Tuesday, April 24, 2018

THE ICON VS. THE ZOMBIE (YOUR "SMARTPHONE")



WHO AM I?
     The Icon is a solid, art object with no moving or electronic parts which is comprised of linen stretched across a specially routed board and painted with a special gesso (rabbit skin glue, chalk and white pigment). This surface is sanded smooth and painted with layer upon layer of earth and ground semi-precious stones mixed with special mineral oils. Gold leaf is applied to specific areas with rabbit hair glue which is warmed with the human breath and burnished with a polished stone. The paint preparation techniques and formulas have been passed down and were the same ones used to paint the Sistine Chapel and other revered works of art. The Icon images are drenched with layers of meaning from spiritual symbolism designed with the intention of moving the soul and touching the heart of the viewer, consciously or unconsciously.
     The “SmartPhone” is made of a motherboard which is circuit board on which has been designed in a utilitarian, non-symbolic pattern. Gold is printed on  the motherboard and pre-drilled to receive electronic components which are comprised of silicon and other precious earths (lead, silver and palladium). The screen of the “SmartPhone” is a Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) made up of layer upon layer of glass, plastic and liquid crystalline. Lithium metal oxide batteries power the motherboard. Once powered, moving images flutter on the LCD display in patterns guided by software written by engineers. No single image ever really appears on the LCD display as the array of pixels are charged. The rapidly moving image(s) cause the brain to work with extra intensity in order to attempt the impossible - to fill in the blanks between the illuminated pixels and “make sense” out of what is moving so rapidly that it is a non-sensical image.

WHY AM I HERE?
     The Icon has been around for centuries with several specific and extremely meaningful roles to perform: first is to inspire the devotees who create Icons – called Icon Writers.  As the outer Icon is written, an inner Icon is inscribed into the heart and inner life of the Icon Writer – striving for beauty, balance, harmony and skill is a challenge. Secondly, the Icon is blessed by the Church and becomes a meaningful addition to the Community into which it is housed. Thirdly, the Icon’s symbolism inspires the religious and spiritual feeling life within the individual who behold it. And, Fourth, the Icon is a portal through which the Spiritual Being depicted on the Icon is able to perceive and interact with the physical world.
     The “SmartPhone” runs application software which is designed to perform specific tasks, gains energy from WIFI, and other sources across networks and receives signals beamed by Low Earth Orbiting (LEO) satellites which enwrap us all like a non-spiritual web. The LCD screen contains a substance which is both liquid and crystalline (solid) and is arranged in front of a thin film of transistors (TFT) which polarizes light. This dancing light captivates the human cognitive functions with hyper-kinetic visual activity and a dynamic multi-touch surface. Children, particularly, find these screens as something which totally captures their attention and shuts down all normal, natural thinking processes. For us, too.

WHAT DO I WANT?
     A Zombie is an animated corpse raised by magical means. A Zombie is an animated, non-living entity which is will-less, speechless and is able to function due to powers outside itself. If the forces animating the Zombie are evil or malevolent, Zombies do their will, they are powerless to do otherwise.
The same is true of a portable computer or “SmartPhone”. At a minimum , a “SmartPhone” is an agent animated by forces far beyond the individual human. Once in hand, the human consciousness is affected by the technology and we comes to rely on the technology for at least a certain portion of our thinking, feeling and will life. For most of us, it takes a large effort to disconnect totally from a "SmartPhone" as we consider them "important", even perhaps "essential" in our day-to-day lives. We revere them.
Are they malevolent? In computer lingo, a “Zombie” is term used to describe a computer or “SmartPhone” which has been accessed by a remote attacker in order to forward spam, viruses, or other instructions and so becomes a technological malevolent or evil force.
In our lives today, “SmartPhones” with animated LCD screens are Zombies whose dancing, images are corpses or non-living imaginations activated by technology which capture the attention of adults and children and transform them into beings who do the bidding of the technology (“Pay Attention to ME!”). They diminish or do away with the key human function of thinking and questioning. Does this attack our free will?
Icons are quite the opposite. They use solid, fixed images created by a devoted human with natural materials to put ancient symbols in front of us which pose a question as to their meaning. Or the question may arise within us as to “Why we have no feeling whatsoever for this object?” “Why is reverence so weak within me?”
The symbols on the Icon, even for a non-believer, may cause a “resonance” within our minds and hearts and lead us to ask questions about how to understand the meaning of images. “What are those lightning bolts coming out of St. Michael’s neck?” They activate us rather than shutting us down. The Icon presents questions or mysteries with which the human must work out the answers themselves. Wrestling with these questions make us more human.
The Zombie is about injecting information, data or pre-digested knowledge into the individual in such a fashion that we do not question.  The Zombie “SmartPhone” consumes our consciousness making us un-dead and captured by technology.

© Copyright 2014, Jean W. Yeager
All Rights Reserved
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Sunday, April 15, 2018

MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE

WHO AM I?
    Mine is a very small, digital boat called a blog which sails on a very big electronic ocean called the World Wide Web. My boat navigates toward very large cyber-constellations called Facebook, Stumble Upon, Twitter and others. Mine is a very tenuous and vulnerable craft which heads out on notions as strong illusions powered by money and profit. These days all of the cyber-constellations are filled with shooting stars and Mega-You-Tube-Astroids used for business purposes. The volume of technology which now includes audio, video and Triple-Tweets swamp small boats like mine.  The single text, "message in a bottle" which my blog puts out one at a time is a relic of the past something which makes me feel like a typographic castaway.
    The reality of the World Wide Web is that it is an actual web of electronic signals carried by Low Earth Orbiting (LEO) satellites which downlink and connect with large networks in various countries around the globe. The LEOs hold  fixed positions over different countries.
    High above the LEOs in the space-time continuum, out in the cosmos are genuine constellations such as Orion, Leo, Capricorn, Sagittarius, and others. Some say the constellations and certain planets are spiritual communities. 
    Many of the folks with whom my little boat travels rely on the genuine constellations to orient themselves for the seasons, gardening tasks, fishing, hunting, hiking and travel in our daily lives on earth. In addition, we rely on the Sun and the Moon, daylight, moon-glow, winds, clouds, and seasons - things which do not exist in the cyber realm.
    My message in a bottle is not a real, physical message in a real, physical bottle. My messages are digital pleas for help, queries, innuendo and encouragement - as the lyrics to a Sting song says: "Only hope can keep me together. Love can mend your life. But, Love can break your heart."(1)

WHY AM I HERE?
    Why does a person send a message in a bottle out onto a very big and complicated cyber-sea such as the World Wide Web? What difference does one small message make in the vast life of Internet users and the very few numbers of readers of my blog? Would I have more chance of actually delivering a message to someone if I were to put a note into a real bottle, cork it, and toss it into the beach I recently visited in Maine?
    On occasion I get some indication back that someone has read a post. This closes the loop on the cyber communication process. One may have followers for Tweets. So you feel  something of two-way communication slowly grows. The software for the blog tells me that of the 1,000 castaway visitors a month, 500 are new – and 500 return to read some more messages. So, we can take comfort in knowing "...you are not alone at being alone."(1)
    I'm using a few lyrics from the song which Sting wrote many years ago, "Message In A Bottle". The song has millions of sales/uses. Sting gives us an image of billions of bottles washing up at his location in response to his sending an S.O.S. - "Hundreds of millions of castaways looking for a home." (1)
    It seems like many of us are castaways in our digital age. It's almost as if the LEO net over our head and the gizmos which capture our attention, create in us a deep longing for the truth - for the real - for authentic relationships.

WHAT DO I WANT?
    It is ironic, but not at all surprising that Sting, the man who authored "Message In A Bottle" is new putting new messages in bottles. A few years ago, Sting met and worked with a good friend of mine named Alan York who died not too many months ago. Alan was a master Biodynamic (BD) gardener and viticultualist. Alan and I worked together on the American BD Association Board many years ago.  We swapped stories about growing up in Texas and metaphysics. 
    Alan had been the consultant who helped Sting bring his vineyards into Biodynamic practice. One of the things that one can say with all certainty is that Biodynamic wine or juices deliver a "message in the bottle". Allen devoted his life to sending messages in bottles.
    The message which Biodynamic wine or juices send is one of Truth and Authenticity. The practices seek to unite the forces of place, nature, Sun, Moon, Constellations and the morality of the grower and wine maker. In addition, BD incorporates spiritual practices aimed at supporting the health of the soil and plants - the grape in this case. If done correctly, you can experience a qualitative difference in each taste. Quality, vitality, and health are not bad living messages to take from a bottle.
    So, I am sending this digital "message in a bottle" post to all of us who feel we are castaways adrift on this digital ocean. Join with me in connecting with those who help us reconnect with an authentic life - as above, so below.

NOTES:
(1) "Message In A Bottle"

(c) Copyright 2014, Jean W Yeager
All Rights Reserved

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Friday, April 13, 2018

FAILURE GOES BIG

WHO AM I?
    I am the Being of Failure. My minions are Legion; meaning that my operations are highly diversified and my product line EXTREMELY well accepted. This era is one of my favorites. LOT of failure to go around. By whose standard are you a failure?

    99% of the Twitter, Facebook, and Social Media posts tell you that you are a failure according to one or another research poll. “Research”, that’s the magic, scientific-sounding word.  Admit it, you don’t feel rich enough, smart enough, happy enough, or have a relationship that is PERFECT.

    So, you are a failure by somebody’s scale. Researchers create these polls and scales for self-promotion - to get greater “re-tweets”, “likes” or “shares”. You feel bad and justify your failure because so many other people are failures, too. Then you “share” and pull somebody else down and help them realize they are failures because they don’t do this or that, or because they DO do this or that.

    Multi-level failure marketing. Nice. Helps failure continue to be used by the largest Corporations, Brands, Megalomaniacs, Potentates, Clans, Governments and Religions.

     Was I worried there for a moment?  Nah, not really. Failure goes big.



WHY AM I HERE?

     Failure is a communications motivational model used in Economics, Religion and Politics worldwide. It’s called an “Injection” model because we “inject” fear of failure into ALL situations.

     Economically fear of failure sets up motivation. You buy stuff and do stuff to compensate for an inner felt lack. For example, an 87 year old Mother-In-Law might buy “ANTI-AGING CREAM” from QVC in gallon buckets. Or, you might buy new i

Gizmo. Or dip your tootsies into exotic beaches because... you have to prove to yourself you are not an economic failure! Nice.

     Religiously, failure means, once again, you failed! You have got to get control of yourself. Try harder. Be better, do gooder or else... JUDGMENT! Ah, Judgment. My old theocratic friend.

     Politically, fear of failure means you will vote the candidate who is promising you what you want, not necessarily what they can or will deliver: better life? Better job? Lower taxes? A safety net? Kill your enemies? Keep you safer (whatever that means)? Yes, you will vote for the one who makes sure your COUNTRY is rich, powerful, beautiful, young and NOT A FAILURE!  (See how this works?)



WHAT DO I WANT?

     The last thing Failure wants is to fail. But, what is GENUINE success to Failure?

     If I have GENUINELY succeeded - not just the spin-offs, but GENUINE - you feel SHAME.

     Not the “fake shame” that 99% of those polls, or “authorities”, bosses, bullies try to use to manipulate you, into buying something, following the rules, or voting for the fear monger; Not that.

But, GENUINE, deep down inside, cheek-burning shame. Soul chilling, heart dropping, tear creating Shame. The Shame which is related to a part of you which goes deep inside. This Shame awakens you to yourself. Helps you become aware of your self-illusions, self-deceptions, one-sidedness, ignorance, egotism, vanity, and other truths we have been hiding from yourself.

     Your reality. Hit that Shame, and a specific, genuine weakness emerges to stand beside you and confront you. “Hey! Did it again, didn’t you?”

One by one as you go through life, they will emerge. They are real. Feel the Shame. Get the wisdom. Correct those weaknesses one-by-one. 

That’s what Failure wants – to be useful, genuinely.

Oh, and, here are things you CANNOT FAIL AT: Being tender. Have self-compassion. Practicing Fortitude to face each weakness.

One final thing? Could someone please help that 87 year old Mother In Law to trowel those gallons of ANTI-AGING CREAM from those buckets onto her house? The paint is peeling. ;>)



© Copyright 2015, Jean W. Yeager
All rights Reserved

@threesimpleques FAILURE GOES BIG - I am the Being of Failure. My minions are Legion. My product line is accepted well. Check us out! http://goo.gl/Jw9Ooh

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

REPORT OF TEACHING RUDOLF STEINER’S ”SIX SUPPLEMENTARY EXERCISES” IN MY LOCAL JAIL - RUTLAND, VERMONT 2015



Dear Readers -
Sorry to break the form of the blog but
I wanted to share this with you.
--Jean 
BACKGROUND:
“A Call To Arms on a Vermont’s Heroin Epidemic” – NEW YORK TIMES, February 27,2014
The New Face of Heroin”  ROLLING STONE, April 3, 2014

REPORT OF TEACHING  RUDOLF STEINER’S :”SIX SUPPLEMENTARY EXERCISES”:
TO JAIL INMATES IN RUTLAND, VERMONT 2015

                In February 2014, the New York Times and regional television news channels unofficially dubbed Rutland, Vermont (my hometown) the “heroin capital” of the U.S.  Like many areas, loss of jobs, bad economic times, and other social factors, made our area easy prey to dealers. This was not news to us who were residents of Rutland, but we were shocked to learn how bad it really was. We were naïve and “asleep”.
My son who moved in with my wife and I that February asked me if I knew what was really going on with frequent, short stops by cars at my neighbor’s house. I had to admit I didn’t know.”  My, son, who had joined us after his own “rough patch” at age 29 who lived for months in a ghetto in Florida, informed me that it was a good bet that the boy next door was selling drugs. I was stunned.
                Within a year, the community reacted to this apparent epidemic and began a large-scale effort of police, city policy wonks (housing), everyday citizens, business people and mental-health workers to attempt to change the dynamics within the community. A project “Vision” was launched which is underway today and. I have been a volunteer in this effort since it was launched. Everyone has been encouraged to get involved in any way. 

SIX EXERCISES – EIGHT WEEKS
                We moved to Vermont from Michigan a number of years ago. When I lived in Michigan, I taught an 8-week introduction Steiner’s “Six Supplementary Exercises” to inmates in maximum security prisons. In April 2015, I proposed to offer this program at our local jail in Rutland, the Marble Valley Correctional Institution (MVCI).  I use the pamphlet, “Self Development In The Penitentiary” by Fred Janney, Board Chair of the Anthroposophic Prison Outreach (APO) program sponsored by the Anthroposophical Society in America.
                This time I was to incorporate material from David Kahneman’s book, “Thinking, Fast and Slow”. Kahneman put important scientific research “wheels” under Steiner’s exercises in that Kahneman articulated two systems within the human psyche: System 1 (S1) an “automatic system” for thinking, feeling, and willing. S1 is our automatic “set-up” practices about which we are casual. And, research identified System 2 (S2) an “effortful” system by which we challenge our in-built, automatic system. Steiner’s exercises are all about moving from S1 behavior to S2.
Steiner offers something Kahneman doesn’t - specific exercises for S2 thinking, S2 intentions, and S2 feelings, S2 openness, S2 positivity. The exercises represent the kind of an “architecture” which actually gives inmates meaningful experiences of change which in being different – no matter how briefly. The six exercises are like spokes on a wheel which revolve around a central hub of personal integrity – a subject of much conversation – how to have a chance to change and rebuild a life.
The architecture was identified by the late John Davy many years ago when he compared the six exercises to Kűbler-Ross’ steps to recovery in Death and Dying:  denial requires new thinking, anger is a rebellion of the will, bargaining requires equanimity, depression is healed with positivity, acceptance needs openness and hope comes from harmony. Certainly, the men incarcerated will go through these steps at some time, consciously or not.
                Jail is different from prison. In prison men are incarcerated for years. In jail, weeks or months.I had 25 inmates over the 8 weeks. Five of those completed all eight weeks and were given “certificate” of completion which may have value in their parole process.  The ages were as young as 20s and as old as 50s. Most crimes were non-violent.
                The weeks were:
(1) Introductions / Overview, “Rules Of The Road”,
(2) Control of Thinking – practice in concentration, focused thinking, overcoming “flighty” thoughts, distraction and finding an undisturbed period.
(3) Control of Intentions – mastery of impulses, regularity, accomplishment.
(4) Control of Feelings – tolerance, forbearance, equilibrium and equanimity.
(5) Positivity – looking for the good, the true, and the beautiful in each situation. (The guys said to me, “Are you kidding, Jean? We’re in JAIL!” So, I replied: “Okay – what’s your option? Look for the bad (evil), the false and the ugly? Lots of that around here. Your choice.)
(6) Open mindedness – the ability to not let the past dictate the future, staying flexible, meeting other minds.
(7) Harmony / Balance – repetition of exercises.
(8) Maintenance - Creating choice architecture which eliminates S1.
                The weekly sessions became opportunities for men to discuss the experience of incarceration and how to make choices to improve their experiences – inside and out of jail. Shared problem solving emerged regarding all sorts of issues: recovery, dysfunctional family dynamics (“That teenager just pushes my buttons!) and internal jail pressures were handled within Steiner’s framework.
                Following the 8-weeks, I conduced a follow-on 4-weeks of “Communication Skills” which added listening, questioning, and presentation skill building. Written evaluations of the 8-week program were provided to Jail Administration and we intend to repeat the program on an ongoing basis.
                I encourage each of you to get involved where you live. By teaching these very simple exercises, we get to practice them again and again, and some of us (me) need that. Are they really “supplementary”? “Supplementary” to what? These ARE the exercises.
-          Jean Yeager. Rutland, Vermont
-          Jwyeager2@gmail.com
 
THINKING, FAST AND SLOW, Daniel Kahneman, Farrar Strauss and Giroux, NY, 2011
SIX STEPS IN SELF-DEVELOPMENT The Supplementary Exercises, Rudolf Steiner, Selected by Ates Baydur, Rudolf Steiner Press, 2010
HOPE EVOLUTION AND CHANGE, John Davy, Hawthorne Press, 1990