Number 134, January-February 2021



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

Coronavirus and the Indwelling Divinity in Each Human Being - by Jeremy Smith

Judith von Halle
Judith von Halle

During these challenging times, I have been reflecting on what an anthroposophical approach to this Covid-19 pandemic might be. There are so many theories, anthroposophical and otherwise, that we are being invited to take in and consider. Perhaps you, like me, receive links to more pandemic-related videos and websites than it is possible to view – that is, if you wish to have any time at all away from the screen and maintain some semblance of a normal life. All I personally feel able to do is to watch and observe and try to reach some conclusions about what is going on. One of these conclusions is that nearly all of us, including most doctors, scientists, politicians, academics and pundits of all kinds, know next to nothing about Covid-19. All the information coming to us from official channels is confusing, constantly changing and often contradictory. This is a very disconcerting experience for those of us who would like something solid to hang onto. So what has this pandemic got to teach our globalised Western civilisation? What can we learn from all of this? Nothing, because we are not equipped to learn the actual lesson that is being taught. We cannot learn the lesson, because our head-centred, materialist culture does not believe in the existence of the realm from where it is coming, which is the non-material world [...] One answer to the call for real knowledge about the virus is to be found in The Coronavirus Pandemic – Anthroposophical Perspectives by Judith von Halle. Translated from the German original by Frank Thomas Smith and published by Temple Lodge, this is one of the few commentaries from an anthroposophical point of view that I have found to be really useful. Despite von Halle’s disclaimer of scientific knowledge or her modest description of her writings as “motivating fragments for free consideration”, what she writes has, for me at least, a flavour of genuine anthroposophical spiritual research...   Continue

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¿Por qué luchar contra el coronavirus?
por Ailin Parra


La humanidad se ha enfrentado a una amenaza de pandemia con efectos hasta ahora desconocidos sobre la salud, los derechos humanos fundamentales, las relaciones sociales, la subsistencia económica del individuo y la economía mundial. De un día para otro se han tambaleado los cimientos que sostienen la sociedad actual. La pandemia surgida por el coronavirus 19 ha tenido un alcance global, no solo desde el punto de vista epidemiológico y sanitario, sino también como crisis sistémica que afecta a todos los ámbitos de la vida del hombre y de la sociedad. Cuando la meditación de la Piedra Fundamental sonó por primera vez en diciembre de 1923 en la carpintería de Dornach, al lado de las ruinas del Goetheanum destruido por el fuego, Europa estaba pasando por grandes dificultades. Pocas semanas antes había sucedido el primer intento de golpe de Estado de Adolf Hitler. Alemania, sumida en la crisis económica, política y social después de la Primera Guerra Mundial, sufrió una grave inflación, y en varios países europeos empezaron a establecerse sistemas de dictadura...... Continuar

¿Cómo ayudar a fortalecer el sistema inmunológico?
por Yailin Mendoza Almenares


En las conferencias y libros de Rudolf Steiner hay repetidas referencias a la importancia de fortalecer la resistencia interna ante los gérmenes patógenos mediante una dieta y un estilo de vida adecuados, pero también mediante una actitud interna espiritual. Según Steiner, el hecho de ir a dormir en la noche con miedo, odio o con ideas materialistas prepara el caldo de cultivo para el efecto patógeno de los gérmenes. Estas influencias debilitan a las personas y a comunidades enteras, y hacen posible la aparición de epidemias. Steiner también destacó en sus conferencias la conexión entre el hábito cultural de la mentira, la calumnia y la hipocresía con la aparición de enfermedades infecciosas. Una indicación que, en vista de la atmósfera mundial de noticias falsas y difamaciones de todo tipo (chismes, sospechas), da mucho que pensar teniendo en cuenta el despiadado estilo de vida consumista que nos vuelve destructivos. Según Steiner, los gérmenes patógenos pueden, en cierto sentido, considerarse como “demonios de la mentira físicamente encarnados”... Continuar

Death of Argos
by Homer


As they spoke, a dog who was lying there lifted his head
and pricked up his ears. It was Argos, Odysseus’ dog;
he had trained him and brought him up as a puppy, but never
hunted with him before he sailed off to Troy.
In earlier times the young men had taken him out
with them to hunt for wild goats and deer and hares,
but he had grown old in his master’s absence, and now
he lay abandoned on one of the heaps of mule
and cattle dung that piled up outside the front gates
until the farmhands could come by and cart it off
to manure the fields. And so the dog Argos lay there,
covered with ticks. As soon as he was aware
of Odysseus, he wagged his tail and flattened his ears,
but he lacked the strength to get up and go to his master... Continue

A Good Deed from the Wicked Witch?
Actually Ending the War in Afghanistan
by Andrew Bacevich

Wizard of Oz

Let's open up and sing, and ring the bells out
Ding-dong! the merry-oh sing it high, sing it low
Let them know the wicked witch is dead!

Within establishment circles, Donald Trump’s failure to win re-election has prompted merry singing and bell-ringing galore. If you read the New York Times or watch MSNBC, the song featured in the 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz nicely captures the mood of the moment. As a consequence, expectations for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to put America back on the path to the Emerald City after a dispiriting four-year detour are sky high. The new administration will defeat Covid-19, restore prosperity, vanquish racism, reform education, expand healthcare coverage, tackle climate change, and provide an effective and humane solution to the problem of undocumented migrants. Oh, and Biden will also return the United States to its accustomed position of global leadership. And save America’s soul to boot.
So we are told... Continue


The Intelligence Analyst
by Frank Thomas Smith


Roberto Fox was kicked out of Military Intelligence unceremoniously, and he wanted to know why. I was reminded of Roberto's story when reading about and sympathizing with Bradley Manning, that private-first-class who sent all the so-called “secret” information to WikiLeaks. I was reminded of how stupid, that's the best word for it, but one could also say inept, bureaucratic, clumsy and a whole list of adjectives from the thesaurus to describe the United States Army – or, probably, any army. It's just that my experience is with the American version. Just think: a private-first-class sitting in front of a computer somewhere in the desert in Iraq with access to the electronic messages sent from embassies all over the world to the State Department in Washington. Note, however, that Manning is an “intelligence analyst”. Why does he have such an important sounding MOS (Military Occupation Specialty) and still be only a Pfc? It's because he's intelligent and maybe he knows a foreign language, it doesn't matter which one; the path to being an intelligence analyst is to know a foreign language. They give you IQ tests when you enter the army, and if your IQ is higher than a baboon's they call you out of formation for duty as something cooler than an infantry grunt.
What I'm about to tell you happened to Roberto Fox when there was still a draft and therefore much smarter people were in the service; in fact draftees were often so much more intelligent than officers that it was embarrassing. I could tell you some anecdotes to prove it, but now isn't the time. Maybe later, or in another life... Continue

The King of the Elves
by Philip K. Dick


It was raining and getting dark. Sheets of water blew along the row of pumps at the edge of the filling station; the tree across the highway bent against the wind. Shadrach Jones stood just inside the doorway of the little building, leaning against an oil drum. The door was open and gusts of rain blew in onto the wood floor. It was late; the sun had set, and the air was turning cold. Shadrach reached into his coat and brought out a cigar. He bit the end off it and lit it carefully, turning away from the door. In the gloom, the cigar burst into life, warm and glowing. Shadrach took a deep draw. He buttoned his coat around him and stepped out onto the pavement. "Darn," he said. "What a night!" Rain buffeted him, wind blew at him. He looked up and down the highway, squinting. There were no cars in sight. He shook his head, locked up the gasoline pumps. He went back into the building and pulled the door shut behind him. He opened the cash register and counted the money he'd taken in during the day. It was not much[...] From outside came a sound, the metallic ring of the signal wire stretched along the pavement: Dinggg! Continue


The Fall of the Spirits of Darkness - Lecture One
by Rudolf Steiner

It is a matter of deep satisfaction to me, as I think you know, to be with you again for a while, for this is the place where we are able to create a visible sign of our intentions and of the will to come closer and closer to a true knowledge of the spirit in our studies and in our work in spiritual science. The quest for knowledge is intimately bound up with the most inward aspect of the human being, and every now and then we must therefore enquire into the essential nature of our will and intent. In the light of the present situation, woeful as it is, it seems the answer to this question must be a negative one. For more than three years we have seen something spread across the world that I need not discuss in detail, at least to begin with, for we are all aware of it and feel it deeply. The events now taking place are the opposite of our own intentions, which have come to expression in this very building. Again and again we must try to see clearly which stream of spiritual development we wish to see taken up by humanity, and today we have to say it is the opposite of the stream which has led to the terrible tragedy of these last years. This is something we may call to mind again and again when we give deep and full consideration to the events now raging all over the world. We may say to ourselves that it appears as if time were drawn out and had become elastic, as if the things we remember from before this madness took hold of the world happened not just years but centuries ago. There will, of course, be many today — as there always have been — who may be said to sleep through the events of the day, people who are not fully awake to what is going on today... Continue

The Gospel of Luke - Lecture 3
by Rudolf Steiner

Buddha and Jesus
Buddha and Jesus

Whoever turns to the Gospel of Luke will, at first, only be able to feel dimly something of what it contains; but an inkling will then dawn on him that whole worlds, vast spiritual worlds, are revealed by this Gospel. After what was said in the last lecture, this will be obvious to us, for as we heard, spiritual research shows how the Buddhistic world-conception, with everything it was able to give to mankind, flowed into the Gospel of Luke. It may truly be said that Buddhism radiates from this Gospel, but in a special form, comprehensible to the simplest and unsophisticated mind. As could be gathered from the last lecture and will become particularly clear to-day, to understand Buddhism as presented to the world in the teachings of the great Buddha demands the application of lofty conceptions and an ascent to the pure, ethereal heights of the Spirit; a very great deal of preparation is required to grasp the essence of Buddhism. Its spiritual substance is contained in the Gospel of Luke in a form that can influence everyone who recognizes concepts and ideas that are essential for humanity. This will be readily understood when we get to the root of the mystery underlying the Gospel of Luke. Not only are the spiritual attainments of Buddhism presented to us through this Gospel; they come before us in an even nobler form, as though raised to a level higher than when they were a gift to humanity in India some six hundred years before our era...

Words and Music

Non, je ne regrette rien
by Edith Piaf

Edith Piaf
Edith Piaf

No, absolutely nothing
No, I regret nothing
Not the good that has been given
Not the bad, it's all the same to me
No, absolutely nothing
No, I regret nothing
It is paid, done, forgotten
I don't care about the past.

Non, rien de rien
Non, je ne regrette rien
Ni le bien qu'on m'a fait
Ni le mal
Tout ça m'est bien égal
Non, rien de rien
Non, je ne regrette rien
C'est payé, balayé, oublié
Je me fous du passé... Watch and listen to Edith Piaf


The Elf King (bilingual)
by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Who rides so late through night so wild?
It is the father with his child.
He has the boy secure from harm,
He holds him tight, he holds him warm.

My son, why does your face show fear?
You don't see, father, the Elf-king near!
The Elf-king with crown and tail?
My son, it's mist within the vale.

My dear child, come with me!
I have games to play with thee,
Beautiful blossoms cover the shore,
And mother's golden gowns galore...

Cherokee Sonnet
by Ruth Muskrat Bronson

What is this nameless something that I want,
Forever groping blindly, without light,—
A ghost of pain that does forever haunt
My days, and make my heart eternal night?

I think it is your face I so long for,
Your eyes that read my soul at one warm glance;
Your lips that I may touch with mine no more
Have left me in their stead a thrusting lance

Of fire that burns my lips and sears my heart... Continue

The Return of the Magi
by Frank Thomas Smtih

according to Matthew:

This town is one we've seen before:
These crooked lanes, that stable door,
Although it must have been a dream,
For never were we here before

And that quick dog, scared and lean,
Crossing the square scarcely seen
And the dark-haired girl leaning out
The hostel window familiar seem... Continue