thinking his tail is not part of himself, the dog chases it indefinitely. Ray’s “I” is a content he made up and his “I” in process will continue to chase it indefinitely. “It’s a futile path,” Rudra tells Ray. “Like a shadow which seeks the sun.” There’s the eponymous phrase which becomes the title of this book and a mantra of Ray’s search as it is unraveled in the course of this book.
Ray says that there is something he’s not getting. Rudra tells him that thought is not getting, that “thought cannot know peace. It can only know about peace.” (Page 25) As Rudra takes his leave of Ray, he says, “To be here in this love is easy. All else is effort. Namaste.” (Page 26)
Thirty years earlier, Ray had an amazing experience as he sat at a bar with a woman he’d recently met and suddenly everything had gone quiet. It was as if a cosmic ray had zipped through him and ionized him the way they do tiny computer circuits to cause what we affectionately call a glitch. I recently tagged glitch with this acronym, a Gremlin Licking In The Computer Hardware, an unknown malfunction which can cause some circuit to hang up, become quiet, and require a reboot or a complete shutdown to recover from. Ray describes what happened to him:
[page 29 30] Twenty minutes into our chat, a sudden and strong sensation came over me. It felt as if the whole place had gone quiet, like sound was at a distance. Overcome by the experience, I could neither ignore it nor shake it off. I tried to concentrate but kept losing the gist of what my date was talking about. I offered her another drink hoping the sound of my voice would return me to normal. But the sense of dissociation only expanded. I could see her lips moving but I’d lost all contact with the meaning of the words. I felt like a spectator outside of my body, watching actors in a play. I was fully cognizant of the “dream” that was taking place, but I was not a part of it. Overwhelmed, I mumbled that I felt unwell and told my confused date that I had to leave. She looked concerned and offered to drive me home. I refused and apologized for spoiling the evening. Without waiting for a response, I pushed through the crowd in search of oxygen.
Interestingly, when he told his friends about this episode, they nicknamed him Cosmic Ray, saying “Cosmic Ray couldn’t make it to the pub last night. Said he was staying home to meditate. Still, it’s better than sitting around doing nothing!” (Page 31) Soon he and his friends parted company. It was as if a Cosmic Ray had blown through reality, ionized a few friends, and moved on. His friends managed to recover from Cosmic Ray and move on with their customary life, but for Ray, it was a complete shutdown and reboot, which eventually led him to his walking the ghats along the Ganges in Rishikesh, India.
Before he left London he had one more essential thing to do, and it happened at an art gallery. As so often happens when we meet someone who will become an essential part of the rest of our lifetime, Ray was hit by a “time wave from the future” (2) . Such a time wave comes in as a strong feeling, and even though he doesn’t mention what he was feeling, it seems as though the feeling would go away if he looked elsewhere, so he kept looking at her.[page 35] I didn’t recognize anyone, but did notice a young woman who was talking with a group. I couldn’t take my eyes off her. She wore her hair almost to her waist and was casually, if a bit untidily, dressed for the occasion in tight jeans tucked into high-heeled boots. She was laughing and had a vivacious, easy energy about her. She saw me looking and immediately invited me to join the group.
This was Dianne, who was to become Ray’s wife, his Sita, and join him in India. He read Krishnamurti’s book, You Are the World, and found this amazing question, “Can we live in freedom without conflict?” which captivated him. This is a great Unanswered Question (UAQ) to hang onto, in my opinion. I didn’t find my own answer to that question until I took Andrew Joseph Galambos’ course in Volitional Science, V50T, in New Orleans. His lectures had a great effect on me. Galambos offered me an operational definition for freedom which has helped me steer my ship of life away from the shoals of coercion ever since (3) . I found that the sources of conflict arise from violations of freedom, and with an operational definition for freedom, one can avoid conflicts.
Ray met George, a follower who had listened to Krishnamurti talk for twenty years, and asked him if the talks had any effect on him. His answer was:[page 45] “There have been some changes in me but, as Krishnamurti would say, change is no change at all. I’m like a bee buzzing around the honey pot — so close.”
Ray asked George if he ever asked Krishnamurti directly, “Why are you free and I am not?” George said, “Yes, although it wasn’t much help. K simply said, ‘I don’t mind what happens.’” (Page 46)
How I understand Krishnamurti ‘s answer, based on Alfred Korzyski’s work: When you mind what happens, you create maps of thought which obscure reality (the WIGO or territory) from you. Getting Ray to understand the “I” and the “mind” portion of Krishnamurti’s answer was the challenge facing Rudra on the ghats in India with Ray, as I see it.
Ray and Dianne moved to Japan for several years after his study with Krishnamurti and, during this time, Ray takes up the shakuhachi, a bamboo flute, and plays it intensely around Japan, even going on pilgrimages up a mountain playing it.His hands were freezing so much that other pilgrims would stop and offer the warmth of their own hands to warm his so he could continue to play (4) . The playing of the special bamboo flute creates a territory in which one can live for a time completely without thoughts and as such can be a great aid to over-thinking Western thinkers like me and Ray. He and Dianne got several recommendations to visit the yoga center of Rishikesh in India, and that’s how they came to Mother Ganga and her son Rudra.
Rudra begins Talk Two with an admonition, “Ray, please look and listen with openness and innocence to see what is actually true. This may be difficult to do at first, but I can assure you, all your concepts, theories, and beliefs will be challenged.” (Page 72) Ray agrees. Note that concepts, theories, and beliefs are all maps of the WIGO which Rudra is maneuvering Ray to experience directly. Rudra is like a leader of a graduate seminar whereas Krishnamurti held classes for undergraduates. Ray will be challenged every time he slides into some mental construct and away from direct experience. Rudra again gives Ray a direct answer, “‘I am’ is the first thing that is known before thoughts and sensations.” One might suppose that sensations are the first level of experience, but sensations quickly morph into concepts, whereas our I requires no concepts — it is the name that only I can use to refer to myself. Anything I might say about myself is a concept, but my experience of my “I” is not a sensation and requires no thought.
In Talk Three, Rudra reminds Ray what their mantra is, “No matter what you hear, it is much simpler than that.” Why? Because, he says, “there is no hearer and heard, only hearing.” And adds that “hearing is experience without a thought story.” (Page 94, 95)
Ray attempts to paraphrase what he’s learned so far:[page 99] “It’s astonishing, Rudra. Until now it seemed that thought was in the foreground and awareness in the background. It’s the other way around, isn’t it?”
Well, it’s neither Rudra tells him, both foreground and background are thoughts, awareness — your I — is all there is. Rudra sums it up for Ray this way:[page 102] “Ray, thought knows nothing of the real. Thought doesn’t know this peace and cannot touch the love. And where there is love there is not a hint of fragmentation or fear. You alone are the real.”
Talk Four begins with a half-naked sadhu, a baba, asking Ray to guess what he has in his hand. When Ray says he doesn’t know, the baba opens his hand revealing a leaf and yells, “Everything!” When Rudra arrives he uses Ray’s leaf baba story to explain that the baba was pointing to a luminous oneness. Ray tells Rudra about his sixty-day discipline of climbing the mountain in Japan playing his shakuhachi flute. “It felt like a breakthrough at the time and I was satisfied that it was a real insight. Now I’m beginning to see that thought had claimed ownership of awareness.” Rudra tells Ray that such a process was still the shadow seeking the Sun by reifying awareness. That was still duality. Ray agrees, “Yes, I can see how thought gets in on the act and claims to know oneness.”
Rudra sums up this Talk:[page 123] “Ray, until there is absolute certainty that you, awareness, are all there is, keep drawing your attention to that which does not evolve. Keep coming back to your own obliviousness, your own being. Not some future being not some higher being or special being — just ordinary being. How it feels to be you, as you are right now. Everything points to this that you are because you are everything that is. Being everything, where could you not find yourself? Being everything, what could possibly matter about anything?”
In Talk Five, Rudra and Ray exchange ideas on consciousness, and finally Rudra sums it up the so-called “hard problem of consciousness” this way:[page 152] “Difficult to find an answer when you are the answer. They should first look and see if there is any separation between the knowing and know.” [page 156] “See that all we actually know is experience, which is simply you, awareness. See that there is only ever one.”
In Talk Six, Ray tells Rudra he’s learned more from him in their short talks and all his previous years of study. Rudra admits that study can get in the way, like the mud picked up by wagon wheels can slow down a wagon.[page 191] “Yes, Ray, accumulated knowledge is a hindrance to the seeing that there never was or could be any separation between an imagined experiencer and experience. To see clearly that there is nothing here but experience is freedom enough. No more is needed.”
Ray needs more because he still sees a separation where there is none, so he asks if meditation can bring one to reality. Rudra simply points to the beauty of the river. Ray asks if Rudra calls it meditation when he sits on the river banks looking at it. Rudra shakes his head.[page 197] “It has never occurred to me to call it anything. I simply sit because I apparently enjoy it. The meditator, who is sitting as a motive to find reality is like a flower trying to smell its own perfume. . . . The meditator and meditating are two aspects of the same thing. There is no more meditation than knowing what you are and being what you love. If the seeker is meditating, that is what is happening.
Entering Talk Seven, we feel that Ray is getting closer to integrating the two parts of himself, the seeker and the sought, the eponymous shadow seeking the Sun. He and Rudra are sitting on the steps of the ghat.[page 219] Three women dressed in colorful saris walked by, their hips swaying from side to side like models on a Paris runway. Each had a long primitive-looking curved blade tucked into the waist of her skirt. They were returning from the forest with huge bundles of cow fodder balanced on their heads.
“Ray, touch the step either side of you and tell me if there is the perception of something solid, dense, and inert. Tell me is it not fully alive with aware-presence? Look around you. Tell me if you find anything that could possibly be called dead matter. Is there such a thing as matter? Or is there only this presence-awareness?”
Placing my hands on the step, I watched the women glide into the distance. All that I found was inexpressible, only aware-presence, only reality.
Challenged by Rudra, Ray could not point to anything separate from him. They both sat in quietness, being aware of their own being.
In Talk Eight, Ray surprises Rudra by still having a couple of questions. Where is the Jesus cave? What about karma? Rudra suggests he visit the cave where Jesus is supposed to have visited, saying the view is nice. Karma involves a dream character but if you look it’s only awareness. Then Ray asked what happens to awareness when the body goes.[page 229] “Nothing happens. Nothing real could possibly die. Where could you go? How could the idea of death and the concept of karma possibly matter to everything? We grieve and mourn the loss of a loved one, but we don’t disturb the peace that we are. No one is lost to anyone. Love is never lost. . . . What you are was never born. So what could possibly be subjected to death?
Rudra finds a metaphor to reach Ray. He directs his attention down to the river waves lapping on the steps of the ghat.[page 230] The waves are unaware of the ocean and know only what is happening on the surface of the ocean. One of the waves crashes to the shore and disappears. ‘Where did it go?’ asks another wave. Now, you tell me, Ray, where did the wave go?
Ray tries several answers, “Returned to its source” and is rebuffed, “It is part of the ocean.”Another try: “It dissolves back into the ocean.” A longer rebuff.[page 230, 231] “No, an expression of the ocean never left the ocean to dissolve back into the ocean. The wave did not go anywhere nor could it go anywhere. . . . The ocean is all there is. In our metaphor, the ocean is one. Where can ocean go when it is all that is? Where can oneness go when it is all that is? Where could you go when you are all that is?
In Talk Nine Rudra reveals his personal life, that his father was Oxford-educated and a missionary who married his mother who became Christian. She called him John, but his father called him Rudra. As a young boy Rudra searched for this oneness he was sharing with Ray, and one day he realized his “I am”.[page 244] On my days off from school I would go into the surrounding mountains and contemplate, what this ‘I am’ might mean. Then, one sunny morning, while lying in the grass watching the vultures circling above me, I simply saw that I was this self-luminous ‘I am.’ Not the ‘I’ that points to a ‘person’ caught up in life. I saw the ‘I’ beyond the word. Aware-beingness that depends on ‘no thing.’ I was flooded with this presence and could hardly contain my joy.
But Rudra couldn’t tell his father that the ‘I am’ referred to by Jesus in the Gospels was the doorway to freedom and that he Rudra had discovered that doorway in himself. No, saying that to a missionary like his father who believed that Jesus was the door would have been like claiming Rudra was the key and the door. He couldn’t tell his father that there was no door to ‘all that is.’ Ray agrees, saying, “As long as you’re searching for the key there’s a door to go through.” And Rudra replies, “Yes. The key is to stop searching and look at your actual experience.” (Page 244)
There’s a wonderful Sufi story. Nasruddin was searching for a key under a streetlight and his friend came by and got on his knees to help him search. After a while with no success, his friend says, “Where did you lose the key, Nasruddin?”
“In the house.”
“Then why are you looking out here in the street for it?”
“Because there is more light.”
We look for something where there seems to be more light, while the answer lies within. Rudra experienced that after his day of discovery, but over time it disappeared. He then became a seeker, like Nasruddin, looking everywhere but inside, as he says when his talk with Ray continued.[page 245] That was probably the day I became a serious seeker and, as you well know, there is nothing more difficult than seeking that which we already are.”
“It’s a bit like looking for your glasses when they’re on your head.”
“More like looking for your glasses when you are looking through them.”
Rudolf Steiner’s spiritual science, anthroposophy, studies the full human being in body, soul, and spirit. We have three bodies: a physical body, an etheric or life body, and an astral body. These develop from birth in seven year stages. Our physical body is ready at teeth change when the teeth developed in our mother’s body in the womb are pushed out and our own body arrives with new teeth and new cells in every part. Our life body reaches full development at puberty, about age 14, and we are ready for the astral body which facilitates our ability to feel and to reproduce. At age 21, we reach the age of maturity and can begin to exert our “I” or “I am” — the immortal spirit which infuses us at every point of our life and gives us freedom. “I” is the one name that only each one of us can use to refer to our own self.This “I” is so new in history, that one can discover older languages have no separate word for “I”. When Rene Descartes wrote in Latin, “Cogito, ergo sum”, he needed no word for “I” as it was assumed to be present in the word “cogito” I think, and “sum” I am. The words “I am” dramatically appears to Moses after he receives the Ten Commandments and asks the Great Spirit, “Who shall I say sends me?” and receives the answer rightly understood as, “Tell them the I Am sends you.” With the coming of Christ into the body of Jesus of Nazareth in the Jordan during the baptism by John, the Great I Am spirit became man for the first time, suffered and died as a man, and entered the Earth upon death on Golgotha to remain available for every human being who seeks freedom to find it inside as a personal “I am”, exactly as Rudra did, and as each of us can do, in due time.
As Rudra says:[page 246] When Jesus said, “I am the truth, the way and the light (5) I understood him to be referring to this indivisible oneness.”
Later Rudra quotes Christ Jesus from the Gospel of Saint Thomas as saying, ‘From me all came forth, and to me all attained. Split a piece of wood and I am there. Lift up a stone and you will find me there.’ Then Rudra adds, “Where am I not? Why would this self-luminous, self-aware-presence ever need enlightening?”(Page 249)
Ray closes with a short summary:[page 264] The discovery that ‘objects’ are not really ‘objects’ and that ‘others’ are not really ‘others’ is what we call love. The belief that there are objects and others separate from me is what we call love. The belief that there are objects and others separate from me is what we call suffering.
The certainty that what I am cannot be grasped. Whatever we call something cannot be the something, and above all things that is true of God. Whatever we call God cannot be grasped and cannot be missed. Anyone who claims God is dead is burying their illusion of God, and is admitting by their own words they have tried to grasp the Ungraspable and have failed. If we would erect a monument to their failure, it would look like the gravestone below:
Focusing only on Ray’s talks with Rudra would be like offering you, Dear Reader, a sandwich of only meat with no bread. Between the meaty talks Ray shares his and Dianne’s life in India with us. The money babas, the God-baba, the Monkey Punky kids, and many others pestered him, asked him for help, gave him rides, helped him find places, and otherwise filled his days. Prem was an example of his many friends. Living alongside the Ganges, subsisting mostly on hashish, his head was covered with a large coil of thick dreadlocks and his skinny neck with many strands of Rudraksha seed prayer beads. Prem thought Ray owned a fleet of helicopters, but never asked him for money, and only once offered Ray a puff of his chillum (conical hashish pipe) which he refused. Ray missed Prem after he drowned.[page 67] Prem’s death was a tragic accident, but a common one along this holy river. During the monsoons the Ganga in this area swells, becoming a fierce and often destructive force smashing through the community. One morning, while Prem was taking his daily bath, he had unraveled his mass of dreadlocks and bent over into the fast flowing river to wash them. In that moment he was swept away. According to witnesses, as soon as he had dunked his head in the river he was taken with such force that he never stood a chance. Prem’s body was never found. Only his soap, shortwave radio, and chillum were left on the step.
Life and death were never far away from where Ray and Dianne lived. One day she saw a shrouded figure sitting on the Ganga ghats night and day for a week, not an uncommon sight in Rishikesh. She or Ray periodically checked on the figure. What they found was a young man with shallow breathing, but otherwise not moving. He was around thirty and impressed Ray with how upright and still he sat. (Page 103) Finally Ray forced a little water between his lips, which he immediately spit out, and asked for his name.[page 106] He opened his eyes and seemed overjoyed to recognize me.
“You are Govinda.”
“What is your name, my friend?”
“I am Bruuuce Leeee. Bruuuce Leee.”
“I am Bruce Lee. You are Govinda”
“You must drink some water, Bruce Lee.”
“No water,” he whispered.
Ray brought him to the Hari Krishna temple which accepted him, but in no time, Bruce Lee had himself evicted and was sitting on the ghats again. The young man grew nearer to death and Ray in desperation had him taken to a German lady who ran a leper colony in the mountains. She took Bruce Lee, but first Ray had to make a promise in writing.[page 112] Twenty minutes later the Dutch matron appeared carrying a writing pad and a pen.
“Please write a letter promising that you will never come back to this hospital again and that you will not mention to anyone that you were here.We cannot handle more patients! This letter will relieve you of any responsibility. You do not want responsibility for this man, I can assure you!”
Responsibility would mean that Ray would be required to pay for the man’s funeral and other expenses as is the practice in the region.
Hope you have enjoyed this nutritious sandwich with light meat inside of dark bread. Ray’s Blowing Zen left me with shakuhachi music ringing in my ears and this book left me with spiritual nourishment.
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5.) ARJ: The Roots of Education, GA#309 5 Lectures, April 13 - 17, 1924 in Bern, Switzerland by Rudolf Steiner
These were the last lectures Rudolf Steiner gave before he died. They were given only two days after a cycle of lectures he gave in Stuttgart, Germany, The Essentials of Education, GA#308. It will be useful to read my review of those lectures, in which I focus upon the use of pulsate as a preferred replacement for the verb matter, especially it is an oxymoron to say that spiritual issues matter, when, rightly understood, they pulsate.
Torin Finser in his Introduction points out how teachers can get lost in maps and miss the territory of the child’s experience (1). This can happen to anyone of us if we view maps as things which matter, a sure sign that we are getting stuck in the science of matter, materialism, and losing sight of the territory around us.[page viii] Whenever considerations are frozen in time, we can succumb to materialism. This might assume the form of how one’s child or student is doing now. When something is divorced from context, it also tends to accentuate one-sidedness and opens doors to materialism. For example, one may view every issue purely from a financial, a pedagogical, or a legal perspective. When issues are constrained by rigid frames — for example, when people are seen as objects in space without consideration of time — we have increased materialism.
Children pulsate, are not rigid, and therefore any fixed map of who or what they are or are doing will most likely lead the teacher astray into their own illusions (2) of what’s happening with and to the children. Perhaps you recall teachers from your early years who tried to foist their own illusions of the world upon you, which you likely resisted and with the result that the teacher lost your interest. Perhaps it was only for one class or for that one subject, perhaps it was just for one day, or for the rest of your life.
Steiner was giving these lectures after th Great War which ended in 1919. It was the War to end all Wars, but it really was only the beginning of a century filled with wars, both large World War II and smaller one, like in Korea, Vietnam, and many other locations. The chaos continues into the twenty-first century, and what Steiner offers humanity as a solution is true education.[page 1] We must develop an art of education that can lead us out of the social chaos into which we have fallen during the last few years and decades. Our chances of overcoming this chaos are very slight. In fact, one is tempted to say that there is no escaping this chaos unless we find a way to bring spirituality into human souls through education, so that human beings may find a way to progress and to further the evolution of civilization out of the spirit itself.
Rightly understood, we are in better shape now than in 1924 when Steiner spoke these words because Steiner spent much of the final years of his life fostering, shepherding a new form of education which has in the century since spread across the world into thousands of Waldorf Schools. In these schools, teachers are reaching children by approaching them as beings of body, soul, and spirit, and helping them to discover and develop in themselves what they came into this world to experience and do. The approach of these teachers is likely very different from that of teachers in non-Waldorf-based schools.
Haven’t we made tremendous progress during the hundred years since Steiner’s time? Surely that progress must have improved our educational system as well. One might think so, but it hasn’t. Why?Because the progress in science and industry has been based solely on sensory-based technology and abstract logical reasoning. Humans have come to be treated as mere bio-computing organizations which will shortly be out-performed by silicon- and quantum-based computing organizations. The worldview envisioned by Steiner has come into existence.[page 2] We have also seen that a certain worldview has gradually crystallized out of that scientific progress. The world as a whole —which includes the human being —seems to be viewed exclusively in terms of what the senses tell us about natural phenomena, and what the intellect, which is related to the brain, tells us about the realm of the senses. Nevertheless, all of our recently acquired knowledge about the natural world does not, in fact, lead us to the human being; this is not clearly recognized today. Although many people feel this to be the situation, they are unprepared to acknowledge that — regardless of all that the modern age has provided us in terms of information about the natural world — we are still no closer to understanding the human being.
What the intellect tells us about any realm comprises a map, and a map cannot represent all the territory it points to; a map can be useful, but it can never be complete. There is always even more. Especially when some map tells us about the human being. The map must always leave out the soul and spirit of the human being, and thus, with all our fancy twenty-first century maps (3) we are today no closer to understanding the full human being than we were a hundred years ago in Steiner’s time.[page 3] Recently, the thinking and worldview of natural science have taken hold of people more deeply and closer to the marrow than they like to think. Even those not specifically trained as scientists think, feel, and act scientifically. This is not acceptable for teachers, since scientific thinking provides an understanding of only one member of the whole human being — the physical body, or body of the senses. But this is only one member of the entire human being, and anthroposophy shows us that when we have genuine knowledge of the human being, we see that the human being possesses three clearly distinguished members — physical body, soul, and spirit.
Every atom of our physical body is replaced over the course of about seven years. Seven years after birth even the teeth are replaced. These first teeth were created in the mother’s body, the new teeth were created during the seven years outside the mother’s body and are the person’s teeth intended to last a lifetime.[page 5] Anyone can see how the human organism develops. We cut our nails, our hair, and we find that our skin flakes off. This demonstrates how physical substance is cast off from the surface as it is constantly pushed out from within. This pushing from within — which we observe in the change of teeth — is present throughout the whole human body. More exacting knowledge shows us that indeed the child gradually forced out the body received through inheritance; it was cast out. The first teeth are forced out, and likewise the child's whole initial body is forced out.
As the physical body is being replaced, the soul and spirit permeate the newly forming body based on the initial inherited model present at birth; in effect, at about teeth change the full human being is forming as body, soul, and spirit.[page 5,6 ] What we are given by our parents through inherited physical substance unites in embryonic life with what descends from a higher realm as pure spirit and soul. Spirit and soul take hold of the physical body, whose origin is in the stream of inheritance. This physical body becomes its model, and on this model an entirely new human organism is formed, while the inherited organism is forced out.
Did you ever wonder why a baby never seems to get tired of milk? Its food would seem monotonous to us as it stays the same, but the baby loves it, day in and day out. In several places Steiner says that a baby tastes with its entire body, experiences the milk as delicious, and never grows tired of it. How can the baby taste with its entire body? In this next passage Steiner elaborates.[page 8] As adults, when we eat something sweet, it is the tongue and palate that perceive its sweetness; a little later, the experience of sweetness ceases when the sweet substance has gone into another part of the body. As adults, we do not follow it farther with our taste. This is very different for a child, in whom taste permeates the whole organism; children do not taste only with the tongue and palate but with the whole organism. The sweetness is drawn throughout the organism. In fact, the whole child is a sensory organ.
Since the whole child is a sense organ, they absorb deeply everything which goes on around them. The fury of a choleric person will be absorbed by a child the same way that color flows into a child’s eye. (Page 9) Equally, the actions of teachers of other temperaments will be absorbed by the child. The effects upon the child will be immediate, but will last for decades and eventually become part of their body.[page 9] Whether it be fear or joy and delight that a child experiences in the environment, all this passes — not crudely but in a subtle and delicate way — into the processes of growth, circulation, and digestion. Children who live in constant terror of what may come their way as expressions of fury and anger from a choleric person, experience something in the soul that immediately penetrates the breathing, the circulation of the blood, and even the digestive activities. This is tremendously significant. In childhood we cannot speak only of physical education, because soul education also means educating the body; everything in the soul element is metamorphosed into the body — it becomes body.
The melancholic teacher by living internally much of the time withholds warmth from the child.
[page 11] This warmth, which is so often missing in education, acts first as a warmth of soul, and then passes into the body, primarily into the digestive system. This quickens the seed of certain tendencies that appear later in life as all kinds of disorders and blood diseases.
The indifference expressed by the phlegmatic teacher prevents the child from learning inner activity, with the following potential effects on the child’s later life.[page 12] If you observe someone who developed under the influence of a phlegmatic person, and if you follow the course of that person's life into later years, you will often notice a tendency to brain weakness, poor circulation in the brain, or a dulling of brain activity.
A sanguine(4) teacher is one who flits from one thing to another without giving the child a chance to focus and absorb each thing.[page 12] In order to arouse sufficient inner activity in a child, the teacher must lovingly hold that child to one impression for a certain period of time. If we observe a child who has grown up under the influence of an uncontrolled sanguine nature, we see in later life that there is a certain lack of vital force—an adult life that lacks strength and content.
The results of various temperaments of teachers, if not properly modulated, will be visible to the perceptive eye when the child reaches the age of forty or more. Not only must true teachers learn to utilize the temperament of each child, they must learn to adjust their own temperament in the course of interaction with each child. The results of failing to do so may not be written on their annual evaluations, but will definitely be written on the life of each child as they mature. Teachers are watering the roots of education in their children and how they do so will determine the shape of the tree which grows from those roots.[page 12] Thus, if we have the ability to see it (and education depends on a capacity for subtle perception), we recognize various types of people in their fortieth or fiftieth year of life, and we are able to say whether a person has been influenced by the temperament of an educator who was melancholic, phlegmatic, choleric, or sanguine.
There is another caveat to teachers today: avoid one-sided materialistic thinking as it will engender insomnia in your child when they mature. This kind of thinking is useful in science classes, but it has become pervasive in all classes of most schools. Small wonder there are so many over-the-counter medicines today to help people go to sleep.
When we work with our hands, we grasp things and maneuver them physically. When we think we also grasp things, but with our etheric body we can reach out to the things we think about. Thus, the origin of our using the word “grasp” for both physical things and mental things. We can see our physical hands but without special training cannot see our etheric hands.[page 25] People cannot see that when they think their being actively flows out and takes hold of the objects of their thinking; this is because they do not perceive the lowest supersensible member of the human being, the etheric body, living within the physical body, just as the physical body lives within the external world.
When we move our physical limbs, walk with our legs and grasp with our hands, we get tired and wish to go to sleep. But if we have not moved our etheric limbs, we have trouble sleeping because our etheric limbs are not tired. If we spend our time in scientific thinking (which characterizes the way most people think in every field of activity today), our etheric limbs get no exercise, and the result is we need sleep to rest our weary physical body, but our almost unused etheric body is not tired and it keeps us awake. This has resulted in a near-epidemic of insomnia in our time.[page 26] What is the cause of the sleeplessness of our materialistic time? It is due to the fact that if we think only in a materialistic way, the activity of thought — this "grasping" or "handling" of our environment through thought — does not allow the corresponding organs of the etheric body to become tired since it has become too abstract. Here, only the physical body becomes tired; we fall asleep — the physical body falls asleep — but the etheric becomes nervous and restless and cannot sleep.It draws the soul and spirit back into it, and this condition will necessarily develop gradually into an epidemic of insomnia. This is already happening today. Only by considering such matters can we understand what this materialistic time signifies. It is bad enough that people think materialistic, theoretical thoughts; but in itself this is not really that serious. It is even worse that we experience the effects of materialism in our moral life and in our economic life. And the worst thing is that through materialism, all of childhood is ruined to the point that people can no longer come to terms with moral or spiritual impulses at all.
If many people are experiencing insomnia today, it is a sure sign that scientific-type (materialistic-based) thinking has become widespread in our adults due to the way they were educated in school.[page 26] But the worst thing for an educator is to watch a child go through years of schooling and receive for the soul only nourishment that bears the stamp of natural science — that is, of material things. Of course, this does not apply only to school science classes; all education today, even in the lowest grades, is based on scientific thinking. This is absorbed by children, it grows up with them, and it penetrates the whole physical organization so that in later years it appears as insomnia.
If we wish to rid society of the ills of insomnia, we need teachers who can grasp that the etheric body must be exercised as much during the course of a day as the physical body. Teachers who know this can help bring restful sleep to both the child’s later adult physical and etheric bodies, thus preventing insomnia.[page 27] We must learn to see how a person is inwardly active, so that people experience their etheric just as they feel their physical body; they must recognize that when they think about any object, they are really doing in the etheric what is otherwise done in the physical human body. If I want to know what an object is like, I feel it, I contact it, and thus gain a knowledge of its surface. This also applies to my etheric body. I "feel" etherically and supersensibly the object I want to "grasp," what I wish to conceptualize. The etheric body is just as active as the physical body, and correct knowledge of human development can come only from this knowledge and consciousness of the etheric body's activity.Why does it take so long for defects of faulty education to appear a person’s life? Steiner explains that something which influences soul life takes a long time to effect the physical body.[page 33] Effects on the physical body take much longer to manifest, because the physical body must free itself of the soul and spirit. Therefore, something that influences the soul life at four or five may come to fruition in the physical body when that person is seven or eight times as old — for example, in the thirty-fifth year. Thus, a person may develop an illness during the late thirties or early forties caused by ill influences that affected that soul while at play as a child of three or four.
Medical science has discovered that our brain’s hippocampus is responsible for passing the cognitive aspects of memory to its cortex. Since the hippocampus doesn’t come fully on-line until we are five years old, memories of things which happened before five years old are rare, but the physical actions we take such as gestures, moving our hands and feet, and the internal feeling states are stored in our limbic system. These non-declarative memories are replicated for the remainder of our life and form the basis for many of our skills and our emotional life. In doyletics we call these physical body states doyles. If we discover some unpleasant reaction to something, a food dislike perhaps, at an age over five, we can use the Speed Trace to remove the reaction. It does this by changing the reaction (a non-declarative memory) into a declarative memory, what we call simply a memory.
In this next passage, Steiner describes the acquisition and retention of these physical body states or doyles.[page 36] When we observe a very young child, we find that the capacity to remember has the quality of a soul habit. When a child recalls something during that first period of life until the change of teeth, such remembering is a kind of habit or skill. We might say that when, as a child, I acquire a certain accomplishment — let us say, writing — it arises largely from a certain suppleness of my physical constitution, a suppleness that I have gradually acquired. When you watch a small child taking hold something, you have found a good illustration of the concept of habit. A child gradually discovers how to move the limbs this way or that way, and this becomes habit and skill. Out of a child's imitative actions, the soul develops skillfulness, which permeates the child's finer and more delicate organizations.A child will imitate something one day, then do the same thing again the next day and the next; this activity is performed outwardly, but also — and importantly — within the innermost parts of the physical body. This forms the basis for memory in the early years.Once the hippocampus is fully functional, images and sounds are stored as memories. If some traumatic event interrupts the operation of the hippocampus, the onerous feelings will be stored completely, but the images may only bleed through as flashes creating the syndrome known as Post-Traumatic Stress.[page 36] After the change of teeth, the memory is very different, because by then, as I have said, spirit and soul are freed from the body, and picture content can arise that relates to what was experienced in the soul — a formation of images unrelated to bodily nature. Every time we meet the same thing or process, whether due to something outer or inner, the same picture is recalled.
This picture content can often be the trigger for a doyle (what was experienced in the soul), and this provides us the full content in pictures and feelings of the original event. If it was a joyous event, like a birthday celebration at three, we may only re-experience the feelings of joy, but if the celebration was at 7 or older, we may also remember who was there and what our birthday presents were. Steiner describes feeling as a capacity of the astral body, but the contents of feeling were stored before we were five in our limbic structure and can be retrieved at any time later. Negative feelings or bad doyles are usually less robust than good feelings and their negative aspects can be removed by converting the original event into a declarative memory by the action of the hippocampus which stores the visual aspects of it into the cortex.This can be done by an unconscious or conscious Speed Trace. Most people lose their food dislikes as they age into their twenties and above by an unconscious Speed Trace. They do this by wondering why do I still dislike this food and eventually they go back before the original event and it get converted into a declarative memory.
This happened to me before I began working on doyletics: I hated macaroni and cheese until in my 20s I discovered I liked cheese and macaroni separately and tried them together to find they tasted okay because my dislike doyles had been traced away.
Steiner says that the second supersensible body of the full human being, the astral body, develops our capacity for feeling. (Page 37) This capacity is developed from the storehouse of physical body states (doyles) contained within our brain’s limbic region which are the basis of our feeling life from teeth change onward.
We develop our etheric body by using our hands in various creative activities such as sculpting. This make sculpting and painting an important part of early childhood activity. Its importance is not in the primitive sculptures and finger paintings produced, but in the changes which happen in our children’s bodies through their imitation of cosmic shaping. Knowing images is not enough, we must also learn to shape them with our own hands.[page 41] We must first create a new method of acquiring knowledge — a kind of plastic perception together with an inner plastic activity. Without this, knowledge stops short at the physical body, since we can know the etheric body only through images, not through ideas. We can really understand these etheric images only when we are able to reshape them ourselves in some way, in imitation of the cosmic shaping.Music is the astral body process’s equivalent to the etheric body’s process of sculpting and painting. Music, both listening to and creating it , comes from the astral body. Thus, one can only understand the astral body through understanding music.[page 42] However, the astral body itself, in its true inner being and function, cannot be understood by those laws. It can be understood only by understanding music — not just externally, but inwardly. Such understanding existed in the ancient East and still existed in a modified form in Greek culture. In modern times it has disappeared altogether. Just as the etheric body acts through cosmic shaping, the astral body acts through cosmic music, or cosmic melodies. The only earthly thing about the astral body is the beat, or musical measure. Rhythm and melody come directly from the cosmos, and the astral body consists of rhythm and melody.It should not be surprising that our astral body has shaped our human body in accordance with musical premises. The tonal center or tonic of a musical chord spans our shoulder blades, the interval of the second (one piano key or half tone away) spans our upper arm which has only one bone, and the interval of a third has two possibilities, a major (3 half-tones) or a minor (2 half-tones), spans our lower arm with its two bones, the long ulna (the major) and the shorter radius (the minor). The other intervals of fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh proceed down the arm to wrist, and fingers with which we grasp and manipulate the world.[page 43] You see, we are speaking now of something that can be studied very objectively — something that flows from the astral body into the human form. In this case, it is not something that arises from cosmic shaping, but from the musical impulse streaming into the human being through the astral body. Again, we must begin with an understanding of music, just as a sculptural understanding is necessary in understanding the etheric body's activities. If you take the part of the human being that goes from the shoulderblades to the arms, that is the work of the tonic, the keynote, living in the human being. In the upper arm, we find the interval of the second. (You can experience all this in eurythmy.) And in the lower arm the third—major and minor. When you come to the third, you find two bones in the lower arm, and so on, right down into the fingers.Now we have another way of distinguishing the functions of the etheric and astral bodies. The etheric body is concerned with form, shape, how things are arranged in Space, like in sculpture and architecture. The astral body is concerned with time, how sound elements are arranged in time, tempo, beat, time sequence, and so on in musical compositions. If you wonder how our I works into music, consider the astral body as the source of the music and the I as the source of the lyrics.
When a piano is out of tune, what do we do? We call a piano tuner who makes minor adjustments to the piano. A time will come when doctors will become like piano tuners: they will recognize an illness as a human being out of tune and will make minor adjustments to return the human into tune.[page 44] We can never explain the life of feeling and passion with natural laws and so-called psychological methods. We can understand it only when we consider the human being as a whole in terms of music. A time will come when psychologists will not describe a diseased condition of the soul life as they do today, but will speak of it in terms of music, as one would speak, for example, of a piano that is out of tune.
Steiner was well aware of how the things he spoke about were ridiculed by the public in general. He has been treated as any innovator is: First, people laugh at his ideas; second, they use his ideas without credit; third, they say, “We always knew this to be the case.” For the most part we are still in the first stage, but people familiar with Waldorf Schools have moved into the second stage. It is not necessary to know what anthroposophy is or who Steiner was to enjoy the fruits of a Waldorf education. And one of the fruits of such education is to open one’s mind to possibilities that might seem crazy at first glance using one’s current mode of understanding the world through purely sensory-based Baconian science. Francis Bacon was an innovator in his time and we have already reached the third stage for his mode of thought, “We’ve always thought this way.”Steiner gives an example of this happening among the Indians of America when they saw examples of the settlers writing on paper. These characters which seemed to talk to the settlers were thought to be tiny demons at first until the Indians began to understand writing as a human ability instead of black magic.[page 44] I understand very well that many people will consider what I have presented as pure fantasy, if not somewhat crazy. But, unfortunately, a so-called "reasonable" way of thinking can never portray the human being in actuality. We must develop a new and expanded rationality for these matters. In this connection, it is extraordinary how people view anthroposophy today. They cannot imagine that anything exists that transcends their powers of comprehension, but that those same powers can in fact eventually reach.[page 51] When the people of Europe came among the Native Americans and showed them how they expressed their thoughts on paper, the Native Americans were alarmed and considered it the work of the devil; they were afraid of the little demons lurking behind those written letters. They immediately concluded that the Europeans engaged in black magic, since people have a habit of attributing to black magic whatever they cannot understand.
Steiner with his anthroposophy has turned the tables on the civilized world and they respond as Native Americans did to writing; they consider his ideas, writings, and practices as weird fantasies. When they appear to work, they consider them as black magic since they have not taken the time to understand them. Read the documents of people adamantly opposed to Waldorf education in the twenty-first century and decide for yourself if they do not sound like early Native Americans talking about the demons on the white man’s paper.
One of Steiner’s ideas incorporated into Waldorf education is to teach writing before reading. Seems silly to us who learned to read before we began writing. “How could we write anything if we couldn’t read it?” might be our reaction to the practice. It is not silly at all but very practical when you consider that reading requires little from our hands but writing engages our arms and hand immediately and keeps them continuously in motion as we write. We begin by relating each abstract character of the alphabet to some animal or common object, e.g., the shape of a script f to a fish. For a young child the motion of writing is real whereas the process of reading is completely abstract. Once they have made the characters and words with their hands, reading comes naturally.[page 52,53] Thus, you should teach the children writing first, and let today's abstract letters arise from tangible reality; when a child learns to write in this way, the whole being is engaged in the process. Whereas, if you begin with reading, then only the head organization participates in an abstract way. In writing, the hand must participate as well, and in this way the whole human being is aroused to activity. When you begin with writing — writing developed through the formation of images and drawing forms — your teaching will approach the child's whole being. Then you can move on to teaching reading; and what was developed out of the child's whole being through drawing can be understood by the head. This method of teaching writing and reading will naturally take longer, but it will have a far healthier effect on the whole earthly life from birth to death.When a teacher gives a picture of truth, goodness, or beauty to a child from age 7 to 14, a marvelous process happens with great intensity: the soul of the child strives to makes sense of it. This striving may continue for decades in the child when finally at age 30 or 40, the child as adult discovers the meaning and importance of what the teacher placed before its soul at age 10. This revelation by Steiner goes contrary to those educators who insist that we “give children only what they can understand” at each point of their development, “since we live in an era of the intellect”.[page 57] It is not yet understood that it is possible to understand things with soul forces other than those of the intellect — and recommendations for so-called "object-lessons" can drive one nearly to despair.
Any time a teacher offers a child of this age range something which requires them to use their soul forces, the child grows through the process of holding an unanswered question, which might be puzzling for its intellect, but its soul forces go to work upon the question, and out pops an answer in startling clarity often decades later. I have written about such unanswered questions in my own life in my rule, “What is the power of an unanswered question?” You may observe the rule is an embodiment of an Unanswered Question (5) itself.[page 57] There is a most wonderful life-giving power, when things already contained within a person's soul emerge and unite with the essence of what was acquired in the meantime. Such lifegiving forces can be born in the person only when what was accepted by the child on the authority of the teacher arises in the soul, through the maturity of subsequent experience. If memories are connected only with the intellect, then a child is robbed of life-giving forces. In these matters we must come to perceive the human being in a much more intimate way than is usual today.
We must always begin with the whole when teaching arithmetic to children. Why? This is the best way of avoid first teaching the abstract processes of addition and multiplication. Hey, we all learned addition and then subtraction, did we not? And it didn’t hurt us, did it? Oh, maybe you loved learning subtraction after you learned addition, but in my experience very few kids did. Same for division, especially long division. These were universally hated by kids in my elementary school. But what if our teachers had started showing us the whole, subtracting away parts, and asking us how many were left? Subtraction would have seemed easy. You have 5 apples and somebody takes them away and only returns 3. How many did they keep? But instead we were taught to add 3+2 to make 5. Completely abstract. Working through 10 beans and taking away 3, then 4, and finding only 3 remaining is a manual operation and no abstract operation or logic is required, such as showing on the board that 3+3+4=10. Starting first with the 10, and removing the 3 and 3, then asking what’s left, gets the child already thinking with the processes which will later be required for algebra, the searching for the unknown. Fewer kids liked algebra than liked subtraction, and this is the reason why. Nothing had prepared them to think in terms of the unknown, which can happen when teaching subtraction by starting with the whole.[page 59] A sense for reality is sorely lacking in our time, and this is because (though not always acknowledged) something is considered true when it can be observed and is logical. But logic alone cannot establish truth, because truth can arise only when something is not only logical but accords with reality.
Teaching arithmetic operations by starting with the whole shows how the logical operations align with reality, and reality is something this age range understands better than logic. They learn logic and rationality best by starting from reality not the other way around.[page 63] Here is an extraordinary fact you can verify for yourselves; with all relatively rational people — and nearly everyone is rational these days (and I mean that seriously) — you find that people have been educated only to be rational, only to work with their heads, and no more.
Such people I would call super-rational not because they are more rational than the average person, which is the usual meaning of the adjective super, but because the average person today is super rational. They are super rational but are not aware of it because most everyone around them is also super rational. They have been educated to work with only their heads, and, in effect, live in a rational stupor, walking around like zombies saying, “Brains! More Brains!” This led me to write a poem about the situation.
Everyone is rational,
Some people are educated to be rational
only with their heads
Ask them how they feel about that
They will give you a head answer,
“Of course, I think with my head —
it’s the only rational thing to do.”
Carl Jung and Rudolf Steiner would disagree.
Jung considered thinking and feeling as two rational functions.
But the majority of people live in a rational stupor —
— these are the Super-Rational people —
Who might be called the Stupor-Rational people.
They work with their heads
They play in their heads
They play with other people’s heads
They even love with their heads
or try to,
Until Love breaks into their hearts
They can be stupor-rational
[page 63] To educate the whole person is not as easy. You only have to read what very sensible people have written about education, and you repeatedly encounter this sort of statement: “Nothing should be presented to a child from outside; but what is already there should be developed.” You can read that everywhere, but how is it done?
One of the ways teachers might present something to a child is by a definition. Then the above dictum could be followed by developing “what is already there”. But is something really there? Consider carefully what happens when you give a definition to a child. They will memorize and spout it back if asked, but — can this really be called teaching and learning?If you give good definitions to children, they will hold those definitions, and since definitions are by nature stiff, the children will grow up into stiff adults. If you say something to a stiff adult, you are likely to get this response back, “I know that!” What they really know is some definition they accepted as a child which they deem as sufficient for the rest of their life. Ask such a child what a lion is and they will give you a definition of a lion they heard from some so-called teacher. They think they know what a lion is, but all they know is a stiff, lifeless definition of a lion. What children need more than stiff definitions are unanswered questions, good questions about possibilities, good questions which will live inside of them and find answers later in life, good answers which will live inside of them. A question such as this, “Why does a lion lie down for a long time after a meal?”
One good unanswered question presented to a child is more productive than a thousand definitions memorized. A thread from the above lion question could bring up the idea that every animal is somehow a part of a human being, so might it be useful for a human to lie down after a meal like a lion does? This might lead to the study of the spleen as an important regulator of the human body, and from that thread one might envision how peristalsis after digestion gives the human spleen a gentle internal massage which helps its functioning to keep us healthy.
When a child, exposed to this fruitful unanswered question (Why does a lion lie down after a meal?), grows up to be thirty-five or so and is being run ragged by an intense job, it may recall what it learned about the lion and find ways to take post-prandial reposes to enrich its own life and health.
Compare the usefulness of an unanswered question to having the child memorize a definition about what a lion is. Definitions are flat, abstract conceptions which possess no intrinsic living element, and, rightly understood, giving one to a child will bore it stiff, won’t it? Stiff, there’s that word stiff again. Yes, the child may memorize one or a thousand definitions, but a thousand definitions are useless compared to one good unanswered question which generates an enthusiastic interest in a child which will redound to its own good decades in the future.
Each animal has some feature which is accentuated, but which appears integrated into the human being. Perhaps it’s the heart as in the lion, the head as in the bird, the stomach as in a bull, or the nose as in an elephant. Things various parts are assembled into the human being like instruments in a philharmonic orchestra: each has its own sound and rhythm which adds to the symphony played by the full orchestra.[page 67] In the human being everything is brought into harmony; each organ is developed so that it is modulated and harmonized by the other organs. For animals, however, each species embodies one of these human qualities in a specialized way. What would the human nose be like if it were not held in check by the rest of the organization? You can find certain animals with highly developed noses. What would the human mouth become if it were free and were not subdued by the other organs? So you find in all animal forms a one-sided development of some part of the human being.
Teachers who have told fables and fairy tales about animals with human characteristics to younger children can now relate how each part of the human being came from a prominent feature of a given animal.[page 67] If you have previously told children stories in which animals act like humans, now you can divide the human being into the entire animal kingdom. In this way you can move beautifully from one to the other.
In the middle period of childhood, around ten, children begin to lose their spiritual sight which allowed them to see into the soul of their teacher as if it were transparent. Now they are forced to ask questions about things that previously they saw directly. Be prepared as a teacher to begin receiving questions such as these:[page 70] How does the teacher know this? Where does it come from? Is my teacher really the world? Until now, my teacher was the world, but now there is a question: Does not the world go beyond the teacher?
At the onset of puberty, as early as 12, the child begins to add thinking to its activity of willing and feeling, and it experiences the first awareness of its I. This will be a fruitful period for the child if its intellect can find nourishment in its own nature. (Page 74)[page 75] If during the early school years children have stored up an inner treasury of riches through imitation, through a feeling for authority, and from the pictorial nature of the teaching, then at puberty those inner riches can be transformed into intellectual activity. From that point on, the individual will be faced with the task of thinking what was willed and felt previously. And we must take the very greatest care that this intellectual thinking does not manifest too early; for a human being can experience freedom only when, rather than being poured in by teachers, the intellect can awaken from within on its own.
Children who pass puberty without this “inner treasury of riches” often become lost souls searching for something but knowing exactly what. The Beat Generation, the Hippies, Generation X, the Goths, and so forth show examples of such rebellion in recent decades. In the 1950s the movie Rebel Without a Cause portrayed James Dean, Sal Mineo, and Natalie Wood as such lost souls wandering through their teenagership and not knowin what they are looking for.[page 75] During these awkward years, adolescents will imitate many things that seem pleasant (usually these are not exactly what would please their elders, who have a more utilitarian perspective); they imitate these things now, because they were not allowed to imitate in an appropriate and living way as younger children. Consequently, we see many young people after puberty wandering around looking for security in one thing or another, thus numbing their experience of inner freedom.
If we wish to educate a child for all of life, we must cover what is beyond life as well. I came to Rudolf Steiner’s writing initially because I had realized that life was a puzzle with an enigma at each end. Where were we before birth, and where will we be after death? No other writers, philosophers, divines, or theologians offered me a reasonable answer, until I found Steiner. I read ten books of his and found no answer. But with the advent of the Internet, I asked, “What books of Steiner should I read?” and I soon found my sought-for answer in his An Outline of Occult Science. We humans evolved with the cosmos in which we find ourselves. Not only are we inside of the cosmos, but the cosmos is inside of us. This will be hard to accept for some, but a study of cosmic and human evolution will reveal this to be the case.[page 76] When we speak of immortality today, we do so out of a certain self-centeredness; it is true, of course, because it represents the fact that we do not perish at death, but that our life continues. But we fail to mention the other side — the "unborn." In ancient times, those who possessed an instinctive spiritual knowledge still recognized the two sides of eternity — the undying and the unborn. We will understand eternity only when we are able to understand both of these concepts. Eternity will be experienced when children are properly educated. Here again we are confronted by something where materialism should not be considered theoretically.
If you consider materialism theoretically, you could come to the conclusion that the human being dies when the body dies, and if you are a teacher with such an opinion, your children will be unable to experience the eternal nature of their being, as they certainly will if they are properly educated, and nothing anyone says to the contrary can dissuade them.[page 77] You can preach as much materialism as you like to those who have been correctly educated, and it will not affect them greatly. They will reply, "I have the sense that I am immortal, and unfortunately this is something that you and your proofs have overlooked."
Educated in the right way, a person will look upon death as an event, not an end. (Page 78) They will think that all good things come to a new good beginning.
In dealing with punishment in the classroom, Steiner gives teachers a lesson in the effectiveness of calmness.[page 78] Teachers must consider their own nature, as well as the nature of the children. The important thing is not so much what they do, but how — that the only effective punishment is inflicted by a teacher with complete inner calm and deliberation. If a punishment arises from anger, it will be completely ineffective.
This lesson came home to me when my wife and I returned from a trip to Paris to find that our son had given us a surprise party, only he was the one surprised when we arrived a day earlier than planned. It was night-time and our home was full of his friends having a good time. As I walked from the taxi to the front door, I walked up to each of the boys, most of whom I knew, stood in front of them one at a time, and stared into his face, thinking how he had violated our home, until finally he walked away. Finally one of them said, “Mr. Bobby, what’s wrong?” I replied, “I just want to remember every face in this house.” I noticed that all the boys were quickly returning the furniture to its normal place in the house and vacating the premises. I achieved all this without saying a single word in anger. After than night I suspect none of those young men would have come to another surprise party at our house.
If we humans evolved with the cosmos, then we can find aspects ourselves revealed in the growth of plants. Each plant makes one leaf after another under the influence of the Sun forces, and contracts into a tiny seed under the influence of Moon forces. The star forces act upon the plant as the seed develops the power to expand into a new plant. Likewise for us human beings.[page 83] These Sun and Moon forces that influence plants act in a more complicated way on the human being, and this leads us to think that the human being is not just a citizen of Earth, but of the cosmos as well. We know that when we eat —for example, cabbage or venison —or drink something, whatever relates to life pursues its own course within us. We nevertheless know about such things, because can perceive them. But we have no knowledge of how we are connected with the starry worlds in our soul and spirit — how the forces of contraction live in the sphere of the Moon, the forces of expansion in that of the Sun; we do not know that these forces maintain the balance more or less perfectly in a human being — that melancholic tendencies have their roots in the Moon realm, sanguine tendencies of soul in the Sun, and balance and harmony are brought about by cosmic activity.
During the daily work of teachers, they must act as the Sun, Moon, and stars in the presence of their children, encouraging them into expansion like the Sun, into contraction like the Moon, and into balance with the forces of the starry heavens. In doing so they “will lay the foundations for human love, human sympathy, and human service in the proper sense of the word”. (Page 84)
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Footnote 2.Return to text directly before Footnote 2.
I used the word illusions to refer to thought-forms comprised of conceptual ideas which, for teachers, educators, and school administrators, are often based on years or even decades of earnest academic study. I intend the word illusions to be descriptive, not derogatory.
Footnote 3.Return to text directly before Footnote 3.
What maps? The maps we call “scientific thinking” today. They are more pervasive than in Steiner’s time, rightly understood.
Footnote 4.Return to text directly before Footnote 4.
I suspect sanguine could be replaced by the term attention deficit personality today. I do not think of it as a disorder, but as a particular kind of temperament, one which teachers must be aware of and learn how to modulate it in themselves in the presence of a child.
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Click Here for a List of 25 books of Waldorf Education Lectures by Rudolf Steiner
Read/Print the Review at:
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I hear often from my Good Readers that they have bought books after reading my book reviews. Keep reading, folks! As I like to remind you, to obtain more information on what's in these books, buy and read the books — for less information, read the reviews.
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= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =In this section I like to comment on events in the world, in my life, and in my readings which have come up during the month. These are things I might have shared with you in person, if we had had the opportunity to coverse during the month. If we did, then you may recognize my words. If I say some things here which upset you, rest assured that you may skip over these for the very reason that I would likely have not brought up the subject to spoil our time together in person.1. Padre Filius Administers Last Rites to Surfer 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 is called to Save the Soul of Industrious Surfer in Salzburg:
2. Comments from Readers:
NOTE: I love hearing from all my Good Readers and including your missives here (slightly edited).
If you prefer any comments or photos you send to be private, simply say so and they will not be published.
- EMAIL from Matthew in Oklahoma:
I owe Edward reaugh smith for his works.holy spirit made 'two'people to call me on the same day and told me he wanted to tell me something and the same day 'souls long journey ' was saved in my home page accidentally.both of you have done something for which humanity will be deeply Indebted in the coming decades.It is really beautiful to contemplate on the workings of spirit. To know that God prepared you as a scientist and Edward Reaugh Smith as a minister before he gave you these gargantuan tasks. You can surely forward my mail to him. It would be my honour.
I am reading doyletics and will amass everything you have said about the bodies. From what I have understood from the directions of holy spirit, a conscience shift is going to happen in the next ten years, when church is going to understand deep teachings of spirit. I am just doing my small part in it. I have my board liscencing exam next month to do a U.S. Residency. So I am busy studying for that.
- EMAIL from Rom Wicks:
Dear Bobby Matherne
Editor of Good Mountain Press
Thank you for the past issues.
I have not received the 'Digestworld' of September and October 2016.
Please check what could be mistake and Please send me same.
With many thanks
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ REPLY from Bobby ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Thanks, Rom. We took a long cruise during which I was able to write two reviews but lacked a way to get out my DIGESTWORLD reminders. They will be going out shortly. Bobby
- EMAIL from Ray Brooks, author of "The Shadow That Seeks The Sun" (reviewed in this issue), and his wife and collaborator Dianne:
Dianne has just finished reading your wonderful review. It's really exceptional. I've sent the link to a few friends and they can read it on your site. I'm not the best reader to ask but I didn't find any typos or mistakes. Dianne did say that it was difficult to distinguish my writing from the wonderful bits of your own writing sometimes. So that might be something to look at. [Bobby: "I did fix a missing quotation mark that may have caused that kind of confusion. Thanks"]
You really do have a knack and a unique way of writing reviews. I love the way you pick important points out. All there is left to say is a big thank you from Dianne and myself. You can imagine how difficult it is to get the word out by word and mouth and it was your review of Blowing Zen that helped to do this. We had a publishing company behind us with BZ. This one is just us. We brought the book down and made a few corrections last week. Made the flashback to when I meet Rudra more apparent.
All the best Bobby,
- EMAIL from Benzion Porat in Israel
Good evening Bobby,
How did you endure the stormy weather?
Here it is just hot beginning of autumn after terribly hot summer.
I am glad to tell you that your Reader's journal, Becoming the Archangel Michael's Companions, GA#217, Rudolf Steiner's Challenge to the Younger Generation, is already in the internet: http://www.daniel-zehavi.co.il/olectures/ol_hador_hatzair.asp It was relocated successfully to Israel from your site, and learned Hebrew on the way: http://www.doyletics.com/arj/becoming.shtml Attached herby a PDF file, for your convenience.
Thank you for the correction: "The book has been translated to Hebrew and published in Israel by Mrs. Shuni Tooval http://www.doyletics.com/digest164.shtml#comment2 But.. I don't really know her personally, we met already only once or twice in Anthro-circles, and now she asked me to correct it to Ms. Shuni Tooval, if it is possible.
Also, the Hebrew version of your Reader's journal, The Book of Revelation - And the Work of the Priest, GA# 346by Rudolf Steiner, is now almost ready for posting in the internet. http://www.doyletics.com/arj/tborrvw.shtml
Now, with the impulse that came from your work, I am translating to Hebrew the book itself.
Concerning Louie Armstrong Airport in New Orleans, now it is my turn for envy. You are living in a country that gives international airport the name of a popular musician. Usually airports have the names of dead politicians.
Here we are expecting the new year's eve tomorrow. The year 5777, ?'???"? . So I wish you HAPPY NEW YEAR, fine health and clear consciousness soul.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ REPLY from Bobby ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Thanks, Benzion, for all your hard work. Looking forward to digging into the links you sent. I have just returned from a 32 day cruise through the Northwest Passage and am catching up on emails. And: Yes, I have changed Mrs. to Ms. for Ms. Tooval.
warm regards, Bobby
P. S. We escaped the flooding which was north of us by fifty miles. The folks who mostly escaped Katrina 10 years ago are now dealing with what we had to in New Orleans.
3. Poem from Freedom on the Half Shell:"The Free Way"
Give me your poor, huddled masses yearning to breathe free and I will give them taxes, regulations, restrictions, and every manner of unfairness ever created by persons saddled with the illusion that they can decide what is best for someone else's welfare. The individual, like the business professional, knows what's best in a given situation and, given the freedom, will take that action. The forces of coercion are prying open the shell that contains the living muscle and spirit of the American people — will we resist those forces and keep our muscles and spirit alive, free to open at will, or will we give up like the oyster and settle for "freedom on the half shell?" Here is another poem from Freedom on the Half Shell:
The Free Way
In a dream the other night
I went shopping with a friend
At the public department store.
Over the heads of the enormous lines
Of people waiting to go in
The sign proclaimed:
Let's go to another store,
One that's not so crowded.
"No use," my friend replied,
"all the stores are as busy as this one."
Why the name FREEWAY MART? I asked.
"Because the goods are free inside."
But who pays for them?
"Oh, we all do, through our taxes."
Wow, the taxes must be very high.
"Not at all, they've just this year been reduced,
From 97% to 96% of our wages."
But people who don't use any of the goods here,
do they pay just as much as those that do?
"Oh sure, sometimes more, depending on their ability to pay."
Then I rose and drove to work over "free" roads
And wondered if I could afford that kind of freedom.
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9. CLOSING NOTES:
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