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WELCOME TO DIGESTWORLD ISSUE#176 June, 2017== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==Quote for the Bridal Path Month of June:
When the gods want to punish you they answer your prayers.
— Isak Dinesen in her novel, "Out of Africa" , Author
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DIGESTWORLDArchived DIGESTWORLD Issues
GOOD MOUNTAIN PRESS Presents ISSUE#176 for June, 2017
Table of Contents
1. June's Violet-n-Joey Cartoon
2. Honored Readers for June
3. On a Personal Note
Rainbows & Shadows Poems
4. Cajun Story
5. Recipe or Household Hint for June, 2017 from Bobby Jeaux: NO-FAIL RICE STEAMING ON ELECTRIC STOVE
6. Poem from The Soul's Probation:"A Dream That Dreams Itself"
7. Reviews and Articles featured for June:
8. Commentary on the World
- ARJ2: Practical Advice to Teachers, GA#294 by Rudolf Steiner
- ARJ2: Mastering the Techniques of Teaching by Joseph Lowman
- ARJ2: The Principle of Spiritual Economy in Connection with Questions of Reincarnation, GA# 109 by Rudolf Steiner
1. Padre Filius Cartoon
2. Comments from Readers
3. Freedom on the Half Shell Poem
9. Closing Notes — our mailing list, locating books, subscribing/unsubscribing to DIGESTWORLD
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1. June Violet-n-Joey CARTOON:
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==This month Violet and Joey learn about Enlivening a Patio.
For newcomers to DIGESTWORLD, we have created a webpage of early Violet-n-Joey cartoons!
"Enlivening a Patio" at http://www.doyletics.com/images/170503vj.jpg
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2. HONORED READERS FOR June:
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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 June, 2017:
Kip Jenison in Austin, Texas
Charlie Cox in New Orleans
Congratulations, Kip and Charlie!
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3. ON A PERSONAL NOTE:
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Out Our Way:
With beautiful cool weather I enjoyed picking blackberries from my hedge which went into daily blackberry sundaes while we watched movies in the Screening Room each evening. I dug up the second half of my red potato crop and decided to plant my Fall potato crop since there was a waning Moon. With my Echo Tiller 'Tilly' I tilled up the potato row and my new Kentucky High Wheel plow I scraped away the weeds. The brown bag of potatoes I had left over in the garage from Spring planting was fully sprouted. I cut up the eyes into about 12 plants and set them in the row and watered it for about an hour with rest of garden.
I got a whole trug-full of bright red potatoes and cooked them with some freshly snapped green beans to create a delicious dish of potato stew over rice for me and Del. The beans and potato stew actually tastes better a day later; it seems to marinate in the fridge after cooking so we enjoyed it on and off for four or five more days.I suspect that folks who do not like leftovers are cooking food that doesn't taste good in the first place, so it tastes even worse when left over night. Or they have developed a habit of equating leftovers with bad-tasting food. That's easy to do as leftovers are favorite target of comic strips, along with husbands who can't cook or do repair work or help with babies. I got my training in all three very early in my life, before I was ten years old.
For those of you who have never planted or dug up red potatoes, I'll have a few photos showing how it's done. The taste of fruits and vegetables you plant and grow in your own local garden is the best! Try it and find out for yourself. My Essay on the Plant as Doctor explains why it's healthy to grown your produce and why the produce you grow tastes better than any you can buy. Our Creole tomatoes will be ripening in June, and we can't wait to eat them.I hate leaving New Orleans in June because of the Creole tomatoes. Of course, each month has a special food, September to April is oysters, April is blackberries, July is Celeste figs and okra, August is Washington Parish watermelons, and so on, just to list the most prominent item. Luckily the city's French Bread is available all-year-round. I got an email from Grace Panko in Massachusetts who has lived there for decades but grew up in New Orleans. Reading my DIGESTWORLD issues made her longing to be back here. She met Kevin Dann on his walk to Concord promoting his new Thoreau Biography, Expect Great Things, and Kevin directed her to my writings.
During early May we bought new ferns for our North Pergola. You can see the result in the Banner Photo at the top of this issue. This row of ferns provide shade from the Sun setting in the West on clear evenings. We have also added a row of pineapple plants under the ferns to catch the water dripping from the ferns during their Sunday waterings. Also this month, our Easter Lilies came into full bloom, as well as our gladiolus, amarylis, saliva, and four o'clocks. One day I did a time-delay selfie of me reading on the West Portico cypress swing. You may note a slight blur of my right leg as I barely made it in place during the ten-second delay.
PRACTICE MADE PERFECT
If you go to your wife's High School Reunion, she will have lots of things to do, and you'll have to fend for yourself. At her last Warren Easton Reunion, I met Anne Pourciau who was also an abandoned spouse, so we talked and I discovered she was planning to direct Nikki Barranger's original play. She mailed me a manuscript which I read when we were on our Northwest Passage Cruise last fall. I suggested the name be "Death by Practice" but the final title was "Practice". It is a serious play but with lots of fun in it created by seven zany characters ranging from age 20 to 95.One character is unable to speak except by singing his words. The setting is a psychotherapist's practice in her group room. Our friend Barbara Louviere came with us to the opening night performance and said it was a delightful, well-produced play. The theater is in an old barn at the end of a long road a few miles from downtown Covington, and the new seats they installed after a recent flood are about the best theater seats I ever sat in.
SURPRISE, SURPRISE, SURPRISE
Our daughter Kim came to stay with us a couple of days and it was great having her here without any kids to grab her attention. She and her mom went shopping and saw a movie. On one day Kim went to Bill and Carol Hatchett's crawfish boil. Our grandson Sam Hatchett stopped by for a visit after the crawfish and brought along his girl friend, Gabby. Gabrielle Franklin is a lovely, well-spoken young lady and is Sam's first girl friend as an adult. On the day Kim left to go to the crawfish boil, Del went outside to find that Twilight Garden Club had chosen our house to be their featured Garden of the Month! Another surprise and it came just a couple of days before Del was to installed as the President of Twilight, more about that later. Another surprise was "Finding Neverland". That came as a last minute gift from Marjorie Van Derwort.She had two extra tickets to the Saenger's Broadway Production of the musical about how Peter Pan entered the life of James Barrie.
Beset by his producer to come up with another knock-off play to keep his theater filled and his actors from wandering away, Barrie went for a walk in the park and enjoyed watching young boys doing what he remembered doing as a child: playing just for the fun of it. One boy who didn't seem to join in the play of his younger brothers was named Peter and James helped him to do so while James himself learned to enjoy the boys wonderful imagination of pirates and deserted islands. Over time he began to write a play about the Lost Boys and Peter Pan who had come from Neverland to lead Wendy out of her mundane life in urban London into real adventures. In the musical we watched Barrie's learning to have fun, observing the boys, taking notes, and writing a new type of play in which the characters have fun playing with each other. One of his biggest challenge was getting adult actors, who were accustomed to playing adult parts, to play young children and even a dog. Yes, Wendy's dog was played by a large actor we first see playing a British cop, later ended up playing the dog in the Peter Pan play. We see him crawling on the floor as a large English sheepdog and at one point during a dress rehearsal Barrie's actual sheepdog comes from the wings and licks the butt of the big actor in sheepdog's clothing.The sparkling special effects of the musical far exceeded anything possible in Barrie's first production, but what he lacked in technology was made up in fun, like when a character was hanging up a rope waving back and forth across the stage during an early test run of the suspension mechanism. This was fun, fun, fun production, a modern Broadway play which put actual play on the stage to mutual enjoyment of adults and children in the audience. At one point there was even a bit of audience participation. A truly masterful production. Getting the tickets at the last minute was a surprise, but the play itself was an even bigger surprise. I thought I'd seen "Finding Neverland" in the movie version, but this stage production upstages the movie production with special effects better than movies can have in them: live special effects!
JAZZ FEST REDUX
My visit to the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival was no surprise because I had planned to go. The surprise was that the rain which poured down on Thursday had stopped on Friday and the Fairgrounds centerfield was all dried and ready for the Sunday crowd. I like going on the final Sunday because many people leave to fly home on that day after staying two weekends. The Fest is always the last weekend in April and the first one in May. An extra day, Thursday, is tacked on the front of the second weekend. After seeing David Jorgensen wearing my cousin Philip Bascle's apron last month, I went home and dug out my vintage Jazz Fest tank top from 1987, 30 years ago, to wear for this year's Fest. Charlie Cox, whom I like going with, lives in the French Quarter and told me years ago that when he goes to get his car out of a hotel parking lot on that second Sunday morning, the lot is full of people with packed bags leaving for the airport.
Two things I liked about going with Charlie besides his company: he knew the best places to park and he carried a Brass Pass. The heavy pass hangs around your neck and lets you quickly enter the Fest on any day. It also allows you to use the WWOZ hospitality tent, which is a cool place to enjoy some refreshment and sit down and talk without blaring music around. This year Charlie found us a parking place right next to the entrance on the street. But when we got in, I found out to my chagrin that I could no longer accompany Charlie into the WWOZ Tent as formerly. There went the chance to relax and talk to Charlie between sets.Also the price has doubled for a single day to $80 from the last time I went, in 2013. Hard for me to realize that it's been four years since I went to Jazz Fest. Price increase and no WWOZ Tent: Two strikes on the Fest — they are off my itinerary from now on. No musical set I saw or heard on this Sunday was worth $20, so $80 was not worth it for me. We did get to sit in the lower grandstand area and enjoy some oysters on the half-shell together. His friend Brent from Vancouver came by and joined us for a time. Brent looks a little like Brent Butt who wrote and produced "Gas Stop" a very funny Canadian Sitcom which my good friend Barrett in Edmonton encouraged me to watch. Brent knows the series and even is friends with Brent Butt who now lives in Vancouver. Perhaps Barrett could get to meet the two Brents, since he and Patti have a place in Vancouver also.
After parking the car Charlie and I walked over and rang the doorbell at Brent's place but got no answer. We found out later that Marilyn was sleeping in late that day. Inside the Fest quickly before the first set started, so Charlie and I enjoyed some oysters on the half shell under the Fairgrounds Racetrack's Grandstands. Brent stopped by. Later in the day we saw him and his wife Marilyn for a few seconds. I was busy taking photos and only had a chance for a quick hello.
On the Fest grounds we heard Seva Benet playing the banjo first, then went over to hear Ellis Marsalis playing with his band in Economy Hall. We took a break at one point to eat some Crawfish Monica from a kiosk, first time, for me. It wasn't bad, but give me a good crawfish étouffée in a deepfried pistolette any day. Steamboat Bill's could run Monica off the Fest grounds with its delicious pistolettes.
Then we went to hear Irma Thomas singing in the Gospel Tent and I was sorely disappointed. Left almost immediately. She sang Gospel songs solo and the loudspeakers didn't do her voice justice. I could hear only a scattered few lyrics and could sing along and only for well-known songs like "Down by the Riverside".I wanted big vocal choruses like the Gospel Soul Children or Zion Harmonizers, a large group dressed in graduation gowns, jumping up and down to "Jesus on the Mainline" and such. Instead I got Irma in solo. Too bad.
I did catch a lot of Don Vappie's set and that pretty much did it for us for the day. I felt cheated out of Pete Fountain (who's gone now), John Boutte (saw him last time in 2013), and several other local acts I would like to have heard. The entertainment in the tents was sparse this year. The big names fill the outdoor stages where you to carry your own chairs and sweat and swelter in Jazz Fest discomfort. Too much pain for so little gain. Ain't gonna did dat no more.
GLITCHES OF THE MONTH (Non-Technical Types can skip this Section)
WATER LEAK: The water comes into our home from just outside the master bath. As a result we can heard water running in any part of the house or from any faucet. This time, we were stumped completely. Del heard water running while she was seated in the little room off the master bath. I checked the usual suspects, found no faucets open, and went outside to the main shut valve. Still heard the sound of water running. How could that be? I went upstairs to make sure it was not dripping from either of the two water heaters. Nothing. I even looked into the Water Meter, prying the heavy cover up and the meter was still under water since the latest rainstorm. One time earlier the water line was broken coming into the water meter and we went through a similar search and had to call the parish to come check for leaks. I decided to wait some more time. An hour or so later the sound stopped after Del left to go a meeting, which was probably a coincidence because I also noticed that the Dishwasher had completed its cycle. Who knew that the super-quiet Dishwasher, which can hardly be heard in the kitchen when it's running, could be heard in the bath about 100 ft away with the water completely shut-off to the house?
ICE MAKER: Our Kitchen-Aid Ice Maker which makes excellent small ice cubes was installed in the place of the broken Trash-Masher when we moved in. Del called the Home Warranty folks and spent an hour on the phone to get them to come out. We paid the service charge and had to wait for the part (a pump) to arrive. During that time, the Warranty idiots call us to say the ice-maker is not included in our warranty, being added after we moved in.So the upshot is that we could have just called Pro Appliance directly and saved the hour of aggravation trying to get a real-person on the line to explain that we wanted a specific company to service us.
SUB-ZERO: While our favorite technician Derrick was here I asked if he'd check our Sub Zero freezer which seemed to be making noise recently. He said the defrost cycle clock was making a clicking sound and the compressor's cooling fan had a bad bearing. He told his boss to order the parts and he'd come back to install them, THIS TIME THE UNIT WAS UNDER WARRANTY. No big deal, right? WRONG!
Del spent another hour or so to file a claim and specify which company would to do the job, the one who had already trouble-shot the problems and ordered the parts. Their tech explained that if the blower fan's bearings froze the compress would burn out in a short time. If this motor burnt out while we were on a cruise, we'd lose the large freezer and all its contents, and the Warranty idiots would have paid for the compressor! They owe me a big thanks for saving them money down the road. It will certainly save us the hassle of having to clean out a broken freezer.
PRINTER BUFFER DUMP:On the morning of her installation as Twilight Gardeners President, Del couldn't get her speech to print out. Apparently she had sent it to the Color Printer first and the HP 4+. Once I had both printers on-line three copies of her speech came out of the HP color printer, and the HP 4+ got the same file and began emptying the buffer one-line-at-a-time. This has happened several times in the past and each time it has taken me a week or two to stop the printer from wasting paper, and I have never evolved a simple procedure to clear the buffer. This time I couldn't wait a week or two, so I decided to let it print its little heart out, then save the paper to run back through the next time it happens. 350 pages later it was done. I have saved the pages to stay compressed under my unabridged dictionary so that the pages will run through without jamming if it ever happens again. It only uses a page's worth of toner because it only prints a single line at the top of almost every page. The key is to keep it from happening by selecting the proper printer for your job. But how to ensure that I'm not certain, up until now. I keep wishing HP had installed a RESET BUTTON which clears all printer jobs and buffers, but so far I have found no simple way of doing that job. Till I get a solution, my Webster's Third New International Dictionary is sitting open for easy reference, a couple of inches higher than it was before I set it upon the paper stack.
LARGER OFF-SITE BACKUP DISK: One of my on-site back-up disk partitions was quickly running out of space. I decided to buy a double-sized Off-site disk, 2 terabytes, and to use the old 1 terabyte USB disk to hold what the on-site disk could no longer hold. The transition has gone well and it freed up a 65 Gb memory stick which I can carry on my key chain to provide another off-site back up. Why all the backups? You cannot have too many backups. In real estate, the three most important things about selecting a piece of land is Location, Location, Location. In computers the three most important things for security of data is: Backup, Backup, Backup.You need at least a PRIMARY on-site backup everytime you do an hour of work, a SECONDARY back-up on-side but located outside your computer, in case it fries, and a TERTIARY off-site back-up in case your office is destroyed. For me the Cloud is not a solution to backup security because you have no personal control over the data in the Cloud; you only get promises that your data will be safe and secure. If large corporations can be hacked, so can data in Cloud. If the Internet goes down and you absolutely require some data backed in a Cloud, you are screwed. Their SNAFU becomes your SNAFU. A SNAFU that can easily be avoided with a triple backup strategy away from the Cloud.
TWO LARGE PARAGRAPHS LOST: My word processor has a feature to convert its text into .html automatically for me. Over 5 decades of dealing with companies, I have learned to tremble when I hear the word, "automatic" used in any way. Automatic spelling costs me more work than spelling correctly myself. Automatic capitalization is even worse! Yeah, you can override it, but you can't get it to stop in cell phones which are made for dummies who don't care if it's capitals or not. Even though I appreciate the auto-conversion to .html for my reviews, sometimes in a long review the automatic function balks. It did that with my 22 page review of Practical Advice to Teachers this month. I split the review in two parts and second part converted fine, but the first part balked. I had to split the first part into two parts and the first part converted, and the second one as well. Now, in my word processor, footnotes are per page and in .html they are stacked at the bottom of the review. Two of the three parts had some of the 9 footnotes, so I had cut these away and store them together at the bottom of the review. That meant I had to piece together 3 big chunks of .html with two smaller chunks of .html. It worked, or at least I thought it did.
But as I was going through the final editing stage that I call "Playing with Sentences" I noticed a quotation from page 22 seemed to be missing. Soon I discovered that two large paragraphs amounting almost to a full page had been dropped during my patchwork quilt work on getting the review into final .html form. The problem was that the text that was missing left no sign that it was missing. No copy-editor looking only at the on-line review would have noticed the elision of two large paragraphs. Only the original writer could have a chance of doing that. The solution was easy, but noticing the error required exactly the multiple stages of copy-editing and playing with sentences that I use with my reviews.
TWILIGHT GARDENERS AT TOURNAMENT PLAYERS CLUB
The Twilight Garden Club got its name because the ladies who founded the club all had day jobs and so they met at twilight for each meeting. Over the decades they have switched to noon meetings, but have retained their name. The TPC restaurant I knew about because Del had gone to several luncheons there before. The TPC golf course I had seen when it was being built as I drove along Jamie Drive south of it. But I had never been on the course or eaten in the restaurant until this May when Del was installed as Twilight President in the TPC restaurant. As her husband, she invited me, plus her daughter Kim Gralapp, her sister-in-law Karen Richards, and her friends Marjorie Van Devort and Barbara Louviere to sit at her table.
This was the best banquet meal I've ever had anywhere. The redfish (or drum) entree was delicious. The salad was great, the red velvet cake was delicious, and the coffee was also good. The service was excellent : everyone was served promptly and courteously. The Program Booklet was decorated with color photos of Del in France, Germany, Holland, USA, and Brazil, mostly showing her in gardens or each country. It was titled "Traveling the Gardens of the World with Adele!". This theme was incorporated in the table decorations of each table. I wondered about one country and then I noticed the tulips in the centerpiece of the table. Our table had a Brazilian theme. Each installed officer received a special bouquet of flowers. Del received her President's gavel which had tiny red roses wrapped around the handle. I could tell the roses were real when I saw her lift her gavel to smell the roses. After each of the officers had been installed, Del gave her remarks on being elected as President of Twilight Gardeners. She read a poem on gardening written by her father, Dick Richards, who loved gardening almost as he loved buying and selling large machine tools. The video of her talk can be viewed by Clicking Here.
We met John Hatchett and his wife Kim with Jacob her son at Le Meridien hotel downtown. Irene her mom with her husband Rohan joined us. Unfortunately our two grandsons Collin and Kyle spent the day with their mom in Baton Rouge. Del received flowers from her daughter Kim and phone calls from her other two boys Jim and Stoney by day's end.
CLASSICAL RADIO SHOWS ON XM 148
I discovered an XM/Sirius, Channel 148, which airs Radio Shows from the 1940s and 50s. First one I heard was an early soap opera called "Ma Perkins" which was broadcast daily for 28 years and the actress made every show. It was likely this early radio drama filled with Oxydol soap powder commercials which led to the name "soap opera" for the genre. I didn't listen to that show back then, but heard it through open windows when I was delivering and collecting for my newspaper route.But I did listen to "Life of Riley" a weekly night-time series and the other day I caught one of its episodes on my way back from PJ's Coffeeshop. Beginning to wish my PJ round trips were a bit longer. Hearing William Bendix deliver Riley's trademark saying, "What a revoltin' development dis is!" was a real treat. Hadn't heard that in about 70 years. Yesterday I caught Orson Welles on his Mercury Mystery Theater playing Sherlock Holmes taking on Dr. Moriarty. I hope to catch his famous "War of the Worlds" broadcast which started a panic in several U.S. cities because people thought it was an actual invasion from Mars.
Our LSU Fighting Tigers have won 7 SEC series and the Western Division Title of the SEC outright and a share of the overall SEC title for 2017! Then they won the SEC Tournament Championship and locked up the Number 4 National Seed and which means LSU's Road to Omaha goes through our Alex Box Stadium. We have seen this home field become a launching pad for LSU's winning a National Championship before and we are pulling for this to be another Championship year.
LAST MINUTE EVENTS
During the last week of the month, my mother's last of the eight sisters, Clarice Bascle, died at age 93 in Bourg, Louisiana. The funeral was at St. Ann's Church where so many of my relatives on both sides of the family were baptized, married, and buried. This was a chance to see my cousins as we got together to pay our respects to the Bascle family and to each other. In the newly opened church's fellowship hall, my cousins and I enjoyed some refreshments and had a chance to catch up each other's lives.
I discovered that Aunt Clarice lived in our Westwego home with us until the war was over. Her twin sister Clara stayed with her sisteer Odette Clement a block away during the same time. This cleared up an unanswered question for me, "Why did I feel closer to Clarice than to Clara?" Clarice tened to me as my mother had two more boys in two years, no doubt feeding, bathing, and changing my diapers the first year. She was like a second mother to me.
The Sunday Advocate had this "For Better or Worse" comic strip the day before I went to the funeral for Clarice. Ten-year-old Lizzie was watering a blooming flower in the garden when her teenage brother Michael roared by on his bicycle and crushed the flower to the ground. Lizzie cried and cried and Michael came over and asked why cry over a flower, there are millions of them. Lizzie looked at him through her tears and said, "But I knew this one!" That was how I felt thinking about Aunt Clarice, there are millions of aunts in the world, but I knew this one.
EVERY GOOD THING MUST COME TO A NEW BEGINNINGIMPORTANT MESSAGE:
The past 31 days of May have brought us more delightful Spring weather, mild with on a few short warm spells, an occasional heavy rain, but plenty of sunshine. I have switch to mostly short sleeves and short pants already.
Our New Orleans Pelicans Anthony Davis made the NBA first team for the year. Our LSU baseball team is on an express train to Omaha, so clear the tracks! Our LSU football is working on new offensive and defensive strategies for the Fall. Our LSU Basketball team is busy recruiting talent its new coach Will Wade and its upcoming season in the Fall. Of all the championships LSU has made, a Basketball National Championship is still in our future, and the new coach brings the kind of energy and hope which can make it happen.
Our gardens across the East Portico in the front of the house, across the West Portico facing the golf course and along the South edge of our property have never looked so beautiful. Our orchids are fully blooming out on the West Portico. Our Celeste and LSU fig trees are budding, and our new grapefruit tree is finally shooting strong healthy branches into the air! Our Veggie and Babe gardens have healthy tomato, eggplant, bell pepper, cucumber plants which will be fruiting in May. Hope you have a chance to enjoy some of our delicious local Creole tomatoes in during June. We never leave New Orleans in June because of those tomatoes.
Till the Fourth Celebrations and Fireworks welcome the USA into July, God Willing, and the River Don't Rise, whatever you do, wherever in the world you and yours reside, be warming into Summer or chilling into Winter,
Remember our earnest wish for this wonder full year of 2017:
MAY THE WORLD BECOME PEACEFUL AND SERENE IN TWENTY-SEVENTEEN
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Quotes Selected from quotes.htm this month:
From Rainbows & Shadows, A 1995 Book of Poetry by Bobby Matherne
Art is long, life short;
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)
Only when we play are we fully human, and we play only when we are human in the truest sense of the word.
Friedrich von Schiller (1759-1805)
Only through Beauty's morning-gate do you penetrate the land of knowledge.
Friedrich von Schiller (1759-1805)
The infinite wistfulness
of the infinitive.
To know her
is to love her.
To walk and
To pass through the eye of a needle
and enter heaven.
Michael Hoffman, writing in the London Review of Books, 7 February 2002
Laughter is the crest of a wave of felt vitality.
Suzanne Langer (American Writer) written in Feeling and Form
If I'd known I would live this long, I would have taken better care of myself.
Eubie Blake (American Jazz Musician at 105, told to Johnny Carson)
My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky.
What is your substance, whereof are you made,
That millions of strange shadows on you tend?
William Shakespeare, Sonnet 53
Why rainbows and shadows? One reminds us of joyful occasions and the other of things that go bump in the night. First, rainbows.
In 1995 I stood in the open doorway of my garage before driving to work on my last day before retirement from the Waterford 3 Nuclear Power Plant, and I saw a beautiful double rainbow in the morning sky before me. My heart lept up like Wordsworth's when I saw that omen. I remembered that the source of the rainbow is in my heart, and was in the heart of everyone who took the time to observe a rainbow that morning. We each saw a different rainbow, and each one we saw was truly our own rainbow.
In 2015 a double rainbow appeared as I looked out my garage door in the morning of the same day I celebrated twenty years of working full-time as a writer, publisher, photographer, cartoonist, and poet. The beat goes on . . .
Likewise, each shadow we encounter is truly our own shadow, created by the materialistic stuff of our world blocking the light of the Sun. Shadows are the dark colors of the artist's pallette of our lives, without which there would be no texture, no structure, no light. As I reviewed my poems for this volume, I found some were naturally rainbows and some naturally shadows, and I separated them into one section called Rainbows and one called Shadows. My wife Del likes me to read to her one Rainbow followed by one Shadow — they seem to complement each other, she says. I have put the section titles in the header to facilitate such a manner of reading.
In addition to the poem, I have included a short note (where available), which notes altogether contain a panoply of information about my poems: when they were written, what I was doing at the time, what I was reading that inspired them, and on what scrap of paper I wrote them. Poems do not "form in their own water" (as my friend Calvin said of volcanoes), but they may form in the water of ideas suggested by others and completed in some fashion by me. In gratitude, I include in many of the Notes the authors' names and sometimes a brief reference or quote of the source of the inspiration. By reading the Notes, one may readily discern my favorite authors and assorted sources of inspiration during the five-year period of writing this book.
There is an ambiguity in the phrase driving to work that leaves unspecified whether I was alone in the car at the time. Believe me, I could never think these thoughts if I were not alone in the car. Sometimes I listened to jazz on WWOZ, sometimes to classical on WWNO, and sometimes only to the thoughts of the writer of the book I was reading and my own thoughts, but always moving on. Like rainbows and shadows are always moving, so was I.
You may have a moving experience also as you join me in my carpool of one on the highway of life. Welcome Aboard! What would you like on the radio, classical or jazz?
These poems are from Bobby Matherne's 1995 book of poetry, Rainbows & Shadows, most of which have never been published on the Internet before. Here at the beginning of the new millennium, we are publishing five poems until all poems and notes have been published on-line. Some of these poems have appeared in earlier DIGESTWORLD Issues and are being republished here with their associated NOTES above each poem. All Rainbow poems have been published with notes as of DW173, so from now on, only Shadows poem will be published.
This month we continue with a poem from the Shadows Chapter of Bobby's second book of Poetry, Rainbows & Shadows (1995). Peace Breakers: This poem was written on Jan 17, 1991. It was inspired by watching the so-called peace marchers causing havoc in San Francisco after the USA struck back at Iraq for its maiming of Kuwait. Anyone around today that wishes these hooligans had been successful in stopping Desert Storm?
The peace marchers are heading this way
with their rocks, bottles, and firebombs
Mad as hell over war,
They're ready to kill someone
Unless peace breaks out
Shall we give away the store
So we'll have war no more
To calm the maiming beast
Who rips society apart for peace?
2. Chapter: Shadows
This month we continue with a poem from the Shadows Chapter of Bobby's second book of Poetry, Rainbows & Shadows (1995). Sacrificial Whine: This poem was written on June 25, 1990 on the rear overleaf of The Projection Principle. It is an obvious play on words with the phrase "Sacrificial Wine," the wine used by priests in the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. To those segments of our society that wish for something-for-nothing, whether by theft or by using a coercive agent (like the so-called U. S. Government), the biggest sacrifice they could make would be to follow the injunction of the poem: take nothing from someone that they did NOT earn. Only by exchange of energy on a voluntary basis can freedom be built between the shores of this free land.
On seeing an empty RTA bus:They lowered price untilAd Sign on full RTA bus:
demand picked up
Then they raised the price until
demand went down
And the sacrificial whine
So they upped the subsidy."Want a real sacrifice?
Try this one:
Swear you'll never accept anything,
that you did not earn."
That's a wine that matures
with the years.
3. Chapter: Shadows
This month we continue with a poem from the Shadows Chapter of Bobby's second book of Poetry, Rainbows & Shadows (1995). New Responses: This poem was written on Sept 23, 1991 It was inspired by reading "Seeing Voices" by Oliver Sacks, page 78, "... almost everyone, hearing and deaf alike, at first regarded Stokoe's notions as absurd or heretical; his books, when they came out, as worthless or nonsensical. This is often the way with works of genius." Wm. Stokoe did original work on American Sign Language. The poem was sketched in the rear overleaf of the hardback copy of the book. It was finished on Oct 7, 1991 when it was typed into WordPerfect v5.1.
The response to the new
is not new
It's as old as the hemlock cup
they gave Socrates
As the excoriation
they gave Galileo
As the warm reception
they gave Joan of Arc in Rouen
As the electric chair
they prepared to execute
Tesla's AC power
And as old as the bomb they prepared
to explode America's nuclear power.
4. Chapter: Shadows5. Chapter: Shadows
This month we continue with a poem from the Shadows Chapter of Bobby's second book of Poetry, Rainbows & Shadows (1995). Guilt By Association: This poem was written about 1984 on index cards that were stored in the middle of The Center Book. The poem plays with the ambiguity of "guilt" and "guild".
Guilt By Association
What is government but a guild?
Great innovations are never made by guilds
but by free associations.
Guild by association
is not free.
The wildest, most delicate spirit
can be damped
By forced association
with the guild.
If the guild allows you to vote,
vote no for the guild
by not voting
or you will be
Guilty by association.
This month we continue with a poem from the Shadows Chapter of Bobby's second book of Poetry, Rainbows & Shadows (1995). Relationship: This poem was written on July 28, 1992 on page 147 of the first edition of Mind and Nature by Gregory Bateson. I was driving to work at 7:15 a.m. on Highway 3127 when I wrote this down. The direct inspiration for the poem came from page 133 of the same book. The operant quote is, "It is correct (and a great improvement) to begin to think of the two parties to the interaction as two eyes, each giving a monocular view of what goes on and, together, giving a binocular view in depth. This double view is the relationship." Parallax — (definition from Collins Compact Dictionary) n. apparent difference in object's position or direction as viewed from different points.) It is the parallax between the two eyes that provides the third dimension in human vision, and the parallax between two views in a relationship which can create a new, living dimension.
Like two eyes
we look together
in the same direction
And, in the parallax
of our relationship,
Each sees a different view —
on that we can agree —
But whose view is the right one
Is another thing entirely.
Rather let us adjust
the focus of our intentions
in our stereo viewer
And the differences will create
in both of us
the world anew
in three dimensions.
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.“Finding Neverland: The Broadway Play” (2017) the back story of James Barrie's Peter Pan created dramatic ally on stage with dance, music, spectacular effects: booming cannons, dazzling sparkle display, flying to the stars, audience participation, and just plain fun: a Play which puts Play on Display! A DON’T MISS HIT! ! ! ! !
“Collateral Beauty” (2017) ) Love, Death, and Beauty all get together for party and life breaks out in collateral beauty. A DON’T MISS HIT! ! ! ! !
“La La Land” (2016) wonderful musical, reminds me of Fred & Ginger's early ones. A love affair, which evolves during freeway traffic jams, brings wealth, fame, and separation, but they are never really separated as the last twenty minutes reveal. A DON’T MISS HIT! ! !
“Patriots Day” (2016) recounts the Boston Marathon bombing and its bloody aftermath. A DON’T MISS HIT! ! !
“The BFG” (2016) One of Dahl’s finest tales. If you like dreaming, you’ll love the BFG. A DON’T MISS HIT! ! !
“A Street Cat Named Bob” (2016) Jack hits bottom and meets a rescue cat which rescues him. A DON’T MISS HIT !!!!
“Denial” (2016) Tom Wilkinson defends authoress in libel suit by a man she labeled a Holocaust Denier. Good look inside the complicated British system of justice.
“Elle” (2016) Lovely CEO of gaming company gets raped and everyone is suspected except the rapist. Enjoyed the movie.
“Anne with an E” (2017) a marvelous update of Anne of Green Gables; everyone should love this ride on the roller coaster of life with Anne. Stream this now! DON’T MISS HIT ! ! !
“Founder” (2016) Ray Kroc stole McDonald's name and reneged on his handshake pledge for royalties to the McDonald brothers. Kroc was a "Hamburglar", a primary thief, but this Michael Keaton movie is a DON’T MISS HIT ! ! !
“Lion” (2016) Saroo, lost at 5, never gives up and discovers at 30 his real name is Sheru or the Lion. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! !
“Gold” (2016) What is a prospector? How did 17 billion dollars of value disappear overnight? Asked and answered by this incredible Matthew McConaughey movie. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! !
“Live By Night” (2016) Ben Affleck in this saga of a Boston penny-ante bank robber who takes over the mob in Tampa. "This is Heaven. Right now." Amazing plot, like how he is rescued from a huge fortress from certain death. A DON’T MISS HIT !
“Mr. Church” (2016) Eddie Murphy is back in a Driving Miss Daisy-type role as a gentle soul and family man in a unique family. Mr. Church could anything he wanted. He wanted to cook and cooked up a great life for himself and his family. A DON’T MISS HIT ! !
Misses (Avoid At All Costs): We attempted to watch these this month, but didn't make it all the way through on most of them. Awhile back when three AAAC horrors hit us in one night, I decided to add a sub-category to "Avoid at All Costs", namely, A DVD STOMPER. These are movies so bad, you don't want anyone else to get stuck watching them, so you want to stomp on the disks. That way, if everyone else who gets burnt by the movie does the same, soon no copies of the awful movie will be extant and the world will be better off.“Bad Moms” (2016) Worst Movie.
“Mesrine: Part I: Killer Instinct” (2008) movie is mean, ugly, brutes killing each other. DVD defective and skipped parts and we ejected it halfway through in double disgust.
“The Discovery” (2017) is that Robert Redford can make awful movies as well as make impossible discoveries which kill people.
“Handsome: Mystery Movie” (2017) is ugly and tasteless.
“Tanna” (2016) a blood feud ala Romeo and Juliet, but done by primitive tribes who attempted to act in the movie. Be Spontaneous Paradoxes in every scene. Was fun anthropology but an awful movie to watch.
Your call on these — your taste in movies may differ, but I liked them:“Don’t Think Twice” (2016) Don’t think once! Improvise! What’s the worst that can happen?
“All We Had” (2016) wasn’t enough to make a good movie. Katie Holmes on the skids as protagonist, producer, director, and actress.
“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” (2016) a sequel to Harry Potter takes place in USA city where a Wizard brings his beast collection in a leaky suitcase which wreaks havoc on the city and unmasks the wizardry subculture. Fun to watch, but no dramatic pull like your Potter tales, JK.
“Stars Wars: Rogue One” (2016) this prequel for fans only, otherwise boring, boring, boring, zzz
“War Machine” (2016) Brad Pitt as hard-fighting General in Afghanistan war when CIC pulls plug in 18 mos. Soon replaced by another .hard-fighting General.
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==Le Broussard Cajun Cottage, drawn by and Copyright 2011 by Paulette Purser, Used by Permission
4. CAJUN STORY:
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==Here's a story for the June Brides going to the Altar this month. The tradition of throwing rice on the Bride and Groom when they left the church has gone the way of Phone Booths, Fender Skirts, and Running Boards, but this story happened during the good ole days.
Clothilde and Broussard dated for five years and not once did he ever bring up marriage. Clothilde's mom advised her, "Next time Broussard takes you to Mulate's for the Fais-do-do, when you're dancing to Jolie Blonde, whisper a little hint."
The next Saturday night they went out to Mulate's, but Clothilde couldn't wait for the dance. As they were ordering their crawfish étouffée in Mulate's restaurant, Broussard knew that sometimes Clothilde liked the étouffée on top of her rice and sometimes wanted her rice on the side of the plate, so she could mix the étouffée into the rice.
As Broussard got ready to order for her, he leaned over and asked her, "How do you want your rice?"
Clothilde shouted out, "Thrown!"
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5.Recipe and Household Hint for June, 2017 from Bobby Jeaux:
(click links to see photo of ingredients, preparation steps)
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =NO-FAIL RICE STEAMING ON ELECTRIC STOVE
I never boil rice.For over 50 years I've been steaming my rice. I always use parboiled long grain rice, ever since Mr. Mickey, a good friend and pest control man, used to give me that kind of rice from a grain elevator in Abbeville where he would spray each year. He called it "brown rice", but it was parboiled long grain rice which had a light tan color to it. The bags were covered with Arabic writing as they were destined for Iranian markets in the Middle East. I loved this rice because when you steamed it, the grains remained separate. This was the rice I used in my four-meat jambalayas which was a favorite of my out-of-town guests. One guy from Pittsburgh ate two large plates full, then ate a big dessert, and went back and filled up and wiped clean another large plate of jambalaya.Over the years I began adding Quick-Cooking Wild Rice to the parboiled rice. When Mr. Mickey retired I began buying Uncle Ben's rice which I discovered was the same as his "brown rice". In the last decade, Zatarain's began selling parboiled long grain and I use that exclusively now.
Why use two types of rice? Good Question. But you should know that wild rice is not a rice at all, it is a kind of barley which resembles a rice, but is not one. Using both can add the unique set of nutrients contained in the wild barley to your everyday recipes.
Ingredients3 and 3/4s Cups of WaterPreparation
2 tsps of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 cups of Zatarain's Parboiled Long Grain Rice (or Uncle Ben's Converted Rice)
1 tsp Morton's iodized Salt
1 2.75 oz. pack of Quick-Cooking Wild Rice (Gourmet House or Reese's)
My recipe is simplicity in its execution. Add a tsp salt to 3 3/4s cups of water in a 4 Qt pot (with a glass cover) and pour some virgin olive oil into the water. The oil helps keep the grains of rice separated. Measure out 2 cups of rice. Open the Wild Rice package and have it handy to the rice pot. (Note: a slight variation in amount of water or long-grain rice and other ingredients is okay)
Cooking Instructions for Gas Stove
Turn the gas flame on to HIGH and bring the prepared water to a rolling boil. Quickly pour in the rice and then the wild rice. Stir together to remove any clumps of long grain rice. Then immediately place the top on the rice pot and turn the fire down to the lowest flame possible. Set your alarm for 22 minutes. (The actual time will vary with altitude and humidity, so several tries to get the rice steamed properly may be necessary, but once you know the right amount of time, you can use the same amount every time you steam rice.)
NO-FAIL Cooking Instructions for a Solid Burner Electric Stove
(See Photos)Use the largest burner and turn it to HIGH. bring the prepared water to a rolling boil. Quickly pour in the rice and then the wild rice. Stir together to remove any clumps of long grain rice. Then immediately place the top on the rice pot and turn the BURNER TO OFF. Set your alarm for 18 minutes. (The actual time will vary with altitude and humidity, so several tries to get the rice steamed properly may be necessary, but once you know the right amount of time, you can use the same amount every time you steam rice.) When the alarm sounds, remove the cover and with a large spoon stir the two rices together. During steaming, the wild rice will settle on top of the long grain rice and you want to mix them together for serving. Once mixed, they will stay mixed. As you do this, check the bottom of the pot. If you see drops of moisture, replace the cover and allow pot to remain on the still warm burner. If no moisture is found, move to a cold burner.
Note: by using this Household Hint, you can actually leave the rice unattended if you need to run an errand, etc. Simply stir the rices together when you return. In over seven years of using this unattended method, I have never had rice sticking to the bottom of the pot, and of course, no over-cooked or burnt rice at the bottom of the pot. I have never tried the unattended method on a coiled-burner electric stove, but I suspect there is not enough residual heat in the skinny coils to complete the steaming of the rice with the burner turned off. If you have a coiled-burner stove, you will need to experiment to find if this will work on your stove. Do the same on glass-top stoves with hidden burners.
I use this combination of wild and long-grain rice for all of my dishes. It goes great with seafood gumbo, with crawfish eggplant dressing, under red beans, snap beans and potatoes, lima beans, blackeye peas, redfish courtboullion, crawfish étouffée, and any other kind of stew or soup.
DO NOT USE NON-QUICK COOKING WILD RICE as the wild rice will NOT BE FULLY COOKED using this recipe. The wild rice needs an HOUR and this recipe uses only 18 to 20 minutes. If you must use regular wild rice, you must cook it separately, then add it to the completed long grain rice. Because of the inconvenience and extended time, I always use Quick-Cooking Wild Rice in my recipes.
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6. POETRY by BOBBY from The Soul's Probation:
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A Dream That Dreams Itself: In closing my review of The Soul's Probation, I decided to dedicate a poem I wrote, inspired by the play, to all the Johannes's out there in the world who have yet to meet their Maria. Keep dreaming and keep walking, perhaps one night or one day, you'll find out for yourself the meaning of love at first embrace.
A Dream That Dreams Itself
In a dream one night
You’ll walk along a line of books —
Each book contains a dream
Described by the title on its spine.
The hallway is a lovely sight
And if you give the titles careful looks
You might find this one on the shelf:
“A Dream That Dreams Itself.”
If you open it, you’ll therein read,
“Until you truly know yourself
Within your world, you’ll be indeed
A dream that dreams itself.”
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7. REVIEWS and ARTICLES for June:
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =For our Good Readers, here are the reviews and articles featured this month. The first review is new, the second review this month was never published in early DIGESTWORLD ISSUES, and the third one only as a short blurb so these reviews 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 (with none of the DIGESTWORLD Photos), simply CLICK on the Book Cover in this issue or choose Printer Ready option on the top line of a review page when it opens in a separate window.
1.) ARJ2: Practical Advice to Teachers, GA#294 by Rudolf Steiner
This book arrived with its companion book, Discussions with Teachers, GA#295 which I read first. It might have been better to read this lecture book first, given its Collected Works number 294 is lower, but it turns out it doesn't make a difference which one you read first. Volume 294 contains Lectures which were given by Steiner in the morning of successive days for two weeks, and in the afternoon of each day, he held led Discussions with the same teachers which are complied in Volume 295. The best way to read these two books might be to read each morning lecture in 294 followed by its accompanying afternoon discussion in 295. Then a review could be done of both books at the same time — a challenge that I am glad that I didn't attempt. Instead this review will be of the Lectures (294) and my previous review will be of the Discussions (295) which followed each Lecture. Each review will stand alone, but there will likely be some similar topics covered in both.
A good head cannot read amiss. In every book he finds passages which seem confidences or asides, hidden from all else, and unmistakeably meant for his ear. No book has worth by itself; but, by the relation to what you have from many other books, it weighs.
Ralph Waldo Emerson in his 1854 Journal
I feel the resonance of these words of Emerson, especially in regard to my reading and reviewing of Rudolf Steiner's works, some 256 books, of which this book is the latest.Each new book of Steiner's lectures that I read reveals some mind-boggling concept which likely would have little impact on me but for the logjam of books I have worked on as I cleared my way to reading it. I have wended my way through most of his 26 volumes on Education which are listed at the end of this review(1). As I begin my review of the seventeenth volume of the set, I can hardly wait to find out what new gems will pop into my hand to show you. The writer of the Foreword reveals there are many such gems herein.
[page viii, Foreword] This book contains so many gems and profound insights into how to address the needs of the growing human being in a healthy way that it is positively astonishing. For that reason these lectures can be an inspiration to parents, home schoolers, and all others who are interested in human development and education
Ms. Schmitt-Stegmann was writing this Foreword in the year 2000 and brings a modern look to Steiner's work almost a century after he spoke the words in this book. What he offers humans is needed even more urgently today in light of the barrage of technological innovations which offer an intellectual form of empty calories to human souls starved for real nutrition, a nutrition which provides us an enheartening hope for sustaining harmony among human beings.
[page viii] The harmonizing of the growing human being is an urgent need in our time, now that the technological revolution has propelled humanity into an information age that brings with it a hectic pace of life accompanied by stress and an over-emphasis on intellectual pursuits. Artistic expression as well as other aspects of education that nourish the soul and spirit are neglected and ignored. Our children and teenagers are struggling to find meaningful experiences where they feel met as human beings searching for answers to their earthly existence.
Television and Smart Phones provide a constant influx of information and dazzling entertainment in this 21st Century, but it provides busy-ness instead of fulfillment for most people.
[page viii, Foreword] The excitement and constant flow of entertainment that the technological innovations supply hold many captive. However, entertainment does not address the need for inner fulfillment that the human individual seeks in order to find his or her place and purpose in this present incarnation.
When artistic expression is ignored and intellectual expression is emphasized, there will be some children who will grow up lacking simple abilities such as recognizing letters of the alphabet. Elisabeth, a school teacher in the NetFlix series, "When Calls the Heart", has such a young pupil who is unable to read or write, and decides to bake him cookies in the shape of letters of the alphabet, e.g., using a big C cookie to illustrate how he could write the word Cat. The boy was able to hold the C cookie in his hands and manipulate it, activating his will in a way that merely looking at a C on a blackboard could not do for him. At age 10, his parents had given up on his ever reading. Soon, under Elisabeth's innovative teaching, he began spelling words by moving cookies around with his hand, a very tactile and non-abstract way of writing. From these early steps he soon learned to recognize the letters in a book and was able to read for the first time. This is core of the reason that Steiner urges teaching children how to write before teaching them how to read. Reading is completely abstract, but any artistic activity involves the will and movement of the body in various ways: painting, singing, sculpture, baking, dancing, etc, and can move the abstract into a concrete will-based reality. Steiner does not urge"art for art's sake", but urges art for the sake of the child.
page viii, ix, Foreword] In Practical Advice for Teachers, Rudolf Steiner focuses on just that: giving much practical advice and insight into methodology. He gives a clear picture that the curriculum does not include art for art's sake. Instead, every subject is to be taught artistically so as to engage the whole child and draw forth the students' own creative essential being as well as their interest in the world. We recognize the mission of the arts rightly if, in addition to the above, we see them also as strengthening the motivational will forces and harmonizing the child's whole being — thinking, feeling, and willing. Rudolf Steiner gives a wealth of indications in these lectures that cover all subjects of the curriculum, showing how to teach the individual subjects artistically, imaginatively, and in such a way that they strengthen the inner being, the true Self of the child.
Artificial lntelligence or A. I. focuses solely on conceptual activity using images of the world, i.e., maps, to analyze, interpret, and predict events in the world. Rudolf Steiner recognizes we cannot live solely in our mental images, and he cites the importance for human beings, especially as children, to be engaged directly in the world of objects, music, dancing, sculpture, painting, etc.
[page ix, x Foreword] He suggests that if it were possible to live solely in our mental images, in conceptual activity, we would live in a realm that consists only of reflected images of the objects of the visible, physical world. This is the world we analyze, dissect, name, and isolate. It manifests in us as the sphere of the past. Therefore, when we work to develop the children's mental, conceptual side, we must enliven what is dying into the fixed and static condition of our conceptual thought life by quickening it with the help of the pictorial, sculptural element, through drawing, modeling or painting. Crafts and woodwork, which are part of the Waldorf curriculum, also quicken the child's conceptual life.
Can you see that this approach to the abstract conceptual life by beginning with the concrete manipulation of the physical world is similar in process to his strong recommendation that Waldorf teachers begin a child with writing (physical manipulation) before reading (abstract conceptual manipulation)?
Steiner could have predicted the advent of the current 21st Century dance phase I call, "Jump and Thump"(2) because this kind of entertainment resembles animal instincts grown rampant.
[page viii, Foreword] If we fail to address the heart and will forces of growing children, if we fill them with a constant flood of information that only addresses the conceptual life, the unfulfilled, empty soul and spirit will opt for thrill-seeking and entertainment, and as Rudolf Steiner points out, "animal instincts will grow rampant."
As we enter Lecture One, we find that our traditional 3 R's (Reading, 'Riting, and 'Rithmetic) operate only on our body and soul. Reading and Writing is a physical body function; Arithmetic a soul function. It is Art that operates on our spirit. A school system that is devoted to transmitting information to our children will leave them empty of spirit. The Art education a child requires cannot be transmitted by a teacher; it must be experienced by the child, and the earlier in life, the better for the child's development.
[page 2,3] The reading and writing you teach children is based on convention; it came about within the realm of physical life itself.
Teaching children arithmetic is a very different matter. You get the sense that the most important thing in arithmetic is not the shapes of the numbers but the reality living in them. This living reality has much more meaning for the spiritual world than what lives in reading and writing. . . . In teaching children reading and writing, we work in the most exclusively physical domain; in arithmetic our teaching becomes less physical; and in music or drawing, or in related fields, we really teach the children's soul and spirit.
Steiner urges teachers to encourage the child to draw an artistic form of each letter, such as a script f which resembles the first letter of the word fish. By doing this, the child gets each letter in its limbs as a will activity, and the child will later read with its entire body, not just its head. Learning cursive writing first is essential because it activates a child's will and keeps writing from becoming a production of abstract block characters or mere typing on a keyboard. Steiner says, "Our aim is to interest the whole human being in this activity." (Page 6)
With the operations of arithmetic, the teacher does best to proceed from a whole into its separate parts. For addition, a whole piece of construction paper is separated into 24 parts. The child can count these parts. Then the teacher separates the 24 parts into 6 separate piles of four perhaps. The child can note 6 sets of 4 pieces adds up to 24. There is no abstract operation calling addition to be performed. Then working with various combination, the child can see that the piles of 9, 5, 7, and 3 must also add up to 24. We let the child see the sum first and then the various pieces which comprise the sum. Doing this systematically for addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division will create children for whom being kept after school to do arithmetic will seem as a welcome treat instead of a punishment. (Note: Steiner relates elsewhere that a new Waldorf teacher had this experience. When he tried to punish one student with arithmetic problems after school, the rest of the class wanted to join in to enjoy the fun.)
[page 7] This is how I have taught children to add. I did not start with the separate pieces from which a sum would be derived. This would, in fact, be out of keeping with the original nature of the human being.(3) It is actually this reversed procedure that is appropriate to human nature — first the sum is considered, which is then divided into the separate parts.
The child will understand better this way what the teacher means when she says, "This is how to add these all together." Why? Because the teacher started by allowing the child to have experienced already what together meant!
Knowing what together means is important in telling fairy tales to children. One should allow the whole story together to move each child. Never try to sensationalize the events of the story, but rather let your own being be moved by the events and the child will follow your lead. This works equally well with one child as with an entire class.
[page 15] Educators must keep this truth very clearly in mind. They must make sure that the child's whole being is moved. Consider, from this point of view, telling legends and fairy tales. If you have the right feeling for the stories and tell them from your own inner qualities, the way you tell them enables children to feel something of what is told with the whole body. Then you really address the child's astral body. Something radiates from the astral body up into the head, something that the child should feel there. You should have the sense that you are gripping the whole child and that, from the feelings and excitement you arouse, an understanding of what you are saying comes to the child.
Avoid concepts and explaining. If you move children without any explaining, you will build up unanswered questions in the children which act as seeds which grow into the fruit of future learnings. As a teacher, you do best to share all of what you feel and little of what you know to be true. The children will thank you in their minds in future years when this internal fruit ripens in them.
[page 15] Thus, you may consider that the ideal, when telling legends or fairy tales, or while drawing or painting with children, is not to explain anything or work with concepts, but to move their whole being. As a result, later on when they leave you, out of themselves they will understand what you told them. Try therefore to educate the I-being and astral body from below upward so that the head and heart follow later. Try not to tell the stories in a way that causes children to reflect and understand them in the head. Tell them in a way that evokes a kind of silent, thrilled awe (within limits) and in a way that evokes pleasures and sorrows that continue to echo after the child has left you, gradually to be transformed into understanding and interest. Try to allow your influence to arise from your intimacy with the children. Try not to arouse interest artificially by counting on sensation; instead, attempt to achieve an inner relationship with the children and then allow interest to arise from their own being.
If this sounds difficult to do for you, perhaps being a teacher is not the best life choice for you. Children store these unanswered questions, which you as teacher may say, "I know the answer", but dear teacher, you only know the answer for you and the only important answer for the child is the one which grows in them over future years.
As a teacher you need to understand that soul-to-soul communication is the most important tool you have available for reaching the child — it flows from deep inside you to deep inside the child and finds nourishment for growth of understanding inside them. Do not be like the farmer who planted a field of soybean sprouts and went out one night to give each sprout a slight tug to encourage it to grow. The next morning all the sprouts were dead.
Take this important example Steiner gives of teaching a child under fourteen about immortality. There is a story, but you as a teacher must believe the story is true yourself before it can reach inside the child.
[page 16] As a simple example, lets say that I wish to teach a child about the continuation of the soul's life after death. I would only deceive myself and never make it clear to the child if I taught only theories about it. There is no concept that can teach a child under fourteen about immortality. I could say, however, "See this chrysalis; it is empty. Once there was a butterfly inside, but it crept away." I could also demonstrate the process of how metamorphosis happens. It is good to show such things to children. Then I make a comparison: "Imagine that it is you who are the chrysalis. Your soul is inside you, and later it will emerge just as a butterfly emerges from its chrysalis." This, of course, is rather naively stated.
You can talk about this for a long time. However, if you yourself do not believe that the butterfly is an image of the human soul, you cannot accomplish much with children by using this analogy.You should not allow yourself the false notion that this whole idea is merely a contrived comparison, which it is not; it is a fact presented to us by the divine, cosmic order. These things are not invented by the intellect, and if our attitude toward such matters is correct, we come to trust the fact that all nature offers us analogies for the realities of soul and spirit.
What you believe, in your soul, will communicate soul-to-soul to the child and will overwhelm any words you say to the contrary(4). Steiner could not be more emphatic on this point!
[page 16] We must not offer children understanding merely for their ears, but we must communicate from soul to soul. If you remember this, you will make progress.
In Lecture Two on August 22, 1919, Steiner explains how aversion leads to comprehension and affinity leads to love(5). He says there are three focal points in us where aversion and affinity meet. As I understand him, these are the head (sensory system), the chest (rhythmic system), and the whole body as a system of speech production.
[page 17] If you think about what I presented, you will realize that human beings carry three inner focal points, and within each, affinity and aversion meet. We can say that aversion and affinity even meet in the head. We can simplify it schematically. Imagine that in a certain part of the head, the nervous system is first interrupted while sensory perceptions enter, and they encounter aversion arising from the individual. This example demonstrates how we must view each individual system anew in the whole human being. Sensory activity itself is essentially a kind of delicate limb activity; it occurs in such a way that affinity dominates the senses, and the nervous system sends aversion to meet it. In the activity of seeing, a kind of affinity occurs in the eye's blood vessels. Aversion flows through that affinity in its nervous system. This is how seeing takes place.
The second focal point is in the central body or chest (rhythmic system) where affinity and aversion meet.
[page 18] Again, the whole human being is active as affinity and aversion meet, with our awareness, in the middle system. You also know that this meeting can be expressed in response to an impression — a rapid reflex involving very little thought, since it is simply an evasive, instinctive act directed against a perceived threat. These subconscious reflexes are also mirrored in the brain and the soul, and so the whole again acquires a kind of pictorial nature. With images, we accompany what occurs in the chest (the respiratory and rhythmic system) in relation to the meeting between affinity and aversion. Something happens in the breast that is intimately related to the whole life of a human being. There is a meeting between affinity and aversion that has an extraordinarily significant connection with our outer life.
The third focal point is in our speech where our whole being affinity meets the cosmic forces of aversion. In this translation, the words sympathetic and antipathetic are used because an adjectival form is required to modify activities, and affinity and aversion have no common adjectival form.
[page 18, 19] Human speech is the expression of these sympathetic and antipathetic activities that meet in this way. And the brain complements this meeting of affinity and aversion in the breast through our understanding of speech; we follow speech with understanding. Fundamentally, in speech there is an activity in the breast, and there is a parallel activity in the head. In the breast the activity is far more real, whereas the activity in the head fades to an image. In fact, when you speak, you have a constant breast activity that you accompany with an image through the head activity. This makes it obvious that speaking is based on the constant rhythm of sympathetic and antipathetic activity, just as feeling is. Indeed, speech originates in feeling. The way we accompany the feeling with the knowledge or image causes the content of speech to be identical with thoughts.
From this beginning Steiner shows how various feelings generate accompanying sounds: the sound of amazement appears in the letter "O" as it is spoken. Words containing that letter, like "open" generate a slight astonishment, he points out. On Page 20, he develops the various vowel sounds, then gives us the vowel sound of a, o, and u sounding together. As I understand it, this is the vowel sounded in word AUM which is often extended for a long time, used as a mantra, as a way of meditating.
[page 20, 21] This sound expresses the most profound awe. It is found with particular frequency in Asian languages and shows that Asians are able to develop tremendous awe and veneration, whereas in Western languages this sound is missing, since awe and veneration are not the strongest traits of Europeans.
In the 1960s this sound came to Western cultures from Asia and was heard resonating through various meditation centers.
What is important is to note that vowels are sounds of affinity and consonants are sounds of aversion. Consider how love songs are filled with flowing vowels and concern lovers who wish to surrender themselves to each other. If we wish to avert or ward off someone, we expel strong consonants such as in our words, STOP! or QUIT! Only when a vowel is bracketed by consonants can it create aversion. The so-called Romance Languages of French, Italian, and Spanish are filled with flowing vowels. Italian names and nouns often end in a vowel, which make Italian an ideal language for vocal music such as arias and love songs which flow with affinity. German words often being and end with consonants, making it an excellent descriptive language for creating nouns which represent objects which we can bang into and manipulate through processes of aversion.
[page 22] Consequently, you find that we must view vowels as nuances of feeling, whereas we find that consonants, f, b, m, and so on, are imitations of external things. Hence, I was correct yesterday when I showed you how f is related to a fish, since I imitated the shape of the fish. It is always possible to trace consonants back to an imitation of external objects, whereas vowels are very elementary expressions of feeling nuances in people towards things. Therefore, we can view speech as a confrontation between aversion and affinity. Affinities are always present in vowels, and aversions are always present in consonants.
My name is Robert, which has four consonants, and begins and ends with one. Only teachers called me Robert because that was the name on their attendance roll. All my friends and family called me Bobby as a child. Note the ending Y is really a vowel sound like a long e. That gave my everyday name a sympathetic ending sound; it added a bit of affinity and like-ability to my name which made me more approachable. When my family moved me at age 15 to a distant place where I knew no one, I decided that I wanted a more adult name and introduced myself as Bob. Note that my teenage mind equated adult with stand-offish and I chose a new name for myself beginning and ending with a hard consonant. Even today people in my high school area who met me between the age 15 and 18 (at which age I went away to college in a distant city) still call me Bob. When I decided to become a writer, neither Bob nor Robert seemed suitable to me, and I chose Bobby for my pen name as well as my everyday name, so most people call me Bobby today. I offer this analysis as a way of suggesting you review your own set of first names and nicknames as to their approachable nature. Which ones end or begin in vowel sounds? These are the names which represent affinity or like-ability to the rest of your world. A name bracketed by hard consonant-sounds would be suitable for an economist, a statistician, a sculptor, i.e., people who work in jobs with hard edges, etc, such as David, Patrick, Garrick. In fact, I knew a Garrick who switched to using the name Nikki, a much more approachable name for his work on the stage.
[page 22] We can also view speaking in another way. What kind of affinity is expressed in the chest region of the human being so that, as a result, the chest arrests aversion and the head merely accompanies it? The basis of it is musical, something that has passed beyond certain boundaries. Music is the foundation, and it goes beyond certain limits. In a sense, it surpasses itself and becomes more than music. In other words, to the degree that speech contains vowels, it encompasses something musical; to the degree that it contains consonants, it carries a kind of sculpture, or painting. Speech is a genuine synthesis, a true union in the human being of the musical with the sculptural element.
Children feel everything their teacher feels. If a teacher is bored, the children become bored, and the teacher has disciplinary problems. A teacher who develops a sense of awe and respect for the cosmos will feel a reverence for how the cosmos opens up and reveals itself in the growing child in the classroom. A good teacher should sense the mystery in a mature spirit who has arrived from the cosmos as a growing child and feel a reverence for their charge to help this child learn anew about the world of today.
Steiner gives us several pages of description of the connection of human beings with the cosmos to help teachers learn how human beings relate to the cosmos. He explains that as we live and breathe we mirror the astronomical processes of the cosmos. We breathe 18 times a minute. Using this basic fact about human breathing, Steiner shows us that each human being is a microcosm of the cosmos itself. In other words, we are designed in the small, the way our world is designed in the large: as above, so below. Brace yourself, there will be some arithmetical speed bumps ahead.
[page 24, 25] Human beings are embedded in the cosmos in a particular way, and we can observe this externally. I am saying this because (as you saw in yesterday's lecture) much depends on the nature of our feelings toward growing children — the degree of reverence we have toward the mysterious revelation of the cosmos in growing human beings. A tremendous amount depends on our ability to develop this feeling as teachers and educators.
Now let's take a broader view and look again at the significant fact that the human being takes about eighteen breaths per minute. How many breaths is this in four minutes? 18 x 4 = 72 breaths. What is the number of breaths in a day? 18 x 60 x 24 = 25,920 per day. I could also calculate this in a different way, by beginning with the number of breaths in four minutes — 72. Then, instead of multiplying this number by 24 x 60, I would simply multiply it by 6 x 60, or 360; I would arrive at the same number of 25,920 breaths per day: 360 x 72 = 25,920. We can say that our breathing for four minutes — breathing in, breathing out, breathing in, breathing out — is, in a sense, a microcosmic "day." The sum of 25,920 I obtained by multiplying it by 360 relates to this as the process of a whole year: the day of twenty-four hours is like a year for our breathing.
This is first level of our relationship as humans to the cosmos: 24 hours is like a year of breathing. At the next level, Steiner has us look at a higher level of breathing which we go through once in the course of a day. This is the breathing our soul and spirit back into us when we awake each morning, which we then breathe out each night as we go to sleep. How many times does this happen a year? 360. Now we can calculate the equivalence of a day and year for this second level of breathing. The numbers will be familiar to you if you remember the Biblical passage that an average lifetime is 72 years.
[page 25] So with the greater breathing process, in one year we complete something similar to what we complete in one day with the microcosmic breathing process, assuming that we multiply what takes place in four minutes by 360. If we multiply what takes place with waking and sleeping during one day by 360, the answer shows us what takes place in one year. And if we multiply one year by an average life span — that is by seventy-two — we arrive again at 25,920.
We can see that over an average lifetime our second level breathing of waking and sleeping takes place 25,290 times. Do you feel a slight sense of awe, yet? Hold tight, there's more. There's a Great Solar Year which takes place over 25,290 years. This is marked by the position of the Sun rising on the day of the Vernal Equinox. This spot revolves around the horizon in the course of the Great Year also called a Platonic Year. Watch in amazement as Steiner does the math for us.
[page 25] Furthermore, we find a third breathing process by following the sun's course. You know that the spot of the sunrise in spring appears to advance slightly every year. After 25,920 years, the sun has moved around the whole ecliptic (i.e., the spot of sunrise has returned to its beginning place on the horizon). Once again we have the number 25,920 in the planetary cosmic year.
Our average life span of 72 years multiplied by the days in a year 360 = 25,290 which is also the number of years in a Great Year. We could say that we live our entire life during a single day of the Great Year.
[page 26] Thus we can regard what is depicted as a year in the universe as one breath in our human life span and see our human life span as a day in the great cosmic year.
Still feel small and puny? It's hard to do feel anything but a sense of awe and reverence when you realize that the entire cosmos lives inside of you.
[page 26, 27] Overcome the illusion that you are a limited human being; think of yourself as a cosmic process — that is the reality — and you will be able to say, "I am a breath of the universe."
What's the big deal anyway? Why should we understand this theoretical aspect of human beings? What good does it do us to know these details? The answer, at the knowing level is nothing, but, at the feeling level it is absolutely essential. It creates the teacher's soul-to-soul connection with children in the classroom, helping hold the children in rapt attention to the teacher, an attention without which boredom ensues and little useful learning takes place. So, yes, it is a big deal!
[page 27] . . . if, on the other hand, you can maintain a feeling of immeasurable reverence for what is expressed so mysteriously in every human being, this sense will become the solid foundation within you that must be the foundation for teaching.
If you can see the human being as a cosmic mystery, you cannot be misled by those abstract logical thinkers who see Artificial Intelligence as a replacement for human beings in the future, near or far. Such abstract thinking, if carried to an extreme, will be the downfall of humanity, a falling directly into the hands of Ahriman and his materialistic plans for Earth.
When I came to Steiner's works, I saw life as a puzzle with an enigma on each end. What happens during life is puzzling, but happened before birth and after death were two great enigmas to me. Here in this brief passage below Steiner explains the puzzle and two enigmas. As beings of feeling, thinking, and will, we need to realize that feeling is with us during the puzzle we call life, thinking belongs to time before birth, and that what we experience as will will be carried as a seed after death into our next lifetime. Through this realization we are able to fill our children with the cosmic importance of their own lives, newly arrived as they are from the spirit world into a new life on Earth.
[page 28] On the other hand, earthly culture is raised only when we permeate education with the feeling that the whole human being has cosmic significance. And this cosmic feeling arises only when we regard the content of human feeling as belonging to the period between birth and death. Human thinking indicates the period before birth, and what exists in the human will points to what comes after death as a seed for the future. As the threefold human being stands before us, first we see what belongs to the time before birth, then we see what lies between birth and death, and, third, we see what awaits us after death. Our life before birth enters our existence as images, and the seed of what lies beyond death exists within us even before death.
One of my favorite quotations from Ralph Waldo Emerson is this: "We will meet as if we met not and we will part as if we parted not." If this sounds mysterious to you, it is because the time in which we live discounts the existence of karma, up until now. If you meet someone you knew in a previous lifetime, it will seem more like a reunion than a new meeting. If you part after a time, you know that this spirit will arrive again in your world in a next lifetime, whether or not during the present one. There may be random occurrences, but there are no random meetings. The aversions we develop towards people in this lifetime ensure that we will develop affinities towards them in future lifetimes.
[page 29] Furthermore, you can be certain that we are not led to meet one another in this life if there are no preconditions for such a meeting. These external processes are always the outer expression of something inner, regardless of how strange this may seem to a conventional worldview. The fact that you are present to teach these children from the Waldorf factory, and the fact that you will do what is necessary in this regard, indicates that this group of teachers and this group of children belong together in terms of karma. You become the appropriate teacher for these children because in previous times you developed aversions toward them. Now you free yourself from these aversions by educating their thinking. And we develop affinities in the right way by aiding the appropriate development of the will.
If you learn nothing else from Lecture Two, learn this: aversion enables us to comprehend and affinity enables us to love. (Page 30)
In this second decade of the twenty-first century, a TV series known as "The Walking Dead" has become well known. I cannot attest to its content, since I haven't seen any episode, but I can attest to its popularity. What better sign attests that a large majority of Americans have become able to see the world only through mental representations?
[page 32] If we were beings of understanding only, if we were able to observe the world only through our mental representations, we would eventually become walking dead — we would present the image of dying beings on earth.
How can we transcend this lugubrious situation? Through sculpture and pictorial imaginations. Steiner's new art form of eurythmy combines music with sculpture and pictorial images so that the musical and visible realms become one. He says, "We save ourselves from this mortality (of the living dead) only by feeling in ourselves the urge to enliven what is dying in concepts through sculptural and pictorial imagination." (Page 32, 33) He suggests that educators not deny the death processes of conceptual ideas in children. To do otherwise is a great mistake as he illustrates with a metaphor.
[page 33] This mistake in the realm of the soul and spirit is like that of a doctor who observes cultural evolution and then announces, as though he is a great teacher, that bones are a dying part of human beings. Therefore, he says, let us guard people against this dying element by keeping the bones soft and lively. If physicians acted on such an opinion, it would lead to a world of rickety people unable to fulfill their tasks.
This error would be similar to saying that Lucifer and Ahriman are bad and must be guarded against. Nothing could be further from the truth, they must be embraced but in a balanced manner. They do not harm human nature but instead form human nature. One ought to feel comforted by this thought.What is the true nature of color? I must admit that what I learned about color as a physicist is of little help to understanding the nature of color. Goethe, I found, said it best, "Color is the result of the labor light undergoes on its way into the human eye." Let's admit this truth, color would not exist if human eyes were not present to observe light. Physicists who claim that color would exist if there were no human beings reveal their bias to the conceptual over the real. As a physicist I saw a plain coffee cup as white, but as an artist I must admit that coffee cup can have shades of blue, green, red, yellow, etc., on it depending on the path the light takes before falling on its surface. As a human being I can admit that each shade of color creates a different feeling in me. Goethe emphasized the feelings generated in him by each shade of color.
[page 33] We should not avoid educating the conceptual, thinking element. We must educate it, but we must also never fail at other times to approach the nature of the child through the elements of sculpture and image; unity arises out of this.
Unity does not arise by extinguishing one element, but by developing both sides. People today cannot yet think in this way about unity(6).As for myself, I was born in the 1940s into a world of coloring books and wax crayons. I was taught to stay inside the lines and to use the right color for the leaves of a tree and its bark, for the sky, etc. There is nothing more dead than the line drawings in color books. I colored within the dead lines well, but learned little about color and reality as it exists in the world. Steiner urges teachers use watercolors on both colored and white surfaces, so that children may learn the inherent liveliness of colors. (Page 35) I never had a chance to learn this until I took an art course from a delightful Sufi artist in the 1980s. She taught me to see colors and to render them on the canvas. Like Steiner she urged me to paint with colors, not within artificial dead lines.
[page 34] Consequently, he emphasizes the challenging nature of red; he stresses not only what the eye sees but also what the soul feels in red. Similarly, he emphasizes how the soul feels the stillness and absorption of blue. It is possible, without piercing children's innocence, to lead them into the realm of color so that the feeling nuances of the world of color emerge in a living way. Although the first result is a great mess, it provides a good opportunity to train the children to be less messy.
[page 35, 36] Drawing, as such, in fact, approaches the abstract element in nature as something that is dying. Indeed, we should always draw in such a way that we become aware of drawing essentially what is dead. When we paint with colors, we should do it in such a way that it makes us aware that we are invoking the living out of what is dead.Steiner gives us the example of a horizon drawn as a single line which separates the ground from the sky, calling it "an abstract, deathly untruth against nature." Then he shows a watercolor wash of blue across the top of a wash of green. This becomes a living representation of the nature of a horizon. After a performance by eighty children who came from Munich to learn eurythmy in Dornach, Steiner was asked to say a few words to the children before they went home. His prefatory remarks show how important he felt it was for teachers to point out things to children that they do not understand yet; to do otherwise as a teacher would be to deaden all education. Such not-yet-understood things, rightly understood, remain in the children as unanswered questions, seeds for further understanding.Similarly, Steiner urged that so-called unmusical children should be present for all musical presentations. When music is an unanswered question to a child, only further exposure will reveal the secrets of music and form a basis for an appreciation of music. (Page 40) So many unanswered questions in my life have sprouted into lively answers through my reading and studying of Rudolf Steiner's works. I have learned in this Lecture Three that we can look upon the beauty of sculpture, but we must become the beauty of music.
[page 38] I said, "What I am going to say you will not understand now, but you will understand it later. Be alert in the future when you hear the word soul, since you cannot understand it yet."He suggests that we find a way when reciting a poem to sing the rhymes of the poem at the same time. This would be a way to reduce the clash of the content of the poem with its musical process.
[page 44] When the musical ear of human beings is cultivated, they are inspired to experience in a living way the musical essence of the world itself. This is of utmost value for the developing individual. We must not forget that in the sculptural, pictorial realm we look at beauty, we experience it in a living way, whereas in the musical realm we ourselves become the beauty.
[page 44] It would be a step in the right direction if we could further develop our considerations of poetry by reciting each line and enlivening only the rhyming word with melody, so that the line flows along in recitation and the rhyming word is sung like an aria.Human beings who create music are riding on time waves from the future, rightly understood. Remember the future, it hums in the present(7), and the future is the source of true music created by humans.[page 45] Of course, simply imitating in music the sighing of the waves or the singing of the nightingale can produce a certain musicality. But all true music and poetry are new creations, and it is out of this act of creating anew that the Jupiter, Venus, and Vulcan evolutions of the world(8) will arise. Through music we rescue in some way what still has to transpire; we rescue it out of the present nullity of its existence and give it life.Time waves from the future, as I point out in Matherne's Rule #36 reach us as feelings, and when these feelings from the future arrive in a musician, they can be translated into music. This is the kind of true music that Steiner is talking about in the above passage: music that is non-imitative because it originates as a time wave from the future. This is the essence of other art forms as painting, dance, sculpture, etal(9). Eurythmy arrived in Steiner, no doubt, as a time wave from the future, and its presence as a new art form as well as an educational tool for small children has greatly increased in the hundred years of Steiner's future since he introduced eurythmy to the world. Teachers often get so entranced by their own conceptual knowledge that they expound on it to children who are with them on a nature trip. Wonderful phrase, nature trip, don't you think? The children have been transported out of their classroom into Nature. So, why should a teacher cause the classroom experience to intrude into a nature trip? True teachers will allow themselves to be transported out of their classroom teaching mode into the same enjoyment-of-Nature feeling they wish the children to have. True teachers will never break the spell Nature creates in their children by spewing didactic gibberish from some classroom lecture, because gibberish is exactly how the children will hear or, better said, not hear what the teacher says.Teachers do best to share a feeling of sadness that they must dissect nature when they bring it into the classroom, always reminding the children, e.g., that the plant they are looking at is not a whole plant because most of its roots were left behind in the Earth, that they should be delighted in how the beetle runs across, over, and under the leaves of a plant.
[page 45] We should never forget to point out to them that we take them out into the open air so that they can experience the beauty of nature and we bring the products of nature into the classroom so that we can dissect and analyze nature.Teachers also do best to provide occasions for children to feel in their soul the creative nature of music.
[page 46] We should seek to arouse in children a different kind of feeling, the felling that it is unfortunate that we have to dissect nature when we bring it into the classroom. But the children should nevertheless understand this as a necessity, for the destruction of what is natural is necessary in the building up of the human being. We should certainly not imagine that we are doing any good by giving a scientific explanation of a beetle out of doors in natural surroundings. The scientific description of the beetle belongs in the classroom.
[page 46] Furthermore, we should not neglect to call forth in the child's soul a clear sense of how a creative element lives in music, transcending nature, and of how the human being shares in the creation of nature in creating music. This feeling will take shape only very primitively, of course, but it will be the first feeling that must emerge from the will element of music — that the human being feels an integral part of the cosmos.
In Lecture Four Steiner begins by telling teachers that their very first lesson with a classroom of children is extremely important because, rightly executed, it can become a seed for all the future growth of the children.
[page 47] You must regard the first lesson you have with your students in every class as extremely significant. In a certain sense a far more important element will emanate from this first lesson than from all the others. Of course, the other lessons will then have to be turned to account — so that the substance arising in the first lesson becomes fruitful for all the others.
It is in the first lesson that the teacher must plant the WHY, why the child is in school.
[page 47, 48] You are faced, then, with a class of all sorts of children. The first thing to do is to draw their attention to the reason they are there in the classroom. It is very important that you should speak to the children somewhat in this vein: "You have come to school, and now I am going to tell you why you have come to school." This act of coming to school should immediately be drawn to their attention. "You have come to school in order to learn something. You have as yet no idea of all the things you will be learning in school, but there will be all sorts of subjects that you will have to learn. Why will you have to learn all sorts of different things in school? You no doubt know some adults, some grown-up people, and you must have noticed that they can do things that you cannot do. You are here so that one day you will also be able to do what grown-ups can do. One day you will be able to do things that you cannot do yet."
This introduction by the teacher places the child in the present, in the world of adults, and talks about observations which the child will likely have already made, and answered some unanswered questions the child may already have puzzled over. The next phase of the introduction take the child into a world it has likely never considered before: the achievements of previous generations, not only of its parents and grandparents, but also all of the people in the world during their lifetimes and before.
[page 48] No teaching can flow in the right channels unless it is accompanied by a certain respect for the previous generation. This nuance must remain in the realm of feeling and sensing, but we must nevertheless cultivate in the children, by every means, respect and reverence, with which they look up to the achievements of former generations and to what they are also meant to achieve by going to school. We must from the start arouse in the children this way of regarding the culture around them with a certain respect, so that they see those people who are older as somewhat higher beings. If this feeling is not kindled, there will be no progress in teaching and education.
The teacher's job is to plant dozens of unanswered questions which will create energy in the children for finding answers to them, not so much by searching for answers, but by having answers arrive to questions planted months or years previously by their teacher. Steiner says, "The principle that dictates that you teach the children only what they can understand and form an opinion about has ruined much of our culture." I cannot think now of specific instances where this principle is being applied in our time, but from what I've heard mothers telling their children, I expect it may be even more widespread in our time than a hundred years ago.
Another principle that Steiner urges upon teachers is, "Bring life, not play to the child in the classroom." There are certainly many more examples of how play can enter a classroom today, especially with early grade schoolers carrying Smart Phones into school with them, but the principle is the same whether it's square matchsticks being arranged playfully on a desk in Steiner's time or Smart Phones in our time. (Page 50)
[page 50, 51] Please do not misunderstand me. I am not saying that play should not be used in education; I mean that games artificially constructed for the lesson have no place in school. There will still be a great deal to say about how play can be properly incorporated into the lessons.
The next step is for the teacher to make each child aware that it has two hands. "Look at yourselves. You have two hands, a left one and a right one. These hands are for working; you can do all kinds of things with them." (Page 51) Do this and the children will not only know they have two hands, but will become aware of their hands. The next step is to have the children use their hands to do something simple, like drawing a straight line on the board or a piece of paper.
Describing nouns is straightforward: children learn to name the objects they see around them using nouns, and they remain separate from those objects. They say, "I see a table and a chair," and they remain separate from the two objects. When they use adjectives, however, children experience a subtle unconscious merging with the described object.
[page 56] It is quite another matter to describe things using adjectives. When I say, "The chair is blue," I am expressing a quality that unites me with the chair. The characteristic that I perceive unites me with the chair. By naming an object with a noun, I dissociate myself from it; when I describe it with an adjective I become one with it again. The development of our consciousness takes place in our relationship to things when we address them; we must certainly become conscious of the way we address them.
With verbs the unconscious process of uniting takes place both on the speaking and on the listening activities.
[page 56] If I say a verb — for example, "A woman writes" — I not only unite with the being in relation to whom I used the verb, I also do with her what she is doing with her physical body. I do what she does — my I-being does what she does. When I speak a verb, my I joins in with what the physical body of the other is doing. I unite my I with the physical body of the other when I use a verb. Our listening, especially with verbs, is in reality always a form of participation. What is at this time the most spiritual part of the human being participates; it simply suppresses the activity.
The amazing hypnotherapist Milton Erickson, M. D., never officially put any of his patients in trance, he only told them stories, but a minute or so into the story, the patient would be oblivious of the outside world and did internally whatever the person in the story did and had whatever learnings the person had.He did this for over fifty years and had amazing success. Here's my version of one of his wonderful stories. "I was a growing boy in Wisconsin and my brother and I had the job of getting ole Betsy, our milk cow, into the barn each night when the weather got very cold. I would watch my brother fight with Betsy: he pulled her toward the barn and she leaned back and refused to budge. He would have to pull her with her hooves skidding over the frozen ground to get her into the barn, and he would come into the house exhausted. When my turn came, I pointed Betsy away from the barn's open door, and as I tugged gently on her rope, she backed herself into the barn, safe and sound." What Erickson did as a hypnotherapist with his patients was like what he did with Betsy in this story: he would point the patient away from the place they needed to go and tug gently as they backed themselves into a safe and healthy life again.
Erickson knew what a client did when you told him a story: he placed himself in (united his I with) the actor of the story and experienced whatever the actor did, even if the actor might be a rose, for example. When we cry during a poignant moment of a good movie, we are doing exactly the same thing. Why else would we cry? People who don't cry at such moments are to be pitied because they remain disconnected with much of the action in the world around them, both in the real world outside them and the real world inside of them. Rightly understood, if you are not disconnected you are united, and the inside becomes the outside and the outside becomes the inside.
When is listening always made visible? In eurythmy, a speak-dance form of art, innovated by Rudolf Steiner. Today most people do eurythmy unconsciously and in such a sloppy way, they would be angry if you suggested that they did it while listening.
[page 56, 57] Only in eurythmy is this activity placed in the external world. In addition to all its other benefits, eurythmy also activates listening. When one person says something, the other listens; he engages in his I with what lives physically in the sounds, but he suppresses it. The I always participates in eurythmy, and what eurythmy puts before us through the physical body is nothing other than listening made visible. You always do eurythmy when you listen, and when you actually perform eurythmy you are just making visible what remains invisible when you listen. The manifestation of the activity of the listening human being is, in fact, eurythmy. It is not something arbitrary, but rather the revelation of the activity of the listening human being. People today are, of course, shockingly slovenly; at first, when they listen, they do very poor inner eurythmy. By engaging in it as they should, they raise it to the level of true eurythmy.
What passes for listening today? For most people, it is being attuned only to words, phrases, and ideas that they heard for decades; everything else goes right through them without genuflecting or disturbing a single neuron of their brain. They are not uniting their I with the person speaking nor with the actors in the speaker's words, but spend instead their time in the unproductive activity of searching for something the speaker says to which they can reply, sometimes silently, "I know that!" Steiner knows such people and comments on them:
[page 57] Sometimes they innocently admit as much by saying, "Dr. Steiner says a lot of good things, but he never says anything new." People have become so rigid in their listening that they become confused about anything that has not already fossilized gradually within them. People cannot listen and will become increasingly less able to do so in our age, unless the power of listening can be reawakened by eurythmy.
I have read and studied over 256 of Steiner's collections of lectures and I can say from my own experience that not only does Steiner often say things that are new, many of them are completely mind-boggling and require sometimes years to comprehend.
One of his educational strategies is to teach writing before reading. We already heard about how Elisabeth in "When Calls the Heart" took a 12-year-old who was considered dumb because he couldn't read, and she baked cookies in the shape of animals and taught him to write using these cookies. Only then could he begin to recognize those letters and words in a school textbook.
We all know that Egyptian hieroglyphics were a picture language. When did we move from a pictorial to an alphabet language?
[page 65] The fact is if you go back in history to the most ancient forms of Egyptian writing, which was still a type of sign writing, you find many copies of objects and animals in the letters. Not until the transition from the Egyptian to the Phoenician culture did the change take place that brought about the development of the picture into a sign representing a sound. It is this transition that the children must experience anew. Let us therefore gain a clear idea of the theory of it ourselves.
Steiner goes through several letters to describe their origin to encourage teachers to find their own ways to introduce their children to the various letters of the alphabet. The script f looks like a fish, the uppercase B like a Bear, and the flattened out M resembles a Mouth. When children are presented with letters and learn the sounds that go with each, the fuh, the buh, the muh sounds for f, B, and M, they can learn to draw the objects while hearing and saying their associated sounds. Once versed in the alphabet in this fashion, they become able to write down simple words and say them. Soon they transit almost magically into being able to read the words and say them aloud, all because their will had already been activated in the writing phase. Writing is a concrete activity, and reading is an abstract activity. Children love the concrete will-based activity and hate the abstract activity, so presenting writing first will appeal to the children who will learn reading soon afterward, almost on their own. Plus the teacher will receive joy from having personally inspired their children by the selection of the objects to form the letters of the alphabet.
Steiner is speaking directly to the teachers:
[page 66] Working things out for yourself will refresh you so much that what you tell your students will have a far more living effect than lesson material you find through historical research. Looking at life and your teaching with these two aspects in mind, you must ask yourselves which is more important. Is it to take in a historical fact with great effort and then strenuously seek to weave it into your lessons or to have such agility of soul that you can invent your own examples to offer your students with your own enthusiasm? It will always give you joy, albeit a quiet joy, to transfer to a letter the shape you have made yourself out of some animal or plant. And your Joy will live in what you make out of your student.
In a world one-sidedly devoted to the conceptual aspect of life, we tend to create the phenomena of "little professors" in our children. These are preteens who spout out facts about everything. They seem to know the meaning of everything and the value of nothing. The meek or absent-minded professor is a familiar example of little professors who age into grown professors who know a lot, but can do little.
[page 79] What is assimilated as meaning works only on the faculty of observation, the faculty of cognizing through thought; by laying emphasis on the meaning, we educate a person one-sidedly merely to observe the world, to know it through thought. If we were to teach only in accordance with that statement, the result would be nothing but weak-willed individuals.
Being married to a strong-willed woman, I am often upset by her resisting my perpetual unrestrained laying bare of meaning. "Why would I want to know that?" is a common epithet she throws at me.
[page 79, italics added] It is indeed a fact that by first one-sidedly analyzing the meaning of everything we can go a long way in the education of the human being's observation of the world. But we would get nowhere in educating the will, for we cannot force the will to emerge by throwing a strong light on the meaning of anything. The will wants to sleep; it does not want to be awakened fully by what I might call the perpetual unrestrained laying bare of meaning. It is simply a necessity of life that penetrates beyond the simple truth about the revelation of meaning and gives rise to the fact that we must also do things with the children that do not call for the elucidation of meaning. Then we shall educate their will.
As a youth I was obsessed with learning, but my will became developed by being forced to use my hands to build my own toys, pick blackberries, snap beans, chip pears for preserves, catch fish and crabs, and numerous other things. However, there were some things that I tried my best at and failed by using my grasp of meaning, like marching in step. No matter what information I got on how to do it, I failed. The meaning-level information never made it into my will system. After a Fall of marching out of step during my high school band's half-time performances during football games, I had to march in several six-mile-long parades during Carnival season. After about three miles of the first parade, I began to feel the downbeat and set my foot down in harmony with it and voila! I was marching in step. No amount of instruction or study of the meaning of marching in step could have helped me do that, only the will-based activity itself.
[page 80] Human life calls for more than education in the realm of meaning; it calls for education in what the will experiences in its sleeping condition — rhythm, beat, melody, harmony of colors, repetition, any kind of activity that does not call for a grasp of meaning.
Wow! Harmony of colors! That was a concept which evaded me for about fifty years. My choice of colors to wear were based on anything but a harmony of colors. But I had studied harmony in music theory while singing in a Barbershop Chorus. I sang lead parts successfully in a chorus because I was able to match the tone of other lead singers and sing in tune with them. But I was lost in a quartet where I was the only lead singer, having a poor ear for pitch. One day after my wife corrected my choice of colors for the umpteenth time, I thought about harmony in music, how three notes can make a harmonious chord, a chord whose sound feels good when you hear it, and I wondered if colors might work like that. I began to select colors to wear based on how I felt when I saw two colors together. If I wore green trousers, I selected a shirt which had some green in and they harmonized. If the shirt also had some red in it, I selected an undershirt that was red. By keeping solid colors in my pants and undershirt I could select a top shirt of various colorful patterns which included the colors of the shirt and pants. When I wore these combinations, I felt good. Harmony in music and color, I discovered, makes me feel good. My wife is happy, I'm happy, and I get compliments for my clothes from friends and strangers now.
Another principle of Steiner's Waldorf education requires teachers to follow students through each year's study into the next year until the end of their schooling. When you do this as a teacher, the unanswered questions which you intrigue students with in one year will return later at a time when they are ready to receive an explanation for what had puzzled them earlier. (Page 84)
[page 85] This works very strongly on the heart forces. That is why it is essential in any good school that the teacher remain with a single group of students for as long as possible. . . . Only in this way can one work with the rhythms of life. And life has rhythm in the most comprehensible sense.
In Lecture Eight Steiner discusses how children cannot absorb concepts of science as they apply to human beings before the age of twelve. Take the example of how light enters the eye of the human being. You can show them the physics but they cannot relate to it happening inside of their own body before the age of twelve.
[page 108] It is quite simple to do so by showing them a lens, explaining the focus, and demonstrating how light is refracted. But these are facts of physics that have their place outside the human being. We can describe them to children in the period between ages nine and twelve, but we should not apply such descriptions of physics to the organs of the human being before the children have reached the age of twelve. Only then do they begin to assess properly how the external world is continued in the human being. Before then, they cannot understand this. They can understand the processes of physics, but they cannot understand how these processes take place within the human being.
If you are skeptical about this age requirement, I would agree with you. I would be skeptical myself if not for a memorable event which happened to me at age ten. I was taking out five books each time I went to my local public library and was well-known to Mrs. Lawson the librarian. Only once did she ever hesitate to check out a book for me. That event was burnt into my soul as an unanswered question for more than a decade. For the ten-year-old me this was a fun cartoon-filled book about the adventures of a cute imp named Spiro who had a spiral-shaped tail by which he bored into a human body to begin his adventures, one of which ended with him coming out on the side of an eyeball. After examining the book thoroughly and looking at me intensely, Mrs. Lawson allowed me to check out the book. I read the book hardly at all, it was Spiro's adventures in the human body that caught my attention. Sometime in my twenties, I recalled that book and realized that it was about syphilis and the playful Spiro was the syphilis bug. If I had read the book several years later I might have made that connection, but under 12, it was the book's comic book aspect that attracted me. And it is this episode in my life which convinced me of the truth of Steiner's recommendation to wait until after the child is over twelve years of age to discuss science topics which involve the human body.
Sometime in schooling I probably encountered this contradiction: to create electricity by rubbing objects together, the object must be dry, but somehow water itself falling from the sky generates huge electrical lightning bolts!
[page 112, 113] I must point out to you that a considerable amount of what is included in our concepts of physics wreaks havoc in the child and that a great deal depends on the teacher's knowing what is right and trying to be mature in judgment. You cannot avoid saying to the bigger children: "Here you have an electrical generator; what I have here is a frictional electrical generator. I can make electricity by rubbing certain objects together, but I must first wipe the objects carefully because they have to be very dry. If they are wet, the experiment will not work, and no electricity will be made." Then you enlarge on the reasons why electricity cannot be produced with wet instruments. And you go on to explain how lightning occurs, pointing out that it is also an electrical process. There are many people who claim that clouds rub against each other and that the resulting friction causes lightning as an electrical discharge. The children will perhaps believe this because the teacher actually believes it, but in their subconscious a special process takes place of which they are unaware.
The children say to themselves: "My teacher wipes the instruments before rubbing them together to make electricity, just to make sure that they are not wet, and then tells me that if clouds rub together, electricity is made. But clouds are wet." Children notice such inconsistencies. And much of the disharmony in life stems from the fact that children are told such contradictions. These contradictions ought to arise outside in the world; they have no place in our thinking. Because human knowledge and perception are too shallow today, such contradictions, which really tear apart the human unconscious, continually crop up in what we tell children and, later, young people. We must take care that what we bring consciously to the children does not contain too much of what in their subconscious they will imagine differently.
In my second year of college studying physics, I found a design for a waterdrop electrostatic generator. Using two large and two small metallic juice cans, four blocks of paraffin wax for insulation, some stiff wire, some plastic tubing and two metal rings, I made a working generator that simulated the action of rain falling to create large electric charges. The voltages were 5,000 to 8,000 volts as measured by the length of spark produced. All this from a couple of streams of dropping water. This is about voltage produced by walking across the carpet in a Las Vegas hotel and putting a metal key into a lock. The air in a desert is so dry that high voltages can be built up before discharging all at once. In moist air elsewhere the electrostatic build-ups leak into the air via the moisture and are defused before a discharge.
What the teacher said about instruments being dry to make electricity was true, but the water drop generator proved to me that lightning size build-ups can happen in the presence of moisture, with much higher voltages and large flashes when they discharge.
When I first took German in college, it was a five semester hour class which meant one hour of class every day for the semester. The teacher explained if you wish to make an A in this class, you will need to spend 3 hours in the audio lab with audio tapes, listening to and speaking German, for every hour of class. It was tough, but I did it, got the A, and began taking other classes in German as electives because I enjoyed the language. Never did the teacher read a passage aloud and ask us to follow in a book. He showed us how to pronounce the various vowels and consonants of the German language in class and the rest of our learning was in the lab hearing and speaking what we heard in the earphones.
[page 136] The right way is for the teacher to relate freely whatever is to be put across to the children or, if a passage or poem is presented verbatim, to speak it by heart without using a book. Meanwhile, the students do nothing but listen; they do not read the text as the teacher speaks. Then, possibly, they are asked to reproduce what they have heard without having read it first. This method is vital for teaching foreign languages, but need not be taken into account so much for lessons in the mother tongue. What matters very much with the foreign language is that the children should understand through hearing rather than through reading — that a language should become intelligible to them through speech. When this has been accomplished, the children can be allowed to take their book and read the passage. Alternatively, if this is not expecting too much of them, they can be given for homework the task of reading what has been addressed in the lesson.
If any of topics in this review were of interest to you, read the book as the full lectures contain a lot more information about the things I covered, plus there are many more topics than I covered. Steiner closed this book of practical advice to teachers with four principles that he urged them to follow (from page 187, 188).
I. The teacher must be a person of initiative in everything done, great and small.
II. The teacher should be one who is interested in the being of the whole world and of humanity.
III. The teacher must be one who never compromises in the heart and mind with what is untrue.
IV. The teacher must never get stale or grow sour.
These four principles for teachers laid down by Rudolf Steiner he followed in all of his life and teachings. He gave over 6,000 lectures and wrote a number of books in 25 years and his lectures never grew stale. He devoted his entire lifetime to well-being of the whole world and humanity. Never once can you find him compromising on what is true versus what is untrue. His initiative never faltered. If someone asked him a question about a matter, such as Emil Molt did about founding a school based on his educational principles for Molt's employees at his Waldorf Factory, Steiner offered to help and devoted the last 6 years of his life to doing that. He saw it as the best chance of developing the type of people who will understand the world in a new way of openness for spiritual realities, which the world needed so desperately in his time and even more in our time.
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Footnote 2. This type of music fills most wedding receptions and carnival balls in 2017. It can't be danced to, but merely jumped up and down to the heavy thumping beat. With this animalistic music, lyrics become almost non-existent, limited to repetitive chants in time with the drum beats. I coined the name "Jump and Thump" for this genre, modeled off a genre which began 70 years ago called "Rock and Roll".Return to text directly before Footnote 2.
Footnote 3. A footnote refers us to Steiner's book Goethe's Theory of Knowledge in which he writes on page 39, "Goethe always takes the path of experience in the strictest sense. He first takes the objects as they are, then tries to penetrate their nature while waiting to see what develops. One tries to allow nature an opportunity to demonstrate her laws under especially characteristic conditions that one brings about."Return to text directly before Footnote 3.
Footnote 4. Read my Live Lecturer in the College Classroom for more insight on soul-to-soul communication. Link is http://www.doyletics.com/arj/tandlrvw.shtml#live_lecture.Return to text directly before Footnote 4.
Footnote 5. Steiner noted that he was expanding on what he had pointed out to his audience an hour ago, namely, the processes of aversion and affinity in his earlier lecture on August 22, 1919. If you look at what he talked about then, you'll find his words are antipathy and sympathy, another way of translating the actual German words he used into English. See the likely passages he was referring to in pages 49 to 62 of The Foundations of Human Experience. Several of those passages are in my 2013 review (linked at left) of the book published in 1996.Return to text directly before Footnote 5.
Footnote 6. Steiner adds as an aside, "This is why they find it so difficult to understand the threefold arrangement of society. It is entirely appropriate in society that the spiritual, economic, and legal spheres exist side by side; this is how unity comes about, instead of being constructed abstractly." These topics are elaborated in Towards Social Renewal and other references contained in that review.Return to text directly before Footnote 6.
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Footnote 9. See my essay on Art as the Process of Destruction: http://www.doyletics.com/artpofd.htm. What is being destroyed is the dead sameness of the art of the past and present as a time wave from the future arrives. Note especially my essay's poem Art which ends with this sentence, "Art is the fresh hardware store/that hums our future".Return to text directly before Footnote 9.
2.) ARJ2: Mastering the Techniques of Teaching by Joseph Lowman
This book was an auxiliary textbook for my course in College Teaching, and it provides a solid background for any prospective or current college teacher interested in improving the process of teaching. Lowman looks at college teaching as a dramatic arena as well as a human arena, and in that arena the professor or teacher is a skilled artist. Here's how he sums up his book in the Preface.
[page x] Though considerable relevant research is cited, teaching and learning are not thought of here as cold and technological but warm, exciting, and personal - decidedly human processes in which emotion and magic abound.
He asks on page 3 whether we need better teachers as the students suggest or better students as the faculty suggests, and hints that the assertion from O. P. Kolstoe's book College Professoring that "nobody can't teach nobody nothing" is right on the money. As I like to say, "Thus a Teacher, So Also a Learner!" If there's not teaching and learning going on both sides of the lectern, then what passes for education is paltry indeed.
Lowman's approach to teaching and learning effectiveness can be described in the following simple equation:
Q ( I ) = ( IE + PR )
Where the Quality Q of Instruction I is considered as the Summation of the two skills of 1) evoking Intellectual Excitement IE and 2) creating Positive Rapport PR in Students.
[page 10] These two kinds of skills are relatively independent, and excellence at either can ensure effective teaching with some students and in certain kinds of classes. A teacher who is accomplished at both is most likely to be outstanding for all students and in any setting.
Such teachers continue to work on a subject until it becomes so simple that they themselves understand it in a deeper way. In Jerome Bruner's book The Process of Education he tells of a college professor who had the experience of doing his lecture over and over until the professor understood it, at which point the blank faces on his students disappeared. [See ARJ: The Process of Education for the exact quote.] The process of teaching is not the simple act of conveying words that describe some subject, but rather it is the complex act of transferring understanding from one person directly to another. That transfer requires that understanding be present first in the transmitter before it can be radiated to a receiver. Knowledge is acquired by receiving understanding not by receiving words from a lecturer at the front of a class.
[page 11] Outstanding teachers share this facility for clear exposition. Ernest Rutherford, the nineteenth-century British physicist, believed that he had not completed a scientific discovery until he was able to translate it into readily understandable language (Highet, 1950).
"Why has the lecture survived?" Lowman asks pointedly about the survival of the live lecture format on page 96 after evoking images of students struggling to stay awake in soporific lectures. Considering only the pedagogical aspects of this, it is my belief that the lecturer's understanding is transmitted directly to the brain of the student when both minds are tuned to the same wavelength - the tuning occurs during listening when both the lecturer and the student are thinking the same thoughts. In any teaching and learning situation using a written or otherwise pre-recorded media, the student must do the job of both the absent professor and the student, i.e., must perform both as the transmitter and the receiver. That is an enormously more difficult job, one whose magnitude of difficulty is glossed over or simply ignored by educational firms selling and promoting such recorded lessons.
[page 101] While many theorists stress the importance of events outside individuals for learning, the position taken here is that human learning is heavily mediated by internal events - thoughts or cognitions.
And it is the thoughts and cognitions in both the teacher and the learners that must become intermeshed in a seamless web of instantaneous rapport for that understanding to be communicated effectively. To me it is obvious that the live lecture is the most powerful tool for accomplishing such a transfer of understanding. Thus, I would heartily agree with Lowman's point on page 110, "A completed set of notes is no substitute for having been in class to make them."
In Lowman's chapter on developing style, he gives many useful techniques for teachers beset by a barrage of questions from their charges. Here's two sample techniques that illustrate the valuable insights that the author provides again and again throughout this book.
[page 56] Q: "But how are we supposed to know which of these names is important?"
A: "That's a good question. I guess some of the people mentioned in the book have had more impact on the field than others and are more important, but I hope everyone appreciates that they are all notable authors (scientist, artists, philosophers, or whatever). I would rather that you decide how they are similar and different and what impact they have had on each other than try to guess how I might decide to rank-order them."
[page 60, Question from a sniper about the racist, sexist, or elitist attitudes of some historical figure. ] A: "That's an interesting point, and it raises an important dilemma for the historian: How can we look at distant events through the eyes of the people of that era, rather than coloring them with contemporary values? We will discuss historical methods again in a few weeks. For now, let me say that I very much sympathize with your concerns and I suggest that all of us try to imagine why this leader did what he did given the way that he and many others of his time viewed the world."
Lowman is a master teacher and is constantly on the watch for ways to improve his own teaching. He exhorts us to examine our own teaching processes as he teaches us about warming up before a class. On page 91 he tells a story about his psychology class that was moved across campus during a semester and required a ten minutes' walk to reach the class. Rather than the usual thirty seconds jaunt to the class, he had ten minutes of walking between class. He noticed that he could begin teaching immediately with the energy and concentration that usually took him ten minutes into the class to reach. He writes, "In effect, I had been warming up at the students' expense in the past."
[page 92] When I mentioned this to one of my students, a drama major, she said that no actor or musical performer would ever fail to prepare emotionally before going on stage, and she wondered where I had gotten the idea that college teachers were exempt from this rule!
In his chapter on classroom discussions, he gives us a simple way of implementing the "believing-doubting game" originated by Peter Elbow [See ARJ: Embracing Contraries ].
[page 126] One popular form of role playing is a "minidebate" between students: Those sitting in one half of the room argue for one position, and the reset assume the opposing view. If a show of hands indicates an equal split on an issue initially, one variation is have each side assemble and argue for the position they do not endorse, against their own beliefs. This is guaranteed to produce a lively exchange and a fresh consideration of the topic by all.
In closing the book, Lowman finishes with this insightful passage in which he refers to the extensive interviews he did with masterful teachers over the years.
[page 227] My interviews convinced me that ultimately every great teacher decided to work at mastering this art for the very personal reason that being a virtuoso in the classroom is so inherently rewarding.
3.) ARJ2: The Principle of Spiritual Economy in Connection with Questions of Reincarnation, GA# 109 by Rudolf Steiner
The translator, Peter Mollenhauer, provides us with an Introduction in which he explains the title's theme of spiritual economy. He says that it "is directly related to Steiner's investigations about the 'spiritual guidance of human beings' and later lectures dealing with karma" and reincarnation. As a physicist, I read these lectures as if they were about a conservation law of the spiritual world. We have in the physical world the respected "Law of Conservation of Energy" which states that, in any closed system, energy cannot be created or destroyed, only changed from one form to another. In the spiritual world, as Steiner enlightens us in these lectures, there is a conservation of not only the immortal human "I" or Ego, but for certain spiritually advanced human beings, even their etheric and astral bodies are conserved for further use in another form or human body. Mollenhauer also points to the excerpt from Steiner's Autobiography, The Course of My Life, to explain the difference between material written for reading and material transcribed from lectures, such as the lectures that comprise this book:
[page 163] The exclusively public writings are the result of what struggled and was at work in me, whereas in the privately printed material [RJM: such as his transcribed lectures] the society joins me in my struggle and labor. When it does, I listen to the pulsations in the soul-life of the members and as I vividly partake in what they have to say, the lecture takes shape.
As a result of the difference in the thrust of his written versus his spoken words, translators have to take into account the connotative quality of words, phrases, and sentences and render them into the English of contemporary American speakers. (paraphrase of Mollenhauer's words on page xi.) He cautions the reader to be aware that this process is one of approximation and a confirmation of Wilhelm von Humbolt's dictum that "all understanding is also a misunderstanding." This thought of Humbolt's matches the famous dictum of the founder of General Semantics, Alfred Korzybski, who said, "The map is not the territory; it does not represent all the territory." One can rightly understand this to say that Steiner's spoken lectures comprised the territory of which Mollenhauer's translation is but a map. A very good map, but a map — a map that cannot represent all of the territory, but nevertheless a map that provides a useful guide to his thoughts on the subject of these lectures on spiritual economy. The more one is familiar with the territory that a map represents, the more the map will be useful in finding one's way around. The same is true for those who listen to Steiner's lectures or read transcriptions of them — if one is familiar with the content of his spiritual science already, one will readily be able to navigate around the Scylla and Charybdis obstacles of the transcription and translation of his lectures on the subject.
One can easily be drowned in the Charybdian whirlpool of the following sentence from the beginning paragraph or opening topic of the very first lecture.
[page 1] What today we do not merely believe but perceive as truths that are beyond the realm of faith used to be incredible to us in earlier days and today still appears as fantastic nonsense or reverie to outsiders.
If I may hazard a re-statement to help clarify Steiner's meaning: First we must accept that there are truths that are beyond the realm of faith, truths that we perceive, not believe. These truths seemed unbelievable (in-credible) to us in earlier days, so we must naturally not be surprised if those who are new to these truths today should label them as "fantastic nonsense or reverie". If your impression at any point in this review is that this is nonsensical folderol, perhaps you would better served if you stopped reading it and studied some of Rudolf Steiner's earlier books such as An Outline of Occult Science or Knowledge of Higher Worlds and Their Attainment.
Think of a papaya tree, but any tropical plant or tree will suffice for this metaphor. After a freeze, the tree becomes a corpse, its trunk dissolves, it separates into water and a papery tube as the etheric body that kept it alive leaves it. The collapsed tube lays on the ground, a corpse, with no life left in it. If we have removed the papaya fruit before the freeze, the fruit of the tree can live to create a new papaya tree in the next season. This is something we perceive, not something that we would say that we believe, even though it has the air of the incredible about it if we think deeply on the subject of how a pea-sized black seed might grow into an eighteen foot papaya tree in a mere nine months.
When a human dies, the body becomes a corpse when the etheric, astral, and Ego bodies leave it. [During sleep, only the Ego and astral bodies leave and the etheric and physical bodies remain behind.] Like the papaya tree, there is only dead tissue and body remnants left behind; in other words, the physical bodies of the dead papaya tree and of the dead human both dissolve into the physical body of Earth.
What is the human equivalent of the fruit of the papaya, however? Even though humans are more evolved than papaya trees, there is a human equivalent of the fruit of the papaya tree. We said the etheric body of the dead papaya tree is gone, but when we inspect the fruit that we removed earlier, we find that there is incipient life — an etheric body — inside of the fruit, a fact that we can easily confirm by planting its seeds in the Earth and watching it grow. The papaya is simpler than the human - it has only etheric and physical bodies. The plant adds an etheric body to the purely physical body of the mineral. The animal adds an astral body. The human adds an "I" or Ego body to its astral, etheric and physical bodies. This represents the condition of minerals, plants, animals, and humans during the current Earth epoch of evolution.
With this prologue, dear Reader, you are ready to read the following passage and perceive the spiritual realities that infuse your life. Steiner is describing what happens when one dies. First the etheric, astral, and Ego bodies leave the physical body with the etheric and Ego bodies nestled inside of the astral body. Directly one experiences a memory tableau of one's life for the longest time that one stayed awake during one's life, about two days for the average person. In this tableau one sees as in a diorama the events of one's life spread out before one's eyes all of a piece, one's life from beginning to end spread out before one. Time becomes space in the tableau.
[page 2] Then the etheric body leaves the astral body, in which the ego is living. All three had been connected from the time they left the physical corpse, but now the etheric body separates itself from the other two and becomes an etheric corpse. However, today's human beings do not lose their etheric body completely but take an extract or excerpt along with them for all the times to follow.So in this sense the etheric corpse is cast off, but the fruit of the last life is carried along by the astral body and by the ego. If we want to be quite precise, we will have to say that something is taken along from the physical body as well: a kind of spiritual abstract of this body — the tincture medieval mystics spoke about. However, this abstract of the physical being is the same in all lives; it merely represents the fact that the ego had been embodied. On the other hand, the essence of the etheric body is different in all lives, depending on what one has experienced in a life and on the degree of one's progress in it.
If one produces fruit in one's life, then the spiritual economy conserves that fruit for a later life, similar to the papaya with its seeds. As the owner of a papaya tree that is very fruitful, a tree that makes plump and delicious fruit, one would be more likely to plant the seeds of that papaya than the seeds of papaya trees that made small, hard, or inedible fruit.This point is best kept in mind as one reads later about the etheric and astral bodies of spiritually advanced human beings that are preserved by the spiritual world for later use in future incarnations. In this thought lies the essence of what Steiner refers to as spiritual economy.
After the memory tableau, which precedes the separation of the etheric from the astral body, comes a longer period of time, equal to the amount of time one spent sleeping during one's entire lifetime, during which the astral body takes its gradual leave of the Ego body. This is the trying period referred to by Christians as Purgatory and by spiritual science as kamaloca, a word taken from the religions of the East.
[page 3] There follows the condition of what is called kamaloca, the time of weaning the soul from the effects of physical, sensuous experiences, which lasts about a third of the time of a person's physical life. After the etheric body has been cast off, the astral body still contains the passions, desires, and so on that it had at the end of life; they must be lost and purified, and that is kamaloca. Then the astral body is cast off and here, too, the fruit, the astral essence, is taken along; but the rest — the astral corpse — dissolves into the astral world. The human being now enters devachan where he or she prepares in the spiritual world for a new life in the future. Here human beings live with spiritual events and beings until they are again called into the physical world, be it because the karma of a person demands it or because an individual is needed on the physical earth.
There is the progression of the human soul, the immortal "I" or Ego body, from life to death and back to life, described as a very general process — a process, not to be believed in, but one to be perceived as a truth. It is this process of perceiving that distinguishes spiritual science as a science, distinguishes it from a religion. Religions, rightly understood, are necessarily grounded in belief and faith.
How does one perceive something that one cannot perceive? If you've ever taken a piece of electronic gear to be repaired to a service man, you may know that he is able to hook up your video cassette recorder (VCR) to an oscilloscope, perceive signals that extend only microseconds in time, and make adjustments based on what he perceives to repair your VCR. One does not need to believe in those signals if one has a technician who can see them with his instrument and make adjustments. One grasps, comprehends, or perceives that the signals have a reality based on the logical and fruitful results produced by the service man.Electronics, to say it another way, is a science based on perceptions, not a religion based on belief. In a similar way, Rudolf Steiner perceived spiritual realities and reported them to us in a consistent way that one can confirm on one's own, and he called the knowledge of how to perceive the realities he perceived, spiritual science. Whether one becomes a service technician of spiritual science, like Steiner did, or not, one can grasp the truths of his spiritual science from their fruitfulness and logical consistency in explaining the matters of the world we know, both its physical and spiritual realities. This should not be taken as a statement of fact but as a challenge — because any one who is the least bit skeptical about that statement may check it out for oneself. If one needs to see the oscilloscope before one will accept the reality of the repaired VCR, there are books and schools to teach one to use and read the oscilloscope. Similar modes are available in the field of spiritual science, and have been available since the majority of humans first began to lose direct perception of the spiritual world.
Lest one shrug off the realities involved, this next passage should disabuse one quickly of any notion that these realities are easy to comprehend.
[page 4] The [sun] consists of spiritual beings who make use of the physical sun much in the same way as human beings make use of the earth.
In time before the flood on Earth, it was the job of the spiritual science schools or "oracles," as they were called, to teach spiritual science to the initiates, and the most important oracle was the Sun Oracle, who taught about the reality of the beings in the Sun. Today we would call that same oracle the Christ Oracle as both oracles refer to the same great Sun Being. I remind you, dear Reader, of my admonition not to proceed further in this review if you have not grasped the reality of the Christ as residing in the Sun. If you, like Saul on the road to Damascus, must doubt this reality till you have directly perceived it, there is a clear path for you to follow to achieve this result, but explaining how to do it is outside the scope of this review. I refer you again to Steiner's basic books, An Outline of Occult Science or Knowledge of Higher Worlds and Their Attainment.
The etheric bodies of the seven great oracles of the pre-flood time were preserved or conserved similar to how we might preserve the seeds of our seven best papaya trees to ensure that we might have equally good papayas after the next freeze. Eventually through migration, the seven preserved etheric bodies of the great teachers ended up in seven sages in India called the Rishis. These etheric bodies can be thought of as molds such as those on the rings of kings. A king would press his signet ring into the freshly poured wax covering the flap of the envelope or scroll, and his signature was thus imprinted or sealed into the physical body of his communication. In a like manner, the preserved etheric bodies of earlier humans are impressed or imprinted into later human beings as part of the spiritual economy. One must understand that this process of spiritual economy leads to surprising and oft times confusing results when one examines the evidence for reincarnation. One cannot help but think of the case of Bridey Murphy that gained such notoriety in the 20th Century when one reads the next passage.
[page 7] Not all etheric bodies dissolve after death, but some of those that are especially useful are transferred to other human beings. But the "I" of the individual receiving the etheric or astral body is not at all identical with the ego of the donor. Disregarding this fact can easily lead to great misconceptions on the part of someone who investigates a human being's past with faulty clairvoyant methods. It is for this reason that the occult theories about the earlier lives of human beings are often completely wrong.
A famous case of preserved etheric and astral bodies going into other humans was when Zarathustra's astral body entered his great initiate, Hermes, and Zarathustra's etheric body entered his other great initiate, Moses. When, during St. Matthew's account of the birth of Jesus, Mary and Joseph leave with baby Jesus to Egypt immediately after birth, we now know it was because the Ego body of Zarathustra had reincarnated in the baby Jesus's body. His parents took the baby to Egypt where the other two bodies of the great initiate Zarathustra, his astral and etheric bodies, had exerted so much influence in conjunction with the Egos we know today as Hermes and Moses. To complete the development of the Jesus Ego who was to begin his instruction in the temple eleven years later, this trip to Egypt was essential.
In relating the life of Moses, the story of his unusual birth is always told, but it is rarely explained why the story is important. With what we have learned of the origin of Moses's etheric body from Zarathustra, we can now relate why the infant Moses was placed in a basket woven of bulrushes and floated on water alone for a long time before he was found — the purpose was to awaken completely the Zarathustran etheric body of Moses. (from page 9) Rightly understood, this event was the genesis of Genesis.
[page 150] During the time when Moses lay isolated in the ark on the water, the etheric body that had been woven into him became illuminated. Only then could the astral body and the ego begin to work in him. Are not the powerful images of Genesis, which will occupy humanity for a long time to come, images taken from the Akasha Chronicle? [RJM: Akasha Chronicle is the name for the record of all physical and spiritual events, like an oscilloscope log that encompasses both worlds.]
Steiner tells us that whenever a pioneering personality dies, the etheric body is always preserved, but he cautions one against the hubris of imagining oneself to be the reincarnation of a famous person as Socrates, Beethoven, or Napoleon, when in fact one may only carry an imprint of his etheric body. One need only consider the classic mental hospital cases claiming to be Napoleon to grasp the truth of the next passage.
[page 11] Not only is this an error that is regrettable in itself, but the human being coming to these conclusions would live under the influence of this mistaken idea, and that would have nearly catastrophic consequences. The result of such an illusion would be that the whole development of the soul proceeds in the wrong direction.
There are beings that descend into human bodies who do need a corporeal body, but do it anyway from time to time to assist the development of human beings. These beings, such as Seth, the being who would inhabit Jane Roberts' body from time to time, can be found out by tracing back to a previous existence and not finding one. In Seth's case, he readily admitted to never being in a physical body previously. Seth is what in the East is called an avatar.
[page 14] . . . such a being gains nothing from this embodiment for himself and experiences nothing that is of significance for the world. This, then, is the distinction between a leading being that has emanated from human evolution and beings whom we call avatars. The latter reap no benefit for themselves from their physical embodiments, or even from one embodiment to which they subject themselves; they enter a physical body for the blessing and progress of all human beings.
"Whoever heard of anything so foolish? Seth, an avatar? So what? Inane tripe by some beer-drinking cigarette-smoker with an overactive imagination. What on Earth meaning could that have for me?" you may be thinking. Maybe none. Read on.
[page 14, 15] The greatest avatar being who has lived on earth, as you can gather from the spirit of our lectures here, is the Christ — the Being whom we designated as the Christ, and who took possession of the body of Jesus of Nazareth when he was thirty years of age. This Being, who did not come into contact with our earth until the beginning of our era, was incarnated for three years in a body of flesh and has since that time been in contact with the astral, i. e., the spiritual sphere of our supersensible world; this Being has a unique significance as an avatar being.Although other, lower avatar beings can reincarnate several times, it would be in vain for us to seek the Christ-Being in an earlier human embodiment on earth.
The essential difference between human beings and avatar beings is that we humans give the world nothing, we only take something from it — whereas avatars only give something and take nothing from the world. That describes the life of Christ Jesus aptly — He gave everything He had to the world and took nothing from it. Even His astral presence in the spiritual world, His most essential Being, He left behind for our benefit.
If we are going to acquire an automobile that will last us a long time, we don't purchase the cheapest one available, but the most expensive and durable one available to us. If we know that we are going to require an automobile for a long time, we are engaging in a valuable process of perception I call remembering the future. I wrote a short verse about this process:
Remembering the Past
Remembering the Future
will suit you.
If we look at large tribes of people, we can find no larger tribe than that of the Semites, which people derived their very name from their original father, Shem. Remembering the future meant knowing that Shem was to become the progenitor of a great tribe of people and preparing a special etheric body for him to structure his individuality around. This is something that all of us do. As soon as we are born, we begin structuring our individuality around our etheric body.
[page 16] A special etheric body must somehow be prepared for the ancestor of a tribe because it has to be, as it were, the prototype of an etheric body for all the descendants in succeeding generations. . . . Because of blood relationship in successive generations, the etheric bodies of all descendants of the tribe are in a certain sense copies of the ancestor's etheric body. Thus, every Semitic person's ether body had something like a copy of Shem's etheric body woven into it.
The original etheric body was woven into Shem's body by an avatar, a being who could remember the future and provide a blessing for the descendants of Shem. Once woven into Shem, multiple copies could be made of the etheric body in each of his blood descendants. History is much more than the physical facts of who did what to whom and when, and our perception of the truth of the multiplication of etheric bodies and the effects this process has on blood descendants is an illumination of a truth that may easily be glossed over by a mere recitation of facts.
[page 18] This is how finely interwoven the facts behind the physical world are, facts that are needed to elucidate to us what happens in the physical world. Only by being able to point to such facts of a spiritual nature that are behind the facts of the physical world do we learn to interpret history. History can never become comprehensible through considering physical facts alone.
So, dear Reader, you may be thinking of asking me this question, "Are you telling me that only the blood relatives of the early Christians can have an etheric body like Jesus Christ had?" Well, you would be right in thinking that copies of the original etheric or astral bodies were usually transmitted this way, through the blood that flowed from ancestor to descendant. It happened that way all through the evolution of the Earth up until the great avatar Christ came to Earth and entered the body of a man, Jesus of Nazareth for three years. When Jesus's blood flowed down from the cross on Golgotha, a great event, a one-time trick, a great mystery occurred in the history of the Earth — the multiple astral and etheric bodies of the great avatar became available to all the inhabitants of the Earth, and every human being became, in effect, a blood descendant of Christ Jesus from then on, for all of Earth's time to come, "till stars shall rise and set no more."
[page 19] The etheric and astral bodies of Jesus of Nazareth were multiplied and the copies preserved until they could be used in the course of human evolution. However, they were not bound up with this or that nationality or tribe. But when in the course of time a human being appeared who, irrespective of nationality, was mature and suitable enough to have his own etheric or astral body interwoven with a copy of the etheric or astral body of Jesus of Nazareth, then those bodies could be woven into that particular person's being. Thus we see how it became possible in the course of time for all kinds of people to have copies of the astral or etheric body of Jesus of Nazareth woven into their souls. The intimate history of Christian development is connected with this fact.
On pages 20 to 31 Steiner details the progress of Christianity through the physical, etheric, astral, and Ego realms. In the early centuries after Jesus Christ walked the Earth, the dissemination of Christianity was bound up with physical impressions of Jesus: personal memories, personal contacts, places He sat, etc. The need to link people back, one by one, till one arrived at Peter, a companion of Jesus, was deeply felt. By the time of St. Augustine, the need for physical memories faded and a feeling welled up as a direct knowledge of the existence of Christ. Helping this process of direct knowing was the etheric bodies of Christ that were extant in large numbers of people. Proceeding from the twelfth to fifteenth centuries many copies of Jesus's astral body had interwoven with important figures of Christianity, such as Francis of Assisi. Even though humans of Assisi's time had Egos capable of forming lots of false ideas about things, the pervasive presence of the astral bodies of Jesus of Nazareth interwoven into the fabric of society left no doubt whatsoever about the existence of Jesus and His holy truths.
Once again, dear Reader, a minor digression is required to lubricate the way of progress through the rest of the review. The astral body contains three forms of understanding: sensory-based, thinking-based, and individuality-based. These forms are called by Steiner, sentient soul, intellectual soul, and consciousness soul.Francis of Assisi was a deep feeler, he loved to commune directly with nature, all of which stems from the profound sentient soul he received in the interweaving of the astral body of Jesus of Nazareth into his astral body. St. Francis never once tried to form logical arguments to persuade others of the correctness of Christianity or the truths of Jesus the Christ. There were others who had received an intellectual soul with their copy of the astral body of Jesus, and these led humankind into "proving with subtle and clearly developed concepts all that their literature contained as mystery truths." These scholars formed the science of scholasticism, "a little understood and much maligned science." (page24, 25) Rightly understood, the scholastics created the logical techniques for thinking that plowed the ground in which the bounteous tree of our modern day sciences first took root.
[page 25] One may think of the content of scholasticism as one wishes, but for several centuries this school of thought developed the capacity of human reflection and thus put its imprint on the culture of the time. Scholasticism accomplished this by an extremely subtle discernment between and outlining of various concepts. As a result, between the thirteenth and fifteenth centuries the school implanted into humanity the capacity to think with acute and penetrating logic.
When the consciousness soul arrived on the scene, it was in the personages of such medieval mystics as Meister Eckhart and Johannes Tauler, in whom arose "the special conviction that Christ can be found in the human ego." With this understanding of how the three forms of astral body of Jesus of Nazareth may be woven into the astral body of human beings, one can decipher the otherwise recondite and confusing patterns of development of Christianity. Here is Steiner's summary of this pattern we have just waded through:
[page 26] We have seen how humanity in the course of its evolution was otherwise dependent on having incorporated within it these copies of the Jesus of Nazareth Being. In the early centuries people had existed who depended entirely on the physical plane; then in the following centuries there were human beings who were susceptible to having the etheric body of Jesus of Nazareth woven into their own etheric bodies.Later, human beings, one might say, became more oriented toward the astral body, and that is how the copy of the astral body of Jesus of Nazareth could now be incorporated into them. The astral body is the bearer of judgment, and it was the human capacity to judge that was awakened between the twelfth and fourteenth centuries.
There is a wonderful idea that I believe I first encountered in Steiner. It goes like this: one can only discuss something if one has no knowledge of the subject. When one knows a subject, one has no desire or requirement to discuss the subject. There was a time during the early centuries of Christianity that everyone knew without a doubt that Holy Communion contained the body and blood of Christ. Christ said, "This is My body and this is My blood." Steiner tells us that, "Christ meant with these words that He would be united with the earth and become its planetary spirit." When the intellectual soul, the judgment soul, welled up in humans in the twelfth to fourteenth centuries, they began to discuss the reality of the meaning of Christ's words. A devolution had taken place — humans were no longer able to have direct knowledge of the meaning of Holy Communion, of the Lord's Supper.
[page 27] Here we see verified a great historical law that should be of special significance to the spiritual scientist: As long as people know what the Lord's Supper was, they did not discuss it. They began to discuss it only after they had lost direct knowledge of it. . . When knowledge exists, knowledge is narrated, and there is no particular desire for discussion. Where people feel like discussing something, they have, as a rule, no knowledge of the truth. Discussion begins only when there is a lack of knowledge, and it is always and everywhere the sign of decline regarding the seriousness of a subject matter when discussions about it are to be heard. Discussions portend the decline of a particular trend. It is very important that time and again in Spiritual Science we learn to understand that the wish to discuss something should actually be construed as a sign of ignorance. On the other hand, we should cultivate the opposite of discussion, and that is the will to learn and the will to gradually comprehend what is in question.
Every verb has a process and a content aspect. This dual nature of words as containing content and process is important. This distinction becomes obvious when one does computer programming. The program sitting within the memory of a computer looks exactly like data and does nothing. Not until the computer transfers control to the first instruction of the program does the code begins to cycle through the CPU and actually perform a process of data moving, manipulation, and control. The program code is content and the executing code is involved in a process. Two distinct and important aspects of what one might otherwise think of as one thing: a program. Steiner understood this distinction and how to make use of it to help us understand the importance of the otherwise abstruse science of scholasticism.
[page 27, 28] Take scholasticism. What has become of it when we look not at its content, but perceive it as a means of cultivating and disciplining our mental faculties? [ RJM: i. e., perceive its process. ] Do you want to know? Scholasticism has become modern natural science! The latter is inconceivable without the reality of medieval Christian Science.
Now let us take a look at some of the most vociferous critics of Christianity and we may understand this otherwise most paradoxical thought — they got their ability to reason and think in that way from the Christian Science or scholasticism of the Middle Ages.
[page 28] Everything used today to combat Christianity so radically has been taken over from the Christian world of learning in the Middle Ages. Actually, today there cannot be an opponent of Christianity of whom it could not easily be shown that he would be unable to think as he does had he not learned his thought forms from the Christian Science of the Middle Ages.
Every period of time has a different method of understanding and perceiving evolution. A time will come when the reductionist approach of Darwin's evolution will be described as "quaint." On the threshold of the third millennium after the birth of Jesus of Nazareth who became the Christ and walked the Earth, died and poured His blood into the Earth, we are able to view evolution in a new perspective by virtue of the two thousand years of evolution that have preceded us. We are able to "find the whole process of our world evolution illuminated and pervaded by the Christ Being."
[page 29] That is to say, we would describe how the physical body of human beings originated on Old Saturn, how the etheric body made its appearance on Old Sun, the astral body on Old Moon, and the ego on the Earth.
We have become Egos that can even deny its own existence, but by receiving the true Christ being in ourselves, we can rise "to ever higher stages of existence." Only after the physical, etheric, and astral bodies arose could the Ego come into existence. The chore for us today is to develop in ourselves the spirit self (manas), life spirit (buddhi), and spirit man (atma). If we stay the course, we will develop in the following way:
[page 31] The transformed astral body will appear as the Christian spirit self, the transformed etheric body as the Christian life spirit. And in a radiant perspective of the future of Christianity, spirit man shines forth before our souls as the star toward which we strive, illuminated and glowing throughout with the spirit of Christianity.
Jane Roberts wrote this next passage on page 1 of her Seth book, Unknown Reality, Part I.
Today is tomorrow, and present, past,
Nothing exists and everything will last.
From this I get the idea that it is I who change while the world around me stays the same. Since other humans change also, I benefit from their changes and I change also. I don't have to wait, I only have to evolve. Time is but my individual progress in comprehending the infinite divine cosmos. Nowhere is that more important than in my coming to perceive the reality of Christ, an endeavor that Rudolf Steiner has provided me great assistance in achieving.
[page 53] Only human beings who prepare themselves gradually for a full understanding of the Christ and who understand through their knowledge of the spiritual worlds what the Christ really is, as He surfaces time and again in ever changing forms during the course of human evolution — only those human beings will also gradually gain the maturity necessary to experience Christ in themselves. They will be ready to absorb, so to speak, the waiting replicas of the Christ-Ego, ready to absorb the ego that the Christ imprinted in the body of Jesus.
Steiner offers no theories and no discussions, only facts. When you take your VCR for repair, you want results, not theories and discussions over what is wrong with it. Tell me what needs replacement and replace it is our attitude. We don't want the technician to bend our ear with theories of electronic circuitry. We want to see the results of the theories in a working VCR when the repair is done. Likewise, when we study Steiner's books and lectures, we are not interested in theories or discussions, but facts. Facts that will prepare us to encounter the actual reality of the material and spiritual world.
[page 55] We are also concerned that human beings receive what is waiting in the spiritual world and what they have the power to receive, provided they prepare themselves for this task in the right way.
Earlier in this review I used a curious word devolution which is the reverse process of evolution, a descent instead of an ascent. How is it possible that we can undergo devolution in the process of evolution? Apparently there are times we must take a step backward in evolution before we may progress forward again. We lost our ability to perceive the spiritual worlds directly with our feelings and had to develop ways of creating logical judgments to understand the spiritual worlds with our intellect. We took a giant step backward in the our Fall from the spiritual world and made a giant step forward when Christ shed His blood for us in the Mystery of Golgotha. With our powerful Ego we can fall into all kinds of error, but the Ego of Christ is ever available to help us extract ourselves from error.
[page 62] The power of Christ will make human beings more perfect, spiritualize them, and lead them back into the spiritual world. Mankind developed its reason at the expense of clairvoyance; the power of Christ will enable human beings to learn on this earth and to ascend again with what they will have acquired on earth. Human beings descended from the Father, and the power of Christ will lead them back to the Father.
Previously an initiate who wished to be led to the Christ spirit had to undergo a three and a half day test which involved being placed in a state of apparent death. This was the experience of Lazarus, the great initiate and beloved disciple of Jesus of Nazareth, who later wrote the Gospel of John and Book of Revelations in the Bible. Christ Jesus was the teacher, the hierophant, that brought Lazarus out of his death-like trance after three and one half days. The Gospels are quite clear on the point that Christ Jesus was not concerned about Lazarus's welfare when told that Lazarus had died. "He is asleep," was His response. But for the Mystery of Golgotha, each of us would have to endure such a rigorous process in order to perceive the spiritual essence of Christ. In our redemption, Christ has made this test unnecessary for us by undergoing the process Himself at a deeper level in the Mystery of Golgotha.
[page 65] The Christ has liberated us from this three and a half day test, and it is through Him that the exercises mentioned above have become possible without intercession by the hierophant. We see the first example of this in Saul when he became Paul. What happened to him on his way to Damascus must be interpreted as something similar to an initiation.
St. Paul first perceived the Christ Being directly shortly after the Mystery of Golgotha and proclaimed the good news that Jesus of Nazareth who had been crucified was the Christ Being whose progress towards Earth had been perceived and proclaimed as far back as the original Zarathustra in the ancient Persian epoch. He was followed later by St. Augustine in whom the etheric body of Christ began to work and allowed him to become our "best interpreter of Paul's letters." (page 67) Next we find the astral body of Christ woven into Thomas Aquinas due to a fortuitous circumstance.
[page 68] When Thomas was a child, lightning struck nearby and killed his little sister. This seemingly purely physical event made him suitable to receive into his own astral body that of Christ.
Thomas Aquinas came to Earth during a time when the human reasoning power began to flourish due to influx from the powerful influence of Arabism, "a truly intellectual science." With Aquinas, "human thought rises to new heights." But there is one more great mind to be discussed and Steiner naturally leaves that person out, and that one is Rudolf Steiner himself. He was to contain in one person the clairvoyance of Paul, the direct feeling sense of Augustine, the reasoning power of Aquinas, and the Ego of Steiner to create a spiritual science suited for the modern world of the 20th Century when the etheric body of Christ is blooming on the Earth exactly two thousands years after the Mystery of Golgotha. Here is his own words he tells us what he was doing:
[page 69] Today I have tried to show you how the liberation of the intellect was the first stage of Christianity. This is only one leaf, but others will grow on the mighty plant of Christianity, one after the other. The blossom will be the total beauty of the earth, renewed through Christianity, and the fruit will be the new world for which today's earth is the preparation.
As Christ taught, is still teaching, and will be teaching to the end, He can be found by those who seek Him.
What can each of us do in our lives to further the blossoming of this flower we call Earth that will one day bring forth a new world, the fruit of humankind in the spiritual world?
[page 78, 79] Look into life and you will find out there our leaders of civilization, the pillars of external culture, active as inventors and discoverers, as scholars and natural scientists. . . . when the spiritual life touches your hearts with such force that you can compare yourselves with dignity to those who were gathered around the Great Initiate of the Sun Oracle, then you will be bearers of spiritual life in later ages. . . . If you feel your mission from a sense of history, then your hearts will become strong enough to withstand all the ridicule and disdain that the so-called pillars of civilization heap on Spiritual Science from the outside. . . . This will make you stand fast when those who govern the world with their erudition talk with disdain and contempt about the little spiritual scientific associations where those people sit who "do not want to go along with contemporary culture." Oh, yes they do want to go along, and they also know to appreciate the accomplishments of the external, physical world, but they also know that just as a body cannot be without a soul, no external culture can exist without spiritual life.
If you, dear Reader, can relate to the above passage, you will certainly identify with the next question and its subsequent answer by Steiner:
[page 80] Why do people who have heretofore been nourished by the positive, orthodox religions, come to Spiritual Science as if responding to an undefined longing in their consciousness? Why do they listen to the anthroposophical message when before they listened only to the Vatican? Why? . . . What do the people coming to us need from us? They want us to tell them who Christ was and what He accomplished! They are coming to us because those who consider themselves to be the privileged bearers of the Christ-name today cannot tell them who Christ was, whereas anthroposophy can.
Steiner was dedicating the Francis of Assisi branch of the Anthroposophical Society in Malsch in 1909 when he said the above words. In the passage below he issues a powerful suggestion for us to love all creatures or to endure suffering by sharing the world with those we don't.
[page 86] Let us learn to love all people, lest our interpretation of the world be that to be united with what one does not love means suffering. Rather, let us learn to love every creature in its own right, and when our spiritual wells start to flow, our desires will be purified in such a way that we can partake in everything our souls are destined to receive, once the hurdle of the physical world are eliminated. And those spiritual fountainheads can begin to flow through the Christ-Impulse. People who will be content to obtain through the Christ-Spirit what they want will have their desires purified.
Few sounds are so powerful as the ringing of bells on Easter day. In Lecture VII which took place on or about Easter day, Steiner explains how Goethe used the sound of Easter bells to "conquer the thought and the impulse of death in Faust's heart." From the sounds of the Easter bells he moves to two other emblems, this time emblems of fire.
[page 92, 93] For today's humanity, two closely related truths shine as mighty lights and emblems on the horizon of the spirit - important points of reference for a developing humanity that is striving within the spiritual realm. The first emblem is the burning bramblebush of Moses, and the second is the fire appearing under lightning and thunder at Sinai from which Moses received the pronouncement of the "I am the I am." Who is that spiritual being in the two apparitions announcing himself to Moses? . . . No godhead other than the Christ is intended to be introduced by the words "I am the I am" . . . He announces Himself in the fiery element of nature, the element in which Christ is living."
As a student of the brain, computer design, and the evolution of consciousness, I am well aware of the plethora of theories that the mind is simply rotating circuits in our brain and that consciousness is but a byproduct of those rotating circuits. Some even go so far as to proclaim that when computers become sophisticated enough, they will have original thoughts of their own to amaze and enlighten us. I wrote a small poem where I expressed the idea that I'm not surprised that computers are writing poems, but I would most surprised if a computer program could select a good poem! Steiner tells us that thinking is akin to lightning and thunder.
[page 94] Not a single thought would flare up in our souls if ego and astral body did not work in concert, thus giving rise to a commensurate, interdependent functioning of the blood and of the nervous system. The future science of human beings will some day be amazed at today's scientific theory, which holds that thoughts originate solely in the nervous system. This belief is incorrect because the process responsible for the origination of thoughts must be seen as a dynamic interaction between blood and nervous system. . . . And just as lightning in its counterplay with the elements produces thunder, so the counterplay of blood and nerves produces the thought that flashes up in the soul.
One who studies Rudolf Steiner a little soon notices that he never attempts to proselytize anyone to his spiritual science, but merely tells them about it. In this next passage he reveals the truth behind his approach — spiritual science can only be approached volitionally, by free choice. There will never be any Spiritual Science missionaries rowing canoes through the jungles of the Amazon or riding bikes through the jungles of suburbia in America.
[page 121, 122] This is so because today it is no longer possible to instill in human beings what is to inspire them from the inside without their having a hand in the process. Today people who feel that Spiritual Science speaks to their hearts must approach it through their own free will, through their own free impulse, and through the fact that they feel enlivened by spiritual knowledge. Hence we need not attempt to stir up an interest in Spiritual Science.
Not only does Steiner not proselytize, but he does not preach. If he does neither, what exactly does he say that he is doing?
[page 141] It is not our task to preach ideals but rather to provide human souls with the fuel that can generate spiritual wisdom, genuine brotherliness, and true humanity. To realize this is our goal.
One cannot help but place Rudolf Steiner in the category of a pillar of civilization along with Aristotle, Jesus of Nazareth, Augustine, and Thomas Aquinas. Certainly when Steiner spoke, lightning flashed and the thunder rolled overhead. If we listen carefully, we can hear it today.
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I hear often from my Good Readers that they have bought books after reading my book reviews. Remember: A book is like a 3-D kindle. 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 Visits Jazz Fest 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 Sees a 21st Century Phenomenon:
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 long-time Speed Trace User in Corpus Christi, TX:
Yesterday Carla and I went to the Dr. together. I had an appointment which I made weeks ago. It was for the first appointment of the day. Carla was a walk in, urgent care, sore throat visit. She was taken back to the private room first. I was taken back 4th.
After waiting in the back for an hour and hearing the Dr. go in 3 other rooms, I got a text from Carla that she was done and waiting for me in the car. I was PISSED! I started to walk out and chew on the girls in front and go home and find a new Dr. Then I heard a small voice inside me say "trace it out, trace it out". So I did and when the Dr. finally came in I said "I'm clearly not the favored member of the Bryant family." Then I asked him what happened. Unbeknownst to me, he had hired a nurse practitioner to see walk-ins and he admitted she's faster than he is. So tracing got me through. I still have my Dr. and my prescriptions are renewed and I don't have to go back for a year. Plus the Dr.'s girls up front didn't get a butt-chewing they didn't deserve.
Thanks Bobby, Doyle, and doyletics,
- EMAIL from Barrett Chevalier in Edmonton, Alberta:
Actually it was a phone call in which we talked about driving up to visit him in the Far North, but he's going to be in the Far West at that time. Anyway, I know you look for your name in each issue, so this will make you happy, right, Barrett?
- EMAIL from Kevin Dann in Brooklyn, NY:
"Spring's the mischief in me," as Robert Frost said, and it's kept me from getting to Digestworld#175 until now - 4 AM on my one day off a week in this busy touring season. I loved reading your tips on saving your whistle - no one's got a sharper and sweeter whistle than you, bro!
Those DW175 photos of you were wild! I love the beret, but love your black cowboy hat better. (NOTE: I had so few photos of me in profile, that I used the two photos shot of me in Paris in 1984 (Beret) and 2015 at the Place de Concorde (Fedora with chinstrap).)
Fun to see Jordan enjoying her beignet at Cafe Du Monde. OH, NOLA!
I'm not sure if I told you that I've been asked to write a self-help book.After saying absolutely not, I proposed: "Walking Out of Bounds: 13 Life Lessons from a Walk to Walden". Due to input from the full Penguin editorial team, it is now provisionally titled: "The Road to Walden: 13 Life Lessons from a Sojourn to Thoreau's Cabin". I'm finishing up my rant about Joseph Campbell in Chapter 2 this morning.
P.S. Hey! Henry and I made it into Parabola! [Excerpt from Expect Great Things.]
3. Poem from Freedom on the Half Shell:"Road of Freedom"
Give me your poor, huddled masses, your deplorables 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:
Road of Freedom
I find the road of freedom
To be in a sorry state.
Here, where little traffic seems to come,
Weeds grow in wild profusion
Where free men trod of late.
Nearby the highway of coercion
Spews noxious fumes into the air
From super-regulated engines
And auto-mobile passions
Sounding with a syncopated blare.
Is the former the road that Frost preferred,
That path by ancestors forsaken,
When they in congress deeply erred
And freedom in the tomb of law interred
Alongside the dormant road not taken?
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9. CLOSING NOTES:
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My reviews are not intended to replace the purchasing and reading of the reviewed books, but rather to supplant a previous reading or to spur a new reading of your own copy. What I endeavor to do in most of my reviews is to impart a sufficient amount of information to get the reader comfortable with the book so that they will want to read it for themselves. My Rudolf Steiner Reviews are more detailed and my intention is to bring his work to a new century of readers by converting his amazing insights into modern language and concepts.
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