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Southern Cross Review

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

Number 74, January - February 2011



"In Aqua" - Eugene de Blaas (Italy 1843 - 1932)

Eugene de Blaas, also known as Eugene von Blaas or Eugenio de Blaas, was an Italian painter in the school known as Academic Classicism. He was born at Albano, near Rome, to Austrian parents. His father Karl, also a painter, was his teacher. The family moved to Venice when Karl became a Professor at the Academy in Venice.



Editor's Page

"Existentialism and Reincarnation" - by Frank Thomas Smith

  
Soren Kierkegaard (1813 - 1855) has been accused of being the father of existentialism. This is true, in a way, but K's existentialism (which he wouldn't have recognized as such) is a far cry from the atheistic existentialism which unfolded after him in the twentieth century. For he was an ardent Christian, one however who considered the [Lutheran] Church to be an enemy of Christianity, its interest being in the group, the docile flock – the more the better – rather than in the individual... The following passage, from 1 August 1835, is perhaps his most oft-quoted aphorism and a key quote for existentialist studies: "What I really need is to get clear about what I must do, not what I must know, except insofar as knowledge must precede every act. What matters is to find a purpose, to see what it really is that God wills that I shall do; the crucial thing is to find a truth which is truth for me, to find the idea for which I am willing to live and die." Arch-individualism, certainly...
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Fiction

"The Imposter Magi" by Frank Thomas Smith

  
A boy from the village ran into our yard at lunchtime on the fifth of January and announced at the top of his lungs that the Three Kings were coming to the schoolhouse that night at nine o’clock. That’s how news in Las Chacras is announced – by word of mouth. I remembered that a neighbor had asked for a donation to buy sweets and balloons a few days before. Making enquiries on the main road, I found out that the Kings were scheduled to begin their descent to the school from the almacén at nine o’clock, which meant that they would more likely begin at nine-thirty and arrive at ten....Read more

"Los Reyes Impostores"

  
El
mediodía del 5 de enero un chico del pueblo entró corriendo a nuestro patio y anunció a voz en cuello que los tres Reyes Magos llegaban a la escuela esa noche a las nueve. Así es como se transmiten las noticias en Las Charcas –de boca en boca. Recordé entonces que, unos días antes, un vecino me había pedido una contribución para comprar golosinas y globos. Preguntando en el camino principal, averigüé que a las nueve los Reyes tenían programado iniciar su descenso desde el almacén hacia la escuela, lo que significaba que más probablemente comenzarían a las nueve y media y llegarían a las diez..... Leer más


Current Events

""How to Schedule a War - The Incredible Shrinking Withdrawal Date"
by Tom Engelhardt

  
Going, going, gone!  You can almost hear the announcer’s voice throbbing with excitement, only we’re not talking about home runs here, but about the disappearing date on which, for the United States and its military, the Afghan War will officially end.
Practically speaking, the answer to when it will be over is: just this side of never.  If you take the word of our Afghan War commander, the secretary of defense, and top officials of the Obama administration and NATO, we’re not leaving any time soon...Read more


Education

"Why Waldorf Works" by Dr. Regalena Melrose

  
Why Waldorf works has more to do with how the brain develops and functions optimally than Rudolf Steiner ever could have known. Sure the educator and founder of Waldorf Education theorized convincingly about how children learn best, but until MRIs and other sophisticated measures of the brain were developed, we had no way to prove or disprove any of Steiner’s theories, not with the kind of precision and accuracy we can now. An overwhelming body of evidence from the last 20 years of neuroscientific inquiry supports Steiner’s theories, including some of the most fundamental foci of Waldorf Education... Read more


Science

"The Tao of Colour" by Doug Marsh

  
It’s all cut and dried – literally; science teaches us that light can be split into component colours. Such a lifeless and desiccated concept of nature leaves colours as nothing more than meaningless “objective” wavelengths that impinge upon our eyes. The human soul and spirit don’t factor in at all.
Holistic science, on the other hand, takes an alternative view of colours that fully embraces life and the dynamics of nature, consistent with the ancient principles of Lao Tzu in the Tao Te Ching. The mysterious Tao truly manifests in colour phenomena...Read more


"The Unbearable Wholeness of Beings" by Steve Talbott

  
If you try to describe the living processes of the cell in a rather more living language than is typically found in the literature of molecular biology — a language reflecting the artfulness and grace, the well-coordinated rhythms, and the striking choreography of phenomena such as gene expression signaling cascades, and mitotic cell division — you will almost certainly hear mutterings about your flirtation with "spooky, mysterious, nonphysical forces". You should expect to hear yourself labeled a "mystic" or — there is no viler epithet within biology today — a "vitalist". The previous article in this series reminded one reader of "some misty Shroud of Turin playing the pan flute and dancing with the fauns on the meadow". However grotesque and divorced from serious thought this latter response was, it does distantly reflect a certain sensitivity among biologists — a sensitivity that the nonscientist readily picks up and caricatures. And because this sensitivity is so damaging to the prospects for any profound advance in biological understanding, it deserves to be taken seriously... Read more


Anthroposophy

""Buddhism and Christianity" by Rudolf Steiner

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That Buddhism and the teaching of Buddha should frequently be discussed today, is a fact of special interest in the study of human evolution; for an understanding of the essential nature of Buddhism — or rather the longing for such an understanding — has only made itself felt comparatively recently in the spiritual life of the West...Read more




""Evolution and Music" by Keith Francis

   
The following essay relates the history of music in the Western European tradition to the evolution of consciousness as described by Rudolf Steiner and makes no claim to be more than a sketch of certain aspects.
Music history as taught in my younger days (the 1940’s) concerned itself largely with composers from Germany, Austria, France, Italy and, sparingly and somewhat grudgingly, England. England got in because Henry Purcell decided to incarnate there and Hӓndel changed his name to Handel....
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"The History and Actuality of Imperialism" - Lecture 2 by Rudolf Steiner

  
I have spoken to you about the historical origin of what today may be called imperialism, and you will have already noticed from what I said yesterday that it is essential to see how contemporary occurrences, which were once real factors in social life, are now merely leftovers from older times as far as reality is concerned. In olden times institutions and customs had their real meaning. To a certain extent they were realities. Realty has ended though. After passing through the stage of symbols, it has finally become a platitude. In general we live in the age of platitudes. It is necessary, however, to realize that platitudes need a certain soil from which to grow, and on the other hand they are a preparation for something which is yet to come in human evolution.... Read more

A Refutation of Allegations of Racism against Rudolf Steiner by Richard House

It is commonplace in developed Western culture for the slightest whiff of 'racism' to be unconditionally condemned – an understandable balance-restoring tendency, perhaps, when viewed in the context of the Western world's own disreputable history in these matters. However, an equally interesting and quite new cultural phenomenon, at least in Britain, is the increasing challenge being mounted to what some see as an overbearingly stifling `political correctness' on questions of race.
I maintain that Rudolf Steiner's uniquely panoramic contributions on these questions can shed a great deal of light on to these commonly fraught debates – not least because, in Steiner's view of `the universal human being', we are presented with a quite new way of thinking about these questions that takes us well beyond the uncritical – and singularly non-illuminating – dichotomous thinking that swings simplistically between `racist' and `anti-racist' belief systems. In what follows, the comparatively recent charge of `racism' that was levelled at Rudolf Steiner in the 1990s is used as a vehicle for bringing some much-needed illumination to what is, in mainstream culture, an issue that typically generates far more heat than light...Read more

Karmic Relations, Volume 1, Lecture 7 by Rudolf Steiner

In the last lecture I spoke of how the forces of karma take shape, and today I want to lay the foundations for acquiring an understanding of karma through studying examples of individual destinies. Such destinies can only be illustrations, but if we take our start from particular examples we shall begin to perceive how karma works in human life. It works, of course, in as many different ways as there are human beings on the earth, for the configuration of karma is entirely individual. And so whenever we turn our attention to a particular case, it must be regarded merely as an example...Read more

Poetry

"Collegium Musicum" by Frank Thomas Smith

  
Taking my son to the Collegium Musicum
Is good for his musical future, no doubt;
for me it has advantages, too.

The hour and forty minutes spent
waiting at the outdoor cafe
give me a chance to think and watch...Read more



Philosophy

"The Myth of Er" by Plato (from "The Republic

  
Socrates: Well, I said I will tell you a tale; not one of the tales which Odysseus tells to the hero Alcinous, yet this too is a tale of a hero, Er the son of Armenius, a Pamphylian by birth. He was slain in battle, and ten days afterwards, when the bodies of the dead were taken up already in a state of corruption, his body was found unaffected by decay, and carried away home to be buried. And on the twelfth day, as he was lying on the funeral pile, he returned to life and told them what he had seen in the other world...Read more



Book Reviews

"Meet Me at the Met" by Eric G. Müller


Judging a book by its cover is often a mistake. At first glance I would have mistaken this book for a guide to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, whereas it's really a guide to the joys and travails of a naïve (euphonism for schmuck) guy who uses the Met as cultural food for his soul when he is happy as well as when he is down and out. So yes, it's a novel, whose anti-hero is actually named Clarence – perfect name for a schmuck, but a lovable one. In another sense, though, it's also a fictional guide to the Met... Read more



Letters to the Editor

  
I laughed when I read Black Widow, so predictable, yet made me laugh out loud early in the morning. When my teens asked what was so funny I responded that I was reading light erotica from an anthroposophist. Thanks....

Thanks for another great issue of SCR. Unlike Andrew I enjoyed the Black Widow. I've always been certain that if I ever went looking for adventures I'd encounter someone like that, only in my version it would be cameras and blackmail.... Read more




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