The Presence


by John Stirling Walker






When I was thirteen or fourteen years old, I discovered I was crazy for women.


This was a surprise, in some ways, because by then I was already considered a "faggot" at school.  I certainly didn't think I deserved the appellation, since I was unaware of any sexual interests at all until the mad passion for naked ladies hit.  But the kids who called me these names sounded so sure of themselves I couldn't help feeling they must know something about me I didn't.


My first orgasm was not the result of this heterosexual stimulation, however, but simply a by-product of the pleasurable feeling of rubbing against the mattress.  When it occurred--not long before my discovery of tits and ass--I suddenly realized:  I had experienced this once before!


One warm spring day when I was ten years old, I had found myself with my best friend Ross naked in some bushes in a park in San Diego, rubbing against one another until that same feeling washed over me.  But the experience was utterly unaccompanied by the lust I immediately began to experience upon discovering photographs of naked women.


Then, another time, after I had started masturbating to these images, a powerful Presence arose within me.  The images on the day in question included some men in soft-porn poses with the women.  The Presence--a kind of violet glow revolving around a Heart that seemed to become the embodiment of the deepest of purple-indigo shades--said, "Why don't you pay attention to the man?"


Moved by the love of this Presence, I directed my gaze towards one of the male bodies in the picture, and found, all at once, my love for the beauty of the masculine form.  And, just as when I had discovered my lust for women I had instantly thought to myself, about the names I was called at school, "Well, they were sure wrong!", so also the moment I discovered the glorious beauty of masculine sexual power, I thought to myself, "Well, I guess they were right!"


Why am I telling you all this?  Because I have a fantastic story to get across to those with "ears to hear", and the encounter with a divine Presence that put me on the path to being a man who loves men is, in a certain sense, its beginning.  By this time we were living in a small town in the Central Valley of California, east of San Francisco.  The San Francisco Chronicle was our daily paper, and I began to devour Armistead Maupin's "Tales of the City", and to follow eagerly every development in the career of Harvey Milk, including its tragic ending.





My father was gorgeous, I thought when I was five.  He stood with his shirt off in his apartment in Denver, where I was visiting him from Cheyenne, where my sister and I lived with his parents.  What a beautiful chest, and such a handsome face!


None of this had anything to do with sex.  I object to the way we are encouraged to turn everything we experience in the innocence of childhood into something sexual "looking back."  The innocent and childlike thrill I felt in the presence of my father was and remains a key moral core in me--it was honoring my father as I might have both father and mother had I known them together.


My father's mother was the woman I thought of as being my "Mommy", though that's not the word I thought or used.  Grandma was, to me, the perfect embodiment of feminine kindness and love.  Years later, I discovered that my father hated his mother.


But he loved his father, my strong, silent German grandfather.  The love and respect between them created a tone of reverence and obedience in the culture of our family, until my father re-married and we moved far away--so my stepmother and my dad could get away from Grandma...


Dad was an enigma in many ways.  I'll never forget asking him once what a "Democrat" was when I saw the word on a bumper sticker.  His instantaneous response:  "An asshole!"


This is the same man who, years later, baked pot cookies for me and my sister, wore an earring, and had made the transition from an electrician, welder, and carpenter to a lighting designer and technical director in the theater.  The same man who, when I asked him if I could take tap-dancing lessons, said, "You wanna turn out to be a faggot like that Fred Astaire?", but, when he began doing lighting for a ballet company, came home and said, "You've got to study ballet!  It will make you strong!!"


The same man who, when I came home after my first year at Cornell, insisted I now had to come back to California to finish my schooling, where we could get cheaper tuition, until he heard I was in love with a man, upon which he instantly said, "Oh, all right, I guess you have to go back!"


The same man who had introduced me to Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev when I was five, who used to get up early with me before he went to work and play Sousa marches, who played the French horn and the trumpet, but had his lip ruined while giving me lessons when a drunk hit him in the face with a bottle on his way home from work.  The same man who, when I was in high school and had become a very passionate and devoted violinist, was so jealous that he punished me for some peccadillo or another by denying me the right to go to All-State Orchestra after I had won the position of principal second violin the year before, and hoped, that next year, to become concertmaster.


The same man who grudgingly submitted my name to the Rotary Club for consideration as a possible exchange student to Germany, sure I would lose to the mayor's son who was the other candidate, and who, when I was the one chosen, lifted his fist in the air in a victory salute as the plane took off for Munich.


The same man who taught me never to give up, never to start something and not finish it, never to disrespect one's parents in public, always to say "I neglected" rather than "I forgot", never to cross the street to avoid someone one considered threatening, and what it was like to have the dignity not to negotiate with someone seeking to manipulate you.  (When my stepmother left him just to show him how far she was willing to go to change things in their relationship, he never let her come back.)


After his parents died, my Dad ended up being a recluse, refusing all contact with me and my sister and with his own sister and her family.  The last time I saw him he was in the midst of a bad love affair, sobbing about how much he had loved my mother, and about the pain he had always experienced from women.





I came out as bisexual to an older female friend when I was sixteen.  My first sexual encounter was with someone I considered my first boyfriend, a fellow American exchange student in Germany when I was seventeen.


I had had crushes on girls beginning in kindergarten, and had made out with a couple of them in junior high and high school.  By the time I got to the Junior prom, I was strongly identifying with my gay nature, and took a fellow musician friend who I think was in love with me.  I felt guilty for giving her a little kiss at the end of the evening.


My first sexual encounter with a woman was with Heather Lauren Lancaster, a folk musician who hung out in my dorm at Cornell and literally threw me to the floor one night in one of the public areas, declaring:  "It's time for you to have sex with a woman, John Walker!"  I was game, but a guy I had a crush on was witnessing the scene, and I invited him to join us; it became a threesome, very disappointing to Heather because I was so much more into him than her.


I enjoyed a friendly sexual relationship with another girl in the dorm for a time, but eventually told her I had to be true to my interest in men.


Then there was Chrissy, the wildly attractive girl I worked at Mrs. Fields' with, who took me up into the mountains and made love with me on a rock in a stream, high on LSD.  There was Kathleen, the singer in a band I played keyboards in, married to a Chinese-American cop, with an infant daughter, with whom I had my first experience of real heterosexual love.  And, lastly, there was Jana, an actress I met in an acting class after breaking up with my lover of three years because I had had a revelation that I needed to deepen my heterosexual side.  With Jana I started to see that my ideals of love between a man and a woman might be harder to realize than I had ever imagined.


You see, no matter how in love with guys I could be, I always, always wanted to be a father of children with a woman I loved.  And that's when I met the Moon movement.



Sun Myung Moon


I was living in San Francisco, my dream city.  I had been there for a year on leave from Cornell to study at its Conservatory of Music, during which time I met my lover Russell, and had moved back there to be with him upon graduating.  After brutally breaking up with him to look for a woman to love, I met someone who introduced me to the "Moonies."


Russell had always joked with me that I was the kind of person the "Moonies" would snap up if I went to the part of town where they missionized.  He would say, "John, you stay away from those 'Moonies'; they'll snap you right up!"  He was all the more devastated when his joke came true after I had left him.


It's taken me years to say "I'm sorry" to Russell.  He passed away in 1995, when I was living in Norway with the woman Rev. Moon had matched and "Blessed" me to.  The last time I saw him, the year before, he was caring for his lover dying of AIDS.


In Sun Myung Moon's teaching, I found encouragement for my deepest ideals as a man who loves women.  I became close to Rev. Moon's family, and still see in him the greatness as a spiritual teacher that led me to give up my life as an artist to dedicate myself to celibate service activity for a number of years, and to accept a spouse who remains the dearest person to me, as the mother of our children, twin boys who passed away in infancy.


Thanks to Sun Myung Moon, I got to know Asia, and experienced a period of immersion in Slavic culture, as well (after having studied Russian intensively in college.)  My knowledge of German and my Norwegian wife gave me the opportunity to live and work in Europe again, and learning Norwegian prepared me eventually to translate the philosophical works of a Danish colleague.  But I was kicked out of the Seminary of Rev. Moon's organization by people who saw me as a threat after I had a spiritual experience, on Twin Peaks in San Francisco, that led me to begin to speak about his family--the family of the "Messiah"--in ways that seemed unspeakably arrogant to them.


This experience on Twin Peaks, overlooking the Castro, has become the central motivating power in my life ever since.  In it, I learned that there is no power in Heaven or on Earth that exceeds what is possible for someone who will love God with all their heart, soul, and strength.


The ancient Hebrews avoided the name of God, out of a sense of something unutterable.  The best way to reveal the nature of the Twin Peaks experience is simply to keep telling my fantastic story....



"Stop the Fighting"


In an episode of "Will & Grace", Jack holds up a little puppy and gives it an adorable voice, begging his quarreling friends to "stop the fighting."


On Twin Peaks I learned that we must stop the fighting.  But from the moment I came down from that "mountaintop", I found myself in the midst of nothing but fighting, in the world of the Moon movement.  Members of Rev. Moon's own family attacked and mocked me, because they knew I had slept with men in the past, and were absolutely sure that no one with that history could possibly have anything to say to them.


In the meantime, Rev. Moon himself, known as a staunch opponent of homosexuality, told an audience that was comporting itself self-righteously about homosexual sex to "try it"!  I witnessed this from him on numerous occasions:  A spirit of absolute commitment to keeping people from mocking or being cruel to one another.


The worlds of the GLBT community and of movements like Rev. Moon's seem to be eternally opposed.  But we must stop the fighting!


My experience on Twin Peaks would not have been possible without the religious discipline to which I submitted myself in Rev. Moon's movement.  But from the moment of the experience, it became clear that the peace I had been taught had to descend upon the planet was not going to be facilitated by the people who had been my religious tutors.  Instead, I gradually found myself being led back to my own past, to work as an artist, and to the GLBT community as bearing the hope for something new in the world.


Eventually my first serious lover, from my Cornell days (the one my father had said that I of course "had" to go back to, in spite of the great expense of out-of-state tuition) and I came to write, under commission from the New York City Gay Men's Chorus, a memorial piece for Matthew Shepard.  Our "Elegy for Matthew" was the beginning of a series of works we were asked to develop that memorialized victims of violence, including Martin Luther King, Jr.  and those on 9/11.


Which brings me to "Stonewall"...



Stonewall:  The Bar!


In the fall of 2003, I made a trip to a few cities in the Northeast to speak on matters of spiritual psychology, as a member of a "working group" for such matters to which I belonged in Switzerland at the time.  As I passed through New York on a train, I had a very profound feeling that I would meet someone there on my way back through.


I stopped in New York as planned on my way back from a speaking engagement, and got a room in a hotel owned by the Moon movement.  You couldn't beat the $10 price in Manhattan!


As I tried to sleep, I found myself haunted by an emotion of despair.  Nothing that I had been able to devise in the twelve years since the Twin Peaks experience had produced any confidence in me that the calling to serve peace was resulting in any viable, on-going way to do this.  Working for non-profits or political groups was clearly a dead-end for the kind of thing I had been given to understand was possible.


As I lay there, the darkness of this despair deepened.  As if in a kind of trance, I slowly got out of bed, dressed, went down to 8th Ave, and began to walk.  I had lived in Manhattan more than once in the past, and headed in the direction of the West Village, out of a longing for familiar, friendly territory.  (I had studied acting at a studio there that was--still is--dear to my heart.)  In a funk as deep as I have ever known, I didn't pay much attention to just where I was going, until I suddenly realized I was standing in front of the Stonewall.


I walked inside.  Instantly a light began to gather around me, dispelling all the clouds of doom and despair; a real spiritual warmth surrounded me.  The bartender grinned at me and said something utterly charming.  I sat with a drink in a corner near the door, and almost instantly it opened, admitting a short, handsome Latino guy.  Our eyes met, and in years of cruising I have never experienced that instantaneously deep a connection (though Russell and I  were together for three years after one look on Polk Street in San Francisco!)  He made a bee-line for my table, asked what I was drinking, went and ordered another whiskey sour for me, and brought it to me, carefully folding its napkin around the glass and placing it before me with the height of Latin chivalry.


His name was Orlando.  We ended up back at my hotel, and, as we entered the corridor where the Moon movement maintained a few rooms it rented cheap to members of the movement, I pointed out to him the signs on every door:  "One person per room", and other indications that this was a facility owned by religious people who expected decorum.  I said, "You see, we have to be careful; I'm really not supposed to bring anyone here."


Orlando's instantaneous reply?  "Why?  We're one!"


It was a stunning night.



Stonewall:  The Opera!


As I write this, my writing partner, composer David Conte, and I are in the midst of work on our third opera.


Our first two were done at the Conservatory of Music in San Francisco, where David became Professor of Composition after I had been a student there for a year on leave from Cornell.  The first one tells the story of the headmistress of a school for wayward children and her path to realizing her ideals for them; the second is an adaptation we were asked to do by Warhol Superstar "Ultra Violet" of her autobiography, depicting her encounters with Salvador Dali, Warhol, and Edie Sedgwick before she reconciles with her estranged mother in France.


"Stonewall!" is to be done at the University of Northern Colorado (where James Michener taught after his breakthrough as a novelist in mid-life.)  It presents the encounter between the "Left" and the "Right" in a way that seeks to do justice to the deepest feelings on both sides.


You see, there are deep feelings on both sides.  "Stopping the fighting" comes down to being able to honor these.


I know how hard it is to feel it makes sense to try to honor the feelings of someone who you experience as feeling nothing but hatred of your own deepest self.  I wonder how many on the "Left" realize that this is just what those on the "Right" feel, as well:  that homosexuality and abortion are attacking their own deepest "selves."


It's easy to mock and scoff at someone else's feelings when they don't make sense to you.  But isn't the fact that this mocking and scoffing is going on on both sides an indication of something?


I recently gave a talk at a Unitarian Church.  One of the small circle I addressed was a passionately eloquent representative of absolute determination to do something about the evils of the "Right."  Every time he denounced those "fascists", I said, "What about the dead fetuses?"


I did not do this because I think anybody is right to be up in arms about somebody else's dead fetus.  I did it because I was equally determined to give the gentleman an opportunity to recognize that his feelings about what he is incensed about are identical to the feelings of those he mocks and denounces.


I'm so tired of the lack of reason.  I don't mean the kind that both sides like to use against each other, quoting statistics and religious or academic authorities to bolster their respective cases.  I mean the kind that leads to a recognition of our common humanity.  What's so hard about recognizing that whenever anyone feels anything profoundly, they are in touch with something that is most truly human within themselves?  Out of regard for this depth of what we feel, we must become able to converse about what we think.  Discourse about what we think, rather than debate, must lead to the will to co-operate to protect one another's freedoms.


Don't people who think that life is a sacred gift from God, or the Earth, or the Cosmos, have the right to think so?  Don't they have a right to feel that using abortion as birth control is a grave violation of this sacredness?  They have that right just as much as a woman has the right to feel how grave a violation it is of her as a spiritual being to be prevented from taking a course of action that she has come to decide is right or necessary.


Don't people who think that the encounter between reproductive substances is one that deserves to be the sacred expression of devotion of the producers of those substances to one another exclusively have the right to think so?  Don't they have a right to feel that any other idea of "marriage" is a violation of this holy ideal?  They have that right just as much as those who know what is possible in all manner of domestic constellations have the right to feel violated when their choices about love are mocked and scorned.


People have the right to feel opposite things about reality.  In a truly civil polity, no one would permit this fact to be interfered with by the desire to impose one's own views.  But that would require overcoming the worship of political means to gain "democratic" ends.


In the Circles of the Radical Faerie communities, no imposition of one person's will upon another is tolerated.  Each person speaks only for him- or herself.  Why can't this spirit make its way into the world of political discourse?


What happened at Stonewall opened the door to whole new levels of conversation in this civilization.  Let's not let that legacy be co-opted by powermongers.  We need a movement of Queer activism that speaks with the strength of real love for the humanity of the opponents, which alone will bring that humanity to the fore.



War of Words


Whether on the "Left" or on the "Right", human beings are descending into a kind of brutality towards each other and the world that is only masked by all of their respective activist Bible- or latest-academic-research-thumping.


Texts are ammunition in a constant war of intellectual, or pseudo-intellectual, one-upmanship.  True reason brings people together.  I have to believe that human beings can start to recognize the way the worship of texts, whether academic or religious, is at the heart of most conflict.


When the Native American peoples encountered white Europeans with their books and letters, they thought that they were worshipping little demons on the page.  What could those little marks possibly have to do with life in community with our fellow creatures under the Great Spirit?


In India, a native tribe, when its land was threatened by the government's decision to flood the area with a dam, found itself dumbfounded by the "civilized" people's focus on paper.  "Why can't we just talk about our land with these officials without getting involved in their entanglement with paper, paper, and more paper?", they asked.


I have come to feel that there has to be a movement among those who don't worship what's on paper if peace is ever to descend.  Non-academic classes of people have got to rise up in indignation at the perpetuation of out-dated methods of addressing one another on the planet.  (Electronic screens are often worse!)  There can be nothing "official" about love.


But the straight folk are going to cling to the traditions that preserve their sense of security.  Can't GLBT community centers become centers of discourse, where people meet face to face and work out their differences without threat of force?  Only if we don't buy into the same old straight traditions of security based on fear.


What is "official"--that is to say, on paper--is backed by guns.  Love isn't!



Semen and Ovum


Mockery is a sure sign of error.


For every person who mocks the idea of sexual purity as a virtue, there is someone else who mocks the idea that it is the responsibility of individuals in social life to take care of one another.  The former mockery belongs to the "Left", the latter to the "Right."


The "Left" tends to be especially in love with the form of "reason" and "progessivism" that naively accepts the results of scientific research as part of man's evolution, in some sense, toward a state of liberation from the past.  What we can do with our bodily substances now that we can extract them in a laboratory or control them in other ways chemically or through surgery or latex has obviated many older traditions.  Not only that:  the scientific idea of causality reduced to mathematical calculations has convinced not only the "Left", but the "Right", as well, that the human bloodstream is now the bearer of a deadly virus.  The "Right" interprets this as God's punishment; the "Left" sees it as just a tragedy to be dealt with practically.


Both perspectives derive from a counsel of despair.


As more and more men are being raised to think of the reproductive substance their body produces as a merely material-chemical element, not necessarily expressive of anything more than the triviality of any other chemical substance, and one that can therefore simply be stored up in "banks" and distributed as needed, the progressive mechanization of the human soul has proceeded apace, as much by that means as by our constant bombardment with a requirement of numbers, numbers, numbers.


The ovum, on the other hand, is felt to "belong" to the woman; she exercises absolute authority over it, even once it has been added to by what came from the body of a man.  This new inequality is having more and more devastating consequences on the inner dignity of men, quite parallel to the ones that proceeded for women out of the older one, merely the reverse.


There seems to be an infinite source of mockery on the "Left" for the feeling had by those on the "Right" that there is something sacred about these substances, and that the pouring out of semen and the receipt of it into contact with the substances of one's  womb are deeply psychologically and spiritually meaningful events, the subjection of which to "choice" is to trivialize them, as if they were a matter of choosing brands at the store.


But those same "Right-wingers" who rail about the violation of God's law in sexual affairs, when it comes to the financial demands of caring for the bodies that are produced by procreative activity unimpeded or -controlled by trivializing technological interventions, continue to promote the idea of "choice" in their own way, by insisting that every individual has the right to behave as a free agent in the so-called "marketplace", where, after all, the well-being of these children of God is negotiated over for the most trivial of calculations about profit and loss, mocking any alternative.  Now think about how gay men feel about semen...isn't there an awe and reverence there, for many of us?  Why can't we see how we are feeling something akin to what "Right-wing" religious types also feel about this substance?


We can't expect them to recognize this, because they are too busy evaluating what it has to do with a mechanical concept of "God's will" in their heads to recognize the similarity, and we are too busy siding with the trivialization of the semen by the medical establishment in the name of "solidarity with women" to see how this sense of the awesome power and beauty of that substance, and of all that is done physically and gone through emotionally by the human male in sending it forth, could become the beginning point for showing fundamentalists how this same regard for the potential of fatherhood can be the basis for an attitude towards all children of fathers that sees them, and the fulfillment of their material needs, as worthy of the highest reverence, because of the Beauty from whence they sprang.


This sensibility permeates, of course, the works of Plato, who presents a great world teacher of men who love men, a teacher whose work is the source, indeed, in a certain sense, of Western humanitarianism.  Where would the "Right" be without Socrates?



The Presence


I encountered that same Presence that had guided me towards real love for my fellow men when I was entering puberty some thirty years later in a very powerful way.


The man that I met was as if molded for an American fairy tale.  He blew people away when he spoke, because his few words were permeated by such perfect sincerity and humility, and conveyed a spirit of absolutely authentic country cowboy innocence.  He had wanted to be a preacher, and could still give a rousing sermon.  He had come out as gay after being left at the altar by his childhood sweetheart.  He didn't feel comfortable in the gay milieu, but eventually experienced, in a yearly intentional community associated with the Radical Faeries, a certain comraderie he had to respect.


Best of all, he didn't buy into any of the conventions of "Left" or "Right", but embodied a perfect will to do exactly what he thought good out of something deep within him that was beyond influence.  The sparks that flew between us eventually led to what we both referred to as a real "Brokeback Mountain" moment.


When that moment arrived, the Presence I had not seen since I was fourteen burst into my awareness.  It told me:


"This moment of love between you and R---- is to be clung to with all your heart, mind, and strength as an example of what is possible on this Earth between two men."


Our lives and personalities drew us apart, but the incident I have tried to describe became another step in the direction of what I could slowly hope might, after all, become the fulfillment of what I was told on Twin Peaks:  That a quality of brotherhood has got to emerge on this Earth that blows away all the shame, guilt, fear, and judgementality of the religious, by showing them by example a quality of love they are not even preaching because they don't believe in it.



Consecrated Fellowship


In the years since my encounter with the cowboy, I have come to have a partnership that has now lasted as long as the one with my lover Russell before I joined the Moon movement.  It is with an Asian young man twenty years my junior.


We consecrated our relationship in a ceremony at the LGBT Community Center in San Francisco, on the anniversary of Walt Whitman's death and Tennessee Williams' birth.  My writing partner and his own similarly younger partner (we don't call them lovers anymore) assisted in the ceremony, and David wrote a beautiful musical setting of words by Whitman and Williams:


We may be a long way from being made in God's image

But there has been some progress

Such things as art - as poetry - as music

In some people some tenderer feelings have had some little beginning -

That we've got to make grow

And cling to,

and hold as our flag

In this dark march toward whatever it is we're approaching

Don't - don't stand back with the brutes!


A Streetcar Named Desire




I give you my hand!

I give you my love more precious than money,

I give you myself before preaching or law;

Will you give me yourself?

Will you come travel with me?

Shall we stick by each other as long as we live?


Song of the Open Road




On the second anniversary of this event, North Korea torpedoed a South Korean ship.  How ironic, I thought, that, on the anniversary of this commitment of men to one another, Rev. Moon's home country showed how all the work of his movement there to bring peace between North and South seems to have resulted in nothing.


I'm not gloating!  Remember, I think Rev. Moon is a great spiritual teacher.  But his own family members showed how little they understand about brotherhood, and it is they and his elder disciples who will either eventually show the world what their father and teacher has been talking about, or continue to fail to do so.


In the meantime, we in the West have work to do.



Rudolf Steiner


I have become convinced that the key to world peace spiritually is in the coming together of the orthodox with the heretical.


Christianity had teachers of reincarnation.  Today, the guidelines for confession in the Catholic church include an admonition to confess the sin of any involvement with the "occult."


Occult is a word that means "hidden."  The mysteries, or secrets, of life before birth and after death are, precisely, hidden from the normal human being.  Those who are afraid of the dangers of meddling in this sphere and want to protect others from such dangers have got to be reconciled with those who believe they have found a way into such mysteries or secrets safely.


Rudolf Steiner was an Austrian spiritual teacher who died in 1925.  He showed how only the kind of regard for one another that arises when we recognize the utter uniqueness of one person from another from another, and how this derives from the utterly unique course we each go as souls before descending into incarnation and after leaving it, will become the basis of the quality of cooperation on Earth that is needed to avert untold catastrophes and tragedies.  He went unheeded in Central Europe, and Hitler followed.


Now Rudolf Steiner would not have countenanced most of what passes for "science" in our age, certainly not its naive manipulation of the foundational material elements expressive of what we call "gender."  But what he taught about the origins of gender could become the basis for a new movement of regard for the gifts of trans-gender people, for example.


Steiner taught that the development of such organs as penis and vagina was the result of a descent into materiality that eventually became disordered.  Powerful divine beings, he said, gave us the gift of these organs, but other beings manipulated what was developing and caused all of the confusion and devastation that followed upon their intervention.


Confusion and devastation is an inevitable by-product of human freedom wrestling with the nature of the material.  Souls that incarnate in ways that queer gender are showing us the original nature of human freedom from the bounds of this identification with the material form, and with the labels our intellects have constructed to convince ourselves that we "know" something.


Sitting at a favorite cafe in San Francisco, my writing partner, David, and I were explaining some of Steiner's work to a producer friend who knew little, if anything, of it.  Just as I was telling him about this man whose work so few in America know, a trans-gender man (f to m) walked into the cafe with a book under his arm; Rudolf Steiner's picture was on the back!  We beckoned him over and let the power of the synchronicity sink in, as we learned that he was on his way to the Goetheanum (the world headquarters, in Switzerland, of Steiner's movement) for a conference with his partner, who was the father of the child he had given birth to before the transition.


Anthroposophy (Steiner's teaching) represents just the coming together of heretical with orthodox sensibilities that, as I said, I have become convinced is the key to world peace.  Altering by technological means what gives expression to "gender" in a physical body is, the orthodox would say (Steiner would say it can be) a trivialization of the role of the whole cosmos in that expression coming to pass.  Considering oneself slavishly bound to it because "God made me that way" is, the heretical would say, to submit to ancient patriarchal superstitions Steiner would agree need to be transcended and transformed.


"Gender is just a construct" is a way of avoiding the issue.  There are elements of construct in it, but they arise out of the human soul's wrestling with something objectively real and seeking the security of "final answers."  And isn't that the same impulse that leads some to deny any reality to gender altogether?  "Final answers" and "nothing real in the first place" are equally secure and pat solutions to an eternal human problem.



Twin Peaks


Having made sure you see that the complexity of the "gender" question for human beings must be honored if a cosmopolitan civilization is to thrive, permit me to make clear, now, how simple the matter is from another perspective:


In the pre-dawn hours of Sunday, November 24, 1991, I was praying like a maniac, as I had been for two months every morning, first by the Hudson River, and then on Twin Peaks in San Francisco.  I understood that if I consciously permeated my body with the will to transcend its need for sleep, it would be filled with a power that could be put at the service of my fellow human beings in ways I felt responsible to make possible.


When one's body is completely permeated by a power transcendent of its own needs, one knows that there are Heavenly Parents:  A Father who is the source of the power to go beyond all that the body loves and desires in service to others, and a Mother who is the source of the beauty of all that the body loves and desires, and of honor for that beauty.  These Parents relate to one another in perfect harmony, without a trace of competition, or criticism of one another's respective Natures.


As the sun rose that morning, these Parents introduced themselves to me.  Ever since, I have been looking for a way to convey that Love to others so that the fighting will cease.


Honoring the Body is Mother.  Honoring the power of the Soul to go beyond it is Father.  In the end they are the same, because the Body is connected to everything in the cosmos and, once that is recognized, there is nothing to "go beyond" in It.


It's very easy to talk about the oneness of everything.  It is infinitely harder to act out of that knowledge in ways that actually honor it in practical regard for the path the human being must go to assert his or her independence and uniqueness in ways that serve that whole.


There is no where the authenticity of one's commitment to this is tested more brutally than in the matter of how money is distributed.


But that's another story.