{ } = word or expression can’t be understood
{word} = hard to understand, might be this

I thought we first fill out this situation in which we all find ourselves as
members of American society by reading the first pages of my book. I see that
some of you have heeded my request to bring it to class. And there are only a
few pages where I give this incident of the producer who gives up his hope for
an American theater. Yesterday there were three plays — played by three stu-
dents, written by students, played by students and produced by students. Who
went? Don’t you think it was pretty empty? I mean, the audience. Nobody there.
So it’s hard to get you, obviously, interested. Yet I think the players are the most
significant part of the whole college, gentlemen. It’s the best you can do, at least
to go there, or to produce, or to play. Or to write a play for them. I think it’s the
greatest educational institution on this campus. And I’m always sorry to find
that no — nobody goes there.

I think you were last year with me, weren’t you? But you have been in one
class of mine.

(No, this is my first class.)

Is it? I thought you — I had seen you before.

And well, last year, we played Henry V and nobody went. And that was, after
all, more eloquent. And on this subject matter, then, this whole pages — this book
is written in the beginning. Ja. Will you read it?

(From –?)

Just from the beginning. It’s just an elucidation or a commentary on the effects
of natural religion on the American scene. Gentlemen, natural religion we felt,
has one item, that it isn’t necessary to say something important, because things
run naturally all in one order. If nature, you see, is not — has not to be re-directed
each time by our intervening, by our doing something against nature — if man is
just himself, a part of nature — nothing has to be said. The machine runs, you see.
The — if natural religion then is right, that we part of the things of this world, we
can all be measured and weighed, then there’s nothing necessary to speak. Will
you kindly read this?

(Some time ago, an American returned from abroad with
high dreams, for he was going to develop a real theater in this
country. On his first evening in New York, he went to a downtown
restaurant for dinner. Next to him, a young couple spent the
evening, and he could not help listening in. She bravely was

trying to say something with real eagerness. Then the fellow,
looking bright and handsome enough, would respond with a short
“to h–.”

(To Hell?)

Ja, ja.

(This would go on for the whole evening. It must be admit-
ted that this raucous “to Hell” was not without some modulation; it
actually covered, in its repetition a number of keys. But it remained
the young man’s sole contribution as far as articulate speech went.
The observer went home and buried all dreams of a new future for
the stage. For, he would say, when a lover has nothing more to say,
the stage, which is based on a plentitude of speech, and its public
have grown too far apart.

(In this story, the dilemma of our age is well stated. This
dilemma has been the theme of my life ever since 1905.

(We are entering upon a speechless future. In this new
society the eloquence of neither Daniel Webster nor Phillips
Brooks, of neither St. Paul nor Shakespeare is going to be heard by
the masses; the wavelength on which men listen or speak has
changed to “infra- eloquence,” to an offhand “I don’t care” and a
“What the hell” style.

(If this is the future, then Christianity has no future. For the
flow of vital speech is the sign of living Christians. They represent
Pentecost and its gift of tongues or they do not exist.

(The future of our economic order and the future of Chris-
tians are in conflict. This conflict seems to be decided at the outset
in favor of the economic order. For the languages of Church as
well as State, of the Bible as well as of the Constitution, are losing
their power in a daily process of advertising, commercialization,
mechanization. People become indifferent to the hullabaloo of all

(This indifference is more serious than any attack on
Church or State. Persecution helps a church, and an aggressor may
save a nation. But this is a withering from within.

(It has been the strangeness of my life that I should have
believed with everything I did or wrote in the solubility of this
conflict, ever since 1905. To me, the years 1905 to 1945, this last
period of human history, are of great simplicity and grandeur. A
powerful hand has lifted up the particles of the human race and
now puts them down again under a new horizon of existence. We
see this horizon as dimly as the eastern sky one hour before sun-
rise; yet it determines already the lives and livelihood of all of us,
despite our nation or denomination. Granted that twelve genera-

tions or so lived happily within “Church” and “State” (the very
word “State” is not older than 1500) and got their orientation from
these two sources of light; this no is longer true.

(We are unemployed, impoverished, inflated, killed, moved
around, in nations great and small, in Churches free and orthodox,
because of a new “within.” Against this new “within,” the millions
find little protection, either within their nation, or within their
Church. Global economic cooperation is the new “within.” Neither
the New Deal nor the GOP nor Hitler nor Stalin can guarantee
prosperity because the globe is not governed by any one states-
man. The Great Society, this speechless giant of the future, does not
speak English (neither does it speak Russian). And it is this Great
Society which claims all of us who have to make a living, as her
material, her victims, her assets or liabilities in terms of capital and

(The two world wars were the form of world revolution in
which this new future reached into everybody’s life; the nationalist
and the communist ideologies with their dreams of revolution were
checkmated and are mere foam around the real transformation.
The real transformation was made by the wars and it made the
Great Society final. She is the heiress of State and Church.

(Now, as I said before, it has been the strangeness of my life
that I always believe in this powerful hand, which called the new
Giant into being and placed us all within the new horizon. I always
considered the wars more decisive than the party slogans, but I was
not at all impressed by the Great Society as though it were the
Good Society. I concentrated on the inevitable conflict between this
daughter “Society” and the mother “Church,” between toiling and
speaking man, between daily bread and Pentecost. I accepted the
general division of labor in the new universe. But I believed that it
was void of any consecration in any of its particulars.

(Most people distributed hope and fear differently. Some
would stick to the old society, others would think that the new
Great Society would also be good. And in this party fashion, nei-
ther group admitted that events moved without any regard to their
moral judgments in this matter. For 40 years the revolutionary
events have been listed by the press under the headlines of the
hour or the day of the single sensational happening: sinking of the
Lusitania, and the Panay incident, Brning dismissed, Black Fri-
day, etc., etc. Thousands of events were photographed upon our
memory, one upon the other.

(Gradually, however, this Niagara of disconnected facts
impressed itself on the human mind as a — Niagara. The time atoms
flew around our ears so thick and fast that we had to coin a
common name for the puzzle; the single events ceased to make
sense when treated singly. Who was Man that he did unchain this
flood of destruction and confusion?

(The young man in the restaurant used the stereotype label,

“to hell.” Though pertinent, it did not suffice to people who already
found themselves in this place. They now wish to get out of it.

(Do you want me to break there?)

Now, I would like to have your reaction. Is this true to reality, what I have
said there? Or do you think it has nothing to do with your own experience? I’ll
invite real — I mean it — real criticisms. Ja?

(I don’t think that I have much respect for that fellow who’s going to produce.
I mean, isn’t –)

He was too easily depressed, you mean?

(Isn’t the theater a medium of teaching, and instructing, and communicating?)

Well, I gave the story as you — you see, as I received it. The man really exists,
this producer, and I don’t — I’m not his judge, I mean. You will however say, this
man thought he had to make a living, you see, and he felt it would take perhaps
two generations, and he couldn’t survive it, after all, you see. Perhaps he was
married. I know he was, you see. So he also cannot sink his money and his time
into an effort which perhaps takes three generations, you see, to change, or to
make succeed. You see it. So, I mean, you may be right, that this man was too
easily depressed. But how about the scene itself?

(Well, I think it’s just — it’s too big a generalization and { } a generalization
to say that there’s not enough speech, and get ready for the speechless future.)

Well this, of course, you can say. But that’s — you must distinguish between
diagnosis and hope. I mean, you can criticize this as a — we have all — use an
example to make your point, I mean. So I cannot go in and give you 50 points.
Think of all the clubs to which our poor wives go because the husband, when he
comes home, is so tired that he has nothing to say. And think of television, which
is the greatest argument that parents have nothing to say to their children, you
see. And what you get over television isn’t worth listening to. And yet, every-
body has a radio. {Everybody} has a television set. And so my point is even —
this I — when I wrote this book in 1946, there was no television. I could make my
point now much easier, you see, by just looking into the families in Hanover and
you see — and describing what happens every evening. That’s speechless. Other
people just, you see, and the same with your list — are you making music? You
are listening to other people’s music. And on it goes. I mean, we are — you are —
we buy culture, don’t we? We buy culture. Mass — culture is something you

cannot buy. Isn’t that true?

(Can you tell me examples where there was a great deal of speech going on?)

Well, we had so many proofs. We have here Dartmouth Quarterly. I don’t
know if any one of you has seen it. There’s never anything in it which deserves
being printed. There is nothing to save these poets, because all the good poetry
they have finished writing at 12 with their real feelings. And now they are only
clever. And that’s so — boring, you know. To be clever is the most boring thing
in the world, or to be smart. And it doesn’t interest anybody else when you are
smart, you see. And you have this somewhere — you have it on the literary scene.
You have it on the domestic scene. You have it on the Broadway scene. So I think
that’s not exaggeration.

(But –)

Then — may I make one more point? — in order to show you that I’m not
trying to {condemn} anybody. You mustn’t misunderstand me. People no
longer can speak while they are working, because of the big machines. And you
must think that the people wetted {whetted?} their tongues for the last 7,000
years, because they were able to sing and to speak while they were working.
And there is the rub, you see. That goes much deeper. You cannot, anymore,
speak while you working. But you see, the terrible thing of our colleges is that
you imitate the workshop by having three radios going in the dormitory at the
same time. That is, where you have no noise, you want to imitate the factory and
you make it artificial noise, which is even bigger than the machinery. So in this
country, you see, the — in every time and every {day} some element of life is
leading. And it is here the industry, which is the greatest impact, you see. My
colleagues are proud if they behave like businessmen. Now I’m a professor who
thinks — pardon me — that to be a college professor is the opposite from being in
business. I’m not in business. I can’t treat you as my business. It would be too
little. I treat you as my successors. The only thing different { }, you see.

And so I have something to say to you, urgently, because you must be able to
say these things when I’m dead. For businessmen, that doesn’t exist, you see. He
wants to satisfy that which you want to get. I don’t want you to get what you
want, because you can’t know what you want. Do you think in this course you
can tell me what I have to tell you? But in business, that isn’t so. If you want to
buy a car, the businessman comes to you and says, “That’s exactly what you
want.” Isn’t that true? Now, most colleges in this country behave just like busi-
ness institutions. They try to persuade you that you get exactly what you want.
So out goes education. You can’t have it both ways. You can’t get what you want
and be educated, because to be educated means to get all the things of which

you hadn’t the faintest idea before, and which you really made a long — wide
detour around, you see, because you were frightened by it. So on it goes.

The — if you take the machine age seriously, gentlemen, it is just — with the
Egyptians. When Egyptians invented agriculture, gentlemen, it was a great
thing, to change the bull not only, but to raise — how would you say? — to raise
whole herds of this animal, so that it was always in plentiful supply was some-
thing unheard of. The hunters before had only the deer that was there. They
couldn’t raise the deer, you see. They could kill it, the {mammoth}. And they, as
you know, {exculpated} the {mammoth}, the old hunter {generation.} On
come the Egyptians and what do they do? They begin to raise bulls and cows so
that there is always more of this stock, you see, than they had to use up. And
that’s the greatest invention of Egypt. Now, you know from the Bible that there-
fore they fell into the error of seeing the bull everywhere. And this has caused
the worship of — of what? Well, why did Moses lead the children of Israel out of

(Oh, I don’t –)

Because they worshiped the –?

(The sacred cow.)

The golden calf. I would call it the golden calf. Well, that’s very serious, gen-
tlemen. Every generation has its golden calf. That’s not an indictment against the
Egyptians. They were an excellent people. They made a great invention. Here we
all benefit from it. And don’t think that we aren’t very grateful for the calf. Think
of the people in Vermont. They live by it. They are all — we are all deeply indebt-
ed to the Egyptians. The only mistake was, you see, that every other way of life
was also regulated according to this one { }. Now I don’t want — in this state, I
only meant — mean to say, gentlemen, that if you allow machinery and business
to occupy all the other ways of life, too, the thing that is excellent in itself, you
see, becomes a mania. And I — therefore I have tried to express in these two pages
my dilemma. I am asserting that technological progress is good. I’m asserting
that the getting-together of all men for the raw materials and the power — the
atomic power, et cetera, electricity of this earth is necessary. So I say the Great
Society, with technological progress spreading, you see, new machinery, has to
be affirmed, yes; has to be helped on. That’s inevitable. But I’m not going to help
it on by building — becoming myself a manufacturer. But I’m going to develop
those energies by which this Great Society is prevented from encroaching on
family life, on college education, on the judicial branch of government, on the
legislative branch of government, and so I would not have allowed Mr. McCar-
thy to appear on television, for example.

And so on — on it goes. You see, we — the golden calf, is the problem. How we
get the calf without the gold. Ja? It’s the idolatry, sir. We are talking of religion,
isn’t it? I told you the corruption of the best is always the worst, you see. There-
fore, the corruption of our society is not in that we have atomic — you have
bombs, or power plants. All for it. Delighted. Highways. Thirty-five million cars.
But how about the six Dartmouth boys killed? Is that necessary the they die a
meaningless death? Isn’t that really anti-religious? Hasn’t any man a right to die
a meaningful death? Is it much better to fall in battle than to be run over by a
car? You never ask this question. You take it just for granted, like rain. You have
created a second nature. You think that the highway is an element of nature
with a { }? You don’t care. There it is. And if next year there will be 12 killed,
and the next year 24, and you say, “Too bad. We have more cars, so there must be
more accidents.”

This is the problem. You see. Can you see the difference? I tried to put it
perhaps — to show briefly in this slogan, the Great Society, gentlemen, is not the
Good Society; because not — no one thing is good. Things are not good. You
remember what we tried to say last time in describing natural religion? The term
“good” cannot be applied to any thing, because things we may use as best as we
can. But we never hear from a thing, “You may not.” That is, the machines, the 35
million cars, gentlemen, will never tell you, “Stop it.” The television set will never
tell you, “Don’t look at it,” because things don’t tell you what you may not do,
you see. But we try to find some instance, some authority by which we would get
the real — the distribution between “may” and “can.”

And gentlemen, once you understand this, you know that you — every minute
have to pray that somebody tells you what God’s will is. Very difficult. Nobody
knows it ahead of time. It is different every minute. Sometimes you buy your
wife a television set and say, “Let’s have it.” The next day you put your foot
down and say, “But not today. Today I have to speak to you. No television
today.” And since you don’t have the power to do this, gentlemen, you always
fall for the line of least resistance. You can put it this way, gentlemen: In dealing
with things we follow always the line of least resistance. In dealing with God, we
always have to follow the line of hardest resistance. It is the hardest thing to
have no television sets. And it’s the easiest thing to get even into debts. It’s not
difficult to get into debts in this country, you see. They throw it after you. But
that’s easy. The line of least resistance is our line with things. It follows gravity. It
follows our penchants, our natural inclinations, our habit — I mean, our imita-
tions — keep up with the Joneses.

Now, few people — including ministers — in this country, do at this moment
remember, that God is not at all interested in the natural course of events. He
created that way long ago and it always leads to death and destruction. You just

overeat. You just over-drive. You just over-produce. You just over — be over-
aggressive. Anything you are too much, you see, leads to its own destruction. But
nature is the too-muchness of anything, because nature follows its habit, its
penchant. As far as you are natural, gentlemen, you will always go wrong — in
the wrong, and because you way of saying, “Stop it.” You don’t have a way of
saying, “For me it’s the hardest to give up smoking, therefore I have to give up
that which is the hardest for me to forego.” Ask yourself, gentlemen, which is the
hardest thing for you to forego, and then try to do it. If you can do it, you are a
free man.

I know so many people who are virtuous by doing something which is easy
for them. The rich man gives alms. You think that’s very meritorious. He has too
big a bank account, anyway. So he gives a little bit of it away, because he has a
deep vice somewhere, which he doesn’t want to confess. I had a very deep vice,
gentlemen. I was very vain as a scholar. And so I was forced — it wasn’t under
my own steam, it was the events of the time, of this great catastrophe — that for
{ } years, I didn’t allow myself to write a book. It was the greatest pain in my
neck. I remained unknown, couldn’t make a scientific career. It was all I wanted
to do. And I said to myself, “This is not the time for writing books.” But I had to
do service.

I know what I’m talking about, gentlemen, but you don’t. You think that
everything is done naturally. If everything is done naturally, we’ll always be the
easiest things first, and the more difficult things second, and the still more diffi-
cult thing third. But when you hear this command — “You may not do this,
although all your nature wants!” — then you are against the command which
tells to you, “Because this is the hardest thing for you to do, you may not do it.”

(Sir, what is it you gain –)


(What is it you gain by abstaining from the natural and –)


(What gain is there from abstaining from the natural –)

No gain whatsoever. { } As long as you talk in these terms, you are inside
nature, I can’t talk to you. There’s no gain. You can’t gain anything, by living
right. It’s an aim in itself. You see, the good life has no purpose. It’s just that it’s
the good life. It’s a terrible thing for you that you always ask, “What’s the use of a
newborn child?” You know what the answer is? What is the answer? No use.

Nothing is gained by the birth of a newborn child. Just trouble. Much trouble
ahead. If you say that the baby has to be classified under use, under gain — you
are in — have lost all your freedom.

(I was just trying to see how it would fit into the general scheme.)

There is no general scheme. I prefer you to any general scheme. To me, you
are there, without any purpose. You are a nuisance. If I { }. Just { }.

(I hope this isn’t being cynical, sir, but I wondered, what is the use of dying
heroically? Why –)


(Why is it preferred to die heroically, rather than uselessly? I should think the
best –)

Why should you die?

(Why is it better to die heroically than it is to die uselessly? I should think the
best death is the most painless death. That’s all. I mean, why is it better? I really
don’t understand. I mean, it sounds nice later, but what difference does it make
to you, if you’re dead?)

Why did you { } before?

(We had no control over –)

So it was meaningless that you live, so you die meaninglessly? It’s all { }.
Why don’t you — are under morphine from the beginning to the end? It would
be much more painless.

(Well, you do what you can with your life. But your death — I mean — people
probably should all { } their life, and that’s why { }.)

Very good. It gives me the clue to go on. I’ll take up your sentence.

We had this businessman, you remember. That’s you. Well, it is. It’s all of us. It
is nothing — I don’t mean to be at all, I mean, discriminating against our friend
here. What’s your name?




Mr. Perlman. From the — on the — when we live superficially in everyday life,
we are all in this strange — estrangement from our unity, that we have, as we
said, an institutional religion, you see, which can be a Mason Lodge, of freema-
sonry, you see; or it can be Mormonism; or it can be the Roman Catholic Church.
And we have our own philosophy of life, like this man who said, “After all, all
motives are economic,” which is just another form of saying, “Nature takes its
course” — and the middle course was this man’s secret love for his children. And
we had therefore distinguished between the philosophical religion, slanted
towards man’s consciousness; and we had institutionalized religion, slanted
towards that which is always there, which overtakes man’s personal lifespan —
like a church, or Israel, or Islam, all these long-lasting religions — which you
think are the whole part of religion; and this middle ground, where we discover
where a man is intimately identified with his opposite number. We began to
mention father and daughter as a very clear such case, and where we have then
a secret. Because this man is quite inarticulate at first about his relation to his
daughter, we can only see that he sacrifices. He has a family. He raises it. He
loses his shirt for giving them all the benefits of a good education, a good loca-
tion. He has moved out of town, I told you, out of the city. He is foregoing all his
pleasures of many friendships, because they should have the good life out in the

So, gentlemen, we discover that the personal religion always retains a secret. It
is inexplicable to you, my dear man, why you care for somebody who is going to
survive you. You — he will do to his daughter something, although he’ll have a
painless death. So part of his life will not be used inside his own time span, or for
his own time span, you see. But he invested it in some mystical way, because he
tells us it isn’t rational. It’s not economical. You know he even tried to find —
fight it off by saying, “It gives me pleasure.” And when I faced him with the
nonsense of this remark, you see, that brats give one all his pleasure — they’re
just as often a pain in the neck — he had nothing to say, because he had, you see,
limited his vocabulary to these two terms, as you say, “What’s the gain of it,” you
see. So he had to find something, and the poor daughter had to be a pleasure,
you see. Is this — this is very stupid, I feel, to limit such a great act of having
children, you see, to say, “It gives me pleasure.”

Now let’s come back to our producer. Why did he give up the hope of — for a
drama in America? Gentlemen, any drama has a secret that is disclosed at the
end, because it must change something in the world. A drama is dramatic. And
what do we call dramatic? That something is known in the fifth act, which hasn’t

appeared in the first. And that something happens in between which makes the
people look different. The hero must become clearer to you at the end of the
play, and the villain, too. At first, very often the villain at the — looks — like in
Tartuffe, of MoliŠre — he looks like the hero, you see. He is a pious man. And you
only find out in the process that he’s a liar and the famous Tartuffe’s a hypocrite
who really is much more sensuous and much more pervert, and profligate than
the man he opposes. Who has seen Tartuffe, or read Tartuffe, by MoliŠre?
Anybody? But you know what a Tartuffe is? Have you heard the word
“Tartuffe”? Well, a hypocrite, you see. He’s then caught how he — when he — he
tries to make love. He’s a priest who makes illicit love, you see, to a woman in
this play.

So drama, gentlemen, and life of a practicing religious person, of a living reli-
gious person have this in common: that they have a secret. You cannot catch the
man, the father, by describing his life alone on this secret of his relation to his
daughter. It will show when this daughter, 30 years after his death will just act in
his way, and will say, “I have to — oh, but you see, I have to do this, because my
father would have done it.” In this very moment, where a daughter tells her son,
“My father used to do it this way,” in this moment, the secret is out in the open,
what this father stood for. It’s really his power, his spirit, because it’s a spirit
that’s — comes forward after he has died this famous painless death in which you
are so interested. And of course, Jesus was very stupid, because he didn’t have
anesthesia on the cross. You know, that the Lord declined to take the sponge
with the anesthesia. They had anesthesia, too, and he said, “Thank you. That
would ruin my purpose, my whole act. It will make it worthless.”

So be very careful with such — they are too cheap, these remarks of yours, sir.
A painless death is neither good nor bad. I mean, I don’t know, sometimes it’s
nice. It’s a blessing. But you cannot go for painless death, you see. That way it —
you better take poison — and before you live. It’s the safest way of having no
pain. You cannot — you see there’s one limit to all our {talks} {thoughts}, gen-
tlemen. There’s one limitation. I have to admit it. A man must want to speak to
his brothers and to { } and suicide must not be declared to be the norm of life.
If you say that suicide is normal, it’s the same as atheism, you see. Then your
own judgment is paramount. And we said why the — that’s an abuse of our
minds, because we want to speak the truth, to think the truth, and to communi-
cate the truth. Now an atheist, of course, has the right to commit suicide. Mr.
Hitler committed suicide, as { }. All Nazism, you see, is impossible now. It
cannot come back { } because it ended with suicide. And the instinct of people
is still too strong, that suicide, you see, is not able to tie one man to any one other
member of the human family. It’s the breakup of religion, because he foregoes
anybody else’s judgment.

So I have to admit this. I mean, there is a basis, gentlemen, where you have to
take your stand. You can look at this whole class, from the viewpoint of the
suicide and say, “Since I have the right to commit suicide any minute, this whole
talk is balderdash.” It is, for the man who says, “I can take my life any minute, I
shall not help my friend to get out of the suicidal mania, but I shall let him do it.”
I had a conversation with a very fine lady of this college, which you know very
well, Mike. And she said to me, “Everybody has a right to take his life whenever
he pleases.”

And I said, “{ }, I will not debate this at this moment, but how about your-
self? You tell me that you know of a person on this campus” — it is here at
Dartmouth that this lady lives — “that he’s very much haunted by these — by this
tendency. Will you do anything to prevent him from doing this?”

And she said, “Never. That’s his privilege. He can do whatever he pleases.”

She’s really godless, this person. She’s a very fine woman. Good-natured, nice,
just no religion. Take your choice. I mean, I cannot convince you at this moment,
at least. And in a classroom situation, if this is your religious conviction, gentle-
men, that you are — suicide is every man’s attribute, so to speak — at random, free
— that you have not the right to prevent a man from committing suicide. That
when a man jumps into the water here, in the Connecticut, you will not try to get
him out, because you say, “He wants to die, so of course — that’s his choice.”

We have stopped speaking, because speech is love between people, as we try
to say, and based in some common truth for this man who jumps into the river
by himself, you see, and the hope that he, as much as I, live in the same creation.
Where there is no love — hope and faith left, I cease to debate him. No use. Don’t
try to debate this with anybody. If this was — isn’t your real conviction. But if it
was, speech would end. Speech is predicated on certain, you see, minima. We
cannot speak to each other meaninglessly, just to idle away the time. We speak,
because we have something to say to each other. And we say something to each
other, because the other fellow is as important as me. And we say something,
because what has to be said, has to be said to all of us, because it’s true. Ja? And
also I said there is time to speak. There’s still time to speak, to say it right and to
re-create it, you see. And where there is this -ism, I can give you no explanation.
There is no philosophy, you see, against suicide.

However, gentlemen, if you would admit for one minute this situation: Here
is a father. And here is a daughter. And I hope you all wish yourself one day to
have a daughter. The most — greatest thing for a man. It’s much greater than to
have a son. For a mother, it is greater to have a son. But if you have a daughter,
gentlemen, she will not inherit your business. She’ll not inherit even your name,

because she might get married and have another name. So nothing visible you
may be able to give her. She may not look like you. And yet your whole affection
for this girl is based on the firm belief that between you and her, some words
make sense, by which you — she becomes your daughter, and carries on the best
you have inside yourself. She doesn’t have to articulate it. She doesn’t have to
formulate it. But where the people go, they will say, “She really is her father’s
daughter.” And you will be proud of this fact, that she recognizes you as her

I could go on with other examples in family { }, but father-daughter, I told
you, I wanted to use because it’s the least stolen, the least perverted, the least
corrupt item of these relations. It always is a relation of the spirit. A father-
daughter relation is nothing physical. A father has not children because of his
physical relation, but of his spiritual relation, of his love for his wife and giving
her his name and foregoing all other licentious love for her sake.

Now, allow me one suggestion, gentlemen: that all living religion, as against
institutionalized religion, and against personal religion, which you only know —
that’s the only of the religions that you know — but living religion, where a
soldier dies for his country, or where a daughter carries on the memory of her
father, or where her father foregoes smoking and drinking so that his girl can get
a dowry — in all these cases, gentlemen, both people settle in a point of time
between them. That is, outside their own individual life. It is not simply the life
of the other. Then they would love this other person too much. They would
idolize the other person. But it is — we act all the time between — because of this
secret relation to the next generation. You all do this already, gentlemen, in your
dreams. Don’t be afraid to admit it.

Now the same is true of all religious problems, gentlemen, that they are
between two generations. Some older and some younger. If you act religiously
towards yourself, for example, you protect your future-man against your own
exuberance at this moment. Mr. Robert Frost said once — said, “I couldn’t be a
revolutionary in my youth, because I didn’t want to become a reactionary in my
old age.” He wants to say, a man by nature at 20 years is a revolutionary. If I had
followed my mere nature at 20, my un-spiritual, you see, nature — just my brain
— I would have then have smashed all the windows in White River Junction
after getting drunk, and then I would have been in great danger of having at 60,
to be a — just naturally a reactionary. I want to be a human being. Therefore I
cannot afford to be just natural at 20, because only this way can I avoid being
just natural at 60.

Now, for any artist, gentlemen, for any genius, the problem between father
and daughter, or son and mother, exists for its own development. You all are

exuberated. You all are geniuses. You could be, if you hadn’t gone to school and
to Dartmouth College, which ruins all genius. But you — we all are born gen-
iuses, gentlemen. Believe me, this. And we all want to become authorities. The
secret of the living religion, gentlemen, is also — can be transcribed in much
more general terms. Any father is an authority for his daughter, or he is not a
father. And any daughter is a piece of revealing genius of nature. There is
something unheard about the beauty of a daughter and also about her service-
ability, about her obedience, her inventiveness in nursing the sick. Any good
daughter is a piece of nature’s genius, before she has gone to college, as I said.

So, gentlemen, if you allow me for one minute this transcription. I’m using for
daughter and father now two terms which apply to your own life inside your
own lifespan, because everyone lives through two generations. And you antici-
pate this by becoming a camp counselor, for example, in summertime, where you
are already acting as an authority to the kids. Who has been a counselor in a
camp? Well, isn’t it true? You anticipate there being already a mature person.
That is the essence of being a counselor. So gentlemen, we all, at every minute,
are stretched or screwed into attention between two generations. And a moment
before, out of which we come, and the next moment out of which these young
kids come, who visit this camp and are, you see, immature and not clean-shaven,
yet. This is very difficult for you to understand, gentlemen, but all religion is
predicated on a relations in — through time. All philosophy is predicated on a
relation in space. You are — come from a world in which you ask for gain, for
example, gentlemen. I’m much more modest. What’s the — your name, the gen-
tleman in the red shirt?




Mr. Klaus. You see, my problem is to be here again tomorrow. That’s a reli-
gious problem, so that I can look you into the face and say, “Between today and
tomorrow, I haven’t lost my reputation, I haven’t lost my honor. I still have the
right to teach you.” I have no gain. I’m thoroughly satisfied if I have the same
authority tomorrow — or increased — that I have today. In the meantime, I might
get drunk, you see. I might commit fornication and adultery. I might steal. I
might betray you, you see, and the whole college to the Russians. I might betray
my colleagues to the FBI. I can do all kinds of scandalous things within 24 hours.
There’s no gain in living on. It’s a great miracle that I’m still the same person
tomorrow. That’s a question through time, because in 24 hours, nature threatens
me with ruin. I can be run over. I can get pneumonia. But there {more of this},

you see, the society can completely corrupt me. If you would ask what the use of
a newborn child, the only answer is that there is hope that it will be there when
you are dead. That’s the gain of a newborn child. That’s the only gain. If you
don’t admit it. If you think suicide is just as good as that there shall be life tomor-
row, no argument, you see. No argument, because the only religious thing is
God has given this life and we will worship it as long as it is given us. That’s all.
There’s no gain. The Bible calls it “life everlasting.” That we must strive for. What
is life everlasting? The willingness to — never to give to the moment more than
the traffic can bear. And what can the traffic bear? It cannot bear more than the
future will sustain and be able to realize again. You can’t do anything, gentle-
men, so that the next generation has less life.

The father is therefore not acting for economic gains, really, because he is
limited in what he could gain materially, you see. Because he must place his
daughter in an honorable society, and his daughter must carry on the name of
her father. And even if he has made 20 million, if it stinks, it stinks. And she has
to smell it.

So, may I invite you for one moment to follow this argument? Pardon me, I
have to go through this, because I think by going through this quick, it will be
easier for you to follow the argument.

I’ve put here the fact that the — where we live religion, there is a secret — why
Hamlet does not kill his mother and finally is able to kill — to let end his stepfa-
ther’s life and — by giving his own life. That’s — the whole drama, a mystery to
himself. Gentlemen, in the real life, we are all a secret to ourselves. So this word
secret doesn’t mean a mystery story to the police. But you and I, gentlemen, have
something to live which is still hidden. Only tomorrow will you and I know if we
have stood the test. We are all secrets to ourselves. That’s the starting point of the
religious life. And the father is a secret to himself, with regard to his daughter,
because he doesn’t know to what lengths he may have to go to support this
young lady. I’ve said it in The Christian Future, gentlemen — why don’t we look
up this place — where I have a letter to one of you Dartmouth men when he went
to war.

So long ago, that I don’t know where it is.

({ })


(“Warriors and Thinkers.”)

Ja. Ja. “Warriors and Thinkers.”

Well, somewhere — perhaps you find it in the last chapter. I have tried to
formulate this secret, that God, too, is a secret to Himself, because of His love for
us. A father, gentlemen, is somebody who really thinks his principle in the light
of his love for his children. He’s not a father who cannot change, because sud-
denly his daughter comes home with an illegitimate child. He has never thought
that this would happen. He dreaded it, but then it is there: What’s he going to
do? Is he going to reject this {brat}? He has to think up — quick, very quick
something quite different, a new attitude, which he had never invented before.
And so he discovers that he was a secret to himself. Gentlemen, do you think that
God is not always beset as our Father with our legitimate children, all our
crimes? And He has to make up his mind very quick how to re-create the world
for the purpose of covering up, with His infinite love, your and my idiocies and
follies. That’s what keeps the world going. God has to re-create the world any
minute, because of our mistakes. Every minute, you are forgiven again, and say,
“Well, we’ll see what we do. This has happened, but we’ll not give up. Otherwise
a great flood would have to come each time and take you — us all out.

Have you ever thought, gentlemen, that a father is only interesting because he
is a free man who, from love to his children, rethinks the world every minute?
And you see this word “father,” I’m — by Father Day, it has been so abused. It’s
very hard to talk to you even about it. Youth Day, Labor Day, Father Day,
Mother day — to Hell with all these things. They are all commercial crimes of our
society. There is no such thing really in America at this moment, except for the
headdressers and so on, these mad hatters. But it’s very serious, gentlemen. It
may be that we can’t even call God “Our Father” any more, because of this abuse
of your society. It doesn’t — God will survive this, and the religious man will
survive it. And you will then go on with these slogans that call this “the father of
all mankind,” as though you knew what a father is. You have sugar daddies.

But what is a father, gentlemen? A father who, when his — the boy flunks
college or brings dishonor to the family, has to make up his mind what to do
now. He is a spiritually free agent and he is so great, because he doesn’t make up
his mind quickly because he is in distress, you see. That’s what you call self-
reliance. Don’t give a damn for that. That’s just saving your own skin. No, a
father has a position in life. He has principles. He has become known for being
somebody, like Benjamin Franklin. And now his William Franklin, the son, goes
over to the Royalist side and serves as the next Royal Governor of New Jersey.
What does a father do in such a case? Well, you know what Benjamin Franklin
did? It’s a very original solution. It’s not a real solution, but it’s some solution. He
got hold of his grandchildren, and he brought up the grandchildren, the sons —
the children of William Franklin. And so in the third generation, there was

reconciliation; and with the son, he couldn’t do anything. And Shakespeare had
written in Cymbeline and The Winter’s Tale the same story that the next genera-
tion can heal the breach, you see. But in your own generation, nothing can be

That’s very profound. You will find it so. And that’s real life. All the other
things here in college, this is not real. But ask yourself what you will do as a son
or a father when your parents or your children go wrong. And then your love
and your relation to the truth will come up. You will have to use words that are
true, and loving and hopeful. All three. Can you see perhaps this connection
now between these three great powers in you? You can’t lie to this daughter
who comes back with an illegitimate child. And you got life in the world. You
have to find on an original solution by which she is able to live on, in full power,
and yet not shunning her responsibility.

So life is much more wonderful than you think, gentlemen. God is — you have
a father, because God is our Father. Men have first learned from God that He
changes His ways and gives us a chance after a mistake. And now we call our
physical father “Father,” too.

But gentlemen, it’s always in religion that the higher explains the lower. Will
you take this down? The higher explains the lower. The long range explains the
short range. God, the Father of all Mankind, explains who a father is. if I would
look at the natural fathers of this country, and then say, because these are the
fathers of the individual families, I call God “Father,” I would feel very much of a
slanderer of God, because the impoverishment of the paternal attitude of this
country is so terrible, the fathers are so reticent and so deaf and dumb, that if I
would therefore think that God is the summary of these fathers, I would feel that
I blasphemed, that this would be a very poor god. You all take it for granted that
we call God “Father” because we have experienced father. Gentlemen, I tell you
the opposite is true. Men first discovered that this power on which he then relied
for their mistakes, for their new starts, for their necessity that man must make
mistakes. Imagine what this means. We must make mistakes. And we must not
make them law. We must say, “Excuse me.” You remember what we said last
time. We must have ex-causation. So we have discovered fatherhood at first, in
general, for all men. Then we have called — the ancestors in the tribe “fathers”
and finally we have called the little sugar daddy “Father” who marries a young
woman because he has such a large income. But he usually never becomes a real
father. He’s much too afraid of his wife.

So gentlemen, here we are, of course, at the heart of the whole secret of reli-
gion. You all have learned that man has projected the qualities which he likes on
his God. And then all religion would be just natural — luxury and unnecessary

invention. We would have parents first, and then we would call God “our
Father.” And we would all see that’s an empty gesture. It’s just { }. I have a real
father, and therefore { } fantastic entity. Most of you believe this nonsense of
modern naturalistic man. Religions are { }.

Gentlemen, all religion is based on the experience that we are not one of us
competent to be called “Father” or “Mother,” that we are deficient, and that what
a real Father is will never be known from a real father in the flesh. Your father —
and with all respect it be said — or my father, and I myself am a father, and you
as future fathers — we all can — must disclaim any right to this { }. Because if
people would deduce what a father is from your real attitude and action, there
would be no fatherhood left. The people would put all people in state education,
{instead of saying,} “These fathers are just no good.”

We all live by the fact that we are a little bit the image of our Father in Heav-
en. And if there was no Father in Heaven, gentlemen, you and I would have no
right to marry and to claim that we are fathers. You be sure of that. But that’s of
course the principal issue. Let me come back to my little item. All religion is at
least between two generations, between two ages. The two generations can be in
your own biography, that you at this moment want to exuberate, but you must
never forget that at one time you wish to be recognized as an authority. Your
problem is as much the problem of any father and any daughter, with regard to
your own personality. At this moment you look pretty; you are an athlete; you
are healthy; you are young. And in America, as you know, youth is the great
boast of this country. The great idolatry. They say that America is a young coun-
try. I don’t believe it. It’s a very old country. But we won’t argue on this, but only
that’s your idolatry. Youth justifies everything. Gentlemen, it may justify your
existence at this moment, but why you at 60 should be respected in the commu-
nity, why the people will continue — the people of 30 to 40 — to pay the old-age
pensions and not kill off all the old people — this you cannot explain with youth.
You can only explain because all old people have a quiet authority, dignity,
respect. And if you do not wish to have respect, they’ll all club you to death, as
you see. And it has happened in civilizations, where the old people were just
{ }, because they wouldn’t feed them. This country has still a Christian tradi-
tion, and therefore this idolatry of youth at this moment doesn’t strike you as so
very important or dangerous. But since religion is on the way out in this country,
and naturalism is still is going strong, ask yourself, “Why should a society which
is over-age not turn against the old people and execute them?” { } euthanasia,
no? Execute them in this wonderful, painless way, you see. And { }, we would
have to thank them on our knees, our grandchildren, and say, “How nice that
you give us this painless death.” You know what the grandchildren owe us is not
the painless death. {They owe us respect.} We are in authority, because we have
lived the good life and they haven’t.

You have the right to teach your grandchildren. And that’s even in the Consti-
tution. That they — not the state can give a child religion, but you have the great
privilege of bringing up your child in your own religion or in the religion you
think right. You can’t take this from a parent, because the child really cannot do
anything in the first 40 years. You know, this is a great { } at this moment. The
Catholic Church fights strictly not for the parents’ rights to educate the children.
And the Protestants are inclined to leave it more to the public school. It should be
the other way around, because the living religious attitude is that part of our
growth, or spiritual growth, is that we are becoming more and more the authori-
ty for our children, the more we are real fathers and mothers.

It is the issue today for the American people. How long will you allow the
state to — let the children dance around the — around the flag, as a substitute for
religion, with this idolatry of the flag? Aren’t you ashamed? It’s good for immi-
grants, but now there is no immigration, so there’s no excuse for this idolatry of
the flag. And the Jehovah’s Witnesses — I have great admiration for them. They
won’t do that. You are down on the Jehovah’s Witnesses. I am down on the flag.
That is, gentlemen, because in the schools there is no religion taught, there
comes in the pseudo-religion. You can’t have a religion outside education or
education without religion. So the flag-religion has taken the place of the real
religion of the parents! Because the secret of religion has been omitted that it is a
relation between two generations. It is this mystery, gentlemen, that a life must
go on, despite your and my — now come to the one fact which neither Mr. —


Perman nor — no, Perlman, Perlman and — nor Mr. Dewey, John Dewey, nor
the natural religionist, Benjamin Franklin, knows of. Although I told you Benja-
min Franklin had to practice it with regard to his son and grandchildren, that
religion is put to the test by the case of death. Natural religion says, “A man dies,
he’s replaceable,” like any machine cog. Jesus dies and we say He’s irreplaceable.
So He can’t have died. He has risen. That’s the whole meaning of the Resurrec-
tion. He has not died, because we need Him. He cannot have lived in vain. Now
that’s the problem with all religions, gentlemen, that the problem of the good life
is only settled when after me, the same life goes on. That’s the secret which
everybody solves by having children. That’s the secret which the American
millionaire solves by endowing a college. The college will then do with his mil-
lions what he was unable to do, and so Mr. Baker and Baker Library form a
mysterious unity through time, although Mr. Baker made the millions and Mr.
{Morris} spends the millions. That’s the meaning of Baker Library, on which you
all live.

Religion begins, gentlemen, with the point of contact between two lives

separated by a death. Would you take this down? Living religion begins to show
around an event of death that would separate two lives. And all religion is a
victory over death.

(Would you repeat that again, please?)

All religion is a victory over a death that would otherwise would separate …

[tape interruption]

He has only the accident of youth and of old age, because he was already old
when he sold out to the Chamber of Commerce. If he had known beforehand
that he might have to preach tariffs, he wouldn’t have gone out and made these
violent speeches for free trade. He has not changed with honor. This man has
just died to himself and this is the irreligious man, gentlemen, who — this man
when he left college had a death put on his mind. His genius died, his spontanei-
ty, his inspiration. And he began then under the incubus of his brother’s better
existence to preach the opposite without conviction. Most people do — live like
that. Gentlemen, most of you live two fallen lives. Your youth is fallen, because
it’s dictated by the Joneses, the fraternity, the suburbs, your family, your back-
ground, and you live that. Not your own life. You just are lived, as I — you — I
like to call it. And then you go to the real world, and there are demands made on
you of quite a different nature, and again you try to comply; and between life,
this moment of commencement, and instead of being a beginning, it’s the end,
the end of this power of yours to connect your youth and your old age and —
remaining a free man in both places, at both times. I said religion begins where a
death is conquered. Irreligion begins where the death is simply accepted and not
conquered. This boy who was a free trader in college and advocate of high tariffs
a few years later will never amount to anything. Like Mr. Frost’s example, a
revolutionary at 20 and a reactionary at 60 are uninteresting. They are just — they
are by the nature of things in between life and death, you see, the youth goes
out, old age comes on and he is not himself, you see. He is just youth and old
age, like gravity. He’s natural.

Gentlemen, you and I cannot live naturally, because we must connect stages
of life in — within which death occurs. You must die to your adolescence and just
become men. And you have died already to your boyhood and now you are a
student. And you have been a baby and you became a boy. And you will have to
die to your manhood and become a father. And you will have to die to your
fatherhood and become an ancestor and a grandfather — grand old man, a
founding father, which is more than just a father. And you can’t help it. You
have just the choice, to die or to live. That is, time overtakes you all the time, and
makes you old. But you can — you grow old with honor and you can grow old

without honor. And you have all the idea that old age has just to be shunned
and postponed and you want even to live 150 years, gentlemen. If you can live 70
years spiritually, thank your maker. That’s enough, because in 70 years you have
to die perhaps five or six times. And anybody who can conquer death that often,
you see, will then die like King David, satisfied with life, as you know. The Bible
says that when King David died, he was satiated with life, and had no interest to
live another 70 years. And you see how irreligious, how naturalistic modern man
is that he actually thinks doctors should be allowed to prolong life to 150 years,
old as Methuselah.

If you ever come to think of this atrocity, of this horror, then you will then test
your own religion, gentlemen. If you believe it is good to live 150 years, religion
is not for you. Leave this course right away. It’s the same as suicide on the other
side, you see. Life cannot be arbitrarily shortened. It cannot be arbitrarily pro-
longed. But it can be mastered, and the mastery of life consists in conquering the
{deaths} that occur in the meantime, in between. A father and a daughter, gen-
tlemen, is the same life laid out and folded in two different generations. Also
with sex. The { } of sex is — appears as one sex in one generation as the oppo-
site sex in the other. If you think of this, it may heal many of your terrible trou-
bles in sex, your inflammation with sex. Once you see that the same girl will be a
male in one generation, and your own aggressiveness as a male will be a daugh-
ter’s receptivity in the next generation, then you will see that both {contrasts}
are one human being. And that will help you to treat the person whom you love
not only as your bride, or as a lady to rape, but as your sister.

Now, here. If the secret of life then is, gentlemen, how a father dies and pro-
creates a daughter, we will see that religion is caused, provoked, evoked, or
originates in our experience of violent change, the most simple change, of course,
is one from cause and effect. The temperature sinks and the water is frozen,
that’s cause and effect. What — changed. Every man has some religion, even the
mere philosopher, because he sees change. And that — make him ask the ques-
tion, how is effect and cause related? That’s natural religion, we said. Pure phi-
losophy. Explaining everything, why it came about from a cause. We know
already better. We know that death goes between one life and another life. That
is, one life ends in death, Mr. Perlman, and another life starts. You see a variety
of religions may spring — here I put the word, “philosophical” religion — anybody
who is only interested in seeing change will philosophize on change. He will, for
example, say everything is constant change. We are in a turmoil of change. We
must — you see, permanent revolution. You know this Fortune, this book of
fortune, the America — what is it called — In Perpetual Revolution. Have you
seen it? That’s just change. But it is not my change, not my life ends. And there-
fore I put under “change,” “secret” I’ve written here. There is a secret in your
relation to that life which you foster beyond your own life. May be your daugh-

ter. It may be your college. It may be anything you work for, your business,
which you would leave — like to leave behind when you go.

Then here’s death. Since we all die, that is of course the motive power to take
roots at this point, where my life ends and some other life should begin. Because
at the moment I die, I’m very much concerned. Does my daughter now get all
that which I otherwise could have given her during my lifetime? Will she get it
in another way? Can I replace my physical nearness to her by a trust, by an
estate, by a last will? Don’t think these are irreligious things, gentlemen, material
things. They are very religious. A man who makes an — leaves an estate or leaves
a family trust, of course does it for religion’s sake, because that’s his family reli-

Now, gentlemen, here you see that’s many religions can spring up. Some
people say, “My life ends, but I live on.” These people believe in immortality, in
this na‹ve sense that they say, like the Greeks, like the Greek philosophers in
Phaedon, or — by Plato, “Oh, we don’t die. We don’t see it, but we don’t die. We
can’t die. We are immortal.” So you can have the — living religion by a man
behaving as though he would live on, just the same. So to speak, death is denied.
Very strange religion to me.

When you can say that my life wanders into a metamorphosis, I put here this
word, I become a pig, like the Hindus believe, you see, in the migration of souls.
That would be a logical development of my experience of a death, but I would
not give my love to my daughter, you see, but I would give it to the pig. Well, the
migration of souls, gentlemen, which is called “metamorphosis of souls,” usually,
is a very na‹ve acceptance of the fact that my life really is only explained if I
know what good my death is. And so, the people say, in the migration of souls,
“My life is transplaced, transported into another form.” I only want to suggest
that from this very starting point, we can explain most religions, varieties of
religion. We can explain the — Plato’s religion, who says, “There is no death.”
And we can explain Hinduism, which says, “There is a migration.”

Then there are some other possibilities, gentlemen. In Christianity, we say that
a death is needed to make a new beginning. Death — the end comes first and the
beginning comes second. For your logic, that’s impossible. You think that the
beginning must be life and the end must be death. That’s natural religion. There
is then nothing, you see. Life begins. And death ends. Most people in antiquity
believed as you do, that life is the beginning. Birth is the beginning, and death is
the end. Ja? Christianity has the strange insight that our death is not meaning-
less. When an authority dies, it has to come to life again in somebody else. There
has to be succession. The spirit cannot die. The spirit has to be reborn. And we
call this re-birth. And so, gentlemen, Christianity has this — puts this secret in this

way: The end is the birth of the new beginning. I have put here, look here: fa-
ther, secret, daughter — means the secret extends towards the father and towards
the daughter. Only from this point can I explain how this man becomes the
father all the time more, and I can explain how she becomes the daughter all the
time more.

The intensity of life, of the father into fatherhood, increases the more she is his
daughter, and vice versa. They intensify each other. Life is mutual, gentlemen, is
the experience of religion. The more you become the father, the more she will be
your daughter, and vice versa. Now the same is true of death. Mr. Plato said,
very na‹vely, “We don’t die.” Therefore there is life, death, and here is life again. I
would say that is a pure philosophy of life. It omits the second generation. It
cancels out the real mystery of having life in another generation in an opposite
form, another sex. Plato had no daughters.

But we said also that the Hindus said, “Life cannot stop. Death — my death
leads to the birth of another animal, of an animal.” That’s the migration of souls.

Christianity says, “My end is the birth, the re-birth of those who love me.”
That’s why Christ died on the cross. He didn’t die for Himself. He had no fanati-
cal interest in self-torture. The cross was nothing agreeable to Him, and He
didn’t do it from fanaticism, to prove any point. But He said, “As long as people
look at this cross, they will begin life behind my crucifixion. They will be citizens
not of nature, not of Adam and Eve in Paradise, but they will be shocked into the
right life by the suffering they have produced.” You know the non-Christians in
New York call the Jews Christ-killers. Anybody who says this has not understood
Christianity. The essence of Christianity is that every — we all say that we have
killed Christ and therefore are saved, because His death opens our eyes to our
right direction of life. Any man’s birth is — originates with our experience of
Christ’s death. And it is a very natural thing, gentlemen. Any daughter wakes up
to her full responsibilities when her father dies. She excuses herself that she
hasn’t loved him enough. She’s terrified that perhaps his work, life-work has not
been finished. She will edit his papers, and his works, his unfinished works. She
will write a memoir. She will erect a tombstone, will she not? She’ll do anything
she can think of to bring this father’s life to fruition, because now she can see it.
When he is dead, she knows it’s now — she — it has to be done all in a hurry now,
so that the spirit may not be dissipated and wasted — his spirit.

You all do this. Beware. Don’t spend your money on undertakers. Don’t pay
thousand dollars for a coffin for your father. You’ll all be tempted to do this,
because you all have no religion, and no educational religion, and you actually
think that when the undertaker comes and sheds his pseudo-tears, that you have
to do your best for your poor father by buying a platinum coffin. Buy six boards

of wood for his body. But allow him to be in authority of your — over your spirit.
Then you honor your father. Why has Evelyn Waugh to write this horrifying
book about California’s funerals? Have you read it? Why? Because of your pain-
less-death, sir, religion. Because people think that everybody dies to himself.
Now gentlemen, fruitful death is a death which shakes up people so that they act
in the place of the dead, and increase the spirit even, from love to him.

The whole meaning of Christianity is, gentlemen, that if that person, who
arouses our affection, is killed by our own offenses and stupidities, we will rally
to his resurrection, to his making his spirit come true against our own blind
crimes which we had not understood before he died. That is the daughter and
father relation, so to speak, to the square. A daughter doesn’t kill her father. But
she loves him, and so she wakes up to his — Christ came to double, so to speak,
the situation to say this death is not accidental, sir. This death is — I don’t die
from old age. I’m 32 or 33 years old. Jesus of Nazareth. But you all kill me, be-
cause you don’t believe in newness. You don’t believe in inspiration. You don’t
believe in genius. You don’t believe in anything. You want to have the same old
world of machinery, and golden calves, and television. And therefore you kill

Now, one after another of all living — of any living generation is suddenly
moved. Suddenly the scales drop from your eyes. One day one of you will see it
and one day another. Now you don’t. You just hear these fairy tales. You go to
Sunday school and of course that’s enough to lose all religion.

But gentlemen, it’s very serious. Once you begin to ask yourself about your
own purpose in life, you will see that you can do nothing if you have to start all
life from scratch. The religious experience, gentlemen, then, which goes goes
beyond father and daughter, is when you come to know that the whole world
before you, all times, all generations, have been your father’s. And the whole
history of the world from now on will be your daughter. That is, when you
suddenly multiply this mysterious experience of father and daughter, of son and
mother, or whatever it is — uncle and nephew, aunt and niece, it can be manifold
— when you multiply this and see that every form of life that exists on this earth
has come to you as a parent, as your parent, has created you — and that the rest,
the future, will depend on whether you act against it as a parent or as a step-
mother. And the whole future is your daughter.

In this very moment, gentlemen, you understand the relation of the first reli-
gious experience between two generations and the great experience between all
generations. Every religion, gentlemen, can only be rediscovered between two
real people of different sex or age. Believe me. There is your religion, first. But
you can very well understand that this relation between father and daughter is

only a simile, one expression, one application of the total — situation in which
you and I are, that there has been a whole history before us and a whole history
after us. There has been — and this old world has some authority over us. And we
have some genius. And we have to reconcile our genius and the authorities of
the past.

So if you see this list, gentlemen, you must understand that this is the most
primitive experience, A, and this is the end-birth-beginning — I have written
here, if you can read it — is nothing but the generalization for all times of this
first experience. You and I in any minute receive a world on the word of our
forefathers, on their authority. The law, the Constitution, this country, the na-
tions of this earth, the United Nations, the whole history of America and of the
world at large. You take it, at first, at face value. You are indifferent to it. Finally
you discover, “That’s all I receive.” Is it meaningful? It doesn’t make any sense. If
you have no — had no parents, you will never believe that it makes sense. You
will become a cynic and say, “It’s all just museums. It’s all just trash.” But if you
have a parent, you may be mystified, gentlemen, because you must ask yourself
the question, “How do I become a parent?” What is this mystical process by
which I’m now young, and if I use my youth rightly, people who come after me
will look up to me and say, “Let’s listen to this man. Let’s imitate him. Let’s
follow his examples.” And what is more, gentlemen, “Let us tell him that he
hasn’t lived in vain, that we will continue him.”

The whole problem, then, gentlemen, is a problem of a continuity over death.
Beyond death. Despite death. You suddenly discover, gentlemen — can you go to
college if it isn’t meaningful? Can you give meaning to Dartmouth College,
yourself? Didn’t — wasn’t it done by the Earl of Dartmouth and Eleazar Whee-
lock, long ago? And Christianity, and Christopher Columbus who discovered
America, unfortunately?

Gentlemen, you are here in college and you are lost, if the authority by which
you are here did not write that it deserves to be continued. You simply believe it.
But you don’t know it, you must admit. You’re far too young to know that. You
believe. That’s all you have to go on: a deep belief, you see, that man has acted
meaningfully long before you. Now, the central line, gentlemen, a boy of nature
says, “I do as I please. I have not to continue anything. I don’t learn from any-
thing, except what I pick and choose. I’m progressive.” Gentlemen, he can’t
expect anybody to continue his work. So his only way out is a painless death. But
gentlemen, do you think that I teach because I will this? Hasn’t this whole truth
come to me over 5,000 years? I’m only convincing to you as the mouthpiece of all
these fathers and parents and authorities and hopes and saints and prophets and
tears and philosophers and I try to make it so easy for you that you do not even
notice that I’m packing 5,000 years of truth into this hour. You think I say — tell

you this. You are quite mistaken. There’s very little of mine in this. There’s only
enough of mine in this to make it vivid, to make sure that it has passed through
me and I subscribe to it. I have signed on the dotted line and said, “This is true.”
Do you think that any man’s lifetime is long enough to think out these things for
himself? Has it never dawned on you that what you receive in these classes is not
what we tell you, but what we, at the end of a line of 5,000 years, tell you? And
you rely on this that it makes some sense. Sometimes { }. My colleagues unfor-
tunately have given up this { }. They are all mostly irreligious and think they
know. Distrust them. Anybody who tells you that just he knows isn’t worth
listening to. We can only know of the truth and we can only love each other and
hope for the future, gentlemen, if there is one history of God and men through
the whole ages, if father and sister and daughter and mother and son represent
at this moment the life everlasting. That is, man’s good will to continue life in
spite of death, that’s religion. Gentlemen, Man’s good will to continue life ever-
lasting, regardless of death.