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~~~~~~~~ In Memoriam: Lanny Goldfinch ~~~~
~~~~~~~~ [ 1939 - 2017 ] ~~~~~
WELCOME TO DIGESTWORLD ISSUE#179 September, 2017== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==Quote for the Autumn-bringing Month of September:
In poetry, the charm is of course in the power of the thought which enforces beautiful expression. But the common experience is, fine language to clothe commonplace thoughts, if I may say thoughts. And the effect is, dwarfs on stilts.
Ralph Waldo Emerson , page 808 of his Journal.
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GOOD MOUNTAIN PRESS Presents
ISSUE#179 for September, 2017
Archived DIGESTWORLD Issues
Table of Contents
1. September's Violet-n-Joey Cartoon
2. Honored Readers for September
3. On a Personal Note
Rainbows & Shadows Poems
4. Cajun Story
5. Household Hint for September, 2017 from Bobby Jeaux: Bay Leaf Protection
6. Poem from The Philosophy of Physical Science : "Darkness and Light"
7. Reviews and Articles featured for September:
8. Commentary on the World
- ARJ2: Emerson Selected Journals 1841 - 1877, Vol. 2 by Ralph Waldo Emerson
- ART: The Wisdom of the Sands by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
- ART: An Alchemy of Happiness by Hazrat Inayat Khan
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. September Violet-n-Joey CARTOON:
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==This month Violet and Joey learn about Copy-Editing.
For newcomers to DIGESTWORLD, we have created a webpage of early Violet-n-Joey cartoons!
"Copy-Editing" at http://www.doyletics.com/images/170823vj.jpg
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2. HONORED READERS FOR September:
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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 September, 2017:
Sylinda Ward in Gretna, LA
Lawrence Kurzius in Jacksonville
Congratulations, Sylinda and Lawrence!
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3. ON A PERSONAL NOTE:
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Out Our Way:
August started off slowly for me as I put the final touches on the long DW#178 issue which spanned a week of June and all of July. Then, on a rainy Saturday afternoon Del wanted to visit her brother across the Lake. It was raining when we took off and rained on and off while we visited. We left about 4:20 and got home about 7:30 pm due to a 100-year rain event which had flooded all the surface streets in New Orleans. When we exited the Causeway, coming down the ramp to I-10 East we saw about 8 lanes of red tail lights and stalled traffic. Apparently a rainstorm had flooded I-10 under the train overpass. As we crept towards Canal Boulevard, I realized the intersection of it with Canal Street is closed for construction, so what's the next exit? We moved to left lane and went on I-610, bypassing the Canal Blvd exit, then tried the Elysian Fields exit. Saw a car with water up to its roof on a surface street. I had to plot a route home which kept us on the raised interstate to the bridge across the Mississippi River.
I suggested Del get in the far left lane and that we should go to New Orleans East and find an easy U-turn with no signs of traffic or water in the street. Crowder Blvd fit the bill, and we had easy-going coming back. I told Del to get in far left lane as we made the turn going up the High Rise because traffic always slows going up. Some guy who had sped past us on the right in a black Escalade didn't account for this fact, and had zoomed into the rear of a slow-moving car and smashed his front end. His radiator was steaming and he was calling for help as we passed him. Two vehicles ahead of him were also damaged by him. No signs of injury, and nothing blocking our lane.As we entered the I-10 turn to the river, the right-hand lane was full of cars unable to exit anywhere, on other side, going away from downtown, the traffic was completely stalled with a lot of folks standing along the railing, likely looking down on their homes below, that they could walk to faster than drive, if there were a ladder to climb down. The Claiborne overpass to the West Bank had no backup and we zipped home without further delay. Whew! What a day!
We were ready to go on a weeklong trip to England, and our Sub-Zero Fridge-side was not cooling. I vaselined the gasket to make sure of a good seal. Air was coming out of the bottom, but was not coming out warm. I quickly put several large frozen jugs of ice in the fridge and it kept it about 42. Derrick from Professional Appliance got here the next day or so and said it was the temperature control switch and he would order one. He set the temp to 10 MAX and we left it like that till we came home. But we had to move several large trays of condiments to the garage fridge. With it on MAX, the temp went from 42 down 22 and mostly at 22, so stuff did freeze.
I started packing for the first time. Going only with my black 4-wheel rolling bag since we need to take trains and change trains on our trips to and from Harrogate and London. No carry on because we don't have to genuflect in Atlanta. Hooray! Will hand-carry my LapTop in its case, but put it into the front of my large bag to carry to and from airport. I decided to take LT along and was able to use it on the plane and on the train. I use it mostly for backing up my photos during trips, plus some daily journal updates.
Two Dark Monitors
The day before we left for England: BIG Problem! My PC has five monitors connected which are essential for handling the various editing jobs for a typical DW Issue. This morning the two side Monitors did not come on. Tried powering them on and off and nothing. Finally disconnected VGA cables from back of Monitors, no help. Looked at the back of Main Frame and disconnected the two fire-wire plugs and re-plugged them in. Nothing.
Decided to POWER DOWN the PC and did that. But I could only choose PWR DN after Update. The Update by Microsoft took a long time. There were many updates to be loaded before it Powered Down. I could tell I was in for a long haul when it came back up. After the power down, to ensure that all hardware drivers were RESET, I went to the back of the Main Frame and turned the physical button to OFF for ten seconds or so.
The long process of the system configuring the updates began, another long wait, then doing a full reboot, followed by some more configuring. When this folderol settled down, I had to use the Screen Resolution application to re-connect the two outside monitors. Amazingly, all five monitors on active and with correct resolution. WHEW!
ICE MAKER LEAKINGWe just added our Ice Maker to Home Warranty, but it doesn't go into effect until the end of September. It requires a new drain pump after eight years. Will be repaired soon.
PRINTERS NOT WORKINGThis will be fixed early in September. It seems like we went from one problem to another this month, but we've learned if it takes money, use it.
Since I first heard about British Airways beginning a daily non-stop service to Heathrow from New Orleans on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, I wanted to take that flight. What I had learned about the plane was that the carbon-fiber fuselage was strong enough to hold cabin pressure one-third higher than other passenger jets, to the equivalent of 6,000 feet altitude instead of 8,000 feet, which almost eliminated jetlag. It also, eliminated Atlanta-lag which adds about 3 hours when changing planes to get to/from their International terminal. As we jetted by Atlanta at 36,000 ft on our flight out, I saluted our decision to fly over Atlanta by making a pit stop. I recall Jerry Lewis (God rest his soul) telling that to Johnny Carson in reference to Mississippi, which was on Hollywood's bad boy list back then.
We took off from MSY for a trip over the Atlantic Ocean in a Dreamliner, Boeing 787, British Airways flight 0224. We were met at Heathrow by our limo driver, a wonderful guy from Zimbabwe named Nomore, who said that's what his mom said when he was born, "I'm having No more". We had a wonderful conversation while he drove us to King's Cross Station. We got there with several hours before our train left for York, and we had lunch at the Parcel Yard Pub upstairs. Jessica waited on us, then Deanna showed up with the bill for the fish & chips. Met two lovely couples who sat at our table that were on their way to the International Athletic Games (where Mondo Duplantis did the pole vault). Shirley and Derrick were the couple across from us. We only exchanged names as we parted and I don't recall the other couple's names.We found out were leaving from Gate 8, and got on the Virgin express to York. Trains in England do not make "stops" but rather "call" on intermediate towns. So when our train called at York, we got off and had only three minutes to find where our next train was leaving to take us to Harrogate.
All this switching trains and learning new terminology was daunting, but we asked a lot of dumb questions and survived. US and UK, two countries divided by a single language. I'd heard that many decades ago and got to experience it up close and personal. Like when we wanted directions to Betty's Tea Room and asked a local resident, an old gentleman who replied, "I don't know of any such place." Okay, maybe he's hard-of-hearing, so we asked his wife, and she repeated there was no such place. We knew there was because we had walked past it and the long queue waiting to enter the Restaurant and Tea Room meant it was popular. Finally we got through and the woman corrected our pronunciation, "Oh, you mean Beh'ees!" Completely eliding the t-sound.
On the express train to York, we met no memorable people at all; only morose commuters. We had a first class ticket and didn't know there were assigned seat numbers. I chose to stay where we could watch our bags at the end of the car, but two ladies with three young girls came and took over our table, showing us their seat assignment. We found our correct seat number, and had to walk to the far end of the car, and unseat a man in our spot. The guy across from him never looked up from his laptop as the guy departed, and stayed glued to his screen till we departed. The food service was much nicer than the companions.
We successfully switched at York to the Harrogate train, although we felt a little "Harried" as we trundled our bags down to the very end of the train station and to find our train, we had walked to the very end of the platform to enter the last car of the train. The company was nicer on this last leg of our adventure to Harrogate. Across from us we met a young lawyer who was carrying a bunch of flowers home for his wife, he said "Something from her hard-working husband."We talked about lawyers and such. Very pleasant and nice, but got off before our train called at Harrogate. Then we met Clive Hodgeon (I think that his last name) , retired from Dept of Defense. I told him how I missed WWII and Vietnam, but that I did a forced year tour of ROTC at LSU. Sang him our "ROTC fight song" and he rolled with laughter, almost to tears. Offered us a ride to the Old Swan Inn. His wife Sheena was picking him up. We joked that with names like Adele and Sheena our wives sounded like pop singers. It was a short drive, but for weary travelers at the end of a two-day journey, negotiating Harrogate with its Mountpelier hill trucking our bags would have been too much. Now that we know the route, we might walk next time.
HARROGATE GILBERT & SULLIVAN FESTIVAL
Arriving at the Old Swan Inn, Harrogate, Yorkshire around 7:00pm, we quickly checked in and made our way to our room and fell into bed.Awake now at 6 am Greenwich Mean Time and Del was up, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. I took a quick shower and shave. After dressing, I couldn't find my good black Meyer the Hatter's Fedora. I went down to lobby and got no joy, just a blunt response from Japanese clerk, "no hat". Searched the small room several times and decided it must have remained in Clive and Sheena's car after we got out. Being only two, they may not notice if for a couple of days.
We went down to breakfast to we start our day in the UK. One note on the weather: lows of 55 and highs of 63 each day. No AC or heating needed in our room, and for outside you'll see us in our light down jackets mostly. After breakfast downstairs we walked to the Utopia Pavilion next to Royal Hall but it didn't open until 9:30 so we walked around, then came back to the hotel to get my phone which had been left on the charger. We went back to the Pavilion, had coffee, bought a Sir Joseph Porter statue from Sheila and Patrick and two 'Old Bags' for Del and Barbara. Then we walked into the Royal Hall to see where our seats would be that night: C11 and C12, and came back with Joe-in-a-box and took a nice refreshing nap. Later I asked about where I could buy a hat. He said something like debenem real fast. How do you spell that? Oh, Debenham's Dept Store! (Must be close Beh'ees, I thought.) But how to get there? We stopped in the Bohair Shop and asked for directions. Del also made an appointment there for a wash and set later in the week.
Every time we asked for directions, we got very complicated and undecipherable directions. Who knows but a local what "up the hill" means in a place full of up and down streets? We walked in the general direction she gave us and stopped at Quantro to eat. Our waiter, Daniel from Romania, gave us easy directions. Up that street to four-story building. We found it. Del took a photo of me sans hat, hoping we could reprise the photo with hat! But, alas, no fedora in sight. A sports car cap hand-sewn in Devonshire, baseball caps, tight--brimmed hats, rain hats, etc. But no fedora. Del went to ask directions to some other store, and as soon as my Dear Aries skipped out of my sight, there, on the bottom shelf completely hidden from sight, as if suddenly materialized by my own wishes, was a dark brown fedora of pure wool for 30 pounds. Wow! I tried it on and it fit snugly, which was great since I won't be able add a chin strap till we get home. I pried Del away from the two sales gals. Del saw it was a Medium and wanted to know if they had a Large, not hearing me say, "It fits perfectly."There were of course no others in stock. Why would I materialize two hats when I needed only one? Duh!
Del took the second photo out front of the store and it was aligned so well that it seems I stood still while she put the hat on me before taking the second shot!
We walked to St. Peter's Church, the WWI and WWII Obelisk pro patria then to the beautiful gardens, through the Stray, back past Quantro where we thanked Daniel. The minestrone soup Del got was great. The fish cake I got was simply delicious. We'll go back there. Googled and found in Harrogate a Clive Hodgeon and a Sheena Hodgeon but couldn't get address or phone number without paying and getting on somebody's list. I wanted to thank for bringing my hat back to me.
Came back to the Swan exhausted, but a wedding party was taking photos and I got a few of the bride and groom. Our room was being cleaned so we waited downstairs then came up for a long nap for both of us. When I awoke, I uploaded photos to my LT.
When Del awoke, we dressed for Engaged.
Got there in time for the pre-show talk, but the guy admitted he had never seen a production before of the rarely performed show, and he knew only what he got on Google, so he kept his remarks short. Said he was looking forward to seeing the performance for the first time. We sat at table for eight and were joined by Pete and Jan who live a few hours away. They've attended about 17 of these festivals. Later Pat and Howard sat on the other side of Del. Two sets of easy names to remember.
The show was a wacky marriage comedy. The hero vowed marriage to one gal on the border of Scotland and England. Tricky thing is: if he did so on the Scottish side of the border the marriage was official, no other ceremony required. On the England side, an official ceremony was required. Thinking himself unmarried, he promised to marry another gal, and later promised a third, and a wedding to the third was in process on stage and when wife No. 1 showed up. Will there be a marriage or not? The plot involved more twists and turns than a drive up the east side of the Cumberland mountains. Will the three ladies be satisfied or not? Thereupon hangs a long and tune-filled tale in the portmanteau G&S opera which they wrote originally in 1877 without music and lyrics. Music was added later around 1960. Amazingly, we stayed awake for the long production. The cup of ice cream during the 20 minute interval helped. They use interval like we use intermission.We walked back to the Old Swan Inn and did a Swan dive Inn-to bed.
D'OYLY CARTE: THE INSIDE STORY
Another day, two operettas. Actually 4 Events: D'Oyly Carte lecture, HMS Pinafore, Festival Tea, and Princess Ida. Being our first trip to the Festival, we decided to get the inside story from a long-time member of the D'Oyly Carte cast who had just written a book whose title graces this section in italics. The author, Roberta Morrell, gave a lecture about the years of the D'Oyly Carte theater company.Delightful stories and delivery, especially when she quoted various actors she knew using their own voice and mannerisms, resurrecting some of them into our presence for a few moments. A couple of snippets of her talk can be viewed here.
During the early decades of Richard D'oyly Carte's traveling musicals, the Stage Manager had to scratch up a band in each new locale and get music rehearsed in short order. Any stand-ins who had questions about their parts were waved away with a "Sorry, no time!" wave of the hand. Only when the company hired a permanent band, could the Manager help newbies with lines and moves on stage. She told of one seasoned actor in the early days who was seen walking across the stage early on the day of a performance and was asked why. He said, "I've rehearsed to play the Mikado using taped spots on the stage, and this is my first chance to see what the spots look like in real-life."
After her talk, I decided to buy her book, which she autographed for me. Did a few videos of her talk and finally got her doing one of an actors voices as she negotiated for her new digs.Never heard anyone use the word "digs" so many times in a short lecture. I asked several people about the origin of the word, "digs", referring to a place to stay. We rarely hear the word in the US, but particularly among traveling stage actors, getting their digs-assignment was important enough to even cut short their time on the stage. In one Mikado performance, three ladies were in kimonos and one whispered, "digs letters are in", at which signal the three politely bowed and sidled off-stage to get their digs! The best answer I got for the etymology of digs: from a shortening of the word lodgings, which, if you remove the lo and the gin, you get digs, which probably forbade gin from the premises. Lo: no gin! Digs! Or it was just a Brit way of dropping detritus from words, as they did with Beh-ees and Debenem.
H. M. S. PINAFORE
In the afternoon, we went to the juvenile production of HMS Pinafore next door in the Savoy Theater. The theater is a temporary building and it lets in sounds of cars and motorcycles, but the kids did a marvelous job. The plot showed the problems with marriage between different ranks of society. There were three weddings at the end.
Went to the Fest's afternoon tea, and was invited by Lee and Daphne to sit next to them. Lee worked as jet engine specialist in Rolls engines. Ian Smith came and sat down next to Del and, when he found out about her being from New Orleans, we talked about two women from there on his Nile cruise. "Was one of them Barbara Louviere?" Del asked. Yes, and how is she? I took a photo of him and sent it to Barbara.
After the tea was over we went to Savoy Hall for Princess Ida. We were in row F this time and almost had the row behind us empty so I could wear my hat, but at last minute a couple came. I had worn my sport coat over the green shirt and was warm outside, but soon hot inside and had to remove both shirt and coat during show.
MY HAT WAS RETURNED! Clive must have driven into town and returned my hat yesterday afternoon. Now I have two hats. Will add a chin strap to the new one when I get home and it will become my everyday hat.
SUNDAY WALK IN THE PARK AND DOWNTOWN
We got up for breakfast, the temperature was a bit warmer, it seemed like a lovely day for a walk in the park. I had only a sport coat over my short sleeve shirt, and Del didn't need her down jacket either. We walked out going our usual way to town. But this time, we went a few feet further and noticed a gate open to the right, right into the Valley Gardens where we wanted to go!We made it without a confusing map or a more confusing set of instructions from a local. We walked slowly and breathed in beauty from every direction. Floral gardens here, there, and everywhere. Green lawns, weeping willows, and dahlias in full flower! Bumblebees, tiny bees, and tinier flies queued for a spot of nectar on a single flower. A 100-foot-long array of staked dahlias along a far edge had every imaginable kind of dahlia, some glowing as if on fire!
A line of green trees behind the dahlia garden with colorful hydrangea blooms at their feet. Then a tennis court, a children's play area, and another entrance before the green forest area started. We turned around and headed back along the lower path by the spring-fed stream.
One plant with squash-type leaves had huge leaves about six feet across and towering over Del. At the concession area I bought a latte with extra foam and sat and read the Mirror inside, while. Del went to a sunny spot on a bench where I joined her later.
From there we walked past the Crown Hotel (where we may stay next time we come to a Gilbert & Sullivan Festival) up the hill past Betty's to St. Peter's where I went in and took a couple of photos while services in the Church of England were in process. Then we found a W. H. Smith's which had Parker Jotter refills and new pens! First time I've seen these pens in a store in two decades at least. Found a new model with a metal lower tube with a shiny red metal color. I took it to checkout to take it out of its box to be sure it was the same size as my other one. It was exactly the same, so I bought it for 14 pounds. Exchanged its blue ink cartridge with the gel ink in my blue pen and gave the blue pen to Del. (Blue ink works good for her Copy-Editing.) We walked back towards the Crown Hotel and a priest in black robe and dog collar (they call it that in England, another priest, with a sense of humor, assured me) was walking with us. I stopped and told him the story of the Anglican priest, Irish priest, and Jewish Rabbi who walked into a bar. The bartender looked up and said, "What is this? Some kind of a joke?" He didn't laugh, and may not have caught the joke, but he did say, "That could be the start of a long story." Yes, I thought, but that is the exact reason the joke is funny. It's a meta-joke. I never met a meta-joke I didn't love.Like the joke without a punch-line: "You can take my umbrella, I go to NYU nights."
We went to the Festival Lunch at the Crown Hotel at 12:45. Two Ians were at the speaker's table, Ian Smith and Ian Bradley. Ian Bradley's the only guy I could recognize from his eyebrows, beautifully arched blonde eyebrows with swirls and curls. He has a great sense of humor. When I told him the same story about the Anglican minister, the Irish priest, and the Jewish Rabbi who walked into a bar, and the bartender looked at them and said, "What is this? Some kind of a joke?" he roared laughing.
We shared a table with Sandra from Buxton and her friend Pam. Across the table from us were Denise and Sam Wiseman. Once Denise's job spelled her name as "Wisema'am" and she said, "Leave it that way, I love it."They live in Casper, Wyoming, but still have the New York attitude. Only people I know who have a cowboy on their parole who carries a gun. She said he may have to use it if the Solar Eclipse crowds get too bad on their ranch. Got to talking about how long summers were in different places and Sandra said, "In Buxton, summer lasts seven days!" Well, we must have been here for a couple of those seven days of summer during our week in Yorkshire.
We walked back to the Swan Inn for a long nap. Had trouble with the toilet, my Z10 wouldn't charge, and my LT wouldn't charge other devices through its USB. Hate to go to sleep with problems unfixed, so I fixed them all before taking my nap. The switch for the bathroom light also turns on the shaving outlet I was trying to use to charge my Z10 cell phone.
THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE
The Pirates of Penzance was performed at 7:30 pm in the Royal Hall, and the actors were full of energy. "I am a pirate king! And it's good, it's good to be a Pirate King!" Mel Brooks may have gotten his "It's good to be the King" line from Pirates. Great production: colorful set and costumes and toe-tapping choreography. Voices could be clearly heard and songs were great. The "Hail, hail, the gang's all here" classic song must have had its lyrics added to the music from Penzance (or vice versa). We sat in the last seat row so I could keep my hat on. On the far right seat. I could take photos of the show and they came out brilliantly clear and in focus.
We walked back about 10 pm and the air was cool with my sport coat over short sleeves I was not at all uncomfortable. Still tapping our toes, we simply danced our way up the hill to the Old Swan Inn and so to bed. What an incredibly beautiful Sunday this had been. The highlight of the trip so far.
There was a light drizzle when we went down to breakfast about 8:00 which soon stopped. Was another beautiful day. This afternoon "Comedy of Errors" lecture at 2:30 in Savoy and Gondoliers 7:30 in Royal Hall.
Wanted to get some deck shoes and shirt from shop across from the Savoy. Walked over and bought deck-like shoes from Christopher Forbes, the owner of the store. First time I can recall buying shoes from and being fit by the owner. He gave me a shoe horn, but when I decided to wear the new shoes out, the horn got misplaced. My new shoes look smart, have leather insoles, but the straps do not tighten across the back of the heel. The other pair I considered had a raised and padded section extending above the regular shoe back which I did not like. The shoes were designed in the UK and hand-sewn by artisans in Brazil. Full leather insole all the way to toe tip. Inner shoe sides are also full leather. Very comfortable.
He put my old shoes in separate cloth bags for travel and kept the box. Good thinking. Really liked the guy. Buying shoes from a pro and a shop owner, what a treat. Only 69 lbs too. ($83 and no sales tax). Yes, they are not true deck shoes, but they fit good and I do not go sailing anyway. A week or so later I can attest that they fit equally well with or without socks, and slip on easily as good slippers and just as comfortable.
We ate at a pub on a corner of Montpelier Quarter. Had fish & chips and cheese toasts. Was good and filling. Del had a beer which I shared a bit of. Went to the Coffee Shop in the Valley Gardens and took a few more photos.Good latte, only place I've found for one. Cheaper than PJ's at $2.80 (2.5 pounds, no tax).
Came back for the 2:30 "Comedy of Errors", not much comedy and it was us who made the error, that of coming. Speaker's occasional jokes spoiled a good nap. Left at the "interval" what we call break or intermission, never interval.
To Swan Inn for a long nap and got to the Pavilion in time to hear the introduction for Gondoliers. Ate some salty chips to prevent any leg cramps while walking a lot. We were on the other side of the Royal Hall on this night and took some time before the performance to talk to Lee and Daphne till folks came to take the seats next to them. After show Del told me that Lee's heart was a concern. I had earlier shared with him my connection to his name. I asked Del if her tweaked ankle was okay and she said "Yes, your hands healed them. I should have asked you to put your hand on Lee's heart." I had felt there was some reason for me to spend time with Lee and hoped I had helped his heart without knowing consciously it needed healing.Lee told Del that he couldn't come to America because of his heart.
Del met Carolyn and Sidney, a couple who come to New Orleans every year or so. Coming next year. They love the music. Del gave them our contact information.
Gondoliers was great. We sat on the penultimate row so I could keep my hat on. Took great photos of scenes. We paid $3 each for the Cabaret afterwards, but the 17 questions quiz was a bit of a bore.
I went to Fr. Ian Bradley's talk on Sullivan's sacred music. He told us that Sullivan loved Bach "Mass in b-Flat." Sat next to Dave from last night. We had talked in Utopia for a while and then walked over together for Ian's talk.
Walked back to the Swan Inn and Del was in shower. I took a nap and then we walked to Betty's and had a great lunch together. The haddock, salmon, shrimp covered by pasta in a delicious sauce was scrumptious. Becky our waitress was a delight, got right up in my face to talk to me.
After Betty's we walked to the Train Station down James Street and got our tickets for a direct ride to King's Cross in assigned first class seats. Had a sit-down at McDonald's, an urgent call and had to climb up two flights of stairs to a very small room. Quite a challenge when you gotta go.
Along the way Del bought from a shop on James Street some comfortable shoes with a heel backing, something I've suggested she needed for some time, and she'd balked at it, up until now.She has rarely found shoes that don't hurt her heels, up until now.
Back to the Old Swan, took a nap and dressed for Iolanthe. Finale was brilliant with each actor waving the flag of their own country and the stodgy MP's prancing around with newly acquired lit-up wings! Came back to Swan directly and hit the sack right about 10 PM.
On the day of the Mikado, we decided to skip the 2:30 performance of The Sorcerer and take a train ride and walking tour of York. But, first I went for a walk in Valley Gardens. On way into park for my morning cafe latte, I spied a couple of grasshoppers (folks who can't afford a motel) snuggling on the ground, maybe asleep. Forty-nine minutes later they were awake and apparently doing homework. College kids.
While I was at coffee, Del went to Bohair Salon for her hair appointment. She got there a half-hour early, but was taken in had her shampoo and fluff as I walked in Valley Garden between the dogs, there were dogs everywhere, and most of the dogs ignored the Park's posted sign, "DOGS SHALL BE ON LEAD". I think England must have the greatest density of dog-poop in the world. In public places that used to have public water fountains for human beings, one can find water bowls for dogs. I saw Del waiting for me on the bench outside the Old Pump House Museum and we went back to our room to change clothes for our trip to York by train.We walked up James Street to the station and bought a double round-trip to York and caught the train.John, who knew me by my hat from the GS festival, was getting off at York, so we followed him off the train. He made it sound like nothing was close to the terminal unlike what other people had told us, but without using a map, only following my feet, we walked atop the original city wall, then stumbled onto the Shambles the narrow, very old street. We had first walked into the River Ouse park and Viking Museum. There was a River House (likely pronounced 'Ouse) near the River Ouse. Walked into Bailey's near the park (after I got my single dip ice cream cone) and Del wanted to eat immediately. So I ate too, even though I wasn't hungry. She had the smoked haddock fishcakes and something else very good, the broccoli and cheddar quiche. We invited two elderly ladies who looked tired to sit at our table (place was full) to have their coffee. Then we went walking towards the York Minster which is a huge old church which was locked. Walking along the right side of it we saw Shambles, the narrow street that Barbara told us about, a street so narrow the upper floor apartments which stick out into the street almost touch each other.
Del needed the loo. After several failed tries to find a facility, we chose Russell's an elegant café and found a rest room (called Toilet in UK) while I ordered a coffee. Then she came out, she had some tea and we left. It was a refreshing break. We walked back toward the railroad station and a cop directed us to our train. I took a nap on way home and a longer one when we arrived back at the Swan. Needed some rest to fully enjoy the Mikado coming up at 7:30 PM.
We went back to the Utopia Pavilion and I saw Ian Smith. I told him how much Del was enjoying his biography of John Reed. Reminded Ian of the story John told of the "Hark, someone silently comes." bit. When that line was spoken, mischievous John knocked over some object on purpose off-stage and it got a laugh. The stage manager fussed a bit, but the next performance, John did it again and the stage manger chastised him, "Two times in a row, no accident. Cut it out, John! A few minutes later the Production Manager came over and told John, 'The audience likes it; leave it in." This reminded me of the little 8 year old boy who had one in line in school play, when the cannon goes off, he had to say, "Hark! I hear the cannon roar!" He rehearsed his line for a week, with his family who became fored with it, so on the night of production they were all ready to hear him say the line. The cannon went off right behind him and he turned around and said, "What was that!?"
Ian loved the story and thanked me as he planned to use it in his opening lines before the curtain goes up. I got an .mpeg of him telling the story which you can view on YouTube here. Ias said it was streaming on FaceBook so no telling how many others have heard him credit me, "the gentleman from New Orleans", for the story. Never expected it to be anything but a one-off story to amuse Ian. But he's a showman and loves to share good stories.
We walked into the Mikado at 7:30 in Royal Hall. Had the best seats yet, Row B and we could hear and see better. We were disappointed: no Japanese costumes! All modern dress and set furniture. The players were relatively easy to grasp except when the piano was too loud, especially in the beginning scenes.The plot works as a satirical commentary on modern abstract logical representations in law. As usual in a Gilbert & Sullivan Operetta, the heart won out over folly. Luckily the predicted rain outside held off as we scurried up the hill to the Old Swan Inn and 'so to bed'. Thanks, Samuel Pepys, for that famous closing line you put in your diary at the end of each name. You'll be proud to learn that so to bed is the name of a bed store locally.
ART GALLERY, OLD PUMP ROOM, RUDDIGORE, and PATIENCE
Our last day in Harrogate began when we got up late, about 9 AM, so we scurried down to breakfast. Said goodbye to our server Pascale from the Limoges, France area. We chatted with her and gave her a tip for the excellent service during our stay at the Old Swan Inn. We would be leaving for train our at 6:55 AM the next morning and would not see her again.
This was the day for us to do things we had been putting off. We began with stopping in at the Art Gallery we had walked past several times. Found two pieces, "Yellow Truck" and "Together", which I would like to have taken home. Seemed to be all local artists in a beautiful old building with stained glass panels on the doors.
Next we paid admission to the Old Pump Room, which was really a place where people came to get the health benefits from their special mineral waters. There are several kinds of mineral water springs in Harrogate, the Old Pump Room specialized in sulfur spring water. Saw a rubberized container on bicycle wheels where one could sit in comfortably with the hot spring water filling the container and be wheeled around the area, even outside, I expect.
The museum had several impressive exhibits of Egyptian artifacts, including an old map of Egypt which showed the location of Rosetta, home of the famous tri-lingual inscriptions which allowed us to decipher ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics. The city was on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea and the western tributary of the Nile River. Beautiful stained glass panels in the wall and ceilings.
For lunch we made a return trip to Quantro where I could thank Daniel once more for directions to my new hat and we could enjoy a quick lunch before heading to the Utopia Pavilion for our last two operettas of the Festival.
We bought tickets for Ruddigore (15 pounds each) and watched it in Savoy Hall. The temporary sheet metal building erected specially for the Festival was very noisy as a heavy rainstorm came over. Actors playing ancestors stepped out of their portraits to interact with their descendants during the operetta. We went back to our room after the show.Luckily the heavy shower had ceased and we took naps to get ready for the night performance of Patience at Royal Hall. It was great, we laughed aloud at Patience's line when she saw Archibald without his long blond wig for the first time, "Archie — Bald!"
Once more the rain stopped before end of show and we had a quick brisk walk back to the Swan for our last night there. Some party had overflowed from the Studley Hotel down the block from the Swan and I got a quick photo of the gals and guys with helium party balloons. During the afternoon we had already packed everything except our morning stuff. For me, my Bruning razor, one tablet, and my soaking dish. One tube of shampoo and the round soap for my morning shower and shave.
HOME AGAIN, HOME AGAIN
Packed and Fabio, a Rumanian gal, came in a Taxi to drive us from Old Swan Inn to Train station. $4.20 or 5 pounds with tip.
Thanks to the help of a conscientious ticket agent the other day, we had a Virgin Rail First Class all the way to King's Cross, without having to switch Trains in Leeds as our Travel Agent had us set up to do. Had good breakfast service at our table on the train during the ride by Craig and Mandy. Got there half hour early. At King's Cross, we sent Text Reply to limo co. Thomasz from Poland called and had us walk to the glass St. Pancras station building. He explained about 13 times that he can drop us off at King's Cross, but could not pick us up. That was the only bummer on the trip home: trying to locate Thomasz in the maze of people in the large plaza and multiple buildings. They need to fix that. We'll never hire a limo again between King's Cross and Heathrow. We learned that there's a high-speed train from Heathrow to Paddington Station, a place we know already. From Paddington we take a subway to King's Cross Station. Much cheaper and very much faster, I'll bet.
Thomasz got us to Gate 5 at Heathrow in good time, but he talked his head off which made me nervous when he was negotiating heavy traffic, so I stopped talking. At Heathrow there was no long queue to clear incoming inspection, but a hassle anyway. Had to take my belt off, but got to kept my shoes on.
LAST MINUTE EVENTSWe have spent much of the last week of August glued to the TV watching the incredible events in Houston. We are thankful that our daughters in Houston and Beaumont have escaped the flooding. Our friend Barrett Chevalier is cruising the Atlantic somewhere and sent me a cartoon of the Cajun Navy which worked along with Texans and Uncle Sam to rescue thousands from floods. We have escaped the brunt of this Hurricane and Flood event and are grateful. My hope is that 12 years after this event, Houston will be enjoying the kind of rebirth which New Orleans has experienced after its disastrous flood in 2005.
EVERY GOOD THING MUST COME TO A NEW BEGINNINGIMPORTANT MESSAGE:
The past month of August has brought us some blessed steamy weather to remind us we are in New Orleans. Luckily we had frequent afternoon rain showers to cool us off a bit. Maybe too frequent.
Footballs are flying in the air which is filled with excitement! What will our Purple & Gold LSU Tigers do this year? New Offensive Coordinator Matt Canada, and Dave Aranda look to win big games this year. Our New Orleans Saints are still in Preseason mode, but lots of excitement with Adrian Peterson carrying the ball alongside Mark Ingram. September will be devoted to football but in October our NBA Pelicans and LSU Tigers will be slamming and dunking basketballs in new and exciting ways. We have a special treat in store for us with the Saints playing in the Superdome on Thursday and the LSU Tigers in the Superdome on Saturday (game moved from Houston).
Hope you will have a wonderful Labor Day, and, God Willing, and the River Don't Rise, whatever you do, wherever in the world you and yours reside, be it warm Summer days or chilling Winter days,
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:
I know the spirit, — by its victorious tone.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson (1802-1882)
Napoleon was the farmer who wished for all the land that joined his own.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson (1802-1882)
In every court the judge is on trial as well as the culprit.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson (1802-1882)
Matter is the frail and weary weed in which God has dressed the soul which he has called into time.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson (1802-1882) (June 16, 1836 in his Journal)
A weed is a plant whose virtues have not been discovered.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson (1802-1882)
A great deal that is not set down in the bill. I pay the Schoolmaster, but 'tis the school-boys that educate my son
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
The avaricious man seeks to add to the number of his toys, the scientific man to find new relations.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson (1802-1882)
O day of days, when we can read! The reader and the book. Either without the other is naught.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
New Stuff on Website:From Rainbows & Shadows, A 1995 Book of Poetry by Bobby Matherne
My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky.
What is your substance, whereof are you made,
That millions of strange shadows on you tend?
William Shakespeare, Sonnet 53
Why rainbows and shadows? One reminds us of joyful occasions and the other of things that go bump in the night. First, rainbows.
In 1995 I stood in the open doorway of my garage before driving to work on my last day before retirement from the Waterford 3 Nuclear Power Plant, and I saw a beautiful double rainbow in the morning sky before me. My heart lept up like Wordsworth's when I saw that omen. I remembered that the source of the rainbow is in my heart, and was in the heart of everyone who took the time to observe a rainbow that morning. We each saw a different rainbow, and each one we saw was truly our own rainbow.
In 2015 a double rainbow appeared as I looked out my garage door in the morning of the same day I celebrated twenty years of working full-time as a writer, publisher, photographer, cartoonist, and poet. The beat goes on . . .
Likewise, each shadow we encounter is truly our own shadow, created by the materialistic stuff of our world blocking the light of the Sun. Shadows are the dark colors of the artist's pallette of our lives, without which there would be no texture, no structure, no light. As I reviewed my poems for this volume, I found some were naturally rainbows and some naturally shadows, and I separated them into one section called Rainbows and one called Shadows. My wife Del likes me to read to her one Rainbow followed by one Shadow — they seem to complement each other, she says. I have put the section titles in the header to facilitate such a manner of reading.
In addition to the poem, I have included a short note (where available), which notes altogether contain a panoply of information about my poems: when they were written, what I was doing at the time, what I was reading that inspired them, and on what scrap of paper I wrote them. Poems do not "form in their own water" (as my friend Calvin said of volcanoes), but they may form in the water of ideas suggested by others and completed in some fashion by me. In gratitude, I include in many of the Notes the authors' names and sometimes a brief reference or quote of the source of the inspiration. By reading the Notes, one may readily discern my favorite authors and assorted sources of inspiration during the five-year period of writing this book.
There is an ambiguity in the phrase driving to work that leaves unspecified whether I was alone in the car at the time. Believe me, I could never think these thoughts if I were not alone in the car. Sometimes I listened to jazz on WWOZ, sometimes to classical on WWNO, and sometimes only to the thoughts of the writer of the book I was reading and my own thoughts, but always moving on. Like rainbows and shadows are always moving, so was I.
You may have a moving experience also as you join me in my carpool of one on the highway of life. Welcome Aboard! What would you like on the radio, classical or jazz?
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. This is the last of the Shadows poems called Random Jots.
This month we continue with a series of snippets comprising the poem Random Jots from the Shadows Chapter of Bobby's second book of Poetry, Rainbows & Shadows (1995). Most of these snippets were first written in a 1980 diary. I have joined them together, added some topical material, and named the collection Random Jots. The following two verses had identifiable dates: Polyester Velour on 12/15/79 and Meta-Engineer on 12/16/79.
It feels like the fuzz
Of an animal that never was.
This month we continue with a snippet from Random Jots. Meta Meeting: Meta Meeting is about Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) by folks who might be called Meta-Engineers (they help clients get meta to a process they are stuck in), or Customs Inspectors (they inspect the customs of an individual, bringing them into conscious attention, spoiling the fun). Since NLP folk are a nervy lot (How dare you tell me that!?!), they are sometimes called Nervo-Linguistic Programmers.
"Yesterday I met a engineer."
What's that, a Customs Inspector?"
This month we continue with a snippet from Random Jots. Yiddish Alphabet: Yiddish Alphabet is the title I gave to something Del's Dad used to tell her when she was a little girl. This is about how it sounds when you read it: "Baby see the goldfish? 'ell, 'em no goldfish! Oh, Yes They are, You See!"
A B C de goldfish?
L M N O goldfish.
O S A R, U Z.
This month we continue with a snippet from Random Jots. Haiku: What's there to explain? A haiku is like tripping lightly through 17 syllables in a kimono!
A final exam
Skip the hard questions
The first time through.
This month we continue with a snippet from Random Jots. It's Understandable: What do some of my poems mean? You never know until you find out. Till then you can grouse or you can enjoy holding an unanswered question. Up to you.
"Bobby, I don't understand some of your poems."
Well, you see, it's like I give you a fireworks display,
but you determine the length of the fuse.
When you read the poem
I light the fuse
But I can't predict
When it'll go off
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."xXx: Return of Xander Cage" (2017) a shoot'em up movie with a plot and a heart. Amazing footage of fighting in the cargo plane during a steep dive. Xander vs. Wick: no contest. A DON'T MISS HIT ! ! !
"The Wolf of Wall Street" (2013) based on true story. "Sell me on this movie" and make a million dollars a month. A DON'T MISS HIT ! !
"Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk" (2016) will it lead him back to Iraq, to a new life, or both?
"Coffeeshop" (2015) want to see a wonderful romcom with great cinematic touches and a heart-warming story. Look no further. Grab a latte and relax in Fairhope.
"A Brilliant Young Mind" (2015) seeks to solve the formula of love, but he needs help. A DON'T MISS HIT ! ! !
"The Wizard of Lies" (2017) From the Penthouse to the Jailhouse: Docudrama of Bernie Madoff who made off hundreds of millions of dollars in a huge Ponze scheme, that he kept secret from his family and friends and bilked billionaires and trust funds who sucked on the teat of the high returns Bernie offered them.
"Their Finest" (2016) The writing of Dunkirk, their finest hour, their finest movie! Was Dunkirk a fatal defeat or an inspiration to ordinary citizens that they could help win the war? This movie may change your mind about which. A DON'T MISS HIT ! !
"Sleeping Dictionary" (2003) should one marry one's sleeping dictionary one will live in a land beyond words. A DON'T MISS HIT ! !
"Message from the King" (2017) Jacob takes a vacation from his job in South Africa to find his sister in the dirty streets of Los Angeles. We suddenly realize he's no cab driver as he told customs when he arranges for the bad guys who butchered his beloved sister to be killed.
"Moonlight Serenade" (2006) Amy Adams is a hat check girl at a blues club and occasional singer. One night she warms up for a vocal gig outside of a stocker trader's apartment as he plays piano and sings along with her, and her stock begin rising. Will this be a one-night stand? Not if this is a romcom, right? A DON'T MISS HIT ! ! !
"Outlander" (2014) S1V1 Sassenach is what the English were called in Scotland hundreds of years ago. Sets up the time travel to the past and identifies the characters. Look great!
"Green Zone" (2009) , 2nd viewing, See DW10c In the chaos of a conquered Iraq, a noncom finds no weapons at the places he's assigned to protect and no one who will listen to him.
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."The Incredible Jessica James" (2017) is incredibly dumb!
"John Wick: Chapter 2" (2017) as little fun as watching someone else play a video game. After he's shot the 79th bad guy, it gets a little boring. Never watched the ending.
"Ozark" (2017) dirty money laundering in redneck country with poppy fields and Mexico cartel baddies. A waste of pixels.
"Assassin's Creed" (2016) a waste of good pixels on a sorry story and video game action.
Your call on these your taste in movies may differ, but I liked them:"5 Flights Up" (2015) real estate ping pong for fun, frustration, and profit.
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==Le Boudreaux Cajun Cottage, drawn by and Copyright 2011 by Paulette Purser, Used by Permission
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Thanks to Julie Greenberg for the inspiration for this Boudreaux joke.
Boudreaux called his boss Thibodaux at work one morning. "Hey, Thibodaux, Ah don' feel so good me. Ah don' t'ink Ah can come to work."
Thibodaux said, "Mais, Ah'm sorry to heard dat, but you know sumpin, when Ah feel dat way, Ah go to mah wife and axe her to give me sex. Dat makes everything better and Ah go to work. You try dat." Boudreaux thanked his boss and hung up.
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5.Household Hint for September, 2017 from Bobby Jeaux:
(click links to see photo of ingredients, preparation steps)
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =Bay Leaf Protection
Background on Bay Leaf Protection: Have you ever gone into your pantry and found the corn meal, oatmeal, grits, or pasta ruined by weevils? I have. They will bore holes into the plastic containers of spaghetti and other pastas. Then I came across the use of Bay Leaves to protect the items in my pantry. For over ten years, I have had no more weevils show up. Give it a try. If you cook with Bay Leaves, as I do, you will have some leaves available. They last indefinitely inside canisters of food and do not affect the flavor of the food. In cooked dishes, they improve the flavor, so they may do that for the uncooked ingredients they protect as well.
1 Bay Leaf per container
(If you don't have a bay tree on your property, consider growing one.)
Use a whole Bay Leaf. (that way you'll know if a piece got broken off)
How to Use
For various ground grain or meals, simply Scotch Tape a Bay Leaf to the underside of the Cover to keep it from being poured or scooped out by accident.
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6. POETRY by BOBBY from The Philosophy of Physical Science :
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Is the bung hole part of the barrel? Eddington takes this question and analyzes it. In a world-view of substance, we can have positive and negative parts, and the bung hole may be viewed simply as a negative part of the barrel — a piece of barrel that is missing. But convert, as we have, to a world-view of wave forms and everything changes. A bung-hole becomes as real as the rest of the barrel is real. A positron is a bung-hole left by removal of an electron from the barrel of atomic substrate.[page 120] When the analysis is not associated with substance (or with a structurally equivalent concept), when for example it is associated with wave form, the restriction cannot be imposed. In optics darkness is considered to be constituted of two interfering light waves; light may be a "part" of darkness.
When I read this passage on April 22, 1992 I was inspired to write a poem about darkness being composed of light. Here it is:
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7. REVIEWS and ARTICLES for September:
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =For our Good Readers, here are the reviews and articles featured this month. The second and third reviews this month, Wisdom of the Sands and Alchemy of Happiness , were published in early DIGESTWORLD Issues, but only as short blurbs so the full reviews and will be of interest to our DIGESTWORLD Readers. The first review, 'Vol 2 of Emerson's Journals', is new and has been added to the top of A Reader's Journal, Volume 2, Chronological List.
NOTE: The reviews published here will have photos added. For your convenience, if you wish to read the review sans photos or to print it out, simply CLICK on the Book Cover and choose Printer Ready option on the top line of a review page when it opens.
1.) ARJ2: Emerson Selected Journals 1841 - 1877, Vol. 2 by Ralph Waldo Emerson
This book contains excerpts from the 16 volume Harvard edition of The Journals and Miscellaneous Notebooks of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Exact dates are given for quoted passages where provided. The Harvard editor chose "to present Emerson's best and most vital writing, and to retain what was most significant biographically and historically in the journals."
My purpose in reading these two volumes was to encounter Emerson the man and writer and to witness first-hand his evolution as a thinker and a writer. This is Volume 2 of a Two Volume Set of Selected Journals of Emerson published by the Library of America. You can read my Review of Volume 1 for the years 1820 - 1842 here.
What better place to start this review than with the first paragraph written by Emerson on July 6, 1841. But first consider this poem by Samuel Hoffenstein whose book of Collected Poetry I bought at the same time I bought Emerson's Collected Essays in September, 1958 when I explored the riches of a college bookstore for the first time.
Little by little we subtract
Faith and Fallacy from fact
The illusory from the true
And starve upon the residue.
These are the builders of dungeons in the air, those who remove the flesh of the fruit of life and seek in vain to find nourishment on the hollow shells left behind.
[page 1] 6 July 1841. Ah ye old ghosts! ye builders of dungeons in the air! why do I ever allow you to encroach on me a moment; a moment to win me to your hapless company? In every week there is some hour when I read my commission in every cipher of nature, and know that I was made for another office, a professor of the Joyous Science, a detector & delineator of occult harmonies & unpublished beauties, a herald of civility, nobility, learning, & wisdom; an affirmer of the One Law, yet as one who should affirm it in music or dancing, a priest of the Soul yet one who would better love to celebrate it through the beauty of health & harmonious power.
This volume covers Emerson from the age of 37 to 74, so we will encounter him in his maturing years. By the age of 37, he had planted many fruit trees and knew how to get their fruit to flourish. So he shares with us his metaphor of the tree planter.
[page 1] 6 July 1841. How differs it with the tree planter? He too may have a rare constructive power to make poems or characters, or nations perchance but though his power be new & unique if he be starved of his needful influences, if he have no love, no book, no critic, no external call, no need or market for that faculty of his, then he may sleep through dwarfish years and die at last without fruit.
After I read Emerson's Self-Reliance essay as a callow youth of eighteen, about same age as Collin in photo above left, I was never the same. Everything I experienced afterward took on new meaning and importance in the light of Emerson's powerful searchlight which flooded my soul.
[page 2] 6 July 1841. Every man had one or two moments of extraordinary experience, has met his soul, has thought of something which he never afterwards forgot, & which revised all his speech, & moulded all his forms of thought.
Flattery may get you ahead, but the big head gotten by the one praised often derails any new creation that day, something Emerson and any creative person will know to be true.
[page 8] 6 July 1841. When I was praised I lost my time, for instantly I turned round to look at the work I had thought slightly of, & that day I made nothing new.
Haste makes waste is a common bit of doggerel. Emerson gives us an eloquent version of its wisdom to begin his page-long essay on Superlative.
[page 9] 6 July 1841. The greatest wit, the most space. It is the little wit that is always in extremes & sees no alternative but revelry or daggers. Hurry is for slaves.
Readers often attribute superlative wisdom to authors. A women at a book-signing asked Annie Dillard, "Do you think I could be a writer?" expecting Annie to be able to discern the path of the woman's life. She answered simply, "I don't know. Do you like sentences?" That was writing to Dillard, spending time creating and polishing sentences she liked.
I imagine Emerson to be answering a reader's similar question in this next passage:
[page 9] 6 July 1841. As your perception or sensibility is exalted, you see the genesis of my action, & of my thought, you see me in my debt & fountains, & to your eye instead of a little pond of the water of life, I am a rivulet fed by rills from every plain & height in nature & antiquity & deriving a remote origin from the foundation of all things.
We each have our own little pond of the water of life which we can write about and allow our readers to obtain nourishment from. If they choose to imagine some great web of tributaries feeding our writing, they will never discover nor value their own little pond of nourishment.
Where is Emerson going with these next passages? Is Pericles the strawberry and he the turnip in his botanical metaphor? Is the stamp with the starry sandals of Genius a squelch or a sparkling badge of honor?
[page 9] 6 July 1841. When you are possessed of the principle it is equally easy to make four or forty thousand applications of it. A great man will be content to have only written a letter or any the slightest composition demonstrating his perception of the reigning Idea of his time, & will leave to more mercantile men the multiplication of examples.
Genius unsettles everything. Is it fixed that after the reflective age arrives, there can be no quite rustic & united man born? Yes quite fixed. Ah this unlucky Shakespeare! and ah this hybrid Goethe! Make a new rule, my dear, can you not? and tomorrow Genius shall stamp on it with his starry sandal.
Then it is very easy to write as Mr Pericles writes. Why, I have been reading the books he read before he wrote his Dialogue, & I have traced him in them all & know where he got the things you most admire. Yes and the turnip grows in the same soil with the strawberry; knows all the same nourishment that gets, and feeds on the very same itself; yet it is a turnip still.
When you ask a genius a question, you get questions in return, and these unanswered questions can be the nourishment that, in time, will feed either turnips or strawberries. Whether you think you grow mean (low-ranked) turnips or superlative strawberries, your results will prove your thoughts to be right.
[page 29] 11 November, 1841. No man can write anything who does not think that what he writes is for the time the history of the world, or do anything well who does not suppose his work to be of greatest importance. My work may be none but I must think it of none or I shall not do it with impunity. Whoso does what he thinks mean, is mean.
If someone is elected President of the United States who owns a lot of property, has accomplished a lot of things, has built a large business by an aptitude for command, and is not beholden to special interest groups which have driven the political agenda for decades, perhaps this person could be the scholar of which Emerson wrote back in 1841.
[page 31] 11 November, 1841. Good scholar, what are you but for hospitality to every thought of your time? Have you property, have you leisure, have you accomplishments & the eye of command, you shall be the Maecenas (Patron) of every new thought, every untried project that proceeds from good will & honest seeking. The newspapers of course will defame what is noble and what are you for but to withstand the newspapers & all the other tongues of today; you do not hold of today but of an age, as the rapt & truly great man holds of all ages or of Eternity. If you defer to the newspaper, where is the scholar?
In the days when you went directly to the bakery, if you ordered a dozen doughnuts, the baker himself would often add an extra one to a good customer's bag which led to the phrase a baker's dozen coming into use. It meant an extra added to please customers. In New Orleans the phrase for that special extra is lagniappe (lahn-yap'). Emerson used the heaped peck as a metaphor for the added resources of each of nature's creatures. Apparently no one sold a peck or a bushel (4 pecks) of produce that was level to the top of the basket, but always heaped.
[page 34] 1841. Exaggeration is a law of nature. As we have not given a peck of apples or potatoes, until we have heaped the measure, so nature sends no creature, no man into the world without adding a small excess of his proper quality.
Emerson expresses in this next passage a 21st century view of marriage, an idealized form of marriage rarely realized in his 19th century lifetime. It echoes a favorite quotation of his about friends, "We will meet as if we met not and part as if we parted not." After his wife Ellen died in 1831, Emerson married Lydia in 1834, possibly the inspiration for the last sentence.
[page 37] 1841. Plainly marriage should be a temporary relation, it should have its natural birth, climax, & decay, without violence of any kind, — violence to bind, or violence to rend. When each of two souls had exhausted the other of that good which each held for the other, they should part in the same peace in which they met, not parting from each, but drawn to new society. The new love is the balm to prevent a wound from forming where the old love was detached.
In 1841 the only type of photography was the Daguerrotype, and Emerson praised its attributes. Here we get an on-the-spot report of this new technology.
[page 42] 1841. The Daguerrotype is good for its authenticity. No man quarrels with his shadow, nor will he with his miniature when the sun was the painter. Here is no interference and the distortions are not the blunder of an artist, but only those of motion, imperfect light, and the like.
While giving a true image, the Daguerrotype had one aspect which those of us familiar with the instant photography may not consider: the minutes-long sitting perfectly still for the plate to be exposed(1). It was a strain on the body and mind and here's is an on-the-spot report of Emerson sitting for the Daguerrotype-type image which graces the cover of the book jacket and my review on-line.
[page 48] 24 October 1841. Were you ever Daguerrotyped, O immortal man? And did you look with all vigor at the lens of the camera or rather by the direction of the operator at the brass peg a little below it to give the picture the full benefit of your expanded & flashing eye? and in your zeal not to blur the image, did you keep every finger in its place with such energy that your hands became clenched as for fight or despair, & in your resolution to keep your face still, did you feel every muscle becoming every moment more rigid: the brows contracted into a Tartarean frown, and the eyes fixed as they are fixed in a fit, in madness, or in death; and when at last you are relieved of your dismal duties, did you find the curtain drawn perfectly, and the coat perfectly, & the hands true, clenched for combat, and the shape of the face & head? but unhappily the total expression escaped from the face and you held the portrait of a mask instead of a man. Could you not by grasping it very tight hold the stream of a river or of a small brook & prevent it from flowing?
When the box camera was invented with the advent of Kodak film in the early 20th century, the word snapshot came into existence because it was possible to take a photo without having the person hold still.It became possible to take candid shots in bright daylight of people smiling naturally and in playful motion. One can only wonder about what Emerson would have looked like in a spontaneously taken snapshot. The closest we can get is the drawing of the younger Emerson smiling on the book jacket cover of Volume 1. A 19th century artist could capture the fleeting smile and draw an image of it.
Emerson admonishes us that what we try to conceal we reveal anyway, so why try to hide anything? He reminds us how his friend Jones Very explained it to him one morning.
[page 60] December, 1841. Use what language you will," he said, "you can never say anything but what you are."
Emerson advises we excuse ourselves only once for any misdeed and move on; that we not bring up the fault a second or third time: it is a worrisome habit. Each time we re-apologize, the problem we caused arises anew in the other person.
[page 61] December, 1841. It is never worthwhile to worry people with your contritions. We shed our follies & absurdities as fast as the rosebugs drop off in July & leave the apple tree which they so threatened. Nothing dies so fast as a fault & the memory of a fault. I am awkward, sour, saturnine, lumpish, pedantic, & thoroughly disagreeable & oppressive to the people around me. Yet if I am born to write a few good sentences or verses, these shall endure & my disgraces utterly perish out of memory.
It may be hard to believe for some that someone was working on a digital computer back in Emerson's time, but Charles Babbage was, and inspired Emerson's words, "Mr Babbage will presently invent a Novel-Writing Machine." Thankfully we have yet to have such a folly foisted upon us a hundred and seventy-five years later.
Emerson founded the Transcendentalist magazine The Dial in 1840 which was edited by Margaret Fuller for its first two years and by himself for its final two years. In the passage below he is contemplating the end of the magazine. I have often said, "If something is worth doing and you do not wish to continue doing it, find someone whose heart's delight would be to do it, or stop doing it."Apparently stopping doing it is what Emerson decided about his magazine.
[page 86] 20 March 1842. The Dial is to be sustained or ended & I must settle the question, it seems, of its life or death. I wish it to live but do not wish to be its life. Neither do I like to put it in the hands of the Humanity & Reform Men, because they trample on letters & poetry; nor in the hands of the Scholars, for they are dead & dry. I do not like the Plain Speaker so well as the Edinburg Review.
On January 28, 1842 Emerson's young son Waldo died at 6 years old. He mentions his son several times in this journal. "My music," Waldo said, "makes the thunder dance;" for it thundered when he was blowing his willow whistle. (Page 68)
[page 87, 88] 20 March 1842. Ellen asks her Grandmother "whether God can't stay alone with the angels a little awhile & let Waldo come down?"
And Amy Goodwin too thinks that "if God has to send any angel for anything to world, he had better send Waldo."
The chrysalis which he brought in with care & tenderness & gave to his Mother to keep is still alive and the most beautiful of the children of men is not here.
A few days later Emerson records this comment which contrasts the sound of a flute player with that of a man sawing wood. Perhaps he was remembering his beloved Waldo blowing on his willow flute and making the thunder dance.
[page 88] 23 March 1842. The scholar is a man of no more account in the street than another man; as the sound of a flute is not louder than the noise of a saw.
But as the tone of the flute is heard at a greater distance than the any noise, so the fame of the scholar reaches farther than the credit of the banker.
Emerson writes on page 101, "In short there ought be no such thing as Fate. As long as we use this word, it is a sign of our impotence & that we are not yet ourselves." Emerson apparently sees Fate as a preordained result and I agree with him there should be no such thing.But if you see, as I do, that Fate is a lifetime karmic goal being pursued, Fate becomes something we all have control over with every decision we make in life, when we encounter opportunities for balancing our karmic debt from previous lives, and when we avoid engendering karmic debt for future lives.
Emerson not only writes poetry, but he understands what makes good poetry, what distinguishes poets from the rhymesters & poetasters.
[page 102] 6 April 1842. The Poet should not only be able to use nature as his hieroglyphic, but should have a still higher power, namely, an adequate message to communicate; a vision fit for such a faculty. . . .
All our works which we do not understand are symbolical. . . .
We are greatly more poetic than we know; poets in our drudgery, poets in our eyes, & ears, & skin.
Two things amazed me about this next passage: One, that kids were playing baseball back in 1842. Two, that Emerson demonstrated my rule(2), Do It Right Away, Kid! so succinctly when the kids' baseball struck someone in a cart going by. Since Abner Doubleday invented baseball in the summer of 1839, the adult passenger could not have played the game as a schoolboy. Expecting the passenger to avoid a baseball in 1842 would be an anachronism equivalent to a teenager today asking his father why he didn't carry a Smartphone with him when he was in school.
[page 102] 6 April 1842. The school boys went on with their game of baseball without regard to the passenger, & the ball struck him smartly in the back. He was angry. Little cared the boys. If you had learned how to play when you was at school, they said, you would have known better than to be hit. If you did not learn then, you had better stop short where you are, & learn now. Hit him again, Dick!
For a long time I thought of life as a puzzle with an enigma on both ends. Emerson came to that puzzle and portrays it as a stairway.
[page 108] 19 April 1842. Where do we find ourselves? In a series, of which we do not know the extremes, & believe it has none. We wake & find ourselves on a stair; there are stairs below us up which we seem to have come; there are stairs above us many a one, they go up to heaven.
Perhaps it would be better said, "they go up to heaven knows where." Only by understanding our life as a step between two lifetimes can we comprehend the enigma of our life before birth and our life after death. Likely Emerson has reached that heavenly understanding by now, living in his time between death and a new birth.
Emerson enjoyed his solitude and expresses it dramatically in this next passage. It reminds me of how often I have felt the same way.
[page 112, 113] 1842. I think four walls one of the best of our institutions. A man comes to me, & oppresses me by his presence: he looks very large & unanswerable: I cannot dispose of him whilst he stays; he quits the room, & passes not only out of the house but, as it were, out of the horizon; he is a mere phantasm or ghost, I think of him no more. I recover my sanity, the Universe dawns on me again.
What is more important: strength or intelligence? Emerson answers the question with a knife metaphor. He advises us to "work smarter not harder".
[page 116] 11 November 1842. You must either lay to more strength or you must sharpen the edge of your knife. But wit always will be a substitute for drudgery, not for labor but for drudgery or excess of labor. For wit selects the right point wherein my stroke shall be bestowed, & so saves all the supernumerary strokes. A dim sighted man strikes with his hammer all about the nail; a good eye will hit the nail upon the head.
As will a good wit: hit the nail on the head.
Emerson remembers himself as a chubby boy rolling a hoop and spouting poetry at Latin School and looks at Time as a little grey man leading him through life, giving us a poignant reminder of the path we are each on.
[page 118, 119] 11 November 1842. But Time the little grey man has taken out of his vest pocket a great awkward house (in a corner of which I set & write of him) some acres of land, several fullgrown & several very young persons, & seated them close beside me; then he has taken that chubbiness & that hoop quite away (to be sure he has left the declamation & the poetry) and here left a long lean person threatening soon to be a little grey man, like himself.
And another poignant reminder:
[page 118, 119] 11 November 1842. Do you see that kitten chasing so prettily her own tail. If you could see with her eyes you would see her surrounded with hundreds of figures performing complex dramas, with tragic & comic issues, long conversations, many characters, many ups & downs of fate, & meantime it is only puss & her own tail. How long before our masquerade will cease its noise of tambourines & laughter & shouting and we shall suddenly find it was all a solitary performance.
Emerson knew Jean Paul Richter through his writings and gives us amazing quotes from the great educator and author.
[page 123] 1842. Richter said, "In the great world I despise the men & their joyless joys, but I esteem the women; in them alone can one investigate the spirit of the times."
"Happy," he says, "shall he be, if one falls to his lot, upon where opened eyes & heart, the flowery earth & beaming heavens strike not in infinitesimals, but in large & towering masses; for whom the great whole is something more than a nursery or a ball room."
Naming is an interesting phenomenon, as Emerson points out in this next passage:
[page 146] 1842. Naming, yes that is the office of the newspapers of the world, these famous editors from Moses, Homer, Confucius, & so on, down to Goethe & Kant: they name what the people have already done, & the thankful people say, 'Doctor, 'tis a great comfort to know the disease whereof I die.'
I have heard that Gustav Mahler went to see a bacteria specialist in Paris who looked into his microscope and raved to Mahler about the beauty of the bacteria which finally killed him. Likely that was no comfort to Mahler.
On June 10, 1834, Emerson referred to the new invention of the rail-road as a teakettle(3). In the next passage, some 9 years later, he is riding in a larger railroad car from Philadelphia to Baltimore.
[page 150] 7 January, 1843. Here today from Philadelphia. The railroad which was but a toy-coach the other day is now a dowdy lumbering country wagon. Yet it is not prosaic, as people say, but highly poetic, this strong shuttle which shoots across the forest, swamp, rivers, & arms of the sea, binding city to city. — The Americans take to the little contrivance as if it were the cradle in which they were born.
Today it is hard to imagine a Christmas tree with 150 candles burning to light it up, but it must have been a majestic sight. Thereupon hangs a tale by Emerson.
[page 150, 151] 7 January, 1843. The Christmas tree with 150 candles on it. A poor little boy had heard how beautiful it was & longed to see one. He did not wish their tree, but wished to see it; & at a large lighted house he plucked up courage & rang the doorbell. But he was very weak & the bell did not easily ring or the children & family were too much occupied with their happy tree to hear, so that nobody came. Presently he knelt down & prayed God that he might see a Christmas tree and he saw a star & presently an angel came down to him & said, "Do you wish, dear boy, to see a Christmas tree? I will show you one." So he laid his hand on the star, & brought it near, & then went & brought a great many stars, & set a tree in the ground & filled the branches with stars. The next day's paper contained the following advertisement. "Found, on the doorstep of a large brick house in ______ Square, the dead body of a small boy, very much emaciated & dressed in rags. His death occasioned by starvation."
When we walked into an area, such as we did in Barcelona, where the tour guide had warned us about pickpockets being everywhere, that was phobia enough for us to immediately flag down a taxi to get us to our ship's dock. When I studied how to cure phobias, I learned that the experts at installing phobias were the average persons on the street, the masters were the tour guides. Phobia and Fear are the two great killers, and few people know how to innoculate themselves from them. Emerson gives us an example of the power of Fear.
[page 153] A man going out of Constantinople met the Plague coming in, who said he was sent thither for 20,000 souls. Forty thousand persons were swept off, and when the traveler came back, he met the Plague coming out of the city. "Why did you kill Forty thousand?" he asked. "I only killed twenty," replied the Pest; "Fear kil led the rest."
There are so many food avoiders now, with more being created everyday. Remember when they couldn't eat grapes from California? Next came, no kangaroo meat in hamburgers. No red dye from Mexico, no MSG, no gluten, no GMO, etc. Every year brings some new prohibitions of food from some point of the globe. Emerson knew of these even in his time.
[page 156, 157] 1843. Jock could not eat rice, because it came west, nor molasses because it came north, nor put on leathern shoes because of the method by which leather was procured, nor indeed wear a woolen coat. But Dick have him a gold eagle that he might buy wheat & rye, maple sugar & an oaken chest, and said, This gold piece, unhappy Jock! is molasses, & rice, horse hide & sheepskin.
I read a lot of books in translation and agree with Emerson: it would be as foolish of me to read Rudolf Steiner in the original German as it would be to swim the Mississippi River from my home to the French Quarter when my automobile is handy in the garage.
[page 159] 1843. I thank the translators & it is never my practice to read any Latin, Greek, German, Italian, scarcely any French book, in the original which I can procure in an English translation. I like to be beholden to the great metropolitan English speech, the sea which receives tributaries from every region under heaven, the Rome of nations, and I should think it in me as much folly to read all my books in originals when I have them rendered for me in my mother's speech by men who have given years to that labor, as I should to swim across Charles River when ever I wished to go to Charlestown.
During my working years I moved to the center of America, then to the West Coast, and then to the East Coast. Finally I returned home to New Orleans where I first began before I left to pursue my academic and work career. Emerson gives us this quote from the poet Edmund Waller:
[page 161] 17 August 1843. "A stag when he is hunted & near spent, always returns home."
This next passage is very familiar to me; likely I read it as a youth in Emerson's Essays.
[page 177] 19 May 1843. Every man is an impossibility until he is born. Every thing impossible until we see a success. Do it, & we quote the old Unities or scholastic rules or examples of genius, Moses or Christ to you no longer.
In a negative metaphor, Emerson presupposes the need for large National Parks, whose existence was yet a half-century away, as a way to prevent our American continent being cut up into ten acre farms.
[page 178] 20 May 1843. The life of labor does not make men, but drudges. Pleasant it is, as the habits of all poets may testify, to think of great proprietors, to reckon this grove we walk in a park of the noble, but a continent cut up into ten acre farms is not desirable to the imagination.
Each portion of a century seems to bring a new wave of immigrants to plow their way into our land and our hearts in some inimitable fashion. For Emerson, it was Irish immigrants.
[page 178] 20 May 1843. See this great shovelhanded Irish race who precede everywhere the civilization of America, & grade the road for the rest!
Emerson said in the passage below that we were not ready to fly or to touch the Moon, but in sixty years we flew and another sixty years later we sent roystering boys with Neil Armstrong to romp upon and hit a golf ball on the surface of the Moon.
[page 180] 20 May 1843. I think we are not quite yet fit for Flying Machines and therefore there will be none. When Edie comes trotting into my study I put the inkstand & watch on the high shelf, until she be a little older; and the God has put the sun & moon in plain sight & use but laid them on the high shelf where these roystering boys may not come in on some mad Saturday afternoon pull them down or burn their own fingers. So I think the air will not be granted until our beards are grown a little. The sea & iron road are safer toys for such young fingers at present. We are not ripe to be birds.
Even a good translator will at times mislead the reader no matter how careful and diligent the translation produced. On page 207 Emerson gives us a pun in Italian which translates into English, Translator is Traitor: "The Italians have a good phrase to express the injury of translations, traduttore, traditore."
Do-gooders abound in every century and will attack as a miscreant anyone who does not work for their cause. Emerson had simple words for them, with which I earnestly agree:
[page 209] 31 December 1843. I say what they say concerning celibacy or money or community of goods and my only apology for not doing their work is preoccupation of mind. I have a work of my own which I know I can do with success. It would leave that undone if I should undertake with them and I do not see in myself any vigor equal to such an enterprise.
Emerson could see how the greatness of our time comes from the circadian tasks that people do in their daily work.
[page 210] 30 January 1844. The greatness of the centuries is made out of the paltriness of the days & hours. See with what motives & by what means the railroad gets built, and Texas annexed or rejected.
A year later Emerson attends debates about the annexation of Texas but was disappointed by the lack of Typhonic rage.
[page 226] 30 January 1845. In Boston to hear the debates of the Texan Convention with the hope that I might catch some sparks of the Typhonic rage. But I was unlucky in my visits to the house & heard only smooth whig speeches on moderation, &c.(4) to fill time. The poor mad people did not come.
Today, August 4, 2017, the Governor of West Virginia, a Democrat, changed his registration to Republican. Emerson could predict such a thing happening in his own time because he knew the life cycle of pumpkins.
[page 214] 30 January 1844. We fancy that men are individuals; but every pumpkin in the field goes through every point of pumpkin history. The rabid democrat, as soon as he is senator & a rich man, has ripened beyond the possibility of sincere radicalism and unless he can resist the sun he must be conservative the rest of his life.
Perhaps it is merely age which makes such a change possible.
[page 216] 30 January 1844. It was a good saying, Age gives good advice when it is no longer able to give a bad example. By acting rashly we buy the power of talking wisely. People who know how to act are never preachers.
Emerson opened many doors for me, and I regret that I can only thank him some hundred and sixty plus years in the future. His advice to others was one he took earnestly to himself, "Be an opener of doors for such as come after thee and do not try to make the Universe a blind alley." (Page 230)
Emerson says, "He who does his own work frees a slave." (Page 235) Then he throws off sparks of the Typhonic rage he was disappointed not to hear a year later in Boston [see page 226 quote], as he swings into this tirade about the Abolitionists who wish others to give up their slaves, but insist on having others do most of their own work for them. Take away all such hypocritical anti-slavery voices and you would be left with a tiny coterie of people for your army, he points out. This is truly an amazing passage which I quote only in part.
[page 236] 30 January 1845. The world asks, do the abolitionists eat sugar? do they wear cotton? do they smoke tobacco? Are they their own servants. Have they managed to put that dubious institution of servile labor on an agreeable & thoroughly intelligible & transparent foundation? It is not possible that these purists accept the accommodations of hotels, or even of private families, on the existing profane arrangements? If they do, of course, not conscience, but mere prudence & propriety will seal their mouths on the inconsistences of churchmen. Two tables in every house! Abolitionists at one & servants at the other! It is a calumny that you utter. There never was, I am persuaded, an asceticism so austere as theirs, from the peculiar emphasis of their testimony. The planter does not want slaves: give him money: give him a machine that will provide him with as much money as the slaves yield, & he will thankfully let them go: he does not love whips, or usurping overseers, or sulky swarthy giants creeping round his house & barns by night with lucifer matches in their hands & knives in their pockets. No; only he wants his luxury, & he will pay even this price for it.It is not possible then that the abolitionist will begin the assault on his luxury, by any other means than the abating of his own. A silent fight without war-cry or triumphant brag, then, is the new abolition of New England sifting the thronging ranks of the champions, the speakers, the poets, the editors, the subscribers, the givers, & reducing the armies to a handful of just men & women. Alas! alas! my brothers, there is never an abolitionist in New England.
In my essay, Art is the Process of Destruction, I emphasize that true art is art going in a different direction from extant art. A true artist is one who destroys the sameness which exists in current art and goes in a new and unexpected direction. The dunces of today are those well-intentioned people who claim Artificial Intelligence (A. I.) will soon exceed the capabilities of human beings. Yes, they may be right, but only in one direction, only in a previously used direction, but never in an alive direction, one that any human artist is demonstrably capable of doing. Emerson realized that true art required a human being to create alive directions, that "Man is a torch borne in the wind." (Page 259)
[page 255] 1845. Art requires a living soul. The dunces believe, that, as it must, at any one moment, work in one direction, an automaton will do as well, or nearly; & they beseech the Artist to say, "In what direction?" "In every direction," he replies, "in any direction, or in no direction, but it must be alive."
The A. I. experts claim that you will be able to put any question to their super-computers and get an answer. Maybe so, but I agree with Emerson who says, "A great man is he who answers questions which I have not skill to put." He then points out that if a man spends a lifetime answering a question which none of his peers can ask, he isolates himself. (Page 281)
One day Emerson sees on his railroad tickets, "Good for this Trip Only" and realizes that "in all action or speech which is good, there is a benefit beyond that contemplated by the doer." He realized that an insight of one person, when shared, is good for all the trips of those who are alive.
Every writer requires two inspirations according to Emerson.
[page 289] 1845. No wonder a writer is rare. — It requires one inspiration or transmutation of nature into thought to yield him the truth; another inspiration to write it.
One service which this age has rendered to men, is, to make the life & wisdom of every past man accessible & available to all.
Emerson would be amazed to learn that in 2017 all this shared information is instantly available on a small device anyone in the world can carry in a vest pocket.
Emerson read Swedenborg, but found a key point of objection in his writings, calling him sarcastically a King. Emerson was a preacher once, and apparently once in a row was enough for him.
[page 294, 295] 27 October 1845. As for King Swedenborg I object to his cardinal position in Morals that evils should be shunned as sins. I hate preaching. I shun evils as evils. Does he not know — Charles Lamb did, — that every poetic mind is a pagan, and to this day prefers Olympian Jove, Apollo, & the Muses & the Fates, to all the barbarous indigestion of Calvin & the Middle Ages? . . . It is the very essence of Poetry to spring like the rainbow daughter of Wonder from the invisible: to abolish the Past, & refuse all history.
And what is history but a request for more of the old?
[page 296] 1845. In fine it is very certain that the genius draws up the ladder after him when the creative age goes up to heaven, & gives way to a new, who see the works & ask vainly for a history.
Is there wisdom in history? Maybe. But not if one understands wisdom as Emerson does.
[page 296] 1845. Wisdom consists in keeping the soul liquid, or, in resisting the tendency to too rapid petrification.
[page 300] 1845. The miracles of the spirit are greater than those of the history.
Democracy can be defined as the rule of the majority, but Emerson has no love of majorities.
[page 296, 297] 1845. Majorities, the argument of fools, the strength of the weak. One should recall what Laertius records as Socrates' opinion of the common people, "that, it was as if a man should reject one piece of bad money, & accept a great sum of the same."
In this next passage Emerson asks for a leader, a Genius, which will help us in the way we are already going. Someone once said it this way, "A good leader finds out where his men are heading and gets in the front of them."
[page 299] 5 November 1845. We are candidates, we know we are, for influences more subtle & more high than those of talent & ambition. We want a leader, we want a friend whom we have not seen. In the company, & fired by the example of a god, these faculties that dream & toss in their sleep, would wake. Where is the Genius that shall marshal us the way that we were going? There is a vast residue, an open account ever.
Emerson explains how you can inventory a store and know all of its contents, but if you inventory a human being, you'll discover the most important parts are not on the shelves.
[page 299] 5 November 1845. It is the largest part of a man that is not inventoried. He has many enumerable parts: he is social, professional, political, sectarian, literary, & of this or that set & corporation. But after the most exhausting census has been made, there remains as much more which no tongue can tell. And this remainder that which interests.This is that which the preacher & the poet & the musician speak to. This is that which the strong genius works upon; the region of destiny, of aspiration, of the unknown. Ah they have a secret persuasion that as little as they pass for in the world, they are immensely rich in expectancy & power. Nobody has ever yet dispossessed this adhesive self to arrive at any glimpse or guess of the awful (awe-full) Life that lurks under it.
The human being combines the best aspects of the lower beings of Nature and improves upon them in new ways. Yes, animals have a spine, but only in humans does the spine reach full erectness. Claim a benefit for some animal such as speed, agility, or perception and any given human can best that animal using flexibility of thought.
[page 303] 1845. Nature seems to us like a chamber lined with mirrors, & look where we will in botany, mechanics, chemistry, astronomy, the image of man comes throbbing back to us.
The State, rightly understood as a coercive bureaucracy, can be respected as one in Emerson's time would respect a cow. Offer it hay and clover, but if the cows tries to gouge you with its horns, you must put it down and replace it. So long as "State" and "Coercive" go together the State is at risk if it tries to gouge its citizens.
[page 332] 1846. The State is a poor good beast who means the best: it means friendly. A poor cow who does well by you, — do not grudge it its hay. It cannot eat bread as you can, let it have without grudge a little grass for its four stomachs. It will not stint to yield you milk from its teat. You who are a man walking cleanly on two feet will not pick a quarrel with a poor cow. Take this handful of clover & welcome. But if you go to hook me when I walk in the fields, then poor cow, I will cut your throat.
Emerson wanted to see men who had some greatness in them, not those found in public houses and society galas.
[page 334] 1846. A man of the world I wish to see, not such men as are called of the world who more properly are men of a pistareen(5), men of a quart pot, men of a wine-glass; whose report reaches about as far as the pop of champagne cork, & who are dumb as soon as they stray beyond that genial circle.
Someone might call my reading of Rudolf Steiner's works as irrelevant, and if so I might respond similar to how Emerson did in a passage called "Scholar".
[page 348] 1847. "Your reading is irrelevant." Yes, for you, but not for me. It makes no difference what I read. If it is irrelevant, I read it deeper. I read it until it is pertinent to me & mine, to nature & to the hour that now passes. A good scholar will find Aristophanes & Hafiz & Rabelais full of American history.
Emerson could turn a complaint into an opportunity, into a possibility, by his knowledge of a man's nature.
[page 349] 1847. A man complained that in his way home to dinner he had every day to pass through that long field of his neighbor's. I advised him to buy it, & it would never seem long again.
Most of my reading is non-fiction, but I like the occasional novel as a means of letting my imagination run free, to stroll in green parks, wander along paths through the forest, perhaps to an abandoned granite quarry on a Sunday afternoon. Emerson admonished his friend Thoreau for admonishing people to avoid novel reading.
[page 353] 1847. Novels, Poetry, Mythology must be well allowed for an imaginative being. You do us great wrong, Henry T., in railing at the novel reading. The novel is that allowance & frolic their imagination gets. Everything else pins it down.
Via karma over serial lifetimes, we are all like the Wandering Jew, popping up into new lands in unfamiliar climes and having to learn how one lives in a place and time like this one and that one.A man once left an apartment in a big city and drove far west to Arizona, stopping at the first store he saw on the side of the road. A robust, dark-haired man was sitting in a rocking chair and he went up to him and asked, "Is this a healthy place to live?" The man said, "Look at me. When I first came here I was bald, unable to walk, and had to be hand-fed by my family." "Wow," the man said, "and how long have you lived here?" He replied, "I was born here." And that is the lot of each of us when we arrive in a new lifetime.
Fables are often deep secrets about what goes on in each of our lives as humans.
[page 354] 1847. Longevity. The fable of the Wandering Jew is agreeable to men because they want more time & land to execute their thoughts in: — but a higher poetic use must be made of that fable. Take me as I am with my experience & transfer me to a new planet, & let me digest for its inhabitants what I could of the wisdom of this. After I have found my depth there, & assimilated what I could of the new experience, transfer me to a new scene. In each transfer I shall have acquired a new mastery of the old thoughts in which I was too much immersed, by seeing them at a distance.
Is this not our human destiny? To live out serial lives and take lessons into each new lifetime from the old. Emerson sees it so.
[page 362] 1847. Every thing teaches transition, transference, metamorphosis: therein is human power, in transference, not in creation; & therein is human destiny, not in longevity but in removal. We dive & reappear in new places.
On page 362 Emerson asks, "Will no oak rear up a mast to the clouds?" It made me wonder, "What if huge old-growth trees had not been harvested for masts and left alone to grow to today?" Might we today have no country of our own, no freedom? — Lacking masts for our ships, we would have had no navy to defend our shores. The oil underground today is our sail power, is it not?What use is it to have tall trees and oil underground if we lack freedom as a people? When new supplies of energy replace oil, we will feel foolish at the unrealized opportunities to further our nation represented by the huge reservoirs of untapped oil lying fallow beneath our sea beds forever.
Ever notice how critics tend to give criticism a bad name. They do best to follow Emerson's advice.
[page 365] 1847. Criticism should not be querulous & wasting, all knife & root puller, but guiding, instructive, inspiring, a south wind, not an east wind.
Emerson's aunt, Mary Moody Emerson, was one of his early teachers, and he collected many of her writings, such as this short piece.
[page 380] 5 September 1847. "Give us peace with our boarders," wrote MME, & when shown the misspelling, said, "it would do as it was."
This reminds of a similar misunderstanding of the word "borders" without any misspelling which I used in teaching my Effective Communication course. J. Edgar Hoover was proofing a letter his secretary had typed for him and noticed she had not allowed a large enough border around the text, so he scribbled a note to her on the typed letter saying, "Watch the Borders!" The secretary sent that notice out to all the border officers and they put all their agents on high alert!
Emerson writes on page 382, "The present moment is a boat in which I embark without fear; boat & pilot at once." The more sail you have deployed, the faster you can go. But the good steersman has a rule, "it is of no use to carry any more sail than you can steer steady." This rule comes to mind after an incident I observed last night. A large black Cadillac sped past us on a curve leading to the rise of a large bridge which I knew would have slowly moving cars due to the heavy rainstorm which had blocked traffic all over the city. We slowed and moved to the far left lane. Sure enough, the unheeding steersman paid the price for "carrying too much sail." He had slammed into the rear of a car on the rise in the right hand lane. As we passed, the steam from his smashed radiator was rising into the air and he was calling to report the accident. Good driving is like good writing as Emerson explains in the passage below:
[page 383] 5 September 1847. Good writing is a kind of skating which carries off the performer where would not go, & is only right admirable when to all its beauty & speed a subserviency to the will like that of walking is added.
In early October, 1847 Emerson set sail to England, a voyage which took 17 days at that time. After he arrived he offers us bits of conversation he either heard happen or was told about involving the great commander Wellington, the great sun-less skies of London, the great orator Macaulay, and the great giraffe.
[page 386] 30 October 1847. To a lady who wished to witness a great victory, Lord Wellington said, "Ah! Madam, a great victory is the greatest of all tragedies except one, a defeat." To an Englishman who said, "They worship the sun in your country"; the Persian Ambassador replied, "So would you if you ever saw him."
Sidney Smith said, Macaulay had improved, he has flashes of silence.
Of the giraffe, he said, that he would take cold; & think of having two yards of sore throat!
On December 4, 1847 (Page 387) Emerson writes while in England, "What a misfortune to America that she has not original names on the land but this whitewash of English names. Every name here is history." Here in New Orleans, we have a pastiche of French names which we treasure, often a palimpsest over earlier Spanish names. An Englishman asked Emerson if Americans liked to call their country New England, to which he likely said, no; but certainly the northeast corner of a greatly expanded America is called that today. (Page 389)
Emerson met Thomas Carlyle and offers the views he heard the great Scottish philosopher express about education in England.
[page 396] 1848. He prefers Cambridge to Oxford. But Oxford & Cambridge education indurates them, as the Styx hardened Achilles so that now they are proof; we have gone thro' all the degrees, & are case hardened against all the veracities of the universe, nor man nor God can penetrate us.
One of my must places to visit in the British Museum was the Elgin marbles, those marvelous life-sized sculptures of figures from the frieze of the Parthenon, figures that Lord Elgin risked his and his family's life, rescuing the marble figures from being pulverized into dust by the Ottoman-led (or misled) Greek peasants to make cement for their homes.Emerson reports on his visit to the Elgin marbles in 1848, and they seemed to be in the same disarray in 2009 when I viewed them on display there. The Greeks have lost their marbles, and like Humpty-Dumpty, not even the King's men can put them back together again in Greece.
[page 398] 1848. The British Museum holds the relics of ancient art, & the relics of ancient nature, in adjacent chambers. It is alike impossible to reanimate either.
The arrangement of the antique remains is surprisingly imperfect & careless, without order, or skillful disposition, or names or numbers. A warehouse of old marbles. People go to the Elgin chamber many times & at last the beauty of the whole comes to them at once like music. The figures sit like gods in heaven.
White paper is in such common use today few people understand that, in Emerson's time, the government of Paris reserved the exclusive right to use White Paper. This must be the origin of the use of the term "White Paper" for a government report giving information on some vital issue. (Page 408)
[page 419, 420] 22 April 1848. An artist spends himself, like the crayon in his hand, till he is all gone.
The Americans would sail in a steamboat built of lucifer matches, if it would go faster.
One might indeed consider a modern jetliner as a steamboat of the air, powered by the burning exhaust gas of millions of matches. Indeed Americans on jetliners reach England in 9 hours versus the 17 weeks in Emerson's time.
In our Meditation Garden we have a bench shaded by bald cypress trees which provides a peaceful and pleasant place to sit. One day I decided to move to the side of the bower a bird bath whose water could be seen from the bench. The water in the bird bath added an amazing feeling of life to the area. Emerson observed a similar thing, and called it a rhyme to the eye.
[page 548] 1851. I notice, in the road, that the landscape is uninteresting enough, but a little water instantly relieves the monotony. For it is no matter what objects are near it; — a grey rock, a little grass, a crab-tree, or alder-bush, a stake, — they instantly become beautiful by being reflected. It is rhyme to the eye, & explains the charm of rhyme to the ear, & suggests the deeper rhyme or translation of every natural object into its spiritual sphere.
Emerson is aboard a steamboat on the Ohio River and comments on the waters that people along the banks drink. In Ohio only from the Ohio River, preferring it to the limestone water of its wells, in St. Louis only from the Missouri River even though the Mississippi flows along the east bank. In New Orleans, we drink all three rivers as they are well-mixed and purified by the time they arrive here. Seattle residents were upset when our river water flowing through our taps beat out their mountain stream water in a recent blind taste test. In New Orleans the taste of the water we consume is more important than adjectives like alpine, mineral, or glacial that pretentious folk might place in front of water.
[page 575] 25 May 1850. The people do not let the Ohio river go by them without using it as it runs along. The waterworks supply the city abundantly, in every street, in these dusty days, it is poured on to the pavement. The water offered you to drink is as turbid as lemonade, & of a somewhat greyer hue. Yet it is freely drunk, & the inhabitants much prefer it to the limestone water of their wells.
At St Louis only Missouri water is drunk. The waters of the two streams are kept unmixed, the Mississippi on the east bank, the Missouri on the west until 40 miles below St Louis.
My grandfather was descended from German migrants to the New Orleans area around 1721. He worked as a barber for 60 years and after he retired I asked if I might have some of the tools he used in barbering. Among the treasures he gave me is a pair of barber scissors made by the Solingen company in Germany. I use them often to trim my own hair but only became aware of their origin in a sword-making company when I read this passage:
[page 606] 1853. At Solingen, they manufacture swords, called eisenhauers, which cut gunbarrels in two. (London) Examiner.
By a cosmic coincidence the great American General who figuratively cut the war barrels of the German guns in half in World War II and won the war was named Eisenhower, an English spelling of, and pronounced exactly the same, as the German word eisenhauer.
In this next passage, Emerson explains how Thoreau owned the fields, waters, and woods of Concord as if they were his own. As a surveyor he gained passage to many areas and could hop fences and property lines with impunity, but most of his travels were completely unseen by the owners of the properties he passed through as though he were invisible.
[page 614] 1853. Sylvan (Thoreau) could go wherever woods & waters were & no man was asked for leave. Once or twice the farmer withstood, but it was to no purpose, — he could as easily prevent the sparrows or tortoises. It was their land before it was his, & their title was precedent. He knew what was on their land, & they did not; & he sometimes brought them ostentatiously gifts of flowers or fruits or shrubs which they would gladly have paid great prices for, & did not tell them that he took them from their own woods.
Moreover the very time at which he used their land & water (for his boat glided like a trout everywhere unseen,) was in hours when they were sound asleep. Long before they were awake he went up & down to survey like a sovereign his possessions, & he passed onward, & left them before the farmer came out of doors. Indeed it was the common opinion of the boys that Mr T. made Concord.
In this next passage, Emerson gives us an insight into Thoreau and how he values the men around him.
[page 621] 1853. H. D. T. says he values only the man who goes directly to his needs, who, wanting wood, goes to the woods & brings it home; or to the river, & collects the drift, & brings it in his boat to his door, & burns it: not him who keeps shop, that he may buy wood. One is pleasing to reason & imagination; the other not.
As I read this passage over it occurred to me that my father during the first decade or so of my life was such a man. If he needed a burner to boil crawfish, he found an old water heater burner and set it into a section of a barrel he had galvanized. If he wanted wood to carve duck decoys, he went into the swamp and returned with chunks of cypress and tupelo gum. If he needed a boat, he built himself one. If he needed a net to catch crawfish, he knitted one while listening to the Friday night fights on the radio. He helped his sister's husband make sausage on Wednesday nights and brought some home for us to eat. Much of what we ate back then, he and my mom gathered from a field, hunted down, slaughtered and butchered, or fished out of the bayou. Henry would have liked Buster.
Emerson tells us on page 623 that the Sun would be lacking interest if the universe were not opaque, that "We can do nothing without the shadow." Which set me to thinking of Peter Pan who so earnestly searched for his shadow.
[page 623] 1853. Art lives & thrills in ever new use & combining of contrasts, & is digging into the dark ever more blacker Pits of night. What would painter do, or what would hero & saint, but for crucifixions & hells? And evermore in the world is this marvelous balance of beauty & disgust, magnificence & rats.
Have you ever thought of knowledge as a fountain which flows downhill? Emerson did. He was himself a wonderful font of knowledge from which I deeply drank as soon as I discovered his overflowing spring.
[page 627] 1853. I have no fear but that the reality I love will yet exist in literature. I do not go to any pope or president for my list of books. I read what I like. I learn what I do not already know. Only those above me can give me this. They also do as I, — read only such as know more than they: Thus we all depend at last on the few heads or the one head that is nearest to the stars, nearest to the fountain of all science, & knowledge runs steadily down from class to class down to the lowest people, from the highest, as water does.
What Emerson writes about in this next passage applies very well to this book of selections from his Journals. In it I have found numerous items that seemed specifically mean for me.
[page 634, 635] May 1854. A good head cannot read amiss. In every book he finds passages which seem confidences or asides, hidden from all else, & 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.
Whenever two thoughts lead to each other, Emerson values the connection, sees the connective tissue as the thread of a spider weaving together into a rich web what were else single thoughts or facts.
[page 638] 11 October 1854. I notice that I value nothing so much as the threads that spin from a thought to a fact, & from one fact to another fact, making both experiences valuable & presentable, which were insignificant before, & weaving together into rich webs all solitary observations.
Emerson pulls science down to a mere collection of nomenclature which requires a touch of magic from the soul to reveal important truths.
[page 638] 11 October 1854. I wish to know the nomenclature of botany & astronomy. But these are soulless both, as we know them; vocabularies both. Add astrology to astronomy, & 'tis somewhat. Add medicine & magic to botany, & that is something.But the English believe that by mountains of facts they can climb into the heaven of thought & truth: so the builders of Babel believed. But the method of truth is quite other, & heaven descends, when it will, to the prepared soul. We must hold our science as mere convenience, expectant of a higher method from the mind itself.
Emerson sees the magic of moving, especially the changing from one thing into another, such as small children delight in doing in their play. It is as if they were born out of the spiritual world with an innate knowledge of the book of changes and need no instruction from parents in this matter.
[page 643] 11 February 1855. For flowing is the secret of things & no wonder the children love masks, & to trick themselves in endless costumes, & be a horse, a soldier, a parson, or a bear; and, older, delight in theatricals; as, in nature, the egg is passing to a grub, the grub to a fly, and the vegetable eye to a bud, the bud to a leaf, a stem, a flower, a fruit; the children have only the instinct of their race, the instinct of the Universe, in which, Becoming somewhat else is the whole game of nature, & death the penalty of standing still.
'Tis not less in thought. I cannot conceive of any good in a thought which confines & stagnates. Liberty means the power to flow. To continue is to flow. Life is increasing parturition.
Please consider carefully, dear Reader, that materialist science is based on abstract logical thought, which is, yes, very useful for building machines and such, but is useless for giving birth to living beings.
Emerson admired Alcott, the father of Louisa May Alcott, knew him to be man of superior intelligence and wit, which often few observed. But if Alcott got on his high horse, Katie, Bar the Door!
[page 651] . Alcott had much to say of there being more in a man than was contained in his skin; as I say, a man is as his relatedness. But I was struck with the late superiority he showed. The interlocutors were all better than he; he seemed childish & helpless, not apprehending or answering their remarks aright, they master of their weapons. But by & by, when he got upon a thought like an Indian seizing by the mane & mounting a wild horse of the desert, he overrode them all & showed such mastery & took up time & nature like a boy's marble in hand to vindicate himself.
Walt Whitman was originally a typesetter and bookbinder, and had access to pieces of printer paper called leaves (back then) upon which to write his early poems. The printers called early trial printings of rough drafts, etal, grass. When Whitman bound his raw poems, his leaves of grass, together into a book, his choice of a title for his collection of poems was obvious to him, "Leaves of Grass". Emerson loved Whitman's poems, but asked him if he could tone down the blatant sensuality and sexuality in them. Whitman chose to ignore such requests from anyone. This is the
Emerson had no admiration for critics like Whipple, realizing that what the critic brings up to discuss tells us as much about the man criticized as if only his skeleton were displayed and these words were spoken, "See how desiccated and thin the man's thoughts are."
[page 694, 695] Nature does not like criticism. There is much that a wise man would not know. See how she never shows the skeleton, but covers it up, weaves her tissues & folds & integuments, the sun shall not shine on it, the eye shall not see it. Who & what are you that would lay it bare? & what a ghostly grinning fragment have you got at last, which you call a man! That is criticism.
Those who cannot construct wholes, criticize the wholes others create. The creator cares little about the details, recognizing their creation as a work in progress. "The critic with an analytic mind will not carry us far," Emerson says.
[page 698) Taking to pieces is the trade of those who cannot construct. In a healthy mind, the love of wholes, the power of generalizing, is usually joined with a keen appreciation of differences. But they are so bent on the aim & genius of the thing, that they don't mind the surface faults. But minds of low & surface power pounce on some fault of expression, of rhetoric, or petty mis-statement of fact, and quite lose sight of the main purpose.
One cannot read the above without being reminded of White House press briefings of the new U.S. President in 2017.
Emerson did not want to bring men to him, but rather to help bring men to themselves. He was proud of having not one disciple. Here was a man who valued the long term, and eschewed the frivolities of the short term.
[page 709] I have been writing & speaking what were once called novelties, for twenty five or thirty years, & have not now one disciple. Why? Not that what I said was not true; not that it has not found intelligent receivers but because it did not go from any wish in me to bring men to me, but to themselves. I delight in driving them from me. What could I do, if they came to me? They would interrupt & encumber me.
We must each trust in our fortune, our karma, when it calls us to our task.
[page 710] I value a man's trust in his fortune, when it is a hearing of voices that call him to his task; when he is conscious of a great work laid on him to do, & that nature cannot afford to lose him until it is done.
Solitude was a luxury for me in my life; I shared one double bed with four younger brothers from my age of six to twelve. I went to college and there I found solitude, not in a room of my own, but in the library as I studied.
[page 712] "In the morning — solitude," said Pythagoras. By all means, give the youth solitude, that nature may speak to his imagination, as it does never in company; and, for the like reason, give him a chamber alone; and that was the best thing I found in College.
Emerson loved holding onto unanswered questions, even the most trivial fact gave him delight when he made a connection that answered some long-held question like, "Why was I holding this item in my memory?"
[page 731] I am a matchmaker, & delight in nothing more than in finding the husband or mate of the trivial fact I have long carried in my memory, (unable to offer any reason for the emphasis I gave it,) until now, suddenly, it shows itself as the true symbol or expressor of some abstraction.
One can feel the lifelong poverty of the woman in this quote by Emerson on page 735, "An old woman standing by the sea, said, 'she was glad to see something that there was enough of.'"
Emerson wrote a line on page 776 which begged to be written as the first line of a poem:
To a perfect foot no place is slippery.
To a perfect fool every place is slippery.
To a perfect fop every act is foppery.
To a perfect union every act is unifying.
Even Thoreau slipped once on a walk, but it was a most fortuitous slip which led him to discover a plant whose leaves contain a healing balm. I had read this passage a couple of months ago and had no idea that this plant is commonly used to make "oil of arnica".But a couple of days ago I awoke from a dream in which the phrase "oil of arnica" stuck in my mind, and I was determined to find out about it. Yesterday I ordered a bottle of the oil which is good for sprains, headaches, one's heart, arthritic pain, weak immune system, skin rashes, among other things.
[page 799] Henry Thoreau fell in Tuckerman's Ravine, at Mount Washington, and sprained his foot. As he was in the act of getting up from his fall, he saw for the first time the leaves of Arnica Mollis! the exact balm for his wound.
Poems, in my opinion, must contain powerful thoughts. No amount of elegant poesy can raise common thoughts to memorable poetry. Emerson says this very well.
[page 808] 1 November, 1862. In poetry, the charm is of course in the power of the thought which enforces beautiful expression. But the common experience is, fine language to clothe commonplace thoughts, if I may say thoughts. And the effect is, dwarfs on stilts.
Good commanders of armies know the importance of flanking tactics in major battles. Emerson claims the same virtue in making an argument.
[page 841] 13 February 1865. The best in argument is not accosting in front the hostile premises, but the flanking them by a new generalization which incidentally disposes of them.
This inspired me to write this poem:
'Tis a Trick of Rhetoric
'Tis a trick of rhetoric
to eschew direct assault
generally attack the flanks.
If we ram our farms
with lines of pickets,
we turn to dust our paradise.
Let us count the Pleiades at dusk
Lest we mourn our fallen Star.
What are the five miracles of your lifetime, Dear Reader? Emerson gives us these five of his lifetime.
[page 894] The splendors of this age outshine all other recorded ages. In my lifetime, have been wrought five miracles, namely, 1. The Steamboat; 2. The railroad; 3. The Electric telegraph; 4. The application of the Spectroscope to astronomy; 5. The photograph: five miracles which have altered the relations of nations to each other.
I choose these five miracles of my lifetime: 1) Jet plane 2) Television 3) Digital Computers 4) Internet and 5) Google. It's hard to leave out such advances as atomic power, large-scale integration, Smartphones, space travel, air-conditioning, and self-driving automobiles, but the wheels of progress are still turning out new creations of the human mind. Most importantly, from this list of miracles I cannot omit the writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson whose Self-Reliance Essay flamed into my life as a shooting star, lighting up a world, a new world for me, I was as tinder and his words set a match to me, starting a lifelong fire burning brightly.
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The plate was polished silver and after exposure it had to be held over steaming mercury for the image to develop.Return to text directly before Footnote 1.
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Footnote 4.Return to text directly before Footnote 4.
The 27th letter of the alphabet in Emerson's time was "&" which he drew as a script "et" which means "and" in Latin. Adding the "c." makes it an abbreviation for "et cetera" — which we today mark as "etc." in our writing.
Footnote 5.Return to text directly before Footnote 5.
An old Spanish coin in common use, but mostly devalued below its face value.
2.) ARJ2: The Wisdom of the Sands by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
When I first read this book, apparently I missed reading Walter Fowlie's wonderful Introduction. Reading introductions, prefaces, forewords, and acknowledgments of books is an acquired taste, similar to eating the crust of bread slices — it's not for the young. In this passage Fowlie explains the process of the book:
[page ix] A young chieftain, un jeune caïd, the protagonist, is being gradually instructed by his father, who was the founder of the empire and who is in full control of the inhabitants. The young caïd is taught to discern which moral and behavioral factors elevate, and which degrade the people. He learns to recognize those aspects of civilization that strengthen the empire, and those that may cause its decline.
Straight away on page 3, the father's homily to his son begins with the theme of "pity led astray." He talks of how he pitied beggars and even sent his doctors to heal their sores. Then one day he "discovered that beggars cling to their stench as to something rare and precious."
[page 3] For I had caught them scratching away their scabs and smearing their bodies with dung, like the husbandman who spreads manure over his garden plot, so as to wean from it the crimson flower. Vying with each other, they flaunted their corruption, and bragged of the alms they wrung from the tender-hearted. He who had wheedled most likened himself to a high priest bringing forth from the shrine his goodliest idol for all to gape at and heap with offerings. When they deigned to consult my physician, it was in the hope that hugeness and virulence of their cankers would astound him. And how nimbly they shuffled their stumps to have room made for them in the market places! Thus they took the kindness done them for a homage, proffering their limbs to unctions that flattered their self-esteem.
If the process of the book is homily, the theme is citadelle — the home, the fortress, the castle in which we dwell. That "inner courtyard" that we build up around our selves, "as the cedar builds itself upon the seed."
[page 13, 14] For I perceived that man's estate is as a citadel: he may throw down the walls to gain what he calls freedom, but then nothing of him remains save a dismantled fortress, open to the stars. And then begins the anguish of not-being.Far better for him were it to achieve his truth in the homely smell of blazing vine shoots, or of the sheep he has to shear. Truth strikes deep, like a well. A gaze that wanders loses sight of God. And that wise man who, keeping his thoughts in hand, knows little more than the weight of his flock's wool has a clearer vision of God than [anyone]. Citadel, I will build you in men's hearts.
[page 15] For I have lit on a great truth: to wit, that all men dwell, and life's meaning changes for them with the meaning of the home.
And now we come upon the theme within the theme: the meaning of things. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry wrote this entire book about the meaning of things. This theme is like sand flowing through the hourglass of this wonderful book — the sand of the hourglass has no meaning in itself, the meaning in us, what meaning we make of the flowing sand. This review of Citadelle gives me a chance to place my hand into the hourglass of time and allow me to share with you, dear Reader, some grains of sand that flow through my fingers.
In the story of his father's house, the process of homily, the citadel in which men dwell, and the meaning of things all come together with a flourish. The son is led to understand his father's house as he contemplates its destruction. The son comes to see the value, the meaning, of his father's house, whose walls were the constraints his father had shaped for the son to come to know himself. Those walls, which after his father's death, were doomed — when some dolt came and questioned the meaning of things.
[page 18] That is why I hate irony, which is not a man's weapon, but the dolt's. For the dolt says to us: "These practices of yours do not obtain elsewhere. So why not change some of them?" As who should say: "What obliges you always to house your harvest in the barn and the cattle in the shed?" But it is he who is the dupe of words, for he knows not that something which words cannot comprehend. He knows not that men dwell in a house.
As the story unfolds, one cannot help but remember the 1960s when so many questions were asked about our culture, when so many young people demonstrated against old traditions, and when so many beautiful structures were laid in ruins to be replaced by concrete parking lots and the ilk.
[page 18, 19] And then his victims, now that the house has lost its meaning for them, fall to dismantling it. Thus men destroy their best possession, the meaning of things: on feast days they pride themselves on standing out against old custom, and betraying their traditions, and toasting their enemy. True, they may feel some qualms as they go about their deeds of sacrilege. So long as there is sacrilege. So long as there still is something against which they revolt. Thus for a while they continue trading on the fact that their foe still breathes, and the ghostly presence of the laws still hampers them enough for them to feel like outlaws. But presently the very ghost dissolves into thin air, and the rapture of revolt is gone, even the zest of victory forgotten. And now they yawn.
[page 19] On the ruins of the palace they have laid out a public square; but once the pleasure of trampling its stones with upstart arrogance has lost its zest, they being to wonder what they are doing here, on this noisy fairground. And now, lo and behold, they fall to picturing, dimly as yet, a great house with a thousand doors, with curtains that billow on your shoulders and slumbrous anterooms. Perchance they dream even of a secret room, whose secrecy pervades the whole vast dwelling. Thus, though they know it not, they are pining for my father's palace where every footstep had a meaning.
And where in that palace is this meaning to be found? Surely not in the bricks, the stones, the tiles that comprise the palace, because if the owner were to dismantle the palace into a pile of brick and stones, "he would not be able to discover therein the silence, the shadows and the privacy they bestowed." But rather it is in the heart and soul of the architect who dreamed of and built the palace. This is the author's song to the human spirit.
[page 21] I, the architect; I, who have a heart and soul; I, who wield the power of transforming stone into silence. I step in and mold that clay, which is the raw material, into the likeness of the creative vision that comes to me from God; and not through any faculty of reason. Thus, taken solely by the savor it will have, I build my civilization; as poets build their poems, bending phases to their will and changing words, without being called upon to justify the phrasing of the changes, but taken solely by the savor these will have, vouched for by their hearts.
The book theme has moved from the citadel, to the meaning of things, to the "I" or human spirit that infuses the world with its aliveness and creativity. One cannot speak of such things without soaring thoughts and magniloquent words; one cannot speak of such things unless one writes as eloquently as Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.
He speaks of how the breast beam of one's ship groans when the storm tosses one's ship about and how the Earth itself groans when an earthquake tosses one's house about: "Only behold today how that which should be silent is giving tongue." And when the Earth begins to speak, what is it that men are fearful for?
[page 26] We trembled, not so much fearing for ourselves as for all the things we had labored to perfect, things for which we had been bartering ourselves lifelong. As for me, I was a carver of metal, and I feared for the great silver ewer on which I had toiled for years; for whose perfection I had bartered two years of sleepless nights. Another feared for the deep-piled carpets he had rejoiced to weave. Every day he unfurled them in the sun; he was proud of having bartered somewhat of his gnarled flesh for that rich flood of color, deep and diverse as the waves of the sea. Another feared for the olive trees he had planted. But, Sire, I make bold to say, not one of us feared death; we all feared for our foolish little things. We were discovering that life has a meaning only if one barters it day by day for something other than itself. Thus the death of the gardener does no harm to the tree; but if you threaten the tree the gardener dies twice.
If we follow his line of thought we must come to the conclusion that whatever one spends one's life doing, whatever one barters one's life for is important in itself for that very reason: it is an investment into which we have poured our most precious asset, our hours.
[page 30] So it is with the object of the barter; and the fool who thinks fit to blame that old woman for her embroidery — on the pretext that she might have wrought something else — out of his own mouth he is convicted of preferring nothingness to creation.
For Antoine de Saint-Exupéry there is only love for the craftsman and disdain for those who surround themselves only with luxuries bought from merchants, those who give nothing of themselves to life.
[page 30] No love have I for the sluggards, the sedentaries of the heart; for those who barter nothing of themselves become nothing. Life will not have served to ripen them. For them Time flows like a handful of sand and wears them down.
As my own parents aged, they were never sedentary; always their hands were full of something to do. For my mother it was knitting booties, sewing quilts, making pine needle baskets, crocheting centerpieces, or painting the duck decoys my dad carved. For my dad, when he wasn't carving his decoys of Tupelo Gum wood, he was carving up the ground to plant okra, potatoes, corn, bell peppers, squash, cucumbers, and tomatoes. I thought of my dad poring over his wood burning tool for hours as he etched the feathers into the bare wood of his otherwise finished decoy when I read this passage from this book:
[page 33] I saw, too, my one-legged cobbler busy threading gold into his leathern slippers and, weak as was his voice, I guessed that he was singing. "What is it, cobbler, that makes you so happy?" But I heeded not the answer; for I knew that he would answer me amiss and prattle of money he had earned, or his meal, or the bed awaiting him — knowing not that his happiness came from his transfiguring himself into golden slippers. . .
As I read further into this book, I became the caïd, the young chieftain being instructed by the older chieftain Saint-Exupéry and his words burned into me like the feathers burning to life under my own father's wood-burning tool. With each page I turned, another fiery thought was burned into me.
[page 52] If you wish them to be brothers, have them build a tower. But if you would have them hate each other, throw them corn.
[page 70] What you do, you stablish; and that is all. If when progressing towards a certain goal, you make-believe to move towards another, only he who is tool of words will think you clever. We do not deceive the tree; it grows as we train it to grow — and all else is words that weave the wind.
[page 73] 'Tis the art of reasoning that leads men to make mistakes.
[page 79] Then your temple will draw them to it like a magnet and in its silence they will search their souls — and find themselves!
[page 97] That alone is useful which resists you.
[page 98] . . . the living tree clutches the earth and molds it into flowers.
Some of the lessons the great chieftain gave to his son was about his generals and his police. These I found most instructive and would like to share them with you. First the generals of his army:
[page 90] Thus I made answer to my generals when they came and talked to me of "Order," but confused the order wherein power is immanent with the layout of museums. . . . my generals hold that those things only are in order which have ceased to differ from each other.Did I let them have their way, they would "improve" those holy books which reveal an order bodying forth God's wisdom, by imposing order on the letters, as to which the merest child can see they are mingled with a purpose. My generals would put all the A's together, all the B's and so forth; and thus they would have a well-marshalled book; a book to the taste of generals.
Years ago I discovered that when one holds a question unanswered in one's mind for a time, sooner or later the answer rises into consciousness as if it had been there all the time and needed time for it to arrive. Answering such a question immediately with one's conscious mind substitutes a pale simulacrum for the true answer that else arrive later. I expressed this idea in Matherne's Rule #25 which says, "What is the power of an unanswered question?" In this next passage I discovered the power of unasking a question or discovering that a question was essentially a meaningless question and not worthy of asking in the first place.
[page 129] For it has been brought home to me that man's "progress" is but a gradual discovery that his questions have no meaning. Thus when I consult my learned men, far from having found answers to last year's questions, lo, I see them smiling contentedly to themselves because the truth has come to them as the annulment of a question, not its answer.
We have all argued our positions with others and have usually found no resolution in the argument, only bad feelings on both parts, up until now. The author offers us this worthy advice.
[page 136] Thus I would have you refrain from wranglings — which lead nowhere. When others reject your truths on the strength of facts averred by them, remind yourself that you, too, on the strength of facts averred by you, reject their truths, when you fall to wrangling with them. Rather, accept them. Take them by the hand and guide them. Say, "You are right, yet let us climb the mountain together." Then you maintain order in the world and they will draw deep breaths of eager air, looking down on the plain which they, too, have conquered.
[page 152] Confuse not love with the raptures of possession, which bring the cruellest of sufferings. For, notwithstanding the general opinion, love does not cause suffering: what causes it is the sense of ownership, which is love's opposite.
[page 154] Then take today as it is given you, and chafe not against the irreparable. "Irreparable" indeed means nothing; it is but the epithet of all that is bygone. And since no goal is ever attained, no cycle ever completed, no epoch ever ended (save for the historian, who invents these divisions for your convenience), how dare you affirm that any steps you have taken which have not yet reached, and never will reach, their consummation, are to be regretted? For the meaning of things lies not in goods that have been amassed and stored away — which the sedentaries consume — but in the heat and stress of transformation, of pressing forward, and of yearnings unassuaged.
[page 161] For you can only give what you transform, as the tree gives the fruits of the earth which it has transformed. The dancer gives the dance into which she has transformed her walking steps.
The last story is about the chieftain's police officers, who "in their lush stupidity" have confronted him and insisted that they have discovered a sect responsible for the downfall of the empire. So the chieftain asked them, "And how do you know that these men are working in concert?"
[page 330] Then they told me of certain signs they had noticed, showing that these men formed a secret society, and of certain coincidences in the things they did, even naming the place where they held their meetings.
When the chieftain asked how this secret society was a danger to the empire, they told him of their crimes, rapes, ignobility, and their repellant appearance. The chieftain did not dispute their claim of a dangerous secret society, instead he followed the advice given above in the quotation from page 136 and invited them to climb the mountain together.
[page 331] "Well," I said, "I know a secret society that is still more dangerous, for no one has ever thought of fighting against it."
"What is it, Sire?"
And now they were agog with eagerness; for the police officer, being born to use his fists, wilts if there be none on whom to ply them.
"The secret society," I answered, "of those men who have a mole on the left temple."
As his policemen protested that they had seen no signs of such meetings, the chieftain claimed that made them all the more dangerous. But as soon as he will denounce them in public, they will be seen banding together. Then a former carpenter coughed and spoke up saying he knew a man who had a mole on his left temple who was "honest, gentle, open-hearted" and was wounded defending the empire. The chieftain said they should waste no time on exceptions.
[page 332] Once all the men who bear that mark have been traced out, look into their past. You will find they have been concerned in all manner of crimes: from rapes and kidnappings to embezzlement and treason, and public acts of indecency — not to mention their minor vices such as gluttony. Dare you tell me they are innocent of such things?"
The policemen shook their fists in anger and cried, "No, no!" But the carpenter spoke up and questioned what if one's father, brother or kin had a mole on the left temple. The chieftain's anger rose once more.
[page 332] "More dangerous still is the 'sect' of those who have a mole on the right temple. And, in our innocence, we never gave them a thought! Which means they hide themselves yet more cunningly. Most dangerous of all is the 'sect' of those who have no mole on their faces, for clearly such men disguise themselves, like foul conspirators, so as to do their evil work unnoticed. So, when all is said and done, I can but condemn the whole human race — since there is no denying that it is the source of all manner of crimes; rapes and kidnappings, embezzlement and treason and public acts of indecency. And inasmuch as my police officers, besides being police officers, are men, I will begin my purge with them, since 'purges' of this sort are their function. Therefore I order the policeman who is in each of you to lay hold of the man who is in each of you, and fling him into the most noisome dugeon of my citadel."
As the policemen were going out, the chieftain asked the carpenter to stay and dismissed him from his police, saying that "the carpenter's truth . . . is no truth for police officers."
[page 333] "If the code sets a black mark against those who have a mole on the back of the neck, it is my pleasure that my police officers, at the mere mention of such a man, feel their fists clenching. And it is likewise my pleasure that your sergeant major weighs your merits by your skill in doing an about turn. For had he the right to judge for himself he might condone your awkwardness because you are a great poet. And likewise forgive the man beside you, because he is a paragon of virtue. And likewise with the man next after him, because he is a model of chastity. Thus justice would prevail. But now suppose that, on the battlefield, a swift and subtle feint, hinging on an about turn, is called for, then you will see my troops blundering into each other, hugger-mugger, and the enemy profiting by their confusion to wipe them out! And much consolation will it be to the dying that their sergeant major thinks well of them! Therefore I send you back to your boards and planks, lest your love of justice, operating where it is misplaced, lead one day to a useless shedding of blood."
In a nutshell, in the police or the army you gotta have men about you that are good at doing about faces.
We have learned in this booklong homily about pitying a beggar, about tearing down a palace, about how places have meaning, and about the meaning of things. These things we learned as the sands of wisdom poured through the hourglass of this book. When the last grain of sand flowed past the neck of the hourglass, the chieftain closed his homily to his son thus: "This morning I have pruned my rose trees."
3.) ART: The Alchemy of Happiness by Hazrat Inayat Khan
What is alchemy, what does it have to do with happiness, and why is this man with a weird name writing about it? And why did I buy all of his dozen and a half books and read them cover to cover, sometimes, like this one, multiple times?
[page 12] Happiness cannot be bought or sold, nor can you give it to a person who has not got it. Happiness is your own being, your own self, that self that is the most precious thing in life. All religions, all philosophical systems, have in different forms taught man how to find it by the religious path or the mystical way; and all the wise ones have in some form or another given a method by which the individual can find that happiness for which the soul is seeking. Sage and mystics have called this process alchemy.
The alchemists' search for the philosopher's stone that will turn base metals into gold was actually a search for a process that will turn an unhappy person into a happy one, rightly understood. Gold is the color of light. Humankind's search for light has led to a search for gold. Just as those who cannot afford pure gold for their jewelry have accepted base metals covered with a thin layer of gold, so those who seek for the spiritual light have accepted pure gold as a substitute, up until now. Khan summarizes it thus, "It is the longing for true gold that makes man collect the imitation of gold, ignorant that the real gold is within."
[page 15] When the juice of the herb of divine love is poured on the heart, warmed by the love of his fellow-men, then that heart becomes the heart of gold, the heart that expresses what God would express. Man has not seen God, but man has then seen God in man, and when this happens, then verily everything that comes from such a man comes from God Himself.
Hazrat Inayat Khan was a Cambridge educated Sufi who spoke and wrote flawless English, and his writings contain a well of spirituality whose depths have never been plumbed. It is a well to which I returned for nourishment many times on my journey, and I am here returned to this refreshing oasis and pleased to be able to share it with you, dear Readers. If you are thirsty for something in your life, stay awhile and drink of the refreshing draughts of life-giving water that we will dip together in the shade of these stately palms. It is quiet here, sit awhile. Enjoy the peace.
[page 18] In order to find peace one leaves one's environment which troubles one, one wants to get away from people, one wants to sit quietly and rest. But he who is not ready for that peace would not find it even if he went to the caves of the Himalayas, away from the whole.
At the time that I first read the above quote, I had a friend in my life who was planning to leave for a cave in the Himalayas, and I shared that quote with him. I looked at the large one bedroom apartment he was living in with a high ceiling and loft and said, "This could be your Himalayan cave in which you could find peace."
[page 29] Animals and birds all experience peace, but not mankind, for man is the robber of his own peace. . . . Man lives in a continual turmoil, in a restless condition, and in order to seek for peace he seeks war; if this goes on we shall not have peace till every individual begins to seek peace within himself first.
On page 35 he tells the story of a young robber who went to a sage for a blessing. When the sage asked what his occupation was, he said he was an unimportant robber. The sage gave him his blessing and the robber went out and was more successful than before. When the robber returned the sage complimented him on his success and said, "I am not yet satisfied with your work." So the young robber went out and recruited accomplices and was more successful than ever before. Always when he returned the sage suggested that he ought to form a larger group of robbers. Finally the sage suggested that the young man take his small army and push out the Moghul invaders from their country. The young man was on his way to becoming the head of an empire. Had the sage told the young man to get a job in a factory, the Moghuls might have remained indefinitely. One cannot nurture in someone else something that does not have a seed planted already. With that seed one can be a criminal or a king.
When one meets a river in one's path, one can sink to one's doom, swim across, or walk across the top of the water. This is the lesson of the miracle of Christ walking upon the water.
[page 38] Those who are drowned in life's misery are those who cannot get out of it; they are tied down in the depths of life; they cannot get out and they are miserable there; they are the ones who sink. Then there are others who are swimming; they are those who strive through the conflicting conditions of life in order some day to reach the shore. There are, however, others who walk upon life. Theirs is the life which is symbolically expressed in the miracle of Christ walking upon the water. It is like living in the world and not being of the world, touching the world and not being touched by it.
A lot of words have been thrown at the subject: What is art? Is it our attempt to imitate nature? To make something beautiful? Obviously there is no one answer as some art resembles nothing found in nature, and some art is distinctively not beautiful. So, what is art?
[page 44] Some believe art is inferior to nature. But that is not so. Art completes nature; in art there is something divine, for it is God Himself who through man completes the beauty of nature, and this is called art. In other words, art is not only an imitation of nature, art is an improvement upon nature, be it painting, drawing, poetry, or music. But the best of all arts is the art of personality.
When we came into our present body, we brought our individuality, our immortal "I", with us. In this lifetime, this individuality has a personality to develop. "Personality is an improvement on individuality," Khan says.As we are each an evolving individual, our evolution involves the shaping of our personality. And, like anything else we craft with our hands, the final product will testify to our care and skill. People can decide whether to become a painter or a poet, a musician or a sculptor, but everyone has a personality and, like it or not, is engaged in a work of art that all can see in one's personality. Given the choice of a spouse with a beautiful face or a beautiful personality, many choose the former to their lasting regret.
It is the differences we find in people that make the world interesting. And yet we live in a world in which the founding principles of democracy seems to be "everyone is equal".
[page 47] It seems a very kind idea that everybody is equal; but when you tune the piano with all the notes at the same pitch there is no more music. This wrong conception of democracy is like tuning the whole piano to the same note; then the music of the soul becomes dull. It is more an obsession with democracy than democracy itself. Real democracy is raising oneself to a higher ideal . . . of being equal on a higher plane instead of being ignorant.
"When the spirit of aristocracy has evolved sufficiently, it becomes democracy. Then the person thinks, 'I am the equal of any person in the world; there is no person lower than I'. But if a person says, 'There is no person higher than I', that is not democracy." (page 55) Those who noisily proclaim the virtues of democracy to any who will listen should heed the following advice of Khan, "Silence raises the dignity of the wise and hides the stupidity of the foolish."By learning silence, one may come to learn gentleness, that attribute that Khan calls the first step to the art of personality.
[page 48] Gentleness is the greatest power of all. Gentleness is like the power of water: water is purifying, and if there is a rock in the path of a stream of water it will surround the rock; it will not break it, for water is pliable, and so is the one who is gentle. Gentleness in the long run will always purify everything.
Once he was on a train next to a soldier, and trying to find some commonality in their diverse views, Khan told him, "Well, we are brothers!" and when the military officer was severely offended by such a thought, Khan quickly responded, "I forgot. I am your servant, Sir." He tells us, "The foolishness of the man blazed like fire; I put water on it and extinguished it. I did not diminish myself; we are all servants of one another; and it pleased and satisfied him."
The next story (page 50) sounds like a maneuver that the famous hypnotherapist Milton Erickson could have done. A woman came to Khan and complained that every day when her husband comes home from work, they have a quarrel. Khan responded by giving her some candy mints he called "magnetized sweets"; he instructed her to keep them in her mouth the moment her husband came home every day.After ten days she returned for more of those marvelous "magnetized sweets," that had returned harmony to her and her spouse's lives. What did the trick was that she was unable to talk when her husband came home because of the magnetized sweets in her mouth. He was able to get himself back in tune and harmony returned to their lives.
There are those who extol self-effacement as a virtue — they should hear what Khan has to say about that. "When the individual has no personality he can annihilate nothing; there must be something first. If a person started in life with self-effacement he would never become a self. What would he efface? Effacing comes afterwards. First he must be a self, a real self that is worth being." To efface is to rub out, to eliminate one's self, like what Khan did with the soldier when he said, "I am your servant, Sir." To make light of a tense situation often involves self-effacement, as the tenseness stems from one or both parties heavily involved in their selfhood. For that reason humor is an excellent tool for reducing tension and bringing both parties to harmony.
[page 58] What Omar Khayaám has called wine is the amusement one gets by looking at the phenomena of life, which lifts one above the worries of life. One will always find that the most evolved sages can be amused; that is why they are pleasant to meet and to speak to. Worrying comes from self-pity and fear; and fear is made of the clouds of ignorance; the light will dissolve it. Humour is the sign of light; when the light from above touches the mind it tickles the mind, and it is the tickling of mind which produces humour.
Khan tells that fear is like a red lantern that shine on all we see and everything it shines on becomes red and frightens us. It was this insight that led Franklin Delano Roosevelt to proclaim that, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." Where does this fear come from?
[page 64] All one says, does, and thinks comes from an impulse; one end of it is in ones' own mind and the other end is in the mind of God.
If you think about it, God is like a communication plenum or nexus where everyone is connected to everyone else. In a football stadium a few years ago, several people reported getting sick and the authorities discovered the problem was some bad soda. They announced over the PA system for people to stop drinking the bad soda. Within minutes three hundred others became sick. An epidemic was on hand apparently. The authorities did a closer inspection on the soda and found out it was wasn't the soda after all. They made that announcement and all the three hundred suddenly began to feel well again. The very process of fear can create the thing feared. We are all interconnected to each other through God, who gave us an individuality, an "I", by means of which we can receive the light to dispel the fear, but it requires an effort on our part. That effort on the part of our "I" in this lifetime we call personality.
One of Matherne's Rules has the cryptic acronym EAT-O-TWIST in it. It stands for Everything Allways Turns Out The Way It's Supposed To, which is easier to say than to explain. Lucky for me, Khan gives me a hand up with the following quote:
[page 67] If one is afraid of someone who may harm one, then one inspires that person to do harm. If one distrusts someone, and thinks that one day that person will deceive one, he will certainly be inspired to do so; but if one has trust, the power of that trust may some day turn even an enemy into a friend.
Back on page 20, Khan said, "In reality the soul is not mortal, but if the soul believes in mortality it is just like being mortal." Attitude is supreme in the realm of the spirit world. Khan likens our attitude to a ticket to a train that we must show at the gate. The conductors don't care about one's occupation or ancestors, they simply say, "Ticket please!" and if we have the ticket we get aboard.
What is a flood but a river that has moved out of its channel? "Attitude," Khan says, "forms a channel for effort, and a right attitude makes a channel for a right effort." (page 70) And that right attitude must extend in time so that one does not lose patience before the desirable condition is brought about. We are like the "string of an instrument tied at both ends; one is the finite and the other the infinite." If we are conscious of the finite, we are tuned to the finite, and we will be weak, limited, and powerless. Having the right attitude Khan likens to being tuned to the infinite, which will pull us through the trials and tribulations of life.
In the world of egos, Khan says, "There is a sword in every hand, both in that of the friend and in that of the enemy. The friend kisses before he strikes; there is no other difference." One might call this the struggle of life, the battle of egos.
[page 90] Struggling with oneself is like singing without an accompaniment. Struggling with others is the definition of war, struggling with oneself is the definition of peace.
Why must life be a struggle? If we do not struggle with the river, we are carried downstream; only if we struggle can we reach the safe harbor of the shore. Khan says that his murshid (teacher) gave him this verse, "When I feel that now I can make peace with my self, it finds time to prepare another attack."
[page 94] That is our condition. We think that our little faults, since they are small, are of no consequence; or we do not even think of them at all. But every little fault is a flag for the little self, for its own dominion. In this way battling makes man the sovereign of the kingdom of God. Very few can realize the great power in battling with and conquering the self.
The psychological process of projection is so pervasive that it escapes our attention most of the time. And yet, every time that some does something that we dislike intensely, it is as if our sovereign becomes angry because it is reminded of the petty suzerain, the little ego in us, who behaves in the same manner in other contexts. I call that the "mirror whammy" and I remember well the first time that I encountered it. During one of my first computer jobs, I was chatting during a break with colleague named Gary. The big show on television at the time was "Lost in Space" and it featured this whiny Dr. Smith. I was telling Gary how much I disliked this man's constant whining. Gary looked at me and said, "Sometimes the one who vexes us is our greatest teacher."I was aghast! How could this miserable creature have anything to teach me, much less be doing something that I was doing out of my awareness. My utter shock was a definite signal to me, one that I could not mistake, that there must be some truth in what Gary told me. I had been paralyzed in mid-sentence by the mirror whammy! After that wake up call I began to observe the mirror whammy at work in myself and others, e.g., one day, Mary Worth in her comic strip expressed the very strong opinion, "I abhor opinionated people!" When I found this next passage by Khan, I recognized that he was talking about the same process.
[page 95] When we blame another person, when we dislike somebody, we overlook the same element in ourselves. There is no soul in the world who can say, 'I have not this in me'. . . . For instance the little child cannot help loving. If a thief comes, or a robber, the child wants to love him and smiles at him. The child is from heaven, the thief is from earth. There is no place for him there; that is why he is no thief to the child.
Where is this "heaven" that Khan talks of?
[page 96] It is in the heart of man. As soon as one begins to consider the feelings of another, one begins to worship God. One might say that it is difficult to please everyone. No doubt it is. It is more difficult still if one has in oneself the inclination to please everyone.
This is a delicate distinction. How does one please everyone and maintain one's equanimity? One doesn't please everyone, is the short answer. But that calls for another story. In this one the murshid with his mureeds (pupils) arrived at a village peasant's home where the peasant had enthusiastically prepared a great sumptuous meal for the travelers. All of the travelers, murshid and mureeds had take a vow of fasting, and yet the murshid sat down and ate with relish. The mureeds thought all kinds of bad thoughts about their teacher.
[page 96] After dinner was over and they went out the pupils asked, 'Did you not forget the vow of fasting?' 'No,' was the murshid's answer, 'I had not forgotten. But I preferred breaking the fast rather than the heart of that man who with all his enthusiasm had prepared the food.' . . . God is love; and the best form of love is to be conscientious regarding the feelings of those with whom we come in contact in everyday life.
There is a wonderful episode in the original Star Trek series in which a huge asteroid-sized ship has the Enterprise star ship in its thrall and has given it an ultimatum to surrender in ten minutes or be blasted into space dust. Spock has checked the data and found no way to escape their fate. The engineer Scotty cannot generate enough thrust to pull free. The doctor McCoy is standing by helpless. They look puzzled when Captain Kirk announces to the alien commander that they have a cache of Corbomite aboard. This Corbomite has the effect of deflecting back any force directed at them and increasing the force. To Kirk, it was a bluff, but its effect was to cause the alien vessel to release the Enterprise. If they had resisted the alien ship, they would have been destroyed by its overwhelming firepower, but instead Kirk used the "Corbomite Maneuver."
[page 102] There is the word of the Bible, 'Resist not evil'. Sometimes evil will come like fire thrown by a person into the mind of another. A fire then starts in that mind which had been without it, and in reaction it too expresses the fire. To resist evil is to send fire in answer to fire; in other words to partake of the fire that comes from another. But by not partaking of it one casts the fire out and the fire falls on the person who threw it.
There was a popular song. You know what a popular song is — it's a song that expresses a condition that is prevalent in society and so many people identify with it and buy copies of it that it takes on the title "popular song". This song I'm thinking of had a line in it, "You left me just when I needed you most." If we understand that "needing" was a process that the partner didn't like, it's easy to see how the separation happened at the peak of the needing. But look at this aspect of the situation: the ending of the relationship was the worst time of all in the relationship. Both of them allowed the needing to become increasingly bad in the present and neither liked it. Khan reminds us that our present will be our future, what we do in the present will be increased in the future. Unless we find a way to eliminate such processes as "needing" and harmonize our life in the present, the future will be even bleaker for us than the present. To "need" someone is wish to have the other person provide for us what we are not willing to provide for ourselves. To make our end the best experience of all we must take a step in the right direction each of moment in our present.
[page 125] The most essential thing, therefore, is to harmonize in such a way that by centralizing our thought within ourselves, by finding our real self, the future may become harmonized. There is a prayer in the East: 'We thank Thee, God, for all we have experienced; the only thing we ask is make our end the best experience of all."
When I studied NLP back in the 1970s I learned a process for removing phobias from people and ourselves. It was simple quick and easy and I enjoyed practicing my new process. Then one day, I heard Richard Bandler say that it was possible to run the process backwards and install a phobia. As I puzzled about how to do such a thing, he told me, "But there are experts out there all over installing phobias all the time, who don't even know they're doing it. Now you have the tools to notice when they do it." That just heaped bafflement on top of puzzlement for me, but slowly over time, I became aware of the phobia-mongers as I came to call them. They are people who tell you things in such a way that if you felt happy before, you no longer feel happy afterwards, and you can carry this unhappiness around with you for weeks or years. In this next passage Khan calls them "robbers".
[page 159] The robbers who go into other people's houses to steal are few in number, but there are many robbers of happiness, and they seldom know that they are robbing others of their happiness. The robber of happiness is more foolish than the robbers who go after wealth, for when they are successful they at least get something; but the robber of happiness never gets anything. He only gives sorrow to others.
This next story is about a robber and about a man who learned about trust. Khan says that an important step on the spiritual path is to learn to trust and trust really deeply.
[page 164] There is a story of a great Sufi who in his early life was a robber. Once there was a man traveling through the desert in a caravan and he had a purse full of coins. He wanted to entrust them to someone because he heard that robbers were about.
He looked around and some way off he saw a tent, and a man was sitting there, a most distinguished looking man. So he said, "Will you please keep this purse, for I am afraid that if the robbers come they will take it." The man said, "Give it to me, I will keep it." When the traveler came back to the caravan he found that robbers had come and taken all the money of his fellow-travelers, and he thanked God that he had given his purse to someone to keep. But when he returned to that tent he saw all the robbers sitting there and among them was this most dignified man dividing the spoils. He realized that this was the chief of the robbers and thought, "I was more foolish than all the others, for I gave my money to a thief! Who can be more foolish than that!" And he was frightened and backed away. But as soon as the thief saw him he called to him and said, "Why are you going, why did you come here?"
He said, "I came here to get my purse back, but I found that I had given it to the very band from which I wanted to protect it". The chief said, "You gave me your purse, is it not so? You entrusted it to me, and it was not stolen from you. Did you not trust me? How can you expect me to take it from you? Here is your purse, take it." This act of trustworthiness impressed the robbers so much that they followed the example of their chief. They gave up robbery. It moved them to the depths of their hearts to feel what trust means. And in his later days this chief accomplished great spiritual work. This shows that by distrusting people we perhaps avoid a little loss, but the distrust that we have sown in our heart is a still greater loss.
When I was young I thought like a child and acted like a child. I was sure of myself and my opinions and ready to share them with anyone who would listen. As I grew older I learned and became a little wiser with the effect that I became less sure of myself and less likely to afflict my opinions on others. I had learned that my opinions could change with the advent of new knowledge and all I could really say is, "This is the way I feel about the matter, up until now." Every moment brings me the possibility of a change of opinion that can wash away a lifetime of wrongly held opinions. To complete St. Paul's thought, "When I grew up, I put away my childish things."
[page 190] The foolish man is ready to teach you without a moment's thought, ready to correct you, ready to judge you, ready to form an opinion about you. But the wiser a man is the more diffident he is to form an opinion about you, to judge you, to correct you. What does this mean? It means that whatever man possesses in a small degree he thinks he has much of, but when he possesses more he begins to feel the need and the desire for perfection, for completion.
I remember a story about a learned professor from a Western university who went to China and expressed an interest in learning about the culture of the region. He was invited to a tea ceremony by an Eastern sage. The old Chinese man poured the tea into the professor's cup and when it reached the brim, he kept pouring, pouring, the tea filled the saucer, and he kept pouring. The hot tea spilled from the saucer and scalded the professor's hand and he yelled, "Stop! Can't you see the cup's full already?" The sage looked at him and said, "Yes. One cannot pour more tea into an already full cup, can one?"The professor had brought his thoughts and his opinions like a full tea cup into the meeting with the sage and there was no room for the learning for which he claimed to be searching. He needed the empty cup of a beginner, of a child, to have a chance to receive some new tea from the sage. Maybe the professor learned a lesson. Maybe he didn't. Life gives us lessons, but we must do the homework.
There is a flip side to the already full cup, and that is the cup that can never be filled.
[page 190, 191] There is an ancient story that a king wanted to grant a dervish his desire. And the desire of the dervish was to fill his cup with gold coins. The king thought that it would be the easiest thing in the world to fill the cup of the dervish; but when they tried to fill it it proved to be a magic cup: it would not fill. The more money was poured into it, the emptier it became. And the king was very disappointed and disheartened at the thought that this cup could not be filled. The dervish said, 'Your Majesty, if you cannot fill my cup you only have to say so, and I shall take my cup back. I am a dervish, and I will go, and I will only think that you have not kept your word.'The sovereign, with every good intention, with all his generosity, and with all his treasures could not fill that cup. And he asked, 'Dervish, tell me what secret you have in this cup; it does not seem to be natural. There is some magic about it; tell me what is its secret.' The dervish answered, 'Yes, your Majesty, what you have found out is true; it is a magic cup. But it is the cup of every heart. It is the heart of man, which is never content. Fill it with whatever you may, with wealth, with attention, with love, with knowledge, and all there is. It will never fill, for it is not meant to be filled. Not knowing this secret of life man goes on in pursuit of every object, or any object he has before him, continually. And the more he gets the more he wants, and the cup of his desire is never filled.'
The heart of man is the cup that can never be filled. The Western professor in the first cup story had closed off his heart — he had imagined that he knew the right way to learn new things — the oriental sage's teachings could find no place in his heart. Thus the tea overflowed because of the blocked off heart. The overflowing teacup gave the professor an image in his external world of his internal world, the blockage in his heart, and the effect it would have on his ability to learn anything truly new. What had the power to block up, to fill his heart was not truth, but fact — which is but the shadow of truth.
[page 193] There is a great difference between fact and truth. Fact is a shadow of truth. Fact is intelligible; but truth is beyond comprehension, for truth is unlimited.
Facts are based on words, and words that describe facts are subject to interpretation and disagreement. To some the words of the Bible describe facts, and these facts some people interpret differently than others and this leads to disputes between religions. Words are maps, and Alfred O. Korzybski said that "the map is not the territory, it cannot represent all the territory." Truth cannot be contained by words. The fish of truth will always slip through the seine net of words. Hazrat Inayat Khan, a Sufi, tells us how Sufism holds words.
[page 197] Sufism avoids words, words from which differences and distinctions arise. Words can never express the truth fully. Words promote argument. All the differences between religions are differences of words.
A famous bandleader of the 20th Century was Lawrence Welk. On his weekly television show, he started off every musical number of his orchestra with these words, "Uh ONE and Uh two!" A strong accent followed by a weak accent. Power without knowledge is dangerous; knowledge without power is useless. How does one avoid both of these dead ends?
[page 203] What one should do is this: if one takes one step in power, one should take another step in knowledge, and then there will be balance, then one's life becomes rhythmic. Just like the accent in musical two-four time: there is the strong accent, and then comes a weak accent. Now there is power, then there is thinking.
One develops one day in knowledge, one day in power, and from this rhythmic pacing from day to day, one comes to know one's object in life and becomes steadfast its attainment. Only then does one become dependable. People who are undependable are like a branch that moves in the slightest breeze. Khan says, "Even the birds are frightened to sit upon a moving branch." (page 205) An example of an undependable or moving branch is a mass belief. In one year the Czar of Russia was held in high esteem, in the next year he was executed and all symbols of his reigns were trod underfoot. It is always a short step from mass belief to mass mischief.
Mass belief is the first step in belief according to Khan. It is a moving branch. The next step is the belief in authority. Another moving branch. The next higher step is the belief in reason. "This, however, also has its limitation. Since reason is the slave of the mind, reason is as changeable as the weather; reason obeys our impressions." Also a moving branch. The fourth belief is the highest belief — that belief which is conviction so that nothing can ever change it.
[page 212] When there is no conviction there is nothing. The secret of healing, the mystery of evolving, the power of all attainment, and the way to spiritual realization, all come from strengthening of that belief which is a conviction, so that nothing can ever change it.
Have you ever tried to light a fire in a forest using a flint? No matter how many or how large a spark you create the tinder never seems to catch fire for more than an instant. But if you create a sizable spark and blow as hard as you can, and keep blowing soon you will have a warm and blazing fire. Conviction is like that nourishing breath when it is poured upon an idea.
[page 234] And if he will keep this idea before him and blow on the spark of mastery by constant contemplation, then one day that flame will rise and his life will become clear and his power will indeed be great.
I didn't grow up with any models for making business deals. My parents were blue collar workers and never got into any retailing business. As a result I was always looking for something free, some way to get more out of a deal than the other person did. I was missing an essential point, the essential point of a good business deal — both parties to the deal must profit. In Khan's words, it is in accordance with the law of reciprocity that each must give more than they take from any deal. Does this seem impractical to you? If it does, it is because of a certain danger that may lurk within you.
[page 238] The danger in this law is that a person may value most what he himself does and may diminish the value of what is done by another. But the one who gives more than he takes is progressing to the next grade.
We are taught a standard of cleanliness and hygiene by parents, teachers, and friends and we strive to follow those guidelines in our lives. Wouldn't it be nice to have a similar standard of inner purity so that we may recognize truth when we encounter it? Khan gives us one.
[page 243] There is, however, a standard of inner purity of which the principle is that anything in speech or action which causes fear, brings confusion, or gives a tendency to deception, extinguishes that little spark in the heart, the spark of trueness which only shines when the life is natural and pure.
An obsessive concern for external cleanness is the projection of or sign of inner uncleanness, and the end result is illness.
[page 244] For all harsh judgments and bitterness towards others are like poison; to feel them is exactly the same as absorbing poison in the blood: the result must be disease. First disease in the inner life only, but in time the disease breaks out in the physical life; and these are illnesses which cannot be cured. External cleanliness does not have much effect upon the inner purity; but inner uncleanness causes disease both inwardly and outwardly.
About halfway through this review my wife and copy editor, Del, read what I'd written and said, "I really like how you've strung these together." "Yes," I said, "like a string of pearls." A string of pearls in which I merely selected the pearls and provided the string. And now I'm ready to complete the journey by attaching the end to the beginning of the string of pearls. Life is like that string of pearls, eventually it closes the circle and attaches the end to the beginning.
[page 259] Rumi gives a good explanation of this in his Masnavi where he says, 'What is it in the reed flute that appeals to your soul, that goes through you, pierces the heart?' And the answer is: it is the crying of the flute, and the reason of its crying is that it once belonged to a plant from which it was cut apart. Holes were made in its heart. It longs to be reunited with its source, with its origin. In another place in his book Rumi says, 'So it is with everyone who has left his original country for a long time; he may roam about and feel very pleased with what he sees, but there will come a moment when a strong yearning rises in his heart for the place where he was born.'
Rumi has just described my life. I left my native state of Louisiana and roamed about from coast to coast and was pleased with everything I saw. But there came a moment when, like that reed, I felt a crying need to return to my native soil, to re-attach myself to the earth from which I sprouted. Where are you in your journey, dear Reader? Are you still roaming about, pleased with all you see? Have you started thinking about a return home? Are you the artist who paints the plan you have laid out in your mind? Or are you the artist who takes suggestions from the painting as you go on painting? Listen to the music of the flute that is your individuality as you string the pearls of your life together. These are the jewels that no matter where you carry them with you in this world will accompany you into the next world in freedom and light.
Read/Print the Review at:
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I hear often from my Good Readers that they have bought books after reading my book reviews. 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 converse during the month. If we did, then you may recognize my words. If I say some things here which upset you, rest assured that you may skip over these for the very reason that I would likely have not brought up the subject to spoil our time together in person.1. Padre Filius Visits the Hotel Altstadt in Salzburg, Austria 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 accepts a chocolate Mozart Kugel from a Silent Butler:
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 Successful Speed Tracer of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in Norway:
Below are the three most recent of six emails, after the initial email began with this one-liner from a foreign 23-year-old male (after giving me my requested information). He described himself as disabled by Chronic Fatigue Syndrome:Hi! Do you think doyletics will work on chronic fatigue syndrome? I can hardly get out of bed for more that 30 minutes at a time.Note the man's persistence and that it took some combination of the Speed Trace, The Limitation Eraser, and Six-Step Framing to get eventual success.
Email No. 1: Monday, June 12, 2017 2:53 AMHi again!Email No. 2: June, 13, 2017 Reply by Bobby Matherne:
Just completed my third speed trace for a food dislike and it works. Haven't been successful with tracing my Chronic Fatigue Syndrome though; maybe you have some insights/helpful ideas? Thank you in advance.
S-----S-----,Email No. 3: August, 8, 2017:
The Speed Trace works when you do. The answer to the question, "Can my unwanted doyles be traced away?" is Do a Speed Trace. The hardest doyles to trace are ephemeral doyles, bodily states that arise and disappear quickly. They can be traced away by re-triggering the doyle at each time mark.
Those that you can hold consciously when they arise (such as the grimace of a food dislike) are easy to trace.
The easiest ones to trace are those that are HOLDING YOU. You can begin the trace whenever they HOLD you and the doyle will disappear as you go past (before in time) the original event which stored the doyle.
I know you can say this sentence: "I have been calling it Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, up until now. " Say that quoted sentence out loud right now, taking a deep breath at the comma. (After you succeed, I suggest you drop that medical curse from your vocabulary from now on. Just say "I'm tired" or I'm fatigued" — something that you can recover from with rest.)
If your fatigue is present every moment that you are awake, you can begin any time to Speed Trace it away. But it seems that you've been unable to do so, up until now. So something must be happening. One great way to avoid doing a successful Speed Trace is to have the doyle disappear during the Speed Trace. If your doyle seems to disappear when you start a trace, you have a tricky doyle, one that wants to stay around, so it plays Hide-and-Seek with you when you try to erase it.
When that happens, you will have to make friends with that doyle, beg it to reveal its good intention in your life by telling you what that is. When it does, thank it for doing that, and then create three equally good ways to achieve that intention. Do that, and if you still need to do a Speed Trace, the doyle will stay around while you are going all the way through your Time Marks.
Good doyles to you,
Just wanted you to know that I've eliminated the chronic fatigue doyle now! Thank you very much!
I'm so happy that I can finally have a normal life again without collapsing all the time.
- EMAIL from former Nicotine Addict in Canada:Thanks for your help. I send you my fond regards, and remain grateful for your advice on running Speed Traces on problematic emotion/sensation/body-state issues. I've been free of nicotine delivery systems (gum, lozenges, squirts, etc.,) for five months. A close examination of some Doyles provided insight into the "why" of choosing to smoke tobacco as a youngster.
My tobacco addiction (I adore Good Cigars and Fine Pipe Tobacco) chugged along with a gum-chewing cohort. I've abandoned that too, finding nutritional alternatives to being overwhelmed with ghostly traces of unsatisfied oral-phase events in infancy.
- EMAIL from Gary:Dear Bobby,
I've been struggling with obtaining membership access to the World-Wide doyletics list and recent attempts have shown me this report: "Logins entered here could be compromised."
Perhaps I'm doing something wrong when I try to join the forum group.
~~~~~~~~~~~ REPLY from Bobby ~~~~~~~~~~No, Gary, you are not doing anything wrong. The World-Wide Doyletics List has been inactive for about six years. You can still read the posts there going to http://www.topica.com/lists/doyletics/read.
The sign-up required entering one's email and password and is considered insecure now. That's what caused you the problem.
I apologize for your inconvenience, and appreciate all your help and support with getting the word on doyletics out to the world.
good doyles to you,
- EMAIL from Jorge in Bolivia:Dear Bobby,
My name is Jorge Cabrera and I΄m writing from Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, where I΄m from.
Ever since the 1998, I΄ve been studying the work of Doyle Henderson; I bought the book Panacea. Overall, it΄s been a great tool for self-knowledge and better living.
A while back, I found your webpage and read that you had developed the concept of speed trace and offered the main tenets of doyletics, which I also found extremely useful. Therein, you have an article "Introduction to the science of dolyletics" with a corresponding section in Spanish. However, unfortunately the article is not translated to Spanish.
That's why I decided to translate it, for myself and for friends and family who could also appreciate it. I'm taking the liberty to attach it to this email, in case you would like to upload it to the website.
Please, don't hesitate to email if you have any questions. I also want to thank-you for all the meaningful and valuable work that you have done.
~~~~~~~~~~~ REPLY from Bobby ~~~~~~~~~~Muchas Gracias, Jorge! I have added the Spanish Translation you sent to the Introduction Page here as an option: Introduction. The top line says:
Spanish readers can Click on the Spanish option to read the Introduction Page in Spanish as you so graciously translated it for them.
- EMAIL from Alcohol Addict in Uruguay:Asked for Personalized Help. Has done a confirmed Speed Trace. Added this terse comment: "Alcohol addiction my whole life! Functioning."
~~~~~~~~~~~ REPLY from Bobby ~~~~~~~~~~
Your problem is similar to that of the Nicotine Addict whose letter is above. Study that Email as it may give you insight on how to proceed.
For further help from me, you will need to tell me exactly what did you trace and how did you confirm your Speed Trace was successful.
3. Poem from Freedom on the Half Shell:"It Surely Is"
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:
It Surely Is
"It's not that we're denying the requests,"
the radio spokesman said,
And went on to explain exactly
how they were denying the requests.
It's not that we decry the use
of the expression, "It's not that" —
For most certainly we do not depreciate
and discredit such a sly expression
Whose usage pretends to say the opposite
of what is really meant.
But, how refreshing it would be
if we could just once hear,
"Yes, we are denying the request
because we hold this other issue dear."
Till then remember this:
(No matter who the speaker is)
When you hear "It's not that,"
you can be sure "It truely is."
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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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Maintaining a website requires time and money, and apart from sending a donation to the Doyletics Foundation, there are several ways you can show your gratitude and support our efforts to keep doyletics.com on-line.
One would be for you to buy a copy of my Dolphin Novel, The SPIZZNET File. Books May be ordered in hardback or paperback form from Xlbiris the Publisher here:
The best source at the best price is to order your copies on-line is from the publisher Random House/Xlibris's website above.
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Any questions about this DIGESTWORLD ISSUE, Contact: Bobby Matherne
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Books are Lighthouses Erected in the Sea of Time
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