Archive for the Book Reports Category

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 Uncategorized, Book Reports, Critical Commentary of Civilization 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

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

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

‘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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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.

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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 !

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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.