Letters to the editor
I think the change (SCR 12) is a great improvement.. Congratulations....High time you dropped the masquerade and hoisted the Anthroposophical Jolly Roger !!! as well as stopped selling books filched from Gutenberg or wherever. I must say though that the Steiner Cardinal question lecture did not say much to me, and would have gained from updating the whole point of it into an article written by you or some other anthropop, but then that is only IMHO...on second thought, I won’t be falsely modest, you can strike out the H ... The socio-economic problems of the 21st century, the inevitability of globalization, still undefined and thus a difficult starting point, are very complex issues and would gain from intelligent and realistic debate. More so, they NEED intelligent and realistic debate, of which I have seen very little.
Good luck in your new e-road!!
Your enterprise continues to engage and surprise. I am happy to be associated with it. And thank you so much, for all of us who love theword in its diverse forms, for giving us the freedom of your library.
Shalom & good morning, Frank Smith.
I am writing a book, Alfred Russell Wallace's KING KONG...extending from ARW's 1855 speciation concepts (ripped off by Darwin et al.)...to T.H. Huxley's 1868 dinosaurs-birds papers...to Conan Doyle...to Willis O'Brien's 1925-1933 Cinema Adventures...to Michael Crichton, and beyond.
That's a thumb-nail sketch. At any rate, I discuss at some length the rise of gendered/colonialist racialist thought in biological literature during the Victorian era, and, in post-Auschwitz writings there has been a move to rediscover the "fairy tale" as a vehicle for literary speculation. Viz. Michael Crichton's dinosaur tales. In studying the work of A.S. Byatt, I came across a reference by her to Ewald Kleist on puppetts...actually, it was Heinrich von Kleist, and, in searching, I found Idris Parry translation in # 9 of Southern Cross Review, a stunning piece of work.
For bibliographical purposes, I would like to know what year you posted issue # 9.
Many thanks. Your e-journal is, really, quite provocative, and put me on your list of readers.
Many thanks. Stephan Pickering/Chofetz Chaim ben-Avraham
The von Kleist story was in SCR nr. 9, January-February 2001. See Back Issues. Ed.
Re: The Diamond Way – SCR nr. 12
This brought to mind my third grade class. My teacher that year had a deep love of music and drama, and her classes always put on a class play. (This was not usual at my public school.) The year I was in her class we put on The Sound of Music in the spring -- this was a couple of years before the movie came out.
However, in November our class put on a musical evening consisting of "The Brooklyn Baseball Cantata" a piece for chorus and a couple of soloists in which the Dodgers win the pennant against the hated Yankees. (We could get behind this -- as Tigers fans, we also hated the Yanks.) Alas, at the end of the piece, it is revealed to be a dream.... I find I still remember large swaths of it -- I found myself humming a bit as I drove home yesterday!
Looking around the web to see if I could recover the lyrics (alas, I could not), I found numerous mentions of the work, including one site that opined: "The use of the word cantata is interesting when describing the [work], as cantatas are pieces of religious or sacred stories. No one that was a Dodger fan will dispute the 'religious' label for the Bums."
Frank quoted Ms. Shapero:
"The New York Yankees are simply Satanic. Any victory against them is a victory for the forces of Light. There is a whole eschatology of Baseball as well as a ritual element, perhaps someday I'll write that article too."
This reminds me of a lovely column by George Will, recalling his boyhood rooting for the hapless Cubs. The column ended with the question: "Besides, have you ever known a Yankees fan to have real character?"
As you might suspect, I rarely agree with Mr. Will on politics, but the man does know his baseball! <G>
Do continue to encourage Ms. Shapero to write that article, Frank!
Just read Hannah M.G. Shapero’s Baseball Essay and compared it to my own crude attempts. Looks like I struck out -- or to say it differently I probably deserve a "base on balls"!
First Base: the physical body, earth element. You have to get to first base in order to begin the trip to being truly human. If you strike out at bat, you have to wait another round (turn of the wheel of incarnation) to get your turn at bat for your chance at being human.
To Second Base from First Base: you can only advance to 2nd Base, the etheric body, or watery element, if somebody else does something like get a hit, make an error [mis-throw, passed ball or wild pitch], get a walk, or you can push it yourself by stealing second running while the pitch is in progress. The entire 9-member team tries to throw you out for your hubris, and if they succeed, you have to wait your next turn at bat again.
On third base things become very volatile as befits the airy element of the astral body. One miscue on the field and you can rush home for a score! There on third base is the human being hankering for completion most evident. The Ego, the fourth, is awaiting just a short run away. The excitement is intense when someone's on Third.
Home Plate is the culmination of humanity, the warmth promised on Old Saturn and infused in our blood, fills the runner and the stands when the runner, the imminent human, reaches completion by crossing home plate!
Thanks very much, Frank, for publishing Shapero's article. One thing she did not point out was the Masonic symbolism in having the diamond--a square--topped by the 3 outfielders, thus showing the four elements of earth topped by the 3 hierarchies. The Masons love that picture, and their old tombs, one of which we had in the cemetary in Richmond, dating back to the 1820s, a four-sided brick structure topped with a pyramid.
Re:Ineffable by anah childs
What a great rodeo ride. Good eye, good eye.. really well done. What a pleasure to read. That wonderful 'S' in sircle. Did I mention the rest of it is superb.
Re: Anthroposophy – an introduction
i just finished reading your expose on anthoposophy. the article stimulated latent knowledge within me.
i am definitely going to look into steiner. i liked his views of christ. about half a year back i started a tome called THE JESUS JOURNALS. They are unique and of course, not. i actually found a book while staying at the houston youth hostel—PAST ERAS AWAKEN that was written in such a familiar voice--it felt eerily like my own writing. amazing--there was no author but attributed to a genre of writers that exhibit the same voice telling THE TRUTH. interesting--
since, the well has refused to produce any more of the writings--when i pick them up i am immensely touched--i know i did not write them--as anah childes--but as a nebulous voice that for a short graceful period--heard, felt the CHRIST SPIRIT in me--telling me, extolling me.
strange, yes, i am from mars....thanks for enlightening me.
Ed. note: Luckily, the well flows again: another anah childes story is in this issue (13) of SCR.
Spent some time checking out SCR. I read Hannah's Zajonc review and wrote her suggesting that she read my review of the same book at:http://home.earthlink.net/~jeauxy/ctlrev.htm
I noted that you have Steiner dying before he was born -- a slight typo you might wish to correct: "Steiner was born in 1961 in what was then a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, then became Yugoslavia and is now Croatia." (corrected – Ed.)
I read your review of Zajonc's "Catching the Light", in the last issue of Southern Cross Review. I have the following comments on your 1. You say "Goethe's theories are not always 'correct' by modern standards,..."
You are certainly referring here to his Theory of Colors. I've beenstudying it for many years, and could not find anything "wrong" with it, and anything that contradicts present scientific known “facts”. You have to distinguish "scientific facts" from "scientific judgments" made by scientists. For instance, it is a scientific fact that if you extrapolate the curve of the decaying radiation of uranium, you get some figure like 5 billion years. But it is a judgment to say that this corresponds to the age of the Earth. As far as Goethe's Theory of Colors is concerned, I would like to hear from you what you consider "incorrect" in it by modern standards.
The problem with your statement is that it conveys the idea that Goethe's Theory of Colors is not correct or consistent. What it does is not conform to present standards of making science and writing about it. This has nothing to do with "correctness."
2. You say "... he (Zajonc) is a follower of the philosophy of Rudolf Steiner, the German mystical writer..."
There are 3 errors here. Rudolf Steiner's work cannot be considered a philosophy. It is a way of regarding the world (Weltanschauung) and a path for inner development. For instance, you cannot classify as "philosophy" his many original different realizations in practical aspects of life, like Waldorf Education, Curative Education, Biodynamic Farming, Organic Architecture, Anthroposophical Medicine and Pharmacy, and even two new forms of art, Eurythmy and Speech Formation. Do you know of any philosopher who invented a new form of artistic expression?
Secondly, and the most serious objection I have about your text, is to call Steiner a "mystic". Unless you define what you understand by being a "mystic", one has to take this word in its common understanding. I am just reading the entries for "mystic" and "mystical" in the American Heritage Dictionary, 1970 edition, p. 868. Unfortunately, it would take too long to transcribe them here. But I can assure you that anyone who has studied Steiner for some years (it takes time to have enough understanding of his works to get a general picture of them) or just mentions what he wrote about his own method, would not identify him with those common understandings of those words. He repeatedly said that mystics direct themselves to human feelings and usually through unclear words, but his words are directed to human understanding and are expressed through clear concepts. He also gives clear indications on how to attain the observations that he made. That's why he called Anthroposophy a "science of the spirit". Calling Anthroposophy a mysticism, or "Gnostic mysticism" (same paragraph), is revealing amisunderstanding of what it is and what its author wanted it to be.
Thirdly, Rudolf Steiner cannot be called a "writer". He did much more than writing - his written books number about 25, but the general catalogue (GA, Gesammtausgabe) of his works cover more than 350 volumes. These include more than 6000 lectures given to all sorts of audiences. So, along this line, it would have been more proper to call him a "lecturer". But both "writer" and "lecturer" do not provide for a fair classification of Steiner's role in the world. For instance, how many writers were able to produce detailed architectural designs as he did, or to make with his hands a grandiose sculpture ("The Representative of Mankind") as he did?
3. Your next sentence is: "Rudolf Steiner was originally a follower of Madame Blavatsky's 'Theosophy'". This is absolutely wrong. He was never a Blavatsky "follower". He joined the Theosophical movement in the beginning of the 20th century because it was the only group of people who were interested in hearing about the results of his own spiritual research. His lectures and writings were not based on Blavatsky's teachings; they had some points in common, because both were observing objective spiritual facts. If I see a lake and describe it, and then you see the same lake and make your own description, you cannot say that you have been my "follower". In fact, his joining the Theosophical Society meant a lot of sacrifice for him. This sacrifice meant cutting his connections with the "intelligentsia" of his time (Steiner was considered a prodigy and potential intellectual innovator). For instance, he had a large correspondence with the famous scientist Haeckel. As soon as Haeckel heard that Steiner had joined the Theosophical Society, he made a bundle of all the letters Steiner had written to him, labeled them "turned Theosophist", and never wrote to Steiner again.
4. You say "One of the ideas that Steiner stresses throughout his work is that there is a 'supersensible' world (which is also known as the imaginal world)." Unless you carefully explain what you understand by "imaginal world", you give a wrong impression that the "supersensible" world is “imagined”. In Anthroposophy, "Imaginative Consciousness" is a technical expression introduced by Steiner, and has nothing to do with what is commonly understood by "imagining" (furthermore, it corresponds to the "lowest" capacity for observing the supersensible world). This is maybe what you imply with "He does not mean an actual 'third eye' of sensor array here; it is a metaphor for learning a way of seeing through the imagination as well as physical eyes." I don't know what you could mean by "sensor array"; but as a computer scientist, this has a technical connotation to me that has absolutely nothing to do with the supersensible organs of perception described by Steiner. Moreover, Steiner separated very well the observation of non-physical phenomena from physical ones; including "physical eyes" in this observation just does not conform to what he said and meant. "Third eye" is precisely a good expression to characterize one of those “non-physical” organs of supersensible perception; moreover, it has connections with non-sensory perceptions of ancient people - which is well characterized by the myth of the Cyclops.
5. You say "Zajonc also uses the word 'supersensible' and talks throughout the book about this process of learning to see differently." It seems to me that you have misunderstood what Zajonc meant by that process in his extraordinary book. I think he was referring to the fact expressed by Steiner, following Goethe, that we are able to perceive the supersensible world of ideas with our thinking. I suggest you read Steiner's "Philosophy of Spiritual Activity" (there are also translations with the transliterated title "Philosophy of Freedom") to understand how this is possible. In particular, Zajonc magnificently shows that even our way of seeing depends on our thinking - see his wonderful chapter on the development of linear perspective.
6. You say "[Zajonc] had an underlying agenda, namely the re-connection of the scientific mind with the mythical-imaginal mind." Again, the expression "mythical-imaginal" is not a good one. Myths express supersensible realities through mental images, which were adequate to a time where we didn't have the capacity of formulating and understanding concepts as we do nowadays. Thus, Anthroposophy is not directed to joining both kinds of minds as you wrote. It is directed to “expanding” the current materialistic scientific method to conscious investigations of the supersensible, expressing the results in a purely conceptual fashion, addressing the same kind of understanding of classical science.
7. Finally, you criticize Zajonc for not having explicitly declared that he had Anthroposophy as his underlying Weltanschauung ("Zajonc was not open enough with his readers"). He wrote a marvelous book also directed to our understanding, to anyone's understanding. I think he did good not to declare what his background was. Firstly, when you direct yourself to the understanding, expressing truths, your background does not matter. Objective words have a weight by themselves. Secondly, if he had admitted his background, many people who do not know enough Anthroposophy could get a wrong impression before reading his book, as many people have a wrong impression of Steiner's complex work through hearsay or just reading a couple of his writings or lectures. Investigate how few university courses on education around the world mention Waldorf Education and you'll see what prejudice is.
I think there is a conclusion that may be drawn from your text: it is very difficult for an "outsider" of Anthroposophy, as you consider yourself in your own words, to criticize Steiner or authors who have embraced his Weltanschauung. A superficial contact with Anthroposophy leads in general to misunderstanding. That's why people who begin studying it soon learn that they have to get quite deep into it (this takes in general a couple of years) before beginning to talk about it.
All the best,
Valdemar W. Setzer - Dept. of Computer Science, University of São Paulo, Brazil
Editor’s note: Hannah M.G. Shapero does not wish to reply, feeling that she does not know enough about anthroposophy to do so. However, I would like to say here that as Zajonc’s book was written for the general public interested in the subject and not only for scientists and dyed-in-the-wool anthroposophists, her review – which was mostly positive, by the way – was completely justified as describing the thoughtful impressions of a reader who belongs to the target category of readers.
Re: "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes" (E-book Library)
From a friend who's studying at Cambridge U, here's homage to Holmes..
Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson are on a camping trip. They wake up one beautifully clear and starry night.
Holmes: Watson, look up. What do you see?
Watson: I see the stars and the moon in the heavens.
Holmes: And what do you deduce?
Watson: Meteorologically, from the fact that the sky is clear, I deduce that tomorrow is going to be a fine day; Astrophysically, from the fuzzy appearance of some of the stars, I deduce that there are other galaxies besides our own; Cosmologically, from the fact that it is dark, I deduce that the universe is expanding; astrologically, since Jupiter is in the ascendant and I am a Leo, I deduce that we are in for some bad luck; Geologically, from the height of the moon, I deduce that there is a high tide in Barbados; Theologically, from the beauty and symmetry of the universe, I deduce that God exists and is in His firmament. And Horologically, from the position of the constellations relative to the ecliptic, I deduce that it is 17 minutes past 3 in the morning.
What do you deduce, Holmes?
Holmes: From the fact that I can see the stars and the moon when I look up, I deduce that someone has stolen the tent.
The following letter was not written to SCR, but was forwarded to us by someone who thought it would interest us. It does! Ed.
Marilyn Monroe and Anthroposophy
The following quote is taken from a biography of Marilyn Monroe called "Norma Jean: the Life of Marilyn Monroe" by Fred Lawrence Guiles, published by McGraw-Hill Book Company, New York in 1969. The quote appears on pages 331-332 of the 333 page book.
"Some years before her death (in Dec. '64), Dame Edith (Sitwell) had spent a winter in Hollywood. A meeting between the poetess and Marilyn was arranged by a monthly magazine. It was thought their 'opposite' personalities would throw off some journalistic sparks. No one could have foreseen that they would become immediate friends, nor could anyone have known that their deaths would be marked in an almost identical way---while their legends were growing in their lifetimes, they had been taken seriously by too few, too late.
"By the time she met Dame Edith, Marilyn had come a long way. If she had not been moving in an atmosphere--- much of it self-created--- so removed from her beginning, they might have had nothing in common. But when the introductions were over, these new and unlikely friends were left alone and began talking of Rudolph Steiner, whose personal history, “The Course of My Life”, Marilyn was reading at the time. Dame Edith was to remark later on Marilyn's 'extreme intelligence'"
While living in Spring Valley in 1980, I had the good fortune of meeting the person who had sent Marilyn that copy of Steiner'sautobiography as well as a number of other Steiner books and lecture cycles that Marilyn requested over a ten year period from the Anthroposophical Library, then located at 211 Madison Avenue in New York City. I speak of the late Agnes Macbeth, wife of the late Norman Macbeth (author of "Darwin Retried". Agnes worked for the library during the 1950's, handling book requests and she vividly remembers the letters Marilyn posted asking for various lecture cycles. And although Marilyn had a reputation for tardiness and irresponsibility on her movie sets, Agnes assured me that Marilyn was very conscientious and punctual with her returns of the books.
Marilyn Monroe was introduced to Steiner by her favorite drama teacher, Michael Chekhov (1890-1955), nephew of the playwright Anton, and fellow director with Stanislavsky in the Moscow Art Theater early this century. Marilyn was introduced to Chekhov in 1951 by one of his devoted students, the American character actor Jack Palance. Marilyn opened herself like a sponge to water to Chekhov's approach to theater which was so deeply influenced by Steiner that Chekhov left Stanislovski's method behind. And Marilyn opened herself very deeply to anthroposophy, not because she felt it would please her teacher, but Chekhov felt that it was one of the only times in her life that Marilyn did something out of her own free inner being. The tragedy of Marilyn Monroe is that she opened herself up too much and became a slave, not only of the studio bosses, but also the expectations of a world that focused on her as such a fantasy object. Yet deep inside her inner being, which no one in the media and our popular culture even believed she possessed, she spent the last 10 or 11 years of her tortured life cultivating the delicate plant of anthroposophy.