Thursday, March 14, 2013

Statistics and opinions and riots and......

They're doing statistics on people's religious views. The number of Muslims is outpacing the number of Catholics and so on. People are counted like sheep, not just in thousands and millions, but in billions. There's also statistics done, I would think, about how many atheists, agnostics, Buddhists, Hindus and so on there are worldwide, and how many of each group in various geographic regions.

Back in the Middle Ages, and perhaps even more so after the Reformation in the sixteenth and the seventeenth centuries, religious views and beliefs were a public and political concern. That's no longer the case; we live in a secular culture, which means that opinions of a philosophical or spiritual nature (or anti-spiritual for that matter) are private, personal matters. The question of what religion or philosophy a person identifies with is like what political party one votes for. Well now, the ballot is secret, at least optionally so, and the same is, or should be, the case with convictions and beliefs and soul-orientations. Besides, labels are bad and misleading things. I submit that nobody who volunteers such a label in surveys hasn't been thinking things through. Otherwise, we wouldn't get such preposterous claims that so-and-so many Muslim children are born here, so-and-so many Lutheran children are born there and so on. It makes one wonder how many agnostic and atheist children were born in the same countries or cities -- say, in the same year, -- as if those kids don't get to develop their own minds and do their own thinking when growing up.

That's why I decided long ago to defy all such labels and say 1) none of the above, or 2) none of your business; no concern of the public or of any institutes or governments. Who wants those stats and why?

Once upon a time, many years ago, I decided I wouldn't call myself an anarchist and not an anthroposophist either because I didn't fit any of those molds, so I coined a couple of new words, new terms: Anarchosophy and Tazism. And believe it or not, it didn't take long for certain people to write me emails and tell me what kind of views I should have in order to be an anarchosophist, so I had to ditch that too, my very own homespun label!

On my fb profile, however, I've still listed "Heterodox Anarchosophist" as my "Religious Views" and "Neo-Tazist" as my "Political Views" because nobody has proposed to understand any of that -- yet. And they're not supposed to. It goes like this: If you're ever questioned by the police or by intruding reporters or aggressive salespeople or anybody else who tries to control the conversation by asking all the questions, you should give them plenty of mumbo jumbo. That usually leaves them in total bewilderment, because they're use to hear "No comment" or "I wanna talk to my lawyer." And if you have some experience with anthroposophy, you can take this one step further by giving them anthro-babble. Believe me, they'll be at such a total loss you might as well be speaking an obscure Klingon dialect.

The problem is, people love to engage in small talk, to shoot the breeze, on every imaginable subject and shade of personal opinion and strictly private concerns, even when there are cops present who remember or even write down or record everything they say. And then the politicians get together and discuss how to influence or alter public opinion, as they call it, wherever they see this as expedient or necessary. It would be a lot better for the balance of power in the world if people would be much more reticent and reclusive and shy, to speak and act in such a way that those who wield power and influence can't figure out where they've got you, where you're coming from, what your paradigms are. In other words, keep your cards closer to your chest.

I can understand there are times when it's felt that people should show up in great numbers on the street in order to shout slogans to the rhythm of a drummer -- remember they used drummers on the battlefields too -- and fight with the cops, the riot squads, the Delta forces, which always stand ready to intervene, beat some of them up and haul them to jail. They often use horses. And I say, if the demonstrators were really well-organized, they should counter those horses with cattle, lots of cattle, and arrange stampedes. Right in the middle of the city, downtown. Now that's what I would have done, but I'm never in charge. I'm only being invited as a mindless follower from time to time, and I'm not into that sort of thing. It's like Carl Jung once said:
"Resistance to the organized mass can be effected only by the man who is as well organized in his individuality as the mass itself."

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Wednesday, March 06, 2013

A Super Bowl of Love -- Dornach 2013


Michael and the New Isis Mysteries -- Lifting the Veil


Nine days have passed since I returned from an absolutely incredible conference in Switzerland, lasting four and a half days from 8 AM till late at night (February 21-25); most of the events took place in the Schreinerei next to the main Goethanum building. This is where Rudolf Steiner and his friends continued their work on January 1, 1923, the day after the devastating fire that completely destroyed the first Goethanum.


Schreinerei Entrance

Some 40 or 50 people from all over the world participated, people from the US, Canada, Scotland, England, the Netherlands, Belgium, South Africa, Australia, Bulgaria, Romania, Russia and more. Lectures, eurythmy, song and dance, speech and drama, group work, late night chats in the dining room at the guesthouse nearby -- my camera wasn't working, but some of the others, notably Ara, Danica, Rozanne and Изис-София took plenty of photographs and made them publically available on Facebook, and Ara even made some videos!



And in Steinerland, up on that hill in Dornach, even the street signs are in anthro-fonts, like "Rudolf Steiner Weg" for instance. That was a real trip and treat. I'm still stoned, not from weed or any chemicals, but from the aftermath of the conference.


The Representative of Man


I want to thank Adriana and Rozanne for guiding us through the Representative of Man. It's on the sixth floor of the main building, kind of squeezed into a corner for safekeeping, which makes proper access somewhat awkward, but there are miniatures on display at the entrance that can be scrutinized more closely from all sides.

 I was especially fascinated by his mouth, and this is why:


In his wonderful and moving autobiographical account of his friendship with Steiner, Friedrich Rittelmeyer writes with regard to this sculpture:

' Without saying anything in detail about these observations, I asked Rudolf Steiner: "Is it really possible, simply by meditation upon the words of Christ, to come to the point of being able to say anything at all about His actual appearance?" "And what do you think He looked like?" came the quiet counter-question. When I began to say certain things, Rudolf Steiner took up my description and led it - I can only say - to clarity. It was the same picture which he afterwards gave in his lectures: A brow unlike that of a modern thinker, but one upon which reverence for the deep mysteries of existence was written; eyes that did not gaze upon men as though in observation but penetrated their very being in the fire of self-sacrifice; a mouth - "When I saw it for the first time I had this impression: this mouth has never taken food, but has been proclaiming divine truths from all eternity." In astonishment I asked: "Yes, but if you know what Christ was really like, is it not right to make this picture of Him in some way accessible to mankind?" "Yes, indeed," was his answer. "And that is why I have told an artist in Dornach to make a model of Christ according to my indications."

' At that moment I made up my mind that my next free time would be spent in Dornach in order to let this model of Christ work upon me from nearer at hand. I did not yet think of joining the Anthroposophical Society. Rudolf Steiner never gave me the least hint in this direction. He invariably gave me the unlimited freedom of a guest. But he knew, too, that I was not being held back by trivial motives. '
( -- Friedrich Rittelmeyer: Rudolf Steiner Enters My Life)

For me, this says it all, about the mouth: ".... this mouth has never taken food, but has been proclaiming divine truths from all eternity."

We did some talking about a related subject in the dining room late evening, Dottie and I, something from Knowledge of the Higher Worlds (GA 10) where one of the disciplines to be acquired is never to utter anything through speech (or writing for that matter) that hasn't been thoroughly purged in thought. And there's this very significant passage in Matthew, when the scribes and Pharisees criticize Jesus' disciples for not washing their hands before eating:

"Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man." ( -- Matthew 15:11)

Or take the sharp word from James, also in the New Testament:

"Behold , we put bits in the horses' mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body. Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth. Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed , and hath been tamed of mankind : But the tongue can no man tame ; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be." ( -- James 3:3-10)

That's why I found it so amazing to see that mouth on the Representative of Man. And all those of us who have long and ample experience with the internet, discussions and arguments and flame wars and so on, know that "tongue" or "mouth" can be replaced with "keyboard" (or "fingers"?) in any of the above quotes, but I have to admit that it would be extremely comical to put a keyboard under the arm of the Representative of Man and say that... well, something like "This keyboard has never played video games or done any online banking or ordering of plane tickets, but proclaimed divine truths from eternity."

I even got to participate in a play -- The Being of Art!


The Destruction of the First Goetheanum


Frankly, I wasn't paying too much attention to Dornach 2013 as Dottie was trying to recruit me, and Adriana too, because I was tied up full time with absolutely no money or possibility to travel anywhere, and then Dottie emails me the two way ticket, an offer I couldn't refuse, and after that it's been gradually dawning on me that I've been pulled into the very heart of Anthroposophia -- The fact that the entire conference took place in the Schreinerei was mind-boggling, the very place where Rudolf Steiner carried on the day after the devastating fire. And that's another weird thing: I've been reading Steiner's works and everything about his life since the sixties when I was barely out of adolescence, a whooping fifty years ago, being thoroughly familiar with the burning of the first Goethanum and its effect on Steiner's health, leading to his premature death. But when this fire was mentioned by Peter Selg in his lecture on Unbornness and the Michael Community, I was hit by a painful sting in the chest, because we was in the very room where this pain and sorrow had been experienced, and it was experienced as an honorable gift that the spiritual beings would share their pain with me at that moment. Heavy. Rozanne says she felt it too during Selg's lecture, feeling that The Schreienerei still holds etheric memories.

Peter Selg lecturing

I was also deeply cognizant of having reached the chronological age -- I'll be 64 in a couple of months -- that Steiner had reached when he was at the very end of his physical journey, right there where we were. Plus the fact that 2013 marks the centennial of the Goetheanum itself, when the property was chosen and acquired. We talked about this, and the description I recalled was this one:

Stewart C. Easton tells us:

"After Steiner’s death his widow described how she and Rudolf Steiner visited the Grossheintz in their own home, and how delighted she had been with the area with its cherry trees and its vineyards in the bright autumn coloring, expecting the same enthusiasm from Steiner. But the morning after their arrival his mood was inexplicably gloomy, and for once this unaccustomed mood did not quickly disappear. As a rule he could change his moods almost in the twinkling of an eye, so controlled was his life of feeling. In time the mood gave place to one of pleasure and delight which he was able to share with Frl. von Sievers. But she always believed that he had experienced what in other people would have been a simple foreboding, but with him was a definite experience of what was to happen later on this very site when the irreplaceable first Goetheanum, on which so much love, labor, and treasure had been expended was burned to the ground in a single night. If Steiner had indeed known in advance the fate of the building which undoubtedly hastened his own premature end, one may legitimately ask the question, could he not have taken some action to forestall it?

"According to the laws of the spiritual world, as others as well as Steiner have explained them, no initiate may ever take any action in the personal realm, least of all an action from which he may draw profit, as the result of such a vision. Everything hitherto planned must be carried out exactly as if there had been no prevision. It can scarcely be doubted, as will be discussed later, that Rudolf Steiner foresaw the Great War, and even knew a long time in advance exactly when it would break out. Yet he and Marie von Sievers and a group of friends paid a visit to Bayreuth to see Parsifal just before the War, and only by remarkably good luck was the whole party able to return to Switzerland without trouble at the frontier. Steiner also must have known that a fifth Mystery Drama scheduled for 1914 would never be presented. Yet the theatre had been booked for it as soon as it was known that the building in Dornach could not possibly be ready in time.

"Frau Grossheintz in a memoir published some years later was to describe how to everyone’s surprise Rudolf Steiner stayed on in Dornach for some time after he had first seen the site and examined the entire area, including even the underground grottos to be found in the neighborhood of Arlesheim. Then he went to see the Grossheintz in Basel and asked them what they proposed to do with the land they had acquired. When they expressed some uncertainty Steiner began to talk about the possibility of a ”Bayreuth,” and told his hosts of the difficulties being experienced in Munich as a result of the attitude of the municipal authorities. Dr. Grossheintz then told him that no building regulations were in force at Dornach, and offered him the land if he wanted it. Thus when the Munich authorities finally gave the verdict against the building as it had been proposed, an alternative was available and it seems certain that Rudolf Steiner had already made his own decision and he knew that the Dornach hill would be the site chosen."
 ( -- Stewart C. Easton, Rudolf Steiner, Herald of a New Epoch, chapter 8)

The First Goetheanum


The Future of Anthroposophy


Another thought came to mind which I initially put forth a decade ago when launching the Yahoo group "Anthroposophy Tomorrow" (which is closed but is still on lit de parade for those who may wish to access the archives).

' "Do you really think that Anthroposophy will succeed in becoming more than a strong impulse in our civilisation? Do you think it can really strike through as new culture?" - He became amazingly serious. "If humanity does not accept what is now being offered, it will have to wait for another hundred years," he said. He seemed to be deeply moved. It was not merely emotion, but something like the thunder of the Judgment. He said no more. Never before or since have I seen how the soul of a whole age can tremble in one man. ' ( -- Friedrich Rittelmeyer: Rudolf Steiner Enters my Life)

This conversation was taking place in Dornach in 1915. And the case may indeed be that anthroposophy will enter mainstream culture during the course of the next decade or so. I would like to add a word of caution here though, because I sense a certain caveat attached to it: If anthroposophy becomes a popular movement, it may easily dissolve into a watered-down, feel-good sort of thing. The paradox is that although the above conversation indicates that anthroposophy is destined to go mainstream, Rudolf Steiner once said -- it's stuck like glue in my memory but I can't seem to find the reference -- that anthroposophy can never be a popular movement because it rests upon the profound recognition that all existence arises out of pain and suffering. And we all know that's not what humanity wants to hear. Instead, they listen with great enthusiasm to those who make them feel good, whether they be preachers or politicians, movie stars or industrialists or other types of role models or authorities.

It may indeed be so that we've been given the overwhelming task in the very near future, of vouchsafing, preserving, the pristine genuineness and authenticity of anthroposophically oriented spiritual science as it begins to blend into popular feel-good culture and all the inner laziness and complacency that this entails.


 Here's almost everybody -- about 45 of us or something.

Bradford and the Arthurian Connection


Bradford and Dottie keep making me blush with their loving remarks on Facebook, making me glad I'm not on webcam. I've known Bradford for 10 years online, Dottie for 13 years, and Bobby for 15 years. And Bradford wrote this deeply touching and elegantly poetic piece about me and him going back to the Arthurian days, linking me to the Welsh and the Celts and what have you.

Bradford (the big guy) and Yours Truly 
(with scarf and hat) in the Schreinerei


And I have to take a few steps back with regard to Bradford's magnificent poetic imagination. Point taken, however, he may indeed be on to something with regard to the Celts and the Welsh and all. Thirty-five years ago in Phoenix, after an excursion into the desert at night where we'd been looking at the stars, there was this lady, an experienced past life regressionist. And the session she did with me was abrogated, interrupted in mid-session, which I think was a good thing, because I've always been apprehensive and wary with regard to such things; I'd rather do my own hard-earned spiritual work than participate in that kind of astro-psycho-therapy. There's always a strong possibility of a materialistic-psychic approach to the spiritual blending with luciferic illusions imho, but it got so far that I saw a moat around a castle from the air -- right here we should pause, and right here the session was fortunately discontinued. Such imagery is far too physical and could come from anywhere and blend with expectations. But I do know for certain that my acquaintance this time around with the Mystery of Golgotha was a recognition and not a first encounter, which means as a matter of consequence that I probably had a former physical existence in Europe during the early or high Middle Ages.

Me and Bradford talking at lunch in the guesthouse dining room


The idea of the British Isles is just a vague hunch that should not be overestimated, but it's intriguing nevertheless. From a historical perspective, there were no castles and such on those islands before the Norman invasion in 1066, but if I should be placed in that area in the high Middle Ages (when the Arthurian legend was actually written down in Old or Middle French), I accept the hypothesis while keeping iun mind that it's ONLY a hypothesis. But having appeared in the physical some, say, eight centuries ago give or take, would be in line with the Platonic Year and the principle of each individuality incarnating twice during the course of 1/12 of this, once as a male and once as a female, during a sub-epoch of 2160 years (the time the sun rises in a given constellation of the Zodiac seen from the Northern hemisphere at the vernal equinox, a duration also equivalent to one cultural epoch). In other words, we incarnate once per millennium on the average, spending far, far, more time in the spiritual world, a principle that distinguishes anthroposophy from other New Age movements, where people are often thought of jumping in and out of physical bodies.

Speech and Drama with Christine Burke from Santa Barbara


Back with Good Ol' Ahri

Being back with my stationary computer at home, you all know what happens then: Interacting again through them ahrimanic elementals & getting full of mischief in the process. When I saw there was an internet access area in the Goethanum, I said to Dottie and afterwards also to Bradford that we ought to go in there and send a joint greeting to the Hole, also called (by Yours Truly) the Abominable Abyss, the Unthinkable Facility, the Unplumbable Toilet and so forth -- something we cleaned up later on by calling it Sugarland and its residents, The Sugar Cherubs, because what we really want to do is shower them with love.

Das Goetheanum

We didn't do any such thing, of course; it was too wonderful -- for me anyway -- to be totally off the grid for a week with none of Ahri's gadgets like TV and radio and internet, but those of you who perhaps don't know what I'm talking about should be informed that the Sugar Cherubs are the Waldorf Critics. As for details, check out my blog article (at this site) from September 2010, titled The Abominable Abyss / The Unthinkable Facility. (Those who google shall find as the Holy Book of Taz saith; I shouldn't link this up directly coz it's got nasty images in it -- a "Dottie don't look" kind of thing.)

And talking about Ahri, when they built the Goethanum, Rudolf Steiner arranged for a special home for him. This is Ahri's Dornach pad, with all kinds of clutter in the windows!





Parsifal's Cave and Eurythmy


On the first day (Thursday February 21) we made an excursion to Parsifal's Cave, a place of initiation of great significance to the spiritual history of Europe -- right here in the very center of Europe!

At Parsifal's Cave

When we did the eurythmy with Rozanne Hartmann and Patries Orange, I had this aha-moment when we were moving the arm of the person next to us and vice versa. It gave me a living experience of how we are actually put together in the etheric -- collectively and individually.



A little Shakespeare: King Lear


I've always been a Shakespeare buff, and I remember talking to Mary Stewart Adams after she'd lectured about the Ptolemaic-Copernican paradigm shift in the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries centuries that it's a very good idea to take a close look at King Lear -- especially, in this case, Act I, Scene II (in The Earl of Gloucester's castle). The play was written between 1603 and 1606 and later revised, i.e. relatively late in Shakespeare's life; it's where one should look for the deeper underlying wisdom and observations often between the lines, in the subtext as it were, perhaps most of all in his very last play from 1610, The Tempest.

Back in 1974, I had the great pleasure of playing Edmund, the scheming and villainous and lustful bastard son of Gloucester, in London,in his original magnificent Elizabethan English, and his introductory monologue is still stuck like glue in my memory:

Thou, nature, art my goddess; to thy law
My services are bound. Wherefore should I
Stand in the plague of custom, and permit
The curiosity of nations to deprive me,
For that I am some twelve or fourteen moon-shines
Lag of a brother? Why bastard? wherefore base?
When my dimensions are as well compact,
My mind as generous, and my shape as true,
As honest madam's issue? Why brand they us
With base? with baseness? bastardy? base, base?
Who, in the lusty stealth of nature, take
More composition and fierce quality
Than doth, within a dull, stale, tired bed,
Go to the creating a whole tribe of fops,
Got 'tween asleep and wake? Well, then,
Legitimate Edgar, I must have your land:
Our father's love is to the bastard Edmund
As to the legitimate: fine word,--legitimate!
Well, my legitimate, if this letter speed,
And my invention thrive, Edmund the base
Shall top the legitimate. I grow; I prosper:
Now, gods, stand up for bastards!

Edmund, Gloucester's bastard son, is scheming for power and wealth, and as an important part of his strategy, he seeks to deprive his half brother Edmund, Gloucester's legitimate son, of his inheritance by fooling their father ino thinking that Edgar is making such a plot against him, through a forged letter from Edgar. ("Well, my legitimate, if this letter speed, And my invention thrive, Edmund the base Shall top the legitimate.")

The Earl of Gloucester is extremely gullible, and in fact so spiritually blind that he gets his eyes torn out by the Duke of Cornwall and his wife Regan, one of King Lear's wicked daughters who along with her sister Goneril are both having affairs with Edmund -- no wonder I loved that part! Anyway, here's the bit about the old relationship to the stars being replaced by the new: Gloucester's reaction to Edmund's forged letter from Edgar goes as follows:

These late eclipses in the sun and moon portend
no good to us: though the wisdom of nature can
reason it thus and thus, yet nature finds itself
scourged by the sequent effects: love cools,
friendship falls off, brothers divide: in
cities, mutinies; in countries, discord; in
palaces, treason; and the bond cracked 'twixt son
and father. This villain of mine comes under the
prediction; there's son against father: the king
falls from bias of nature; there's father against
child. We have seen the best of our time:
machinations, hollowness, treachery, and all
ruinous disorders, follow us disquietly to our
graves.

When left alone, Edmund characteristically mocks his father's superstition as expressed in "These late eclipses in the sun and moon portend no good to us" in the following monologue:

This is the excellent foppery of the world, that,
when we are sick in fortune,--often the surfeit
of our own behavior,--we make guilty of our
disasters the sun, the moon, and the stars: as
if we were villains by necessity; fools by
heavenly compulsion; knaves, thieves, and
treachers, by spherical predominance; drunkards,
liars, and adulterers, by an enforced obedience of
planetary influence; and all that we are evil in,
by a divine thrusting on: an admirable evasion
of whoremaster man, to lay his goatish
disposition to the charge of a star! My
father compounded with my mother under the
dragon's tail; and my nativity was under Ursa
major; so that it follows, I am rough and
lecherous. Tut, I should have been that I am,
had the maidenliest star in the firmament
twinkled on my bastardizing.

Here is a link to that scene.

We also had a fantastic clown, hilarious! -- Dawn!

This is extremely interesting, because as you can see, this is also a liberation from perceived iron law necessity as dictated by the heavens; it's a release of free will, which in the case of Edmund and his ilk is being abused for egoistic purposes, hand in hand with ahrimanic arrogant mockery of the old spirituality that has retrograded into superstition. And what poetry! I have to take a few steps back when I see the claim made by very many historians, perhaps most of them, that Shakespeare was a Catholic, which of course had to be hidden in his writings because of the political power struggles at that time, but to my way of thinking, Shakespeare seems to stand way above the entire Reformation division. Rudolf Steiner also addressed some of the nonsense that's still with us today, even in anthro-circles, that his plays were written by Francis Bacon, who according to RS was the reincarnated Haroun al Raschid and belongs therefore to the so-called Arabic stream (along with Charles Darwin and many others), -- or by Christopher Marlowe (who died in 1593). I don't care who was a Rosicrucian and who was a Freemason and so on in those days -- those are only affiliations that say very little about the individuals themselves and what they brought forth.

Two incredibly sweet souls from Bulgaria


Incidentally, I may have mentioned this in the past to some of you on the internet, but I should repeat it here anyway while we're on this subject of Shakespeare, because it may explain some of my shenanigans and mischievous trollings and things I used to do in the forums, especially with the critics (Sugar Cherubs) but also with the Adorable Darlings (a euphemism for the Anthro-Wackos, you know, very nutty anthros), and it may have a certain relevance to something Steiner said about Napoleon -- and I'm sorry, Marisa, for forgetting to do that Napoleon pose at the Zurich Airport I had promised to do --

Vlad, Bradford, Dorina, and Yours Truly


About Napoleon, Steiner said people get it wrong when they think he became such a militant general and emperor because his mom had walked across battlefields when he was an embryo in her belly, -- and Steiner claimed it was the other way around, namely that the unborn Napoleon Bonaparte DROVE his mom through these battlefields.

You see, I grew up in the theater, both of my parents being stage actors and my dad manager twice, and when I was an embryo, she played Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream -- a part that can easily be played by a male or a female. And my mom sometimes said that's the reason I'm so trollish and such. But all of this makes me speculate, of course, whether I, as the yet unborn but already attached to the physical, managed to influence the director to cast my mom in that role?

Mom (Julia Natalie Bock) as Puck in 1948, 
with the Yours Truly the Embryo in her belly


And there's something else weird about my late mom (who passed away in 1997) -- you see, she was born in New York in 1922, to Scandinavian parents (Danish dad, Norwegian mom, both naturalized US citizens), and during her childhood and youth she kept crossing the Atlantic back and forth (by ship in those days) to stay with her maternal grandma in Oslo, who was such a wicked piece of work -- she passed away in 1945, years before I was born -- well, she was my great grandma, and in Norwegian fairy tales, the Devil lives with his great grandma, so there's always this repeated reference to the Devil and his Great Grandma -- but the reason my mom put up with her was she wanted to live in Norway and be a Norwegian.

Now I've often wondered if my mom was one of those spirits seeking incarnation that Rudolf Steiner actually saw -- You see, in one of his lectures, and especially if this one was in the early twenties it may make sense -- he talked about observing human spirits seeking incarnation on earth, and he said, and this is exact from memory, they'll be in America one second and in Europe in the next, and another weird thing is I've never quite figured out my own ambivalence here with regard to my strange karmic connection with America that's played out in my own life in a rather chaotic fashion.

Ara, Bradford, Vlad, the Friesland dude(?), and Bobby

Pay special attention to everything the Fool says in King Lear. He's the closest, I think, to Shakespeare's own voice and comments.Mark therefore the following, keeping this suggestion in mind. It's not as simple as it seems at first glance; the confusion of seven and eight planets (or stars) belongs, to the best of my recollection, to a certain highly advanced stage of initiation; which means that Shakespeare's own seership is very cleverly disguised in his texts.

KING LEAR: I will forget my nature. So kind a father! Be my horses ready?
Fool: Thy asses are gone about 'em. The reason why the seven stars are no more than seven is a pretty reason.
KING LEAR: Because they are not eight?
Fool: Yes, indeed: thou wouldst make a good fool.
( -- King Lear, Act I Scene V)

Dottie Zold and Michaela Glöckler

The Foundation Stone, the Seed, and the Arts (Drama)


To get back to our unforgettable Dornach conference, our very Super Bowl of Love: We had some very gifted lecturers, first on Thursday (Feb 21) when we listened to a guest lecture by Peter Selg -- I call it that because he came and went -- and during the days that followed, we had several lectures by Adriana Koulias from Sydney, who actually taught spiritual science along with a very neat use of the blackboard, with colors and all, very Steiner-like, and that was sooooo cool.

 Adriana's Blackboard

We also heard a couple of lectures by Mary Stewart Adams from Michigan -- where are the photos of her? -- who spoke about astrology, astronomy, astrosophy and the Ptolemaic-Copernican paradigm shift, and helped me understand what The New Isis is all about. And if I've got it right, it goes like this: When the Ptolemaic, geocentric astronomy was replaced by the Copernican-Galileian heliocentric system, the connection between European humanity and the gods was broken, which means that Isis was cut into pieces and scattered all over the Cosmos. It's the task of Anthroposophia, being guided by Michael, the Time Spirit since 1879, to put Isis back together again and thereby restore communion between humanity and divinity. That's the New Isis.



Selg's lecture contained a lot of pain, not only through the brief mention of the fire towards the end, but the deep and bitter split inside the Anthroposophical Society that followed Rudolf Steiner's departure, involving strong hostilities between the camps. So I felt that his lecture ended on an interesting note before he headed for the door immediately afterwards, at least what my own inner ear is concerned, namely: Is the glass half full or half empty? And Rudolf Steiner himself was always the optimist, even in the face of extremely harsh opposition and challenges and misfortune towards the end, even reaching the point where he wanted to dissolve the entire Society because there was sectarianism, sectarianism, everywhere around him.

Rozanne and Adrinana

This group, however, has also been going through the Foundation Stone Meditation (in addition to acting out the play, The Being of the Arts), and we all took a seed home with us. What this means for me is that I've discovered where I've always really belonged. In other words, I have committed myself, dedicated myself to the Movement in a way that has been truly life-changing, and I'll rejoin the Anthroopsophical Society, i.e renew my old membership that expired over two decades ago.


Into the Schreinerei


I was a member for a few years in the late eighties when living in Houston and participating in a study group there (the PoF), but then there was a lot of moving and turmoil in my life during the years that followed so I didn't maintain the membership; it expired. But this experience in Dornach has made me realize in a most profound way that I have always belonged there -- thanks to Dottie Zold in the City of the Angels (L.A.)!

Dottie, I'm telling you, is a soul full of sunshine. The fact that she pulled this thing off -- my jaw was gradually dropping to my chest day by day as I realized that all those active people, including eurythmists and lecturers and the young guys leading us in song and so on, well, they all knew Dottie and they were there because they knew her, or at least most of them were; that was my impression and understanding. Now I realize that when Dottie said that "we" did it, she meant the planning committee, and here they all are:





Our program in Dornach February 21-25, 2013:

Michael and the New Isis Mysteries ~ Lifting the Veil

 

Thursday February 21, 2013

8:00am BREAKFAST
9:00am Good Morning! Singing with Caleb Buchbinder
9:30am Eurythmy with Rozanne Hartmann
10:00am Welcome by Christine Burke
10:45 am BREAK
11:15 am Journey to Parsifal's Cave
1:15 pm LUNCH
3:15 pm Introduction of the Presenters and Friends!
4:15 pm Journey to the Representative of Man with Adriana Koulias
5:30 pm DINNER
7:15 pm Welcome Caleb Buchbinder
7:30pm Dr. Peter Selg ~ Unborness and the Michael Community
9:15pm Eurythmy Offering with Patries Orange
9:30pm Foundation Stone Meditation with Christine Burke

Friday February 22, 2013

8:00 am BREAKFAST
9:00 am Good Morning! Singing with Caleb Buchhinder
9:20 am Considerations on Ita Wegman & the Michael Community 10:00 am Eurythmy with Rozanne Hartmann
10:30 am BREAK
11:00 am Artistic Collaboration In the Round
Sculpture ~ Kilian Voss
Eurythmy ~ Patries Orange
Speech ~ Christine Burke
Seeing ~ Adriana Koulias
12:30 LUNCH
2:00 pm Mercury and the Laying of the Foundation Stone ~
Our Celestial Signature with Mary Stewart Adams
2:45 BREAK
3:00 pm The Foundation Stone Meditation ~ Healing the Word
4:15 pm Eurythmy and Transubstantiation with Patries Orange
5:00 pm DINNER
7:00 pm Michael and the New Isis Mysteries with Adriana Koulias
8:30 pm BREAK
8:45 pm Spoken Word with Bradford Riley and the Yippies
9:15 pm Eurythmy with Patries Orange
9:30 pm The Foundation Stone Meditation with Christine Burke

Saturday February 23, 2013

8:00 am BREAKFAST
9:00 am Good Morning Singing with Caleb Buchbinder
9:30 am An Open Conversation ~ reimagining our relationship with the Society led by Caleb Buchbinder and Christine Burke
10:30 am BREAK
11:15 am
Artistic Collaboration in the Round
Sculpture ~ Kilian Voss
Eurythmy ~ Patries Orange
Art ~ Brigitta Gallaher
Speech ~ Christine Burke
Seeing ~ Adriana Koulias
1:15 pm LUNCH
3:15 pm Eurythmy with Rozanne Hartmann
3:30 pm Michael and the New Isis Mystery II with Adriana Koulias
5:00 pm DINNER
7:00 pm Welcome Dr. Michaela Glöckler
7:45 pm Calendar of the Soul ~ Mary Stewart Adams
8:30 pm The Being of Art ~ A Play
9:30 pm Foundation Stone Meditation ~ Christine Burke
9:45 pm Eurythmy Patries Orange

Sunday February 24, 2013

8:00 am BREAKFAST
9:00 am Good Morning Singing ~ Caleb Buchbinder
9:30 am Artistic Collaboration in the Round ~
11:00 am Foundation Stone Meditation Together
11:30 am Mandala
12:15 pm LUNCH
1:15 pm Journey to Representative of Man with Adriana Koulias
2:00 pm Michael and the New Community A Conversation Led by Adriana Koulias & Dottie Zold
3:00 pm Plenum led by Caleb Buchbinder and Christine Burke
4:30 pm Michael Community Dinner in the Round

Monday February 25 2013

8:00 am BREAKFAST
9:00 am Journey to the lta Wegman Clinic
Working out of the Fundamental Social Law shared forth by Rudolf Steiner and embodied in the work of lta Wegman and her endeavors towards creating 'islands' of health sanctuaries in the world. What more can we do to be a benefit to the tasks of Christ Michael Sophia for man?

Die Schreinerei (built in 1913)

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Thursday, November 01, 2012

The Apocalypse of Uncle Taz

Lo and behold, Uncle Taz came to me again, not in a dream this time but in a vision in broad daylight: A revelation, an apocalypse! Wow! First, he took me to a city, I don't know where but it was on Earth in real time for sure, and as I strolled along an avenue among skyscrapers and such, I looked at the people who were passing by on the sidewalk, and I was deeply shocked and somewhat spooked to discover that they had no faces. They were all dressed very differently, some in business suits carrying briefcases, some in rags like homeless folks pushing shopping carts, others were jogging in full sports gear, some were on skateboards and roller skates and bicycles, but most were walking, some fast and stressful, others leisurely and in a nonchalant fashion. What gave me such a trepidating shock was that where their faces should have been, above their necks, there were only screens, like vertical computer screens sort of, so they weren't capable of speech any of them, because they had no mouths. No heads period. They were not able to show any character through facial expressions. The only things left for communication were body language, gait and so on, but I noticed a few of them exchanging thoughts of some kind, and they were using their cell phones -- not to talk, of course, which they couldn't do, but to type messages to each other through keyboards on those tiny pocket gadgets. One person asked another for directions to the Zoo, I think it was, and then a city map appeared in the other person's "face", i.e. his screen.


I was too bewildered to try to talk to any of those people, and besides I couldn't because I hadn't brought my cell phone into the vision -- probably because Uncle Taz didn't want me to. But as I kept walking, I discovered people with heads and faces, although they were semi-transparent, not only their heads but their bodies too. They looked like aliens though. Some of them wore medieval costumes, and they looked like us sort of, but they appeared to be terribly confused, much more than I was. And then there were others in attire I've never seen anywhere, not even in paintings or pictures, and the odd thing about them was that some were exquisitely beautiful, their countenances lit up like the sun almost, with bright auras reminiscent of halos, while others were extremely hideous and ugly, and the vibrations from the ugly ones were so nasty they gave me the shivers, like they were exceptionally evil or something, that I stayed as far way from them as I could and avoided contact at all cost. But I wanted to know what this vision of Uncle Taz was all about, so I went up to a pretty face with a shiny aura and warm vibrations and asked. He told me he was a time traveler from the future, that the ugly ones were also time travelers from the future, that they'd all come to see the Electronic Age they had heard so much about. I asked about the ugly and evil ones, and he said they were from the future too -- a distant future when humanity had become divided into a good and an evil race. The confused people in historical costumes were time travelers from the past; they were wearing clothes, not costumes. Among them were prophets who wanted to tell their contemporaries about the future, which was the present time, the Electronic Age, although they apparently never found the right words to describe it.


I asked about all those people with screens instead of heads, how that could be explained, and the pretty one from the future told me that this is the Facebook Generation, which means that instead of faces they have books --electronic books. You can converse with them through typing, and they'll respond through their screen-"faces" with emoticons in lieu of the facial expressions they don't have, they'll "talk" through youtube-links and images and proverbs and sometimes through text messages, things like AMBW, BCNU, FICCL, GRWG, LMBO, OMGYG2BK, SSIF and so on. Or they'll throw some newspaper headline at you. There are people inside those things, the bright dude from the future tells me, real people, but they all prefer to hide behind a wall of electronics.


I told Uncle Taz I had seen and heard enough and that I wanted to get out of there, and he did bring me out of it on the condition that I proclaim to the world what I had seen and heard, which is why I had to write this blog article.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

The Olympics and similar spectator sports

I'm happy on behalf of those who manage to jump high, run fast, get small, large, or oval balls into various nets and so on. I used to enjoy doing that sort of thing as a kid myself, and it's healthy and fun for us old folks too, and we should be doing more of it. But, sorry to say, I usually don't find it sufficiently entertaining to look at, especially when you don't know the dickens who those people are in the first place. So I don't watch sports on TV or listen to it on the radio or read about it in the news. I'm not opposed to it; I simply don't share the interest.

What the Olympics are concerned, they're such a bore without the presence of Zeus, who was the very life of the party, the jubilant. And what about the other Olympian gods, like Aphrodite, Poseidon, Ares, Hades, Hephaestus, Athena, Artemis, Apollo, Demeter, Hera and Hermes? Not a single one of them is honored to the best of my knowledge. That's blasphemous to say the least. Instead, they do their things in honor of idols like McDonald's and Coca-Cola and Microsoft and ExxonMobil. Those are monsters of the underworld, and the wrath of the gods is bound to come down on this infamous sacrilege. I don't give a rat's behind about them athletes doping themselves, their penalties and disqualifications for doing so and all that jazz. That's why sponsorship of the arts is so much better, because artists can get stoned on any substances of their choosing.

Right now there's a puppy in my home playing with a ball, making eardrum-busting noise every time her ball rolls under some furniture so she can't get at it. It's a pain in the neck if you ask me, but it's still a lot better than all that cultural pollution on radio and TV with football, tennis, basket ball, baseball, water polo, golf and what have you with drunks and neo-Nazi flag-waving hooligans. I've never understood those flags. It's supposed to mean that if some ball ends up in some particular net a certain number of times, I'm supposed to be happy or proud or something like that or maybe sad or disappointed; it's supposed to do something to my emotions and state of mind. It's never done anything for me; maybe I need to talk to a shrink about it because it makes me not normal. Or perhaps all I need to do is to have a long talk with Apollo.

Monday, December 19, 2011

About my perceived bilingualism

Blaming my assumed mother tongue on my mother

There is a widespread misconception of my relationship to the English language that ought to be cleared up once and for all. Native speakers of English have often assumed, and still assume, that English is my first language too, or that I've been completely bilingual (with English and Norwegian) more or less since birth.

Nothing could be farther from the truth, but because the explanation for my apparent bilingual or native-English condition is such a long and complicated story, I've been resorting to a simple explanation, namely that in addition to my almost two decades in the UK and in the US (1970-1988), I had an American-born mom.

In other words, I "blame" my English on my mother, because this seems to satisfy people so I don't need to explain more than that.

The truth is this: English is indeed my second language; I did not grow up bilingual. I've been bilingual since my twenties, but not since childhood. Because people find this difficult to accept or understand (including many Brits and Americans), I've developed the habit of "blaming" my bilingual condition on my American-born mom, but in actual fact she has absolutely nothing to do with it. There is less than a quarter-truth in this; her influence on my English skills as a child may be reduced to 1/16, and even that would be generous.

This is something many people find very difficult to accept because of the basic principle widely adhered to, which may indeed be a myth, namely that  a person who grows up with only one language (mother tongue) will find it extremely difficult if not impossible to learn another language and develop it to the same level as his/her mother tongue, for this original capacity withers with age.

I'm not a linguist myself, and not a philologist either. As a lay-person with some personal experience in this field, I will however argue that the difficulty of learning a second (or third or fourth) language as an adult depends upon the extent to which an individual has retained the capacity from childhood to adapt to, attain, and acquire the mastery of new languages. This capacity definitely withers with age; however, some people lose most of this capacity at puberty, perhaps, while others may retain most of it into their early thirties. I probably belong to this latter category.

Technically and literally, however, i.e. on the surface, I'm not lying when mentioning my mom in the above manner. The assumption is then made that American English was my "mother tonge", but the only English she exposed me to was to teach me some silly songs like "Who's afraid of the big bad wolf?". She was born in Brooklyn alright, but to Scandinavian parents who had only been living in the U.S. for a few years; a Danish father and a Norwegian mother. She had a younger brother who became 100% American and never knew anything else, but she used to travel back and forth across the Atlantic (by ship during the twenties and thirties when she was growing up), attending school on Long Island and in Oslo, where she lived with her maternal grandmother. (She told me in her mature years that she had desired to be Norwegian because she felt most at home in Norway.) Her last arrival in Oslo was perhaps an unfortunate timing: It was in the fall of 1939, six months before the Nazi invasion and occupation. She told me, however, that occupied Oslo wasn't that bad, it was rather peaceful if you were not directly involved in political activities (like my father at the time, who was a telegrapher for Milorg, the military underground resistance organization in Telemark; -- a very different story unrelated to this).

Anyway, my mother became an actress just like my father (they met in the theater), and she always spoke Norwegian as or like a native born Norwegian -- professional Norwegian (like my father the philologist) without the slightest trace of a foreign accent. The way I experienced it, English was simply another "strange" language that she was familiar with and that she tried to teach me from time to time -- not very successfully, because I found it a little awkward and felt embarrassed about it for some weird reason. So my mom teaching me English as a child didn't go anywhere, never got off the ground. I remained totally ignorant of the English language until the sixth grade, i.e. at age 12, when I learned so-called "School-English" from Norwegian teachers who didn't quite master the language themselves beyond the elementary level they were teaching.

Already at that stage, however, all my fellow classmates kept insisting that I must have been taught English before, but this wasn't true except that bad wolf song I had long forgotten. As a matter of fact, I remember a few years earlier, in the third grade (when I was 9), we had a expatriate all-American boy in our class. When his mother bropught him and introduced him to us in American English, none of us understood a word. One of the other boys remembered how to count to 10 in English, that was it. I remember this American boy well; he didn't understand Norwegian, the old teacher didn't know any English, so he sat there very quietly, hour after hour, making drawings and scribbling notes and browsing through books in a language he didn't know. It must have been a lonely experience that he handled amirably well. The rest of us were troublemakers more or less, but this "alien" kid was always behaving perfectly in his silence, in his calm, with an atmosphere of peace and harmony.

After a year ot two with Norwegian "school-English", I had acquired enough written skills to correspond with my maternal grandfather before he passed away a few years later in Austin, in 1964. I also began to write with my uncle Howard, my mom's younger brother. In the years that followed, I was challenged to negotiate between these siblings (mom and Howard) who apparently had some kind of philosophical or semantic differences dating back to their childhood maybe. Howard and grandpa, both sailors, lived in Galveston. (In the early days they lived in Jamaica, New York.)

Anyway, when I was in high school (which was still called "the gymnasium" from its Greek origin in those days), my English grades were not the best; they were OK, but my German grades were in fact better. At age 19 I was arrested for cannabis and spent 5 months behind bars (released on parole; the sentence was 7 months) and then re-arrested for a similar offense a few months later, which resulted in two weeks in custody and then a suspended sentence.


London years

These unpleasant experiences, plus some additional factors that go beyond the scope of this article, prompted me to move to England, spending the first six months or so in Eastbourne on the south coast (because I had a fiancee at the time working as a nurse there), enrolling in some English classes to extend my residence permit (not needed today unless you're from a non-European country) and eventually getting into a couple of drama schools in London -- The Phildene Stage School (now ancient history) and Mountview Theatre School (better known during the past decade as Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, following her Majesty's blessings I guess -- which gave me a 1 year visa, renewable on an annual basis as long as I was a registered student.

It was in these years, in my early twenties, that I learned my English. Not before. Prior to this, my English was as undeveloped and as full of syntactical, structural, grammatical errors, mispronunciations, sometimes using words that don't even exist in English etc. as any other person who has grown up in a non-English speaking culture. But then again, after a few years in London, I encountered a middle aged English lady who insisted that I must have been speaking the language since I was a child. And because my speech at that time was British, it wouldn't have helped to blame it on my American born mom.

The question is, how did this happen? Well, in the first place, I was undergoing professional speech training, phonetics. We were doing various plays, first of all by British playwrights and foreign plays (like Anton Chekhov) translated into British, but also American playwrights like Arthur Miller, Edward Albee, and Tennessee Williams. So we were coached not only in so-called Standard English (also called "the king's English" or rp = received pronunciation), the default everybody had to master, but for the sake of American plays, we learned to emulate spoken American English (also typical American body language, intonations etc. as distinct from British) by professional phoneticians and dialecticians, sometimes using the phonetic alphabet as a learning tool, but mostly by speech drilling, i.e. listening and imitating.

Secondly -- and for me, looking back, this is probably the most important: We were doing lots of Shakespeare. About a decade later, when I was living in the U.S. I also became thoroughly familiar with the King James Bible, which I actually read from cover to cover. And along with the great classical poets of later dates (Blake, Keats, Byron, etc.), Shakespeare and the King James Bible represent the core, the soul, the origin of modern English. I fell in love with the language, pure and simple, it filled me with enthusiasm.

Although we can easily understand Shakespeare today -- the different meanings many words had four centuries ago are usually clarified through context -- it would not be so easy to understand if we had used the pronunciation common at the time, because it seems like the great vowel shift had not yet run its full course even by the early 17th century. (i.e. take the word "knight" which was pronounced like the German "night" (plus the preceding k) in Middle English, hence the retained historical spelling; after the great vowel shift, the short e-sound had become "ai".)


Exile years

Anyway, a few years later I moved to America (in 1976) for reasons too numerous and complicated to include here, and shortly after that I changed my everyday speech (and also my spelling habits) to American English (helped to a great extent by the phonetical training I had received in England in connection with doing Arthur Miller and Edward Albee).

Now here's the complication, which should help you understand why I blame it all on my mom for the sake of simplicity: I entered the U.S. on a six months' visa and ended up living there for twelve and a half years. In other word, I was an illegal or "undocumented" alien for most of that time. And in order to pull that off, I had to assume a natural-born American background. (It goes without saying that I would have had a far worse "birther" problem than Obama if I had run for president.) Besides, my non-immigrant status could never have been adjusted anyway because my old drug conviction bans me for life from obtaining a green card.

My crucial illegal Americanization took place in Las Vegas, after about eight months in Los Angeles. (In other word, I had only been in the U.S. for one year at that time.) I managed to land a job as a change boy for Lady Luck Casino, where instead of an investigative background check, they gave everybody a polygraph test conducted by a mature ex-cop who was an expert on the polygraph. And I pulled this off, miraculously perhaps, for two reasons: In the first place, I was employing my acting skills. This means that my fictitious background -- born in New York, attending grade school and high school in Danton, Ohio etc. -- some details I had picked up from a lady who had grown up there -- this wasn't experienced by me as "lying" while on the box, as it was called, but as playing, say, Edmund in King Lear. And if I overreacted to a question, I managed to repeat the same reaction (blood pressure and heart rate!) after every following question. So I beat the poly in the face of a professional American poly expert, an ex-cop. I should have been a spy, a Cold War sleeper!

This was really the litmus test of my illegal Americanization. Shortly after, I got my first driver license at the Nevada DMV by claiming birth in New York and showing them a fake California ID card (purchased by postal order) which they mistakenly believed had been issued by the California DMV!! My genuine social security card had also been procured in California (and they neglected to mark it as belonging to a non-citizen, which they were supposed to), so I was all set -- except an American passport, of course, but that kind of thing carried a ten year prison sentence, so I didn't even entertain such an idea.

But now you're getting the picture. Add to the above the decade I spent in the U.S. when only my very closest friends, people I lived with and so on (who were all Americans), knew that I was not an American, that I was in fact an illegal alien. I developed a new philosophical concept, namely illegal alien anarchism, the idea of the total outlaw who does something illegal every time he takes a breath, every time he crosses the street, on this forbidden territory. It goes perfectly hand in hand with pot smoking and similar crimes, a widespread practice at the airports and other taxi stands in my cabbie-days in Phoenix, L.A. and Houston.


My speech

People who only read me on the web sometimes ask about my speech, my accent. My Norwegian accent is something that comes and goes, I guess. I talked to an American friend on the phone some years ago, a person I had only known through the internet, and he said he was thrown off by my accent. It's been 23 years since I left America, so although my speech at that time was basically indistinguishable from that of other Americans, this may have changed over time. On the other hand, there may be a difference in my case between speaking on the phone, when I'm not "warmed up" and talking to people in person, because almost every time I converse with an American visiting or arriving in Norway, I'm asked if I'm an American. Earlier this fall, in August in fact, I became acquainted with a young Irish-American dude (we attend the same history classes); he struggles with his very rudimentary and broken Norwegian, so our conversation runs in English for the most part. About a week or two ago, he asked me if I was Norwegian, which I confirmed. This seemed to bewilder him, because he thought I was American. The same thing was assumed by some Afro-Americans I had a conversation with a few years back.

Hence this article!

It seems to depend upon the tuning of the phonetic ear. In America, I always lived very openly and brazenly as an illegal alien anarchist outlaw, perfectly camouflaged as a natural-born American among other natural-born Americans (except my fellow L.A. cabbies who were often Russians and Africans), but I was always, instinctively, wary of the INS, customs officials and the like. Some of those people have highly trained and developed phonetic sensitivities, and my name alone (which was never changed or moderated) could always arouse suspicion, especially when I came to Texas -- but that's a different story. On two occasions, both in Texas, I escaped disclosure by the skin of my teeth, by bluffing. Yes indeed, I should have been a spy.


Noam Chomsky

And then we have Noam Chomsky's theory of linguistics, which is so revolutionary that he his scientific caliber has been compared to those of Einstein, Darwin, Newton, and Galileo in their respective fields. This may seem to make it extremely difficult for mainstream culture and media to ignore him in the future, but so far they've been doing that very successfully with Rudolf Steiner for a century.

This is something I recently came across -- not by reading Chomsky's books on linguistics, unfortunately, but by listening through a fascinating lecture series by Seth Lerer, Ph.D. (Avalon Foundation Professor in Humanities and Professor of English and Comparative Literature, Stanford University). The title is The History of the English Language, 2nd Edition Parts I–III , and it consists of 36 lectures of 30 minutes each, i.e. 18 hours in the aggregate, along with a Course Guide. Highly recommended.

Lerer devotes his 35th lecture to Noam Chomsky. What Chomsky has done is to dismiss most of the abstract alienating analytical approach suggested by former researchers in this field and put linguistics back into the context of the truly human, thus echoing Plato in a sense. To put it in my own flawed and non-native lay words: Instead of collecting all kinds of data with regard to a language and then construct theories about peoples with different languages living in different, often mutually incomprehensible, universes (hence "the clash of civilizations" and so on), Chomsky has proposed a theory or hypothesis, namely that one has to start with syntax: All human beings are born with a deep structure of language ability, which makes them capable of acquiring the mastery of any language. Languages themselves are surface structures, thus acquired communication techniques. Thus, one deep structure common to all humans, and then surface structures.

And here's the brief summary of professor Lerer's 35th lecture in this series:

"35. Linguistics and Politics in Language Study
Get a compelling introduction to Noam Chomsky, the founder of modern linguistics, and to the social, cognitive, and philosophical implications of his work. The legacy of Chomskyan linguistics, you'll discover, goes far beyond the technical terms of the discipline to embrace a politics of language study itself."
Let's dwell for the moment on the consequences of this theory: The way I see it, which seems to concur with Chomsky's model, it makes no difference whether the language a person is using for verbal or written communication is a "first", "second" or "third" language. What counts is how well the individual has acquired mastery of the language in question. If Russian is your first language until the age of 4 or 5, and then you move, say to the U.S., Russian will still be your "first language" when you're 50, but your grasp of English is probably a lot better due to years of usage, experience, and practice. If you acquire a new language in mature years, as a young adult, you're far less likely to forget your first language, but your mastery of your second language may still exceed your mother tongue in the course of decades. Besides, some children grow up bilingual and trilingual, and in many such cases it may be difficult and complicated to determine which is the first, the second, and the third language and so on.

As an example from well-known history, take England in the high middle ages, when the country had three languages (Middle English, French, and Latin). Middle English survived as a mother tongue after the Norman conquest (1066) because when the ruling class, the Normans, gradually lost contact with their old country (France) they married English women who spoke English to their children.


Spiritual considerations

It has been argued, from a spiritual-anthroposophical point of view, that because Chomsky is a materialist, he doesn't consider language to be a gift of the gods, but a function of the brain. He doesn't ask who designed that multi-nuanced language program. Personally, I don't think that's of much consequence in Chomsky's case. It's easy to fill in the gaps. When children are born with a deep structure for later language learning (the surface structures), one may easily conclude that this deep structure has been in the making in pre-existence, i.e. prior to conception and birth. So the theory stands as it is, with or without the spiritual deepening.

I don't think the absence of a "designer" with regard to the deep structure matters that much for Chomsky's theory at present, although it may certainly corroborate it in the future. Spiritually speaking, the surface structures, the human languages themselves, have come into existence through the Archangels, in their capacity as folk spirits, guardians of peoples and nations, the architects of human languages. This means that when one consciously acquires a second or third language later than early childhood, it may be very helpful to be aware of this and consciously work with these Archangels. This is also the case for translators, especially when poetry and classical literature is to be recreated in a different tongue. You want to retain the meanings and intentions of the original author in a manner that has the same beauty, flow, poetry, nuances, subtext (between the lines) in the language you're translating into. And this can't be done without the active cooperation of the two Archangels involved in any given translation, consciously or subconsciously. That's how you get Shakespeare in German, for instance, or Goethe in English.

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Sunday, August 21, 2011

How to Dodge Big Brother in the Supersensible World

All over the industrialized world, there is increasing concern about government eavesdropping and espionage against private citizens. People are encouraged by police and intelligence communities to report suspicious utterances and extreme views. British police tells public to report anarchists and any information about them, then they retract all of it in embarrassment. In Norway, the public are encouraged to report any extreme views they come across on the internet or elsewhere.

Whenever you type something online, remember the internet never forgets. And if you don't upload your rants, the police have technologies called computer forensics to figure out what you've written and stored on your disk, even if you've deleted it.

One may always assume, at least to be on the alert and the safe side, that every phone call we make -- landline, IP, skype, cell phone, whatever -- every email we send, every message we write even to closed and private e-groups, is being monitored for certain key words or buzz words, in every language used by humanity. Cities have cameras everywhere, in the streets, in service stations, restaurants, even toilets (to keep junkies from shooting up). And we never know where the microphones may be.

Let's assume, for the sake of argument here, that you've mastered enough self-discipline to refrain from written or oral utterances that have not been thoroughly purged in thought, and that you have developed the habit of never writing or speaking, not even whispering, anything you don't want the public or the authorities to learn about. And you never talk in your sleep. Like a top professional spy or secret agent. Total paranoia, absolute conspiracy. Worst case scenario. Or is it? No, it isn't, we're not through yet.

Theoretically, they can still get to your thoughts and your dreams, even though you've never expressed these through language, nor through graphic imagery like drawings, paintings, sculptures etc. How? I'm not talking about the piece I wrote for fun two years ago, The Deep Agents of the Rocky Mountains. No, I mean EEG and things like that, technologies that can monitor your cerebral activities in a laboratory. They can hook you up when you're sleeping and monitor your dreams through brainwave activities.

The fact is that when we fall asleep, our astral body and "I"-organization leave our physical and etheric bodies. During deep, dreamless sleep, this separation is complete, and no brain activities are present and can therefore not be monitored. During dreaming, however, the astral body interacts with the etheric body, the body of thoughts and memories and so on. But imagine what would happen if a person had been capable of maintaining wide awake consciousness after exiting the etheric and physical bodies with the astral body and the "I". This person would then be capable of perceiving the beings and the activities of the spiritual world that is imperceptible to ordinary consciousness. And on the physical plane, there would only be a physical organism in the state of sleep, with no activities in the brain or other parts of the central nervous system to betray these activities, this consciousness.

Rudolf Steiner writes in the fifth chapter of GA 13, An Outline of Occult Science:
"Man acquires a knowledge of higher worlds if he develops a third soul state besides sleep and waking. During its waking state the soul surrenders itself to sense-impressions and thoughts that are aroused by these impressions. During sleep the sense-impressions cease, but the soul also loses its consciousness. The experiences of the day sink into the sea of unconsciousness. Let us now imagine that the soul might be able during sleep to become conscious despite the exclusion of all sense-impressions as is the case in deep sleep, and even though the memories of the day's experiences were lacking. Would the soul, in that case, find itself in a state of nothingness? Would it be unable to have any experiences? An answer to these questions is only possible if a similar state of consciousness can actually be induced, if the soul is able to experience something even though no sense-activities and no memory of them are present in it. The soul, in regard to the ordinary outer world, would then find itself in a state similar to sleep, and yet it would not be asleep, but, as in the waking state, it would confront a real world. Such a state of consciousness can be induced if the human being can bring about the soul experiences made possible by spiritual science; and everything that this science describes concerning the worlds that lie beyond the senses is the result of research in just such a state of consciousness."
This is the state of initiation, a place where Big Brother can't reach you by any material means. But you're not home free yet. Behind the police, behind the intelligence communities, governments, state authorities, all of whom know absolutely nothing of this, there are secret groups of so-called left-handed initiates who can stalk you on the other side of the threshold of consciousness described. Politicians, heads of state, department heads and other official leaders, are merely the unknowing puppets of these small groups that are so secret that only initiates know about them. So on the other side of the threshold, you perceive and interact with non-corporeal beings, spiritual beings, benevolent and malevolent, discarnate human souls, animal group souls, national and ethnic folk souls and so on. And the only effective protection against left-handed initiates trying to pry into your supersensible activities consists of the certainy of knowledge that they're there, and what they're up to.

But there are also secret societies of an entirely different kind, where the members are so-called right-handed occultists and initiates. The idea behind the secrecy is to do good and charitable deeds for others anonymously, to reap no credit, recognition or reward for such acts. We see all the time how all kinds of achievers lavish each other with public prizes, awards, honors and what have you. Members of secret right-handed organizations want nothing of the sort.

So behind the curtain of sense-perception and ordinary brain-bound consciousness, occultists and initiates work in secret, for good and for evil.

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