Review of fiction, education, science, current events,
essays, book reviews, poetry and Anthroposophy

Number 115, November - December 2017


Charles August Mengin (5 July 1853 - 3 April 1933), was a French academic painter. He was born in Paris, France, and was educated by Gecker and Alexandre Cabanel. Mengin first exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1876. He is best known for his painting of Sappho, now in the collection of the Manchester Art Gallery. He died in Paris.
Sappho, the seventh-century-B.C. lyric genius whose sometimes playful, sometimes anguished songs about her susceptibility to the graces of younger women, bequeathed to us the adjectives "sapphic" and "lesbian" (from the island of Lesbos, where she lived.)

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Editor's Page

Letter to an Anarchist by Frank Thomas Smith

Dear Anarchist,
I don't blame you for being an anarchist. After all, I was once one myself. I also read the famous anarchists: Godwin, Proudhon, Bakunin, Kropotkin, Tolstoy, Thoreau, etc. I don't remember much of what they wrote, but I do remember that they were convincing. Also you, having been born in Argentina and living all your life here, have witnessed the stupidity, inefficiency and corruption of governments, of police, some of whom besides being corrupt and brutal, are more criminal than the criminals they lackadaisically pursue. And Argentina is not alone in this respect. So it is understandable that you blame the institution of government itself; who needs it? We'd be better off without it. Democracy is a sham because the powerful interests easily manipulate it... Continue reading

Carta a un Anarquista

Querido anarquista:
No te culpo por ser anarquista. Después de todo, yo también lo fui. Y también leí a los famosos anarquistas: Proudhon, Bakunin, Kropotkin, Tolstoy, Thoreau, etc. No me acuerdo mucho de lo que escribieron, pero sí recuerdo que eran muy convincentes. Además, por haber nacido en la Argentina y vivido toda tu vida aquí, has sido testigo de la estupidez, la ineficiencia y la corrupción de los gobiernos; de la policía, algunos de cuyos miembros además de ser corruptos y brutales, son más criminales que los criminales que persiguen sin mucho entusiasmo. Y la Argentina no es única en este aspecto. Así que es comprensible que le eches la culpa al gobierno como institución; ¿a quién le hace falta? Estaríamos mejor sin él. La democracia es un engaño porque los intereses poderosos la manipulan con facilidad... Continuar

Current Events

How to read Donald Trump - On Burning Books But Not Ideas by Ariel Dorfman

The organizers of the white supremacist gathering in Charlottesville last month knew just what they were doing when they decided to carry torches on their nocturnal march to protest the dethroning of a statue of Robert E. Lee. That brandishing of fire in the night was meant to evoke memories of terror, of past parades of hate and aggression by the Ku Klux Klan in the United States and Adolf Hitler’s Freikorps in Germany. The organizers wanted to issue a warning to those watching: that past violence, perpetrated in defense of the “blood and soil” of the white race, would once again be harnessed and deployed in Donald Trump’s America. Indeed, the very next day, that fatal August 12th, those nationalist fanatics unleashed an orgy of brutality that led to the deaths of three people and the injuring of many more... Continue reading


Dr. Najib - A Sketch of a Man and a Country by Gaither Stewart

When in 1978 the 31-year old Afghan Communist politician-activist, Mohammad Najibullah, arrived in Tehran, “exiled” to neighboring Iran as Afghanistan’s Ambassador, I had just left Iran where I had worked throughout the year of 1977. Najibullah’s political party, the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) had come to power in Kabul in April, 1978 in what is known as the Saur Revolution, the name of the month in the Afghan calendar when the Communist Revolution took place. Far from united, the PDPA was divided into two factions: the more revolutionary faction (Khalq-People’s) that first took power in Kabul in that crucial year of 1978 (crucial in both Afghanistan and Iran), preferred to have the charismatic Najibullah of the Parcham faction (Banner) of the PDPA far from the halls of power. Continue reading.


The Wreckers by JP Miller

Being a wrecker and living in the Exumas can be a tough, invisible life. You go up and down the broken chain of Bahamian coral, day after day, trying to beat the natives to the good spots, searching for wrecks. It is salty, lonely and hot. But if after a storm you can find a big fat cruiser jammed against the coral heads you can sure make out. If she’s lying on her side and not too scattered out or deep, you can get the brass and copper fittings, just free diving. If you are really lucky, you can get inside through the open stern to the staterooms. That is where you find the real goods, like jewels and gold or silver chains from the state room drawers or even cash from the pockets of the dead. The bodies just float there, around and around unable to work their way out, all the while you are looking back for sharks wondering if there is blood in the water. If she went down deep and you have to use tanks, it can be a dangerous enterprise. You gotta get down quick, maximize your bottom time and slowly ascend, watching that you don’t get the bends on the way up. That is a wreckers life and his nightmare... Continue reading

Love in the Time of Spies by Frank Thomas Smith

Rachel Baumgartner and Dr. Hans Niedermaier were huddled over a map of West Berlin in a small basement room with no windows. A long florescent light on the ceiling hummed like a beehive. They were preparing a list of objectives that the Soviet Mission Military Patrol was to photograph on its next rounds. Hans Niedermaier, a robust middle-aged man with a goatee and rimless glasses, was doing the selecting and dictating to Rachel, who made notes in German and Russian in a stenographer's spiraled notebook made in West Germany. She was young and pretty and intense; there was a certain hardness about her which would have seemed unusual in one so young, if we did not know that they were in the building in East Berlin that housed the STASI – East Germany’s State Security organization. It was difficult for them to think of objectives in West Berlin that hadn’t already been photographed... Continue reading

Miryam - Part Five by Luise Rinser

In the evening Yeshua told the story of the sheep who separated from the flock and was lost. The shepherd left the flock and went to find the sheep. He found it in a thorn-bush, freed it, carried it home on his shoulders, called all the neighbors and rejoiced.
Shimon said: Yes, but what about the other sheep? What if meanwhile the wolf came? The shepherd saved one sheep and abandoned the rest?
I said: The story is nice and comforting, but will every sheep by rescued at the right time by the right shepherd? Won’t many sheep be torn apart by the wolf before the shepherd notices their absence?
Miryam, you are thinking in hours, days, years. We have an æon before us.
All right, but a dead sheep is a dead sheep and stays one, or doesn’t it?
There is no dead sheep. There is no death. Only transformation. No sheep is abandoned... Continue reading

Children's Corner

The Redheaded Pizza by Frank Thomas Smith

Romano, the red-headed pizza-parlor man, has already made at least a hundred pizzas this afternoon. Customers love his pizzas because of the technique he learned in Italy and his artistic touches. In Romano's opinion, a well-made pizza is a work of art. But today he has so much work that he makes one pizza after another almost automatically: cheese, napolitana, onion, salami etc., large, small and medium.
"One large cheese!" the waiter calls.
"Always the same," Romano sighs.

Continue reading - Español


The Economy of a Waldorf School / La economía de la escuela Waldorf by Frank Thomas Smith

A Waldorf school is a fundamentally altruistic organization and as such is loosely subject to three development phases – a foundation or pioneer phase, a bureaucratic (in a positive sense) one, and an integration phase. The first phase is difficult, but also the most enjoyable in many ways: few people are involved, who get to know each other well, they are not only friendly, they often become friends. They frequently innovate, whether rightly or wrongly. A mistake, if recognized as such, can be immediately corrected. The second phase is when the organization becomes too large to continue feeding on the founders' intuition. In other words, efficient but, hopefully, not rigid or dogmatic. The name of the third phase, “integration”, may imply that all problems have been solved and there's smooth sailing from now on. No, integration – very difficult to achieve – means having sufficient flexibility to adapt to new necessities without sacrificing fundamental principles, accepting healthy tension but avoiding destructive conflict...
Continue: English / Español


Freedom and the Catholic Church / La Libertad y la Iglesia Católica by Rudolf Steiner (Three lectures)

To carry our spiritual understanding of things farther, we shall need more and more to turn our attention to certain historical facts. During the last decades our members have led a pleasant life, devoted entirely to the acquisition of knowledge from the lectures and discussions which have been held in different places. Nevertheless, this has formed an impenetrable wall, over which in many cases there has been a great reluctance to look out at what was happening in the outside world. But, if we want to see what is happening in the world in the right light, if we do not wish to found a sect but a historical movement — which our movement can only be — then we need to know the historical background for what is all around us in the world. And the way in which we ourselves are treated, particularly here in this place, where we have never done anything in the slightest degree aggressive, makes it doubly necessary for us really to look over the wall and to understand something of what is going on in the world. Therefore, I should like to combine what I have to say in the next few days with some historical comments, in order to draw attention to certain facts, without a knowledge of which we shall really not now be able to get any further.
Continue reading (English) (Español)

The Gospel of John - Lecture 3 - Esoteric Christianity by Rudolf Steiner

Yesterday we saw what profound contents are concealed within the first words of the Gospel of John and we shall now be able to summarize our observations by saying that the writer of this Gospel pointed to the creation of a pre-humanity in the far distant past and indicated that, according to Esoteric Christianity, everything leads back to the Word or the Logos. The Logos was already a creating power even in the ancient Saturn Period; it then became Life while our Earth was passing through its existence as the Sun, and it became Light while the Earth was passing through the ancient Moon state. Under the influence of divine spiritual forces and powers, in the course of the three planetary states of evolution, the human being reached the point in his development at which he became permeated by the human I, the Earth having by then developed into our present planet... Continue reading

Spiritual-scientific Cosmology - Lecture 2 - by Rudolf Steiner

Before we pursue the history of the development of the universe and, above all, the formation of our planet Earth, we must make our own certain concepts that westerners no longer possess because they have occupied themselves for so long with only physical phenomena. In every book that deals with cosmology, we are told that we only need to look into space to see thousands and thousands of worlds unveil themselves before our eyes, worlds that are similar to our solar system, and that our Earth, the planet on which life has existed for millions of years, is like a particle of dust within these many worlds; and that man is merely a tiny being on this particle of dust. Natural science has considered this to be the case ever since the advent of the Copernican theory. Science tells us how erroneous it was that man in ancient times saw the Earth as the center of the universe and believed that cosmic evolution was only a preparation for human existence. Science has drummed into us how small the human being is compared to the universe, that is was arrogant of man to believe that the world is fashioned the way it is because of him... Continue reading

"Apologia" concerning the publication of the the First Class Lessons: English / Español


Cheese and Chess in Crete - and more by Frank Thomas Smith

To sit outdoors in Crete
with you and coffee, hardtoast,
creamy butter and yoghurt
after a morning swim in the rosy-fingered dawn...

And for lunch at the bubbling port
unidentifiable sea-things,
lukewarm vegetables, cheese,
the deceptive yellow wine
churning my burning blood, Continue

Don't go gentle into that good night by Dylan Thomas

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light...

The Atacama, a Desert and oher poems by Charlotte A. Jones

Deep in the rain shadow,
vast and forbidding,
this terrain has banished
the fountains of life
for centuries,
leaving desolate landscapes
not even a mosquito can enjoy.

Yet life rumbles
beneath the surface,
evidenced by Láscar's steam.
The land folds and undulates
like lovers locked
in the slow-motion act of creation
driven by the hot
magma of desire... Continue reading

Words and Music

The Lady is a Tramp by Richard Rogers and Lorenz Hart

I get too hungry for dinner at eight
I like the theater but never come late
I never bother with people I hate
That's why the lady is a tramp
I don't like crapgames with Barons and Earls
Won't go to Harlem in ermine and pearls
Won't dish the dirt with the rest of the girls
That's why the lady is a tramp
Continue reading and listening

You can find us under the Southern Cross in the Traslasierra Valley, Province of Córdoba, Argentina. Visitors always welcome. Just follow the sign that reads: La Cruz del Sur.

Frank Thomas Smith, Editor

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