R: [anthroposophy] Baroness Warnock's Christmas Mess-age
----- Original Message -----
I want only to say:
Thanks for this post,
> Britain rocked a little more crazily on its precarious perch at the
> edge of the Abyss this weekend when Baroness Warlock - sorry! Warnock -
> some fell-omened bird, felt moved to utter words of advice to the old and
> She urged 'elderly and frail people' to consider 'emulating the wild
> elephant' and go away and commit suicide in order not to be a 'financial
> burden on their families or their country.' Although eighty years old
> herself the Baroness (who is 'Britain's leading medical ethics expert' and
> Dame Commander of the British Empire !?!) does not feel obliged to set any
> suicidal example, as she is far from being financially stressed, and is
> still in reasonable health, so therefore cannot possibly constitute a
> 'burden'. Or so she believes. Others might take a different view.
> So we now have direct financial equivalence with human worth. A set
> on the head of each human being. Old, poor and frail? Go and kill
> Comfortably off but frail? Your family could better use the money you
> to keep. Go and kill yourself. We don't need you. Worse, we can't afford
> Pensions which have been paid for in contributions over a long working
> lifetime have been plundered or proving virtually worthless. State
> keep the old at subsistence level. People are rendered poor who have lived
> responsibly, even frugally. Now they are just too expensive to be
> to live.
> Hearing this with some amazement, I felt a deep concern for the many
> elderly people who might also be hearing it and feeling their physical
> dependence increased by being themselves assessed as worthless. So it was
> heartened to hear, on a radio phone in, many people attempting to explain
> the Baroness, as if to a sub-human entity lacking any means of
> human feeling - that they actually not only dearly LOVED their parents and
> grandparents, but held them in great respect as highly valued and
> family members.
> More, that caring for another human being was not necessarily
> but could actually be a privilege and infinitely rewarding to all
> My brother told me recently, with tears, that the final few years of my
> Mother's life, when he cared for her devotedly through the very hard times
> of her last illness were the richest if most painful years of his life.
> But there is more to this. The generation principally addressed by
> Warnock, her own, is the generation who lived through a World War. Our
> parents. Perhaps our grandparents, depending upon how old we are. They
> lived long enough to have cast their age intensified consciousness back
> their biography, as one who makes a butterfly from a blob of paint on one
> side of a piece of folded paper. When the paper is unfolded, a new shape,
> something perhaps winged, something with recognizable symmetry, yet
> asymmetrical enough for further growth can be born. Rich insights, deep
> feelings, new links with the dead, all are drawn as threads, plucked here,
> smoothed and straightened there, loosed, tightened, cut and spun in a
> weaving of pictured memory that lives as it never did before, that is
> for us to share with them, if we value it. If we take the time.
> And if we do, light may flow into the world that bore us, into events
> formed our own spiritual, mental, physical, national and familial
> That generation, whose precious youth was carelessly spent for them in
> ways far from their choosing, caught in the remorseless, Soratic crush of
> collective world karma, who lived through the war as many are living
> elsewhere in the world today in a newly spewed and sown Shocked Awe of
> bombing that will have its own remembrance and reckoning in time to come,
> that ageing generation is in the crucial process of soul harvesting, light
> harvesting WW2. A slow, cud-chewing process that is thus facilitating a
> complete digesting after death. A vital service to us all.
> Born in 1948, I did not realize - as children do not - how close the
> still was to our parents. Childhood is timeless and forever, and nothing
> physical existed before it as far as we knew. Certainly our parents had no
> existed prior to the all important advent of our own young lives. They
> there for us alone! We brought them into being. And they very rarely spoke
> of the war. Only on Remembrance Sunday when we kept strict silence while
> Mother stood stony faced with an expression we never saw at other times
> could not understand, only then did we glimpse something of a pain that
> still fresh, an anguish private yet collective, tangled and enmeshed in
> whole Nation's nerves, the whole World's nerves, a pain that had numbed
> My mother had been war-widowed, left with two young sons and my father
> her second husband, he having lost his first wife. They were, like most
> people at the time, deeply emotionally scarred. My father's adored younger
> brother had died in a Japanese prisoner of war camp in horrendous
> circumstance. My father declined to accept the medals he himself was
> awarded, seeing them as mockery merely. He went for a drink instead.
> My mother had lain buried for days when the hospital she was in was
> lying next to the dismembered body of a friend. Most of the young people
> knew were killed, either in the bombing or, like her first husband, as
> The war ended. They got on with life. Between the houses, there were
> bombsites where we loved to play. My brother was once discovered banging
> with a hammer at an unexploded bomb, trying to open it...... Our parents
> had inner bombsites where we did not go. Even the sight of London, their
> devastated capital City with familiar landmarks scarred or gone, was
> traumatic to many. Think of the gap left by the Twin Towers.
> Inkling Charles Williams had watched from the balcony of his Hampstead
> flat the Blitzing of the docks in firestorms. He wrote -
> 'I said to myself, 'London is burning.' but produced no thrill, though
> was a sense of crisis, due however, I fear, to the knowledge that it
> make a good landmark for that night. Living in history is as inconvenient
> living in love'....... and, 'my poor, beloved City! St Brides, St Andrews,
> and the Guildhall! O well......!'
> The warming of such experiences awaited the passing of time, the leisure
> and soul activity of age in many cases.
> It was only in her final few years, in her eighties, that my Mother
> fully of these experiences to us, her children, described in vivid detail
> the unrolling scroll of her life passing afresh before her brightening
> eye as if it had happened to someone else and interested her. Sitting in
> her comfortable chair, embowered as ever by banks of flowers brought in
> loving homage by several generations of family members, she saw again the
> heroism of those who had rescued her from the bombing, described the tiny,
> fearless nursing sister who had carried Mother over her shoulder out of
> still crumbling masonry and dangerously unstable rubble. She spoke too,
> the young soldier husband she had loved so dearly and had lost, of his
> blue eyes and strict honesty, of the screams of a neighbour whose three
> had already been killed, screams that could not be stopped, when the
> telegram came that told of the death of her fourth and last soldier son.
> We saw for the first time our beloved father, dead now twenty years, on
> the day when he first learned of his brother's death, running, running in
> frenzy of horror and madness, trying to outrun the nightmare, and as she
> re-lived it, telling it quietly as a storyteller, we saw his face broken
> we had never seen it, shared his pain, bridged the years and loved him the
> My Mother told these things not with the stony pain I remembered in her
> from my childhood, not in her strong and characteristic dominion over fate
> and circumstance we knew so well, but softly, ponderingly, as if she
> them clearly and objectively in her mind's eye, as if she visited what she
> had sown and could reap and digest.
> Always a very beautiful woman, tall, with a natural bearing and dignity,
> age brought her a new gentleness and greater, blossoming love as she
> gathered in these memories and laid them over the previous pattern of her
> life so that we too could see and wonder at them.
> Quite suddenly she had passed back beyond the wartime days, and we saw
> as a child born into grinding poverty and harsh, unrelenting heavy work,
> talents and fine soul qualities untended and unknown by her parents so
> she could not take up scholarships she won, or offers of higher education
> made by others, and we saw that her own self creating path had been a good
> one, that she had risen by her own efforts, fashioned herself in her own
> unique image.
> Her life continued to be hard and unrelenting, but the Warrior Monk in
> far past stood her in good stead always. To the two boys of her first
> marriage were added myself and my three siblings. She was mother of six.
> My father's business failed and he took a low paid job as Keeper at
> Hampstead Heath, wandering among his beloved trees and hiding away in his
> keeper's hut with his books. Mother did shop work or cleaning, took in
> ironing, and still was always there when we came home from school ready
> hot food, freshly baked cakes, made our clothes, tended the garden,
> scrubbed, cleaned, taught us and bought us books - books that were cheap
> plentiful from the many shabby second hand bookshops that characterised
> London in those days.
> I can still see her in our kitchen, amid great piles of other people's
> laundry, hot iron in hand, stopped for a moment in ecstasy to gesture as
> Wagner played on the radio and she told me the story of the Ring, the
> swooping Valkyrie. And remember how her long, beautiful fingers flashed
> sewing or peeling vegetables while she recited poetry to me, or stopped,
> laden with shopping bags in the London street to point out a tiny green
> between the paving stones and say in reverence, 'God was here.......'
> In the first three years of life we know from Initiation Science that
> mighty, powerful forces play into the human being, forces so gigantic that
> the human body can not stand them for long. Forces that incarnated in the
> Christ in the Three Years. Trinity forces, forces of The Way, the Truth
> the Life sculpt the human child and give it power to walk, speak and
> and the ego consciousness that grasps the thread of memory.
> Quote from 'The Human Life' by George and Gisela O'Neil'
> 'The same forces which once shaped our infancy, too powerful to work for
> long within the physical, are ever present in the etheric realm, and
> accessible to all who find their way to live therein.
> In realms of moral fantasy, in Ego-activity free of the physical, man
> regain the awesome powers of infancy. And make true for himself the
> words: Become again as a little child!' end quote
> Of course few will do this. Not all will follow the reflective path of
> memory tenaciously and consciously enough to harvest light. But all are
> worthy of their allotted life! Even those elderly people robbed of their
> cognitive powers by illness or more probably medication, sometimes escape
> into body free states wherein they experience spiritual insights, bringing
> them back in a strange mirroring of the old initiation of Temple Sleep,
> confused, fragmented, sometimes terrifying as I have witnessed in old
> treated in hospital, yet still part of their own unique puzzle.
> We need these elderly wandering Memory Minstrels to bring us songs and
> stories of their past, the nexus womb that received our own lives, Past
> become conscious Present. We need their juicy, burgeoning cherubic etheric
> forces. Baroness Warnock, with her cold Banking background, her love of
> and ceremony, her long immersion in the freezing waters of Oxbridge
> Establishment philosophy might find a magical warming draught of life in
> their remembrances and stories of the 'nuisance' poor and old.
> It is over a year since my difficult, wonderful, enigmatic Mother died
> I have come to know her better in that year of accompanying, wondering,
> listening - and I would say with Rebecca West, when she wrote in her
> 'The Fountain Overflows' of sensing her mother after her death -
> 'My Mother was huge across the skies; the peaceful fields, the peaceful
> waters were her footstool......'
> The Noble Baroness-Dame of an Old Empire may even receive a visit from
> some healing Dickensian ghosts....... After all, the Ghosts of Christmas
> Past and Christmas Yet-to-Come brought Scrooge to Holy Christmas
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