Episode #106
Original Airdate: 30 September 2021
Produced by: Doug Krisch
Length: 36 minutes

Special Episode… Please share with your nature-loving peeps… a great episode to introduce new people to this podcast…

In this episode I give a tribute to a mighty white oak tree, whose massive umbrella inspired and protected my family and me for many seasons.

Topics that appear in this episode include: rituals, seasons, relationship to nature. A real treat!

Tune in!

— —
“For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. And even more I revere them when they stand alone. They are like lonely persons. Not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzsche. In their highest boughs the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity; but they do not lose themselves there, they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfil themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves.

Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree. When a tree is cut down and reveals its naked death-wound to the sun, one can read its whole history in the luminous, inscribed disk of its trunk: in the rings of its years, its scars, all the struggle, all the suffering, all the sickness, all the happiness and prosperity stand truly written, the narrow years and the luxurious years, the attacks withstood, the storms endured. And every young farmboy knows that the hardest and noblest wood has the narrowest rings, that high on the mountains and in continuing danger the most indestructible, the strongest, the ideal trees grow.

Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.

A tree says: A kernel is hidden in me, a spark, a thought, I am life from eternal life. The attempt and the risk that the eternal mother took with me is unique, unique the form and veins of my skin, unique the smallest play of leaves in my branches and the smallest scar on my bark. I was made to form and reveal the eternal in my smallest special detail.
A tree says: My strength is trust. I know nothing about my fathers, I know nothing about the thousand children that every year spring out of me. I live out the secret of my seed to the very end, and I care for nothing else. I trust that God is in me. I trust that my labor is holy. Out of this trust I live.

When we are stricken and cannot bear our lives any longer, then a tree has something to say to us: Be still! Be still! Look at me! Life is not easy, life is not difficult. Those are childish thoughts. Let God speak within you, and your thoughts will grow silent. You are anxious because your path leads away from mother and home. But every step and every day lead you back again to the mother. Home is neither here nor there. Home is within you, or home is nowhere at all.

A longing to wander tears my heart when I hear trees rustling in the wind at evening. If one listens to them silently for a long time, this longing reveals its kernel, its meaning. It is not so much a matter of escaping from one’s suffering, though it may seem to be so. It is a longing for home, for a memory of the mother, for new metaphors for life. It leads home. Every path leads homeward, every step is birth, every step is death, every grave is mother.

So the tree rustles in the evening, when we stand uneasy before our own childish thoughts: Trees have long thoughts, long-breathing and restful, just as they have longer lives than ours. They are wiser than we are, as long as we do not listen to them. But when we have learned how to listen to trees, then the brevity and the quickness and the childlike hastiness of our thoughts achieve an incomparable joy. Whoever has learned how to listen to trees no longer wants to be a tree. He wants to be nothing except what he is. That is home. That is happiness.”
― Herman Hesse, Bäume. Betrachtungen und Gedichte, 1952

Episode #105
Original Airdate: 27 August 2021
Produced by: Doug Krisch
Length: 23 minutes

Interview with Kaylea Forsythe.  Part II.

We talk about how a blossoming relationship with plants – from houseplants to plantwork – can help engender a foundational shift in emotional health.

Tune in!

References:
Root Bound.  Essay by Kaylea Forsythe. 2021.
https://vocal.media/journal/root-bound

Episode #104
Original Airdate: 5 August 2021
Produced by: Doug Krisch
Length: 21 minutes

Interview with Kaylea Forsythe.  Part I of II.

We talk about how a blossoming relationship with plants – from houseplants to plantwork – can help engender a foundational shift in emotional health.

References:
Root Bound.  Essay by Kaylea Forsythe. 2021.
https://vocal.media/journal/root-bound

Episode #103
Original Airdate: 13 July 2021
Produced by: Doug Krisch
Length: 36 minutes

How is your relationship to the Sun?
Do you know the basics… how far away the sun is?  How large the sun is?

How is your relationship to your own skin?  After all, this is the part of our bodies – along with our eyes – that interacts with the rays of the sun.  Do you understand how to protect your skin?

In this episode, I introduce ‘The Shadow Rule’ and encourage a deeper understanding of our relationship with the sun.

And then after we touch upon the basics of science,  we take a look at culture – what happened to our old nature-based deities?  Our sun deities?  And how do these shifts in culture affect our understanding of our place in the world… in the galaxy …

An action packed, not-to-be-missed episode…

Tune in!

Episode #102
Original Airdate: 11 June 2021
Produced by: Doug Krisch
Length: 22 minutes

The pandemic is winding down in the United States.

But the repercussions are rumbling… through our own selves, our towns and neighborhoods, and around the world.

Even if better times are ahead of us, it seems that we are still in the midst of a lot of chaos and change.

So let us explore the metaphor of the False Peak and how it relates to setting expectations.

Tune in!

 

Episode #101
Original Airdate: 7 May 2021
Produced by: Doug Krisch
Length: 34 minutes

Weather of the Mind 101.  Past, Present and Future.  A reintroduction of sorts.

Included in the ‘past’ section of this pod… my telling of my own “Einstein with compass moment.”

And as part of the ‘future’ section … I read an encouraging email from a former student.

Tune in!

Episode #100
Original Airdate: 1 April 2021
Produced by: Doug Krisch
Length: 24 minutes

A celebration of sorts… where I give some thanks to a handful of friends and brainstorm pals for their support over the past 2.5 years.

I posed this question to these members of my de facto board of advisors:  why does the Weather of the Mind podcast resonate with you?

Insightful and encouraging answers abound.

 

 

Episode # 099
Produced by: Doug Krisch
Original Airdate: 16 March 2021
Length: 22 minutes

Weather of the Mind #99 notes

Einstein – Biography Review 3.16.21

In this pod I aim to provide a bit of a book review for Walter Isaacson’s Einstein.

My 3rd Isaacson bio and he is a biographer that focuses on innovation. The cultural process and these transformative figures he chronicles… including Da Vinci, Ben Franklin, and Einstein.

He tells a good story and you get a sense for both the person and the cultural milieu in which they find themselves.  This is all can ask for in a bio.  And Isaacson succeeds in these every time.  Surely there are always questions remaining, but to boil a complex and transformative life into 500 pages is actually pretty difficult. In this sense, I think Isaacson has a good sense of pacing, of density.  How far to explore a point before it is time to move on.

If he has a weakness, it is the interpersonal complexity of families.  For example, Einstein’s son was near suicidal and in an institution for many years, and this was hardly explored in this book.   But again, a biographer has their lens which they tell the story.  And in terms of a general storytelling and a sense of the time and place, Isaacson does well.

Why I encourage the reading of biographies

Biographies are inherently intimate.  They provide an access to another, to this story of this fascinating character.  This true story.  You get to hear about what they were like as kids.  And how they evolved and how they remained the same.  How they thrived and where they failed.  How were they among family and friends?  How were they in the public space?

But there is so much more…  insight into the culture of the time.  Things you would never know to look for you are bound to discover.

As Isaacson says in his early pages, “his fascinating story, a testament to connection between creativity and freedom, reflects the triumphs and tumults of the modern era.”

“Imaginative noncomformity was in the air: Picasso, Joyce, Freud, Stravinsky, Shoenberg….” – Isaacson

But the biography is the canvas of someone’s life… and we all have a canvas

So without further ado, let me share some quotes from the book that elucidate a few main themes of the book.  I hope that this allows a better insight into Einstein, but also I hope they entice you to pick up a biography.

Music

Encouragement

Personality

Mystery  (perhaps befriending the mystery)

Music 

Mom an accomplished pianist; pushed violin lessons for young Albert;  he would go on to love the violin and was a part of his character throughout his life, he loved to play for others and for himself

“Whenever he felt that he had come to the end of the road or faced a difficult challenge in his work, he would take refuge in music and it solved all his difficulties.” – son, Hans Albert

Mozart his favorite

“Music, nature and god became intermingled in him in a complex of feeling, a moral unity, the trace of which never vanished.” -biographer Moszowski

 

Encouragement –   feeding the gifts, the curiosity

Dad and his uncle were engineering minded problem solvers who did a lot of studies in electricity, the exciting new phenomena of the time.  (Electricity was like the internet or the cell phone of the 1880s.

At age 5 his epiphany and no image ripples out in a biography like this one does.  It would still ripple through him on his death bead 75 years later.   His Dad gave him a compass.  And the fact that it would respond to an invisible magnetic field just blew him away.  And lit a fascinating with fields… the last 30 years of life devoted to unified field theory.  That would aim to unify electrodynamic field and the gravity fields.

And a local med student.  Einsteins are jewish, though not religious, but one of the customs was to have guests over for dinner once a week for shabbat.  But they did it on wed or Thursday night and a med student came over for a few years.  Well this med student, along with his uncle, fed albert math puzzles and basically kept on feeding him until he was through calculus at age 12.

**So here is an example of a small anecdote that had potency.  A ritual where you have guests from your community over for a meal once a week.   Especially a family taking in an individual.  Now I might not have thought about this, if it was not for wandering through a personal story, a biography, that passes through the 1880s and 1890s …

 

Personality

“He was generally a loner, a tendency he claimed to cherish throughout his life, although his was a special sort of detachment that was interwoven with a relish for camaraderie and intellectual companionship.” – Isaacson

Summary of his defining character traits:  Incredible ability to systematize…. Low ability empath

“For all his kindness, sociability, and love of humanity, he was nevertheless totally detached from his environment and the human beings in it.” -Max Born

“the mix of coolness and warmth produced in Einstein a wry detachment as he floated through the human aspects of the world.” – Isaacson

Rebel spirit, questioning authority as default vantage.  “to punish me for my contempt of authority, fate has made me an authority myself.”

Quick trivia section… 1905 annus mirabilis, 1919 spec relativity tested and proven, 1922 nobel prize

Max planck … big dog before him… Niels Bohr, big dog after him

Faraday and Maxwell, discover electromagnetic field and discovered the parallel math…

Einstein, 40, at 1919 when fame hits.  Would continue six more years of contributing to quantum theory.  But after that  – he stubbornly resisted quantum mechanics and embarked on long, lonely, and unsuccessful efforts to devise unified field theory.

Note he was very humble:

“The cult of the individual personalities is always, in my view, unjustified … it strikes me as unfair and even in bad taste, to select a few for boundless admiration, attributing superhuman powers of mind and character to them.” -Einstein

 

Mystery 

“To me the most beautiful emotion we can experience is the mysterious.  It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of all true art and science.  He who this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead, a snuffed-out candle.” – Einstein

“try and penetrate with our limited means the secrets of nature and you will find that, behind all the discernable laws and connections there remains something subtle, intangible, and inexplicable” -Einstein

“to sense that behind anything that can be experienced there is something that our minds cannot grasp, whose beauty and sublimity reaches us only indirectly…” -Einstein

Episode # 98
Original Airdate: February 17, 2021
Produced by: Doug Krisch
Length: 30 minutes

((A real solid episode… much food for thought))

The key question I pose to you, the listener:

Growing up, did your family have a weekly day of rest, of recharge?  Was it effective?  What were the best aspects of this day?

In your life now, is there a weekly day of rest?  What is the ritual?  Is it working well?

And looking forward, if you could build a ritual – what elements would you include – music? exercise? cooking? eating? reading? watching a movie?

While this episode is practical in that it is meant to encourage an evaluation of our day of rest, It also drifts (wonderfully) to some deeper questions,  questions that are a relevant in contemporary social debate: how can we develop a nuanced relationship with human’s past, human’s old cultural institutions, and our collective human history?

And of course, I also tell my own story of building a good ‘day-of-rest-and-recharge’ ritual.

Tune in!

 

Episode #097
Produced by: Doug Krisch
Original Airdate: 28 January 2021
Length: 29 minutes

Main topics:

Two homework assignments: 1) In the trenches reflection on our times in the middle of winter of Corona II, and 2) design your own school, based on your experiences of your years of school.  If we were designing a school to help mold healthy well-rounded adults, what would the main subjects be?

The Validator, Superhero of Emotional Validation