Friday, May 30, 2008

History: Bronx Stardust

History: Bronx Stardust
by Barie Fez-Barringten
As stardust is the particles in the environment so is Bronx Stardust about the bits and pieces that are falling from bigger bodies. These are the fragments of and left overs from main issues, bodies and lives of the times. These are the crumbs from the table where you can only imagine the weight, substance and ingredients of the main dish. The real story has already been lived, the real place is already remodeled and reconfigured so all that remains is the stardust left behind and un-noticed by the the ebb and flow of social forces. If these are the crumbs we can only wonder what was the meal. If this is the stardust what was the heavenly body. As scince gathers the strdust I have gathered my recolections of the details of time, place and a space labeled the Bronx.
My Parents Home
These were the early years; from the time I was born until student days at Pratt Institute. The sociological character of the neighborhoods I lived with my family was all urban.

Although I wanted to move to Long Island my mother refused. My father and brother were in agreement but my mother wanted to be in The City. The sub-urbs seemed a fatal exile that she detested.

Hoe, Home , Faile, Simpson and finally Holland Ave are where we moved instead of the sub-urbs because it was close to CCHS, had trees and a variety of European people.

My mother lived on Holland Avenue till she died in 1985. The move to Holland Ave. did change the culture of our family because it coincided with my high school days, my mother’s accelerated work schedule, and my father’s increased time with his new family.
But there was more , radio was replaced by television, the stage shows ceased, Italian, Greek music, etc. moved into the background in favor of modernism.

There was a mood which had a disdain for the past.

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Bronx Stardust;World

Bronx Stardust

by Barie Fez-Barringten

As stardust is the particles in the environment so is Bronx Stardust about the bits and pieces that are falling from bigger bodies. These are the fragments of and left overs from main issues, bodies and lives of the times. These are the crumbs from the table where you can only imagine the weight, substance and ingredients of the main dish. The real story has already been lived, the real place is already remodeled and reconfigured so all that remains is the stardust left behind and un-noticed by the the ebb and flow of social forces. If these are the crumbs we can only wonder what was the meal. If this is the stardust what was the heavenly body. As scince gathers the strdust I have gathered my recolections of the details of time, place and a space labeled the Bronx.

Bronx Angel: As boy of seven during world war two, while sleeping in my bedroom in our apartment on Faille Street, God sent his angel . She said God loved and watched me and not to be afraid. I had been tormented by children who worshiped Satan. He sent His Holy Spirit to show how big I really was and not to fear evil in the midst of evil people and nightmares sent from Satan. This was during world war two . About forty years later in 1985 I was baptized into the Holy Spirit, called to be an instrument of healing and see God’s hand changing the lives of people.

I consider all that I do not see “the unseen”, and, assign what I do not see to either God or Satan; and, I consider Satan the enemy of God, and, therefore my enemy. Furthermore, I do consider that which I do see to likewise fall into these two categories; good or evil; of God or of Satan. With one big distinction: every thing that is of God is real whereas whatever I see that is evil is deceptions of Satan, and is evil, separate and not from God. However, since the seen is by my own senses which I choose to see, I consider that evil and apart from God and my sin, and, sin as being a separation from God by what I choose to see in disobedience of God. This is a dualism of parallel worlds within the very same circumstances, contexts, and events; and, often with the very same people.

Romans 8:1
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Bronx Stardust is both in the seen and unseen in and of this age and, timeless; and, is both righteous and unrighteous. It is spiritual, carnal and manifests itself in artifacts, icons and dreams. It is a melody, painting and is in what we do and say.

Bronx Stardust is a shared context consisting of a single world glorified by the “Bronx Bombers” which was then the New York Yankees, The Bronx Transit Systems included trolleys, buses and elevated trains, buildings, streets, sidewalks, corridors, stairways, elevators, cockroaches ,rats ,mice ,etc. We shared both community and privacy in a world orbiting around our age and its' special music. The Bronx was everything great about Manhattan except it was affordable and cutting- edge. Many would say we shared vulgarities , dialect and clichés to ad nauseoum. Bronx Stardust was a collection of affordable experiences, cheap thrills, and whatever was good we got it first. We always had the feeling that the markets gave us the best, and before anyone else in the world got them. We shared the disdain the world had of us and thumbed our noses at their lack of good taste and discernment. The Bronx shared building-types and tenements, and a peculiar kind of mixed density, building types ,neighborhoods, ethnic mix that "new urbanest" wish and plan but rarely achieve. It came about naturally as stardust collects from the universe from all parts and all kinds. Bronx Stardust is the world of diversity and the charm of vulgarity at the brink of discovery becoming authentic and genuine. There is nothing superficial about a Bronx person or context. It is a place where talent and genius incubates and brews but rarely blossoms. It is why the Bronx is so special because it is a microcosm of the disparity, counteractions, complexity, diversities, and chaos of the rest of the planet. Truly, if you can make it in the Bronx you can make it anywhere. The Bronx Stardust is both a nightmare and a dream enjoyed by people living out side of mainstream defying anything while adapting to dissonance, harshness and all that is terrible and beautiful . Viruses , germs and harmful bacteria thrive while antidotes to overcome harsh realities proliferated including crazy and film flam amusements, novelties and decorations.

We shared prejudices, small mindedness, provincialism, discrimination and yet love of every single neighbor and nationality on the planet. The Bronx grew people who have learned to live with both their peculiar differences while sharing their commonalities with people in situations quit disparate and ridiculous.

A portrait of my Bronx world includes family, home, neighborhood, jobs, schools, friends, schools, games and play, recreation, and the emotions, social strife and political events of my context. The world had landmarks and non-landmarks. The Bronx itself was a world within itself. Were it not for the trips out, our world was provincial and closed on itself. Bronx's were inherently vernacular and place-specific depending on concrete, artifacts and relationships to survive and orbit socially.

When I think abut my life and its highlights I do think of the individual parts but it is the whole and the interaction of the parts that really intrigues me. 2 chronicles 32:19 19 They spoke about the God of Jerusalem as they did about the gods of the other peoples of the world-the work of men's hands. Our context, cities and neighborhoods are the worlds in which I have lived that are as real now as they ever were .

I lived in a class of people with common characteristics including the scientific, architectural, art, educational, bureaucrats, etc. The world of the intellect, upper classes, rich and famous, etc. God has given us moments to live in each of these worlds with neither vision or pretense but in fact by profession, job and vocation.

Luke 2:11 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. In my own life all that I posses, the lands I have lived and visited have become the world in which I live.I will always carry the world of the Bronx into other worlds that I visit. I am a Bronxite. My mom said: "you can take the man out of the farm but not the farm out of the man".

Secular life and its concerns: "a man of the world".

In certain circles I have felt prominently conspicuous as earthly; connected with realities and grown-up worlds which alluded the people surrounding me. It seemed they believed that because of my life, origin, language, passport, nationality, skin color, beard, mustache, etc. that I could navigate and hold the key to understandings beyond their realm of experience.

In secular life as a man of the world. In those worlds I visited with those inhabitants I tended to keep my other world as a closed poker hand fearing too much information would distract from our relationship. My world consists of many worlds as the free flowing spirit that goes between one or another role, context, career, job, residence, etc. It comprised many whole and complete experiences. They were in large amounts; and did me a world of good even though it was worlds apart from the normalcy that others in my family experienced. Normal being, one world with out neither change nor variation. However, my world extended to many and in a way was thematic involving or extending throughout the entire world where we have been involved in world class crisis and circumstances.

In my world there were many domains, places, issues and states which I still relate and have vested interests. As noted in Luke 4: 5 The devil led him (Jesus) up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms (domains and worlds) of the world.I think of whatever I have earned from this world as earnings out of the social, economic and financial systems in my context. Luke 169I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings. And this wealth, earnings and aggrandizement's’s are earthly and not spiritual. Yet they compose what surrounds me and is the baggage I carry.Luke 16 11 So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches The spiritual world and the fleshly world are complements and God’s necessity. It is in both that we thrive and bring from one to the other. We bring God’s will from the spirit and our decision to love and obey from the flesh.

My world can be analyzed in complements and blends of worlds and sub-worlds happening simultaneously at one or another level at any given time. Or may be viewed as a color wheel with not only complements and opposites but also tangents and adjacent colors and values. In many ways my life has not fit one or another recipe but been more like gourmet food which is spicy, arrange very well but the result of artistic and imaginative intervention. The accidents that occurred depended on how the chef made the most of the situation and resulted in some sort of an invention and new dish. Our world has been much like the chef who both by design and good creative skill meets his pallet and given ingredients with good taste, judgment and character.

My life itself has been a metaphor of wolds resulting in the creation of its own metaphor and world. Unique and original with a form all of its own. It is a world of multiple religions, lands, cultures, tastes, sin, virtue, holiness and vulgarity. My world is memories, imagination and concepts of experience, people, music, etc. It is wide in scope and dimension. I learned in design and planning to widen my abilities to organize systems, programs and policies which govern the physical and material. There is the other political and religious life consisting of political parties, religions and poverty. The true reality of my world is limited and bound by my own capacity and effort to imagine and commit myself to do what it takes to survive and fulfill God’s mission.

Exhuming my past Anomie and fond memories.

From childhood I knew that “man” remembers his past, animals do not; they repeat their habits. They eat and eat, and then begin again. . This is their nature. Man’s nature is to experience one thing and then remember it. Once remembered he may choose to repeat it as part of his life style and cultural habitat. The behavior then becomes his cocoon, habitat, inner circle, turf security zone and place where he can orient himself. I too knew that one may feel alone in a crowd. I could sense separation and distance while with family and loved ones. Change and dislocation were not the only reasons for discomfort. Was I really the person defined by others? I questioned my authenticity.

Someone in anomie no longer has metaphors, values and symbols in common with society. The person is alienated and disassociated. His metaphors have been stolen ,disappeared, removed and/contracted in a convincing way. The condition of not right and outside of what is right may be considered anomic. Anomie and alienation are related whereas an alien I may know my identity I realize that I have no agreements and contracts within my realm where anomi I am in the disconnected context but I don’t know who I am. In other words I have neither authenticity nor authority.

I am a person conditioned for anarchy who adopted conformity to survive and succeed. I am an artistic entrepreneur who found himself in school house prisons of the forties and fifties. I contrasted the repetitious, inane conformity with individuality, anarchy creativity and intellect. I often choose not to repeat and I also remembered intricate and large details about the past, which I could easily describe to my parents and awe delight and shock friends. I could remember what others and I wore; the decorations and locations of the places we visited; people's names, background and most phone numbers and addresses. I did not need a written list of names and numbers; I carried them in my head.

Albert Einstein noted how inherently “stupid” was all of mankind for this trait. The trait that compels men to mindlessly repeat behavior over and over without thought, rhyme or reason. He likened us to the lowest life forms that do the same things predictably to get food, etc. Of course he included himself and his behavior as part of this phenomenon. I knew it was all very stupid and had to be interrupted. I must face that while I threw away my abhorrent past and many intermediate contexts they are now fond memories and affections, which linger and bring me great pleasure to recall and resurrect.

Add innate distrust and compulsive skepticism and you have a continuous sense of not belonging and misfit in most situations. I sought companionship, alignments, familiarity and likeness. I usually found competitiveness and challenge. The familiar contexts in which I inhabited rejected and openly confounded trusts with betrayals and disagreements. Hostility and distrust were the ambiance in which I found myself on the streets, school and at home. The few trusts I had were fragile and disassociated. My later marriage to Christina was the first trust for which I could be certain. As alienation due to distrust so alienation separated and kept me from the alliances that could have built bridges of partnerships and development.

Anomie is a personal state of isolation and anxiety resulting from a lack of social control and regulation including a possible lack of moral standards in a society. It includes states of disorientation and a definite sense of alienation and distancing from normalcy and average working of society. Nothing one does seems to have any contexts or make any sense because the boundaries and gyroscope keeping the social norms from flying into space are gone. For most of the period in my childhood I had the awkward sense of being an outsider. In fact, for most of the cases I was an outside because we changed our residence and with that the change of schools and the neighborhoods surrounding the schools.

I learned anomie at a very early life and had no concept in which to cloak and understand what I was experiencing. But it was the rift and disruption due to change. It was also, due to outside changes occurring in our society due to the war,rationing, depression, re -socialization and of course my parent’s failed marriage and father’s development of his career and eventual successful business.

I had the sense that I did not fit into the class at school, on the street in the neighborhood or amongst the gangs on the block. I only felt at home with Milty, some friends and later with girls. Music, records and radio provided the continuity focus and sense of belonging and legitimacy missing from the real world. It is no accident I saw my first and only career move to go into radio broadcasting, not as a profession, but as a life. It was where I lived!

I did not know it then but I was suffering from social instability caused by erosion of standards and values. This was accompanied by alienation and purposelessness as a result of a lack of standards, values, and ideals: I was suffering from something more than adolescent anomie and rage. It is only in retrospect that I can begin to define and give what I experienced both shape and form. East Germans we met before and after the wall fell spoke of the mistrust of each other and the alienation to Germany, family and themselves. Every one felt alienated. This was the Leipzig we found in 1989,1990 and 1992. It is the Germany we know today which is still recovering from alienation of its own identity and sense of place and metaphor. I wrote a book called "Exhuming Leipzig" from 70 years of neglect. It was much more emotional and pathetic than what I could tell and write. It was not only one but many cities and families have lost themselves. Even their children born in this time are alienated within their own families not knowing the trust that comes from a loving family.

This shape and form came to me from Emile Durkheim, a French sociologist who introduced the concept of anomie in his book The Division of Labor in Society, published in 1893. He used anomie to describe a condition of deregulation that was occurring in society. His, not my society. But it turns out that my family and I were suffering from the same phenomenon.

This meant that rules on how people ought to behave with each other were breaking down and thus people did not know what to expect from one another. The element of surprise, disorientation and vulnerability pervaded our time. Neil Diamond in one of many fine songs expressed everything about anomie in the following lyrics of “I am, I said”

“L.A.'s fine the sun shines most the time,

and the feelin' is lay back,

Palm trees grow, and rents are low,

but you know I keep thinkin'

'bout makin' my way back

Well, I'm New York City born and raised

but nowadays I'm lost between two shores.

L.A.'s fine but it ain't home

New York's home but it ain't mine no more”.

By now most of those reading this work will realize that Neal Diamond’s story is mine as well. It might also be yours. Owing to the success and popularity of the song there must be many others suffering from this anomic state. In fact he expressed in one song what Durkheim and the others have said in several of their essays and books. Works which make metaphors and compare one thing with another.

My friend, John Jackson explained how much of classic literature’s purpose was not what was said, but the manner and divergence of the writer to lead you away from reality into an another world of contemplation and delight. An experience I have had with many of our classic books some written by Samuel Johnson. This understanding coupled with William J. Gordon’s synectics of making the strange familiar has led me to another way of thinking and understanding my conversations with Saudis, Indians, Pakistanis, Koreans, Chinese, Europeans, etc. They express themselves “tangentially’ and “circuitously” where the telling and experience of speaking and the language is enjoyed by both speaker and listener. This is the art of delightful conversations where one enjoys the presence and animation of another human being.

In my Yale lecture series architecture as the making of metaphors, and in his book William J. Gordon teaches how to make the strange familiar though games and plays so that we are able to learn and conceive of our lives in a different way. He teaches people to talk about one thing in terms of another. To see science from an artist point of view; to study medicine from using construction vocabulary, etc. In other words, to use “other words” to describe what we are doing so that which is familiar becomes strange and understood in a different way. He calls it the “the Metaphorical Way of Knowing”.

Knickers and short Pants:

Mom bought me knickers and short pants and dressed me daily. I recall dressing differently from all the other children. Few wore cloths as nicely chosen, ironed and cleaned as mine. I was always impeccably dressed. My appearance was one of my mother’s proudest accomplishments. She especially liked dressing my brother in navy suits and shorts with his blond and curly hair. This was the ideal. There were lots of ideals and many of them came form Europe. I recall feeling the tweeds and the smell of the cloths as my mother would fit them and dress me. The streets were sunny and clean. We’d ambulate to the grocery and shops. She would take us visiting friends and relatives dressed ever so nicely.

The “flaming youth” of the roaring twenties, however became but memories as the global depression deepened. It was in this time that I came of age to wear these cloths and my Mom was determined not to let a silly thing like this war hamper my youth and its' moment. All of this was before the so-called juvenile delinquency of the fifties. My brother would ask my parents what this meant and they would simply explain it as kids that are bad, meaning that we were not. No, what every my mother thought of me, it was not as a juvenile delinquent. I was not!

However a culture obsessed with youth was emerging. Culturally, the division and line between naivete and maturity were being defined. Talk was about to shorten childhood. I remember, not using bad language around my parents for fear they would perceive me as grown up. The same with smoking. All to protect the relationship between me as a child and them as the gown ups. It was what both of us wanted. Then to be the parents and us the children. It was the essence of the age of innocence.

It was the same when I was leaving junior high school: I asked my home room teacher, Mr. Cohen, if I could remain in his class next year and not graduate to which he replied that although he was flattered that I must learn to go on and take the best from the present and look forward to matuirng. He was very kind. Independence and empowerment surrounded the times but I was really happy being my parent’s child. I soon learned that dependence, irresponsibility and naivete were dangerous and dysfunctional. I just believed that the changes did not have to be neither as cataclysmic nor as dramatically clipped as they eventually became. However, this anomie happened and prepared me for the coming anomic epidemic.

The anomic drive where we are socially disoriented anomic loners musing over our fate was only complicated because we lived in an age of rootless alienated people. It exacerbated our every decision and stressed our daily choices. But it led from one context and effort to another as we sought the relationships that will fit and welcome us home.

Indeed the craving for the “homey with welcoming aura “was a welcome context to a shipwrecked vagrant or castaway" . I can recall going to parties, walking on streets and working in offices feeling alienated and out of place. The historic anomic moments in my life started with my brother’s birth and the shift of me being the center of my parent’s attention to sharing that role with my brother including sleeping alone and the nightmares that followed. I was unprepared to leave the co-dependence of my identity I had to my parents and did not have any learned identity of my own.

The start of the war was no less an anomie as it came on the heels of my brother’s birth and while I slept alone in the living room the air raid sirens, spotlights in the sky and the black outs loomed. When I was nine and it was announced that the Russians, too, had the “A” bomb, I was greatly in stressed, disoriented and confused.

I recall the anomie we experienced in New Haven during the race riots and particularly the march that paraded in front of our house. Kessel says that one of the first areas Durkheim applied anomie to was the shift of an essentially rural-based feudalism to urban industrial modes of production as my grandparent’s shift from Rhodes and Romania to the USA. This explains their reticence and disdain of their ancestry, heritage and silence in my childhood. To them it was enough to speak with disdain and keep silent about their place of origin and ancestry.

My parent’s marriage with one set of expectations and the actual experience with another set of realities brought my mother into anomic shock. Would this not have happened the burdens she carried and complained could have been born and joyfully coped? One anomie led to the inability to handle the others.

Explaining why many anomies of dislocation, change and relocation can be handled with ease and joy. In this regard Kessel continues Durkheim’s message was, in short, “change happens” and anomie is a result as well as a causal factor in more change happening. It is more than a domino but more like a basis for chaos in which the first act is irresponsible, capricious and whimsical.

In fact I believe, as Durkheim and Kessel, that we live in an anomic reality. A perennial Alvin Toffler, “Future shock” And, finally a kind of prophesy confirming the bibles prophesy of these end times Kessel says:” While there have certainly been wars, big and small for a long, long time on this earth, recent events have called forth...given rise to...emerging anomic states on all levels...and very well may turn out to be the most unprecedented. The “twists and turns” of this are by no means. Kessel speaks of the on-rushing anomic state of this planet.

Kessel adds, “but 9/11, as we so euphemistically call it, has had a ripple effect of anomie almost unbelievably so. The excruciating details of the event, which were fed to us like a massive force-feeding, flooded over us and gave rise to a questioning of almost every single aspect of our lives.... A whole world...has had to struggle to “normalize” itself in spite of the persistent anomie...well; ANOMIE is now the norm, in effect.

I have played social “tag” all of our lives:

where tag is a children’s game in which one player pursues the others until he or she is able to touch one of them, who then in turn becomes the pursuer. It is a process, which goes on, and on until both sides decide they have run out of time or energy; where one child chases the others; and the one who is caught becomes the next chaser.

We have pursued society and our place in it while society has prevailed upon us and so on. Our context, city, social fabrics, politics, and religious affiliations have evolved and been replaced. We too have often been a square peg in a round hole being conservatives in a New York Democratic World amongst liberals when we were ideologically anything but. We were constitutionalists not progressives yet in favor of decentralized and small central government. It always seemed we were living in the wrong places with the wrong people. Not for status, prestige, or vanity but often ideological, cultural or political. It is hard to talk about Jesus to your best friends who are atheists and about aesthetics to bankers and politicians. About gourmet cooking to parents of six children and about world travel to a farmer. Many of our context have been humorously ridiculous and ironic and radically absurd. However, by the grace of God we were able to adapt, adjust and find God’s way.

I was neither an atheist nor agnostic but a person earnestly seeking access to God. This dualism and seeming contradiction in integrity and truth is the reality of my identity and who I really am. A person with contradictions and complexities. Very human fallacies in commitment and at home in ambiguities that become laws and norms. The fact is that there was a truth in me that I could not express so I denied what I knew to be untrue so that I could find the truth in a yet unknown experience I was to have later in life. In so doing I lived in an anomie and was at times a stranger to my self.

In his essay called “Anemic America” David H. Kessel says about Durheim and anomie that Durheim simply meant...”normlessness.” And further about anomic people that, “they are...or have been...weakening as the standard by which to much so that people feel “lost,” uncertain, anchorless as to what’s going on. Sociologically, people love their routines, their patterns of behavior, their usual ways of thinking and interpretation, in short...“order” or even more to the point, their “normal” reality.

Anomie Kessel writes results from a transition from one to another society, and in my case from Faille Street to Simpson. Durkheim really delved into this transition in his work:” The Division of Labor in Society” which echoes the many work on the industrialization process and change that I have discussed elsewhere. The extraordinary thing that I have discovered is that there are different kinds and degrees of anomie depending on their context and what has caused them.

Some are natural and in according to God’s will, while other are cataclysmic and deviate from God’s will. Others seem to blend from one into another also resulting in differences and not being stressful. Kessel continues,” Divorces create fact, divorces themselves are anomic when the norm is marriage, or simply to stay married. One partner may be thinking one thing while the other another. One then sues to end the potential contract because there is no longer agreement and the two are not “in one accord”.

Dropping atomic/hydrogen bombs creates anomie. There is a potential for a complete end to all things, as we know them. Even a mere change of jobs can be anomic. My greatest concern throughout my career has been that when my work in one or anther firm was complete and I had to announce this to my wife. She was not really concerned about the money, though that was mentioned; it was the potential that our context, life-style, and venue would be different. Our metaphor would be corrupted.

And Kessel says that Durkheim postulated that many suicides, but not all, was the result of anomie. Riots may be considered a consequence of anomie...and then, the riots themselves create more anomie. The examples could go on and on...on all levels of reality...macro, meso, and micro. But not all anomie is “crippling.” as it were. Many of us, in countless ways, adjust fairly quickly and smoothly to anomic states of the new norm emerge and take over.

At parties of which I was not a member I felt like a stranger. Everyone knew why they were there and was part of the happiness and social fellowship except me. I was set apart. I noted in Saudi that many of the expats arriving in Saudi were unaware of how they were disconnected from their own culture and folkways and habits. It was not that Saudis was the cause of their stress and anxiety. One of the favorite medical prescriptions by doctors was “valium”. It was the cure-all for most complaints.

I recalled the many train rides through Europe conversing with both men and women in so many different languages. Meetings, tours and parties. The hundreds of times I sat in offices listening but not understanding when Arabic was spoken. And, then repeating the experience in India, Puerto Rico and so many other countries. I got the feeling as I watched the film Lost in Translation, that I never want to do this again. The prospect of going through that experience again unnerved and upset me. It seemed it produced the most stress of all the time I spent abroad. Yet, on a recent work assignment to Doha, I was extatic to be back in that context once again!

Being a stranger!

There were times when, like King Saul of Israel, one feels cut off and alone. It is times like this that one's anomie is in high gear. As Saul called for David to serenade him so do we call for pop singers, media, culture to fill the vacuum created by the loss of self and identify when we feel anomic. Saul responded to the quickening of the Holy Spirit reminding him that he was out of God’s will and needed to pray and obey God. We are not any different, but instead we often turn to media and media culture to supply us with an identity.

Bronx Technique and the Reckoning of my Life:

From the very time I began to eat, speak and walk I have learned to perceive and attend to how I must act, operate, and manipulate my body, senses, and brain to produce some sort of result. Behavior and conformity to norms and accepted formalities were applied but not to any extreme. Devilment behavior on a grand scale was prohibited, but familiarity and brutishness were acceptable.

I found most linguists were not interested in what was a metaphor or how to make a metaphor; they instead were interested in enjoying, perceiving, appreciating, interpreting and finding meaning in metaphors. They wrote and studied on interpretive theory and specific interpretations of literature, paintings, and music. It is what I do when I read and interpret the bible. From this difference I learned that I am interested in aspects of metaphors and other things; both the creative and the non-creative.

For example, there are many things I enjoy without involving myself in how it is created such as food; music; flying; etc. Yet there are other things I have not studied which I am interested in how they are made. It is the experience I have had in Technê that I apply to new circumstances in which I have no experience. Yet I now can appreciate persons who are not "techne" persons in the same fields and techne in any field. We used to refer to these people as dilettantes. However, I find this too severe, because I myself am a dilettante in many things. Things in which I enjoy, perceive and describe without knowing how it is made.

However, it is revealing in this work to describe my experiences with techne in a variety of subjects: with such a techne mind it is possible to see the world in terms of opportunities to learn and apply techne to meet the challenges and complete a mission. I have learned with a little planning and description of the tasks and the criteria of the work I can complete what is necessary to fulfill a job description. I train and respond well to training and discipline. I enjoy learning new techniques and technologies. I realize that it is necessary to change, grow and develop and techne is the tool I have to access new contexts, opportunities, etc.

I am also concerned with Speaking, Pronunciation, Diction, Nice talk, Fencing Jumping on trampoline, Yoga, Printing, Reading music, Playing tuba, Playing ukulele, and making metaphors.


I instinctively enjoyed using cutlery and would have favorite spoon, knife, fork etc. I learned to use them to even eat watermelon, fruits, etc. I liked using tools rather than my hands to eat. I learned how to cut, carve and divide my food into morsels and then gobble them down. I was always a fast eater. My mother taught us to eat but was not overly concerned with society’s social manners. We often ate with our fingers certain food such as chicken. From grandma I learned to eat spinach and rice out of the pot.


I learned the technique of breathing when I was four at the "Y" from my swimming instructor and then in public school. As a swimmer I'd hold my breath and then while under the water slowly let the air out, as I stayed submerged. In this way I could go for long distances and for nearly two or three minutes submerged. In bed I could keep my posture and lungs expanded by keeping my head back and breathe deep to get a lot of oxygen. Later my speech teacher taught me how to breathe from my diaphragm to keep the air in my lungs for a very long period so I could recite long lines with lots of control on tone and pronunciation.


the sounds, accents, intonations and words of others to portray characters and recall scenes of movies and characters heard on radio, seen in movies and sung on records. I had the ability to almost simultaneously hear and repeat what another was saying, speaking and singing as they were uttering there sounds.

  • Driving
  • steering, braking, turning, accelerating, braking and all not to upset or unnerve passengers or pedestrians and other drivers. So my father taught me so that when I'd derive passengers as a chauffeur, the passengers would be comfortable and happy. Driving smoothly and without jarring or causing passengers to lean to the left or the right was the goal. Certainly when braking not to make sudden stops or lurches when accelerating. And, not to drive aggressively and weave in and out to make the passengers over anxious and upset. The idea in driving as with speaking is calm, nice and pleasant. The same as when drives to speak nicely and calmly while driving in the same manner. And, letting passengers realize that you are calm, cool and collected and have complete and total control over the car, the road and their welfare. That you and the vehicle can be trusted. No matter how bad the weather may get, the traffic or the aggressiveness of other drivers or the traffic. The technique was the thing!

Bronx Dreams: (2,433)

Christina and John Jackson told me that a dream that includes rooms, stairs, and connections between rooms was a dream about life. In fact a rooms dream was a metaphor for life. I was also told by someone that life is like a car; that a dream of a car is a life’s journey.

“Old men will dream dreams.........................................”

I have recently learned that dreams are places in which we live. In dreams we find truth and a substitute for the physical and cerebral we experience when awake. When I dream I am in myself in a place I may neither like or dislike but posses and know as familiar because it is occurring within and by me. It is the ultimate sovereign act and not the privilege of anyone else to infringe or control . It is what I can do and be in places of my own choosing and away from the influence of the world and its systems. God can reach me in my dreams where he may not when awake. He can give me what He will without me resisting what He wishes me to have. He can heal me while I sleep, not only physically but heal my soul. He can feed my soul with His love and unseen. The Holy Spirit can display God as He is without the contrivances of the senses.

As songs and voices from media and relations dreams are companions when I sleep. They comfort and guide. God uses dreams to impart His message when we are too busy in the day to hear.

Childhood dreams of Flying Wings:

Thousands of flying wings in the sky during blackouts during WWII similar to HG Wells ”flying wings and fleet of “Sky Captain and World of Tomorrow.( "The Flying Wings Attack" is a lengthy 6.5-minute cue that gets the heart racing.)”

In 1844, U.S. commissioner of patents Henry L. Ellsworth famously quipped: "The advancement of the arts from year taxes our credulity and seems to presage the arrival of that period when further improvements must end." More than 150 years later, our credulity may still be taxed by the latest advances in science, medicine and exploration, but new discoveries and inventions show no sign of coming to an end including 2020 Flying wing aircraft are able to carry 1,000 passengers up to a distance of 9,000 kms at average speeds of 900 km/h. This dream was vivid and repeated itself for several years. Later when I was the HG Wells movie with my fleet of planes I was astonished.

  • Dream: Staten Island Ferry

The ferry is landing on the Staten Island side to a port, which has closed and layered trap and holding area. They are dark and forbidding. The view forms the shore lined with skyscrapers with many lights. There are so many ships in the bay that it is difficult to navigate. I can see the architecture of the skyline and the vertical layers behind the first. The ship I am on navigates around many other ships fist in daylight then at night.

  • Space Ship to Planet Heaven

In 2004 I entered a space ship which made an unplanned extended trip beyond our universe to a very powerful and private place. I discovered later that it was heaven. The ship staff did not know I was on board and when we returned to the changing station I boarded the normal vehicle and there after knew there was this special place. No one else knew where I was. I carried this potential in me and knew I could return there because I had been there. I felt a strong sense of being separate from others that did not know about this outer place. The dream was real and supernatural. I had an awesome feeling of real holiness, danger and adventure. The ship and its construction was tangible, steel, glass and it move as by light speed and very smooth. When I returned I opened my eyes and got out of bed knowing that this had really happened.

  • Simpson street/July 10,2004

I visited the neighborhood with Shirl from office and some others. We went onto Southern Boulevard which I introduced as the best commercial shopping street in the world because of its many and varied shops and locations. We then came onto Simpson Street and to our ground floor apartment. A nice middle aged couple dressed like Midwesterner s and very hospitable and friendly occupied it. The apartment was aglow with light and the walls were close and the ceilings high. A wall in the living room had been relocated just as I had imagined it would be. There were many rooms and decorated with “modern” fifties high priced furniture in primary colors in amorphic shapes and colorful enamels. There direct access to the roof (which I noted was impossible because the apartment had been on the ground floor) There were liberties taken with the layout and additions were made. It seems that these additions were as to our current house in Florida.

  • Simpson Street/mid nineties

The buildings have been discovered and renovated into Mediterranean-like well-designed and modern habitats. They never originally looked like the way they appeared in the dream, but in the dream I was sure they were not rebuilt to another design but looked like the way I now saw them. This is not so.

They were so interesting and reflecting the most desirable architectural concepts. The entries were in scale and each room opened into a court and let in light. My impression was that Simpson Street can once again be inhabited and we should move back there and prosper. I was disappointing to see what has become of the remodeled neighborhood.

  • House in park

The one room house has three walls and a face of glass in which we sit and gaze outward. There are neighbors with similar box dwelling and other that are multistory of a similar design. There are only a few trees; the landscape is sparse.

Feb 2005

New York city walk in grid taking paths varied by going down one block to the end an up another and then across to another, etc. This kind of walk I actually made in NYC as well as many other patterns through the grid. I recall Chabrier, Sibelius, or Manual deFaila’s “Rhapsody Espana” when making similar walks in European cities. There was no music with this walk only an awareness of the crenelated type of walling patterns.

May 2005

I was visiting a hotel which had many areas, lobbies, exits, and entries. It was situated in the center of the city .I had my suits and proper cloths in one area but went through the building many area to an exit at a far distance than my own. I realized I could not depart until I had my suits so I tried to go around and find my way back . Realizing this would not work and have discussed this with other visitors and kind staff I determined to find my way by retracing my steps . It was difficult and tedious but I did and I found my suits and my original place. The day before we had a visit from Christina’s cousin from Germany and watched a movie titled “Garden State” about a man who returns to his home town. I also liken it to the process I am experiencing recalling information to use in Bronx Stardust.

Bronx Hope

In the Bronx I had “old hope”. I knew however that something was missing and was not right. It was not until later I discovered that what I was missing was “new Hope”. It was in the old hope that all of my Bronx life was lived and explains my enormous concupiscence and cosmopolitan dexterity. This is the place where Bronx Stardust thrives.

Ron Shlager now deceased explained in one of our bible studies that the greatest is “hope”. He was suffering from the severe aftermaths of a stroke and needed help in walking and most other activities. He championed hope over faith and love. That was nearly fifteen years ago and it is only until now that I understood Ron. Tit 1:2 and 3:7 implies the full manifestation and realization of that life which is already the believer’s possession.

Titus 1: 2 In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began. And

Titus 3:7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Ron believed that having the indwelling of Christ, the kingdom and eternal life is where we live. All his life he had been a practicing dentist and I am sure that now in his current infirmity realized salvation within is all that keeps him alive.

To a lost and suffering world, I divide the word of hope so that men can be separated from wickedness, despair, depression, sense of futility, anomie, and utter frustration. To be solvent that will wash away the scales preventing belief. Bronx Stardust both obliterated and prompted new hope.

I lived in all these places and gathered my self deciding, choosing and setting my self apart from the bigotry, intolerance, unfairness, and abuse of the world. As the children in Harlem’s planning district #11 challenged me for insensitivity and stupidity at displaying my white ,affluent person before them so the world displays itself without hope and rescue . Neither affirmative action, welfare, nor handouts will balance the haves with the have-nots but hope in the face of adversity.

The general feeling that some desire will be fulfilled in spite of my troubles I never gave up hope. It was only Bronx Stardust in which my expectations were centered. In the old hope of Bronx Stardust I’d wish for something with expectation of its fulfillment. Of course it would never happen. The only thing we cold expect was Bronx Stardust and but a lot more of something we could not understand. Bronx Stardust carried potentiality of possibility beyond what we could see,feel or touch. It was the old hope but it was bounding with life, vitality and optimism . Optimism in the potential of our own cosmic hope that lay beyond our reality. It was an old hope for “new hope I was confident and trusted God for that future.

To looked forward with confidence or expectation: We hope that our children will be successful. I looked forward to that which I did not know or understand. It was my desire. I believe this is part of Bronx Stardust that thrives in the cauldron of the Bronx. I was driven by a desire accompanied by confident expectation of its fulfillment. What is hope? It is the good news and God’s promises. Like what Jesus did with Legion: he cleaned, dressed and then sat him down and once completed then Legion could accept eternal life.

So my life in the old hope brought me to the point where I could know new hope.

Colossians 1:23
If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;

Two Hopes

The bible and the dictionary are clear that there are many hopes and ways of hoping. As the below if there is a better hope then there must be a hope which is worse. The one, which is in the world and the other, which is in God. Where one is corruptible, dying and temporary while the other eternal, immortal, permanent and:

Hebrews 7:19
For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.

If there is a better hope there must also be a hope which is different and less valuable.

Old Hope

God lives with all hope as he lives in all love healing and preparing his children to receive Him and have new Hope in eternal life in His kingdom, which is in each, who receive Him.

Psalm 22:9
But thou art he that took me out of the womb: thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mother's breasts Hope is our birthright and as life it is our choice to direct it toward God. God made us hope and we like many things learned to regulate ourselves to the world and its systems. Driven by anomie I had survived and lived. So many times I had been decimated and survived. I had been a phoenix and it did me no good. I needed eternal life. When done Jesus sent me to Florida to found His church.

Transition from one to another Hope.

Eventually we realize the hope in the world is corrupt, disappointing, unreliable, passing, unworthy of investment, leaves us abandoned and empty and futile.

Proverbs 10:28

28 The prospect of the righteous is joy,
but the hopes of the wicked come to nothing.

No Hope

1 Thessalonians 4:13
But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.

Ephesians 2:12
That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:

Most of the world is without hope and lives in despair. They have a veil which covers and scales preventing them from seeing.

New Hope

When I committed my life to Christ, I did so with the understanding that I was no longer subject to the whims and whiles of this world. I was employed by Christ and not the world. I had a steady and eternal career with Christ. I was soldier in his eternal army and one of his saints praising and worshiping him all the day long. I surrendered the old hopes of the world and its false promises and accepted the new covenant and all God’s promises.

Romans 4:18
Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be.

Best paraphrased as we are in but not of the world and that once we are saved we are in Jesus and he dwells within us. In this co-dwelling are the kingdom of God and the hope that we have for the is to come is already here in the substance that is our faith. That is faith is the substance of things hoped for so that the substance of the kingdom, eternal life, God’s presence is now because our faith is here and now. It is a lively hope.

1 Peter 1:3
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead

Romans 5:2
By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

By our own faith and our continuous and sustained decision we have access to god’s love and mercy which our reason to rejoice and not be the opposite which is depression, doom and gloom. The world hope was before and sufficed. The world is no longer enough. It is part but not all there is.

Romans 5:5
And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

By abiding, testing, and living with Christ in the moment of our daily chores that what we trust in the future is confirmed today in the present. The present in which God’s love confirms His presence.

2 Corinthians 1:7
And our hope of you is steadfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation.

With hope, we experience consolation from Christ and His Holy Spirit. While hope is spiritual it affects the flesh. Like the peace which is beyond our understanding so hope is God’s will . Living in Hope we enjoy His peace and know His will.

Acts 2:26
Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope
. Hope is a place where we can rest and as equipoise find balance and tranquility.

Psalm 42:11
Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.

We must command our soul to be inclined toward God. It apparently is inclined toward the world and needs redirecting. It is we who must so direct our soul. It is not automatic.

Psalm 31:24

24 Be strong and take heart,
all you who hope in the LORD.

We are not alone because we are amongst others who are likewise inclined to abide in God’s presence.

Psalm 33:22

Listen to this passage

22 May your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD,
even as we put our hope in you.

Believe that Jesus is the hope In hope we dwell in God’s will and Love.

Psalm 33:18

Listen to this passage

18 But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him,
on those whose hope is in his unfailing love,

Bronx Person:(3,961 words)

{8,889 total words} (No footnotes)

Persone is from Latin’s persna for mask or role which we pronounce as person which is probably from the Etruscan phersu, which is to say, “mask”. To me it is the composite of characteristics that make up an individual personality, which we call the self.

The person is the separated, sovereign, distinctly identifiable and unique form of being. The things, which made complement and me unique my descriptions in “Persona” and “Personality”, are described below.

Masks define and separate but they also lure us to see the masks of others. As we have different masks and masks of our identity so do others. Artifacts, buildings and cities are masks and we look beyond to know the person of the mask. The apostle Peter was shown a vision of many different species in a blanket ultimately calling him to go beyond his world and touch others. We too are called to other persons to receive, touch and welcome them.

As a cosmopolitan urban citizen any thing out side of my world was rural, bucolic, rustic and pastoral; very foreign; considerably inferior though extremely necessary; and where the rest of the people of planet were that needed the management and control of us urban folks They needed us and we needed them.

They lacked sophistication and elegance (so did I). They and there environment were serene so I knew that I could never know serenity. I was forever doomed to a life of turmoil, chaos and strife. It was all I knew. After all I was the inhabitant of the greatest city in the world, the Empire State; no one contended that.

In his book:”Cultural Rights and Civic Virtue”. Richard Thompson says that “policies designed to counter cosmopolitan alienation and anomie by fostering civic virtue, social trust and common social norms will inevitably conflict with the cultural traditions and sub group identification of some minority groups. Accommodation of any and all sub group cultural practices will make it difficult if not impossible to foster a common civic culture and social trust”.

My family did not find conflict to its traditions lost in the old country. They were glad to be in America and had little or nothing to say about their origins. Christina on the other hand really was in anomie and did everything to bring Leipzig into her life and the lives of all she met. I suffered an anomie amongst my piers for the little I knew and could discuss about my past ancestry and culture. It was either too shameful or criminal to mention. I had no idea and there fore lived in ambiguity and vulnerable to deceit. We enjoyed both being part of Southern Boulevard while in the greatest city of the world. Hispanics and other Europeans prefer melding and adopting than being sub groped and isolated. I conformed to Thompson’s model by rejecting my sub-group as anathema for common social norms of the global wider society.

There was no talk of hey, straw, scenic acreage, farms, forestry, and farm animals. That was “Old McDonald’s Farm”, not NYC. I also knew I was not gentry because those people were no where’s near my neighborhood and where ever they were in my city was inaccessible. I could live with that. They were there and we were here. My parents did all they could to live in dignity and self-reliance. My Dad’s business eventually led to him serving such people.

Of course when all of these began I had no preconceived image and ideal I later learned that Cosmopolitan is pertinent or common to the whole world; having constituent elements from all over the world or from many different parts of the world: the ancient and cosmopolitan societies of Syria and Egypt and So sophisticated as to be at home in all parts of the world or conversant with many spheres of interest as a cosmopolitan traveler. I believe this definition fits me very well and describes my persona.

I have lived with no fixed residence and at home in every place. I have an American passport but have become a citizen of the world and free from local attachments or prejudices; not provincial; and inherently liberal.This becomes less true the longer I remain in Florida. My world is composed of people from many parts of the world and often especially not provincial in attitudes or interests with my various professions and skills of worldwide scope or applicability.

I had thought of my personality as my doom, handicap and curse. I rarely ever succeeded in any thing I knew of because of my winning “personality”. To the contrary, it was I was often told that caused relationships to end. As Paul confesses to the Galatians I confess that I have been too irate and often on unpopular sides in a world I barely have comprehended. I often have confronted, challenged and been wickedly distasteful. I often have hid behind talent, money, sexuality, and sensuality to cover poor judgment and distaste. I have pretended and unknowingly been on the “wrong” side. It turns out; I have learned that many of the problems I encountered could have been avoided had I given more effort to personality.


It wasn’t until I was 19 and finally motivated to get an education that I even concerned my self with the value of knowledge.The vocabulary of urbanism was more than physical and collateral but also in the realm of ideas and philosophies. It not only belonged to who men were but also who they said they were. I learned that claims to fame were to be even more important than character and proficiency.

To go there I had to know what the options were. What were the paths and vectors? I was like so many classes of people I would later teach and manage a life in darkness and ignorance. I got a first hand dose of just how dark and ignorant I was the more that was opened and shown to me. But I was receptive and soaked it up like a sponge. I did “nowhere” want to be “somewhere”. I was in a world where every one knew what was “up” except me. Remember, this was the mid fifties before the age of TV and computers. I was and urban provincial steeped in mundane and parochial dogma and clichés. My vocabulary was learned from the street, music, radio and comic books. Brilliant!

People such as Gerald Popiel, and, later Gene Kaletsky and Christina became my tour guide and ushered me around. It was wrenching and socially dangerous. I had to shut old doors and open others. I was learning how to be “right”.

I was developing my urban mindset and becoming an urban citizen. I also was being defined by the media and adopting to a multimedia and global world. My skin and outward expressions were coaxed and prompted by telephones, radio, records, fast cars, electricity, cars, airplanes, trains, etc. The persona that accompanied these attitudes was also changing. My improvisational humor, ability to “rap” and pour our fluent concepts without regard to concept was fading. I began to meet and measure my words and meanings. Shortly I consumed and regurgitated the dictionary. I was ridiculous. Some encouraged and enjoyed what I was doing. They were few and far between.

I began to seek knowledge for knowledge sake. I tried to memorize the dictionary. I found my self-being an intense student. My facial expressions, wide eyes and furrowed eyebrows exuded intense interest clinging to each word and syllable of my teachers. My personality was what I imagined the perfect and most sincere student would be. It was my new persona. The intense student. I passionately wanted to be edified, built up and filled. I entered “on-empty” and left “over-flowing”.

European travel fed my soul and built me up. Education, travel, cultural activities, Music, Ballet, concerts replaced my illusive identity with a continuum of libretto by which to express my person. It was the content and I the media. I thought what I absorbed and expressed what I digested. I learned to mimic and mime. This was my “persona”. It was stressful and intense. I was apparently interested. I wanted what everyone else had including skills, identity, viability, rightness and access.

My imagination was excited by hearing me speak my own words. I could be very narcissistic once I had absorbed the libretto. When I hear what I spoke I could imagine what I described. This talent made me a gifted teacher, speaker and storyteller. I could actually imagine what I was describing. This was my persona person with imagination who would glibly share and conjure conversations to communicate ideas and excite the imagination of others. I could do this because I was a very good listener and really empty and needing to be filled. Once filled I gushed.

Entertainment excites my imagination can translate words into drawings and I can draw to create pictures and ideas to which I can give words. When faced with a design program I begin day dreaming and night dreaming imagining and designing. My imagination is sparked when I preach, speak, draw, and imagine. Things happen when I communicate.


While in the Bronx and before I was 21 I choose to be a cultured person characterized by mental and moral training; disciplined; refined; well educated. I am able to sense of beauty in nature, even among cultured people, is less often met with than other mental endowments. Culture' and 'civilization' have been often used synonymously, though they have clearly defined meanings differentiating them.

Culture' refers to the inner man, a refinement of head and heart. One who may be poor and wearing cheap apparel may be considered 'uncivilized', but still he or she may be the most cultured person. For 'culture' concerns itself with the inner refinement of a person. This includes arts and sciences, music and dance and various higher pursuits of human life, which are also classified as cultural activities. One possessing ostentatious wealth may be considered as 'civilized' but he may not be cultured. Therefore when we deal with cultural yardsticks, we have to make clear our definition of 'culture'.

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