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~~~~~~~~ In Memoriam: Kaisu Viikari (1922-2017) ~~~~
~~~~~~~~ Ph.D., M.D. Ophthalmology in Turku, Finland ~~~~~
~~~~~~~~ Expert on Ocular Strain and Preventing Myopia ~~~~~
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WELCOME TO DIGESTWORLD ISSUE#181 January, 2018== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==
Quote for the New Year Month of January:
There is no idea of beauty; beauty is but the sensory reflection of the idea.
— Bobby Matherne , Written Feb. 5, 2001 inspired by GA#2, page 97.
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GOOD MOUNTAIN PRESS Presents
ISSUE#181 for January, 2018
Archived DIGESTWORLD Issues
Table of Contents
1. January's Violet-n-Joey Cartoon
2. Honored Readers for January
3. On a Personal Note
Rainbows & Shadows Poems
4. Cajun Story
5. Household Hint for January, 2018 from Bobby Jeaux: Keeping Satsumas Easy to Peel
6. Poem from May, 1996:"Animal Crackers"
7. Reviews and Articles featured for January:
8. Commentary on the World
- ARJ2: Materialism and the Task of Anthroposophy, GA# 204 by Rudolf Steiner
- ARJ2: The Situation Is Hopeless, But Not Serious by Paul Watzlawick
- ARJ2: The Child's Changing Consciousness As the Basis of Pedagogical Practice, GA#306 by Rudolf Steiner
- ART: How To Read A Book by Mortimer Adler and Charles van Doren
- ARJ2: The Mystery of the Two Jesus Children & Descent of the Spirit of the Sun by Bernard Nesfield-Cookson
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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DIGESTWORLD ISSUE#181== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ARCHIVED DIGESTWORLD ISSUES ON THE WEB ~ ARCHIVED DIGESTWORLD ISSUES ~2000: INAUGURAL YEAR: Jun #1 Jul #2, Aug #3, Sept #4, Oct #5, Nov #6, Dec #7
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1. January Violet-n-Joey CARTOON:
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==This month Violet and Joey Do Year-end Planning.
For newcomers to DIGESTWORLD, we have created a webpage of early Violet-n-Joey cartoons!
"Year-end Planning" at http://www.doyletics.com/images/1171203vj.jpg
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2. HONORED READERS FOR January:
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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 January, 2018:
Ian Smith in England
Georgie Smith in New Orleans, LA
Congratulations, Ian and Georgie!
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3. ON A PERSONAL NOTE:
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Out Our Way:
CLASSIC RADIO ON XM
A couple of months ago, I discovered Ch 114 on XM radio which plays reruns of radio shows from the 1930s, 40s, and 50s. I can only listen in our cars, so usually I am limited to about 15 minutes on my way to PJ's Coffeeshop or on the way back. One day I was listening to an O'Henry story of the Old West about a guy from a frontier town who struck it rich and was returning on Christmas day in a big red sleigh full of toys for boys and girls of the town. Only problem was there were no longer any children in the town. How will the townspeople solve this problem? I'll never know because when I drove home, I had to turn off the car and get back to work. But it's still fun to listen to pieces of old shows I heard personally when I was a pre-teen on our AM radio console set in the parlor. The Shadow, Suspense, Jack Benny, Bob Hope, Life of Riley, Our Miss Brooks, Duffy's Tavern, and many others I have heard snippets of during my travels to and from my morning coffee breaks.
On my way to PJ's one morning I was flabbergasted when I heard the expression, "The roads must roll!' I immediately thought of a Robert Heinlein science fiction story about the future in which all roads are moving roadways from one city to another. I read that story in the 1940s in a book of his stories from the Westwego Public Library and had hardly ever thought of it until now, some 70 years later! Amazingly Heinlein's creative story had been turned into an episode of "Dimension X" a radio show from 1951!When I began to see moving walkways in airports during the 1970s, I remembered Heinlein's much earlier prediction of moving roads. On this morning, when I got home, I stayed in the garage to hear all of the show.
At the end they announced that the next story-line will be, "A man will invade space by accident and what will happen to him!" in an episode called "The Outer Limit". Wow! They had coined a name which would be attached to a popular sci-fi TV show of the 1960s, "The Outer Limits". Today I am tickled by the use of the phrase "invade space" to refer to something which is a daily occurrence in the current time. A Space-X rocket supply ship took off eastward over Southern California and raised a huge alarm by its colorful long trail of light and smoke.
CHRISTMAS, A MONTH OF PARTIES, SHOPPING, & PRESENT EXCHANGES
One of our first parties was David and Maddie's on St. Ann Street in the French Quarter. We left at 5:50, seemed early for a 6:30 party. Well, there was slow traffic going past Lafayette Square, construction on Camp Street near Canal, and heavy holiday traffic in front of Canal Street hotels. We finally got to St. Ann and parked at 6:25 PM, only five minutes to spare.
I met Jim Kitto and Paul there, both of them also 77 years old like me. Paul began LSUNO in 1958 the same year I began LSU in Baton Rouge. Paul has a large Harley which he is beginning to have trouble getting up on its kick stand, and says he may sell it. But he also owns an airplane and says he's keeping his pilot's license indefinitely.
I met clarinetist Tim Laughlin's wife Juliette, a cute, vivacious Asian lady. I asked how long she and Tim had been married and she said, "Nine Years". I commented, "Just one over an octave." She said she really didn't know what an octave was. I explained "Eight notes above a similar note." It surprised me that she had been with Tim for nine years and didn't know music terminology. But few non-musicians probably know much about music theory and terminology.
I told her the story of John having his car stolen and Tim joined in to listen to story. John made out okay because the transmission broke during a theft, so the insurance paid to have it fixed. When I finished John's story, Tim told us another fun story about a stolen car. Tim's friend plays bass and when Hurrican Katrina was bearing down on New Orleans, his friend drove his PT Cruiser to the fifth floor of the Hilton Parking Garage with the bass in it to protect it from Katrina.Well, Katrina didn't protect the PT Cruiser from being stolen! When he went to retrieve his Cruiser a few weeks later, it was gone from its parking spot, but, sitting in the parking spot was his bass! His bass in its big case was parked in the parking sport where his PT Cruiser had been parked! Tim said he cheered, "I'm getting a new car!" And he was also cheerful because his bass was worth several hundred thousand dollars! It was an antique bass fiddle over a hundred years old, and the PT Cruiser was worth only about 10K. Amazing story.
I wonder if the thief was a New Orleanian. If so, maybe the thief had a heart and didn't want to hurt the bass owner's career. Or perhaps the thug wanted to haul some friends in the PT Cruiser and the bass would be in the way. But, leaving it in parking spot points to first explanation, wanting to leave it behind as a thank you note for the emergency transportation.
At 7:00 I asked our host David party to turn the TV on to Ch 38 so I could watch my alma mater Hahnville play for the 5A Championship in the Superdome and he did. Later when Maddie asked why the channel had changed, I said, "David changed it and told me to watch it." With only a slight stretch of the truth, it happened that way.
Picked up Del's new Tanzanite ring from Designs in Jewelry and then visited Maureen in her office so she could see it. She was with me when I asked Barry to design it. She said she had been pulling for Hahnville to win the State Championship with Coach Salt the previous weekend and was disappointed that they lost.
Our good friend Peter Marino who grew up with the Hatchett boys on Marcie Street and called Del "Mom" was in town. He lives in Oakland and is with the San Francisco Giants now, working as a property clerk. He came over early one morning and Del suggested that I make a crawfish-eggplant-omelette for him. Peter was so busy talking that I wasn't sure if he enjoyed the omelette or not.A few days later, Del caught a comment on Facebook where Peter said he had the best omelette ever made for him at Del and Bobby's house. Then our friend in Corpus Christi who has had the omelette at bunch of times, chimed in with Peter about how delicious Bobby's omelettes were.
We dressed and went to the party at my club one night, and it seemed like parties happened every night thereafter. The food was great and I made a point of wishing Merry Christmas to as many members as I could. Told my friend Keene about the new basketball coach at LSU, 35 year old Will Wade. Also told him what the "Evil Twin" told Ed Orgeron on the TV interview show, "Coach, it's great to have a Coach what don't have no accent!" in his best Cajun voice. Keene laughed. One damper on the club party was the death of a good member, Kim Roux. I went to his funeral service at Lakelawn and met his wife Cathy and a mutual friend of ours, Clay Andrews who was also there paying his respects.
Our next party was at our son's house in Baton Rouge, a central location where we all meet for the Hatchett Xmas. While waiting for the gift sharing to start, I watched LSU's basketball team on SEC Network Channel play Stephen F. Austin. It was a great game which I was sure LSU would win, but they lost by 1 point at the final buzzer when Epps missed a last chance tap-in for a win.Epps was so upset he laid down flat on the court under the basket and seemed to be crying. "Rats!" I thought, "when's Brandon Sampson coming back?" My answer came in the next game with North Florida. Sampson came on the floor in the first half during a slow down by the Tigers and he made 11 straight points. The Tigers of LSU won by 110 to 50 and it is sure great to have Sampson back in the line-up. One of the gifts I got at the Hatchett Christmas party was a Justin Case Auto Emergency Kit. I thought that Justin Case was a great name for a relief pitcher for our baseball team. I can hear Chris Blair saying, "Going out to the bullpen is a LSU relief pitcher, Justin Case!" Well, it works great for an emergency kit, also. It's now in my Maxima's trunk, just in case I need it. Thanks to Bill and Carol Hatchett.
The next sporting event was a Saints game at Noon. Our NFL New Orleans Saints whipped the New York Jets in spite of bad luck and even worst referee calls. The final was 31-19, but two TD's by Mike Thomas were called back, among other things. The Jets made most of their first downs on penalty yardage due to foul calls, calls most foul, indeed!
Our next event was a Grillades & Grits party at Ron & Cathy Whitcomb's on Burgundy Street. Grillades are medallion-size pieces of thin steaks cooked in a spicey brown gravy. This is poured over hominy grits and makes a wonderful combination.
This dish is a standard for Uptown Carnival Balls at the New Orleans Country Club and other places. Very good in cold weather and it was a cold and rainy evening when we got there. We were able to park right in front of their home, so we needed no rain gear to get in and out of the car. But the inclement weather caused the Caroling to be m oved from Jackson Square to the St. Louis Cathedral. We skipped Caroling in square/Cathedral because of the rain threat. We had a great time at the party and met some great people.The Whitcombs have a lovely place, with a swimming pool and patio in the rear. Someone moved my Fedora to the top of a large stuffed bear in the bedroom, and this distracted me so that I left my blue down jacket there. (Ron brought it to the book club the next night. Thanks, Ron)
When we got home, Del went to bed early and I finally located the DVD with our Wedding Slides/Audio footage on it. Later I recorded in Digital format on my SONY camera and will likely upload it to YouTube.
I hadn't planned to attend the Book Club. I didn't like the book selection, Sapiens. But I went because Ron Whitcomb was bringing my blue down jacket which I left at his home in the French Quarter the night before.I enjoyed the discussion because the guys mostly slammed Sapiens. To me it is a slanted version of the world as a ball of dust, a basely materialistic view of human life. Been there, done that, got the T-Shirt. So I managed to get a few good shots in for the truth. Materialists need to know what Steiner said, "Discussion begins when knowledge ends." When our knowledge of the spiritual underpinnings of the materialistic world was lost, then discussion began about if there was really a soul or any spiritual world at all. Somebody mentioned the Apocalypse in the Bible, and I explained that it shows us what happens to humans when the Earth will exist no more: materialists bite the dust and others will become spiritual beings. Also I mentioned Steiner's saying, "Evil is a good out of its time." To which one member wanted me to tell him how that applied to the Holocaust. I told him he brought up the question, he could do the work. I explained that Christ and Lucifer were both Elohim, and that Christ came to help raise us from the Fall into Materialism precipitated by Lucifer by giving us freedom prematurely.It took Christ a being of the same level as Lucifer to do this job. One member wanted to know the difference between soul and spirit, and all I could tell them in a few minutes' time was explain to them how the Ecumenical Council of the Church in 869 A. D. decreed that Man, previously considered as body, soul, and spirit, would henceforth be considered to be body and soul with a tinge of spirit. Twelve plus centuries later, the tripartite nature of the human being has been forgotten and materialism rules the thought-based intelligence of authorities in both Church and Science circles which few dispute.
LET IT SNOW, LET IT SNOW . . . PLEASE!
A long weather front was bringing snow from Corpus Christi, Texas all the way to the East Coast and we hoped to get some in Timberlane. Got word from Kim it was snowing in Alexandria and from John it was falling on his home in Baton Rouge in the morning, so I figured there should be some here by afternoon. It was a shoo-shoo. All I saw was small snizzles falling on Maxima's windshield as I was driving home from PJ's in the morning. I kept a weather eye out and for about fifteen minutes some large snowflakes, falling quickly as they were heavy with moisture, fell to the ground. No accumulation at all. Everywhere to the west and north of us got accumulation: Corpus several inches, Houma likewise, one inch in French Quarter, and four inches north of Lake Pontchartrain.
But I was busy with a little cybernetic adventure that morning. I keep a Real-Time Analytics Overview visible on my leftmost desktop screen. It only displays the reviews with their short name URL's, such as /arj/christsw.shtml. Most of the titles I can suss out from these short names. When I saw arj/twomyste.shtml appear, I clicked on the link which took me to The Mystery of the Two Jesus Children by Bernard Nesfield-Cookson. I read it and edited a subject-verb number-agreement problem. Then as I read down, I decided to Footnote a link to the new Christ and the Spiritual World review, which points out the three pre-Mystery of Golgotha sacrifices of Christ made by infusing Himself into the Nathan Jesus-child's spirit. I could see that Analytics had this review being read in Clifton, some state in New England, and I fixed another minor typo in it. I decided to add a third footnote link to my new review of Christ and the Spiritual World explaining the four sacrifices made by the Nathan Jesus, the latest coming in historical times as the Mystery of Golgotha. The first three Sacrifices corresponded to the three gifts of the Magi of Frankincense, Gold, and Myrrh, and this was apparently the Bible's way of revealing the three early sacrifices of Christ, coming as they did, one each during the Indian, Persian, and Egyptian-Chaldean cultural epochs . These were the first three cultural epochs of the Post-Atlantean Epoch. Bringing these three gifts to the Christ child was a way of acknowledging the earlier sacrifices of the Christ spirit preceding the one to come on Golgotha.
Frank Arneman texted we were having a Christmas lunch at TCC's Café Hope with Ron, John, Frank, Robert, Bobbie Collins, Bill, and Barlow at the Timberlane Country Club. We get together every other week or so for lunch. Most of the guys are ex-military and my only qualification to be in the group is my two mandatory year of Army ROTC at LSU. Three of the guys own Corvettes, so if I had a Corvette that would likely qualify me. Several have motorcycles and I used to drive them, so there's another qualification. Colonel Jim Webb is a usual luncheon member, but he was off on a cruise of the Caribbean so we missed him.
Chris and Carla Bryant were coming to Timberlane to spend the night on their long drive from Corpus Christi to Jacksonville, their son's home. After lunch I came home and texted Chris to find out they had gone to DiMartino's for lunch, and split a full-size Muffaletta and admitted it was too big for them to eat the whole thing. No New Orleanian short of a 300-lb lineman would try a full Muffaletta, much less a half of one. We had a great visit with Chris and Carla. Chris and I did our traditional photo on the South Lawn Bench. We walked and talked and went inside for supper being cooked by Del. She had reinvigorated her red sauce by sauteeing some green and yellow squash into it, and adding new mushrooms. I had Chris come out to the garage where my stash of Opelousas Sweet Potatoes were stored in their pristine newly picked and dirt-covered condition. We picked out four sweet potatoes and Chris and I washed and brushed the dirt off them. The Mathernes and Bryants had a big meal together and then we watched NetFlix's streaming episodes of Life Below Zero together till we all got tired and hit the sack.
The Bryants left the next morning and we awaited the arrival shortly afterward of the Clarks, my daughter Yvette and her family driving in from Belle Aire, Texas. Well, they didn't show till the next morning, stopping in Beaumont to pick up Molly and Garret Tucker, Carla's two kids, and deciding to overnight before continuing to New Orleans. The Clark caravan arrived around 1 PM and the seafood gumbo I had just cooked was ready for them. That night the whole household abandoned me to go to a first-run movie cinema (a place I avoid whenever possible), and I got some work done.
The next morning Yvette came to PJ's with me, and JC said she had to be my daughter. That day Del and I went to our Christmas lunch with Barbara Louviere at O'Brien's while the Clark caravan went to the WWII Museum to see the new Road to Tokyo, and all. My other daughter Maureen and Jay came over at night from their home across the river in Metairie, and we opened our presents with the Clarks and Tuckers here. A busy fun night. Greg made a wish over his 60th Birthday cake, and Jay pretended to lick him on the left ear as he blew out the candles.
My daughter Carla arrived in Houston late that night from her two-week teaching excursion with college kids to Auckland, New Zealand, and drove from her home in Beaumont to here, arriving about 7 AM with Patrick the next morning. Pat came to PJ's with me. I pointed out the line of cakes, cookies, etal on the counter before we left so he wouldn't buy any pastries at PJ's.
Pat and Carla Tucker hung around and talked with us. Del fixed sandwiches for all, and then the Clarks and Tuckers left for Maureen's Christmas Eve-Eve party for the Matherne gang. We followed them later to Maureen's, getting there about dark and stayed to exchange presents with Maureen, Carla, and their kids. Had a great visit with my two oldest grand-daughters, Jennifer Terranova and hubbie Anthony, Tiffany Ostarley, and my oldest grandson, Chris Bayhi and his wife Sarah. Gabe Bayhi was almost there, but spent most of his time deep in computer games. Jay's daughter, Trinity Burgess, has grown up and is now a freshman at EJHS. Chris and Jay deep fried two small turkeys, Maureen had cooked crawfish et tu fe, mashed potates, shrimp Dianne, a pasta salad and a potato salad. All at the special request of her children.
We came home later thinking, "We are partied out!" but alas, one more night of celebration was ahead: Christmas Eve, a Richards' tradition. We drove across Lake Pontchartrain to Dan and Karen's house which had a new houseful of Richards relatives from Boston, Charlotte, and the Mandeville area.Annabelle, their granddaughter is a cute little girl and had come from Boston with her dad, Sean Heger and her mom Catlin, Dan's daughter. Denise and Denephew Randy Richards were there with their two kids, Brandon and Brook. The other niece Cheri was there with hubby Frank Shields and their daughter Heather and her boyfriend Marcus. Dan's other son, Daniel Richards, was in town from Charlotte and we got a chance to talk about his upcoming move back to New Orleans. Talked with Frank about his new job with the railroad and Sean with his new job with the Boston School System. Got to see Stoney and his wife Sue Hatchett who made some delicious praleens for us. Great to see everyone healthy and happy with families, and life heading into the New Year of 2018. We drove home thankful for our wonderfully diverse family on the Matherne, Hatchett and Richards sides and glad for a day of rest to celebrate Christmas just the two of us at home.
To start off Christmas Morning I made my delicious eggnog. I did only half a batch to save the rest for New Year's Eve, and we thoroughly enjoyed it.
Then we opened our presents, but first I donned my Library Card socks from Sue: One Orange, One Green, with Due Date and such at the top of the socks, then I waved around my New Orleans Map Umbrella and holding my 300 Years of New Orleans book, both gifts from Dan and Karen.
Then we opened our other gifts. Del had two special gifts for me: First, a Solingen Straight Razor from Germany. This is the company which manufactured the type of sword called an "Eisenhauer" (Eisenhower), a "steel cutter" which could slice a gun barrel in two. The other special gift was three antique boxes: In one box was 23K gold, in one Myrrh, and in one Frankincense, three gifts of the Magi, the three Kings who came from the East to present their gifts to the Baby Jesus in the Manger. My other bounty included, cue the orchestra: 12 quail eggs, 6 flashlights, 4 dress shirts, 2 new pants, and a pruner for the pear tree.
Del opened her gifts and was blown away by the Tanzanite ring that I had Barry of Designs in Jewelry create for her. This is the ring she thought she was receiving in 2016 for Christmas when she got the Tanzanite pendant instead. Now she has both. She loved the beautiful leather card holder for her purse and the new cotton towels I found for our kitchen.
We didn't take off our pajamas all day. We enjoyed the various leftovers from the weekend, sipped eggnog, tried on our new gifts, and watched a Christmas movie in the evening before going to bed for a long winter's nap.
My PC was forcibly restarted one night, probably by some Microsoft update. My Sage ACT Contact Manager would not start. In the past when it's done this, it takes me days before it finally gets free and works again. I had a new plan this time: I immediately shut down the PC and turned the Manual power switch in bottom rear of the Mainframe OFF. I waited ten seconds, turned it back on and pushed Power On button on top front of Mainframe. ACT got its act together and came up fine! Now finally I have a way of clearing the database in a few minutes. Of course, I have to wait till it gets stuck again to confirm that my new strategy of a power dead stop will do the trick. Always another challenge.
My Ryobi drill stopped worked last month and I bought a new battery charger for it. I asked for help and the Home Depot guy gave me the charger I needed. Only problem was the charger only worked on car 12v outlets! Watch out for them experts: the former drips under pressure. Double-check what they pick out for you. Anyway after another trip to Home Depot the new charger charges in 30 minutes, a lot quicker than my 10-year-old one. But after charging both old batteries and finding they did not hold much of a charge, I decided to buy anonther new battery. That was not easy because there were so many options. This time I found a contractor who used a lot of these tools and I bought the one he recommended. With the much faster charge rate, I can leave one battery in the charger and have a fresh charge ready to do work. If I happen to use up all the charge during one job, a 30-minute break to re-charge it and I can finish the job. I needed the new battery to open the hole for the front door where the metal rod slides down to prevent the door from being blown open by a hard wind. There is wood sticking in the metal hole that must be drilled away to make re-inserting the rod easier to do. Once the door decorations come down, I will be able to drill out the hole when I open the usually closed right side door.
LAST MINUTE EVENTS
James Michael Upton was born on December 27, 2017 about 8:26 am in Alexandria, LA, 8 lb. 1 oz, 20.5 inches on his great-great-grandfather Dick Richards' 100th birthday to our grand-daughter Katie Upton and her husband Stephen.
Our New Orleans Saints have only to beat the Bucs on New Year's Eve to win the NFC South Championship and continue its unexpected run to its second Super Bowl title. The Sqaints first title Drew Brees won against Peyton Manning and wouldn't it be sweet if Drew Brees were to win it against Tom Brady! Let the chips fall where they may.
Our New Orleans Pelicans have a winning record and look more like a playoff contender than ever before. With Anthony Davis, Boogie Cousins, Jrue Holiday being fed balls by assist leader Rajon Rondo, few teams can find a way to stop the zooming Pelicans as they dive for another fine beakful of wins!
Our LSU Fighting Tigers tackle the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame in the Citrus Bowl looking to squeeze a sweet victory for its new head coach Ed Orgeron, known to all as Coach O, who is aiming to grab a 10-win season and 10 great linemen for the new year.
EVERY GOOD YEAR MUST COME TO A GOOD NEW YEAR
The past month of December has brought the Good Year of 2017 to a close with some snow all around us, some short-sleeve weather for a week, some misty mornings, and some more frigid post-Christmas weather. Hope you had a wonderful Christmas with lots of friends, family, and presents to share. Let us extend our Blessing to include the entire world this year. God Willing and Global Warming prove to be an ephemeral phenomenon — whatever you do, wherever in the world you and yours reside, whether you'll be enjoying glorious Winter days or warm Summer days,
Remember our earnest wish for the New Year of 2018:
MAY THE WORLD REMAIN PEACEFUL AND SERENE IN TWENTY-EIGHTEEN
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Quotes Selected from quotes.htm this month:
The captain of a ship is not chosen from those of the passengers who come from the best family.
Blaise Pascal [French philosopher]
If arrogance were a crime, there wouldn't be enough jail cells in the entire United States to hold all the people in TV news.
Bernard Goldberg (writing in "Bias")
We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are.
— Anais Nin, American Author (1903-1977)
New Stuff on Website:
~^~ Below are Bobby's Three Published Books. Click to Read Them.
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Tidbit of Zingers in History:Historical Zingers
Thanks to Jo Anne Montz for sending this Tidbit on Dec. 23, 2017 to DIGESTWORLD! ! !
~^~Two blondes walk into a tanning salon.
The receptionist asks, "Are you two sisters?"
"Heck, no, we aren't even Catholic!Thanks to Jeff Parson for sending this Tidbit on Dec. 25, 2017 to DIGESTWORLD! ! !
Click here to Read More Blonde Jokes.
was a baby girl named Lucy who graced two families with her presence. Magnificent movie showing actors living and reacting to each other in a scenic setting with minimal direction. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! ! !
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.“The Light Between Oceans” (2016)
“Madrid, 1987” (2011) Locked naked in a small bathroom for several days with a naked journalism major, the aged journalist places an empty frame against the wall and narrates a movie to her while they sit in the bathtub together enjoying imaginary popcorn. Even Woody Allen couldn’t get away with this one.
“Basic Instinct” (1992) still a tantalizer and a thriller with great bedroom scenes. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! !
“The Dressmaker” (2016) shows up in rural Aussie town to redress things and burn up a lot rubbish.
“American Experience: The Boys of '36” (2016) about the Olympic winners of the 8-man rowing event from the backwoods of Washington state.
“The Details” (2016) Life is in the details and maybe no piano will fall on your head. Amazing and unpredictable very entertaining movie. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! !
“The Edge of Seventeen” (2016) and what an edge! Teen growing up with a slashing tongue and no friends except for a teacher and a dorky Asian. A DON’T MISS HIT !
“The Crown: Season 2” (2017) details Queen Elizabeth II's challenges as new Queen, bride, mother, and wife to Philip with his challenges and her sister Margaret's wild affairs. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! !
“The Book of Henry” (2017) fanciful story about two sub-teen boys smarter than their mother, until she finally disobeys one of them. “Sometimes a good story will remind you of who you want to be.”
“Brainstorm” (1983) a big hit back in '83 and still worth a look. Natalie Wood died during the making of this movie, so last chance to see her alive with Christopher Walken who was on the boat when she disappeared over the side.
“The Rules Don't Apply” (2016) What could you do if someone told you the rules don't apply to you? We get to see what this budding starlet chosen to join Howard Hughes' stable does. Slow movie, but steadily builds with tension as we go behind the privacy screen Hughes threw around his life and have some fun along the way. A DON’T MISS HIT !
“Dirk Gently” (2012) A detective in the quantum range where everything is inter-related. Proved it by talking about a grand piano falling on someone's head, just like the previous movie we watched where it actually happened. Fasten your seatbelts for a ROTFLYAO experience whether you understand any of the movie at all. Good work, Doug Adams! A DON’T MISS HIT ! !
“Viceroy's House” (2017) about Louis Montbatten, the last Viceroy of India, whose job was to oversee the departure of British Rule and the division of India into two countries, the border of which had been drawn by the previous Viceroy in a secret document. Hugh Bonneville gets control of a mansion bigger than Downton Abbey for a spell. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! !
“Maudie” (2017) wonderful movie about an arthritic young lady who loves to paint living in a two room cottage on the coast of Nova Scotia. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! !
Misses (Avoid At All Costs): We attempted to watch these this month, but didn't make it all the way through on most of them. AwD ST“The Edge of Seventeen” (2016) and what an edge! Teen growing up with a slashing tongue and no friends except for a teacher and a dorky Asian. A DON’T MISS HIT ! OMPER. 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.“Lions for Lambs” (2007) Lambs full of distaste for Lions and lots of Hollywood messages.
“Brighton Rock” (2010) doesn't. Barely moves at all.
Your call on these — your taste in movies may differ, but I liked them:“The Doors: When You’re Strange” (2009) like Jim Morrison it’s hard to tell schlock from art, courage from craziness, and brilliance from a flash in the pan. Well-done portrayal of his life story using actual footage.
“King Arthur: The Legend of the Sword” (2017) a sword can be great and boring, but not a movie. Super CGI adds up to Super Yuck!
“Voyeur” (2017) a movie of Gay Talese’s book about a motel owner who created a peepshow for himself of the rooms he rented out. The statute of limitations on distasteful acts never runs out.
“The Beguiled” (2017) Is it the wounded Yankee soldier or the Southern girls school which takes him in or both? After being healed, he ends up without a leg to stand on. Colin Firth plays the nice guy until it kills him.
“Noel” (2004) stories of people with trouble on Christmas eve: being alone, being jealous, and being confused, and none of them being prayful.
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==Boudreaux's Fishing Camp, Artwork is Le Boudreaux Cajun Cottage, drawn by and Copyright 2011 by Paulette Purser, Used by Permission
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Boudreaux and Marie's daughter Camille had just returned from her honeymoon with Pierre in her dad's fishing camp. She was helping her mom with the dishes in the kitchen.
Marie said, "Camille, how were things on the honeymoon?"
"Things were great, Mamma, but Pierre sure likes to have sex, sometimes two or t'ree times a day."
"Mais, dat's not unusual for a Cajun man, Cherie. We was married young like you, and your daddy was jest like dat at first."
"So, told me sumpin, how often you and Daddy have sex now after 20 years of marriage?" Camille asked.
"Wahl, it's more like two or t'ree times a week, now."
Camille thanked her Mamma and decided to ask her grandma the same question. She and Grandpa had also been married young, about forty years earlier. Grandma told Camille, "Mais, Cherie, Ah t'ink dat happens about two or t'ree times a month."
Camille thought about her asking her Great-grandma, and around Christmas time her great-grandparents came for a visit. She got Mamman alone and asked her, "Mamman, can you tole how often you and Papaw have sex?"
"Dat's a strange question for a young bride like you, Camille, but Ah am happy to tole you dat me and Papaw have sex once a year."
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5.Household Hint for January, 2018 from Bobby Jeaux:
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =Keeping Satsumas Easy to Peel
Few people in South Louisiana have to buy satsumas, that delicious and easy-to-peel citrus which ripens in October and November. Either you have a satsuma plant and harvest so many, you give some to your neighbors, or your neighbor gives you some each year.
If you have to buy some you can buy just a few and this Hint will not be helpful because satsumas left in a bowl will stay easy to peel for about a week. After that time, satsumas will turn a shade of orange, and the skin will dry up, making them very difficult to peel.This puts a damper on the delight of eating the sweet, juicy, seedles sections inside.
If you have a producing satsuma tree, you can harvest just a few at a time and will have no problem with peeling them. The satsuma rind is generally loose and almost falls off the fruit as you peel it.
But if the skin dries out, you can only peel a dime-sized section at a time, which is very frustrating as you're smelling the delicious fruit but unable to eat it until it's peeled.
The problem comes when you get a large trug-full at one time from a friend. You can't eat but one or two a day and there's enough for two or three weeks. What to do? For a long time, I just ate more and had to put up with hard-to-peel satsumas at the end of the basketful. Not any more.
Simply place the bowl of satsumas in a handy refrigerator and their skins will remain easy-to-peel for a month or more. (They never last a month around here, so I've never tested it the full extent.)TEST CASE
To demonstrate the difference between satsumas left out in a fruit bowl and ones stored in a refrigerator, I took a photo of some satsumas that were bought or picked at the same time showing the difference. The fresh ones in the Ziplock bag were stored in the fridge and the dried up ones were in an open bowl outside the fridge.
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6. POETRY by BOBBY from May, 1996:
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =NOTE: Animal Crackers, © 2017: Inspired byThe Tenth Insight, a novel written by James Redfield. The poem was written on May 10, 1996 on the Timberlane swing at 11:15 am. I penned it on the rear overleaf of the book I was reading, The Tenth Insight. The relevant text that inspired the poem is on pages 218 through 222. “Haven’t you understood that when an animal shows up in our lives, it is a coincidence of the highest order?” the character David asks the hero of the story. Then Redfield has David explain the purpose of each of the animals. I added the egret, a local Louisiana animal, and the human being, who nibbles on the animal crackers for spiritual insights.
The owl dives through the dark
and grasps onto spiritual nourishment.
The hawk ratchet-scans the ground below,
searching for signs of spiritual movement.
The crow caws to awaken us
to our spiritual reality.
The rabbit nibbles in a wary peace
in the midst of its hungry predators.
The eagle soars to higher realms
and nests in the spiritual heights.
The egret walks stately through water
and catches crawfish for its spiritual feast.
The human nibbles on animal crackers
and nourishes its spirit.
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7. REVIEWS and ARTICLES for January:
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =For our Good Readers, here are the reviews and articles featured this month. The first and second reviews this month will be ones which were never published in early DIGESTWORLD ISSUES and will be of interest to our DIGESTWORLD Readers. The rest of the items will be new additions to the top of A Reader's Journal, Volume 2, Chronological List, new additions to A Reader's Treasury, or Essays previously unpublished.
NOTE: some Blurbs may be condensations of long Reviews, possibly lacking footnotes and some quoted passages. For your convenience, if you wish to read the full review or to print it out, simply CLICK on the Book Cover or choose Printer Ready option on the top line of a review page when it opens.
1.) ARJ2: Materialism and the Task of Anthroposophy, GA# 204 by Rudolf SteinerIn a comic strip the other day, one character asked, "What's playing at the movies?" The other character answered, "Big Catastrophe No. 1, No. 2, No. 3, No. 4, and No. 5." I laughed because it speaks so topically of today's movies. Titanic has just been released along with Firestorm, and these two followed a spate of earlier disaster movies, Tornado, Earthquake, Volcano, and, of course, that perennial favorite, The Eggplant That Ate Chicago. In the Table of Contents of this book, the first sentence of the first lecture sums it up for us:
Materialism was justified in the nineteenth century; clinging to it generates catastrophes.
One can certainly see what Steiner figures the "task of Anthroposophy" is for us on the cusp of the 20th and 21st centuries: to help humans to release their attachment to material things. By materialism, Steiner means much more than a mere attachment to physical objects — he means materialism as a way of being, a world-view, a paradigm that blinds us to other possible ways of viewing the world, up until now.
He refers to Latin-thinking — that living legacy of an already dead language (Latin) — which is a way of thinking inside our native languages [derivatives of Latin] that fashions our thoughts in such a way that we concretize the non-physical, reify the abstract, and manipulate the resulting abstractions as though they were physical objects.
Isn't this a useful way of thinking? This concretizing is useful for law, for science, and, strangely, for religions as many of us in the West know religion. It is useful for measuring, judging, and ruling, but Latin-thinking leads to vacuous disputes in the realm of living processes. One notable example of this is the long arguments debated over the real nature of bread and wine during the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. Is it really turned into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ?
The Greeks, originally all etheric-thinkers, found no need to ever ask or answer that question. It only made sense to ask the question in Latin, and thus the Fathers of the Roman Catholic Church, all Latin-thinkers by training, asked the question ad infinitum. Eventually the Church Fathers, in committee laid down a Latin-thinking ruling that satisfied all Catholics on the matter. I say all Catholics because if you didn't accept the Church's rulings you were summarily branded a heretic and tossed out on your ear.
In 1897, one hundred years ago, a small girl named Virginia wrote to the editor of The New York Sun thus:
I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, "If you see it in The Sun it's so." Please tell me the truth: Is there a Santa Claus?
The editor answered Virginia's Latin-thinking question about the concrete-nature of Santa Claus by talking about the etheric nature of Santa Claus in a way that satisfied Virginia and millions of children and their parents every year since. Here's how the wise editor began his answer to Virginia's question:
Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. . . .
Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give your life its highest beauty and joy.
Santa Claus may be considered the greatest invention of the human mind if he did nothing but return once a year to remind children and adults alike of the dry vacuity of Latin-thinking relative to the life-bringing joy of etheric-thinking.
Materialists, in my experience, are the most skeptical lot of all of humanity. They are skeptical of anything abstract, etherical, or spiritual. Skeptical of everything, that is, except their own unproven, abstract belief in materialism. Such paradoxes are the heritage of every Latin-thinker, and materialists are Latin-thinkers, par excellence.
The Latin-thinking authorities of the early Christian Church established the rules of what one should think, so that anyone with a direct knowing [a gnosis] of spiritual realities was cast out of the Church. All the Gnostic writings were expunged from the religious texts, so that all we know of the Gnostics, those early etheric-thinking Christians, is from certain quotes left behind in the writings of the opponents of Gnosticism. Future generations could hardly travel to the moon if the only records of the moon landing in 1969 were made by skeptics who believed that it never really happened.
There are two ways of perceiving a spiritual reality such as the Mystery of Golgotha, as Steiner puts it. One is to take the insight as coming from the cosmos directly as an instinctive, elemental insight.The other way is to let a majority vote of some legislative body decide on what the meaning of the insight shall be. The latter was the exact approach taken by the Church Councils around the fourth and fifth centuries, A. D.
Latin-thinking modes lead to legalistic decisions by majority vote which lead to restrictions on personal freedom which lead to coercion. Etheric insights lead to etheric thinking, which lead to spiritual activity, which leads to independent activity or what we call freedom.
In Lecture VI Steiner presents us the dramatic difference between the etheric-thinking Orient [epitomized by the Greeks] and the Latin-thinking West [epitomized by Rome]:
[page 90] People [of the Orient] wished to comprehend the sensory world on the basis of these spiritual worlds.
[page 91] To us [in the West], the physical-sensory world is given.
Note the difference is that of direction: whether one chooses to view the physical in terms of the spiritual or the spiritual in terms of the physical. It is not a question of right-or-wrong, as Latin-thinkers would require us to believe. The Greeks took their spiritual way of seeing as a given and interpreted their external world based on it. The Romans took the concretized components of their physical world and tried to understand the spiritual world in terms of the physical world. Early Christianity became imbued with the Latin-thinking aspects of Roman political thinking. This led the fusion of the rule of law of the political state and the dogma of the religious Church. Steiner says of that merger:
[page 93] Such mighty forces and impulses dwell in Christianity that they could, of course, be effective and survive despite the fact that they were poured into the world of the Roman political system.
Some readers may be saying, "What was the harm? Surely this merger of Church and State helped the spread of Christianity." Steiner says, as if to answer that question:
[page 96] that the time had come in human development when the human being who does not ask — who does not develop his inner being and does not seek the impulse of truth on his own but remains passive — cannot arrive at an experience of his own self. . . . The I must first lift itself up in order to recognize itself as something supersensible.
Thus the wonderful paradox of the Roman Catholic Church is that by the very fact of its applying rules and laws to its passive members, it keeps them from the very independence of thought and spiritual activity that would lead them to the spiritual world. Lacking the ability to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps, the members become even more dependent on the external Church for their link to a spiritual world that their Church keeps them from directly experiencing, up until now.
And the new religion of the late 20th century, materialistic science, is just as bad as in our time as the early Roman Church was in its time. Leibnitz once said, "Nothing dwells in the intellect that did not dwell earlier in the senses, except for the intellect itself." Modern materialistic science deftly omits the final phrase. Steiner says that modern science acknowledges only the sentence:
"Nothing dwells in the intellect that did not dwell earlier in the senses," whereas Leibnitz clearly discerned that the intellect is something totally spiritual at work in the human being quite independent of all aspects of the physical corporeality.
There are three streams in the Western world today:
1.) Faith without intellect, but with a connection to rituals. [Catholic]
2.) Faith without intellect and without ritual. [Protestant]
3.) Intellect without faith. [Science]
Steiner says that we cannot count on either of these three streams but that they are moving us in the right direction, which is:
[page 169] We can count on the attitude that takes the new intellectuality seriously and deepens it Imaginatively, Inspiratively, and Intuitively, thus arriving at a new spirituality.
The West, Steiner says:
[page 171] has to concern itself with waking up, with becoming inwardly active. Its intelligence must not remain lazy, for this intelligence can raise itself; it can lift itself inwardly with an understanding for the new view of the spirit.
In ancient times tribal members felt a blood link to the father of the tribe and felt his blood flowing in their veins. Likewise they felt their bodies to be part of their ancestral father's body. They "sensed a profound mystery in the forces of the body and blood." Steiner continues:
[page 303] People today no longer have any idea of how the divine spiritual was worshiped then at the same time as the material substance. [italics mine]
I couldn't help but wonder if the entire argument over the true nature of transubstantiation would be made unnecessary if during the Holy Eucharist Christ were reported to have said, using etheric-thinking rather than Latin-thinking words:
This is Bread and at the same time this is my Body.
To close this review I will allow Rudolf Steiner to clearly state his point, even more pertinent to us of the late 20th century than it was to his listeners of the early 20th century:
[page 317] But this is the point, my dear friends. We no longer need be misled by the intellect; this insight can help us to progress. Today people follow a shadow, the reasoning or intellect within them. They allow themselves to be misled by it instead of striving for Imagination, Inspiration, and Intuition, which in turn would lead once again into the spiritual world that actually surrounds us.
2.) ARJ2: The Situation Is Hopeless, But Not Serious by Paul Watzlawick
Note the subtitle of this book is The Pursuit of Unhappiness. Knowing that happiness is something that happens spontaneously, Watzlawick devotes this book to a study of ways for folks to carefully pursue unhappiness. By cataloging the most popular ways that folks make themselves unhappy and giving intricate details on how to do it, those folks who recognize their own strategies for creating unhappiness as they read this book, will be unable to perform the tasks as well as before, their careful processes for making themselves unhappy will be broken!
When confronted with a desperate predicament, the Northern German is said to take the attitude that "the situation is serious, but not hopeless" whereas the Southern German, confronting the same predicament, would take the attitude that "the situation is hopeless, but not serious". With the southern attitude, Paul Watzlawick offers a simple solution to seemingly impossible predicaments.
One predicament is choosing to operate on the world the way one thinks it should be instead of the way it is. Watzlawick says of such a person, "As captain of his ship, which the rats have already abandoned, he heroically steers into the stormy night."
Of another favorite predicament, "Games with the Past", Watzlawick details four variations for the reader to consider:
1) Glorification of the Past: Seeing one's youth as Paradise Lost and "making it into an inexhaustible reservoir of nostalgic misery."
2) Mrs. Lot: Looking back obsessively on the past so as to avoid any possibility of discovering something new in the present, in effect, turning oneself into stone.
3) The Fatal Glass of Beer: In this predicament, the single act of sinning starts an irreversible decline (like the young man drinking his first glass of beer in W. C. Fields' movie, The Fatal Glass of Beer). "Then I sinned, but now I am the victim of my own sin." Watzlawick tells us in the voice of the hopelessly lost sinner.
4) More of the Same: The story is of Nasruddin, the Sufi joker sage, who was crawling around the campfire in front of his desert tent when a friend walked by. "What are you looking for?" "My key" At this his friend got on his knees and joined in the search, soon another friend came by and there were three of them helping, then a fourth. Soon, a fifth friend came by and asked, "What are you looking for?"
"Oh, where did you lose it?"
"In my tent."
"In your tent? Then why are all of you looking for it out here?"
"Because the light is better here."
Sounds absurd, doesn't it? If you look in the wrong place, you will never find what you're looking for, right? Yes, but continuing the game of "more of the same, is one of the most effective recipes for disaster that has gradually evolved on our planet."
The only hope for the irrepressible "more of the same" player is to follow these two directions explicitly: [Liberally reworded from the author's text.]
1) You must keep doing what you're doing the same way, since only one way of doing it is permitted, and if the way you choose to do it is not working, just apply yourself more forcefully.
2) Under no circumstances doubt the assumption that there is only one way to do it; only your application of that one way and its effectiveness may be questioned and refined.
After these playful romps with the past, Watzlawick examines other ingenious ways that people use to make themselves unhappy. As Margaret Mead pointed out, while an American would pretend to have a headache to avoid an unpleasant social engagement, a Russian would have to have a headache. The American suffers from a hurting conscience, and the Russian from a hurting head.
For persons unfamiliar with the tools of the average paranoic, Watzlawick, in The Story of the Hammer, gives details on how to convert floaters into failing vision, tinnitus into hearing loss, and one's friends into co-conspirators. It only takes a little practice with the detailed exercises to become proficient.
Given that all these simple tools may never allow one to achieve the true unhappiness of Oedipus, Watzlawick points out how the self-fulfilling prophecy, conscientiously applied, can save the day. He leads us to see Karl Popper's point that "the very actions that Oedipus took in order to avoid the horrifying predictions of the oracle led to the fatal fulfillment of those predictions."
Need stronger ammunition? Try mixing messages at the object and relationship level, Watzlawick suggests. "Do you like the soup I made especially for you?" If it tastes bad and you say, "No" honestly, the relationship will suffer.Some folks spend their entire lives nourishing themselves on bad tasting soup rather than risk upsetting the relationship by telling the truth.
The author finally unsheathes the most powerful weapon of all in his armamentarium, the "Be Spontaneous" Paradox. Its use is demonstrated below by two unhappiness experts: "Do you love me?"
"If you really loved me, you'd say so without my asking you."
Any request or command for a spontaneous act will cause other persons to be unable to perform the act spontaneously. Whether it's to: "Go to sleep", "Show me you love me", "Be happy", or even "Do a good job", the mere gracing of their ears with the request will make it difficult or impossible for them to perform as requested. This is the reason why actors before a stage performance are told to "Break a leg". Since breaking a leg can only happen spontaneously, it will not happen on command, and the actors are not stuck in the exquisite "Be Spontaneous" paradox of being wished to "Perform well tonight". Even the simple request by a photographer to "Smile" will evoke a faked or posed smile in place of a genuine one. True unhappiness enthusiasts are experts at the "Be Spontaneous" paradox.
With so many effective ways to create unhappiness, small wonder that one can continue along unhappy for a lifetime, when merely stopping one's pursuit of unhappiness would allow one to be happy in a moment. "The situation is hopeless," Watzlawick ends his small book saying, "and the solution is hopelessly simple."
3.) ARJ2: The Child's Changing Consciousness As the Basis of Pedagogical Practice, GA#306 by Rudolf Steiner
To interpret the title as noting the change in consciousness over time that all children undergo would be correct, but that covers only half its meaning. Steiner clearly stresses the importance of noting the change of consciousness in an individual child at any age. Thus, not only change that occurs over time in all children, but the change that also occurs in an individual child must become the basis of pedagogical practice. True teachers notice both kinds of change: the temporal change in all children as they age and the individualistic change in a single child, and they learn to react to both these types of change.
Douglas Sloane, in his Foreword, advises that educators avoid premature exposure of young children to analytical thinking, stating that such an educational strategy could adversely affect the child's educational growth and physical health in later life, that it is much better to provide models for children to imitate.
[page xiv, Foreword ] Positively, it means that the educator's primary task for the pre-school child is to provide an environment and people worthy of imitation by, and interaction with, the child. Negatively, it means that every attempt to teach young children analytical, conceptual thinking — the widespread efforts to teach reading, calculating, and computer skills at an ever earlier age — is premature, and a destructive intrusion that threatens the full development of the tacit knowing so necessary for truly powerful, creative, and self-confident thinking in later life.
Why premature? Can we not sprout plants during winter in a greenhouse so they will grow faster when moved outdoors later? Yes, but children are not plants, but human beings: eternal spirits newly arrived in a human body, who each have an individual agenda which will only reveal itself during post-school years of maturity.If we as educators force-feed children material that some pedagogical pundit deems appropriate, we risk creating stunted adults with unfulfilled lives.
[page xiv, Foreword ] Although the dominant tendency in modern education is to continue to "hot house" young children to acquire adult reading and calculating skills, some important educators, like David Elkind, are beginning to point out, as Waldorf schools have always done, how destructive this is to the child's eventual educational growth and even physical health.
Waldorf schools do not promote anthroposophy, but rather the principles of anthroposophy help to shape the Waldorf schools to ensure the prospering of the children they serve. Anthroposophy uses its own principles to deal with the concrete reality found within school children, but does not disparage any tenets of science or religion, considering them as good and useful. Instead it expands upon areas where such principles do not go far enough in creating healthy and creative adults.
[page 8] Anthroposophy does not proceed, as so many of its enemies do, by shamefully denigrating everything that does not agree with its own principles. Anthroposophy is more than prepared to recognize and acknowledge what is good, wherever it is found.
Scientific achievements have made the world better in many ways, but its method of dealing with only material aspects of the world has caused it to neglect the soul and spirit aspects of human beings, especially in the education of children.
[page 8] Anthroposophy points to the importance of the scientific achievements of the last three to four centuries and, above all, to those of the nineteenth century, all of which it fully recognizes. At the same time, however, anthroposophy also has the task of observing how these great scientific successes affect the human soul.It would be foolish to think that the ideas of a relatively few scientifically trained experts have little consequence for society as a whole; for even people who know little or nothing about science are influenced by contemporary science in their soul mood and in their life's orientation. Even people of a strictly orthodox religious faith, born of tradition and habit, nevertheless owe their world orientation to the results of orthodox science. The attitude of modern people is colored increasingly by the scientific view with all its tremendous achievements, which cannot be praised highly enough.
Where does this leave the human soul? It cannot be weighed, viewed under a microscope, seen in an MRI, or given a chemical formula, in other words, the human soul eludes all of our modern science and medical schemes. That is why pedagogical experts schooled in modern science can use principles which do harm to the soul and spirit of the school children they imagine to be their subjects in a test tube environment.
[page 8] Yet the constitution of the human soul has been strangely affected by modern science. Having revealed more and more of outer nature, science has, at the same time, alienated human beings from themselves. What happens when the human being is observed from a scientific perspective? Our attention is drawn first to what has already been discovered very thoroughly in the inert, lifeless world. Then the human being is analyzed according to physiological and chemical components and what was established in the laboratories is then applied to the living human being.
Steiner cites the incompleteness of the basic theory of the formation of our solar system according to modern science, the Kant-Laplace theory of a spinning gas which eventually coalesced into the separate planets we know today. The only problem is the lack of explanation of how the gas began spinning in the first place, a defect that is completely ignored. This is only one example of defects in modern scientific explanations which also pervade our astronomical and geological calculations, and are also ignored. In the educating of our children, we cannot afford to accept culturally acknowledged half-truths and ignore reality.
[page 12] And so, many elements of an unrealistic soul attitude can be detected where science appears to be most correct, where its findings cannot be contested. Consequently these elements of error easily creep into education. For those who teach are inevitably a product of their own time, and this is as it should be. When they come across such geological calculations or astronomical analogies, everything seems to fit together very nicely. Sometimes one cannot help but feel amazed at the incredible ingenuity of scientific interpretations that, despite their apparent power of conviction, nevertheless, can lead us away from reality. However, as educators we must never deviate from actual reality. In teaching, we face reality all the time, and this must spur us on to greater knowledge of human nature as it really is. In a certain sense this failure to penetrate human nature has already crept into modern-day educational thinking and practice.
The other day, I caught a reference on CSPAN to parents working as the heads of high-tech businesses of Silicon Valley who insist on sending their children to a Waldorf school where they are only allowed to use paper and pencils in the classroom.Seems the smarter you are, the more you wish for your children to have an integrated body and soul and a healthy existence. Steiner explains some of the illnesses in later life that can stem from careless schooling.
Take this example of the connection between excessive rote memorization at an early age and diabetes or rheumatism at a later age.
[page 20] Let us take the example of someone who develops diabetes or rheumatism at a certain age. When trying to find a remedy for such an illness, usually only the present conditions are considered; this, in itself, is quite justified. It is certainly proper to make every effort to heal a sickness whenever it occurs. But if one surveys the whole life of the patient, one may discover that many times diabetes is due to a memory that was overtaxed or developed in the wrong way between the change of teeth and puberty. Health during later years is largely conditioned by the way a person's soul life was developed during childhood.
When we naturally remember something, our soul fully digests it and no traces of it remains. But in forced rote memorization, the child is beset with remembering for the sake of remembering and its soul resists digesting the material, before, during, and after the forced memorization. We could say it leaves a bad taste in the child's mouth. That's a curious metaphor, but it seems apt for what Steiner calls "undigested vestiges".
[page 21] For example, if undigested vestiges of memory remain in the soul of a child between seven and fourteen, they will be released approximately between the ages of thirty-five and forty-five as physical residues, which can then lead to rheumatism or diabetes.
No wonder Steiner says that Waldorf teachers should have medical knowledge at their disposal.
[page 21] It is not right for them to leave everything concerning the child's health to the school doctor, who usually doesn't even know the children. If any profession in our time requires a wider background, education needs it most of all.
In Waldorf schools, one can find today that the school doctor is also a teacher who holds classes when not doing doctoring. In the regular teachers conferences of the school, any medical related situations can be brought up to the doctor, and all of the teachers in the school can learn from one teacher's health-related encounter in a classroom.
What is it that makes anthroposophical-based teaching different from other methods?
[page 21] Anthroposophy begins with an entirely different attitude. It does not simply want to correct old ideas, but begins with a true picture and knowledge of the human being, because, in keeping with human progress, these things have become necessary today.
No one would claim that newly born baby is the same as a gestating fetus, would they? The differences are readily apparent. Most obviously, the fetus requires its mother's body to supply it with oxygenated blood and with processed nutrition, whereas a newly born baby must breathe to create its own oxygenated blood and must ingest food and digest it into processed nutrition on its own. This is a dramatic change in a baby's life, is it not? There are several other less dramatic, but equally important changes which will occur later in the child's life. When the baby teeth fall out and new teeth appear, the child changes dramatically, having available for the first time teeth which were created, not inside its mother's body, but inside its own body. The second dramatic change occurs when the child reaches puberty and becomes able to be sexually active and create a child out of or inside its own body. These are important changes in a child which a teacher encounters and must be able to respond appropriately to these three stages of growth: before teeth change, before puberty, and after puberty. There is no theoretical knowledge that can prepare a teacher to handle these challenges which can only be handled while facing children directly in a classroom.
[page 24] It would surely not be proper for teachers to first acquire theoretical knowledge and then to think: What I have learned in theory I will now apply in my teaching in one way or another. With this attitude they would only distance themselves from the child's true being. Teachers need to transform their knowledge of the human being into a kind of higher instinct whereby they can respond properly to whatever comes from each individual child.
There is a distinct difference between anthroposophical knowledge of the full human being and the kind of knowledge found in science and medical teachings which deal only with the material aspects of the human being as a unique cocktail of liquids, chemicals, flesh, and bones. Such widely accepted knowledge "can lead to a routine approach to education at best, but not to a firmly founded pedagogical sense and teaching practice."
[page 24] [To avoid the routine approach,] one's knowledge of human nature must be capable of becoming pedagogical instinct the moment one has to deal with a child, so that in response to all that comes from the child one knows instantly and exactly what must be done in every single case.
Steiner makes a comparison with eating and drinking, saying we do not usually follow theoretical directions. Such folly may have been rare in his lifetime a hundred years ago, but it has become increasingly common today to find people counting calories, and amounts of fats, carbohydrates, proteins, gluten, salt, and a miscellanea of other aspects of food determined to be bad by today's theories before they will allow themselves to eat or drink it. They seem to be doing to their own health what educators are doing to their own children in today's school systems by following theoretical directions laid down by well-meaning pedagogical pundits.
[page 24, 25] We drink when thirsty and eat when hungry, according to the constitution of the human organism. Eating and drinking follow a certain rhythmical pattern for good reasons, but usually one eats and drinks when hungry or thirsty; life itself sees to that.
We must strive to understand a "child in all its pulsing life." This cannot be achieved if a teacher starts by applying intellectual concepts to a child. Such concepts would be applied en masse to the entire classroom, and what each child needs individually would be ignored, leading to each child's life being sacrificed on the altar of pedagogical efficiency.
[page 25] Knowledge of the human being, which forms the basis of a sound and practical way of teaching, must create in the teachers, every time they face a child, something like the relationship between hunger and eating. The teachers' response to a given pedagogical situation has to become as natural as satisfying a sensation of hunger by eating. This is only possible if knowledge of the human being has permeated flesh and blood as well as soul and spirit, so that you intuitively know what needs to be done every time you face a child. Only if your knowledge of human beings has such inner fullness that it can become instinctive can it lead to the proper kind of practical teaching. It will not happen on the basis of psychological experiments leading to theories about pupils' powers of memory, concentration, and so on. In that case, intellectual ideas are inserted between theory and practice. This presents an unreal situation that externalizes all educational methods and practice. The first thing to be aimed for is a living comprehension of the child in all its pulsing life.
Children learn by walking, speaking, and thinking. The famous poet Jean Paul Richter recognized the importance of these activities in the young child's life by saying, "The human being learns more for the whole of life during the first three years than he does during his three years at university." (Page 25)Note he said nothing about reading or writing, because a child spends its time walking, speaking, and thinking during these first three years.
The movement of a child's arms serves its soul and of its legs serves its body. With its arms the child deals with the content of its life especially while learning to speak and adds expressiveness to its speech as the child grows into an adult. With its legs the child learns to adjust to the external world, establishing its own rhythms both externally and internally. (Page 27)
[page 29] But in this context you can also see that the proper sequence of events can be safeguarded if children are encouraged to learn to walk first, that is, if one can possibly avoid having children learn to speak before they can walk. Speech has to be developed on the basis of the right kind of walking and of the free movement of the arms. Otherwise, children's speech will not be anchored in their whole being. Instead, they will only babble indistinctly. You may have come across some people whose speech sounded not unlike bleating. In such a case, not enough attention was paid to what I have just tried to characterize.
After walking and speaking, the next stage for a child should be learning to think. Why should thinking come last? Steiner says, "it lies in the child's nature to learn to think only through speaking." He goes on to explains how this is so.
[page 29] In its early stages, speaking is an imitation of the sounds that the child hears. As the sounds are perceived by the child in whom the characteristic relationship between the movements of the legs and arms is deeply rooted, it learns intuitively to make sense of the sounds that it imitates, though without linking any thought to what it has heard. At first, the child only links feelings to the sounds coming toward it. Thinking, which arises later, can develop only out of speech.
Animals have larynxes, but cannot speak. They can roar, bark, grunt, moo, mew, and make various kinds of repetitive sounds, but they cannot do what a young human being can do easily, speak. Why can they not speak?(1) Animals are like human-made robots which can be designed to make noises and even seem to speak, but they cannot adapt their upper body to sounds and create meaningful sounds to fit a given situation. Only human beings can adapt their organism in this way. A two-year-old human, for example, can ask for some wah-wah when thirsty.
[page 32] What happens in a human being through learning to speak is something I ask you to consider most seriously. This human faculty might best be understood in its essence by comparing it with animal development. If an animal could express what lives in its forming and shaping, emanating from its upper chest organs, it would have to say, My form conforms with what streams from my upper chest and mouth organs, and I do not allow anything to enter my being that would modify this form.So would the animal speak if it were able to express this relationship. The human being, on the other hand, would say, I adapt the upper organs of my chest and mouth to the world processes that work through language, and I adjust the structure of my innermost organization accordingly.
When a child adapts to life there are forces of heredity which come to the surface and forces of environment which impress inward. Steiner says clearly that the "environmental influences are far stronger than is generally realized." That seems accurate to this day, and under-realized by scientists who suspect any factor which they cannot put under a microscope, like the soft influences that the child's environment impress upon it. Steiner sees this impress like footprints of a hunting boot in soft snow, claiming that a Martian who thought like a modern day scientist would suspect some forces were pushing up from the Earth's surface to create the raised ridges of the footprint. (Page 38)
[page 37, 38] Often we hear it said that someone has inherited a particular trait from either the father or the mother, whereas in reality it is simply the result of imitating a certain way of walking, or a characteristic gesture of hands, or a specific manner of speaking, from those close to the person in his or her early childhood. The child's total surrender to the influences of the environment is what is of pre-eminent importance during the first years and not heredity as such.
Genes are physical body traits acquired from one's parents; whereas doyles are physical body states acquired from one's parents and environment(2). A child under five years of age continuously stores doyles as it matches the way a parent walks, gestures, and speaks. These are the influences of the environment to which Steiner attributes pre-eminent importance for a young child's development. He says, "The brain is no more than the ground into which the activities of thinking and speaking imprint what is received from the surrounding world. It is not a matter of heredity."
[Page 39] Through language we take in from our surroundings what we make our own in the realm of the soul. The entire soul atmosphere of our surroundings permeates us through the medium of language. And we know that the child is one great sense organ; we know that inner processes are inaugurated through these soul impressions.
What if the soul impressions are made by a father who is constantly angry? These will also be absorbed by the child. And, if the mother is cowered and rendered powerless by her choleric husband, where will a correction come except from educators outside the family? Lacking correction, the effect will be deleterious to the health and life-skills of the child.
[page 39] If a child, for example, is frequently exposed to the outbursts of an over-choleric father who utters his words as if in constant anger, it will inwardly experience its father's entire soul background through the way he forms his words. And this has an effect not only on the child's soul, but, through the atmosphere of anger surrounding it, causes the activity of fine glandular secretions to increase as well.Eventually, the glands of such a child become accustomed to an enhanced activity of secretion, and this can affect the whole life of such a child. Unless these harmful influences are balanced through the right kind of education later on, a tendency will develop toward nervous anxieties in any angry atmosphere. Here you have an example of how a certain soul condition directly enters and affects the physical organization.
Such a child who lands in a typical public school today will be called problematic, perhaps bordering on juvenile delinquency, and no one will deem the child's condition to be capable of amelioration, short of what was called reform school when I was a child in the 1940s. Today such erratic behavior is treated as an illness called attention-deficit-hyper-activity disorder (ADHD) and is usually treated with drugs. The key, the important thing to notice, is that, if the child lands in a Waldorf school, the teacher will recognize the excess choleric state and begin to make subtle corrections which will greatly improve the child's prospects for a full, healthy life in body, soul, and spirit.
It occurred to me in a meeting of my book club the other night that not one of the dozen people there had a knowledge of the difference between soul and spirit. I know because someone asked what the difference was, and no one else offered an answer. This represents the kind of adults that state and parochial school (non-Waldorf schools) systems have been developing over the past seven decades, adults mostly oblivious of the distinctions of soul and spirit. Lacking that knowledge, they live in a kind of psychology based primarily on the body, ignoring the soul and spirit aspects of the human being. How did this approach to understanding the full human being come about? It began with the Eighth Ecumenical Council in Constantinople in 869 A. D.
[page 42] One must no longer speak today of the human spirit, since an Ecumenical Council abolished it, declaring that the human being does not consist of body, soul and spirit, but only of body and soul, the latter having certain spiritual properties.
The trichotomy of the human being was dogmatically forbidden during the Middle Ages, and today, our contemporary "unbiased" science begins its psychology with the declaration that the human being consists of body and soul only. Blissfully unaware of how little "unbiased" its findings are, it is still adhering to medieval dogmatism. The most erudite university professors follow this ancient dogma without having the slightest notion of it. In order to arrive at an accurate picture of the human being, it is essential to recognize all three constituent parts: body, soul, and spirit.
Unfortunately materialism understands little of matter. Why? Because it cannot see spirit working through matter, instead, it understands only matter working through matter!
[page 42] But it does not know that everywhere matter is permeated with spirit. If one wants to describe materialism, one has to resort to a paradoxical definition. Materialism is the one view of the world that has no understanding of what matter is.
If you have experienced meeting a person who later became influential in your life or experienced some significant event in your life, you may look back a long time later and be able to discern some pattern leading up to this meeting or that event.A man working on trains in the railyard, developed some severe back pain and after a long period of recuperation he was given an inside job which he now loves. In time he may realize how the back problem led him to the new supervisory job, albeit through a painful series of steps. Steiner recognized that such meetings and events stem from a deep inner soul impulse.
[page 48] If such an event is connected with someone else, the person concerned will think (provided one can extricate oneself from the turmoil of life and perceive the finer nuances of physical existence): This is not an illusion, or something I have dreamed up; but if, at a decisive moment in life, I have found another human being with whom I am more intimately connected than with other people, then I really have been seeking this person, whom I must have already known long before we met for the first time.
Del and I felt this way, and, when we were married forty years ago, we chose this passage for our wedding ceremony by Kahlil Gibran. He wrote it to Mary Haskell on May 12, 1922:
"That deepest thing, that recognition, that knowledge, that sense of kinship began the first time I saw you, and it is the same now — only a thousand times deeper and tenderer. I shall love you to eternity. I loved you long before we met in this flesh. I knew that when I first saw you. It was destiny. We are together like this and nothing can shake us apart."
In summary, Steiner explains in the passage below how important walking, talking, and thinking are in a child's life, and how much a teacher can learn by observing these activities. In a child, the most spiritual aspect of the human being, the I, becomes sense-perceptible in the way the child deals with walking, how it places its feet on the ground, bends its knees, and uses its fingers. The next spiritual aspect is the human's astral body and it shows up in the child's language. In thinking the human's etheric body is at work. And in sense perception the entire physical body is at work.
[page 49] Here we see the work of what we have been calling in anthroposophy the I-being of the human individual. For us, this term does not imply anything abstract, it merely serves to pinpoint a specifically human feature. Similarly, through the medium of language, we see something emerge in the human being that is entirely different from the individual I. Therefore we say that in language the human astral body is working. This astral body can also be observed in the animal world, but there it does not work in an outward direction.In the animal it is connected more with the inner being, creating the animal's form. We also create our form, but we take away a small part of this formative element and use it to develop language. In speech the astral body is actively engaged. And in thinking, which has this universal quality and is also specifically different from the other two faculties, something is happening where we could say that the human etheric body is working. Only when we come to human sense perception do we find the entire physical body in collaboration.
How do these develop as the child matures? The simple answer is: in the order of walking, talking, and thinking.
[page 50] When looking at such a progression of development, we find that the human being's highest member, the I, is the first to emerge, followed by the astral body and etheric body. Furthermore, we can see how the soul and spiritual organization, working in the I, astral, and etheric bodies, is working on the physical body until the change of teeth. All three members are working in the physical body.
Ever wonder why children's books have so many pictures in them? It's always been an unanswered question to me, probably because I progressed to reading books with no pictures in them at an early age of eight or nine. Steiner illuminates the issue: the child is an imitator until teeth change, mostly ignoring words, directions, and attitudes of others while imitating all the activities which occur around it.After teeth change, a dramatic change takes place as the child's thinking begins to unite with everything pictorial in its surroundings. Thus, the child loves books with colorful pictures in them and will consume them, often ignoring the words around the photos. I recall a cartoon book I tried to check out as a child from the Westwego Library where I was a frequent visitor, always checking out the maximum number of books allowed. When the librarian, Mrs. Lawson, saw this book, she did something very strange, something she had never done before: she opened the book and scanned through the pages. She closed the book, looked at me intently for a moment, and only then did she decide to let me check out the book. I was puzzled by her actions, but only momentarily because I was delighted to get my book about the comic character Spiro home. An unanswered question remained with me for decades, until sometime in my twenties when I suddenly realized the book was about the progression of the syphilis bug as it wandered through the body doing its damage. The fun I saw Spiro having on the eyeball was really a bug causing blindness to a human being. It was all there in the words, but I never read the words, only enjoyed the fantastic voyage of a spiral-tailed character through the human body.
[page 52] Altogether, during the first period of life ending with the change of teeth, pictures of all the activities being performed within its environment work on the child. Then, with the onset of the second set of teeth, the child begins to take in the actual content presented in pictorial form. And we must pour this pictorial element into everything that we approach the child with, into everything we bring to the child through language.
How can a teacher use this knowledge to reach a child? Only by understanding the limitation of using words to describe things before the child reaches puberty.
[page 55] If, for example, you factually describe a plant to a young child, it is like expecting the eye to understand the word red. The eye can understand only the color red, not the word. A child cannot understand an ordinary description of a plant. But as soon as you tell the child what the plant is saying and doing, there will be immediate understanding.
Another knowledge Steiner requires of teachers is the origin of illnesses which appear in children, and shares this with prospective teachers to prepare them for their job.
[page 56, 57] Anyone who has an eye for these things knows that children's diseases look very different from adult diseases. As a rule, even the same outer symptoms in an ill child have a different origin than those in an adult, where they may appear similar, but are not necessarily the same. In children the characteristic forms of illness all stem from the head, from which they affect the remaining organism. They are caused by a kind of overstimulation of the nerve-sense system(3). This is true even in cases of children who have measles or scarlet fever.
With children illnesses radiate downward from the head, whereas with adults illnesses radiate upward from the body. Steiner performs a valuable service by pointing out this important difference in pathology between children and adults.
[page 57] At the change of teeth, the head has been the most perfectly molded and shaped inwardly. After this, it spreads inner forces to the remaining organism. This is why children's diseases radiate downward from the head. Because of the way these illnesses manifest, one will come to see that they are a reaction to conditions of irritation or overstimulation, particularly in the nerve-sense system. Only by realizing this will one find the correct pathology in children's illnesses. If you look at the adult you will see that illnesses radiate mainly from the abdominal-motor system — that is, from the opposite pole of the human being.
Children need music elements in their education especially when they reach nine years of age. I recall being introduced to a plastic recorder about that age and blowing on it to create musical sounds. It wasn't until the age of fifteen, however, that I was given a trumpet and began learning to play music with it, probably a little late for me to master the trumpet. The solo trumpets in my high school band had been playing since they were about ten years old. I never quite caught up to their skill level, playing only second trumpet parts.
[page 58] And then, between the ninth and tenth years, something truly remarkable begins to occur; the child feels a greater relationship to the musical element. The child wants to be held by music and rhythms much more than before. We may observe how the child, before the ninth and tenth years, responds to music — how the musical element lives in the child as a shaping force, and how, as a matter of course, the musical forces are active in the inner sculpting of the physical body. Indeed, if we notice how the child's affinity to music is easily expressed in eagerly performed dance-like movements — then we are bound to recognize that the child's real ability to grasp music begins to evolve between the ninth and tenth years. It becomes clearly noticeable at this time.
Parents of young children today will be amazed to find that children learn best if they are not taught to read or write until about age nine, and that they are best taught to write before they learn to read. This seems backwards, but Steiner establishes a sound pedagogical reason for this practice which is followed in Waldorf schools, if not in the usual state and parochial school systems.
[page 60, 61] Children, who have only recently come into the world, are suddenly expected to absorb the final results of all of the transformations that writing and reading have gone through. Even though nothing of the many stages of cultural progress that have evolved throughout the ages has yet touched the children, they are suddenly expected to deal with signs that have lost any connection between our modern age and ancient Egypt. Is it any wonder, then, if children feel out of touch?
Children can deal easily with the world of numbers and simple geometric forms. But writing and reading are alien to the child's soul, and must be approached slowly and carefully by illustrating to the child how hand-drawn geometric forms of animals can take on meaning. A fish, for example, can become the script letter, f, and a person's mouth, the letter, m, and from examples like these the sounds of the letters f and m can take on a natural meaning and sound to the child.
Steiner also explains how play should never be used to teach a child. Observe children at play, such as a young boy with a toy car, he is serious when he moves the car around, earnestly trying to imitate what his father does with a real car.
[page 61, 62] To a healthy child, playing is in no way just a pleasurable pastime, but a completely serious activity. Play flows earnestly from a child's entire organism. If your way of teaching can capture the child's seriousness in play, you will not merely teach in a playful way — in the ordinary sense — but you will nurture the earnestness of a child's play.
People who have raised children will notice how they often come home from school tired. For myself, I never came home tired from school, I enjoyed it too much. Once around age eight, when I had chicken pox and had to stay home from school, my memory of that time was standing by our backyard fence, staring at my school, wishing I was there, in class and outdoors at recess playing with my classmates. I loved the switching from sitting in class learning new things and running around outside playing tag, marbles, etc. So much of my time was involved with my rhythmic system and I didn't know until now that the human rhythmic system never gets tired! So, if your children hate school and come home from school tired, it's likely that their school is suppressing your child's rhythmic system instead of allowing the child to express themselves through their rhythmic system.
[page 64] The only system prone to fatigue is the metabolic and limb system. This system does tire, and it passes its fatigue to the other systems. But I ask you, is it possible for the rhythmic system to tire? No, it must never tire, because if the heart were not tirelessly beating throughout life, without suffering fatigue, and if breathing were not continuous without becoming exhausted, we simply could not live. The rhythmic system does not tire.If we tire our pupils too much through one or another activity, it shows that, during the age under consideration — between seven and fourteen years — we have not appealed strongly enough to the rhythmic system.
In Waldorf schools, the expression of the rhythmic system is not regimented into recess periods and physical education classes as most state and parochial school do. Instead the morning periods are devoted to classroom activities (which may involve the rhythmic system) and the afternoon periods are devoted to music, dance, and eurythmy, all of which engage the child's rhythmic system and allows them to leave school at the end of the day refreshed instead of tired. When given a chance to stay later at school, the children will welcome it! Steiner related in another set of lectures that when one teacher, new to Waldorf education, announced that one boy was being punished by being kept late to do math exercises, the other children in his class asked the teacher if they could also be kept late to do math exercises. This is the kind of school system parents would support for their children, is it not?
Unfortunately, most school systems hire new teachers whose heads are full of pedagogical theories which they come to class armed with like a battle plan. They quickly discover like generals do, no battle plan survives first contact with the enemy.
[page 70] This is the reason why teachers whose heads are full of pedagogical theories are usually least fit for practical classroom situations. More capable by far are those who still teach out of a certain instinct, teachers who, out of their natural love for children, are able to recognize and to meet them.
Nowhere have I seen a better example of a teacher with a natural love for children than in a recent streaming movie series on NetFlix called, "When Calls the Heart." How this frontier teacher helps this deemed-uneducable teenage boy to write using letter-shaped cookies she baked, an d how he then learns to read is amazing. In a later episode she gets replaced by a typical state-school teacher who focuses on discipline and rote-learning, and the difference between the two types of teaching methods is dramatically revealed. I heartily recommend the series to anyone interested in true education.
I raised three girls and enjoyed every minute of it. They gave me an education in the "perfect doll" syndrome. The doll we gave them, they proceeded to tear all of her clothes off and even some of her limbs in the process of playing. To them the doll was raw material to use in their creative play. I never fussed at them for destroying the doll because they enjoyed what they were doing, but the unanswered question which formed in my head was only answered decades later by Rudolf Steiner when he described the deleterious effects of "perfect dolls" and how to avoid them. I had no idea that by giving my girls the "perfect doll" I was possibly stagnating my girls's soul activity! But they showed me that no one could hold down their soul activity by systematically tearing the doll into pieces they could use creatively.
[page 73] Give a child a handkerchief or a piece of cloth, knot it so that a head appears above and two legs below, and you have made a doll or a kind of clown. With a few ink stains you can give it eyes, nose, and mouth, or even better, allow the child to do it, and with such a doll, you will see a healthy child have great joy. Now the child can add many other features belonging to a doll, through imagination and imitation within the soul. It is far better if you make a doll out of a linen rag than if you give the child one of those perfect dolls, possibly with highly colored cheeks and smartly dressed, a doll that even closes its eyes when put down horizontally, and so on. What are you doing if you give the child such a doll? You are preventing the unfolding of the child's own soul activity. Every time a completely finished object catches its eye, the child has to suppress an innate desire for soul activity, the unfolding of a wonderfully delicate, awakening fantasy. You thus separate children from life, because you hold them back from their own inner activity.
Plants only exist when attached to elements of the Earth. The surface of the Earth from its atmosphere down to the deepest waters of the ocean contains plants. To bring a rose snipped from its bush into a class as an example of a plant does a great disservice to the child. From the beginning the child should learn that plants only exist in connection with the Earth. Pull a plant up complete with its roots and show how there is almost as much of the plant underground as above ground and the child will receive a better understanding of a plant. Plants grow on the Earth's surface like hair grows on the surface of a human's head. Even our hair has roots which extend in our head's scalp.
Animals can be considered to exist because humans exist. Each animal can be found to have some feature of the human being which is salient for them: the large chest and lungs of a lion, the large stomach of the ox, the sharp eyes of the eagle, and so on. By helping children to make these connections, they will develop an understanding of how animals are derivatives of human beings, not vice versa as Darwinians would have us believe. Humans did not evolve from animals, but animals have parts of their bodies which are contained in human beings, many of which only human beings can properly use, such as our larynx. Animals can grunt, purr, whistle, and even imitate human speech, but none of them can use speech in the creative ways that humans do. Animals cannot stand erect and move rapidly on two legs while erect which any human can do. Lacking this vertical ability animals lack an individual soul. People who choose to embody their pets with souls are basically projecting their own humanness into their pets, but alas the pets remain as part of a group soul of their species to which they return upon death. Even this attribute, animals received from a previous stage of human evolution during the Old Moon period of our cosmic evolution. Waldorf teachers learn how to explain and describe animals in a way that their children come to see animals as related to humans in the way which plants are related to the Earth. Animals owe their existence to humans and plants their existence to Earth.
[page 89] Take a lion, for example; there you see a one-sided development of the chest organization. Take the elephant; here the entire organization is oriented toward a lengthening of the upper lip. In the case of the giraffe, the entire organization strives toward a longer neck. If you can thus see a one-sided development of a human organic system in each animal, and survey the entire animal kingdom all the way down to the insect (one could go even further, down to the "geological" animals, though Terebratulida are not really geological animals any more) then you will realize that the entire animal kingdom is a "human being," spread out like an opened fan, and the human physical organization makes up the entire animal kingdom, folded together like a closed fan.
Naturally, the teacher cannot just explain this to the child, as it is a huge abstraction. But, if you as a teacher can find "the necessary strength to give your pupils a lively description of animals in this sense, you will soon see how they respond. For this is what they want to hear." (Page 89)
[page 89, 90] And so the plants are linked to the Earth as if they were the hair of the Earth. The animal is linked to the human being and seen as a one-sided development of various human organic systems. It is as if human arms or legs — and in other instances, the human nose or trunk, and so on — had grown into separate existences in order to live as animals on Earth. This is how pupils can understand the animal-forms. It will enable the teacher to form lessons that are attuned to what lives in the growing human being, in the children themselves.
When we are eight years old, we tend to accept things from a teacher out of love, things which we only come to understand much later around the age of thirty-five when certain regressive forces in our astral body works on us. People who think teachers should only tell things that are understandable to children miss this very important point of how these unanswered questions teachers leave in children's minds will grow to amazing understandings upon maturity.
[page 108] Something arises from within, a kind of a mirror reflection that, in reality, is a return to the days of childhood. It is like the arising of an inner vision. One is thirty-five years old, has become mature, and from the depths of one's soul there comes the realization: Only now do I understand what I accepted on trust when I was eight.
The worst kind of teacher is the one who has been deeply schooled in academia and uses all kinds of abstract concepts which are equivalent to describing the color red to an eight-year-old: nothing at all goes into their mind. Here is a teacher in front of the most pliable and accepting mind in the world, and instead of gently molding that mind, they hammer it with bricks!
[page 109] It is really appalling when a teacher's ideas and concepts have been worked out to the degree that they are no longer adaptable or flexible. They would have an effect similar to the effect of iron gloves forced onto a child's little hands, preventing them from growing naturally. We must not chain children's minds to finished concepts, but give them concepts that can grow and expand further. We must give them living concepts that can be transformed.
The astral body as it arrives around puberty brings with it the sense of love. Until that time any judgments you require a child to make will fill their etheric body with these immature judgments which are not filled with love. The effect on the child's life will be problematic.
[page 112] But the ether body is not benevolent. It draws in whatever is in its way. Indeed, in this context, it is even malicious; it has a destructive effect. And this is what you do to children when you ask them to decide yes-or-no judgments prematurely, because a yes-or-no judgment is always behind the concept of causality.
This destructive effect of such premature judgments was dramatically portrayed by James Dean in the famous movie, Rebel Without A Cause. He had received the judgments of his parents and other with a destructive force which plays itself out in the movie.
[page 112] The final outcome of such premature judgment in children under the age of fourteen is an inner resentment toward judgments that are generally accepted by society. If the power of judging is developed too early, the judgments of others are received with a latent destructive force rather than with benevolence. These things demonstrate the importance of doing the right thing at the right time.
What is the meaning of the Last Supper? This question could produce a long discussion in a book club meeting, no doubt. But, look at history: before some point during the Middle Ages, people knew deeply the meaning of the Last Supper. They felt no need for proof, and therefore never discussed the issue. "Discussion begins when knowledge ends" is a favorite dictum of Steiner.
[page 115] Proof is always demanded in cases of uncertainty, but not for what the facts of life tell us directly. This is why it is so ludicrous whenever people try to find the inner connection between formal logic and reality.
Logic and reality are like map and territory. Korzybski famously said, "The map is not the territory; it cannot represent all of the territory." A map can lead us to a mountain, just as logic may lead us to reality, but we must discern the difference between logic and reality.
[page 115] This is somewhat like looking for the inner connection between a path leading to a mountain, and the mountain itself; the path is there to allow the wanderer to reach the mountain, and then the mountain itself begins. Logic is there only for the sake of reaching reality, and reality begins where logic ends.
"What does all this mean?" Before the pupils' ninth and tenth year, teachers do best to truthfully interpret the world for them. That means they should not try to prove things to students until after they have passed this stage of life. True teachers know how to accomplish this with elan and humor and help move their pupils to a new level of learning.
[page 115] When adjusting to this new situation in the classroom, one has to bring about in the pupils an unreasoned conviction that the teacher knows even more than they had previously imagined. The proper relationship between teacher and students can be established once again, perhaps while surprising the children with an amiable off-hand remark about something new and unexpected, which will make them sit up and listen; this can now happen if students feel that, until now, their teacher has not yet shown his or her true courage at all, and can truly reach unexpected heights. One has to save some things for just such moments, so that the teacher's image will continue to command respect. The solution to an important question of life lies within the students' feeling that their teacher can grow beyond even the boundaries of the personality. Here also are the comfort and strength one must give to children at this stage, so that one does not disappoint the hopeful expectations with which they come. Inwardly, such children were longing for reassurance from the one person for whom they had already developed sympathy and love.
Teachers who miss this crucial moment may lose their hold over students and be tempted to prove things to them, and that "dreadful mistake will only make matters worse." (Page 116)
In elementary school and at home, the only colors I had available were in wax crayons and colored pencils. These colors do not mix together, but only lay over one another. What paints came into our home were paint-by-number which also discourage any mixing of colors as all the colors need to complete the painting were pre-mixed for you. I always felt the lack of creativity in coloring books and paint-by-number sets, but didn't know what to do about that. It is exactly this felt lack-of-creativity that Steiner recognized, and urged the use of liquid colors in young children. I grew up without experiencing colors living within me.
[page 116] I have already told you that we allow our young children paint quite freely and naturally, out of their own formative forces — at first not with colored pencils but with liquid colors. Through this, one soon realizes how much children live within the world of colors. After a while, the young student will come gradually to experience something distant — something that draws us away into far distances — as blue. It goes without saying that the teacher must have experienced this quality of blue as well. Yellow and red seem to move toward the beholder. Children can already experience this in a very concrete way during the seventh or eighth year, unless they have been plagued with fixed tasks in drawing or painting.
I can remember being given a house or a tree or a flower to color with my crayons and it seemed foolish to me to do so. What was the point? Even as a seven-year-old that feeling of meaningless came to me as I followed the instructions reluctantly, hoping someone would enlighten me as to the real meaning of colors, but they never did. Want your children to experience colors inwardly? Enrol them in a Waldorf school, and they will.
[page 116] Of course, if you force children to copy houses or trees representationally, this color experience will soon be lost. But if one guides children so they can feel: Wherever I move my hand, there the color follows — then the type of material used is of secondary importance. Or: The color really begins to live under my fingers — it wants to spread a little further. Whenever such feelings can be drawn out in children's souls, one enables them to discover something fundamental and significant — that is, color perspective. A child will feel that the reddening yellow comes towards us, and that mauve-blue takes us further away.
Clearly, I never understood color perspective, and learned linear perspective only with great difficulty and not very well much later in life. We must learn the color perspective first, Steiner says, and I can vouch for that necessity in my own feeble attempts at art later in life.
[page 116, 117] This is how one can livingly prepare the ground for something that must be introduced at a later stage — linear perspective; it is very harmful to teach this subject before students have had an intensive experience of color perspective. To teach them quantitative perspective without their first having inwardly absorbed qualitative perspective — which is inherent in the experience of color — has the thoroughly harmful effect of making them superficial.
When students are in a classroom, they learn on two levels, content and process. The content of a subject is what is usually tested for and it puts a demand on the memory of the students. The process is a learned capability which is rarely tested for except in tasks requiring physical dexterity like dance, typing, and sports. But, of the two levels, what a child learns at the process level is far more important and a skewed focus on content can interfere with the learning of capabilities (process). Painting is a capability and people who ask why teach a child to paint if they will never use that ability in life, well, they miss the point completely. Only the child (deep in its soul) knows what will be useful later in life, so providing a full-range of activities will help the child reach its full potential.
[page 117, 118] Just as the expression "You can't understand this" should never be used when talking to children, so also there should never be a skeptical attitude among adults concerning what a child needs or does not need. These needs should be recognized as flowing from the human constitution itself; and if they are, one will respond with the right instinct. One will not worry unduly, either, if a child forgets some of what has already been learned, because knowledge is transmuted into capacities, and these are truly important later in life. Such capacities will not develop if you overload a child with knowledge. It is essential to realize — and actually practice — that one should impress in the student's memory only what is demanded by social life, that there is no purpose in overburdening the student's memory.
In Lecture Five, someone asked this question: Is there not an element of dishonesty in asking a child a question if one knows the answer? (Page 121) This question was interesting to me because often I will ask my wife a question and she gets upset if she thinks I already know the answer. As I pondered over why she would react that way to my question, I came to realize that as the oldest child in my family, I would often ask my younger brothers a question to which I knew the answer. I thought of it as a way of enlightening them, but now I suspect it was a way of showing off my knowledge and they likely also resented the question. Steiner's answer to this question offered me a better way of sharing something without demeaning the other person: I ask the question and am interested in how the other person feels and thinks about the subject, something that I truthfully cannot know in advance of asking the question.
[page 122] It does make a great difference, after all, whether I ask the child a question, for example, about the Battle of Zabern, and I know the answer but the child does not, or whether I know the answer and the child also knows it. The untruth would be in asking something I already know. But I could also have a different attitude — that is, I am interested in how the child answers the question. I may phrase my question to find out what the child feels and thinks about a particular point. In this case I don't know in advance what the child will say. The child's answer could have many different shades or nuances.
In Lecture Six and Seven, Steiner covers the Will to Gratitude, the Will to Love, and the Will to Duty. He describes how during the time before teeth change gratitude or thankfulness flows from a child towards its parents, caregivers, and teachers, if the child is treated properly. This gratitude flows into the growing forces within the physical body of the child.
[page 125] We only have to act in ways that are worthy of the child's gratitude and it will flow toward us, especially during the first period of life. This gratitude then develops further by flowing into the forces of growth that make the limbs grow, and that alter even the chemical composition of the blood and other bodily fluids. This gratitude lives in the physical body and must dwell in it, since it would not otherwise be anchored deeply enough.
One does best to avoid the Be Spontaneous Paradox(4) at all times with others. Any action a person can give spontaneously is poisoned if you request that action be performed. "Smile!" the photographer commands, what happens? They receive an ersatz version of a real smile which everyone can recognize as fake. So photographers began to tell subjects instead to, "Say cheese!" Well, saying cheese causes a smile to appear on a person's face, but the spontaneous response to being asked to say "Cheese" quickly disappeared with repetition, and now it elicits only a cheesy, non-genuine smile. So good photographers are always coming up with new ways of eliciting genuine smiles, mostly by not asking for the smile, but giving directions which have a chance of creating a smile, e. g., remember your best childhood friend, and so forth. Insisting that children say, "Thank You", puts them into a Be Spontaneous Paradox: If a child is genuinely thankful, being forced to say it robs the child of the chance to say it spontaneously and meaningfully, from their heart. I thank my parents who allowed me to be spontaneous in so many ways by not demanding that I emit automatic responses to kind gestures by others. (I must admit that I have received corrections in this matter from otherwise well-meaning adults.)
[page 125] It would be very incorrect to remind children constantly to be thankful for whatever comes from their surroundings. On the contrary, an atmosphere of gratitude should grow naturally in children through merely witnessing the gratitude that their elders feel as they receive what is freely given by their fellow human beings, and in how they express their gratitude. In this situation, one would also cultivate the habit of feeling grateful by allowing the child to imitate what is done in the surroundings. If a child says "thank you" very naturally — not in response to the urging of others, but simply by imitation — something has been done that will greatly benefit the child's whole life. Out of this an all-embracing gratitude will develop toward the whole world.
How might one plant gratitude into the soul of a child? By showing it in front of the child, spontaneously, and allowing the child to imitate your spontaneous way of showing it in its own unique way. Gratitude is like a seed planted in the soul from whose roots a plant rises into the world showing a love of God.
[page 126, 127] Love, born out of the experience of gratitude during the first period of the child's life, is the love of God. One should realize that, just as one has to dig the roots of a plant into the soil in order to receive its blossom later on, one also has to plant gratitude into the soul of the child, because it is the root of the love of God. The love of God will develop out of universal gratitude, as the blossom develops from the root.
Note how in this next passage Steiner urges us to avoid the Be Spontaneous Paradox in our demands by saying such demands are never converted into action. People who attempt to foist their type of faux goodness on others are often called "Goody-Two-Shoes" and their demands are ignored.
[page 127] We should attend to these things, because in the abstract we usually know very well how they should be. In actual life situations, however, all too often these things turn out to be very different. It is easy enough, in theory, to say that people should carry the love of God within themselves — and this could not be more correct. But such demands, made abstractly, have a peculiar habit of never seeing the light of day in practice.
The fairy tale of Sleeping Beauty involves a woman awaked by a Prince and falling in love. This is an abstract, but appropriate metaphor if we consider that when we awaken in the morning, we remain for some time in the region of the soul before we are fully awake. Because the process of falling in love is really an awakening into love as Steiner says in this passage: gratitude grows, but love awakens.
 The way love develops in the human soul is different from the way gratitude does. Gratitude has to grow with the growing human being, and this is why it has to be planted when the child's growing forces are at their strongest. Love, on the other hand, has to awaken. The development of love really does resemble the process of awakening, and, like awakening, it has to remain more in the region of the soul. The gradual emergence of love is a slow awakening, until the final stage of this process has been reached.
A friend told me that in her high school chemistry class, the football players dealt with the unpalatable outpouring of unknown phrases by answering every question the teacher asked with a standard response, "Copper Sulfate, Prof!" They avoided the sour, acid feeling produced in their stomachs by the dull lectures by saying something that sounded chemical and yet elicited a relieving belly laugh at the same time! Steiner explains the importance of "soul-breathing" and says that often physics and chemistry teachers mostly do "out-breathing" and this type of breathing creates acidity in students.
[page 131] At just this time of life [high school] the teacher must remember the need for a certain "soul-breathing" in the lessons, which communicates itself to the pupils in a very strange way — soul-breathing must be allowed for. Ordinary breathing consists of inhaling and exhaling. In most cases, or at least on many occasions, teachers, in their physics and geometry lessons, only breathe out with their souls. They do not breathe in, and the out-breath is what produces this acidity. I am referring to the out-breathing of soul expressed in dull and monotonous descriptions, which infuses all content with the added seriousness of inflated proportion.
Perhaps "mouth-breathers," which has become a common expression for a dull or dumb person, is another name for a person who does mostly out-breathing of soul, rarely ever taking an in-breath of soul from the people charged with listening to them. One can spot teacher who do in-breathing of soul because they respond to the expressed or un-expressed wishes of the classroom, often with humor, and always with interesting things to share. The best professor of this type was Professor Michael Paulsen, and it was a joy for me to sit in his post-graduate UNO classes. In the Final Paper I wrote for his course in College Teaching, I described how learning could be carried from the soul of the teacher directly into the soul of the students on the wings of words(5). In it I cover how lesson plans are essential for communicating effectively with students. One uses the lesson plan to create in one's thoughts and images the essence of the material being covered and those thoughts and images fly soul-to-soul over to the students. When one operates on that soul level, the communication goes both ways and one receives questions and concerns in one's soul from the students and can answer those concerns seamlessly without interrupting to ask if anyone has a question.
[page 131, 132] If teachers could feel at home in their subjects to the degree that they were entirely free of having to chew over their content while presenting lessons, then they might find themselves in a position where even reflected light is likely to crack a joke, or where a spherical skullcap might calculate its surface area with a winning smile. Of course, jokes should not be planned ahead, nor should they be forced on the classroom situation. Everything should be tinted with spontaneous humor, which is inherent within the content, and not artificially grafted onto it. This is the core of the matter. Humor has to be found in things themselves and, above all, it should not even be necessary to search for it. At best, teachers who have prepared their lessons properly need to bring a certain order and discipline into the ideas that will come to them while teaching, for this is what happens if one is well prepared. The opposite is equally possible, however, if one has not prepared the lessons adequately; one will feel deprived of ideas because one still has to wrestle with the lesson content. This spoils a healthy out-breathing of soul and shuts out the humor-filled air it needs.
Only if a teacher does an in-breathing of soul will the individualities of their students emerge, and the teachers will come to recognize that the students were using them as tools in their education. This is an amazing insight that Steiner provides for how true teachers reach their students.
[page 140, 141] When, to their everlasting surprise, teachers witness time and again how the child's individuality is gradually emerging, they have to realize that they themselves have been only a tool. Without this attitude, sparked by this realization, one can hardly be a proper teacher; for in classes one is faced with the most varied types of individuals, and it would never do to stand in the classroom with the feeling that all of one's students should become copies of oneself. Such a sentiment should never arise — and why not? Because it could very well happen that, if one is fortunate enough, among the pupils there might be three or four budding geniuses, very distinct from the dull ones, about whom we will have more to say later.
All education is a Do-It-Yourself job, rightly understood, and no one can read his Waldorf education lectures and not realize that Steiner understood that reality.
[page 141] Surely you will acknowledge that it is not possible to select only geniuses for the teaching profession, that it is certain that teachers are not endowed with the genius that some of their students will display in later life. Yet teachers must be able to educate not only pupils of their own capacity, but also those who, with their exceptional brightness, will far outshine them. However, teachers will be able to do this only if they get out of the habit of hoping to make their pupils into what they themselves are. If they can make a firm resolve to stand in the school as selflessly as possible, to obliterate not only their own sympathies and antipathies, but also their personal ambitions, in order to dedicate themselves to whatever comes from the students, then they will properly educate potential geniuses as well as the less-bright pupils. Only such an attitude will lead to the realization that all education is, fundamentally, a matter of self-education.
What a teacher should strive for is that their students integrate themselves into society and find Goethe's dictum at play in their souls: "Duty is a love for what one demands of oneself." I doubt anyone has ever expressed this thought better. It is duty which drives me to write these reviews, something which I love doing. No one taught me that directly, but it is something I garnered from every good teacher I spent time with. I owe them a lot of gratitude and love for helping me find this duty. This brings us to the Will to Duty which I promised you earlier.
[page 152] Remember what I said yesterday: by the time puberty is passed, the adolescent should have been helped toward developing sufficient maturity and inner strength to enter the realm of human freedom. I referred to the two fundamental virtues: gratitude, for which the ground has to be prepared before the change of teeth, and the ability to love, for which the ground needs to be prepared between the change of teeth and puberty; this was the theme developed yesterday.
Furthermore, we have seen that, with regard to the ethical life, the soul life of the child must also experience feelings of sympathy and antipathy toward what is good and evil. If one approaches a student at this age with a "thou shalt" attitude, proper development will be hindered in the years to come. On the other hand, when one instead moves the pre-adolescent child, through natural authority, to love the good and hate the evil, then during the time of sexual maturity, from the inner being of the adolescent, the third fundamental virtue develops, which is the sense of duty. It is impossible to drill it into young people. It can only unfold as a part of natural development, based only on gratitude — in the sense described yesterday — and on the ability to love. If these two virtues have been developed properly, with sexual maturity the sense of duty will emerge, the experience of which is an essential part of life.
When I wrote my first books, I created the books already typeset by my computer, printed them out double-sided, and took them to a bookbinder to be bound in hardback form. Through working with a bookbinder, I learned how he bound my books for me and I later acquired some tools by which I could bind books on my own. I have often written about all the things my dad made with his own hands, but he never once bound books. Yet it is still true that I learned how to do things for myself from Dad, and thus I felt able to bind my own books.
Steiner reveals in this next passage that learning bookbinding was important to him, and he deems similar kinds of craft work important in Waldorf education.
[page 159] From personal self-knowledge I can tell you in all modesty that I could not have accomplished in spiritual science certain things that proved possible, if I had not learned bookbinding at a particular time in my life — which may seem somewhat useless to many people.
. . . The important thing in this case is not that a pupil makes a particular cardboard box or binds a book, but that the students have gone through the necessary discipline to make such items, and that they have experienced the inherent feelings and thought processes that go with them.
Anyone who asks, "On which pedagogical theories is Waldorf education based?" deserves a complete response. In one word, the answer is "None." Theories mostly lead to biases, Steiner says below, and he clearly feels biases have no place in education. Biases are maps, abstract logical maps which cannot predict how an individual child will best learn. Only a true teacher on the spot, face-to-face to the child, can determine that.
[page 160 italics added] There are educational methods in the world, the clever ideas of downright impractical theoreticians, who believe they have eaten practical life experience by the spoonful, methods that are nevertheless completely removed from reality. If one begins with theories of education, one will end up with the least practical results. Theories in themselves yield nothing useful, and too often breed only biases. A realistic pedagogy, on the other hand, is the offspring of true knowledge of the human being. And the part played by arts and crafts at a certain time of life is nothing but such knowledge applied to a particular situation. In itself this knowledge already presents a form of pedagogy that will turn into the right kind of practical teaching through the living way in which the actual lessons are given. It becomes transformed into the teacher's right attitude, and this is what really matters. The nature and character of the entire school has to be in tune with it.
A real school should have a soul, and Steiner designed Waldorf schools to have a mechanism for creating the soul of the school. The mechanism he chose was regular staff meetings, but with a crucial difference from non-Waldorf schools.
[page 160, 161] And so, in the educational system cultivated in the Waldorf school, the center of gravity is within the staff of teachers and their regular meetings, because the whole school is intended as one living and spirit-permeated organism. The first grade teacher is therefore expected to follow with real interest not only what the physics teacher is teaching to the seventh grade, but also the physics teacher's experiences of the various students in that class. This all flows together in the staff meetings, where practical advice and counseling, based on actual teaching experience, are freely given and received. Through the teaching staff a real attempt is made to create a kind of soul for the entire school organism.
"How could what goes on in the sixth grade interest a first grade teacher?" You may be wondering something like that. Steiner explains the very practical aspects of the staff meetings.
[page 161] And so the first grade teacher will know that the sixth grade teacher has a child who is retarded in one way or another, or another who may be especially gifted. Such common interest and shared knowledge have a fructifying influence. The entire teaching body, being thus united, will experience the whole school as a unity. Then a common enthusiasm will pervade the school, but also a willingness to share in all its sorrows and worries. Then the entire teaching staff will carry whatever has to be carried, especially with regard to moral and religious issues, but also in matters of a more cognitive nature.
"I cannot send my child to a school which teaches the foggy mysticism of anthroposophy," someone might say. And yet that person may have no qualms to sending a child to a school who teaches a foggy materialism which cannot even understand the true nature of matter.
[page 163, italics added] I have already said that the tragedy of materialism is its inability to understand the true nature of matter. Knowledge of spirit leads to true understanding of matter. Materialism may speak of matter, but it does not penetrate to the inner structures of the forces that work through matter. Similarly, pedagogy that observes only external phenomena does not penetrate to the regions of the human being that reveal what should be done about practical life. This causes a situation that, to the spiritual investigator, is very natural, but would appear paradoxical for many people. They wonder why a pedagogy grown from anthroposophy always emphasizes the necessity of training children at specific ages in certain practical activities — that is, the necessity of training them in the correct handling of material processes. Far from leading students into a foggy mysticism, the principles and methods of the education based on anthroposophical research will not estrange them from life. On the contrary, it will induce spirit and soul substance to penetrate their physical bodies, thus making them useful for this earthly life, and at the same time, provide them with the proper conditions to develop inner certainty.
True teachers can find inspiration in Gospels for many areas: in Luke for healing, in John for idealism, in Mark for courage, and in Matthew for maturation. Yes, many of you Good Readers would find it strange to consider that once the Gospel of Luke "was felt to radiate a healing element in a medical sense." Perhaps not, if you are a Waldorf teacher and have learned to understand healing in a pedagogical sense.
[page 176] Certain experiences of old, no longer known to the modern mind, will then begin to stir in one's soul, experiences deeply rooted in human evolution, in the Christian development of humankind. For example, teachers who in the depths of their souls are seeking the proper stimulation for finding appropriate forms of pedagogy (especially in these pathological-physiological areas) would do well to allow themselves to be inspired, time and again, by what radiates from the Gospel of Saint Luke. (To modern ears such a statement must sound bizarre.) On the other hand, teachers who want to instill the necessary idealism for life in their students, would do well to find a source of inspiration by reading again and again the Gospel of Saint John. If teachers do not want their pupils to grow up into cowards, but into the kind of people who will tackle life's tasks with exuberant energy, they should look for inspiration in the Gospel of Saint Mark. And those who are enthusiastic to educate the young to grow into perceptive adults, rather than into people who go through life with unseeing eyes, may find the necessary stimulation in the Gospel of Saint Matthew. These are the qualities that, in ancient times, were felt to live in the different Gospels.
Education is a lifetime job, a Do-It-Yourself project that can fill a lifetime, rightly understood. Those adults who have grown in years, but stagnated in knowledge, remain childish, and even children will object when they are urged to respect those adults who act like overgrown children.
[page 179, 180] The expression "overgrown kids" is really chosen with great ingenuity, for it implies that such persons lost the ability to get hold of their entire organism during the course of their lives. They can work only with the head, which is precisely what children or young people are meant to do. So the young respond by saying, "Why should we learn from them? They are no further along than we are; they are just as childish as we are." The point is not that old age lacks youthfulness, but that it has remained behind, is too infantile, and this causes difficulties today.
In his famous book, How To Read A Book, Mortimer Adler focuses on four levels of reading, the highest level being syntopical reading where you read multiple books on a similar topic so that each book reflects on and enriches the other books and provides the multiple interconnections to enrich you as well. Mathematical studies provide obvious progressions of growth in understanding, but in good reading there is no such progression, only a wider casting of one's net for knowledge.
[page 182] Mathematics is built on purely causal sequences, so it is possible to understand earlier stages without any knowledge of subsequent stages. But when it comes to teaching in a living way, its subject is affected by mutual interconnections, so that what was given at an earlier date may receive further elucidation by what was presented later.
I mention this because it is all part of the living spirit that has to permeate the Waldorf way of teaching.
Waldorf education provides a "flowing fountain of life" for its student and teachers, from which they can each drink. My long-time dictum for teaching is: "Thus a Teacher, So Also a Learner."(6) What a teacher learns from a student is equally vital as what a student learns from a teacher. They both participate in the flowing fountain of learning and life. This is what constitutes a real Waldorf teacher, as Steiner tells us:
[page 182] As a Waldorf teacher, one has to be conscious of the necessity for continually widening and deepening one's knowledge, rather than feeling satisfied with one's achievements and, indeed, considering oneself very clever. If one has lived into the Waldorf way of teaching, such delusions are soon overcome! For a real Waldorf teacher, everything that flows from this activity must be permeated with true heart and soul forces.
Waldorf schools are not city schools, but can be found outside urban areas as well, wherever parents want the best education possible for their children. Since its start in Stuttgart, Germany in 1919, the Waldorf school system has spread across the world, over 600 schools in many countries and more being formed every day. Some may be called Steiner Schools or Steiner Colleges, but the Waldorf approach to real one-on-one education of children and teachers remains the same. Wherever in the world someone wants a pedagogy "based entirely on observation and insight into the growing human being" a Waldorf school could be started there. Rightly understood, "the Waldorf pedagogy could be implemented in every school." (Page 189)
Footnote 1.Return to text directly before Footnote 1.
Parrots, mynah birds and other animals can imitate human speech, but find me one parrot that can say, "Polly wants a cracker" who never encountered a human being.
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Footnote 3.Return to text directly before Footnote 3.
This overstimulation of the nerve-sense system may be a remnant in the child of the human being's condition before the First Sacrifice of Christ in early human times moderated the human nervous system. For details, see Christ and the Spiritual World.
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Footnote 5.Return to text directly before Footnote 5.
You can read about this soul learning process here: http://www.doyletics.com/arj/tandlrvw.shtml#live_lecture.
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4.) ART: How To Read A Book by Mortimer Adler and Charles van DorenI read this book about 1977, and immediately wished someone had forced me to read it while I was yet in high school. Adler's four types of reading are invaluable guidelines to the types of reading I evolved into over the twenty years or so before I had read the book, but to have a guidebook to reading before then would have greatly aided my reading and reduced my confusion as how to proceed with the books I tackled incorrectly.
The four levels of reading are:
1. Elementary reading: basically the level of reading one is taught to do in elementary and high schools.
2. Inspectional reading: systematic skimming and superficial reading.
3. Analytical reading: classifying, coming to terms, determining the message, criticizing the book, and author. [typical undergraduate college reading]
4. Syntopical reading: reading multiple books on one subject as defined by you - "one book opens another" C.G. Jung[typical post-graduate college reading]
Syntopical reading is the touchstone of scholarship and is the most important type of reading for a serious reader. Adler says, "Knowing that more than one book is relevant to a particular question is the first requirement in any project of syntopical reading. Knowing which books should be read, in a general way, is the second requirement." Learning to satisfy the second requirement is a key to one's personal development as a reader and scholar. Often knowing what the subject is that one is reading is no simple matter. This became very obvious to me when I attempted to categorize some 287 books into a small number of chapter headings for my book of reviews and essays entitled A Reader's Journal - Journeys into Understanding. The chapter headings had to be created from the syntopical subjects on which I had been reading books before I was even aware of the existence of the subjects. The chapter headings are the same that I've chosen for this book:
1. Evolution of Consciousness
2. Quantum Physics
3. Spiritual Science
5. Reading for Enjoyment
Once one has developed the subjects of one's individual syntopical reading, then Adler's five steps may be applied:
1. Finding Relevant Passages: "In syntopical reading, it is you and your concerns that are primarily to be served, not the books that you read. Your aim is to find the passages in the books that are most germane to your needs." [page 316]
2. Bringing the Authors to Terms: "It is you who must establish the terms, and bring your authors to them rather than the other way around." Here one must develop one's own terms and bring the syntopical authors to one's terms.
3. Getting the Questions Clear: These are the questions one brings to the book to be answered. Finding the answers in the author's text to one's own question.
4. Defining the Issues: This is especially important when one author defines the issue one way and another author another way.
5. Analyzing the Discussion: One thoroughly examines and critiques the output of the first four steps to determine the dimension of the problem. "It can clear away the deadwood and prepare the way for an original thinker to make a breakthrough." [page 323]
Unfortunately I misplaced our original paperback with all its marginalia and underlinings and have replaced it by a pristine hardback copy, so, without a new reading I am unable to share the details of the book that so attracted me and infused my reading with a new vigor. I have a feeling that this book has single-handedly extirpated me from the wandering path of dilettantism and planted me on the royal road of independent scholarship. I am eternally grateful to the authors Adler and Van Doren for that.
The Center for Great Ideas has just released a DVD containing three hours of animated discussion by the authors of this book, Mortimer Adler and Charles Van Doren, about the art of reading.
To watch a portion of this conversation and acquire your own copy of this DVD, follow this link: http://www.thegreatideas.org/HowToReadABook.htm
Read/Print the Review at:
5.) ARJ2: The Mystery of the Two Jesus Children & Descent of the Spirit of the Sun by Bernard Nesfield-Cookson
For hundreds of years, established scientists held that the process of combustion occurred by the material phlogiston leaving the wood, e.g., when it is burned. All the evidence that began to pile up to the contrary was not enough for their hardened convictions, so the phlogiston theory thrived in spite of its many inconsistencies. Now we know the truth and we can smile at those respected scientists who were claiming that phlogiston was a substance with all the properties of what we would have to call, "negative oxygen," today! Oxygen combines with materials being burnt and if you weight all the combustion products, they will weigh more than the material did unburnt. Yes, it sounds silly to us who know the truth about oxygen which is added during combustion and we laugh at the idea that phlogiston is subtracted during combustion.
Similarly, when the truth about the two Jesus children is revealed, we find that all the inconsistencies of the multiple accounts of Jesus's birth disappear. One cannot explain how one Jesus child could have two different birth accounts. It's as difficult to explain the presence of two different genealogies as to explain combustion by conjuring up phlogiston — it's very difficult and yet, as history proves, it's not impossible. Once an explanation is accepted, no matter how full of holes, a mindset arises to defend it against all comers.
One need only read Thomas S. Kuhn's classical exposition of the subject in his The Structure of Scientific Revolutions to understand how pervasive such a mindset, which Kuhn labels a paradigm, can be. It was Kuhn who promoted the word paradigm from an obscure, seldom-used word meaning "model" to its ubiquitous usage to describe various mental encrustation of concepts we find in the world today. Using his word, we would say that the current paradigm for understanding the birth of Jesus in the various Bible accounts, mainly the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, suffers from bad translations. Talk to almost any theologian about this matter, and you will confront a spectacle about equivalent of that suffered by oxygen-thinking chemists when they tried to explain the errors made by phlogiston-thinking chemists to them. Likely you will be inundated with explanations and derision for your effort.
It is with this caveat, I undertake to write this review about a book in which Bernard Nesfield-Cookson attempts to reveal the truth about the two Jesus children, an attempt which, if rightly understood, will overturn the clumsy and inaccurate paradigm which insists on only one Jesus child.
This is the second book devoted to this subject that I have studied carefully. The first book was The Incredible Births of Jesus by Edward Reaugh Smith. Here are two scholars who have independently come to the same conclusion after studying the matter and argue for overturning the current paradigm of one Jesus child because it simply does not fit the facts.
Does it not make sense that the greatest event in the history of the Earth, the birth of the man who would incarnate the great Sun Spirit, the Christ, into himself would be a special man? The process of incarnation by an ordinary human spirit into one's present lifetime, a process you went through, dear Reader, and I went through, involves several hundred years of selecting and monitoring one's ancestors, and following them down to the generation into which you have chosen to incarnate at exactly the right time to perform the deeds you have set for yourself. These deeds include the balancing of karma with those with whom you lived through previous incarnations, as well as new deeds chosen for the current world conditions. To provide the Hebrew man to become the receptacle required even more generations than usual, going back to King David himself (and further, in the Luke Gospel, to Adam). Two Hebrew men were prepared for the Christ, even though only one would receive the Christ: one man descended from the kingly line of David, King Solomon, and the other from the priestly line of David, Nathaniel. That both were named Jesus and had Joseph as his father and Mary as his mother is not remarkable given the popularity of the names at the time.
The Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew has a genealogy that is traced back to Solomon and the Jesus in Luke back to Nathaniel. Clearly if the birth stories of these Gospels were of the same Jesus, the genealogies would have to be identical. The Solomon Jesus was born with the Ego of the great leader Zarathustra, who in pre-historical times of 6,000 B.C. taught the ancient Persians of Ahura Mazdao, the Sun Spirit, who resides in the Sun, who is invisible, has the rays of the Sun as His vestures. The Mystery School he founded trained its students to await the coming of the great Spirit which would be signaled by a Star in the East — these initiates when graduated were called Magi or Kings. It is their story which is narrated in the Gospel of Matthew. They visit the large house of Joseph and Mary, no mention is made of a humble stable or manger. After their son Jesus's birth, Herod orders all male babies killed, and so his parents flee with him to Egypt. Note that no mention of Egypt is made in the Luke Gospel, only in Matthew, in the story of the Solomon Jesus's birth and aftermath.
The Jesus in the Gospel of Luke has a genealogy traced back to Nathaniel, and this Jesus was born in a humble stable or manger, while equally humble shepherds were guarding their flocks on the surroun ding hillsides. Luke makes no report of them seeing the Great Star, nor of seeing the Magi — rather they experience some ineffable phenomenon which they liken to a host of Angels singing and praising God, like a cordon of priests celebrating a High Mass singing Gregorian chants perhaps. This befits the Jesus descended from the priestly line of Nathaniel, a priest and son of David. These are the facts as presented in the two Gospels of Matthew and Luke.
There is another salient fact which appears only in the Gospel of Luke, and it is the only event between birth and 29 years old which is narrated in the two Gospels of Luke and Matthew. Something important must be occurring spiritually to warrant relating this story, something whose importance has been lost over the two millennia since the event. That is the story of the Nathaniel Jesus staying behind in Jerusalem for several days and teaching the elders in the Temple. How could the Jesus of such humble beginnings, born in a manger, have come into this vast knowledge of the world that he could keep the wise men of the Temple in rapt attention, answering their many questions? Not one word of how this was possible is mentioned by Luke, except to relate that Jesus answered his mother saying, "Did you not know that I must be about my father's business?" Clearly it was not the business of carpentry that he was referring to, and therefore definitely not of Joseph's business. He could have only been referring to his Heavenly Father's business, the business which brought him to Earth, the business of being ready for the advent of the great Sun Spirit, the Christ, to enter him at his baptism in the Jordan, the event after which He would be named, Christ Jesus.
How did the Matthew Jesus end up in Bethlehem? His father and mother evacuated to Egypt to escape the wrath of Herod upon their son, but when they returned, they apparently thought it best not to return to Bethlehem.
[page 4] On their return from Egypt, however, instead of returning to Bethlehem the Solomon family took up residence in the rural community of Nazareth. Life there called for a number of adjustments on their part. In Bethlehem this family had enjoyed certain privileges due to education, wealth and social standing; in Nazareth, a close knit community, the Solomon family had to adjust to an ascetically simple lifestyle and relinquish the trappings of social privilege, if they were to live and work in harmony with the Nazarenes. We may then, perhaps, conjecture that the Solomon Joseph joined the Nathan Joseph in his carpenter's workshop, also that the educated and gifted Solomon Jesus boy would occasionally, or perhaps often, join the younger Nathan Jesus boy in the fields tending the sheep.
How do we know that the Nathan Jesus was younger? Because Herod was prominently mentioned in the Matthew Gospel and only his son Herod Antipas is mentioned in the Luke Gospel.
[page 8] . . . the Luke holy family were clearly in no hurry to flee from Israel, for according to the religious law of the people of Israel, it was ordained that, after giving birth to a man-child, a mother must go through a period of purification for 40 days: 'She shall touch no hallowing thing, nor come into the sanctuary, until the days of her purifying be fulfilled' (Leviticus 12:4) and, in the case of this holy family, there was no reason not to obey this law. Herod the Great's decree no longer threatened the life of the Jesus of the Nathan line for he had died before the child was born.
We see clearly that there must be two different Jesus families: one which was forced to flee to Egypt because of Herod, and one which had to no need to flee because Herod was dead and they had every reason to stay put.
There is a salient difference between the Matthew and Luke Mary which is captured and thus revealed in many classical paintings of the Madonna, and that difference Nesfield-Cookson delineates for us: the Matthew Mary is shown with an older Jesus standing or sitting on her lap whereas the Luke Mary is shown with a younger Jesus as a baby lying on his back. Consider the differences in how each Mary is portrayed in the two Gospels.
[page 8, 9] We do not know who were the parents of the Mary of Luke's Gospel. Regardless of whether Mary grew up in Nazareth itself or in the verdant Galilean surroundings, we can picture her as a young girl growing up in an area which Emil Bock describes as being 'an earthly replica of the Garden of Paradise. . . . From Luke's Gospel we can sense that Mary was a pure and innocent young soul, imbued not with intellectual knowledge nurtured from early childhood by temple priests, but with a wisdom springing from a selfless, love-filled heart. In two places, following the Adoration of the Shepherds and after the twelve-year-old Jesus had been found in the temple, Luke's Gospel says: 'But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart' (2:19, 51).
The Luke Mary led a hidden life in the small hamlet of Nazareth while the Matthew Mary led an open life in the cosmopolitan city of the time, Jerusalem. She was taken to the temple there by her parents when she was only three years old where she, a precocious young girl, was taught and grew in wisdom for about ten years. (Pages 9, 10) One can easily interpret " precocious" as an indication of an old soul.
[page 10] Early on, the Mary of the Gospel of Matthew manifested as an 'old soul [. . .] she represents the polar opposite to the young Mary of the Gospel of Luke'.
The author also reveals that the "ass" as a beast of burden represented the physical body of the human being whose task is to carry our higher human natures (soul and spirit) during our Earth existence. The image of Christ Jesus entering the holy city of Jerusalem riding on an ass represents the human body of Jesus carrying the Christ Spirit within it like the body of the ass is carrying a human being upon its back. These two levels of understanding had been intermixed in prophecies for hundreds of years before the event occurred in the time of Christ Jesus.
[page 11] Rudolf Frieling reminds us, moreover, that the ass was always the symbol of the human physical nature, whose task it is to carry the human being's higher natures on earth. St Francis of Assisi called his body 'Brother ass'. The prophet Zechariah foretells that the Messiah will come riding on an ass (Zechariah 9:9), meaning that he would descend into the realm of corporeality. According to the Gospel of Matthew, Christ entered the holy city of Jerusalem riding on an ass (Matthew 21:5).
In the Matthew Gospel, an angel appears to Joseph, the father of Jesus, whereas in the Luke Gospel, an angel appears to Mary. In Matthew the angel appears to tell Joseph to take his family to Egypt to escape Herod's persecution.
In Luke the angel appears to tell Mary that her cousin is pregnant with a son. Mary, already pregnant herself, visits Elizabeth who greets her, telling Mary that she is twice blessed, one by the pre-Fall "male etheric body withheld from Eve" which had entered into Mary and two by pre-Fall virginal female etheric body withheld from Adam which was inside the Jesus baby in her womb.(1) It was this pre-Fall etheric body which made Mary a virgin, and gave to her the name Blessed Virgin for all time. Elizabeth's deed gave us the lines from ubiquitous Catholic prayer, the Hail Mary, "Blessed are Thou among women, and Blessed is the fruit of Thy Womb, Jesus." Elizabeth was acknowledging what she could see directly with her ancient clairvoyance in her old age, the two pre-Fall etheric bodies which formed her cousin Mary's body.
[page 12] We then learn that the baby leapt for joy in Elisabeth's womb at the sound of Mary's greeting. What we see here is John the Baptist's instantaneous recognition of the significance of the child in Mary's womb.
This momentous event — not mentioned by Matthew — foreshadows what was to take place 30 years later in the River Jordan, when John baptizes and recognizes Christ. He it is of whom John the Baptist has already declared: 'I indeed have baptized you with water, but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost' (Luke 3:16). In Matthew's Gospel we hear that when Jesus comes to John to be baptized, the Baptist exclaims that he rather needs to be baptized by Jesus Christ (3:13-14).
To understand rightly the event known as the Mystery of Golgotha, how Christ came to the Earth, entered the body of Jesus of Nazareth, and died on the cross, one must understand that the Great Spirit — the one we have come to call Christ and have appended that name to Jesus, either as Christ Jesus or Jesus Christ — had been known for hundreds and thousands of years before Jesus was born, and that Christ Spirit had been approaching the Earth and had been worshiped from the beginning of human times. None other St. Augustine, the great church father himself, spoke of this as fact.
[page 40] It has been mentioned already that in the early years of the twentieth century Rudolf Steiner spoke on many occasions of Christ as the Spirit of the Sun, and that over a long period of time this Spirit gradually descended out of the cosmic heights to incarnate in a physical body. For instance, he indicated this in a lecture in 1911. He quoted the following few words of St Augustine: 'That which we now call the Christian religion already existed among the ancients and was never absent from the beginning of the human race up to the time when Christ appeared in the flesh; from that time forward the true religion, which was already there, received the name of the Christian religion.'
Essential to the Christ Spirit's appearing on Earth in the flesh were the Nathan and Solomon Jesus children. One was filled with grace and the other with the wisdom of the Magi.
[page 47] Luke, in his Gospel, speaks of this child as being 'filled with wisdom and the grace of God was upon him. One could, perhaps, say that it was the kind of wisdom with which a person is endowed, who lives and works in harmonious communion with nature, a person who does not intellectually probe and analyze, but 'knows' with the forces of his heart. Thus in the Nathan Jesus we see a child with infinite depths of feeling, wisdom of the heart.
In contrast to the Nathan child we could say that the Solomon Jesus child possessed the wisdom of the Magi, of the Three Wise Men from the East. 'He was an individuality of exceptional maturity, having profound understanding of the world, wisdom of the head.
In a miraculous event in the Temple in Jerusalem, there would emerge one child, the Nathan Jesus who would later receive the Christ Spirit during his Baptism by John in the Jordan.
[page 51] Steiner describes how, in the temple in Jerusalem, the Nathan Jesus child, all soul and heart, received into himself the spirit and thinking power of the Solomon Jesus child. As a consequence of this Mystery event, the Solomon child was depleted of his life-forces and died shortly after it had taken place. The Nathan Jesus, on the other hand, was now so wise that the learned men in the temple 'were amazed at his intelligence and the answers he gave' to their questions (Luke 2:47).94 The keenest capacities of wisdom of the head, of the brain, such as only a descendant of the house of Solomon could develop, were united with the purest love forces of the heart of the Nathan Child. The kingly and the priestly powers were united in the Nathan Jesus child and formed the chalice into which, 18 years later, at the Baptism by John in the River Jordan, the Christ Being descended or, as Luke describes this moment, 'the heaven was opened, and the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased' (Luke 3:22).
This three-day event in the Temple can be seen as an early initiation event for the Nathan Jesus during which his future mission is revealed to him.
[page 51, 52] The twelve-year-old Nathan Jesus became aware of his future mission on earth during the three days in the temple. We remember that in answer to his mother's troubled questioning when he was found in the temple he answered her, according to Luke, with two questions: 'How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?' His true Father, the twelve-year-old is saying, is not Joseph but God. He was already aware of the reality of the divine message which would issue from the heavenly heights at this baptism.
The perfected human who was to become the earthen vessel of the Christ Spirit would have to combine the wisdom and reverence of the Magi with the humility and piety of the shepherds. The Two Jesus children would have to become One in the Temple, "and qualities that had been entirely inward [would become] outward." (Page 53)The process by which the two become one was first described by Rudolf Steiner in 1909 and is illustrated in the cover art of this book. It is from a painting by Bergognone which "shows Mary leading a second Jesus boy away, even while the twelve-year-old Nathan Jesus boy is still speaking from the podium." (Page 65) Why should we believe these are two Jesus boys? The author gives us a threefold reason.
[page 65] First, Bergognone is not representing continuity within a story by depicting two or more actions of one and the same person, for the convention of continuous representation requires that actions that are separated chronologically must also be given their individual, separated spaces. Bergognone has not complied with this requirement. Indeed, as Ovason(2) points out, 'the device of continuous representation was outmoded by Bergognone's time'. Second, although the two boys resemble each other in appearance, they are not the same. The boy on the left of the picture, upon whom Mary is gazing down with loving concern, appears depleted of energy. We notice that both are clothed in red shifts. However, the shift of the boy leaving the temple is paler in colour than that of the twelve-year-old seated in the center. Both are making similar gestures, though those of the departing Jesus boy are much weaker; his left arm is not held up and outwards but, palm downwards, hanging limply towards the ground. This weakened gesture is reflected in his face. In comparison with the Jesus boy in the chair of the teacher, the departing boy appears wan and ailing. We notice, too, that the halo of this boy, the Solomon Jesus, is far less brilliant than that of the teaching Nathan Jesus. And, thirdly, the two Jesus boys are clearly aware of each other. In particular, we can recognize the bond between the two boys by the way in which the Nathan Jesus looks down upon the departing Solomon Jesus with what Ovason calls 'a strange mixture of love and wistfulness'(3)
Rudolf Steiner gave his indications of the reality of the two Jesus children before any of the substantiating evidence found in the Dead Sea Scrolls and other apocryphal scriptures. He saw the events with his own native clairvoyance and his descriptions simply add details and veracity to the artworks of the Renaissance and other scriptures unearthed since Steiner's time.
[page 65, 66] He [Ovason] goes on to say: 'The Solomon child seems to have sacrificed something of his spirit, something of his being to the Nathan child, and consequently is suffering.' According to Steiner the Solomon Jesus died very shortly after this event in the temple. It is clear that it is not solely the Nathan boy who is aware of his departing friend, for nearly all, if not all those learned men who a moment before had been discoursing with the twelve-year-old on the podium, now have their attention directed towards the boy who is about to leave the temple with Mary and Joseph.
None of these descriptions, paintings, or scriptures can convince you that there were two Jesus children — it is a conclusion you only arrive at by carefully considering all the evidence as indicating a deeper reality than is commonly accepted by established historians, so-called experts of Christian artworks, and Church dogma as revealed to the public.
[page 68] We have seen that the idea of two Jesus children, spoken about by Rudolf Steiner as early as 1909, is supported in some of the Christian apocryphal gospels, in Gnostic texts and, above all, in some of the Dead Sea Scrolls first discovered at Qumran. We have also seen that there was present a line of Essene secret teaching which continued within Christian circles and that a tradition of the existence of two Jesus children prevailed in Christian art up to the Renaissance. There is therefore some justification in seriously suggesting an affirmative answer to the question 'Were there two Jesus children?' — the one spoken of in Matthew's Gospel the other in that of Luke.
"Were there two Jesus children?" can only have a personal answer to anyone studying the matter objectively and with spiritual insight. Simply saying, "Oh, that's foolish!" is not an answer to the question of whether there were two Jesus children as much as it is an expression of one's ignorance and willingness to remain ignorant on the matter. If you insist on rejecting the idea of two Jesus children, you will be in good company with the majority of the people in the world and that thought may be comforting, but you will be left with the unanswered questions posed by the dramatic discrepancies in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. If you cavalierly ignore these differences you will have throw out one of the two Jesus babies with your bath water of indifference.
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Footnote 3. See Rudolf Steiner's Lectures in Christ and the Spiritual World, GA#149 here: http://www.doyletics.com/arj/christsw.shtml He relates how the Nathan Jesus-child's spirit was instrumental in all four sacrifices of Christ, three of them preceding the events described in the Bible.Return to text directly before Footnote 3.
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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 Views Hysterical Marker 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 Laughs Hysterically:
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 Sandra in England:
Hello lovely lady Adele and Bobby, the man in the hat!
Just a note to wish you all the best for the Festive Season. The Harrogate Festival seems so very far away now - like a dream. Already booked for three weeks next year so hope to see you there again in 2018. Such a wonderful atmosphere.
I'm still playing tennis - mainly indoors now - albeit a little slower than I used to!!! Keeps me going.
Wishing you a very Happy and peaceful Christmas and hope 2018 treats you kindly and that we meet up again then.
~~~~~~~~~~~~Reply from Bobby ~~~~~~~~~~`
Thanks for writing! Best wishes for you for the New Year! Your email prompted us to consider amending our 40th Anniversary cruise to Norway which ends in Oslo. We'll look into spending the week before the Harrogate festival in the UK somewhere and making the first week of the G&S Festival before flying home to New Orleans. We're thinking of possibly flying from Oslo to Edinburgh, then training down to Harrogate. Will let you as we get closer to the date.
- EMAIL about Patti-Lynn Chevalier in Canada:
Patricia L. Chevalier has bought you a Jacquie Lawson Alpine Advent Calendar! Enjoy 25 days of seasonal fun in a pretty village in the Swiss Alps. Every day there's a new game or puzzle, or one of our trademark animated stories of people and pets - and much more besides.
~~~~~~~~~~~~Reply from Bobby ~~~~~~~~~~
Thanks Patti-Lynn, I imagine you're responsible for sending this, but Barrett is likely involved as well. Del and I have been enjoying it each day, especially the Es ist ein Ros Entsprungen German Carol,
Bobby and Del
3. Poem from Freedom on the Half Shell: "A Telling Metaphor"
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:
A Telling Metaphor
They told Isaac Newton
an apple would fall on his head.
They told Ben Franklin to go fly a kite.
They told J. D. Rockefeller
to go mind his own business.
They told Paul Revere the British were coming.
They told Napoleon he'd meet his Waterloo.
They told Jesus the Sanhedrin would cross him.
They told Archimedes that gold wouldn't float.
They told Euclid his geometry was plain.
They told Patrick Henry to keep his mouth shut.
They told Orville and Wilbur man couldn't fly.
They told Nikola Tesla that
Direct Current was the wave of the future.
They told Eiffel
he always had his head in the clouds.
They told Americans
the income tax rate would never exceed 3%.
They told Gertrude Stein a rose is a thorny bush.
They told Einstein to think about his relatives.
They told Freud he had an Oedipus Complex.
They told Jung he had deep psychological problems.
They told Russians the czars were revolting.
They told Americans
that pyramid schemes were illegal, then
They designed Social Security as one.
They tell us to go vote
and they'll solve all our problems.
What should we tell them to do?
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9. CLOSING NOTES:
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Thanks to all of you Good Readers for providing the Sunshine which has made this site a Blooming Success. — Especially those of you who have graciously allowed us to reprint your emails and show photos of you and by you on this website — you're looking good! By January 1, 2019, in its 20th year of publication, the DIGESTWORLD and the doyletics website has received over 20.8 MILLION VISITORS ! ! !
We have received about ONE MILLION VISITORS per Year to the Doyletics Website since its inception June 1, 2000, nearly twenty years ago. Over 2.1 million in the past 12 months. We are currently averaging about 160,000 visitors a month. A Visitor is defined as a Reader who is new or returns after 20 minutes or more has passed. The average is about one visitor for every 10 Hits.
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Our DIGESTWORLD came into existence years before Facebook and all the other social media which interrupt people's schedules many times a day. All our photos, reviews, cartoons, stories, etc, come to you via a link inside of one short email Reminder at the beginning of each month. We hope you appreciate how we let YOU choose when to enjoy our DIGESTWORLD Issues. To Get a Monthly Reminder, Click Here .
We especially want to thank you, our Good Readers, in advance, for helping our readership to grow. NOTE our name is now: DIGESTWORLD. Continue to send comments to Bobby and please do create links to DIGESTWORLD issues and Reviews on LinkedIn, on your Facebook page, and on other Social Media. When you copy any portion of a webpage or review, please include this text: "Copyright 2018 by Bobby Matherne".
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To make a connection to the Doyletics website from your own website, here's what to do. You may wish to use the first set of code below to link to the site which includes a graphic photo, or to use the second set of code for a text-only link. Immediately below is how the graphic link will look on your website. Just place this .html in an appropriate place on your website.
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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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10. GRATITUDE - in Three Easy Steps:
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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
Does your Face sometimes resemble the Faces Below? If so, Click on the Faces or Flags to Dig into our First Aid Kit.
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Books are Lighthouses Erected in the Sea of Time
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