Archive for the Book Reports Category

John Greenleaf Whittier

Posted in Biographies, Book Reports, Poems, Poems, Rhymes, Riddles, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 3, 2020 by Drogo

John Greenleaf Whittier was a famous American poet, statesman, abolitionist, and naturalist. John was a distant cousin to my great-grandmother, Bertha Whittier Stowell. His best known poems fall into two main types: those attacking slavery (abolitionist), and those praising the charms of New England country life (naturalist).

Often called ‘the Quaker poet’, John Greenleaf Whittier was born in Haverhill, Massachusetts. His parents were Quaker farmers. Whittier’s poetry shows the influence of his Quaker religion, and rural New England background. One major influence upon his style, was the Scottish poet Robert Burns. Like Burns, Whittier wrote many ballads on rural themes; but Whittier’s wit was not as bitterly sharp as Burns.

John G. Whittier was an active abolitionist in politics, especially from 1833 to 1863. As part of the anti-slavery movement, he called for the abolition of slavery in newspaper articles; not just in his poetry. Whittier did all this, while serving in the Massachusetts legislature in 1835. The abolitionist cause dominated his poetry. In ‘The Moral Warfare’ (1838) and ‘Massachusetts To Virginia’ (1843), John Whittier bombarded the injustices of slavery in society. He also condemned what he viewed as the national hypocrisy; the problem of being founded on the ideals of freedom, yet allowing slavery.

John Greenleaf Whittier criticizes Senator Daniel Webster of Massachusetts, in his political poem ‘Ichabod’ (1850). Senator Webster (who is also a distant relative of mine) took part in the ‘Compromise of 1850’, in which run-away slaves had to be returned to their owners, no questions asked. Whittier used a restrained, dignified tone that makes ‘Ichabod’ less an offensive attack on Webster, than an expression of sympathy for his idiotic mistake.

There are three ballads in which Whittier shows his interest in the customs, legends, rural settings, and the people of New England. The earlier two are called ‘Skipper Ireson’s Ride’ (1857) and ‘Telling The Bees’ (1858). The third was his later master-piece named ‘Snow-Bound’ (1866). ‘Snow-Bound’ tells of a family marooned in their farm-house during a giant blizzard. It was his affectionate lengthy descriptions of Quaker life, combined with a rhyming prose style, that made his verses easy to follow and popular; like a classic fire-side tale being spun. In his poem, Whittier’s delicate organization and brilliant lyrical verbosity, transcends the confines of a page. ‘Snow-bound’ toys with the merry whims and remembrances of anyone who has ever spent a snowy winter in New England and survived; even long after it was written.

Audio Recording of this article

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Barbara Frietchie

Up from the meadows rich with corn,
Clear in the cool September morn,
The clustered spires of Frederick stand
Green-walled by the hills of Maryland.
Round about them orchards sweep,
Apple- and peach-tree fruited deep,
Fair as a garden of the Lord
To the eyes of the famished rebel horde,
On that pleasant morn of the early fall
When Lee marched over the mountain wall,—
Over the mountains winding down,
Horse and foot, into Frederick town.
Forty flags with their silver stars,
Forty flags with their crimson bars,
Flapped in the morning wind: the sun
Of noon looked down, and saw not one.
Up rose old Barbara Frietchie then,
Bowed with her fourscore years and ten;
Bravest of all in Frederick town,
She took up the flag the men hauled down;
In her attic window the staff she set,
To show that one heart was loyal yet.
Up the street came the rebel tread,
Stonewall Jackson riding ahead.
Under his slouched hat left and right
He glanced: the old flag met his sight.
“Halt!”— the dust-brown ranks stood fast.
“Fire!”— out blazed the rifle-blast.
It shivered the window, pane and sash;
It rent the banner with seam and gash.
Quick, as it fell, from the broken staff
Dame Barbara snatched the silken scarf;
She leaned far out on the window-sill,
And shook it forth with a royal will.
“Shoot, if you must, this old gray head,
But spare your country’s flag,” she said.
A shade of sadness, a blush of shame,
Over the face of the leader came;
The nobler nature within him stirred
To life at that woman’s deed and word:
“Who touches a hair of yon gray head
Dies like a dog! March on!” he said.
All day long through Frederick street
Sounded the tread of marching feet:
All day long that free flag tost
Over the heads of the rebel host.
Ever its torn folds rose and fell
On the loyal winds that loved it well;
And through the hill-gaps sunset light
Shone over it with a warm good-night.
Barbara Frietchie’s work is o’er,
And the Rebel rides on his raids no more.
Honor to her! and let a tear
Fall, for her sake, on Stonewall’s bier.
Over Barbara Frietchie’s grave
Flag of Freedom and Union, wave!
Peace and order and beauty draw
Round thy symbol of light and law;
And ever the stars above look down
On thy stars below in Frederick town!
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  • more to be added later 

 

SCOD Urban Architecture Notes

Posted in Alternative Architecture, Book Reports, Critical Commentary of Civilization, Historic Architecture, Languages, Politics, Pub Library, Recommendations & Tributes, SCOD Online School, Sustainability, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 17, 2020 by Drogo

American architecture has ‘plurality and duality’. We have a variety of expression with scales of space and attitude, for the rich and poor. We have a modern design duality of rectilinear and organic architecture. Rectilinear modernists have been influenced by: Gropius, Loos, Corbu, Mies, Meier, Kahn, and Johnson. Organic modernist heroes are fewer, and there are fewer of us: Wright, Moss, Gehry, Solari, and Predock.

New Urbanist sprawl still faces the problems of commercialism vs community. Their planning principles have helped us to have more mixed-use zoning, but we still have the problems of Capitalism in decline, with an expanding lower class, destroyed middle class, and imperial upper class. New developments in Maryland and West Virginia seem to ignore the problems of population debt infrastructure, ecological devastation, agricultural decline, and transportation congestion all for the sake of profit.

Moynihan said our cities were ‘soulless’, like Diogenes he was holding a lamp for architectural self-examination. Cities are not as safe as we would like, and we should always remember their epitaphs are too often ‘military target’. Violence and migration are the main problems of our ‘urbane’ urban design. We have so often been wrong in our problem solving, it is clear we need to learn more from our past patterns of tradition. The corruption in politics that creates bad planning, can only be countered by an aware and active population willing to conspire and protest more than the elites can bribe, to bring attention to values which cannot be bought. 

‘A Pattern Language’ by Chris Alexander explains how architecture is about relationships. There are many cultural associations and historical traditions that can be better than soulless sterile machines for living. Architecture is sculpture for living, and we should not ignore sociology and heritage for the sake of industrial convenience to serve a consumer society that is destroying our global environment for profit. Yes we should have standards for structures that are able to shelter us without collapsing, but sustainability must also include the arts and nature.

 

References:

American House Now‘ by Doubilet & Boles

Better Places‘ Chapter in ‘Geography of NoWhere’

‘Pattern Language’ Relationships by Chris Alexander

New Urbanism, Second Generation‘ by Beth Dunlap

The Soulless City‘ by Moynihan

 

 

 

 

Trumpian Economic Report 2020

Posted in Book Reports, Cartoon Comics, Commercial Corporations, Cooperative collaboration, Crafts, Critical Commentary of Civilization, jobs, Legal / Laws, Multimedia Communication, news, Organic Development, portraits, relationships, Services, Sales or Trade, Society Clubs or Social Groups, Sustainability, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 31, 2019 by Drogo

Artisan Vs. Commercial Market Selling

By Drogo Empedocles – January 2020

In a Trumpian economy most of us are forced to be beggars even when we offer work in return for money, due to an excess of labor not needed or desired by the rich. Trickle-down Reaganomics has failed us, and is still being pushed on us by Trump and all corporate politicians who sold out. We must resist falling to the attacks causing the destruction of our lives and plan to not just survive but rebuild a better world for our children.

Trump’s tax plan benefits the rich, and diminishes the middle class. The estate tax is gone now so that rich children can inherit all their parent’s wealth freely without earning it, while poor children suffer without deserving it. Personal exemptions have been removed. You can still itemize donations, but the standard deduction bar was raised with an overall .5% tax rate reduction. Those basic changes might negligibly benefit lower incomes, but average to upper middle class households are losing thousands on whole due to other changes in the tax plan.

I lost some financial support despite my working through the holidays on several projects. I won’t be able to do as much free or low-budget work with others, until i can secure more income to cover my own expenses at least. my income is only $700 a year recently, so i feel like i get by with quite a little actually. I only currently use one sound program most weeks, and focus on word (writing) programs, which have glitches between formats, but i am able to publish that way. So for over a year i have only been using two editing programs.

Most people should know that any work has a price; and so my work is for sale, as with any artist; we need means to live so we try to sell prints and originals if we can. If people do not know how to want to share money with others, i am not sure how i can help them except to remind them by bringing it up sometimes. I focus on my work more than sales, because i do it for the work not the sales. If i am asked to be more of a sales person i would not do it. i dont know if stating that i will keep doing my own work the way i want no matter what will reduce interest in investing in me or increase it long term; but i really do not see many options to sustain my career legacy. I may get some temporary side jobs like working for Census, but even if i got a huge increase in income what matters to me is what is created with what i have ultimately.

SCOD social capital has increased overall i believe, which is hard to define since it is not income based. I am close to founding a tristate network for hosting art, music, and writing events; but the design is mostly socially dependent, using properties in WV, MD, and VA. The financial components like ticket sales and payments are totally based on how many people i can get to coordinate together. we currently have several proposals still being formed, for multimedia broadcasting and sharing local events, i can pursue these negotiations without financial losses. ive felt on the verge of something big over the years, but i never know when the tipping point will come because … and this is the hard part to talk about, the complex dynamics of partnerships.

I am proud to ‘beg’ with something of quality to offer in return. When you buy my work, you support many other people; because I collaborate with and buy from other artists and friends. To anyone that thinks I am begging by being honest that I do not earn much, I argue that bragging about how good your work is and saying you have been ‘financially successful’ by taking more than you need is worse than begging because to me that could be considered just as unworthy of support. Getting money from other people is not proof of deserving money, it is simply how people pay their bills. Also I am not just begging because I offer plenty of services and products in various fields. I am simply saying why I could use more income, as opposed to those who do not need more for basic living. I have many jobs, and i do them. I tend to give things away for free and make reasonable deals to work with lower income people.  I apply to better paying jobs, but I do not get them, and when i have had them before i cannot keep them for psychological reasons, one being i cannot stand authoritarian control because i desire to fight back against bosses the same as I would with any willful cruel or ignorant jackass; but when we trade self-respect for money we suppress our resentment which can fester and build to a break-down or illness.

I will not spend time defending myself by arguing against assholes, they are not worth my time. I am too expensive for them because they cannot pay me enough to work for them, and it is easy enough to block them and delete their petty comments. Their attempts to troll me are pathetic when i can shut them down easily. It is amazing that people will ‘friend’ me only to wait for chances to attack, without ever once being kind.  These are the type of people that would tell homeless street musicians to “get a job” too.

If fees are low enough with time i can advertise more without major losses on more websites; in hopes to get at least a few sales. Social reception is usually less than enthusiastic on a whole from audiences on platforms. Amazon is the best example ive had because ive been using it for years, i struggle to get a few sales a year even when i post the links and talk about them etc. I know it is not because my books are not as good as ‘Diary of a Whimpy Kid’ or ‘Captain Underpants’ which are best sellers, it has to do with commercial control of the market at the high levels. I mean sure we could argue whose art or story sucks more, but with enough exposure anti-authoritarian subversive books like ours do well with children and ne’er-do-wellz, which are a large portion of the population.

Ironically most of the people who buy my books are part of the vanishing middle class; not the lowest or the highest earning. There are more lower middle class people so they do buy more books, compared to the few upper middle class people who are interested in my books. I have had people with large incomes talk with me for hours, and i gave them books and they still did not buy any, so spending money has more to do with personalities than wealth; which is why those with less wealth will spend more if they have an income, which creates financial flow and opportunities in an economy.

All of these opinions of observations are reasons why many of us are not satisfied with status-quo commercial politics. We want more leaders like Bernie Sanders and progressives on the right or left who can be held to account by their voters who are also the majority of their campaign financing. We cannot afford allowing corporate sell-outsto further rig our own economy, environment, and country against us.

[ see also Lucas Chancel, World Inequality Lab ]

 

B.D.U.: Boot Camp Diary Unauthorized

Posted in Biographies, Book Reports, Critical Commentary of Civilization, Military, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 15, 2019 by Drogo

Title – BDU: Bootcamp Diary Unauthorized
Subtitle – My Un-Official Air Force BMT Journal

This non-fiction historical book is a real 2006 memoir and analysis of Air Force Basic Training (BMT), including some personal auto-biographical experiences and opinions. This journal has been made public to document the psychological treatment of young soldiers by the Military Industrial Complex (MIC) training system. It is based on a secret diary inside an official notebook that the author kept during training, despite constant antagonism by the Training Sergeants (TIs). While not every experience is included in this first edition for Amazon, it is unabridged compared to the official summary edition submitted to commanding officers. This more expressive version contains strong adult language. Airman Stowell (also author of ‘Operation 10 COW’) provides specific details and general summaries from original notes and actual documents about BMT, and is both honest and patriotic. Mouth-piece propaganda for our conventional establishment will seek to discredit authentic journals like this, as individual civil rights are threatening to authoritarians who want ritual hazing and brain-washing to be a confidential surprise (despite films showing historical accounts dramatized, see ‘Band of Brothers’ and ‘Full Metal Jacket’). It is the US ‘War On Terror’ training version of war time stories that have been attacked for showing realism in their home countries (see Solzhenitsyn & Grossman). There is no top secret information revealed here, but it is a personal perspective for national self-reflection about the unethical tyranny of psychologically conditioning soldiers to perpetually operate on hate, anger, and fear. If you like this type of work, please write a supportive comment on Amazon’s sales page for ‘BDU The Book‘, thank you!

Long live our American ideals of freedom, democracy, and peace!!!

“I’m a historian by profession. I’ve probably read several thousand journals and diaries in my time, including ones by soldiers and others living through the Revolution, Civil War, Spanish American War, and others. This book reads true, both in content and form. One would expect a diary to be disjointed and have a grammar glitch or two here or there. Someone undergoing the physical and intellectual traumas of this type, and writing on the run to boot, is not going to write with the polish of a Victorian sitting at his desk on Beacon Hill.” – thank you so much Professor Michael Swanson

Listen to an Audiomack recording – BDU Book Reading

Please show support even by simply clicking that the nice reviews were helpful, as most consumer critics do not care what their words mean to the author, and do not take into account the pains of writing and publishing controversial content.

AF BMT 1b

 

 

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The Horror of Lovecraft

Posted in Book Reports, Critical Commentary of Civilization, Individuals / Members / Monsters / Creative Writing, Memorials / Obituaries / Epitaphs, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on October 19, 2018 by Drogo

The thing about writing horror is that you basically admit you are really sick and twisted. His racist writing describes accurately how people like him would think as they narrate the events. For me it shows how the concept of evil is a human perspective, based on what we fear; from fish people to aliens. To write about your fears shows your weakness and vulnerabilities, in my opinion. Lovecraft shows how fear is a scary illness from hating ethnic differences to being petrified of anything resembling fish or squids. Another aspect of Lovecraft is that his “heroes” do not ever really “win” against the demonic powers that spread, as migrants in NY did while he was living there, and they were thriving while he was failing. Clearly Lovecraft shows how conservative culture always dies of entropy as progressive immigrants take over, for better or worse, depending on who you are. That he describes the changes in culture as evil in fictional demonic terms exaggerates his own feelings to an absurd level of parody, which i feel he must have been conscious about to marry a Jew.

RIP H.P. Lovecraft  1890-1937

Self-Publishing Paradox

Posted in Book Reports, Commercial Corporations, Crafts, Critical Commentary of Civilization, jobs, Languages, Pub Library, Services, Sales or Trade, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 27, 2018 by Drogo

How DC area book stores handle major publishers vs. local authors in 2018.

Book stores are still stuck in the old mentality with major publishers, rather than allow the flooded local markets to flourish with support. Retail profits largely hinge on perceived ‘popularity’ of brands, which is largely self-perpetuating based on reduced whole sale rates, and exaggerated sales advertising to push the merchandise on customers. Book mongers still have a very snobbish attitude towards local authors, even more so now that printed books are in competition with ebooks. Book mongers, like other capitalists will often declare that “there is a DEMAND’ for what they are selling, just as housing developers do when they create a artificial demand by making the supply and cornering the market with advertising and debt based commercial production.

Here is how one book store describes their consignment process on their website:

“Our consignment program helps us accommodate the overwhelming number of requests from local authors who wish to sell their books and host events at Curious Iguana. If, after reading all the information here, you have any questions, email. Please do not stop by or call the store with questions about our consignment program. Click here to download our Consignment Policies and Consignment Form for Author. Note that we do not read review copies, and we do not accept any books without a completed consignment form and FEE. About events – We receive numerous event requests from local authors every week. Only authors whose books have strong consignment sales and broad reader appeal will be considered for an event on a case-by-case basis. Authors should not expect that consigning books will result in an event.”

Consignment usually forces the local author to be in debt to the local store, rather than provide them with any net income. Local authors tend to purchase more books at stores from commercial authors in one visit, than their books may sell all year; so even local authors are more likely to spend more on international authors than their own book sales will make in years. After a few years of their books not being advertised, but often hidden, the author must then contact the store and ask what has sold, and then pick up their check if any have sold. Now that there are more local authors, they are even asked to pick up their remaining books to make room for others. In essence local authors are treated like cattle, and told they are not worthy to make money, and they should be lucky to have a consignment deal before getting kicked out. Quality differences in the contents of books, whether self published or not, have very little to do with these market issues; as mistakes can be found with many mass produced products. Even National Geographic published the wrong image of a sparrow in a major commercial release; not just typos but the very information that is the focus of the ‘best selling’ book can be factually wrong.

Perhaps some day there will be a book store just for local and self-published authors, and their books will be PURCHASED just like the major brand names are now, rather than relegated to forgotten shelves and treated as though they are not worth the paper they are printed on. Perhaps some day we will invest more in our local economies, rather than giving all profits to a few rich fat cats that could barely care less.

So in this area there are basically 2 stores that accept local authors, but due to demands by local authors that they have a place to sell their books, it is increasingly rare that the small portion of the store dedicated to local authors will have room for everyone in the flooded self-published book market. It seems that self-published is a niche market that is not being allowed space due to corporate monopolist priorities. The competitive cut-throat capitalist monopoly model of economics, stands in contrast to the sharing and networking pluralist (multiplicity) more free-market model. Some business workers pride themselves for being very morally patient with customers, clients, bosses, employees, co-workers, and partners; in that they value them as fellow humans and are very generous to the point of pleasantly accepting financial loss as sacrifice for more happiness. That moral model is considered a bad business model for serious capitalists however, because survival success of business is based on financial capital, not ethical capital. There is a strong historic argument to be made that more financial wealth can be made quicker and greater by meaner people that take huge risks, rather than generous people who tend to give away and share more (studies show these people are often considered ‘poor’).

Self-published authors can be economically vital, if local stores open to showcase them as the main product. Some regional examples may soon show that people will travel from around the world to visit unique collections that support populations directly with financing. Rather than stores asking you pay to maybe keep your book there temporarily, and refusing to talk to authors in person or on the phone about the issue of slavish consignment; an alternative option will be to support stores that support self-published authors, which would make independent authors the best meaning (and most fitting use) of the word ‘common’. Possibly current store owners don’t want to be harming the local economy by practicing their old business models, but supply and demand and advertising have very real aspects that corporations do not want commoners to discuss.

The self-publishing paradox is that although the book market is flooded by grassroots citizens writing and publishing books, the means to support them are not part of conventional business models. Even alternative efforts are suppressed due to social, economic, and linguistic self-destructive elitism. Most people that write books do it because they love it or are best at it, not because of the economic incentives because it is generally well known that artists, musicians, and writers are not given living wages. The attitude that the voice of the people is not worth hearing, has never been considered wise or good.

FBI

Posted in Book Reports, Uncategorized with tags , , on February 18, 2017 by Drogo

‘The Bureau’, Secret History of the FBI; by Ronald Kessler

Book about the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) which was founded in 1908; provides evidence that J. Edgar Hoover blackmailed Congress, sources Senator McCarthy’s communist claims, FBI kidnapping KGB agents, FBI MLK sex tapes, Hoover’s sexual psychology, FBI and Deep Throat, planting bugs, wiretaps, counter-terrorism leading to 9/11, leaks and funding, future goals…

(FBI Director) “Mawn was almost one of 3,024 victims. He had a personal stake in getting even.” (with whoever 9/11 was blamed on) “The SIO Center was a $20 million, 20-room complex of phones, secure computers, and video screens.” “America’s war on terrorism had begun, and the FBI was at its epicenter.”

Attorney general Palmer created a radical division in 1919 to collect information on American rebels. “The biggest threats were considered the American Communist Labor Party and the American Communist Party,… Palmer placed the new division under the direction of attorney J. Edgar Hoover.” “Two ideas were constantly drummed into us: pride at membership in an elite organization, and fear of failure.” FBI Director Hoover kept ‘secret files’ on politicians, which guaranteed he remained director, he sent threats to those he wanted to put in their place, and helped create a war on communism which gave him job security. “As the power of the FBI grew, Hoover’s thirst for glory would become unquenchable.” Secret documents were often destroyed, so that no one outside the FBI would ever have the file evidence that certain operations ever existed. “Hoover left nothing to chance.”

McCarthy, besides being an alcoholic, the senator was “crazy about girls about 18” Trohan said, “I always thought if the commies wanted to get him, all they had to do was supply him with a girl.” McCarthy said the FBI was a monument to its own director. Director Hoover knew McCarthy “made up numbers”, and “advised him to not give specifics numbers”. “Besides harassing journalistic critics, Hoover used the bureau to crack down on rumors that he was a homosexual.”

“But there was more to Hoover’s policy of ignoring organized crime than statistics. In 1993, Anthony Summers ( in Secret Life of J. Edgar Hoover) claimed that Hoover did not pursue organized crime because the Mafia had blackmail material on him.” “Hoover was wearing a very fluffy black dress, and a black curly wig. He had make-up on and false eye-lashes.” Another time in drag, Hoover held a Bible as one boy read from it, and the other boy “played with him”.- Summers quoted Rosenstiel.

“Hoover told a Senate sub-committee that militant Catholic priests and nuns were plotting to ‘blow up underground electrical conduits and pipes serving Washington DC, to disrupt federal government operations’. The plotters, he said, were also planning to kidnap a highly placed government official who was later identified as Kissinger.”

In 1971 (same year as the Pentagon Papers) over 1000 FBI files were stolen by thieves called the ‘Citizens’ Commission to Investigate the FBI’, and the documents they released to the public revealed that the FBI had informants on college campuses and monitored left-wing groups.

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US SECRET AGENCIES

Posted in Book Reports, Critical Commentary of Civilization, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on February 18, 2017 by Drogo

I got a stack of non-fiction history books from the library about all the ‘plausible deniability’ branches of government (aka secret agencies). we are still feeling what people started realizing in the 60s; war mongers rule the sheep; and it is up to us if we want to change it. FBI is our step-mom and CIA is our step-dad, playing us. NSA is our nosey neighbor, watching and listening to us in our private places. Our government exhibits all the worst attributes of ‘1984’ and ‘Brave New World’, in large part due to secret agencies working with corporations and the Pentagon to take and keep money from lower class Americans, on behalf of plutocrats that put on a 2-party puppet show that promotes war.

FBI  –  ‘The Bureau, Secret History of the FBI’; by Ronald Kessler

NSA  – ‘Body of Secrets, Anatomy of the Ultra-Secret National Security Agency’; by James Bamford

CIA  –  ‘Legacy of Ashes, History of the CIA’; by Tim Weiner

‘Secret History of the CIA, Central Intelligence Agency’; by Joseph Trento

‘Devil’s Chessboard, Allen Dulles, CIA, & the Rise of America’s Secret Government’; by David Talbot

Homeland Security – I was at the opening of their head-quarters, so I got the tour.

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It seems the CIA will sabotage Left or Right Wings of any government, if they think it benefits them or their corporate sponsors, regardless of how peaceful, democratic, or American their enemies may be. “If it’s secret, it’s legal.” – President Nixon said, who constantly conspired to make plans against Left Wing Americans by using our own secret agencies against our own people. The CIA historic trend appears to lean Right Wing, probably because authoritarian military control is part of Right Wing doctrine; whereas Left Wing doctrine advocates humanitarian civil rights. It is not a conspiracy theory, that our government lies to us. Following ‘the money trail’ is always a good start for serious political investigations, as representatives tend to be swayed by funding more than any philosophical theory, because they have bills to pay like anyone else.

“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”

– President Eisenhower 1961

Report on ‘American Witches’

Posted in Book Reports, Pagan, Uncategorized on November 11, 2016 by Drogo

Drogo’s Book Report on American Witches; A Broomstick Tour Through Four Centuries by Susan Fair

I am very pleased that Susan’s book on Witches was published! I am a fan of her book theme subjects and her witty yet friendly writing style. Her preface on being accused as a child of doing (or worse being) something terrible was relatable as an emotional personal experience. Indeed as Arthur Miller pointed out with the Crucible, being called a witch was similar to being called a communist in modern days; even today many of us are called both, and people still think that both are evil due to cultural conditioning.

Susan begins her book with the 2nd European Colony in north America, Jamestown; which makes sense for the scope of the book as indicated by the subtitle segment “Four Centuries”. Jamestown was the first English Colony, but the Spanish Colony of St. Augustine was actually first about 50 years earlier (RIP Dr. Albert Manucy, Spanish-American historian, love you gran-dad). As to how many witches were in the Spanish St. Augustine Colony, or if anyone was accused of witch-craft, I do not know. Considering the Spanish were responsible for THE Inquisition, it is certainly possible.

Anyway, that is my only criticism of the book, which does not at all ruin my enjoyment of her stories, and respect for the importance of the subject. Some critics are quick to criticize humor with serious subjects, but often they just lack a healthy sense of the importance of being able to laugh when others cry. People respond to tragedy in various ways, depending on their social conditioning, or psychological reaction to conditioning which they dislike.

Susan’s sense of humor in her style is delightful to those of us with an ‘Edward Gorey’ or ‘Tim Burton’ gothic satire sensibility. It is our love for dark or scary subjects which makes our glee pleasant and not harsh. Her descriptions are excellent, and at times so darkly honest, that levity is welcomed.

“What was mended one day, would the next day be in pieces.” This is the chaos magic of entropy, which haunts the weary world, even to this day. The mystery of magic in history, and the persecution of accused practitioners, is still a current issue. I recommend this book to anyone that loves the subject of ‘witches’.

JRR Tolkien Essays

Posted in Book Reports, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on October 15, 2016 by Drogo

Reports on Tolkien

St. John’s at Prospect Hall – Catholic High School 1990-94

Taken from old reports by Walton Stowell, Robert Trainor, & Chris Chromey

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Middle-Earth: Our History? – based on Rob Trainor’s highschool paper 1993

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was born in Bloemfontien, South Africa; on January 3, 1892. His father worked there as a banker, although both of his parents were from England. When John was only 4 years old, his father died. His mother Mabel then took young John and his younger brother, back to her native home in Birmingham, England. John was raised there and attended the King Edward School.

In 1904 when John was 12, his mother passed away. From then on he and his brother were raised by a Roman Catholic priest. Tolkien went from King Edward’s school, to Exeter College at Oxford. Before he got his degree, World War I broke out. In 1915 at the age of 23, John Tolkien entered the army, with the Lancashire Fusiliers regiment. The next year he married Miss Edith Bratt, who later became the mother of his children. Tolkien served with the Fusiliers from 1915 until 1918. At the end of WW1, he returned home and went back to college. John got his Masters Degree in 1919.

John studied many languages and knew a number of languages including Latin, German, Gothic, French, Greek, and Middle English. He developed his own hybrid languages, which would be the basis for his novels. John worked for a short time on the famous Oxford English Dictionary. He also became a ‘reader’ professor in English at Leeds University from 1924-25. His first publication was A Middle-English Vocabulary. Then he and E.V. Gordon published a critical text on Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, analyzing the infamous old 14th-Century anonymous poem; John later translated it into modern English verse.

In 1925 John Tolkien left Leeds, and went to Pembroke College at Oxford; where he remained for the next 20 years, as Rawlison and Bosforth ‘Professor of Anglo-Saxon’. John’s imaginary languages led to him forming lands and stories around them. He sorted out places where his languages would be spoken, and what their attitudes might be culturally. John became an Oxford ‘fellow’ and ‘don’. He published Chaucer as a Philologist in 1934. Next came Beowulf: Monster and Critics. Tolkien himself had become a respected philologist. Philology is the study of written words, their origins, and meanings.

He wrote stories for his children, as ‘letters from’ Father Christmas. While grading college papers, John Tolkien began day-dreaming and sketching notes about a ‘hobbit’. In 1937, when Tolkien was 45 he was urged by his colleagues and children to publish his book called The Hobbit. It took him 12 more years to write the Lord of the Rings. It took John his life-time to write the Silmarillion, which was post-humously finished for him by his son, Christopher Tolkien.

‘Middle-Earth’ is the setting for The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion. Tolkien describes Middle-Earth using familiar objects and concepts, that make it seem like it could have existed in the distant past of England. This is how Tolkien conceived many of the ideas, and to many fans there are many charming and philosophical allegories and parallels. According to Tolkien, Middle-Earth (Arda) is ultimately its’ own world set in a fictional past of Earth, and not just mere metaphor.

Tolkien wanted to create a fictional mythology for the English, as they didn’t really have one before (besides the Mabinogion, Book of Kells, Beowulf, and the legends of King Arthur and Robin Hood). He certainly achieved his goal of creation. Middle-Earth should perhaps best be considered a fantasy time period, set in the distant pre-historic past of Europe. The anachronisms and races are very much fantasy, and the themes are mythical.

References where Tolkien compared the reality of modern Europe and the fiction of ancient Middle-Earth include: the landscape and habits of Hobbiton (like Welsh), Hobbiton’s position north-west, general geography, astronomy changes, language roots, and flora and fauna (including insects). “It is plain indeed, that in spite of later estrangement, Hobbits are relatives of ours: far nearer to us than elves, or even than dwarves.” (LOTR I, 20) The land is similar to Europe, but much has changed by years of ‘wind and wave’. The significance of the comparison, is that it gives us familiarity with the setting. These descriptions also add believable gravitas; that the lands have been there for a long time, and slowly changed over time. Things like tobacco, clothing, and chimneys are clearly taken out of time and place and dropped in for amusement.

*

JRR Tolkien – based on Chris Chromey’s research paper, English 11, 1992

“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell; nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit hole, and that means comfort.” – 1st paragraph of The Hobbit

In 1938 the world was introduced to its first hobbit. Somehow we fell in love with this short round creature who lives in a hole with a life of comfort and a friendly manner. Throw in an adventure of dwarves, magic treasure, and evil monsters; and you come up with a tale so enchanting that its popularity breaks new ground in literature and pioneers the way of fantasy writing.

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was the brilliant inventor of the hobbit race (and Middle-Earth). The Hobbit, his first book concerning this magical world, started out as a story Tolkien told to his children in the form of letters he would give them every Christmas (via ‘Father Christmas’ mail), which contained a chapter of hobbit Bilbo Baggin’s adventures and illustrations. Later on in life Tolkien read the hobbit tales to his literary chums, in a jolly writing group called the Inklings. The Inklings were a group of scholars who met with C.S. Lewis in his Magdalen college apartments, and later in old local English taverns. They would talk, read excerpts, and drink with an air of romanticism. Tolkien enjoyed these meetings, perhaps like Bilbo gathering with friends in the Shire of Middle-Earth.

Tolkien’s academic credentials help to explain why he was able to create such wonderful literature. Tolkien studied mythology and languages, with a focus on Celtic and Germanic lore. Tolkien loved English legends, and wanted England to have more of its own mythological literature. He began creating his own languages also, and used characters (like dwarves, valkyries, and elves) from Teutonic folk-lore. Dwarves were like vikings with their Norse beards, weapons, and armor. Elves were like elegant thin human-sized medieval English style faeries. The tree-ents were like dryads, and the wild ‘wose’ men were like Gaels; both of Celtic origins.

His re-imaginings of old ideas became the basis for the modern ‘medieval-fantasy’ genre. Tolkien published the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings few books during his life-time, but he was not able to finish the Silmarillion which was his large bible of Middle-Earth mythology. Pieces of the Silmarillion were edited and published after JRR Tolkien died, by his son Christopher Tolkien. It shows his father’s genius for synthesizing imagination, literature, language, and mythology in extraordinary detail.

Although Tolkien did not use the term ‘fairy’ in his Middle-Earth books, he did create a “fairy world”, or to be more specific an old world of faeries, that humans had begun to colonize and spread into by more rapidly populating. Humans had shorter lives than the other races, so they clearly were procreating faster, and elves were leaving into the West (much as they did in Celtic myths and legends).

About JRR Tolkien’s youth, we know he had a playmate besides his brother when he lived in Africa; named Hillary. They would play fantasy adventures based on stories. When JRR was about 7 years old, he began to compose his own story about a dragon. He recalled a ‘philological fact’ that his mother was more interested in his grammar, than the story or the characters. She pointed out that he should not say “a green great dragon”, but rather “a great green dragon”. This incident ‘put him off’ from writing for many years, and he became ‘taken up’ with language.

JRR Tolkien wrote an essay (similar to Frank Baum’s intro to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz) called ‘On Fairy Stories’, to explaining the relationship between reality, fiction, and folk-lore. Tolkien’s essay also addressed Andrew Lang’s ‘fairy-tales’, and what constitutes stories about the land of ‘Faerie’ and what does not (in the mind of Tolkien). Here is an excerpt:

On Fairy-Stories

Probably every writer making a secondary world, a fantasy, every sub-creator, wishes in some measure to be a real maker; or hopes that he is drawing on reality: hopes that the peculiar qualities of this secondary world (if not all the details) are derived from reality, or are flowing into it. If he indeed achieves a quality that can fairly be described by the dictionary definition: “inner consistency of reality”, it is difficult to conceive how this can be, if the work does not in some way partake in reality. The peculiar quality of the ‘joy’ in successful fantasy can thus be explained as a sudden glimpse of the underlying reality or truth. It is not only a ‘consolation’ for the sorrow of this world, but a satisfaction, and an answer to that question, ‘is it true?’. My answer to this question (that all children ask) was at first (quite rightly): “If you have built your little world well, yes: it is true in that world.” …

To summarize Tolkien’s point here, the art of literature acts as an enchantment upon our minds. A well constructed world of words that tells a story, invites us to believe that the lore is ‘real’. Every writer making a secondary ‘fantasy’ world, wants the reader to desire to believe it is real. This ‘believable’ quality is achieved by using real ‘primary world’ references or characters that can view the fiction through our perspective (and vice-versa). The joy of reading realistic fantasy, is not just escapism, but the thrill of believable travel to that world; by defining its’ own reality. If fiction is well created, it has its’ own consistent truth; which reflects our own reality, each version of every story a magic mirror. The world consistency can change, but it should be reflected on in some way, as in ‘Alice and Wonderland’ stories, the consistency is to be inconsistent with the ‘rules’; with self-exposed unpredictability, as commented on by characters or narration.

By providing linguistic and historic backgrounds, Tolkien gave us the essence of his characters. We can find out more about them, just as we look into non-fiction books for facts about our historical figures. Tolkien thrived on the fact that language is the basis to all communication, and therefore knowledge. Fantasy novels after Tolkien, often imitate his settings and plots, without the depth.

Tolkien’s work feels timeless, like by reading his words we can escape Time. Yet his words also remind us of the power of Time; as with the riddle from the Hobbit:

This thing all things devours;

Birds, beasts, trees, flowers;

Gnaws iron, bites steel;

Grinds hard stones to meal;

Slays kinds, ruins town,

And beats high mountain down.

Tolkien’s narration language seems ancient, and yet timeless because we can still understand it. One critic* accused his ‘boring’ writing of being a ‘syncretic antiquarian collage’. The critic goes on to say that Tolkien’s “ignorance of all he so conscientiously is trying to transmit” … “definitely leaves his writing lacking”. Clearly, the critic was wrong. To me this is a perfect example of how critics that go beyond factual summary, often show their own ignorance and childishness.

* Essays In Memorium; Catherine Stimpson; Salu & Ferrell (editors); Cornell University, 1979

Tolkien loved children, spent time with them, and made sure to be home at night to tuck in his own children. It was his love for children that drove him to write books for them, built upon college graduate level (adult) education and his child-like imagination (which apparently he never lost). He was not content with the children’s fairy tales he had, when he was a child. Tolkien wanted to give children books that he felt they deserved, that even their adult minds’ could grow into with maturity. The age orientation of his books seems to be progressive. The Hobbit is child-like, the Lord of the Rings is for teens, and the Silmarillion is for adults; but because Tolkien was a scholar, the books are really more advanced, always seeming to be one step ahead of the reader, transcending age at every turn.

END

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Review of ‘Harpers Faery Outlaws’

Posted in Book Reports with tags , , , , , on September 29, 2016 by Drogo

Critical Review of ‘Harpers Faery Outlaws‘ by Jack Madhard

Harpers Faery Outlaws was worse than the best critic could write, if they were trying to write a bad novel. It is not even full modern novel length, which is why I guess the publisher called it a ‘novella’. It is unclear whether the author was trying to be funny, confusing on purpose, or there were multiple untalented authors that just threw their stories together for the hell of it.

This book made we want to stop reading books, it was so bad. You may read it and say “it wasn’t too bad”, to which I would say “yes, yes it was”. I was bored with the book after reading the first word. Nothing can convince me that this book was anything else but total rubbish. A first grader could have done better.

Some of the characters may have been interesting, if I was born with only half a brain. The arrogance of this author, to presume that anyone would be interested in reading his writing is beyond belief. This book is bad, so terribly and inconceivably bad. I cannot say it enough times; this book is bad.

Tell all your friends not to read this book. Do not even buy it. If you borrow this book, promptly ‘lose’ it; I recommend burning this book. All respectable professional establishments should ban this filthy liberal attempt at advancing civil-rights through medieval metaphor. The author should be ashamed, if not executed for his crimes against humanity.

Next week, I will review a much better book, by a dear friend of mine, who will most likely invite me to parties. I may have to get a lobotomy to forget about reading this book by Drogo Empedocles. Anyway, as I always say, keep on reading (except for this book)!

– Jack Madhard of the Hardford Gazette 9/29/2016

Paperback book now available on Amazon!

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Harpers Faery Outlaws Audiobook read by Author!

 

John Muir, Nature’s Visionary

Posted in Book Reports, Nature Studies, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on August 27, 2016 by Drogo

ON THE WILD SIDE for SEPT. 2016 by Christine Schoene Maccabee

 

Choked in the sediments of society, so tired of the world, here will your hard doubts disappear…and your soul breathe deep and free in God’s shoreless atmosphere of beauty and love.”

– John Muir, 1903

The above quote was part of John Muir’s impassioned invitation to President Roosevelt and Vice President Howard Taft to join him in Yosemite and camp out under the stars. Together they talked about protecting the giant redwoods from timbering, as well as preserving the ecological wonders only Muir, and the natives who had lived there, knew intimately. Upon returning East the Roosevelt Administration created 5 national parks, 23 national monuments, and added more than 148 million acres of woodland to the national forest system. Muir was also founder of the Sierra Club of which most of us are aware and some of us members.

In my 20’s I knew next to nothing about the person of John Muir until I read a book, Baptized into Wilderness, which is filled with many inspiring writings from his years spent as caretaker in Yosemite. How he managed to brilliantly overcome the trauma of living with his tyrannical father, a Scottish Calvinist Minister of the worst sort who beat him daily, is nothing short of a miracle. As Muir wrote in his autobiography,“by the time I was 11 years of age I had about three-fourths of the Old Testament and all of the New by heart and by sore flesh.”

Fortunate to be nurtured by the love of his mother and sisters, and due to his fascination with nature and inventing, he grew into a strong young man, fully determined to make his own way in life once the family moved from Scotland to Wisconsin. Helping to clear land and create their homestead was no easy life, but in his free time, Muir invented all sorts of crazy things made from scraps of iron and wood. At age 22 he decided to show his inventions at the state fair in Madison and was a smash hit with his “early rising machine” which tipped a person out of bed at an appointed hour. His father accused him of the sin of vanity.

He avoided the Civil War on the grounds of passivism while attending the University of Wisconsin, which he dropped out of after his sophomore year, little knowing that 34 years later he would receive an honorary degree, Dr. of Laws, from that same college. With a beard as bushy and long as any had seen, he headed to Canada on foot, “botanizing” along the way. The things of nature were always his first love.

After loosing his eyesight due to a freak accident at a machinery factory, Muir gasped, “My right eye is gone! Closed forever on all God’s beauty.” His left eye also failed, leaving him blind. However, after endless nightmares and despair while convalescing in a darkened room, his vision slowly returned. Muir proclaimed “Now I have risen from the grave” and he forever shunned the work of factories. Instead, he took to further journeys by foot, with his plant press on his back, heading south to “anywhere in the wilderness” which took him through the Appalachian Mountains and swamps of Georgia . He sketched and journaled and pressed plants along the way.

That first long walk of 1,000 miles took him to Florida along the Gulf of Mexico. However, his longest journey by foot, which he called “my grand sabbath day three years long” drew him West, climbing Mt.Ranier, exploring glaciers in Alaska, and ultimately settling in the California Sierras. It was there that he wrote his most inspiring words describing the beauty and wonder of the plant life, animals, boulders, sequoias, and experiencing ecstatic moments at the top of a tree during a hurricane. Muir proclaimed his reverence for all life forms, becoming a “voice for the voiceless”as he worked to convince others as to the need to preserve as much of the untouched purity of the natural world as possible.

Muir’s invitation to go out and become “steeped in the wonder of creation” was not only for people back then. It is still an invitation to us all today. My own life has been shaped by Muir and many other voices for the voiceless ; that is how I have come to write of my own passion to preserve and enhance wild places, allowing even more habitat on our properties and in our backyards .

Fortunately for us there is a monthly meeting of the Sierra Club at our library in Thurmont ! This month we will meet on Saturday, September 3 from 10-12. Do come join us as we work on a variety of projects to help preserve the goodness of our planet for generations to come.

With John Muir’s Vision as our inspiration we can make progress in spite of adversities. If he did it, so can we !

* * * * * *

Christine is a member of Thurmont’s Green Team and a Master Habitat Naturalist. She would be happy to help you with habitat, particularly plant ID, on your own property and can be reached at songbirdschant@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

Absorbent Mind, by Maria Montessori

Posted in Book Reports, Education / Schools, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on August 17, 2016 by Drogo

1949 Book – by the author and founder of Montessori Method

  • translation 1958, 1967 edition

Children play a part in World Reconstruction – humanity is still immature; it has a long way to go to become a peaceful utopia. Philosophers must take control, and begin teaching our youngest children early, so they may grow up and contribute to the greatness of humanity. Our human greatness begins at birth, new children are the makers of men.

Education is for Life. The psychic mind of each child, is simply their psychology of the soul. We learn by absorbing knowledge and experience. Gandhi said that education must be coextensive with life, and the central point of teaching must be to affirm and defend life. This good education feeds peaceful revolution.

Phases of growth can be considered as periods of time as the child grows older. Period 1: child ages 0-3, period 2: child ages 3-6, Period 3: child ages 6-12

Creation is a miracle. Modern biology is turning in a new direction towards children. Good parenting can produce better citizens, because good parenting makes the adult and the child more humane. Even in the wild, savage lions are tender with their cubs. Children are not just copies of their parents, they teach willing parents by bringing out their best sides. The instinct to defend our young, is often more powerful than our instinct to run away from danger; this is evidence of the intense power that children have over many parents. Cell division in the genesis of becoming being, is a natural miracle of microscopic multiplication. Babies evolve into adults, much like mammals have evolved from reptiles; and even between species, embryos look very similar.

Independence, Language, and Obstacles – discovering independence is naturally thrilling for children, our brains are set up to reward the work of learning. Environmental experience gives children language and obstacles to challenge and shape them. Eyes are camera obscuras that allow us to see objects, but it is our minds that process what we see. Without language, we would have no civilization.

Intelligence and the Hand – in the development of appendages, the legs are clearly more important for mobility; and our hands are for everything else, including cooking, feeding, craft, and social complexity. Our dexterous prehensile abilities give us tool making advantages over other animals. Our brains enable us to use our hands for communication, as well as our mouths.

Development and Imitation – practice of skills is vital for complex and successful imitation

Unconscious creators can become conscious workers, and vice versa.

Culture and Imagination – one person’s boring stagnation is another person’s enjoyable comfort zone; in between perpetual entropy and growth. We are like volcanoes, that erupt with changes naturally, through-out our lives.

Character during childhood is a personal achievement, but can obstruct learning in school.

Social contributions, unit cohesion, and normalizing – knowing when to concentrate and when to move on to something new, could be considered in ‘normalcy levels’.

Correction and Obedience (3 levels)

Obedience is seen as something which develops in the child in much the same way as other aspects of his character. At first it is dictated purely by the vital impulses, then it rises to the level of consciousness, and thereafter it goes on developing, stage by stage, till it comes under the control of the conscious will. – The Absorbent Mind.

Montessori Three Obedience Levels:

1. Partial Obedience

2. Blind Obedience

3. Compassionate Obedience

The First Level of Obedience

“What we call the first level of obedience is that in which the child can obey, but not always. It is a period in which obedience and disobedience seem to be combined.” (Montessori, The Absorbent Mind, 1964)

In order to obey one must not only to wish but also be able to obey. To carry out an order one must already possess some degree of maturity and a measure of the special skill that it many need.  Hence we first have to know whether the child’s obedience is practically possible at the level of development the child has reached…If the child is not yet master of his actions, if he cannot obey even his own will, so much the less can he obey the will of someone else. – The Absorbent Mind.

The Second Level of Obedience

A period when the child can always obey, when there are no obstacles deriving from his lack of control. His powers are now consolidated and can be directed not only by his own will, but by the will of another. The child can absorb another person’s wishes and express them in his own behaviour. – The Absorbent Mind.

 “The second level is when the child can always obey, or rather, when there are no longer any obstacles deriving from his lack of control. His powers are now consolidated and can be directed not only by his own will, but by the will of another.” (Montessori, The Absorbent Mind, 1964) This may appear to be the highest level of obedience; however, because it is dependent on outside variables (adults or authority figures), this is not true obedience. The child is merely satisfying someone else’s wishes, not his own.

The Third Level of Obedience

The third level of obedience is when the child gets joy and pleasure from unquestionably obeying someone superior, no matter the request, such as obeying a respected and much loved teacher without question.

The child “responds promptly and with enthusiasm and as he perfects himself in the exercise, he finds happiness in being able to obey.” (Montessori, The Discovery of the Child, 1967) This is the stage of true self-discipline.

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Discipline and Love – “Work is love made visible.” – Gibran (The Prophet 1948)

END

Reference – Minding “On The Dot” by M.V O’Shea in Montessori Talks to Parents (Series One, Volume Two) The Road to Discipline NAMTA 1979. 

Montessori Revolution In Education

Posted in Book Reports, Education / Schools, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on March 25, 2016 by Drogo

E. M. Standing 1962

“The child is father of the man.” – Wordsworth

“In children lies the seed corn of the future.” – Froebel

“Who touches the child, touches the most sensitive point of a whole being, which has roots in the most distant past and climbs toward the infinite future.” – Montessori

Revolution in education, Montessori is a self-conscious modern zeitgeist. This book talks about Montessori fundamental principles, infants classes, brooms, binomial theorems, under fives, Lilliput, the movement in America, the Whitby School joy of learning, the Santa Monica Sophia School, and 12 method points.

Children can learn on their own in many ways, if we can consciously create a safe and liberal environment for them to explore tools, and in the process, them-selves. Learning the Montessori method requires practical experience being involved in it, to understand the abstract theories. Montessori method is not a closed system, it can change and adapt with modern technology and cultural beliefs. The main Montessori principle might be summed up as ‘guided sensorial self-education’. Children go through a literal physical metamorphosis, and their brains or minds are part of that process. The way children learn, is more unconscious, than conscious. All children are responsible for their own learning in Montessori method; in relation to their sensory, motor, and creative abilities. Spontaneous activity can fuel cultural learning that are true experiments to the child. It takes imagination for an adult teacher to comprehend the amount of work this takes for a child.

“The Universe is nothing but a big, buzzing, booming confusion,” to the new-born infant (William James). Out of this bewildering chaos of impressions, which pour upon the senses of children, the tiny one has a challenge of building an orderly mental structure of their cosmos. Every child is born an explorer, as they wonder at the mysteries around them. The World can open to the child, if they are given full play in school for their spirit to roam as it feels comfortable or confident enough to do, with time. Montessori materials are ordered in order to facilitate abstract order in the mind; tools to structure the young mind. This is why the correct use of materials as teaching tools is emphasized.

Cylinder psychology – 3.5 years old. Language, words, abstract concepts (like ‘muchness’) formed from experiencing objects with those assigned values. Sensorial materials are effective because they isolate the stimulus (length, magnitude, color, or pitch etc). Prepared paths lead to more order. Inspirations of learning are called ‘Montessori explosions’. Math abstracted into physical volumes can be more easily understood, (Table of Pythagoras) and forms a basis for advanced concepts later. In Montessori ‘mental hooks’ are used to connect children with materials; the hooks are built into the designs and psychological instructions. The success of this education relies on getting children to obey authority, self govern, and problem solve as young as possible.

Deviations from normal mental development certainly remain debatable regarding definition and response. Many people think it is natural for children to be loud, rowdy, and boisterous; yet Montessori believes that it is disobedient rebellion, tantrums, and lying that is deviant behavior (based on the norms of society). In this way strong immersive imagination can even be considered deviant. Montessori uses disciplined freedom, to train minds to navigate the vastness of reality.

Montessori graduates become ‘new children’, because they enlightened and awakened to a new way of higher civilized learning and living. A school is a children’s house, where they can feel at home. Sound shakers, color tablets, bells, primary shapes, spelling, number rods, pink tower, cylinders, broad stairs, math beads and volumes, these tools are all keys to the Montessori method.

Bullshit Jobs

Posted in Book Reports, Critical Commentary of Civilization, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 29, 2016 by Drogo

Summary of an Article on Bullshit Jobs

There is another scholar doing research on a question I have been asking for years.

Why after thousands of years of civilization, with all our modern technology and complex sociology and even despite higher educations, do most of us have less ‘free time’ than ever before? It does seem as though we are slaves to the ‘machine’ of the systems of society.

“Rather than allowing a massive reduction of working hours to free the world’s population to pursue their own projects, pleasures, visions, and ideas, we have seen the ballooning not even so much of the ‘service’ sector as of the administrative sector, up to and including the creation of whole new industries like financial services or telemarketing, or the unprecedented expansion of sectors like corporate law, academic and health administration, human resources, and public relations. And these numbers do not even reflect on all those people whose job is to provide administrative, technical, or security support for these industries, or for that matter the whole host of ancillary industries (dog-washers, all-night pizza deliverymen) that only exist because everyone else is spending so much of their time working in all the other ones. These are what I propose to call ‘bullshit jobs.’ what does it say about our society that it seems to generate an extremely limited demand for talented poet-musicians, but an apparently infinite demand for specialists in corporate law? (Answer: if 1% of the population controls most of the disposable wealth, what we call “the market” reflects what they think is useful or important, not anybody else.) in our society, there seems a general rule that, the more obviously one’s work benefits other people, the less one is likely to be paid for it. Clearly, the system was never consciously designed”; but the way things are does serve the 1%, and a simmering resentment is fostered against anyone whose work has clear and undeniable social value or appeal. “It emerged from almost a century of trial and error. But it is the only explanation for why, despite our technological capacities, we are not all working 3-4 hour days.”

– David Graeber is a Professor of Anthropology at the London School of Economics. His most recent book is, ‘The Democracy Project: A History, a Crisis, a Movement’.