Number 127, November - December 2019



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

"Self-portrait by Frida Kahlo"

Self-portrait of Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo, born Magdalena Carmen Frida Kahlo y Calderón; 6 July 1907 – 13 July 1954) was a Mexican painter known for her many portraits, self-portraits, and works inspired by the nature and artifacts of Mexico. Inspired by the country's popular culture, she employed a naïve folk art style to explore questions of identity, postcolonialism, gender, class, and race in Mexican society. Her paintings often had strong autobiographical elements and mixed realism with fantasy. In addition to belonging to the post-revolutionary Mexicayotl movement, which sought to define a Mexican identity, Kahlo has been described as a surrealist or magical realist.
Born to a German father and a mestiza mother, Kahlo spent most of her childhood and adult life at La Casa Azul, her family home in Coyoacán, now publicly accessible as the Frida Kahlo Museum. Although she was disabled by polio as a child, Kahlo had been a promising student headed for medical school until a traffic accident at age eighteen, which caused her lifelong pain and medical problems. During her recovery, she returned to her childhood hobby of art with the idea of becoming an artist.
Kahlo's interests in politics and art led to her joining the Mexican Communist Party in 1927, through which she met fellow Mexican artist Diego Rivera. The couple married in 1928, and spent the late 1920s and early 1930s travelling in Mexico and the United States together. During this time, she developed her artistic style, drew her main inspiration from Mexican folk culture, and painted mostly small self-portraits which mixed elements from pre-Columbian and Catholic beliefs. Her paintings raised the interest of Surrealist artist André Breton, who arranged for Kahlo's first solo exhibition at the Julien Levy Gallery in New York in 1938.

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Frank Thomas Smith, Editor

Editor's Page

The Bearded One - and the Rudolf Steiner Archive

James Stewart
James Stewart

It was around 1980 when a geek, new to Anthroposophy, avuncularly called by his anthroposophical seniors “the bearded one,” felt frustrated because every time he wanted to know what and where Rudolf Steiner said or wrote about this or that, he had to ask the “experts,” often German immigrants. And then, once he knew, and despite his 100 book personal anthroposophical library, the book in question was often either out of print or not available in English. So James Stewart (no longer “the bearded one” because everyone has a beard nowadays) decided to do something about it. He'd had many years of experience developing data bases for computers about things that didn't interest him; now was the time to do it for something that not only interested him but was also dear to his heart. His friends, and even the “experts” thought it was a great idea and encouraged him with ... slaps on the back...
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Current Events

What the Dismantling of the Berlin Wall Means Thirty Years Later -
and the return of war-as-the-answer
 by James Carroll

Berlin Wall

Some anniversaries are less about the past than the future. So it should be with November 9, 1989. In case you’ve long forgotten, that was the day when East and West Germans began nonviolently dismantling the Berlin Wall, an entirely unpredicted, almost unimaginable ending to the long-entrenched Cold War. Think of it as the triumph of idealistic hope over everything that then passed for hard-nosed “realism.” After all, Western intelligence services, academic Kremlinologists, and the American national security establishment had always blithely assumed that the Cold War would essentially go on forever -- unless the absolute malevolence of Soviet Communism led to the ultimate mayhem of nuclear Armageddon. For almost half a century, only readily dismissed peaceniks insisted that, in the nuclear age, war and endless preparations for more of it were not the answer. When the Berlin Wall came down, such idealists were proven right, even if their triumph was still ignored... Continue reading.

The Real Cover-Up: Putting Donald Trump’s Impeachment in Context
by Andrew J. Bacevich

Trump impeachment

There is blood in the water and frenzied sharks are closing in for the kill. Or so they think.
From the time of Donald Trump’s election, American elites have hungered for this moment. At long last, they have the 45th president of the United States cornered. In typically ham-handed fashion, Trump has given his adversaries the very means to destroy him politically. They will not waste the opportunity. Impeachment now -- finally, some will say -- qualifies as a virtual certainty. No doubt many surprises lie ahead. Yet the Democrats controlling the House of Representatives have passed the point of no return. The time for prudential judgments -- the Republican-controlled Senate will never convict, so why bother? -- is gone for good. To back down now would expose the president’s pursuers as spineless cowards. The New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, and MSNBC would not soon forgive such craven behavior... Continue reading


Frida and Diego - A Special Love




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ESPAÑOL: Frida y Diego - un amor especial

Bob Dylan and an Initiatory Tradition in Popular Culture
by Stephen Clarke

Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan

My lifelong delving into the sources of Bob Dylan’s Inspirations has only confirmed my estimation of him as, in every sense of the word, a prophet; one with a signature voice and fully realized set of visions working throughout a career in language within a variety of musical forms. What I will be presenting are notes on those Inspirations as they work through Poetry, Culture, and Spiritual Ancestry. All of these exist in Time but have their immediate roots in another time and place, one lurking on the edges of this one, one which has been called by many names but whose nature poets strive to express. My purpose here today is to encourage you to take him even more seriously than you may already do... Continue reading


The Perfect Cosmological Principle by Konrad Rudnicki


The Generalized Copernican Cosmological Principle produces the kinematic Hubble Law. The simplest interpretation of redshifts of extragalactic objects is that of the Doppler effect. If we combine them both, we come to the conclusion that the Universe is in a state of expansion. Again, the simplest interpretation of that expansion is the diminishing of mean density. A decrease of density with time (toward the future) is equivalent to an increase against time (in direction toward the past). The models based on General Relativity claim that this increase will go to infinity, so going back into the past far enough we reach a stage of infinitely high density. The time when the density was infinite is called the initial singularity and, at first, was considered to be singular in a mathematical sense only. Mathematics is, after all, only an approximation of reality... Continue reading.


by Frank Thomas Smith


And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
            Shall be lifted—nevermore!

I went to the school that Sunday afternoon because there was a Board meeting that evening and we'd need some papers from the office. The secretary was ill though, nothing serious, but she wouldn't be able to attend the meeting, so I, living close, went to the school to get the necessary papers. There were no classes on Sunday, no children running about and calling out, so everything was unnaturally still. But I better start at the beginning to show you why I am in this remote place and what I have to do with the school... Continue reading

For Esmé with Love and Squalor by J. D. Salinger

Esme nad Charles

Just recently, by air mail, I received an invitation to a wedding that will take place in England on April 18th. It happens to be a wedding I'd give a lot to be able to get to, and when the invitation first arrived, I thought it might just be possible for me to make the trip abroad, by plane, expenses be hanged. However, I've since discussed the matter rather extensively with my wife, a breathtakingly levelheaded girl, and we've decided against it--for one thing, I'd completely forgotten that my mother-in-law is looking forward to spending the last two weeks in April with us. I really don't get to see Mother Grencher terribly often, and she's not getting any younger. She's fifty-eight. (As she'd be the first to admit.)
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The Spanish Steps by Gaither Stewart

Spanish Steps

On the day their love affair began Wally and Dietrich were sitting on Rome’s flower-garlanded Spanish Steps. The meeting was to remain indelibly stamped in their memories because of the erotic manner in which it all began. They were sitting about a meter apart near the top level of the stone staircase overlooking the narrow cobblestoned streets of the city. Both sides of the Steps were lined by flat-roofed apartment houses with exotic roof gardens with Japanese dwarf trees in great red pots, silver pools, lounge chairs, multicolored tables. At their feet opened the Via Condotti, the street of Italian fashion and the ancient Caffé Greco where Nikolai Gogol wrote Dead Souls. The perfumed scent of pink azaleas and violet bougainvillea along the coulisses of the steps blended with the sweetish smells floating upwards from the ageless horses with sore ankles harnessed to the colorful buggies waiting on the piazza below them...
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Book Review

Re-Imagining America: Finding Hope in Difficult Times
by Christopher Schaefer (Reviewed by Paul Gierlach)


I was asked to review a new collection of essays entitled Re-Imagining America: Finding Hope in Difficult Times. Having read the essays over the past few months, however, I no longer want to review the work: I need to promote it. I need, in effect, to take up the challenge that Chris Schaefer so expertly poses in his last chapter as he “delineate(s) a new imagination for our American future.”
Chris can rightfully speak of a “new imagination” because he is well aware of another one, a darker one, one that has grown exponentially more powerful in the last few decades. There was a time when the United States could say that it as a nation stood for something more significant than what it could gain for itself through political, military or economic maneuvering: it could say that its ideals, though difficult to realize, mattered to itself, and the world. Who we were as human beings and as a nation, established patterns of behavior that at the best, and perhaps the most difficult of times, could be called leadership... Continue reading


Esoteric Lessons for the First Class - Recapitulation 3
by Rudolf Steiner

First Goetheanum

My dear sisters and brothers, we will again begin by letting our souls hear the words that human beings – if they have ears to hear them – can hear from all the Beings of the surrounding world, which they could hear in the past, can hear in the present and will hear in the future, which allow them to envision the need for self-knowledge – that constantly comes to them from the entire universe – which is the true bridge to what the human being needs for his thinking, for his willing, for his working in the world if he wishes to be human in the true sense of the word...
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Understanding Modern History - Lecture 4
by Rudolf Steiner

Lenin with Bolsheviks

I have already indicated a few of the symptomatic forces that play a part in the development of contemporary history. I have only time to discuss a few of these impulses. To discuss them all — or even the most significant — would take us too far. I have been asked to give special attention to specific impulses of a symptomatic nature. This can be deferred until next week when I will willingly speak of those symptoms which have special reference to Switzerland and at the same time I will attempt to give a sketch of Swiss history. Today, however, I propose to continue the studies we have already undertaken. I concluded my lecture yesterday with a picture, albeit a very inadequate picture, of the development in recent times of one of the most significant Symptoms of contemporary history — socialism. Now for many who are earnestly seeking to discover the real motive forces of evolution, this social, or rather socialist movement occupies the focus of attention; apart from socialism they have never really considered the claims of anything else... Continue reading


The Golem
by Jorge Luis Borges

The Golem

If (as the Greek affirmed in the Cratylus)
the name is archetype of the thing
in the letters of “rose” is the rose
and all the Nile in the word “Nile”.

And, made of consonants and vowels,
there'll be a terrible Name, which
guards in precise letters and syllables
the ciphered essence of God and the Omnipotence.

Adam and the stars knew it
in the garden. The corrosion of sin
(the qabalists say) has erased it,
And the generations have lost it...

Donald at the Bat
by Donald

The outlook wasn't brilliant for the Shithole nine that day:
The score stood four to two, with but one inning more to play,
And then when Sessions died at first, and Cohen did the same,
A pall-like silence fell upon the patrons of the game.

A straggling few got up to go in deep despair. The rest
Clung to the hope which springs eternal in the human breast;
They thought, "If only Donald could but get a whack at that—
We'd put up even money now, with Donald at the bat."

But Rudi preceded Donald, as did also Huckabee,
And the former was a hoodoo, while the latter was a cake;
So upon that stricken multitude grim melancholy sat,
For there seemed but little chance of Donald getting to the bat... Continue

Words And Music

Father and Son by Cat Stevens

It's not time to make a change,
Just relax, take it easy
You're still young, that's your fault,
There's so much you have to know

Find a girl, settle down,
If you want you can marry
Look at me, I am old, but I'm happy

I was once like you are now, and I know that it's not easy,
To be calm when you've found something going on

Look and Listen