When we arrive on this world, we are connected to Source. We are like a blank page on a notebook. There’s nothing written there. There are no rules yet established. It’s like an empty CD. There’s innocence, all is good and pleasurable. No boundaries or limits are in place.
There’s intense love and purity.
How long does this stage last?
As soon as we realize what is around us, after the mother figure ceases to be the center of attention, that’s when the outside world starts invading our small inside “world”.
I remember when I first held Angelika, my oldest grandchild, in my forearm (that’s how tiny she was). I looked into those big, brown eyes and saw nothing but bright light and wonder. I didn’t want to let her go. I didn’t want to see her grow. I knew then that this couldn’t be. Of course, she would grow up and start making her way in her world.
As we all walk along our path we have experiences that leave their marks in our self. There’s pain generated through some experiences. There’s mistrust generated also. We may become bitter because of this.
Try with all our might to still believe that this is a beautiful world.
That’s our mission.
Keeping this mission, during the days that we are living, is proving to be difficult. How can we remain soft, avoid hate and bitterness? How can we remain soft when all that surrounds us can have no other effect but to make us hard?
We see greed, dishonesty, conflict, prejudice, disease, inequality, persecution, racism, bullying, poverty, hunger, conflicts, war, killing … on a daily basis, be it at “home” or around the world. Try as hard as you can …. keep the faith, continue your journey and believe.
“Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place.”
Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. ( November 11, 1922 – April 11, 2007) was an American writer. His works such as Cat’s Cradle (1963), Slaughterhouse-Five (1969), and Breakfast of Champions (1973) blend satire,gallows humor, and science fiction. As a citizen he was a lifelong supporter of the American Civil Liberties Union and a critical pacifist intellectual. He was known for his humanist beliefs and was honorary president of the American Humanist Association.
The New York Times headline at the time of Vonnegut’s passing called Vonnegut “the counterculture’s novelist”.
John Ernst Steinbeck, Jr. was born on February 27, 1902, in Salinas, California. He was of German, English, and Irish descent. Johann Adolf Großsteinbeck, Steinbeck’s paternal grandfather, had shortened the family name to Steinbeck when he emigrated to the United States. The family farm in Heiligenhaus, Mettmann, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, is still today named “Großsteinbeck.”
His father, John Ernst Steinbeck, served as Monterey County treasurer. John’s mother, Olive Hamilton, a former school teacher, shared Steinbeck’s passion of reading and writing. The Steinbecks were members of the Episcopal Church, although Steinbeck would later become an agnostic.
Steinbeck lived in a small rural town, no more than a frontier settlement, set in some of the world’s most fertile land. He spent his summers working on nearby ranches and later with migrant workers on Spreckels ranch. There he became aware of the harsher aspects of migrant life and the darker side of human nature, which supplied him with material expressed in such works as Of Mice and Men. He also explored his surroundings, walking across local forests, fields, and farms.
In 1962, Steinbeck won the Nobel Prize for literature for his “realistic and imaginative writing, combining as it does sympathetic humor and keen social perception.” The selection was heavily criticized, and described as “one of the Academy’s biggest mistakes” in one Swedish newspaper. The reaction of American literary critics was also harsh. The New York Timesasked why the Nobel committee gave the award to an author whose “limited talent is, in his best books, watered down by tenth-rate philosophising”, noting that “The international character of the award and the weight attached to it raise questions about the mechanics of selection and how close the Nobel committee is to the main currents of American writing.
We think it interesting that the laurel was not awarded to a writer … whose significance, influence and sheer body of work had already made a more profound impression on the literature of our age”.Steinbeck himself, when asked on the day of the announcement if he deserved the Nobel, replied: “Frankly, no.”
Biographer Jackson Benson notes, “This honor was one of the few in the world that one could not buy nor gain by political maneuver. It was precisely because the committee made its judgment … on its own criteria, rather than plugging into ‘the main currents of American writing’ as defined by the critical establishment, that the award had value.”
In his acceptance speech later in the year in Stockholm, he said:
“The writer is delegated to declare and to celebrate man’s proven capacity for greatness of heart and spirit — for gallantry in defeat, for courage, compassion and love. In the endless war against weakness and despair, these are the bright rally flags of hope and of emulation. I hold that a writer who does not believe in the perfectibility of man has no dedication nor any membership in literature.”
John Steinbeck (Doodle-Google)
~~Death and legacy~~
The Steinbeck family graves in the Hamilton plot at the Salinas Cemetery
In accordance with his wishes, his body was cremated, and interred (March 4, 1969) at the Hamilton family grave site in Salinas, with those of his parents and maternal grandparents. His third wife, Elaine, was buried in the plot in 2004. He had earlier written to his doctor that he felt deeply “in his flesh” that he would not survive his physical death, and that the biological end of his life was the final end to it.
The day after Steinbeck’s death in New York City, reviewer Charles Poore wrote in the New York Times: “John Steinbeck’s first great book was his last great book. But Good Lord, what a book that was and is: The Grapes of Wrath.” Poore noted a “preachiness” in Steinbeck’s work, “as if half his literary inheritance came from the best of Mark Twain— and the other half from the worst of Cotton Mather.” But he asserted that “Steinbeck didn’t need the Nobel Prize – the Nobel judges needed him.”
Many of Steinbeck’s works are on required reading lists in American high schools. In the United Kingdom, Of Mice and Men is one of the key texts used by the examining body AQA for its English LiteratureGCSE. A study by the Center for the Learning and Teaching of Literature in the United States found that Of Mice and Men was one of the ten most frequently read books in public high schools.
At the same time, The Grapes of Wrath has been banned by school boards: in August 1939, Kern CountyBoard of Supervisors banned the book from the county’s publicly funded schools and libraries. It was burned in Salinas on two different occasions. In 2003, a school board in Mississippi banned it on the grounds of profanity. According to the American Library Association Steinbeck was one of the ten most frequently banned authors from 1990 to 2004, with Of Mice and Men ranking sixth out of 100 such books in the United States.