Number 95, July - August 2014
"Veiled Nude with Flowers"
Diego Rivera (December 8, 1886 - November 24, 1957) was a prominent Mexican painter and the husband of Frida Kahlo. His large wall works in fresco helped establish the Mexican Mural Movement in Mexican art. Between 1922 and 1953, Rivera painted murals among others in Mexico City, Chapingo, Cuernavaca, San Francisco, Detroit, and New York City. In 1931, a retrospective exhibition of his works was held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. The nude depicted here looks suspiciously like Frida.
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The Meaning of Meaninglessness by Frank Thomas Smith
It was C. G. Jung, I think, who said that the main cause of the psychological damage to humanity is meaninglessness. This seems to me to hit the bullseye. People have been trying to find the meaning of life since they have had the time to think about it, and they came to the inevitable idea that there is another world beyond the known physical one, but so similar that it was located in a different place, a faraway country with a Mount Olympus, for example. The denizens of that country, despite being gods, were much like ourselves, with the same virtues (sometimes), the same desires and shadow-sides, but much more powerful. ... Continue
To Hunt a Nazi by Roberto Fox - as told to Frank Thomas Smith
There are moments in the present, but also in the past and I hope in the future, when I have the urge to pull Eliot out from my book case and read Four Quartets. The moments are usually when I’m bogged down with a story or a poem and think that a solution simply isn’t possible. Somehow Quartets – only that, not other poems by Eliot or any other poet – inspires me, or at least gives me hope that anything is possible.
I was meditating on these three lines when the phone rang. I was sitting at my desk with my back to my picture-window overlooking the Buenos Aires municipal golf course in Palermo Park. I can’t face the park while working because its beauty distracts me. Anyway it was foggy, a common occurrence on autumn mornings, though the sun usually burns the fog away by mid-morning... Continue
My Cat is a Magician / Mi Gato es un Mago by Frank Thomas Smith
One morning when my mother woke me up I saw her looking at the foot of my bed. I followed her gaze and saw a beautiful white cat observing me with its yellow eyes. The cat yawned and walked lightly over the bed towards me. I didn't dare touch it until it reached my hand and rubbed against it with its delicate head. Then I stroked it.
Daddy came into my room and asked me if I liked Merlin the cat.
Oh yes, very much, I said.
Daddy said that Merlin was mine and if I gave him a lot of love and affection he would be happy with us. I was also very happy and I thanked my parents.
But why is his name Merlin? I asked.
Daddy explained that Merlin had been a magician in King Arthur's court, and as this cat was pure white, without even a spot, and had such a pretty face and mysterious look, it reminded him of Merlin the Magician... Continue
Cuando mamá vino a despertarme, una mañana, vi que sonreía y miraba hacia los pies de mi cama. Yo también miré hacia allí y vi a un hermoso gato blanco que me observaba con sus enormes ojos amarillos. El gato bostezó y avanzó hacia mí sobre la cama. Yo no me animaba a tocarlo hasta que él se acercó y refregó su delicada cabeza contra mi mano. Entonces lo acaricié.
En ese momento entró papá y me preguntó si me gustaba Merlín, el gato.
Papá me dijo que Merlín era mío y que si lo trataba con cariño, iba a ser feliz en nuestra casa. Yo también estaba muy feliz y les agradecí a mis padres.
–Pero ¿por qué se llama Merlín? –pregunté.
Papá me explicó que Merlín había sido un mago de la corte del Rey Arturo. Y como este gato era blanco, sin ninguna mancha, y tenía una bella cara y una mirada misteriosa, le había hecho pensar en Merlín, el mago. Continuar
The Snowden Saga Begins - I Have Been to the Darkest Corners of Government, and What They Fear Is Light by Glenn Greenwald
On December 1, 2012, I received my first communication from Edward Snowden, although I had no idea at the time that it was from him. [It was signed "Cincinnatus".]
The email began: “The security of people’s communications is very important to me,” and its stated purpose was to urge me to begin using PGP encryption so that “Cincinnatus” could communicate things in which, he said, he was certain I would be interested. Invented in 1991, PGP stands for “pretty good privacy.” It has been developed into a sophisticated tool to shield email and other forms of online communications from surveillance and hacking... Continue
From Bodily Wisdom to the Knowing Self by Stephen L. Talbott
What do scientists really believe? (You tell me)
In speaking of “conscious human thoughts and purposes (or intentions)” I am invoking commonsense meanings every philosopher and biologist takes for granted, as revealed by any three-minute conversation he or she may have with spouse, child, friend, or colleague. No one denies the primary and immediate reality of thoughts and purposes in his own life, and I will not waste my time tilting against academic theories no one actually believes. We all found our lives upon thoughtful intentions as a basis for directing our activities. “Let’s meet for lunch at 12:30”... Continue
It's the Oil, Stupid - Insurgency and War on a Sea of Oil by Michael Schwartz
Events in Iraq are headline news everywhere, and once again, there is no mention of the issue that underlies much of the violence: control of Iraqi oil. Instead, the media is flooded with debate about, horror over, and extensive analysis of a not-exactly-brand-new terrorist threat, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). There are, in addition, elaborate discussions about the possibility of a civil war that threatens both a new round of ethnic cleansing and the collapse of the embattled government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.Underway are, in fact, “a series of urban revolts against the government,” as Middle Eastern expert Juan Cole has called them. They are currently restricted to Sunni areas of the country and have a distinctly sectarian character, which is why groups like ISIS can thrive and even take a leadership role in various locales... Continue
Two Men Who did the Right Thing - Pee Wee Reese and Jackie Robinson by Ira Berkaw
It was simple on its face, but as deeply layered as the gesture it memorialized. Yesterday [November 1, 2005], a statue was unveiled in front of a Brooklyn ball field, KeySpan Park, where the Mets' Class A Cyclones play. The statue was not of a general on a horse, or a poet in deep thought (with a pigeon on his head), but of two long-ago baseball players -- Jackie Robinson and Pee Wee Reese of the Brooklyn Dodgers. On this uncommonly warm, sun-filled fall morning, a crowd of a few hundred had gathered outside the entrance to the park, in front of the statue, which was under a yellow covering. A band of five, wearing ''Brooklyn Sym-phony'' sweatshirts, a nostalgic touch for the Dodger Sym-Phony, a group that once played in long-gone Ebbets Field, struck up several songs, including their classic Three Blind Mice, which paid homage to umpires...Continue
Esoteric Lessons for the First Class of the School for Spiritual Science at the Goetheanum - Volume Two, Lessons Nineteen - and: Lesson One - Repetition by Rudolf Steiner
Volume II, Lesson Nineteen: My dear sisters and brothers, we have let mantric verses pass into our souls which, through their force, contain the path into spirit-land, first passing the Guardian of the Threshold into what is at first a dark, gloomy, night-engulfed spiritual world, where light is felt, which then becomes light for our spiritual perception. We have seen in this spiritual world how the human being participates – usually unconsciously, though he can be conscious of it – in the dialogs of the higher hierarchies – as though the Cosmic Word itself were acting together with the higher hierarchies. And finally we have been able to move on to the cosmic realm where the choruses of the different hierarchies resound together. Let us now bring that to mind once more – how we had already continued from hearing what the beings of the second hierarchy were saying to where the beings of the first hierarchy speak. And now we are able to hear them speaking in harmony as a chorus... Continue
Volume Three, Lesson One As it turns out, many more friends have come to this Class Lesson – and probably will to the next lessons as well – who had not attended the previous ones. So it would be impossible to simply continue in the same way as we have with the previous lessons. But it is also true that a repetition of these Class Lessons will not be a disadvantage for those members of this esoteric school who participated in the earlier lessons, because the content of this esoteric school is such that it works again and again on the soul. Therefore, for those who today are experiencing a repetition, it also constitutes a continuation. But for all those who are here for the first time it means something else: it means an acquaintance with the beginning of the esoteric path... Continue
Karmic Relations, Volume II, Lecture Fifteen by Rudolf Steiner
Our study of karma can lead us only slowly and by degrees to an understanding of this fundamental and complicated law. Today I should like, first of all, to repeat that in the elaboration of karma during the life stretching between death and a new birth there is co-operation primarily between those human beings who are living this life between death and a new birth. We work together with those with whom we are specially connected by karma. In the elaboration of karma during this life between death and a new birth, groups of human beings united by their karma work together and it can truly be said that in this purely spiritual life there are clear differentiations between the groups. This does not preclude the fact that we also form part of the whole of humanity in the life between death and a new birth, and still more do we form part of the life of those who are incarnate on the earth... Continue
The Last Letter by Romano Giudicissi
He who has ears let him hear:
For Alma*, so loved
As no one has ever loved her,
So loved as no one
Will ever love her again.
[“Alma” in Spanish means “Soul” - and is also a woman's name.]
Alma after all that has been between us,
after all we have already said,
not even I know
why I am writing to you,
but I cannot omit doing so,
and I am sending you this
as the last of my letters... Continue
The Daughter of the Sun by Frank Thomas Smith
The Daughter of the Sun
Taught us all we know,
First she forged the licking fire,
The greatest gift of all,
And showed us how to forge it evermore. Continue
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Frank Thomas Smith, Editor
JoAnn Schwarz, Associate Editor
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