Monday, April 29, 2019

"THE KITE OF OUR GENIUS - SAIL ON!" - "Winner 2017 AGELESS AUTHORS Essay Category

IF YOU ARE OVER AGE 65 - ENTER THE 2018 AGELESS AUTHORS WRITING CONTEST - Accepting entries through February 28, 2018 -  http://www.agelessauthors.com/

Age 12 is one of those tension filled crossing points in life. It is a time when the tenderness of childhood is waning and we are beginning to test our growing bodies, to create our intellect. Our genius arrives in a “do-it-yourself kit”. But, there are no specific instructions, we must struggle to form it. We wrestle with this unique, “higher self” and fashion all kinds of challenges, inner and outer, large and small. Our gifts seem to emerge from our engagement in, or our fleeing from life.
When I was 12 my family lived in a particularly windy part of Colorado just east of the Rocky Mountains out on the prairies in a bedroom community named Broomfield just between Boulder and Denver. The wind blew so much out there that the metallic threshold on our front door vibrated whenever the wind velocity topped 40 miles an hour, which was frequently, at all hours of day or night.
My mother had been a young woman in the “Dirty 30s” in the Midwest and Texas. That was the era of drought and giant clouds of dust which would blow up, become storms and roll across the open prairies engulfing farms and lives. So, she knew the tragedy borne by ill winds of the Great Depression and World War II. In 1961, when I was 12, my father was in the midst of a political “dust up” in his job which would eventually lead us to being blown off the Colorado prairies and tumbling toward a new life in San Antonio, Texas.
Age 12 is also the age of grandeur. Grand ideas, big challenges are just the thing for learning life lessons. In my case, life gave us wind, lots of wind, we foolhardy boys seeking a thrill made “bike boats”. “Bike boats” were a way for us to test ourselves, our creativity and seek lofty adventure.
Two kids would ask our mothers for an old, worn-out bedsheet and getting on our bikes, hold the sheet between us so it caught the wind like a sail and propel us. We would ride our bicycles holding the sheet with hands off the handlebars rocketing down dirt farm roads, whooping and hollering.
When we crashed, and we did crash, we got the tragedy we apparently wanted to experience. The world, life, gave us feed-back on our “great and adventuresome ideas”. We would limp home, trying not to cry, practicing swear words aimed at the wind, dragging along our busted bikes, sprains and bruises and composing great lies about our adventures and daring one another for our next even grander exploit.
My father may have saved me from further damage when he gave me one of the best, yet perhaps most modest gift that a father could ever a boy – a bundle of raw, balsa wood kite sticks.
“Look what I found at the Army surplus store!” he said with sparkling eyes as he physically radiated glee.
There must have been 100 pre-made sets of kite sticks without the cheap paper covering that was typically found in that era’s 10-cent drugstore kites. A broken kite stick was less threatening than a broken limb. So, for the next several weeks, while our bruises healed, my friends and I (and my Dad) made kites, dozens of kites of all configurations.
We became kites.

Genius will work with whatever it has at hand in order to fashion you. At age 12, through your imagination and inspiration, your genius will take whatever you give it to a higher level.
A stick becomes a wand and you become a Harry Potter. A basketball and a plastic box nailed to a telephone pole and you become LeBron James. A homeless little girl named Ella Fitzgerald transforms a neighborhood talent contest into the launch pad for a lifetime singing career. Slavery, neglect and horrific abuse spins George Washington Carver into the heights of scientific insight.
The greater the headwind challenge of youth, the higher the potential to rise. 12 year olds are the holy boy (puer aerternus) or the holy girl (puella aerterna), the genius we ride in our lives to great grandeur is the kite of our selves.

Kites are all about capturing the tension between two dynamic sets of polar opposites in two bent sticks. Each of the two kite sticks is like a different aspect of our genius. Both must be put under tension and bent into an arc and both are joined together. The vertical stick represents our upright self which stands between the spiritual and the earthly poles. The horizontal stick represents that which goes between our self as an individual and the world.
If we put too much pressure on any stick, it might crack. In kite making, you have to risk in order to have enough arc to generate lift.  Adding tension in life is risky because genius is both positive and negative, there is always the danger of unbridled egoism, hubris, anger or violence; or fear, depression and brooding.
      The sticks are bent to create a wing shape and high flyers are the ones who can create more than enough draught to create lift well in excess of the weight of their situation. It’s a mix of wing span, angle of the wing and velocity of the wind.
Genius inspires all arts, transforms all effort into art, and all people into artists. The configuration or the form of the art is the wingspan. For a writer, a haiku, for example, is a short, intense form with high imaginative velocity.  Meaning, inspired in the reader, gives lift (or not). The angle of the message rises above culture and makes use of the headwinds. Genius inspires all the arts.
Genius, can be craft, all hand work, or earth focused and inspired as well – contractors, carpenters, mechanics, farmers, or gardeners. We all have connections with the spirit and with our communities.
Kites can spin out of control if the genius is too intense and one sided. A kite can spin in a strong wind and won’t rise unless there is counterbalance. A kite, a genius, requires a counter balance – a tail.

Kite tails are bits of fabric, usually cast aside fabric, torn up and tied together and attached to the earthly end of the spirit / earth pole. Separate bits of life brought together. Each is like a memory perhaps of attempts, failures, regrets, embarrassments, tragedies. Bike boat crashes. Gravity. These are what gives weight to our souls. Our shame adds heaviness. We are glad they have sunk down beneath our consciousness, but they are not gone, never gone. They balance out our enthusiasm. They are the fruits of our lies. Our seasoning. Our tempering. Our scars. The tail of the kite of our lives.
Some wise high flyers with special genius to see into the spiritual world have said that when we die, and we look behind ourselves as we ascend into the spiritual world and see that our egoism, failures, misdeeds, sins and errors stream behind us like the tail on the kite of our genius. They are the tail of the kite of our genius.
The memorial services which I have attended for friends have a public portion in which we speak and honor the genius of the dear-departed friend. And at the same time, we sit in unspoken silent remembrance of their flight, including the choices which held them back.
The headwind of life continue to blow no matter how old we are. There is a chance to rise even higher than before. Are we able to rise with it? Do we still struggle? Do we risk failure? Bike boats of elder-age? Are we still in contact with the source of the good and holy of our genius?
Our final years are tension filled crossing points in life. We wrestle to free ourselves from what we have created during our life in order to rise again. This is another “do it yourself” kit.
Sail on.

(C) Copyright 2016, Jean W. Yeager - All Rights Reserved
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Friday, April 26, 2019

AUTHORITARIAN EYES

WHO ARE THEY?
They are the stern, staring eyes of those grim-faced Republican candidates in the recent CNN promotion for their 16 December 2015 debate. And, they are an example of “resonance advertising” based on the latest social psychological research.
     Resonance Advertising is the most non-conscious evocative form of advertising. Developed by the late Tony Schwartz, the methodology was used by Lyndon Johnson’s campaign to literally blow Barry Goldwater’s presidential bid out of the water with a commercial called “Picking Daisies” which ended with the image of a thermonuclear explosion. Emotionally, though not literally, the :30 second television commercial called up subconscious voter fear that a vote for Goldwater would lead to nuclear war with the Russians.
     The CNN promo has only a drum beat audio, subconsciously saying military or regimentation, and the images are face after face of the leading Republican candidates staring menacingly at the camera.
     Powerful, eh? They are watching you.

WHY ARE THEY DOING THIS?
     Social psychological research has shown that photos of stern, staring eyes are a psychological “prime” – they prime the situation with meanings that come from within us. Hence “resonance” advertising. Powerful images which call forth deep-seated emotional responses.
When added to the test environment of several studies; images of stern, staring eyes cause significantly measurable reactions among test participants. In one case, simply switching the photos on the wall above a “honor box” in a student canteen, led students to “feel guilty” and give money for coffee refreshments even though there was no printed or verbal directive to do so. Such images of these eyes are “authoritarian”.
The research went on to prove that people of an older generation (like “Baby Boomers”) are more susceptible to responding to these “authoritarian” eyes. (Oh great!)
     What do these images hope to communicate? Here are some possibilities: Authority. Seriousness. Control. Gravitas. You will change your behavior. We are your leaders.

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Monday, April 22, 2019

REMIX - “FACING KARMA” BY RUDOLF STEINER


A remix of wisdom from the past and the present – contemporary lyrics adding a dimension to the through-line message of Steiner’s lecture.
EXCERPTS FROM “FACING KARMA” A LECTURE BY RUDOLF STEINER

LYRICS BY: Paul Simon, Bob Marley, Bob Dylan, The Band, Eric Clapton (“Cream”),  The Beatles, The Wallflowers. Bruce Springsteen, and Tom Petty.


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THE BOY IN THE BUBBLE – PAUL SIMON


“The Boy In The Bubble”

It was a slow day
And the sun was beating
On the soldiers by the side of the road
There was a bright light
A shattering of shopwindows
The bomb in the baby carriage
Was wired to the radio

These are the days of miracle and wonder
This is the long-distance call
The way the camera follows us in slo-mo
The way we look to us all
The way we look to a distant constellation
That’s dying in a corner of the sky
These are the days of miracle and wonder
And don’t cry baby don’t cry
Don’t cry.


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RUDOLF STEINER: 
Why do we need comfort, consolation in life? Because we may be sad about a number of events, or because we suffer as a result of pains that afflict us. It is natural that, at first, man reacts to pain as though he is rebelling inwardly against it. He wonders why he has to stand pain. “Why am I afflicted by this pain? Why is life not arranged for me in such a way that I don't suffer pain, that I am content?” These questions can only be answered satisfactorily on the basis of true knowledge concerning the nature of human karma, of human destiny. Why do we suffer in the world? We refer here to outer as well as to inner sufferings that arise in our psychic organization and leave us unfulfilled. Why are we met by such experiences that leave us unsatisfied? (6)

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REDEMPTION SONG – BOB MARLEY


"Redemption Song"

Old pirates, yes, they rob I;
Sold I to the merchant ships,
Minutes after they took I
From the bottomless pit.
But my hand was made strong
By the hand of the Almighty.
We forward in this generation
Triumphantly.
Won't you help to sing
These songs of freedom? -
'Cause all I ever have:
Redemption songs;
Redemption songs.


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RUDOLF STEINER:


By far the greater part of our pain and suffering is sought by imperfections that we have brought over from previous incarnations. Since we have these imperfections within ourselves, there is a wiser man in us than we ourselves are who chooses the road to pain and suffering. (9)
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GOTTA SERVE SOMEBODY – BOB DYLAN



"Gotta Serve Somebody"

You may be an ambassador to England or France
You may like to gamble, you might like to dance
You may be the heavyweight champion of the world
You may be a socialite with a long string of pearls.

But you're gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You're gonna have to serve somebody,
It may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you're gonna have to serve somebody.


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RUDOLF STEINER:


It is, indeed, one of the golden rules of life that we all carry in us a wiser man than we ourselves are, a much wiser man. The one to whom we say, “I,” in ordinary life is less wise. If it was left to this less wise person in us to make a choice between pain and joy, he would undoubtedly choose the road toward joy. But the wiser man is the one who reigns in the depth of our unconscious and who remains inaccessible to ordinary consciousness. (9A)


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THE WEIGHT – THE BAND


"The Weight"

I pulled into Nazareth, was feelin' about half past dead
I just need some place where I can lay my head
"Hey, mister, can you tell me where a man might find a bed?"
He just grinned and shook my hand, "no" was all he said

Take a load off, Fanny
Take a load for free
Take a load off, Fanny
And (and) (and) you put the load right on me
(You put the load right on me)


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RUDOLF STEINER:


He directs our gaze away from easy enjoyment and kindles in us a magic power that seeks the road of pain without our really knowing it. But what is meant by the words: Without really knowing it? They mean that the wiser man in us prevails over the less wise one. He always acts in such a way that our shortcomings are guided to our pains and he makes us suffer because with every inner and outer suffering we eliminate one of our faults and become transformed into something better. (9b)


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CROSSROADS – ERIC CLAPTON /. CREAM


"Crossroads"

I went down to the crossroads, fell down on my knees.
Down to the crossroads, fell down on my knees.
Asked the Lord above for mercy, "Save me if you please."

I went down to the crossroads, tried to flag a ride.
Down to the crossroads, tried to flag a ride.
Nobody seemed to know me, everybody passed me by.

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RUDOLF STEINER:


Little is accomplished if one tries to understand these words theoretically. Much more can be gained when one creates sacred moments in life during which one is willing to use all one's energy in an effort to fill one's soul with the living content of such words. Ordinary life, with all its work, pressure, commotion and duties provides little chance to do so. In this setting, it is not always possible to silence the less wise man in us. But when we create a sacred moment in life, short as it may be, then we can say, “I will put aside the transitory effects of life; I will view my sufferings in such a way that I feel how the wise man in me has been attracted by them with a magic power. (10)


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YESTERDAY – THE BEATLES


"Yesterday"

Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away
Now it looks as though they're here to stay
Oh, I believe in yesterday

Suddenly, I'm not half the man I used to be
There's a shadow hanging over me.
Oh, I yesterday came suddenly

Why she had to go I don't know she wouldn't say
I said something wrong, now I long for yesterday


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RUDOLF STEINER:


We may now move on to another step in our experience. The anthroposophist should be determined to take this other step only after he has comforted himself many times with regard to his sufferings in the way just described. The experience that may now be added consists of looking at one's joys and at everything that has occurred in life in the way of happiness. He who can face destiny without bias and as though he had himself wanted his sufferings, will find himself confronted by a strange reaction when he looks at his joy and happiness. He cannot face them in the same way that he faced his sufferings. It is easy to see how one can find comfort in suffering. He who does not believe this only has to expose himself to the experience.  (11)


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ONE HEADLIGHT – THE WALLFLOWERS


"One Headlight"

So long ago, I don't remember when
That's when they say I lost my only friend
Well they said she died easy of a broken heart disease
As I listened through the cemetery trees

I seen the sun comin' up at the funeral at dawn
The long broken arm of human law
Now it always seemed such a waste
She always had a pretty face
So I wondered how she hung around this place

[сhorus:]
Hey, come on try a little
Nothing is forever
There's got to be something better than
In the middle
But me & Cinderella
We put it all together
We can drive it home
With one headlight


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RUDOLF STEINER:


While our pain and suffering lead us to ourselves and make us more genuinely ourselves, we develop through joy and happiness, provided that we consider them as grace, a feeling that one can only describe as being blissfully embedded in the divine forces and powers of the world. Here the only justified attitude toward happiness and joy is one of gratitude. Nobody will understand joy and happiness in the intimate hours of self-knowledge when he ascribes them to his karma. If he involves karma, he commits an error that is liable to weaken and paralyze the spiritual in him. Every thought to the effect that joy and happiness are deserved actually weakens and paralyzes us. This may be a hard fact to understand because everyone who admits that his pain is inflicted upon himself by his own individuality would obviously expect to be his own master also with regard to joy and happiness. But a simple look at life can teach us that joy and happiness have an extinguishing power. Nowhere is this extinguishing effect of joy and happiness better described than in Goethe's Faust in the words, “And thus I stagger from desire to pleasure. And in pleasure I am parched with desire.” Simple reflection upon the influence of personal enjoyment shows that inherent in it is something that makes us stagger and blots out our true being.  (13)


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GLORY DAYS – BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN
http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/brucespringsteen/glorydays.html

"Glory Days"

I had a friend was a big baseball player
back in high school
He could throw that speedball by you
Make you look like a fool boy
Saw him the other night at this roadside bar
I was walking in, he was walking out
We went back inside sat down had a few drinks
but all he kept talking about was

[Chorus:]
Glory days well they'll pass you by
Glory days in the wink of a young girl's eye
Glory days, glory days 
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RUDOLF STEINER:


But inasmuch as we experience pain and suffering, we must recognize what man has made of the world during its evolution, which originally was a good world, and what he must contribute toward its betterment by educating himself to bear pain with purpose and energy.


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WON’T BACK DOWN – TOM PETTY


"I Won't Back Down"

Well I won't back down, no I won't back down
You could stand me up at the gates of hell
But I won't back down

Gonna stand my ground, won't be turned around
And I'll keep this world from draggin' me down
Gonna stand my ground and I won't back down

[Chorus:]
Hey baby, there ain't no easy way out
Hey I will stand my ground
And I won't back down


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EPILOGUE:

Clearly this is a “generational” version. If you have interest in creating another version, let me know at 3simplequestions@gmail.com and I will see if we can get it posted.  – Jean Yeager


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NOTES:

“FACING KARMA”,  by Rudolf Steiner, Vienna, February 8, 1912, GA 130


The specific paragraph quoted is numbered at the end of the segment.



REMIX FACING KARMA

© Copyright 2014, Jean W. Yeager

All Rights Reserved

All Lyric excerpts © Copyright the authors.

“Facing Karma”, Copyright Rudolf Steiner Archive

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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

HUMANITY ATTENTION DEFICIT DISORDER



WHO AM I?
     “What does it mean to be human?”
     The capacity to speak about humanity and to see humanity as a topic reflected in public conversation has disappeared. We have a hole in our consciousness when it comes to thinking about our humanity.

     If you are incapable of having a conversation about what it means to be human, does that make you inhuman? After all, one of the qualities which is essential for being a human, is to talk to one another and tell stories. Humans are the only beings which tell stories. The richest stories which have most meaning for us are about what it means to be human.

     Rarely do the stories which are reported these days talk about how “news” affects someone’s humanity.  Parents never have a conversation with their children, or one another, about their humanity. How our humanity is being changed by actions reported in the press is what the news shows never report. Humanity and the human question is the last thing that politicians want to talk about. How to protect humanity is something which cannot find its way into laws. How Corporate actions enhance our humanity certainly is not on the Fortune 50 Board agendas.

     Caring for the humanity of customers is not discussed in sales meetings. The health of the patient’s Humanity is not taught in medical schools. Is the Humanity of students  discussed enough in a majority of high schools? Are Teachers held to a humanity proficiency scale?

     Does the military give Humanity training? Are elected officials ever elected because they talk about and demonstrate their capacity for humanity?



WHY AM I HERE?

     The reason we don’t talk about our humanity is because we now have a gap in our thinking and in our culture regarding humanity. We cannot think about how our humanity is nurtured or sustained in the American culture today, because only very small groups or individuals in our broader American culture today, pay any attention at all to humanity. So, if our broader “sense of self” pays little or no attention to our humanity – or actually works against it - then we have an attention deficit regarding humanity.

     Our view of the human being is not based on general conversations about humanity or understanding of what makes us human because in order to gain power and control, the general view of the human have been reduced to viewing humanity through specific lenses – genetics, behavioral psychological, physiological, chemical / pharmaceutical, economic, culturally specific, dogmatically religiously views, or others. All valid. All important. But the specificity has left a gap in our thinking – our capacity to think about humanity is now a negative or worse – laughed at.

     We now do not want to see our humanity or the humanity of each other because if we indeed strove for this, we would have to treat one another differently. We would have to give up our specialist thinking, our professional status, our positions of power and control. If we treat one another as objects, if I am able to label you, things are so much easier.



WHAT DO I WANT?

Is our public life so one-sided in our thinking that we are unable to think about our humanity? I want Humanity to re-emerge in our public thoughts. Because some of us have lost the ready, facile ways to think about humanity – the generally human – let me put my 2-cents on the table.

Here are some basics of humanity: kindness, tenderness, goodwill, sympathy, openness, modesty and benevolence?

We don’t see these much today discussed in our outer culture. What has hardened the hearts of the outer culture and made these appear so rarely in our public thoughts today?

Or, do the do-gooders simply do the good in the private human-to-human culture without calling attention to themselves? This means, as Vaclav Havel points out, we have a “parallel polis”.  An official culture in which humanity is disappeared and a human-based culture where humanity is alive and well – but silent.

I’m afraid the outer polis has Humanity Attention Deficit Disorder. If this continues, it will be catastrophic.



© Copyright 2015, Jean W. Yeager

All rights Reserved